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Top News Links: Thursday, Sept. 1

How Avondale’s success has opened doors

When Marc Bondarenko first leased space on 41st Street for his photography studio in 1982, he would sometimes go an hour without seeing a car pass his window. Fast forward to 2016. It's rare he goes more than a minute or two without seeing cars pass his window. Avondale has blown up - and his small creative studio is suddenly known by the thousands. – AL.com

Wendy’s operating group honored for energy efforts

The U.S. Department of Energy recognized The Wendy's Company, and one of its franchisees, Wendco Group, for its energy-saving efforts. Wendy’s Company and Wendco Group, which operates 43 Wendy's restaurants in Alabama and Florida, are participants in the DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge. The program aims to make commercial, public, industrial and residential buildings 20% more energy efficient over the next decade. – Chain Store Age

Birmingham bank grows assets to $2B with merger

A Birmingham bank will grow its assets to approximately $2 billion when it completes its merger with Atlanta bank Private Bancshares. National Commerce Corporation, parent company of National Bank of Commerce, announced Wednesday that Private Bancshares has entered a definitive agreement to merge into the Birmingham bank. – AL.com

State’s auto industry still blossoming

Alabama’s auto industry continues to power new investment and jobs across the state. Over the past year, auto suppliers have announced new facilities and expansions worth at least $924 million and more than 2,500 new jobs in activities ranging from precision machining to engineering. – Made In Alabama

NACM August report shows weakening index

The first piece of good news is that the August Credit Managers’ Index (CMI) shows a combined overall score above 50, meaning it still remains in expansion territory. The second piece of good news is that the index of favorable factors is also above 50. That is about the end of the good news items, however. This month’s combined index of the manufacturing and service sectors, while above 50, declined from 53.5 to 52.0, as low as it has been in more than two years. – News release

Explosion underscores continued worries about Takata

Critics of embattled airbag manufacturer Takata Corp. said last week’s deadly explosion of a truck carrying parts to its Mexican factory underscores questions about the safety of the chemical compound at the center of the largest automotive recall in U.S. history. – Automotive News

Drummond, Coca Cola face terrorism funding charges in Colombia

Birmingham-based Drummond and multinational Coca Cola are two of more than 50 companies that will be charged with financing the now-defunct Colombian paramilitary AUC group, a designated terrorist organization. Several courts will reportedly forward evidence of the involvement of the companies in financing the AUC, which killed many dozens of labor rights defenders during its existence between 1997 and 2006, to a transitional justice tribunal. – Colombia Reports

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