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Top News Links: Tuesday, Feb. 5

Management shift at Mercedes

Markus Schaefer, who has led the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance for two years, is moving up to lead the parent company's production in Stuttgart, Germany; Jason Holt to lead U.S. and Alabama operations — Tuscaloosa News

Jury says Colonial Properties defrauded partners, lenders

A Baldwin County jury found that Colonial Properties Trust defrauded its partners and lenders for a Gulf Shores apartment complex and owes its partner $12.7 million; Colonial says it will fight the verdict. — al.com 

BP set to be "civil trial of the year"

While BP has settled federal charges resulting from its oil rig explosion, deaths and oil spill, civil charges brought by Gulf Coast states are still set for trial Feb. 25 in New Orleans. — Claims Journal

Housing prices up nationally, Alabama down

CoreLogic research for December shows Alabama as one of only three states with a drop in housing prices, down 1 percent excluding distressed sales. Prices were up in many cities led by Mobile up 7.9 percent, Huntsville 6.6 percent, Montgomery 2.9 percent and Tuscaloosa 1.8 percent, while Gadsden, Dothan, Anniston-Oxford and Florence-Muscle Shoals all showed a 0.5 percent gain.  Two big markets posted losses  — Decatur down 8.4 percent, Auburn-Opelika down 3.5 percent, Birmingham-Hoover down 3.2 percent.  — CoreLogic

Alabama business leaders feel glum about economy

In a quarterly poll of state business leaders, results show a declining confidence rate for the third quarter in a row. — Birmingham Business Journal

Canfield to discuss exports at trade meeting

Greg Canfield, who leads the state Department of Commerce, will be the keynote speaker at a training session for potential exporters at the Alabama Robotics Technology Park Thursday in Tanner. — NAITA PR

Lake Martin plans for development

Economic development officials in the Lake Martin area are creating a long-term plan to attract new business and bolster existing firms. — Alexander City Outlook

Two Alabama towns make new list of great towns

Andalusia, Fairhope are named to "In Search of Eden" list of great small towns. — Andalusia Star-News

Missing out on benefits?

A Consumer Reports study found that insurance companies have failed to pay about $1 billion in death benefits; states begin to crack down. — NBC News

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