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BRIEFLY

GENERAL DYNAMICS GETS CONTRACT: General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems in St. Petersburg has received a $7.8-million contract from the Army. The contract is part of a $66.3-million order for demilitarization of six families of munitions from 20mm ammunition to 2,000-pound bombs. Work is to be completed by November 2005. The St. Petersburg plant, formerly Primex Technologies, is a business unit of General Dynamics Corp. of Falls Church, Va.

PHONE COMPANY TO ENTER FLORIDA: A Mississippi telephone company that ran afoul of state regulators has received approval to provide local phone and other services in Florida. EXpeTel Communications operates through an interconnection agreement with BellSouth, its primary competitor, and piggybacks its service on BellSouth's lines. BellSouth has claimed eXpeTel misled consumers into thinking the companies were the same. Mississippi regulators ordered eXpeTel to halt its telemarketing after receiving complaints of alleged "slamming," or illegally switching a telephone customer's service without permission.

CONVICTION OF EX-SOTHEBY'S CHAIRMAN STANDS: Former Sotheby's chairman A. Alfred Taubman, scheduled to start a year in prison next week, has lost a bid to reverse his conviction for fixing prices with rival auctioneer Christie's International. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited overwhelming evidence of Taubman's guilt in rejecting his claim that rulings by the judge who presided over his case denied him a fair trial.

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