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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-08-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Tuesday, 20 August 2013 Issue No: 4438

CONTENTS

  • [01] Current account balance shows 663mln euro surplus for June, per BoG
  • [02] PM Samaras to chair broad government meeting on Tuesday morning
  • [03] Meeting on Santorini Island examines recent power blackout
  • [04] Washington will support Samaras government, says US magazine chief editor
  • [05] Privatisation chief's resignation 'proof of collusion between gov't and business', SYRIZA charges
  • [06] Government spokesman replies to SYRIZA party on privatisations issue
  • [07] Egyptian crisis brings EU foreign ministers to Brussels for emergency meeting on Wed.
  • [08] Demarche by Foreign ministry over attacks in Permet, Gjirokaster
  • [09] Deputy FM meets with Mt. Sinai Archbishop
  • [10] Health sector employees reacting to measure of mobility
  • [11] Prosecutor requires bank account details in inquiry into PPC contacts
  • [12] Fine per uninsured worker rises 18-fold, by ministerial decision
  • [13] Railway track maintenance company on sale by privatisation agency TAIPED
  • [14] Industrial sector turnover composite index 5.0 pct down in June
  • [15] Greek dairy Kri-Kri to sell yoghurt through UK supermarket chain
  • [16] Greek stocks plunge 2.95 pct on Monday
  • [17] Artist Steven Antonakos, known for large-scale neon work, dies in NYC
  • [18] Maria Farantouri to celebrate 50 years in singing with concert at Irodio
  • [19] Agrinio hosts 3rd Agrinio Jazz Festival with Greek and international performers
  • [20] Rock falls on car, injures driver seriously on Crete
  • [21] Wildfire in Kainourgio Horio, Pylos under partial control
  • [22] Two die in Kallithea apartment fire
  • [23] Super Jet passenger speedboat returning to Rafina after mechanical problem
  • [24] Police arrest three in black-market raid
  • [25] Fair on Tuesday
  • [26] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Current account balance shows 663mln euro surplus for June, per BoG

    The current account balance showed a surplus of 663 million euros for June 2013 compared to a surplus of 73 million euros in June 2012, according to a Bank of Greece report released on Monday.

    In its report, the central bank attributed the result mainly to a decline in the trade deficit and, secondarily, to the surplus recorded in the services balance, which was offset by the doubling of the income account deficit, whereas the current transfers surplus narrowed.

    The trade deficit fell by 651 million euros, the bank said, mainly owing to a 397mln euro decrease in the net oil import bill, while all other balances also improved. The trade deficit excluding oil and ships contracted slightly, by 87 million euros, as a result of a decline of 132 million euros or 7.0 percent in the import bill, which offset the lower (by 45 million euros, or 4.2 percent) export receipts. The ships' balance (sales minus purchases) recorded a small surplus of 2.3 million euros.

    The surplus of the services balance increased by 268 million euros, almost exclusively owing to a significant rise in net travel receipts (by 273 million) and, to a much lesser extent, a contraction in net payments for "other" services (by 22 million). By contrast, net transport receipts dropped slightly (by 27 million), exclusively on account of the higher deficit in the balance of "other" transport (excluding sea transport) services.

    The rise in the surplus of the travel services balance is mainly attributable to a 272 million euros (or 20.6 percent) increase in travel spending by non-residents in Greece (also reflecting a rise in non-resident travellers' arrivals by 16.1 percent, according to the Bank of Greece's border survey), while travel spending by residents abroad declined marginally (by 0.8 percent). Finally, the narrowing of the "other" services deficit is chiefly attributable to a contraction of the deficit of insurance and communication services, and to a rise in the surplus of business services.

    These developments were partly offset by the increase in the financial services deficit (on account of the 63mln euro fee paid to the European Financial Stability Facility, EFSF, and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, compared with 5mln euros in June 2012) and the narrowing of the construction services surplus. The income account deficit rose by 260mln euros, owing to higher net interest payments and lower net receipts from reinvested earnings (mainly as a result of mergers of foreign bank subsidiaries in Greece with Greek credit institutions).

    Finally, the current transfers balance showed a surplus of 265mln euros in June 2013 (smaller than the 334mln euro surplus recorded in June 2012), mainly reflecting a corresponding development in the general government balance (chiefly transfers from the EU).

    It should be noted that the current transfers balance includes ANFA returns, i.e. revenue passed on to Greece accruing to euro area NCBs from Greek government bonds held in their investment portfolio, which amounted to 256 million euros in June 2013, compared with 349 million euros in June 2012. (Gross current transfers from the EU mainly include receipts from the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, EAGGF, as well as receipts from the European Social Fund, while current transfers to the EU include Greece's contributions/payments to the Community budget.)

    In the first half of 2013, the current account deficit contracted by 4.0 billion euros (or 58.3 percent) year-on-year, to 2.9 billion euros. This development is attributable, primarily, to a significant decline in the trade deficit (down by 2.8 billion euros) and, secondarily, to a narrowing of the income account deficit by 315 million euros; also of importance were the increases in the current transfers and services surpluses (up by 388 million and 516 million euros, respectively).

    Detailed results of the data for June are available on the Bank of Greece site, while the bank said that the balance of payments data for July 2013 will be released on 18 September 2013.

    [02] PM Samaras to chair broad government meeting on Tuesday morning

    A broad government meeting with the participation of eleven ministers has been called for Tuesday morning at 10:00 by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, to be held at the Government Building (Maximos Mansion). It will focus on the rescue programme prerequisites in view of the troika of lenders' arrival in Athens on September 21 for a fresh review.

    Attending the meeting will be government vice-president Evangelos Venizelos and the ministers of Finance Yannis Stournaras, Development Costis Hatzidakis, Interior Yiannis Michelakis, Administrative Reform Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Environment George Maniatis, Health Adonis Georgiadis, Education Constantinos Arvanitopoulos, Labour Yiannis Vroutsis, Transport Michalis Crysochoidis and a representative from the Defence ministry's political leadership.

    The premier according to reports wishes to signal the government's return to intensive work following a short vacation, as there is no room for delays with respect to the commitments undertaken.

    As far as the critical issue of the so-called mobility scheme in the public service is concerned, Samaras has specifically requested that the related name-lists by ministries be in the hands of the Administrative Reform minister by the end of the month.

    [03] Meeting on Santorini Island examines recent power blackout

    A meeting to look into last week's power plant accident and the subsequent power blackout on Santorini was on Monday held at the island's City Hall, attended by the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change Yiannis Maniatis, as well as Public Power Corporation (PPC) president Arthouros Zervos, general manager Yiannis Kopanakis, PPC and DEDDHE executives, representatives of local authorities and professional bodies of Santorini.

    According to an announcement by the Municipality of Thira, the island's mayor Anastasios-Nikolaos Zorzos and local bodies briefed the minister and PPC administration on the serious damage suffered by the accident and expressed their views on restoring damage to businesses, but also the island's image in peak summer season.

    At the meeting it was agreed that the causes of and any liability for the accident at the PPC power in Monolithos on August 13 be fully investigated and the results be notified to local bodies in complete transparency.

    The PPC pledged to urgently develop and implement a repair schedule, replacing the affected equipment and ensuring sufficiency in power generation. Plans include building a back-up power station of a capacity of up to 90 pct of the island's peak electricity needs.

    [04] Washington will support Samaras government, says US magazine chief editor

    NEW YORK (ANA/MPA - P. Panagiotou)

    Constantine Pagidas, chief editor of the U.S. magazine Mediterranean Quarterly, said in an interview with the Greek Service of the Voice of America that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras "achieved all his targets" during his recent visit to Washington, and President Obama will support Greece's Samaras government.

    Pagidas said that the Greek premier strengthened his government's position, while it received support from the U.S. for a growth approach in handling the economic crisis and presented Greece as a stabilising factor in the wider region.

    "Washington will vigorously support the Samaras government, as there are doubts about the alternatives," Pagidas said.

    He added that one of the "key phrases" in statements by the U.S. President, during the joint press-conference with Samaras, was "the great talent of the Greek people."

    [05] Privatisation chief's resignation 'proof of collusion between gov't and business', SYRIZA charges

    The resignation of the chief of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED), Greece's privatisation agency, is "but the first, clear admission of the dirty relationship between the memorandum government and business interests," main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) said on Monday, adding that "it's obvious the liabilities of those who appointed him are huge and are not erased by fact of his resignation."

    In its announcement, SYRIZA charged that TAIPED was used by the troika of Greece's creditors to "attempt the greatest selloff of Greek public property seen in Europe since the era of East Germany."

    It also said that it had repeatedly requested in Parliament the minutes of the agency's meetings, over its "obviously unconstitutional processes of operation and the complete lack of parliamentary and social control". SYRIZA also warned will not recognize any privatisations that go against the public interest and called for an end to "the crime against the Greek people and its assets."

    [06] Government spokesman replies to SYRIZA party on privatisations issue

    Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, replying on Monday to charges by the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on the issue of privatisations following the resignation of the state privatisation agency's director, stressed that "the government always acts with national interest as the sole criterion and under conditions of absolute transparency."

    He added, "It is obvious that SYRIZA does not want any of the changes that our economy needs to go ahead and for this reason it is resorting to its known method of threats to the investors. They shall achieve nothing. Greece shall change".

    [07] Egyptian crisis brings EU foreign ministers to Brussels for emergency meeting on Wed.

    Foreign ministers of European Union countries will hold an extraordinary meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss joint action regarding events in Egypt, a European Commission representative announced Monday.

    In a joint statement a day before, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called on the Egyptian government and the army to "bring clashes to a halt", saying that "the violence and the killings of these last days cannot be justified nor condoned. Human rights must be respected and upheld."

    Egypt, they said, "a key partner" of the European Union, which "shares interests in and responsibility for the maintenance of peace and stability in a strategic region." The EU officials also warned, "Further escalation must be prevented. It could have unpredictable consequences for Egypt and for its broader neighbourhood."

    [08] Demarche by Foreign ministry over attacks in Permet, Gjirokaster

    The Foreign ministry expressed its unequivocal "abhorrence and condemnation" over Monday's two attacks occurring in Permet and Gjirokaster, while it summoned the Albanian ambassador to Athens to deliver a demarche to him.

    "Only three days after the unacceptable events that took place in Permet," the Foreign ministry's relative announcement said, "this morning, in exactly the same city, a violent attack took place against a Greek citizen and an expatriate, resulting in their injury," while immediately afterwards "unidentified persons hurled stones at the building of Greece's General Consulate in Gjirokaster, fortunately causing only material damage."

    "We express," the announcement stressed, "our abhorrence and we condemn unequivocally today's two attacks, which raise questions as to the readiness and will of the Albanian authorities to impose order and to protect the buildings of our Diplomatic and Consular Authorities."

    It concludes by saying: "We expect the immediate arrest of the perpetrators by the Albanian authorities, which ought to put an immediate end to this unacceptable situation that we want to believe has been shaped without the Albanian Government's knowledge."

    [09] Deputy FM meets with Mt. Sinai Archbishop

    Deputy Foreign Minister Akis Gerontopoulos met on Monday with Archbishop Damianos, abbot of Mt. Sinai Monastery, at the Foreign Ministry.

    The minister expressed his concern over developments in the area and was briefed by the archbishop on problems faced by the Orthodox monastery.

    [10] Health sector employees reacting to measure of mobility

    Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis, speaking in an interview with the Real radio station on Monday, stressed that the timetable on the mobility of health employees will be observed.

    The minister said that data concerning employees to be moved and suspended will begin being sent on August 23, their suspension will begin on August 31 and they will be at their new posts on September 16.

    However, public hospital employees will be responding to the measure of mobility with work stoppages.

    The Federation of Public Hospital Employees (POEDIN) has proclaimed a 4-hour work stoppage from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday for hospitals in Thessaloniki and a protest gathering at 12 outside the offices of the 3rd and 4th Thessaloniki Health Region.

    [11] Prosecutor requires bank account details in inquiry into PPC contacts

    A prosecutor's inquiry into Public Power Corporation (PPC) equipment maintenance contracts valued at approximately 3.0 million euros -and signed without an official tender- is proceeding with opening bank accounts and onsite inspections of PPC installations.

    The inquiry, which started in August 2012 by prosecutor Popi Papandreou in collaboration with the financial crime squad following a Hot Doc magazine article, focuses on breach of trust against the state.

    The magazine had reported that the contacts concerned were signed directly between the PPC and a specific company. It said the cost of certain replacement parts bought by the PPC could be one million euros cheaper if bought without intermediaries.

    The prosecutor is waiting for banks to provide details of accounts belonging to people involved in the case.

    Financial News

    [12] Fine per uninsured worker rises 18-fold, by ministerial decision

    Fines to employers for hiring uninsured individuals have been raised 18 times to 10,550 euros per worker, Labour, Social Insurance and Welfare Minister Yiannis Vroutsis said on Monday.

    In an announcement, Vroutsis said the raise "turns uninsured labour into an unprofitable and especially risky practice for businesses...as whoever is thinking of acting illegally will have to think it through very carefully."

    Vroutsis said that the fines will be imposed immediately on site by an inspector, who will forward the violation immediately to the online tax system as an "immediately proven violation".

    "The new system puts an end essentially to impunity based on the ability of an inspector to subjectively assess the violation and on the protracted process of exchanging opinions and memorandums," Vroutsis said.

    [13] Railway track maintenance company on sale by privatisation agency TAIPED

    Greece's privatisation agency on Monday called for tenders for the 100 percent sale of the Greek Company of Railway Track Material Maintenance SA.

    The Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund (TAIPED) acquired full ownership of the company's shares (644,215 common shares) by transfer on Friday, prior to opening the bidding process.

    The bidding will involve two phases, the application of interest and the submission of binding offers.

    Advising TAIPED on the sale are the Hellenic Investment Bank and Kantor Management Consultants (on financial issues); Hogan Lovells International LLP and M. & P. Bernitsas Law Office (legal); and Louis Berger SA (technical).

    [14] Industrial sector turnover composite index 5.0 pct down in June

    Greece's new orders composite index in the industrial sector (measuring both the domestic and external markets) dropped by 10.4 pct in June this year compared with June 2012, the Hellenic Independent Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.

    The statistics service, in a report, attributed this negative development to a 14.2 pct fall in the domestic market index and a 8.3 pct drop in the external market index.

    The statistics service also announced that the turnover composite index in the industrial sector (domestic and external markets) dropped 5.0 pct in June compared with the same month in 2012. It attributed this negative development to a 30.7 pct increase in the mining index and a 5.5 pct decline in the manufacturing index. The domestic turnover index fell 7.5 pct while the external market index dropped 1.1 pct in June.

    [15] Greek dairy Kri-Kri to sell yoghurt through UK supermarket chain

    Listed Greek dairy company Kri-Kri is expanding into the United Kingdom markets through British supermarket chain Waitrose, the Greek company announced on Monday.

    Waitrose has over 300 outlets in the UK, and the cooperation involves Greek-produced yoghurt on a private label.

    According to an announcement by Kri-Kri, which is based in the northern Greek city of Serres, Greek-style yoghurt sales in Britain are worth over 200 million euros, with 80 percent of the strained yoghurt produced locally. The sector is expected to rise sharply in the near future.

    Kri-Kri has shown a 20 percent rise in sales, according to the announcement, and plans to expand a 5-million-euro plan investment to 8 million euros, to be completed by the summer of 2014.

    [16] Greek stocks plunge 2.95 pct on Monday

    Stock prices on the Athens Stock Exchange plummeted on Monday as investment mood turned negative, with the composite index losing 2.95 pct, at 927.00 points but recovering from a session low of 921.25 points. Turnover was a low 35.89 million euros.

    The Large Cap index fell 2.86 pct, while the Mid Cap index dived 4.51 pct.

    MIG (-7.86 pct), Intralot (-6.11 pct), National Bank (-6.03 pct), Piraeus Bank (-5.50 pct), Terna Energy (-4.92 pct), Ellaktor (-4.78 pct), METKA(-4.77 pct) and OTE (-3.92 pct) were top losers among blue chip stocks, all of which recorded losses.

    Heavier losses in sector indices were suffered by Banks (-5.28 pct), Telecommunications (-3.92 pct), Materials (-3.58 pct) and Travel (-3.57 pct).

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 94 to 25, with another 10 issues unchanged.

    Attica Holdings (19.08 pct), Nel (14.29 pct), Fieratex (10.40 pct), Tzikarian Profile (9.77 pct) and G.E. Demetriou (9.76 pct) were top gainers, while Parnassos (-19.68 pct), Kathimerini (-16.16 pct), A.S. Company (-15.41 pct), Altec (-13.95 pct) and Foodlink (-10.00 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Industrials: -2.13%

    Commercial: -0.65%

    Construction: -1.90%

    Oil & Gas: -2.48%

    Personal & Household: -0.69%

    Raw Materials: -3.58%

    Travel & Leisure: -3.57%

    Technology: -2.63%

    Telecoms: -3.92

    Banks: -5.28%

    Food & Beverages: -1.92%

    Health: -3.35%

    Utilities: -2.55%

    Financial Services: -3.40%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, Piraeus Bank, OTE and National Bank.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 0.51

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 7.75

    Coca Cola HBC: 20.28

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.79

    National Bank of Greece: 2.96

    Eurobank Properties : 7.15

    OPAP: 7.26

    OTE: 6.87

    Titan: 15.20

    General News

    [17] Artist Steven Antonakos, known for large-scale neon work, dies in NYC

    Artist Steven Antonakos, a prominent member of the Greek diaspora, died in New York City aged 87, it was announced on Monday.

    Known for his use of neon lights in sculpture, Antonakos had exhibited his work at Faros gallery and the Onassis Cultural Centre, both on Syngrou Avenue, and became widely known for his installation "Search", specifically designed for the Old Olive Factory in Elefsina in 2011, his last show in Greece. The same year he had also presented a gift to the Christian and Byzantine Museum in Athens in memory of the institution's late director and friend Dimitris Konstantios.

    Antonakos, baptised Stylianos, was born in Gythio, Lakonia prefecture, in 1926. In 1930 his family emigrated to New York City, which became his home to the end of his life. His art, which also included works on paper, examined the connection of colour with space and had made a name for him as early as the 1960s because of the new way he used neon lights in geometric sculptures, panels and public works.

    His works were shown in over 250 group and over 100 solo exhibitions in the US, Europe and Greece, while over 45 of his large-scale public works have been installed in the US, Europe and Japan, in museums and public spaces.

    In Athens, his work "Procession" can be seen at the Ambelokipi station of the Metro.

    [18] Maria Farantouri to celebrate 50 years in singing with concert at Irodio

    Well-known Greek singer Maria Farantouri will be celebrating her 50 years in singing with a big concert at the Herod Atticus Theatre (Irodio) on September 17.

    Farantouri has sung for major Greek composers, including Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hatzidakis.

    She will be joined on stage by Elli Paspala and Savina Yiannatou to sing of "the human who insists on seeking the elusive dream and utopia".

    Tickets sales will be taking placed at the Public stores, from the ticketservices Panepistimiou street 39 (Pesmazoglou Arcade), by telephone at 210-7234567 and electronically at the website www.ticketservices.gr.

    [19] Agrinio hosts 3rd Agrinio Jazz Festival with Greek and international performers

    The western Greek city of Agrinio will host its third annual jazz festival on September 6 and 7 at the Kipotheatro outdoor theatre, with international musicians taking to the stage with Greek performers.

    On September 6, guitarist Davide Jambon (Italy), drummer Attila Qyarfas (Hungary) and local double bassist Grigoris Theodoridis will give the opening performance. They will be followed by trumpeter Andreas Polyzogopoulos and his quartet improvising Pink Floyd songs. The day will wrap up with a concert by Shahar Elnatar (Israel) on organ jazz with standards and his own original work, George Kontrafouris on organ, and Vassilis Podaras on drums with Dimitris Tsakas on saxophone.

    Locals Possible Trio will open the second day, with Serafim Fengoulis on drums, Pantelis Tzialas on guitar and Menios Gounaris on piano.

    The festival will wrap up with a concert by pianist Juraj Stanik (Holland) improvising on jazz greats, joined by drummer David Barker (Holland) and saxophonist Furni Gomez (Spain).

    Tickets are sold locally for 10 euros (early sales are 8 euros for one day, 12 for two).

    [20] Rock falls on car, injures driver seriously on Crete

    A five-kilo rock became detached and fell on the top of a car on Sunday morning at Topolia tunnel on Crete, resulting in the serious injury of the young female driver. The co-driver, also a female, was slightly injured.

    The accident occured at 8:45 on Sunday morning while the car, with four passengers, was waiting with another 30 cars for the light to change before the entrance of Topolia tunnel, on the road that leads from Hania to the popular Elafonissi beach.

    The driver is being hospitalised in the ICU at Hania hospital.

    The Hania-Elafonissi road via Topolia tunnel was closed for maintenance and support of the outcrops to prevent landslides. It had opened temporarily for the summer season to faciliate access to the popular Elafonissi beach.

    [21] Wildfire in Kainourgio Horio, Pylos under partial control

    A wildfire burning since Monday afternoon in Kainourgio Horio, Pylos, southern Peloponnese is reported to have been placed under partial control.

    The blaze was fanned by strong winds and has burned several hectares of olive groves and forest. Fire-fighting forces remain in the area to prevent rekindling.

    [22] Two die in Kallithea apartment fire

    Firemen found two dead people while extinguishing a small-scale fire in an apartment in the Athens district of Kallithea on Monday.

    According to the Fire Brigade, the call warning of the fire took place at 15:59, possibly by a neighbour who noticed the fire, since there was a great deal of smoke in the area.

    The man and woman, possibly elderly, lost their lives from smoke inhalation before firemen arrived. An investigation is taking place on the exact causes of the blaze.

    [23] Super Jet passenger speedboat returning to Rafina after mechanical problem

    The passenger speedboat Super Jet, carrying 304 passengers, was reported returning to the port of Rafina on Monday evening due to a mechanical failure.

    The vessel had sailed from Rafina port at 5:30 in the afternoon heading for Tinos, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Ios and Thira islands.

    The captain informed the port authority of a mechanical problem, while it was not yet known whether the passengers would be forwarded to their destination on the same or another ship.

    [24] Police arrest three in black-market raid

    Three persons were arrested and a large number of black-market products were confiscated following a police operation in downtown Athens on Sunday.

    The police operation was held within the framework against black-market tackling in Athens.

    Weather forecast

    [25] Fair on Tuesday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday. Winds 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures between 18C and 36C. Fair in Athens with northerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures between 24C and 35C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 21C and 32C.

    [26] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Three up in the air.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Stavridis (Stelios, president of Fund for the Utilisation of State Private Property 'TAIPED') and the German trick.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Reversals in 750,000 professionals' pensions.

    ESTIA: Entrepreneurs send cry of agony.

    ETHNOS: The uniform tax plan on real estate.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Real estate transfer tax to be abolished.

    TA NEA: Between the parliament and the banks.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ANTONIS SKYLLAKOS


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