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Top News Links: Monday, April 21

Alabama Confidence Index hits 2-year high

The Alabama Business Confidence Index moved up 4.4 points to 55.6 on the second quarter 2014 outlook, its highest level of the last two years.  An index number over 50 indicates positive expectations. – University of Alabama

State unemployment rate edges up in March

The state Department of Labor says Alabama's March unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, which is three-tenths of a percent higher than the February rate. It's also above the March 2013 rate of 6.6 percent. But the number of people in the labor force also grew by more than 14,000 people. – Alabama Department of Labor

Calpine sale includes two state power plants

Calpine Corp. of Houston announced Friday that it has agreed to sell six power plants in its Southeast region to LS Power for $1.57 billion. Calpine assets changing hands in Alabama include Hog Bayou Energy Center in Mobile and Decatur Energy Center in Decatur. – BusinessWire

Former banker to take ACUA post

Former banker Sarah Moore was selected by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley to replace former ACUA administrator Larry Morgan, according to Jennifer Ardis, communications director for the governor's office. – CUTimes.com

Move afoot to reduce job licensing

Are you considering going into business as an eyebrow threader? Better get a license. The profession is the latest in a long and growing list of occupations that Alabama requires participants to pass tests and pay fees before entering. – al.com

Selma Interpretive Center ribbon cutting May 2

The Selma Interpretive Center has reopened after weeks of renovations. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Friday, May 2 at 2 p.m. This event marks the completion and installation of permanent exhibits that interpret the Selma Voting Rights Movement. – NPS.gov

BP employee settles illegal stock trade charges

A former BP employee who was a coordinator during the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has agreed to settle federal charges of using confidential information on the seriousness of the spill to profit illegally from trading in BP stock. – New York Post

Spay-neuter clinics hit political rock

Alabama Sen. Paul Bussman received more than $14,000 from veterinarians across the state — including $10,000 from the Political Animal political action committee — prior to filibustering a bill to allow nonprofit spay-neuter clinics to continue operating in the state. – Cullman Times

Alabama ranked 20th as competitor

Alabama shows up at number 20 in a new ranking of economic competitiveness done by the American Legislative Exchange Council. The council’s “Rich States, Poor States” annual report ranks 15 policy variables. – ALEC.org

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