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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-10-20

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 20 October 2008 Issue No: 3025


  • [01] Valinakis at Francophonie Summit in Quebec
  • [02] Greece-Mexico joint press statement on FYROM name issue
  • [03] Foreign minister gives interview on all issues
  • [04] FM will receive OECD Director for Human Rights
  • [05] Greek envoy expresses displeasure at Oval Office over Greece's non-inclusion in new Visa Waiver Program admissions
  • [06] Papandreou calls for SI meeting on crisis
  • [07] Justice minister: government has nothing to hide
  • [08] Transport Minister addresses ND Prefectural Assembly in Thessaloniki
  • [09] President returns from Vietnam
  • [10] KKE report says 'socialism proved superior'
  • [11] Synaspismos leader addresses party's youth organisation
  • [12] Peaceful anti-war demonstration in Chania
  • [13] Central banker on measures for crisis
  • [14] Foreign Exchange rates: Monday
  • [15] Illegal immigrants detained in Kastoria
  • [16] Tony Mokbel says Greece ignored his human rights
  • [17] Suspected card cloners arrested by Thessaloniki police
  • [18] Albanian national shot dead
  • [19] Greek Super League soccer results
  • [20] Cloud and showers on Monday
  • [21] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
  • [22] Cyprus President says Turkey's election to UNSC is not a satisfying development
  • [23] Europe cannot accept military occupation of Cyprus, says Bayrou
  • [24] Cyprus President: Talat's attitude "absurd and unacceptable" Politics

  • [01] Valinakis at Francophonie Summit in Quebec

    QUEBEC CITY (ANA-MPA - C. Poulidou)

    The international economic crisis was stressed in statements made here on Sunday by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, who was in Quebec to attend the 55-nation Francophonie Summit taking place in Canada's French-speaking province.

    Valinakis underlined the importance of "collaboration and cooperation in the global economic crisis" and praised the role of the French presidency of the European Union and French President Nicolas Sarkozy toward this end.

    "With the guidance of the European Council President Nicolas Sarkozy, France has achieved cooperation initially within the framework of the EU and then more broadly, so that the crisis can be dealt with in the best possible way and not with uncoordinated policies," he said.

    Referring to the plans for an international summit that could be held within the next few weeks, Valinakis underlined the usefulness of such a meeting and noted that there was nothing worse, under the present circumstances, then for "everyone to go their own way".

    The French president cut short his attendance of the Francophonie Summit on Sunday to visit Camp David, accompanied by European Commission President Jose Barroso, in order to meet US President George Bush. During the three-hour meeting, they will convey the message of the recent EU summit and Europe's proposal for a G8 meeting - extended to include the emerging economies - to decide on reforms to the financial system on a global scale.

    Meanwhile, the Francophonie summit in Quebec continued with discussion on introducing a form of Francophonie "visa" that will allow citizens of its member-states to travel freely between the countries within it.

    The talks also covered environmental issues, where Greece approached other countries like itself with a significant number of island territories to propose working together on a series of issues in the framework of EuroMediterranean cooperation.

    [02] Greece-Mexico joint press statement on FYROM name issue

    Greek deputy foreign minister Yannis Valinakis met with Mexico's foreign undersecretary, Ambassador Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo in New York, on the sidelines of the 63rd UN General Assembly on Friday, during which they reviewed bilateral relations and underlined the importance of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, which will be formally celebrated on August 12, 2009.

    Both sides noted that this milestone constitutes an excellent opportunity to further strengthen the relations of the two countries.

    Undersecretary Gomez Robledo thanked Greece for its support for Mexico's (successful) candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the period 2009-2010, and reiterated that the participation of Mexico in the Security Council will be aimed at promoting peaceful settlement of disputes; peace and stability; and upholding the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

    Valinakis briefed Gomez Robledo on developments regarding the name issue of the State provisionally referred to as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia". In this regard,

    Gomez Robledo underlined that the Government of Mexico fully supports the United Nations efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution on the subject. He also assured that, pending settlement of the difference that has arisen over the name of that State, Mexico provisionally refers to that State as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", in conformity with the relevant Security Council Resolutions 817/93 and 845/93, for all international and bilateral purposes.

    Finally, Deputy Minister Valinakis and Undersecretary Gómez Robledo emphasized the readiness of both Governments to further promote trade and investment opportunities, taking full advantage of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Mexico.

    [03] Foreign minister gives interview on all issues

    An interview with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was published by the Sunday edition of the newspaper "Adesmeftos Typos", covering the full range of issues at home and abroad. Referring to the Vatopedi Monastery land deals scandal that was dominating domestic affairs, she said the government's proposal for a Parliamentary investigation committee was a "direct and clear answer" to main opposition PASOK's attempt to use the issue to create impressions.

    At the same time, she accused the main opposition of "investing in scandal-mongering" and playing a "dangerous game of petty politics".

    She agreed, however, that it was now time for the file on the case to be sent to Parliament in its entirety, without delay, while denying that the government was considering early elections.

    Referring to the international economic crisis, Bakoyannis noted that events had shown the mistake of believing that an open society and a free economy could operate without ethics, with unrestrained profits as their only driving force.

    On the issue of the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bakoyannis reiterated that Greece had a steadfast position calling for a "composite name with a geographic determinant that will apply for all uses" and pointed out that Greece would be able to veto FYROM's entry into the EU. Asked about Greece's exclusion from the US visa waiver programme, she underlined that Greece did not prepared to concede to the logic of pressure but appeared confident that there would be a positive result on this issue at the start of the next year.

    [04] FM will receive OECD Director for Human Rights

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will receive at the foreign Ministry on Monday morning the Director of the Office of the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), for the Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR-Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights), Ambassador Janez Lenarcic.

    [05] Greek envoy expresses displeasure at Oval Office over Greece's non-inclusion in new Visa Waiver Program admissions


    Greek ambassador in Washington Alexandros Mallias conveyed to US president George Bush Greece's displeasure that the country was not included among the group of countries admitted to the US Visa Waiver Program, before a ceremony at the White House during which Bush formally announced the entry of seven new countries into the program, under which the citizens of countries are not required to have a visa in order to visit the US.

    Mallias said it was not a good or happy day either for Greece or the Greek-American community, stressing that "Greece should have been today the first country named for admission into the Program", speaking in the Oval Office before the ceremony, in the presence of secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff, members of the National Security Council, and other ambassadors.

    Bush sought elaboration from Chertoff, who replied that there were certain documents that needed to be signed by Greece. Mallias interjected that such was not the case, adding "the truth is that there has been a big delay on the part of the US side, and the real reasons are known to both us and Mr. Chertoff".

    Earlier, during a regular briefing, White House press secretary Dana Perino said in reply to press question that "Greece has a little bit of more work to do on the implementation of the program, but we think that they're on the track to be able to be admitted into it later in the year".

    Asked to specify when that might be, she replied: "I think that we're looking towards, by the end of the year, we hope to have that all wrapped up".

    [06] Papandreou calls for SI meeting on crisis

    Main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou addressed on Sunday a letter to world socialist and labour parties' leaders inviting them to designate their "personal envoy" to the Stiglitz Commission, which was set up by decision of the SI's presidium at his meeting in New York last September to address, from a socialist point of view, the present global credit crisis.

    According to a PASOK press release, the letter is addressed to President of Brazil Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, Egyptian President Hosni Mumbarak, the Prime Ministers of Britain Gordon Brown, Spain Jose Luis Zapatero, Portugal Jose Socrates, the President of Germany's SPD Franz Müntefering, the German Foreign Minister and SPD candidate chancellor in the 2009 elections Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the leader of India's Congress Party Sonia Gandi.

    "Our movement, the Socialist International, is in front of the challenge for formulating a global response to the crisis which will be fair and socially responsible...Our answer must go beyond the current crisis and lay firm foundations for a new progressive model of governance, a new world vision for how our globe is governed, how our development will become really sustainable, how we can transform our economy into a 'green economy'," Papandreou notes in his letter.

    [07] Justice minister: government has nothing to hide

    "The government has nothing to fear and nothing to hide. It wants the whole truth regarding the Vatopedi case to come out," Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis stressed in an interview with the newspaper 'Proto Thema' published on Sunday.

    He was replying to questions about the investigation into suspect land deals by the Vatopedi Monastery, where low-value property on the shores of Lake Vistonida was exchanged for prime pieces of public real estate in other parts of the country in transactions carried out by Hellenic Public Real Estate Corporation and approved by ministers.

    Asked when the file on the case would be sent by the public prosecutors' office to Parliament, the minister answered that the developments of the next few days and the debates in Parliament would clear up this matter.

    He also denied that members of the government had attempted to intervene in the course of justice or exert pressures in this case.

    "I have never become aware of this kind of involvement by my fellow ministers or other government officials," Hatzigakis said in response to questions.

    The minister further denied the possibility that Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor George Sanidas would resign over his handling of the Vatopedi case, as well as rumours that he had himself offered to resign.

    Questioned about the criticism leveled against him for abolishing self-administration by the courts, Hatzigakis defended the measures he had introduced for the appointment of new heads of court by the Supreme Court plenum, saying it was necessary for courts as a whole to work efficiently.

    [08] Transport Minister addresses ND Prefectural Assembly in Thessaloniki

    Transport and Communications Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Sunday addressed the Thessaloniki Prefectural Assembly of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party, where he said that "the government's effort bears fruit despite any mistakes and oversights and the government will be judged by its overall work, by the essense of its policy."

    The minister presented data on the government's work and regarding his own sector, stressed that he will proceed in the improvement of the problematic public utility services (DEKO), despite reaction by certain interests.

    On Olympic Airlines he said that "we are proceeding and we shall manage to give a solution after 30 years."

    Hatzidakis accused the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) of "demagogy" and "unreliability."

    [09] President returns from Vietnam

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias arrived in Athens at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday following a six-day state visit to Vietnam.

    The President's return was delayed by two days due to a malfunction in the airplane carrying the President and a large delegation that was detected shortly before take-off from Da Nang airport.

    [10] KKE report says 'socialism proved superior'

    The socialist system created in the 20th century proved its superiority over capitalism and the great advantages it gives in terms of people's life and work, according to the conclusions of an extensive report on socialism and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union commissioned by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) that was released on Sunday.

    The report will form the second text of positions of the party's Central Committee that will be discussed at the next party conference on February 18-22.

    [11] Synaspismos leader addresses party's youth organisation

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Alexis Tsipras addressed in Athens on Sunday a meeting of the party's youth organisation, noting that he rejects any eventuality of his party cooperating with the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK).

    He said that the agenda of the parliamentary Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), of which Synaspismos is the main element, are the social problems "and not the soccer pitch which the two major parties wish to put us, that of scandal-monguering."

    The Synaspismos leader expressed the view that the two mainstream parties "will try to benefit from the crisis," adding that "we see them quarreling about things about which the Greek people cannot well understand."

    [12] Peaceful anti-war demonstration in Chania

    An anti-war demonstration took place Saturday in downtown Chania, on the island of Crete, followed by a convoy through the city to the entrance of the Marathi military base.

    A strong police contingent had been deployed outside the gate of the base, obstructing entry to the demonstrators, who changed slogans before quietly dispersing.

    The protestors called for the closure of foreign bases on Crete and Greece's withdrawal fro all military missions abroad.

    Financial News

    [13] Central banker on measures for crisis

    Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos appeared confident that the large sums being used to prop up the ailing financial system would effectively stem the crisis, in an interview with the newspaper "To Vima" published on Sunday.

    The mobilisation of significant sums to deal with the financial crisis will have the maximum possible effectiveness, Provopoulos predicted.

    He also expressed confidence that, as a result of spending these sums, "the situation in international money and capital markets will gradually start to normalise" and that this would also affect the Greek banking system that would "stop getting all these external shocks".

    Asked how the dangers of the international crisis might be dealth with, Provopoulos said that it would need "the right mixture of policy" and that this would need to be based on "supporting the productive base through investments and a qualitative improvement of human resources".

    In the meantime, however, restoring trust in financial markets worldwide had to be the top priority for everyone," he stressed.

    [14] Foreign Exchange rates: Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.351

    Pound sterling 0.781

    Danish kroner 7.511

    Swedish kroner 10.099

    Japanese yen 136.65

    Swiss franc 1.533

    Norwegian kroner 8.966

    Canadian dollar 1.606

    Australian dollar 1.977

    General News

    [15] Illegal immigrants detained in Kastoria

    A group of 40 illegal immigrants from Albania were detained before dawn by border guards at the Eptachori, Kastoria frontier post, in the region of Stomio, on the border between Kastoria and Ioannina prefectures.

    The border guards spotted 47 illegal immigrants, heading on foot towards Grevena, but seven managed to flee, evading arrest, and abandoning a satchel containing 2.2 kilos of hashish.

    The hashish was confiscated, while the seven illegal immigrants were wanted.

    A preliminary investigation was being conducted by the Kastoria police's drugs squad, in cooperation with the Nestorio border post.

    [16] Tony Mokbel says Greece ignored his human rights

    MELBOURNE (ANA-MPA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    The former fugitive Tony Mokbel has accused Greece of ignoring his human rights when it sped to agree to Australia's request for his extradition, even though his case before the European Court of Human Rights was pending.

    According to a Sunday dispatch from the ANA-MPA correspondent in Australia, the convicted cocaine trafficker said that this effectively denied him the right to have his appeal examined by the European Court. Mokbel is currently being held in an Australian jail, where he was remanded in custody until his trial on charges of murder and drug trafficking.

    Mokbel's lawyer pointed out that even if the European Court had decided against his client's extradition, after he had been extradited from Greece there was no chance he would be given the right to return to Europe.

    Mokbel was arrested in Greece after fleeing Australia shortly before the start of his trial for drug-dealing, where he was found guilty in his absence and sentenced to 12 years in prison. After his arrest in Greece, he was also charged with two murders and further drug trafficking charges that he claims were fake.

    [17] Suspected card cloners arrested by Thessaloniki police

    Thessaloniki Police on Sunday reported the arrest of two Romanians suspected of belonging to a card-cloning ring that "lifted" the details of cashcards using 'skimming devices' fitted on ATMs and made copies that they used to carry out withdrawals of cash.

    The two Romanians, aged 22 and 23, were caught red-handed in the act of taking cash from an ATM in Toumba using a cloned card.

    Police found a total of 30 clone cards in their possession, in addition to the sum of 2,035 euros that is believed to have come from illegal cash withdrawals.

    A police investigation revealed that the pair are permanent residents of Romania that arrived in Greece with another two Romanians the previous Thursday.

    [18] Albanian national shot dead

    A 32-year-old Albanian national was shot and killed in the central Athens district of Patissia late on Saturday night.

    The 32-year-old was found injured by gunfire at the junction of Pindos and Hippolytos Streets at around 20:00 on Saturday and was rushed to hospital, where he died shortly afterward.

    Police believe the shooting was a "settling of differences" between the victim and his attackers.


    [19] Greek Super League soccer results

    Olympiakos Piraeus retained its league-leading form on Sunday by comfortably defeating Panthrakikos 2-0 at home.

    Other results during the sixth week of play in the Greek Superleague:

    Levadiakos Levadia - Xanthi 0-0

    PAOK Thessaloniki - Panathinaikos Athens 0-0

    Pansseraikos-Serres - Asteras Tripolis 0-0

    Iraklis Thessaloniki - Ergotelis Crete 0-0

    OFI Crete - Thrasyvoulos Athens 1-3

    Panionios Athens - Aris Thessaloniki 2-1

    AEK Athens - Larissa 1-1

    The standings after six games:

    1. Olympiakos 16

    2. PAOK 12

    3. Larissa 11

    4. Xanthi 11

    5. Panathinaikos 10 (five games)

    6. Ergotelis 9 (five games)

    7. AEK 9

    8. Panionios 8

    9. Levadiakos 8

    10. Panserraikos 7

    11. Asteras Tripolis 6

    12. Aris 6

    13. Panthrakikos 4

    14. Iraklis 3

    15. OFI 3

    16. Thrasyvoulos 3

    The match Panathinaikos Athens - Ergotelis Crete will be held on Oct. 29, 2008.

    Weather Forecast

    [20] Cloud and showers on Monday

    Overcast skies and occasional showers with moderate northeasterly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 4-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 9C and 25C. Cloudy in Athens, with 4-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 24C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 22C.

    [21] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Upcoming votes in Parliament for committees to investigate the Vatopedi Monastery land deals, political developments, a new opinion poll, the international financial crisis and the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) dominated the front pages of the Sunday editions of Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "We are in danger of becoming cut off from society. [Foreign Minister] Dora Bakoyannis lays down her cards on all issues".

    APOGEVMATINI: "The secret increases in wages in pensions from January 2009 [paper says pay packets to increase due to lower tax rates]".

    ARTHRO: "Reshuffle and not elections. Votes in Parliament a catalyst for developments".

    AVGHI: "Their heartache ballot by ballot. Vote in Parliament Wednesday and Friday".

    AVRIANI: "The Patriot missiles strike PASOK, along with the 11.5 million euros in kickbacks given for the C41. People will soon be laughing at the archangels of cleansing".

    CHORA: "A reprieve for wage earners, pensioners. Taxation with lower rates in 2009".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "The sewers open...the stink comes out" (cites Vatopedi case as factor dividing Church and State).

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Reshuffle now 'locked', elections with a list. Changes of a structural nature with vice-presidents mulled by [Prime Minister Costas] Karamanlis". [Claims that premier has decided on a reshuffle, in addition to early elections].

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Russian roulette in Parliament. Vatopedi scandal. Trying week for the government tests the resilience of ND's marginal majority"

    EPOCHI: "Half the budget a gift to banks!."

    ETHNOS: "Rigged game by US-Skopje. Bombshell revelation about UN's role".

    KATHIMERINI: "Week of developments and trials. Vote on preliminary examination committee in Parliament over Vatopedi Monastery scandal the deciding factor".

    LOGOS: "Barometer-week for the government. Crucial vote on Friday. [Minister of State Theodoros] Roussopoulos, Doukas, Bassiakos 'sitting on hot coals'".

    NIKI: "Seeking a life-raft in the votes. Posturing and theatrics by Karamanlis in Parliament".

    PARON: Ran a story claiming that the premier intends to replace Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos if a proposal for preliminary examination committee is rejected.

    PROTO THEMA: "They are falling together. ALCO opinion poll. Prime minister collapsing because of Roussopoulos".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "We are talking about Socialism. Communist Party of Greece (KKE) strong 18th Counterattack Conference".

    VIMA: "Country hanging by a thread. Greek economy in danger of veering out of control. Government under threat in Parliament".

    VRADYNI: "The way out of the crisis. What you need to do to safeguard your work".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [22] Cyprus President says Turkey's election to UNSC is not a satisfying development


    Turkey's election as a non permanent member of the UN Security Council for the period of 2009-2010 is not a development which satisfies the Republic of Cyprus, President Demetris Christofias has said here Saturday.

    ''Of course the fact that a country which is occupying part of the Republic of Cyprus, a UN member-state, violating the human rights of the people of Cyprus, becoming a UN SC member state, does not satisfy us,'' President Christofias remarked.

    Pointing out that Turkey's election to the UN executive body ''is a reality,'' President Christofias added that the government will make its position known to various directions ''so that Turkey will not hinder the approval of any resolutions or decisions of the UNSC which are based on correct principles''.

    ''We will be more active, we already pointed out that Turkey should not have become a UNSC member, we could not have averted this, but we need to see ahead how to deal with Turkey's machinations,'' he added.

    Replying to a question whether Turkey, being a UNSC member could harden its stance in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, Christofias said he believes ''it's not that simple'' for Turkey to do so and wondered how much more Turkey could harden its stance on the Cyprus problem.

    He expressed the belief that UNSC permanent member-states would demand from Turkey to honour its capacity and its obligations as a non permanent member-state.

    President Christofias said he has requested the opinion of experts on Turkey's ability to affect possible statements of the presidency of the UNSC.

    He added that ''we should not rush to say whether Turkey, as a UNSC member, will constitute an impediment in the approval of presidential statements''.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey's membership of UNSC comes at a time when direct negotiations for a Cyprus settlement between President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat reached their fourth substantive meeting.

    [23] Europe cannot accept military occupation of Cyprus, says Bayrou


    Francois Bayrou, Co-chairman of the European Democratic Party said here Saturday it is impossible for Europe to accept the military occupation of Cyprus.

    Bayrou, in Cyprus to participate in a conference of the EDP, at the invitation of Cypriot EDP member European Party, was received by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias who informed him on the latest developments on the Cyprus problem.

    ''The Cyprus problem is very simple. The substance of the problem is the occupation of Cyprus and the violation of the human rights of all Cypriots including Turkish Cypriots,'' President Christofias told a meeting with EDP delegates.

    He added that he is positive that Turkish Cypriots want to live free with the Greek Cypriots instead of living under the roof of the so-called motherland.

    In statements after the meeting Bayrou said the root of the Cyprus problem is occupation and violations of human rights.

    ''I think the root of the problem is very simple and Europe cannot accept that occupation, military occupation in this land,'' Bayrou said, adding ''it is impossible to accept division and fight on the land of Europe, it is impossible.''

    Noting that the president informed him on the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, Bayrou said ''we are very concerned about the future of Cyprus".

    ''We support the idea that someday Cyprus will be reunified and it is a very important challenge for the future of Europe and for the values of Europe and it is our goal and it is our fight,'' Bayrou concluded.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader began on September 3 direct substantive negotiations under UN auspices aiming to reach a settlement to the Cyprus problem. They so far had four meetings and are scheduled to meet again on October 22.

    [24] Cyprus President: Talat's attitude "absurd and unacceptable"


    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias described on Saturday Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat's statement that he should not address him as ''comrade'' as absurd and unacceptable.

    Hasa Ercakica, Talat's spokesman's said last week that President Christofias should stop addressing Talat as ''comrade'' because ''Talat is not Talat of the 1980s''.

    ''On many occasions Talat addresses me as comrade and I have never reacted,'' President Christofias said, invited to comment Ercakica's statement, adding he cannot explain Talat's "absurd, strange and unacceptable behaviour.''

    ''If Talat wants me to address him as Mr. I will, but he should honour his positions,'' President Christofias concluded.

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