The Presidential Daily Brief

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    A Modern Building Boom Has Overtaken Mecca

    It’s a humbling transformation. High-rises, a $26.6 billion mosque upgrade and the world’s largest folding umbrellas now greet Muslims in the Saudi Arabian holy site, where all believers who can afford the trip are compelled to visit. The spread of air travel and rising incomes allowed 8 million pilgrims to make the trek last year. An Italian photographer captured the mix of commercialism and true faith on display at such sites in the modern age — selfies and all. Up next? New roads and rail to transport visitors even more efficiently.

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