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AROUND THE STATE

3 of Vieques Four released from jail a few days early

NEW YORK (AP) -- Three local politicians who were jailed 37 days for their protest against Navy bombing exercises on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques celebrated their release Friday and vowed to continue the fight.

Bronx Democratic Chairman Roberto Ramirez, 51; Assemblyman Jose Rivera, 65; and City Councilman Adolfo Carrion Jr., 40, walked out of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn shortly before 9 a.m., flashing the "V" for victory sign.

Though they were sentenced to 40 days in jail for trespassing, they were let out three days early for good behavior.

The last of the Vieques Four protesters, the Rev. Al Sharpton, remains in jail. Sharpton received a 90-day sentence because of a prior civil disobedience arrest and is scheduled to remain in the detention center until Aug. 15.

President Bush announced that bombing exercises on Vieques will be stopped by May 2003, but opponents want the bombing stopped immediately.

Nearly $500 million invested by utility to avert blackouts

NEW YORK (AP) -- Officials at Consolidated Edison, moving to assuage concerns about its warm-weather performance, said Friday that they had invested nearly $500 million to ensure its customers would not suffer from summertime blackouts.

The utility, which was criticized after a summer 1999 blackout that left 200,000 Washington Heights residents without power, was confident there would be no repeat of the problem, a spokesman said.

On Wednesday, about 10,000 customers in Brooklyn and Queens lost power when feeder lines failed, knocking out a substation. A day later, a Public Service Commission executive said his agency planned to ask Con Ed if it had done enough to keep its system running all summer.

The answer, said Con Ed spokesman Chris Olert, was a resounding "yes."

Specifically, the utility spent $108 million to upgrade its cables and transformers; $74 million on its substations and circuit breakers; and brought in 115 more employees for its electrical operation. Olert said.

Stuyvesant High diplomas contain spelling error

NEW YORK (AP) -- A in math. F in spelling.

Graduates of a prestigious New York City high school were presented with diplomas this month that contained an embarrassing typographical error.

Diplomas for the 700 members of the Class of 2001 at Stuyvesant High School boasted that the school specializes "in science and mathemetics."

Amended versions with the correct spelling of "mathematics" have been printed and are being offered to the graduates in exchange for the flawed sheepskins.

Man accused in bomb plot self-inflicts blows, collapses

NEW YORK (AP) -- An Algerian man accused in a plot to bomb the Los Angeles airport during millennium celebrations collapsed in court Friday after angrily banging his head on a table.

A half-hour after the outburst, U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan told the jury that Mokhtar Haouari, 32, was in good condition.

Haouari appeared to become enraged as a former Algerian schoolmate, Abdel Ghani Meskini, testified against him. Meskini told the jury that Haouari once defended the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.

The testimony was interrupted as Haouari began hitting his head with both hands. He then slammed his head against the defense table and collapsed into his chair, his eyes closed and his body limp.

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