Today’s edition of quick hits:
* The death toll in Saudi Arabia: “More than 700 people died and at least 800 were injured in a stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage outside the holy city of Mecca on Thursday, Saudi Arabian officials said.”
* Yemen: “Suicide bombings at a mosque killed at least 25 people here on Thursday during prayers to commemorate the beginning of Eid al-Adha, a major Muslim holiday, Interior Ministry officials said.”
* Capitol Hill: “Senate Democrats on Thursday blocked a spending bill that would have averted a government shutdown at the end of the month and cut off funding for embattled women’s health group Planned Parenthood.” (Note: the vote wasn’t close.)
* Colombia: “Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of the FARC rebel group announced a major breakthrough Wednesday in peace talks, bringing the country to the verge of ending one of the world’s longest-running wars. The dramatic announcement came in Havana, where the two sides began formal negotiations in 2012 on ending the 50-year-old conflict.”
* Oh, to be a fly on the wall: “President Obama has decided to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in New York next week, if it can be arranged, for their first face-to-face encounter in nearly a year as tension rises over the civil war in Syria, American officials said on Wednesday.” Putin requested the meeting, not Obama.
* This week’s other important visitor to the nation’s capital: “China will get its second state dinner with President Barack Obama when its president, Xi Jinping, visits the White House Friday.”
* Unacceptable: “The news director of a Chicago TV station apologized after a staff member mistakenly chose a symbol of Nazi Germany to illustrate a story about Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.