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U.S. taxpayers to fund $20m remake of Sesame Street...for Pakistan

he United States is funding a Pakistani remake of the popular TV children's show Sesame Street.

In a new effort to win hearts and minds in Pakistan, USAID – the development arm of the US government – is donating $20m (£12m) to the country to create a local Urdu version of the show.

The project aims to boost education in Pakistan, where many children have no access to regular schooling.

The show is to be filmed in Lahore and aired later in the year.

"The programme is part of a series of ventures that is aimed at developing the educational infrastructure in the country," Virginia Morgan, a spokesperson for USAID, told the BBC.

"Education is one of the vital sectors that need help in Pakistan."

The show will be set in a village in Pakistan – rather than the streets of New York – with roadside tea shop and residents sitting on their verandas.

The remake will star a puppet called Rani, the six-year-old daughter of a peasant farmer, with pigtails and a school uniform, according to Britain's Guardian newspaper.

The Rafi Peer group has been a leading light in Pakistani theatre for nearly 30 years. The group has been in the news in the past for its off-the-cuff productions – but also for the threats it has received.

In 2008 its highly popular World Performing Arts festival in Lahore was bombed. Although no-one was injured, the attack set back the arts in what is regarded as the countrys cultural capital.

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