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Business Highlights

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Judge OKs $4 billion BP oil spill criminal settlement

NEW ORLEANS (AP) â¿¿ BP PLC closed the book on the Justice Department's criminal probe of its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster and Gulf oil spill on Tuesday, when a federal judge agreed to let the London-based oil giant plead guilty to manslaughter charges for the deaths of 11 rig workers and pay a record $4 billion in penalties.

What the plea deal doesn't resolve, though, is the federal government's civil claims against BP. The company could pay billions more for environmental damage from its 2010 spill.

The judge noted that the company already has racked up more than $24 billion in spill-related expenses and has estimated it will pay a total of $42 billion to fully resolve its liability for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Microsoft retools Office for touch screen, Web use

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) â¿¿ Microsoft is selling a retooled version of its Office software to consumers as an online subscription service for the first time in an attempt to extend one of the company's key franchises beyond personal computers.

Tuesday's release comes six months after Microsoft previewed the new-look Office, which includes popular word processing, spreadsheets and email programs.

The revamped Office boasts touchscreen controls, just like the redesigned version of the Windows operating system that Microsoft Corp. released three months ago. The company, which is based in Redmond, Wash., is trying to ensure that its products retain their appeal at a time when people increasingly rely on smartphones and tablet computers instead of PCs.

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By The Associated Press(equals)

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 72.49 points to close at 13,954.42. The Standard and Poor's 500 rose 7.66 points to 1,507.84 points. The Nasdaq composite dropped less than a point to 3,153.66.

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