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Weak Lock May Be To Blame For Ferry Sinking

Investigators have concluded that a weak lock on a bow door was one of the main reasons the ferry Estonia sank, killing more than 800 people, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

“The locking device was not designed as strongly as it should have been, according to the calculations,” the newspaper Dagens Nyheter said, quoting from an report not yet made public.

The international commission writing the report is to meet this week to finalize it. Millions of dollars in possible lawsuits and lost business are riding on their conclusion.

In Papenburg, Germany, the shipyard Meyer-Werft, which built the ferry, denied any construction flaws.

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Backchannel, ‘Dracula’ help free Utah man in Venezuela

new  A secret backchannel led by a veteran Republican Senate staffer and a flamboyant Venezuelan official nicknamed “Dracula” broke through hostile relations between the two governments to secure the release of American prisoner Joshua Holt, who traveled to the South American country for love and ended up in jail, without a trial, for two years.