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Top News Links: Thursday, Feb. 21

Plant designed for rail cars set to make rail cars at last

A Shoals plant built for a Canadian rail car maker that fell victim to the Great Recession, reverted to its creditor RSA, and was leased to Navistar, is now being subleased by Navistar to FreightCar America — putting the mile-long plant back to its original purpose. — Florence Times Daily

Military's civilian employee jobs at risk — Alabama among hardest hit

Civilian employees of the Department of Defense would be furloughed one day a week — equivalent to a 20 percent pay cut — under a plan that's expected to be delivered to Congress today; DOD is required to give 45 days' notice to Congress and 30 day's notice to employees; could affect 22,000 in Huntsville. — Huntsville Times

Alabama among hardest hit states if automatic "sequestration" cuts take affect, losing 25,000 jobs and $1.8 million. — Business Insider

Littoral combat ship a likely target for financial finger pointing

Rather than pick a single contractor for the new littoral combat ship, military authorities picked two companies and two designs, greatly increasing support costs — all under scrutiny now in budget flare-up. — Businessweek

Alabama's famous falling star revisited

After a streaking Russian meteorite made headlines last week, National Geographic retells story of Alabama's century-old newsmaker — the only person ever confirmed to be hit by a meteorite. — National Geographic

Alabama Medicaid faces financial woes

If nothing goes wrong, the state's Medicaid program may squeak through 2014 despite budget cuts, but will start the following year strapped beyond workable status, state health officer says. — al.com 

Lawmakers vote to repay state savings fund

Lawmakers, who voted last year to raid the state's trust fund, voted to repay the money by 2026; law signed by Gov. Bentley yesterday. — Montgomery Advertiser

HealthSouth announces stock buy-back plan

Alabama-based HealthSouth, which owns and operates rehabilitation hospitals around the country, announced a program to buy back $350 million worth of its outstanding stock. — HealthSouth PR

More lawsuits added to antitrust suit against Blue Cross Blue Shield

Preliminary skirmishes in a massive antitrust lawsuit against health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield are slated Thursday in federal court for Northern District of Alabama. — Reuters

Express Oil, Tire Engineers in acquisition deal

Birmingham-based Express Oil, operating in 12 states, acquired Tire Engineers, which has seven locations. — Birmingham News

Auburn approves incentives for manufacturing plant

The Auburn City Council approved an incentive package Tuesday to secure a manufacturing plant, identified as Project Wales, that promises a $106 million investment and more than 400 employees. — Opelika Auburn News

Rescue One providing boats for Thailand

Madison-based Rescue One has been contracted to provide 75 rescue boats for Thailand over the next six months; the Southeast Asian nation is subject to heavy flooding and hopes to use these boats as part of a better solution for evacuation of stranded residents. — Rescue One PR

Drummond trims Colombian operations

With its storage facilities beyond ordinary capacity, Drummond International has trimmed its mining operations to avoid further stockpiling; the company is awaiting Colombian government review of a revamped environmental plan which it submitted Feb. 15, before it can resume shipping coal. — Reuters

Greene to lead Southern Company Services

Kim Greene has been tapped as president and CEO for Southern Company Services, which handles information technology, human resources, marketing and other administrative functions for the multi-state power company. — Southern Company PR

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