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January 22, 2018

Comanche, Wild Oats XI in Sydney to Hobart duel

HOBART, Australia (AP) — Seven-time champion Wild Oats XI and American super maxi Comanche continued their Sydney to Hobart duel on Saturday, 24 hours into the annual ocean race to the island state of Tasmania.

Comanche, which was launched in October and is being tested in race conditions for the first time, led defending champion Wild Oats XI for much of the race since its start Friday in Sydney Harbour.

But by early afternoon Saturday, Wild Oats opened up a three-nautical-mile lead over the American boat, with both yachts completing about 250 nautical miles of the 628-nautical-mile race.

Ragamuffin, another super maxi and skippered by 87-year-old Syd Fischer, was in a distant third place, about 40 nautical miles behind the leaders. Another American entry, super maxi Rio 100, was fourth.

Perpetual Loyal was earlier sitting in fourth place before being forced to retire due to a damaged hull — the first of the five super maxis in the race to retire and one of eight yachts to pull out following a rough first night at sea.

Perpetual Loyal skipper Anthony Bell decided to withdraw early Saturday after the boat started taking on water while off Eden on the New South Wales state south coast.

The boat, which includes professional surfer Sally Fitzgibbons, former world champion boxer Danny Green and Olympic sailor Tom Slingsby among its crew, returned to its home club at Sydney’s Rose Bay.

“We’re not exactly sure how it happened,” Slingsby said. “We were coming off some big waves but we also could have hit something during the night when we were falling off these waves.”

Brindabella, the 1997 champion, also retired from the original 117-yacht fleet with rudder problems.

Wild Oats XI set the race record of 1 day, 18 hours, 23 minutes, 12 seconds in 2012, a mark that will likely stand this year.

Link – 

Comanche, Wild Oats XI in Sydney to Hobart duel

Top Asian News at 5:00 p.m. GMT

HONG KONG (AP) — Both victims in a double murder case that has shocked Hong Kong were Indonesian women, and one of the victims was frequenting a red light district on a lapsed domestic worker visa, an Indonesian consulate official said Tuesday. Consulate spokesman Sam Aryadi confirmed one of the women found dead in an upscale apartment over the weekend was 29-year-old Seneng Mujiasih, who had come as a domestic worker from the city of Muna on Sulawesi island.

BANGKOK (AP) — One of the founders of popular file-sharing website The Pirate Bay has been arrested under an Interpol warrant as he was crossing into Thailand from Laos, police said Tuesday. Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij, who uses the alias TiAMO, was detained Monday by Thai immigration police at a checkpoint in Thailand’s Nong Khai province, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) northeast of Bangkok.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday the U.S. and China must work together to stave off a global catastrophe from climate change, as he appealed for greater cooperation between the two world powers despite strains between them over cyber theft and maritime security. Kerry heads to Beijing this week, to set the stage for a visit by President Barack Obama for a regional summit and talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. That will be first leg of a three-nation swing through Asia, intended to underscore the president’s commitment to the region.

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s military-installed government appointed a committee on Tuesday to draft the country’s new constitution amid speculation that it will seek to bar former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his allies from politics. The 36-member panel consists of law experts, academics, former senators and others with close ties to the military and traditional conservative establishment. The appointment came more than five months after the military, led by Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, toppled an elected government headed by Thaksin’s allies.

BANGKOK (AP) — A Thai court sentenced a university student to 2 1/2 years in prison on Tuesday for posting a message on Facebook that the court said insulted the country’s king. A Criminal Court judge found 24-year-old Akkaradet Eiamsuwan guilty of violating Thailand’s lese majeste law, which punishes people who defame, insult or threaten the monarchy.

NEW DELHI (AP) — India on Tuesday ordered that Delhi’s legislative assembly be dissolved for a new election after the three main political parties failed to form a government this year for a city of nearly 25 million people. Delhi has been run by the federal government since the city’s top elected official resigned in February.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand last month was one of five nations to win elections for coveted seats on the U.N. Security Council. It will serve a two-year term as a non-veto-wielding member beginning in January. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says it’s an opportunity to boost the South Pacific island nation’s profile and contribute to solving international problems such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and long-divided Cyprus. The Associated Press recently interviewed McCully about what the win means. The interview has been edited for clarity and length. ___

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A big victory by German stallion Protectionist in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday was overshadowed by the deaths of two horses after Australia’s richest horse race, including the favorite Admire Rakti. Red Cadeaux strode to the lead in the last straight of the 2-mile (3,200-meter) classic but was overhauled on the inside by five-year-old Protectionist, which went on to win by four lengths in only its 10th race.

BANGKOK (AP) — Revelers in northern Thailand have been asked not to launch lanterns into the sky near airports to avoid airborne accidents during a popular festival this week, airport officials said Tuesday. The air traffic control center in Chiang Mai province has declared a 5-kilometer (3-mile) zone around the airport where people are advised not to launch lanterns from Wednesday to Friday, when Loy Krathong festival celebrations will take place, said Kiattisak Rienvatana, the center’s director.

In this photo taken on a smartphone camera by Leesa Willmott, a fallstreak hole forms in the sky over Wonthaggi, Australia. The bizarre sight seen Monday in the town near Melbourne looked like a hole in the sky, or perhaps an alien spacecraft. Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Adam Conroy said fallstreak holes are circular gaps that appear in high clouds when a section of the cloud freezes. The ice crystals are heavy, so they fall out of the cloud, leaving a hole. It is a relatively rare phenomenon.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — A day after saying a billboard advertisement highlighting climate change was too political for world leaders gathering in the Australian city of Brisbane for a major economic summit, local airport authorities said Tuesday that they had also rejected an ad highlighting corruption problems. Brisbane Airport Corp. confirmed Monday that a World Wildlife Fund ad asking leaders of wealthy and developing countries to put climate change on the agenda of their G20 summit next week had been banned because it had “political intent.”

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese engineers have successfully tested a laser weapon that can shoot down low-flying, slow-moving drones, state media reported Tuesday. The Low Altitude Sentinel system can detect a small aircraft within a 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) radius and shoot it down within five seconds, the newspaper China Daily said, citing a statement from the China Academy of Engineering Physics.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The shooting of a Shiite religious leader outside a Sydney prayer hall appeared to have been influenced by the Islamic State movement, Australia’s prime minister said Tuesday. Rasoul Al Mousawi, 47, was blasted with a shotgun in the face and shoulder in a drive-by shooting outside the Husainiyah Nabi Akram Center in suburban Greenacre early Monday.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A cyberattack similar to previous hacker intrusions from China penetrated computer networks for months at USIS, the government’s leading security clearance contractor, before the company noticed, officials and others familiar with an FBI investigation and related official inquiries told The Associated Press. The breach, first revealed by the company and government agencies in August, compromised the private records of at least 25,000 employees at the Homeland Security Department and cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in lost government contracts.

WAGAH, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistanis mourned on Monday for the victims of a massive suicide bombing near the border with India as the death toll from the explosion the previous day rose to 60, police said. The attack, for which a Taliban splinter faction claimed responsibility, was the deadliest to hit the country in over a year. In September 2013, a suicide bombing killed at least 85 people in a church in Peshawar province.

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Top Asian News at 5:00 p.m. GMT

Marquez takes MotoGP pole in Australia

PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia (AP) — World champion Marc Marquez of Spain took pole position and Cal Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo also secured front-row starts in the MotoGP race at Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Marquez, who clinched the 2014 season title last week with a second-place finish behind Lorenzo in Japan, took pole Saturday with a 1 minute, 28.408 second lap on his Honda, outpacing his nearest rival by 0.234 seconds on the 4.5-kilometer (2.7-mile) Phillip Island circuit.

Crutchlow, of Britain, was riding a Ducati Team entry, and Spain’s Lorenzo was on a Yamaha, ensuring three manufacturers will be represented on the front row in Sunday’s 27-lap race.

A first-place finish for Marquez on Sunday would equal Australian Mick Doohan’s record of 12 wins during a single MotoGP season. The Spaniard said to achieve the feat at Doohan’s home track would be fitting and humbling.

“It’s Australia, his country, it would be nice to do,” Marquez said. “I will try to take the risk to win the race. The records are always important, especially when people compare you with legends.”

It was Marquez’s 12th pole of the season, equaling a record for most MotoGP pole positions in a year.

In the three-way battle among Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi to finish second in the championship, Pedrosa overcame the most adversity.

After finishing 11th in practice and forced into an extra qualifying session for slower riders, he emerged to sit on top of the time sheets at one stage. He will start fifth in Sunday’s race, while Rossi will begin from seventh.

Lorenzo said he was pleased with the front-row start as he looks to repeat his 2013 Australian GP triumph and make it three wins in a row this season.

“My target was to push the limit to make the best lap I could. Third place is good for tomorrow,” he said.

Tito Rabat of Spain, who could clinch the Moto2 title this weekend, won his ninth pole of the season Saturday.

Rabat arrived in Australia 38 points ahead of his teammate Mika Kallio. A victory for the Spaniard on Sunday, combined with a fourth place finish or worse for the Finn, would secure the title for Rabat.

Kallio qualified in third place on Saturday.

Moto3 championship leader Alex Marquez, Marc’s younger brother, also took pole for Sunday’s race. He looked a likely pole-sitter throughout qualifying, setting the pace with an early lap record of 1:36.387 before improving to 1:36.050.

“Today we had a really good rhythm, we made really good laps…we need to try to win this race,” Alex Marquez said.

KTM rider Niklas Ajo had a high-speed crash off Doohan corner, requiring a trip to the medical center and major repairs for his bike. Brazilian Eric Granado, who broke a finger earlier in practice, needed a stretcher to leave the track after a crash, but wasn’t seriously injured.

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Marquez takes MotoGP pole in Australia

Motorcycling: Fight on for title scraps behind Marquez

The pressure is off Marc Marquez after he clinched back-to-back world championships but the heat is still on in the race to finish second heading into Sunday’s Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island.

The 21-year-old Spanish Honda rider wrapped up the 2014 world title last weekend, finishing runner-up at Motegi in Japan, with races in Australia, Malaysia and Spain remaining.

With the title in the bag, Marquez can bask in his achievement of 11 victories in 15 races this year as Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo fight for the championship scraps in the remaining races, starting with Phillip Island.

“I feel really good, less pressure, more free,” Marquez said of his fourth world championship in five seasons.

“The championship is done, but you are more tired after all the commitments. Of course, you can enjoy it a lot after winning a championship and the confidence is high.”

Although Marquez won the 125cc race in Australia in 2010, he has never won a premier class GP at Phillip Island and that will be an incentive for him to give his all again this weekend.

“Phillip Island is a special place and it is one of the best circuits we come to. It is really nice to ride here,” Marquez said.

“I’ve only won here in the 125’s but the track is incredible and I have a good memory from 2012 that I won the (Moto3) world title here, so I am really focused and motivated for this weekend.”

– ‘My favourite place’ –

Fellow Spaniard Lorenzo, who won last year’s MotoGP at Phillip Island on the way to losing the world championship by four points to Marquez, is coming off two wins and is hitting form at the right time.

“We just needed to put the pieces of the puzzle together,” the Movistar Yamaha racer said.

“We are competitive now and strong. It is not going to be easy to keep winning races, because there are four riders in very good shape. But our level is high.

“For me it is always a pleasure to come here. It is my favourite place we come to,” he added.

Last year in Australia Lorenzo took victory by seven seconds in a race which involved the riders changing bikes midway through due to tyre durability concerns.

Lorenzo, a two-time MotoGP world champion in 2010 and 2012, lies three points behind Yamaha teammate Rossi and Pedrosa in fourth place in the world championship standings.

Rossi, a nine-time world champion through the classes, is well in the mix after finishing on the podium in five of the past six races, including victory in San Marino.

The Italian great, 35, has finished on the podium 14 times in 17 visits to Phillip Island across all three GP classes.

Marquez’s Repsol Honda teammate Pedrosa was runner-up behind Lorenzo at last year’s Phillip Island GP, but has lost points to Lorenzo and Rossi in recent races.

The 4.448-kilometre (2.764 mile) circuit, located on the shores of the storm-tossed Bass Strait, is a season classic for the world’s top riders with its sweeping blend of seven left-handers and five right-handers.

Originally posted here:

Motorcycling: Fight on for title scraps behind Marquez

Marquez 2nd in Japan to claim MotoGP championship

MOTEGI, Japan (AP) — Honda rider Marc Marquez of Spain defended his MotoGP championship on Sunday when he finished second in the Grand Prix of Japan behind compatriot Jorge Lorenzo.

Marquez crossed the line 1.638 seconds behind Lorenzo to collect the crucial points for the world championship win. Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi of Italy completed the podium in third place.

Yamaha rider Lorenzo took his second successive victory with a time of 42 minutes, 21.259 seconds over 24 laps at the 4.801-kilometer (2.983 mile) Honda-owned Motegi circuit.

With three races left in the season, Marquez has 312 points, 82 points ahead of Rossi and Dani Pedrosa. Riders are awarded 25 points for a win.

Having started fourth on the grid, Marquez passed Rossi midway through the race then made an attempt to catch Lorenzo, but the Yamaha rider held his lead and Marquez settled for second.

At 21, Marquez is the youngest rider to take consecutive premier world titles.

“The race doesn’t really matter today,” Marquez said. “Maybe I wasn’t riding like always, as I felt a little different. It was hard to overtake and I didn’t want to make any mistakes.”

“We got the title and it’s incredible to take it at home. Thanks to my family and Honda.”

The next race is at Phillip Island, Australia on Oct. 19.

See original article here: 

Marquez 2nd in Japan to claim MotoGP championship