AP Top Business News At 3:45 p.m. EST

Russia, West try to hammer out Ukraine diplomacy
PARIS (AP) -- Facing off in Europe's capitals, Russia and the West began trying to build the elements of a diplomatic solution to Europe's gravest crisis since the Cold War - even as the West appeared increasingly resigned to an entrenched Russian presence in Crimea. NATO hit back by putting Russia on suspension, and the European Union extended $15 billion in aid to Ukraine, matching the amount the country's fugitive president accepted from Moscow to turn his back on an EU trade accord....

Former IRS official refuses to testify at hearing
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The former Internal Revenue Service official at the heart of the controversy over the agency's targeting of conservative groups once again refused to answer questions at a House hearing Wednesday amid signs that a congressional investigation into the affair may be stalling....

Netanyahu and Gov. Brown sign pro-business pact
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a swing through the Silicon Valley to meet with high-tech leaders and sign a pro-business agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown....

Review: Apple's iWork brings simplicity to docs
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Microsoft's Office is the go-to software package for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Google's Docs has emerged as a good, free alternative for lightweight tasks. But what's often overlooked is Apple's iWork....

Big coal producer in settlement over tainted water
WASHINGTON (AP) -- One of the nation's largest coal producers will pay a $27.5 million fine and spend $200 million to reduce illegal toxic discharges into hundreds of waterways across five Appalachian states, according to a proposed settlement Wednesday....

Ukraine premier: Crimea will remain in Ukraine
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- In his first interview since taking office, Ukraine's new prime minister vigorously defended the legality of his government against attacks coming from Russia, but said Wednesday that Ukraine would be willing to consider granting more autonomy to the Crimea region to assuage the concerns of the province's pro-Russian population....

Fed survey: Winter storms holding back economy
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Federal Reserve survey shows severe weather held back economic growth in much of the nation from January through early February. Even so, conditions improved in most U.S. regions, thanks to slight gains in areas such as employment and commercial real estate....

Facebook to delete posts for illegal gun sales
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Under pressure from gun control advocates, Facebook agreed Wednesday to delete posts from users selling illegal guns or offering weapons for sale without background checks....

Target tech chief resigns as it overhauls security
NEW YORK (AP) -- Target Corp. Chief Information Officer Beth Jacob is resigning effective Wednesday as the retailer overhauls its information security and compliance division in the wake of a massive pre-Christmas data breach....

Carnival, passengers in court over disabled ship
MIAMI (AP) -- About three dozen passengers who sailed on the ill-fated Carnival Triumph cruise ship that drifted at sea for days are hoping to collect thousands of dollars apiece as a result of lingering medical and mental problems they say were caused by their nightmarish experience....

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Yellen pledges focus on jobs and stable prices

Fed survey: Winter storms holding back economy

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Exxon to cut spending but sees production rising

Nominee for SBA head passes first Senate test

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Chinese car company Qoros builds credibility

Approved! Bank loans to small business on the rise

Target tech chief resigns as it overhauls security

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