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Briefs

Feds open safety probe for Chrysler

A U.S. safety agency has opened two investigations into Chrysler minivans and SUVs as part of a widening inquiry into air bag and ignition switch problems across the U.S. auto industry.

On Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted documents on its website detailing an investigation of about 700,000 Dodge Journey SUVs and Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans from the 2008 to 2010 model years. The agency wants to see if the keys can fall out of the run position under “harsh roadway conditions.”

Prodded by NHTSA, Chrysler recalled 2010 models of the same vehicles due to the problem, but it did not recall those from earlier model years.

The other investigation covers about 525,000 Jeep Commander SUVs from 2006 and 2007 and Jeep Grand Cherokees from 2005 and 2006.

Crop scientist gets World Food Prize

A crop scientist credited with developing hundreds of varieties of disease-resistant wheat adaptable to many climates and difficult growing conditions was named Wednesday as the 2014 recipient of the World Food Prize.

Sanjaya Rajaram, 71, wins the $250,000 prize founded by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug that honors vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world.

Rajaram, who was born in India and is a citizen of Mexico, began research and field work with Borlaug in 1969. He successfully crossed varieties of winter and spring wheat with his own plant-breeding techniques, which led to the development of plants that have higher yields and dependability in a wide range of environments – important in keeping pace with a growing population.

He is credited with developing 480 wheat varieties that have been released in 51 countries on six continents. Rajaram will receive the award at an Oct. 16 ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa.

FedEx profit rises on ground shipping

The boom in online shopping may be hurting some store-based retailers, but it is doing wonders for FedEx Corp.

The package-delivery giant said Wednesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose sharply thanks to the growth in e-commerce, which is boosting FedEx’s ground-shipping business at a time when its core express-delivery segment is flat.

FedEx’s earnings of $2.46 a share beat Wall Street’s forecast by a dime. Revenue also topped expectations.

The company said it earned $730 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended May 31, compared with $303 million a year ago, when write-downs weighed on the results. Revenue rose 3.5 percent to $11.84 billion.

SunTrust owes relief to some homeowners

Indiana will receive almost $685,000 as part of a $550 million joint state-federal settlement with mortgage lender and servicer SunTrust Mortgage Inc., state officials announced Wednesday.

The payment is being made to address mortgage origination, servicing and foreclosure abuses, according to a statement issued by Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office.

The agreement requires SunTrust to provide eligible Indiana borrowers with loan modifications or other relief. Anyone who might qualify should contact a free housing counselor by calling toll free 877-438-4357 or go to www.877gethope.org.

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