"Mind-numbing tragedy at Mecca," tweets The Hill's Ian Swanson, after a stampede in the Saudi Arabia holy site left more than 700 dead and hundreds more injured. It's far from the first time such a tragedy has occurred there, either. "Another hajj tragedy as death toll leaps by the hundreds," observes Isabel Kershner with the New York Times. Colleague Sewell Chan is calling it "likely the deadliest hajj accident since 1990, when 1,426 pilgrims died in Mecca-Mina tunnel." In fact, it's not even the first time this year. "2nd high-fatality disaster at Mecca this year may give impression Saudi gov. not tending to the basics," suggests Ellen Knickmeyer. "As global middle-class grows, so has number of Muslims making the pilgrimage-world's largest regular human migration," points out Al-Monitor's Laura Rozen. Robert Faturechi at ProPublica notices, "Saudi govt has deflected blame by citing Islamic doctrine that anyone who dies during the pilgrimage goes to heaven."
In other breaking news, The Guardian reports a counter-terrorism scholar stands accused of being a terrorist for reading a book on terrorism. "Much of the west is drowning in collective hysteria, paranoia and neurosis," concludes The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald. Plus, the American intelligence analyst who publicly decried the initial Iraq invasion is once again raising red flags about the country's progress. "He criticized plans for the Iraq invasion. Now he's at the center of a fight over whether ISIS intel is being cooked," elaborates NYT's Matt Apuzzo. And while this is going on, Russian president Vladimir Putin is rumored to be planning an Islamic State strike with or without the U.S. "Could Canada end up allied w Russia vs ISIS?" pointedly asks Jorge Barrera.
Other controversies you should know: the hacker collective attacking targets in an area of strategic interest to the U.S. was traced to China's military. "ICYMI...Setting the table for Xi's White House visit today," Wall Street Journal's Alex Martin connects the dots. Also, Ecuador's president reportedly used millions of dollars in public funds just to censor naysayer's online videos. "Fascinating from @jamesrbuk & @PaulHamilos on how a Latin American government used copyright law to suppress dissent," praises BuzzFeed boss Ben Smith. Oh, and in case you were wondering why that "White Guy" who "settled" downtown Brooklyn lashed out at that stroller couple, Gothamist has you covered.
Less controversial but no less important: the full remarks for Pope Francis addressing Congress.