Top U.S. health official: competition key to insurance markets in Humana-Aetna deal; British Pizza Huts are 😋 about their 🆕 menus; and Amazon adds 10th Calif. center

A news summary focused on 10 big employers; updated 5:23 p.m.

Pizza Hut emoji menu
An emoji expert wrote the new menus.

HUMANA: The Obama administration’s top health official highlighted the importance of competition to insurance markets, as the Justice Department is poised to decide on two massive deals among four of the health-plan industry’s biggest players: Humana-Aetna’s $37 billion tie-up, and Anthem-Cigna’s $48 billion. But Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell declined to comment on her department’s view of the two massive deals. “When there is competition, that creates downward price pressure, and it also creates upward quality pressure,” Burwell said in a brief interview in Fort Dodge, Iowa (Bloomberg).

PIZZA HUT: Six British Pizza Huts have unveiled menus written entirely in emojis, all in time for Sunday’s World Emoji Day. “Many of the items look easy enough to translate, with one pizza option including pictures of a tomato, basil plant, a green heart and a mushroom with the vegetarian ‘v’ sign next to it,” says the Daily Mail. “A crown, chicken and drumstick is slightly more obscure.” But if it all gets too difficult for some customers, there’s a traditional menu on hand (Daily Mail). Here’s an English-to-emoji translator.

YUM: Financial news site Seeking Alpha has published a transcript of Yum’s second-quarter conference call with analysts on Wednesday (Seeking Alpha).

AMAZON today disclosed plans to open its 10th California distribution center, in Sacramento. It’s the fourth center the retailer has announced for California alone over the past four months, and is expected to create more than 1,000 full-time jobs (press release). Amazon has more than 120 centers worldwide, including two in the Louisville area with a combined 6,000 employees, in Jeffersonville and Shephardsville.

FORD posted its best first-half for total European vehicle and passenger car sales since 2010, and best commercial vehicle sales since 1993 in its 20 traditional European markets (press release). The company’s philanthropic arm, the Ford Motor Company Fund, said it would award $400,000 in scholarships and grants to support programs encouraging Latino students to graduate from high school (press release).

And the U.S. Postal Service started selling first-class “forever” stamps today that commemorate four pickup trucks, including the 1948 Ford F-1 — the first F-Series truck — and the 1965 Ford F-100:

pr16_056

Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant employs 5,100 workers, producing F-250 and F-550 Super Duty pickups, plus Expeditions, and Lincoln Navigators.

KFC: In the U.K.’s Plymouth, a 46-year-old man branded “too fat to work” on national television has vowed to chain himself to land set aside for a new KFC, in protest of the plans. Stephen Beer, who once gorged on three takeaways a day and weighed more than 420 lbs, is on a mission to raise awareness of childhood obesity, and says he’s “disgusted” by the thought of more fast-food chains in the city (Plymouth Herald).

In other news, presumptive GOP White House nominee Donald Trump formally named Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate, after briefly surprising the political world last night by scrapping plans to announce his pick because of the terrorist attack in southern France (New York Times).

Trump and Pence
Trump and Pence.

Trump created some 11th-hour drama last night when he said hadn’t made a“final, final decision” between Pence and two other candidates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia. His announcement moments ago came three days before the Republican National Convention starts Monday in Cleveland (Washington Post).

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