Tragedy near Mecca. The Pope heads to Capitol Hill. And get ready for a very special supermoon.
It’s Thursday, and here are five things to know for your new day.
Tragedy: One of the last rituals of the season turned tragic this morning when more than 200 people were killed during a stampede. The incident occurred during the ritual known as “stoning the devil” in the tent city of Mina, about two miles from Mecca. The stampede left at least 450 wounded. This isn’t the first time this has happened. The ceremony was the scene of stampedes and hundreds of deaths in the 1980s and 1990s.
Day 3: It’s another big day for the Pope as he continues his first trip to the U.S. Francis starts his day off with something easy: an address to a joint session of Congress (another papal first!). Reactions from the Republican and Democratic lawmakers listening to his speech will be interesting to watch, as the Pope is sure to touch on all the hot buttons issues: immigration, climate change, abortion and income equality. After a stop to meet with the homeless at a Catholic Charitable Center, Francis heads to New York, where he’ll participate in evening prayers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Faith: The Constitution says religion really isn’t part of the conversation in picking a president, but don’t tell the GOP candidates that. Religion is all anyone seems to be talking about right now. In an interview yesterday, Mike Huckabee said he believes President Obama is a Christian — a fake one who “pretends … but then does things that makes it very difficult for people to practice their Christian faith.” So what about Ben Carson? The retired neurosurgeon suffered a backlash after he said he doesn’t want to see a Muslim in the White House, right? Not according to him. Carson said donations have been pouring in since he made the remarks over the weekend, adding that “it’s hard to even keep up with” the cash because it’s coming in so quickly.
Peace?: Colombia’s government and the leftist group FARC have been fighting since the 1960s. But yesterday concrete steps that could lead to a lasting peace were unveiled. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced a breakthrough peace commitment that sets the groundwork for a final accord within six months. The agreement establishes peace tribunals and a reconciliation commission. The two sides have been engaged in peace talks for about three years, a time marked by progress and setbacks. But this time, there’s a real sense of optimism, as evidenced in a tweet from Santos: “Peace is possible and is closer than ever!”
Super: What’s better than a lunar eclipse? A big, fat supermoon eclipse. That’s what the United States and much of the world will see Sunday night, when a big, bright moon — or at least it appears that way because it will be closer to the Earth — will be enveloped in a total lunar eclipse. This is the first time in 30 years we’ve had a supermoon-eclipse combo, and it won’t happen again until 2033. So Sunday night step outside, look up and enjoy the show!
By Doug Criss