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Isle residents stay with travel plans

Most Hawaii residents did not cut back on summer vacation plans this year and plan to take the same number of trips or more from August through October, according to a survey by AAA Hawaii.

Ninety-five percent of those polled said they took the same number or more trips in June and July than originally planned, while 5 percent said they cut back on summer vacations this year.

For upcoming travel plans, 69 percent said they plan to take the same number or more vacation trips in the next three months, compared with the same period last year.

The July 20-26 survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percent.


Panda tops $100M in online sales

Panda Travel of Hawaii’s network of travel agent clients has surpassed the $100 million milestone in cumulative online sales. The company was founded in 1978.


FHA loosens refinancing rules

The Federal Housing Administration said it will begin accepting applications Sept. 7 for its program to help borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

The Short Refinance program, which the agency announced in March, encourages lenders to forgive 10 percent or more of the balance of a mortgage so loans can be refinanced at a lower interest rate. That would remove the troubled loans from the lender’s books and allow borrowers to lower their payments.

To qualify, total principal in the new loan and existing second loans must not top 115 percent of the property’s value. The agency estimated that 500,000 to 1.5 million borrowers would be able to refinance under the new program. To qualify, borrowers must have a credit score of 500 or higher.


Berkshire earnings sink 40 percent

OMAHA, Neb. » Warren Buffett’s company reported a 40 percent drop in second-quarter profit yesterday because improvement at Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s operating companies couldn’t overcome $1.4 billion in paper losses on derivative contracts. Berkshire’s strong performances from its railroad, insurance and manufacturing businesses were overshadowed by the plummeting value of the company’s derivatives—many of which are tied to the value of four major stock markets.

Berkshire had a $1.97 billion profit, compared with $3.3 billion a year ago. Revenue grew 7 percent to $31.7 billion.


AIG loses $538M on restructuring

NEW YORK » Insurance giant AIG reported yesterday a $538 million loss in the second quarter due to charges related to selling assets to repay the federal government bailout it received during the financial meltdown.

American International Group Inc. said its net loss attributable to common shareholders amounted to $3.96 per share. It had a profit of $311 million, or $2.30 per share, a year ago. The net loss attributable to AIG was a larger $2.66 billion. That is much bigger than the $538 million loss attributed to its shareholders, because it includes the portion that the government is shouldering. The government owns 80 percent of AIG.


Ken Honma has retired from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory after more than 40 years of service. His has been a geologic field assistant, physical science aide and physical science technician.


The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has awarded $50,000 to the Hawaii Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development. The donation will go toward strengthening nonprofit organizations that help native Hawaiian families become economically stable.


The University of Hawaii Foundation has announced that Mariko Miho is senior director of development for the University of Hawaii-West Oahu. She was previously senior director of development for the community colleges as well as community affairs and special programs coordinator at University of Hawaii community colleges, vice president of donor services and marketing at the Hawaii Community Foundation and associate vice president of development at the University of Hawaii Foundation.


Alternate Energy has promoted Darren Furumoto to operations manager from lead installer. He has been with the company for 15 years.

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