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Top News Links: Tuesday, Jan. 20

BP back in court today to argue penalties

Lawyers for the government and oil giant BP are preparing for trial in New Orleans that could add more than $13 billion in penalties to the billions BP already has shelled out as a result of 2010 Gulf oil spill. Federal lawyers say BP should pay as much as $4,300 per barrel spilled after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion at BP's Macondo well. Based on a court finding that 3.19 million barrels polluted the Gulf, the penalties could reach $13.7 billion. BP will argue for a lower figure in the trial opening today. – AP/CBS-46

UAB selected for innovative program

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is one of 25 colleges in the United States, and one of only six in the South, selected this year to join a federally funded program to help schools better train their undergraduate engineering students to become innovators and entrepreneurs. – AL.com

Majority of public school students now poor

For the first time, more than half of U.S. public school students live in low-income households, according to a new analysis from the Southern Education Foundation. Overall, 51 percent of U.S. schoolchildren came from low-income households in 2013, according to the foundation, which analyzed data on students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. – Huffington Post

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings in Florida

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP is expanding to Florida with the addition of 12 lawyers from Glenn Rasmussen, P.A., in Tampa. They bring with them experience in banking and insolvency, commercial litigation, corporate finance, labor and employment, real estate, and transactions. Tampa will be the firm’s eighth office, adding to its existing locations in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia. – News release

JCPenney closing in Cullman

JCPenney is closing its store at the Cullman Shopping Center. A company spokesman says the store will be shut down on or around April 4. The closing affects about 25 employees in the Cullman location. “We will be closing approximately 40 stores companywide over the next year, which represents less than 4 percent of our total store base,” spokesman Joey Thomas said. – MyFoxAl.com

Two servers sue over Hooters pay policy

A lawsuit claims the Hooters restaurant in Trussville violated federal labor laws when it made servers share tips with other non-wait staff. The complaint also states servers were not paid enough for performing cleanup or prep work when customers were not present. – AL.com

Advocates worry over closure of mental hospital

Mental health advocates gathered Sunday to begin a push to have some of the money saved by the impending closure of North Alabama Regional Hospital in Decatur allocated to other treatments for the mentally ill. The state Department of Mental Health announced last week NARH, the only state mental hospital in north Alabama, will close June 30. – Decatur Daily

Bentley: Expect change in next 4 years

Gov. Robert Bentley highlighted past successes and referenced current problems as he was sworn in for his second term this morning. “We have changed this state the last four years,” the governor said, standing in front of the Alabama Capitol. “We are going to change it even more this next four years. We are going to do it for the better and make Alabama even greater.” – Decatur Daily

Two from Huntsville on Forbes list

Forbes' annual 30 Under 30 list was released last week, presenting 600 millennials changing the landscape of 20 fields such as science, education, entertainment, and sports. Two Huntsville natives made this year's list: Anjuli Calvert, for Manufacturing and Industry, and Amy Robinson, for Games.  Both graduated from Grissom High School and attended Auburn University. – AL.com

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