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Top News Links: Wednesday, April 15

Obama moves to remove Cuba from terror list

President Barack Obama recommended Tuesday that Cuba be removed from the U.S. government's list of state sponsors of terrorism. Long sought by the Cuban government, Obama's decision, expected for weeks now, will likely expedite plans to re-establish embassies in both Washington and Havana. – CNN

Single session made Percy Sledge a star

Sound engineer Jimmy Johnson knew he had captured something special on tape as Percy Sledge finished singing “When a Man Loves a Woman” in a recording studio in 1965. Sledge, who died Tuesday, grew up singing in nearby cotton fields of northwest Alabama and never had been in a studio before that day. He didn’t even know how to work a microphone during that first session, Johnson said. – AP/WVGazette

Water Works sounds alarm on proposed bill

Birmingham Water Works officials warn that a bill passed in the State Senate and pending in the House would reduce their ability to fight for clean water. The Water Works opposes the bill from State Sen. Greg Reed, R-Jasper, that would require all appeals of decisions by the Alabama Surface Mining Commission to be heard in Walker County. – AL.com

Alabama Senate OKs education budget

The Alabama Senate on Tuesday approved a nearly $6 billion education budget that steers more money to the state's prekindergarten program. Senators approved the Education Trust Fund budget on a 33-0 vote. – AP/SF Gate

Three UA teams on biz plan competition

Three University of Alabama student teams are on their way to starting their own businesses after winning the Culverhouse College of Commerce’s 2015 Edward K. Aldag Jr. Business Plan Competition. The competition is in its second year and is designed to encourage students to start their own businesses. – UA News

State students added to Panama City’s disaster spring

Tourism officials who survived Florida's other Spring Break fevers are ready to help Panama City Beach out of the horror show that led to a woman being sexually assaulted on the sand as hundreds of revelers looked on. – AP/WBOC

Water war to flare up again on Tuesday

A debate over future control of Alabama’s water supply will be front and center at the Alabama State House Tuesday as environmental groups plan to make their presence felt during a meeting of the Legislative Committee on Water Policy & Management. The environmental groups have dubbed Tuesday “Rivers of Alabama Day,” according to an email sent out by Alabama Rivers Alliance leader Mitch Reid. – Yellowhammer

Charter, private anglers to have separate limits

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce on Monday approved the creation of separate catch limits for red snapper for Gulf of Mexico charter fishermen and private anglers. These two sectors were previously lumped together in a one-size-fits-all management plan that doesn’t actually fit anyone, anglers say. – News release

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