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Top News Links: Friday, Jan. 3

Critical Boeing vote on 777X today

Machinists were dealing with wildly varying descriptions of how their pensions might be affected as they vote today on Boeing’s offer that, if approved, would go a long way in keeping production of the 777X jet out of Huntsville. – Seattle Times

Law firm launches second suit at Target

Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has filed a second class-action lawsuit related to breaching of up to 40 million customer accounts in December at Target stores. – Montgomery Advertiser

Leaks expected in water data

Alabama and Florida won’t keep secret the results of a water study being done by the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Stakeholders group. Georgia Environmental Protection Division Director Jud Turner expressed disappointment. – WPEC CBS-12

Mercedes-Benz hits production record

Mercedes-Benz manufactured a record 1.49 million vehicles in 2013. Last year Mercedes sold 1,320,097 vehicles, excluding those from the Smart brand. – Motor Authority

K4 program may expand

Another expansion of Alabama’s pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds may be around the corner; the governor will say how much when the Legislature convenes Jan. 14. – Associated Press

More IP cuts in Courtland expected

International Paper in Courtland expects to cut 650 to 700 workers at next month during a second round of company layoffs, a local union president said. – al.com

No mercy in proposed ban on court fee waivers

A bill to come before the Alabama Legislature this year would ban judges from waiving court fees — even for people who have shown they're unable to pay. – The Anniston Star

Alabama to benefit from new Lockheed Martin contract

Manufacturers in Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Massachusetts and Florida will benefit from a new Lockheed Martin Corp. contract worth $263.4 million to deliver 14 Patriot missiles and seven launcher modification kits to Kuwait. – Law360.com

Alabama-born Wikipedia co-founder: Seek criminals, stop snooping

“To me this is an obvious thing… if you want to spend money making the Internet a safer place, you don’t spend money spying on everyone, you spend money seeking out criminals and prosecuting them.” – Jimmy Wales, quoted on SophieCo

Peanut prices down but hanging tough

U.S. peanut acres were down about 35 percent in 2013, though 2012 produced one of the best yields ever. Yields in 2013: , Alabama is at 3,100 pounds per acre, Florida at 3,500, Georgia at 3,900, and Mississippi at 3,200, with an average in the Southeast of about 3,645. – Southeast Farm Press

Alabama company acquires two Boston-area hospitals

The Sanders Trust, one of the nation's leading healthcare real estate development companies, announced today that it has acquired two prominent Boston-area hospitals: New England and Braintree Rehabilitation Hospitals. – The Sanders Trust

UA’s Economic Outlook Conference Jan. 15

What’s in store for Alabama’s economy in 2014? Local and national economic experts from The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and the nation will answer that question at the 26th annual Economic Outlook Conference in Montgomery on Wednesday, Jan. 15. Presenters include David Altig, executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. – UA website

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