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Commune Hotels & Resorts seeks to expand to Hawaii

Commune Hotels & Resorts is looking to expand its luxury boutique hotel brand into a number of key markets around the world, including Hawaii.

Commune Hotels’ Co-Chairman John Pritzker, son of the late Hyatt Hotels Corp. (NYSE: H) founder Jay Pritzker, has hired Niki Leondakis as the CEO who will lead the expansion of the company’s 46-hotel portfolio into Hawaii, London, New York, Chicago, Miami, Seattle, Cabo San Lucas in Mexico and Palo Alto, Calif.

Pacific Business News

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Hawaiian Telcom reports lower Q3 earnings

Hawaiian Telcom Holdco Inc. reported a third-quarter profit of $5.6 million, or 52 cents per diluted share, compared to $7.4 million, or 68 cents per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2011.

Honolulu-based Hawaiian Telcom Holdco (Nasdaq: HCOM) attributed the lower earnings to a $1 million depreciation and amortization because of investments to its broadband network.

Pacific Business News

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Wikipedia buzz predicts blockbuster movies’ takings weeks before release

Patterns of activity on Wikipedia can predict the opening box office takings of blockbuster movies a month before they are released, according to scientists.

Taha Yasseri, a physicist at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, has created a mathematical model that takes into account data such as the number of readers and editors for the Wikipedia page of an upcoming movie and shown that it correlates with takings on the film’s opening weekend.

The Guardian

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Netflix takes poison pill to ward off Icahn takeover

The board of film rental firm Netflix has adopted a “poison pill” strategy to ward off a potential hostile takeover bid by activist investor Carl Icahn.

The shareholder rights plan would flood the market with newly issued shares if anyone buys more than 10% of the firm.


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EPA Cites Hyundai, Kia For Inflating Gas Mileage On 900,000 Cars

If you bought a Hyundai or Kia over the past three years, you could soon be getting some money back from the two automakers.

The Environmental Protection Agency says the South Korean carmakers, owned by the same parent company, overstated the gas mileage on 900,000 vehicles over the past three years. The EPA discovered the bloated figures during an audit of gas mileage tests undertaken by the companies. The agency said last week it was investigating how the carmakers arrived at the numbers.


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Kaiser Permanente Hawaii seeks 5.3% rate increase for 2013

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii has asked the State Insurance Division for approval to raise rates by 5.3 percent on Jan. 1 for more than 150,000 members, which would affect more than 5,000 businesses.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports Kaiser, which says the increases are needed to cover rising medical costs, is also proposing an increase of 9.1 percent in premiums for more than 14,000 individuals.

Pacific Business News

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Hawaii plans to put solar power on state’s public schools within five years

The Hawaii Department of Education plans to choose a solar vendor by the end of this school year to install photovoltaic systems at all 256 public schools in the state over a five-year period.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the state plans to sign a 20-year master power-purchase agreement with a vendor that would allow the Department of Education to purchased the electricity generated by the solar energy systems at a reduced rate. The newspaper reports the department has already met with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to discuss the plan and plans to talk with Hawaiian Electric Co. (NYSE: HE) soon.

Pacific Business News

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Fed Says Banks Saw Rising Demand for Auto and Real-Estate Loans

Banks in the U.S. reported stronger demand for auto loans and commercial and residential mortgages during the third quarter, according to a Federal Reserve survey.

The Fed described the share of banks reporting increased demand as “significant.” Demand for most other loan types was “about unchanged,” the Fed said today in Washington in its quarterly survey of senior loan officers.


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Hawaii visitor spending up 16% in September, but arrivals growth slows

Total spending by visitors to Hawaii rose 16 percent in September to $1.1 billion, and was nearly 20 percent higher for the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2011, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said Tuesday.

Hawaii visitors spent a total of $10.7 billion from January through September, compared to $8.9 billion during the same period in 2011, an increase of 19.5 percent, the HTA said.

Pacific Business News

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