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Madonna departs from Malawi without Mercy

MADONNA left Malawi on her private jet yesterday after being rebuffed in an attempt to adopt a second child from the African nation, air traffic control officials said.

Police roadblocks prevented reporters from approaching the airport but a police officer said Madonna carried David, her adopted Malawian son, up the steps of the Gulfstream jet. It was bound for London's Gatwick Airport, air traffic officials said.

The singer's lawyer has said she will appeal against a court ruling that she is not eligible to adopt a three-year-old orphan girl, Chifundo "Mercy" James, because she hasn't lived in Malawi.

Madonna first spotted Mercy during a 2006 visit to an orphanage where she found David. Then, unlike now, she was able to leave the country with the infant and the adoption was completed last year.

But now Madonna is a single mother after her split from film director Guy Ritchie. Her attempts to adopt a second child caused outrage among some child welfare groups. Madonna has two other children, Lourdes, 12, and Rocco, 8.

In a ruling on Friday, Judge Esme Chombo said Madonna did not meet Malawi's strict definition of "resident." Noting that Madonna last visited Malawi in 2008, the judge said she "jetted into the country during the weekend just days prior to the hearing of this application."

Malawi requires prospective parents to live in the country for 18 months to 24 months while child welfare authorities assess their suitability - a rule that was bent when Madonna was allowed to take David to London in 2006.

No date has been set for a court hearing to appeal the judge's ruling.


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