October 2012 Archives

A charter school teacher with a reputation for inspiring students collapsed unexpectedly in her science classroom Tuesday, reports Kare 11. She died later the same day in the hospital reported the Star Tribune.
The Pioneer Press reports that Lori Blomme, 40, lost consciousness in front of her students at Northeast Minneapolis school Menlo Park Academy on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Sources at the Pioneer Press said she informed students she was "feeling faint" prior to the collapse.
Kare 11 reports her students were moved to the gym while paramedics attempted to revive Blomme. Students returned slowly to their normal school schedule Wednesday, said Kare 11.
The Star Tribune reports Blomme lived in south Minneapolis and leaves behind a husband and two daughters, ages 6 and 8. Her funeral is Friday at Church of the Holy Name, 3637 11th Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Officials on the Persian Gulf island of Bahrain have prohibited all rallies and demonstrations in the nation, reports the New York Times.
According to the Bahrain News Agency, Bahrain Interior Minister Lieutenant-General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said any "illegal rally or gathering" would result in legal actions against those calling for and participating it. Al Khalifa also stated anyone connected with "such irregularities" could be deemed accountable in legal proceedings.
The LA Times reports that protests have become commonplace in Bahrain for more than a year as dissidents accuse the Sunni Muslim monarchy of police abuses and marginalization of Shiite Muslims in the region. Amnesty International told the LA Times that many "prisoners of conscience" remain jailed in Bahrain today.
An interpretation of the Interior Ministry's official statement released to the Bahrain News Agency stated, "rallies and gatherings have been associated with violence, rioting and attacks on public and private property," and that they "were a major threat to the safety of the public."
Critics of the Bahraini government's move told the LA Times that few protestors have resorted to violence and that suppression of demonstrations will only fuel growing unrest. Human Rights Watch, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said the Bahraini government has attacked peaceful demonstrators with tear gas in the past, reports the LA Times.
President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights Maryam Khawaja told the LA Times, "If the government doesn't allow any kind of peaceful protest, if it always attacks and suppresses them, of course it's going to turn into something else."
The United States has so far sided with the Bahraini government. According to the New York Times the strategic value of this backing is due to Bahrain's bulwark value against its neighbor Iran. The New York Times reports critics have called this an act of hypocrisy.

Analysis: Fox News vs. National Public Radio

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For this analysis, I considered the differences and similarities between National Public Radio and Fox News via their websites and associated multi-media used throughout them.
Both media outlets have home page designs that somewhat resemble a traditional newspaper's front page. The white background is covered by black text, columns and eye-catching images. In the case of both sites tonight, the largest and most central of images relate to Hurricane Sandy and the evacuations it has caused. Both sites also contain many links that re-direct the reader to articles, photo slideshows and videos.
Fox News has an array of video links, and those videos tend to be unaccompanied by additional reporting or a transcript in plain text. NPR, on the other hand, has a lot of its radio programs linked to the site and a reader can listen to these special reports or full episodes of radio shows through a pop-up window. NPR has a section of their site devoted to music, and also seems to make use of more photo slide shows where Fox News opts for video reports.
Overall the reporting styles are varied. Many of the news topics are shared, though even Fox's regular print news stories seem to be written for a television audience's eyes. NPR has more focus on arts and entertainment.

The Houston Chronicle reported Ukrainians headed to the polls Sunday to vote on 450 parliamentary seats.
Business Week reported opinion polls show the Party of Regions, a group that formerly oversaw the Soviet republic in conjunction with the Communists and is connected to current President Viktor Yanukovych, winning the parliamentary majority.
Voice of America reports many Ukrainians see this election as an opportunity to test the level of democracy Ukraine has risen to in comparison with its former Soviet neighbors Russia and Belarus. Voice of America also stated that opposition challenges to Yanukovych may call his authoritarian power into question.
Voice of America reports that as many as 3,500 foreign observers have arrived in Ukraine to oversee the voting process of the country whose population is only 46-million.
Ukrainians appear skeptical of voting methods according to Voice of America who cited a poll from earlier this month where 47 percent of those asked thought voting obstacles could have enough of an impact as to affect the eventual election outcome.

Four Shot, Injured Outside Minneapolis Night Club

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Police told Kare 11 that four people were shot early Saturday morning as a Franklin Avenue bar was closing.
The Star Tribune reports Sgt. Steve McCarty of the Minneapolis police said two women and two men were hit by the shots.
Police also told Kare 11 that bouncers were working to empty the club using a chemical irritant spray when the shooter opened fire outside.
None of the injuries are life threatening and no suspects have been arrested as of present, reports the Star Tribune.

The University of Minnesota chose to not renew a lease at its equine center with a service group for people with disabilities, reports the Minnesota Daily.
The nonprofit organization We Can Ride, which offers therapeutic horseback sessions for disabled children and adults, had been using the U's Leatherdale Equine Center since its opening year in 2007, reports the Daily.
The U chose to not extend the lease, which expires Oct. 31, due to accreditation and space issues, cited the Daily from a letter to program participants penned by the U's College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Trevor Ames.
To honor their time spent at the U, We Can Ride will host an appreciation event Oct. 20 from six to eight p.m. at the University equine center, according to their website.
Justin Paquette of the University's Academic Health Center told the Minnesota Daily demand for space at the Equine Center is increasing alongside growth of equine research and studies at the U.
We Can Ride will continue offering services for riders, though they will relocate in November to Hastings, Minn. reports the Minnesota Daily. The new location will be approximately 30 miles from its current home at the Equine Center.
According to the Minnesota Daily, the decision reached between the University and We Can Ride was ultimately considered friendly by both sides.

Rome Bans Snacking at Historic and Cultural Sites

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A recently enacted municipal ordinance bans eating at sites of "particular historic, artistic, architectonic and cultural value" in Rome, Italy, reports the New York Times.
Sites covered by the ban include much of the city center and in particular landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps, reports the New York Times.
The Huffington Post reports fines for violating the ordinance range from €25 to €500, or $32 to $645.
The ordinance also bans camping and "setting up makeshift beds" near monuments, reported the New York Times.
The municipal council member responsible for tourism in Rome, Antonio Gazzellone, admitted alcohol may have played a role in the regulation's adoption. "There were people camped out, and we were't able to move them," Gazzellone said to the New York Times.
Bans intended to guard the city's beauty are not new to Rome. In September, Roman officials removed and banned love locks attached to Ponte Milvio after already enacting a €50 fine to those caught attaching locks, reported the Huffington Post.
As the new law is written, it must be renewed at the end of the year to continue, reported the New York Times.
Gazzellone told the New York Times he hopes the law need not apply, "because it means that citizens and guests to Rome have understood how to behave. I hope we don't make a penny -- because it means the city is being respected in its beauty."

A former Central Intelligence Agency officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to one charge of disclosing the name of an undercover CIA agent, reported Reuters.
The man, John Kirakou, is expected to serve 2 1/2 years in a minimum-security prison reported The Washington Post. Reuters said this instance marks the first time in 27 years an American has been jailed for exposing the identity of an undercover CIA operative.
Kiriakou has a history of aiding journalists by supplying information about CIA practices including waterboarding and specifically the interrogation of al Qaeda agent Abu Zubaydah, reports Reuters.
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema told Reuters the ruling was "reasonable under the circumstances" as it was the same sentence given to I Lewis "Scooter" Libby, a former White House aide who blew a CIA officer's cover in 2007. Libby was spared prison as Bush minimized his sentence, said Reuters.
The Justice Department agreed to drop four other charges against Kiriakou, including that he had lied to the CIA's publication review board regarding the contents of his memoir prior to publishing, reports The Washington Post.
Previously, Kiriakou pleaded not guilty to all charges, stating that he had never knowingly shared classified information, reported The Washington Post. According to The Washington Post, the charges eventually leveraged against him stemmed from e-mail exchanges with reporters and responses to FBI agents' claims he had disclosed confidential information.


This story's lead begins with a broad statement that editorializes the consequences of what the story's title already tells its reader: that the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has locked out its musicians in the midst of a labor dispute. The 2nd paragraph introduces what the news is: two orchestras in the Twin Cities were locked out of their practices Sunday night in connection with contract negotiation disputes.
Following these introductory paragraphs, the article explains the recent history of lockouts for both the SPCO and the Minnesota Orchestra. After that explanation there comes a quote from SPCO President Dobson West that demonstrates how far management and musicians are from acquiring an agreement and beginning performances again. Next, an explanation of a few other major cities' recent lockouts during union negotiations are recapped. Last in this segment of the story a musician and representative from the SPCO union is quoted on her opinion of the lock out.
Next, a subsection titled "Back and forth last week" recaps in detail the expiration dates and negotiation efforts made most recently. This section uses quotes and paraphrasing of interviewees to explain that this week is a "black-out week" where most musicians knew they would be locked out, so they found work in other concerts around the country and world.
The final paragraphs first capture musicians' critiques of the contract negotiations, stating musicians can not afford to take pay cuts, and that funding could instead come from higher ticket prices. Next comes a comment from the SPCO President that low ticket prices are essential to keep donors supporting the accessible orchestra. Last is broad, general information including what will happen to individuals who hold tickets for cancelled concert dates and info about future negotiation dates that may occur between the union and SPCO management.
The story is organized in a way that makes readers question how the orchestras' absences might affect their communities or the world's perception of the Twin Cities. It progresses from those sort of generalizations and somewhat broad comments to the specifics of negotiations, contract points of contention and what is yet to come. The entire article is organized logically, but I can see how reordering it to focus earlier in the piece on the two main critiques the union and its management have of one anothers' stakes in bargaining could lend itself better to capturing the audience's attention earlier in the article.

Economist and professor Al Roth received the congratulatory call from Switzerland at 3:30 a.m. that announced he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, reports the New Republic.
Roth shares the award with Lloyd Shapley, the man who developed the game theory that Roth's work is largely based in, reported the BBC.
The project Roth received the Nobel Prize for was coined in 1962 under the name "the stable marriage problem," said the BBC. The algorithm works by solving issues of matching pairs together in a way that either side will be content with the outcome. Its applications go beyond theoretically resolving singles' loneliness. Roth's algorithm has been applied to matching high school students in large cities such as New York to an appropriate school, and also to finding alternate matches for kidney donors hoping to save family members' lives reported Forbes.
"I've always been interested in using mathematics to make the world work better," said Roth to Forbes.

City Approves St. Paul Police Memorial Monument

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The St. Paul City Council accepted a proposal Wednesday for a memorial honoring 31 St. Paul police officers who have died in the line of duty reports Minn Post.
The interactive memorial will include an iPad able to display information about each of the fallen officers said Minn Post. They reported that this monument will be erected inside the St. Paul police headquarters.
The St. Paul Police Historical Society reports they have raised $20,000 so far for the monument and are seeking $5,000 more to fund the interactive part of the monument.
Kate Cavett, historian and treasurer of the St. Paul Police Historical Society, told Minn Post the goal is to have the monument prepared for Police Officers Memorial Week in May.
Cavett told Minn Post that the effort is working with Hand in Hand Productions, a company that creates oral histories.
She said the memorial has been designed with flexibility in mind. Specifically, she told Minn Post that the memorial will be designed with room for 15 more names and in a size that would be easy to move should the St. Paul police headquarters change locations.

A group of Christian leaders collaborated on a letter sent to Congress urging them to hold hearings to investigate whether Israel has violated the terms of U.S. foreign aid recipients, reports the Haaretz, citing concern "about the massive amounts of U.S. military aid for Israel, and how those funds are used to perpetuate occupation."
In response, Jewish leaders withdrew attendance from a scheduled Christian-Jewish Roundtable that was slated for October 22-23 in a public letter published on the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The letter states that anti-Zionism has gone "virtually unchecked" and that the Christian group's public letter to Congress was "a step too far."
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs aided in starting these meetings between Christian and Jewish leaders in 2004, reports the NYT. The meetings have focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to Makari. "The roundtable is a setting where we have discussed the very difficult issues of the Middle East together, where there are passionate perspectives expressed," Makari told Hareetz. "Different perspectives should not be a reason to suspend meeting; this is a setting where we should be present to discuss such issues, perhaps especially when we may not agree."
Jewish groups have invited representatives of the Christian churches who sent the letter to meet with top officials in a "summit" specifically addressing the situation. Christian leaders say they are considering, reported the New York Times.
The majority of organizations that penned the Christian letter are from Protestant churches, although other signers included the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Methodist Church, the National Council of Churches, the United Church of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker organization) and the Mennonite Central Committee and two Catholic representatives, reports the NYT.
The letter urged investigation of human rights violations committed only by Israel, a matter which has upset Jewish leaders further reports the NYT.
"Where's the letter to Congress about Syria, which is massacring its own people?" Rabbi Steven Wernick, the chief executive of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism told the NYT. "When Israel is the only one that is called to account, that's when it becomes problematic."
Foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority halted last year in connection to violations of the same agreement Christians are calling for investigation of in Israel. reports the NYT. Congress is currently re-evaluating aid to Egypt, said Makari.
Jewish leaders reported upset at "the lack of communication to Jewish partners in advance of the letter's release" in their public letter.
Ethan Felson, vice president and general counsel of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs told the NYT, "What we're seeing is people in the mainstream Jewish community, doves and hawks, who are really feeling at a point of exhaustion."

The Minnesota Department of Health has identified two new cases of fungal meningitis within the state, reports the Star Tribune. These instances raise Minnesota's total of confirmed meningitis infections to seven, amidst a national outbreak connected to contaminated steroids.
The newly diagnosed individuals have not been publicly identified by name. Assistant State Epidemiologist Richard Danila told MPR one of the individuals is a man in his 50s who is currently hospitalized after he received an epidural injection from the tainted methylprednisolene acetate. MPR reports that the other patient is a woman in her 40s who is currently receiving treatment after her contaminated epidural injection.
The seven identified cases in Minnesota have all been connected with two Twin Cities clinics: Medical Advanced Pain Specialists (Maps) and the Minnesota Surgery Center the Star Tribune reported.
None of the Minnesotans infected with fungal meningitis has been publicly identified reports the Star Tribune.
Nineteen deaths related to the outbreak have been reported in 15 states with a national total of 245 cases, reported the Star Tribune Wednesday.
A Massachusetts pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center, has been cited by the Star Tribune as the outbreak's origin site through three contaminated batches of steroids.
Officials reported to the Star Tribune that an estimated 1,000 Minnesotans were likely exposed to the contaminated lots through steroid injections.

North Korean Reforms Fail to Address Country's Poor

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North Korean citizens continue to struggle to afford rising food prices despite reports by aid groups, diplomats and others that the country has started showing signs of modernization.
Specifically, the capital city Pyongyang has been regarded by some academics as pushed toward a more functional model of society.
Citizen opinions differ from these statements. A reporter with the NYT interviewed several citizens who were unwilling to share their full name for fear of repercussions.
A 50-year old woman named Mrs. Park told the NYT, "People were hopeful that Kim Jong-un would make our lives better, but so far they are disappointed."
Ten months have passed since Kim Jong-un replaced his father Kim Jong-il as leader of North Korea. In that time food prices have steeply risen. The Telegraph reports that the price of staples--such as rice--have more than doubled between June and August 2012 according to North Korean defector groups.
The contrast in lifestyles between rich and poor North Koreans is apparent in Pyongyang, where 52-year-old pig farmer Mrs. Kim told the NYT of her struggle to maintain her pig farm and a secret enterprise of trading homemade liquor with wholesale purchasers.
"Why would I care about the new clothing of government officials and their children when I can't feed my family?" Kim asked. She explained her and neighbors' struggles combatting malnutrition that has become a persistent part of life for many citizens.
Kim Jong-un approved a defiant rocket launch this April that closed down food aid offers from the United States. Millions remain unemployed as shortages of fuel, electricity and other materials leave factories closed. Some organizations blame speculation as individuals hoard staples in preparation for the release of reforms to market prices, reports the NYT.
Stricter border patrol controls have been reported under Kim Jong-un, making more difficult the escape of some North Koreans to China and South Korea. Measures have included the addition of 20,000 new guards and the installation of miles of electric fences along the border, Open Radio for North Korea told the NYT.
Cell phone restrictions still confine calls to only those made within the country, though outside information has trickled in to North Korea in recent years including the secret distribution of South Korean soap operas. NYT interviews with North Koreans unveiled a current of distaste toward societal inequalities that have risen in current years. These conversations suggested a shift in citizens' acceptance of North Korean propagandists' declarations of the importance of "juche" or self-reliance.
The impact of Kim Jong-un's reforms to North Korean markets is not yet concretely established. The difficulty of access to sources in the country is a factor in determining the current state of prosperity of the majority of North Korean citizens.

The Guardian article, "What is killing sugar-cane workers across Central America?" makes use of a variety and decent number of sources. Most seem to be either credible or relevant to the topic at hand and for the most part either lend scientific perspective or a human angle to the piece.
Reporter Will Storr spoke with seven sugar cane plantation workers or their family members. Their quotes are sprinkled throughout the story which makes for a cohesive piece that reads with a smooth flow. Storr also quotes three researchers from separate universities with varying levels of knowledge on kidney health and disease. Storr's interview with an El Salvadorian doctor whose focus is studying the disease the article centers on is another relevant interview.
He also pulls in some facts about the global economic standing of the El Salvadorian sugar cane industry without direct attribution which could be problematic if reports vary. A quote from a report by health minister María Isabel Rodríguez give some context to the article as does information accompanied by a quote from a spokesman for Nicaragua Sugar Estates.
The writer used an unconventional approach to include interviewee's quotes by directly including his own voice within the exchange of an interview. This style of writing could be seen as lazy on Storr's part, but also does personalize the story by painting a more human and transparent image of the newsgathering process. Overall, the quantity and quality of sources in this piece is solid, though at times informal.

Broad security measures are in consideration by a U.S. judge for the military tribunal that will sentence the five prisoners charged in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Proceedings began Saturday at a Guantánamo military tribunal. The opening tribunal resulted in no defendant's submission of a plea. Delays were acknowledge as likely by the judge prior to the trial's tentative May 2013 date.
Possible protections from security breaches could include barring the accused from publicly discussing their treatment while in custody at overseas CIA prisons, reports the Associated Press.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion against this possible judicial order on May 2. The motion stated that the censorship was founded on "a chillingly Orwellian claim" reported the Miami Herald. The Herald also reported First Amendment lawyer David Schulz's urging of the release of "substantial probability" of harm to national security in his objection motion filed May 16.
If the protective order stands it will require the use of a 40-second delay of court proceedings recordings to censor sensitive information. Spectators of the trial will be seated behind sound-proof glass, and therefore unable to hear any parts of trial prior to censorship.
The residing judge must decide whether the order will stand or not prior to any further development of the trial reports the Associated Press.

Syria released a statement officially banning commercial Turkish flights over Syrian territory Sunday, mimicking a similar ban by Turkey on Syrian air transport.
The neighboring countries and former allies have seen a growing strain on their relations over the past year, reports the BBC's James Reynolds.
In June Syria shot down a Turkish warplane, reportedly on accident, after the jet crossed into Syrian airspace. Al Jazeera reported that a Syrian passenger jet was intercepted by Turkey on Wednesday on charges of carrying Russian munitions intended for the Syrian army.
Multiple days of armed conflict along the border resulted in the death of five Turkish civilians last week, reports the BBC.
The Turkish government endorsed support of Syrian opposition in a call for the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
According to the Syrian Arab News Agency the Russian ambassador in Damascus has discussed the creation of a Syrian-Turkish security committee to maintain safety on each side of the border with regards to national sovereignty of both countries following these developments. Al Jazeera reports that no records show this conversation to involve Turkey at present.

Get Out the Vote Campaign Gets Personal

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Efforts from both Obama and Romney's campaign teams are focused on unprecedented amounts of personal data to strategically increase voter turnout this November.
In a format similar to telemarketing by credit card companies both parties will make use of a breadth of information including voters' home foreclosures, preferred vacation spots and their online porn viewing history, reports the New York Times.
This sort of data allows both sides to tailor ads for individuals on social media sites based on such criteria as their religious and moral opinions as calculated by data mining technologies.
The campaigns differ in their targeted audiences, though both seem focused on a strategic increase in voter turnout in contested swing states.
The Wall Street Journal reports statistics that Democrats outnumber Republicans in voter registration in five of the six swing states. The Democrat ticket's advantage isn't as dramatic as it was in 2008, but is still expanding.
Private analytic firms have led Romney's campaign strategy in the creation of persuasive voting ads more than Nov. 6 poll turnout demands reports the New York Times.
Still both camps will increase phone calls and pressure via social media outlets like Facebook regarding getting to the polls in the next several weeks. Popular strategies include asking voters how and when they will get to the ballot box. The actual answer isn't important to data gatherers, but the act of reflection on the part of the survey-taker is counted on to raise voter turnout levels.

Parents of Andrew Engeldinger, the man responsible for the Sept. 27 workplace shooting, recently admitted mental illness may have played a role in their son's episode that left six dead at a Minneapolis sign company.
Chuck and Carolyn Engeldinger recalled their son's happy childhood being followed by dramatic changes in attitude toward the end of his high school years. According to Engeldinger's parents he began experimenting heavily with drugs and alcohol his junior and senior years of high school.
They suspect schizophrenia as a possible cause of their son's violent outburst. According to the couple, there is a history of the hereditary mental illness in their family.
Aside from a brief stint with anti-depressants, Engeldinger denied his parents' requests that he seek mental health treatment. He was never officially diagnosed with a mental illness, though his parents noted him display strange behaviors including fears of his being followed.
Prior to his death the Engeldingers had not spoken to their son in almost two years. Briefly before losing touch with him, the couple enrolled in a 12-week course sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for those close to individuals with mental health problems reports Fox News.
Police discovered at least three anti-depressant drug prescriptions in Engeldinger's name in a search of his home after the shooting. Minnesota Public Radio reported that authorities have not officially stated whether mental illness played a part in the crime.
Carolyn and Chuck Engeldinger have been collaborating with Sue Abderholden, executive director of the Minnesota NAMI chapter. The Engeldingers told the Star Tribune they granted the interview to offer their son as a notable case to inspire society to prioritize identifying and aiding individuals struggling with mental illness.
"We tried so hard to get him help," Engeldinger's mother said. "We couldn't force him. But he was suffering terribly."

U of M Tuition Freeze Backed by Regents

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University of Minnesota President Eric W. Kaler's biennial budget request was approved Friday by the U of M Board of Regents.
The $1.18 billion biennial request is Kaler's first since taking office as U president. If successful, the budget will act as a bargain with state lawmakers.
Tuition freezes for resident undergraduates in academic years 2014 and 2015 are set to occur in exchange for an 8.4 percent increase of state funding to the U, $91.6 million more than the current biennium. That increase would return the U of M's state funding to 2001 levels, without taking into account inflation, reports the Star Tribune
"President Kaler's budget reflects a new tone, a new commitment and a new conversation, and I think all three are welcome," said U Regent Laura Brod prior to voting.
The budget does create commitments. The second year of funding locks $11.5 million into an "accountability fund" which the U could access once it has met three of five goals. These include increased financial aid for students, four and six year graduation rates and a minimum of 15,000 degrees in 2014, according to The University of Minnesota Daily.
The biennium also highlights state funding of University research in order to qualify for further federal funding.
Kaler's proposed budget will be presented to the state Legislature session this January.

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