🌏Hot Hot Hajj

Plus: Wagner’s mercenary “protest” and PwC’s Aussie woes

Muslim pilgrims perform the Umrah at the Holy Kaaba, as they start arriving to perform the annual haj at the Grand Mosque, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, June 25, 2023.
Muslim pilgrims circle the Holy Kaaba at the start of the hajj.
Photo: Mohamed Abd El Ghany TPX (Reuters)

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Here’s what you need to know

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The first post-pandemic hajj could be the largest ever 

The annual pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia runs now through July 1. The Saudi government limited the size of the hajj during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic; officials expect this year’s observances to break records.

The hajj, by the numbers:

2.5 million: The number of Muslims forecast to visit the holy sites in Saudi Arabia, after the 2022 pilgrimage was capped at 1 million participants, and 2021 held to just 59,000.


112 °F (44°C): The temperature forecast during this year’s pilgrimage.

32,000: The number of health workers on standby to treat pilgrims suffering heat-related and other injuries.


$12 billion: A 2018 estimate of the annual revenue earned by Saudi Arabia during the hajj.

30 million: The annual number of pilgrims Saudi Arabia hopes to host by 2030.

Where is the cheapest gasoline in the US?

Gas prices were a big part of the inflation story in 2022, and they’re a big part of the disinflation story now.


In the US, the current national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.58, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). That is $1.43 less than this time in 2022. Still, prices are higher than they were in previous years: Gas has averaged $2.95 per gallon since 2018.

Image for article titled 🌏Hot Hot Hajj
Graphic: Clarisa Diaz

Despite the onset of summer—a traditional time for road trips—demand for gasoline has fallen this year. Read our story to find out the surprising reason why.

The scourge of the giant African land snail

Image for article titled 🌏Hot Hot Hajj
Photo: Florida Department of Agriculture Division of Plant Industry (Reuters)

The state of Florida now has three different quarantines in effect against the snail, despite having declared the invader eradicated in 1966 and 2011. Capable of laying up to 1,200 eggs in a year and growing as large as a human fist, this mollusk can consume at least 500 plant species and spread infectious diseases. Native to east Africa, it has spread around the world and is considered an invasive species in the US.

Now, the gluttonous gastropod has joined the ranks of noted animal invaders that include the Burmese python, Lionfish, the Asian giant hornet, Snakehead fish, Green iguanas, the Asian lady beetle, “demon shrimp,” the kudzu vine, and Pablo Escobar’s hippos.


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