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HONEY, WHERE'S MY AXE?

The two-seater airplane that Arthur Forbes built from a kit now sports 10 coats of paint. Its engine, capable of 100 m.p.h., is installed and ready to go. All that's left is to attach the wings so it can be flown. There's just one problem: The plane currently stands in his living room in Yatton, England, and is already too big to fit through the door. Forbes, a retiree, may have to remove a wall to get it outside, which he acknowledges won't please the missus. Said he: "It's going to be a problem. I will have to be quite careful."

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OH, I WAS HOPING FOR STEAK

The folks aboard a GB Airways jet from London to the island of Malta last Thursday might well have been angry when their in-flight meal was served much later than expected. Instead, most of them were chuckling. Why? Takeoff was delayed 90 minutes because four passengers were evicted for smuggling live chickens in carry-on luggage. The birds were confiscated. The meal: Right, chicken.

Healthcare benefits depend largely on where you live

Access to health insurance, Medicare payment levels, and healthcare costs vary from state to state, according to a new analysis by the American Association of Retired Persons. Disparities show some Americans, especially with low incomes, may not be able to afford good care because of their location. In Washington, for example, Medi-care payments averaged $7,548 per beneficiary, but they were $3,650 in North Dakota. Floridians paid more than $2,000 for family healthcare coverage; Michigan workers just $757. Medicare payments per person (based on 1997 statistics) were the most generous in:

District of Columbia $7,548

Louisiana 6,984

Massachusetts 6,716

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Texas 6,531

California 6,335

Florida 6,152

New York 6,117

Rhode Island 5,973

New Jersey 5,889

Pennsylvania 5,831

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society