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Top News Links: Monday, Aug. 1

Jury selection begins in fraud case related to Colonial Bank

Jury selection is beginning in Miami for trial of a lawsuit seeking more than $5 billion in damages from the PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm over its audits of a now-defunct bank. The lawsuit going to trial beginning today was filed on behalf of creditors, employees and investors in a shuttered mortgage company called Taylor, Bean and Whitaker based in Ocala, Florida. Several top executives were convicted of crimes in a massive fraud scheme involving Colonial Bank of Montgomery, which closed in 2009. – WFTV

Allegiant Travel to buy 12 Airbus A320s

The Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company signed a deal with Airbus Friday for 12 of its A320ceo aircraft, most of which are likely to be built at the aircraft manufacturing company's assembly plant in Mobile. The deal will allow Allegiant to hasten the retirement of its ageing fleet of 46 McDonald Douglas-built MD-80s, which are on average 26 years-old and slated for retirement by the end of 2019, and will allow the company to move closer to solely operating Airbus aircraft. – AL.com

Blue Bell’s $850,000 listeria fine could melt away

Texas fined Blue Bell Creameries for a listeria contamination last year linked to the deaths of three people, but the ice cream maker could end up paying only a fraction of the $850,000 penalty under an agreement announced last week. Blue Bell halted sales and issued a voluntarily recall in April 2015 due to bacteria contamination that was linked to 10 listeria cases in four states, drawing regulatory scrutiny from federal and state officials. – AP/Omaha.com

Forget the polls, watch stock market to predict election

Wall Street has a way to predict whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. Keep an eye on the stock market from August 1 through October 31. If stocks go up during that three-month stretch, expect Clinton to win. If stocks slide, Trump will likely prevail. – CNN

Ideal seating plan for business, according to science

The open office plan that everybody loves to hate is here to stay. The ideal seating plan still involves sitting almost on top of your co-workers, according to new research from Harvard Business School. What changes, however, is who exactly sits next to whom. – Bloomberg

Ford’s profit warning jars industry observers

After boasting of record profits earlier in the year, Ford Motor Co. last week dropped a profit warning as jarring as concrete blocks hitting the bed of an aluminum pickup. Executives said the automaker is spending more than anticipated on incentives as U.S. vehicle demand softens, generating less revenue than expected in China and facing at least a $1 billion hit over the next three years from the Brexit vote in Europe. – Automotive News

Fed survey suggests businesses lean toward hiring

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta conducted a recent survey of businesses across the Southeast to get a snapshot of corporate planning and focus. Slightly more than half of businesses plan to increase their number of employees but overall the level of the increase is slightly smaller than a year ago. – AL.com

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