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Deaths at Saudi haj show challenge of shielding pilgrims from lethal climate

Deaths at Saudi haj show challenge of shielding pilgrims from lethal climate

HUNDREDS of the pilgrims who died in fierce heat at this year's haj were not officially registered with the Saudi authorities, with the result that many had no access to vital services like air-conditioned buses and cool-off tents. The deaths highlight a looming challenge for organisers as climate change takes hold in the region: the practice of requiring official permits for such services is stirring concern that unregistered pilgrims could increasingly be exposed to life-threatening temperatures. At the same time, high prices for official haj packages are driving some Muslims to take cheaper unofficial routes to the ritual, even though…
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Ghana’s plan for a grand new national cathedral is controversial – but will it attract pilgrims and tourists?

Ghana’s plan for a grand new national cathedral is controversial – but will it attract pilgrims and tourists?

FREDERICK DAYOUR and FRANCIS KOFI ESSEL THE building of Ghana’s spectacular $400 million national cathedral designed by famed architect David Adjaye has stalled amid an economic crisis. The plan has drawn sharp public criticism but the president says it will be a significant tourist attraction and should go ahead. We asked two experts: Frederick Dayour heads his university’s department of tourism and hospitality where Francis Kofi Essel lectures in tourism. Essel is also a registered tour guide with intimate knowledge of Ghana’s religious sites and their tourism potential. What will be on the proposed new site and who will visit…
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Braving coronavirus, pilgrims flock to Senegal’s ‘little Mecca’

Braving coronavirus, pilgrims flock to Senegal’s ‘little Mecca’

CHRISTOPHER VAN DER PERRE ORGANISERS of an annual religious festival in the Senegalese city of Touba are expecting three to five million pilgrims this week, despite the main ceremony being cancelled in an effort to lower the risk of coronavirus contagion. Other events are being video-streamed to avoid overcrowding, but no restrictions are in place to prevent followers of the Mouride Brotherhood from making the trip to the sacred site. The expected crowds would represent a marked departure from religious gatherings and sports events around the world that have been cancelled or severely curtailed to reduce the risk of COVID-19…
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