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Business News at 5:40 p.m.
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NEW THIS UPDATE:
Adds: GULF OIL SPILL-TRIAL
Updates: CYPRUS-FINANCIAL CRISIS, BUDGET BATTLE, EARNS-ORACLE, WALL STREET
WASHINGTON â¿¿ The Federal Reserve says that the U.S. economy has strengthened after pausing late last year but still needs the Fed's extraordinary support to help lower high unemployment. In a statement after a two-day meeting, the Fed stood by its plan to keep short-term interest rates at record lows at least until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent, as long as the inflation outlook remains mild. And it said it would continue buying $85 billion a month in bonds indefinitely to keep long-term borrowing costs down. By Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger.
â¿¿ BERNANKE-NEWS CONFERENCE
WASHINGTON â¿¿ America's lower-income workers post the biggest job gains since the deep 2007-2009 recession â¿¿ but few are bragging. As a workforce sector, those earning under $35,000 annually are generally pessimistic about their finances and career prospects. Many see themselves as worse off now than during the recession, a two-part AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey of workers and employers shows. By Tom Raum and Jennifer Agiesta.
â¿¿ LOW-WAGE WORKERS SURVEY-METHOD â¿¿ How the survey was conducted.
NICOSIA, Cyprus â¿¿ Cyprus' government draws up a new plan to raise funds needed for the country to secure a crucial international bailout, three top government officials say. The new bill could be voted on as early as Thursday evening. Parliament had resoundingly rejected the previous plan, which involved seizing up to 10 percent of people's bank deposits. By Menelaos Hadjicostis and Elena Becatoros.