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Tunisian leader backs equal inheritance rights for women

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Tunisia’s president promised Monday to submit a bill to parliament soon that aims to give women equal inheritance rights with men, as debate over the topic of inheritance reverberated around the Muslim world.

In a speech marking Women’s Day in Tunisia, President Beji Caid Essebsi said he wants to submit the proposal “as soon as possible,” probably when parliament resumes in October.

The current system, which is based on Islamic Shariah law, generally grants daughters only half the inheritance given to sons, and is standard practice in most Muslim countries.

Many Muslim clerics see the inheritance rules as enshrined in the Quran, Islam’s holy book.

Read Also: Pope leads 1.2bn Catholics to work ‘with determination’ against death penalty

Since independence from France in 1956, Tunisia has been a standard-bearer in the Muslim world for women’s rights. Last month, a woman from Tunisia’s moderate Islamic party was elected mayor of Tunis, the capital, the first time a woman has held the post.

The president’s decision is based on the recommendations of a 300-page government report known as the Colibe report. It recommended the change in inheritance rights as well as proposals to end the death penalty and legalize homosexuality, which now in Tunisia is outlawed and punished with three years in prison.

Essebsi said Monday his decision is based on Article 2 of the country’s Constitution, which he said “stipulates that Tunisia is a state based on citizenship, the will of the people and the supremacy of law” rather than religion.

On Saturday, thousands of fundamentalist men and veiled women marched under a blazing sun from Tunis to Bardo, outside the capital where Tunisia’s parliament is located, to protest the Colibe report.

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UK returns looted historic Ugandan artifacts on a three-year loan

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The University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom has agreed to return 39 traditional Ugandan artefacts which were looted from the country over a century ago.

However, the return of the artifacts would be for an initial loan period of three years, similar to a deal the UK government struck with Ghana.

The objects to be returned include tribal regalia, delicate pottery and abstract carvings the Ugandan people once held in high esteem.

Speaking on the return of the historical objects, Mark Elliot, the senior curator at Cambridge University said:

“These objects have been away from home for so long, now is the time that they come back and it’s the time to research the history of these objects, to research their contemporary significance and to help make decisions about their future.

“Really importantly, this is research that could be done in Cambridge but it shouldn’t be done in Cambridge, it should be done here and it should be led by Ugandan people.”

The Cambridge University had acquired most Ugandan artifacts as donations from private collections, and many were given by an Anglican missionary active in Uganda after the nation was made a British protectorate in 1894.

“There was a lot of plundering Africa and so Africa being plundered, it’s not that they only took gold,” Jackline Nyiracyiza, Ugandan Government Commissioner in charge of Museums and Monuments said on the return of the artifacts.

“They took gold and associated heritage and so a part of the gold, I would say, that they removed from Africa, is the cultural heritage because they were spreading the gospel of Christ and so they did not want anything associated with traditions.”

Nyiracyiza added that Uganda’s agreement with Cambridge is renewable, allowing for the possibility of a permanent loan and perhaps local ownership.

“We have a variety of objects that have been brought from Buganda (Bantu kingdom within Uganda) and I have seen and I would be seeing these objects, most especially. I shouldn’t say it. Most especially ‘Omulamula’ (or) ‘Ddamula (a traditional stick or sceptre handed to the Kingdom’s prime minister by the King) for the Katikiro (Buganda Kingdom’s prime minister), that is the most fascinating object I have seen,” Nyiracyiza explained.

“These items represent a small fraction of about 1,500 Ugandan ethnographic objects that the British University owns.

“The African Union aims to have a common policy on the return of looted cultural property,” the Minister said.

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Talented South African siblings wow judges at ‘America’s Got Talent’ audition (Video)

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Talented Johannesburg, South Africa sibling singing group, Biko’s Manna, we’re the cynosure of all eyes at the audition of the 19th America Got Talent show on Thursday with all four judges giving them a resounding “Yes”.

The young group, made up of Biko (17), guitar player Manna (14) and Mfundo (9), popularly known as “Biko’s Manna”, were so good that they received a standing ovation from the crowd and judges including the ever-critical Simon Cowell could be heard saying, “I love them”.

The trio who performed Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy”, for their audition, stole the show and got a very positive response from the judges and audience.

The young siblings became viral sensation on TikTok where they have garnered millions of likes along with a lot of engagement on other platforms and were invited to audition on Season 19 of the show due to their popularity.

After their performance, Cowell said:

“Within 10 seconds, it’s like I know exactly the kind of music you want to make. You found your lane, it was beautifully simple.”

Another judge, Heidi Klum had this to say:

“It was worth the trip coming all the way from South Africa… We love reggae, we don’t hear it enough… It puts us in a great mood I love the three of you.”

Judge Howie Mandell said:

“You are young and talented… It’s early in the competition, but I think there’s a good chance that you’re going to walk out of here with a million dollars.”

On her appraisal, Judge Sofia Vergara said:

“You guys are amazing, you guys are happy. We can tell that you’re a family that love each other and I really think the best thing you ever did was come to AGT.”

The talented South African kids are currently touring and performing gigs on different stages across the United States. Last month, they made their second appearance on the Emmy-nominated ‘Jennifer Hudson Show’.

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