|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-10-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 26 October 2011 Issue No: 3917
 PM: "Big battle to lift weight from Greek people"Greek prime minister George Papandreou on Tuesday appealed for a sense of responsibility, calm and unity on the part of everyone, including the political parties, in light of the "very big and tough battle we are waging to lift the big weight that has fallen on the Greek people from the debt we inherited, and to lift their share of the burden and the responsibilities".
In a brief statement before briefing President Karolos Papoulias on the recent EU and eurozone summits and a critical follow-up EU summit on Wednesday, Papandreou expressed hope that "we will reach decisions (Wednesday)", adding that "this is the determination of our partners, and ours as well", and noting that the discussion constantly returns to "the Greek, but also European, problem, to this crisis".
"Tomorrow (Wednesday) we want to be able to put an end, to turn the page, so that we, as Europe and as a country, can move forward," Papandreou added.
In statements to the press after the meeting, Papandreou said that finding a solution that is secure for the Greek citizens and lifting the immense burden his government inherited and which weighed on the backs of the Greek people is the dual national goal with which Greece would be heading to Wednesday's EU summit in Brussels.
Papandreou called on everyone to contribute to attaining the national targets, both regarding the outcome of the negotiations and the materialisation of the decisions that will be taken, and made special mention of banks that will be streamlined and which must contribute to investments in the real economy.
The premier said that everyone must lift the burden and that there must be a just distribution of the weight, while he also called on the political parties and agencies to also contribute, with cool-headedness and calm to the negotiations and the materialisation of the decisions.
Papandreou said he briefed the President on the entire, tough negotiation in Brussels at both technical and political level, stressing that the negotiation concerns Europe itself, since the crisis is not only a Greek but also a European one.
He reiterated that the Greeks have proved that they have set as their goal to change the country and make it a sustainable and developmental country with transparency and social justice, and stressed that it is now Europe's time to decide to put an end to the crisis.
The goal, he said, is for Europe to rise to the circumstances, to give hope and a prospect, "so that we, too, can change page".
 PM in Brussels on TuesdayGreek Prime Minister George Papandreou will again travel to Brussels on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's crucial European Council and Eurozone meeting.
 PM addresses PES telecon'fPrime Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday attended a teleconference hosted by the Party of European Socialists (PES).
Addressing the teleconference, he referred to Europe's delayed reaction, as he opined, to the crisis and stressed that "Europe now needs the strongest possible arsenal to deal with the crisis even though this could have been done earlier."
"Decisions on the operation and transparency of the banking system, rating agencies, CDSs etc, should have been made earlier," he said, adding that issues of inequalities and injustices faced by the European citizens should also be faced.
Papandreou underlined the need for the greatest possible cooperation and solidarity in Europe to serve as a response to emerging prejudices and also to the need for alternative prospects in Europe.
He repeated his proposals aimed at handling the crisis (taxation on banking transactions and carbon dioxide emissions, etc) and underlined the need for immediate reinforcement of developmental aspects in European policies.
The European socialist leaders expressed their support to the efforts made by Greece to exit the crisis.
 FinMin assures no problem to arise for social security funds from haircut of Greek debtGreek government vice president and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos assured on Tuesday that no problem will arise for the country's social security funds from a haircut of Greek sovereign bonds.
Speaking in Brussels, he added that, on the contrary, measures will be taken that will substantial improve the current level of the funds' assets, and stressed that "the fundamental shareholders of banks are one thing, and the working people, the people insured under the social security funds and the pensioners are something else".
Venizelos said that any solution decided for the long-term sustainability of the Greek state debt will be accompanied by measures that will not just simply maintain but will substantially improve the present level of the assets of the Greek social security funds.
For that purpose, he added, the government has designed, and is determined to take, all the required social and social security policy measures.
"Therefore, in this way, a full response is given to the genuine concern of the insured people and the pensioners," the minister said.
Earlier, ministry secretary general Elias Plaskovitis said on state television that no pensions in any social security fund will be at risk from a haircut of the Greek debt.
He said that it has not yet been clarified whether the social security funds will be exempted from the haircut, as the relevant negotiation was still underway. However, even if the bonds held by the social security funds are included in the haircut, "what is important is that in no instance will they be left alone to find a solution", he said, adding that there will be state support and that they may possibly need to liquidate some of their assets.
 SEV president: 'Wednesday decision painful for Greece'"Any decision made by our European partners on Wednesday will be painful for Greece. Greater sacrifices will have to be made and we will have to work even harder and pay a bigger price before we regain control of our fate. The time has come to realize where we stand and what lies ahead for us in reality," Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEV) President Dimitris Daskalopoulos said on Tuesday.
He added that "no matter what happens, regardless of the tough circumstances we will be faced with, we have an obligation to fight for the country's rebirth."
The SEV president said that Wednesday's decisions "will be made for us, without us, and after taking under consideration greater European expediencies and not Greece's interest."
"We are experiencing the final act of our national drama, the culmination of the decomposition of partisanship and clientele-based state," he said, adding that "at the same time, it is the final act of the drama played in the past two years characterized by the spinelessness and weakness displayed by the government and the political system in general when confronted with trade unionist status quo and nepotism practices."
 ND to vote against new loan agreement; eyes snap electionThe main opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Tuesday again lashed out at government ministers who referred to an "extended majority" vote in Parliament for the ratification of any new loan agreement for Greece, stressing that they are looking "for excuses to jump ship".
ND spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis said the constitution states clearly the instances in which 180 votes are necessary, adding that "they (ministers0 admit that a strong majority is not legally necessary but they want it for purely political reasons." He also pointed out that ND leader Antonis Samaras has made it clear that he will not "sign on to a mistake".
As regards the likelihood of ceding national sovereignty, within the framework of the debt agreements, ND underlined that this will not be accepted.
"Receiving technical assistance is a completely different thing from ceding decisive authority to foreigners," Mihelakis said and reminded statements made a day earlier by Amadeu Altafaj, a spokesman for EU Commissioner Olli Rehn, who underlined that placing an EU member-state under guardianship is not acceptable institutionally or legally.
ND repeated its call for snap elections and as regards the decisions expected to be made in Brussels it was maintained that based on the indications so far, the Europeans and the IMF will undertake to manage the Greek debt, while Greece will manage the deficit. Mihelakis repeated ND's steadfast position for substantive negotiations to have a policy mix that will lead to surplus budgets.
The ND spokesman also spoke about a negotiation for a different recipe that will be based on economic growth and not on recession to help the country exit the crisis as soon as possible.
 LA.O.S: Strong majority approval for loan agreement; predicts Papandreou ouster by ChristmasOpposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) president George Karatzaferis on Tuesday stated that the new loan agreement for Greece should have the approval of at least 180 MPs in a parliamentary vote.
Speaking in an Athens private television, Karatzaferis stated that "we do not relinquish national sovereignty", adding that in his talk with FinMin Evangelos Venizelos, he underlined that the agreement should pass in Parliament with a strong majority of 180 votes.
Karatzaferis said elections are almost certain because main opposition New Democracy (ND) party will not vote in favour of the agreement, adding that "by Christmas time, George Papandreou will not be the prime minister of Greece".
The LA.O.S president also said that the government should not accept European supervisors, adding that "the people have voted for a Greek government and not for a bunch of strange European supervisors. The government should do its job otherwise resign".
 Greek, Russian mutual desire to expand political, economic relations stressed in Moscow meetingGreece's and Russia's mutual desire to deepen and expand Greek-Russian relations at both political and economic level was stressed by Russian deputy minister of foreign affairs responsible for relations with European countries on Tuesday, after talks with visiting Greek foreign minister Stavros Lambrinidis in Moscow.
Titov noted Russian interest in investments in Greece as well as in Cyprus, and stressed that margins exist for further cooperation at economic level.
According to diplomatic sources, the two men discussed the upcoming meeting of the Joint Greece-Russia Economic Committee in Athens in mid-December, and Russia's interest in investments in Greece and taking part in the opportunities opening up on the Greek market.
They also reviewed preparations for a special emissary of Russian president Dmitry Medvedev to Greece in the coming months and progress in preparations for the "Greece in Russia and Russian in Greece Year" that has been designated for 2014, and reaffirmed the two countries' common position and devotion to the materialisation of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis and South Stream pipelines.
The two officials further discussed regional issues and current developments in the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean.
The Greek side also expressed appreciation for Russia's clear-cut position on the Cyprus Republic's explorations in the Cypriot Free Trade Zone.
The sources also said that Lambrinidis will return to Russia in mid-December to take part in a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation foreign ministers.
 FM Lambrinidis to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on ThursdayForeign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis will be leaving for the United States on Wednesday.
According to diplomatic sources, Lambrinidis will be having a meeting with his US counterpart Hillary Clinton on Thursday.
 High ranked Chinese official Jia continues visit to GreeceThe Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Jia Qinglin, who is currently in Greece, visited on Tuesday the Acropolis monument and afterwards the New Acropolis Museum, where he was given a guided tour by the museum's director Dimitris Pandermalis.
A day earlier, the Chinese official went to the archaeological site of Mycenae.
On Wednesday, Jia Qinglin will go to Crete to attend a ceremony organised by the Chinese Popular Friendship with other countries' Association in order to award 18 Greeks who contributed in the repatriation of 13,853 Chinese citizens from Libya via Crete in February and March 2011.
 President extends condolences to Turkish counterpartPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias addressed a telegram of condolences to Turkish President Abdullah Gul in the wake of a devastating earthquake that hit the Van province in eastern Turkey, it was announced on Tuesday.
Papoulias expressed deep regret for the loss of so many lives and extended the condolences of the Greek people and his own to the families of the victims.
He also expressed a wholehearted wish that those still missing will be rescued.
 Chryssohoidis meeting with European Commission official ReichenbachProject inclusions in the National Strategic Reference Frameworks (NSRF) amounted to 88.53 percent, meaning 9 times more than in September 2009, in the government's 21-month tenure, while 51.56 percent were turned into contracts, also 9 times more than in September 2009 and 23.96 percent were implemented.
This was announced on Monday by Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis at the ruling PASOK party's Production and Trade parlia-mentary committee and at the Parliamentary Permanent Production and Trade Committee, which were convened at the minister's initiative for a briefing on the actions scheduled by the ministry to handle the lack of liquidity that the real economy is facing.
The minister stressed that he is in close cooperation with the European Commission and the European Investments Bank with the aim of finding the resources to boost the liquidity of businesses.
The minister briefed the head of the European Commission's action group in Greece Horst Reichenbach on the same issues on Tuesday evening. In parallel, the minister also went ahead with the analytical presentation of the six actions in the framework of the NSRF that the ministry is promoting.
 Development minister discusses funding of investments activities in Greece with ReichenbachThe funding of investments activities in Greece through the creation of credit lines on the models of the credit line by the name of "Griechenland" that the German investments bank KfW is implementing (a similar initiative is being probed for the Danish and Austrian businesses) was discussed during the meeting held on Tuesday afternoon between task force head Horst Reichenbach and Development, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis.
The discussion focused on possibilities being created by close cooperation with the European Commission and the European Investments Bank for resources to be found in order to boost the liquidity of businesses, while the minister presented the actions that the ministry is promoting of the National Strategic Reference Frameworks (NSRF).
 Reichenbach holds talks with Environment and Citizen's Protection ministersEnvironment, Energy and Climatic Change Minister George Papaconstantinou held talks on Tuesday with the European Commission's task force head for Greece Horst Reichenbach discussing, among other things, the "Ilios" programme for the production of "green" energy in Greece and its exportation to Western Europe.
The programme's development was discussed during the meeting, the steps that have taken place and those that are expected.
Reichenbach also met with Citizen's Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis and stated afterwards that "I am not here to supervise. I am here to coordinate the assistance that the troika can offer."
Papoutsis said that the aim of the meeting was Reichenbach's briefing on the ministry's actions and common cooperation to enable the actions to be promoted, supported and strengthened at European level as well.
 Privatization targets for 2011 unsubstantiated, official saysPrivatisation targets set for 2011 are unsubstantiated, according to the president of the State Asset Exploitation Fund on Tuesday, adding that the fund was currently working - together with market experts -- towards offering a more realistic view of the situation, something acknowledged by both the "troika" and the European Commission.
In a radio interview, G. Koukiadis said "it is not enough to just take a proposal and go to the market. If it was that simple we could have a privatisation each week. We must have advisors to evaluate the financial situation of each enterprise, we must do a market research to find where there is interest, to resolve any legal problems. These things cannot be made through telephone calls. They have deadlines".
Koukiadis said the fund will present substantiated targets but warned that there were unpredictable factors in a road towards privatisations and selling state assets.
He stressed, however, that a plan to sell the land at former international airport in Helliniko was progressing rapidly.
 OPAP will seek loan of less than 600 million eurosOPAP's chairman and chief executive Yiannis Spanoudakis on Tuesday reassured investors that the two contracts signed over a 10-year extension of its monopoly (2020-2030) and obtaining a license to operate 35,000 video lottery terminals in the country, would benefit the organization and its shareholders.
Speaking to institutional investors, through a teleconference, Spanoudakis underlined that the organization was well prepared to make the biggest investment leap of its history and stressed that the loan to be raised would be less than 600 million euros, carrying an interest of around 6-7 pct, plus Euribor for a period of three years.
He said that turnover from the operation of VLTs would reach one billion euros after few years and noted that OPAP would begin operating 16,500 VLTs in the next 12 months. Spanoudakis said the dividend policy would be adjusted but will remain attractive to shareholders.
 Fraud with fake farm product invoices revealed in PeloponneseEconomic Crime Squad (SDOE) officials in the Peloponnese have revealed a big case of fraud at the state's expense related to the return of VAT to farmers. SDOE's Peloponnnese director Nikos Kolentzakis, speaking to the AMNA, revealed that they detected the ring because many farmers, mainly of the special status, in all the prefectures of the Peloponnese region were receiving huge amounts from VAT returns, for products produced that they could never have produced, due to the few stremmas of land they possessed and cultivated.
The fraud was fully confirmed during the cross-checking of data since it appeared from the invoices-receipt forms deposited by the farmers to get the returns that many tons of farm products were transported in trucks that could not carry the load, as well as with cars whose number plates belonged to water trucks.
Lastly, he called on the farmers and all involved in the fraud to return the money and to cooperate with SDOE's auditors because they have been detected and will not get away, warning them in parallel that apart from the penal ones there are also administrative responsibilities that will be attributed to them.
 Business Briefs-- Deposits in Greek banks are fully ensured regardless of the size of a "haircut" on Greek bonds, Greek banking executives reiterated to the AMNA on Tuesday. The executives said bank deposits are fully secured and have face no risk.
-- Chartis Hellas on Tuesday reported a significant increase in its premium production and customer satisfaction in the nine-month period from December 2010 to August 2011. The insurance company said premium production totaled 84.2 million euros, up 10.7 pct compared with the same period last year, while profits totaled 8.0 million euros. Premium production growth covered both corporate and personal insurance contracts.
-- The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) on Tuesday warned that 2012 would be an extremely uncertain period for Greek tourism, as it could be affected by a probable international economic recession, a recovery of North African destinations and economic developments in Greece.
-- Domestic water bottling companies are facing significant hardships due to the ongoing economic crisis in the country, while at the same time seeking relief through exports and investment, primarily equipment.
 Stocks end moderately upStocks ended moderately higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, partially reversing Monday's sell-off, in what traders described as a technical rebound amid uncertainty over the outcome of an EU Summit on Wednesday.
The composite index of the market rose 1.20 pct to end at 756.05 points, off the day's highs of 773.41 points. Turnover remained a disappointing low 43.378 million euros. The Big Cap index rose 1.17 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.76 pct higher and the Small Cap index rose 0.52 pct.
Alpha Bank (6.61 pct), Eurobank (5.40 pct), Coca-Cola 3E (5.27 pct), Hellenic Postbank (4.79 pct) and National Bank (3.75 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Hellenic Petroleum (3.73 pct), OTE (3.24 pct) and OPAP (2.02 pct) suffered losses.
The Food (5.13 pct), Commerce (3.34 pct), Personal Products (3.11 pct) and Banks (2.70 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Technology (3.56 pct) and Telecoms (3.23 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 77 to 72 with another 19 issues unchanged. Haidemenos (29.44 pct), Ideal (23.71 pct) and Lanakam (23.53 pct) were top gainers, while Minerva (30 pct), Akritas (24.08 pct) and Sciens (22.97 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -2.30%
Personal & Household: +3.11%
Raw Materials: +2.45%
Travel & Leisure: -1.70%
Food & Beverages: +5.13%
Financial Services: -1.40%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Coca Cola 3E and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.00
Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.00
HBC Coca Cola: 13.58
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.23
National Bank of Greece: 1.66
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.66
Bank of Piraeus: 0.24
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was unchanged at 15.98 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 18.04 pct and the German Bund 2.06 pct. There was no turnover in the market.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 2.12 pct, the six-month rate 1.78 pct, the three-month rate 1.58 pct and the one-month rate 1.36 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.12 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover remaining a low 21.154 million euros.
Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 10,358 contracts worth 15.248 million euros, with 21,009 short positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 35,196 contracts worth 5.906 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (21,910), followed by Eurobank (1,176), OTE (643), OPAP (667), Piraeus Bank (2,074), Alpha Bank (5,438), Cyprus Bank (502), Hellenic Postbank (590) and AtEbank (614).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.412
Pound sterling 0.883
Danish kroner 7.556
Swedish kroner 9.247
Japanese yen 107.57
Swiss franc 1.243
Norwegian kroner 7.800
Canadian dollar 1.413
Australian dollar 1.348
 Ancient Lappa, a city of extraordinary importanceThe island of Crete is full of stories of ancient cities, most of them written in archaeologists' and historians' books, as well as in folk lore passed on from generation to generation.
One of the most popular is the story of the ancient city of Lappa, later known as Lappi or Lambi, situated 27km southwest of Rethymno. Ancient Lappa was one of the most powerful cities of the Mycenaean era and is said to have been founded by King Agamemnon himself. The city played a very important role not only in Crete's politics but also in the Mediterranean. It is a geographical region with lush greenery, and extremely important finds, particularly from the Late Geometric Period.
During excavations, scientists unearthed the remains of the ancient city as well as a necropolis with limestone chamber tombs and graves carved in the rock. The necropolis as a whole is of immense archaeological importance and the monuments add to the knowledge of tomb architecture of the Roman era. The tombs date back to the end of the 1st and beginning of the 2nd century BC.
 Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Austria laid to restVIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)
Tribute was paid to the late Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Austria-Exarch of Hungary and Central Europe Michael during the funeral service held at the historic Holy Trinity Cathedral in Vienna by the state and ecclesiastical leadership, headed by Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer, together with relatives and hundreds of mourners who attended the funeral at the Austrian capital's central cemetery on Tuesday afternoon.
The religious ceremony, at which the Metropolitan of Derki Apostolos represented the Ecumenical Patriarch, was officiated by the patriarchal commissioner, Rhodes Metropolitan Kirillos, with the participation of dozens of Greek Orthodox clerics from Greece and abroad and with many senior priests of foreign churches being present, headed by the archbishop and cardinal of Austria Kristof Senborn.
The President of the Greek Republic and the Greek government were represented by Greece's ambassador to Austria, Panayiotis Zografos, in the presence of members of the Austrian and Hungarian government and personalities of public life from the two countries.
 Tsunami preparedness drill on CreteA tsunami drill held in the Hania, Crete region continued on Tuesday for a second day.
The exercise, code-named "Poseidon", which is held with the participation of rescue crews from Cyprus and France, will test the effectiveness of the Greek and European rescue mechanisms.
The outcome of the drill will be assessed on Wednesday.
According to the exercise scenario prepared by the natural disasters department at the Crete Polytechnic, the region is hit by a devastating earthquake measuring 8.5 on the Richter scale followed by a tsunami that sweeps through Hania's coasts.
 Econ crisis taking its toll on ... smoking habitHealth risks and the ongoing economic crisis are the main reasons leading smokers in Greece to seek help to quit their habit, according to a study made public on Tuesday.
"Considering that the monthly cigarette budget ranges from 150 euros to 300 euros (1-2 cigarette packs/day) namely, 3,600 euros a year, quitting smoking through interventions is more affordable, while the individual is a winner, health-wise, and in terms of life quality," it was stressed in a press conference held on the occasion of the 29th Athens Classic Marathon, set to take place on Nov.13.
Hellenic Thoracic Society (EPE) president Prof. Konstantinos Gourgoulianis said health risks (86 pct) are still the main reason that leads a smoker to decide to quit the habit.
A total of 51 anti-smoking centers operate across the country, most of which are incorporated into public and private hospitals and municipal clinics.
 Foreign nat'l arrested after police chase, shootoutAn Albanian national was arrested in northwest Athens' Nea Philadelphia district on Tuesday after a shootout with police, while two other suspects are still wanted.
The suspects, who were armed with assault rifles, opened fire when the driver of a stolen vehicle ignored police signals to pull over.
After a brief chase the culprits abandoned the vehicle. Two of them escaped in a passing car after forcing its driver out, while the third suspect, who was armed with a handgun, hailed a taxi but was arrested soon after.
 Cloudy on WednesdayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 6C and 23C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with northerly 5-8 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 19C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 8C to 15C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe EU and eurozone summits, the repercussions on pensions and social security funds from a 'haircut' of the Greek debt, and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos' call for a wide majority (of 180 votes in the 300-member parliament) on a new loan agreement for Greece were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Tuesday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The government a simple spectator in the bargaining among our lenders".
AVGHI: "They're saving the banks, sacrificing the social security funds".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Debt haircut brings new axe to pensions".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The final blow to the social security funds, too".
ESTIA: "Greece being led out of the eurozone".
ETHNOS: "They're going over the agreement for the haircut with a fine-tooth comb".
IMERISSIA: "50 percent haircut or irregular default".
KATHIMERINI: "Big haircut and 180 votes".
LOGOS: "Spectators to the developments..."
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Voluntary haircut for bonds worth 200 billion euros".
NIKI: "How a 50-60 percent haircut will drastically affect our lives".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Haircut of the state debt will destroy the social security funds".
TA NEA: "100 billion euros haircut, and elections on the horizon".
VRADYNI: "Government preparing new social security measures".
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