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POSTED: Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Fears grow as Dubai shrugs at debts

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates » If global investors were looking for reassurances from Dubai that it would stand behind its massive, debt-swamped investment conglomerate, they got none yesterday. Instead, the Persian Gulf city-state seemed to wash its hands of the financial woes that have rattled world markets.

The muddled message from Dubai has fueled worries over a possible default by the conglomerate, which is involved in projects around the world—from Gulf banks and ports in 50 countries to luxury retailer Barneys New York and a six-tower hotel-entertainment complex in Las Vegas.

Many investors are hoping that the conglomerate, Dubai World, will either openly discuss restructuring of some $60 billion in debt with its creditors or that Dubai's larger, oil-rich neighbor, Abu Dhabi, will promise to foot any bills.

Boston brewer pushes beer limits

BOSTON » It is banned in 13 states and sure doesn't come in a six-pack.

The maker of Samuel Adams beer has released an updated version of its biennial beer Utopias—now the highest alcohol content beer on the market. At 27 percent alcohol by volume and $150 a bottle, the limited release comes as more brewers take advantage of improvements in science to boost potency and enhance taste.

Since the 1990s, craft brewers like the Boston Beer Co. and the Delaware-based Dogfish Head have produced a number of “;extreme beers”; that challenge old notions of beer and the decades-old laws that have governed them.

By law these specialty drinks still are classified as beer when they are based on fermented grain. And despite the hefty prices, brewers still have to pay the required nickel deposit on bottles. But 13 states prohibit its sale because its alcohol content exceeds the legal limit for beer: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington.

Ho'ala Landscape lands new pact

Diamond Head Terrace has selected Ho'ala Landscape and Maintenance to provide landscaping, janitorial services and grounds maintenance for its 25-unit condominium in the Diamond Head/Kapahulu area.

The three-story Diamond Head Terrace, built in 1960, is at 3121 Pualei Circle.

Special Olympics Hawaii gets grant

Special Olympics Hawaii has received a $25,000 grant for the second year from the Wal-Mart Foundation's Hawaii State Giving Council.

Nancy Bottelo, Special Olympics Hawaii president, said the donation will help stave off a significant budget deficit. “;The cost to provide one athlete with sports training and competition is approximately $1,000 a year,”; Bottelo said.

Special Olympics Hawaii is planning its annual Holiday Classic on Saturday and Sunday at Hickam Air Force Base, Kaneohe Marine Corps Base and Naval Station Pearl Harbor. The Hawaii participants compete in basketball, bowling and bocce ball.

Stress fuels rise in benefits use

INDIANAPOLIS » Stressed-out workers are calling in sick more often and turning to employee assistance programs for help in greater numbers in the wake of layoffs at many firms, according to a new survey.

Benefits consultant Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc. said nearly half of the 282 large companies that responded to a recent e-mail survey say they have seen more use of employee assistance programs, which typically offer counseling or stress management help.

Shelly Wolff of Watson Wyatt said sick-day increases are often tied to job stress, which can trigger health problems. Companies that cut jobs frequently heap more work on remaining workers.

ON THE MOVE

; Events International Inc. has hired Greg Johnson as director of catering sales and services. He previously worked as vice president of operations and director of catering with Indigo Restaurant as well as operations manager for Hard Rock Cafe. He also opened California Pizza Kitchen in Kahala, held management positions at Hernando's Hideaway and Compadres and managed special events and sponsor programs for Triple Crown of Surfing.

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Ho'ala Landscape and Maintenance has appointed Jason Sullivan as weekend supervisor. He has been supervisor for water quality and control at what was then called Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, and machine operator/ manager at Rad Motor Sports.

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The Royal Hawaiian has named Jason Kayatani as outlet manager for the Surf Lanai and in-room dining. He was previously a restaurant outlets manager at Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas on Kauai, senior restaurant manager at Old Spaghetti Factory and assistant food and beverage manager and director of outlets for Starwood at the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas on Maui.

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Lincoln Jacobe has been appointed to the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center board of directors. He is founder and chief executive officer of Hawaii Pacific Entertainment.