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Top News Links: Tuesday, Dec. 30

Launch Alliance faces challenges for 2015

The future of rocket builder United Launch Alliance, the dominant launch provider for the federal government, took a blow this month when Congress outlawed its favorite engine. But experts say the company and its 800 Alabama employees face even more disruption from a changing satellite launch market. – AL.com

Bachus, rare pragmatist, makes exit

Rep. Spencer Bachus sat in his makeshift office — a converted storage closet — and wondered if his fellow Republicans could rustle up enough votes to keep the government open in time for him to catch his last plane home as a congressman. – Montgomery Advertiser

Birmingham diner wins state title

Business Insider recently set out to find every state’s best diner. “For this list, we scoured Yelp reviews, local newspapers, and culinary awards to find the most popular and beloved diner in every state,” they explained. After finishing their process, one diner in Birmingham stood out above all of the others in the Yellowhammer State — Bogue’s. – Yellowhammer News

State rep doesn’t see budget merger

Rep. Jim Patterson has served the state Legislature since 2010, representing a portion of Madison County and a portion of Huntsville.  The Republican says the General Fund and the Education budget are first on everyone’s minds, but don’t look for them to combine. “I don’t think that would come anywhere close to passing.  I don’t think that the public trusts us to not take education money and spend it on prisons.” – WHNT

Hoover man pleads guilty to Ponzi scheme

A Hoover man has agreed to plead guilty to several charges linked to his involvement in a Ponzi scheme that caused investors to lose more than $3 million. Federal prosecutors said Monday that 40-year-old Bryan W. Anderson is charged with wire fraud, money laundering and securities fraud. – AP/The Republic

Viva Health adding up to 240 jobs

Viva Health announced it could add as many as 240 jobs to help administer its Medicaid regional care organization. Gov. Robert Bentley recently announced the first six organizations certified on a probationary basis to provide managed care for specific regions of the state, including Viva. A third of those hired could start next spring, according to a news release. – AL.com

Huntsville to have grant-writing workshop

A federal grant-writing workshop for small businesses will be available next week at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville. The Jan. 7 event, hosted by Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA) program Alabama Launchpad, will focus on grants from the National Institutes of Health and take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with check-in beginning at 8:30. The cost is $50 for Alabama participants and $100 for out-of-state attendees. – AL.com

Hyundai to build two new plants in China

Hyundai Motor Co. said Tuesday it plans to build two new production plants in China, instead of one, to compete with bigger rivals in the world’s largest automobile market. Hyundai, which is the world’s fifth-largest auto maker when combined with its affiliate Kia Motors Corp., said it would build a plant in the northeastern Hebei province in addition to its earlier announced planned factory in the southwestern city of Chongqing. The company manufactures in Alabama. – WSJ

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