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Top News Links: Friday, Oct. 24

Group: No resorts paid for with BP $

An environmental group filed suit Thursday to block a decision that would let Alabama use nearly $60 million in Gulf oil spill funds to build a beachfront convention center. The Gulf Restoration Network sued the Interior Department and other federal agencies in Washington claiming the money should go to restore wetlands and other parts of the Gulf ecosystem, not construct a resort. – AP/Montgomery Advertiser

More changes in gambling game

Full House Resorts management played its hand in the corporate struggle with a group of stockholders, announcing Wednesday the corporation is up for sale. Full House, parent company of Silver Slipper Casino in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, said in a press release its board of directors has authorized the management to start the process for the sale of the company. – Sun Herald

Shelby may soon rule Banking Committee

The Senate Banking Committee is set for a shakeup, with incumbents facing re-elections, others retiring, and control of the chamber in doubt. If Republicans win the Senate majority, it is likely that Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama would become chairman of the committee but would only serve two years before his time as ranking member ends. – MarketWatch

Catfish prices finally leveling out

Townsend Kyser has been raising catfish in rural Western Alabama for many years. "Farming drives the economy in our area, and catfish drives that farming," Kyser said. Prices are beginning to level out (about $1.15 pound for whole, live catfish), after some volatile swings in that past few years. – MarketWatch

South African brothers indicted for hunts

Two South African brothers have been indicted in Alabama on charges accusing them of conspiracy to sell illegal rhinoceros hunts in Africa, money laundering and trafficking in rhino horns. Federal prosecutors announced the indictments of Dawie and Janneman Groenewald and their safari company Thursday in Montgomery. – WTVQ

Space tech exposition next week

Leaders of the American and European space programs come together with the latest in space technology next week to put Huntsville at the center of the world conversation about space. Among those scheduled to be here are NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. and Jean-Jacques Dordain, the director-general of the European Space Agency. – AL.com

Small business confidence on rise

Small business owners’ optimism on business prospects and the economy continue to rise, according to the Fall 2014 OPEN Small Business Monitor. Currently, 63% of business owners maintain a positive outlook, a level not reached since fall of 2007 (64%). Stronger revenue growth could be fueling this optimism as more entrepreneurs say their revenues are higher when compared to a year ago (42%, up from 38% in 2013). – Business Wire

Sears stock rises over layoff news

Cash-strapped Sears Holdings rose 4.5% to $35.95 Thursday following a report that it plans to close 116 Sears and Kmart stores and lay off nearly 6,100 employees, many ahead of the Christmas shopping season. Alabama was one of several states predicted to have closings. – USA Today

Business Confidence Index steady

At 54.2, the Alabama Business Confidence Index™ (ABCI) indicates moderate optimism in the state’s business community for a third consecutive quarter.  Sentiment for the fourth quarter of 2014 is 2.3 points higher than a year ago, but 1.3 points below its level last quarter.  – CBER

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