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Top News Links: Wednesday, Feb. 5

Mercedes producing new C-Class in Germany

Mercedes-Benz has officially launched production of the redesigned C-Class at its plant in Bremen, Germany, and plans to do the same in Alabama by August. – al.com

Crowd rallies against title loans

Pamela Tarver says she turned to title loans because she fell behind on her rent. Nearly four years later, Tarver said she has paid over $14,000 in interest. A crowd of about 40 people demonstrated outside the State House Tuesday, calling for a hard cap on interest for title loans. – Madvertiserblogs.com

Regions expanding loan program contribution

Birmingham-based Regions Bank is expanding a loan program designed to create jobs in Alabama. The bank earmarked $1 billon for its Alabama Economic Development Loan Pool last year to help foster job growth and will expand that to $1.5 billion this year. – Sacbee.com

Tax credits sought for technical training

Alabama House Republicans touted a bill that would provide income tax credits to those who contribute to the State Board of Education’s Career-Technical Dual Enrollment Program, which allows high school students to take classes through the two-year college system. – Madvertiserblogs.com

TVA wants to cut $500M by 2015

The Tennessee Valley Authority lost $67 million in the first quarter of its fiscal year which ended in January, the utility reported today, but that was a sharp improvement over the same period last year which saw a loss of $245 million. TVA CEO Bill Johnson said TVA is looking to cut $500 million in operations and maintenance costs over three years, by the latter part of 2015. – al.com

Farm bill passage warms hearts of farmers

Tuesday’s passage of the farm bill provides much-needed certainty for farmers making planting and financial decisions, said Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell. – DothanFirst.com

Time Inc. cuts loom in Birmingham

Time Inc. will reportedly cut hundreds of jobs as it restructures its business under a single portfolio. Several media outlets have reported that layoffs could total 500 at the company, a major employer in Birmingham with its Southern Progress Corp. operations. – Bizjournals.com

Diamonds Direct USA gets boost

AloStar Business Credit has provided a $20 million senior secured revolver to Diamonds Direct USA Inc., an operator of five retail diamond stores in the United States. The stores operate in Birmingham, Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va. and Austin, Texas. – Diamonds Direct news release

Verizon invests in Alabama

Verizon Wireless invested more than $100 million in network enhancements across Alabama in 2013, with a total network investment in the state now totaling more than $1 billion since the company was formed in 2000. – Sys-con.com

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