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IN BRIEF

CRYSTAL BAY

Cal-Neva Lodge lays off employees

The Cal-Neva Lodge on Lake Tahoe’s north shore has announced the layoffs of an undisclosed number of employees.

Adrian Glover, a spokesman for the resort’s owner, Maram Holdings, called last week’s layoffs a normal restructuring due to slower business after the Christmas holiday season.

He declined to comment on how many employees were affected, but said the resort still has 56 workers.

Jordan Romney, the resort’s former purchasing specialist, estimated he was among 40 to 45 employees who were laid off.

Former General Manager Steve Tremewan disputed the reason provided by management for the layoffs.

“This goes deeper than normal restructuring,” said Tremewan, also among those laid off.

The layoffs come after the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported north Lake Tahoe casinos showed an overall decrease of 4.2 percent in profits in November 2007 compared with the same month a year ago.

Glover denied statements by former employees that the property is up for sale.

CAMARILLO, Calif.

Gasoline prices fall about 9 cents in U.S.

The national average price for gasoline dropped about 9 cents over the last two weeks, according to a survey released Sunday.

The average price of regular gasoline on Friday was $2.98 a gallon, mid-grade was $3.10, and premium was $3.22, oil industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said.

Of cities surveyed, the nation’s lowest price was in Tulsa, Okla., where a gallon of regular cost $2.70, on average. The highest was in Honolulu at $3.35, according to the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 stations nationwide.

LOS ANGELES

File-sharing service to offer music downloads

A revamped online file-sharing service aims to woo legions of music fans by offering unlimited, free song downloads that are compatible with iPods, and all with the blessing of major recording companies.

Qtrax, which made its debut Sunday, is the latest online music venture counting on the lure of free music to draw in music fans and on advertising to pay the bills, namely record company licensing fees.

The New York-based service was among several peer-to-peer file-sharing applications that emerged following the shutdown of Napster, the pioneer service that enabled millions to illegally copy songs stored in other music fans’ computers.

Qtrax shut down after a few months following its 2002 launch to avoid potential legal trouble.

The latest version of Qtrax still lets users tap into file-sharing networks to search for music, but downloads come with copy-protection technology known as digital-rights management, or DRM, to prevent users from burning copies to a CD and calculate how to divvy up advertising sales with labels.

Qtrax downloads can be stored indefinitely on PCs and transferred onto portable music players, however.

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