IN BRIEF


Appeals court upholds anti-Internet bet law

A U.S. appeals court upheld a 2006 federal law that prohibits gambling over the Internet after a challenge from a New Jersey-based nonprofit corporation that promotes electronic betting.

In a decision handed down Tuesday, three judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act isn't unconstitutionally vague and doesn't violate gamblers' privacy rights.

The law "clearly provides a person of ordinary intelligence with adequate notice of the conduct that it prohibits," the judges wrote.

Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association Inc. sued the U.S. Attorney General, Federal Trade Commission and Federal Reserve System in 2007 in an effort to void the law. U.S. District Judge Mary Cooper had dismissed the case.

NEW YORK

Game sellers seek lift from rock-music lovers

With a little help from the Beatles, Super Mario and price cuts from Sony and Microsoft, the slumping video game industry is hoping for a sales resurrection this fall.

The season received a late-summer start Tuesday, with the release of "Guitar Hero 5," a game featuring music from the Rolling Stones, Nirvana and other popular bands. Then on Sept. 9 comes the launch of "The Beatles: Rock Band," which marks the rock group's debut in a video game.

The music genre -- the second-most popular category behind action games -- has suffered in particular, though that's partly because it's been so popular in the past couple of years that it needs exceptional sales just to stay even. According to the NPD Group, U.S. retail sales in the music and dance game genre were nearly $390 million less at the end of July than at the same time last year.

WASHINGTON

Jobless rates up in fewer metro areas

In a sharp improvement, the largest U.S. metropolitan areas were evenly split in July between those where unemployment rates rose from June and those where rates fell.

In June, by contrast, 90 percent of the 380 metro areas had seen their jobless rates rise from the previous month.

Much of the improvement was due to seasonal factors. They include the hiring of farm workers in many agricultural states and lower unemployment in college towns after a jump at the start of summer.

The metro employment figures, issued Tuesday by the Labor Department, aren't adjusted for such seasonal changes.

Southwest Airlines will cut flights in 92 sites

Southwest Airlines Co., the largest low-fare carrier, will cut single daily flights in 92 markets starting Jan. 9 and add service in 42 others to adjust its schedule to demand.

The revised schedule was published Tuesday by the Dallas-based carrier and runs through March 12.

The airline is cutting 12 daily flights from Baltimore, while adding four, and eliminating 18 from Chicago as it adds one to Tucson, Ariz. Chicago has the second-most daily departures of any city in Southwest's system, following Las Vegas.

SAN FRANCISCO

EBay selling majority of stake in Skype

Rather than enduring the uncertainty of spinning off the Skype telecommunications service through a public stock offering, eBay Inc. has found a different way out: It is selling the majority of Skype for about $2 billion to a group of private investors.

EBay said Tuesday that it will trade a 65 percent stake in the business to a group of private investment funds for $1.9 billion in cash and $125 million to be paid later. EBay will own the other 35 percent.

DALLAS

American to cut 921 flight attendants' jobs

American Airlines is cutting 921 flight attendant jobs as it deals with a downturn in traffic and lower revenue.

The airline said Tuesday that the cuts will take effect Oct. 1 and reduce its flight attendant ranks by about 6 percent.

American, the second-largest U.S. airline, said 228 employees will be furloughed -- laid off but with rehiring rights -- and the company will put 244 more on leave for two months. Another 449 will take voluntary options.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.

Report: Bank of America looking to pay back aid

Bank of America Corp. is looking to pay back some of the billions in federal bailout aid it has received in an effort to get out from underneath the government's thumb, according to a published report.

Meanwhile, the government wants the bank to pay about $500 million to terminate a tentative pact in which the U.S. agreed to share losses on certain Bank of America assets, The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Paying off those loans could help ease some of the government scrutiny over Bank of America's operations, including pay restrictions required of companies that have received federal aid.

 

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