Iran, Morocco report highest death toll in Haj stampede

Updated 26 September 2015
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Iran, Morocco report highest death toll in Haj stampede

MINA: Twelve countries have claimed that their citizens were among the 719 pilgrims killed in Thursday’s Haj stampede in Mina, with Iran reporting 131 deaths.
Morocco had reported 87 dead, according to Moroccan media.
Saudi authorities have yet to provide a breakdown of the nationalities of the casualties.
The other countries that reported deaths among their pilgrims were Mali, 30; India, 14; Egypt, 8; Pakistan, 7; Senegal, 5; Turkey, 4; Algeria, Kenya and Indonesia, 3 each; and the Netherlands, 1.
A top Pakistani Haj official said 236 Pakistani pilgrims have remained missing after the stampede.
The Philippines reported six deaths, including one from the stampede and five from illness.
Egypt’s Religious Endowments Minister Mohammed Mokhtar Gomaa gave the state-run MENA news agency the death toll late Thursday night. He said another 30 Egyptians were injured.
On Twitter, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj gave the death toll Friday and said 13 Indians were injured in the crush and stampede near Mina. She says Indian volunteers are aiding local officials.
Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has expressed condolences and called for better management of the Haj crowds to prevent future disasters.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall called for an assessment on the organization and conditions of the pilgrimage, and said national discussions would be held to better organize the people sent from Senegal.
The Haj has drawn some 2 million people from over 180 countries this year.

(With input from Agencies)


Crown Prince: Future opportunities between Saudi Arabia and China are very big

Updated 19 min 34 sec ago
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Crown Prince: Future opportunities between Saudi Arabia and China are very big

  • Saudi Arabia and China signed economic cooperation agreements worth a total of $28 billion at a joint investment forum
  • The crown prince presided at a China-Saudi cooperation forum that concluded with 12 agreements on cooperation

RIYADH: Future opportunities between Saudi Arabia and China are very big, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Friday during his visit to China.

Citing a 32 percent increase in bilateral trade last year, the crown prince added that high-level contacts were paying off in areas from commerce to security and defense.
"Saudi Arabia's relations with China can be traced back a very long time in the past," Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told President Xi Jinping at their meeting in the Great Hall of the People in the heart of the Chinese capital.

Meanwhile, the Chinese president stressed his country's keenness on joint efforts with Saudi Arabia to support strategic relations between the two countries. He added that there has been coordination with Saudi Arabia on international and regional issues in recent years. 

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The crown prince earlier Friday presided at a China-Saudi cooperation forum that concluded with 12 agreements on cooperation in fields ranging from petroleum and the chemical industry to investment, renewable energy and counter-terrorism. Saudi Arabia is one of China's top crude oil suppliers and an important market for its exports.

Saudi Arabia and China also signed economic cooperation agreements worth a total of $28 billion at a joint investment forum. 35 agreements had been signed at the forum, held by Saudi Arabia’s investment agency SAGIA. Four licenses for Chinese companies were awarded at the forum.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also pledged Saudi Arabia's backing for China's gargantuan "belt and road" infrastructure project, saying he was willing to link it with the kingdom's Vision 2030 plans— a blueprint put forth by the crown prince to wean the kingdom off its reliance on oil, particularly as sustainable sources of energy become cheaper and more popular.
The Crown Prince's visit follows trips to India and Pakistan, which send millions of laborers to Saudi Arabia and are seeking closer economic ties.