Swissair is considering payments of up to $137,000 to families of those killed in the Flight 111 crash. It has already been named in a $50 million lawsuit by former boxing champion Jake LaMotta, whose son died in the crash. The suit claims the airline and manufacturers should have known about wiring problems on McDonnell Douglas jets - a possible cause of the Sept. 2 accident.
The Swedish Academy said today it would award the 1998 Nobel Prize for literature Thursday. The other Nobels follow, culminating with the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 16.
By the numbers
At this year's Oktoberfest in Munich, beer drinking dropped to its lowest level in years despite higher attendance. About 6.5 million people visited the 16-day event that ended Sunday, 1.5 percent more than in 1997. Beer consumption was down 4 percent to 10.6 million pints, just under 1 2/3 pints per person. Police also reported the number beer-stein thefts was down 15 percent.
The Duchess of York drew mostly praise today for yesterday's debut of her caring-and-sharing television talk show, with surprised critics admitting that she showed "real skill." The former Sarah Ferguson, the ex-wife of Prince Andrew, sat on a couch dressed in a black trouser suit and discussed life's crises with her guests. Those included a woman who was raped by a serial killer and a hit-and-run driver who had confessed 20 years later.
Today in history
-- In 1973, Egypt and Syria attacked Israeli positions to start the Yom Kippur war.
-- In 1978, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was granted asylum in France after expulsion from Iran.
-- In 1981, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt was shot dead by Muslim extremists.
Starting Saturday, motorbike riders in Vietnam who are caught using a cell phone will be fined $3. Although that may not sound like much, the average annual per capita income is only $300. The use of umbrellas on motorbikes also is being banned.
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