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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:
The European Union’s executive arm has indicated that negotiations with the British government over the country’s exit from the bloc may not start next week as planned. European Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said “we are quite confident” that technical talks “can start soon, maybe even this week.” However, when asked about whether the Brexit talks would start for real on June 19 as planned, Winterstein said: “I cannot say. This doesn’t depend entirely on us.” Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to thrash out details of a parliamentary arrangement with a party from Northern Ireland to get her the votes to run a minority government after last week’s election, which saw her Conservative Party lose its majority. Read more
A prominent Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer is aiming to return to the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges next year in several states, including big markets like Texas and Illinois. Health Care Service Corp. says it also intends to sell coverage in Oklahoma, where it is the only insurer on the exchange, as well as in New Mexico and Montana. But a spokeswoman also cautioned that the insurer won’t make any final decisions on exchange participation until the fall. Companies still have a couple more months to sort out their 2018 coverage plans. Read more
NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric says Jeff Immelt is stepping down as CEO and John Flannery, president and CEO of the conglomerate’s health care unit, will take over the post in August. The 61-year-old Immelt will stay on as chairman until his retirement from the position at the end of the year, with the 55-year-old Flannery stepping into the role after that. Immelt has been at the helm of the conglomerate for 16 years, overseeing a transformation that included selling many of the company’s units. Over that time, General Electric sold its insurance, credit card, plastics and security divisions. Read more
NEW YORK (AP) — Low-cost grocery chain Aldi says it plans to add more stores in the U.S. over the next five years, meaning more competition for traditional grocers, Walmart and organics-focused chains like Whole Foods. The German company focuses on private-label goods and has 1,650 stores in the United States. Aldi says it aims to give customers organic produce and meat raised without antibiotics. It was already planning on expanding to 2,000 stores by the end of 2018. The company now says it will be at 2,500 locations by the end of 2022. Read more
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