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Mecca Stampede, FARC Handshake, Exhumed Tsar

Mecca Stampede, FARC Handshake, Exhumed Tsar


Photo: Omar Chatriwala

At least 310 people taking part in the annual Hajj pilgrimage were killed in a stampede Thursday morning in Mina, near the Islamic holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, Al Jazeera quotes Saudi officials as saying. Thursday is the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice, and some 2 million people were set to take part in this year's Hajj pilgrimage. With 450 reported injured, the number of victims could still rise significantly. Earlier this month, 118 people were killed and nearly 400 wounded when a crane collapsed over Mecca's Grand Mosque.


At least 25 people were killed and 30 wounded when two suicide bombers detonated at a Shia mosque run by Houthi rebels in Yemen's capital Sanaa on Thursday. The explosions struck while worshippers were celebrating the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, according to witnesses and medical staff quoted by Reuters. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but similar suicide bombings have been carried out by ISIS on Shia mosques in Sanaa in recent months.


European Union leaders pledged at least $1.1 billion to help UN agencies handle the refugee crisis between the Middle East and Europe, the BBC reports. At a summit in Brussels on Wednesday, European heads of state also agreed on closer cooperation to stem the flow of refugees into the EU.


Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and rebel leader Timoleón Jiménez of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) agreed Wednesday on a "deadline for peace," promising to end the country's half-century-long civil war within six months. The two men marked the accord with a historic handshake in Havana, Cuba, which has hosted the nearly three-year-old peace talks. Read more in our "Extra!" feature.



The German carmaker may name a news chief on Friday after the resignation of CEO Martin Winterkorn, as the fallout continues after revelations that Volkswagen manipulated emissions test with serious consequences for the environment.


With a fast declining birthrate, Portugal is among the world's oldest countries. That has apparently been a boon to criminals targeting vulnerable senior citizens. But now a new law increases sentences for crimes against people over 65. Read more from Diario de Noticias/Worldcrunch.


Russian investigators have exhumed the remains of the last tsar, Nicholas II, and his wife, Alexandra, killed with their children and servants by revolutionary Bolsheviks in 1918. Samples were taken from the remains, buried at Saint Petersburg cathedral. This is part of a reopened probe to confirm the identity of remains found elsewhere and believed to belong to two children of the royal Romanov family, Tsarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria, the Russian daily Kommersantreports.


The conventional wisdom says a male teacher shortage is bad for society, and the surplus of women in education might work against boys. A new study confronts the myths, Fanny Jiménez reports for Die Welt. "Some education experts consider this so-called ‘feminization' of the teaching profession a real concern. They believe boys might perform better were they to have more male teachers. When it comes to student performance, as a matter of fact, studies show that girls have overtaken boys. They tend to start school earlier, are less likely to have to repeat classes, and attend high school longer than boys."

Read the full article, Does The Gender Of A Teacher Matter?


Today marks the birthday of the brain behind Kermit the Frog, Oscar the Grouch, and Bert & Ernie. This — and more — in your 57-second shot of history.


Commuting in and around London could be faster if Tube trains travelled slower, a study published in the Royal Society Interface journal suggests. After establishing a mathematical study of transport, researchers found that if Tube journeys are too fast, compared to travelling by road, the overall congestion increases due to key locations outside the city center becoming bottlenecks. Their results showed that the London Underground would work best if its trains travelled at about 13 mph (21 km/h), which is 1.2 times faster than the average speed on roads. The current average speed is 21 mph (33 km/h).

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Migrant Lives

A Train Journey With Bengal Migrants Looking For A Living Far Away

Finding a seat on the Karmabhoomi Express is close to impossible. A closer look at why so many migrant workers travel on it, and out of Bengal, offers a grim picture.

image of a train

The Karmabhoomi Express runs from Kamakhya to Mumbai in a 3 day journey.

India Rail Info
Joydeep Sarkar

WEST BENGAL — Welcome aboard the 22512 Kamakhya-LTT Karmabhoomi Express — a metaphor, if any, of the acuteness of Bengal’s unemployment problem.

It is 10.28 pm at north Bengal’s Alipurduar Junction and the crowd has swollen to its peak. This is when the Karmabhoomi Express appears at the station. It is bound for Mumbai. Finding a seat on it is close to impossible. It is always chock full and there are always hundreds struggling to get a spot in the unreserved general compartment.

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