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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 97-10-18
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From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cynews.com/>
Saturday, October 18, 1997
 Britain: Greek flights over bases 'dangerous and stupid'By Jean Christou
CYPRUS is seeking legal means to justify an unauthorised flight by two Greek warplanes over the British bases during military exercises on Tuesday.
Official British sources yesterday branded the overflight of Akrotiri RAF base and Episkopi garrison at noon on Tuesday "dangerous and stupid" and said it was not the first time such an incident had occurred.
An official written protest was lodged by Britain with the Cyprus Foreign Ministry on Thursday, and the issue was raised at a routine meeting yesterday between British High Commissioner David Madden and Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides.
Government spokesman Manolis Christofides confirmed that the written protest about the overflight had been received from the British authorities and that an investigation was under way.
But Christofides made it clear the investigation would focus on whether permission had been obtained and whether the two military bases legally possessed sovereign air space over the island under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment.
"From the establishment of the Republic until today, the co-operation between Cyprus and Britain has been absolute in relation to the security, safety and effective functioning of the bases," Christofides said.
"I would also draw attention to Article 3 of the Treaty, which mentions that the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and the UK undertake to negotiate and co-operate for the common defence of Cyprus."
Christofides said the protest would be answered soon, after the attorney- general had been consulted on the air-space issue.
"The British bases are there, the agreements are adhered to and their sovereignty is not being questioned," Christofides said.
But the British sources told the Cyprus Mail that, as far as they were concerned, "according to the Treaty of Establishment we have air space over Cyprus."
"We are not steamed up over the sovereignty issue, but the overflights had serious safety implications," the sources said, referring to incoming and outgoing flights from the RAF base.
"It would be like our air traffic flying willy nilly over Larnaca Airport. There had been no clearance so it was just dangerous and stupid."
The sources said Britain did not want make a fuss and that the protest had comprised the "mildest form of diplomatic rebuke".
They added, however, that it was not the first time Greek planes had overflown the bases. Britain protested orally at the time.
"Last spring, Greek planes flew over the bases and much lower," the sources said. "We explained to the foreign ministry why it is dangerous. That's why we were surprised to see it happen again."
In Tuesday's incident, the two Greek F-16s flew over the bases at a height of around 2,000 feet during the wrap-up of the annual Nikiforos exercises held jointly with Greece.
Britain has not protested to the Greek government, the sources said, because "they were Cyprus military exercises".
 Government and University 'keep distance from Islam seminar'By Hamza Hendawi
THE GOVERNMENT and the University of Cyprus have decided to distance themselves from a seminar on Islam due to open in Nicosia later this month as a result of what the organisers said was a "misunderstanding."
A statement issued by the organisers, the Nicosia-based Centre for World Dialogue, said the foreign ministry had declined to offer a key-note speaker for the October 30-31 gathering and that the university had asked for its name to be removed from the programme.
The statement appealed to the government and the university to reconsider their positions. "With so many prominent international figures coming to Nicosia we are sure the foreign ministry and the university will want to be associated with the event," the statement said.
It quoted Hossein Alikhani, head of the Centre for World Dialogue, as saying that the misunderstanding was due to what he called an "erroneous impression" that the seminar would deal with the Cyprus problem.
"The seminar will in fact analyse the global phenomenon of the West having to come to terms with the growing involvement of Islamic groups, in the Middle East and elsewhere, in politics," the statement said.
"This is a total misunderstanding of what it's all about," said Alikhani. "Cyprus is respected by all parties as a platform for free speech. It is the only location in the Middle East where groups and individuals with opposing views can come freely and express themselves freely," added Alikhani, an Iranian-born businessman who became a Cypriot citizen in 1992. A Muslim Shiite, he has lived on the island since 1980.
No comment was available from the foreign ministry yesterday, but the university's rector, Miltiades Chaholiades, told the Cyprus Mail that the university had asked for its name to be taken off the programme because it had not taken part in organising the seminar.
"We don't want to take credit for something that we've not done," he said, adding that no member of the university's academic staff would be actively involved in the seminar.
However, Chaholidaes did have some words of praise for the seminar, saying the list of participants included "renowned intellectuals", and he denied that the university had academic or other objections to the event.
Sources close to the seminar, meanwhile, told the Cyprus Mail that the foreign ministry asked organisers this week not to invite academics and experts from the Turkish-occupied north to take part. The ministry, according to the sources, gave no reason for the request.
They added that on Thursday a senior foreign ministry official curtly responded to a request from organisers for the names of ministry officials who might be interested in attending the seminar.
"You can find the names in the telephone directory," the sources quoted the unnamed official as saying.
A copy of the programme made available to the Cyprus Mail states on the cover that the seminar will be held under the auspices of the University of Cyprus and that proceeds from the meeting will be donated to its Central Library & Research Centre.
The organisers will now have to inform participants who had already received the programme of the change, something that will be done during the seminar.
Chaholiades, the university's rector, however, said he did not see any problems with the university accepting the proceeds of the seminar as a donation, but added that such offers must go through the proper channels.
Among the distinguished participants to address the seminar are former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto; A'zam Taleghani, the only woman candidate in Iran's presidential election last May; renowned columnist Eric Rouleau, who was also France's ambassador to Turkey and Tunisia; and Professor Samuel Huntington of Harvard University.
"We have chosen the participants carefully. They come from different countries and we made sure that they will not be promoting any vested interests," Alikhani told the Cyprus Mail in an interview this week.
 Civil Aviation probes report of air miss with Turkish Cypriot planeBy Jean Christou
THE CIVIL Aviation Department is looking into reports from the north that a plane which took off from Larnaca almost collided with a Turkish Cypriot airliner leaving occupied Tymbou airport.
According to the Turkish Cypriot papers, the incident took place on Thursday when a `Cyprus Turkish Airlines' flight "just missed" colliding with a Swedish passenger plane taking off from Larnaca.
The papers said the Greek Cypriot air traffic controller had instructed the Swedish plane to fly at the same altitude - 31,000 feet - as the Turkish Cypriot flight.
"A disaster at an altitude of 31,000 feet in which 500 passengers on the two planes might have lost their lives, was averted by the traffic controller at Ercan (occupied Tymbou) who, perceiving the danger just in time, instructed the Turkish Cypriot plane to turn right," the papers said.
They claim the Greek Cypriot controller first tried to deny his responsibility for the alleged near miss, "but confronted with his mistake, he admitted his error and apologised." The reports go on to claim the Greek Cypriot was later fired.
"We are investigating these reports," said Civil Aviation official Milton Georgiades yesterday. "They seem to have a good imagination. We don't even know if anything has happened. We have no complaints from any airline and nobody has been fired."
He added if something had happened Civil Aviation would know about it.
Georgiades said under usual circumstances an air-miss means dropping below the allowed distances between aircraft. "To a layman this is almost a collision but air misses happen at least twice a day all over the world," he said.
He also accused the Turkish side of hypocrisy.
"In the past days our FIR (Flight Information Region) was full of Turkish aircraft," he said. "If their violations are not considered dangerous, I don't know what is."
Georgiades was referring to dozens of violations by Turkish warplanes during the Nikiforos exercises. The Turkish F-16s twice came within 100 metres of a Greek C-130 Hercules plane carrying Greek Defence Minister Akis Tzohatzopoulos to and from the island.
 Cyprus-flagged ship blamed for collisionTHE MANAGERS of a Thai supertanker involved in a collision with the Cypriot- registered Evoikos, yesterday blamed the latter for Wednesday's environmentally disastrous accident off Singapore.
A spokesman for the owners of the Evoikos in London declined to respond to the charge from Denholm Ship Management, Reuters said.
The Evoikos spilled 25,000 tonnes of marine fuel from its cargo of 120, 000 tons after it collided with the Thai-registered Orapin Global.
Insurance experts said yesterday the catastrophe could cost up to $100 million to cover damage to vessels, cargo and the environment.
"Formal inquiries will be undertaken and we would not want to comment outside of that process. We are concentrating our efforts entirely on the clean up," the Evoikos spokesman said.
But Denholm said in a statement from Hong Kong that the empty supertanker was on the correct course through the congested Strait which links the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea.
"At the time of the incident it was heading west with other traffic in the correct westbound lane as prescribed in international regulations," the statement said. "The tanker Evoikos had been proceeding east in the eastbound traffic lane and instead of altering course... cut across the westbound lane at a narrow angle."
Singapore officials said both ships were told they were on a collision course six minutes before they struck each other.
The warning had been acknowledged by radio officers on both ships.
The supertanker suffered only superficial damage but the Evoikos was ripped apart on its port side with a gash that extended five metres below the water line.
Yesterday boats and helicopters were still trying to disperse the spill.
At least 34 boats were tackling the spill in keeping the oil away for Singapore's main island.
Oil has reportedly blackened beaches on several small islands and environmentalists fear for marine life, not only from the oil but also the detergents being sprayed to disperse the spill.
"How far the slicks travel will depend on the currents winds and tides," said marine biologist Tan Koh Siang from the National University of Singapore.
But environmental experts praised the speed at which the Singapore authorities moved to contain the spill.
The Evoikos was registered under the Cyprus flag only last year, a Cyprus Shipping Department spokesman said on Thursday. It is owned by the Zebra- Sky company and had been chartered by the Greek trading firm Metro Trading International.
 Mystery body in Egypt could hold key to suspected drowningBy Charlie Charalambous
A BODY discovered off the Egyptian coast in June then later buried could solve the mystery of missing Cypriot architect Loizos Askanis.
But the reports have caused confusion and anxiety among Askanis' relatives.
The family of Loizos Askanis, missing feared drowned since May 10, have been informed that Egyptian police are investigating whether the body found and buried could be his.
According to one local newspaper, the Egyptian authorities had sent a telegram to local police asking for further information on Askanis, 38, who went missing during a fatal fishing trip.
But police spokesman Glafcos Xenos yesterday told the Cyprus Mail the article was not correct, and it was the Cyprus authorities which had contacted Egypt's Interpol branch for information on the body.
"We are requesting if DNA samples were taken and if proper procedures were followed before the body was buried," Xenos said.
He said the Cypriot embassy in Egypt had tipped off police that the body found a month after the accident had been buried.
"We now want to establish if it is that of Askanis." The body might now have to be exhumed to establish its identity.
Egypt was one of the countries in the region notified by the authorities of Askanis' disappearance as it was hoped he might have been picked up by a passing ship.
Antonis Askanis, the victim's brother, said yesterday he was told by Paphos police that the Egyptians had contacted Cyprus first. But he told the Cyprus Mail he was baffled why it had taken the Egyptians so long to inform Cyprus police, as the body in question was discovered in June.
"I don't know why it took the Egyptian authorities so long or whether it has anything to do with my brother."
Antonis, a building contractor added: "I'm hoping to have more information by next week."
The boating accident also took the life of 12-year old Marios Kyriacou, who drowned.
Of the three who set off on the fishing trip in Paphos, only the boy's father, Michalis Kyriacou, survived. They had been in the sea for more than ten hours and Loizos Askanis had not been wearing a life jacket.
The boat, the 18ft Chrysanthi, has never been located.
The father and son were found floating in the sea by a fisherman off Paphos at around 6am the following morning, but there was no sign of Askanis.
His brother believes the police response to the initial call for help from the family has been too slow.
 Russian jailed for party killingA RUSSIAN national was sentenced to six years imprisonment yesterday for stabbing his compatriot to death during a drunken brawl at a party in Limassol last February.
The Limassol Assizes found 30-year-old Vassili Akaev guilty of the manslaughter of visiting Russian businessman Sergei Malekov, 29, on the night of February 6.
The court heard that Akaev had confessed to stabbing Malekov in the chest during an argument at the home of Russian offshore businessman Sergei Akaranov in the Yermasoyia area.
The court heard that a fight broke out after heavy drinking. Akaev hit Malekov over the head with a bottle, while another Russian guest punched him, police said. In the ensuing struggle, Malekov pulled out a knife, but Akaev grabbed it off him and plunged it into the victim's chest, the court heard.
Akaev fled the scene with three other Russians, while Malekov was rushed to Limassol hospital, but died on the way there. Akaev was intercepted at a police road block in the Limassol tourist area in the early hours of February 7.
A number of other Russians who were at the party were arrested and held in connection with the killing.
In passing sentence on Akaev, the court noted that he had been provoked by Malekov. The judges also stated the killing had not been premeditated and that Akaev was young, had no previous convictions and had shown clear signs of regret for his actions. Manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of life.
 Police fail to find Kilani murder weaponA MASSIVE police search to find the Kilani murder weapon has so far been frustrated, a Limassol court heard yesterday.
On October 8, grandfather Matheos Christofi, 66, was brutally murdered in broad daylight with what the police believe was a meat-cleaver.
But so far a continual police operation has not been able to discover the weapon, which could prove vital to the investigation.
The victim's neighbour, 60-year-old Michalis Panis - who is also godfather to his son - is being held in custody in connection with the murder.
Police yesterday secured a further eight-day remand for Panis when CID officer Andreas Karyolaimos told the court he was still waiting for forensic results and the murder weapon to turn up.
Important leads are expected to materialise after forensic studies are completed on objects found at the scene of the crime.
Police are hoping that a cap, face towel and two watches found by the dead man's body will help tie up loose ends.
Karyolaimos told the court that the face towel now being examined was similar to three other towels found at the home of Panis.
A search of the suspect's Kilani home also uncovered a pistol and four hand grenades.
Christakis Seittanis, 39, from Limassol was remanded for four days yesterday under suspicion of supplying Panis with the weapons.
Police said that fingerprints on one hand grenade matched those of Seittanis.
It is believed the hand grenades were stolen in 1976 when Seittanis was serving in the National Guard with the murder suspect's son - Efstathios.
Efstathios Panis, 39, was arrested yesterday in connection with the stolen weapons and is expected to appear in a Limassol court today for a remand order.
Panis is understood not to have been on speaking terms with the victim, but denies any involvement in the killing.
 Clerides stands firm on grant of title deedsDESPITE opposition from the House, President Clerides appears determined to go ahead with his controversial plan to grant tittle deeds for refugee homes.
House president Spyros Kyprianou yesterday sent a letter to Clerides expressing the desire of the majority of the House for the plan be scrapped. As Thursday night's House plenum, Diko deputies broke ranks with their government coalition partners Disy to vote with opposition parties against the plan.
However, Government spokesman Manolis Christofides said the President was not thinking of changing course on the issue.
"The President believes in the correctness of the policy he is following on the issue and the provision of title deeds to refugees will go ahead," Christofides told his morning press briefing.
He said 5,000 deeds were already ready and would be handed to refugees.
Kyprianou repeated the reasons why he, his party and opposition parties were against the whole idea. He said it "would give the impression to third parties" that the refugee problem had been solved.
"Whether we like it or not, the Turks will take advantage of this," he said. He said the Turkish side would maintain that an exchange of properties was taking place, with Greek Cypriot refugees getting Turkish Cypriot land in the free areas and vice versa for the occupied areas.
 Union opposes later retirement for civil servantsCIVIL servants' union Pasydy yesterday objected to a government proposal to extend the retirement age for government employees.
The idea was mooted by Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou as a cost-cutting measure after it was revealed that the cost of a single civil servant from hiring to retiring was half a million pounds - not including pensions.
Christodoulou suggested retirement age be moved from the current 60 to 65 or 67. Paying a civil servant for an extra few years service would cost the state less than forking out for a retiree's pension and a wage for his replacement.
But the chairman of Pasydy, Glafcos Hadjipetrou, said yesterday the idea would be "bad" both for the service and the country as a whole.
"Young people need to be given the chance of employment in the civil service, one of the most secure postings in the land," he said.
 Half a century in the airBy Andrew Adamides
FIVE thousand people last night filled Nicosia's Eleftheria Stadium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Cyprus Airways.
The gathering was addressed by President Glafcos Clerides, who congratulated the national carrier, hailing its 50th anniversary as a "landmark". Noting the hardships imposed on the airline by the colonial rule under which it had been formed, Clerides paid particular tribute to the way it had managed to reform after the devastation of the Turkish invasion and it's subsequent evolution into "a prestigious airline".
He said Cyprus Airways aircraft served as "ambassadors of Cyprus, projecting and promoting our statehood abroad" and through this had set up "numerous communication links with many countries" worldwide. These, he said, were "indispensable" to Cyprus' progress, adding that the national carrier's contribution to the tourist industry, which he called "the driving force" of Cyprus' economy, was of "decisive importance".
On a more serious note, however, he added that it was "high time" to plan and implement measures enabling Cyprus Airways to compete effectively with other carriers in order to "face the challenges of the 21st century."
Earlier this year, the Cyprus Airways group announced 1996 pre-tax loss of £5.2 million and a drop in revenue of almost two per cent after passenger numbers dropped by 14,282. The airline holds a 29.2 per cent share in the traffic market to and from Cyprus.
In his speech to the gathering, Cyprus Airways President Takis Kyriakides mentioned the strategic plan drawn up earlier this year to combat the company's financial position, saying this would "decisively solve" the airline's problems. The road ahead, he said, was hard but he felt sure the airline would navigate it, adding that by the year 2000, Cyprus Airways would be a "modern, dynamic, flexible, profit-making airline in a position to offer services of the highest possible standard and lowest price, making every Cypriot proud, and securing another fifty years in the air."
 Conference ends with call for a greener futureBy Aline Davidian
A CALL for a joint effort to secure a greener future for Europe ended the 11th European Conference of Ministers Responsible for Regional Planning (Cemat) yesterday. Speakers at the two-day Conference, organised by the 40- nation Council of Europe (CoE), urged European governments to strike a balance between urban and rural policies and to safeguard water resources.
A document covering the whole of Europe was planned, which would provide the continent with a comprehensive planning strategy.
CoE Deputy Secretary General, Hans Christian Krueger, told delegates that the "aim is to take firm action to respond to the concerns of our citizens."
Krueger said the CoE now covered a "geographical area in a way that is particularly favourable to a wide ranging approach towards sustainable development". He also urged CoE members to protect water resources, adding that "European citizens had to be sensitive to the consequences of the globalisation of the economy and the way it will affect the European's way of life."
Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides who had addressed Conference delegates on Thursday, outlined a regional and spatial planning framework for the protection of water resources. Noting that such protection imposed considerable cost, Michaelides said large scale water users had always to avoid waste and maintain the purity of water supplies.
He also said the issues raised were of obvious importance to Cyprus and expressed the hope that the island would continue to participate in future dialogue.
The final conclusions drawn at the Conference were framed in three resolutions, stressing the need for a European development policy that was "comprehensive, co-ordinated and sustainable". These were adopted by all the attendant delegates.
 Major road improvement project for LarnacaAN AGREEMENT was struck between central and local government yesterday for an extensive road improvement project for Larnaca town.
After a meeting of all concerned at his Nicosia office, Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said work would begin "as soon as possible" on improving five key roads in the town.
He named these as the Avenue from Larnaca castle, the coastal road from the Timagia roundabout to Dhekelia, the coastal relief road, the Avenue from the fire station to the Kalo Chorio roundabout and the Timagia Avenue. The last two roads are also to be widened.
Christodoulou said funds for these projects would come from the Development budget, contributions from the municipality guaranteed by the state and EU sources. He said the plans should be ready to go out to tender before the end of the year.
 Unions defend themselves from claims of violenceWORKERS' unions Peo and Sek have hit back at statements made on Thursday by the Labour Ministry, Employers and Industrialists Federation (Oev) and Association of Cypriot Tourism Businesses (Stek), "condemning" alleged union violence against Azur Hotel owner Yiorgos Tsanos during the marathon strike at the hotel.
In a statement issued yesterday, the unions said they were "sincerely saddened", as the condemnations had been "rushed out" and had no basis in fact.
They added that violence against the hotel owner "was something which had not happened and would not happen." The only violence which had occurred during the dispute, they said, was when Tsanos himself had clashed with strikers last week, a matter which was now being dealt with by authorities.
The unions' statement concluded by wishing Tsanos a speedy recovery from his recent heart problems, saying: "We love Tsanos the man, but we have serious differences with Tsanos the employer."
Employees at the Limassol hotel have been on strike since July over claims that Tsanos illegally hired foreign workers.
 Petrol strike to go aheadPETROL station proprietors confirmed yesterday that all fuel outlets would be closed by strike action between 6am on Monday and the same time on Tuesday.
Automatic tellers will also be effected as petrol station owners protest over what they say is a failure by petrol companies to renew collective agreements.
 Government backs Annan statementGOVERNMENT spokesman Manolis Christofides said yesterday the government shared UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan's view that tension in and around Cyprus should be reduced in order to avoid confrontation.
He added tension in the area was evidence of the need for "a speedy settlement in Cyprus."
It was, he said, "high time Turkey curtailed its provocative behaviour," citing as examples the recent violations of Cyprus air space by Turkish jets and their harassment of the plane carrying visiting Greek Defence Minister Akis Tzohatzopopulos.
He also stated that in the government's opinion, Turkey had made it clear it did not want a Cyprus solution, stressing that it was high time decisive measures were taken in the search for a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Christofides was replying to statements Annan made in New York on Thursday, in which the Secretary-general "strongly urged all parties to act in accordance with recent Security Council resolutions" and to remain calm in order to avoid direct military confrontation.
 Brazilians need to come alive against ApoelBy George Christou
JUST three games in the league season the main title contenders - Anorthosis, Apollonas and Apoel - have already pulled away from the rest of field.
They are the only three clubs with an 100 per cent record, a three-point cushion already separating them from the others. With struggling Omonia now six points behind the leading pack, Aek are the only other side who could enter what is currently shaping into a three-horse race.
Aek have chance to move closer to the leaders tonight when they entertain second-placed Apoel in Larnaca. Aek have won two games in a row, their last an impressive 1-0 away victory over Omonia, and could surprise their opponents.
However, the Larnaca side are still waiting for their trio of Brazilians to put on a good a performance. Despite the promise shown by the three in pre- season friendlies, their form in the opening three league games has been very disappointing.
Aek must be grateful that their young Cypriot wing back Nicolas Georgiou has been playing like Brazilian. His pace and skill have been a great bonus for Aek given the disappointing displays of the boys from Brazil.
Apoel, under Austrian coach Kurt Jara, are once again developing into a side who are very hard to beat. Their performances are far from exciting, but they always seem to do just enough to take the points. This is the mark of a good side.
In Croatian striker Adnan Kozniku they have found a lethal finisher to replace Josef Kiprich, whose absence through injury last season, partly accounted for Apoel's poor league run. Kozniku has hit the target five times in three games.
Apollonas, who have also taken maximum points, play host to Anagennisis in their third home game of the season. Apollonas who have already beaten Omonia and Aek in Limassol are unlikely tio drop any points at home.
Problems may arise is they goalscoring midfielders, Spoliaric and Papavassiliou, fail to find the target, because there seems no other player capable of scoring regularly.
Anagennisis earned their first points a fortnight ago with a win over Ethnikos, and will be happy to leave Limassol with a point.
Omonia will be hoping to re-discover their winning touch when they entertain Evagoras in Nicosia. They could not have chosen better opponents than Evagoras against whom they have a tradition of scoring big wins.
The home side have won all five of their last encounters, three of them with huge scorelines - 7-0, 6-0 and 8-1.
The other Paphos side, Apop, whose excellent start to the season has lifted them to fourth place, could score their third win by beating promoted Ael at home today.
Apop's success could be attributed to their three Serbian players - two of them Anorthosis rejects - who have been scoring regularly.
In contrast, Ael's summer signing from Aris Thesalonikis, striker Vassilis Demetriades, looks slow, overweight and unfit. He could prove a costly mistake for a side that is finding scoring rather difficult.
Salamina, after getting their first taste of defeat at Anorthosis a fortnight ago, visit Achna where they play Ethnikos, a side who have take only one point from three games.
Salamina are the mor in-form of the two although Ethnikos must be aware of the need to start winning home games.
Two sides without points are involved in Sunday's fixtures. Ethnikos Ashias are unlikely to earn their first ever point in the first division as they face a daunting visit to champions Anosthosis.
Alki, also pointless, could fare better when they visit Paralimni. Ever since moving to their new ground, midway through last season, Paralimni have found it very difficult to win at home. Even this season they have lost thier one home game.
© Copyright 1997 Cyprus Mail
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