New Northeastern dorm wins approval

An 812-bed dorm at Northeastern University won the blessing of a key city board Thursday night. The Boston Redevelopment Authority approved plans for a 21-story residential tower on Columbus Avenue, clearing the way for construction to start later this year. The dorm is one of several in the works at local universities, part of a broad push by schools and Mayor Martin J. Walsh to add more on-campus student housing in the city. Northeastern's project is among the first in Boston to be built in partnership with a private-sector developer. It will be built and operated by American Campus Communities, a publicly-traded company based in Texas that is the nation's largest student housing developer. American Campus will lease the site from Northeastern and set rents, though it will be subject to university housing rules. — TIM LOGAN



Volkswagen diesel recall rejected by Calif. regulators

Volkswagen suffered a setback in its efforts to emerge from the 10-month-old emissions-cheating scandal as California regulators rejected a recall proposal for 85,000 diesel-powered vehicles, raising the prospect that the German carmaker will have to buy them back. The manufacturer's plan for fixing Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche models equipped with 3.0-liter engines rigged to cheat on emissions tests was inadequate, the California Air Resources Board said Wednesday. The regulator, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, will continue talks with Volkswagen to find a fix. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Lucky Strikes maker cuts 950 jobs

British American Tobacco PLC, the maker of Lucky Strike cigarettes, is eliminating 950 jobs at a German factory as it moves to cut costs amid a decline in smoking in Western Europe. BAT had whittled its total employee count down to about 87,000 at the end of 2015 from about 140,000 in 2001 as higher tobacco taxes and public smoking bans dent cigarette consumption. In the last 10 years, the smoking rate in Western Europe has declined by 3.6 percentage points to 23 percent, according to data tracker Euromonitor. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Bayer ups bid for Monsanto

Bayer has raised the stakes in its attempt to buy Monsanto and create a chemical and agricultural giant. Two months after its first offer for the seed and farm products manufacturer was rejected, the German company upped its bid to $54.7 billion in cash, a $3-a-share increase to $125 a share. Thursday's proposal came just hours after news that St. Louis-based Monsanto might entertain a deal with another German chemicals giant, BASF. So far, investors appear skeptical that either Bavarian suitor has what it takes. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


5G is on the way

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday took a major step toward boosting wireless speeds 10-fold by voting unanimously to open little-used airwaves to purposes as varied as remote surgery, lightning-fast video downloads, and factory robotics. The network that will flow over the frequencies in the next few years will be known as 5G, or fifth generation, to succeed the 4G networks that carry music and movies to smartphones today. The airwaves involved were of little use until recently, because even though they carry a lot of data they don't travel far and can be stopped by walls or even by raindrops. Engineers have begun to figure out how to aim and focus the transmissions to overcome these frailties, sending signals to new types of antennae that resemble compact smoke alarms. All four top US mobile carriers have announced plans to test 5G technology. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Google adds 11 new female emojis

Female professionals will soon be better represented in emoji form. Google said Thursday that the Unicode Consortium, which controls emoji standards, has agreed to add 11 new emojis in response to Google's proposal in May to create a set of emojis ''with a goal of highlighting the diversity of women's careers and empowering girls everywhere.'' Among the new emoji characters is a doctor, a scientist, a farmer, and a welder. The characters are available in male forms as well and can be customized for skin tone. Google's original proposal said females — those under 30 in particular — are the most frequent emoji users. The new emojis could be available on smartphones by year's end. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Verizon will not have to deliver phone books in N.Y.

New Yorkers will no longer be greeted by the Verizon phone book on their doorsteps. The company won approval from state regulators Thursday to stop printing and delivering business directories in New York, a cost-saving and environmentally conscious move as more people search online to track down phone numbers. The decision comes six years after the state's Public Service Commission gave Verizon Communications Inc. permission to cease publication of residential directories, which the carrier estimates has eliminated 13,600 tons of paper waste a year. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


N.Y. City Council makes Pepsi sign a landmark

The New York City Council has officially landmarked the neon Pepsi-Cola sign that adorns the Long Island City waterfront. City Council majority leader Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district in Queens encompasses the sign, pushed for the landmark status. After Thursday's unanimous vote, he called the sign ''a staggering piece of pop art.'' The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to designate the structure a historic landmark in April, calling it an ''irreplaceable piece of the urban landscape.'' The sign was built in 1940 and stood on top of the Long Island City Pepsi-Cola bottling plant. The facility was torn down in 2001 but the sign was kept and now stands nearby in Gantry Plaza State Park. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Buffett gives about $2.2 billion in stock to Gates Foundation

Warren Buffett donated about $2.2 billion in stock in his annual gift to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, betting that risk takers at the group will make breakthroughs in global health and US education even as they acknowledge that some efforts will be unsuccessful. "Some of the projects we fund will fail," the Gateses wrote in a message on their website. "We not only accept that, we expect it — because we think an essential role of philanthropy is to make bets on promising solutions that governments and businesses can't afford to make. As we learn which bets pay off, we have to adjust our strategies and share the results so everyone can benefit." Buffett, 85, contributed 15 million Class B shares of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. stock to the foundation Wednesday, according to a regulatory filing Thursday. He made a pledge in 2006 to hand over a total that equates to 500 million shares, and each year he gives 5 percent of the remaining total. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Rates largely unchanged

Long-term US mortgage rates moved little this week, remaining near historically low levels in the wake of financial disarray in Europe. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked up to 3.42 percent from 3.41 percent last week, staying close to its all-time low of 3.31 percent in November 2012. The average rate is down sharply from 4.09 percent a year ago. The 15-year mortgage rate slipped to 2.72 percent from 2.74 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS