Pacquiao calls out McGregor for #realboxingmatch

Manny Pacquiao threw down the gauntlet to Conor McGregor — and took a dig at Floyd Mayweather — as he promised to give the mixed martial arts star a “real boxing match”.

McGregor lost a megabucks fight in August against the unbeaten Mayweather, who defeated Pacquiao in their disappointing ‘Fight of the Century’ in 2015.

“Happy Thanksgiving! Stay fit my friend. #realboxingmatch #2018 @thenotoriousmma,” Pacquiao posted on Twitter and Instagram, using McGregor’s social media handle.

There was no immediate reaction from McGregor on social media, and Pacquiao’s media team told AFP Friday that there were “no negotiations yet” about a McGregor match.

Pacquiao, who turns 39 in three weeks, lost his World Boxing Organization welterweight title to Australian former teacher Jeff Horn in July, having come out of retirement in 2016 to take the belt from American Jessie Vargas.

Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao

McGregor has not fought in mixed martial arts or boxing since losing to Mayweather by 10th-round technical knockout in their much-hyped bout in Las Vegas in August.

Pacquiao’s “#realboxingmatch” reference appears to be a swipe at Mayweather, who beat the Filipino by unanimous decision in 2015 in the richest fight in boxing history.

Pacquiao, who fought with a shoulder injury that later required surgery, has insisted he beat Mayweather, saying he “didn’t do nothing. He was always moving outside”.

Mayweather retired with a record of 50-0 after the McGregor bout.

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Debate in Japan as politician with baby ejected from chamber

A local Japanese female politician who brought her baby into an assembly meeting to highlight the issues women face in the workplace has sparked debate after being ejected from the chamber.

Yuka Ogata took her seven-month-old son to join a municipal assembly session of southern Kumamoto city on Wednesday but other lawmakers asked her to leave, according to local media.

“Under the rules, only politicians, staff members and city officials can go on to the assembly floor,” an official at Kumamoto City Assembly told AFP on Friday.

The assembly was delayed for 40 minutes. Ogata joined after leaving the child with a friend, according to public broadcaster NHK.

“Apparently she told the chairman that she wanted to create a woman-friendly work environment,” the official said.

Her move has sparked debate online with supporters saying she was brave and opponents questioning if it was a good idea to bring a baby to a workplace.

“I think her act was wonderful. People wouldn’t take problems seriously” if she hadn’t shown up with the child, one Twitter user said.

“Balancing work and child rearing isn’t about being with a child all the time at a workplace,” said another user, who identified herself as a fellow working mother.

“I really cannot understand her action,” wrote this user.

In May, a breastfeeding senator made Australian political history by becoming the first woman to nurse her newborn baby in the parliament.

Being able to breastfeed in the chamber follows new rules introduced last year to create a more “family-friendly” parliament.

Under previous rules, children were technically banned in the Australian parliament.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made increasing female participation in the workforce a key plank of his “Abenomics” strategy to reboot Japan’s once-mighty economy.

However, women are still underrepresented in politics with only 47 of the 465 members of the lower house.

According to statistics compiled by the Swiss-based Inter-Parliamentary Union, this ratio of 10.1 percent places Japan below Myanmar and Gambia.

AFP

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Five steps to refinancing your personal loan

Personal loans can be more expensive than other loans. This is so because the specifics of personal loans — like how much you can borrow and the rate at which you can borrow — will be determined by your creditworthiness.

But an increase in your credit score or improvement in your financial situation could change that, according to gobankingrates.com.

If you’ve previously taken out a personal loan, but think you could get a better interest rate or lower monthly payment, you should consider refinancing. Refinancing a personal loan can help you get a better interest rate, which can save you money. Other benefits come with a refinanced loan, too — like changing loan terms or monthly payments to accommodate your financial needs.

According to gobankingrates.com, here’s how to refinance so you can get the best personal loan rate.

How do I refinance a personal loan?

To refinance a personal loan, you need to follow the same steps you’d take to qualify and apply for a personal loan: work on optimising your credit, finding the right lender and researching loans. Once you apply for and are approved for the refinance, you’ll get the new loan, close out your old loan and start making payments on the new one.

These are the five steps you need to follow to refinance your personal loan:

  1. Improve your credit

Before you begin to negotiate a refinance of your personal loan, ask yourself, “Should I refinance?” If your credit history has improved enough for a refinance, it’s probably a smart idea.

For example, if your credit score was less than stellar when you took out the loan in the first place, and you’ve been making your monthly payments on time, your credit could have improved. Your lender will also review your payment history as a whole to make sure that you’re a safe candidate for a refinance.

If you continue making payments on time throughout the refinancing process and your credit score continues to improve, you’ll be in a much better position to ask for loan refinancing. Demonstrating that you’re a safe investment for the lender will go a long way towards the lender’s willingness to negotiate a refinance; so this is one of the most important things you can do throughout the course of the refinancing process.

  1. Compare offers from banks

Once you have reviewed your finances and have boosted your credit score, it’s time to contact your current bank for offers. Make the lender aware that you want to refinance but that you are willing to go to a different lender if the new personal loan interest rate isn’t appealing. You can receive a loan estimate as well as tell which loan rates are fair using a free loan calculator. If you feel that your current lender is trying to sell you short, don’t hesitate to submit a loan application for a personal loan — sometimes called unsecured loans or signature loans — to other possible lenders.

Compare offers from several different banks to decide which is best. Once you narrow the offers down to one or two that you prefer, go back to your original lender and give them the opportunity to match the competition’s offer — or better it. If you’re an appealing candidate for a loan, your bank might be willing to give you better terms in an attempt to keep your business.

  1. Consider online banks or P2P lending

If neither your current bank nor a competitive bank offers an appealing rate, you might apply for a personal loan from a non-traditional lender. The first thing you might look into is an online bank. There are a number of firms offering personal loans online in Nigeria now. Personal loans from online banks typically have lower refinancing rates than traditional banks offer because of the lack of overhead costs. A traditional brick-and-mortar bank will charge more to accommodate the cost of tellers and other expenses, whereas an online bank lacks tellers and branches, thus eliminating the need for extra money and lowering the fixed interest rate of your loan. More online banks will emerge in Nigeria soon. However, there are a number of what can be called retail lending firms around now. You can explore.

You might also consider borrowing from a peer-to-peer lending group, in which individual people give loans to borrowers. Investors join P2P lending groups and earn money from the interest they receive from their loans. These loans will typically have lower refinance rates than a traditional lender as well, due to the lack of overhead costs.

  1. Review your loan and ask questions

As with most loans, refinancing your personal loan can take a lot of work and be a long process. This means that you’ll need to fill out plenty of paperwork and review everything before you move on to finalising the loan. The time it will take to do all this will be even longer if you’ve signed with a new lender, as opposed to sticking with your old lender.

You’ll need to provide and confirm quite a bit of information at this stage, like your credit report, proof of income, assets, debt and other financial information. You should also ask the lender a number of questions about your loan so you stay informed. The questions you should ask your lender include the following: Is there an application fee? What is my repayment period? Are there any repayment penalties? Are there any limitations on how I can use the money from the loan? Are there any hidden fees? You also need to find out whether there are penalties for paying off a personal loan early.

  1. Close out your original loan

After you’ve been approved for refinancing, it’s time to officially finalise the loan by signing off on the loan papers. You should also make sure that you’ve closed out your old loan. If you re-signed with your old lender, the lender will have closed out the old loan for you. If you’ve signed with a new lender, it’ll be up to you to close out your old loan. No matter who you’ve signed with, closing your old loan is a critical step — failure to close the loan or mistakes in closing it could be costly.

How to refinance your personal loan

Refinancing your personal loan could help you save money on costly interest. How does personal loan refinancing work? If you’re overwhelmed with how much your loan is costing you each month, then you may need to consider refinancing.

Refinancing a personal loan works much like refinancing a mortgage: You apply for a loan to cover the amount remaining on your current loan. Once accepted, you can use the funds from the new loan to pay off the other one.

When refinancing, you’ll still carry the same amount of debt, but you could save money under better terms, a reduced interest rate or lower fees.

Is refinancing the same as debt consolidation? Not exactly. Although they work the same way, consolidating involves paying off multiple loans at once while refinancing only deals with one loan. You may sometimes see the two used interchangeably though.

Why should I refinance my personal loan?

People choose to refinance their personal loans for many reasons, but it boils down to either finding a better deal or consolidating debt, according to www.finder.com

You’ve found a better deal.

If you think you’ve found a better deal, consider using a personal loan repayment calculator to compare the two loan options and see if the move is worth it. When comparing loans, focus on interest rates but also look at ongoing fees and repayments as well as loan establishment costs. You could get a better idea of the total cost of the loan by evaluating the APR. Consider the features of a loan to make sure it suit your needs — for example, if you’d like the freedom to pay off your loan early, confirm there’s no prepayment penalty.

You want lower payments.

If you’d like to pay less each month on your personal loan, you could refinance it to extend the repayment period. Simply find a loan with a longer term. Once approved, you can use those funds to pay off your existing personal loan and then enjoy paying less each month on the new one. Keep in mind that lower monthly payments usually means more in total interest over the life of the loan.

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It’s confrontational for Benin leaders to demand arrest of Ijaw monarchs —IPDI

By Emma Amaize

WARRI—THE Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, IPDI, a rights group in Warri, Delta State, yesterday, described as offensive the recent call by some Benin leaders in Edo State for the arrest and prosecution of Ijaw monarchs, especially the most revered paramount ruler of Gbaramatu Kingdom and the enviable Olodiama king, the Agadagba, Alagbabunafa lll, over the coronation of the latter.

IPDI, in a statement by its national president, Austin Ozobo, warned: “No such threat of arrest will deter the Ijaw of Edo State from exercising their rights of ownership of such lands bequeathed to them by their ancestors.

“No Ijaw kingdom will fold its arms over any attempt to arrest their monarch. Such call is a threat to the existing peace in the Niger Delta region.

“The coronation of Olodiama monarch was not botched as claimed by people in Benin. We wish to state unequivocally that the coronation of the Pere of Olodiama Kingdom was done successfully.

“It is provocative for Benin people to call for the arrest of Ijaw monarchs. Such calls are capable of fanning ethnic war between the Ijaw and Benin. There is no record showing that Olodiama is under Benin Kingdom.

“It may interest you to know that no Ijaw community in Edo State is listed among various communities that make up Benin Kingdom. If there is any, I urge the Benin to publish such gazette comprising such villages.

“Therefore, the coronation of the Pere of Olodiama Kingdom did not breach any existing law of Edo State since the area is not covered by Benin traditional gazette.

“In Edo State, every tribe has its own monarch, why is the Ijaw case different? We are being intimidated and marginalized,” IPDI asserted.

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Religious leaders engineer politicians to steal — Ambode , others

By Gabriel Olawale

LAGOS—GOVERNOR Akinwumin Ambode of Lagos State, yesterday accused religious leaders of pushing political leaders to steal by the way they patronized the politicians and other influential individuals in the society who now do anything possible to meet up with the expectation.

AMBODE

Ambode who spoke at the annual public lecture organized by Christian Conscience, claimed religious leaders made higher demand from people in government without thinking about what they would meet such demand.

Represented Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. Abdul-hakeem Abdul-Lateef, the governor lamented that the common man who served God diligently got no recognition while religious leaders were busy patronising political leaders.

According to him: “When church and mosque want to do fund raising they will not look for people that are committed to the work of God but rather politicians and people in power whose salary is not up to N500,000 to come and launch N50 million project.  This same politicians and people in power, when they came to church late, Pastor will ask congregation to stand up and clap for them whereas the poor person that came early to church nobody recognizes him or her.”

Speaking on the theme, “Religion and Corruption: Strategic Direction in Fighting Corruption in Nigeria” said he had reduced the number of time he went to office as people usually besieged his office in hundreds seeking personal assistance.

He said: “In my office as commissioner I see about 100 to 200 people daily that came to my office for personal assistant not something that will benefit the larger society, that is why my going to office is strategic because am tired of explaining to people that I don’t have.

Corroborating him, a former Minister for Education and Convener of Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, campaign, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, said corruption remained the greatest obstacle to Nigeria’s development and that until the problem was tackled from the source, Nigeria would not move forward.

According to her: “The church which is meant to be the salt of healing has failed and this is worrisome. We are all comfortable with corruption.  There is need to consider reducing opportunities for corruption because battling corruption goes beyond Christian belief. We should enforce prosecution and sanction of bad behaviours to serve as deterrent for other evil doers.”

The Special guest lecturer at the Occasion, Prof. Dapo Asaju, said some of the religious leaders had commercialized religion at the detriment of the people.

Asaju who is the Bishop Theologian, Church of Nigeria and Vice Chancellor, Ajayi Crowther University, said it was regrettable to see religious leaders riding N30 million car when church members had not eat a day meal.

He said: “They have even go a step further to employed the service of bodyguard in the church of God. That is why when they prayed miracle doesn’t happen any longer because they are not in connection with God.”

The Chief Host and Chairman, Christian Conscience Group, Mr. Enock Ajiboso, however encouraged faithful religious leaders to join political arena and make difference.

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Sanusi blames ‘briefcase billionaires’ for nation’s economic woes

Ted Odogwu, Kano

The Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammadu Sanusi II, on Thursday in Kano identified the emergence of “briefcase billionaires” and illiteracy as the major factors stifling the economic growth and development of the country.

Sanusi, while speaking at the end of a three-day  Northern Regional Conference on Security, Justice and Development: Effective implementation of intervention measures,’ organised by Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action, noted that   when people get wealth they did not work for, “what follows would be disastrous for the nation.”

“When people just get wealth they didn’t work for, what that signifies was that, many injustices were permeating round  many quarters of the society, meaning there is something wrong in the system that was put in place for a very long time of our national history.”

He queried, “How many of our briefcase billionaires can show you their business plants and the number of people they employ in their companies? The companies are non-existent in the first place. So, what are we talking about?”

Sanusi argued that the more the society produces briefcase billionaires, the more the masses would get more impoverished.

“We need to build an economy that looks at people; not that which further creates gaps, unimagined gaps between people. You cannot call this capitalism either. It is through such kind of arrangements that end up in creating an insecure society. We all created the insecurity we are suffering from. Justice is one of the key and fundamental issues that can address our predicaments,” the royal father emphasised.

Sanusi also identified illiteracy as another factor accounting for economic woes. He argued that, when people were left without education, what would follow would be disturbing and devastating.

He said, “Our children are suffering from malnutrition, illiteracy; our women are suffering from poor health care delivery. We created our insecurity ourselves. We have nobody to blame but ourselves. So, whenever we talk of poverty we need to look at the nature of our economy. We need to ask ourselves the kind of society we are producing.”

In his remarks, the Chairman,  PRAWA Board of Trustees, Mr. Alabo Gabriel, said, “The purpose of the conference is to provide an efficient and effective platform for evaluating the current security, justice and development challenges of northern Nigeria, including the issue of insurgency in the North-East.”

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Omotola, Lancelot Imasuen, Ali Nuhu for honour at BON awards 2017

By Benjamin Njoku

Leading actress Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde, Ali Nuhu and popular film maker, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen are the recipients of the Best of Nollywood Awards 2017 Special Recognition award, the organizers have announced.

Omotola
*Omotola

The event holds on Saturday, December 16, at the Cultural Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State. The chief host is the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

Speaking on the choice of the awardees, Seun Oloketuyi, executive producer, BON Awards, said “We are glad to announce Omotola Jalade Ekehinde, Ali Nuhu and Lancelot Oduwa-Imasuen as recipients of this year’s Special Recognition Awards. You would concur that they deserve it for their achievements and contributions to the industry.”

Continuing, Oloketuyi said “in the last decade, no actor from the northern part of the country has broken barriers and crossed over to the mainstream Nollywood like Ali Nuhu. Apart from that, he has inspired an entire generation of Northern youths to see a career in Nollywood. He is a true and constant Northern legend, not just a star.”

Describing Omotola as Nigeria’s biggest cinematic export, Oloketuyi said, “There was no contest in her choice in spite of her relatively young age. Here is a lady who broke into the industry before she turned 18 and two decades after, is still a veritable box-office face in an industry known for ephemeral stars. It goes beyond luck.

The recognition from TIME Magazine as one of the Most Influential 100 people in the world in 2013 is a pointer to her relentless artistic enterprise and ingenuity. And we, at BON Awards are happy to be associated with such iconic actor.”

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No prison for Maryam Sanda alleged husband killer

Maryam Sanda, alleged killer of her husband, Bilyamin Bello, has been spared, for now, of being remanded in prison by the police.

Maryam Sanda and Bilyamin Bello: when they got married a few years ago

Anjuguri Manzah, spokesman of the FCT police command said the police did not demand prison remand for her because she is nursing a six month old baby.

Police said they have secured a court order to remand her for two weeks, after charging her at the High Court in the Jabi district of Abuja, with culpable homicide punishable under section 224 of the Penal Code.

“It should also be noted that this present charge is as a result of preliminary findings; at the end of investigations, additional findings will determine whether the current charge will be amended or whether other persons will be charged along with the suspect,” Manza said.

“To assist the police with their ongoing investigations, some persons have been invited for questioning on the matter.”

Sanda is the daughter of Maimuna Aliyu, the former Executive Director of Aso Savings and Loans Limited, while Bello was the son of Haliru Bello, former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In the meantime, the police will be relying on the testimony of some security guards, who witnessed the tragic assault.

Sanda allegedly stabbed her husband in the neck, chest and genitals on Saturday while he slept at their home in Maitama, Abuja.

She was said to have rushed him to a hospital where he died.

The deceased was reported to have divorced his first wife before marrying Sanda and the couple had a daughter together.

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Zimbabwe going the way of Guinea Bissau – Owei Lakemfa

THE resignation of Robert Mugabe on Tuesday  brought the one week tragi-comedy that followed his overthrow as Zimbabwean President to an end. The world had witnessed the comedy of a President overthrown by the military being virtually begged to resign while he gave conditions.

Mugabe
Zimbabwe’s Ex-President Robert Mugabe 

The coup puts Zimbabwe on the same path taken by Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, another country which fought a bloody liberation war against European colonialists, built an anti-imperialist system but whose military intervened and truncated the system. The latter liberation movement was led by one of the most intellectually-endowed and clear-headed Pan-Africanists, Amilcar Cabral. He, his brother, Luis Severino de Almeida Cabral and four others had on September 19, 1956, founded the African Party for the Independence of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, PAIGC. The country, a Portuguese colony, had sought to differentiate itself from the former French colony of Guinea by adding its capital, Bissau, as part of its name.

Tragically, as the liberation struggle was coming to an end with victory certain for the colonised people, Amilcar Cabral was assassinated on January 20, 1973. This huge setback almost led to the derailment of the PAIGC, the party leading the war. That year, the party declared independence, and the following year, Portugal, the colonial overlord, submitted to the will of the colonised.

Fortunately, Luis Cabral was able to steer the PAIGC into clear waters and the country held a lot of promise for Africa; a traumatised continent wracked by neo-colonial minds and leaders. There were debates on the future of the party and the country, but tragically, a section of the military took matters into its hands by staging a coup on November 14, 1980. The former Armed Forces Commander, General Joao Bernardo Veira, who was also the Prime Minister took over and ruled in the name of a revolutionary council. President Cabral was placed under house arrest for thirteen months. The immediate reaction of Cape Verde was to secede, and two countries were born.

That coup laid the foundation for instability in the country so much that no leader has ever finished a term in office. All the country’s leaders in its 43-year history of independence, have either been overthrown as were the cases of Cabral and President President Raimundo Pereria, assassinated as happened to General Veira or died in office like Malam Bacai Sanha. The revolutionary army became a major problem with mutinies, coups and counter coups. Following a May 1998 army uprising, a civil war ensued during which large parts of Bissau were destroyed. When I visited the area some five years later, the devastation was still visible.

The promise that was Guinea Bissau, evaporated; except for some public places like the bridge linking the country with the Casamance Province of Senegal. The name Amilcar Cabral, no longer tells the story; the story of African military triumphs over a European power, the story of  liberation and promise. Once internal debates had been truncated by the guns, the revolution fizzled out. So backward has Bissau become that at a point, Nigeria had to pay its civil servants and military while the country became a major drug trafficking hub for Latin America drug barons.

Zimbabwe, with the possibility of future splits within the military and endless rivalry for power, may go the way of Guinea Bissau. A liberation party like Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF can develop with internal debates and critical self-examination. However, when some members reach out for  guns and point them  at others, debates cannot continue. That is actually the end of debates or what Nigerians called a brand of car,  ‘End of Discussion”. A coup as happened in Zimbabwe cannot be the elongation of discussions by other means; it is a determinant. Definitely in a debate; ideological or not, the man with the gun is the more logical, more ideologically, correct and wins the debate. That is until another can also pick the gun; then it becomes ‘a balance of forces’ or what in this Nuclear Age, I will call ‘a balance of terror’.

The generals who overthrew Mugabe are the same people less than a year ago who claimed they would die for him. The same politicians who three weeks ago, helped Mugabe impeach Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, are the same crowd that under the gun, decided to impeach Mugabe and put Mnangagwa in his place. Eleven months ago, the ZANU-PF held its national convention and despite knowing that Mugabe will be 94 years when the scheduled general elections will hold in 2018, decided to make him its sole presidential candidate.

They knew he was old and tired, so they began long campaigns to ensure he accepted to run. They organised mass rallies in which they chanted ‘Tongai, Tongai Baba! ‘ (Rule, Rule Father!)

Mugabe was uncritical at such moments, he took the hood for the monk. He told the media: “They want me to stand for elections, they want me to stand for elections everywhere in the party … The majority of the people feel that there is no replacement, a successor who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am…Of course if I feel that I can’t do it any more, I will say so to my party so that they relieve me. But for now I think I can’t say so”.

I saw jubilant crowds in the streets after the coup, and following his resignation. I shook my head. I wondered what the jubilation is for; is it just about the departure of Mugabe or do they believe the tired generals who overthrew their  boss, and the foxy former Vice-President who are taking over, will better their lot? Is this really “Operation Restore Legacy”? If so, what legacy are they restoring? What really does Zimbabwe stand to benefit from an intra-party strife over which one faction rolled out the tanks to subdue the other? The coup may pass off as ‘a transition’ but something tells me the Mugabe era may be the golden age of Zimbabwe.

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Ekwueme will get national burial-FG

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA—THE Federal Government, yesterday announced that the late former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, will be given a national burial.

Alex Ekwueme
Former Vice President Alex Ekwueme

Consequently, the Federal Government has set up a committee headed by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, SGF,   Boss Mustapha and has also opened a condolence register at the State House, Abuja.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, made the announcement at the National Economic Council (NEC), presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Mustapha said that both the Federal Government, Anambra State Government and the late Ekweme’s family will fully participate in the burial.

At the end of the council meeting which lasted five hours, Osinbajo led governors as well as other senior government officials to sign the condolence register.

Meanwhile, the governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano has commended President Buhari for the conduct of free and fair gubernatorial election on November 18th in the state.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande told State House Correspondents, that Obiano gave the commendation under Any Other Business during the council meeting.

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