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Top News Links: Wednesday, Dec. 30

Lockheed Martin wins $528M missile contract

Lockheed Martin Corp. has won a modification contract aggregating $528.5 million from the Missile Defense Agency, Alabama. This contract supplements the previous contract for the production of Lot 7 and Lot 8 Interceptors, one-shot devices, and other production support efforts for the Missile Defense Agency Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Project Office. Work on the contract is expected to commence in January and reach completion by September 2019. – Zacks.com

Dai-ichi Life to step up acquisitions in 2016

Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. plans to step up acquisitions in 2016, using its $5.6 billion purchase of Protective Life Corp. as a springboard and giving more decision power to managers outside Japan, Dai-ichi's president said. Dai-ichi Life was quicker than many Japanese insurance firms to push into overseas markets, having purchased life-insurance companies in Vietnam in 2007 and Australia in 2011. It completed the purchase of Birmingham-based Protective Life in February. – Nasdaq.com

State’s technology czar to retire this month

Alabama's CIO and secretary of technology, Brunson White, will resign at the end of the year, explaining that it is time for him to put his family ahead of the 175-mile daily commute needed to lead IT in the state. His replacement, Joanne Hale, a professor of management information systems at the University of Alabama, will be sworn in on Jan. 4. – GovTech.com

Figuring out how to use Uber in Birmingham

Uber officially launched in the Birmingham metro area Tuesday, and dozens of drivers have already hit the roads. But where exactly can you Uber in and around the Magic City? Downtown Birmingham is essentially the center of the range area. From there, extend about 20 miles in each direction, and that's included within the coverage area. – AL.com

Cherokee ammonia plant back in operation

LSB Industries Inc. today announced that the ammonia plant at its Cherokee chemical facility resumed production Dec. 24. The plant had been taken out of service in mid-December for unplanned maintenance due to a small leak that was detected in a vessel containing hydrogen. – BusinessWire

Huntsville, Birmingham construction employment up

Construction employment increased in 190 out of 358 metro areas, was unchanged in 64 and declined in 104 between November 2014 and November 2015, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America. Huntsville saw an 18 percent improvement year over year while Birmingham-Hoover improved by 12 percent. – News release

Randolph County refining its brand

Randolph County Economic Development Authority hosted a media conference Tuesday in Roanoke to announce a new branding effort. The “Genuinely Different” logo created by Red Sage Communications will become the icon for Randolph County in all its marketing and communication efforts. – News release

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