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Top News Links: Wednesday, May 31

Daimler vows to buy more American parts for Alabama plant

Daimler AG, maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, responded Tuesday to continued pressure from the Trump administration on automakers, saying it is increasing the amount of parts it uses from American-based suppliers. The announcement comes shortly after reports emerged of President Donald Trump highlighting the German company’s role in a $15.4 billion automotive trade deficit with Germany. – Fox

Mercedes underlines supplier changes at Birmingham event

Mercedes-Benz's U.S. International Supplier Forum in Birmingham last week gave attendees a peek at how the German automotive giant sees the future of the business. The event, where company officials said they look to buy more American-made parts for cars produced at Mercedes' Tuscaloosa plant, also featured an introduction to the company's long-term strategic focus. – AL.com

Boeing-made missile successful in test firing

The Missile Defense Agency's ground-based defense system successfully intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile during the first live-fire test of its kind Tuesday, the agency said. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense is designed to intercept and destroy missiles during the midcourse of their trajectory through space. Tuesday's test was the first time the system had faced a live-fire ICBM-class test, MDA said in a press release. – Space.com

Vulcan Materials pays $900M for California competitor

Birmingham's Vulcan Materials Company (NYSE:VMC) has announced it will purchase a competitor in a $900 million deal. Aggregates USA, a unit of Mill Valley, California's SPO Partners, operates 31 facilities serving markets in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and Virginia. – AL.com

Commerce secretary leads trade mission to Canada

Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield is leading a trade mission to Canada this week that aims to build on already strong ties with the state’s strongest international trade partner. The Alabama trade and business development mission kicks off Wednesday in Montréal, then shifts to Toronto for the 10th annual Southeast U.S.-Canadian Provinces Conference, which officially begins Monday. – Made In Alabama

Newby farming family teams with Wrangler on sustainable cotton

An Alabama farming family is teaming up with blue jean manufacturer Wrangler to making cotton more sustainable. The Newby family of north Alabama is working with the company on a pilot program to improve farming practices in an agreement announced Wednesday. – WVTM

Alfa promotes John Hemmings to CFO

Alfa Insurance has promoted senior vice president and Chief Investment Officer John Hemmings to Chief Financial Officer. Alfa President Jimmy Parnell said Hemmings "has played a vital role in charting a course for greater profitability since joining the Alfa family and will do well providing coordinated leadership to the company's talented Investment and Finance Department staff." – AL.com

Governor announces grant to increase healthy food supply

Many Alabamians who do not live close to a local grocery store may have the store come to them because of a $78,000 grant announced by Governor Kay Ivey. The Appalachian Regional Commission grant will fund the “Corner Market,” a rolling pantry stocked with fresh produce and healthy foods. The market will make stops in communities and neighborhoods in Jefferson, Calhoun, St. Clair, Walker and Winston counties.

Opinion: Trump puts state politicians in a bind

Four months into the Trump presidency, Alabama’s Republican senators and representatives in Congress should be casting a wary eye at their fellow party member who lives at the White House. While tax cuts for the wealthy, the easing of environmental and workplace regulations and rolling back the Obama agenda are on their Republican wish list, there’s enough baggage to keep a Trump hotel bellboy busy for weeks. – Anniston Star

Fiesta, Focus owners sue Ford over bad transmissions

Nearly 7,000 Fiesta and Focus owners are suing Ford Motor Co. over defective PowerShift transmissions in some small cars, a problem that has plagued the automaker for years. The suit claims 2012-16 Focus and 2011-16 Fiesta sedans come with transmissions prone to "shuddering, slipping, bucking, jerking, hesitation while changing gears, premature internal wear, delays in downshifting and, in some cases, sudden or delayed acceleration." – Automotive News

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