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The sale of existing homes rose 3.1 percent in July, double the rate some economists forecast, as buyers snapped up deeply discounted properties in areas hit hardest by the housing bust, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. Still, home sales were 13.2 percent lower than a year ago.

A major union at Boeing Co. called a new contract proposal "insulting" and stepped up its threat to organize a strike by 27,000 workers in early September. Boeing proposed a pay raise of 2.5 percent the first year and 2 percent in each of the following two years.

Gasoline prices have dropped 15 cents a gallon in the last two weeks to an average of $3.70 for self-serve regular, according to the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 filling stations nationwide.

John McCain will maintain a light campaign schedule rather than try to compete with the Democratic convention in Denver this week, advisers to the Republican nominee-in-waiting said. McCain plans to use late-night talk shows and local newspapers to reach out to voters in swing states.

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