22 August 2017

PAULINE SHEILA LIPSON - A MEMOIR

Pauline Sheila Lipson was born in Johannesburg on 12 April 1927. Her parents's surname was Spitz, and Pauline and I became "first cousins" when my mother, a widow with two small children, married my stepfather Maurice Spitz on 2 November 1931.

Mo, as my stepfather was known to one and all, was the youngest brother of Pauline's father, Harry, in a family of ten children.

Pauline was an only child, and we were both 5 years old when my mother married Mo Spitz.

I am six months older than Pauline, and we have been friends from then on until her death in Melbourne a few weeks ago, on 30 July 2017, when she was 90 years old.

17 August 2017

BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS - BDS - THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT IS FEELING THE PINCH - THEY ARE ATTACKING ANYTHING ANYWHERE WHICH CONNECTS TO BDS AROUND THE WORLD - AND THE WORLD IS BEGINNING TO WAKE UP, AT LAST!

Israel is trying to terrorise any group or organisation which gets involved in planning any action or campaign spreading the message about the evils of the Israeli government and its genocidal, apartheid, murderous activities against the Palestinians - in the USA against educational institutions, in the UK against any organisation daring to consider BDS, and the same in countries around the world daring to oppose the murderous regime of the Israeli government.

The brutal occupation of the Occupied territories - West Bank and Gaza - shows the Israeli intent of proceeding with the occupation until they have somewhow or other silenced - or got rid of - the Palestinians - from their homes and homeland, meanwhile spreading the myths and lies that Israel is the Jewish homeland. Never was, never is, never will be!!

And they spread the message internationally that anti-zionism equals anti-semitism which is just so much nonsense, as everyone around the world is beginning to discover.

When are the countries with the power and strength to do something to stop the Israelis in their tracks going to do something and when are politicians in so many of our western countries going to stop arse-licking the Israelis and enjoying their free trips to Israel to see one side of the border where the Berlin Wall cuts off legitimate citizens from their legitimate homeland?

Why is there not yet any international outcry and when are these countries going to stop funding this murderous regime?


13 August 2017

GENOCIDE - WHICH COUNTRIES ARE NOW DOING IT ON A DAILY BASIS?

Genocide is a vast subject which has been researched in great depth and many studies have been done on the topic.

Countries which are not normally given publicity who are deeply involved will surprise many people when they consider what these countries are doing and why.

We can of course start talking about genocide naming a few of the well-known historic countries, such as Turkey and the Armenians, and Germany and the Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Gays and Lesbians - and many others.

Some of the modern ones taking place under our noses, and generally ignored by politicians and media, are of course the USA and its indigenous and African-American populations, and Israel which is determined to occupy the whole of Palestine by ridding the country of its indigenous population bit by bit, one murder or two at a time and stealing their country bit by bit until they are in control of the whole area known historically as Palestine.

We now all know of some of the genocides having taken place on the African continent, but there are also those in Asian countries which are not given the media and international attention that they need, such as China and Tibet, and Myanmar and the Rohingyas.

MANUS AND NAURU - NOT ONLY AUSTRALIA'S CONCENTRATION CAMPS, BUT NOW THE DEATH CAMPS TOO!

There are too many politicians and journalists in Australia who have remained silent for too long.

Another death on Manus - and someone who was desperately in need of assistance and attention - and the responses from the politicians?

Silence all the way.

And the citizens of Australia?

A vague stirring.

Will it lead to a campaign to stop this criminal activity on the part of the government and its loyal opposition?

Probably not.

Where is the humanity, human rights, protections, assistance, and all the other issues which need immediate attention?

One can't even quote Alan Paton any more - no doubt the generations of today have not heard of the famous South African book "Cry the beloved country."

This is probably not exactly genocide, but it is not far removed from what genocide is and what it does.

Those of us who care are too old or worn out to be able to actively campaign as once we might have done, and we hoped later generations would fill the gap, but alas it has not happened.

People should be marching in the streets throughout the country and screaming from the roof tops till everybody is awakened to the criminal activities taking place in their names.

I despair, and at 90 I see no solutions in my lifetime.

24 July 2017

JOHN PILGER ON WHY PALESTINE IS STILL THE ISSUE


John Pilger On Why Palestine Is Still The Issue

Almost six decades on, there’s an enduring silence by those in the halls of power – and in the media – on Palestine, writes John Pilger.

When I first went to Palestine as a young reporter in the 1960s, I stayed on a kibbutz. The people I met were hard-working, spirited and called themselves socialists. I liked them.

One evening at dinner, I asked about the silhouettes of people in the far distance, beyond our perimeter.

“Arabs”, they said, “nomads”. The words were almost spat out. Israel, they said, meaning Palestine, had been mostly wasteland and one of the great feats of the Zionist enterprise was to turn the desert green.

They gave as an example their crop of Jaffa oranges, which was exported to the rest of the world. What a triumph against the odds of nature and humanity’s neglect.

It was the first lie. Most of the orange groves and vineyards belonged to Palestinians who had been tilling the soil and exporting oranges and grapes to Europe since the eighteenth century. The former Palestinian town of Jaffa was known by its previous inhabitants as “the place of sad oranges”.
One of the many orange orchards seized from Palestinians in Jaffa. (IMAGE: gnuckx, Flickr)
One of the many orange orchards seized from Palestinians in Jaffa. (IMAGE: gnuckx, Flickr)
On the kibbutz, the word “Palestinian” was never used. Why, I asked. The answer was a troubled silence.

All over the colonised world, the true sovereignty of indigenous people is feared by those who can never quite cover the fact, and the crime, that they live on stolen land.

Denying people’s humanity is the next step – as the Jewish people know only too well. Defiling people’s dignity and culture and pride follows as logically as violence.

In Ramallah, following an invasion of the West Bank by the late Ariel Sharon in 2002, I walked through streets of crushed cars and demolished houses, to the Palestinian Cultural Centre. Until that morning, Israeli soldiers had camped there.
 
I was met by the centre’s director, the novelist, Liana Badr, whose original manuscripts lay scattered and torn across the floor. The hard drive containing her fiction, and a library of plays and poetry had been taken by Israeli soldiers. Almost everything was smashed, and defiled.
Ramallah, Palestine. (IMAGE: Michael Rose, Flickr)
Ramallah, Palestine. (IMAGE: Michael Rose, Flickr)
Not a single book survived with all its pages; not a single master tape from one of the best collections of Palestinian cinema.

The soldiers had urinated and defecated on the floors, on desks, on embroideries and works of art. They had smeared faeces on children’s paintings and written – in shit – “Born to kill”.

Liana Badr had tears in her eyes, but she was unbowed. She said, “We will make it right again.”
What enrages those who colonise and occupy, steal and oppress, vandalise and defile is the victims’ refusal to comply. And this is the tribute we all should pay the Palestinians. They refuse to comply. They go on. They wait – until they fight again. And they do so even when those governing them collaborate with their oppressors.


In the midst of the 2014 Israeli bombardment of Gaza, the Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer never stopped reporting. He and his family were stricken; he queued for food and water and carried it through the rubble. When I phoned him, I could hear the bombs outside his door. He refused to comply.

Mohammed’s reports, illustrated by his graphic photographs, were a model of professional journalism that shamed the compliant and craven reporting of the so-called mainstream in Britain and the United States. The BBC notion of objectivity – amplifying the myths and lies of authority, a practice of which it is proud – is shamed every day by the likes of Mohamed Omer.
A file image of Gaza in 2009. (IMAGE: gloucester2gaza, Flickr)
A file image of Gaza in 2009. (IMAGE: gloucester2gaza, Flickr)
For more than 40 years, I have recorded the refusal of the people of Palestine to comply with their oppressors: Israel, the United States, Britain, the European Union.

Since 2008, Britain alone has granted licences for export to Israel of arms and missiles, drones and sniper rifles, worth £434 million.

Those who have stood up to this, without weapons, those who have refused to comply, are among Palestinians I have been privileged to know:

My friend, the late Mohammed Jarella, who toiled for the United Nations agency UNRWA, in 1967 showed me a Palestinian refugee camp for the first time. It was a bitter winter’s day and schoolchildren shook with the cold. “One day …” he would say. “One day …”

Mustafa Barghouti, whose eloquence remains undimmed, who described the tolerance that existed in Palestine among Jews, Muslims and Christians until, as he told me, “the Zionists wanted a state at the expense of the Palestinians.”

Dr. Mona El-Farra, a physician in Gaza, whose passion was raising money for plastic surgery for children disfigured by Israeli bullets and shrapnel. Her hospital was flattened by Israeli bombs in 2014.

Dr. Khalid Dahlan, a psychiatrist, whose clinics for children in Gaza – children sent almost mad by Israeli violence – were oases of civilisation.
UK Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan MP, visits Gaza, 10th December 2012. He is the first British minister to visit Gaza since the ceasefire entered into force on 21 November. (IMAGE: UNRWA/Shareef Sarhan, Flickr).
UK Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan MP, visits Gaza, 10th December 2012. He is the first British minister to visit Gaza since the ceasefire entered into force on 21 November. (IMAGE: UNRWA/Shareef Sarhan, Flickr).
Fatima and Nasser are a couple whose home stood in a village near Jerusalem designated “Zone A and B”, meaning that the land was declared for Jews only. Their parents had lived there; their grandparents had lived there. Today, the bulldozers are laying roads for Jews only, protected by laws for Jews only.

It was past midnight when Fatima went into labour with their second child. The baby was premature; and when they arrived at a checkpoint with the hospital in view, the young Israeli soldier said they needed another document.

Fatima was bleeding badly. The soldier laughed and imitated her moans and told them, “Go home”. The baby was born there in a truck. It was blue with cold and soon, without care, died from exposure. The baby’s name was Sultan.


For Palestinians, these will be familiar stories. The question is: why are they not familiar in London and Washington, Brussels and Sydney?

In Syria, a recent liberal cause – a George Clooney cause – is bankrolled handsomely in Britain and the United States, even though the beneficiaries, the so-called rebels, are dominated by jihadist fanatics, the product of the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and the destruction of modern Libya.

And yet, the longest occupation and resistance in modern times is not recognized. When the United Nations suddenly stirs and defines Israel as an apartheid state, as it did this year, there is outrage – not against a state whose “core purpose” is racism but against a UN commission that dared break the silence.

“Palestine,” said Nelson Mandela, “is the greatest moral issue of our time.”

Why is this truth suppressed, day after day, month after month, year after year?
Israel's 'security wall', on the outskirts of Jerusalem. (IMAGE: Chris Graham, New Matilda).
Israel’s ‘security wall’, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. (IMAGE: Chris Graham, New Matilda).
On Israel – the apartheid state, guilty of a crime against humanity and of more international law-breaking than any other – the silence persists among those who know and whose job it is to keep the record straight.

On Israel, so much journalism is intimidated and controlled by a groupthink that demands silence on Palestine while honourable journalism has become dissidence: a metaphoric underground.

A single word – “conflict” – enables this silence. “The Arab-Israeli conflict”, intone the robots at their tele-prompters. When a veteran BBC reporter, a man who knows the truth, refers to “two narratives”, the moral contortion is complete.

There is no conflict, no two narratives, with their moral fulcrum. There is a military occupation enforced by a nuclear-armed power backed by the greatest military power on earth; and there is an epic injustice.

The word “occupation” may be banned, deleted from the dictionary. But the memory of historical truth cannot be banned: of the systemic expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland. “Plan D” the Israelis called it in 1948.

The Israeli historian Benny Morris describes how David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, was asked by one of his generals: “What shall we do with the Arabs?”
The Knesset, Israel's parliament. (IMAGE: Ze'ev Barkan, Flickr)
The Knesset, Israel’s parliament. (IMAGE: Ze’ev Barkan, Flickr)
The prime minister, wrote Morris, “made a dismissive, energetic gesture with his hand”. “Expel them!” he said.

Seventy years later, this crime is suppressed in the intellectual and political culture of the West. Or it is debatable, or merely controversial. Highly-paid journalists eagerly accept Israeli government trips, hospitality and flattery, then are truculent in their protestations of independence. The term, “useful idiots”, was coined for them.

In 2011, I was struck by the ease with which one of Britain’s most acclaimed novelists, Ian McEwan, a man bathed in the glow of bourgeois enlightenment, accepted the Jerusalem Prize for literature in the apartheid state.

Would McEwan have gone to Sun City in apartheid South Africa? They gave prizes there, too, all expenses paid. McEwan justified his action with weasel words about the independence of “civil society”.

Propaganda – of the kind McEwan delivered, with its token slap on the wrists for his delighted hosts – is a weapon for the oppressors of Palestine. Like sugar, it insinuates almost everything today.

Understanding and deconstructing state and cultural propaganda is our most critical task. We are being frog-marched into a second cold war, whose eventual aim is to subdue and balkanise Russia and intimidate China.
Russian president Vladimir Putin (IMAGE: Screengrab, RT).
Russian president Vladimir Putin (IMAGE: Screengrab, RT).
When Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin spoke privately for more than two hours at the G20 meeting in Hamburg, apparently about the need not to go to war with each other, the most vociferous objectors were those who have commandeered liberalism, such as the Zionist political writer of the Guardian.

“No wonder Putin was smiling in Hamburg,” wrote Jonathan Freedland. “He knows he has succeeded in his chief objective: he has made American weak again.” Cue hissing for Evil Vlad.

These propagandists have never known war but they love the game they play. What Ian McEwan calls “civil society” has become a rich source of related propaganda.

Take a term often used by the guardians of civil society – “human rights”. Like another noble concept, “democracy”, “human rights” has been all but emptied of its meaning and purpose.


Like “peace process” and “road map”, human rights in Palestine have been hijacked by Western governments and the corporate NGOs they fund and which claim a quixotic moral authority.

So when Israel is called upon by governments and NGOs to “respect human rights” in Palestine, nothing happens, because they all know there is nothing to fear.

Mark the silence of the European Union, which accommodates Israel while refusing to maintain its commitments to the people of Gaza – such as keeping the lifeline of the Rafah border crossing open: a measure it agreed to as part of its role in the cessation of fighting in 2014. A seaport for Gaza – agreed by Brussels in 2014 – has been abandoned.

The UN commission I have referred to – its full name is the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia – described Israel as, and I quote, “designed for the core purpose” of racial discrimination.
new matilda, united nations
The United Nations.
Millions understand this. What the governments in London, Washington, Brussels and Tel Aviv cannot control is that humanity at street level is changing perhaps as never before.

People everywhere are stirring and more aware, in my view, than ever before. Some are already in open revolt. The atrocity of Grenfell Tower in London has brought communities together in a vibrant almost national resistance.

Thanks to a people’s campaign, the judiciary is today examining the evidence of a possible prosecution of Tony Blair for war crimes. Even if this fails, it is a crucial development, dismantling yet another barrier between the public and its recognition of the voracious nature of the crimes of state power – the systemic disregard for humanity perpetrated in Iraq, in Grenfell Tower, in Palestine.

Those are the dots waiting to be joined.


For most of the 21st century, the fraud of corporate power posing as democracy has depended on the propaganda of distraction: largely on a cult of “me-ism” designed to overwhelm our sense of looking out for others, of acting together, of social justice and internationalism.

Class, gender and race were wrenched apart. Only the personal became the political and the media the message. The promotion of bourgeois privilege was presented as “progressive” politics. It wasn’t. It never is. It is the promotion of privilege, and power.

Among young people, internationalism has found a vast new audience. Look at the support for Jeremy Corbyn and the reception the G20 circus in Hamburg received. By understanding the truth and imperatives of internationalism, we understand the struggle of Palestine.

Mandela put it this way: “We know only too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
new matilda, mandela
A Nelson Mandela bust in London. (IMAGE: Paul Simpson, flickr)
At the heart of the Middle East is the historic injustice in Palestine. Until that is resolved, and Palestinians have their freedom and homeland, and Israelis and Palestinians are equal before the law, there will be no peace in the region, or perhaps anywhere.

What Mandela was saying is that freedom itself is precarious while powerful governments can deny justice to others, terrorise others, imprison and kill others, in our name. Israel certainly understands the threat that one day it might have to be normal.

That is why its ambassador to Britain is Mark Regev, well known to journalists as a professional propagandist, and why the “huge bluff” of charges of anti-Semitism, as Ilan Pappe called it, was allowed to contort the Labour Party and undermine Jeremy Corbyn as leader. The point is, it did not succeed.

Events are moving quickly now. The remarkable Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS) is succeeding, day-by-day; cities and towns, trade unions and student bodies are endorsing it. The British government’s attempt to restrict local councils from enforcing BDS has failed in the courts.

These are not straws in the wind. When the Palestinians rise again, as they will, they may not succeed at first – but they will eventually if we understand that they are us, and we are them.

This is an abridged version of John Pilger’s address to the Palestinian Expo in London on 8 July, 2017. John Pilger’s film, ‘Palestine Is Still the Issue’, can be viewed here.


John Pilger
John Pilger is a regular contributor to New Matilda, and an award-winning Australian journalist and documentary film-maker. Some of his more famous works include Secret Country, Utopia and Cambodia: Year Zero.

11 June 2017

BON - PETER BONSALL-BOONE - AND THE AIDS CRISIS - IGNORED BY ACON AND THE MEDIA!

Many pieces of media have written eulogies and obituary items on the death of Peter Bonsall-Boone - Bon to all and sundry - talking about his activism and things he was involved in during his long activist life - he died on 19 MAY 2017 aged 78.

I have not yet come across one, not even the AIDS Council of New South Wales - ACON - who have mentioned Bon's involvement with Community Support Network and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s.





Community Support Network circa 1990

-

"Bon did something about AIDS today"

- Bon walked the dog, then cooked a meal for Stewart. Stewart can't do all the things he was strong enough to do before. Stewart has AIDS. Bon visits Stewart as a volunteer of the Community Support Network. CSN volunteers learn many skills at our FREE course which enable them to assist a person living with AIDS to live with dignity and choices in their life.
It doesn't take much to do something about AIDS: ring today to find out about one of our information sessions.



Bon was involved with the training of volunteers who did the training course allowing people to care for people living with, and dying from HIV/AIDS.

Over the years Bon not only looked after people who were very ill, but often those who had been abandoned by friends and family because they were gay/lesbian and or had AIDS.

These were terrible years and they exacted a heavy toll on those who were carers - and cared!!! - and left many traumatised and in a worn-out emotional state.

Bon, who did so much, and cared so much, was not immune to the ravages of these times and abused his health many times, leaving him susceptible to all sorts of health problems, which no doubt created problems for him as he aged.

09 June 2017

ALDI WILL LOSE SUPPORT IN AUSTRALIA BECAUSE OF ITS ANTI-UNION ACTIVITIES



Retail giant Aldi faces claims of wage theft and breaking the law

When Nichole McLaughlin asks her partner Paul Joyner what time he will be home from work, he often cannot answer.

With no finish time on his roster, Mr Joyner - a permanent part-time worker, not a casual - does not know what time he will leave work at Aldi's Stapylton distribution centre.

Paul Joyner said Aldi's work arrangements causes disruption to family life: "The school pick-up time would be the ...

Paul Joyner said Aldi's work arrangements causes disruption to family life: "The school pick-up time would be the hardest thing." Photo: Bradley Kanaris
 
The father-of-three also said he had worked for free for the retail giant to pay off "negative hours" accumulated because he was not given enough shifts to complete the hours he is contracted to work.
"I was at minus-78, and now I work extra to pay back those hours," Mr Joyner said. "And I don't get paid."
His claim is "categorically rejected" by Aldi, which said in a statement: "The enterprise agreement provides for an averaging arrangement of hours and employees receive payment for every hour worked."

Mr Joyner, who used to coach his son's soccer team, said the uncertainty caused disruption to his family life. He said it also made it difficult to make commitments such as taking his children to sporting events and leisure activities.

"The school pick-up time would be the hardest thing," Mr Joyner said. "We get it drummed into us 'You don't have a finish time'."

This lack of certainty created other worries for workers with children, he said. "Childcare's until 6 o'clock and then you start paying $2 every minute. So 10 minutes – there's 20 bucks. You do that a couple of times a week and it soon adds up."

Aldi is celebrating its one year anniversary this year. 
Aldi is celebrating its one year anniversary this year.
  Tim Gunstone, an organiser for the National Union of Workers, said Aldi's "peculiar employment arrangements" were stressful for workers.

"Workers are sent home early when it suits Aldi, but when the work is busier, or poorly planned by management, workers are told they have to stay at work until everything is finished," Mr Gunstone said.

"The lack of any finish time on rosters makes it impossible for workers to refuse the overtime they are being required to do."

Mr Gunstone said the NUW believed Aldi's employment practices were against the law because permanent part-time workers should be provided with the hours described in their employment contract in each pay period.
When a worker is required to work without pay to work off "negative hours" this is in effect wage theft.
Tim Gunstone, an organiser for the National Union of Workers.
"The second is that Aldi are requiring employees to work without payment when they are "paying off" the negative hours," he said. "The third is that permanent workers must be provided with a start and a finish time for their rostered shifts."

Mr Gunstone added: "When a worker is required to work without pay to work off "negative hours" this is in effect wage theft."

However, an Aldi spokeswoman said: "The suggestion that employees work unpaid overtime is categorically rejected."

She said workers received payment for their "contract hours" even if they do not work the required amount of time.

"They are then rostered to work additional hours above their contract in subsequent fortnights, to complete the hours for which they have already been paid," she said. "The Fair Work Commission has examined and approved this work arrangement as being lawful and suitable."

But the NUW is vowing to renew the fight and lodge a dispute with the Fair Work Commission if Mr Joyner's concerns cannot be resolved with Aldi.

"We would expect that such a dispute would be resolved by arbitration, and expect that a Commissioner would find that Paul was owed money for every hour he worked without payment while 'paying off negative hours'," Mr Gunstone said. "This could create a substantial underpayment affecting thousands of Aldi workers."

Associate Professor Angela Knox, from the University of Sydney Business School, questioned whether the arrangement was "good practice"
.
"There is a difference between a practice being legal and it being good, especially for workers," she said.

"This type of practice has been used in large chain hotels for over a decade but there are more 'checks and balances' in place, normally."

But Associate Professor Knox said caps were usually imposed to prevent workers accruing a debt as large as 78 hours.

She questioned whether Aldi's workers understood the ramifications of the provision, which created large "negative hours" balances.

"The specific details that would explain how the system operates are not outlined, hence managerial prerogative is maximised," she said.

​Aldi's spokeswoman said salaries were above market rates, while staff turnover was low: "Our working conditions are also considered to be some of the best in the industry, with independent employee satisfaction surveys returning consistently high scores."

​Mr Gunstone said he had spoken to more than 100 Aldi workers who had concerns about the company's practices but "they felt they had no choice but to accept it".

He said Aldi also tried to prevent its workers engaging with the union - a claim contested by the company.

"Aldi routinely place managers in lunchrooms when union organisers visit sites – for the explicit purpose of monitoring the unions engagements with workers," he said. "At Paul's workplace managers have repeatedly interrupted organiser conversations with employees."

Mr Joyner, who is a union delegate, said many of his colleagues shared his concerns about Aldi's work practices but feared the consequences of speaking out.

"They'd like to say stuff too but they're scared," he said.

With the impending arrival of retailers such as Amazon, Mr Gunstone said the conditions for warehouse workers were at risk.

"Aldi's work practices are one example of the ways in which these jobs are increasingly becoming insecure, and how many major retailers are increasingly involved in a race to the bottom when it comes to job security and casualisation," he said.

"Amazon – which is setting up in Australia – are known for their low wages and anti-union attitude."
Larissa Andelman, a barrister who practices in industrial law, said the Australian labour market had a very high level of casualisation, and the line between casual and permanent employment was often blurred.

"However the rise of 'zero hour' contracts in England has caused a significant financial hardship to those affected and there has been political and legal action to limit and cease these kind of arrangements," she said.

"It would be most unfortunate if these kind of arrangements were found lawful in Australia as they impact adversely on the most low paid and marginalised workers who are often young people and women."

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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm

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