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Chirac Opens Museum of Tribal Art in Paris

French President Jacques Chirac has opened in Paris a new museum of tribal arts from around the world - the first new museum in the French capital since the 1970s.

The Musee du Quai Branly holds more than 300,000 objects collected from Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas.  The modernist complex cost more than $160 million.

Mr. Chirac began pushing for a museum of tribal arts soon after taking office in 1995.  He follows in the footsteps of two predecessors - Francois Mitterrand, who inaugurated the Louvre's glass pyramid and the modern Bastille Opera, and Georges Pompidou, after whom the Pompidou Center for modern art in Paris is named.

The new museum is not without controversy.  Many of the objects it houses come from former French colonies.  And it opens at a time when tensions over immigration have fueled debate about France's colonial past.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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