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Worshippers pray around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site, at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, on the first day of the al-Adha feast celebrated by Muslims worldwide, on July 9, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

Hajj pilgrimage 

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Pilgrims are performing the final rituals of the Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. One of these rituals is Tawaf, or walking in procession around the Ka’aba seven times. Kaaba is the direction Muslims always face, while praying. Another ritual is the Stoning of the Devil in which pilgrims throw pebbles at a rock symbolizing the Satan. The rituals culminate in Eid al-Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice. On this day, animals are sacrificed to commemorate Prophet Abraham's decision to sacrifice his son in the name of God Almighty. Another essential part of the Hajj pilgrimage is the shaving of the head for men. Women will only cut the tips of their hair. Eid al-Adha is celebrated in Muslim countries around the world. The date varies by one day in different countries, depending on lunar sightings. Iranians are marking the occasion today.

Iran Uranium enrichment 

Iran says it has enriched uranium to a purity of 20-percent, using a cascade of advanced centrifuges it launched two weeks ago. The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran says this was the final technical stage in the process. He said Iran had in advance informed the UN nuclear agency of its plan to inject uranium gas into a cluster of IR-6 centrifuges at the Fordow facility. According to Behrouz Kamalvandi, the Western media started hyping up the issue, as soon as the the International Atomic Energy Agency verified Iran's enrichment. On Saturday, Reuters cited an IAEA report, which confirms Iran has increased enrichment, using advanced machines. The news agency once again highlighted Western concerns about Iran's nuclear program, despite acknowledging that Iran had indeed informed the agency of its enrichment plan. Tehran says the Western tactics are only meant to pressure it at the ongoing talks for the removal of sanctions.

Sri Lanka crisis 

It's the calm after storm in Sri Lanka, where anti-government protesters are in celebratory mood following the resignation of both the president and the prime minister. In the capital Colombo, protesters could still be seen milling around in president Gotabaya Rajapaksa's residence, after storming it a day earlier. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s private home was also set on fire in a rare public display of fury. That was a dramatic escalation of a months-long public anger over the government’s handling of a deepening economic crisis. The South Asian nation is facing chronic food and fuel shortages and a galloping inflation, which hit a record high of 54 percent in June. Despite the resignations, the chaos is far from over. Details of a transition of power and the complexion of the next government are still not clear. 

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