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Google to translate 50 million patents

PARIS (AP) -- Google said Thursday it has reached an agreement with European patent authorities to use its online technology to translate some 50 million patents.

Google Inc. and the Munich-based European Patent Office will cooperate to use Google Translate technology to translate patents into 28 European languages as well as into Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.

The deal will enable researchers and the curious to search for patents in the EPO's three official languages -- English, French and German -- and translate them on the fly on the EPO's website. The translations are to serve informational and research purposes only, and will not replace legal requirements for patents to be translated by professional translators.

The project is expected to be completed in 2014.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google will gain access to all the translated patents -- more than 1.5 million documents and 50,000 new patents each year -- which will help improve its machine translation technology.

Oracle income rose 78%

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif. (AP) -- Database software maker Oracle Corp. said Thursday its net income rose 78 percent in the fiscal third quarter, helped by a rise in new software license sales and the benefit of three full months of revenue from Sun Microsystems, a company it acquired last year.

Net income for the quarter that ended on Feb. 28 increased to $2.1 billion, or 41 cents per share, from $1.2 billion, or 23 cents per share a year earlier.

Revenue jumped 37 percent to $8.8 billion from $6.4 billion, more than the $8.7 billion analysts predicted. The company said revenue increased more than 30 percent in every region worldwide.

Oracle makes the database software that underpins everyday transactions, from bank withdrawals to airline reservations.


Portugal will need bailout

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Portugal's financial collapse appeared inevitable Thursday, as markets took the government's resignation as proof the debt-heavy country will lose its yearlong battle to avoid a bailout.

Investors pushed the interest rate on Portugal's 10-year bonds to a euro-era record of 7.71 percent -- an unsustainable financial burden that could soon force the country to ask for a rescue like Greece and Ireland did last year. Analysts estimate a bailout would amount to $113.02 billion.

The Socialist government quit late Wednesday after opposition parties rejected its latest debt-reduction plan.


Fed plans news conferences

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will begin holding news conferences four times a year to explain the Federal Reserve's interest rate decisions and its views on the economy.

The decision comes after the Fed held an unusual videoconferenced meeting last fall in large part to discuss the need to improve its communications strategy. A Fed committee also had been studying whether to begin holding periodic news conferences.

Bernanke's first news conference will occur after a Fed meeting April 27.


Walgreens to expand online

NEW YORK (AP) -- Drugstore operator Walgreens Co. said Thursday it will spend about $429 million to buy online retailer in a deal that gives it access to 3 million online customers.

The largest U.S. drugstore operator will give shareholders $3.80 in cash for each share of stock -- more than double the 1.79 closing price of's stock Wednesday. The stock jumped $2.03, or 113 percent, Thursday, to $3.82.

The acquisition will add about 60,000 products to Walgreens' online offerings, and the Deerfield, Ill., company said it will significantly speed up its online strategy.

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