Sunday, May 19th

LATEST:
You are here: International International More than 700 pilgrims die in crush in worst haj disaster for 25 years

Best_of_2015_587x57_Results

More than 700 pilgrims die in crush in worst haj disaster for 25 years

stampedeMINA, Saudi Arabia--At least 717 pilgrims from around the world were killed on Thursday in a crush outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi authorities said, in the worst disaster to strike the annual haj pilgrimage for 25 years.
  At least 863 others were injured. Saudi King Salman said he had ordered a review of haj plans after the disaster, in which two large groups of pilgrims arrived together at a crossroads in Mina, a few kilometres east of Mecca, on their way to performing the "stoning of the devil" ritual at Jamarat.
  Thursday's disaster was the worst to occur at the pilgrimage since July 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims suffocated in a tunnel near Mecca. Both incidents occurred on Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), Islam's most important feast and the day of the stoning ritual.
  Photographs published on the Twitter feed of Saudi civil defence on Thursday showed pilgrims lying on stretchers while emergency workers in high-visibility jackets lifted them into an ambulance. Other images showed bodies of men in white haj garments piled on top of each other. Some corpses bore visible injuries.
  Unverified video posted on Twitter showed pilgrims and rescue workers trying to revive some victims.
  The haj, the world's largest annual gathering of people, has been the scene of numerous deadly stampedes, fires and riots in the past, but their frequency has been greatly reduced in recent years as the government spent billions of dollars upgrading and expanding haj infrastructure and crowd control technology. Safety during haj is a politically sensitive issue for the kingdom's ruling Al Saud dynasty, which presents itself internationally as the guardian of orthodox Islam and custodian of its holiest places in Mecca and Medina.

Blame
Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the Saudi government should accept responsibility for the crush, in which more than 100 Iranian nationals were reported to have died.
  "The Saudi government should accept the responsibility of this sorrowful incident ... Mismanagement and improper actions have caused this catastrophe," Khamenei said in a statement published on his website.
  King Salman offered deep condolences. "We have instructed concerned authorities to review the operations plan ... (and) to raise the level of organisation and management to ensure that the guests of God perform their rituals in comfort and ease," the monarch said.
  The Interior Ministry spokesman, Mansour Turki said the investigation would look into what caused an unusual mass of pilgrims to congregate at the location of the disaster. "The reason for that is not known yet," he told a news conference in Mina.
  U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the White House offered condolences. "The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the hundreds of haj pilgrims killed and hundreds more injured in the heartbreaking stampede in Mina, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," White House spokesman Ned Price said.
  Iran's Tasnim and Fars news agencies reported that 125 Iranians were among the dead. Fars reported that Tehran summoned the Saudi charge d'affaires to lodge an official complaint over the disaster.
  South African Acting President Cyril Ramaphosa extended condolences to families of the victims and said his government was awaiting information about his country's pilgrims.

Jamarat
Street 204, where the crush occurred, is one of two main arteries leading through the camp at Mina to Jamarat, the site where pilgrims ritually stone the devil by hurling pebbles at three large pillars. In 2006, at least 346 pilgrims died in a stampede at Jamarat.
  "Work is under way to separate large groups of people and direct pilgrims to alternative routes," the Saudi Civil Defence said on its Twitter account.
  It said more than 220 ambulances and 4,000 rescue workers had been sent in to help the injured. Some of the wounded were evacuated by helicopters.
  An Arab pilgrim who did not want to give his name said he had hoped to perform the stoning ritual later on Thursday afternoon but was now too frightened to risk doing so. "I am very tired already and after this I can't go. I will wait for the night and if it not resolved, I will see if maybe somebody else can do it on my behalf," he said.
  Efforts to improve safety at Jamarat have included enlarging the three pillars and constructing a three-decker bridge around them to increase the area and number of entry and exit points for pilgrims to perform the ritual. More than 100,000 police and thousands of video cameras are also deployed to allow groups to be dispersed before they reach dangerous levels of density.
  "Please pilgrims do not push one another. Please leave from the exit and don't come back by the same route," an officer kept repeating through a loudspeaker at Jamarat.
  Two weeks ago 110 people died in Mecca's Grand Mosque when a crane working on an expansion project collapsed during a storm and toppled off the roof into the main courtyard, crushing pilgrims underneath.

Image
St. Maarten midday Weather Forecast for Saturday
Saturday, 17 October 2015
DATE ISSUED: Saturday, October 17, 2015 @ 12:00 LST (16:00 UTC) VALID UNTIL: Sunday midday (12:00... Read more...
Image
SHTA poll: Businesses want anti-ship-jumping legislation
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Click here for SHTA graph pdf PHILIPSBURG--The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association... Read more...
Image
Dominica’s tourism sector ready to welcome visitors after TS Erika
Friday, 16 October 2015
ROSEAU, Dominica--“Dominica is open for business and ready to welcome visitors to its shores.”... Read more...
Image
Reparations Committee: Withdraw Queens’ names from Suriname’s highest mountains
Thursday, 15 October 2015
PARAMARIBO--Suriname’s National Reparations Committee NRCS has filed a request with President... Read more...
Image
Ex-US House Speaker Hastert to plead guilty in hush-money case
Friday, 16 October 2015
CHICAGO--Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is expected to plead guilty in a hush-money case... Read more...
Image
Hillary Clinton to 'look hard' at Julian Castro as possible VP pick
Friday, 16 October 2015
WASHINGTON--Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton won the backing of Housing and Urban... Read more...
Image
Half a million Yemen children face severe malnutrition
Friday, 16 October 2015
GENEVA--More than half a million children in Yemen face life-threatening malnutrition as a risk of... Read more...
Image
Modi to open 70-year-old files in challenge to Gandhi dynasty
Friday, 16 October 2015
NEW DELHI--Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will seek to unravel one of India's most enduring... Read more...
Image
Cuba in cash crunch due to low commodity prices, Venezuela woes
Friday, 16 October 2015
HAVANA--Low commodity prices, a drought at home and Venezuela's economic crisis have created a cash... Read more...
Image
Apple's newest courtroom foe is patent-savvy university
Friday, 16 October 2015
NEW YORK--As a veteran of the global smart phone wars, Apple is used to courtroom battles with... Read more...
Image
Focus needs to be on fighting crime & helping unemployed
Friday, 16 October 2015
Dear Editor, With all of the political situation on the island, we can't lose focus on some of the... Read more...
Image
Had enough
Friday, 16 October 2015
Dear Queenie, My brother died years ago but his widow stayed close to our family. Eventually she... Read more...
Image
RBC St. Maarten Little League School Tournament
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Sister Marie Laurence defeated Leonald Conner in the RBC St. Maarten Little League School... Read more...
Image
Nadal trounces Wawrinka, Djokovic tames Tomic
Friday, 16 October 2015
CHINA-- Former world number one Rafa Nadal displayed more signs of a return to top form with a... Read more...
Image
Junk shop photo spurs quest to confirm Billy the Kid image
Friday, 16 October 2015
DENVER--For the $2 he spent to buy three old photographs, Randy Guijarro may have hit the mother... Read more...
Image
Few signs of improvement for NBA star Odom after collapse
Friday, 16 October 2015
LAS VEGAS--Pro basketball and reality TV star Lamar Odom spent a third day hospitalized on... Read more...
Image
Bruney cruises into retirement
Friday, 16 October 2015
~ After three decade in cruise industry ~   By Alita Singh   Frank Bruney has seen tiny... Read more...
Image
ALL HANDS ON DECK, WE MADE IT!
Friday, 16 October 2015
~ Fair Transport Sailing Vessel Nordlys is launched ~   St. Maarten has been graced by the... Read more...
Editorial - Anybody’s guess
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Governor Eugene Holiday has decided to seek legal clarity on the current constitutional impasse.... Read more...
Editorial - Time is up
Friday, 16 October 2015
With so much ongoing constitutional turmoil, the fact that more than 100 people attended the... Read more...
Image
Saturday Oct. 17, 2015
Friday, 16 October 2015
Image
Friday Oct. 16, 2015
Friday, 16 October 2015
Notices October 16
Friday, 16 October 2015
General Meeting St. Maarten Professional Softball Association (SMPSA) general meeting for the... Read more...
Notices October 15
Thursday, 15 October 2015
General Meeting S.M.P.S.A. general meeting for the softball season 2016 will be held at Sundial... Read more...