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Top News Links: Thursday, Dec. 20

Mercedes ramps up hiring for C-Class

Mercedes-Benz is in the process of hiring another 1,000 workers as it prepares for production of new C-Class vehicles; Vance plant already has 3,000 employees. — Birmingham News

New improved cotton

Scientist at HudsonAlpha Institute in Huntsville is working on ways to grow cotton with less water and pesticide and to adapt the fiber into a soil and seawater cleaner. — Huntsville Times

Strike possible at East, Gulf Coast ports

Port of Mobile would be among 15 Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports affected if the International Longshoremen's Association and shipping companies are unable to come to terms on a new contract before current one, already in extension mode, expires Dec. 29. — USA Today

Gurley residents seek to prevent Vulcan quarry

Residents of Gurley, east of Huntsville, are gearing up to prevent the opening of a proposed Vulcan Materials rock quarry at the edge of their town. — WAAY-TV

Moody's downgrades Alabama A&M

Alabama A&M University faces its second credit rating downgrade in two years, this time with the Moody's rating service citing problems with the university foundation; A&M said it has no plans to sell bonds now anyway. — al.com 

South leads U.S. manufacturing comeback

Southern states see return of manufacturing jobs, many at foreign-owned companies. — NBC News

Personal income up

Alabama personal income grew 0.7 percent quarter over quarter, ranking 12th in the nation for growth rate. — al.com

Two from UAB honored as inventors

UAB interim president Richard Marchase and engineering professor Dean Sicking have been chosen for the inaugural class of fellows of the National Academy of Inventors. — UAB News

B.L. Harbert gets Benin embassy project

Birmingham-based B.L. Harbert International has been chosen for a $116 million design-build contract for a U.S. embassy in Cotonou, Benin. — Harbert PR

Regions expands employee benefit group in Memphis

Regions Insurance has expanded in Memphis by partnering with Argyle Benefits Consultants; Regions opened an Atlanta office last month. — Regions PR

Award for AEgis training game

A video game developed by AEgis Technologies as a military training tool has captured the People's Choice Award at the Serious Games Showcase and Challenge. — Huntsville Times

Mobile Walmart sold for $17 million

In a sale handled by SRS Real Estate Partners, Burton Property Group LLC sold the Schillinger Towne Centre Walmart Supercenter for $17 million to The Triple Net Group LLC, based in New York. — SRS PR

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