IN BRIEF

TEMPE, Ariz.

US Airways joins others airlines, boosts fees for baggage

US Airways on Friday raised baggage fees for travelers who check their luggage online.

The higher online fees match those set in recent days by Delta, Continental and United.

US Airways said it will charge $23 to check the first bag online, and $32 to check the second. That’s an increase from the previous online checked bag fees of $20 and $30.

The fees to check bags at the airport are unchanged at the level set by US Airways in August — $25 for the first and $35 for the second. The increase in the past week by Delta, Continental and United brought their fees paid at the airport to the same level as US Airways.

The increase takes effect for tickets purchased Monday for travel beginning Feb. 1.

American Airlines still charges $20 each way for a first bag and $30 for the second.

Southwest Airlines passengers can check two bags for free, and JetBlue passengers can check one for free.

Collecting more fees has not made airlines profitable, though. Next week airlines will report their most recent financial results. Southwest is the only big airline that analysts expect to report a 2009 profit.

First N9NE Group venture outside of Palms planned

The first N9NE Group venture in Las Vegas outside of the Palms has been announced for Wynn Las Vegas.

N9NE Group, which is operated by Michael Morton, will open a wine bar at Wynn in a renovated space adjacent the Terrace Pointe Café. The wide bar, which will include food and music, is expected to open in the fall.

N9NE Group opened N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms in 2001. Other N9NE Group venues at the Palms include Rain Nightclub, ghostbar, Nove Italiano, the Playboy Club and Moon nightclub.

A third ghostbar opened in 2007 at the top of the W Dallas Victory Hotel & Residences tower.

FALLON

Tourism officials announce plans for two new events

Tourism officials in Fallon have announced plans for two new events they hope will attract visitors and promote its agricultural and artistic diversity with locally grown foods and handmade quilts.

Tractors & Truffles, set for April 24, will feature a gourmet meal prepared with foods grown or raised in Churchill County along with a concert featuring country blues singer Rory Block.

Fallon Convention and Visitors Director Rick Gray says the $100 per-person charge will include a daytime tour of Lattin Farms, with lunch and cooking demonstrations.

He says the Fallon Festival of Quilts, scheduled May 19-22, also will highlight the town’s arts scene.

NEW YORK

JPMorgan Chase profit rises but loan losses also mount

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s $3.28 billion profit report carried a sobering message: Consumers are still struggling to pay off their loans, posing a threat to a strong economic recovery.

Even as the bank reported Friday its earnings more than quadrupled from $702 million during the final three months of 2009, JPMorgan said it’s not finished setting aside money to cover failed loans. In other words, it expects many more consumers to default on mortgages and other loans.

JPMorgan is the first of the big banks to announced fourth-quarter earnings. Analysts expect other banks to show similar results.

TRENTON, N.J.

U.S. Attorney says J&J paid kickbacks to boost sales

Federal prosecutors said Friday that health care giant Johnson & Johnson paid tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks so nursing homes would put more patients on its blockbuster schizophrenia medicine and other drugs.

In a complaint filed Friday, prosecutors said J&J paid rebates and other forms of kickbacks to Omnicare Inc., the country’s biggest dispenser of prescription drugs in nursing homes.

Prosecutors allege Omnicare pharmacists then recommended that nursing home patients with signs of Alzheimer’s disease be put on the powerful schizophrenia drug Risperdal, which was later found to increase risk of death in the elderly.

TOKYO

Toyko company buying Bare Escentuals for $1.7 billion

Shiseido Co. is buying San Francisco-based Bare Escentuals Inc. in a $1.7 billion deal that brings together one of the world’s oldest cosmetics companies with a hip, rising star.

The acquisition announced Friday is Shiseido’s biggest purchase since its founding in 1872 as Japan’s first Western-style pharmacy.

The Tokyo-based company will offer to buy all outstanding stock of Bare Escentuals for $18.20 a share, which represents a 43 percent premium over its closing price Thursday on the Nasdaq. The transaction was unanimously approved by both boards of directors.

Bare Escentuals will operate as a separate division of Shiseido under current Chief Executive Leslie Blodgett, who is nearly as popular in the U.S. as the company’s mineral-based makeup.

NEW YORK

Oil drops on more signs of a struggling consumer

Oil prices ran up against forecasts for warmer weather, people who won’t drive or spend money and a stronger dollar.

Those factors combined for a fifth straight day of losses. Benchmark crude for February delivery slid $1.39 cents Friday to settle at $78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price fell $4.75 for the week.

Government data raised more concerns about consumer spending power. The Labor Department reported that inflation-adjusted wages fell 1.6 percent last year, the sharpest drop since 1990. Energy costs were an additional burden, shooting up 18.2 percent last year — the biggest jump since 1979 — led by a nearly 54 percent rise in gasoline costs.

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