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2019
06/21

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IAN KIRKWOOD: One-liner on multiple levels

“To me, ‘‘the low use of high office’’ is the common point in so many of the scandals and controversies that dog the three levels of Australian politics”. Picture: Jay CroninORATORY is not Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s long suit.
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His attempts at mastering the art of ‘‘sound bite’’ one-liners have proved so bizarre that they have been immortalised by comedian Shaun Micallef as ‘‘Bill Shorten’s ‘Zingers!’’’.

To throw my own zinger into the mix, I’m tempted to say that Shorten’s parliamentary delivery is so soporific it could put an ice addict to sleep. (Maybe paramedics should keep a Shorten podcast and a loudspeaker in the ambulance to deal with violent ice cases? But I digress …)

Anyway, I was driving to work on Friday morning when Shorten materialised on the ABC radio news with such a good line that I nearly ran off the road in shock.

The key phrase was just six words long, and it was this: ‘‘the low use of high office’’.

Shorten was talking, of course, about the controversy that had erupted around Dyson Heydon, the former High Court judge heading the Royal Commission into trade unions.

The full sentence was: ‘‘I’m still convinced, as I was from day one, that Mr Abbott is engaging in the low use of high office by spending $80million of taxpayer money to investigate his rivals.’’

I tuned out of the rest of the bulletin because that phrase, ‘‘the low use of high office’’, kept repeating itself in my imagination.

My first thought was that such a great line must have been pinched, but when I rang Shorten’s office they said it was his.

Google shows he’s used it regularly since last year. The only other online use I could find came from a news outlet in the Indian state of Manipur in 2006.

So it looks like congratulations to Shorten on a real zinger!

The more I thought about the line, the more it seems to be the perfect metaphor for the state of Australian politics at the moment.

I’m not necessarily talking about the royal commission, although I find it impossible to believe that Prime Minister Tony Abbott was not thinking about his own political advantage in ordering the inquiry.

It certainly gave the government a weapon to attack unions, and, by extension, the ALP, without having a parliamentary debate on industrial relations, an Achilles’ heel for the Coalition, given WorkChoices.

But is that in itself a ‘‘low use of high office’’?

I’m not sure.

Regardless of what happens to the commission from here – and regardless of Abbott’s political motivation – it has uncovered a series of disturbing industrial relations practices that are unlikely to have seen the light of day otherwise.

To me, ‘‘the low use of high office’’ is the common point in so many of the scandals and controversies that dog the three levels of Australian politics.

Whether it’s mayors and councillors defending themselves against conflict of interest allegations in local government, or the Credo and Spicer investigations of NSW politics by the ICAC, or the repeated examples of federal politicians spending up big on the taxpayers’ tab, the common link is the use of public office for private gain.

On one level, it can only undermine public confidence in our systems of government, in the same way that Nixon’s Watergate, for example, triggered such disillusion with United States politics.

It need not always be a downward spiral.

Politics is about people, and when a truly talented, charismatic and effective leader arrives, the tone of the game can often lift for the better. Or is that only until the old ennui sets in?

Unfortunately, the other negative aspect of such controversies is that they take up so much time and political oxygen that would be better used for the real business of government: of reform, of recognition, of the lawmaking and debate that should be the hallmark of ‘‘high office’’.

Perhaps, though, it’s always been this way?

Some 2500years ago, the Greek reformer Solon introduced a scheme of debt-relief, the ‘‘Seisachtheia’’.

But as Aristotle later recorded, Solon tipped off his friends, who borrowed heavily before the new laws were introduced, freeing them from the need to repay, and making them really rich.

Wi-fi and smart phones aside, is there anything new under the sun?

2019
06/21

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南京夜网

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Charity football match chance to cheer on community spirit

You don’t have to look far to understandWarrnambool is a growing city.
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Housing estates have exploded in the north and west along with commercial developments.

The city’s population is predicted to hit 40,000 by 2031, the Victoria In Future report says. But much of that growth could be at the expense of smaller towns in the region.

While numbers of people, shops and houses are measures of growth, one aspect rarely spoken about is maintaining a sense of community.

The south-west is a strong, vibrantcommunity.The best example ishow we banded together to raise $5 million forWarrnambool’s cancer care centre.

On Sunday that community spirit and purpose will be on show when hopefully thousands of people turn out for an All Stars football match aimed at raising money for the Leila Rose Foundation.

The foundation is another example of what makes our community so great. It was founded by Warrnambool doctor Andrew Chow (pictured)and his wife Tracy after their daughterLeila died at age 21 monthsfrom a rare childhood cancer.

They decided to help others by creating the foundation which assists families of children fighting rare cancers. It is the only organisation in Australia that focuses on children with rare cancers.

In its fifth year, the foundation has spent $110,000 helping23 families – four from the south-west.

Sunday’s football match, thanks to the involvement of ambassador, Warrnambool’s triple Hawthorn premiership player Jordan Lewis as one coach and AFL legend Mick Malthouse as the other, has had national promotion.That promotion not only paints the foundation in a good light but itreflects well on Warrnambool and the region.

When Dr Chow addressed many of the volunteer players at a recent training session about what the foundation did and his hopes to raise funds for its work, you could have heard a pin drop.

On Sunday there will be 70 players ranging in size, shape, ages and abilities putting on a show. The gamehas nothing to do with winning or losing. It’s abouthelping others.That’s whatcommunities like ours areall about.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2019
06/21

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Dialogue door left ajar between council and AGL

With spring on the way, the thawing of relations between Gloucester Shire Council and AGL appears to have begun. AGL’s executive general manager of stakeholder relations Jeni Coutts met with Gloucester’s mayor John Rosenbaum today with both sides agreeing to schedule a full meeting between senior AGL executives and Gloucester’s councillors on August 26. Up for discussion will be the future of AGL in the Gloucester Dialogue.
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“It’s really about how we can move forward and about putting in place our expectations as to how it can work,” said Cr Rosenbaum.

He said his main concern was ensuring AGL and the Dialogue had genuine conversations about what was going on and going to happen, before it came out in the media, so that they had a chance to form a response so that everyone was clear on their position.

“After the meeting, council will discuss what they want to do. If they decide against inviting AGL back into the Dialogue, I think it will be the end of the Dialogue itself,” he said.

Cr Rosenbaum said that he and Ms Coutts touched upon the impact of AGL’s upcoming final decision about whether or not to proceed to Stage One with the Gloucester Gas Project. Media reports have speculated that the decision is expected mid 2016, however a spokesperson for AGL said that no date had been settled upon but it would be “sometime in 2016.”

Responding to further reports about AGL’s ‘legacy’ for Gloucester should the decision not to proceed be made, AGL said it meets with all interested parties surrounding its projects and that it is important to differentiate that any talk of a ‘legacy’ should not just be in terms of ‘if AGL were to leave Gloucester’.

“AGL always has sought to give back to the communities in which it operates, whether that is through local employment, using local suppliers and services or providing funds to worthy projects through the likes of our Local Community Investment Program. We are doing all of that now and that’s already part of our legacy,” Ms Coutts said.

Further reports suggested AGL had applied pressure upon the NSW Government in relation to a policy detail surrounding their operation’s approval.AGL said “since 2009 AGL have worked through a myriad of State and Commonwealth Acts, regulations, policies, rules and Codes of Practice to ensure that our applications … satisfy numerous government approval processes, including a full environmental impact assessment… Fracture stimulating four existing wells is required under our approvals. This is an exploration activity for which a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) is required – not an Environmental Impact Statement. AGL submitted its REF, which is over 1000 pages long, in September 2013.”

“In relation to political donations, in the 2013/14 financial year NSW electoral law set a $5500 cap on donations to individual political parties. AGL did not exceed this and it is incorrect to say that $33,000 was provided to the Coalition. AGL’s policy is to proactively and regularly disclose political donations and declare every donation, not just those that are ‘reportable’.”

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2019
06/21

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南京夜网

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Tairua’s the big man to make a difference: Hill

Colt Tairua (pictured) has been a standout for Westside this season and Dylan Hill expects the back-rower to star again today against Forbes. Photo: CHERYL BURKETODAY’S Group 11 elimination semi-final between Dubbo Westside and the Forbes Magpies is guaranteed to be a huge battle up front.
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Both sides possess powerful forward packs with plenty of strike power but Rabbitohs’ stand-in captain Dylan Hill believes his side has one big man who can break the game wide open.

“One guy who has been outstanding for us this season is Colt Tairua, he’s been aiming up each week,” he said.

“With it looking like a forward’s game he’ll step up again because he’s been massive for us.”

Tairua was virtually unknown before joining the Rabbitohs from CYMS during the off-season but in the space of a season he’s become one of the leading back-rowers in the competition.

Hill admitted even he didn’t know who Tairua was before the season started but expects him to impact again on a game he believes will be decided by the forwards.

“We know they’ve got a big pack and guys like Zac Merritt and Jake Grace have plenty of experience and they’ll be the ones to watch,” he said of Forbes.

“I believe we’ve got the backs who can score the points but it’s up to the forwards to be aiming up and setting the platform.”

Today’s match at Caltex Park marks the first time Westside have made the finals since their return to Group 11.

The aim of coach Robbie Dunn and everyone at the club was to make the post-season in 2015 but just being one of the top five isn’t good enough for the Rabbitohs now.

“Our next goal is to make the grand final, that’s where we want to be but we’ve got to focus on these games first,” Hill said.

“Obviously they (Forbes) had a great win over Parkes last week so we can’t take them lightly but it is good to have the home ground advantage.”

Forbes, who finished the season one spot above Westside in fourth, defeated Parkes for the first time in six years last week and head into the match full of confidence.

It was a much different result for the Rabbitohs last week as they were thumped 78-8 but it was an understrength side which made the trip to Kennard Park, with only four regulars in the starting lineup.

Hill said his side had responded to that loss with their best training sessions of the season this week and the squad was of the belief they can win today after their 44-26 win over the Magpies in June.

“We did it once so I don’t see why we can’t do it again,” he said.

The action at Caltex Park gets under way today at 12pm with the league tag with the first grade match expected to kick off shortly after 3pm.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2019
06/21

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Public hearing to discuss small schools

THE social costs of losing small schools from regional areas, including Wollombi Public School, aren’t given sufficient consideration alongside the savings the government can pocket from shutting them, an inquiry has been told.
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The Isolated Children’s Parents Association and Cessnock City Council have also criticised the level of consultation the Department of Education carries out before deciding the fate of a school, in submissions to a parliamentary inquiry looking into the government’s handling of the closures.

Under scrutiny are its decisions to shut Wollombi and Martins Creek School and review a string of others.

The inquiry will hold a public hearing in Sydney next Thursday.

Chairman and Christian Democrat MP Paul Green said he expected residents affected by the Martins Creek closure, which has six students and is slated to shut at the end of the year, would give evidence. Bureaucrats will also be called.

The Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association said the loss of rural schools had social costs that weren’t adequately considered, and communities were sceptical that savings from closing their schools benefited city schools over others in regional areas.

A department spokesman said its resource allocation model ensured schools taking over enrolments from one that had closed were ‘‘resourced appropriately and equitably’’.

Cessnock City Council told the inquiry the department conducted ‘‘minimal consultation’’ with it before closing the historic Wollombi school. The council could have provided an ‘‘understanding of the importance of the school for that community’’.

In an unusual move, Korean miner KEPCO has also made a submission, pushing its proposed mine in the Bylong Valley as an opportunity to boost the number of enrolments at Bylong Upper Public School.

‘‘The project provides a unique opportunity to arrest the decline in population which has been occurring in the Bylong Valley since the 1980s,’’ it said.

2019
05/21

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Hawks aim up without Absolum

WE CAN COPE: East Wagga-Kooringal confident they can cope without captain Ben Absolum. Picture: Kieren L Tilly
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East Wagga-Kooringal are adamanttheirfinals campaign won’t be derailed by Ben Absolum’s injury.

The Hawks skipper suffered a tear to his left Achilles and has been advised it’s a six- to eight-week injury.

Absolum’s backedvice-captain, Joe Scott, to lead from the front and says he’ll have plenty of support.

“Last year, if a few blokes didn’t play well we were in a bit of trouble but this year there’s a line-up of blokes performing every week,” Absolum said.

Coach Gavin McMahon said the setbackwould’ve beendevastating a year ago, but hebelieves the Hawks are better balanced in 2015.

“Whereas last year Benny, Marc Geppert and Stu Brierty really dominated, they haven’t had to this year,” McMahon said.

The Hawks travel to CSU with the minor premiership well and truly in their keeping and McMahon wants to see a finals-type performance before they enjoy a week off.

“We’ll be full steam ahead given it’s a dress rehearsal for the full week after and we’ve got blokes having to play for their spots,” he said.

CSU are fighting to avoid the wooden spoon.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2019
05/21

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Season goes on the line in lower grade clashes

WHILE all the focus will be on the two first grade blockbusters this weekend the lower grade clashes also see in-form teams going head-to-head.
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Today the reserve grade major semi-final is played at Caltex Park with CYMS taking on Westside in a local derby.

Forbes enjoy the week off after finishing as minor premiers and will be keen to see the second and third placed teams battling it out.

The Fishies finished second after only losing four games all season and captain-coach Craig Roworth has seen his team improve as the season has gone on.

Roworth is part of a powerful forward pack featuring the likes of Jopi Tui, Seru Mateo, Luke Taylor and Lee Price while in fullback James Pomfret they have one of the competition’s standout players.

Westside have always placed a huge amount of pride in their reserve grade side and have been quietly confident of lifting the trophy all season.

The Rabbitohs have the kind of depth in reserve grade the rest of the competition envy and the likes of Jarrin Fernando, Darren Toomey and Seaun Stanley are sure to be in the thick of the action today.

In today’s under-18s eliminations semi-final Macquarie take on Wellington with both sides possessing a stack of individual talent.

Harry van Dartel, Phil Combridge, Wade Kavanagh, Kotoni Staggs and Brogan Black will be key to their side’s hopes.

Tomorrow Macquarie are in action again with their experienced reserve grade side meeting Wellington in the elimination semi.

Zac Rennick, Matt Lane and Craig McLean have all played plenty of first grade for the Raiders and their performances will be vital in the clash against the Cowboys.

Tomorrow’s under-18s major semi will also be one to watch as rivals Parkes and CYMS face off.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2019
05/21

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Game to carry special meaning

OLD Scotch and Uni-Mowbray meet in an NTFA division 2 clash at the NTCA Ground on Saturday that carries special significance for both clubs.
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The third versus fourth contest has importance for finals, which are only a couple of weeks away, but carries extra meaning as the two teams vie for the Butzin-Jordan Cup and medals in memory of respective club stalwarts Lucas Butzin and Jeff Jordan.

Old Scotch club captain Butzin was killed in a car accident in 2006 on the day the Thistles were scheduled to play Uni-Mowbray.

He was the club’s best and fairest winner in 2002 and 2004 and the association’s best and fairest winner in 2005, as well as the Thistles’ A reserve coach in 2003.

Jordan lived for his beloved Uni-Mowbray Football Club and was a football identity in Northern Tasmania for more than 30 years.

He was a Northern and Tasmanian representative, club best and fairest winner and NTFA living legend who succumbed to cancer in 2010.

Both men were proud of their football clubs, and their legacy lives on with the two clubs playing the memorial game in their honour each year.

Old Scotch footballers Shaun Muller and Daniel Ellis with Uni-Mowbray rivals Anthony Viney and Dylan Dwyer, with the Butzin-Jordan Cup that the two teams will be playing for on Saturday. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2019
05/21

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Letters to the editor

Same-sex marriage coverage overdoneI was fairly gobsmacked to see the huge coverage on SSM in yesterday’s Addy (August 13). A little overdone, don’t you think? Even for aFairfaxpublication – notoriously Left and on the side of marriage ‘equality’, overdone.
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I would really like you to do a story on the effects of this type of SSM legislation on freedom of speech, conscience and religion, thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press; freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

All these were curtailed (under threat of fine and litigation) inCanadafollowing legalisation of same sex ‘marriage’.

The debate we are having today on this issue inAustralia, would actually be a breach of discrimination laws if it were taking place inCanada. We know this from experience of Canadians such as Dawn Stefanowicz – who was raised by a homosexual father and his succession of partners.

She has written an article: A Warning fromCanada: Same sex Marriage Erodes Fundamental Rights, at the Public Discourse website. It would also be a breach of those laws to suggest that every child should know and be raised by their biological parents.

InCanada, under gender neutralism, all varieties of gender and sexuality are protected – except heterosexuality. Non gender-specific language is being imposed in media, government, workplaces and schools. Children are the most vulnerable and have no voice.

Knowing all this, and perhaps to achieve this end, is what makes proponents of SSM, either Parliamentary members or newspaper editors or any citizen agitate for this radical change to our laws. I can’t understand this, nor can I forgive it.

GOT AN OPINION: Send a letter to the editor to [email protected]南京夜网419论坛 or PO Box 61, Bendigo, Vic 3552.

If all this can happen in a democracy such asCanada, it can happen inAustralia. I urge my fellow citizens and legislators to become informed.

Helen Leach, BendigoThe Victorian State Government has released the local government Rates Capping Terms of Reference which outlines the Governments objectives to contain the cost of living in Victoria.

While supporting Council autonomy and ensuring greater accountability and transparency in local government budgeting and service delivery which is reflective of services that the community needs and demands.I am not sure that the objective to contain the cost of living whilst supporting council’s autonomy are compatible objectives .

This council has spent ratepayers monies like water , taking on projects and expenditure which will affect the cost to ratepayers going forward , whilst ignoring the services which ratepayers demand. Eg; HACC services, Kindergartens, meals on wheels, local pools , Science discovery centre, streets and roads.It is also “ ironic” that it was the Liberal Kennett Government who capped rates in 1995 after reducing and amalgamating councils. A Labor Bracks Government who let councils off the hook in 1997 scrapping the cap altogether , and now a Labor Government bringing the cap back after the horse has bolted.

The Municipal Association of Victoria has already opposed the move and made statements “That the costs of running a household were irrelevant to councils costs”. And noted that the Federal Liberal Government had cut funding to Victorian Councils by $124 million over 3 years.We need Councillors that are not ingrained with the mantra of growth and more growth , whilst ignoring the needs of ratepayers , and not thinking of those who endure the rise after rise of rates with little or no offset in fixed income. Council’ sustainability and financial capacity has always been its ratepayers being bled by increased rates year after year.“This is not about cutting services or staff , it’s about encouraging councils to get back to the things that matter to their community and councils must put a stop to over-the-top executive pay rises and needless waste.”{ Minister for Local Government}

Bill Collier,Golden SquareThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

2019
05/21

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The Shipping News: SeaDream sets sail for the Mediterranean on a wine cruise

SeaDream will call in at Italy’s famous Portofino during its Mediterranean cruise. Photo: Supplied SeaDream will call in at Italy’s famous Portofino during its Mediterranean cruise. Photo: Supplied
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Ecruising is heading down the Nile as part of a 16-night adventure. Photo: Bertrand Rieger

SeaDream will call in at Italy’s famous Portofino during its Mediterranean cruise. Photo: Supplied

SeaDream will call in at Italy’s famous Portofino during its Mediterranean cruise. Photo: Supplied

Wine route

SeaDream Yacht Club is charting an impressive swath of the Mediterranean coast this October, with ports of call at Civitavecchia (Rome), Ercole and Portofino in Italy, Monte Carlo, St Tropez and Sanary-sur-Mer in France, and finishing in Spain with visits to Barcelona, Valencia and Malaga. The nine-day sailing is one of SeaDream’s popular ‘Wine Voyages’ that include a number of activities led by wine experts and winemakers, including complimentary on-board wine tastings. There are also optional visits to wineries in premium wine regions, and an optional Winemaker Dinner.

Phone 02 9958 4444. See seadream南京夜网. New Zealand ahoy

Small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations is mostly associated with cruises in the Americas, but with three new vessels (in addition to an existing vessel) and four new itineraries in New Zealand, it seems the company is expanding its horizons. The ships carry between 16 and 72 passengers and are purpose-built for cruising in New Zealand; they can access everything from the remote wilderness of the Fiordlands (including Doubtful Sound, accessible only to small ships) to the tranquil Bay of Islands, where an eight-day cruise gives passengers the chance to kayak and visit vineyards.

See adventuresmithexplorations南京夜网. European encounter

Lindblad Expeditions has rolled out its inaugural 2016 European program aboard National Geographic Orion, with 11 one-week itineraries between April and September for a ship that, for some time, has been cruising Australian and Pacific waters. Next year the Orion makes maiden voyages to Portugal, Spain, France, Britain, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, the Baltic republics and Scandinavia, and promises more active, insightful experiences in these perennially popular destinations. On-board experts will cover fields such as ancient and modern history, political science, art, viniculture, photography and music, and active options will include hiking, biking and kayaking.

Phone 1300 361 012. See expeditions南京夜网. Nile smile

Ecruising has a new cruise-tour in Egypt on a 16-night itinerary that includes a Nile cruise. Departing Australia on November 7, guests begin the journey with three nights in Dubai before flying to Cairo for three days’ exploration of the city’s highlights, such as the Pyramids and Egyptian Museum. Guests then fly to Luxor for three nights before boarding Sun Boat IV for a four-night cruise along the Nile to Aswan with daily sightseeing at monuments along the way. The cruise finishes at Aswan with a three-night stay at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel.

Phone 1300 369 848. See ecruising.travel. Room service

Uniworld has announced the expansion of its in-suite butler service throughout its European fleet. Guests staying in suites on board Uniworld’s ships will find their every need attended to by butlers trained at England’s esteemed Ivor Spencer Butler School. That’s just the start of the luxuries in the river-cruise line’s suites, however, which also feature handcrafted beds, a choice of pillows, bathrooms lined in Italian marble and Hermès and L’Occitane bath and body products. In-suite amenities include laundry and shoeshine service, breakfast, a Nespresso coffee machine and personalised exercise training and wellness services.

Phone 1300 780 231. See uniworldcruises南京夜网419论坛.

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