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Archive for March, 2011

Is this the biggest crisis of all?

Posted by Admin on March 31, 2011

Proportion of CDSs nominals (lower left) held ...

Credit Default Swaps held by U.S.A Banks

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/Is-biggest-crisis-equitymaster-812900507.html

On Thursday 31 March 2011, 8:30 AM

We seem to be living in rather fragile times. There is too much going on in the world that can yet again derail the global economy. There’s the oil price and then there’s the Middle East turmoil. The Japan earthquake was a sorry addition to the list. And not to forget, the US economy is still not completely out of danger, trillions of dollars worth of injections not withstanding.

Clearly, the battle seems to be on as to what will really upset the applecart this time around. But what if we say the most likely candidate is not even in the list of events that we just discussed. It has somehow got pushed to the backburner.

But perhaps not anymore. Forbes adds that a severe escalation in Europe‘s credit crisis has the capacity to cause a repeat of the 2008 meltdown. Indeed, the chance that anyone or all of the so called PIIGS nations could default keeps rising by the day.

Not a week goes without something nasty taking place in any one of these nations. The latest issue to flare up has its roots in Portugal. Apparently, the parliament of the peripheral European nation recently voted against austerity measures of any kind. Not surprisingly, the ratings agencies swung into action and promptly downgraded the country’s sovereign debt ratings.

Other of the PIIGS may not be far behind. Already, Greece, Ireland and Portugal are commanding a heavy premium over the other two in the highly punitive Credit Default Swaps (CDS) market. CDS is nothing but an instrument that helps insure against defaults by corporate or sovereign bonds. Higher the premium, greater is the probability of a default.

Forbes adds that if Italian or Spanish CDSs start being grouped alongside Ireland and Portugal, it could signal a tipping point of sorts. This will then lead to a problem that will not be solvable by tossing another 100 billion Euros at the problem. And it will be not just sovereign bonds that will be on the line. It can have a huge impact on the European banking system. Not to forget the flight to safety attitude of investors that could spark a global sell off.

Thus, there you go. For the next few weeks, do not worry about the Japan tragedy much. Neither do fret about how high oil is headed next. Keep an eye on those troubled Euro nations. Particularly the risk premium they are commanding in the default market. And this would be the key to unlocking the mystery of the direction of the global economy.

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UFO over Lafayette, Colorado, caught on camera

Posted by Admin on March 31, 2011

Grainy B&W image of supposed UFO, Passoria, Ne...

Unidentifiable Flying Object

http://in.news.yahoo.com/ufo-over-lafayette–colorado–caught-on-camera.html

ANI – Tue, Mar 29, 2011 4:49 PM IST

Washington, Mar 29 (ANI): A strange triangular formation of red lights over Lafayette, Colorado, which was caught on camera, has left many spooked and wondering if it was a UFO.

Leroy van der Vegt and his son Nick captured the sight on camera, and the unidentified red lights did not blink but were in a triangular shape as they hovered in the sky.

“It was completely quiet. No noise at all,” ABC News quoted van der Vegt as saying. He doesn’t know what it was but he is sure that what he saw was not a satellite, helicopter or airplane.

He said the triangle eventually headed northeast and the lights faded. Lester Valdez and all of his neighbours saw the unidentified lights.

“I have never witnessed anything like that,” Valdez said. He said they looked like tiny, bright alien ships from ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind‘.

“It was exactly something like that where you see an object and they all got into a pattern and they stood in a pattern, and they all moved in a direction and then they pretty much dropped and that was it,” Valdez said.

Sceptics like Lafayette residents Katie and Kevin Caron say there must be a reasonable explanation for the lights that doesn’t involve little green men.

“There’s a lot of things you can’t explain but the idea of it being an alien spacecraft is pretty wacky,” Kevin added. (ANI)

Also read:-

How hoax of UFOs landing in UK sparked nationwide panic in 1967

Britain releases UFO sighting and policy files

Russian flight controllers claim aliens spoke to them in ‘cat-like language’

Argentina sees UFO sightings as threat to air security

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Argentina sees UFO sightings as threat to air security

Posted by Admin on March 31, 2011

Grainy B&W image of supposed UFO, Passoria, Ne...

Unidentifiable Flying Object

http://in.news.yahoo.com/argentina-sees-ufo-sightings-threat-air-security-20101230-220733-776.html

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS – Fri, Dec 31, 2010 11:37 AM IST

Buenos Aires, Dec 31 (IANS) Argentina‘s Air Force has said it has received many reports of sightings by pilots and radar of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) that are a ‘potential threat to national air security’.

The Air Force said often combat planes have reported following strange objects in the skies above Argentina.

Even the local media have reported that dozens of photos reach their offices regarding alleged UFOs, often confused with planes or birds in flight and, in some cases, trick photographs.

The Air Force press office said the country’s military unit will set up a multi-disciplinary commission to investigate such UFO sightings, Prensa Latina reported.

The commission will be made up of specialists from the meteorological service, pilots, astronomers, doctors and radar and land experts.

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Britain releases UFO sighting and policy files

Posted by Admin on March 31, 2011

Grainy B&W image of supposed UFO, Passoria, Ne...

Unidentifiable Flying Object

http://in.news.yahoo.com/britain-releases-ufo-sighting-policy-files-20110302-162321-701.html

By Michelle Martin | Reuters – Thu, Mar 3, 2011 5:53 AM IST

LONDON (Reuters Life!) – Britain on Thursday released 35 previously classified files documenting sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) by the military and members of the public dating back to the 1950s.

The files contain around 8,500 pages which mainly cover the period from 1997 to 2005 and include photographs, drawings and descriptions of flying saucer sightings, as well as letters the Ministry of Defence (MoD) sent eyewitnesses in response to their accounts.

Policemen, a soldier, a Royal Air Force (RAF) officer and members of the public report sightings of objects including a “chewy mint shaped solid craft” and aerial objects resembling a “ring”, a “jellyfish” and a “silver voile spin top”.

In one account a man said he believed he had been “abducted” by aliens in October 1998 after seeing an unidentified craft hover over his London home and finding he had gained an hour of time in the process.

“It was a large cigar-shaped vehicle with big projectiles on each side like wings,” he told the MoD.

“It seemed to have two very bright lights at the front and a white light flashing round and round underneath… As you can imagine, I felt quite shaken.”

The MoD wrote to the man informing him that the object was probably an airship, adding that the time he had gained was probably the result of the clocks being put back one hour on the night of his close encounter.

Another file released by the National Archives reveals how the RAF was inundated with calls one morning in 1967 after residents of southern England awoke to find six small beeping UFOs lying in a perfect line from the Isle of Sheppey to the Bristol Channel.

A bomb disposal unit blew up one of the UFOs, another was airlifted to the southeastern village of Aldermaston and both the army and the MoD’s intelligence unit were mobilised for what was considered a real “alien invasion”.

It was later discovered that engineering students at Farnborough Technical College had constructed and positioned the UFOs in a bid to raise money for charity.

“It does raise some questions about what really would happen if at any time in the future there was some kind of instant — would we be prepared?” said David Clarke, author of “The UFO Files” and consultant to the National Archives’ UFO project.

One of the files documents the experiences of a retired RAF officer who said he saw a UFO while on holiday in Sri Lanka in April 2004 and sent the MoD supporting photographs.

“I noticed a partial aura in the sky, a minute or so later there was a clap of thunder, then a short while later a ring like a doughnut appeared,” he told the MoD, adding that he thought it was an “air burst”.

In its reply the MoD suggested he contact the Sri Lankan government.

Other highlights include a UFO policy file from 1997 which reveals how the Ministry of Defence handled UFO reports and a file detailing the only full debate about UFOs ever to be held in Britain’s House of Lords — in January 1979.

The MoD said it investigated every UFO sighting report it received to determine “whether there is any evidence that the United Kingdom’s airspace might have been compromised by hostile or unauthorised air activity.”

The files are available to download free of charge for one month at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ufos.

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

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Russian flight controllers claim aliens spoke to them in ‘cat-like language’

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

The Sky Tonight

The Sky Tonight:Forecast Heavy ET Showers

http://in.news.yahoo.com/russian-flight-controllers-claim-aliens-spoke-them-cat-20110302-021255-833.html
By ANI | ANI – Wed, Mar 2, 2011 3:42 PM IST

London, Mar 2 (ANI): Air traffic controllers in Siberia claim to have been buzzed by a high-speed UFO with a female sounding alien speaking to them in an unintelligible cat-like language.

The object had suddenly burst onto flight monitors over the remote Russian diamond capital of Yakutsk, and it was shown flying at a speed of slightly over 6000 mph, and rapidly changing direction.

The UFO was logged at a height of 64, 895 feet above sea level and appeared to interfere with aviation frequencies.

A YouTube footage showed an air traffic controller trying to make contact with the UFO, while a radar showed the UFO moving rapidly through the skies surrounded by planes that were travelling at a much slower pace.

“I kept hearing some female voice, as if a woman was saying mioaw-mioaw all the time,” the Daily Mail quoted the air traffic controller as telling the pilot of a passing Aeroflot flight.

The air traffic control monitor automatically designated the UFO as “00000” because it did not have a flight number.

At one point the UFO is shown moving away from Yakutsk at great speed before turning and heading back towards the city. (ANI)

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Quake kills at least 74 in Myanmar, one in Thailand

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://in.news.yahoo.com/quake-kills-least-74-myanmar-one-thailand-20110325-020032-929.html

By DPA | IANS – Fri, Mar 25, 2011 2:30 PM IST

Yangon, March 25 (DPA) A magnitude-6.8 earthquake killed at least 74 people in northeast Myanmar and one in Thailand, officials said Friday.

About 74 people died and 111 were injured in Tarli and Tachilek towns, near the Myanmar-Thai border in Myanmar’s Shan state, and destroyed 244 houses, nine government offices and 14 Buddhist monasteries, government-run Myanmar television reported.

The epicentre of the earthquake was about 50 km north of Tachilek, a border town 680 km north of Bangkok.

Myanmar Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Maung Maung Shwe was reportedly en route to the quake-hit area for an assessment tour.

The Myanmar Red Cross and Crescent Society has dispatched 1,000 relief packages to the area, but access to the region is difficult.

‘It takes around four days to reach the affected area by car from Yangon and there are flights twice a week into Tachilek’s airport,’ aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres said in a statement.

There were no reports on casualties in Yangon and Naypyitaw, Myanmar’s former and current capitals, respectively.

The earthquake struck at 8.25 p.m. (1355 GMT) Thursday, with its epicentre in northeast Myanmar, 589 km northeast of Yangon, and 772 km north of Bangkok, according to the US Geological Survey.

In Chiang Rai, Thailand, Hong Khamping, 55, died when a concrete wall in her home collapsed on top of her. The wall was poorly constructed, Thai officials said.

‘There were no other deaths or injuries in northern Thailand,’ said Chiatha Mositrat, head of the Chiang Rai Disaster Prevention Office.

Tourists in Chiang Rai, including members of the Syrian triathlon team, evacuated their hotel rooms for several hours.

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US has no plans to ‘assassinate’ Gaddafi, Obama tells lawmakers

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://in.news.yahoo.com/us-no-plans-assassinate-gaddafi-obama-tells-lawmakers-20110325-231651-149.html

By ANI | ANI – Sat, Mar 26, 2011 11:46 AM IST

Washington, Mar 26 (ANI): US President Barack Obama has told congressional leaders that the US military would not be used to assassinate Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, sources familiar with Friday’s briefing at the White House have said.

“There was a discussion of how we have other ways of regime change. It’s not our role to do anything at this point from a kinetic point of view. It is our goal for regime change, but we’re not going to do it from a kinetic point of view,” Politico quoted Maryland Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, as saying.

Another source briefed on the one-hour meeting confirmed that claim, saying: “It’s not just military efforts that can force his removal.”

The president, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen and Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command, were among the administration officials briefing lawmakers involved in the Friday meeting and conference call.

Although many lawmakers have complained against Obama’s decision to strike Libyan defenses in support of a “no-fly” zone without prior congressional approval, Ruppersberger praised Obama’s handling of the situation.

“He took decisive action. He took action that was focused, and he did it pursuant to a world coalition,” Ruppersberger added.

Earlier, Arizona senator John Mccain while supporting the President’s decision to intervene militarily in Libya, remained concerned that the current efforts might not be enough to avoid a ‘stalemate and accomplish the US objective of forcing Gaddafi to leave power’.

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IMF chief to activate crisis fund next week

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/IMF-chief-activate-crisis-reuters-2530807212.html

On Friday 25 March 2011, 5:01 AM

 

By Lesley Wroughton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the International Monetary Fund will seek to activate a $580 billion crisis fund next week, a confidence-building step at a time of heightened global uncertainty.

“The biggest worry is the high risk of contagion from Portugal and general global uncertainty will trigger a new wave of borrowing from the fund,” a source familiar with the plan said. Two other sources also said economic worry spots were behind the expected move.

The IMF confirmed that IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn would seek to activate the fund — New Arrangements to Borrow — but said it was a “natural consequence of ratification of NAB on March 11, which was previously announced.”

Still, the global worry list has expanded in recent weeks because of Japan’s earthquake and nuclear crisis, as well as unrest spreading in the oil-producing Middle East and North Africa.

Concerns about Portugal’s debt crisis increased on Wednesday after the sudden departure of its prime minister made it likely that the country may not avoid turning to the European Union and IMF for financial help.

Sources emphasized that Portugal had not requested IMF bailout money and insists it is adamantly opposed to requesting IMF help. The country first has to request IMF help to trigger formal discussions on a rescue loan and program.

So far, Portugal has managed to finance itself in capital markets although government borrowing costs spiked on Thursday and rating agency Fitch cut Portugal’s credit rating by two notches to A- saying risks to the country had risen after parliament failed to pass fiscal consolidation measures.

The concern is that Portugal’s debt woes has wider repercussions, with neighboring Spain holding about one-third of Portuguese public debt.

In a statement on March 11 announcing the NAB had taken effect, the IMF called it a tool to “provide supplementary resources to the IMF when these are needed to forestall or cope with a threat to the international monetary system.”

The NAB was expanded ten-fold from $53 billion last year to include 13 new contributors, among them large emerging market economies like China, Brazil, India, Russia and Mexico.

The United States is the largest contributor to the fund through a $100 billion credit agreement approved by President Barack Obama in 2009.

The move was in response to a call by the Group of 20 leading economies in 2009 to triple the IMF’s lending resources to shore up confidence in its ability to respond to crises.

The IMF has been at the center of the response to the financial meltdown and recession as the global lender of last resort, recently approving emergency loans to Ireland and Greece.

(Editing by Dan Grebler, Bernard Orr)

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Libyan rebels sweep west through key oil centers

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110327/ap_on_re_af/af_libya

By RYAN LUCAS, Associated Press Ryan Lucas, Associated Press 8 mins ago

AL-EGILA, Libya – Libyan rebels took back a key oil town and pushed westward Sunday toward the capital, seizing momentum from the international airstrikes that tipped the balance away from Moammar Gadhafi‘s military.

Brega, a main oil export terminal in eastern Libya, fell after a skirmish late Saturday and rebel forces moved swiftly west, seizing the tiny desert town of Al-Egila — a collection of houses and a gas station — on their way to the massive oil refining complex of Ras Lanouf.

“There was no resistance. Gadhafi’s forces just melted away,” said Suleiman Ibrahim, a 31-year-old volunteer, sitting in the back of a pickup truck. “This couldn’t have happened without NATO. They gave us big support.” He said that rebels had already reached Ras Lanouf.

Ras Lanouf and Brega combined would be responsible for a large chunk of Libya’s 1.5 million barrels of daily exports, which have all but stopped since the uprising that began Feb. 15 and was inspired by the toppling of governments in Tunisia and Egypt.

“As they move round the coast, of course, the rebels will increasingly control the exit points of Libya’s oil,” British Defense Secretary Liam Fox told the BBC. “That will produce a very dynamic and a very different equilibrium inside Libya. How that will play out in terms of public opinion and the Gadhafi regime remains to be seen.”

The Gadhafi regime on Saturday acknowledged the airstrikes had forced its troops to retreat and accused international forces of choosing sides.

“This is the objective of the coalition now, it is not to protect civilians because now they are directly fighting against the armed forces,” Khaled Kaim, the deputy foreign minister, said in the capital, Tripoli. “They are trying to push the country to the brink of a civil war.”

Fox denied that the international force hoped to oust Gadhafi: “Losing Gadhafi is an aspiration, it is not part of the U.N. resolution.”

The U.N. Security Council authorized the operation to protect Libyan civilians after Gadhafi launched attacks against anti-government protesters who demanded that he step down after 42 years in power. The airstrikes have crippled Gadhafi’s forces, but rebel advances have also foundered, and the two sides have been at stalemate in key cities.

The rebel turnaround is a boost for President Barack Obama, who has faced complaints from lawmakers from both parties that he has not sought their input about the U.S. role in the conflict or explained with enough clarity about the American goals and exit strategy. Obama was expected to give a speech to the nation Monday.

“We’re succeeding in our mission,” Obama said in a radio and Internet address on Saturday. “So make no mistake, because we acted quickly, a humanitarian catastrophe has been avoided and the lives of countless civilians — innocent men, women and children — have been saved.”

Pentagon officials say that forces loyal to Gadhafi are a potent threat to civilians. And they are looking at plans to expand the firepower and airborne surveillance systems in the military campaign, including using the Air Force’s AC-130 gunship armed with cannons that shoot from the side doors, as well as helicopters and drones.

Fox, the British foreign minister, ruled out supplying arms to the rebels. “We are not arming the rebels, we are not planning to arm the rebels,” he said.

NATO’s top decision-making body meets Sunday to expand its enforcement of the no-fly zone to include airstrikes against Libyan ground targets. Washington has been eager to hand off responsibility to NATO, which is expected to take command Sunday of the no-fly zone mission.

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Syrian government: 12 killed in seaside city

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110327/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_syria

AP – Pro-Syrian President Bashar Assad protesters, shouts pro-Assad slogans as they hold his posters, in Damascus
By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press Zeina Karam, Associated Press 1 hr 1 min ago

DAMASCUS, Syria – The Syrian government says 12 people were killed in violence rocking a seaside Mediterranean city.

Syria’s state-run news agency said unknown armed elements on Saturday attacked neighborhoods in Latakia, shooting from rooftops and terrorizing people.

Ten people, including security forces, residents as well as two members of the shadowy “armed elements” died in the violence.

Some 200 others were wounded, most from the security forces, the report said Sunday.

Syrian army units deployed in Latakia Saturday night following a day of violence and chaos in which protesters and the government traded accusations of violence and incitement.

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Radiation inside Japan nuclear plant rises sharply

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110327/ap_on_bi_ge/as_japan_earthquake

By YURI KAGEYAMA and MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Yuri Kageyama And Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press 58 mins ago

TOKYOEmergency workers struggling to pump contaminated water from Japan’s stricken nuclear complex fled one of the troubled reactors Sunday after reporting a huge spike in radioactivity, with levels 10 million times higher than normal in the reactor’s cooling system, officials said.

The numbers were so high that the worker measuring radiation levels in the complex’s Unit 2 withdrew before taking a second reading, officials said.

It was not immediately clear, however, how long workers were exposed to the highly radioactive water or how long the levels had been that high at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, 140 miles (220 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.

But it came as officials acknowledged there was contaminated water in all four of the complex’s most troubled reactors, and as airborne radiation in Unit 2 measured 1,000 millisieverts per hour — four times the limit deemed safe by the government, Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Takashi Kurita said.

Officials say they still don’t know where the radioactive water is coming from, though government spokesman Yukio Edano has said some is “almost certainly” seeping from a cracked reactor core in one of the units.

While the discovery of the high radiation levels — and the evacuation of workers from one reactor unit — again delayed efforts to bring the deeply troubled complex under control, Edano insisted the situation had partially stabilized.

“We have somewhat prevented the situation from turning worse,” he told reporters Sunday evening. “But the prospects are not improving in a straight line and we’ve expected twists and turns. The contaminated water is one of them and we’ll continue to repair the damage.”

The discovery over the last three days of radioactive water has been a major setback in the mission to get the plant’s crucial cooling systems operating more than two weeks after a massive earthquake and tsunami.

The magnitude-9 quake off Japan’s northeast coast on March 11 triggered a tsunami that barreled onshore and disabled the Fukushima plant, complicating an immense humanitarian disaster.

The death toll from the twin disasters stood at 10,668 Sunday, with more than 16,574 people missing, police said. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless.

Workers have been scrambling to remove the radioactive water from the four units and find a safe place to store it, TEPCO officials said.

On Sunday night, Minoru Ogoda of Japan’s nuclear safety agency said each unit could have hundreds of tons of radioactive water.

The protracted nuclear crisis has spurred concerns about the safety of food and water in Japan, which is a prime source of seafood for some countries. Radiation has been found in food, seawater and even tap water supplies in Tokyo.

Just outside the coastal Fukushima nuclear plant, radioactivity in seawater tested about 1,250 times higher than normal last week — but that number had climbed to 1,850 times normal by the weekend.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, a nuclear safety official, said the increase was a concern, but also said the area is not a source of seafood and that the contamination posed no immediate threat to human health.

Experts with the International Atomic Energy Agency said the ocean would quickly dilute the worst contamination.

Up to 600 people are working inside the plant in shifts. Nuclear safety officials say workers’ time inside the crippled units is closely monitored to minimize their exposure to radioactivity, but two workers were hospitalized Thursday when they suffered burns after stepping into contaminated water. They are to be released from the hospital Monday.

Edano has urged TEPCO to be more transparent about the potential dangers after the safety agency revealed the plant operator was aware of high radiation levels in the air in Unit 3 several days before the two workers suffered burns there.

A top TEPCO official acknowledged Sunday it could take a long time to completely clean up the complex.

“We cannot say at this time how many months or years it will take,” TEPCO Vice President Sakae Muto said, insisting the main goal now is to cool the reactors.

A poll, meanwhile, showed that support for Japan’s prime minister has risen as the administration tackles the disasters.

The public opinion poll conducted over the weekend by Kyodo News agency found that approval of Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his Cabinet rose to 28.3 percent after sinking below 20 percent in February, before the earthquake and tsunami.

Last month’s low approval led to speculation that Kan’s days were numbered. While the latest figure is still low, it suggests he is making some gains with voters.

About 58 percent of respondents in the nationwide telephone survey of 1,011 people said they approved of the government’s handling of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, but a similar number criticized its handling of the nuclear crisis.

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