Photo: VOA News

Over the next four days, there will be a number of U.S. and foreign dignitaries meeting at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference to discuss everything from free trade agreements to improving world economies.

Today, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner will meet with Pacific Rim leaders at the convention center.

At 11 a.m. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will make remarks at the East West Center. Clinton will head up a number of meetings tomorrow at the convention center as well.

President Barack Obama is the host for APEC, but he won’t arrive until Friday evening, when the meetings opening to local journalists have all concluded.

On Saturday, Michelle Obama will tour some Oahu farms; and on Sunday afternoon, the president will hold a press conference at the JW Marriott in KoOlina to wrap up the event.

APEC 2011 runs from November 7 to 13 and includes leaders of the 21 APEC economies, ministers, business leaders and news media.

Honolulu City Council Members Urge President to Waive Visitor Restrictions for China

Honolulu City Council Members are taking advantage of the attention on foreign trade and tourism because of world leaders being in town for APEC.

Today they will hold a press conference urging President Barack Obama to make it easier Chinese visitors to come to Hawaii by easing Visa restrictions.

The President is not in town until Friday night, but they are hoping the news about their recent resolution calling for the inclusion of the People’s Republic of China into the U.S. State Department’s Visa Waiver Program will get to the president. The resolution was introduced by City Council Member Stanley Chang.

The program, which already includes 36 countries, allows nationals from foreign countries to enter the U.S. for tourism or business-related purposes for up to 90 days without having to obtain a visa.

Council members say that under the current system, Chinese citizens who wish to visit the U.S. must appear in person at one of only five consular offices in the world’s most populated country.

Honolulu City council member Tulsi Gabbard said Hawaii could boost its economy, job creation and reduce the trade imbalance with China if the visa issue is resolved.

Chang said: “Restrictive visa policies not only discourage potential visitors from even applying, they create a perception that they are not welcome in our country.’

Former Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican who is running for U.S. Senate, has also made this one of the priorities of her plan should she be elected in 2012.

Some Business Lose, Others Gain, Because of APEC

Many businesses around the Hawaii Convention Center are suffering this week because local residents have been told to stay out of the area, and those here for APEC are focused on meetings inside the Convention Center at other APEC designated hotels in Waikiki.

Business at a number of places along Atkinson and even in Ala Moana Center are losing thousands of dollars a day because of the loss of business. So far this week the area has been more like a ghost town than a busy thriving community as it typically is.

But APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee is promoting some Hawaii businesses in a new television program premiering in 28 Waikiki hotels.

The show, airing 24 hours a day on an exclusive channel called Leaders Week TV, will highlight Hawaii’s innovations, businesses and host culture in 20,000 hotel rooms.

Key discoveries and businesses in the forefront clean energy; sky and ocean sciences; health and life sciences; and meetings incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE), will be featured in the show. Specific businesses to be featured include Hawaii Business Innovation Showcase awardees such as Skai Ventures, Big Island Carbon, LLC, Sopogy, TREX Advanced Materials and HNU-Energy.

U.S Senator Daniel Inouye, Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle and Host Committee Chairman Peter Ho also have speaking roles.

The program was produced by 1013 Integrated, a division of Pacific Focus Inc.

Leaders’ Week TV will air until November 15th and be viewed at www.apec2011hawaii.com.

The Descendants – Based on a Hawaii Novel – Opens November 16

And finally in Hawaii Reporter today, Michele Van Hessen writes that the motion picture The Descendants is “Oscar worthy.”

The movie, which opens November 16, is based on a novel by Hawaii’s own Kaui Hart Hemmings, daughter of former Senator Fred Hemmings.

She said the film “magnificently captures the struggle of marriage, children and family relationships.”

The movie, which is directed by Alexander Payne, and stars George Clooney, is filmed in Hawaii.

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