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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

HP to cut 27,000 jobs amid dip in demand

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to cut 27,000 jobs as the growing popularity of smartphones, the iPad and other mobile devices makes it tougher for the company to sell personal computers.

The cuts announced Wednesday represent HP's largest payroll purge in its 73-year history. The reductions will affect about 8 percent of HP's nearly 350,000 employees by the time the overhaul is completed in October 2014.

Word of the mass layoff had leaked out in media reports late last week, so the news didn't come as a surprise.

HP hopes to avoid as many layoffs as possible by offering early retirement packages.

The company, which is based in Palo Alto, expects to save as much as $3.5 billion annually from the job cuts and other austerity measures.

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Officials add '12 model to probe of Cruze fires

DETROIT (AP) -- U.S. safety officials have added the 2012 model year to an investigation of engine fires in the Chevrolet Cruze.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last month it was investigating the 2011 Cruze because of two complaints of fires that engulfed the compact cars.

In documents posted on its website this week, regulators are asking GM for information about fires in 2011 and 2012 Cruzes.

Investigators are focusing on wiring and a computer that controls the transmission. They've asked GM for any allegations of overheated wiring or smoke and fire in the engine compartment.

GM spokesman Alan Adler says the investigation now covers about 370,000 cars. He says GM is cooperating. The car has not been recalled.

No one was hurt in the two fires reported to the government.

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Jury clears Google of patent infringement

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A federal jury ruled Wednesday that Google didn't infringe on Oracle's patents when the Internet search leader developed its popular Android software for mobile devices.

Wednesday's verdict comes about two weeks after the same jury, with two additional members, failed to agree on a pivotal issue in Oracle's copyright-infringement case against Google. As a result, Google Inc. faced maximum damages of only $150,000 -- not the hundreds of millions of dollars that Oracle Corp. was seeking.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup dismissed the jury, skipping the damages phase that had been originally scheduled. Had Oracle been able to pursue damages, confidential documents detailing how much money Google makes from its Android software might have become public.

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Concerns about Greece cause euro to plummet

NEW YORK (AP) -- The euro plunged to its lowest level in nearly two years Wednesday as investors fretted that European leaders won't be able to prevent Greece from making a messy exit from the region's shared currency.

The euro fell to $1.2573 late Wednesday from $1.2720 late Tuesday. It fell as low as $1.2544, the lowest since July 6, 2010. The euro has come down sharply against the dollar since last August, when it was worth $1.45.

European leaders were meeting Wednesday to find a way to keep Europe's debt crisis from spiraling out of control. They haven't announced any concrete plans.

The likelihood of Greece leaving the euro has been growing since early May, when parties opposed to the terms of the country's financial rescue won at the polls.