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POSTED: Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Japan prices fall at record rate

TOKYO » Prices in Japan tumbled at a record pace in August, intensifying concerns that deflation could undermine the country's fragile economic recovery.

The country's key consumer price index fell 2.4 percent from a year earlier amid rising unemployment and falling wages, the government said yesterday. Core CPI has now dropped for six straight months. The core CPI for Tokyo retreated 2.1 percent in September, according to the statistics bureau.

Aloha Tower adds 2 stores

Aloha Tower Marketplace has expanded its retail offerings with the opening of Holokai Gifts and the Battleship Missouri Store.

Holokai Gifts, which opened Sept. 1, offers Hawaii-themed gifts and souvenirs from under $1 to up to $200.

The Battleship Missouri Store opened Sept. 16 as a satellite location of its on-board store while the historic battleship is in dry dock. Along with an array of popular USS Missouri- and Pearl Harbor-related merchandise and memorabilia, the store also features a small museum with selected displays from the ship.

Hawaiian Telcom offers recycling

Hawaiian Telcom has begun a recycling program that will keep old phones out of landfills and benefit schools.

Old wireless phones and accessories can be taken to a Hawaiian Telcom Retail Store for recycling. Collected items will be donated to the Aloha Aina Earth Day Community Clean-ups that benefit local schools and organizations.

As an additional incentive, Hawaiian Telcom is offering customers who bring in old mobile phones and activate new wireless service a free Bluetooth headset or 25 percent off any wireless accessory.

State sheds light on tax enforcement

The state Department of Taxation is increasing its tax enforcement in accordance with the Cash Enforcement Act of 2009 and will begin community outreach next week on the business implications.

The new law, which Gov. Linda Lingle signed in July, provided additional resources and tools to investigate potential tax law violations, especially cash-based transactions. It also established a special enforcement section within the Tax Department, which may issue citations. New civil penalties were passed, too.

For additional information on the new law, look up Act 134 at http://www.hawaii.gov/tax or call the nearest tax office. On Oahu the tax office can be reached at 587-9200.

Oceanic to launch 'green' network

Oceanic Time Warner Cable will launch its own eco-conscious television network, the Green Channel, on Oct. 23 on digital channel 332.

The locally produced channel will provide viewers with a single source to explore information about eco-friendly initiatives aimed at preserving Hawaii's island paradise.

“;The purpose of the Green Channel is to inform, engage and inspire businesses and individuals to contribute toward creating a more sustainable environment,”; said Oceanic President Nate Smith. “;It will be a spectacular showcase for alternative-energy companies to explain what they do, or for energy management consultants to highlight their capabilities.”;

Starbucks rolls out Via instant coffee

Caffeine addicts nationwide got first tastes of Starbucks Corp.'s newest offering as the coffee giant blanketed the nation with tens of thousands of free samples of its instant coffee called Via.

The beverage, which comes in a long cylindrical plastic sleeve and dissolves in a cup of water, debuted nationwide yesterday after months of preliminary sales in test markets.

Gannett profits to top forecasts

NEW YORK » Gannett Co., the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S., said third-quarter earnings should far outpace expectations despite a narrow shortfall in revenue.

Gannett, which publishes 84 daily U.S. newspapers, including USA Today and the Honolulu Advertiser, and operates 23 television stations, anticipates earnings of 25 to 31 cents a share when it reports results Oct. 19. That would mark a sharp drop from 69 cents in the year-ago period.

Gannett shares jumped $1.76, or 17.6 percent, to $11.74 yesterday.

ON THE MOVE

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Hawaii's Better Business Bureau has named its 2009-10 board of directors and officers: Hoyt Zia, chairman; Susan Ing, first vice chair; Nancy Daniels, second vice chair; Phil Sammer, secretary; and Thomas Dixon, treasurer. Board members are Vic Angoco, Danny Graham, Myles Murakami and Pamela Tumpap.

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ML Macadamia Orchards said the board of directors of ML Resources Inc., its general partner, has elected Bradford C. Nelson as director. He was previously a chief financial officer of Seemorgh Investments.