|Tuesday, 20 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-10-12
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 12 October 2009 Issue No: 3320
 PM in Ileia: Model prefecture of green growthPrime minister George Papandreou announced the transfor-mation of Ileia into a model prefecture of green growth that will serve as a pilot project for the restructure of the entire country, during a visit on Sunday to Ancient Olympia in fulfillment of a pre-elections promise that the fire-ravaged region would be the first he would visit as prime minister.
Papandreou, who was accompanied by a team of government ministers, also announced that his ruling PASOK party will immediately submit in parliament its updated draft law for the integrated restructuring and development of the region.
Environment, Energy and Climate Change minister Tina Birbili said that the restoration of Ileia was a governmental priority, while Agricultural Development and Foods minister Katerina Batzeli spoke of a regeneration of agriculture that "will not demand the wasteful spending of financial resources but their proper management".
Culture and Tourism minister Pavlos Geroulanos noted that the region combines all the competitive advantages of culture, sports and tourism, among which interaction was necessary.
Citizens' Protection minister Michalis Chrysohoidis pledged that he will personally oversee the preparation of the fire protection period, stressing that "we will never again suffer such destruction" as that of 2007.
Infrastructure, Transports and Networks minister Dimitris Reppas stressed that anti-flood and anti-erosion works will commence immediately, as well as the fortification of road, port and other infrastructures.
Also present at Papandreou's meeting with local officials was Spanish architect and urban designer Josep Acebillo, the chief architect of Barcelona's urban renewal who, the prime minister said, will contribute, together with the government ministers and Greek experts, in the effort for the reconstruction of the region.
Papandreou said that Acebillo's presence at the meeting and his contribution were just "a small indication of our effort to once again mobilise the international public opinion".
He said that, when he had visited the fire-ravaged area after the wildfires in 2007, "I remember well that your concern was that the state would forget you as soon as the TV cameras left", adding that "unfortunately, your fears were justified", while he also recalled his own initiatives at the time.
His then main opposition party had tabled an integrated reconstruction program in a bill in parliament, which was rejected by the then ND government.
"We are here to commence, together, a discussion on the present and future of Ileia," Papandreou continued, and assured that his commitments will be turned into action, and "after the necessary dialogue and updating (of the PASOK bill), we will directly legislate the bill that he was tabled for the reconstruction of the region".
The prime minister stressed that it was a 'wager' for Greece to be able to build a model of development on the wounds of the wildfires and earthquakes, noting that the draft law will be combined with institutional changes being advanced by the interior ministry for decentralisation and the periphery.
The goal of the program, he continued, was for Ancient Olympia to become a model city of architectural physiognomy and urban development, and therefore included the foundation of a school of sports, Olympianism and model development, the creation of an international-standard Olympic sports center, and the development of the international Olympic Truce organisation.
Earlier, Papandreou was declared an honorary resident of Ancient Olympia by the town mayor George Aidonis.
 OSCE chairman Papandreou welcomes historic Armenia-Turkey agreementThe Chairman-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Greece's prime minister and foreign minister George Papandreou, on Sunday welcomed the signing of an agreement between Armenia and Turkey for normalisation of their relations.
"I welcome the historic agreement to normalize relations between Turkey and Armenia, and commend the effort and political will both leaders have invested to overcome differences and work towards a more secure and stable region, which is in all our interests," Papandreou said.
The accords were signed in Zurich on 10 October following months of Swiss-mediated talks. A roadmap for normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia was agreed in April. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 because of its war with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Papandreou was sworn in as Greece's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister on October 6 and 7 respectively. The Foreign Minister of the country holding the Chairmanship serves as the OSCE's Chairman-in-Office.
 Alternate foreign minister meets OSCE Sec-Gen.Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Saturday had a meeting with Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Secretary-General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, who is in Athens to attend an OSCE-PA meeting on energy security and climate change.
Droutsas and the OSCE official exchanged views on all issues that will be discussed at the 17th OSCE Ministerial Council in Athens on December 1-2, which will wrap up Greece's chairmanship of the 56-member international organisation. Their talks were preceded by a meeting at the foreign ministry between delegations responsible for organising the OSCE ministerial.
The OSCE Secretary-General said that he looked forward to close cooperation with the Greek chair after the change in the Greek government.
 Papandreou congratules Obama on winning Nobel PrizeGreek Prime Minister George Papandreou has sent a message to U.S. President Barack Obama, congratulating him both personally and on behalf of the Greek government on receiving the 2009 Nobel Prize for Peace, a government press release announced on Sunday.
In his letter, Papandreou noted that the Nobel Committee's choice was met with approval throughout the world and was a deserved recognition of Obama's important contribution to the cause of peace.
"Accepting the prize you said that you read it as a 'call to action'. I am certain that the entire world will respond to your invitation. At no other time in my life have I felt so strongly that the nations of the world want to work in a cooperative spirit in order to deal with the grave challenges facing the planet," the Greek premier continued.
He went on to say that this will for global cooperation was prompted by Obama's own actions as U.S. president, and that the spirit of peace and cooperation that he radiated had helped mobilise all efforts in support of peace.
 New ND leader election procedure remains 'open'Only the party Congress has the authority to decide on the participation of the party's rank and file in the election of the party leader, main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Sunday, presenting the decisions of the Congress Organising Committee's decisions at its meeting the previous day following observations and proposals submitted by the four anticipated candidates for the ND leadership: former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, former health minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, former culture minister Antonis Samaras, and Thessaloniki prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis.
This means, Koumoutsakos clarified, that the Congress, after being convened as a body, has the ability to decide even on a change in the procedure for the election of the party leader, with the participation of the ND rank and file.
The issue has not closed, he said, and discussion will continue at the next meeting of the organising committee, which will take place at noon on Monday at the ND headquarters on Rigillis street.
Under the organising committee's decisions, all members of the party have the right to submit candidacy for the ND leadership, and must be submitted in writing by 8:00 p.m. on Thursday (October 15). To be finalised, a candidacy must be re-submitted, by 8:00 p.m. on October 22, accompanied by the signatures of 50 Congress delegates, with each delegate having the right to sign only one candidacy. Immediately afterwards, the process of drafting the list of delegates, in accordance with the current party charter, will begin.
The four anticipated candidates were invited to a meeting by the organising committee on Saturday evening to present their thoughts and proposals on the procedure that should be followed for the election of a new party leader, following former prime minister Costas Karamanlis' resignation from the ND helm after the party's election defeat, which will be effective as of November 8, the day after the extraordinary Congress.
 KKE on elections outcomeThe new government will belie every hope and expectation of the working people, youth and women, more quickly than any other government, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) political bureau opined in a lengthy statement released on Sunday on the outcome of last week's general elections.
The statement stressed that the KKE believes in the people, the labor movement, the dynamic of its alliance with the radical forces of the movement, the self-employed and the poor farmers, and the women and youth who belong to the working classes, adding that its responsibility becomes even greater for a rallying of the forces and organisation of the popular masses and repelling the anti-popular measures, while noting that the KKE's post-electoral ability for intervention can and must become broader and more efficient.
It said that the KKE and its youth organisation KNE will broaden their communication with the working classes, the youth who voted for the ruling PASOK and main opposition New
Democracy (ND) parties, so as to form a single front "from the bottom up" of workers, farmers, self-employed, women and youth, economic immigrants and political refugees.
PASOK's victory in the national elections leads to an alternation in the government, not to a change in policy to the benefit of the working people, the statement said, warning that the new government will belie more quickly than any other the hopes and expectations of the working people, youth and women. It will belie that it can be a more pro-people version of the same policy and can confront the consequences of ND's and the EU's anti-popular policy.
Regarding ND specifically, the KKE said that regardless of how it manages its heavy electoral defeat, it will nevertheless comprise a factor of pressure on the government to speed up the anti-labor, and more generally anti-popular, restructuring, as it does not want, and cannot, play the role of defender of the people's demands.
Further, no grace period must be given to the new government, and the labor movement has no time for complacency, while the people should also have no faith in the leaderships of the trade union federations, it said.
The statement concluded with the assurance that the KKE will do all it can in order for the labor, and more generally the popular movement, to gain momentum and become a factor of changes and reversals, and will defend the interests of the people at all cost and sacrifice.
 KKE leader addresses party event in PiraeusCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said that the weight of the counter-attack against the oncoming attack against the working classes falls on the KKE, speaking at a party event on Sunday afternoon in Piraeus on the post-elections developments.
Papariga said that there was no other option but to "elevate the (popular) movement above everything, and the weight for this falls on the KKE".
She also stressed the need for the creation of a united front of the working people for an "all issues" counter-attack since the new government's first 100 days in office will comprise an all issues attack on social security rights, health, education, welfare, etc.
Papariga further said that main opposition New Democracy (ND), on the other hand, will be putting on pressure left and right for even more anti-popular measures, and predicted that anti-communism will intensify in the coming period.
 Nicosia welcomes Papandreou positions on Cyprus, TurkeyNICOSIA (ANA-MPA - A. Viketos)
The Cypriot government on Saturday expressed satisfaction with the statements made by Greek Prime Minister and foreign minister George Papandreou regarding the Cyprus issue and Turkey's EU accession progress after his meeting with Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Cyprus government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou described the Greek prime minister's positions as "crystal clear and specific", both in terms of his support for the efforts of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias for a solution and in clarifying to the other side that "there is no plan B".
 Dep. Citizens' Protection minister promises permanent jobs for contract staffDeputy Minister for Citizen's Protection Spyros Vougias on Saturday announced his intention to prepare a draft bill giving permanent jobs to staff currently employed by Thessaloniki University contractors to carry out work filling regular and standing needs of the campus. He made the statement after meeting with the contractors' employee union, who outlined the labour problems they faced.
The minister earlier had a meeting with fire-fighters employed on a temporary basis and a delegation from the PASKE trade union delegation for the fire brigade, who also briefed him on the labour-related problems of their members.
 Three opinion polls on post-elections developmentsThe results of three new opinion polls on developments after last week's general elections were made public on Sunday.
In a Public Issue poll conducted on behalf of Kathimerini newspaper and private Skai television station appearing on Sunday, 83 percent of respondents were positively inclined towards the new PASOK government, while 70 percent of New Democracy (ND) voters had a positive opinion of the new Cabinet.
A RealNews newspaper poll on who should be the next ND leader, former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis led with 30 percent of the respondents, followed by former culture minister Antonis Samaras with 15.7 percent, former defence minister Vangelis Meimarakis with 14.7 percent, former health minister Dimitris Avramopoulos with 14.1 percent, Thessaloniki prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis with 9.7 percent, former education minister Aris Spiliotopoulos with 7.5 percent, and former transport minister Evrypides Stylianidis with 1.9 percent.
The same percentages were received by the same faces on the question of who is capable of leading ND back to power.
In another opinion poll, conducted nationwide by the weekly newspaper Free Sunday, to the question on who the respondents desired to be elected as the new ND president, 29.9 percent preferred Bakoyannis, against 19.4 percent for Samaras, 12.7 percent for Avramopoulos, 10.5 percent for Psomiadis, and 9.3 percent for Spiliotopoulos, while 18.1 percent declined to answer.
 Dock workers to hold 48-hour strike from MondayThe dock workers union OMYLE has announced a 48-hour strike on Monday and Tuesday to protest against a concession leasing the operating rights of the Neo Ikonio container terminal to the Chinese company COSCO.
The 1,500-member union wants the agreement signed between the Greek state and COSCO to be 'frozen' and urges the new government to take immediate and drastic action in order to cancel the long-term lease of the profit-making container terminal.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.486
Pound sterling 0.930
Danish kroner 7.503
Swedish kroner 10.358
Japanese yen 132.17
Swiss franc 1.530
Norwegian kroner 8.368
Canadian dollar 1.552
Australian dollar 1.641
 Greek embassy official honored in CairoAn honorary distinction was bestowed on the Greek embassy's press and communications counselor in Cairo, Costas Giannakodimos, by the English-language Egyptian college Spark for Training and Development, which collaborates with the UK's Cambridge University.
The organisers presented Giannakodimos with a commemorative plaque for his contribution to strengthening and enhancing bilateral relations.
The award event took place in the context of the College graduate's commencement ceremony at a central hotel in the Egyptian capital.
 WPF 'Dialogue of Civilisations' ends on RhodesThe 7th Annual Session of the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilisations" ended on the Aegean island of Rhodes on Sunday with the adoption of the "2009 Rhodes Declaration".
The forum was attended by 500 delegates from 70 countries and among the messages read out was one by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, rwho praised the positive impact of the annual forum on several international and regional mechanisms and in developing relations between civil societies in many countries.
Other messages came from Moscow Patriarch Kirill I, Julio Andreotti and Princess Rania of Jordan.
In the context of the Rhodes Forum, the journalism prize "Dialogue of Civilisations" was awarded for the first time to journalists for the German magazine "Der Spiegel", the Greek-owned Russian-language magazine "Ellada" based in Moscow and the Catholic Church's international periodical "30 Giorni".
In its final meeting, the Forum decided to hold its 8th annual session on Rhodes once more, on 7-10 October 2010.
 Marine life the treasure of the Greek seaThe Greek seas are a home to several protected species of large marine animals that are threatened with extinction, such as sharks, dolphins, seals and turtles - including some large whales, according to the environmental organization "Archipelago".
The more than 18-meter-long sperm whale, which weighs roughly 50 tons, is the most common whale species found in the Greek seas with a current population that numbers less than 2,500 adult members and dropping. A smaller whale species that forms small groups is also common in sea regions with large depths.
Most of the 47 different species of sharks found in the Mediterranean live in the Greek seas and face an increased risk of extinction due to the rising demand for their fins. Sharks are being captured alive and their dorsal fin is cut off before they are thrown back into the sea, with minimal chances of survival.
The dolphins, sea turtles and seals found in the Greek seas are also threatened with extinction. Sea turtles, with the "Caretta-caretta" loggerhead being the most widely known species, are faced with great risks - especially during the summer months when many of them are killed by speedboats, or drown after being caught in fishing nets.
Another endangered species is the Monachus monachus monk seal, whose global population numbers approximately 450 members, with over half of them living in Greek seas.
Equally important but lesser known to the general public are the 'meadows' of Posidonia oceanica, a species of seagrass, and various types of corals.
Both are threatened because their regions have not been mapped and no one knows exactly which areas need protection.
The seagrass meadows are home to more than 300 species of flora and 1,000 species of fauna. Equally high in biodiversity are the coral reefs that need more than 7,000 years to form and, if destroyed, take centuries to be restored.
 Armed burglary at Glyfada city hallThree gunmen burglarised the city hall of the eastern Athens coastal town of Glyfada before dawn on Sunday.
The burglars forced the city hall guard, at gunpoint, to take them to the strongbox on the third floor of the municipal building, where they tied up the guard and opened the strongbox with a blow torch, and fled with approximately 40 thousand euros.
The guard managed to untie himself about an hour later and alerted police, who are investigating the incident.
 Search operation for hang glider terminatedA search and rescue operation mounted in Halkidiki for a hang glider presumed to have crashed into the sea in Toronaios Bay on Friday afternoon was called off on Sunday.
The massive operation, involving the coast guard, fire department, nearby vessels and volunteers, was mounted after a passer-by told authorities he had seen a hang glider crashing into the sea.
An extensive search by land and sea failed, however, to turn up anything, while there had been no reports of any missing persons.
As such, the operation was terminated on Sunday afternoon.
 Three arrested on drug dealing chargesThree suspects aged 28, 29 and 35 years old, respectively, have been arrested by Greek authorities for possession of large quantities of cannabis, following a police operation carried out by the Kilkis Security Department in Thessaloniki and Athens.
At the time of their arrest, the three were found to be in possession of 4,777 grammes of unprocessed cannabis, 372 grammes of processed cannabis, 9.2 grammes of methamphetamines, two precision scales and the sum of 27,190 euros believed to be proceeds from trading in illegal drugs.
 Arson suspected in Thessaloniki vehicle firesThree cars burst into flames in the early hours of Saturday morning in the Thessaloniki districts of Ano Poli and Kalamaria. According to the fire brigade, arson is suspected.
 Police find hidden drug stash in Iraklio, CreteThe Iraklio drugs squad on Saturday reported discovering the stash kept by a 27-year-old Albanian national in a hiding place along on the national road heading out of the city, near the village of Ahlada.
The suspect was spotted as he emerged from a bank on the side of the road, got on a motorcycle and started driving toward the city. Police gave chase and caught up with him at a junction a little further down, where he attempted to escape by driving the wrong way down a slip road and finally managed to evade capture after he abandoned the motorbike, crossed the dual direction motorway on foot and disappeared.
Near the abandoned motorbike, police also found a bag containing 222 grammes of cocaine and precision scales, while at the hiding place in Ahlada they found 922 grammes of heroin.
Police sources said the culprit is suspected of dealing in drugs along the length of the motorway and that the 'mastermind' behind the operation is a 32-year-old man Iraklio resident.
 Clouds and rain, fair over AegeanCloudy weather is forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with rain and storms in the west and continued sunny weather in the Aegean. Winds mostly from southerly directions, ranging from 3-5 Beaufort early in the day and rising to 5-7 Beaufort later on. Temperatures will range between 9C and 28C. Scattered cloud in Athens, with temperatures between 15C and 28C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 17C to 26C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe government's upcoming platform statement, the economy, and developments in main opposition New Democracy (ND) in the process for the election of a new party leader were the main front page items in Sunday's newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The uprooted Greeks of Istanbul demanding return of 11,500 real estate properties from Turkey" after European Court ruling vindicating two heirs of Greek woman from Constantinople (today's Istanbul).
APOGEVMATINI: "The ND Congress 'puzzle': All the presidents' (candidate leaders' men".
AVGHI: "On to tough measures", adding that the Greek people were in for a 'rough landing' after the Bank of Greece governor's presentation of the economic indicators to the prime minister and his economy staff, as the deficit has exceeded 10 percent and is headed towards 12 percent.
AVRIANI: "What Dora (Bakoyannis), Samaras and Avramopoulos (former HD ministers and anticipated candidates for the party leadership) propose for the election of leader".
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Third Papandreou generation at the country's helm".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "New electoral system prepared by PASOK".
ETHNOS: "Semi-endurance race to pay the salaries and pensions".
KATHIMERINI: "How Papandreou will govern - Public Issue opinion poll: 83 percent of respondents have 'rather positive' impression of the new government".
LOGOS: "George Papandreou's political dominance".
NIKI: "The new government's strategy for rekindling the market - 'Cheap' money via Brussels (EU)".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Battle fronts for the people's needs - Announcement by KKE (Communist Party of Greece) central committee's political bureau".
TO VIMA: "What is to be done with the loans - What is changing in taxes - The first draft laws to be tabled in parliament by the government".
VRADYNI: "Leader (elected) by the party rank and file - Demand of the ND voters".
 President: Our support to Turkey is not unconditionalNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has stressed that Cyprus' support towards Turkey's accession to the EU is not unconditional and said that if Turkey does not implement its obligations, Cyprus and Greece will examine possible reactions.
Addressing Sunday the anti-occupation march of the Morfou Municipality, President Christofias also referred to the UN-led direct negotiations, which began a year ago with a view to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem, saying that the expectations of the Greek Cypriot side had been greater at the beginning of the talks.
"Some progress has been achieved in the negotiations but it is the kind of progress that does not allow me to tell you today that we have reached an advanced stage and, what is more, to tell you that we are close to a final solution of the problem", he said.
The Cypriot president pointed out that "this is so because, despite our sincere efforts, the Turkish Cypriot side with the support of Turkey, continues to put forward positions and proposals that fall outside the framework of the UN resolutions on Cyprus, the High-Level Agreements and the values and principles of the European Union".
He noted that the Greek Cypriot side has repeatedly stressed "to our Turkish Cypriot compatriots and to the international community that positions such as these are unacceptable".
"A potential adoption of such positions would lead to the acceptance of the consequences of the occupation, to the violation of international Treaties on human rights and fundamental freedoms and to a solution that would be neither viable nor functional", the president underlined.
Referring to Turkey's accession to the European Union, he said that Cyprus believes that Ankara's harmonization with the acquis communautaire and its final accession will help the country modernize its institutions and society, which undoubtedly will be advantageous to the region and to Cyprus itself.
"This support, however, is not unconditional. To this end, we regard indispensable the involvement of the international factor and especially the European Union and the exercise of influence on the Turkish leadership so that Ankara demonstrates the necessary conciliatory and positive approach and proceed to the implementation of its obligations", he stressed.
Otherwise, the Cypriot president noted, "Cyprus and Greece cannot but examine together possible reactions. Besides all the above, we hope the official visit of the Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou to Cyprus is constructive, productive, and fruitful in this respect as well".
He reiterated that the goal is to achieve a just, viable and functional settlement leading to a United Federal Cyprus Re-public, with a single sovereignty, a single international perso-nality and citizenship.
The solution, he said, will ensure the peaceful coexistence of all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Arme-nians and Latins on the island, as well as the prosperity and progress of future generations and will also ensure political equality between the two communities, as this is described in the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
"I would like to assert, once again, that our Turkish Cypriot compatriots are Cypriot citizens and that I will continue to fight with consistency for their rights and best interests. However, these rights cannot be applied at the expense of the rights of the larger community, the Greek Cypriot community. There must be mutual respect and understanding", President Christofias went on to say.
He expressed the wish that during the second round of talks, the Turkish positions will be reviewed "so that we may be able to reach as soon as possible, without arbitration and without pressures through artificial time frames, the much desired solution to the problem, an agreed solution which will be the result of negotiations between the two communities and which will be presented to the people of Cyprus for approval in separate and simultaneous referenda. We will not accept given solutions".
President Christofias pointed out that the success of our efforts for a solution to the problem depends on Turkey's will and policies.
Turkey, he said, has an obligation to contribute to the efforts towards reaching a solution.
"The withdrawal of the Turkish troops, the end of the policy of colonization and the settlement of the issue of security, depend on Turkey. The solution to the Cyprus problem serves the very interests of the Turkish people. Though in theory Turkey declares that it supports the talks, in practice it continues to refuse to implement the resolutions of the United Nations on Cyprus and the resolutions of the Council of the European Union calling upon Turkey to fulfill its obligations towards the European Union and the Republic of Cyprus", he continued.
President Christofias said that in addition "to its refusal to implement the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, to this day, it stubbornly refuses to proceed to the normalization of its relations with the Republic of Cyprus and its recognition, as envisaged in its commitments towards the European Union and its member-states".
At the same time, he added, Turkey continues efforts to undermine the unity and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus through the continuous upgrading of the occupational regime.
"On the other hand, we have repeatedly expressed our readiness for a dialogue with Turkey, in parallel to the on-going talks with the Turkish Cypriot leader, in order to strengthen the possibilities for a positive outcome of the negotiations", he said.
President Christofias reassured that "the obstacles and difficulties we find in our way and the stance of the occupying power do not dishearten us".
Referring to the anti-occupation march, he said that the event "sends out the powerful message that the refugees, the relatives of our missing persons and the Cyprus people in general do not forget".
"Anti-occupation events like this one prove that our people will not compromise with the faits accomplis of the Turkish occupation and they will continue to fight and demand the respect and safeguard of their human rights, including the right of all refugees to voluntarily return to their homes and proper-ties', the Cypriot president concluded.
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