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In Brief | Big Island & State | 12-7-13

December 6, 2013 - 10:25pm

Flags at half-staff for Nelson Mandela

Flags are being flown at half-staff through sunset Monday in remembrance of Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday.

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation Thursday ordering the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff at the White House, all public buildings and grounds, all military posts and naval stations, and vessels. The president also directed U.S. embassies, legations, consular offices and other facilities abroad, including military facilities and naval vessels and stations, to fly the flag at half-staff.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie ordered that flags of the United States and the state of Hawaii be flown at half-staff at all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawaii National Guard through sunset Monday.

Ex-boat captain fined for shark finning

A 46-year-old former boat captain on Friday was fined $100 for attempting to sell shark fins to a Honolulu restaurant.

Matthew Brian Case pleaded guilty Friday to attempting to sell the shark fins and was fined by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin S.C. Chang to pay a $100 fee, according to U.S. Attorney for Hawaii Florence T. Nakakuni.

Shark finning is not only prohibited by the Lacey Act, which makes it a violation of federal law to “sell, or attempt to sell, shark fins, if a person knows that the fins were removed from the bodies of sharks at sea, and then possessed aboard a fishing vessel, but also the Federal Shark Conservation Act of 2010,” according to Nakakuni. The 2010 law prohibits persons from removing the fins of sharks at sea, possessing fins while at sea and bringing the fins on land.

According to Nakakuni, Case was the captain of the Hokuao, a long-line fishing vessel that operated out of Honolulu. During a monthlong fishing trip that began in February, Nakakuni said, Case instructed his crew to engage in “shark finning,” which involved catching sharks, removing their fins aboard the vessel and disposing the carcasses in the ocean. Case stored some 100 shark fins in a concealed compartment in the vessel and transported them back to Honolulu.

During the court proceedings Friday, Case, who now lives in Mexico, admitted to trying to sell the finds to a restaurant in the Ala Moana area March 8, according to Nakakuni, who noted Case thought he could sell the fins for about $600. The restaurant declined to buy the illegal fins.

The government recommended a $100 fine based on various factors including Case’s immediate and continued cooperation with authorities, lack of profit and willingness to return from Mexico to enter the plea.

Japanese princess cancels Hawaii visit

HONOLULU — A Japanese princess is canceling her visit to Hawaii after she fainted.

The Japanese consulate in Honolulu said Friday Princess Akiko was taken to a hospital as a precaution. The Imperial Household Agency in Japan announced she wouldn’t be visiting Hawaii as scheduled.

Akiko was to watch storytellers tell Japanese and Hawaiian myths at the Hawaii Theater in Honolulu over the weekend. On Tuesday, she was expected to speak at Hawaii Pacific University about the history of Japanese art in the British Museum.

The princess has a doctorate from Oxford University, where she specialized in Japanese art in the Western world. Akiko’s father was the late Prince Tomohito, a first cousin of Emperor Akihito.

Man found beaten in Chinatown dies

HONOLULU — Honolulu detectives are investigating the death of an 83-year-old homeless man found beaten in Chinatown.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that police said Mamerto “Eddie” Semana died Thursday night.

He was hospitalized Tuesday with severe head injuries. Police believe he was assaulted four hours before an ambulance was called to the Chinatown location where he was found unconscious.

By local and wire sources

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