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Bodies are piling up in Ghana’s morgues as families resist smaller Covid-era burials

“We are running out of space,” the hospital’s director, Dr. Frank Baning, told CNN at the facility based in the northern part of Ghana’s Greater Accra region.Since the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to large public gatherings, relatives have opted to store corpses of their loved ones in morgues for longer than usual until they…

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Bodies are piling up in Ghana’s morgues as families resist smaller Covid-era burials

“We are running out of space,” the hospital’s director, Dr. Frank Baning, told CNN at the facility based in the northern part of Ghana’s Greater Accra region.

Since the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to large public gatherings, relatives have opted to store corpses of their loved ones in morgues for longer than usual until they can hold a proper funeral.

“It has been difficult because there are not many other mortuaries around to hold the bodies,” Baning said.

‘Only if we are forced’

Ghanaian funerals usually last several days and up to a week in some parts. They are deeply symbolic ceremonies involving thousands of mourners to celebrate the life of the deceased.

So it was a bitter pill to swallow for many, when the country’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, imposed the ban on large gatherings.

He offered an alternative: perform a private burial with no more than 25 guests.

Ghana currently has more than 6,486 cases of the coronavirus and 31 deaths have been confirmed, according to latest figures from the health ministry. Earlier this month, Akufo-Addo extended the restriction of public gatherings until May 31.
A few families have taken this route, but by and large, many relatives have opted to wait until the ban is lifted to bury their loved ones.
Ghana's lavish funerals can last up to seven days. Now, a centuries-old tradition has gone online

Chris Awuyah, a Ghanaian professor based in the United States, lost his uncle in Ghana to natural causes in February.

“Over 2,000 people were expected to be present at his funeral,” he told CNN. All of that changed when government restrictions prevented the funeral from happening as planned.

“A large part of funerals is about bringing families together. That matters to us,” says Awuyah, whose deceased 87-year-old uncle, Jonas Awuyah, was considered the head of the family.

“We are hopeful we can have a proper funeral for him.”

He acknowledges that his family still has not come to a definitive conclusion as to whether to bury his uncle privately or postpone the burial to a later date. But he hinted that he is willing to wait for as long as possible until a proper funeral can be planned.

“The only way we will hold [the funeral] privately is if our hands are tied and we are forced. We dread having to make this decision.”

A risk to health workers

Meanwhile, at Pantang, some have expressed concern because the number of bodies at its morgue has created congestion, posing a health risk to workers serving on the front lines.

Thomas Awuku has worked at Pantang’s morgue for 27 years. According to the World Health Organization, there are risks for those handling dead bodies “if the deceased are infected with [a] highly infectious disease.”

Awuku told CNN that the hospital has taken all proper measurements to ensure the safety of its workers “and will keep the bodies we already have as a respect to the families.”

In Ghana, what you do defines you in life... and death
Despite the overflow of bodies, the hospital is reluctant to resort to mass burials because the WHO cautions that this can have detrimental psychological effects and ” “traumatize families and communities.”

It is part of the reason why Pantang Hospital is working with families to store the bodies for as long as possible, says Awuku.

The Ghana Health Service did not immediately respond for a request to comment and the country’s health minister declined to comment when reached by CNN.

A huge toll

At Gillman and Abbey Funeral Services located in Accra, they have also seen a rise in the number of bodies stored in their morgues.

Storing bodies there is charged at a daily rate but fewer families are arranging for bodies to be removed.

Administrator Lawrence Apaloo says the pandemic has been “completely negative for the business.”

“Sure, the longer the body is here the higher the bill will be,” he says. “But it is unpredictable to know when the family will come to collect the body.”

Other services Gillman and Abbey provide, like pall bearing, hearse rentals, the selling of caskets and venue decorations, have come to a complete halt, he says.

“Everything is on hold and no one knows when things will come to normal again. It has taken a huge toll.”

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PrettyLittleThing features its first model to wear a hijab

Written by Alaa Elassar, CNNWant more inspiring, positive news? Sign up for The Good Stuff, a newsletter for the good in life. It will brighten your inbox every Saturday morningA Black, Muslim plus-size model is breaking barriers in the fashion industry after being chosen by PrettyLittleThing to model its new line of modest clothing.Billy Marsal,…

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PrettyLittleThing features its first model to wear a hijab

Written by Alaa Elassar, CNN

Want more inspiring, positive news? Sign up for The Good Stuff, a newsletter for the good in life. It will brighten your inbox every Saturday morning

A Black, Muslim plus-size model is breaking barriers in the fashion industry after being chosen by PrettyLittleThing to model its new line of modest clothing.

Billy Marsal, 21, is a London-based influencer who regularly posts photos of herself wearing trendy and modest outfits on Instagram. The online retail giant scouted her on social media shortly after entering the Middle East market.

Marsal’s work with PrettyLittleThing marks the first time the brand has featured a model wearing a hijab or headscarf, the UK-based company confirmed.

“I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was until I started getting replies and messages from people who were so excited about it, then I realized, wow, this is amazing,” Marsal told CNN.

“It’s an insane feeling, Yes, I am Black, I am Muslim, I am plus size, but I never thought it would be me to make people feel like this.”

Marsal is new to the world of professional modeling, but is excited to represent young Muslim women and help them find fashionable clothes that uphold their religious values.

“As girls who wear the hijab, we grew up buying clothes and having to alter things to make them modest so for them now to tell Muslim girls, ‘Guys, we’re catering to you, too’ is a very big deal,” she said.

Marsal announced her work with PrettyLittleThing in a tweet on Monday that has since garnered more than 500,000 likes and 60,000 retweets. “Soooo… that’s me. THE FIRST HIJABI ON PLT!!! Still so wild to me,” she said.

PrettyLittleThing, which has collaborated with celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Hailey Baldwin, sells fashion “inspired from the catwalk and the coolest muses of the moment” at affordable prices.

The retailer aims to “inspire confidence” in customers with a message of equality and body positivity, according to its website.

“Following our successful launch into the Middle East we are delighted to be launching our ‘Modest clothing’ collection on site,” PrettyLittleThing said in a news release. “Our ethos of ‘EveryBODYinPLT is extremely important to us, so it’s been amazing seeing such positive customer feedback and working with models who represent all of our customer base.”

In recent years, models wearing a hijab have been featured in New York Fashion Week and Sports Illustrated magazine. But it’s still not common.

Marsal said she’s happy to see the industry change to include more Muslim women, and looks forward to the day when it’s no longer surprising to see a model wearing a hijab.

“I think what’s going to happen is this will one day be so normal it’s not surprising anymore, because competitors are noticing what brands like PrettyLittleThing are doing and it’s going to become the norm,” she said.

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Nebraska man hits jackpot twice in one year

Michael Christiansen of Norfolk, Nebraska, hit the jackpot for a second time this year. Earlier this month, Christiansen won $100,000 after purchasing a 20X The Money Scratch ticket. He collected his winnings on October 15 at the Nebraska Lottery’s office in Lincoln. It was his second trip to the office this year because he won…

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Nebraska man hits jackpot twice in one year

Michael Christiansen of Norfolk, Nebraska, hit the jackpot for a second time this year.

Earlier this month, Christiansen won $100,000 after purchasing a 20X The Money Scratch ticket. He collected his winnings on October 15 at the Nebraska Lottery’s office in Lincoln. It was his second trip to the office this year because he won $50,000 from a Money Clip Scratch ticket in March.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “What are the odds? I didn’t think it was real,” Christiansen said in a press release.

He purchased both winning tickets from Louie’s Liquor in Norfolk.

When asked what he plans to do with the money, Christiansen gave a few ideas. He said he wants to build a new garage and put some of the money away for his retirement.

Christiansen said his daughter recently passed away, and he’s going to try purchase the house she lived in.

The 20X The Money game offers players a chance to win prizes from a free $10 ticket to $100,000. The chances of winning $100,000 are 1 in 80,000, according to the Nebraska Lottery.

In the Money Clip game, the odds of winning the top prize of $50,000 are also 1 in 80,000, according to the lottery.

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World reduced to ‘friends,’ ‘thugs’ and ‘filthy’ countries in Trump-Biden foreign policy debate

That was how Democratic candidate Joe Biden attempted to sum up President Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy in Thursday’s debate, arguing that Trump cozies up to “thugs” in North Korea, China and Russia, while he “pokes his finger at all our allies.” It was a line that might play well among Biden’s base, but,…

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World reduced to ‘friends,’ ‘thugs’ and ‘filthy’ countries in Trump-Biden foreign policy debate
That was how Democratic candidate Joe Biden attempted to sum up President Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy in Thursday’s debate, arguing that Trump cozies up to “thugs” in North Korea, China and Russia, while he “pokes his finger at all our allies.”
It was a line that might play well among Biden’s base, but, with its vague allusions to appeasement in the run up to World War II, it was indicative of a debate that had little genuine substance when it came to current foreign policy challenges, with both leaders choosing to use other countries as attack lines more than anything else.

Biden did promise to “get China to play by international laws,” an area where Beijing has arguably benefited from Trump’s America First strategy and suspicion of multilateral organizations. However, he offered little insight into how he would actually go about doing that, especially as China is far stronger both internationally and domestically than it was the last time Biden was in office, beyond working with allies to try and rein Beijing in.

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