Hajj Stampede Kills 310 Outside Mecca
Saudi officials said a stampede Thursday outside the city of Mecca killed at least 310 people and injured 450 others as they took part in the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage.
The incident happened in Mina where pilgrims throw rocks at pillars representing the devil in the final hajj ritual before beginning the Eid al-Adha festival.
Saudi Arabia's civil defense directorate gave the casualty figures on its Twitter account and posted pictures showing rescue workers attending to people on stretchers, including one who appears to be trying to resuscitate a man.
Multiple deadly stampedes have taken place at the hajj during the past 25 years as huge numbers of people gathered for the five-day event required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their lifetime. This year, some 2 million people are participating.
The worst disaster happened in 1990 when a stampede in a Mina tunnel killed more than 1,400 people. Stampedes in 1994, 2004 and 2006 each killed more than 200 pilgrims.
Earlier this month, a construction crane collapsed at Mecca's Grand Mosque, killing 109 people and injuring about 400 others at Islam's holiest site.
Obama, Xi To Address Touchy Topics During Talks
Chinese President Xi Jinping heads to Washington Thursday for talks with President Barack Obama on thorny issues including cyberattacks, human rights and economics, after spending the first two days of his U.S. visit focused primarily on the importance of cooperation between the two countries.
On Wednesday, Xi met the top leaders of some of America's largest tech companies, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Boeing and Facebook.
The Chinese leader assured them he is committed to improving intellectual property rights and making it easier for foreign companies to do business in China.
Boeing and Xi used the opportunity to announce that Chinese companies have agreed to buy 300 jets from the U.S. airplane maker. It also calls for the U.S. aerospace giant to build a plant in China.
In a major policy speech Tuesday, Xi said China was open to more cooperation with the U.S. on preventing cyberattacks.
Obama has vowed to make cybercrimes a top item on the agenda when he meets with his Chinese counterpart.
Another area of disagreement expected to be discussed is China's controversial territorial claims in the South China Sea.
China's human rights record is another source of friction, and several rights groups are urging Obama to not shy away from the issue during his meetings with Xi.