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Top News Links: Thursday, June 22

EDPA rocks new video board to tell Alabama’s story

Crowds at Railroad Park or Regions Field may have noticed it out of the old Merita Bakery building off First Avenue South - a 320-square-foot video board from inside the building, beaming images of Alabama. That's the picture painted by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, which moved into the building earlier this year. And every picture on the board tells the state's story for prospective businesses and industry. – AL.com

Uplifting: Port of Mobile’s new container cranes to arrive Saturday

Tropical Storm Cindy hasn't delayed the arrival of two gigantic new container cranes that will dramatically boost capacity at the Port of Mobile. In fact, it looks like they'll arrive a day or two sooner than expected. Area boaters should have the rare chance to see the cranes moving up Mobile Bay on Saturday morning, if the current schedule holds. It'll be the end of a voyage that began in Shanghai in late April and went around the Cape of Good Hope. – AL.com

Tropical Storm Cindy breaking up after landfall

Gulf Coast states were in for a third day of rough weather as Tropical Storm Cindy sloshed ashore early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana. Already blamed for one death in Alabama, Cindy was expected to keep churning seas and spin off bands of severe weather from eastern Texas to northwestern Florida. The storm's maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 40 mph Thursday morning. – AP/WBAL

Investigation links five education officials to smear campaign

A report on internal investigation at the state Department of Education says five education officials were involved in a smear campaign against Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Craig Pouncey, Alabama Political Reporter has reported. APR obtained a copy of the report on the internal investigation into an anonymous letter containing allegations about Pouncey that surfaced last year, when Pouncey was one of six finalists for the position of state superintendent. – AL.com

State moves to bring more tech behind bars

Inmates in prisons across Alabama would soon have access to tablet computers under a new plan by the state Department of Corrections aimed in part at reducing the high cost of calling home from behind bars. The proposal would have the DOC supply each of Alabama's dozens of prison dorms with 15 to 20 tablets and secure Internet access for educational purposes and phone calls, according to the department. – AL.com/WSAZ

Ford chooses China, not Mexico, to build new Focus

After years of predictions that cars sold in the West would bear the “Made in China” label, the time has finally come. Ford Motor’s plans to build its popular Focus compact cars in China, rather than Michigan or Mexico, is a milestone in China’s automotive rise. Chinese auto industry leaders praised the move as long-awaited confirmation that the country’s factories have become as efficient and high-quality as those in the United States and Europe. – New York Times

Huntsville launches competition to advance Dream Chaser effort

The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber launched an international competition with the European Space Agency Monday at the Paris Air Show. The competition is part of ESA’s Space Exploration Masters program, which seeks business innovation and technology transfer ideas that utilize space infrastructure. The Huntsville chamber has partnered with Astrosat, a Scottish aerospace company, to identify commercial applications for Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser beyond crew and cargo transportation. – Made In Alabama

State decides to cease giving ACT Aspire test

Alabama will stop giving the ACT Aspire test to students. The state Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday not to renew the contract with the company. Superintendent Michael Sentance said there were “several issues” with the last administration of the test. He said test results were delayed and when the state received them some of the data was bad. – WDEF

At Home Group opens new Trussville location 

At Home Group Inc. opened its new Trussville location Wednesday at 5036 Pinnacle Square, after moving from an older store in Irondale. It is one of two At Home stores in the Birmingham area. The relocated store is more than 90,000 square feet and offers more than 50,000 home décor items for the whole house. – PR Newswire

Redesigned Camry more efficient, slightly less stodgy

For well over two decades, the Toyota Camry has been the dependable no-brainer pick among midsize family sedans. Many millions have been sold, and it has been the top-selling car in the U.S. the last 15 years running. If our recent drive is any indication, the fully redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry looks set to extend that streak. – Edmunds.com

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