Lima Charlie US News End-of-Week Briefing – AUG21
| The Week’s Wrap Up in One. Big. Blast.
On AUGUST 19, Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, announced his resignation from the Trump campaign. In a press release following the news, #Trump stated, “This morning Paul #Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign. I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”
Manafort’s resignation comes days after #StephenBannon took a leave of absence from #Breitbart News to take up a position as Trump’s campaign CEO. #KellyConway was promoted to Campaign Manager.
Manafort, who had, since 2004, worked as an advisor on the #Ukrainian presidential campaign of Viktor Yanukovych and assisted the #Ukrainian ruling party, has come under fire amidst questions about his business past. Controversy has surrounded the listing of his name on a handwritten ledger as receiving upwards of $12.7 million in cash payments from the pro-Russian political party, Party of Regions. Manafort has since released a statement to reporters following a New York Times story published on Monday: “The simplest answer is the truth: I am a campaign professional. It is well known that I do work in the United States and have done work on overseas campaigns as well. I have never received a single ‘off-the-books’ cash payment … My work in Ukraine ceased following the country’s parliamentary elections in October 2014. In addition, as the article points out hesitantly, every government official interviewed states I have done nothing wrong.”
Manafort went on to take shots at the #Clinton campaign, adding, “the Times does fail to disclose the fact that the #ClintonFoundation has taken (and may still take) payments in exchange for favors from Hillary Clinton while serving as #SecretaryofState.”
A pair of #Republican Congressmen, #SeanDuffy of #Wisconsin and #AdamKinzinger of #Illinois, have also called for investigations into Manafort’s past. His resignation is the second high-profile departure from the top of the Trump campaign, following campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s departure earlier this summer.
On AUGUST 19, the Trump campaign made its first general election advertising push, with the long-awaited release of his first ad titled, “Two Americas: Immigration.” Over the next 10 days, the ad will air in #Ohio, #Pennsylvania, #NorthCarolina, and #Florida. The campaign has proposed 4.8 million dollars in spending on the ad buy.
In the ad, the scene shows two America’s, one in which Trump’s immigration policy institutes “change that makes America safe again” and one in which Clinton’s immigration policy “leaves the system rigged against Americans … more of the same, but worse.” Trump seeks to project an image as a change maker with a strong commitment to protect homeland security.
Trump has gleaned support on air from the #NationalRifleAssociation and Rebuilding America Now, a pro-Trump super PAC, as he makes the push for television advertisement funding.
On AUGUST 20, the #Clinton campaign released an advertisement questioning the sincerity of Donald Trump’s new tone, spotlighting instances in which he has refused to apologize for “inflammatory rhetoric.” The ad is titled, “No Regrets” and injects clips of Trump’s Thursday speech, in which he expressed regret for, at times, not choosing the right words, amidst other instances in which he refused any apology for controversial statements.
On AUGUST 19, #GOP Presidential Nominee Donald #Trump and VP candidate Mike Pence arrived in #BatonRouge to tour the flood-damaged state. The Republican candidates visited a Baptist church where volunteers were cooking meals, met with victims of the disaster and helped pass out supplies to affected communities. Mr. Trump’s decision to visit Louisiana came following the White House’s statement that the President would likely not be visiting the state during his current vacation schedule. On AUGUST 19, the President announced plans to visit Louisiana, in the way of much criticism during the week. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards defended the Obama administration’s response, stating that he’s spoken with the White House daily, received quick responses for requests, and that FEMA and Homeland Security representatives had visited. The Governor added that he’d prefer if the President waited “a week or two” because such visits require local police and first responders to help block roads and provide security.
Earlier this week, Democratic nominee Hillary #Clinton called the #Louisiana Governor to receive a briefing on the damage and posted a message shortly afterward, paying her respects to the families coping with a flood-ravaged state:
“My heart breaks for Louisiana, and right now, the relief effort can’t afford any distractions. The very best way this team can help is to make sure Louisianans have the resources they need,” she wrote. “These are our friends, our family members, our community—and they’re counting on us to reach out with open arms right now.”
On AUGUST 16, the Clinton campaign visited #Philadelphia, marking the beginning of a three-month effort by Democrats to register voters ahead of the November 8th General Election.
Urging locals to get out and vote, she described her plan to “go after the corporations and Wall Street,” in comparison to what she described as “Donald Trump’s plan to create a new loophole that would help him and everybody else who is really wealthy.” She also noted claims that Trump’s proposal to end the estate tax would give his family a 4 billion dollar windfall, adding, “We could actually double health care for our veterans for $4 billion dollars. And we can invest in more infrastructure, affordable housing and small business for $4 billion right here in Pennsylvania.”
On AUGUST 15, House #Republicans drafted a letter to the US Attorney for the #DistrictofColumbia, citing perjury allegations against Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton, as a result of incompatibilities between her 2015 Congressional testimony on her email practices and #FBI Director Comey’s recommendation announced in July.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob #Goodlatte, R-Va., and House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason #Chaffetz, R-Utah, wrote to U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips expressing, “The four pieces of sworn testimony by Secretary Clinton described herein are incompatible with the FBI’s findings.”
In the 6-page letter, the authors brought up 4 primary points of contention, notably “Contrary to her sworn testimony, Secretary Clinton sent and received emails that were marked classified at the time” and “Contrary to her sworn testimony, Secretary Clinton did not provide all of her work-related email to the Department of Justice.”
According to an AUGUST 19 Reuters poll, #Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton leads GOP rival Donald Trump by 8 percentage points, among likely voters. The poll was conducted online in all 50 states. Since late July, support for the Former Secretary of State has ranged between 41% and 44%, while Trump’s support has varied between 33% and 39%. 23% of voters, according to the same poll, however, will not vote for Clinton or Trump. This result suggests that, with less than 90 days until Election Day, polls will continue to be volatile, as much of the populace remains disenchanted with both major candidates.
On AUGUST 15, #GOP Nominee Donald Trump delivered his foreign policy plan in a speech laying out how a Trump administration would deal with the threat of ISIS. “If I become president, the era of nation building will be brought to a very swift and decisive end,” he declared.
The #Republican nominee expressed the importance of conducting joint military efforts to halt ISIS and cut off its funding, also expressing plans for an international conference, working with #Israel, #Egypt, and #Jordan to speak about this shared goal. Sticking to his signature platform tenet, he called for a temporary suspension on visas and immigration issued to citizens of nations where terrorists have infiltrated, noting, “We should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people,” and stressing the importance of what he termed “extreme vetting” for those coming into the country.
Mr. Trump also took shots at President Obama and Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, adding, “The rise of ISIS is the direct result of policy decisions made by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.” Trump also noted that, before the President and Former Secretary of State took office, in 2009, Libya was stable, Syria was under control, and Egypt was under the rule of a secular president.
On AUGUST 12, Democratic Nominee Hillary #Clinton released her tax returns, demonstrating that she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, made 10.6 million dollars in 2015, after taxes.
The returns showed that the Clintons paid 2.6 million in tax returns, a tax rate of about 34 percent. Controversy surfaced as the returns demonstrated that the Clintons made 238 million since departing the White House in 2001, despite the Democratic nominee’s claims that the family was “dead broke” concluding two terms in the White House. GOP Nominee Donald Trump has come under much criticism for not releasing his own tax returns, as demonstrated in the Clinton campaign’s latest ad targeting this topic. Trump has announced that he will not release his returns until the IRS has completed its audit.
This week, the #USJusticeDepartment announced the end of its use of private prisons, following conclusions that the practice is both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.
Immediately following the announcement, shares for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group, another major private prison operator, fell to $13.04 and $16.26, respectively.
The decision applies only to the federal prison bureau and not the US Marshals Service, despite both falling under the umbrella of the Department of Justice. The memo ends with Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates’ conclusion, “Private prisons served an important role during a difficult period, but time has shown that they compare poorly to our own Bureau facilities. They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security. The rehabilitative services that the Bureau provides, such as educational programs and job training, have proved difficult to replicate and outsource—and these services are essential to reducing recidivism and improving public safety.”
On AUGUST 18, the #ClintonFoundation announced it will stop accepting foreign and corporate donations if Hillary Clinton is elected president and will end its hosting of the annual Clinton Global Initiative meetings, regardless of the outcome of the 2016 election. In addition, former President Bill Clinton announced he would resign from the board of the foundation and that the foundation will, from now on, only accept donations from US citizens and independent charities. Hillary Clinton resigned from the foundation’s board, following her successful clinching of the Democratic Presidential Nomination. To date, the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has raised upwards of 2 billion dollars for causes in the health and environmental arenas, primarily for the developing world.
On AUGUST 18, Gawker.com announced it will be ending operations next week, with #Gawker Media being sold at auction to Univision for 135 million dollars. The bankrupt online publisher went up for sale following a Peter Thiel-funded #HulkHogan lawsuit that resulted in a 140 million dollar judgment against the company and owner Nick Denton. The deal is still awaiting approval by the judge on the case.
On AUGUST 15, the US passed a major milestone in national history, earning its 1,000th gold medal in the Summer Olympics, since their 1896 inception. The figure is more than double the count of any other nation, with the medal being won by the women’s 4X100 medley relay team.
On AUGUST 16, Vice President Joe #Biden visited #Belgrade, to celebrate and reaffirm the US’ strong bilateral relationship with #Serbia, its democratic and economic development, and both nations’ shared goals of European Union membership for Serbia. 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of Serbia’s participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program.
The US has long been a key partner of Serbia, in the arenas of security, development, business, justice, and education. In August 2016, the US delivered 19 Humvees to Serbia to support the Serbian units’ participation in UN operations worldwide. From 2001-2015, the US invested more than 728 million dollars to stimulate economic growth and promote good governance in Serbia. Since 2001, US businesses have invested some 3.8 billion dollars in Serbia, creating the potential for more than 16,000 Serbian jobs. However, as the White House notes, some of the strongest ties between both countries are people-to-people ties. More than 20,000 Serbians visit the US annually and nearly 1,000 Serbian students attend US universities.
#ASEAN #China #Laos
On AUGUST 19, the White House announced President #Obama will travel to #China and #Laos during the opening week of September, making Obama the first US President to visit Laos. He will participate in the US #ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit, engaging in bilateral meetings with President Bounnhang #Vorachith and other key officials to advance US-Laos cooperation on economic, social, and political developments. Since taking office in 2009, the President has made 10 trips to Asia. The occasion marks President Obama’s commitment to the G-20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation and the US Rebalance to Asia and the Pacific.
AUGUST 19 marked World Humanitarian Day, in which countries worldwide paid respect to the notion that humanitarian crises are not merely distant matters. The day marked the 13th anniversary of the bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad, killing the UN’s chief envoy to #Iraq, #Sergio Vieira de Mello and 17 others.
US National Security Advisor, #SusanRice, released a statement on behalf of the country, noting, “On this day, we remember the nearly 4,000 aid workers who have been killed, wounded, or kidnapped in the past two decades. Today, there are a record 65 million people displaced inside their own countries, living as refugees or seeking asylum. More than 130 million people across 40 countries are in need of humanitarian aid. The scourges that many flee – political repression, chronic violence, and natural disasters – cannot be defeated by building barriers but only by building hope and compassion. These are global challenges that demand collective action.”
The upcoming September 13th Session of the #UN General Assembly will feature a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, in which President Obama will highlight the US’ continued leadership on matters of humanitarian assistance and empowering refugees in their countries of asylum.
On AUGUST 17, the United States announced the imposition of import restrictions on archaeological and ethnological material of #Syria to “preserve Syria’s cultural heritage and combat profiting from the sale of artifacts by terrorists and criminal organizations.”
In a recent press release, the spokesperson for the State Department described the materials of relevance, noting, “emergency import restrictions are enacted pursuant to the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act of 2016, including objects of stone; metal; ceramic, clay, and faience; wood; glass; ivory; bone, and shell; plaster and stucco; textile, parchment, paper, and leather; painting and drawing; mosaic; and writing.”
The mission of the new initiative is to “preserve the cultural heritage of Syria, a vital component in shaping a future for the country based on reconstruction, reconciliation, and building civil society.”
On AUGUST 11, the US took part in a joint statement release on the recent developments in the Bolivarian Republic of #Venezuela. The Member States of the Organization of American States (#OAS) underscored their commitment to uphold representative democracy in Venezuela, noting, “We call on the Venezuelan authorities to guarantee the exercise of the constitutional rights of the Venezuelan people … the remaining steps for the realization of the Presidential Recall Referendum must be pursued clearly, concretely and without delay, and thus contribute to the quick and effective resolution of the current political, economic and social difficulties in the country.”
The joint statement was signed by Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States of America, and Uruguay.
On AUGUST 10, the US and Argentina launched the US-Argentina Digital Economy Working Group, enabling both countries to collaborate through the Global Connect Initiative (#GCI) to bring 1.5 billion people who lack Internet access online by 2020. Argentina’s designation as a GCI focus nation comes at a time when the country aims to connect its underserved communities and boost foreign investment.
According to a #USStateDepartment press release, the delegation was led by Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda, US Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, and the Argentine Minister of Communications, Oscar Aguad.
Relations between the two countries are expected to include technical consultations between the US and Argentina to jointly develop a Global Connect work plan for Argentina, cooperation delineated in the Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Federal Communications Commission and the National Communications Agency of Argentina (Ente Nacional de Comunicaciones, or #ENACOM.)
On AUGUST 21, the #US will open a new chapter in commercial aviation with #Mexico, entering into the Air Transport Agreement, thereby removing limits on the number of airlines serving any US-Mexico city pairs and expanding opportunities for travel and trade between both nations.
Under the new agreement, as part of the US-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue, US and Mexican cargo carriers will be able to connect to the global marketplace more efficiently. US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx expressed, “This landmark agreement with one of our largest aviation partners will significantly increase future trade and travel between the United States and Mexico.” The agreement ends government interference in commercial airline decisions and elevates bilateral relations between Mexico and the US.
AUGUST 15 marked the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s formal establishment of relations between the #US and #Cuba, officially raising the American flag over the embassy in #Havana. In 1961, three #USMarines lowered the US flag in Cuba, and one year ago, they helped Secretary of State John #Kerry raise it once more. Just last March, President Obama became the first US President to visit Cuba since 1928, speaking at the same location President Coolidge visited nearly a century before him, at El Gran Teatro de la Habana.
On AUGUST 19, US Vice President Joe Biden and #Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke via telephone, regarding calls for a resolution in the conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. According to an official readout of the conversation, the #WhiteHouse confirms:
“The two leaders discussed recent tensions on the Crimean Peninsula, which is occupied by Russian forces in contravention of international law. The Vice President urged President Poroshenko to do his part to avoid escalating tensions. The Vice President noted that we have urged the Russian side to do the same.”
On AUGUST 14, a group of hackers self-dubbed as the “Shadow Brokers” announced on the web that they would hand over an archive of potent computer cracks from the #NationalSecurityAgency (NSA) in exchange for 1 million bitcoin. The group followed the announcement with the publication of past examples of their work, setting off panic and alarm within the security community. The group even dumped what appeared to be real hacking tools of the NSA online. The credibility of the #ShadowBrokers came from The Intercept and its discovery of a smoking gun, a link to #EdwardSnowden:
“The evidence that ties the Shadow Brokers dump to the NSA comes in an agency manual for implanting malware, classified top secret, provided by Snowden, and not previously available to the public. The draft manual instructs NSA operators to track their use of one malware program using a specific 16-character string, ‘ace02468bdf13579.’ That exact same string appears throughout the Shadow Brokers’ leak in code associated with the same program, SECONDDATE.”
Even Snowden had speculated that the hack of the NSA was legitimate at the beginning of the week, suggesting that the hackers may be involved with #Russia and, thus, partly responsible for the DNC email hack. The incident brings up serious concern over the NSA’s ability to keep its hacking tools safe, given that this is the first time such tools have been leaked to the public.
On AUGUST 18, #Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton and #Republican Nominee Donald Trump agreed to the first 2016 Presidential Forum focusing on national security and veterans issues. Both candidates will appear at a Commander-in-Chief Forum in a primetime event announced by the #IraqandAfghanistanVeteransofAmerica nonprofit, on September 7th. The candidates will speak in back-to-back slots, answering questions from NBC News and the audience, including military veterans and active service members.
On AUGUST 15, the #DepartmentofDefense announced the transfer of 15 detainees from the #GuantanamoBay detention facility to the Government of the United Arab Emirates. A list of the detainees was published: Abd al-Muhsin Abd al-Rab Salih al-Busi, Abd al-Rahman Sulayman, Mohammed Nasir Yahi Khussrof Kazaz, Abdul Muhammad Ahmad Nassar al-Muhajari, Muhammad Ahmad Said al-Adahi, Abdel Qadir al-Mudafari, Mahmud Abd Al Aziz al-Mujahid, Saeed Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah Sarem Jarabh, Mohammed Kamin, Zahar Omar Hamis bin Hamdoun, Hamid al-Razak (aka Haji Hamidullah), Majid Mahmud Abdu Ahmed, Ayub Murshid Ali Salih, Obaidullah, and Bashir Nasir Ali al-Marwalah.
Today, according to the Department of Defense’s Press Release, 61 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.
On AUGUST 19, the #USAirForce launched two military surveillance satellites designed to secure some of the nation’s most valuable military space assets. The third and fourth satellites in the military’s Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program lifted off at 12:52 AM from Florida’s #CapeCanaveralAirForceStation. If all goes as planned, the spacecraft will take its place 22,300 miles above the Earth in an area of space that houses critical military surveillance and communications satellites.
On AUGUST 19, the #USNavy announced it is immersed in third round developments of the services’ first-ever stealth carrier-launcher multi-role attacker fighter, the F-35C. The testing will take place aboard the USS George Washington, an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast of the United States. The carrier will give the Navy more combat attack flexibility and maneuvering capacity. The new stealth Joint Strike Fighter is expected to become operational by 2018, flying alongside the F/A-18 Super Hornet, E2D Hawkeye surveillance planes, and other aircraft.
On AUGUST 19, US Army Chief of Staff General #MarkMilley traveled to #SouthKorea for a three-day visit in preparation for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (#THAAD) missile defense system.
According to an official US Army statement, General Milley and People’s Liberation’s Gen. Li #Zuocheg described THAAD as “a defensive measure to protect South Koreans and Americans from the North Korean ballistic missile threat that is not a threat in any way to China.” THAAD is America’s most advanced missile defense system.
On AUGUST 17, the #USArmy announced it plans on enhancing a mobile intelligence station’s top secret enclave through a partnership between the organic industrial base and intelligence program managers. According to the press release, “The Distributed Common Ground System-Army, or DCGS-A, and the Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, or CERDEC, have teamed to produce the latest version of the DCGS-A Intelligence Processing Center, or IPC-2.” In effect, this will add a second top-secret network for enhanced intelligence processing, reporting, and fusion.
On AUGUST 16, #USArmy Reserve 2nd Lt. Sam Kendricks became the first military member of the US team to medal, clearing the pole vault bar at 19 feet 2.25 inches to win bronze at the Rio Olympics. #Kendricks expressed pride for his country and sport, noting, “As a military man and as a U.S. athlete, I keep my haircut in order to put the best foot forward for all the soldiers who are watching. Those guys are really proud of me and have given me every chance to continue as a civilian…I’m proud to represent the Americans on two fronts, as a military man and as a U.S. athlete.”
Monday’s historic moment marked the first pole vault medal won for the United States in a dozen years, since Tim Mack’s and Toby Stevenson’s Athens wins.
On AUGUST 14, the #USArmy officially announced plans to merge two legendary weapons, the 0.5-Cal Machine Gun and the Mk 19 Grenade Launcher, into one weapon. Although the effort is in its early stages, the plan intends to simultaneously ease the load of mobile attack forces, while increasing their lethality and envelope of attack with a single system of high firepower. At the same time, the Army is also beginning to develop a lighter profile barrel for the 0.5-cal, with lighter weight caseless ammunition. Also in the plan are a laser rangefinder, new optics, and fire control technology for the 0.5-cal.
On AUGUST 18, the #USAirForce placed a 371 million dollar order for a new fleet of killer drones. Specifically, the contract with California-based General Atomics calls for the delivery of 30 MQ-9 Reapers, which can be equipped with a laser-guided “smart” bomb such as the 510-pound GBU-12 Paveway II or employ four Hellfire air-to-ground missiles.
#NationalNumbers #StockMarket #RealEstate
#Gold #Silver #Copper #Oil
On AUGUST 20, a report was published indicating that the number of Americans under 35 with credit card debt is at its lowest level since 1989, according to #FederalReserve data. The data also shows that #millennials are taking on fewer auto loans and mortgage loans than people of a similar age did prior to the financial crisis.
On AUGUST 19, #US stocks closed lower than figures from the past week, with the #DowJones falling more than 100 points by midmorning and closing about 45 points lower by close of day. The benchmark S&P 500 fell 0.15%, with utilities and telecommunications lagging. Energy fell 0.82%, becoming the best-performing sector year-to-date, edging out utilities.
On AUGUST 19, the #Nasdaq Composite closed just below break-even, posting a weekly gain of 0.1%, notching its first eight-week winning streak since 2010. Nasdaq fell 1.77 points, or 0.03%, to end at 5,238.38. Over the past month, the tech-heavy index climbed about 4%. The #Dow and S&P posted slight weekly losses, with the latter posting its 30th consecutive session without a 1% move on a closing basis. This marks the longest streak since 2014.
On AUGUST 19, US #crude closed 0.62% higher, reaching $48.52 a barrel. US #oil rose more than 3% on Thursday and posted its highest settlement since July 1st.
On AUGUST 19, figures were announced which demonstrated that high-frequency trading accounted for 49% of August’s daily trading volume of about 6.3 billion shares.
By the end of the week, the debate over whether the #USFederalReserve is readying an interest rate hike had reached new heights, as all eyes fell on Fed Chair Janet #Yellen to provide some clarity. On AUGUST 26, central bankers from across the globe will gather for their annual meetings in the mountains of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Yellen is predicted to cement expectations for a slow pace in rate increases. Most Wall Street traders, however, believe that the Fed hike is definite and it’s only a question of when it will take place, the dominant view being that rates will increase in December, rather than September.
On AUGUST 18, #gold inched higher, amidst a weaker #USDollar, with the COMEX gold future trading at $1,357.85 per ounce. This is the highest level at which gold has closed in two weeks. By Friday, however, gold prices has dropped, erasing weekly gains, with gold for December delivery falling $11.40 to close at $1,345.80 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. #Silver futures fell 2.1% on Friday, for a weekly loss of about 2%, the metal’s third consecutive weekly drop. However, silver remains the top-performing precious metal year-to-date with an almost 30% advance. #Copper fell 2 cents to $2.16 a pound.
Next week, the National Association of Realtors (#NAR) will release highly anticipated figures on existing home sales. Earlier in the month, US homeownership hit a 51-year low, falling to 62.9%.
Lima Charlie News, with Special Ops by Nikita Roach
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