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Sears closure, State of City, Afghanistan

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / ckojima@staradvertiser.com

    running in the year of the dragon Dragon balloons floated above the throng Monday at the start of the Great Aloha Run at Aloha Tower. More than 28,000 runners took part in the event, which raises thousands of dollars for local charities.

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Local

»  Sears will close its Ala Moana Center store in 2013, the retailer announced Thursday as it moves to sell back leases to generate cash. The Sears store was one of the original tenants when Ala Moana opened in 1959.

» Gov. Neil Abercrombie, responding to a lawsuit against the state, said Tuesday that Hawaii’s law banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional but said the state will still defend the statute in federal court.

» Hawaii Pacific University said Tuesday it is negotiating with the new owner of Aloha Tower Marketplace to convert the mall’s largely vacant second level into loft housing for 250 students.

» The University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved Thursday dormitory fee increases that would raise the current $4,899 yearly rate at UH-Manoa to $6,252 in 2017.

» Mayor Peter Carlisle promised more openness and oversight of the $5.27 billion rail project in his State of the City address Thursday. On Friday, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation announced the selection of Daniel Grabauskas of a Chicago-based consulting firm as chief executive officer for $287,00 in annual pay and other compensation.

» A "swarm" of more than 60 small, shallow earthquakes were generated at Kilauea Volcano on Wednesday, but scientists said there was no sign that it was a precursor to a large earthquake.

» Volta Industries opened at Pearlridge Center and Kahala Mall the first two of a planned 20 to 40 free electric vehicle charging stations around Oahu. Meanwhile, the military said it will test 16 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on Oahu.

» David Ezra, Hawaii’s longest-serving federal judge, will retire June 27 after 24 years but will continue to handle cases here as a senior U.S. district judge.

Mainland

» The U.S. Supreme Court had a busy week, agreeing Tuesday to hear an appeal from a white student from Texas challenging the use of race-based affirmative action in the nation’s colleges and universities, and hearing arguments Wednesday over a law making it a crime to lie about having received top military honors.

» Colonoscopies save lives, according to a study that provides the first direct evidence that the procedure keeps people from dying of colon cancer, reducing that risk by half. The research was reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

» An aviation training accident Wednesday that killed seven Marines along the California-Arizona border — one of the Corps’ deadliest aviation training accidents in years — left the military community shaken and was a solemn reminder that preparing for war poses some of the same risks as the real thing.

» Seven states asked a federal judge Thursday to block an Obama administration mandate that requires birth control coverage for employees of religious-affiliated hospitals, schools and outreach programs.

World

» Afghanistan has been engulfed in violence since Tuesday, when it first emerged that Qurans and religious materials had been thrown into a fire pit used to burn garbage at the main U.S. base — Bagram Air Field. U.S. officials apologized and said it was a terrible mistake, but the incident has sent thousands to the streets in this deeply religious country.

» Europe’s ailing currency union approved its second bailout for Greece in less than two years, signing off on a $170 billion rescue package early Tuesday after weeks of bickering and rising ill feeling between Athens and other regional capitals.

THIS WEEK

Local

>> Monday: The state Reapportionment Commission will discuss the Supreme Court opinion regarding the new redistricting plan and other items, 2 p.m., State Capitol room 423.

>> Thursday: The state Land Use Commission will discuss Schuler Homes’ request to urbanize 1,525 acres in Ewa for its Hoopili residential project, 9:30 a.m., 235 S. Beretania St., room 204. Hearing will continue Friday at 9 a.m.

>> Saturday-Sunday: The Honolulu Festival will have free performances and activities at Ala Moana Center, the Hawai‘i Convention Center and Waikiki Beachwalk. Go to www.honolulufestival.com.
mainland

]>> Monday: President Barack Obama meets with the nation’s governors.

World

>> Friday: EU heads meet in Brussels.

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