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October 24, 2005

DUP's Demands Challenged

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News about Ireland & the Irish

NH 10/24/05 DUP Demands Challenged
DU 10/24/05 Dodds Says DUP Will Set Its Own Agenda
NI 10/24/05 Hain Announces Interim Commissioner For Victims
BT 10/24/05 Political Storm As Victims' Advocate Is Named
SF 10/24/05 UFU Delegation Succumbs To DUP Blackmail
DU 10/24/05 Allister Rebuffs Sinn Fein PR Stunt
BT 10/24/05 Arnie Empey Tells UUP Delegates: We'll Be Back
BT 10/24/05 Action Plan To Combat UUP Six-Figure Debt
BT 10/24/05 Lawlor Crash Woman Was Secretary & Interpreter
II 10/24/05 Cunning 'Farmer' Bertie Stays On Message
BB 10/24/05 Omagh Relatives Lobby For Inquiry
BT 10/24/05 Sir Bob In Top 10 Men Of The Decade
UT 10/24/05 Shannon Celebrates Transatlantic 60th Annvrsry


DUP Demands Challenged

(William Graham, Irish News)

SDLP deputy leader Alasdair McDonnell has challenged the
DUP to publish their 64-page list of demands to the British

Dr McDonnell asked: "Is this list for themselves, or for
the whole unionist community? Is it perhaps for the Orange

"Might there be a single demand on the list which actually
represents the interests of all the people of the north?

"These are things we need to know if we are to build
confidence in the DUP's political intentions?"

He added that political leadership was about responsibility
and there was the ultimate responsibility on all leaders to
act on behalf of the whole community.

"There is no future in parties outbidding each other for
concessions and considerations for one community only."

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said last night
(Friday) that it was the responsibility of everyone now to
let unionists and republicans "approach each other" in the
next phase of the peace process.

He was speaking at the end of a week long visit to South

The West Belfast MP underlined the need to move the peace
process in Ireland forward into a future which would be a
much better one for everyone.

Mr Adams said there were lessons to be learned from the
process of national reconciliation in South Africa.

October 24, 2005


Dodds Says DUP Will Set Its Own Agenda

Nigel Dodds MP says the DUP will not be deflected from
seeking equality for the unionist community by attacks from
nationalists. He said,

"Sinn Fein and the SDLP are desparately mounting a campaign
to deny uniounism the due equality so far missing from the
political process. Their increasinglyn hysterical attacks
on the DUP's dossier presented to the prime minister
illustrate that they are only happy when the concessions
flow in their direction. Of course in the past they got
away with this approach because the UUP not only agreed to
a series of concessions to the IRA but utterly failed to
fight for equality for unionism.

Funding for the ulster scots culture is a case in point
where there is a gross imbalance between gaelic and Ulster
Scots financing. Now the opponents of unionism are
discovering that we will not be pushed over. We have our
agenda and we will stick to it regardless of pressure. We
demand that issues like the parades issues, the RIR,
victims rights, policing integrity, proper democratic
structures all be addressed. The government is whistling in
the wind if it thinks the DUP will simply set these aside
come January or any other time. Given the dirty deal with
the IRA to bypass transparent decommussioning and insulting
the unionist community by imposing Alec Reid as a so called
independent witness, the NIO has badly misjudged the
unionist leadership if it believes we are simply going to
roll over and accept its timetable."


Peter Hain Announces Interim Commissioner For Victims

The Secretary of State, Peter Hain, today announced the
appointment of Mrs Bertha McDougall as Interim Commissioner
for Victims and Survivors of the Troubles. Mrs McDougall,
whose husband was murdered in 1981, set up the victims
group Forgotten Families to lobby for the needs of victims.
She is a former primary school teacher who has also worked
for the Council for the Curriculum Examinations and
Assessment (CCEA).

The Secretary of State said: "I am delighted that Mrs
McDougall has agreed to take up this important role. Her
experience in working with victims and victims support
groups will be vital in helping to address the needs of
those who have suffered great personal loss. The Government
believes that the needs of those who have suffered so much
over the years must get greater recognition. They must not
become the forgotten people."Substantial resources have
already been provided to individual victims and the self
help groups on which many rely for help but I feel that
more needs to be done to recognise all the pain and
hurt."The Secretary of State said that legislation to
establish a Commissioner on a longer term basis would be
introduced."It will take time for this to be put in place
and brought into operation," he said. "In the meantime I am
determined to ensure that essential work which will
recognise the needs of victims and survivors is put in hand
as soon as possible." He added that Mrs McDougall would
look at key areas relating to services for victims, funding
arrangements in relation to services and grants paid to
victims and survivors groups and individual victims and
survivors. The Interim Commissioner would also look at how
a Victims and Survivors Forum might be established to
provide a focus for discussion for issues affecting those
who have suffered.

The Secretary of State concluded: "I expect the Interim
Commissioner to produce a report within the year and that
her work will help provide assurance that the welfare of
those who have suffered is kept firmly on the agenda as we
continue our efforts to build for the future."Notes to
EditorsThe Interim Commissioner will carry out the
following duties:

Review arrangements for service delivery and coordination
of services for victims and survivors across Departments
and Agencies, identifying any gaps in service provision.

Review how well the current funding arrangements in
relation to services and grants paid to victims and
survivors groups and individual victims and survivors are
addressing need. At present around 50 groups are in
receipt of Government grants.

Consider the modalities of establishing a Victims and
Survivors Forum.


Mrs McDougall is a police widow who lives in Belfast. Her
husband Lindsay a Civil Servant and Part Time RUC Reservist
was shot dead in January 1981 whilst on duty in Belfast.

She is chairman of the victims' group Forgotten Families,
which was set up to lobby on behalf of pre-1982 widows.
She is also a member of the Phoenix Energy for Children
Charitable Trust.Mrs McDougall was a school teacher and
taught in Fane Street Primary School, Belfast, for many
years before a being seconded to the Education for Mutual
Understanding initiative. Laterly she worked with the
Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessment.

She is not a member of any political party.

Mrs McDougall will take up her duties on at the beginning
of December. Until permanent premises are found she can be
contacted at:

Victims Unit
Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister
Room B.3
Castle Buildings
Belfast BT4 3SR

Telephone: 028 9052 3445
Fax: 028 9052 8354


Political Storm As Victims' Advocate Is Named

Appointment designed to appease DUP, claims SDLP

By Deborah McAleese
24 October 2005

A political row erupted last night over the appointment of
Northern Ireland's first ever Victims' Commissioner.

The SDLP accused the Government of appointing Bertha
McDougall - the widow of a murdered RUC reservist - to
appease the DUP.

Mrs McDougall, whose husband Lindsay was killed by the INLA
in 1981, will be responsible for setting up a new forum for
victims of the Troubles.

Both the SDLP and the Alliance party have slammed the
appointment claiming it was a "political hand-out".

SDLP MLA Patricia Lewsley said: "If government is serious
about parity of esteem for all victims then it should not
be consulting with or seeking the approval of one political
party only for an appointment."

Alliance deputy leader Eileen Bell said: "How long will it
take for the Government to understand that victims' issues
are far too important just to be handed out as a political
sop to one side or the other?"

The appointment - which was officially announced by
Secretary of State Peter Hain yesterday - was welcomed by
unionists, who said it should start the process of putting
the needs of victims at the top of the agenda.

DUP leader Ian Paisley said: "It is important that all that
can be done to help those whose lives have been affected is
done and that victims are treated with dignity and

UUP MLA Derek Hussey said: "I welcome Bertha McDougall's
appointment as she is someone who will understand the
situation of real victims as opposed to those who pertain
to be victims but are in fact perpetrators."

Mrs McDougall, a former primary school teacher, set up the
victims' group Forgotten Families after her husband's
murder, to lobby for the needs of victims.

Mr Hain said: "The Government believes that the needs of
those who have suffered so much over the years must get
greater recognition.

"They must not become the forgotten people.

"Substantial resources have already been provided to
individual victims and the self-help groups on which many
rely for help but I feel that more needs to be done to
recognise all the pain and hurt."


UFU Delegation Succumbs To DUP Financial Blackmail

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brun has today called on the
Ulster Farmers Union to clarify their position after a
Fermanagh delegation of UFU members withdrew from a
scheduled meeting due to take place next month in Brussels.

The 50 strong Fermanagh UFU delegation are due to travel to
Brussels on November 9th to meet with MEPs. The group,
facilitated by Eurolinks and part funded through DUP MEP
Jim Allister's parliamentary visitors allowance, had set up
a meeting with Bairbre de Brun. However, following threats
from the DUP MEP to withdraw the financial assistance if
the group met Sinn Féin, the UFU delegation cancelled the

Bairbre de Brun said:

'Sinn Féin has worked closely with the UFU in recent years
to ensure that the needs of our farmers and rural
communities are heard within the community and voluntary
sector and at every level of government. During all of this
time the UFU have stressed their desire to work positively
and constructively with all political parties in a non
partisan manner. Our relationship has been constructive and

'In light of this I am amazed that they have taken the
decision to cancel the planned meeting.

'The fact that they took this decision under what can only
be described as sectarian financial blackmail by Jim
Allister MEP is all the worse. This comes in a week where
Mary Lou McDonald MEP and I met a delegation of the UFU,
that included one of its Deputy Presidents, Kenneth
Sharkey, to discuss a range of issues including the bid to
remove the beef export ban.

'Sinn Féin is the second largest political party in the
North of Ireland. We represent hundreds of thousands of
people across the island. The decision by the UFU
delegation from Fermanagh to cancel this meeting is not
only a slight against our party, it is a slight against our
electorate. They are effectively telling the 200,000 people
who vote for Sinn Féin, including many farmers, that their
voices and their opinions are not worth listening too.

'Sinn Féin is calling on the President of the UFU, Campbell
Tweed to clarify their position and explain whether or not
he is personally happy with his members boycotting an
elected representative under pressure from the DUP.

'If it is indeed the case that the UFU are going to allow
this situation to continue, Sinn Féin will have to
seriously review our approach to the UFU at all levels.

'I will also be raising the matter with Eurolinks to see if
such behaviour is compatible with their project's aims and
objectives and that of their funders.

'Jim Allister's threat to withdraw his financial support
from this delegation is outrageous. It is completely at
variance with the practice we pursue, where we are happy to
facilitate meetings visitors wish to have. Indeed I have
actively sought a common approach to issues with my fellow
MEPs, including Jim Allister. ENDS


Allister Rebuffs Sinn Fein PR Stunt

DUP MEP Jim Allister today said,

"Sinn Fein has an unmitigated cheek in seeking to dictate
that a group of Fermanagh farmers, whose sponsorship I have
arranged to visit the European Parliament, should meet with

The facts are very simple. MEPs, at their discretion, can
arrange sponsorship for groups to visit Brussels or
Strasbourg. In this case I arranged for sponsorship for
this group. I make no apology for refusing to facilitate a
PR stunt for Sinn Fein on a visit for which I have arranged
the sponsorship.

Sinn Fein do not invite me to meet groups they are
sponsoring, nor do I expect them to. Likewise it is none of
their business whom I enable to travel to Brussels. So my
message to SF is simple - "back off - you'll not be
bullying me or muscling in on a group for whom I have
arranged sponsorship".


'Arnie' Empey Tells UUP Delegates: We'll Be Back

Conference Sketch: Chris Thornton

24 October 2005

Sir Reg Empey invites comparisons with Montgomery Burns,
the spindly millionaire nuclear power plant owner of the
Simpsons, more readily than he does with Arnold
Schwarzenegger, burly celluloid action hero and latter day

But it was to California's Governor that Sir Reg turned for
inspiration on Saturday, addressing an Ulster Unionist
conference for the first time as their leader.

Paraphrasing Arnold, he concluded his speech with the
ringing phrase: "We'll be back."

Without actually noting that the occasion marked another
first - the first such conference to take place when the
Ulster Unionists are decidedly not the largest party in
Northern Ireland - Sir Reg was clearly alluding to the
UUP's little difficulty.

During the party's leadership contest at the start of the
summer, one of the contenders remarked privately that the
job was akin to being "the mayor of Stalingrad" in 1945.
After the DUP rolled through town, rebuilding doesn't even
begin to describe the job at hand.

So will they be back? The delegates at the Ramada Hotel
said so, with varying degrees of conviction.

They don't look very different from the party that got so
badly pummelled earlier this year. Of course, David Trimble
is no longer at the head - but the body of people who filed
through the hotel were largely kitted out as the UUP of
old, that is grey hair and grey suits.

However, like alcoholics on the road to recovery, those
same greyheads appear to have taken the necessary first
step of acknowledging they have a problem. The officer team
that they elected just prior to the start of the conference
contained plenty of young faces, a step that may not be a
solution in itself but is at least indicative of a fresh

The important question that remains is in which direction
the road back lies. Sir Reg gave a nod towards visionary
politics, but took a page out of Mr Paisley's book and
relied heavily on criticising his opponents.

The new leader has long been his party's best DUP-basher,
and he included plenty of that in his speech, claiming Ian
Paisley had delivered the "worst of all worlds for
unionists" where Sinn Fein gets to cut side deals with the
two governments.

"Ian Paisley is fit to say that unionist confidence has
never been higher," he said. "I don't know where he is
living at present."

The difficulty is that this does not necessarily present
his party as an alternative. It could do, but that depends
on unionist voters developing a dissatisfaction with the
DUP's approach. And that would take quite some time,
especially at a point when unionist voters appear to prefer
being dissatisfied with Sinn Fein.

Sir Reg made headlines by calling on loyalist
paramilitaries to disband, a statement that may have been
designed to put some distance between himself and the DUP,
especially after the criticism that he was not vigorous
enough in his condemnation of September's Whiterock parade

It is unlikely to have won him much favour with
nationalists. He told the conference that the UDA and UVF
"no longer have any reason to maintain their structures" -
which many will read as an implication that they had a
reason in the first place.

After his speech, Sir Reg filed out for the conference's
lunch break with Lady Sylvia Hermon, a show of unity with
his most serious internal critic of recent weeks. 'United
we stand' was the signal. The question remains about how
tall that stand can be.


Action Plan To Combat UUP Six-Figure Debt

By Noel McAdam
24 October 2005

The UUP is facing a six-figure-sum debt - but is putting an
action plan in place.

Yet constituency organisations are complaining of a "sense
of injustice" over the financial burden some are being
asked to bear, leader Sir Reg Empey told his annual

He also revealed that a new set of proposals on party
financing will be brought forward to the 800-strong ruling
Council's next gathering in March.

Chairman James Cooper said if the party could recoup 80% of
what it is owed it will be back in the black.

The party's treasurer Jack Allen has resigned after 20
years in service, during which time, Mr Cooper said, the
party had remained in financial good health. Both Mr Allen
and Mr Cooper are likely to be replaced by the party
executive next month.

Sir Reg has also shrugged off claims of a poor relationship
with the party's only MP, Lady Sylvia Hermon.

After criticising Sir Reg for working closely with DUP
leader Ian Paisley over the banned Whiterock Orange parade,
the North Down MP said Sir Reg had to be party leader first
and an Orangemen second.

But Sir Reg told the Belfast Telegraph: "I don't want to
run the party like a Politburo. People have to be free to
express themselves. The problem is, in the past, this party
took that too far."

Party Assembly group deputy leader Danny Kennedy, who is
heading an internal reform group to bring forward proposals
on internal party reform, said: "We have to look at
improving communications through all levels of the party.
We want to provide mechanisms for contact between
constituency organisations, councillors, Assembly members
and Headquarters and it is not so much about legal change
as a cultural change."

Around 500 delegates on Saturday voted to skip a generation
in terms of the party officers, with veteran councillors
Jim Rodgers and Bertie Kerr losing out.

Newly-elected officer Johnny Andrews said the party would
have to undergo "root and branch" change.

Chartered accountant Mr Andrews (48), who has been vice-
chairman of Comber UUP, said it was good for the party that
professional and business people like solicitor Peter
Bowles were being appointed to key posts.

Lisburn councillor Basil McCrea and Young Unionist activist
Kenny Donaldson were also elected and Sir Reg intends to
meet all of them soon to agree individual portfolios. Only
two of the six-strong 'old guard' officers, former
Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Joan Carson and Mrs May
Steele, retained their positions.


Lawlor Crash Woman Was Secretary & Interpreter

By Lorna Reid
24 October 2005

The mystery woman injured in the Moscow car crash which
killed disgraced Irish politician Liam Lawlor has been
revealed as a legal secretary and interpreter who worked
with the former TD.

Lawlor's family had hit out at claims he may have been with
a prostitute.

The 61-year-old former Fianna Fail TD was travelling from a
red-light district towards Moscow with Ukrainian woman
Julia Kushnir when his hired Mercedes spun out of control
in the early hours of Saturday. A spokesman for the Moscow
police said no other vehicle was involved and that it
appeared excessive speed was the main factor in the crash.

The vehicle, driven by a chauffeur, struck a concrete
bollard in the suburb of Khimki Lawlor was in the passenger
seat when the collision occurred.

He and his chauffeur were killed instantly while the Ms
Kushnir, who was in the back, escaped with minor injuries.

Ms Kushnir, a 28-year-old Ukrainian, had travelled from
Prague with Lawlor for a series of business meetings in the
Russian capital.

The Dubliner, who was twice sentenced to jail for contempt
of court for refusing to co-operate with the Flood Tribunal
into payments to politicians in the Republic, was in Russia
on business.

Ms Kushnir was discharged from the Moscow hospital after
she was treated for minor injuries. Mr Lawlor had extensive
business interests in eastern Europe which included
commercial property developments and it is understood that
he was pursuing similar interests in the Russian


Cunning 'Farmer' Bertie Stays On Message

TRUST Bertie Ahern to cover all the bases. Trust him, too,
to recognise the importance of symbols.

At the Fianna Fail ard fheis, when he announced the revival
of the Easter military parade in commemoration of the 1916
Rising it looked like a minor masterstroke - and a sudden
one. Not so. For some years now, the Taoiseach - in tandem
with Senator Martin Mansergh - has been engaged in a quiet
campaign to reclaim the symbols of nationalism from Sinn
Fein. Reviving the parade is an ideal climax. It serves a
dual purpose: to repudiate the false Sinn Fein claim of
"succession" to the leaders of the Rising and to assert
that there is only one Irish Army.

There is a downside. By making the announcement at a party
gathering, the Taoiseach came close to appropriating the
event for Fianna Fail. The symbols are not party symbols.
They are national symbols. But fine distinctions of this
kind will not have worried ard fheis delegates.


If they devoted any thought to the question, they saw it as
yet another example of their "cunning, devious, brilliant"
leader in action. A better example still is the adroit way
he addresses complex questions like the economy, pay talks
and public service reform.

Public service reform? Yes indeed: he made this one of the
themes of his ard fheis speech. It seems singularly
unlikely, and singularly ill-timed. He has been in office
for more than eight years, and during all that time reform
has not been high on the agenda. On the contrary, the
faltering decentralisation programme, if ever implemented,
can only stand in the way of efficiency and

But the Taoiseach linked it with quite another message, out
of which he smoothly ironed the contradictions. Any reform
is to be achieved without pain, without any messy stuff
about pay and numbers. Anything he does, he will do with
compassion. Inchydony and Father Sean Healy haven't gone
away, you know.

Thus to pay costs and tax cuts. Tax cuts? Again, yes
indeed. He hints at a return to indexation of bands, giving
higher take-home pay. And this is closely linked to the
national wage talks - likely to be among the toughest ever
and held against a background of grave trade union
discontent. Another message: who can handle the unions
best? Or the employers; or any other interest group? The
sure-footed Bertie Ahern or a coalition of Fine Gael and
Labour, pulling in different directions?

And Mr Ahern is not alone on this road that he travels like
Alanna Macree's dog, going a little bit of it with
everybody. Along with him marches Brian Cowen, a man with
solidity to match his intelligence, whom he appointed
Finance Minister to replace Charlie McCreevy precisely
because Mr McCreevy was felt to be too ideological for

Fianna Fail, then, at their most traditional in every way
as the Government moves evenly towards a general election
at which it will sail back into office on a flood tide of
maturing SSIA accounts. For older delegates, the
familiarity must have been as pleasant as the smell of
bread baking in a farmhouse kitchen.

But there is always something to spoil the fun - if not
inside the kitchen, outside it. The farm buildings and
fences are not in the best of shape. Maybe the health
service can be left to Professor Brendan Drumm, but the
transport system will remain in crisis until the Dublin
Metro is built. And the next crisis may arrive in
education. How can we shine in technology when our
universities do not meet the best international standards?


Some of the questions can be postponed - until after the
election or, if we are unlucky, much longer. The Budget
cannot. Superficially, Mr Cowen has good cause for
happiness. The Exchequer is awash with revenue. But as
every Celtic tiger cub knows, it is amazing how fast you
can spend money.

Child care must join indexation, social welfare increases
and public sector pay rises as a major expense. We look set
for a bout of "auction politics" on a heroic scale. The
Government accuses Labour of producing uncosted policies,
but in point of fact Labour have put a price on their child
care policy: a cool €1.5bn. The Government will hardly
offer anything less attractive - or cheaper.

A far bigger problem originates off the farm but threatens
its prosperity. The executive suites of the world's
financial capitals are full of worried people. They fret
about oil prices, Iraq, the coming rise in interest rates,
doubts about the new German government, and most of all,
the huge US trade deficit, financed, bizarrely, by China.

Sometime there will be a world recession, though not
necessarily a serious one. But when? Not all Bertie Ahern's
cunning, deviousness or brilliance can answer that.


But Mr Ahern is a lucky man, and Fianna Fail are a lucky
party. If he covers all the bases well enough, he will win
another election in 2007. If he fails, Enda Kenny must
cobble together a coalition of Fine Gael, Labour, Greens
and whatever you're having yourself. Just in time, perhaps,
for the recession.


Omagh Relatives Lobby For Inquiry

Relatives of the 1998 Omagh bomb victims have been meeting
Irish Foreign Affairs minister Dermot Ahern.

The Omagh Bomb Victims Group has been lobbying for a cross-
border inquiry into how the Royal Ulster Constabulary,
Gardai and courts handled the case.

Twenty-nine people died in the Real IRA bombing of the
County Tyrone town, including a woman pregnant with twins.

Earlier this year, County Armagh man Sean Hoey was the
first person charged with murder in relation to the

The meeting was taking place on Monday in Mr Ahern's
constituency in Dundalk, County Louth.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/24 11:36:33 GMT


Sir Bob In Top 10 Men Of The Decade

By Maureen Coleman
24 October 2005

Irish musician and Live 8 organiser Bob Geldof has been
named in a list of the top 10 Men of the Decade.

The former Boomtown Rats singer, an anti-poverty campaigner
and political activist also known as Saint Bob, is included
in the line-up of famous men, alongside TV chef Jamie
Oliver, England manager Sven Goran Eriksson and cyclist
Lance Armstrong.

Writer Ian McEwan, Blur singer Damon Albarn and even Homer
Simpson also make it onto the list.

The Top 10 was compiled by a panel of experts for magazine
Men's Health to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Each man represents a different area of expertise, and
Men's Health editor Morgan Rees said: "The people on our
list have used their talents to change the world around
them, rather than just to draw attention to themselves."

On Homer Simpson, he added: "He's taught a whole generation
how to take on the challenge of modern fatherhood and win -
although not always with honour."

Top 10 Men of the Decade: Philosopher, Homer Simpson;
Sportsman, Lance Armstrong; Visionary, Jonathan Ive (iPod);
Designer, Sir Paul Smith; Manager, Sven Goran Eriksson;
Activist, Bob Geldof; Writer, Ian McEwan; Musician, Damon
Albarn; Chef, Jamie Oliver; Scientist, Craig Venter.


Shannon Airport Celebrates Transatlantic 60th Anniversary

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the first transatlantic
commercial flight at Shannon Airport.

The flight landed in Shannon on the 24th of October 1945.

The carrier at the time was American Export Airlines which
was a predecessor company of American Airlines who have
only returned operations to Shannon this year.

External Relations Manager at Shannon Airport, Eugene Pratt
says the airport will be "decorated appropriately with
banners, posters and balloons. Uncle Sam will be wandering
around the airport greeting the public and the lucky
passengers flying with American Airlines will be offered
Irish Coffee at the gate before they leave. There will also
be a celebratory lunch hosted by the Airport Manager- among
the guests will be some of the people who witnessed the
arrival of that first commercial transatlantic flight 60
years ago."

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