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Top News Links: Friday, June 3

Small fire knocks out power to part of Birmingham airport

A small fire is causing problems for travelers at Birmingham’s airport. A spokeswoman says the fire knocked out power in part of the lobby at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on Friday morning. No injuries are reported, but the outage meant travelers couldn’t print their boarding passes before entering the concourse area. – AP/Seattle Times

Prominent businessmen say friendship behind Hubbard buy-ins

Two prominent businessmen say they invested in Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard's debt-riddled printing company out of friendship. Media outlets report that Great Southern Wood President Jimmy Rane and Hoar Construction President Robert Burton testified Thursday that their $150,000 investments were not made because of Hubbard's political position. – AP/SLT

Publix development cleared for Midtown Mobile

A proposed Midtown Mobile shopping center featuring a Publix supermarket cleared a major hurdle Thursday when the Mobile Planning Commission voted to approve the project. The plan has generated considerable public interest, partly because the development would transform the crossroads of Florida Street and Old Shell Road, redeveloping the site of the former Augusta Evans School. – AL.com

Alabama landfill activists seek dismissal of slander suit

Four activists from one of Alabama's poorest communities asked a federal judge Thursday to dismiss a $30 million slander suit filed by Georgia companies that claim they were maligned by complaints about a landfill that accepted tons of coal ash from a Tennessee Valley Authority spill. – AP/ABC

U.S. Steel gets more aggressive in fighting imports

The U.S. has given the go-ahead for the country’s largest steel producer to seek a ban on imports from Chinese rivals, in the first known case in which trade sanctions could be used in retaliation for alleged China government-backed hacking of commercial secrets. The move comes ahead of a meeting of senior U.S. and Chinese officials in Beijing next week. – Financial Times

Feds propose major new payday loan restrictions

Federal regulators proposed a significant clampdown on payday lenders and other high interest loans on Thursday, the first nationwide attempt to address an industry widely thought of as taking advantage of the poor and desperate. The proposals, if enacted intact, are likely to cause a nationwide contraction and restructuring of the $38 billion payday loan industry. – ABC News

USA Children’s & Women’s names leaders

Chris Jett has been named the new administrator of USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, which serves as the leader in births for Mobile and is dedicated to helping people lead longer, better lives. Jett will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 1,100-employee hospital. USA Health has also hired Alan Whaley as the system’s new chief strategy officer. Whaley brings more than 30 years of experience in health care to this newly created position. – News release

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