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Top News Links: Wednesday, July 15

‘Watchman’ sales brisk despite trepidation

Amazon.com has called “Go Set a Watchman” its most popular pre-order since the last Harry Potter book, which came out in 2007. Mary Amicucci, Barnes & Noble’s vice president for adult trade and children’s books, told the Associated Press that pre-orders were the highest since the 2009 release of Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol,” his first novel after “The Da Vinci Code” and itself a million seller. “Watchman’s” first printing exceeds 2 million copies. It also has given its predecessor a boost. – Express News

Signal agrees to pay $20 million to workers

An Alabama marine construction company has agreed to pay $20 million to more than 200 guest workers from India who alleged they were kept in labor camps so squalid and crowded that one worker attempted suicide. The settlement, announced Tuesday, resolves 11 lawsuits against Signal International filed in Alabama, Texas and Louisiana. The company has declared bankruptcy, so the settlement must be approved in bankruptcy court. – Los Angeles Times

States see EPA as enemy to business

Business leaders in Florida, Alabama and Georgia announced Tuesday their support of a lawsuit filed by eight state attorneys general against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The lawsuit, filed June 30 in federal court, alleges that the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers overstepped when they instituted pollution protections from the Clean Water Act on a number of new streams and smaller bodies of water last month. – TampaBay.com

State representative says governor lacks votes

On Monday’s episode of Yellowhammer Radio, show host Cliff Sims asked Sen. Del Marsh (R-Anniston), the top-ranking Republican in the Alabama Senate, if he believes Gov. Robert Bentley has gathered enough support in the Legislature to advance his tax increase proposals. “I do not,” Marsh replied, adding that Republicans in the Senate remain staunchly opposed to raising taxes at a time when Alabama’s economy is still struggling to get ramped up. – Yellowhammer

Consumers want AlaPower to be more green

Alabama Power Co. said it has requested approval for up to 500 megawatts of increased generation through renewable resources, including solar options. According to the utility's Alabama NewsCenter website, Alabama Power said it made a formal request in June to the Alabama Public Service Commission, requesting approval for the new plan. The company said the request stems from consumer demand. – BizJournals.com

Alabama firm started wood-burning stove trend

Nostalgia for the taste of meals prepared in wood-burning stoves is what prompted Tico company Perfection Group to start selling one of their star products abroad. Juan de Dios Mora Díaz acquired Industrias Perfection, the company that began importing the stoves from U.S. manufacturer Perfection Stove Company, in 1970. That same year the Alabama-based company stopped making them. But Mora decided to keep his business and bought part of the manufacturer’s machines to start offering “Made in Costa Rica” Perfection stoves. – Tico Times

Yellen says rates likely to go up this year

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said prospects are good for further improvement in the labor market and the economy, keeping the central bank on track for an interest-rate increase in 2015. “If the economy evolves as we expect, economic conditions likely would make it appropriate at some point this year to raise the federal funds rate target,” Yellen said in testimony prepared for delivery today before the House Financial Services Committee in Washington. – Bloomberg

Use E-Verify if you get around to it

Employers in the four states that require businesses to use the federal government's E-Verify system to determine if new hires are legally eligible to work in the U.S. comply with the requirement about half the time, research shows. The employers face little repercussion, illustrating the difficulty that efforts to restrict immigration face even in states where legislatures support it. The four states are Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi and South Carolina. Alabama was second in compliance, at 57 percent. Arizona led with 58 percent. – Washington Examiner

Intergraph proposes residential units for Madison

Intergraph Corp. has proposed building nearly 1,300 residential units as part of a plan to build a "live, work, play destination" on its 227-acre campus next to its new headquarters in Madison. The residential units consist of apartment complexes, single-family detached houses, and loft apartments over commercial space. – AL.com

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