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Negotiations have resumed on a proposed $6.9 billion merger between British Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, London's Sunday Times reported. If they result in a deal, the combined company would become the world's third-largest carrier. Discussions broke down last September when KLM balked at losing its identity as the flag carrier of the Netherlands, including its unlimited access to cities in the lucrative US market.

Furniture giant Ethan Allen Inc. plans to close three manufacturing plants, displacing about 350 workers as part of a cost-saving restructuring plan. The Danbury, Conn.-based company will consolidate plants in Frewsburg, N.Y., Island Point, Vt.; and Asheville, N.C. Eighteen other manufacturing facilities will remain open.

AutoZone Inc. said it will close up to 60 stores across the US over the next few months. The move stems from a review of stores not meeting performance standards. Company officials said the number of resulting layoffs would be minimal. Memphis-based AutoZone operates more than 3,000 stores in 42 states, Washington, and Mexico.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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