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Top News Links: Wednesday, April 3

Russia, China launch more spacecraft than U.S. in 2012

While U.S. space launches and federal space employment shrank in the last few years, many others countries increased activity and spending, and both Russia and China launched more spacecraft. — Huntsville Times

Home prices jump nationwide

Nationally, home prices jumped 10 percent year-over-year in February, but the results were not so good in Alabama, according to surveys by CoreLogic. Only Mobile and Huntsville showed an increase — 3.2 in Mobile, 0.2 in Huntsville — while the other metro areas all lost ground: Decatur down 7 percent; Auburn-Opelika down 3.9 percent; Birmingham-Hoover down 1.8 percent; Anniston, Tuscaloosa, Florence-Muscle Shoals, Dothan and Gadsden, all down 1.5, and Montgomery down 0.8 percent. — CoreLogic

Shotgun downpayment for a truck

Reuters highlights Jasper truck buyer who used a shotgun to cover a $1,000 downpayment to highlight Fed-enabled surge in sub-prime auto loans. — Reuters

Big expansion planned at Coastal Forest Products in Butler County

Coastal Forest Products has announced its second expansion in two years, with plans to invest $20 million and add 50 workers. — Greenville Advocate

Expansion at Horizon Shipbuilding to triple capacity

Bayou La Batre-based Horizon Shipbuilding, which builds craft for private and military customers, has purchase 22 acres across the Bayou from its present location, tripling its capacity. — Mobile Press-Register

Eric Jack to lead UAB business school

Eric Jack, who has been interim dean at the UAB business school since last fall, was formally tapped for the post this week. — UAB PR

Vulcan stock "oversold," says Forbes

Forbes said yesterday that recent heavy selling of Vulcan Materials stock has made the issue "oversold," and may signal a time for buyers to consider the aggregate company's stock. — Forbes

Catholic TV station loses court battle against health insurance

Birmingham-based Eternal Word Television Network last week lost its court bid against national health insurance standards that require coverage for contraception, saying the practice violates Catholic teaching; the court ruled that the suit was premature because regulations are still being developed. — Insurance Journal

Revenue sources, retirement accounts topics for Bronner

Taxes, investments and more under scrutiny as RSA's Bronner addresses Troy Rotary Club gathering. — Troy Messenger

Army extends Patriot missile use

The U.S. Army has extended the service life for Raytheon-made Patriot missiles for another 30 to 45 years. — al.com

Mobile lets storm water contract lapse

Mobile city council members chose not to renew a contract with The Mobile Group that has handled storm water plans for nearly two decades, saying the company has failed to bring the city into compliance with state regulations; having no plan could also violate regulations. — Mobile Press-Register

Payday lending targets poor, minorities, report says

Payday loans — which flourish in Alabama and other Southern states — target the poor and minorities and drain community resources, says report by Insight Center for Community Economic Development. — Politic365

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