News Releases

Nuclear Ban Treaty Group Gets Nobel


The Norwegian Nobel Committee “has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons. … Five of the states that currently have nuclear weapons – the USA, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China — have already committed to this objective through their accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1970.” See text and video. Also see IPA news release from last month: “More Than 40 Nations Sign Nuclear Ban Treaty in First Hour.

While many are already depicting this move as an anti-Trump pronouncement, the Obama administration was similarly opposed to the nuclear ban treaty. See 2013 IPA news release: “Obama’s Nuclear ‘Smoke and Mirrors,’” — also, “Obama at Nuclear Summit: A Call to Respect NPT, Not Pursue New Cold War,” and “Will Obama Renounce His $1 Trillion Nuclear Buildup?

ALICE SLATER, alicejslater at, @aliceslater
Slater is the New York Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and serves on the Coordinating Committee of World Beyond War. In July, she wrote the piece “Democracy Breaks Out at the UN as 122 Nations Vote to Ban the Bomb” for The Nation, which states: “Upon the adoption of the ban treaty, the United States, United Kingdom and France issued a statement that ‘We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it’ as it ‘does not address the security concerns that continue to make nuclear deterrence necessary’ and will create ‘even more divisions at a time … of growing threats, including those from the DPRK’s ongoing proliferation efforts.’ Ironically, North Korea was the only nuclear power to vote for the ban treaty, last October, when the UN’s First Committee for Disarmament forwarded a resolution for ban-treaty negotiations to the General Assembly.”

FREDRIK HEFFERMEHL, [in Norway] fredpax at
Heffermehl is with Nobel Peace Prize Watch and wrote the book The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted. He has frequently criticized the selection of Nobel Peace Prize winners who did not actually fit the criteria laid out by Alfred Nobel. This year however, before the award, the group stated: “ICAN will be a worthy laureate in keeping with Alfred Nobel´s testament.”

IRA HELFAND, MD, ihelfand at
Helfand is past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and is currently co-president of that group’s global federation, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. He was featured on an IPA news release in July: “122 Nations Vote to Outlaw Nuclear Weapons, U.S., Russia Collude Against Effort.”

Additional background: Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara told IPA in 2005: “The NPT was signed by a president. It was submitted to the Senate; it was ratified by the Senate. It is today the law of the land. The U.S. government is not adhering to Article VI of the NPT and we show no signs of planning to adhere to its requirements to move forward with the elimination — not reduction, but elimination — of nuclear weapons. That was the agreement, these other countries would not develop nuclear weapons and the nuclear powers would move to elimination. We are violating that.”

Puerto Rico: * Debt Burden * Medicaid Crisis


On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump told Fox News that Puerto Rico owes “a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street and we’re going to have to wipe that out. You’re going to say goodbye to that, I don’t know if it’s Goldman Sachs, but whoever it is you can wave goodbye to that.”

On Wednesday, The Hill reported: “Mulvaney walks back Trump’s comments on wiping out Puerto Rico debt.

MARK WEISBROT, via Dan Beeton,  beeton at
Weisbrot is Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He wrote for BuzzFeed News on Saturday: “…if Puerto Rico is to have a future, it will need a whole new economic plan that allows it to recover. This would include, at a minimum, the cancellation of most of its debt, which is not going to be paid in any case. The austerity that has been imposed as a response to this debt burden needs to be replaced by a fiscal stimulus program, much of which could go toward reconstruction. …

“The hurricanes have hit at a time when Puerto Rico is facing an unprecedented economic crisis, having already suffered a lost decade without economic growth. Unemployment is at 11.7 percent, more than two-and-a-half times the level of the United States. The poverty rate is at 46 percent, and 58 percent for children — nearly three times the U.S. rate. In the past decade, about 10 percent of the population has left the island, and the pace of out-migration has doubled in recent years.

“Unfortunately, over the last year or so, the U.S. federal government has made this economic crisis much worse. The Obama administration — with input from Republican congressional leaders — appointed a fiscal oversight board that imposed a draconian austerity plan on Puerto Rico in response to the island’s default on its $74 billion dollar debt. The plan [PDF] proposed by this board was rejected by creditors who — amazingly — wanted to squeeze even more out of Puerto Rico. But regardless, the austerity condemns the island to a second lost decade and more.

“The coming decade will be shaped by cuts to health care and pensions, as well as the kind of deficient infrastructure spending that left Puerto Rico extraordinarily vulnerable to this hurricane. And all of this punishment — even if it ‘worked’ as planned — would only win creditors about $7.9 billion of the $74 billion they are owed. Hence the island’s government is now in court [PDF] with the creditors.”

LARA MERLING, also via Dan Beeton, beeton at
Merling is a research assistant at CEPR and co-author of the new report, “More Trouble Ahead: Puerto Rico’s Impending Medicaid Crisis,” and the recent report, “Life After Debt in Puerto Rico: How Many More Lost Decades?” She said: “It’s essential to include full funding for Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program in any emergency aid supplemental for Puerto Rico. As the White House pushes for aid funding from Congress for Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, it will be important to make sure that Medicaid funding is included.”

Left-Right Alliance Against U.S.-Saudi War on Yemen


Katrina vanden Heuvel just wrote the piece “Congress’s War Powers Must Be Made a Reality” in the Washington Post. She writes: “What does it take to get Congress to act on vital questions of war and peace? The catastrophe in Yemen may test whether Congress is finally prepared to exercise its constitutional responsibility. Four legislators — two House Democrats and two Republicans — have introduced a resolution under the War Powers Act demanding a vote in 15 days to end U.S. involvement in Saudi Arabia’s devastation of Yemen.

“The resolution, co-sponsored by Democrats Ro Khanna and Mark Pocan (the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus) and by Republicans Thomas Massie and Walter Jones, requires the ‘removal’ of U.S. forces from the war in Yemen unless Congress votes to authorize American involvement. Beginning under President Barack Obama, the U.S. military has assisted the Saudi campaign in Yemen. …

“As lead co-sponsor Khanna (D-Calif.) argues, the war powers resolution is long overdue: ‘Congress and the American people know too little about the role we are playing in a war that is causing suffering for millions of people and is a genuine threat to our national security.’

“The resolution will force Congress to debate this truly deplorable policy that has implicated the United States in Saudi war crimes while fueling the spread of terrorism.”

NORM SINGLETON norm.singleton at
Singleton is president of the Campaign for Liberty, founded by Ron Paul. Singleton said today: “Congress has a constitutional duty to debate and vote on U.S. military involvement in Yemen and a moral duty to end these types of reckless military interventions.” See from Ron Paul: “Who Is Starving Yemen’s Children?

SHIREEN AL-ADEIMI, sha980 at, @shireen818
Al-Adeimi is a doctoral candidate and instructor at Harvard University. She just wrote the piece “Only Americans Can Stop America’s War on Yemen,” which states: “Yemen continues to suffer in silence as the world turns away from its ongoing misery. Despite two and a half years of brutal war, the average American remains oblivious to the inconvenient truth that the United States has been helping Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates destroy a sovereign country that posed a threat to no one. While rich Arab states bombard the Middle East’s poorest country, creating the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and an unprecedented cholera outbreak, our government (starting with the Obama administration and continuing with Trump’s) has continued to support them not only through the sale of weapons, but also through mid-air refueling, targeting intelligence, and other logistical support.

“The international community has betrayed Yemenis over and over again — examples include the United Nation’s capitulation to Saudi pressure by removing it from the list of child killers and allowing the Saudi-led Coalition to investigate (and clear) itself from any wrongdoing. Even as an inquiry into Yemen war crimes was finally agreed upon this week, the word ‘investigation’ was dropped, and it remains to be seen which ‘regional experts’ will comprise the committee. …

“If we don’t act now, we may find ourselves looking back and wondering what could have been done to save millions of people from certain death. We have an opportunity to end this destructive war by urging our political leaders to stop supporting the Saudi-led Coalition.”

Guns, Terrorism and a “Culture of Killing”


REBECCA PETERS, rebecca.peters101 at, Skype: rebecapeters
Currently in Guatemala, Peters is with the International Action Network on Small Arms. She helped lead the campaign to reform Australia’s gun laws. Her pieces include “When will the U.S. learn from Australia? Stricter gun control laws save lives.”

The group just released a statement: “At church, at school, in shopping centres, at movie theatres, clubs and cultural events — once again we see the mass murder of civilians in the USA, because weapons designed for killing large numbers on the battlefield are so easily available. Almost every other industrialized country has implemented basic firearm regulation and the results are starkly evident in the data. The whole world is grieving with the USA, and anxious for this country to do something about easy access to lethal weapons.”

BEAU GROSSCUP, bgrosscup at
Grosscup is author of several books including The Newest Explosions of Terrorism and, most recently, Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment. He can talk about the selective use of the term “terrorism” and other aspects of policy and violence.

LAURIE CALHOUN, laurielcalhoun at, @laurielcalhoun, Skype: laurie.calhoun
Currently in Australia, Calhoun is author of the books We Kill Because We Can: From Soldiering to Assassination in the Drone Age and War and Delusion: A Critical Examination.

She tweeted Monday: “#UnitedStates is a #cultureofkilling, from top to bottom. Citizens are taught by #USgov that #masshomicide = #war is how to resolve conflict.”

In her piece “The Drone Assassination Assault on Democracy,” Calhoun wrote: “Given that a primary means to conflict resolution deployed by powerful governments with every tool of diplomacy at their disposal has become homicide, perhaps it should be unsurprising that factions and individuals with no institutional power should take up arms as well.”

Trump and Republicans Propose Abolishing the Estate Tax


JOSH HOXIE, josh at

Co-editor of, Hoxie said today: “Part of the Trump tax proposal is abolishing the estate tax, only paid by households with wealth over $11 million and individuals over $5.5 million. Trump claims that estate tax repeal will help farmers and small businesses. Estate tax repeal will worsen inequality and cost over $260 billion over the next decade.”

Hoxie just wrote the piece “Trump Tax Plan Would Widen Racial Wealth Divide,” in the Las Vegas Sun, which states: “Perhaps more insidious is Trump’s plan to eliminate the federal estate tax, also known as the inheritance tax. This levy applies exclusively to the wealthiest 0.2 percent of households and is intended to curtail the growing concentration of wealth in families like, say, the Trumps.”


Huang is with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and co-wrote “Ten Facts You Should Know About the Estate Tax,” which states: “It is appropriate that people who have prospered the most in this society help to preserve it for future generations through tax revenues that derive from their estates.”
chuck at, @Chuck99to1
Collins is co-author with Bill Gates Sr. of Wealth and Our Commonwealth: The Case for Defending the Estate Tax. He’s a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and a co-editor of

He recently wrote “Limos, Not Tractors: Republicans are Using Farmers To Justify Estate Tax Repeal” in U.S. News & World Report, which states: “Republicans have offered a strange populist fig leaf to justify repealing the estate tax: images of America’s farmers and ranchers.”

Collins also recently wrote “Indiana Farmer Complaining about Estate Taxes with Trump Cashed $3.3 Million in Farmer Subsidy Checks.”

Behind Spanish Gov’t Attempts to Halt Catalonia’s Independence Vote


SEBASTIAAN FABER, [in D.C. Fri.] Sebastiaan.Faber at, @sebasfaber
BÉCQUER SEGUÍN, becquer at, @bcqer
Faber is a professor of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College and author of the forthcoming Memory Battles and the Spanish Civil War. Seguín is an assistant professor of Iberian studies at Johns Hopkins University. They just wrote the piece for The Nation: “Have Spain and Catalonia Reached a Point of No Return?” which states: “While the repressive measures taken so far have certainly made a region-wide vote more difficult, the Catalans refuse to give up. In a nationally televised interview aired on Sept. 24, Catalan President Puigdemont vowed to go ahead with the referendum [this Sunday]. Meanwhile, the arrests of Sept. 20 have prompted massive, ongoing demonstrations in Barcelona and elsewhere.”

SIMONA LEVI, [in Barcelona] simona at, @x_net_
Levi is a theater director, activist and co-founder of the Spanish digital democracy group Xnet and of 15MpaRato, a citizens’ device to bring to court those responsible for the economic crisis in Spain.

She recently wrote the piece “We just want to stop pleading,” which states: “It’s truly unsustainable that there’s no way of having a referendum in Spain. I’m not just referring to this one. I mean any referendum. The law decrees that it’s the government that decides whether there can be a referendum or not. And, naturally, the government of Spain always says no. If this isn’t so, go and tell the PAH (Platform for People Affected by Mortgages), which collected one and a half million signatures in a popular legislative initiative (ILP) to change Spain’s foreclosure law and, though an ILP only needs 500,000 signatures in order to be put before parliament, the government refused to discuss the issue. …

“So what Catalonia is asking for is not just for Catalonia. It’s because the centralism of the powers-that-be in Madrid, and of all the parties that egg them on with the chumminess of parliamentary rituals, ignores the peoples of Spain, using them merely as raw material to extract what they can, regarding them as colonies and even, as we have seen lately with certain questions of security, as cannon fodder (note: the government excluded the Catalan police from Europol and the Catalan police are not receiving all the information about jihadi terrorists in Catalonian territory). Once more all this is about covering up their own privileges, abuse, and corruption, or simply protecting the patronage networks of each and every party.”

THOMAS HARRINGTON, [going to Spain Thurs.] thomas.harrington at
Harrington is professor of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. and author of Public Intellectuals and Nation Building in the Iberian Peninsula, 1900–1925: The Alchemy of Identity.

In a recent piece, he writes: “That people in Scotland addressed the matter of their possible independence this way with the full acceptance of the UK government in 2014 does not move [Spanish Prime Minister Mariano] Rajoy …

“For most of the years since the ratification of the Spanish post-Franco Constitution in 1978, the matter of independence was a non-starter for a broad swath of the Catalan political establishment.

“What changed things?

“What changed things was the election of José María Aznar, the son of an important propagandist for the Francoist regime, as prime minister in 1996 with a clear — albeit at first skillfully camouflaged — program to roll back the regime of timid decentralization that grew out of the aforementioned post-Franco Constitution.”

“Theocrat” Roy Moore May Be the Next U.S. Senator from Alabama


FREDERICK CLARKSON, frederick.clarkson at, @FredClarkson
Clarkson is senior fellow at Political Research Associates, a progressive think tank in Somerville, Massachusetts.
He said today: “Roy Moore is the most openly theocratic politician in national life — and he has a good chance of being the next U.S. Senator from Alabama.

“The special election to fill the remainder of the term of Jeff Sessions, who was appointed as U.S. Attorney General by president Trump, will be held on Dec. 12. Moore is heavily favored to prevail over Democrat and former federal prosecutor Doug Jones.

“Moore favors criminalizing abortion and homosexuality. He does not respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution, and the federal courts to enforce civil rights laws. His views hark back to the time of massive resistance to civil rights for African Americans, when opponents invoked the notions of nullification and interposition — which basically meant that states could ignore federal actions; including court orders they believed were inconsistent with the Constitution.

“Like the nullificationists of the last century, Moore does not view the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal courts as binding on the states. Particularly if they conflict with his idiosyncratic view of what God requires.

“Roy Moore epitomizes the contemporary politics of theocratic Christian dominionism in his attacks on separation of church and state and religious freedom.

“Moore was twice elected on a statewide ballot as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He has also been removed from office each time because he violated orders from a federal judge. The first time, he had installed a two-and-a-half-ton monument to the Ten Commandments in the foyer of the state courthouse. A federal judge ruled that this was an unambiguous violation of separation of church and state and ordered it removed. Moore refused. The second time, he sought to undermine a federal court order to state officials to honor the Supreme Court’s 2015 stand for marriage equality in the case of Obergefell v Hodges. Moore sought to direct state probate judges not to issue same sex marriage licenses, claiming that existing state bans on same sex marriage were still in force.”

Clarkson is author of the 2016 report “When Exemption is the Rule: The Religious Freedom Strategy of the Christian Right.” He also wrote the book Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy.

Killer Drone Protesters Arrested


Just Security just published the piece: “How Obama’s Drones Rulebook Enabled Trump.” Last week, the New York Times reported: “Trump Poised to Drop Some Limits on Drone Strikes and Commando Raids.” reports that: “Seven drone protesters were arrested Monday morning at the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in DeWitt.

“The Upstate Drone Action protesters blocked the entrance to the base with several large signs and banners, and refused to remove them.

“‘Officers from the base came out and told us to leave, and when we didn’t, we were arrested,’ Upstate Drone Action founding member Ed Kinane said. ‘We’re trying to make a statement about the war crimes being committed at the air base with drones that kill human beings.’ …

“Those charged were: Ann Tiffany, of Syracuse; Dan Burgevin, of Trumansburg; Kinane, of Syracuse; Harry Murray, of Rochester; Julienne Oldfield, of Syracuse; Mark Scibilia-Carver, of Trumansburg; and Rae Kramer, of Syracuse.

“The protesters said they placed a ‘huge dollar sign dripping with blood in the main entrance way to the base.

“‘The six-foot high dollar signs dramatize what the group believes determines the many overseas wars the Pentagon/CIA engages in: Corporate greed,’ Upstate Drone Action said in a news release announcing the arrests.

“In 2010, the Hancock base became the site of the 174th Attack Wing of the National Guard’s MQ-9 Reaper drone operations and the first to have an MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft squadron. The drones have missions in Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

The following are among the activists available for interviews:

ED KINANE, edkinane340 at
JUDY BELLO, judith at, @elladabella13

See the news release from Upstate Drone Action. Julienne Oldfield said: “The Hancock Reaper terrorizes whole communities, generating desperate refugees.” Mark Scibilia-Carver adds that “U.S. taxpayers fund this terrorism keeping the pot boiling and creating enormous ill will toward the United States — instead of funding health, education and infrastructure here.” Video of protest is on YouTube.

See by Norman Solomon from earlier this year: “Killer Drones in the Empire State.”

See pieces on Truthout by Kinane, including “Weaponized Drones And The Phony ‘War On Terror.'”

Hollywood Joins the “Plot to Scapegoat Russia”


DAN KOVALIK, DKovalik at, @danielmkovalik
Kovalik is author of the recently-released book The Plot to Scapegoat Russia: How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Russia. He teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

He said today: “Quite strangely, the beloved actor, Morgan Freeman, in a two-minute video produced by Rob Reiner and his self-described ‘Committee to Investigate Russia’ (note that it is not a committee to investigate Trump), declared war on Russia. Freeman states that ‘We have been attacked,’ and that ‘We are at war’ with Russia. He then goes on to tell the tale of ‘a former KGB spy [Vladimir Putin, of course], angry at the collapse of his mother land, [who] plots a course of revenge … against his sworn enemy: the United States.’

“In an interesting, and indeed tragic, twist of fate, the very types of Hollywood liberals who were once the victims of McCarthyism, are now the promoters of a new witch hunt and a new Cold War against Russia. This would be comical, if it were not so dangerous.

“This incredible piece of jingoistic propaganda, which could have easily been made in the 1950s, is based upon the very untruths which formed the basis of the first Cold War – that the U.S. is a unique force for good in the world, and has been so, we are told by Morgan Freeman, for 241 years; and that Russia under Putin is a unique force for evil which must be eliminated at the roots.

“Of course, none of these propositions are true. This is part of the mythology of American Exceptionalism, that the U.S. is somehow a beacon of democracy and freedom in the world. Far from it. It is the U.S. which has been busy toppling democracies and interfering in other nations’ political systems, many times partnering with right-wing forces to do so. And, this is not ancient history. Thus, just to name a few, Bill Clinton and his campaign team were critical in helping the drunkard Boris Yeltsin win (or, more accurately, steal) the 1996 elections in Russia. For her part, Hillary Clinton was critical, by her own admission, in solidifying the brutal Honduran coup in 2009; and then in leading the charge to topple Libya’s government in 2011, thereby leading to the chaos that now reigns in that country.

“Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin, far from plotting revenge on the U.S., was the first world leader to offer condolences and help to the U.S. after 9/11, and then gave such help to the U.S. in its operations in Afghanistan shortly thereafter. Putin also helped Obama negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, helped rid Syria of its chemical weapons and recently hosted leaders from both North and South Korea to try to prevent a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula.

“Putin is hardly the menace portrayed in the Western press, and Russia is no threat to the United States. There’s anti-Russian hysteria which appears to be gripping the U.S. and which continues to be stoked on a nearly daily basis, including by Freeman, Reiner and their right-wing friends on the anti-Russia Committee, James Clapper, Max Boot and Norman Ornstein.

“We need a more sober and even-handed look at, and approach to, Russia and Putin, so we can indeed avert the next major war which some have foolishly already declared.”

Vietnam War and “The Killing of History”


JOHN PILGER, [in London] jpilger2003 at, @johnpilger
Available for a limited number of interviews, Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based in London. He covered the Vietnam War for a decade. His latest film is “The Coming War on China.” He recently wrote the piece “The Killing of History,” which states: “One of the most hyped ‘events’ of American television, ‘The Vietnam War,’ has started on the PBS network. … I watched the first episode in New York. It leaves you in no doubt of its intentions right from the start. The narrator says the war ‘was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War misunderstandings.’

“The dishonesty of this statement is not surprising. The cynical fabrication of ‘false flags’ that led to the invasion of Vietnam is a matter of record — the Gulf of Tonkin ‘incident’ in 1964, which Burns promotes as true, was just one. The lies litter a multitude of official documents, notably the Pentagon Papers, which the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg released in 1971. …

“I thought about the ‘decency’ and ‘good faith’ when recalling my own first experiences as a young reporter in Vietnam: watching hypnotically as the skin fell off Napalmed peasant children like old parchment, and the ladders of bombs that left trees petrified and festooned with human flesh. General William Westmoreland, the American commander, referred to people as ‘termites.’ …

“The ‘meaning’ of the Vietnam War is no different from the meaning of the genocidal campaign against the Native Americans, the colonial massacres in the Philippines, the atomic bombings of Japan, the leveling of every city in North Korea. …

“Nothing has changed. When Donald Trump addressed the United Nations on Sept. 19 — a body established to spare humanity the ‘scourge of war’ — he declared he was ‘ready, willing and able’ to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea and its 25 million people. …

“His rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton, had boasted she was prepared to ‘totally obliterate’ Iran, a nation of more than 80 million people. This is the American Way; only the euphemisms are missing now. …

“Returning to the U.S., I am struck by the silence and the absence of an opposition — on the streets, in journalism and the arts, as if dissent once tolerated in the ‘mainstream’ has regressed to a dissidence: a metaphoric underground.

“What is known in the U.S. as ‘the left’ has effectively allied with the darkest recesses of institutional power, notably the Pentagon and the CIA, to prevent a peace deal between Trump and Vladimir Putin and to reinstate Russia as an enemy, on the basis of no evidence of its alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“The true scandal is the insidious assumption of power by sinister war-making vested interests for which no American voted. The rapid ascendancy of the Pentagon and the surveillance agencies under Obama represented an historic shift of power in Washington. Daniel Ellsberg rightly called it a coup. The three generals running Trump are its witness.”

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