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BofA near record deal with DOJ; Russia bans Western food imports; Initial jobless claims fall sharply

The number of people who filed first-time jobless claims fell sharply last week. The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell 14,000 to 289,000, lower than the 305,000 analysts were expecting. The four-week average for jobless claims fell to 293,500, it’s lowest level since February 2006.

Bank of America (BAC) is reportedly close to the largest settlement ever with the Justice Department over bad mortgages sold in the run-up to the financial crisis. The proposed deal would have Bank of America pay somewhere between $16 billion and $17 billion. About $9 billion would reportedly be fines to federal and state governments. The rest would go toward consumer relief.

Russia announced Thursday that it will ban fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, milk and dairy products from countries that imposed sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine. The one-year ban is for food from the U.S., the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway. Russia is also considering banning U.S. and European airlines from flying over Russian airspace as well. We want to hear from you.

Do you think the Russian import ban will have a greater effect on Russia or the West? Vote in our poll, or leave a comment below or on Twitter.

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