December 29, 2006 |
Two million Muslims began streaming out of Mecca in cars, vans and on foot at the start of their hajj, or pilgrimage. The white-robed pilgrims poured into a tent city in the plain of Mina to begin the five-day ritual, which is required at least once for every Muslim able to make the trip. With such large crowds, Saudi Arabia normally deploys more than 50,000 security personnel to try to prevent deadly stampedes and attacks by Islamists fighting the U.S.-allied government.
September 29, 2006 |
Today, Monterey Bay Aquarium; tomorrow, the world. Or, at least, the White Shark Cafe. To be sure, the young great white that is luring visitors by the thousands to this waterfront city's popular tourist attraction has a far more exciting future in store, if he can survive into adulthood. After outgrowing the Outer Bay exhibit in a few months, he'll swim to Southern California and spend a year or more preying upon rays, halibut and other fish.
September 9, 2006 |
Tens of thousands of Shiite Muslim pilgrims headed to a shrine city south of the capital Friday amid heavy security as the daily toll of casualties mounted in a sectarian war without respite. No major attacks were reported against the multitudes destined for Karbala, where today they celebrate the birthday of a revered imam who disappeared a millennium ago.
September 2, 2006 |
About 400 supporters of broader immigrant rights streamed out of Chinatown Square at noon Friday to kick off a four-day journey that will end at the district office of House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert in Batavia. The activists carried a message on T-shirts and placards: Immigrants' interests matter.
August 21, 2006 |
Gunmen took aim at multitudes of Shiite Muslim worshipers marching through this besieged capital Sunday, killing at least 22 and leaving hundreds injured in a vivid illustration of the sectarian violence driving Iraq toward open civil war. Panicked pilgrims, including women in full-length black robes, scattered in terror as opportunistic gunmen fired from positions on rooftops, inside buildings and on the streets.
May 28, 2006 |
Some of Japan's corporate heavy hitters have set aside their usual caution and begun to demand that senior politicians stop making pilgrimages to Yasukuni Shrine, saying the visits to the controversial Tokyo war memorial threaten crucial economic ties with China. "It's not good to continue with this irritating situation -- like having a fish bone stuck in our throat," Canon Inc. Chairman Fujio Mitarai told reporters last week upon assuming leadership of the powerful Japan Business Federation.
December 26, 2005 |
The congregation of First Emmanuel Baptist Church drove from Baton Rouge, La., Houston and other points far and wide on Christmas, then walked past collapsed buildings and piles of storm wreckage to worship in their church for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. "This means everything. We've come home," said Lila Southall, wife of the church's minister. "My house is gone, but I'm still home for Christmas."
December 25, 2005 |
Thousands of tourists and pilgrims gathered here for Christmas Eve celebrations, bringing a long-missing sense of holiday cheer to the town where Christians believe Jesus was born. Spirits were buoyed this year by Israel's summer withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and a sharp drop in violence. Throughout the day, choirs, marching bands and bagpipe players entertained the crowds.
October 30, 2005 |
SOMEDAY I would like to see the Empty Quarter in the Arabian Desert; the Syrian trading entrepot Aleppo; the ancient Persian capital of Esfahan; Central Asia's Tien Shan mountains; Borobudur Temple on the island of Java; the Vale of Kashmir in the Himalayas; Mecca; all the great sights of Dar al-Islam, historically a broad swath of Eurasia and Africa that was converted and colonized by followers of Muhammad.
October 16, 2005 |
India's summer monsoon had started to taper off when I climbed the bank from the chai-colored Hooghly River to the railroad bed. Pottery shards and other detritus littered the stones between the railway ties, and it was there that I found a relic, my most sentimental acquisition from the trip: a kulhar, or earthenware tea cup, discarded from a moving locomotive, as is the custom. Miraculously, the vessel had survived intact.