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The Hajj is the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the holy city for Muslims.

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and is a necessary undertaking for Muslims around the world.

Anwar Tambe is in Saudi Arabia. Here he tells Sky News of his experience at The Hajj.

People people everywhere.

More and more people are making the journey each year
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More and more people are making the journey each year

The largest annual gathering of humanity – known as The Hajj – is under way, centring in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca.

Everything about it is gargantuan. The crowds for a start, there are at least four million here. They are housed in high-rise hotels dominated by the – yes, gargantuan – Mecca Tower complex.

According to the Saudi paper Arab News, the plan is to bring in 10 million pilgrims (Hajis) by 2030. The Saudis are literally knocking down mountains to build hotels.

The Haj centres on Mecca
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The Hajj centres on Mecca, which is constantly building to cater for more pilgrims

The length, breadth and depth of the spread of the religion of Islam this century is apparent here – more so than my first Hajj 16 years ago.

It is incumbent on every Muslim to go on the pilgrimage if they have the means to do so.

And it seems more and more people from just about every corner of the world can afford the journey – which in the UK can cost anything between £5,000 and £20,000 for a top-end package.

Vast tented cities dominate the areas outside Mecca
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Vast tented cities dominate the areas outside Mecca

I’ve seen large contingents from the poorer nations from all the continents; from African countries such as Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad – along with people from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

The turnout from the developed nations is also increasing.

Most pilgrims also spend time in the beautiful city of Medina visiting and praying in prophet’s mosque (Masjid Nabawi) which holds about 600,000 people.

Anwar Tambe is at the Hajj in Saudi Arabia
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Anwar Tambe is at The Hajj in Saudi Arabia

The atmosphere there is much calmer than the organised chaos of Mecca’s big mosque (Masjid al Haram). It has a capacity of around 1.5 million, at least 15 times the size of Wembley, and is still growing.

I am currently in the vast tented city of Mina, just outside Mecca.

My tent is next to the one from the US. The Australians and French are also here.

The pilgrims have now donned the two pieces of unstitched clothing, called the Ihram.

The austere garments are a symbol of the equality of all pilgrims – rich or poor. Women can wear normal modest clothing covered from head to toe.

All Hajis are now focused on the climax of the Hajj, when all the millions wearing white gather in the plains of Arafat in searing 45C (113F) heat to pray for salvation for themselves, their relatives, friends and even strangers.

It’ll be an awesome sight.

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Pilot caught on high-voltage power line after fighter jet crash

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A pilot is stuck on a high-voltage electricity line in western France after a Belgian fighter jet crashed.

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School kids suing US government over climate change | US News

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In the beautiful state of Oregon an almighty legal row with international implications is unfolding.

That’s because four years ago a group of 21 children and young people decided to sue the US government over climate change.

When the lawsuit was first lodged in a federal court in Eugene, no one thought it would get very far.

kelsey juliana - rushes from htp vt
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Kelsey Juliana is the lead plaintiff


Robin Loznak / Our Children's Trust
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A group of 21 children and young people decided to sue the US government over climate change. Pic: Robin Loznak / Our Children’s Trust

But against all the odds, both the Obama and Trump administrations have tried and failed to get it thrown out.

Now the case is at a critical juncture, with an appeals court due to make a decision about whether or not it can proceed to trial.

The lawsuit has become known as Juliana versus The United States, after Kelsey Juliana, the lead plaintiff.

She said: “When I first got involved in climate litigation I was 14 years old and I didn’t even know what a plaintiff was!”

But she finds herself as the face of a case that could decide whether or not there is a constitutional right to a safe and stable climate.

Ms Juliana said: “We want this right established because we as young people have been and are still feeling the effects of climate destabilisation in our daily lives, in our homes and in our prospects of a future and a stable reliable future.

“We want our government to act on the most pressing issue of our time, we do not want money.”

She says her generation feels let down by politicians.

“I feel extreme disappointment.

“Because growing up, you’re told that adults are supposed to protect children, adults are supposed to look out for children, adults are supposed to have your best interests at mind.

“They are supposed to create healthy systems and raise healthy children.









School kids are suing the US government over climate change.

“And the government has neglected children and all future generations to such a high degree that it is beyond anger and it is just extreme disappointment.”

On Jacob Lebel’s family farm in the hills outside Eugene, he is already seeing the effects of our warming planet.

He said: “What we can see now is insect outbreaks and trees dying in vast numbers – about three quarters of the forest – and we’re wondering, ‘What is this going to look like?’

“The whole idea of this case is that the United States government has known about climate change and what burning fossil fuel does to our planet, and it has known about the best science for nearly 60 years.

Jacob Lebel - climate change case in US - HTP rushes
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Jacob Lebel’s family farm is already seeing the effects of the warming planet

“And they’ve continued to support, subsidise and perpetuate a fossil fuel national energy system.

“This is a direct attack on the lives of the youngest and most vulnerable citizens of this country.”

If their case is successful and the court decides that the government has violated its citizens’ rights to a safe and stable climate, then it can insist that lawmakers come up with a science-backed policy to better tackle the climate crisis.

America is already one of the world’s biggest polluters but this would be quite a change for the Trump administration, which is pulling out of the Paris climate accord and is actively promoting the fossil fuel industry.

The Department of Justice has argued that the case is unconstitutional, and that a single court in Oregon should not be able to direct a nation’s climate and energy policy.

But Julia Olson, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, is hoping that Juliana versus The United States could change the course of American history.

Julia Olson - htp rushes
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Julia Olson is the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs

She said: “That’s the aim of this case, to get a decision like the decision that ended segregation in this country.

“We needed that Supreme Court decision at that time and we need the court to weigh in on this issue of climate destruction that our government is sanctioning.

“Young people can see clearly in ways that sometimes adults are blinded. They are closer to truth and fairness and justice and they have so much at stake.

“They are asking for more adults to stand with them and to lead with them and to use their abilities and their power to change the way we are powering our world.

“And they deserve that, and every adult who can should be standing with them.”

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Trump visits ‘virtually impenetrable’ US-Mexico border wall | US News

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President Donald Trump has visited a newly constructed section of his US-Mexico border wall, describing it as “virtually impenetrable”.

He signed his name on the wall while touring a section in San Diego’s Otay Mesa area.

The US president previously visited the site in 2018 to see border wall prototypes, but they have since been knocked down in favour of a 30ft high steel and concrete barrier.

President Trump signs his name on the wall
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President Trump signs his name on the wall

He was joined by construction workers and top border protection, army and homeland security officials.

Mr Trump had much praise for the wall, telling reporters that it absorbs heat – “You can fry an egg on that wall” – and the concrete goes 6ft into the ground to prevent tunnelling.

Agents can also see through the wall to stop possible threats from the Mexican side of the border, the president said.

“When the wall is built, it will be virtually impossible to come over illegally, and then we’re able to take border control and put them at points of entry,” he added.

Mr Trump said he had been persuaded by border patrol and military officials to use more expensive designs for the wall, describing it as the “Rolls-Royce version”.

Border wall between US and Mexico
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So far, 66 miles of wall have been built

He opted for double-layered barriers at popular checkpoints and concrete-filled steel bollards instead of solid concrete.

So far, 66 miles of wall have been built with 251 miles in various stages of construction at 17 sites and contracts for 163 miles planned in the next 90 days, according to Army Corps Lt Gen Todd Semonite.

The Pentagon recently diverted $3.6bn (£2.9bn) from military construction projects to help build barriers on the border.

The Mexican government has sent tens of thousands of troops to its borders to help stem the flow of migrants heading to the US.

President Trump said Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had “been great”, adding: “You know Mexico has never done anything to impede people from pouring into our country and now they’re doing just the opposite.

“They’ve really been incredible.”

The wall is 30ft high and made of steel and concrete
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The wall is 30ft high and made of steel and concrete

But the US president said there was still a national emergency regarding border security.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, he had promised that Mexico would pay for the wall.

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