Newcomer Comanche was off to a blinding start in Australia's 70th Sydney to Hobart yacht race Friday, blitzing all rivals including seven-times line honours winner Wild Oats XI in Sydney Harbour. The 100-foot Comanche was ahead of Wild Oats, also a supermaxi, to the first mark as 117 yachts set off on the 628 nautical mile endurance race down Australia's east coast in scorching summer conditions. With the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House as a backdrop and thousands of spectators on boats and harbourside vantage points, the yachts enjoyed a 15 to 18 knot southeasterly breeze which helped them off in what is thought to be a record start. They have now turned south towards Hobart into a stiff southerly which is testing boats and sailors with uncomfortable seas, with four yachts retiring so far -- including one with hull damage and another with a damaged rudder.
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning about 3.5 trillion yen ($29 billion) in fresh stimulus, including subsidies and job-creating programs, to help pull the world's third-largest economy out of recession.
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) — Crying onlookers took part in beachside memorials and religious services across Asia on Friday to mark the 10th anniversary of the Indian Ocean tsunami that left more than a quarter million people dead in one of modern history's worst natural disasters.