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Top News Links: Monday, Jan. 30

Prisons a likely topic when Legislature convenes

This marks the seventh year of a Republican Super Majority in the State House. Political Analyst Steve Flowers says he doesn’t think the general fund budget or a state lottery will be a major topic, but he does believe Governor Robert Bentley plans to bring up his $800 million prison transformation plan. It failed in both the regular and special session last year, and Flowers isn’t sure enough details have been ironed out to change lawmakers’ minds. – Alabama News Net

Crowd protests Trump immigration changes in Birmingham

"No hate, no fear- immigrants are welcome here" could be heard across the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on Sunday afternoon, as what appeared to be hundreds of protestors marched through the building. Supporters of the Birmingham Protest for Refugees and Immigrants started to gather at 2 p.m. at the airport, chanting and making signs. – AL.com

Toyota loses global sales crown to Volkswagen Group

Toyota Motor Corp. lost its title as the world's best-selling automaker to Volkswagen Group, ending the Japanese company's four-year reign, as demand for its flagship Camry sedan waned in the U.S. and sales in China expanded at a slower pace than the overall market. Toyota's global sales, including its Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino brands, rose 0.2 percent to 10.2 million vehicles in 2016, the Japanese automaker said on Monday. That fell short of VW Group's record 10.3 million cars, trucks and buses, a 3.8 percent gain. – Automotive News

Crop insurance deadline Feb. 15 for sweet corn

USDA’s Risk Management Agency is reminding Alabama fresh market sweet corn growers the final date to apply for crop insurance coverage is Feb. 15. Current policyholders who wish to make changes to their existing coverage also have until the Feb. 15 sales closing date to do so. Crop insurance provides protection against a loss in production due to natural perils, such as drought. – EnewsCourier

Three Fred’s Discount outlets closing in Alabama

At least three Alabama locations of Fred's Discount Stores are closing. Going-out-of-business sales are under way at Fred's locations in AndalusiaAlexander City and Madison. All three are expected to close their doors by the end of February with liquidation sales underway until that time. – AL.com

New HudsonAlpha committee to focus on retention, expansion

A new economic development advisory committee will focus on the future of HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville. The nine-member group is charged with "retention, expansion and attraction of life science companies" at HudsonAlpha's Cummings Research Park campus and across North Alabama. The committee met last week for the first time. – AL.com

Delta still sorting out flights after computer glitch

Delta Air Lines Inc. started resuming U.S. domestic flights late Sunday night after a 2½-hour computer breakdown grounded about 170 flights and left passengers stranded across the country. About 80 flights scheduled for today have been scrapped and additional cancellations are possible, the airline said. – Bloomberg/Post-Gazette

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