Category Archives: Sunday Sweep

Oct. 10 Sweep

Don’t have time to read in-depth reports on the major news stories of the moment? Not to fear! Check the News Blog every week for a run-down of the top stories that matter to you and where to find out more. 

According to a recent suit, the NYPD has been using illegal methods to monitor the activities of Muslim Americans. Image courtesy of MCT Campus.

NYPD Surveillance of Muslim Communities
According to a recent report from The New York Times, papers filed in a federal report allege the NYPD has been using undercover officers and informants to gather information about Muslim communities, without any indication of actual crime. The Modified Handschu Guidelines, set forth in 1985, dictate the legal grounds for investigation of political and legal groups. A letter filed by lawyers in the suit claims the police department has violated the terms of the guidelines by conducting unwarranted surveillance. Particularly relevant to the lawyers claims are lengthy reports from The Associated Press, as well as a blogger, which describe the police department as focusing on “hot spots” of activity, such as mosques, social gathering places and community organizations, particularly on college campuses.

Death of Steve Jobs

STEVE JOBS. Image courtesy of MCT Campus.

Within days of the release of the iPhone 4S, Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple, died at the age of 56. The response to the news was immediate, with many around the country expressing an outpouring of grief for the mastermind behind the products now so common in households around the world.

Jobs’ rise to success was not always a pretty one, however, and there have been more reports detailing his often manipulative and cut-throat methods of running business.

Look for a column in this week’s issue of The Pendulum with an Elon student’s opinion on the world’s response to the news of Jobs’ death.


24 killed, 320 injured in Cairo’s worst violence since first uprising

Sunday's clashes were the worst since the original Arab Spring uprising. Image courtesy of The New York Times.

At least 26 people died and 320 were injured Sunday in Cairo’s worst clashes since the Arab Spring uprising. The violence followed a then-peaceful protest led by Coptic Christians upset by an attack a church, when others on balconies began throwing rocks at the 1,000 Copts participating in a sit-in outside a television station.

The clashes were likely fueled by others frustrated by the military and that the situation in Egypt has not changed much since the revolution. Hundreds of Copts pelted policemen with rocksa Monday morning outside a hospital and have called for a worldwide, three-day fast to be observed starting Tuesday.

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Oct. 3 Sweep

Don’t have time to read in-depth reports on the major news stories of the moment? Not to fear! Check the News Blog every week for a run-down of the top stories that matter to you and where to find out more. 

Occupy Wall Street

Day 13 of Occupy Wall Street begins with a march through the streets of lower Manhattan, at around the time the bell rings on Wall Street on September 29, 2011. The protesters in the "leaderless resistance movement" have gained traction, but are short on specific demands or a long-term strategy. Photo courtesy of MCT Campus.

A movement that started Sept. 17 by a group of activists claiming to stand against the United States’ crippling debt and greedy corporate officials has gone viral as more protests pop up across the nation. As reported by the New York Times, the idea behind the movement was to camp out for weeks or even months to replicate the scale of protests in Egypt earlier this year.  On Oct. 1, New York police arrested about 700 participants as they marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, as some claim they were coerced onto the bridge and subsequently arrested. Similar groups are now planning to march in areas of North Carolina.

Want to know more?
*Read a column from the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof.
*Watch a video that claims to prove police entrapment of the 700 arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge.
*Check out the group’s website, which describes participants as “the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.”

Look for a report on Elon students and alums involved in the movement in an upcoming issue of The Pendulum.

Anwar al-Awlaki killed

ANWAR AL-AWLAKI. Photo courtesy of Reuters.

In the months following the death of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda operative and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki remained a close second target. He was killed in a drone attack Friday, Sept. 30 in Yemen and while his death is a huge blow to al-Qaeda’s ability to function, many are questioning Obama’s decision to deny a citizen the Constitutional rights to a fair and speedy trial and to be innocent before proven guilty by due process of law.
The U.S. State Department has issued travel warnings in anticipation of potential anti-American attacks fueled by al-Awlaki’s death.
Want to know more?

*Read an article in the Wall Street Journal about al-Awlaki’s importance.
*Read an article in the Atlantic about violating al-Awlakis’s rights as an American.

Amanda Knox freed

Amanda Knox, right, spent four years in an Italian prison before being released Monday. Photo courtesy of Time.

Amanda Knox, an American student jailed for the alleged murder of her roommate while studying abroad in Italy in 2007, was released Monday. Knox plead innocent and spent four years in an Italian jail before being sent home to Seattle and would have faced more than 25 years in prison had she been convicted. Knox’s family is said to have incurred debt well over $1 million because of the cost of lawyers, legal fees, international travel to Italy and other expenses, and multiple organizations have been started to fundraise for Knox’s family.
Want to know more?

*Read a column from the Chicago Tribune on why Knox being wrongly targeted as the perpetrator
*Watch the appeals verdict

Debate over the Jobs Act

President Barack Obama deliveres remarks at the Brent Spence Bridge in Ohio Sept. 22, urging Congress to pass the American Jobs Act. Photo courtesy of MCT Campus.

Since announcing his plan to put America back to work in a joint session of Congress Sept. 8, President Barack Obama has traveled the country pitching the plan, boiling the complicated proposal into two simple meanings:- putting people back to work and putting money back in their pockets. Included in the plan is tax cuts for businesses who hire new employees, $4.4 trillion deficit reduction and the expansion of job opportunities. While many doubt the Republicans will support the plan, members of the president’s own party are balking at the bill, proposing it be broken down into smaller chunks, making it easier to pass through Congress.

Want to know more?
*Check out a graphic from the New York Times about the reality of the American Jobs Act.
*Read a transcript of President Obama’s speech to Congress announcing the Act.
*Watch Obama’s Oct. 1 weekly address speaking in support of his plan.

Look for a report on the Jobs Act and what it means for students in this week’s issue of The Pendulum.

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Sunday Sweep

Don’t have time to read in-depth reports on the major news stories of the moment? Don’t fear! Check the News Blog every Sunday afternoon for a run-down of the top stories that matter to you and where to find out more information. 

Saudi women earn the right to vote
Saudi Arabian women were granted the right to vote Sunday by King Abdullah in a move many say was prompted by the Arab Spring. Saudi women are not allowed to drive and do not have equal rights with men, but Abduallah’s decision also allows women to run for public office. It is unclear how many women will take advantage of their new freedoms, as they legally could be denied the opportunities by the men in their lives. The new law will take effect during the next nationwide local elections — in 2015.

Palestine applies for statehood
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas applied for Palestinian statehood and United Nations membership earlier this week amid cheers from many established UN members, despite the United States’ past promises to veto. Abbas said he wants Israel and Palestine to go back to the 1967 borders, but the Israeli government has not accepted the proposal.

Bullfighting banned in Catalonia
Sunday marked the last bullfight ever in Spain’s Catalonia region. While it is not banned in every region of Spain, many have protested, saying it is an attack on liberty. Anti-bullfight activists celebrated at the final fight, and Spain’s leading broadcaster already declared several months ago it would no longer air live bullfights because of the violence it demonstrated to children.
Check back at elonpendulum.com this week to see a photo story about bullfighting in Madrid, Spain, by international correspondent Will Anderson.

American hikers released from Iranian prison
Two American hikers have finally returned to New York on Sunday after two years of detention in an Iranian prison. The two men, Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer, were hiking in Iraq in July 2009 when they were detained by Iranian officials for illegally entering the country. Fellow hiker Sarah Shourd was also arrested, but was released last year. The two men were recently convicted of espionage on behalf of the American government, but they have claimed they were detained specifically because of their nationality and Iran’s poor relationship with the United States government. Both Fattal and Bauer have maintained claims of innocence, saying they never intended to cross the border, and did not do so, but will never know for sure whether they actually did.

Slavery footprint
Made in a Free World has just released an iPhone app for individuals to track the amount of slave labor they support through their daily purchases. The app works based on lifestyle survey that takes inventory of an individual’s belongings and breaks each item down by the materials needed to make it.

Photo courtesy Made in a Free Wold

A pair of sneakers, for example, involves not only labor to put the product together but also labor to produce the cloth, plastic, rubber, metal and other raw materials used in manufacturing. The app is free in the iTunes store and so many people have attempted to access the site and take the survey that the organization’s servers have crashed, and are currently being upgraded to fifty times their size.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and look out for our next issue, hitting campus at a newsstand near you this Wednesday.

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Filed under International, Sunday Sweep, World News

Summer Sweep: August

Everyone’s done for the semester and it’s time for new jobs, new cities, new friends and new news. Instead of the regular, weekly Sunday Sweep, this summer we’ll be posting twice monthly “cheat sheets” that span multiple topics in the news instead of just one. For daily updates delivered right to your inbox, consider signing up for the Daily Beast’s Cheat Sheet or New York Times news alerts. Here are three of the top stories in the news right now – what you need to know, when you need to know it, where to look to know more.

Michelle Bachmann (left) was victorious in the Ames Straw Poll. Following a third place finish, Tim Pawlenty (right) withdrew his bid for the White House.

1. Ames Straw Poll – Michelle Bachmann, conservative member of the House of Representatives representing Minnesota, was victorious in last week’s straw poll in Ames, Iowa, a non-binding poll gauging the support for the then 10 candidates for the Republican Presidential Nomination. With 29 percent of the vote, Bachmann was followed by Ron Paul and Tim Pawlenty, with 28 and 14 percent, respectively. Following the announcement of the results, Tim Pawlenty made the announcement early Sunday morning that he will be ending his bid for the White House. The same day, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his entry into the presidential contest in Charleston, South Carolina. Want to know more? *Get the full story from CNN. *Read the complete results of the Ames Straw Poll. *WatchMichelle Bachmann’s reaction following the announcement of the results.

Five are dead and at least 50 wounded following the collapse of a stage at the Indiana State Fair Saturday night. Image courtesy of Reuters.

2. Stage collapse at Indiana State Fair – Five are dead and at least 50 wounded following the collapse of a stage at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis Saturday night. The audience was waiting for a performance by the country music duo Sugarland when a strong gust of wind toppled the rigging, trapping many under the structure. At a news conference Sunday morning, Indiana State Police First Sgt. David Bursten said more of the injured could die in the coming days. Amateur video was posted online almost immediately following the accident. The governor characterized the event as a “freakish accident”. Want to know more? *Get the full story from the New York Times. *Watch a video by Reuters showing the accident and audience reaction. *Read what Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles had to say in a statement to the Associated Press.

The East African country of Somalia is currently gripped by famine and political unrest. Image courtesy of CBS News.

3. Famine in Somalia – The United Nations has declared a famine in parts of Somalia following the worst drought in 60 years has forced thousands to leave their homes in search of aid. Unless the international community acts quickly, the UN is predicting the famine could spread, and quickly. But the crisis has been affected by more than just the weather – political unrest has also contributed. Aid agencies have had trouble operating in the country, due to the conflict. Al-Shabaab, an Islamist insurgent group linked to al-Qaeda controls much of the country and banned foreign aid from entering. Want to know more? *Get the full story from CNN. *Read an editorial by Josette Sheeran, executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme, about the epidemic and the power to end chronic hunger on a global scale. *Watch a report from NBC Nightly News about the famine.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and look out for our first issue of the fall semester, hitting campus during move-in weekend.

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Summer Sweep

Everyone’s done for the semester and it’s time for new jobs, new cities, new friends and new news. Instead of the regular, weekly Sunday Sweep, this summer we’ll be posting twice monthly “cheat sheets” that span multiple topics in the news instead of just one. For daily updates delivered right to your inbox, consider signing up for the Daily Beast’s Cheat Sheet or New York Times news alerts.

Here are five of the top stories in the news right now – what you need to know, when you need to know it, where to look to know more.

Rupert Murdoch at Parliament. Photo courtesy of News in a Box.net.

1. UK PHONE HACKING SCANDAL—It was recently discovered that The News of the World, a British tabloid operated by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp empire, paid private investigators to hack into the voicemail accounts of private citizens. One of the first victims to emerge from the scandal was Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old British girl who was found murdered months after her disappearance in 2002. Many were revolted to find that hackerdeleted several of Dowler’s voice messages in order to make room for new ones as the account filled up, giving her parents false hope that she was alive. But as investigations delved deeper into what quickly fueled public outrage, it was discovered that victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11 and the 7-7 bombings in London were also subjected to voice mail hacking. More than two weeks after the first details were broken by the news media, what is now being called a crisis has yet to cease . Despite retiring NOTW at the age of 168, with its last issue printed shortly after the realization the Dowler hacking was not an isolated incident, Murdoch and his son, James, answered to Parliament Tuesday about his newspaper’s tactics, which may have been used by other news organizations in his empire as well. During the testimony, a man attacked Rupert with a shaving cream pie.Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International and then-editor of NOTW, resigned Friday and was arrested Sunday shortly before the resignation of London’s police chief. Evidence suggests the authorities were not entirely ignorant of NOTW’s tactics and a second “top cop” has also resigned. Later released, Brooks accompanied the Murdochs at Parliament.  As the breadth of the scandal continues to expand, it brings serious questions about the honesty and integrity of British journalism and Murdoch’s empire. In yet another twist, one of the first whistleblowers of the scandal was found dead Monday. Authorities say the death is unexplained but not suspicious.

If this all seems a little overwhelming to you, check out a timeline of the phone hacking scandal compiled by Al Jazeera, starting in 2005.
If this is the first you’re hearing of the scandal, watch as The Daily Show’s John Oliver summarizes the aspects that have most angered the British public.

Photo courtesy of the New York Times.

2. DEBT CEILING–As August 2nd looms nearer and the United States runs the risk of running out of money to pay its bills, politicians in Washington continue to squabble over the details of legislation that would prevent the United States from defaulting on its loans and other financial obligations. Although the debt ceiling, a limit to how much the United States is allowed to borrow from bond holders and foreign lenders, has been raised dozens of times in previous years, this time it has been turned into a battle of political ideologies, with neither side playing very well with the other. While some believe the debt talks are political theater as the country enters an election year, despite claims default would mean instant economic collapse, Congress’ recess is being held hostage until an agreement is reached.
Democrats say they want to increase revenue by eliminating loopholes in the tax code that give tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest American individuals, but many Republicans are refusing to consider any kind of revenue increases. Similarly, Republicans say they want to cut spending by reducing waste in programs like Social Security, but Democrats are adamant that entitlement programs remain untouched. President Obama and his press secretary, Jay Carney, have held numerous press conferences in the past couple of weeks to update the American people on the progress that has been made, but reaching a “grand bargain” deal that effectively cuts spending while increasing revenue and still manages to please everyone in Congress is looking less likely as Washington scrambles for a “fail safe” option. Senator Mitch McConnell has proposed one plan, albeit unpopular, that would give the president the right to request a debt ceiling increase, Congress the right to deny his request, and Obama the ability to veto their refusal, effectively raising the debt ceiling without technically having Republican support. House Republicans passed a bill Tuesday that would create a “balanced budget” constitutional amendment, but Obama has vowed to veto the bill because of certain spending cuts, should it pass the Senate, which is unlikely.

Sudanese borders. Photo courtesy of al Jazeera English.

3. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA—As violence in Libya and Syria continues to claim the lives of many innocent civilians, the United States has spoken out against both governments. In Istanbul, Turkey, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the United States’ recognition of the Libyan rebels as the legitimate governing authority in Libya, further emphasizing the need for Col. Muammar Qaddafi to step down. Following an attack on the U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria, Clinton also issued a strong statement that Bashar al Assad, the Syrian president, is “not indispensable,” encouraging him to end the violence in his nation and step down. Sudan has also recently split into two nations following a years-long civil war which is not yet over. Despite the creation of South Sudan to quell the fighting, reports of mass murder and war crimes in the border region of South Kordofan are evoking international scrutiny and a potential UN investigation.

Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe at the Harry Potter premier. Photo courtesy of fabulousbuzz.com

4. HARRY POTTER—For many who grew up with the wizard boy, the opening of the last Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, marks the depressing end to a beloved era. But for Warner Bros and J.K. Rowling, the movie marks record-shattering earnings in its midnight showing and opening weekend. Check out a NY Times review of the movie if you haven’t seen it yet and watch Jon Stewart interview Danielle Radcliffe on Monday’s edition of The Daily Show. If  you’re willing to poke a little fun at yourself for being a die-hard fan, take a look at The Onion’s comical account of the final ten minutes of the final movie being split into 7 separate films. For a few more laughs, take a look at their archive of Harry Potter coverage. Also be advised that Rupert Murdoch is staging a takeover of The Daily Prophet, according to Slate.

Jerry Brown, governor of California, signed the bill into law. Photo courtesy of globalpost.com.

5. LGBT HISTORY–A law has been passed in California to require LGBT history to be taught in public schools. Information must be added to the textbooks, much to the dismay of opponents who threaten to pull their children out of public school because of promoting a “homosexual worldview.” Proponents of the law, which requires schools take action by 2013, say it is a step in the right direction to prevent LGBT students from feeling abnormal and estranged from their peers.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and look out for our first issue of the fall semester, hitting campus during move-in weekend.

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Summer Sweep

Everyone’s done for the semester and it’s time for new jobs, new cities, new friends and new news. Instead of the regular, weekly Sunday Sweep, this summer we’ll be posting twice monthly “cheat sheets” that span multiple topics in the news instead of just one. For daily updates delivered right to your inbox, consider signing up for the Daily Beast’s Cheat Sheet or New York Times news alerts.

Here are four of the top stories in the news right now – what you need to know, when you need to know it, where to look to know more.

—SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Earlier this month, the state of New York became the largest to allow same-sex marriage following a close vote in the Senate and eventual approval by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had made the issue one of his top priorities. This move came as a reversal to a decision two years ago when a same-sex marriage bill was rejected in the Senate, then controlled by Democrats. And while the fate of the bill was uncertain, four Republicans left the majority party and joined all but one Democrat in supporting the bill. But the impact of this legislation, which officially becomes law in 30 days, might spread outside of the borders of the state of New York. Following this momentum, the Rhode Island Senate approved same-sex civil unions on June 29 in a vote of 21 to 16. Gov. Lincoln Chafee is expected to sign the bill into law. While the proposal grants all the rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities of a marriage to gay individuals, advocacy groups have said they would much rather prefer marriage be allowed.

Want to know more?
*Read what experts are saying about the national impact of the bill, via Reuters.
*Check out celebrity responses to the news, via the Associated Press.
*Watch New Yorkers react to the news the night the bill was passed

—AFGHANISTAN TROOP WITHDRAWALS: In a recent televised speech to the nation, President Obama announced the impending withdrawal of 13,000 forces originally ordered to Afghanistan in 2009. 10,000 of the troops will return home by the end of this year, while the remaining will leave by September 2012. About 68,000 U.S. troops remain in the country, in a war that first began a decade ago in a U.S. response to the attacks of 9/11.

Want to know more?
*Read the full text of Obama’s address to the nation.
*Check out the reactions of Afghans to the news of troop withdrawal.
*Watch a report on the withdrawal by ABC News’ Martha Raddatz following her visit to Afghanistan.

—STRAUSS-KAHN CASE: The sexual assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund and a favored potential candidate for President of France, is slowly beginning to unravel as prosecutors have released alarming evidence questioning the validity of his accuser, a housekeeper originally from Guinea. Included in the recent revelations are lies told under oath by Strauss-Kahn’s accuser, detailed in a letter filed by prosecutors, who originally expressed little doubt in her claims. While the case against Straus-Kahn has not been officially been dismissed, he was released from house arrest Friday.

Want to know more?
*Read the letter filed by prosecutors outlining the growing concern over the truth of the housekeeper’s accusations.
*Check out international reactions from Strauss-Kahn’s native France and the housekeeper’s native Guinea.
*Watch the DA outline the credibility issues related to the case.

—LABOR DISPUTE: A recently opened Boeing factory in North Charleston, S.C. is causing a national stir along party lines as some lawmakers are questioning the location of the $750 million airplane factory. The National Labor Relations Board has accused Boeing of building the plant in South Carolina as a means of retaliation against workers in Seattle, Washington, known for their frequent strikes, the longest of which lasted 58 days in 2008. Republicans have denounced the investigation as a sign of President Obama’s liberal agenda and a job-killer, if the factory is ordered to be moved to Washington.

Want to know more?
*Read an editorial by Charleston daily The Post and Courier regarding the recent hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
*Check out a photo gallery of the Boeing factory.
*Watch a video by CBS News summing up the NLRB’s case against Boeing.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and look out for our first issue of the fall semester, hitting campus during move-in weekend.

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Filed under Sunday Sweep

Summer Sweep Cheat Sheet

Everyone’s done for the semester and it’s time for new jobs, new cities, new friends and new news. Instead of the regular, weekly Sunday Sweep, this summer we’ll be posting twice monthly “cheat sheets” that span multiple topics in the news instead of just one. For daily updates delivered right to your inbox, consider signing up for the Daily Beast’s Cheat Sheet or New York Times news alerts.

Here are five of the top stories in the news right now–what you need to know, when you need to know it, where to look to know more.

1. YEMEN–As the Arab Spring continues, protesters in Yemen have chased their president from their country. Following peaceful protests modeled after those started in Egypt and Tunisia, the Yemeni uprising turned violent and 30 were said to have been dead by June 1. But even though President Ali Abdullah Saleh fled to Saudi Arabia after he was injured during an attack on his compound, and many suspect he will not return, William Hague, the British Secretary of State, has stated the instability could mean a higher terror risk for the U.K. Read more at the Daily Mail.

2. ISRAEL–Israeli forces killed at least 20 Palestinian protesters crossing the border into the Golan Heights. The protests had been planned for months, marking the 44th anniversary of the Arab defeat in the Arab-Israeli war. Palestinians and Syrian supporters insisted the land was Arab land. Some Palestinians have remarked that Israel’s violent response may help their cause, “proving” Israel is being more aggressive. Read more at The Chosunilbo.

3. ARIZONA FIRE–The third largest wildfire in Arizona state history continues to rage through the eastern part of the state and has yet to be contained by firefighters. About 2100 residents have evacuated from nearby towns and 1300 firefighters are working to contain the blaze. In an attempt to prevent further spreading, and to steer the flames away from other communities, firefighters have intentionally burned nearby patches of forest. Nearly 150,000 acres have already been burned in the fire. Read more at USA Today.

4. PULLING OUT OF AFGHANISTAN–President Barack Obama’s national security team has proposed a larger plan for pulling troops out of Afghanistan. Despite a warning from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that pulling out would neutralize successes achieved in Afghanistan, and that pullouts should be more gradual, plans indicate pushing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to rally manpower to replace U.S. troops. Read more at The New York Times.

5. MELANOMA–A new drug created to prolong the lives of skin cancer patients with advanced melanoma has been found to add two or more months to patients’ life expectancies. The drug, called vemurafenib, both suppresses tumor-causing genes and improves individuals’ immune systems to fight the disease. The trial was found so effective that it was stopped early in order to give the placebo test group the real drug. Read more at The New York Times.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and look out for our first issue of the fall semester, hitting campus during move-in weekend.

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