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Top News Links: Wednesday, June 19

Sequestration damaging economy, IMF reports

A review by the International Monetary Fund says that the effects of sequestration are cutting overall U.S. economic growth by about half. — al.com

State releases "failing" schools lists

Some 30,000 children across the state, mostly in high poverty areas, attend schools tagged as "failing" by state education officials, making students eligible for tuition credit if they transfer to private schools; at the same time, the state ruled that no children already attending private schools are eligible for the credit. — Montgomery Advertiser/South Union Street

Alabama Power draws praise, criticism at Public Service Commission hearing

Supporters praised Alabama Power for its dependability, inclusive hiring practices and support for economic development, while critics queried its rates, which are higher than nearby utilities, and its environmental record during a Public Service Commission hearing this week. — al.com

Bank offers workshop for mortgage customers

Wells Fargo has invited some 1,800 customers who are behind on mortgage payments to a Thursday workshop where they can talk to experts about financial options. — Birmingham News

Geneticist praises Supreme Court ruling on gene patents

HudsonAlpha president Richard Meyers says a high court ruling that genes can't be patented is a good decision and will lead to expanded genetic research. — Huntsville Times

Raises yes, money no

Governor allows merit raises for state employees but makes no provision to fund them, saying money would need to come from agency budgets that are already strapped. — Montgomery Advertiser/South Union Street

Custodial workers lose jobs to sequestration cuts

Phoenix, a Huntsville company that supplies custodial and groundskeeping services at federal sites, has laid off 129 workers due to sequestration related cuts. – Huntsville Times

Huntsville conference focuses on fending off cyber attacks

The annual TakeDownCon slated for July in Huntsville will bring together an array of cyber experts, looking for ways to make data safer. — al.com

Guntersville homes, businesses added to historic register

Some 76 homes and business in Guntersville's downtown area have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. — al.com

Historic Montgomery building reopens as apartment complex

Printing Press Lofts apartment complex has opened in downtown Montgomery in a 1907 building created to house a printing press. — Montgomery Advertiser

Raytheon wins $116 million Patriot missile contract

Raytheon Co. has been awarded a  $116 million Army contract for improvements to Patriot missiles, with some of the work to be done in Raytheon's Huntsville facilities. — Huntsville Times

BAE says Carnival suit "without merit"

BAE Shipyards says a suit filed by Carnival Cruise Lines against the repair facility, related companies and individuals, including the widow of a man killed in the incident, saying the suit is "without merit." — Mobile Press-Register

Tennessee wooing Fiat-Chrysler HQ

Tennessee, already home to a Fiat subsidiary plant, is working to woo the headquarters of the combined Fiat-Chrysler company, which is also looking at sites in other states and continents. — Birmingham News

Two more hires at Airbus

Airbus, with an assembly line in progress in Mobile, has hired two more staffers — a health and safety manager coming to the firm from Georgia-Pacific and a facilities manager coming from ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA. — Airbus PR

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