News Minute: Here is the latest Alabama news from The Associated - - The News for South Mississippi

News Minute: Here is the latest Alabama news from The Associated Press at 5:40 p.m. CDT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says oil and gas companies offered $121.1 million in high bids on 90 Gulf of Mexico tracts at a federal lease sale. Wednesday's sale was the first since 1983 to offer every available tract in the Gulf. Companies bid on far fewer tracts than in March, when only those off Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were offered. That's generally seen as the best part of the Gulf for drilling. The agency says 27 companies participated in Wednesday's sale.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's attorney general is suing the City of Birmingham and its mayor for obscuring a Confederate monument in a downtown park. Legislators passed a law earlier this year prohibiting the removal of historical structures including rebel memorials. So Birmingham Mayor William Bell ordered the city's 52-foot-tall Confederate obelisk covered with wooden panels. Attorney General Steve Marshall said Wednesday the city's actions violate the Alabama Memorial preservation Act.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he's changing his mind on the need to remove Confederate statues in the wake of a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. McAuliffe released a statement Wednesday saying monuments of Confederate leaders have become "flashpoints for hatred, division and violence."

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - President Donald Trump says his endorsement of Sen. Luther Strange had a big impact in Alabama's Senate primary. Trump used Twitter twice Wednesday to comment on the Alabama Senate race after former state Chief Justice Roy Moore beat Strange by six percentage points, forcing a September runoff between the two Republicans. Trump's latest tweet says: "Wow, Senator Luther Strange picked up a lot of additional support since my endorsement." Earlier, Trump congratulated both top finishers.

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