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Hustler cabbie admits to forcible ride for 4

NEW YORK (AP) -- A hustler cabbie accused of preying on arriving passengers at New York's Kennedy Airport has pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment in a fare gone awry.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Tuesday that driver Bhupinder Singh is facing six months in jail.

On Feb. 12, two officers noticed a family of four from Panama getting into a cab. They recognized the driver as a hustler who charges sky-high rates for a ride into Manhattan. The officers tried to warn the passengers, but the driver locked the doors and took off, then got into a car crash.

The two adult passengers were treated for bumps and bruises.



Empire State Building to install LED on tower

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Empire State Building will replace its tower lights with a computer-driven LED system that allows for nearly endless color combinations.

The iconic skyscraper's owner is partnering with Massachusetts-based Philips Color Kinetics to install the new light fixtures.

The top of the building is bathed in an ever-changing array of colors in honor of holidays and community organizations and for numerous other occasions.

The new system includes a palette of more than 16 million colors. The present system has 10.

Currently, it takes a team several hours to change the colors. With a light-emitting diode system, the color changes to the building's facade and mast can be made instantly.

Building owner Anthony Malkin said the energy-efficient technology will be installed by September.



Immigrant custodian will be Columbia grad

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Columbia University custodian who took the job nearly 20 years ago so he could take tuition-free courses at the Ivy League school is about to get his bachelor's degree in the classics.

Gac Filipaj, 52, will get his Columbia diploma Sunday.

But the immigrant from the former Yugoslavia told the New York Daily News he's not finished with his education. He wants to earn a master's and possibly a Ph.D.

Filipaj came to the United States in 1992, barely speaking English. He took the cleaning job at Columbia at the suggestion of a language tutor.

He would attend classes in the morning, work from 2:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. and then go home in the Bronx to study.

Filipaj acknowledged he was often very tired.