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Top News Links: Wednesday, Dec. 28

Honda, Mercedes represented in best-loved vehicles of 2016

This year, just like every other year in the past several decades, Americans will buy more Ford pickup trucks than any other vehicle. The final tally for 2016 will come in around 800,000. Other big trucks come in far behind, and then there's the Toyota Camry and Honda Civic. American drivers are creatures of habit, so it takes little effort for Ford to win the annual sales crown. – Automotive News

Among new fearless UA predictions: Trump, Congress won’t mix

For the 36th consecutive year, The University of Alabama’s Office of Media Relations offers predictions from faculty experts for the coming year, including one from Dr. Joseph Smith, associate professor and chair of the political science department. Despite a Republican-controlled Congress, President-elect Donald Trump will find obtaining common ground with them difficult, Smith says. – Selma Times Journal

Austal delivers LCS 10, the Gabrielle Giffords, to Navy

More than two and a half years after former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords came to Mobile's Austal shipyard to weld her initials into the keel of the Littoral Combat Ship that would bear her name, the vessel has been delivered to the U.S. Navy. – AL.com

Utility says Trump coal boom won’t lower rates

Although President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on the pledge to restore coal's prominence in American energy production, the promise, even if kept, should minimally impact utility rates on the Gulf Coast. A spokesman for Gulf Power Company, the region's electricity provider, said the uncertainty of what a new administration might do precludes the company from relying on campaign assurances when devising a strategy. – Pensacola News Journal

Opinion: Consider all sides in gas tax hike proposal

It doesn't matter that "tax" is a three-letter word. Every time it circulates through the auditory canals of most Alabamians, an extra letter resonates profanely. Voters here are resistant to paying taxes, and politicians are reluctant to levy them, regardless of the budgetary issues the state has faced for years. The last two governors who tried hard got slapped down. – Gadsden Times

Big newspaper bucking trend of diminishing print

The Washington Post expects to hire more than 60 journalists in the coming months — a sign of remarkable growth for a newspaper in the digital age. After a year of record traffic and digital advertising revenue, the Post newsroom will grow by more than 8 percent, to more than 750 people. The extent of the newsroom expansion was first reported by Politico. – Alabama Public Radio

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