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Top News Links: Tuesday, Oct. 8

Alabama third hardest hit by shutdown, financial site calculates

Financial website WalletHub calculates that Alabama is third hardest hit by the government shutdown, after Virginia and Alaska, based on factors including number of federal workers, federal contracts, small business lending and numbers of people using Social Security, student loans, real estate loans or veterans benefits. — WalletHub.com

Volkswagen, UAW talks continue

Volkswagen continues discussions with the United Auto Workers about forming a German-style works council at the company's Tennessee plant, despite critiques from elected officials. — Auto News

UAW tries foreign pickets in drive to unionize Mississippi Nissan plant

United Auto Workers' efforts to unionize workers at the Nissan plant in Mississippi are using unionized Brazilian workers to picket Nissan dealerships ahead of the Olympics and are sending a team from Mississippi to a plant in South Africa to protest working conditions. — New York Times

Austal's first joint high speed vessel completes final testing

The USNS Spearhead, built at Austal USA in Mobile, has successfully completed all testing and is now available for U.S. Navy missions, the company reports. — The West Australian

Huntsville firm wins Air Force contract to continue work on Bio-Battery

CFD Research, based in Huntsville, has been awarded a $750,000 Air Force grant to continue development of its battery that converts sugars into power. — Huntsville Times

Regions assigns banker for Alabama economic development post

Regions Financial has named Jeff Rabren to a new post managing economic development initiatives, focussing initially on Alabama. — Regions PR

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