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Top News Links: Wednesday, Dec. 24

Stock markets are celebrating early

New Year's Eve is still a week away, but investors can bust out the bubbly now. The Dow closed above 18,000 milestone for the first time ever Tuesday, putting an exclamation point on a stellar year. The two indexes are now up nearly 9% and 13% in 2014, respectively. – Alabamas13.com

Wrench ‘printed’ in space awaits testing

The 3D printer aboard the International Space Station has wrapped up the first phase of its orbital test run by cranking out a ratchet wrench whose design was beamed up from Earth. The wrench, along with the 19 other objects built by the orbiting 3D printer thus far, will travel to Earth early next year, where engineers will compare the objects with ground samples produced by the same machine before it launched, NASA officials said. – Space.com

South wants to be a primary player

The Deep South has elected Republicans to every top office in the region. Now it wants to be sure that clout extends to the choice of the GOP’s 2016 presidential nominee. Officials in five Southern states — Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas — are coordinating to hold their primary on March 1, 2016. – Politico

Engineering businesses combine in Huntsville

Two privately owned engineering businesses with offices in Huntsville will join forces by the end of this year. Nashville-based Littlejohn, a planning, engineering and environmental design firm, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary Dec. 31 of S&ME, a Raleigh, N.C. engineering, environmental and construction services company. Both firms declined to disclose the purchase price. – AL.com

Regions highlights affordable mortgages

Consumers who are considering borrowing money have some great opportunities to meet their needs at Regions Bank. Currently, the bank is introducing and highlighting the new Savings Secured Line of Credit and the very popular Regions Affordable Mortgage product. – News release

Alabama rates 10th for states with flu

The Walgreens Flu Index is a weekly report developed to provide state- and market-specific information regarding flu activity, and ranking of those experiencing the highest incidences of influenza across the country. – BusinessWire

Department of Revenue warms of scammers

The Alabama Department of Revenue is warning taxpayers to be on the lookout for a phone scam using the department’s name. State Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee issued a statement saying that her office has received several tips from taxpayers who received automated calls informing them that the department is about to sue them, and that they should call 206-201-2445. – Demopolis Times

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