standing the test of time: The tallest clock tower in the world with the world’s largest clock face at the Abraj Al-Bait Towers overlooked the Grand Mosque and its expansion in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. More than 2 million pilgrims — about 1 million fewer than last year — performed the hajj, a central pillar of Islam. It is a four-day spiritual cleansing based on centuries of interpretation of the traditions of Prophet Mohammed.
Judge suspends sentence of opposition leader
An appeals court judge decided to suspend the five-year sentence handed down over the summer to Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption crusader and blogger whose role as Russia’s leading opposition politician was highlighted by an unexpectedly strong showing in a mayoral election last month. The ruling meant that Navalny will remain free — although prohibited from traveling outside his home city, Moscow. The decision left the sense that Navalny, 37, had won his freedom by defying expectations with the strong showing in the election in Moscow, elevating his status and cementing his role as the main political opponent of President Vladimir Putin. Navalny told reporters that although the ruling was a victory, it was “nothing to celebrate” because it would interfere in his political career. He could be prohibited from running from public office, and under terms similar to probation, any minor violation could prompt a judge to order Navalny to serve the whole term. A judge had sentenced Navalny on embezzlement charges in July in a trial widely denounced as rigged.
Airplane crashes into Mekong, killing 49
A Lao Airlines flight crashed into the Mekong River in southern Laos, killing all 49 people on board, the government said. A spokesman for Thailand’s foreign ministry, Sek Wannamethee, said the airline had told him that the passengers were from Laos, Vietnam, Australia, Canada, China, France, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States. The government statement said the plane ran into “extreme bad weather conditions.”
Path cleared for more Golden Dawn charges
As part of a widening effort to clamp down on violent extremism in Greece, the country’s Parliament moved on Wednesday to lift the immunity of six lawmakers of Golden Dawn, the neo-fascist anti-immigrant party prosecutors portray as a criminal organization involved in murder, attempted murder, blackmail and other crimes. The motion passed with an overwhelming majority of 246 votes in Greece’s 300-seat House, paving the way for a prosecutor to issue warrants for the arrest of the six. Three party leaders are in custody, and another member was arrested last month but released.
Motive behind dry ice bombs: Amusement
Police believe a baggage handler arrested after dry ice bombs exploded at Los Angeles International Airport set off the devices for his own amusement. Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Michael Downing disclosed the motive a day after the arrest of DiCarlo Bennett, 28, an employee for the ground handling company Servisair. Two bombs exploded Sunday night. A third did not detonate and was found Monday. No injuries were reported.
4 dead, 11 rescued after boat capsizes
At least four people died and 11 were rescued after a power boat carrying migrants from Haiti and Jamaica capsized off Miami. The Coast Guard told Miami Herald news partner CBS4 that the dead passengers were found in the water. Survivors were found clinging to the hull of the craft, Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney said. The Coast Guard conducted a search in the water and by air for additional survivors about 7 miles off Government Cut. Several of the people were tossed into the water and one man was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center for treatment. Others are in custody.