A federal judge in New Orleans has scheduled a Feb. 14 hearing to decide whether to accept the Justice Department's criminal settlement with Transocean Ltd. over the company's role in the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Transocean, which owned the rig that sank after an explosion killed 11 workers and spawned the spill, agreed last Thursday to pay $400 million in criminal penalties and plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating the Clean Water Act. The Switzerland-based company also agreed to pay $1 billion in civil penalties.
Alabama's liquor control agency has moved back a hearing to determine if the newly reopened VictoryLand casino in Shorter will get a license to serve liquor.
The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board initially set the hearing for Jan. 23 and then moved it up to Jan. 10 because VictoryLand requested an earlier date. ABC attorney Bob Hill said Friday the hearing has now been moved back to Jan. 23 because all the participants couldn't make the earlier date.
Anniston's new $15 million justice center is scheduled for completion in mid-March.
The 57,500-square-foot building will include a jail, the police department and the municipal court. Police Chief Layton McGrady told The Anniston Star that the jail and the administrative and investigative divisions of the police department should move in late March or early April. The new justice center is named for Officer Justin Sollohub, who was killed in the line of duty in 2011.
The Alabama Democratic Executive Committee will conduct interviews in Montgomery for persons interested in being recommended for appointment to a position in the Obama administration's second term.
Alabama Democratic Party executive director Bradley Davidson said party officials will be making recommendations to the Obama administration of people to serve in federal positions in Alabama for the next four years. Davidson said party officials plan to make recommendations to the president by the time he is sworn-in for his next term.
All six Republicans in Alabama's House delegation voted against legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff, while the state's lone Democrat voted for it.
Republican U.S. Reps. Jo Bonner, Martha Roby, Mike Rogers, Robert Aderholt, Spencer Bachus and Mo Brooks cast no votes, and Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell voted yes on the legislation that passed 257-167 Tuesday.
HONG KONG (AP) — Oil prices rallied today after U.S. lawmakers passed legislation to avoid a "fiscal cliff" that would have pushed the world's biggest economy into recession. The U.S. House of Representatives voted near midnight to send the bill to President Barack Obama after a frantic day of political brinksmanship in Washington. Benchmark crude for February delivery rose 95 cents late afternoon in Hong Kong to $92.77 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.02 to finish at $91.82 per barrel in New York on Monday.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The tax package negotiated by President Barack Obama and Senate Republicans and passed by Congress will protect 99 percent of Americans from an income tax increase. But that doesn't mean that most of them won't see their taxes rise. In fact, the vast majority of workers will pay higher federal taxes in 2013, largely because a temporary reduction in Social Security payroll taxes expired on New Year's Day. The tax package did nothing to prevent that from happening.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama legislator has proposed a measure that would make the right to bear arms a fundamental right in the Alabama Constitution. That right is already in the U.S. Constitution as the Second Amendment. Republican Rep. Mike Jones of Andalusia told the Web site al.com his proposal would allow state voters to make it part of the state constitution. He said this would make it more difficult for state courts to restrict the right to gun ownership.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A member of Wernher von Braun's rocketry team in Alabama has died. NASA says Jesco von Puttkamer died Thursday after a brief illness. He was 79. Von Puttkamer moved to Huntsville in 1962 and worked with von Braun at the Marshall Space Flight Center. He was an engineer. Von Puttkamer transferred to NASA Headquarters in Washington in 1974. He most recently worked as a technical manager for the International Space Station. Von Puttkamer is survived by his wife, Ursula.
A new state law that takes effect Jan. 1 is designed to crack down on motorists who don't abide by Alabama's mandatory auto insurance law.
State Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee says a new online system will check insurance companies' records within a few seconds to see if a motorist has insurance. County license plate officials will do it when issuing or renewing a tag. Police will do it during traffic stops. And the state Revenue Department will do random checks.