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Top News Links: Tuesday, April 21

Blue Bell listeria troubles expand

Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries issued a voluntary recall Monday night for all of its products on the market after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria. The company "cannot say with certainty" how the bacteria was introduced to its facilities, Blue Bell's chief executive Paul Kruse said in a statement. Blue Bell issued the recall that includes ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks distributed in 23 states and international locations because other products "have the potential to be contaminated," according to the statement. – AP/ABC-11

Look for talk of a flat tax today

Two state lawmakers will unveil a plan today for reshaping Alabama’s individual and corporate income taxes. Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, said Monday he couldn’t yet discuss the details of the plan, but he described it as a flat, fair tax. He said there are many Alabamians who don’t pay income tax. – Decatur Daily

Washington Post thinks we’re ripe for lottery

Mississippi, Utah and Alabama have strong religious constituencies that do not want their flocks led astray. But Alabama might be the next state to break down and start a lottery. For years, it has used loans, savings and one-time windfalls to balance its budget. Now it faces an intractable $200-300 million shortfall — a $700 million shortfall if all the borrowed money is thrown into the calculation. – Washington Post

Alabama ranks poorly in eco-friendly list

In order to help highlight this important issue as well as all states taking steps to care for the environment and call out those doing a poor job, WalletHub compared each of the 50 states in terms of 14 key metrics designed to illustrate each place’s environmental quality and the eco-friendliness of its policies. Perhaps no surprise, Alabama ranks fourth from the bottom, with Louisiana taking taking the 50th spot. – Wallet Hub

Airbus: No plans to discontinue A380

Airbus says it has no plans to discontinue its Airbus A380 model even as sales for the superjumbo jet remain slow, Reuters quotes CEO Fabrice Bregier as saying in a Sunday story by the French newspaper Les Echoes. Airbus has received about 317 orders for the A380, which made its first commercial passenger flight in 2007. About half of Airbus' A380 orders have already been delivered. It's also been several years since the company has netted a new order for the jet. – USA Today

Baker Donelson elects 14 new shareholders

Baker Donelson announced Monday that it has elected 14 new shareholders across the firm, including three attorneys in its Birmingham office: Thomas J. Buchanan, Kevin R. Garrison and Catherine Crosby Long. – BizJournals

NPR weighs in on spill anniversary

Five years ago, BP's out-of-control oil well deep in the Gulf of Mexico exploded. Eleven workers were killed on the Deepwater Horizon rig. But it was more than a deadly accident — the blast unleashed the nation's worst offshore environmental catastrophe. Today, the spill's impacts linger. – NPR

Auburn drivers, mechanics to unionize

The drivers and mechanics who support Auburn University's Tiger Transit have voted in a 3-1 margin to unionize. Cincinnati-headquartered First Transit provide workers for Tiger Transit, Auburn's bus service on and around campus. The workers will join Teamsters Local 612 in Birmingham, part of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. – AL.com

Retired Army general joining S3

An Army Lieutenant General has joined the leadership team at System Studies and Simulation in Huntsville. James O. "Jim" Barclay is the new president of S3, the company announced this morning. Barclay, who served more than 36 years in the U.S. Army, finished his military service early this year as the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8. – AL.com

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