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Malawi court to rule on Madonna adoption bid Friday

Malawi court to rule on Madonna adoption bid Friday
Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:47am EDT
By Mabvuto Banda
LILONGWE (Reuters) - A court in Malawi is expected to rule Friday whether U.S. pop singer Madonna can adopt a second child from the southern African country, a move likely to be opposed by human rights groups.
Madonna appeared in court Monday seeking to adopt a four-year-old girl, Mercy James. The case was adjourned until April 3.
Critics had accused authorities of giving one of the world's most successful singers special treatment when she adopted her Malawian son David Banda.
Malawi civil society groups say they plan to oppose Mercy's adoption, while aid group ActionAid said it would not help millions of children living in poverty around the world.
Madonna, in a black dress and sunglasses, did not speak to reporters after the High Court case was adjourned.
"It has been adjourned to Friday, April 3 for the judge to make her ruling," court registrar Thomson Ligowe told Reuters.
One of Madonna's lawyers said outside the courtroom that she was asking to be granted an interim adoption of about 18 months.
Madonna has captivated millions around the world with sexy, high-energy performances and songs like "Material Girl," "Like a Virgin" and "Papa Don't Preach."
The local Nation newspaper has quoted Madonna, 50, as saying Malawian friends had told her David needed a brother or sister. The singer has two other children: Rocco and Lourdes.
"We are surprised at what's going on," leading Malawian human rights activist Mavuto Bamusi told Reuters.
"We are contemplating challenging this adoption."
ActionAid said in a statement: "Whilst Madonna's proposed adoption in Malawi may help one child, it's not going to make a difference to the millions of children living and dying in poverty in the developing world.
"ActionAid believes there are better ways to help. We need to keep parents alive and families together by fighting the extreme poverty that destroys lives."
Madonna, who began adoption proceedings in 2006, took David when he was 13 months old after his father had placed him in an orphanage following the death of his wife.
Some Malawians opposed David's adoption, accusing the government of skirting laws that ban non-residents from adopting children.
The singer has said despite the controversy, she was happy to be involved in a case that might pave the way for more adoptions in Malawi, where an estimated one million children have been orphaned by AIDS.
Sunday Madonna toured a site where her charity, Raising Malawi, plans to build a multi-million dollar school for girls in Chikhota village, a short distance outside Lilongwe.
(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Giles Elgood)
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2009 Mar 30