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Rapid Reads: 6 Big stories of the day

Ashley Austrew is a freelance writer who loves tacos, Target and screen time. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, The Stir, Mommyish and more.

Dalai Lama in hot water, Pope Francis opts to eat with the homeless and more

It's almost Friday, but we're not quite there yet. While you're waiting, why not catch up on the latest news? Here are the top stories everyone will be talking about:

1. So sad

A stampede outside the holy city of Mecca has claimed at least 400 lives and injured 700 people, according to Saudi Arabian officials. Every year, millions of Muslims flock to the city as part of a sacred annual pilgrimage called the Hajj. This year's Hajj began on Tuesday, and close to two million people are taking part. Believe it or not, stampedes are fairly common. There was one in 2001 and another in 2004 — but this stampede was the deadliest since 2006, when 360 people were killed in the exact same area. — AP

More: Ben Carson's comments about a Muslim president cause a stir

2. Pope Rockstar

Pope Francis has only been in the U.S. for a day, and he's already making headlines for a series of "mic drop" moments. Yesterday, he called on leaders to address climate change immediately, made powerful statements about the humane treatment of migrants, reminded congress of the value of religious freedom and called for the eradication of global poverty and inequality. Oh, he also kissed a ton of babies, canonized the first Hispanic saint and announced that he'll dine with homeless people today rather than joining Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner for lunch. He really is the best pope ever. — Yahoo News

3. What is going on here?

Patrick Kane, a Chicago Blackhawks player, was accused of rape last month. Now, the case has taken a turn for the truly bizarre. Yesterday, the accuser's lawyer said a police evidence bag that once contained her rape kit mysteriously appeared on her mother's doorstep. The attorney alleges the bag is proof that evidence has been tampered with and is worried for the outcome of the investigation. Police did not substantiate the claims, but they are looking into it. Kane's lawyer mocked the whole situation and says he doesn't believe the bag has anything to do with the case. — Chicago Tribune

More: Rape starts and stops with men; it's that simple

4. Game on

The official 2016 presidential debate schedule has been released. Debates between the eventual Republican and Democratic nominees will take place on September 26, October 9 and October 19 of next year. They'll be at Wright State University, Washington University and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, respectively. Now that we've got that figured out, all we need to do is decide which candidates will be there. Totally easy, right? Ha.  — Huffington Post

More: A Democrat's hilarious reenactment of the second GOP debate

5. Shake it off

Remember all those studies that came out a few months ago saying you're pretty much going to die because you sit too much? Well, it turns out not all is lost. A study of 12,000 UK women found that many of the harmful effects of sitting could be reversed by fidgeting. The belief is that fidgeting might alter physiological processes, even though it's not as strenuous as exercise. Further studies are needed to confirm that theory, but in the meantime, get to wiggling. — The Guardian

6. Say it isn't so

The Dalai Lama is in hot water after making some surprising sexist remarks. In an interview yesterday, his Holiness was asked about the possibility of a female successor. He said it would be great — as long as she's hot. "The female must be attractive, otherwise she is not much use," he said. The interviewer asked if he was joking, to which he replied, "It's true." So, it turns out even female spiritual leaders need to be easy on the eyes. Does patriarchy know no bounds? — Telegraph

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