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Senior US justice department officials say they do not believe they can sue tobacco companies in a single, national lawsuit unless Congress passes new legislation, The Wall Street Journal reported. The officials told the newspaper they could sue tobacco companies state by state but that would reduce the companies' total liability.

Delta Air Lines withdrew a surcharge it had imposed earlier this month in an effort to encourage people to book tickets at its Internet site. Spokeswoman Kay Horner cited competitive reasons for the quick removal of the two-week-old fee, which added $2 to domestic round-trip tickets not booked through the Web site. The American Society of Travel Agents had sharply criticized the surcharge.

To try to calm growing jitters on world financial markets, China's top banking official held a news conference to repeat assurances that the government would not devalue the yuan. Such a move isn't necessary, Dai Xianglong said, because China's foreign currency reserves exceed what is spent annually on imports. Concerns over a possible devaluation have grown because of the recent collapses of state and city investment trusts - of which China has more than 240 - and because of Brazil's devaluation of its currency, the real, earlier this month.

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