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The airline's meager offering, which was little more than "just bread," was a galling experience for Ren who wondered why the carrier didn't cut both the pretense of full service and the price of the ticket.

Her gripe highlights how Chinese travelers have been left out of the massive budget airline boom that has swept Asia. From almost none a decade ago, the region now has more than 50 low cost carriers. The rise of budget carriers in Asia follows similar expansion in Europe and North America in previous decades.

But in China, where the government still keeps tight control of the rapidly growing airline industry, three big state-owned carriers dominate. Aviation authorities' efforts to shield them, as well as keep the industry from growing too rapidly and compromising safety, mean travelers like Ren pay up to twice as much.

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Public Citizen: State drug fraud cases on the rise

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Federal and state prosecutors have collected more than $30 billion from drug companies for alleged fraud and illegal marketing over the last 20 years, according to a new report by consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

The report shows that state attorneys are increasingly following the lead of federal prosecutors in seeking multimillion-dollar settlements with drugmakers such as GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly & Co. Analysis by Public Citizen found that state governments have collected $3.7 billion from drugmakers since 2009, or roughly six times more money than in the previous 18 years combined.

Overcharging state health plans like Medicaid was the most common allegation, while unapproved drug marketing was the most costly, the group says.

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Contracts to buy US homes fell slightly in August

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy previously occupied homes fell in August from a two-year high in July.

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