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Top News Links: Monday, Sept. 8

Mercedes to expand Alabama operation

Mercedes said Friday it will start building a fifth model, the ML Coupe, at its Alabama plant next year. Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of Mercedes’s parent, Daimler, said in a visit to the Tuscaloosa plant that the company’s five-year, $2.4 billion expansion plan reflects the popularity of SUVs worldwide. – AP/NYT

Mercedes-Benz to immerse employees

Over the next four years, a steady stream of Mercedes-Benz employees from around the world will visit Birmingham to participate in Mercedes new "Brand Immersion Experience." The two-day, three-night experience will take employees to the Tuscaloosa County plant where they will visit the Mercedes museum, tourist center and manufacturing space. – AL.com

Vulcan now 421 on S&P 500

In the latest look at the underlying components of the S&P 500 ordered by largest market capitalization, Vulcan Materials Co (NYSE: VMC) has taken over the #421 spot from McCormick & Co., Inc. – Online Investor/Forbes

Chick-fil-A founder dies at 93

S. Truett Cathy, the billionaire founder of the privately held Chick-fil-A restaurant chain that famously closes on Sundays but also drew unwanted attention on gay marriage in recent years because of his family's conservative views, died early Monday, a company spokesman said. He was 93. – AP/AL.com

Competitor unhappy over state contract

A competitor for Alabama's $224 million inmate health care contract claimed in a letter critical of the process that a costly stipulation helped push the firm out of the bidding race. – AL.com

CNN: ISIS threat probably overstated

ISIS has Americans worried. Two-thirds of those surveyed in a recent Pew Research poll said they consider the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to be a "major threat" to this country. But are such fears really justified? Despite the impression you may have had from listening to U.S. officials in recent weeks, probably not. – CNN

State tax credit wrongly claimed

Some parents wrongly claimed tax credits under the new Alabama Accountability Act and are being asked to return it, state tax officials said. The department's review is ongoing and it's too early to say how many will be asked to return their refunds or pay additional taxes, officials said. – AP/Moulton Advertiser

Woman charged in Facebook-related death

Abby Sletten, 20, faces a charge of negligent homicide in the death of a great-grandmother in North Dakota, according to CNN.com. Sletten was traveling at 85 mph while surfing Facebook when she rear-ended an SUV according to the report. – CNN/AL.com

Money crunch idles Army Guard

Tens of thousands of Army National Guard members have been idled because of a $101 million gap that has led to drills being postponed and travel being suspended, National Guard spokesman Capt. John Fesler said. Many states, including Alabama, have postponed or canceled drills. – AP/ABC News

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