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Top News Links: Thursday, March 21

Judge drops claims against two BP contractors

At the conclusion of the plaintiff presentation, the  federal judge hearing a case against BP and others to determine liability for a deadly explosion and oil spill in 2010, dropped claims against two contractors, M-I LLC and Cameron International, saying no evidence had been presented that they were negligent. — WVTM-TV

Mediation ordered in Jefferson bankruptcy

Federal bankruptcy court judges have ordered Jefferson County and its creditors back into mediation, slated for late April, before their case goes to appellate hearing. — Businessweek

Alabama 13th most expensive state for car insurance

A study by Insure.com ranks Alabama 13th on the list of most expensive states for car insurance, based on a comparison of 750 makes and models and six major insurance companies; Louisiana is most expensive, Maine least. — Insure.com

Alabama unemployment down

The Associated Press reports that Alabama ranks fifth for the biggest drop in new unemployment applications. — Washington Post

Tax abatements awarded to start-up firm PowAir International

PowAir International, a start-up firm planning to build wind turbines and expecting to employ 500 people within three years, was granted $95 million in tax abatements for a new plant at Mobile's Brookley Aeroplex. — Mobile Press-Register

Mobile tax abatements awarded to steel coil handling firm

Mobile city officials also approved a $36 million tax abatement plan for Alabama Steel Terminals LLC, a company that plans to handle steel coils as they come through the port; company says it will employ 100 people at the terminal. — al.com 

Huntsville biotech firm's ovarian cancer drug into clinical trials

An ovarian cancer drug developed at Huntsville's Egen Inc., has been approved by the FDA for phase one clinical trials. — Egen PR

Gulf oil and gas leases bring bids totaling $1.28 billion

Companies hoping to drill for oil and gas in a 39-million acre area off the coast of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, placed bids for leases yesterday, with the high bids totaling $1.28 billion. – Mississippi Business Journal

Huntington Ingalls turns to local churches in search for 3,000 workers

Huntington Ingalls, searching for welders, shipfitters and the like for its Pascagoula shipyard, is participating in a Friday afternoon job fair organized by coastal religious leaders at a community hall in Prichard, near Mobile. — Mobile Press-Register

Dynetics to host major cybersecurity conference

Huntsville's Dynetics will host Rocket City TakeDownCon, a major national conference for IT professionals working on ways to safeguard the nation's information networks. — Dynetics PR

Aker wins contract for Nigerian umbilicals

Aker Solutions has been selected to provide subsea cables and connectors called umbilicals for an ExxonMobil project in Nigeria; umbilicals will be designed and manufactured as Aker's facility in Mobile. — Zacks

HealthSouth buys back 9 million shares, boosting share prices

Birmingham-based HealthSouth announced plans to repurchase 9 million shares of stock; the rehab hospital company's stock jumped 5 percent on the news. — al.com 

AEA files new suit against new private school tuition tax credit law

Alabama Education Association officials filed suit again yesterday, seeking to overturn a new law that would give parents tax credits for tuition they pay to private schools, if their children are zoned for "failing" public schools; AEA's first suit was dismissed because the bill hadn't yet been signed into law. — al.com

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