Scientology protest group celebrates founder’s birthday worldwide
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Scientology protest group celebrates founder’s birthday worldwide



 Correction — March 19, 2008 The next protest is scheduled for April 12, 2008. The article below states April 18 which is incorrect. 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Internet group Anonymous today held further protests critical of the Church of Scientology.

The global protests started in Australia where several hundred protesters gathered at different locations for peaceful protests.

In a global speech, the Internet protest movement said Scientology “betrayed the trust of its members, [had] taken their money, their rights, and at times their very lives.” The protesters welcomed the public interest their protests have led to, and claimed they witnessed “an unprecedented flood of Scientologists [joining] us across the world to testify about these abuses.” The group said it would continue with monthly actions.

In a press statement from its European headquarters, Scientology accused the anonymous protesters of “hate speech and hate crimes”, alleging that security measures were necessary because of death threats and bomb threats. This also makes the Church want to “identify members” of the group it brands as “cyber-terrorists”.

Wikinews had correspondents in a number of protest locations to report on the events.

Anonymous states that the next protest is scheduled to take place on April 18, which happens to be the birthday of Suri, the daughter of Tom and Katie Cruise.

Contents

  • 1 Location reports
    • 1.1 Adelaide, Australia
    • 1.2 Atlanta, Georgia
    • 1.3 Austin, Texas
    • 1.4 Boston, Massachusetts
    • 1.5 Brussels, Belgium
    • 1.6 London, England
    • 1.7 Manchester, England
    • 1.8 New York, New York
    • 1.9 Buffalo, New York
    • 1.10 Seattle, Washington
    • 1.11 Sydney, Australia
    • 1.12 Portland, Oregon
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources

British TV presenter Rico Daniels tells Wikinews about being ‘The Salvager’
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British TV presenter Rico Daniels tells Wikinews about being ‘The Salvager’



Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rico Daniels is a British TV presenter living in France who is known for his two television series — The Salvager — whilst he still lived in the UK and then Le Salvager after he moved to France. Rico has been in a variety of jobs but his passion is now his profession – he turns unwanted ‘junk’ into unusual pieces of furniture. Rico’s creations and the methods used to fabricate them are the subject of the Salvager shows.

Rico spoke to Wikinews in January about his inspiration and early life, future plans, other hobbies and more. Read on for the full exclusive interview, published for the first time:


Three men arrested under suspicion of organising dog fights in southern Finland
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Three men arrested under suspicion of organising dog fights in southern Finland



Wednesday, August 15, 2007File:240-dogFighting.jpg

Three Finnish men have been arrested as part of an investigation by the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) into apparent illegal dogfights in various locations in the south of the country.

Dog fights, in which two dogs are pitted head-to-head for the entertainment of spectators and for gambling, is illegal in Finland, and is covered by Finland’s animal protection laws, as dogs often sustain severe or even fatal injuries. It is believed this case also involved gambling, thus rendering the suspects, if convicted, in breach of gambling laws also.

The investigation was started in July after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) forwarded information to the NBI, claiming that during an investigation of its own for a programme it was making into dog fighting in the United Kingdom, they had uncovered connections to comparable activity in Finland.

“We are trying to find out when the activity has started and how widespread it has been. Apparently, just a small gang of people has been involved.” said Detective Chief Inspector Göran Wennqvist, adding that “We are now trying to find out whether or not this is part of a larger international organisation or just local criminal activity.”

It is believed the dogs went through training fights to test if they were suitable for fighting prior to actual events. A number of animals thought to have been used for fighting have been examined by a veterinarian to determine the types of injuries sustained by the dogs.

Despite the fact that dog fighting is known to have occurred in various countries – including countries close to Finland, such as Sweden, Norway, and Russia – neither the police or the Finnish Kennel Club were aware of any previous incidents occurring in Finland, although chairman of the board of the Finnish Kennel Club Martti Mannersuo told reporters that he recalled a rumour “many years ago” of domestic dog fights occurring in Finland, although this went unconfirmed. Wennqvist, however, independently told YLE “In other Nordic countries, they have seen incidents of dog fighting since the 90’s, but I haven’t come across any cases in Finland in 32 years,” although it is unclear if this was a confirmed case or if it were linked to the rumour Mannersuo had reported.


A portrait of Scotland: Gallery reopens after £17.6 million renovation
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A portrait of Scotland: Gallery reopens after £17.6 million renovation



Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today saw Edinburgh’s Scottish National Portrait Gallery reopen following a two-and-a-half-year, £17.6m (US$27.4m) refurbishment. Conversion of office and storage areas sees 60% more space available for displays, and the world’s first purpose-built portrait space is redefining what a portrait gallery should contain; amongst the displays are photographs of the Scottish landscape—portraits of the country itself.

First opened in 1889, Sir Robert Rowand Anderson’s red sandstone building was gifted to the nation by John Ritchie Findlay, then-owner of The Scotsman newspaper and, a well-known philanthropist. The original cost of construction between 1885 and 1890 is estimated at over 70,000 pounds sterling. Up until 1954, the building also housed the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland who moved to the National Museum of Scotland buildings on Chambers Street. The society’s original meeting table now sits in the public part of the portrait gallery’s library, stared down on by an array of busts and phrenological artefacts.

Wikinewsie Brian McNeil, with other members of the press, received a guided tour of the gallery last Monday from Deputy Director Nicola Kalinsky. What Kalinsky described as an introduction to the gallery that previously took around 40 minutes, now takes in excess of an hour-and-a-half; with little in the way of questions asked, a more inquisitive tour group could readily take well over two hours to be guided round the seventeen exhibitions currently housed in the gallery.

A substantial amount of the 60% additional exhibition space is readily apparent on the ground floor. On your left as you enter the gallery is the newly-fitted giant glass elevator, and the “Hot Scots” photographic portrait gallery. This exhibit is intended to show well-known Scottish faces, and will change over time as people fall out of favour, and others take their place. A substantial number of the people now being highlighted are current, and recent, cast members from the BBC’s Doctor Who series.

The new elevator (left) is the most visible change to improve disabled access to the gallery. Prior to the renovation work, access was only ‘on request’ through staff using a wooden ramp to allow wheelchair access. The entire Queen Street front of the building is reworked with sloping access in addition to the original steps. Whilst a lift was previously available within the gallery, it was only large enough for two people; when used for a wheelchair, it was so cramped that any disabled person’s helper had to go up or down separately from them.

The gallery expects that the renovation work will see visitor numbers double from before the 2009 closure to around 300,000 each year. As with many of Edinburgh’s museums and galleries, access is free to the public.

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The expected significant increase in numbers has seen them working closely with the National Museum of Scotland, which was itself reopened earlier this year after extensive refurbishment work; improved access for wheelchair users also makes it far easier for mothers with baby buggies to access the gallery – prompting more thought on issues as seemingly small as nappy-changing – as Patricia Convery, the gallery’s Head of Press, told Wikinews, a great deal of thought went into the practicalities of increased visitor numbers, and what is needed to ensure as many visitors as possible have a good experience at the gallery.

Press access to the gallery on Monday was from around 11:30am, with refreshments and an opportunity to catch some of the staff in the Grand Hall before a brief welcoming introduction to the refurbished gallery given by John Leighton, director of the National Galleries of Scotland. Centre-stage in the Grand Hall is a statue of Robert Burns built with funds raised from around the British Empire and intended for his memorial situated on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill.

The ambulatories surrounding the Grand Hall give the space a cathedral-like feel, with numerous busts – predominantly of Scottish figures – looking in on the tiled floor. The east corner holds a plaque commemorating the gallery’s reopening, next to a far more ornate memorial to John Ritchie Findlay, who not only funded and commissioned the building’s construction, but masterminded all aspects of the then-new home for the national collection.

Split into two groups, members of the press toured with gallery Director James Holloway, and Nicola Kalinsky, Deputy Director. Wikinews’ McNeil joined Kalinsky’s group, first visiting The Contemporary Scotland Gallery. This ground-floor gallery currently houses two exhibits, first being the Hot Scots display of photographic portraits of well-known Scottish figures from film, television, and music. Centre-stage in this exhibit is the newly-acquired Albert Watson portrait of Sir Sean Connery. James McAvoy, Armando Iannucci, playwright John Byrne, and Dr Who actress Karen Gillan also feature in the 18-photograph display.

The second exhibit in the Contemporary gallery, flanked by the new educational facilities, is the Missing exhibit. This is a video installation by Graham Fagen, and deals with the issue of missing persons. The installation was first shown during the National Theatre of Scotland’s staging of Andrew O’Hagan’s play, The Missing. Amongst the images displayed in Fagen’s video exhibit are clips from the deprived Sighthill and Wester-Hailes areas of Edinburgh, including footage of empty play-areas and footbridges across larger roads that sub-divide the areas.

With the only other facilities on the ground floor being the education suite, reception/information desk, cafe and the gallery’s shop, Wikinews’ McNeil proceeded with the rest of Kalinsky’s tour group to the top floor of the gallery, all easily fitting into the large glass hydraulic elevator.

The top (2nd) floor of the building is now divided into ten galleries, with the larger spaces having had lowered, false ceilings removed, and adjustable ceiling blinds installed to allow a degree of control over the amount of natural light let in. The architects and building contractors responsible for the renovation work were required, for one side of the building, to recreate previously-removed skylights by duplicating those they refurbished on the other. Kalinsky, at one point, highlighted a constructed-from-scratch new sandstone door frame; indistinguishable from the building’s original fittings, she remarked that the building workers had taken “a real interest” in the vision for the gallery.

The tour group were first shown the Citizens of the World gallery, currently hosting an 18th century Enlightenment-themed display which focuses on the works of David Hume and Allan Ramsay. Alongside the most significant 18th century items from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, are some of the 133 new loans for the opening displays. For previous visitors to the gallery, one other notable change is underfoot; previously carpeted, the original parquet floors of the museum have been polished and varnished, and there is little to indicate it is over 120 years since the flooring was originally laid.

Throughout many of the upper-floor displays, the gallery has placed more light-sensitive works in wall-mounted cabinets and pull-out drawers. Akin to rummaging through the drawers and cupboards of a strange house, a wealth of items – many previously never displayed – are now accessible by the public. Commenting on the larger, featured oils, Deputy Director Kalinsky stressed that centuries-old portraits displayed in the naturally-lit upper exhibitions had not been restored for the opening; focus groups touring the gallery during the renovation had queried this, and the visibly bright colours are actually the consequence of displaying the works in natural light, not costly and risky restoration of the paintings.

There are four other large galleries on the top floor. Reformation to Revolution is an exhibition covering the transition from an absolute Catholic monarchy through to the 1688 revolution. Items on-display include some of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s most famous items – including Mary Queen of Scots and The Execution of Charles I. The portrait-based depiction of this historical age is complemented with prints, medals, and miniatures from the period.

Imagining Power is a Jacobite-themed exhibition, one which looks at the sometime-romanticised Stuart dynasty. The Gallery owns the most extensive collection of such material in the world; the portraiture that includes Flora MacDonald and Prince Charles Edward Stuart is complemented by glassware from the period which is on-loan from the Drambuie Liqueur Company which Kalinsky remarked upon as the only way Scots from the period could celebrate the deposed monarchy – toasting The King over the Water in appropriately engraved glasses.

On the other side of the upper floor, the two main naturally-lit exhibitions are The Age of Improvement, and Playing for Scotland. The first of these looks at societal changes through the 18th and 19th centuries, including Nasmyth’s 1787 portrait of the young Robert Burns and – well-known to past visitors to the portrait gallery – Raeburn’s 1822 depiction of Sir Walter Scott. These are complemented with some of the National Gallery’s collection of landscapes and earliest scenes from Scottish industry.

Playing for Scotland takes a look at the development of modern sports in the 19th century; migration from countryside to cities dramatically increased participation in sporting activities, and standardised rules were laid down for many modern sports. This exhibition covers Scotland’s four national sports – curling, shinty, golf, and bowls – and includes some interesting photographic images, such as those of early strong-men, which show how more leisure time increased people’s involvement in sporting activities.

Next to the Reformation to Revolution gallery is A Survey of Scotland. Largely composed of works on-loan from the National Library of Scotland, this showcase of John Slezer’s work which led to the 1693 publication of Theatrum Scotiae also includes some of the important early landscape paintings in the national collection.

The work of Scotland’s first portrait painter, the Aberdeen-born George Jamesone, takes up the other of the smaller exhibits on the east side of the refurbished building. As the first-ever dedicated display of Jamesone’s work, his imaginary heroic portraits of Robert the Bruce and Sir William Wallace are included.

On the west side of the building, the two smaller galleries currently house the Close Encounters and Out of the Shadow exhibits. Close Encounters is an extensive collection of the Glasgow slums photographic work of Thomas Annan. Few people are visible in the black and white images of the slums, making what were squalid conditions appear more romantic than the actual conditions of living in them.

The Out of the Shadow exhibit takes a look at the role of women in 19th century Scotland, showing them moving forward and becoming more recognisable individuals. The exceptions to the rules of the time, known for their work as writers and artists, as-opposed to the perceived role of primary duties as wives and mothers, are showcased. Previously constrained to the domestic sphere and only featuring in portraits alongside men, those on-display are some of the people who laid the groundwork for the Suffrage movement.

The first floor of the newly-reopened building has four exhibits on one side, with the library and photographic gallery on the other. The wood-lined library was moved, in its entirety, from elsewhere in the building and is divided into two parts. In the main public part, the original table from the Society of Antiquaries sits centred and surrounded by glass-fronted cabinets of reference books. Visible, but closed to public access, is the research area. Apart from a slight smell of wood glue, there was little to indicate to the tour group that the entire room had been moved from elsewhere in the building.

The War at Sea exhibit, a collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, showcases the work of official war artist John Lavery. His paintings are on-display, complemented by photographs of the women who worked in British factories throughout the First World War. Just visible from the windows of this gallery is the Firth of Forth where much of the naval action in the war took place. Situated in the corner of the room is a remote-controlled ‘periscope’ which allows visitors a clearer view of the Forth as-seen from the roof of the building.

Sir Patrick Geddes, best-known for his work on urban planning, is cited as one of the key influencers of the Scottish Renaissance Movement which serves as a starting point for The Modern Scot exhibit. A new look at the visual aspects of the movement, and a renewal of Scottish Nationalist culture that began between the two World Wars, continuing into the late 20th century, sees works by William McCance, William Johnstone, and notable modernists on display.

Migration Stories is a mainly photographic exhibit, prominently featuring family portraits from the country’s 30,000-strong Pakistani community, and exploring migration into and out of Scotland. The gallery’s intent is to change the exhibit over time, taking a look at a range of aspects of Scottish identity and the influence on that from migration. In addition to the striking portraits of notable Scots-Pakistani family groups, Fragments of Love – by Pakistani-born filmmaker Sana Bilgrami – and Isabella T. McNair’s visual narration of a Scottish teacher in Lahore are currently on-display.

The adjacent Pioneers of Science exhibit has Ken Currie’s 2002 Three Oncologists as its most dramatic item. Focussing on Scotland’s reputation as a centre of scientific innovation, the model for James Clerk Maxwell’s statue in the city’s George Street sits alongside photographs from the Roslin Institute and a death mask of Dolly the sheep. Deputy Director Kalinsky, commented that Dolly had been an incredibly spoilt animal, often given sweets, and this was evident from her teeth when the death mask was taken.

Now open daily from 10am to 5pm, and with more of their collection visible than ever before, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery will change some of the smaller current exhibits after 12 to 18 months on display. The ground-floor information desk has available five mini-guides, or ‘trails’, which are thematic guides to specific display items. These are: The Secret Nature trail, The Catwalk Collection trail, The Situations Vacant trail, The Best Wee Nation & The World trail, and The Fur Coat an’ Nae Knickers Trail.


Firefighters rescue nearly a dozen animals in Buffalo, New York house fire
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Firefighters rescue nearly a dozen animals in Buffalo, New York house fire



Friday, June 22, 2007

Buffalo, New York —A three alarm fire at a house owned by John and Evelyn Bencinich, two of the initiators of a lawsuit filed against the Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, required firefighters to rescue eight cats and two dogs in Buffalo, New York today.

At about 8:30 (eastern time) firefighters were called to the home on 48 Granger Place to put out a fire that had started in the basement. It quickly spread to the first floor where the main bathroom was destroyed. The fire did not spread to the second floor or attic.

Initial calls said that many animals were inside the house and firefighters quickly worked to rescue all the cats and dogs. At least one cat and one dog had to receive CPR and oxygen, but both are reported to be in stable condition. At least 3 cats are unaccounted for, but after a search of the house, the cats were not believed to have been inside at the time the fire started.

One elderly woman, Anna Bencinich, the mother of Evelyn, was rescued by neighbors who helped her from the burning house.

“There was smoke all over the house. The fire started in the basement and spread to a small portion of the first floor. Two firefighters were injured while fighting the fire and were transported to Erie County Medical Center,” said Division Fire Chief Thomas Ashe who also said that sections of the kitchen wall at the back of the house had to be torn out to stop the fire from spreading through the walls.

One firefighter is being treated for bite injuries to his face that he received while attempting to rescue a dog. The other firefighter was treated for injuries he received to his hand, which was believed to have been caused by glass or a cat scratching him. The names of the injured firefighters are not known. The injuries are said to not be life threatening.

According to witness reports, the home owners had a new water heater installed just last week, but it is not known if the fire was caused by the heater.

“We believe the fire was caused by an electrical (malfunction). An investigation is being conducted,” said Battalion Chief Joe Fahey who also added that they did not believe arson was the cause.


Creator of website satirizing Glenn Beck on winning domain name case
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Creator of website satirizing Glenn Beck on winning domain name case



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wikinews interviewed the creator of a parody website satirizing American political commentator Glenn Beck, about his thoughts after prevailing in a domain name dispute brought by Beck before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Florida resident Isaac Eiland-Hall created the website in September, and it asserts Beck uses questionable tactics “to spread lies and misinformation”. Eiland-Hall was represented in the case by free speech lawyer Marc Randazza.

Wikinews interviewed Randazza for the article “US free speech lawyer Marc Randazza discusses Glenn Beck parody”, and previously reported on the Beck v. Eiland-Hall case in articles, “US free speech lawyer defends satire of Glenn Beck”, “Satirical website criticizes Glenn Beck for ‘hypocritical’ attempts to silence free speech”, and “Glenn Beck loses domain name case over parody website”.


2000 houses still have no power in Canterbury, New Zealand
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2000 houses still have no power in Canterbury, New Zealand



Monday, June 19, 2006

2000 Cantabrians are still without power a week after a huge snowstorm struck and took out the electricity in mid and south Canterbury.

Sunday June 18 came and brought more snow to mid and south Canterbury, but just a minuscule amount compared to last weeks.

Civil Defence says “It is keeping an eye on the situation, and welfare work is continuing to make sure everyone is coping. Iroquois helicopters are reportedly on standby at Wigram Air Base if needed,”

Chief executive of Orion (a power company) Roger Sutton says, “Another 20 or 30 homes are without power in the Lake Coleridge area.”

Repair crews were taken out of duty on Sunday because the snow got too deep, but should be back on the job Monday June 19.

NZ Post also reports that they have had to cancel deliveries to some Dunedin suburbs because it got too icy. NZ Post says that deliveries will continue on Tuesday June 20 or if the weather clears up before that.

The MetService has put severe weather warnings for some of the central cities of the North Island.

Barry Stratton, Transit, says that all roads are open in the South Island, but some will have delays.


Rescuers hunt Brazilian plane carrying four UK passengers
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Rescuers hunt Brazilian plane carrying four UK passengers



Sunday, May 4, 2008

Rescuers in Brazil are seeking a plane that disappeared Friday carrying six people, two local pilots and four British investors interested in a possible new housing development.

The dual-engined Cessna 310, operated by Aero Star, lost contact with Air Traffic Control (ATC) eight miles (13km) off the coast near Ilheus, where it was intending to land in nine minutes time and was making a visual approach to Ilhéus Jorge Amado Airport. The flight had originated in Salvador and made last contact at 5:43 p.m. local time (2043 GMT) with Ilheus control tower.

The four passengers have been identified as Sean Woodhall, Ricky Every, Alan Kempson and Nigel Hodges. The planned development they had been considering is a luxury estate planned by Worldwide Destinations, who Sean Woodhall owns. It is based in Spain and constructs worldwide luxury property developments.

Ricky Every works for Worldwide Destinations, and Alan Kempson and Nigel Hodges are both directors of UK finance company Diamond Lifestyle Holdings, who had been considering a deal with Worldwide. At least three of the four did not live in the UK.

The search for the aircraft is focusing on a location 20 miles (32km) North of Ilheus, where there are eyewitness reports that a light aircraft was flying extremely low and without lights, leading authorities to believe the aircraft loss power. Investigations are probing some reports of witnessing a plane crash, and there are unconfirmed rumours that wreckage has been found.

Brazil’s Coast Guard, three Aero Star helicopters and Bahia state police are all participating in the search. The weather was good at the time and the flight crew hadn’t reported any issues to ATC.


George H. W. Bush to attend Sydney CEO conference
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George H. W. Bush to attend Sydney CEO conference



 Correction — August 29, 2005 See Bush attendance at Australia CEO conference a hoax

Thursday, August 25, 2005

It was revealed today that George H. W. Bush will be attending the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Sydney next week. Mr. Bush is a wealthy businessman and member of Skull and Bones. He has also been President of the United States and the head of the CIA, and is the father of the current US President George W. Bush.

The conference will be held at the Sydney Opera House. The Forbes website says that at the event “senior figures from the world’s leading companies and institutions will discuss the best ways to nurture and capitalize on innovation and reveal the latest global trends.” Other attendees will be former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, former NSW Premier Bob Carr and, controversially, Steve Forbes, president and chief executive officer of Forbes Inc, and one of the signers of the Statement of Principles of Project for the New American Century.

Mr Knobloch of the 30A network described the attendees as “a few hundred neo-conservative corporate chiefs”. An article written by James Goodman and hosted on the 30A network website alleges a connection between Mr Forbes, the Bush family, and the policies of the administration of George W. Bush.

“Ironically enough, Forbes now leads the charge in the US business world against the ‘Axis of Evil’ (which of course includes Iran). Backing the US ‘War on Terror’ to the hilt, Forbes is one of Bush’s key business sponsors. In January 2004 it proudly announced ‘Bush is Best’,” the article said.

The 30A network is organising a protest in Sydney to coincide with the conference. It is not yet known if the ASIO risk assessment for the event will change as a result of Mr Bush attending.


Cyclone Phet turns to Pakistan after hitting Oman
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Cyclone Phet turns to Pakistan after hitting Oman



Sunday, June 6, 2010

Heavy rains started on Sunday early morning throughout most of southern Pakistan as Cyclone Phet approached landfall. At least 370 millimeters were reported by the meteorological office in the port city of Gwadar on Friday; 208 milimeters in Jiwani, 139 milimeters in Pasni, 63 milimeters in Turbat and 60 in Ormara.

Heavy rains and thunderstorms hit southwestern Balochistan and parts of interior Sindh Saturday evening leaving thousands displaced and around 40 villages to be washed away by the heavy rains.

The storm system has moved from Oman and is expected to reach Pakistan by Sunday evening. According to the Oman News Agency, at least twelve people have been killed in Oman alone.


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