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World’s Biggest Hotel to Open in Mecca in 2017

Originally posted on TIME:

The world’s biggest hotel is set to open in Mecca in 2017, offering an unprecedented level of luxury to travelers and royalty alike in Saudi Arabia.

The Abraj Kudai will cost about $3.6 billion, featuring 10,000 bedrooms, 70 restaurants and four helipads, the Guardian reported on Friday. At 45 stories tall, the desert fortress-style hotel boasts 12 towers atop a 10-story podium, which contains a bus station, food courts, a shopping mall and an extravagant ballroom. But five floors will be off limits to the most guests — they’re reserved exclusively for the Saudi royal family.

The Abraj Kudai was funded by the Saudi Ministry of Finance and designed by the Dar al-Handasah group.

[Guardian]

[time-brightcove videoid=3819876609001]

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Actress and Comedian Anne Meara, Mom of Ben Stiller, Dies at 85

Originally posted on TIME:

Actress and comedian Anne Meara, who gained fame as half of the comedy team Stiller & Meara and went on to star in TV and film, has died. She was 85.

Her husband, Jerry Stiller, and son Ben Stiller say Meara died Saturday. No other details were provided.

The Stiller family released a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday describing Jerry Stiller as Meara’s “husband and partner in life.”

“The two were married for 61 years and worked together almost as long,” the statement said.

The couple performed as Stiller & Meara on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and other programs in the 1960s and won awards for the radio and TV commercials they made together.

Read the rest of the story at NBCNews.com.

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5 Days, 5,000 Miles, Fueled Only by the Sun: Solar Impulse Readies for Pacific Crossing

Originally posted on TIME:

On Tuesday morning local time, a Swiss man named André Borschberg will take off from an airport in Nanjing, China, and fly for roughly 120 hours straight. He will travel east and south across the vast Pacific, spending days and nights over deep, dark sea as he hurtles toward Hawaii in an airplane powered by the sun.

An airplane powered by the sun? It’s the type of thing we dreamed about as children — running with our arms outstretched, circling like birds on the breeze. Kids love airplanes and astronauts — even airports, the bane of adults. Grown-ups tend to prefer our feet firmly planted. We’ve lost sight of the magic: a plane is a plane.

Borschberg and fellow pilot Bertrand Piccard want to restore our sense of wonder, which is why they’ve spent more than a decade preparing to fly their fuelless aircraft, Solar Impulse 2, around the…

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Hundreds Are Dying in a Blistering Heat Wave Sweeping Across India

Originally posted on TIME:

An intense heat wave that has driven daytime temperatures as high as 118°F (48°C) in parts of India has claimed over 400 lives.

The toll is the highest in the southeastern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, according to the Hindustan Times newspaper, which cited an official from Andhra Pradesh’s disaster-management department, who said the state had recorded nearly 250 deaths between Wednesday and Sunday.

In Telangana, state authorities reported 186 heat-related deaths since mid-April, with most being reported in recent days as temperatures spiked across the region. The highest reading was in Telangana’s Khamman district, where the temperature rose to 118°F on Sunday.

“Almost all the victims are old. Inquiries reveal that most of them were working and were exposed to the heat. Dehydration and heat stroke caused the deaths,” B.R. Meena, a senior Telangana state official, told the Indian Express newspaper.

“Elderly people, laborers, beggars and people…

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Detailed Online Allegations About Josh Duggar Were Made Years Ago

Originally posted on TIME:

In May 2007, an online commenter, known simply as Alice, published a detailed account on a blog at ibiblio.org alleging that Josh Duggar had a history of molesting young girls, PEOPLE reports.

Late last week, the 19 Kids and Counting star acknowledged that he had acted “inexcusably.” Duggar has since resigned from the Family Research Council and TLC has yanked19 Kids and Counting from its official schedule.

According to PEOPLE, Alice alleged that Duggar was a “child molestor” and said that “he should be removed from the home.”

Read more at PEOPLE

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Firefighter Dies as Floods Hit Oklahoma, Texas

Originally posted on TIME:

(WIMBERLEY, Texas)—Flooding in Texas and Oklahoma has led to numerous evacuations and rescues and the death of a firefighter.

The heavy rains were pushing into eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma on Sunday morning.

Rogers County Emergency Management spokesman Thomas Hudson says a firefighter in the northeast Oklahoma town of Claremore died early Sunday after being swept away by floodwaters during a rescue. And residents in Cleveland and Comanche counties in Oklahoma had to be rescued from attics and roofs.

In Central Texas, rain caused the Blanco River in Hays County to rise to a record level Saturday, forcing authorities to evacuate residents.

Hays County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeri Skrocki says numerous rescues were conducted in the community of Wimberley, about 40 miles southwest of Austin. No serious injuries were reported.

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