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Muslims circle the Kaaba inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

REUTERS/Hassan Ali

Hard Numbers: Hajj returns, Italy roasts, euro plunges, Ukraine appeal succeeds

1 million: More than one million pilgrims are expected in Mecca this week to perform the Hajj, an obligation for all Muslims at least once in their lifetimes. This is the first time since the onset of the pandemic Saudi authorities have allowed the annual event to take place.

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People participate in the March for Our Lives on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

What We're Watching: US gun-control deal, Indian protests, Macron's majority, Biden goes to Saudi

US Senate reaches compromise on guns

On Sunday, a group of 20 US senators announced a bipartisan framework on new gun control legislation in response to the recent wave of mass shootings. The proposal includes more background checks, funding for states to implement "red-flag" laws so they can confiscate guns from dangerous people, and provisions to prevent gun sales to domestic violence offenders. While the deal is much less ambitious than the sweeping ban on assault weapons and universal background checks President Joe Biden called for after the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, it's a rare bipartisan effort in a deeply divided Washington that seeks to make at least some progress on gun safety, an issue on which Congress has been deadlocked for decades. Biden said these are "steps in the right direction" and endorsed the Senate deal but admitted he wants a lot more. The announcement came a day after thousands of Americans held rallies on the National Mall in the capital and across the country to demand tougher gun laws. Will the senators be able to turn the framework into actual legislation before the momentum passes?

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Muslim pilgrims at the centre of the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca during the annual hajj pilgrimage.


Hard Numbers: Mecca open for hajj, Gambian polls, Ukraine’s GDP, taxidermy confiscation

1 million: Saudi authorities will allow 1 million pilgrims to visit Mecca for hajj this summer. Last year, just 60,000 Saudi-based pilgrims were allowed to attend the event because of ongoing pandemic restriction

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Indonesia's top terrorist convict Abu Bakar Bashir released from prison

January 09, 2021 5:00 AM

Indonesia's top terrorist convict Abu Bakar Bashir, the spiritual leader of South-east Asia's terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), was released from prison early yesterday.

Indonesian agency freezes bank accounts related to outlawed hardline group FPI

January 07, 2021 3:45 PM

(THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Indonesia's anti-money laundering agency has temporarily frozen bank accounts belonging to the recently outlawed Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and its affiliated groups on suspicion of money laundering.

Malaysians blast federal agency, minister over halal meat scandal

January 03, 2021 5:00 AM

A federal Islamic agency is facing a public backlash over a scandal involving tainted meat and cakes sold in halal-certified shops.

President Joko says Indonesia operates on rule of law after controversial preacher's arrest

December 13, 2020 10:48 PM

JAKARTA - President Joko Widodo said on Sunday (Dec 13) that Indonesia operates on the rule of law that is enforced on everyone to protect the people and nation, a day after police arrested controversial Islamist preacher Rizieq Shihab.

Hardline Indonesian cleric Rizieq arrested over alleged lockdown breaches: Lawyer

December 12, 2020 9:02 PM

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesian Islamic cleric Rizieq Shihab was arrested in Jakarta on Saturday (Dec 12) on suspicion of having breached coronavirus restrictions by holding events that drew thousands of followers in the city, his lawyer said.

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