Lawsuit form an a desk

Public Interest Firm Sues DNR

It is looking like the Department of Natural Resources in Wisconsin is in need of a little more help at their offices, or they need less help withholding records. They are now being sued by a law firm over long delays in answering requests and confirming receipts of each request. Now, trust of the openness of the records in the state is starting to falter.     

 

One organization that advocates for the environment stated that it took about 10 months to receive the records they asked for from the Department of Natural Resources. The Department of Natural Resources has defended themselves by saying that the organization hasn’t paid up for what they were requesting. However other organizations who have paid in a timely matter have also experienced the same long waiting time for records they requested. The organization has recently filed a suit in the Wisconsin county of Dane against the Department of Natural Resources for the amount of time it has taken to receive a response from them as well as the lengthy process in receiving those records. The records were important because they were related to the concentration of feeding locations and dairy farms on a big scale, as well as wetland permits, and the regulation of tiny air particles.

 

Not only was the firm representing the environmental organization in the specific cases on the delays in response, but also for the lingering trend of delayed releasing of records for groups that have a legitimate right to request and receive those records. The organization has a lot of ground to sue the Department of Natural Resources. There are many instances where the firm gives evidence of how late it has taken not only their client but other organizations to receive response from the office of the Department. For example, there was a request by the firm for records sent in March, the Department of Natural Resources sent receipt of that request in late March and asked for payment. The firm sent the payment in late June without a response from the Department of Natural Resources that they had received that payment, nor did the firm receive the requested records. The firm then reached out to the Department of Natural Resources with the many modes of communication and those contact methods went unnoticed. When the firm called at the end of the year, the Department of Natural Resources reached out in January of the next year explaining that the payment they sent was overdue and the records were not to be released.

 

In my opinion this is outrageous. I don’t believe that any agency should take this long doing anything, let alone the fact that these are records that are probably easily accessible and have been paid for. It makes you wonder the reasoning for taking so long to get these responses out to the recipient. Is there lack of public officials who can take the time to process these requests in the state? Or are they withholding these records for some reason? I guess we’ll find out sooner or later as I’m sure there will be a case to follow in the next few months.

 

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san fran

Here’s What You Need to Know about Personal Finance in San Francisco, C.A.

Managing your personal finances is one of the most surprisingly difficult things to do successfully. That’s because it’s so easy to either manage them poorly, or to neglect to take care of them at all. But it’s also one of the most beneficial things that you can learn how to do for yourself. It starts by making good money management strategies into your new habit.

 

Consider Consolidating Debt

 

If you’re a mile deep in debt and you struggle to keep track of all your different debt payments, it might be time to consolidate that debt to make it easier for you to tackle and eliminate. But debt consolidation isn’t right for everyone.

 

If you have just a couple creditors that you hold debt with, debt consolidation wouldn’t be beneficial to you at all. Even if you have a major amount of debt with those few creditors.

 

No matter what, you need to make your debt (if you have any) your number one financial priority.  of debt isn’t easy, and there’s no quick fix. But it’s 100% necessary to being able to start saving money and to managing your personal finances better.Getting out

 

Start by working on your debt payments that have the highest interest. This is most often credit card debt for many people. Continue to meet the minimum payments on all your debts, but throw as much money as you can possibly budget into repaying that debt and banishing it from your life. Once that first high interest debt is taken care of (this could take months or years… the first debt is the slowest to shake) you can move on to the next highest interest debt and work your way through.

 

Know What Kinds of Loans Are Right For You

 

Loans aren’t a one-size-fits-all business. Some are going to work better for others. Choose wisely– applying for the wrong kind of loan could saddle you with high interest debt and sink you into a terrifying loan cycle.

 

Loans aren’t just limited to banks, either. Sometimes the terms for bank loans are too long for borrowers, or their credit score isn’t good enough to qualify. That’s when learning how pink slip loans work in San Francisco is a smart move. Explore your options!

 

Sometimes a higher sum/longer term/lower interest loan is a preferably option for borrowers looking to finance major undertakings, such as purchasing a home or starting up a new business endeavor. For others, a shorter term loan with a lower borrowed principal is a better choice for needs that are smaller and more immediate, but those can sometimes feature higher interest rates.

 

That means you should shop around for your loans as much as possible. Do your research, and select the type of loan that’s the best fit for your needs. Then compare different loan providers to find the best deal. Going straight to the bank before shopping around is like going to the dealership to purchase a car without doing some research online beforehand.

 

A word of encouragement for those looking to improve their personal finances: you can do this! It’ll take a little time, lots of reading, and a considerable amount of willpower and planning. But anyone can learn to improve their personal finances!

 

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smoking age

Smoking Age Possibly Being Raised to 21

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news as of late, you’ve probably heard that the city of Boston, located in Massachusetts, has been in talks to raise the legal age to purchase cigarettes and tobacco products to 21. The current age limit is 18, but many feel that’s much too young of an age to allow people to make sure serious and damaging decisions about their health.

What’s more is that it’s not just Boston that has gone for this idea; now, the entire state of Massachusetts is also considering changing the age, and if it does, there’s speculation that other states will quickly follow suit.

As of now, close to 60 representatives and senators have signed a bill agreeing to raise the tobacco age limit to 21. The bill also stipulates the consequences for those who are caught selling tobacco to minors, including fines of up to $100 for the first offense alone. While the original hearing regarding this bill was held back in July of 2015, no firm decision has been made yet either way, though a decision is expected sometime in the new year.

It’s interesting to note that this big change, which could go statewide, was all started by a little community known as Needham eleven years ago. This community, a suburb in the heart of Boston, wanted to promote healthy living, especially among young people, so it imposed a local ordinance that raised the tobacco-buying age to 21. In the years since, many other communities have done the same, and countless others have tried to implement such a law.

It’s amazing that such big changes could come from such small ones, but as tobacco products of all sorts become more relevant, people are really seeing the need to raise the smoking age. If the law is passed, it would ban those under 21 from purchasing not just cigarettes but also cigars, smokeless tobacco, and even those ever-popular e-cigs that young people everywhere seem to be using these days.

While it’s unclear, as of now, if the statewide law will be passed, if it is, legislators are expecting it to be implemented in either February or March. And, if the law is passed, Massachusetts won’t be the first to raise the tobacco buying age. Hawaii made this decision back in June, but if Massachusetts is added to the list, most say it’s only a matter of time before all the other states fall in line.

Those who are pushing hard for the law to pass are regularly bringing up the fact that a whopping 90% of people who currently smoke daily report that they began smoking before they were 19. These supporters of the new law explain that if smoking can start later, it may not start at all

Young smokers and supporters of the new law alike are waiting eagerly to hear how things turn out, but most are speculating that the law will be passed. As with all things related to the law, however, only time will tell!

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London, UK - November 29 2015: Two girls carrying a big billboard with the words "Climate revolution" on it. Shot during the Climate March in London.

Climate Change Protest in Albany

Hundreds of activists across the state of New York are marching to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s state of Address of Wednesday to combat worldwide climate change. They will demand that the state move away from its use of non-renewable energy like fossil fuels.

It can be noted that the governor has done a good job so far and has a decent environmental record, but as usual there is always cause for more to be done. Activists have stated that they want the state to push forward with 100 percent clean and renewable energy. While Cuomo has made it his own goal to make renewable energy a priority he has also subsidized coal power plants at the same time and been on board with building new infrastructure for fossil fuel fixtures.

Action Being Taken

Mark Dunlea, who is the head of this movement has said that “We think he should say this type of construction does not meet the water quality standards that we have in New York State, and that we’re going to say ‘no more’ to these pipelines.”

This is in regards to the proposed pipelines being built. He feels that this will help them in regards to a short term monetary gain, but in the long run there is more potential in solar energy and renewables.  Though there may be some money to be made with adding existing infrastructure he argues more money will be made from renewable energies.

Full commitment is going to create more jobs and help speed up the process. New York Attorney general Eric Schneiderman pledged his support and has been met with support from the protestors.

Taking the Lead from Paris

A few months prior there was a push for this in Paris. The Paris agreement was met and needs to be upheld and that is what they are pushing for in New York. The eventual goal is to let the maximum temperature rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius.  Even if every country was to go along with this there’s the fact that the entire planet could still warm by 3.5 Celsius degrees, which is far over any rate that the world has experienced per pre-industrial levels.

There is around 45 organizations that helped organize the last protest and will be involved with the newest protest. It is targeting the Albany legislature with multiple demands that range from creating new jobs for clean energy and cutting back support for fossil fuel based initiatives.

Some of their specific demands call for going for 100 percent clean by 2050. Meanwhile there will smaller goals in between for the upcoming years to stay on track.

Governor Cuomo has recently announced that they would like to be at 50 percent by 2030 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent. The protest would help push these announcements to not only be lip service, but to put them into law instead. If this were bound by law then there would be an even greater leg to stand on for the protestors.

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DAvid Cohen DIes

David Cohen, Ex-Common Cause Chief, Dies At 79

President of Common Cause, fighter for post-Watergate laws on ethics, self-proclaimed, highly skillful lobbyist, Mr. David Cohen passes away at the age of 79 in Westport, Conn., on the 29th of November, 2015. The cause of his death was reported to be a heart attack.

 

Mr. David Cohen was most popularly known for his involvement in stimulating resistance to the war in Vietnam through the means of non – profit group, Common Cause. He joined Common Cause in the year, 1971 – a year after it was originally founded by John W. Gardner. The group’s rank increased from 4,000 members to 250,000 within a span of five years while ending up being the nation’s largest nonpartisan citizen’s lobby.

 

Though David Broder, a Washington Post columnist, penned down in 1977 that the agenda of Common Cause was “redolent of an unacknowledged bias for middle-class activism.” He also gave credit to the organization to have “more impact on changing and opening up the political system than any other group in America in recent years.”

 

But, Mr. David Cohen’s primary vision with regard to Common Cause was to successfully broaden the definition of lobbyist from an overpaid, surreptitious replacement for ravenous personal interest individuals to the kind that works towards promoting relevant public causes.

 

Mr. David Cohen went heights to achieve this vision while also characterizing his profession as “prophetic and priestly.” He believed that public interest lobbyists especially remain worried about the incorporation of the views of people who don’t normally have to do anything with the process.”

 

In fact, he went on saying to the Pacific Standard Magazine back in 2013 that, “We all know the cartoon character of the fat guy with a big cigar passing out oodles of money. That’s not the full story or anything close to it. Lobbying is about representing people’s interests as they work to redress their public grievances. We all have special interests, and they should not be dismissed or castigated.”

 

Being born and brought up in Philadelphia, he was a son of Joseph Cohen and Gertrude Schwab – former European immigrants. He did specialization  in history from Philadelphia-based Temple University and further graduated in the year, 1958. As he grew older, he moved to Washington in order to fulfil his dreams of becoming a legislative representative for the liberal Americans for Democratic Action. He and his wife, Mrs. Florence Cohen, partially owned Politics & Prose, a popular Washington bookstore.

 

Mr. David Cohen is survived by two children – a son, Denis P. Cohen (former assistant district attorney) and a daughter, Sherrie Cohen, who is a trial lawyer.

 

His idea of an effective lobbyist was someone who “listens all the time, for signals, for code words, for clues,” adding, “Even within the framework of something you are advocating, there is room for difference and room for finding different ways to get to the same place.”

 

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Mtchmaking

Matchmaking Could Be Lucrative?

After just doing research on Sugar Babies where young women advertise themselves on a website to attract older men with money, it is quite interesting to research and explore matchmakers whose ultimate goal is to find their client a mate to marry and live happily ever after. Encounters are big business. Everyone is a certified Life Coach, Dating Expert, Matchmaker, etc these days or know of someone who believes they are an expert in human relations and should charge for it.

 

I understand marriage counselors charging an arm and leg for their service because they have material to actually work with in order to help the couple in need to adjust and reconnect to continue strengthening their union. However, a matchmaker does not have much to go on with two strangers who are presenting their best representative upfront as opposed to who they really are. I, myself, was a matchmaker in Los Angeles for a brief time. One couple got married and miraculously they are still together. I think I just got lucky on that one. I did not charge because they were both friends of mine looking for someone special. I introduced them, they moved in together within a few months of dating, got married, and now have two kids. What technique did I use to put the two together? They were both Capricorn, serious types, educated, business-minded, love the same music, love to travel, she was an entertainment attorney, and he was in publicity. What they did not have in common was he loved to go out and party while she was bored with the Hollywood scene. He was flashy and she preferred to never draw any attention to herself. I thought they would be perfect for each other to balance each other out. They became best friends immediately.

 

Now when I attempted to actually take on a paying client, it was very difficult. He was an extremely good-looking Beverly Hills chiropractor. I met with him at his office and interviewed him. He wrote me a check to find him a wife. The pressure was on. As I was searching for his Mrs. Right, he decides to give me a call one night to tell me he wants actress Megan Fox. Not a woman who just looks like Megan Fox, he actually wanted to pay me a bonus to get the real Megan Fox. I asked why. He said she is The One. Oh God. Fortunately, Megan Fox got married that following weekend to actor Brian Austin Green. My doctor was so disappointed. I knew I was not going to be able to find another Megan Fox to satisfy him. I gave up. I just stuck to being a liaison in business where I match business associates with one another to make money together. That is safer and easier. However, I have not figured out a way to charge for this service.

 

Patti Stanger of the Millionaire Matchmaker charges quite a bit for her service. Her clients have to show proof that they are, indeed, millionaires and they have to pay her upfront. Stanger came from a long line of matchmakers, so she is a guru at it matching couples together full-time. However, Stanger has been receiving much criticism for having two failed engagements in her own personal life. The Bravo TV network canceled her show. I am a strong believer that there are amazing doctors out there who have saved many lives, but it is impossible to operate on yourself or properly diagnosed yourself. Stanger is a great matchmaker, charging a lot of money for her service and she deserves it.

 

She uses astrology in her process to bring people together and her gift for simply understanding how humans operate. I respect her craft. When I have a few million in the bank, I might hire her for myself. Others have developed apps now and websites for matchmaking such as PIQ, eHarmony, Match.com, Tinder, and the list continues. Some of these are free sites and others charge a monthly fee. I have friends who are addicted to online dating. And all of the designers of those apps and sites are making a very pretty penny. Love is big business and it will never go out of style.

 

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Volkswagen Being Sued By Chinese Environmentalists

Diesel scandal. Concept related to cheating in pollution emission tests.

In September of 2015,  it was public news that Volkswagen had evidence that emissions testing had been falsified. This emission cheating scandal affects over eleven billion Volkswagen cars worldwide. Of those eleven billion of cars around three point two billion were sold to China alone. The amount of cars that are affected have made this a matter of public interest according to The China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation. The group posted on their website that they had filed for a public interest suit against the Volkswagen industry. The lawsuit was filed in the city of Tianjin, which is located on the eastern port side of China. The group states Volkswagen “produced the problematic vehicles for the pursuit of higher profits and circumvented Chinese laws, which has worsened the air pollution and has affected public health and rights.”

 

Do they have a case? Well on January 1, 2015,  China revised the Environmental Protection Laws which allowed Chinese environmental activists to start their goals to help reduce the amount of pollution in China. There are towns dubbed with the name ‘cancer villages.’ Just since October there have been a total of twenty five lawsuits filed by different environmental agencies and groups in China. China is one of the most polluted places on the earth. Some citizens have to wear masks just walking around due to the intense smog build up. China has some of the most lenient emissions laws. Now that the EPL’s have changed so have the activists strides against pollution in China. With the recent Volkswagen emission scandal, no breaks will be given. The actual amount of cars that were sold to China using the misleading software is only about 1,950 out of the 3.2 billion. Still it does pose a risk for the Volkswagen company as this could be the beginning of many more public interest lawsuits to come not just from China but other countries around the world. Cheating on emissions is nothing to fool around with and if Volkswagen knowingly did so consequences would be great. This is one of Germany’s largest industries and could possibly affect German jobs. However, Volkswagen is not directly to blame for China’s out of control pollution problems.

 

Volkswagen has taken actions to rectify the rigged software and those responsible. For the cars that have already been sold they have a plan to update all software on those whose vehicles were affected. German executives have apologized to China directly and the Guangzhou auto show. The former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigned as a result of this scandal. Though the industry has made efforts to fix this situation it is going to be a long road. Volkswagen is aware of the lawsuit but a representative stated they have not received any on it yet.

 

It will be interesting to see what will happen with this lawsuit. More than likely Volkswagen will be charged with some minor offense and fines will have to be paid but nothing beyond that. China is already so polluted by their own doing that this case will not be the biggest set in by this and many more China environmentalists groups.

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The Most Bizarre Sentences Handed Out By Judges

It is popularly said that if you want justice, wait for the next world because here, it is the law that works. This means that judges are left to use their interpretation of the law to determine sentences, and some have gotten their crazy side of the brain working on overdrive.

The most famous of the crazy judges, Michael Cicconetti, has publicly said that since we can’t stone criminals anymore, justice is all about ensuring that they learn from their mistakes. While this could appear as a subtle comment, this judge clearly indicates that bizarre sentences are necessary because they are the only way criminals can learn from their mistakes.

Here are some of the most bizarre sentences handed out by judges who also believe in the Michael Cicconetti school of thought.

Mandatory Vasectomy

While family planning is a personal and optional decision, a judge decided to force a suspect to get a vasectomy, even when his case did not entail sexual assault. Jessie Lee Herald was charged with hit and run, child endangerment and driving on a suspended license. Instead of serving six years and eight months, his judge offered to reduce the sentence by 5 years only if Herald agreed to get a vasectomy.

Six Month Curfew For A Man Too Tall For Jail

Jude Medcalf fired a BB gun in a woman’s window and stole Christmas presents and Tea money from an NHS office. These crimes landed him in trouble, after which he was sent to jail. Unfortunately or rather fortunately for Medcalf, he was too big for jail. Standing at 7ft and 2 inches tall, Medcalf could not fit in jail clothes or bed, a problem that earned him his way out in just 75 days.

The judge instead sent him on a 6-month curfew and 12-month community order.

Feminine Dressing For Males

23-year-old Jason Householder and 21-year-old John Stockum were accused of throwing beer bottles at a woman in a car. As punishment, Judge David Hostetler gave the boys two options, 60 days in jail or one hour of walking down through downtown Coshocton in dresses, wigs and makeup. The boys chose to dress like women.

As much as these weird punishment was to teach the boys to respect women, critics says that these boys could have alternatively used this moment to have fun, based on their character.

Forced Singlehood For 3 Years

24-year-old Steven Cranley was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend. After a medical examination, doctors declared him unable to deal with rejection, consequently causing Judge Rhys Morgan to order him to refrain from any intimate romantic relationship for 3 years.

Cranley seemed to be doing well until halfway through his sentence when he assaulted a female acquaintance. This time the judge decided to put him behind bars for 2 years.

As much as some of these sentences seem bizarre, you can tell that some of these judges had genuine intentions at heart. Sometimes, you can only understand the severity of an offense when you are subjected to almost similar conditions that you put your victims in.

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YesCarolina Builds Entrepreneurship Center in Charleston

YesCarolina, a nonprofit that trains South Carolina teachers to teach the principles of entrepreneurship to students, is raising funds to construct a $100,000 in Charleston to better serve the Lowcountry’s youth.

The concept for the building includes space for 4 classrooms for student and teacher instruction, 4 offices for YesCarolina personnel, 2 libraries with business/entrepreneurship related literature for teachers and students, and 150-seat auditorium, a conference room, and a board room.

The new center will be a site for after-school education programs, teacher training, mentor programs, and competitions.

Over the years, YesCarolina has gained a favorable reputation as a force for good among the state’s youth. One of their main programs is teacher training, a four-day course that equips South Carolina 6-12 grade teachers with the knowledge and experience to guide students in their quest to business success. The teacher training curriculum was created by Steve Mariotti, founder of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) and winner of the Golden Lamp Award from the Association of Education Publishers. YesCarolina has trained over 825 teachers since 2004.

Teachers who participate in the program receive a certificate recognizing them as certified entrepreneurship teachers and earn up to 26 contact hours, which they put toward the renewal of their South Carolina teaching credential.

YesCarolina helps students who might otherwise never discover entrepreneurship. It focuses on experiential learning, giving students the knowledge, skills, and tools to become entrepreneurs and build their own successful businesses. The organization hopes that all the youth in the state can be exposed to the principles of entrepreneurship.

The nonprofit places special emphasis on rescuing struggling youth. Many of the students who participate in YesCarolina programs have struggled with math and English. Certified teachers help them their skills and interests and develop a business plan based on their passion.

Students interested in learning entrepreneurship can approach certified teachers, who receive textbooks, workbooks, lesson plans, and multimedia resources from YesCarolina. Interested students who engage in this study are then eligible to participate in YesCarolina-sponsored business plan competitions.

Students who progress beyond the classroom and state levels of the competition qualify for the national competition. Recently, a YesCarolina student won second place at the national level competition in Silicon Valley and went on to meet the President of the United States.

The top students from the county and state competitions are invited to a six-week mentorship program during which they learn important entrepreneurship principles like competitive advantage and building a pipeline. YesCarolina works hand-in-hand with real entrepreneurs in the area. Ultimately, the program helps the participating young men and women put their business plans into action and acquire seed money.

YesCarolina is making headway into the building of the entrepreneurship center. It’s partnered with MatchingFund.org to raise the $100,000 necessary to realize the project. So far, four donors have given a total of $25,000. Anonymous donors from MatchingFund pledge to give matching donations of up to $25,000 if the campaign meets its goals.

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Georgia Pacific Donates to the Kids in Need Foundation

In the United States, more than 16 million children live in poverty. A good education is essential for building a successful career and making it in life, but poverty-stricken students face many obstacles–including the lack of access to school supplies.

The Kids in Need Foundation (KINF) is striving to help students and their teachers in this department. It’s an organization dedicated to providing free school supplies for children who need the help. Thanks to donations from manufacturers and retailers, KINF has established “resource centers” across the nation. These are stores are stocked with learning supplies–everything from paper and pencils to backpacks and educational software.

The donated supplies never enter a warehouse. Instead, they go straight to the resource centers. Teachers who may pick up free supplies from resource centers work for prequalified schools at which at least 70 percent of the student body is eligible for the federal free and reduced lunch program.

KINF performs a very important work in low-income communities. Their website recounts experiences of students living in homeless shelters who developed trust in their teachers and began attending class regularly thanks to the learning supplies made available through the National Network of Resource Centers program.

 

Now, US Company Georgia Pacific is contributing to the cause.

 

Based out of Atlanta, GP is a major manufacturer of paper products. Their diverse set of products includes napkins, paper towels, tissue, printer paper, building products, and tissue. Although the Corporation’s name may not be so well known to the general public, its many famous brands include Brawny, Dixie, Angel Soft, and Quilted Northern.

On October 28, GP announced that it would be donating $365,000 to KINF, along with a large quantity of paper products. The cash and paper will be used to stock Resource Centers across the nation.

GP is helping fill a major void. One in five students is unable to afford basic school supplies as a result of family economic conditions. When students are unprepared for school, they’re less attentive. Many teachers are now spending as much as $500 dollars of their own money every year to help students in need.

The donation from GP will allow KINF to continue its work among schools. In 2014, the foundation provided over 4 million children with school supplies.

There have been many success stories related to KINF and its Resource Centers. In December of last year, KINF was in Arkansas providing backpacks full of school supplies to children in low-income neighborhoods.

Earlier that year, the foundation brought Christmas early to Mayflower Elementary School in Conway, Arkansas when it gave supplies to the student body of 426. This came after a tornado had ravaged the area and brought immense financial distress to many families.

Georgia Pacific and the Kids in Need Foundation are helping change the lives of millions of young people throughout the country. The recent donation will help students acquire confidence and move forward with hope toward a brighter future.

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