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APEC Briefs

For Sunday, November 13, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services


Decades have not dimmed Hawaii's beauty, Noda says

To one APEC guest who hasn't seen the city for a long time, Honolulu remains a jewel, even when viewed from a cemetery.

Of course, the cemetery that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was visiting was the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, with its breathtaking view of the city.

As photographers snapped pictures of Noda and President Barack Obama at a bilateral meeting, Noda told the president about placing a wreath there Saturday, during his first visit to Honolulu in 34 years.

"I renewed my recognition of how beautiful and great this city is," he said.

Leader of Obama's alma mater entertains Russian president

Punahou School President James Scott and his wife, Maureen, held a dinner for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at their home Friday night, school spokeswoman Carlyn Tani confirmed.

In a statement, Scott said, "It was a tremendous honor for Punahou School to be asked to host President Medvedev and several of the world's top CEOs at our home. For the last several months our students have been studying about APEC and its member economies, and the evening offered a vivid demonstration of APEC in action."

He added, "It was a great opportunity to discuss economic issues and global affairs, including Hawaii's important role in the Asia-Pacific region."

On Saturday, President Barack Obama joked about Medvedev wearing an aloha shirt while in Honolulu for the summit.

"My understanding is that he's been spotted in a Hawaiian shirt, walking and enjoying the good weather," he told reporters during a meeting with Medvedev. "I don't know if anybody got pictures of this."

There's no place like home, except in APEC's formal duds

Although he was born in Hawaii and visits often, President Barack Obama professed a bit of discomfort being in the islands as he spoke at the CEO Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

"In all my years of living in Hawaii and visiting Hawaii, this is the first time that I've ever worn a suit," Obama told the business leaders gathered at the Sheraton Waikiki. "So it feels a little odd."

Obama and his family have traditionally vacationed in Hawaii since well before he was elected in 2008. The 1979 Punahou School graduate has continued that tradition as president, spending the holidays in Hawaii for golf, basketball, barbecues, beach time and, of course, shave ice.

During a question-and-answer session with Boeing Chief Executive Officer James McNerney, Obama even took a jab at the "birthers," those who claim he was born outside the United States and is therefore ineligible to be president.

"As many of you know, this is my birthplace," he began. "I know that was contested for a while, but I can actually show you the hospital if you want to go down there."

Obama was born at what is now Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. Earlier this year, he released copies of his long-form birth certificate in an attempt to put the issue to rest.


Making points

A sampling of protocol tips has been shared during cultural training sessions held throughout the community for this week's APEC summit. Here's one:

» Hawaii companies hosting people from Brunei should not point with their index finger and should instead gesture using a closed fist with the thumb on top.

Source: Outrigger Hotels & Resorts

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