Saudi Arabia’s civil defense directorate said at least 310 people were killed in a stampede at the annual hajj pilgrimage Thursday morning.
The crush happened in Mina, a large valley about five kilometers (three miles) from the holy city of Mecca.
Photos released by the directorate on its official Twitter account showed rescue workers in orange and yellow vests helping the wounded onto stretchers and loading them onto ambulances near some of the white tents.
On Wednesday The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Russian support for the government of Bashar al-Assad and its targeting of the Islamic State in Syria may lead to confrontation between the United States and Russia.
“These actions could provoke a further escalation of the conflict and lead to the loss of more innocent lives, increasing the flow of refugees and risking a confrontation with the anti-ISIS coalition operating in Syria,” Kerry told the Italian newspaper La Stampa.
The “anti-ISIS coalition operating in Syria” is comprised of the United States, Great Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada.
The coalition is reportedly conducting airstrikes and providing intelligence on ISIS.
Israel has also said Russian support for the al-Assad government may lead to confrontations between its forces and the Russians.
Earlier this month Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov suggested talks between Russia and the United States on the situation in Syria after the United States voiced concerns over increasing Russian involvement in the country.
“I made clear that Russia’s continued support for Assad risks escalating the conflict and undermining our shared goal of fighting extremism if we do not also remain focused on finding the political solution,” Kerry said.
, the congressman who is boycotting the papal address because he thinks the Pope is behaving “like a leftist politician” gives some excellent examples here. Foremost, surely, is the persecution and murder of Christians (and other minorities) in Africa and the Middle East by Islamist groups such as Boko Haram and ISIS. If the Pope isn’t going to stick up for his flock in times of crisis what exactly is the point of the Papacy?
While demanding “urgent action” against “man-made climate change,” Pope Francis is flying around on a Boeing 777-200 which spews nearly 100 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile.
The Boeing 777-200 uses slightly over five gallons of jet fuel per mile, and given the density of the hydrocarbon dodecane used in jet fuel at 2,839.06 g/gal and that one gram of dodecane produces around 3.1 grams of carbon dioxide, we have:
5.15 gal/mi * 2,839.06 g C12H26/gal = 14,621.16 g C12H26/mil14,621.16 g C12H26/mi * 3.096 g CO2/g C12H26 * 1 lb/453.59 g = 99.80 lbs CO2/mi
The pope’s flights from Rome to Cuba, Washington, D.C., New York, Philadelphia and then back to D.C. and to Rome will total around 11,500 miles, so overall the pontiff will emit around 572 tons of CO2 during his trip.
To put that into perspective, 572 tons is the same carbon footprint as burning over 557,000 pounds of coal or over 1,200 barrels of crude oil.
It’s also the equivalent of over 1.2 million miles driven by a car that gets 21 miles per gallon and it’s 47 times the amount of energy a single, middle-class household uses annually.
Yet the pope is demanding that Americans cut back on their lifestyles and pay carbon taxes to fight so-called “man-made climate change.”
“It seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation,” he said at a speech outside the White House on Wednesday. “When it comes to the care of our common home, we are living at a critical moment of history.”
“We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.”
So if Francis actually believes in so-called “global warming,” why doesn’t he start by cutting down on his international flights and by turning down the air conditioning he enjoys at the Vatican?
Syrian government forces used newly arrived Russian warplanes to bombard Islamic State fighters in Aleppo province in northern Syria, a group monitoring the conflict said on Thursday, in an attempt to break a siege on a nearby air base.
Russia is bolstering its ally Damascus with military aid that U.S. officials say has included fighter jets, helicopter gunships, artillery and ground forces.
The air strikes, which began earlier this week, were accompanied by ground attacks near the Kweiris air base in the east of Aleppo province, where government troops have long been surrounded by militants, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Russian jets arrived only "recently" in Syria but were being flown by Syrian pilots, said the Observatory, which tracks the war via a network of sources on the ground.
Many Western countries have reacted with alarm to Moscow's increased military support for President Bashar al-Assad, whom they oppose. But the rise of a common enemy, Islamic State, has rendered divisions less clear.
The United States has launched its own aerial campaign against the militants in Syria and Iraq. Stronger Russian involvement in Syria means the former Cold War foes' forces could encounter each other as they battle the same enemy.
Russia says Assad should be part of international efforts to fight Islamic State, while the United States believes he is part of the problem.
The commander of Iran's army said on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic would destroy Israel at all costs despite the recent nuclear deal aimed at reining in the country’s rogue behavior, according to comments by these officials.
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