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Business briefs

For Tuesday, May 31, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

POSTED:


Jobless rate up in Japan

TOKYO >> The government says Japan’s unemployment rate rose to 4.7 percent in April. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said today the April jobless rate climbed from the March unemployment rate of 4.6 percent. The number of jobless people in Japan stood at 3.09 million in April, down 300,000 from a year earlier, the ministry said.

Fiat may buy Canada's Chrysler stock

TORONTO » The chief executive officer of Chrysler and Fiat said Monday he and Canadian authorities have begun talking about buying Canada's 1.7 percent ownership in Chrysler.

The Canadian federal government and provincial Ontario governments received 1.7 percent of Chrysler two years ago as part of a bailout that also provided $1.7 billion in loans to help the Detroit company survive.

Chrysler, already controlled by Fiat, recently paid back the last of the money it borrowed from the Canadian and American governments. Fiat then began the process of buying the shares owned by the U.S. government.

CEO Sergio Marchionne joined Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in Toronto on Monday to announce the loan repayment. Marchionne said he and Flaherty discussed buying Canada's shares and said Canadian authorities are willing to consider purchasing them.

Wal-Mart global suppliers scrutinized

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is facing new pressure to monitor and disclose how its international suppliers treat their workers.

At its shareholders meeting Friday, the New York City pension funds, which own a small percentage of shares in Wal-Mart, plan to ask the company to require vendors to publish annual reports detailing working conditions in their factories.

Michael Garland, who oversees shareholder activism efforts as executive director for corporate governance at the city comptroller's office, said the proposal was meant to improve workplace safety and worker rights at companies making goods for Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer.

Wal-Mart opposes the request, citing the difficulty of persuading suppliers to issue reports.

Worries take toll on oil market

Oil dropped in New York, headed for its first monthly decline since August, on speculation that fuel demand will falter amid a slowdown in the U.S. economic recovery and Europe's continuing debt crisis.

Futures fell Monday as much as 1 percent before reports this week that may show U.S. employers hired fewer workers in May and manufacturing cooled. Concern that European governments will struggle to resolve the region's debt crises weakened the euro against the dollar, reducing the appeal of commodities priced in the U.S. currency.

Crude for July delivery fell 21 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $100.38 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have fallen 12 percent this month.

U.S. floor trading was closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. Electronic trades will be booked with today's transactions for settlement purposes.

On the Move

The Hawaiian Eye Center has announced the following new employees: 
>> Alena Lee as patient services representative. She was previously a sales associate at a local catering company.
>> Alexander Villeros as ophthalmic medical assistant/licensed dispensing optician. He was previously a licensed dispensing optician at Sears Optical in Hilo.
>> Judith “Elise” Pratt as certified ophthalmic assistant in Hilo. She was previously a certified ophthalmic assistant at The Doctor’s Clinic in Washington.
>> Julia Battista celebrates her 25th anniversary with Hawaiian Eye Center. She is a certified operating room technician at the company’s Surgicenter.

***

Friends of Hawaii Charities has awarded a $5,000 grant to Kuakini Health System. To date, Kuakini has received $97,500 from the Friends of Hawaii Charities. The funds provide free health screenings and educational materials at the Great Aloha Run Sports, Health and Fitness Expo, the PrimeTime Wellness Fair, and Kuakini’s annual open house for students.






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