Pacific Northwest Expeditors International shareholders rejected a proposal Wednesday to adopt a written policy banning discrimination on...

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Pacific Northwest

Expeditors International shareholders rejected a proposal Wednesday to adopt a written policy banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Trillium Asset Management and Seattle’s Pride Foundation introduced the shareholder resolution at the Seattle company’s annual meeting. Expeditors’ board had unanimously recommended voting against the proposal, saying it was unnecessary because the company’s current policy achieves the same objectives.

It was the third time the group introduced the resolution, which received 49 percent of the vote on Wednesday.

“They’re getting closer every year,” said Chief Executive Peter Rose. “We get tired of getting impinged on by everyone. It really has nothing to do with business.”

At the meeting, a Trillium representative read a letter by shareholder and former employee Joshua Wojcik, who said he experienced an intolerant corporate culture and heard managers use derogatory terms for gays during his three years at the global logistics company.

Separately, Mark Emmert, the University of Washington president, and Robert Wright, a Seattle businessman, were elected to the company’s board of directors.

Getty Images

Buyout gets EU antitrust approval

The $2.1 billion buyout of Seattle-based Getty Images, the largest photograph agency, by private-equity company Hellman & Friedman won European Union antitrust approval. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm in Brussels, announced the approval in a statement Wednesday after reviewing the transaction under a simplified procedure.

Nation / World

U.S. housing

Home resales decline again

Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy previously owned homes in March for the second consecutive month as falling prices and tougher loan rules discouraged buyers.

The index of pending home resales fell 1 percent to 83, after a 2.8 percent drop in February that was larger than previously reported, the National Association of Realtors said in Washington, D.C.

The glut of unsold properties is driving down home values, while rising defaults on subprime mortgages have prompted lenders to restrict access to credit, representing more hurdles for buyers.

Treasury

Paulson says worst may have passed

The worst of the nation’s credit crisis may have passed, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday, though he acknowledged rising gas prices will blunt the effect of 130 million economic stimulus checks.

He ruled out a second stimulus package for now.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Paulson said the turmoil that has gripped Wall Street and that took a turn for the worse again in March has eased somewhat.

Toyota

Some U.S. models to see price increase

Toyota Motor is raising its prices on some U.S. models later this month amid increased worries about its profit growth in the U.S. market.

The price increases, which will start in the middle of May, include an increase of $200 on the 2008 Yaris sedan, boosting the cost of the base model to $12,425, with higher prices for models with extra features.

The 2009 Camry will go up $200, to $18,920 for a model without any extras, the automaker’s U.S. unit said in a statement released Friday.

The base hybrid Camry will cost $300 more, at $25,650, Toyota said.

Federal Reserve

Borrowing shot up in March

Consumer borrowing rose in March at the fastest pace in four months, more than double the increase of the previous month, in what was seen as a sign of rising economic stress.

The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that consumers increased their borrowing at an annual rate of 7.2 percent, compared with a 3.1 percent rate of increase in February.

The gain was much larger than economists had been expecting and reflected strong borrowing on credit cards and also in the category that includes auto loans.

News Corp.

Murdoch expects Newsday will be his

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch said Wednesday he expects to clinch a deal to buy the Long Island-based newspaper Newsday within a week, despite a higher offer from Cablevision Systems.

The news came as the global media conglomerate reported that its latest quarterly earnings more than tripled to $2.69 billion on a one-time gain from a stock exchange with Liberty Media.

News Corp. had been reported to be in a tentative deal to acquire Newsday for $580 million when Cablevision weighed in with an offer of $650 million. New York Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman has also offered $580 million.

Delta Air Lines

Sea-Tac VIP lounge and others to close

Delta Air Lines’ VIP lounge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is among nine that will be closed in the U.S. and Britain, citing the need to manage costs due to hefty fuel prices.

A spokeswoman said the move this month also is designed to align Delta’s worldwide offering of clubs to its flight schedule.

The Atlanta-based company said in a posting on its Web site that was circulated to members in affected cities last month that eight Crown Room Club locations and one BusinessElite Lounge would be shuttered.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff, The Associated Press and Bloomberg News