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Top News Links: Thursday, Jan. 31

Foreclosure rates dip in most of Alabama

Nine of Alabama's 11 metro areas saw a dip in foreclosure rates in November, with Dothan, Birmingham and Gadsden dropping most, while Mobile and Anniston-Oxford saw slight increases. — Birmingham News, CoreLogic

Wells Fargo in hiring mode

Wells Fargo has announced plans to hire 90 bankers in Alabama, responding to improvements in the housing market and cuts at other banks. — al.com

Littoral combat ship contracts could face cuts

Contracts for new littoral combat ships — shared by Lockheed Martin and Austal USA — could fall victim to defense budget cuts, industry leaders say. — Washington Business Journal

Jefferson County sewer rates need to increase, creditors say

Creditors holding the notes for the sewer system improvements that drove Jefferson County to bankruptcy urged a judge yesterday to force the county to raise sewer rates to help pay the debt, suggesting an increase of more than 20 percent. — Thomson Reuters

Regions stock celebrates banner year with 52-week high

Fresh from announcement of a $1.1 billion net income for 2012, Regions Financial saw a 52-week high for share prices at $7.88, up 47 percent from a year ago. — al.com

Mobile woos cruise companies at Florida trade event

With a nearly new cruise terminal and an even newer enlarged turning basin at the port, Mobile officials went shopping for a tenant at the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association meeting, hoping to convince a new cruise line to sail from the Port City. — al.com

Mercedes, Shelton State formalize training deal at $1.6 million

Mercedes-Benz has signed a $1.6 million training agreement with Shelton State Community College, in which the college will provide training for the wave of new employees the Vance automaker expects as it adds a new model to its production line up. — Birmingham News

Ozark school to offer maintenance training for unmanned aircraft

The Alabama Aviation Center in Ozark will be the first in the state to offer maintenance training for unmanned aircraft. — Dothan Eagle

Energen, Alabama Gas face debt rating uncertainty

Both Energen and Alabama Gas Co. have raised concerns at Moody's financial rating service, which says it is considering a rating downgrade. — al.com

U.S.-Japanese business conference planned in Biloxi

Southeastern government and business officials will have the chance to discuss business opportunities with their Japanese counterparts in a Biloxi conference Nov. 17-19. — Biloxi Sun Herald

Alabama Shakes slated for Saturday Night Live performance

Athens rock-roots bank Alabama Shakes is slated to appear on SNL Feb. 16, shortly after the Grammy Awards, in which they're contenders for two awards. — SPIN

Kudos for Warren Adhesives

Mobile's Warren Adhesives, which makes water-based and hot-melt adhesives, was honored as among the top 25 in the industry by Adhesives & Sealants Industry magazine. — Mobile Press-Register

Alabama entrepreneur may sideline Singh

Deer antler spray developed by Birmingham entrepreneurs may place golfer Vijay Singh on suspension, UK newspaper reports. — The Times

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