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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Tuesday, March 21, 2000

Hawaii jobless count narrows gap with U.S.

Hawaii's unemployment rate fell more than a point to 4.6 percent last month from 5.9 percent in February 1999. The drop brought the state closer to the national average, which remained unchanged at 4.4 percent.

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said yesterday that 27,600 Hawaii residents were unemployed last month and 571,700 were working.

By island last month, Oahu's jobless count was at 4.3 percent; the Big Island was at 6.4 percent; Kauai's rate was 6.7 percent; Molokai had a 12.2 percent rate; Maui was at 4.6 percent; and Lanai had 4.3 percent unemployment. The state's unemployment rate for January was 4.9 percent.

Chiang Kai-shek kin selling Hawaii lands

HILO -- The estate of Dr. Ling Kai Kung, nephew of Madame Chiang Kai-shek, is offering 16,266 acres of forest land above Hilo for sale for $9.1 million, Hawaii Land Co. president John Michael White announced.

The estate is also offering a 197-acre site on Oahu near Makaha for $9 million. The properties, then totaling 32,000 acres, were acquired 25 years ago by Kung through the World Union Corp. The purchase was made shortly after the death of Madame Chiang's husband, General Chiang Kai-shek, who succeeded Sun Yat-sen as the second president of the Republic of China, White said. Madame Chiang recently celebrated her 102nd birthday at her home in New York, he said.

About 10 years ago, half of the Big Island parcel was sold to the Department of the Interior for use as a wildlife sanctuary, he said.

In other news ...

Bullet The stock of BancWest Corp., parent of First Hawaiian Bank, was rated a "buy" by analyst Donald Cunningham of Gilmour & Associates, who initiated coverage of the stock. The shares are down about 8 percent year to date. (PI) Brampton, Ontario -- Phone-equipment maker Nortel Networks Corp. has agreed to buy CoreTek Inc. for as much as $1.43 billion in stock to reduce the cost of making its popular fiber-optic transmission gear.

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