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Benefit for Japan features top talent

A "Lei Day for Japan" benefit fundraiser featuring top Hawaii entertainers and chefs will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Aloha Tower Marketplace.

The event, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will give all of the funds raised to the Japan-America Society of Hawaii for donation to the Japa­nese Red Cross Society.

Hawaiian-music entertainers participating will be Kea­li‘i Rei­chel, Jake Shi­ma­bu­kuro, Nata­lie Ai Kamauu and Patrick Ma­kua­kane featuring Na Lei Hulu i ka Wekiu.

Twenty-nine chefs, including Roy Yama­gu­chi, Alan Wong and Chai Chao­wa­sa­ree, are sharing their specialties.

Tickets are $100 per person for general admission. In addition, tables with reserved seating can be purchased for $1,500. Tickets and tables can be bought at Chai’s Island Bistro at Aloha Tower Marketplace or by calling the restaurant at 585-0011.

For more information, go to Lei­Day­For­

HECO seeks biofuel bids for Kahe

Hawaiian Electric Co. said it is seeking bids from companies to supply up to 42 million gallons a year of biofuel to generate electricity at the company’s Kahe power plant.

The request for proposals calls for suppliers to provide "bio­crude" made from organic material that can be blended with the low-sulfur fuel oil currently burned in the boilers in HECO’s steam-driven Kahe generators.

HECO said it would prefer the fuel be made from locally produced feedstocks; however, that is not a requirement. Bidders that can’t supply the full 42 million gallons may propose lesser volumes, HECO said. Delivery of the product would begin in mid-2014.

HECO decided to seek a biofuel supply after successfully completing a test earlier this year in which it burned 100 percent crude palm oil in one of the generating units at Kahe.

Erin Burnett leaves CNBC for CNN

CNN said yesterday that it had hired anchor Erin Bur­nett from CNBC and was planning to develop a daily show for her that would start in the summer.

Ken Jautz, the executive in charge of CNN/US, said he had not determined a time slot for Bur­nett’s show.

Burnett’s move represents a shift for her from niche business news to general news anchoring and reporting. As one of the most prominent weekday anchors on CNBC, she co-anchors two morning hours and anchors one afternoon hour.

Burnett, 34, had once been talked about as a candidate for one of the coveted host chairs on "Today."

Merck profits triple on lower costs

Merck & Co. said yesterday its first-quarter profit more than tripled as strong sales of key drugs and lower costs from integrating its Schering-Plough acquisition offset sales lost to competition from generic versions of its drugs.

The maker of Singulair for asthma and allergies and Janu­via for diabetes says net income was $1.04 billion, or 34 cents a share, up from $299 million, or 9 cents a share, in 2010’s first quarter. Revenue edged up 1 percent to $11.58 billion.

The Board of Trustees of Hono­lulu Theatre for Youth has appointed Becky Dunning to managing director as of May 16. She was previously director of operations and advancement for Blue Planet Foundation.

Punahou School students donated more than $1,600 to Hawaii National Bank’s main branch, which will go toward American Red Cross relief efforts in Japan. Students of the school did household chores for one week to raise funds.

The Department of Defense has announced the following three Hawaii employers who have been selected as semifinalists, among 148 national semifinalists, for the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award: Hono­lulu Police Department; Tesoro Hawaii, Kapolei; and Kaiu­lani of Princeville. The award is the department’s highest recognition for exceptional support of employees who served in the Guard and Reserve.

Hale Kipa was awarded a $150,000 grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as well as a $200,000 grant from the Victoria S. and Bradley L. Geist Foundation. Funds will support and enhance statewide services for at-risk youth, including the Hawaii Advocate Program in which community advocates work with youth in foster care and their caregivers to stabilize foster care placements and prevent unnecessary disruptions to living arrangements.

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