BC-HI--Hawaii News Digest,ADVISORY, HI

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Associated Press

Posted on March 15, 2013 at 8:30 PM

Good afternoon. Here are the top Hawaii stories at 1:30 p.m. HST. If you have questions about stories, please call Hawaii News Editor Oskar Garcia at 808-536-5510. Our email is aphonolulu(at)ap.org. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. Reruns also are available from the Service Desk (800-838-4616).

TOP STORIES:

ISLAND AIR

HONOLULU — Larry Ellison bought a small commuter airline in Hawaii in part to ensure it would continue service to the island that is mostly owned by the Oracle Corp. CEO, according to a representative for the billionaire's personal investment company. The danger that Island Air could go out of business pushed Ellison's company to prepare contingency plans in case the airline failed, Lawrence Investments LLC Vice President Paul Marinelli said this week in a telephone interview. One option considered was to sign contracts with other interisland carriers to provide flights to Lanai. By Audrey McAvoy.

UNFUNDED LIABILITIES-HAWAII

HONOLULU — The Hawaii House labor committee is straying from the Senate's approach to managing state funds needed to cover employee and retiree benefits in the future. The committee on Friday replaced the contents of a Senate bill with two House bills that take a different approach to managing the unfunded liabilities, which could cost the state billions of dollars. By Anita Hofschneider.

FLOATING PARTIES

WAIKIKI — The Department of Land and Natural Resources is backing away from considering a ban on Waikiki's offshore parties, also known as floatopias or flotillas. The parties involve hundreds of people who paddle from Oahu's shoreline on a wide array of items and tie up together to have fun. The state agency discussed outlawing them after last summer's Fourth of July flotilla off Kuhio Beach attracted hundreds of people. Some of them had to be assisted to shore when the surf kicked up.

— HAWAII HOSPITAL PRIVATIZATION — Members of the Hawaii Senate Health Committee are debating a bill that would explore whether some of the state's public hospitals should become private. By Anita Hofschneider.

— FUGITIVES ARRESTED-HAWAII — Authorities say two North Texas brothers have been arrested in Hawaii as they were attempting to board a flight and flee charges of sexually assaulting a young girl.

— BIG ISLAND-FLASH FLOOD WATCH — The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the Big Island.

— BANK ROBBERY — Police have identified a man suspected of robbing a bank on Maui.

— JAPAN-TSUNAMI DEBRIS — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Japan has provided $5 million to help pay for removing and disposing debris from the March 2011 tsunami.

— BANK ROBBERY — Police have arrested a 33-year-old man suspected of robbing a bank on Maui.

— MARIJUANA-HAWAII — A bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana is making its way through the Hawaii House of Representatives. By Anita Hofschneider.

The AP-Honolulu

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