Latest Analysis and Commentary

Palestinians: This is How We Intimidate Journalists

by Bassam Tawil  •  April 27, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • In the world of the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership, a journalist's loyalty to his leaders and their cause supersedes his loyalty to the truth. In a word, it is the truth vs. Abbas's security forces.

  • As the international media relies heavily on Palestinian journalists and "media assistants" in covering Palestinian affairs, this intimidation of Palestinian journalists heavily colors the reporting of Western journalists. The stories Palestinian journalists tell their Western colleagues are limited to ones that will not endanger their own lives. This censorship, whether by the Abbas's security forces or self-imposed, explains why one rarely reads or sees a story in Western mainstream media about negative things happening in the PA-controlled territories.

  • Even when their Palestinian colleagues are beaten and arrested by Abbas's security forces, these "journalists" fail to report such incidents. This makes some sense: should they open their mouths with the truth, Abbas and his cohorts might indeed stop inviting them to press conferences and banquets in the fancy restaurants of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho.

Palestinian Authority police assault journalists at a protest in Ramallah, on March 12, 2017. (Image source: Roya News video screenshot)

Seven Palestinian journalists are the latest victims of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) continued crackdown on the media.

The repressive measures are aimed at silencing critical voices among the journalists and deterring others from reporting stories that reflect negatively on the Palestinian leadership in particular and Palestinians in general.

In the view of President Mahmoud Abbas and his PA, Palestinian journalists exist to write stories slamming Israel or praising PA leaders. Media, for them, is defined as a mouthpiece for Abbas, the PA leadership and the Palestinian cause.

Any journalist who dares to think outside this checkpoint is subject to severe punishment. Under Abbas and the PA, there is no room for an independent media.

The three major Palestinian newspapers -- Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda -- are controlled, directly and indirectly, by the PA.

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The Pope's Pilgrimage to Al-Azhar

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  April 27, 2017 at 4:30 am

  • During a meeting between the former Papal Nuncio to Cairo, Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, and Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam warned Gobel that "speaking about Islam in a negative manner was a 'red line' that must not be crossed." If there are any condemnations of violence against the Coptic Christians, they are likely to be articulated only by the Grand Imam and the Egyptian President.

  • If the Pope's humble bearing is excessive, however, it might be interpreted even by peaceable Muslims as a submission. If Francis is asked by the Grand Imam to pray at al-Azhar's mosque, that is a piety that el-Tayeb would not likely reciprocate in a Coptic Church in Egypt.

  • Facilitating the establishment of an Islamic-Christian relationship that excludes Judaism can only serve the Islamist goal of isolating Jews and Israel. Although relations between the Vatican and al-Azhar will improve in the near future, the honeymoon will not. The Grand Imam will doubtless protect his own theological power base and keep his distance from both the Vatican and the Egyptian regime.

Catholic Pope Francis greets Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II at the Vatican, on May 10, 2013. (Image source: News.va Official Vatican Network)

The twin Palm Sunday bombings at Coptic Christian Churches by Islamic terrorists in Egypt, which killed 44 worshipers, draws attention to what is probably the principal reason for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Cairo on April 28-29. The Pontiff will likely seek the assistance of Egypt's Muslim hierarchy to help protect Egypt's Coptic Christians, the indigenous inhabitants of the country who now number about 9 million and constitute at least 10% of the population.

During his stay, Francis will meet with the Grand Imam of Cairo's al-Azhar Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb. Al-Azhar's theological complex, which houses Islam's oldest university, is considered the most influential center of Sunni Islam.

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Sanction Iran's Regime, Add IRCG to Terrorist List

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  April 27, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • It would seem that sanctions should be enforced and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) placed on the U.S. list of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations -- to show that the U.S. stands for human rights, protects the innocent and tries to save the lives of those sentenced to death by Iran's corrupt government.

  • Bills to sanction Iran that are being presented in Canada or other Western countries are, in fact, receiving scant attention. Canada has been talking about reopening its Iranian embassy, and pro-Iran advocates, such as the Iranian Canadian Congress, are pushing back against legislation that condemns Iran.

  • Would any modern Western country really wish to appear to be on the side of this barbaric regime, or in any way to assist it?

Mahmoud Alavi, Iran's Minister of Intelligence, recently stated that many Westerners with a dual citizenship "have a lobby group for the Islamic Republic of Iran... Many who live in Canada, London, or the United States [are devoted] to the [Islamic] revolution and the supreme leader." (Image source: Mohammad Ali Marizad/Wikimedia Commons)

A subtle, but dangerous force is spreading throughout the West. It has been seeping into the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the Middle East, the United States, South America and much of Europe.

Who are they?

They are pro-Iran regime advocates. They appear to be Westerners, but pursue a unique agenda. Under the guise of being average Western citizens, they have been infiltrating the social, political, economic and religious sectors of most Western societies.

These are not my words. They came directly out of the mouth of Iran's Minister of Intelligence, Mahmoud Alavi. In a rare, recent interview on Iran's state media, he stated that many Westerners with a dual citizenship "have a lobby group for the Islamic Republic of Iran."

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Palestinians: The Secret West Bank

by Bassam Tawil  •  April 26, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • As Abbas and his advisors prepare for the May 3 meeting with Trump, thousands of Palestinians gathered in Ramallah to call on Arab armies to "liberate Palestine, from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea." The Palestinians also called for replacing Israel with an Islamic Caliphate.

  • It is possible that deep inside, Abbas and many of his top aides identify with the goals of Hizb ut Tahrir, namely the elimination of Israel. Abbas also wishes to use these Islamic extremists to depict himself as the "good guy" versus the "bad guys." This is a ploy intended to dupe Westerners into giving him more funds "out of fear that the Islamists may take over."

  • Abbas's claim that he seeks a just and comprehensive peace with Israel is refuted by fact after fact on the ground. His sweet-talk about peace and the two-state solution will have far less impact on Palestinians than the voices of Hizb ut Tahrir and its sister groups, which strive to "liberate Palestine, from the river to the sea."

Thousands of supporters of Hizb ut Tahrir, a radical pan-Islamic political organization, participate in a rally in Ramallah, on April 22, 2017. (Image source: Hizb ut Tahrir video screenshot)

Westerners often refer to Ramallah as a modern and liberal city dominated by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction. The city boasts fancy restaurants and bars where alcohol is served freely to men and women in Western dress, who sit together to eat and to smoke water pipes (nargilas).

But the scenes on the streets of Ramallah, headquarters of Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA) last week broadcast a rather different message -- one that calls for the elimination of Israel. The message came on the eve of Abbas's visit to the White House for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump.

According to PA officials, Abbas is scheduled to affirm during the meeting with Trump his commitment to the two-state solution and a "comprehensive and just peace" with Israel.

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A Palestinian State or an Islamist Tyranny?

by Giulio Meotti  •  April 26, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • Abbad Yahiya's novel takes aim at Palestinian taboos such as fanaticism, Islamic extremism and homosexuality. The novel's publisher has been arrested and a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Yahiya.

  • The head of the Union of Palestinian Writers, Murad Sudani, attacked the writer and called for an exemplary punishment. Ghassan Khader, a Facebook user, wrote on his page that Yahiya "should be killed".

  • We could go on with this list of Palestinian intellectuals who paid a high price for daring to speak the truth to Mahmoud Abbas and his corrupt circle on many issues: coexistence with the Jews, secularism, sexual freedom, freedom of conscience, human rights, or telling the truth about the Holocaust.

  • A Palestinian state created with the current Palestinian Authority would destroy freedom of conscience for journalists and writers; exile Christians and homosexuals; torture Arab inmates; impose sharia as the only law, and put people to death for "atheism" and "apostasy" (read, conversion to Christianity).

When Palestinian novelist Abbad Yahiya recently published his fourth book, Crime in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority police seized all copies the book, claiming it "threatens morality". The novel's publisher was arrested and a warrant was issued for Yahiya's arrest. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

From the United Nations to the European Union and the mainstream press, it seems that the Jews living in Judea and Samaria are the obstacle for the Middle East coexistence. But have these well-known "observers" really observed what is going on in the areas self-governed by the Palestinian Authority, and that two-thirds of the world's nations want to turn into another Arab-Islamic state?

Recently, one of the brightest Palestinian novelists, Abbad Yahiya, saw his fourth book, Crime in Ramallah, seized by the Palestinian police in the West Bank. The order came from Palestinian Attorney General Ahmed Barak, who ruled that the book "threatens morality". The novel's publisher was arrested and a warrant was issued for Yahiya's arrest.

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Hamas: The New Charter That Isn't

by Bassam Tawil  •  April 25, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • It is worthwhile to note that, contrary to what is being published in many media outlets, Hamas is NOT changing its Charter, which explicitly calls for the elimination of Israel.

  • The document goes on to clarify that even if Hamas accepts a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines, "this would not mean recognition of the Zionist entity or giving up any of the Palestinian rights."

  • Hamas and the PLO now have crucial common ground: sweet-talk the Western donors while laying stealthy plans to destroy Israel.

After two decades, Hamas has finally woken up to the power of lies. Like the PLO, Hamas has learned that in this instance, words are more important than actions. Pictured: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right) shakes hands with Hamas's leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, during negotiations in 2007 for a short-lived unity government. (Image source: Palestinian Press Office)

Yasser Arafat may have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but his PLO officials and he really deserve the prize for the art of deception. For decades now, the PLO has spearheaded one of history's biggest scams, and now it seems that Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood movement, is about to join the bandwagon.

According to unconfirmed reports in the Arab media, Hamas is about to publish a "political document" in which it "accepts" the "two-state solution." The purported document is already being hailed by some Western and Israeli analysts and Hamas apologists as a sign of the radical Islamic movement's march toward moderation and pragmatism.

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Open Letter to National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster
'Radical Islamic Terrorism' is Accurate and 'Helpful'

by A. Z. Mohamed  •  April 25, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • In other words, as al-Kalbani has confirmed -- and contrary to what McMaster has been telling his staff and his commander-in-chief, President Trump -- Muslim terrorists are Islamic, and the term "radical Islamic terrorism" is apt, accurate and extremely "helpful."

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, President Trump's National Security Adviser. (Image source: Center for Strategic and International Studies)

During his first "all hands" staff meeting on February 23, President Donald Trump's new national security adviser, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, called terrorism "un-Islamic" and the term "radical Islamic terrorism" not helpful.

Prior to the meeting, retired U.S. Army Col. Peter Mansoor told Fox News that McMaster, with whom he served in Iraq during the 2007 surge of American troops, "absolutely does not view Islam as the enemy... and will present a degree of pushback against the theories being propounded in the White House that this is a clash of civilizations and needs to be treated as such."

Let us put McMaster's premise -- which is antithetical not only to that of his predecessor, Michael Flynn, but to Trump himself and many of his senior advisers -- to the test.

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How New is the New Hamas Charter?

by Denis MacEoin  •  April 24, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • The Arab states that reject Israel today forget that they themselves would not exist without the Mandate system – a point seldom if ever acknowledged in public forums where the legitimacy of Israel is debated.

  • If there is any Palestinian desire for a two-state solution, it is questionable: according to current maps of "Palestine," and the New Hamas Charter, it is supposed to be on its neighbouring state, Israel; not next to it. The wish of Palestinian leaders to have a Palestinian state is never realized solely due to the unending rejection of their Jewish neighbour.

  • Article 19 of the New Charter repeats that there will never be peace so long as Israel still exists. It declares: "We do not leave any part of the Palestinians' land, under any circumstances, conditions or pressure, as long as the occupation remains. Hamas refuses any alternative which is not the whole liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea."

Armed Hamas militiamen on parade with a mock rocket in Gaza. (Image source: i24 News video screenshot)

Anyone with a serious interest in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians will be familiar with the oft-cited Charter (or Covenant [mithaq]) of the terrorist group currently ruling the Gaza Strip, Hamas. The Charter (in Arabic here) was published on 18 August 1988. Its proper title is "The Charter/Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement 'Hamas' Palestine", Hamas being an acronym for "the Islamic Resistance Movement".

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China Deploys Floating Nuclear Power Plant to South China Sea

by Debalina Ghoshal  •  April 24, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • A nuclear power plant on the sea would ensure a continuous supply of water as coolant -- a necessity for any reactor.

  • China's motive for building the nuclear reactors is clear: to exert its dominance and influence throughout the area.

A scale-model of a Russian floating nuclear power plant. (Image source: Felix/Flickr)

In April 2016, reports began coming in that China has plans to build floating nuclear power plants in the South China Sea. A floating nuclear power plant consists of one or more nuclear reactors, located on a platform at sea. China apparently plans to "speed up the commercial development" of the South China Sea and views the nuclear power plants as part of that plan. [1]

Final assembly of the reactor is reported to start in coastal city of Huludao, in Liaoning province, and will be built by Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry Co Ltd, a unit of China Shipbuilding Industry Corp (CSIC).[2]

China's 2016 nuclear plan, a component of the China's 13th five-year plan, is evidently to complete 58 nuclear reactors by 2020 and build another 100 gigawatt-sized reactors by 2030. These would make China the largest nuclear power producer in the world. China's floating nuclear reactor initiative seems to be a component of this nuclear plan.

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Islam in the Heart of England and France

by Denis MacEoin  •  April 23, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • "There are plenty of private Muslim schools and madrasas in this city. They pretend that they all preach tolerance, love and peace, but that isn't true. Behind their walls, they force-feed us with repetitive verses of the Qur'an, about hate and intolerance." — Ali, an 18-year-old of French origin, whose father was radicalized.

  • "In England, they are free to speak. They speak only of prohibitions, they impose on one their rigid vision of Islam but, on the other hand, they listen to no-one, most of all those who disagree with them." — Yasmina, speaking of extremist Muslims in the UK.

  • "Birmingham is worse than Molenbeek" -- the Brussels borough that The Guardian described as "becoming known as Europe's jihadi central." — French commentator, republishing an article by Rachida Samouri.

Omar Bakri Muhammed, who co-founded the British Islamist organization al-Muhajiroun, admitted in a 2013 television interview that he and co-founder Anjem Choudary sent western jihadists to fight in many different countries. (Image source: MEMRI video screenshot)

The city of Birmingham in the West Midlands, the heart of England, the place where the Industrial Revolution began, the second city of the UK and the eighth-largest in Europe, today is Britain's most dangerous city. With a large and growing Muslim population, five of its electoral wards have the highest levels of radicalization and terrorism in the country.

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The Muslim Who Died Saving Christians
"The True Strength of Islam"

by Jacobus E. Lato  •  April 23, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • Riyanto had already made the choice to sacrifice personal safety to protect Christians from falling prey to radical Islamists.

  • Riyanto was one of many Muslims who answered the great President Gus Dur's call to express the "true strength of Islam" by safeguarding religious minorities.

  • Today, a growing number of Muslims in Indonesia are going against this current. They consider it a sin even to say, "Merry Christmas," let alone allow those who celebrate it to do so in peace. It is now more crucial than ever, therefore, to hold up Riyanto's legacy as a reminder of the past and as a light for the future.

A photo of Riyanto, displayed alongside his uniform, at the NU Museum in Surabaya, Indonesia. (Image source: CNN Indonesia video screenshot)

When a 25-year-old, known just as Riyanto, entered the Eben Haezer Church of Pentecostal Assembly in East Java on Christmas Eve of 2000, he did not know that his life was about to end. He had been aware, however, of the risk he was taking by being there altogether, particularly on Christmas Eve. As a member of the Banser -- the youth wing of Indonesia's largest Muslim cultural organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) -- he had already made the choice to sacrifice personal safety to protect Christians from falling prey to radical Islamists.

Shortly after mass, as parishioners began to exit the Protestant house of worship, the reverend handed Riyanto and other guards at the entrance an unattended bag he had found among the pews. Looking inside the package and realizing that it contained a bomb, Riyanto took swift action. "Get down!" he called out to all those who were still inside the building.

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France: A Guide to the Presidential Elections

by Soeren Kern  •  April 22, 2017 at 2:00 am

  • "What poses a problem is not Islam, but certain behaviors that are said to be religious and then imposed on persons who practice that religion." — Emmanuel Macron.

  • "Those who come to France are to accept France, not to transform it to the image of their country of origin. If they want to live at home, they should have stayed at home." — Marine Le Pen.

  • "It [France] is one nation that has a right to choose who can join it and a right that foreigners accept its rules and customs. — François Fillon.

  • Jean-Luc Mélenchon has called for a massive increase in public spending, a 90% tax on anyone earning more than €400,000 ($425,000) a year, and an across-the-board increase in the minimum wage by 16% to €1,326 ($1,400) net a month, based on a 35-hour work week.

  • Benoît Hamon has promised to establish a universal basic income: he wants to pay every French citizen over 18, regardless of whether or not they are employed, a government-guaranteed monthly income of €750 ($800). The annual cost to taxpayers would be €400 billion ($430 billion). By comparison, France's 2017 defense budget is €32.7 billion ($40 billion).

Voters in France will go to the polls on April 23 to choose the country's next president in a two-step process. The top two winners in the first round will compete in a run-off on May 7.

The election is being closely followed in France and elsewhere as an indicator of popular discontent with mainstream parties and the European Union, as well as with multiculturalism and continued mass migration from the Muslim world.

If the election were held today, independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, who has never held elected office, would become the next president of France, according to most opinion polls.

An Ifop-Fiducial poll released on April 21 showed that Macron would win the first round with 24.5% of the votes, followed by Marine Le Pen, the leader of the anti-establishment National Front party, with 22.5%. Conservative François Fillon is third (19.5%), followed by Leftist firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon (18.5%) and radical Socialist Benoît Hamon (7%).

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Europe: Making Itself into the New Afghanistan?

by Giulio Meotti  •  April 21, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • "Those (migrants) who come to seek freedom in France must participate in freedom. Migrants did not come to seek asylum in Saudi Arabia, but in Germany. Why? For security, freedom and prosperity. So they must not come to create a new Afghanistan," said Algerian writer Kamel Daoud. Right. But it is the European mainstream that is letting them turn our cultural landscape into another Afghanistan.

  • The West used to be proud of being the land of the free. European museums, instead, are rapidly submitting to Islamic correctness. The exhibition "Passion for Freedom" at the Mall Gallery in London censored the light box tableaux of a family of toy animals living in an enchanted valley.

  • "The Louvre will be dedicating a new section to the artistic heritage of Eastern Christians", then President Nicholas Sarkozy announced in 2010. But the project was scrapped by the museum's new management, with the approval of President Hollande's culture ministry. So today, the Louvre has a section dedicated to Islamic art, but nothing on Eastern Christianity.

The brave work of the artist Mimsy, "ISIS Threaten Sylvania", which satirized the brutality of ISIS, was removed from London's Mall Galleries after the British police defined it "inflammatory." (Image source: Mimsy)

Maastricht, in the Netherlands, is the picturesque city that gave its name to the famous treaty signed in 1992 by the twelve nations of the European Community at the time, and which paved the way for the foundation of today's European Union and the single currency, the euro.

Maastricht, however, is also the home of "Tefaf", the most important art and antiques fair in the world. The art work "Persepolis" by the Italian artist Luca Pignatelli was already scheduled when the commission ordered it removed. The work, built in 2016, combined a Persian Islamic rug and a female head. "We are all humbled and speechless", Pignatelli declared, pointing out that his work had initially aroused the enthusiasm of the commission. The fair's explanation was that Pignatelli's work was "provocative".

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Palestinians: Hunger Strike or Smokescreen?

by Bassam Tawil  •  April 20, 2017 at 5:00 am

  • It is an integral part of the Palestinian strategy to undermine, isolate, delegitimize and destroy Israel.

  • It is not only Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who is in trouble. Marwan Barghouti, too, knows better than to air dirty Fatah laundry. What, then, is to be done? The traditional diversionary tactic: Direct the heat towards Israel.

  • Stripped of its Western trappings, Barghouti's "hunger strike" is actually a struggle between Abbas and yet another Fatah pretender to the throne. And once again, Israel -- the state that supposedly so "mistreats" incarcerated Palestinian terrorists -- takes the heat.

The hunger strike declared by jailed Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti (left) is aimed at Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right). Barghouti's supporters accuse Abbas and his loyalists of sidelining the jailed Fatah leader and seeking to "bury" him.

Palestinians have an old habit of settling internal scores by diverting their grievances and violence towards Israel. This practice is clear to those who have been monitoring developments in the Palestinian arena for the past decades. It is an integral part of the Palestinian strategy to undermine, isolate, delegitimize and destroy Israel.

Those less familiar with Palestinian culture and tactics, however, have difficulty understanding the Palestinian mindset. Officials in Washington, London, Paris and other Western capitals rarely meet the ordinary Palestinian, the "man on the street" who represents the authentic voice of the Palestinians.

Instead, these officials meet Palestinian politicians and academics from Ramallah -- the "experts" who are actually accomplished con artists. Such Palestinians grasp the Western mindset very well, and use their understanding to twist Western officials any which way they want.

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Is the "Right to Choose" Absolute?

by Gerald R. McDermott  •  April 20, 2017 at 4:00 am

  • If there is agreement that a life is human, the individual's right to choose is not final. The state has a responsibility to protect innocent life.

  • In other words, the decision in Roe v. Wade declares that the individual right to choose abortion is not absolute, but that there are times when the state can interfere in order to promote "its interest in the potentiality of human life."

The Supreme Court justices who decided Roe v. Wade, photographed in 1972.

Imagine you are driving on a foggy night and you see a dark figure ahead. It could be a fallen branch. It might even be a little deer, or, God forbid, a little child. Do you keep on driving full speed and crash through it, or put on the brakes? If you think it might be a human person, either dead or alive, what should you do?

Most of us would say that even if we are uncertain, we should stop and check. We should give the benefit of the doubt to something that might be human, and, if it is, treat it with care.

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