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Amitabh-Farhan Duo Rocks in Wazir trailer! Open in new window
The Hindu
The much-awaited teaser of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar upcoming film, Wazir is finally out. Earlier the name of the film was initially titled 'Do' but later on the makers changed to Wazir.

Xi defends 'one-China' idea in Macau Open in new window
Source Icon BBC - South Asia
Chinese leader Xi Jinping visits Macau for the 15th anniversary of the territory's return to Chinese rule, reaffirming it is part of one China.

Sarpanch gunned down in Sopore Open in new window
The Hindu
Suspected militants on Saturday shot dead a sarpanch in Sopore township of north Kashmir?s Baramulla district.

After NDTV Interview, Diplomat Devyani Khobragade Loses Post Open in new window
Diplomat Devyani Khobragade at the centre of a bitter row with the United States has been stripped of her duties over unauthorised statements to media, a government source and reports said on Saturday...

LeT receives adequate funding despite sanctions:India tells UN Open in new window
Deccan Herald
India has said that terror groups like LeT do not live on love and fresh air, expressing regret that they receive funds despite being slapped with sanctions by the UN, as the world body reaffirmed the need to cut the monetary lifeline of terrorists.India expressed concern that financing to terror groups is supplemented by illegal resources generated through drug trafficking, piracy, kidnapping for ransom and extortion even though the terror organisations are placed on the Councils sanctions list and are subject to travel bans, freezing of assets and an arms embargo.Listing of a terror group should cut off the lifeline that sustains terrorism. This, unfortunately, does not always happen, Indias Acting Permanent Representative to the UN Bhagwant Bishnoi said in an open debate in the Council on terrorism and cross-border crime.He said the LeT was able to orchestrate an attack on the Indian Consulate in Heart, Afghanistan in May this year despite being a listed organization.Lashker-e-Taiba obviously does not live on love and fresh air. They have more than adequate funding. Regrettably, there seems to be little that the Councils Sanction Committees can do about such violations of the sanction regime. This is area which would benefit from consideration by the Council, he said.He said apart from generating resources, illicit activities also create conditions for the growth and proliferation of terrorist networks.He cited the example of the revenue that is generated from poppy cultivation in Afghanistan that has more often than not found its way to the Taliban and other terrorist network in the war-torn country.Amid a proliferation of well-funded and well-organized transnational criminal activities, the Council adopted a resolution spotlighting its concern over the ties between cross-border crime and terrorism and called for international action to prevent terrorists from benefiting from transnational organized crime, through securing borders and prosecuting illicit networks.Recalling the Peshawar school massacre that left 148 people dead, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said the world had been reminded yet again this week why we must not tire in our efforts to counter terrorism, following the despicable attack on a school in Pakistan by the Taliban.He said terror groups like Boko Haram, Al-Qaida, the Taliban, and their sinister peers make it abundantly clear that the pervasive synergies between terrorism and cross-border crimes foster conflicts, prevent their resolution and increase the chance of relapse.He said that efforts to combat terrorism will not bear fruit unless the international community combines law enforcement actions with measures to strengthen good governance, rule of law and human rights.Pakistans representative Sahebzada Ahmed Khan said that his government would prevail in the fight against the scourge terrorism, adding that by killing the young school children in Peshawar, the terrorists had attacked the heart of the nation.In response, Pakistan will go after their jugular, he said.Khan said that while there was a difference between cross-border crime and organised crime, terrorists could nevertheless take advantage of a lack of border controls.He said he fully subscribed to the need for border control mechanisms. He said it is vital to build capacities of nations facing challenges of terrorism and all international efforts should also respect national sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.Pakistan mourns today but we will ensure the total annihilation of terrorists and their twisted ideologies.In the unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member Council said it is gravely concerned by the financing obtained by terrorist groups through illicit activities such as the trafficking of drugs, people, arms and artefacts and reaffirmed the international community's need to supress the monetary lifeline which keeps the terrorist threats active.The Council also stressed the importance of good governance and the need to fight against corruption, money-laundering and illicit financial flows.It underscored the importance of greater international cooperation in countering the world drug problem and related crimes, underlining that it must be addressed in a balance and multidisciplinary manner.Bishnoi said India has been a victim of terrorism for over two and a half decades and terrorism is the most heinous of crimes for which the international community can only have a policy of zero tolerance.Terrorism is an international phenomenon, it is international in its organization and international in its effects. International solidarity is required to meet an international threat. Countries that have been preyed upon by a global network of terrorism simply cannot cope with the challenge alone, he said.He said all terror groups, including Daesh (ISIS), Al Shabaab, LeT or the Al Qaida, have an ideological basis that contradicts the basic tenets of humanity.Ideology alone, however, is not enough to sustain terrorists. They need sustained financing and space to operate. That is, unfortunately, provided to them, he added.Bishnoi said there is potential for the Council to explore tools that would degrade the ability of terrorist groups to take advantage of cross border crimes.Given the gravity of the problem, and given its universality, we would urge open and complete consultation with member states who are not member of the Council as well.Bishnoi also drew attention to the unfinished business of finalising the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.The price that we pay for procrastination is in human lives. That should not be allowed to continue. Terrorism takes away the foremost of human rights, the right to life. It is truly a crime against humanity, he said.

Stephen Collins insists he is not a 'pedophile' Open in new window
Source Icon DNA - India
Stephen Collins has recently expressed that he is not a pedophile, despite confessing to sexually abusing three underage girls. During 60-year-old's first sit down interview since the scandal came under light, the American actor said that he does not fit the clinical or dictionary definition of a pedophile, as concluded by his therapist, reported. Collins insisted that the episode in 1973, where he made physical contact with one of the victims, stopped him from ever acting in the same way again and so he has no attraction towards children. ReportEntertainmentANIWashingtonHollywoodEntertainmentStephen CollinsscandalSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 3:06pmSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 3:06pm

Bill Cosby faces another 'drug abuse' claim by new woman Open in new window
Source Icon DNA - India
The problems does not seem to end for Bill Cosby as another woman has accused the actor for drugging her more than two decades ago. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the woman identified as Lisa, told her story on 'Dr. Phil' saying that she had built a friendship with Cosby after she was called in to audition for him when she was a model in the 1980s. The woman continued that she noticed herself getting a little dizzy when the 77-year-old comedian called her at his hotel suite. She said that Cosby had his legs open, and when she sat down, she was sitting down in between actor's legs with her back to his crotch and the actor then started to stroke her hair back in a petting motion. Lisa added that she trusted Cosby like she trusted her own father. ReportEntertainmentANIWashingtondrug abuseComedianHollywood ReporterHollywoodEntertainmentBill CosbySaturday, 20 December 2014 - 2:45pmSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 2:45pm

Flipkart files application to become public,raises USD 700 mn Open in new window
Deccan Herald
E-commerce major Flipkart today announced filing application with Singapore based companies regulator ACRA to become a public company after raising USD 700 million for long term strategic investments in India following which its number of investors exceeded 50.Flipkart Limited (incorporated at Singapore) has filed with ACRA Singapore for conversion to a Public Company. This is a mandatory procedure for all companies where the number of shareholders exceeds 50, Flipkart said in a statement.The USD 700 million fund raised by Flipkart added new investors - Baillie Gifford, Greenoaks Capital, Steadview Capital, T. Rowe Price Associates and Qatar Investment Authority - on companys board.Its existing investors DST Global, GIC, ICONIQ Capital and Tiger Global also participated in this latest financing round.The company said: This filing ensures we are in compliance with the laws of Singapore and is in no way indicative of any upcoming IPO or of any corporate activity that the company is engaged in either in Singapore or any other part of the world.Flipkart said the funds raised will be used towards long-term strategic investments in India and to build a world-class technology company, delivering superior customer experiences

Targeting taboos Open in new window
The Hindu
Andy Gonzales and Sophie Houser address gender issues through their game Tampon Run.

BJP betraying people of Rajasthan with VAT hike, says former CM Ashok Gehlot Open in new window
Source Icon DNA - India
Former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot criticised BJP-led state government's decision for increasing the Value Added Tax on petrol and diesel prices, saying that the party has betrayed the people of the state. BJP leaders have always criticised hike in VAT over petrol and diesel during the rule of Congress party and therefore have no rights to do the same, Gehlot said in a statement on Friday. He said that BJP which gained majority over its anti-inflation election agenda has betrayed the people of the state. Prices of petrol and diesel are regulated by the change in price of crude oil in the international markets, Gehlot said. The ministers of the party are taking all credits on their name but they must be aware that the citizens were not benefited from this cut in crude oil pricers in the international markets completely, he said. The former chief minister of the state said BJP had criticised VAT increase in their election manifesto. The Rajasthan government on Thursday increased four per cent VAT on petrol and diesel leading to an increase of Rs 1.98 in petrol and Rs 1.76 in diesel. As a result, petrol will cost Rs 66.28 per litre, while diesel will be priced at Rs 55.16 a litre in Jaipur. Petroleum and Diesel Association of Rajasthan has opposed the move of the government. ReportIndiaPTIJaipurCongressmanifestoGovernmentAshok Gehlotelection manifestopetrolpricediesel pricesState governmentRajasthan governmentpetroleumSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 3:35pmSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 3:35pm

Government to launch Rs 500 crore heritage development plan Open in new window
Source Icon DNA - India
With an aim of preserving and revitalising the soul of old cities, government will launch the Rs 500 crore heritage city development project in early 2015. National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) will be launched for 12 selected cities early next year, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said at a workshop organised in New Delhi for the project. The cities selected for the HRIDAY project are Amritsar, Varanasi, Gaya, Puri, Ajmer, Velankanni, Mathura, Kanchipuram, Dwarka, Badami, Warangal and Amravati. The cities selected under the scheme are symbolic of the broad diversity in the heritage prevalent in our country, in form of their cultural, regional and religious identities, he said, adding, More cities will be identified in due course based on joint consultations between Centre and states. As per the plan of action, steps will be taken to tap the unlimited potential underlying in tourism and heritage sector unleashing the power of skillful artisans and traditional economy. Our aim is to preserve the rich heritage and showcase them to the next generation as the contribution or achievements of our ancestors, he said. The project with a time-frame of three to five years and an outlay of Rs 500 crores in Phase 1 is expected to be launched next year. Naidu said the entire funding will be from the Centre and the cities will have to submit the detailed project report for this. HRIDAY will have four themes, physical infrastructure, institutional infrastructure, economic infrastructure and social infrastructure for reviving and revitalising the soul of heritage city. He said the project is also open to private participation. If any organisation wants to join it then it is OK because citizens' engagement shall be pivotal. A liitle effort on our side can create transformational changes, which will make the past, the present and the future generations of the country and the world proud of India, he said.  ReportIndiaPTINew DelhiHeritageInfrastructureVenkaiah NaiduAjmerAmritsarGayaDwarkaTourismVaranasiSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 2:30pmSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 2:50pm Rani ki Vaav is an 11th century stepwell in Patanfile

The life that Dec 16 juvenile convict leads now Open in new window
Source Icon Oneindia
New Delhi, Dec 20: He paints the picture of Cinderella, the one that he had smothered himself back in 2012. Described as the most brutal of the six persons who gangraped a medical student on a moving bus on December

Flipkart files application to become public, raises USD 700 mn Open in new window
The Hindu
E-commerce major Flipkart on Saturday announced filing application with Singapore based companies? regulator ACRA to become a public company after raising USD 700 million for long term strategic i...

Tata Steel honoured for corporate governance Open in new window
Source Icon DNA - India
Private steel major Tata Steel was conferred the prestigious Certificate of Recognition by the Institute of Companies Secretaries of India (ICSI) for its excellence in corporate governance. The steel giant, chosen among the top 5 companies in the country, was conferred the Certificate at a ceremony in New Delhi on Friday, a company release said on Saturday. Chanakya Chaudhary, Group Director, Corporate Communications and Regulatory Affairs, Tata Steel, received the Certificate from Union Minister for Law and Justice Sadananda Gowda. Earlier, Tata Steel had received the '2nd National Award for excellence in Corporate Governance' issued by the Institute in year 2002. ReportMoneyPTIJamshedpurJamshedpurgovernanceNational AwardSadananda GowdaDelhiTata steelUnion MinisterSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 2:21pmSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 2:21pm

Rihanna's dad thrown out of her charity ball for drunkenness Open in new window
Source Icon DNA - India
Rihanna's dad has admitted that he was thrown out of her Diamond Ball, which was held in aid of his daughter's Clara-Lionel Foundation charity, for drunkenness. Ronald Fenty explained that he had Johnny Walker Black and two doubles man and tripped over a chair, the Mirror reported. Fenty added that when he was on the red carpet for the pictures, he met a couple of famous people he knew and talked with them, and then somebody left a chair and he stepped back and fell over. Fenty continued that he saw his former wife Monica Braithwaite, Rihanna's mother, look up, and within a few minutes after the picture was taken, security came up and said they were taking him home.   View image | He added that though he hadn't seen his daughter, he had to leave in order to not make a scene that would have reflected on the 26-year-old singer. Fenty, who is sad how it ended of course, added that he should have never taken that first drink or any drink for that matter and wished that he had seen her of course because she will probably hear how he was, which will make her angry. He added that he feels bad because he let her down because she spend all that money putting him in rehab and then find him drunk somewhere, which is not good. He concluded that he is sorry as it's he who f**ed up.   ReportEntertainmentANILondonRihannaHollywoodRonald FentySaturday, 20 December 2014 - 2:01pmSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 2:01pm

Tripura comes under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana Open in new window
Source Icon Oneindia
Agartala, Dec 20: All families across Tripura have been covered under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), a national mission of financial inclusion of all households in the country, a top government official said on Saturday.Till last month (Nov), over

Leh coldest in Jammu and Kashmir, mercury drops in Srinagar Open in new window
Source Icon DNA - India
The mercury dipped further in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, to record the season's lowest temperature on the eve of 'Chillai-Kalan'– the 40-day harshest winter period. Srinagar recorded the minimum temperature of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius, down from the previous night's minus 4.2 degrees Celsius, a MeT official said on Saturday. The city had recorded the same minimum temperature on December 11 and it was the lowest so far of the season. The famous hill resort of Pahalgam in south Kashmir, which serves as a base camp during the annual Amarnath yatra, was the coldest recorded place in the Valley with a low of minus 6.2 degrees Celsius, though a degree up from minus 7.2 degrees Celsius the previous night. The MeT official said the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 3.4 degrees Celsius, compared to the previous night's minus 2.6 degrees Celsius. North Kashmir's Kupwara town, 90 kms from here, recorded a low of minus 4.7 degrees Celsius against Friday's minus 4.8 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature in Qazigund, gateway town to Kashmir on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, dropped over two degrees to minus 5.8 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag hill resort in south Kashmir recorded an increase of over one degree to register a minimum of minus 2.2 degrees Celsius. Leh continues to be the coldest recorded place in the state with minimum temperature recorded at minus 13.9 degrees Celsius, a decrease of one degree from the previous night's minus 12.5 degrees Celsius. Kargil, also in Ladakh region, was the second coldest place recording a low of minus 13.0 degrees Celsius, again a decrease of about a degree from minus 12.1 degrees Celsius the previous night, he said. The MET department said there is a possibility of isolated light rain and snow on December 21 and 22. The 40-day harshest winter period begins on Sunday, coinciding with the winter solstice.  ReportIndiaPTISrinagarLadakhLehwinterSrinagartemperatureSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 1:56pmSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 1:56pm

Wait for anxious parents over, nursery admissions in Delhi begin today Open in new window
Source Icon CNN-IBN
The wait for anxious parents in Delhi is over as the much awaited nursery admission process has started in most private schools in Delhi on Saturday. The sale of forms in most schools has begun and schools are expecting to see a heavy rush.

Cuba's Raul Castro steps out of brother's shadow with US deal, support surges Open in new window
Source Icon DNA - India
Stepping out of his legendary brother's shadow, President Raul Castro has scored a diplomatic triumph and a surge in popular support with the deal that ends decades of open hostility with the United States. For many Cubans, the restoration of diplomatic relations and President Barack Obama's promise to dismantle economic sanctions against the communist-run island have raised hopes of a more prosperous future. Just as important, in exchange for one American prisoner and dozens of little-known Cubans, Castro won the freedom of three Cuban spies widely exalted at home as heroes who were wrongly imprisoned in the United States for 16 years. The deal with Obama this week has triggered marches of support in the capital Havana. More and more, demonstrators chant Viva Raul!, a significant change in a country long dominated by the outsized personality of his older brother, Fidel Castro. Meanwhile, Fidel Castro has not been seen or heard from, secluded in retirement at his Havana villa. Raul Castro, 83, took over as president from an ailing Fidel in 2008 and while he has pushed through a raft of market-style economic reforms, he has until now been a low-key leader, clearly lacking his brother's charisma. But now, more Cubans appreciate his new brand of leadership. Raul Castro is doing things that Cuba needs. A lot of people didn't believe in him, but his work is on display. He is changing the country quietly, without speeches, and without bragging about it, said Jose Fernandez, a 55-year-old math teacher as he waited for a bus to work on Friday. With Fidel Castro in retirement and rarely seen, any increase in Raul's popularity helps legitimize communist rule as Cubans adjust to his economic reforms and now a new relationship with the United States. Reinaldo Haten, a 45-year-old Havana real estate agent, said the president is making his own mark on Cuba and changing it for the better.I thank Raul, because he is making history. With all that he has done in less than five years of his government, he has made a huge change in society, said Haten, who was looking for home buyers at an informal outdoor real estate market in Havana. One expert who has followed the Castro brothers for decades said Raul Castro has always been underestimated and that he maintains a very firm, controlling grip on the country. He's always been a very, very powerful figure, said Brian Latell, a former CIA analyst. He was Fidel's most essential and indispensable ally. I don't think Fidel would have lasted as long as he did without Raul. The younger Castro spent his entire childhood and 50 years of public life as an adult eclipsed by Fidel, the older brother he adored and obeyed. In the revolution that brought Fidel to power in 1959, Raul played a crucial role in turning the upstart rebels into an organized fighting force. While Fidel Castro was the grandiose front man rallying Cubans to support the revolution and defy the United States, Raul Castro was his loyal defense minister, building a strong military. Together they survived the US-backed Bay of Pigs invasion, sent Cuban troops to Cold War battlegrounds in Africa and weathered the economic embargo and countless US efforts to force them from power. To their enemies, the Castro brothers will always be seen as partners who stole power and repressed the population, but they maintained significant popular support inside Cuba. When Fidel Castro became sick in the summer of 2006 with an intestinal disorder, he handed power provisionally to Raul. The transfer became definitive in February 2008. Raul proved himself more steady, organized and businesslike than the mercurial Fidel. Many Cubans presume Raul consults with his brother on major decisions but Fidel's precise role is unknown. He occasionally writes a newspaper column or receives foreign dignitaries. This week, it has been Raul's show. When he addressed the nation on Wednesday to announce the deal with Obama, he was in typical form, speaking without fanfare or hyperbole, calmly reading the statement in his deliberate, rough-edged baritone. While the end of hostility between Cuba and the United States has the greater historic importance, the release of the three Cuban spies had a huge impact in Cuba. It culminated a 16-year campaign to win the freedom of five anti-terrorist heroes, who had been jailed in the United States for spying on anti-Castro exiles in Florida. The other two had already returned home in 2013 and 2014 upon serving their terms, and the freedom of the final three was met with jubilation. US officials say the five were caught red-handed but in Cuba they were seen as heroes who infiltrated extremist groups at a time when anti-Castro extremists were bombing hotels in Havana. Images of the men returning home, hugging Castro and their relatives in the airport, have dominated the state-controlled media in a Cuban feel-good story. His popularity has risen since that moment, said Carlos Alzugaray, a retired Cuban diplomat. He has been pragmatic, giving Obama the space he needed to make this happen, allowing Obama to come off in a good light. He's been very smart about this. Castro's daughter Mariela, a member of parliament, said on Friday she was proud of her father. He's not interested in his place in history. He just wants Cuba to do well, for our ship to sail. ReportWorldReutersHAVANABarack ObamaCubaCommunistdiplomatic relationseconomic sanctionsFidel CastroHavanaRaul CastroSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 2:05pmSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 2:05pm 589

Instagram now worth 35 billion dollars Open in new window
Source Icon DNA - India
Citigroup has reexamined the valuation of Instagram that was recently bought by Facebook, revealing that the app is now worth 35 billion dollars. Citi had previously said that Instagram valued at 19 billion dollars, reported the Verge. Instagram earlier announced that it has over 300 million active users per month which resulted in the app's increased value. The current number of users of Instagram also results in the application faster than expected growth. Citigroup also said that if Instagram fully monetizes Facebook's networks, it could contribute around two billion dollar annual revenue to the social networking site. ReportMoneyANIWashingtonsocial networking siteBusinessfacebookInstagramSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 2:05pmSaturday, 20 December 2014 - 2:05pm

Raghavulu calls for Left unity, asks Maoists to change approach Open in new window
The Hindu
Advocating a greater role for Left parties, CPI (M) polit bureau member B.V. Raghavulu on Saturday called for unity among the Communist parties with an appeal to Maoists to change their...

BJP against forcible conversions: Shah Open in new window
Deccan Herald
BJP President Amit Shah today said his party was against forcible conversions and asked other political parties in the country to support a bill in this regard if they were sincere in their approach to secularism.BJP is against forceful conversions and that is why we want to bring a law. So-called secular parties should support BJPs move, Shah told reporters here.A public debate on the matter can be taken up only after arriving at a consensus among political parties, he said when asked if BJP was ready to talk to minority organisations on this issue.On the ghar wapsi programme reportedly carried out by a pro-Hindu outfit in Uttar Pradesh, he said the matter is before the court. I dont want to comment.He dismissed Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhis allegation that BJP was trying to divide the country on communal lines. There is no basis for that, Shah said.Referring to the black money issue, the BJP president said the party was committed to bringing back black money stashed abroad.On the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, he exuded confidence that the BJP would form the next government in the state.Shah, who is on a two-day visit to Kerala, had inaugurated a mega membership campaign programme of the party at Palakkad yesterday.

Mother of Australia's stabbed children arrested Open in new window
Deccan Herald
Police Saturday arrested the mother of seven of eight children who were found stabbed to death at a house in Australias Cairns city, accusing her of murder.Mersane Warria, 37, was found after the horrific incident Friday with chest and neck wounds, Cairns Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said. Seven of the children found dead are siblings and the eighth child is a niece of the woman arrested, police said.Four girls aged 14, 12, 11 and two, and four boys aged nine, eight, six and five were found in Murray Street, Manoora, where Warria was also later found, ABC News reported.Acting Assistant Commissioner, Paul Taylor said charges would be laid when it was appropriate and everythings completed. He said there were five fathers to the children, and police had been in contact with all.Investigations are underway and police said that autopsies on the children would also occur later in the day.Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the killing of the eight children as an unspeakable crime and expressed grief over the incident.This is the second shocking news to hit Australia in a week. Earlier this week, a gunman took hostage 17 people in a cafe in Sydney. Three people, including the gunman, were killed in the siege.

Bill to pave way for setting up lake conservation and development authority tabled Open in new window
The Hindu
The Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority Bill, which provides for the establishment of a lake conservation and development authority, was tabled in the Legislative Assembly her...

Court staff organise ?Swachh Bharat? campaign Open in new window
The Hindu
Judges, advocates and National Service Scheme (NSS) students organised a clean-up drive in the vicinity of the court complex in K.R. Pet in the district on Saturday morning as part of the ?Swachh...

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