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Top News Links: Friday, Jan. 9

Pentagon: LCS upgrades not that great

The upgrades to the Littoral Combat Ship approved by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel won’t make it significantly less vulnerable to battle damage, according to the Pentagon’s top weapons tester. – Bloomberg

Hide the silver: Rubio coming to visit

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is coming to Birmingham Wednesday, Jan. 14 in support of Alabama Republicans’ efforts to implement more school choice reforms during the upcoming legislative session. Rubio is scheduled to speak to the Birmingham Rotary Club and his remarks will focus on the school choice successes in his home state of Florida, as well as the broader impact it has on public education and the American economy. – Yellowhammer News

Honda fined $70M for not reporting fatalities

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has fined Honda Motor $70 million for failing to submit reports of fatal accidents and injuries to the government. It is the largest amount that the safety regulator has ever levied against an automaker. The penalty stems from the automaker’s failure to report 1,729 death and injury claims to the agency for the last 11 years. – New York Times

Caddell wins $196M embassy job

Caddell Construction Co. of Montgomery has won a $196 million design/build contract by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations for the new U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The project consists of a New Office Building, U.S. Marine residence, American Cultural Center, a warehouse, facilities for the Embassy community, and staff residences, including residences for the Chief of Mission and Deputy Chief of Mission. – News release

American Apparel wins top military nod

Alabama-based American Apparel manufactures all weather coats for the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps, as well as Army Combat Uniforms, Marine Corp Combat Utility Uniforms, Navy Work Uniforms and Battle Dress Uniforms (BDUs). On Thursday American Apparel was named a Gold Star Supplier by the Department of Defense, a rare and highly sought after designation that only goes to the nation’s top military suppliers. – Yellowhammer News

U.S. has good hiring year, jobless rate 5.6 percent

The U.S. capped its best year for hiring in 15 years with a healthy job gain in December and the unemployment rate falling to a six-year low. The data adds to signs of strength that contrast with sputtering global growth. The Labor Department says employers added 252,000 jobs last month and 50,000 more in October and November combined than previously estimated. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent from 5.8 percent and is at the lowest level since June 2008. – AL.com

B&G contractor on Bridgestone tower

Bridgestone Americas, Inc., a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tire and rubber company, celebrated the groundbreaking for its new 30-story, more than $200 million headquarters to be located in the SoBro area of downtown Nashville. Brasfield & Gorrie of Birmingham is the building contractor and has already begun site preparations. – News release

DeepTarget releases new banking software

DeepTarget Inc. has announced the release this quarter of DeepTarget OmniEngagement Cloud 1, a comprehensive digital marketing communications platform based on DeepTarget’s innovative digital marketing technology foundation. This release advances DeepTarget closer to its goal of engaging the banking customer in a seamless experience by providing focused communications, products, and service offers through all banking channels. – News release

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