Japan suspends wheat imports after GMO find

Japan has suspended some imports of U.S. wheat after genetically engineered wheat was found on an Oregon farm.

The Agriculture Department announced the discovery Wednesday. No genetically engineered wheat has been approved for U.S. farming.

Katsuhiro Saka, a counselor at the Japanese Embassy in Washington, said Japan canceled orders of western white wheat from the Pacific Northwest and also of some feed-grade wheat. He said the Japanese people have concerns about the unapproved wheat and the country is waiting for more information from the Agriculture Department.

The strain discovered matched modified wheat that was legally tested by seed giant Monsanto a decade ago but never approved.

The USDA has said the wheat is safe to eat. The department is investigating how it ended up in the field.

Newspaper union planning lawsuit over bargaining

The union representing laid-off photographers at the Chicago Sun-Times plans to file a bad-faith bargaining charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

Chicago Newspaper Guild Executive Director Craig Rosenbaum says the charge will be filed in reaction to the Sun-Times Media company’s announcement Thursday that it’s laying off its entire full-time photography staff.

Rosenbaum says the union is negotiating a new contract and the company told the union at the bargaining table that no layoffs of photographers were planned.

Buffett group adds to its newspaper holdings

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is adding The Roanoke (Va.) Times to its growing group of small- and medium-sized newspapers.

Berkshire said Thursday it will acquire The Times from Landmark Media Enterprises on Friday. It will be Berkshire’s 30th daily newspaper.

Financial terms were not disclosed. Berkshire says The Roanoke Times has daily circulation of 76,000 and Sunday circulation of 90,000.

Buffett did not immediately respond to a message Thursday. Earlier this month, he told shareholders that Berkshire should earn decent returns of about 10 percent on the newspapers because it is buying them at such cheap prices.

But he said newspaper earnings will keep declining, and the newspapers won’t make much difference to Berkshire’s overall profits because they are relatively small part of the conglomerate.

Price of oil rises slightly on hopes of more Fed stimulus

The price of oil rose Thursday on indications that the U.S. economy still needs the Federal Reserve to maintain its current stimulus measures. Benchmark oil for July delivery rose 48 cents to $93.61 a barrel. That marked a reversal of Wednesday’s sentiment, when oil fell $1.88 on concerns the Fed would taper it stimulus program.

Mortgage rates bump up on stronger Treasury yields

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages jumped this week to their highest levels in a year, signaling slightly higher costs for homebuyers. But rates still remain low by historical standards.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year loan rose to 3.81 percent, up from 3.59 percent last week. That’s still not far from the 3.31 percent rate reached in November, the lowest on records dating to 1971.

The average on the 15-year loan rose to 2.98 percent, up from 2.77 percent last week. The record low of 2.56 percent was reached in early May. Mortgage rates are rising because they tend to follow the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. The yield rose to 2.17 percent on Tuesday, its highest level in 13 months.

— From news service reports