HONOLULU

Sexual health app changing ‘Hula’ name after complaints

A sexual health information app called “Hula” will be changing its name after complaints that it is culturally insensitive to Native Hawaiians, the app’s owner said Tuesday.

Ramin Bastani, founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Qpid.me Inc., said that after weeks of learning to understand concerns of the Native Hawaiian community, he’s moving forward with the name change.

“We immediately engaged the community and listened with an open mind,” he said. “By doing so, we gained a great respect for hula, the Hawaiian culture and its history.”

An online petition asking him to change the name argued that it exploits a sacred cultural dance. He immediately removed any references to “getting lei’d.”

LA PAZ, Bolivia

Mayor expresses ‘anguish’ for grabbing reporter’s thigh

The mayor of Bolivia’s largest city has had to make a televised apology after grabbing the thigh of a woman during a broadcast event.

Santa Cruz Mayor Percy Fernandez appeared on television Monday night to express “anguish for this mess that’s been created.” He said he had not intended to offend journalist Mercedes Guzman, “nor have I done so.” He did not specifically apologize for touching her.

Television images show Guzman holding a microphone in one hand and struggling to lift the mayor’s hand from her thigh with the other during a public appearance last week.

Several legislators, journalists’ organizations and women’s rights activists denounced the 75-year-old mayor and Guzman’s husband, Marco Antonio Espindola, threatened to bring a legal complaint if the mayor did not apologize.

“It shamed my family,” Espindola said.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti

Mosquito-borne virus confirmed in 14 Haitians

An official says a mosquito-borne virus spreading in the Caribbean has been found in Haiti.

Health Minister Florence Guillaume Duperval said on Radio Metropole on Tuesday that lab tests have confirmed 14 cases involving the virus known as chikungunya.

Duperval is urging Haitians to seek help from a professional and not to try to medicate themselves. She said advisories will soon air on the radio.

The virus causes a sharp fever and is rarely fatal. But some people experience joint pain for months or years.

The Pan-American Health Organization has confirmed more than 4,100 cases of chikungunya in the Caribbean. Most of the cases have been found in the French islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and St. Martin.