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Top News Links: Wednesday, June 20

Gulf oil lease auction set for today

Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobile and even BP expected to bid on first Gulf oil leases on the market since giant BP spill; winners to be announced at noon. — Bloomberg Businessweek

Rusty market for brand new steel mill

Steel industry analysts predict ThyssenKrupp may have trouble wooing a buyer for its brand new mill near Mobile, which has been on the market for about a month, due to a depressed market for steel. — Reuters

Big budget cuts at stake in fall referendum, governor says

Gov. Robert Bentley says that voters need to approve a transfer of funds from the Alabama Trust Fund to the general fund or face even deeper cuts in services. — Birmingham News

Federal grant to improve port rail access

The Alabama State Port Authority has received a $12 million federal transportation grant to improve rail access to its new container facility. — Mobile Press-Register

Clock running for tax preparers to meet certification standards

Paid tax preparers have until end of 2013 to win certification from IRS; nearly 6,000 in Alabama still have not met new standards. — Mobile Press-Register

Teledyne Brown to develop space-based Earth imaging system

Huntsville's Teledyne Brown Engineering has been chosen by NASA to develop a digital system to provide images of Earth, part of NASA's move to encourage commercial projects in space.  — Reuters

Low marks for state's postsecondary schools

Chamber of Commerce study gives Alabama's two-year and four-year colleges get an A for their worker-training programs, but low marks for general preparation for the workforce. — Tuscaloosa News

Birmingham beltway investment challenged

A new think tank study challenges the value of the proposed Northern Beltway around Birmingham, saying construction employment figures are exaggerated and other economic impact is decades off. — Birmingham News

Ambulance company fined for Medicare fraud

Rural/Metro Ambulance, which operates in Alabama and nearby states, was fined $5.4 million for Medicare fraud; whistleblower gets share of fine. — CBS42

Former AG on team of attorneys planning Facebook IPO suit

Former Alabama attorney general Troy King, now in private legal practice, is representing a group of clients in a class-action lawsuit challenging the financial basis for the recent Facebook IPO. — Market Watch

Adtran introduces cloud-based data offload system

Adtran unveils new cloud-based product, saying it eliminates need for much system hardware. — Billing World

Olin King dies

Huntsville entrepreneur Olin King, who started SCI as a commercial satellite business in his garage and built it into a Fortune 500 company providing sophisticated electronics systems as a defense contractor, has died. — Huntsville Times

Bank expands to Madison County

Progress Bank, formed in 2008 in Huntsville and Decatur, has opened a new branch in Madison County. — Huntsville Times

Gunshot wounds historic rocket

Repairs underway for historic Saturn V rocket injured by gunshots into the U.S. Space & Rocket Center this weekend. — Huntsville Times

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