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Moscow boat smash kills 9

An overloaded motor boat crashed into a docked barge on the Moscow River in pre-dawn darkness, killing nine of the 16 people on board, officials said.

The other seven passengers swam to safety or were rescued as the boat quickly sank.

Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the main investigative agency, laid the blame on the owner and captain of the boat, who was among those killed. Markin said the owner, Gennady Zinger, had been found in violation of regulations three times in the past, including for exceeding the boat's maximum capacity of 12.

US civil rights lawyer dies

Matthew Perry, a civil rights lawyer who went from sitting in the courtroom balcony because he was black to having the US federal courthouse in Columbia, South Carolina, named in his honour, has died. He was 89.

Leevy's Funeral Home, which is handling the arrangements, said Mr Perry died yesterday.

He first made his name in South Carolina with civil rights cases. That included representing Harvey Gant, who became the first black student to attend classes at Clemson University.

Vietnam War shell explodes

A Vietnam War-era artillery shell has exploded, killing three farmers who were cutting it up for scrap metal in central Vietnam.

Police said two of the men died at the scene and another died on the way to a hospital following the incident on Saturday. Tieu Viet Thanh, police chief in Binh Chau village in Quang Ngai province, said today that the men, who were aged 52 to 55, had collected the 105mm shell near a beach in the village.

NZ driving age raised to 16

New Zealand is increasing its minimum driving age from 15 to 16 in an effort to make its roads safer.

New Zealand has one of the lowest driving ages in the developed world, a legacy of a farm-driven economy in which teenagers are expected to be able to operate farm vehicles from a young age. However, Transport Minister Steven Joyce said young drivers are disproportionately involved in serious accidents.