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Top News Links: Friday, Feb. 3

Alabama, Cuba ports sign cooperative agreement

The Alabama State Port Authority and the National Port Administration of Cuba on Thursday signed a five-year, cooperative agreement at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel in Tampa. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Port of Mobile and the Cuban ports marks the first ports agreement signed on U.S. soil since 1959. – News release

Besides a rooftop bar, Empire will boast ‘The Yard’

The Empire Hotel, scheduled to open in March as part of Marriott’s exclusive “Autograph” Collection, has announced full details of its restaurant, The Yard, to be helmed by Chef Haller Magee. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, The Yard will be in Chef Magee’s Southern progressive style with global influences, emphasizing fresh, seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. – News release

Honda powers up with 27 percent operating profit hike

Robust sales in North America and China, along with lower recall costs, powered a 27 percent surge in operating profit at Honda Motor Co. in the latest quarter. The sales increase and falling costs more than offset huge foreign exchange losses that hammered Honda, and other Japanese automakers, in the three months ended Dec. 31. – Automotive News

Hawkeye acquires Hampton Inn in Birmingham

Hawkeye Hotels, a privately held development firm based in Iowa, has acquired its first hotel in Alabama. It now owns and operates hotels in 17 states. “We are confident that our investment in the Hampton Inn in Birmingham will coincide nicely with rapid growth in the region, allowing us to capture a sizable share of the market over time,” said Ravi Patel, president of Hawkeye Hotels. – Hotel Business

State ordered to pay court costs on losing gay marriage battle

A federal judge in Mobile has ordered the state Alabama to pay $315,000 in attorney fees and other court costs to the team of civil rights lawyers that successfully litigated one of the two cases that challenged Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage. – Lagniappe

New Orleans new headquarters for Triton Stone Group

A leading national wholesaler and distributor of granite and other natural stone products is now Louisiana owned. Triton Stone Group of New Orleans – owned and operated by the Jensen Companies – announced the acquisition of Triton Stone Group Brand, effective immediately. The company does business in Alabama with one location in Birmingham. – News release

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