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Top News Links: Friday, Oct. 23

Transocean to pay Alabama $20 million for spill damages

The owner of the drilling rig involved in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is paying Alabama $20 million to resolve legal claims related to the disaster. Gov. Robert Bentley's office announced the settlement Thursday with Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig. Bentley has said he wants to steer at least part of the Transocean money to the state's Medicaid program. – Montgomery Advertiser

Grand Bohemian Hotel has ribbon cutting today

Birmingham hasn't seen anything quite like the swanky, luxurious and enthusiastically eclectic Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook, which quietly opened to guests Wednesday and officially celebrates its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony today. The 100-room boutique hotel, which is located on Lane Park Road in Mountain Brook, is the 11th such property in the Kessler Collection of artistically-inspired hotels founded by Orlando entrepreneur and developer Richard Kessler. – AL.com

State lawmaker serves comic relief at Benghazi hearing

The House Select Committee on Benghazi grilled Hillary Clinton for hours that went into the double digits on what transpired the night of September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya. The funniest moment came about when Alabama Rep. Martha Roby asked Clinton where she was on the night in question. – Bustle.com

Regions Financial institutes hiring freeze

Regions Financial Corp. has instituted a hiring freeze in some departments to lower expenses. Regions announced its third quarter earnings results Tuesday, where the financial company announced a net income of $258 million - down 19 percent from the same quarter last year. Revenue was actually slightly up from last year,  but non-interest expenses were $894 million, an increase of 8.2 percent from last year's third quarter. – AL.com

Southern Research wins $7.5M cystic fibrosis grant

Birmingham's Southern Research will work to develop drugs for patients with rare forms of cystic fibrosis with the help of a recently awarded $7.5 million grant, the non-profit announced Wednesday.   Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Inc. awarded Southern Research the grant, which will support research to make new drugs for people patients with rare genetic mutations. – AL.com

Alabama Grocers Association celebrates industry advances

Vital food industry leaders in the Alabama economy met to honor 25 years of the Alabama Grocers Association as well as to host a legislative panel in regards to the effect of the state budget on the grocery industry. The Alabama Grocers Association is known as the voice of the food industry in Alabama, and through their organization, have pursued significant efforts to improve the Alabama food industry. – Yellowhammer

Alabama’s tab for excessive boozing: $3.7B

The overindulgence of alcohol is costing the state of Alabama billions. According to a study published in the American Society for Preventative Medicine Journal, excessive alcohol consumption cost Alabama $3.7 billion in 2010. The study examined alcohol-related costs resulting from binge drinking (4 or more drinks in a day for women, five or more for men) including alcohol abuse, hospitalizations, lost productivity from being hungover, deaths and crime, among others. Nationally, the cost of boozing was $249 billion in 2010. – BizJournals.com

Bolton named new Alabama Graphite CFO

Alabama Graphite Corp. has named Douglas C. Bolton its chief financial officer, effective immediately. Bolton has more than three decades of public accounting experience, providing audit, accounting, tax, and consulting services to a wide variety of clientele. – MarketWatch

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