Metrovaartha http://www.metrovaartha.com/ en-us Sun, 22 Sep 2019 00:00:00 +0530 Chandrayaan-2 mission has achieved 98pc objectives: ISRO chief  http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16981/chandrayaan-2-mission-has-achieved-98pc-objectives--isro-chief- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16981/chandrayaan-2-mission-has-achieved-98pc-objectives--isro-chief- Sat, 21 Sep 2019 16:23:12 +0530 ]]> Bhubaneswar | Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan on Saturday said the Chandrayaan-2 mission has achieved 98 per cent of its objectives, even as scientists are working hard to establish contact with lander 'Vikram'.
Sivan also said Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is doing well and performing scheduled science experiments.
"Why we are saying Chandrayaan-2 achieved 98 per cent success is because of two objectives -- one is science and the other technology demonstration. In case of technology demonstration, the success percentage was almost full," he told reporters at the airport here, before heading to IIT- Bhubaneswar to attend its 8th convocation ceremony.
Sivan said ISRO is focusing on another moon mission by 2020.
"Discussion is on about the future plan... nothing is finalised. Our priority is on an unmanned mission by next year. First, we have to understand what exactly happened to the lander," he said.
He said a national-level committee comprising academicians and ISRO experts are analysing the cause of the communication loss with 'Vikram'.
"We have not been able to establish communication with the lander yet. As soon as we receive any data, necessary steps will be taken," Sivan said
Noting that the orbiter was initially planned for a year, the ISRO chief said there is every possibility that it will last for another seven-and-a-half years "Orbiter continues to perform scheduled science experiments to complete satisfaction. There are eight instruments in the orbiter and each instrument is doing exactly what it is meant to do," he added.

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The whistleblower and Trump phone call: What we know http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16980/the-whistleblower-and-trump-phone-call--what-we-know http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16980/the-whistleblower-and-trump-phone-call--what-we-know Sat, 21 Sep 2019 16:19:35 +0530 ]]>A mysterious whistleblower, a telephone call between President Donald Trump and a foreign leader, and military aid to Ukraine. Washington | A mysterious whistleblower, a telephone call between President Donald Trump and a foreign leader, and military aid to Ukraine.
Here's what we know about the latest political firestorm swirling around Washington: On August 12, an unknown whistleblower in the US intelligence community filed a complaint with Michael Atkinson, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG), regarding a matter of "urgent concern." The identity of the whistleblower and the nature of the complaint have not been publicly revealed.
After reviewing the complaint, Atkinson determined it was "credible" and forwarded it on August 26 to the acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, a Trump appointee.
The Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee is demanding that the whistleblower's complaint be turned over but Maguire has declined to share it.
According to The Washington Post, the complaint concerned a "promise" Trump made in a recent phone call with a foreign leader.
The phone call in question, according to US media reports, was a July 25 conversation between Trump and Ukraine's newly elected President Volodymyr Zelensky.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump repeatedly pressured Zelensky in the call to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, Trump's main potential 2020 reelection rival.
Hunter Biden in 2014 joined the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas firm accused of corrupt practices, but he has not been personally accused of any wrongdoing.
The Journal said Trump urged Zelensky "about eight times" during the call to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney, on a probe into Hunter Biden.
At the time of the conversation, the United States was holding up USD 250 million in military aid for Ukraine, but the Journal said Trump did not mention the assistance during the conversation.
Three committees in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives have demanded that the White House turn over a transcript of the call.
The committees claim it may include evidence of Trump and Giuliani's efforts to "improperly pressure" Ukraine to help his reelection bid.
They accused Trump and Giuliani of trying to coerce Ukraine, in exchange for military assistance, into conducting a "politically motivated" investigation into Hunter Biden.
"If the President is trying to pressure Ukraine into choosing between defending itself from Russian aggression without US assistance or leveraging its judicial system to serve the ends of the Trump campaign, this would represent a staggering abuse of power," the Democratic committee chairmen said.
The US military aid package for Ukraine, which is battling pro-Russian separatists, was finally approved by the White House last week.
Trump for his part has insisted there was nothing untoward about the telephone call.
"Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various US agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself," he tweeted on Thursday.
"Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially 'heavily populated' call," he said.
"I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!" Speaking to reporters at the White House on Friday, Trump described the story as a "political hack job" and said former vice president Joe Biden is the one who should be investigated.
"It was a totally appropriate conversation," he said of the telephone call.
"It was actually a beautiful conversation." Trump claimed he didn't know the identity of the whistleblower but said he was a "partisan person." Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, also took to Twitter to defend Trump.
"A President telling a Pres-elect of a well known corrupt country he better investigate corruption that affects US is doing his job," he tweeted. 

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Maruti to drive in new model S-Presso later this month  http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16979/maruti-to-drive-in-new-model-s-presso-later-this-month- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16979/maruti-to-drive-in-new-model-s-presso-later-this-month- Sat, 21 Sep 2019 15:49:15 +0530 ]]> New Delhi | Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) on Saturday said it will launch mini SUV S-Presso later this month, coinciding with the start of the festive season.
The company said the indigenously conceived, designed and developed vehicle is made for India as well as the world.
"Our internal research suggests that the criteria of buying a car for the youth, apart from affordability, acquisition cost and maintenance, now also include design and aesthetics," MSI Executive Director (Marketing & Sales) Shashank Srivastava said in a statement.
With S-Presso, the company will offer a premium, feature-rich car that will disrupt the entry car segment in the country, he added.
MSI Senior Executive Director (Engineering) C V Raman said the company has always developed new segments and cars to match the changing needs, tastes and lifestyles of customers.
"Designed in-house by Maruti Suzuki, S-PRESSO marks a big shift in the way compact cars are created and crafted in India. Its design language is inspired from our line-up of SUVs and the modern user's lifestyle," he added.
The company is scheduled to introduce the new product on September 30.

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Kerala's backward hamlet eyes country's first 'literate tribalblock' tag http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16978/kerala-s-backward-hamlet-eyes-country-s-first--literate-tribalblock--tag http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16978/kerala-s-backward-hamlet-eyes-country-s-first--literate-tribalblock--tag Sat, 21 Sep 2019 15:45:38 +0530 ]]>Attappady, one of the most backward tribal hamlets in Kerala, which was in the limelight for long for the wrong reasons-- infant mortality, malnutrition, poverty and under development, is now slowly turning a new leaf. Thiruvananthapuram | Attappady, one of the most backward tribal hamlets in Kerala, which was in the limelight for long for the wrong reasons-- infant mortality, malnutrition, poverty and under development, is now slowly turning a new leaf.
The settlement, located on the foothills of Nilgiri hills of Western Ghats in Palakkad district, is now on its path to achieving a rare feat- to become the first complete literate tribal block in the country.
If everything goes as planned, the feat can be achieved within a year and an official announcement in this regard can be expected by June, 2020, official sources here said.
The Kerala State Literacy Mission (KSLM), which is implementing several programmes to achieve complete literacy among the marginalised groups including tribals, fisher-folk and migrant labours, is scheduled to launch the third phase of its literacy programme in Attappady on September 27.
With the completion of the project, the place can be declared as the first complete literate tribal block in the country as per the criteria set by UNESCO,KSLM director P S Sreekala said.
According to the UN agency, a place can be declared as completeliterate if more than 90 per cent of the native population attain literacy, she said.
A total of 5,031 people had been identified as illiterates in Attapapdy in a survey conducted prior to the launch of the KSLM's literacy-cum-equivalency drive for the first time there in December, 2016.
Of them, 1,117 people in the first phase and 2,553 in the second phase have become literate under the project, taking the total number of neo-literates to 3,670.
"Now, only 1,361 people remain illiterate in the region.
We are launching the third phase of the drive on September 27 to bring them also to the world ofliteracy", Sreekala said.
The first and second phases had been successfully carried out in 192 settlements of Attapapdy Block, which comprises three village panchayats -Agali, Puthur and Sholayur, she noted.
Detailing the features of the project, the director said besides the literacy drive, the fourth standard equivalency course for the neo-literates was also progressing in the region.
Equivalency programmes are organised with a view to provide an alternative education that is equal to the existing formal system of education, be it related to formal or vocations education, KSLM sources said.
Of the total 275 instructors deployed for the implementation of the Attappady literacy programme, 218 were tribals themselves.
An hour-long class, involving 15-25 students, is scheduled in each village daily.
Free food is provided to the them through the 'community kitchen' initiative of the Kudumbashree, the state government's poverty eradication mission.
"Besides achieving the complete literate status, our objective is to ensure the neo-literates a facility to continue their studies as long as they wish.
We have plans to providenewspapers and periodicals to them in their respective hamlets with the support of local self-government department," she added.
Attappady, home to 32,956 tribals, is one of the most backward region of the state.
The major tribal communities living in the region are Irulas, Mudugas and Kurumbas.
The hamlet had witnessed a large number of infant deaths due to malnutrition and genetic disorders in recent years.

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EC announces bypolls to 64 assembly seats, one LS constituency  http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16977/ec-announces-bypolls-to-64-assembly-seats--one-ls-constituency- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16977/ec-announces-bypolls-to-64-assembly-seats--one-ls-constituency- Sat, 21 Sep 2019 15:43:44 +0530 ]]>Bypolls to 64 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha constituency spread across 18 states will be held on October 21 and the counting of votes will be on October 24, the Election Commission announced on Saturday. New Delhi | Bypolls to 64 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha constituency spread across 18 states will be held on October 21 and the counting of votes will be on October 24, the Election Commission announced on Saturday.
While assembly by-elections will be held on 64 assembly seats, the Samastipur Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar will also have a bypoll.
These assembly seats include 15 in Karnataka and 11 in Uttar Pradesh.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said the byolls in Karnataka will be held on seats, including where sitting MLAs were disqualified recently.
The 11 UP assembly seats mostly belong to MLAs who had won the Lok Sabha elections and had resigned as members of the state assembly.
The Samastipur (Bihar) Lok Sabha by-election was necessitated following the death of sitting MP Ram Chandra Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party in July.
Responding to a question, Arora said the bypoll to the Satara Lok Sabha seat will not be held along with the Maharashtra assembly elections on October 21.
Satara MP from Nationalist Congress Party Udayanraje Bhosale had recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party after resigning from the Lok Sabha.
Assembly bypolls in West Bengal are not being held now as the state government had cited the Durga Puja festivities to postpone the exercise. They will also not be held in Uttarakhand now as panchayat elections are already underway and the state machinery is occupied with the exercise, Arora said.
In some other seats, by-elections are not being held as respective high courts are hearing election petitions and the matters are sub judice, he added.
States where assembly bypolls will be held are Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Odisha and Puducherry (one seat each).
The other states are Assam (4), Bihar (5), Gujarat (4), Himachal Pradesh (2), Kerala (5), Punjab (4), Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu (two each) and Sikkim (3).
The notification for on the Lok Sabha bypoll and 64 assembly by-elections will be issued on September 23. The nomination process will begin the same day.

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Maharashtra, Haryana assembly polls on Oct 21  http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16976/maharashtra--haryana-assembly-polls-on-oct-21- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16976/maharashtra--haryana-assembly-polls-on-oct-21- Sat, 21 Sep 2019 15:40:48 +0530 ]]>Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana will be held on October 21, the Election Commission announced on Saturday. New Delhi | Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana will be held on October 21, the Election Commission announced on Saturday.    Counting of votes in both the states will be held on October 24, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said at press conference here.
While the term of 288-member Maharashtra assembly ends on November 9, that of the 90-member Haryana assembly expires on November 2.

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5 board members of Karunakaran memorial trust arrested http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16975/5-board-members-of-karunakaran-memorial-trust-arrested http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16975/5-board-members-of-karunakaran-memorial-trust-arrested Sat, 21 Sep 2019 10:56:33 +0530 ]]>Five board members of the Congress party-owned K Karunakaran memorial trust, which was in the news recentlyover the suspected suicide of a contractor were arrested here on Friday in an alleged cheating case. Kannur | Five board members of the Congress party-owned K Karunakaran memorial trust, which was in the news recentlyover the suspected suicide of a contractor were arrested here on Friday in an alleged cheating case.

The trust got into a controversy afterMuthupara Joseph (58) the contractor of the K Karunakaran Memorial Hospital at Cherupuzha, was found dead with his wrists slit, on the terrace of the building on September 5.

"We have arrested the director board members of the trust in a cheating case.

Kunjikrishnan Nair, Roshi, Salim, Sebastian and Sacaria are the arrested members," the investigating officer told PTI.

Police said that the cheating complaint against the board members was filed by a former board member for allegedly siphoning off the trust's funds.

The case was filed two days before the death of Joseph on September 5, police said.

Joseph's relatives had alleged that the trust, which owns the hospital building, owes him around Rs 1.34 crore and that some Congress leaders, who are the trust members, had met him on September 4 to discuss the project and the money they owed him.

The relatives had also alleged that some of the trust members had threatened him.

However, theCongress party in Kerala on September took upon itself the responsibility of repaying all the liabilities of the contractor.

The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee has also formed a panel to look into the allegations regarding corruption in its various trusts.

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) had rubbished the stand of KPCC, saying that Congress, after being caught red handed, was trying to give back the amount (to the family).

The contractor was reported missing since the evening of September 4.

His relatives had lodged a police complaint, following which a search operations were conducted, but in vain.

Police said it was a suspected case of suicide.

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Karnataka govt will collapse any time, says Kumaraswamy http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16974/karnataka-govt-will-collapse-any-time--says-kumaraswamy http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16974/karnataka-govt-will-collapse-any-time--says-kumaraswamy Sat, 21 Sep 2019 10:50:02 +0530 ]]>JD(S) leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday predicted that the B S Yediyurappa-led BJP government "may collapse any time." Bengaluru | JD(S) leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday predicted that the B S Yediyurappa-led BJP government "may collapse any time."

"If I have to make a political prediction... I'm not an astrologer for that, but looking at the way in which this government is going, looking at its conduct this government may collapse any time...lets wait and see," he told reporters in Channapatna.

Meanwhile, reacting to statements predicting mid-term polls, Minister and senior BJP leader K S Eshwarappa ruled out any possibility of such polls.

He, however said there may be by-elections to fill 17 seats that have fallen vacant following the disqualification of Congress-JD(S) rebel MLAs.

Days after indicating that his party was still open for continuing its alliance with the Congress,Kumaraswamys father and JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda too had recently predicted mid-term elections, and said his party would go it alone.

Stating that there may be assembly elections in January or February, he had said he and Kumaraswamy would tour the state to strengthen the party.

Also repeatedly predicting the mid-term polls, Congress leader Siddaramaiah had said the BJP government cannot survive for long as it has come to power with the help of 17 Congress-JD(S) disqualified MLAs.

Reacting to Siddaramaiahs comments, one of the 17 disqualified MLAs S T Somashekar questioned whether the former Chief Minister was the Election Commissions agent to give such predictions.

"He (Siddaramaiah) has said polls will come, is it authentic? If he was the Election Commissions agent, okay, but he is not...Congress and JD(S) leaders are saying such things because that feel they have to keep making such statements," he said.

The absence and resignation of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs during the trust vote had led to the collapse of the Kumaraswamy-headed coalition government in July, and helped the BJP come to power.

The then assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law, which they have challenged in the Supreme Court.

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New potential breast cancer drug identified http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16973/new-potential-breast-cancer-drug-identified http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16973/new-potential-breast-cancer-drug-identified Sat, 21 Sep 2019 10:43:11 +0530 ]]>Scientists, including an Indian-American researcher, have identified a molecule that can help treat breast cancer, giving hope to patients who have become resistant to traditional therapies. Washington | Scientists, including an Indian-American researcher, have identified a molecule that can help treat breast cancer, giving hope to patients who have become resistant to traditional therapies.

The first-in-class molecule shuts down oestrogen-sensitive breast cancer in a new way, researchers said.

First-in-class drugs are those that work by a unique mechanism - in this case a molecule that targets a protein on the oestrogen receptor of tumour cells.

The potential drug offers hope for patients whose breast cancer has become resistant to traditional therapies.

"This is a fundamentally different, new class of agents for oestrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer," said Ganesh Raj, professor at the University of Texas Southwestern (UT Southwestern) Simmons Cancer Center.

"Its unique mechanism of action overcomes the limitations of current therapies," Raj said.

All breast cancers are tested to determine if they require oestrogen to grow and about 80 per cent are found to be oestrogen-sensitive, researchers said.

These cancers can often be effectively treated with hormone therapy, such as tamoxifen, but as many as a third of these cancers eventually become resistant, they said.

The new compound is a potential highly effective, next-line treatment for these patients, said Raj.

Traditional hormonal drugs, such as tamoxifen, work by attaching to a molecule called the oestrogen receptor in cancer cells, preventing oestrogen from binding to the receptor, a necessary step for cancer cells to multiply.

However, the oestrogen receptor can mutate and change its shape over time so that the treatment drug no longer fits neatly with the receptor. When this happens, the cancer cells start multiplying again.

"There has been intense interest in developing drugs that block the ability of the oestrogen receptor - the prime target in most breast cancers - from interacting with the co-regulator proteins that cause a tumour's growth," said David Mangelsdorf, professor at UT Southwestern.

"Blocking such "protein-protein interactions" has been a dream of cancer researchers for decades.

The drug works by blocking other molecules - proteins called co-factors - that also must attach to the oestrogen receptor for cancer cells to multiply.

The new molecule, dubbed ERX-11, mimics a peptide, or protein building block.

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Saudi vows quick recovery despite damage to oil plants http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16972/saudi-vows-quick-recovery-despite-damage-to-oil-plants http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/16972/saudi-vows-quick-recovery-despite-damage-to-oil-plants Sat, 21 Sep 2019 10:38:32 +0530 ]]>Saudi Arabia vowed on Friday to quickly restore oil production as it revealed extensive damage to key oil plants following weekend aerial strikes, which the US has blamed on Iran. Abqaiq | Saudi Arabia vowed on Friday to quickly restore oil production as it revealed extensive damage to key oil plants following weekend aerial strikes, which the US has blamed on Iran.

The attacks, which hit state-controlled oil giant Saudi Aramco's facilities in the country's east at Khurais and the world's largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq, were claimed by Yemen's Huthi rebels.

But Washington has pointed the finger at Tehran, condemning an "act of war" which knocked out half of Saudi's oil production and on Friday prompted President Donald Trump to sketch out the latest in a series of economic sanctions against Iran.

Abqaiq was struck 18 times while Khurais, 200 kilometres southwest, was hit four times in a raid sparking fires that took five hours to extinguish, Aramco officials said.

"Many critical areas of the (Abqaiq) plant were hit," an Aramco official said, declining to be named.

A stabilisation column, normally silver, had been charred black with a gaping hole blown in the shaft's base. A separator plant was also badly damaged in the raids and was surrounded by scaffolding.

"There are 112 shift workers here in normal times. Now 6,000 workers are involved in restoration work," said Aramco official Khaled al-Ghamdi, pointing at damaged infrastructure.

The site visits to both Khurais and Abqaiq gave rare access to the nerve centre of the world's largest oil producer, with Aramco flying in journalists to show the extent of damage and the ongoing clean-up.

"We will have production at the same level as before the strike by the end of this month -- we are coming back stronger," asserted Fahad al-Abdulkareem, an Aramco general manager, during the visit to Khurais.

Badly warped thick metal piping -- peppered with shrapnel during the aerial strikes -- lay strewn around the area of the Khurais attack. But Abdulkareem said that 30 per cent of the Khurais plant was operational within 24 hours of the initial strikes.

Industry analyst Alex Schindelar, president of the Energy Intelligence group, said that "restoring sustainable production capacity to 11 million barrels per day by the end of the month is an ambitious target, given the amount of repairs required".

Tehran has denied responsibility for the attacks against the heart of Saudi's all-important oil industry, raising the spectre of "all-out war" in the event of retaliatory measures by Washington or Riyadh.

The rhetoric has raised the risk of an unpredictable escalation in a tinderbox region where Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in a decades-old struggle for dominance.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday there was "enormous consensus in the region" that Iran executed the attacks, despite its denials and the Yemeni rebels' claims they were responsible.

The Huthi rebels are backed by Iran in Yemen's conflict, while a Saudi-led coalition supports the internationally recognised government.

Trump earlier this week vowed substantial new sanctions against Iran in response to the attacks and told reporters on Friday they would target the country's central bank.

The US Treasury Department said these latest sanctions were linked to "terrorism", alleging Iran's central bank had provided "billions of dollars" to two forces blacklisted by Washington.

"Treasury's action targets a crucial funding mechanism that the Iranian regime uses to support its terrorist network, including the Qods Force, Hezbollah and other militants that spread terror and destabilize the region," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement.

The Qods Force conducts international operations for Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, while Hezbollah is a powerful Shiite movement in Lebanon.

Saudi officials this week unveiled what they said were fragments of 25 drones and cruise missiles fired at the two oil hubs.

"The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran," said defence ministry spokesman Turki al-Maliki who declined to confirm whether Riyadh believes Iran directly carried out the operation.

Yemen's Huthi rebels have previously hit dozens of targets in Saudi Arabia, and their advancing arsenal has exposed the kingdom's vulnerability despite vast military spending.

US, French and Saudi officials have disputed the Huthi claims, insisting they do not have the capability to mount such an advanced, coordinated strike.

Chinese President Xi Jinping condemned the attacks but called for restraint during a call with Saudi's King Salman on Friday.

Alluding to the vulnerability of "glass" towers, Huthi rebels this week also appeared to threaten drone strikes on skyscrapers in the cities of the United Arab Emirates, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Yemeni insurgents.

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