Blaring tsunami sirens woke residents of Hawaii early Friday as the islands and the U.S. western coast braced for massive waves spawned by an earthquake in Japan. The governor of Hawaii ordered the evacuation of coastal areas and warned residents to take the threat seriously. People waited in long lines stocking up on gas, bottled water, canned food and generators, and officials told residents to stock up on water and fill their cars with gas.
TOKYO (AP) — A ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed Japan's eastern coast Friday, killing at least 60 people as it swept away boats, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control. Tsunami warnings blanketed the entire Pacific, as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West Coast. The magnitude 8.9 offshore quake unleashed a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0.
RAS LANOUF, Libya (AP) — Ibrahim Salem clutches a half-century-old pistol — a tiny weapon with a single bullet left. If not for his helmet, the young man in jeans would look every bit the English student he was up until just a few weeks ago. Moammar Gadhafi has ruled Libya since long before thetype:bold,italic; 25-year-old was born, and he hates the dictator enough to risk his life by fighting for the ragtag rebel force battling government troops along a desolate highway on the North African country's Mediterranean coast.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Hundreds of police deployed in the Saudi capital Friday ahead of planned protests calling for democratic reforms as the government tried to prevent the wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world from spreading in the oil-rich kingdom. Police blocked roads and set up random checkpoints in Riyadh, searching residents around a central mosque as large numbers of people gathering for Friday prayers raised the prospect of them later spilling into the streets for mass demonstrations.
BREGA, Libya (AP) — Rebels held out Friday in part of a strategic oil port after fierce fighting with Moammar Gadhafi loyalists waging a heavy counteroffensive trying to push the opposition further east away from the capital. Pro-Gadhafi forces barraged rebels a day earlier with an hourslong hail of rockets and tank and artillery shells in their strongest attempt yet to recapture the oil facility of Ras Lanouf, in central Libya. The assault sent hundreds of rebel fighters into a frantic retreat further east, fleeing in cars and pickup trucks fitted with heavy machine guns.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Labor unions at the heart of a burning national disagreement over the cost of public employees want to frame the debate as a civil rights issue, an effort that may draw more sympathy to public workers being blamed for busting state budgets with generous pensions. As part of that strategy, unions are planning rallies across the country on April 4 — the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Union officials want the observances in dozens of cities to remind Americans that King was supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tenn., the night he was shot.
HOUSTON (AP) — Encouraged by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' progress, family and friends are making plans for the wounded congresswoman to attend her husband's upcoming space shuttle launch, a person close to the family says. Although doctors — constrained by confidentiality laws — have been tight-lipped about her progress, those close to her have provided tidbits of information since she was moved to TIRR Memorial Hermann on Jan. 26.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth is about to get better acquainted with its oddball planetary cousin, Mercury, a rocky wonderland of extremes. Sure, Mars may fascinate science fiction authors, Jupiter looms large and Saturn has stunning rings, but tiny Mercury can claim the title as weirdest planet in the solar system. It has the wildest extremes from hot to cold. A day on Mercury somehow lasts longer than its year. And maybe strangest of all, scientists think it holds tons of ice in dark craters despite being the planet closest to the sun.
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Charlie Sheen and his estranged wife have struck an accord that settles any custody issues and ends the pursuit of a restraining order against the actor, according to their attorneys. Sheen and Brooke Mueller "reached an agreement that resolves their differences," lawyers for the pair said Thursday night.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple Inc.'s updated version of its iPad tablet computer will be available in stores Friday afternoon but those who can't wait to say they own the gadget can beat the crowds by ordering one online before the sun rises. The Cupertino company is opening online sales of the iPad 2 at 1 a.m. PST, hours before they will be available in stores nationwide at 5 p.m. local time.