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Apple app store hits 25 billion downloads

CUPERTINO, Calif. >> More than 25 billion apps have been downloaded from Apple’s app store. Apple said Monday the downloads came from more than 315 million iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. The app store has more than 550,000 apps, some of which are free.

Isle construction firm to pay $37,825 fine

A Honolulu construction company agreed to pay $37,825 in fines as part of a settlement of a case in which a worker fell 21 feet to his death at a job site last year, state officials said Monday.

An investigation by the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division found that employees of Landmark Pacific Builders Inc. failed to install and use "fall protection systems" while working on the roof of a two-story house, according to a news release from the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. The fatal accident occurred Oct. 3.

"One of the most common citations issued by HIOSH involved fall protection," said acting HIOSH Administrator Doreen Miyaki. "Unfortunately, failing to provide fall protection systems and training is consistently the leading cause of preventable workplace fatalities in Hawaii,"

Among the citations issued against Landmark Pacific Builders were failure to ensure that supervisors understood their responsibility for the safety and health of workers, failure to provide adequate fall protection training to its employees and failure to install and use fall protection systems when employees were exposed to fall hazards "6 feet or more above lower levels."

Symphony condo tower hearing postponed

A hearing scheduled Wednesday to consider the orientation of the proposed Symphony condominium tower in Kakaako has been postponed.

Project developer OliverMcMillan requested that the hearing be rescheduled to a later date, which has not been determined.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority, a state agency governing development in Kakaako, will announce a new date later.

OliverMcMillan wants to build the 400-foot tower on the mauka-Ewa corner of Ward Avenue and Kapiolani Boulevard with its long side parallel to Kapiolani, or roughly parallel to the ocean and mountains. New HCDA rules adopted last year say towers should be built with their long sides perpendicular to the ocean and mountains within 20 degrees to preserve mauka-makai views, though variances can be granted under certain conditions.

Amended Hoku pact could lower revenue

Honolulu-based Hoku Corp. said Monday it has amended a contract to sell polysilicon to one of its customers at spot market rates instead of at a fixed price, a change that could result in lower revenue for Hoku.

Hoku officials said that the contract with China-based Wuxi Suntech Power Co. also was amended to reduce the amount of polysilicon that Hoku would have to supply.

The contract amendment is the latest development faced by Hoku stemming from falling prices for polysilicon, the main component in solar panels. Under the amendment, the contract’s fixed pricing terms were deleted and the two sides agreed to negotiate quarterly pricing based on average spot price index for raw polysilicon, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Hoku agreed to begin supplying Suntech polysilicon by Oct. 31.

Prices for polysilicon have seen a sharp fall in recent months, largely due to supply increases, making the contracts that were signed during times of high prices unattractive.

Shares of the company closed up 1 cent at 73 cents Monday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

FDA rejects Merck combo cholesterol drug

TRENTON, N.J. » Federal regulators have rejected Merck & Co.’s new combination cholesterol drug, which includes a generic version of the blockbuster Lipitor — at least for now.

It’s unclear how long the ruling, announced Monday, might delay approval of the drug, as the Food and Drug Administration is requiring additional study data on the compound. It combines generic Lipitor, the top-selling drug of all time, with Merck’s cholesterol medicine Zetia.

Approval could boost Merck’s sagging cholesterol franchise by essentially replacing its existing combo pill, Vytorin, with one likely to be seen as more powerful. Vytorin sales have been dwindling for a few years due to concerns about how well it works, and now Merck has to contend with patients possibly defecting to the generic versions of Pfizer Inc.’s Lipitor that came on the market at the end of November. Merck said Monday that company officials will talk with the FDA to determine the next steps.

Service firms grew at quick clip in February

WASHINGTON » U.S. service companies expanded in February at the fastest pace in a year, helped by a rise in new orders and job growth.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 57.3, up from January’s 56.8 and the third straight increase. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Expansion in the service sector coincides with the lowest unemployment in three years, five straight months of solid to strong job growth and rising consumer confidence.

On the Move

Hawaiian Electric Company appointed Sharon M. Suzuki as president of Maui Electric Company, effective May 1. Suzuki will succeed Ed Reinhardt, president for the last 10 years. Suzuki has an MBA from California State University at Fullerton, a BA from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of Castle High School. She is currently head of MECO’s renewable energy services.


First Hawaiian Bank has announced the following appointments to its senior management committee:

>> Melvin W.Y. Mow is now executive vice president and chief risk officer. He joined the bank in 1972 as a management trainee.

> Stephen J. Williams is now executive vice president and region manager, Oahu. He joined the bank in 1976 as a management trainee and has served as its Kauai and Maui region manager.

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