Close to 2 million people from around the world began performing the
first rites of the Islamic hajj pilgrimage on Saturday, which calls for
entering into a state of physical and spiritual purity and circling the
cube-shaped Kaaba with their palms facing upward in supplication and
Notably absent this year are Iranian pilgrims. Last year, some 64,000 Iranians took part in the hajj, but disputes with the Saudi government prompted Tehran to bar its citizens from taking part this year.
A boiler exploded and triggered a fire at a packaging factory near
Bangladesh's capital, leaving at least 12 people dead and 16 others
injured on Saturday, officials said.
Several bodies were recovered from the five-story Tampaco Foils Ltd. factory in the Tongi industrial area outside Dhaka, fire official Mohammed Rafiquzzaman said. A doctor on duty at the Tongi Hospital said nine bodies were in the mortuary as officials waited for family members to identify them.