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Top News Links: Monday, Jan. 26

Business requires international lessons

When Mercedes engineers were working with American engineers on cars to be sold to the American public, cup holders were a contentious issue. "The German engineers said, 'Who would drive a car and drink coffee? It's not safe,'" said Bill Taylor, former President and CEO of U.S. Mercedes Benz International. "We would fight about the need for not just one cup holder, but many cup holders." – AL.com

FAA issues first drone permit for ag

Herding cattle. Counting fish. Taking an animal's temperature. Applying pesticides. When it comes to drones, "your imagination can go pretty wild in terms of what would be possible," says Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union. This month, the Federal Aviation Administration issued the first permit for agricultural use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Steven Edgar, president and CEO of ADAVSO, says his Idaho-based business will use a lightweight, fixed-wing drone to survey fields of crops. – ABC News

GEO Group acquires LCS facilities

The GEO Group, a fully-integrated equity real estate investment trust specializing in the financing, development, ownership, and operation of diversified correctional, detention, and community re-entry facilities, announced today the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire eight correctional and detention facilities totaling more than 6,500 beds from LCS Corrections Services, which does business in Alabama. – BusinessWire

ADECA to host surplus auction Wednesday

Alabama will hold a surplus auction next week to get rid of property no longer needed by the state or federal government, as well as voluntarily abandoned items from airports across the Southeast. Hosted by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs' Surplus Property Division, the event will begin at 8 a.m. Jan. 28 and continue until the last item is sold on 4590 Mobile Highway in Montgomery. – AL.com

School Choice Week starts today

School Choice Week starts today in Alabama and across America. Throughout the Week, which runs until January 31, there will be 224 school choice events across the Yellowhammer State. The events are part of National School Choice Week, which will feature 11,082 events across America – the largest celebration of educational opportunity in US history. – BusinessWire

Opelika way ahead of Obama’s plan

President Obama’s call last week for high-speed Internet service throughout the country, particularly in rural areas where a single provider can drive up prices, brought to mind a success story in Opelika, a city of 30,000 people that has its own ultra high-speed broadband network. — News release

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