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Top News Links: Thursday, Dec. 15

Fed raises interest rates, forecasts more hikes in 2017

Federal Reserve officials raised interest rates for the first time this year and forecast a steeper path for borrowing costs in 2017, saying inflation expectations have increased “considerably” and suggesting the labor market is tightening. The Federal Open Market Committee cited “realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation” in increasing its benchmark rate a quarter percentage point, according to a statement Wednesday following a two-day meeting in Washington. – Bloomberg

Feds level 23 violations against Ajin USA in Cusseta

Federal authorities say they've issued nearly two dozen citations to an Alabama auto parts supplier where authorities reported a worker was crushed to death by a robotic machine. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Wednesday what it said were 23 violations following an investigation of the Ajin USA plant in Cusseta. Regina Allen Elsea, 20, was killed June 18, when she reportedly entered a robotic station to clear a sensor fault and the robot restarted abruptly, crushing her. – AP/JG-TC

Federal Reserve building in Birmingham shines anew

The Federal Reserve building in downtown Birmingham, once complete, will host a law firm, a restaurant, and other new tenants. But it won't forget its history as a bank. Walking into the marble-lined lobby, one of the first things visible is a 6-foot-tall vault door. It will likely be a conference room when the building is complete. On the upper floors, the bathrooms won't have any old doors - they'll be restored safe doors from the building's prior life as a bank. – AL.com

Lawmakers take rare proactive step on budget

It's no secret Alabama continues to have a problem with the General Fund Budget. A group of 14 lawmakers is trying to do its part by learning more about the budget and hopefully finding a way to fix it. The Legislative Task Force on Budget Reform held a meeting Wednesday and heard from the state finance director as well as the Alabama Department of Revenue. – WBRC

AEgis wins $40 million Air Force contract

AEgis Technologies was awarded a $40 million, five-year contract to support the Air Force Research Laboratory. AEgis will be working with the Air Force-chartered organization that evaluates directed energy effects on space systems, performs assessments of space system susceptibilities to directed energy sources and develops tools to perform satellite and space systems technical analyses. – News release

State reminds that it’s time to renew your license

 The state of Alabama wants to remind professionals working in the state to renew their license before the December 31 deadline. License renewal season will quickly come to a close for many state boards and agencies on Jan. 1, 2017, while others will begin imposing late fees for renewals on that day. While there is still time, licensees can renew their professional licenses online by clicking here. – News release

Daimler, BMW seek to combine car-sharing ventures

German carmakers Daimler and BMW aim to combine their car-sharing services Car2Go and DriveNow to better compete with U.S.-based ride-hailing service Uber, German monthly Manager Magazinreported, citing sources. The two companies are also discussing including other mobility service providers in the venture, the magazine said, citing Daimler's taxi cab agent Mytaxi and its internet platform Moovel as well as BMW's ParkNow and ChargeNow brands. – Automotive News

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