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Grammy award-winning American musician Pharrell Williams will face a protest by thousands of Palestinian supporters at a concert in Cape Town on Monday, organisers of the demonstration said.

Members of pro-Palestinian group Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) are campaigning against the singer's partnership with major South African retail group Woolworths, over its imports from Israel.

The South African branch of the BDS movement vowed to hold "the largest protest any artist would have faced since the end of apartheid" at Pharrell's concert at Cape Town's Grand West Casino.

On Friday the group won a court battle against an attempt by Cape Town authorities to limit the number of demonstrators to 150, and said it expected 40,000 people to turn out.

Earlier this year, Pharrell became Woolworths' new style director "in a ground-breaking collaboration across a series of sustainability-focused projects", the upmarket retailer said.

BDS accuses Woolworths of importing Israeli agricultural produce from the occupied territories, a charge the company denies.

 

 

 

 

Soul legend Aretha Franklin, the daughter of a preacher, will sing for Pope Francis during his highly anticipated visit to the United States this month, it was announced Monday.

Franklin, originally a Gospel singer but best known for her feminist-tinged cover of "Respect," will perform for the reform-minded pope in Philadelphia at the September 26 "Festival of Families," organizers said.

The 73-year-old Franklin, whose father was a Baptist minister, recorded her first album, 1956's "Songs of Faith," at his Detroit church when she was 14.

The 18-time Grammy winner said in a statement that it was "indeed a blessing" to sing for Pope Francis.

The Festival of Families, sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church and put on every three years, also announced that actor Mark Wahlberg would serve as the host of the event.

Wahlberg, a devout Catholic, embraced the church after deciding to turn his life around during a short jail term for racially motivated attacks as a teenager in Boston.

 

 

 

 

Brazilian millionaire Bernardo Paz has dedicated his life to turning a vast outdoor park of tropical rainforest studded with contemporary art works into one of the most original museums in the world.

Part botanical garden, part gallery, Inhotim is the expression of Paz's unstoppable dream -- and of the fortune he amassed in iron ore mining when Chinese demand for raw materials was booming.

But today, while the tycoon's dream is intact, Brazil's economic crisis and the drop in China's appetite mean his fortune can no longer keep up.

Inhotim covers the area of about 300 football pitches, an oasis of tropical rainforest in the heart of Brazil's mining region Minas Gerais. Dotted through the foliage are hundreds of works of art produced by some 200 international artists.

And despite being far from the main cities of Rio or Sao Paulo, almost half a million make the journey here every year. It's a place, says Paz, 64, "where people want to stay."

 

 

Paz has lived within the park for years, now with his sixth wife and two of his seven children. But even in this paradise, where toucans and monkeys roam freely, there's no way to escape the economic gloom growing in the Latin American giant.

He directly finances a third of Inhotim's budget and because iron ore prices halved last year, down to around $50 a ton, the 64-year-old with the look of a refined hippie is reluctantly having to tame his wild dreams.

"I was going to keep growing Inhotim at the same speed, but my industries which give me the resources to keep the process going are complicated," he said regretfully in an interview with AFP.

"The world is very complicated."

 

 

The United States on Thursday returned to French authorities an oil painting by Pablo Picasso that was reported stolen from a major Paris museum 14 years ago.

"The Hairdresser," which Picasso created in Paris in 1911 during his Cubism period, was seized by US customs agents in New Jersey.

Valued at $15 million, it was authenticated in January by experts from the Centre Georges Pompidou museum, its previous home.

"Picasso used to say: 'A painting truly exists in the eyes of the beholder'," said Frederic Dore, deputy chief of mission at the French embassy in Washington, where the painting was formally handed over.

Once back in the French capital, the diplomat said, it will "come back to life" and return to public view after careful restoration "thanks to this outstanding Franco-American customs cooperation."

The painting had been listed on Interpol's database of stolen works of art since it was reported stolen from the Centre Pompidou's archives in 2001.

It had last been publicly displayed in Munich, Germany in 1998 -- and no one is clear on where it has been since.

US customs agents came across it during a targeted inspection in Newark, New Jersey, just outside New York, in December 2014.

Wrapped as a Christmas parcel sent from Belgium, it bore a shipping label that claimed it was a mere $30 handicraft, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said.