Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

HVCB promoting Hawaii in southwest China

The Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, which has been working for several years to make China a bigger source of travelers to the islands, is showcasing Hawaii's culture and the aloha spirit this week in a new market, Yunnan Province in southwest China, a district with 42 million people representing 26 ethnic groups.

The HVCB activities at the Third Kunming International Festival tomorrow through Sunday will include hula performances at the opening ceremony and at several receptions for Chinese travel industry professionals.

Also, the festival will celebrate Friday as "Aloha Day," featuring hula performances by Jonell Saragosa, Miss Oahu 2001, and entertainers from the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Looking for excellence at the front desk

Nominations are due in less than two weeks for Guest Informant's 8th annual Oahu Aloha Spirit Awards honoring hotel concierges.

The recognition dinner will take place April 30 at Chai's Island Bistro.

The competition has been expanded beyond Oahu this year to include concierges at hotels and resorts on the Big Island and Kauai. The Aloha Spirit Awards for Maui, Molokai and Lanai will take place in June at Roy's on Maui.

Categories for nominations for this month's event are: Big Island's Best, Kauai's Best, Oahu's Best, Most Knowledgeable, Greatest Length of Service, Most Creative Solution and Most Aloha Spirit. Nomination are due by April 22. For a nomination form, call Shani Tokita at 944-8036 or e-mail

Guest Informant publishes Guest Informant hotel room visitor books, the Maui Quick Guide and

Jewelers debut store in Maui's Napili Plaza

Alii Designs will host a grand opening and store blessing from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 20 at Napili Plaza.

The public is invited.

The Maui location is the first store for jewelry designers Natalie and Ronnie Babajko.

In addition to original pieces designed by the husband and wife team, the store will sell watches, Hawaiian heirloom jewelry and an assortment of accessories -- from embroidered sarongs to designer handbags.

Former Andersen auditor pleads to obstruction

WASHINGTON >> The fired top Andersen accountant who oversaw the firm's audits of Enron Corp. has pleaded guilty to obstructing justice, and agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Justice Department investigation into the energy giant's collapse. David Duncan entered the plea in U.S District Court in Houston to one count of obstructing justice by destroying Enron records.

As part of the plea deal, Duncan will cooperate with the investigation, providing prosecu- tors with a potential key witness in their case of obstruction of justice against Andersen and in any future cases against Enron or its former executives.

Nortel misses forecast, to draw on bank loan

Brampton, Ontario >> Nortel Networks Corp., North America's second-biggest maker of phone equipment, said first-quarter sales fell more than forecast and it plans to tap a $1.75 billion bank line of credit set to expire tomorrow.

Sales tumbled to about $2.9 billion from $6.18 billion in the year-ago period as customers pared spending, Nortel said in a statement. The company had predicted a drop to $3.1 billion. Nortel is drawing on the credit line after failing to renew the agreement with banks.

Chief Executive Officer Frank Dunn in February called his own sales forecast "challenging," and additional spending cuts this quarter by phone companies such as Sprint Corp. left many investors convinced Nortel would miss the estimate. By tapping the bank line, Nortel raises cash it may need to endure losses analysts predict will mount for at least another year.

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