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Top News Links: Tuesday, Jan. 27

Witness: BP ‘very prepared’ for spill response

BP struggled for 87 days to contain the millions of gallons of crude that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, but an expert witness on Monday called its cleanup response exemplary. "They were very prepared," said Frank Paskewich, a retired Coast Guard captain and president of Clean Gulf Associates Inc., an oil spill response cooperative. – AP/AL.com

U.S. Steel to cut jobs in Alabama

U.S. Steel Corp. said it will curtail production at pipe-making plants in Alabama and Texas and may lay off almost 2,000 workers because of “softening market conditions” in the oil and gas industries. The announcement Monday highlights the fallout from the global collapse in oil prices and rising competition for pipes, U.S. Steel's most profitable product. – TribLive.com

Gay legislator threatens to ‘out’ cheaters

Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) is Alabama’s first openly gay legislator, and she’s threatening to “out” the state officials committing adultery if they fight against same-sex marriage. “Don’t start throwing bricks at my window when yours is already cracked as well,” state Rep. Todd said on Monday. She hasn’t called out specific lawmakers yet. Since a federal judge ruled Friday that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, there have been many anti-gay remarks from elected Alabama officials. – Business2Community.com

NASA saving millions with new plan

NASA expects to save millions of dollars sending astronauts to the International Space Station, once its commercial crew program starts flying in a couple of years. SpaceX and Boeing said Monday that they are on track to carry out their first manned test flights to the space station in 2017. NASA chose the two private companies last September to transport American astronauts to and from the orbiting lab. – AP/AL.com

Alabama Power adds two to board

Alabama Power Co. on Friday elected two new members to its board of directors. Dr. Cathy Randall and Anthony A. "A.J." Joseph were both named to the board, according to a company news release. – Bizjournals.com

Former Sessions staffer runs for GOP role

A former staffer for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is a frontrunner to win the chairmanship of the Young Republican National Federation, the oldest political youth organization in the United States. Meagan Myers Hanson, a former defense policy staffer Sessions and a graduate of both the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Law, lives in Atlanta and has chaired the Georgia Young Republicans since 2012. – Yellowhammer

Sun sets on permanent DST plan

A plan that would permanently place Alabama on daylight saving time is now dead. State Sen. Rusty Glover (R-Semmes) said he decided to put the brakes on his proposal after learning that federal law does not allow a state to select what time zone it wants to be a part of. State officials could petition Congress for a time shift, but there are no plans to do so at this time. – Fox54.com

BL Harbert opens office in Houston

Birmingham-based construction firm BL Harbert opened an office in Houston, its eighth city, the company announced Monday. BL Harbert now has locations in Birmingham, Huntsville, Atlanta, Dubai, Charlotte, Greenville, Nashville and Houston. – AL.com

Parks hunting for more revenue

Like most Alabama state agencies, the parks system needs additional revenue, but not for shoring up its operations budget. Greg Lein, director of state parks, told a group Monday during a listening session at Joe Wheeler State Park that additional money would allow improvements and upgrades at parks that would attract more visitors. – TimesDaily

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