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Hundreds of tourists evacuated from Egypt hotel after two deaths

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Tour operator Thomas Cook is evacuating all of its customers from a hotel in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Hurghada after two Britons died there this week under unclear circumstances.

The move came after John and Susan Cooper, from Burnley, England, died while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic Hotel. They were on a holiday with other family members.

Their daughter, Kelly Ormerod, was with her parents and her three children when tragedy struck.

John Cooper, 69, died in his hotel room while her 63-year-old mother, a Thomas Cook employee, was taken to hospital, Ormerod said from Egypt.

“As a family we are devastated. Mum and Dad meant the world to me and the children, and we are in utter shock over what has happened and what is happening,” Ormerod told the Lancashire-based radio station 2BR. “Prior to going on holiday, Mum and Dad were fit and healthy. They had no health problems at all.”

Read Also: South Africa named the world’s top adventure destination for 2018

Thomas Cook said in a statement on Thursday that the “circumstances of their deaths are still unclear” and that it has “also received further reports of a raised level of illness among guests.”

The decision to evacuate 301 holiday makers from the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel is a “precautionary measure,” the company said, adding that the guests, of various nationalities, will be offered alternative hotels or the option to return home.

“We continue to work closely with the hotel and are supporting the authorities with their investigations,” it said. Customers due to arrive in the hotel in the next four weeks will be offered alternative options.

The Steigenberger Aqua Magic was last audited by Thomas Cook in July and received an overall score of 96 percent.

Culture

Ghanaian chef fails to break cook-a-thon world record

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An attempt by celebrity Ghanaian chef, Failatu Abdul-Razak, to break the Guinness World Record for the longest cooking marathon by an individual, has come to an end as the GWR says she violated the “rest break rules”.

Abdul-Razak had, in January, embarked on the task of breaking the world record of 119 hours and 57 minutes held by Irish chef, Alan Fisher.

She began the cook-a-thon at midnight on January 1, initially aiming to reach the finish line on the morning of January 5, but however ended the marathon on January 10, recording an overwhelming 227 hours, which appeared to have broken the world record.

However, in a statement on Sunday, the co-ordinator of Abdul-Razak’s challenge, Kafui Dey, said that her attempt at breaking the record “unfortunately fell short of meeting the stringent guidelines set forth by Guinness World Records.

“A statement from the Records Management Team cited a violation of the rest break rules, resulting in an unsuccessful attempt,” Dey said.

Also in a statement, GWR acknowledged Abdul-Razak’s efforts and encouraged future record proposals.

“We commend you for your tremendous efforts with this record attempt. We hope you can still be very proud of what you have achieved,” the statement stated.

Abdul-Razak who responded to the development in her own statement, expressed profound gratitude to her supporters and Ghanaians in general.

“While the outcome may not be what we anticipated, I am deeply thankful for the unwavering support from our sponsors and partners, as well as the encouragement from our fans. Your backing has been instrumental throughout this journey.

“Although this attempt did not result in a world record, it has been an invaluable experience. I am proud of the dedication and hard work put forth, and I am committed to continuing to push boundaries in the culinary world,” she added.

Abdul-Razak’s attempt to break the world record had caused widespread excitement across the West African country with top celebrities and politicians, including Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, lending her their support.

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Culture

Nigerian Afrobeats singer Asake in big trouble for controversial new video

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Nigerian Afrobeats sensation, Ahmed Ololade, popularly known as Asake, has come in for strong criticism as Christians in the country have lambasted him for allegedly making a mockery of Christianity in his latest video, “Only Me”.

In the viral video directed by top music director, TG Omori, Asake who is a Muslim, is seen dressed in priestly attire depicting a Catholic priest, while sitting behind a table altar.

Asake also dons a Christian regalia with a halo around his head while throwing at his dancers, also dressed up on Christian regalia.

The dancers are are also chanting the track’s refrain, repeating “we get money” over and over again, which critics say is a satire about charismatic preachers.

The video which was premiered on Thursday, has, however, generated wide criticised on social media with many calling for it to be banned as they see it as an insult to the Christian religion.

Those against the video have taken to social media to register their anger and condemnation.

An angry user on X fired the first shot when he wrote:

“Asake keeps disrespecting the Christian faith in his music videos.”

“Asake is mocking Christians with his blasphemous music video,” another user wrote on X.

“Shame on you man. I’m a big fan of your music but the depictions in this your latest video are absolutely insane” another said.

“Please bring down this video. This is an insult to our Christian faith. Do your music but respect people’s religions,” yet another angry fan wrote on Instagram.

This is, however, not the first time the Grammy-nominated singer will get himself into trouble for his use of Christian imagery in his music videos.

Last year, Asake came under a barrage of attacks for the video for “Bandana” which depicted black goats sitting in a church with people in the pews, each with a flame above their heads.

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