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Tests show E coli killed British tourist couple in Egypt



The deaths of a British couple who were staying at a hotel in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Hurghada were caused by E coli bacteria, according to test results released by Egypt’s chief prosecutor on Wednesday.

John Cooper, 69, had acute intestinal dysentery caused by E coli, and 63-year-old Susan Cooper had haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), probably because of E coli, said the Egyptian general prosecutor Nabil Sadek.

He said the couple’s bodies showed “no criminal violence”; other tests on air and water at the hotel found nothing unusual. Thomas Cook evacuated 300 guests from the hotel as a precaution.

Their daughter, Kelly Ormerod, who was with them the night before they died, has said they used perfume to mask a strange odour in the room.

The forensic report denied there had been any leakage of harmful gases into the room. However, it detailed how the “unknown smell” noticed by Ormerod was “due to a leak of insecticide used in the next room”.

The report added that the insecticide, lambda-cyhalothrin, a chemical commonly used to control pests in home gardening or in agriculture to prevent insects eating crops, was safe to use, and denied that it had anything to do with the deaths.

The report added that the postmortems showed John Cooper died from a cardiac arrest after blockages to an estimated 80% of the veins in his heart. He also tested positive for the E coli bacteria, which caused the vomiting and diarrhoea he experienced shortly before his death. The report adds that he had consumed alcohol and hash, a kind of marijuana. There is no indication in the report that either contributed to his death.

Read also: Hundreds of tourists evacuated from Egypt hotel after two deaths

Susan Cooper is detailed in the report as suffering from Hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition that affects blood vessels and blood, and often occurs after people are infected with E coli. The report mentions that it was suggested that she contracted E coli “as she was staying with her husband and had eaten the same food”.

The report also states that at 11.30am on the day they died, the Coopers’ daughter called doctors in the hotel to examine her parents. John Cooper was experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting and the “doctors gave him medicine they thought was appropriate, this being Ringer’s solution (rehydration salts) and a dexamethasone injection, a corticosteroid”. His condition worsened and he died in his room.

Ormerod said she had “no faith” in the Egyptian authorities’ claims, saying she wanted more transparency and would wait for the results of tests done by the UK Home Office before coming to any conclusions about how her parents died.

“Thomas Cook put a report out that there were high levels of E coli at the hotel. Whether the Egyptians have honed in on that, I have no idea.”

She expressed doubt that anyone could die so shortly after exposure to the bacteria, accusing the Egyptian authorities of seeking a quick answer in order to protect the nation’s tourism industry.

“I don’t know what tests they have done. The report I have seen, from the media, not sent to me, was very, very brief … Exactly what have they tested for?”


Sudan recalls Ambassador from Addis Ababa after accusing Ethiopia of executing soldiers



Sudan has recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia after accusing the Ethiopian army of executing seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian who had been held in captivity.

The Sudanese military had said on Sunday that the Ethiopian soldiers had executed the captives and displayed their bodies in public while negotiations were ongoing for their release, promising that there would be “an appropriate response” to the execution.

“It is an act that contravenes all laws and customs of war and international humanitarian law, the Ethiopian army executed seven Sudanese soldiers and a citizen who were their captives.

“This treacherous act will not pass without a response,” the Sudanese military said.

The Ethiopian government however, denied complicity by its military in the killing of the Sudanese soldiers, blaming the Sudanese forces for crossing into its territory and provoking a clash.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Addis Ababa, issued a statement expressing regret over the incident but said Ethiopia has been misrepresented.

“The Government of Ethiopia categorically rejects the misrepresentation of these facts by the Sudanese defense forces that unjustly put the blame on Ethiopia, while it was the Sudanese army unit that crossed (over) the Ethiopian border, provoking the incident.”

But in an announcement late Monday, Sudan said it would recall its envoy from Addis Ababa as well as summon the Ethiopian ambassador from Khartoum.

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Uganda’s Government changes position, invites striking art teachers for negotiations



The Ugandan government has made a turn on its decision to sack all arts teachers involved in the industrial action.

The change in position comes barely days after the government threatened to dismiss the teachers. Minister Raphael Magyezi had revealed that the government had reached a final position to have Arts striking teachers sacked if they do not get back to class.

The government backed down and invited the leaders of the tutors’ union for negotiations to end the ongoing strike that has paralysed learning in public schools for two weeks now.

Art teachers across Uganda downed tools last week, threatening to throw the country’s education sector into yet another crisis, a few months after schools came out of two years of a shutdown that kept thousands of learners at home.

The general secretary of the Uganda Professional Science Teachers Union, Mr Aron Mugaiga, had advised the leadership of the Uganda National Teachers Union (Unatu) to encourage their art counterparts to return to class.

“I urge members to go back and teach because if they continue with the industrial action, the lost time will never be recovered when the government affects their pay enhancement. I believe the doors for negotiations are still open,” Mr Mugaiga said.

The ongoing strike is just five months after Uganda reopened schools following a two-year closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has already caused outrage as more than eight million children in public schools miss out on learning.

Over 300 percent pay increment was allocated for science teachers in Uganda’s budget for the 2022/23 financial year, which starts in July but the allocation does not include arts and humanities teachers.

It is not uncommon to see prolonged industrial actions in Africa. Elsewhere in the continent, Nigeria, University teachers have been on strike since February over salary related agreement the academic union had with the government in 2009.

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