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Top News Links: Friday, Dec. 8

A deep dive into the finances of the Magic City Classic

I can't even begin to tell you how many people are clearing their schedules, investing in their wardrobe and gassing-up their car (or RV) right now, prepping for next week's 76th Magic City Classic. And, as they do each year, folks will empty their pockets. Where there's money, of course, there's often tension. – AL.com

Birmingham Business Alliance looks back on productive year

The Birmingham Business Alliance this week celebrated a productive 2017 as a new group of officers assumed their roles for the coming year. The alliance hosted the annual Chairman's Meeting at the Alys Stephens Center Tuesday, with President and CEO Brian Hilson looking back on investment in the alliance's seven-county area over the past year. – AL.com

Regions introduces new digital lock for its cards

Regions Bank has introduced an innovative service that gives customers more control over how and when their Regions' debit, credit and prepaid cards are used. Regions LockIt lets users turn on/off authorizations for certain types of transactions on their Regions personal CheckCards, Credit Cards and Now Prepaid Cards in real time, providing additional fraud mitigation and convenient spending control tools through the Regions Mobile App. – News release

USA Foundation gift will go toward surgical robots

The University of South Alabama Foundation Board approved $4.6 million in contributions to the university on Thursday, including $1.7 million towards a pair of surgical robots for USA hospitals. USA Health representatives said the two DaVinci surgical robotics systems would transform the status quo, particularly at USA Medical Center, which hasn't previously had a robotic operating system. – AL.com

Dollar General finds a way to thrive in retail

It's no secret that the retail industry is in turmoil: Dozens of chains have filed for bankruptcy protection this year and others are closing stores. But Dollar General, the Tennessee-based discount chain, is bucking the trend. The company says sales rose 11 percent in the most recent quarter, as it beefed up its selection of frozen foods and added produce to some of its locations. It is opening about 900 new stores next year, and remodeling 1,000 more. – Washington Post/AL.com

Charlotte dealing with cyber attack similar to Montgomery’s

North Carolina's largest metro area was discovering just how hard it is to conduct business without county computers that handle numerous transactions on Thursday, a day after local leaders refused to pay hackers who froze their system. – AP/USN&WR

Struggling Toys R Us will stay pay bonuses to execs

A bankruptcy judge has granted struggling retailer Toys R Us permission to pay millions of dollars in bonuses to executives after the company argued it was necessary to motivate its top brass during the critical holiday shopping season. Judge Keith Phillips ruled the company can dole out $14 million in incentives to its top 17 executives. – APR

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