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Top News Links: Tuesday, March 22

First Alabama-built Airbus A-321 takes off

The first A-321 built at the Airbus Assembly Plant in Mobile took to the air at 9:35 a.m. Monday. The jetliner, which will be delivered to JetBlue, took off in front of a line of media stretched along the runway at Brookley Field. Revving it’s twin engines, the A-321 lifted off the runway for a 3-hour test flight over the Gulf of Mexico. – WKRG

Legislature takes a jab at governor’s pay raises

Alabama’s governor outraged his critics and disconcerted his allies recently by handing out gigantic pay raises to his advisers, while the state tumbles into financial crisis. The maneuvers set the governor, Robert Bentley, against the state Legislature just as it created the state’s general fund budget for 2017. So legislators took the opportunity to carve money equaling the pay raises – some of which topped $73,000 in increased annual pay – out of the governor’s own budget and put it toward Medicaid. – The Guardian

Heart disease hotbeds, sadly, have come south

Fewer Americans are dying from heart disease compared with 40 years ago, but not all parts of the country are showing the same downward trend, a new federal government study finds. Researchers say the nation's heart-disease hotbeds have largely migrated south. In the 1970s, U.S. counties with the highest death rates from heart disease were clustered in the Northeast; now they are concentrated in Southern states, especially the deep South. – NewsMax

Jeff Sessions front and center on Trump team

Confronting doubts about the depth of his knowledge of world affairs, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump delivered a sober speech to a pro-Israel crowd Monday and outlined for the first time his team of foreign policy advisers. His newly announced team, chaired by Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, includes Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and Joseph E. Schmitz — a group with varying degrees of foreign policy experience. – Times Colonist

Residential real estate conference April 19

The Alabama Association of Realtors and the Alabama Center for Real Estate have partnered to present Alabama RECharge, a daylong conference for residential real estate agents across Alabama. The conference will be held at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center in Birmingham on April 19 and will feature a host of presenters whose theme is "Productivity Versus Activity." – AL.com

OSHA cracks down on Madison County’s Ultratec

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued citations against pyrotechnics and special effects company Ultratec in Owens Cross Roads. Ultratec, which was cited last year for 13 serious and one other-than-serious safety violations after a February 2015 explosion killed two workers, now faces four repeated, six serious and five other-than-serious violations, which equal $72,688 in proposed penalties. – AL.com

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