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Archive for April 8th, 2007

ODM-Kenya is now breaking up slowly – this was expected

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

The Kenyan media has now reported that Uhuru Kenyatta has announced that he is not in a hurry to occupy state house. Being the Opposition leader, this means he is giving way to President Kibaki to get the second term.

Observers see this as a very intelligent move by Uhuru who is still seen as one of the ODM-K presidential aspirants opposed to Kibaki.

When we now look at things as they are, Uhuru pulling out of ODM-K soon, means those remaining are in ODM-K are actually LDP men only namely; Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.

William Ruto is not winning and this is a Kanu man anyway. If he thinks he is going to move to state house this time, then his is a theoretical dream. It is difficult for him to climb at this time. The best for him is to strengthen Uhuru’s Kanu faction and ensure that he gets a parliamentary seat, otherwise he may find himself in the cold.

Musalia Mudavadi, Najib Balala and the other ODM-K presidential aspirants are no threat to President Kibaki. So the voters had better not waste time even considering their interest.

Now what will remain for the voters to choose from are the two LDP men Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, both now bottled in ODM-Kenya and President Kibaki who will wave the Narc-Kenya flag.

So the next elections is in actual sense between Narc-Kenya, LDP, Kanu one of Uhuru, Kanu 2 of Biwott and other smaller parties

If LDP continues to call itself ODM-Kenya, then their members will have to make their mind between Raila and Kalonzo – they have to look at which one of them has the ability to defeat Kibaki. They have to look at their track record.

Both men were in Kanu. Later on they jumped to LDP and ODM-K. Now they plan a long jump into state house. It is only one of them who will meet Kibaki at the polls.

What will be tricky is how Uhuru of Kanu faction and Nicolas Biwott’s other Kanu fraction decide to proceed.

Uhuru will not let Raila go to state house. Neither will Biwott. So Kanu will want to fight it alone and if they do not succeed, it is definite that they will decide to be in a coalition government with Kibaki if Kibaki does not get the majority to make him rule alone.

When ODM-K remaining group – or call them the two LDP men – Raila and Kalonzo turn to their members one of them will become victorious. Raila or Kalonzo.

Kalonzo has more experience than Raila when it comes to foreign policy. He has served for many years in government than Raila.

But will that count when ODM-K members are choosing their man? We wait and see. It is not the media that decides but the voters!

The Kenyan politics is now beginning to be very interesting to watch.

By Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525

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Mutilation of women’s genitalia should be made a capital crime punishable by life imprisonment in all countries

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

AFP News brief

Eritrea bans female circumcision

Eritrea has banned the painful and risky practice of female circumcision, widely carried out by women in their homes in both Muslim and Christian communities of the Horn of Africa nation.

Anyone who requests, incites or promotes female genital mutilation (FGM) will be punished with a fine and imprisonment, said a government statement posted on the Internet late Wednesday.

“Female circumcision is a procedure that seriously endangers the health of women, causes them considerable pain and suffering besides threatening their lives,” it said.

Some two million Sub-Saharan African women are circumcised each year, and around 130 million women, mainly in Africa, have suffered such mutilation, according to the World Health Organisation, which adopted a resolution against the practice in 1993.

The Eritrean ban, which came into force on March 31, follows a campaign by the National Union of Eritrean Women, which says that 94 percent of Eritrean women have been circumcised.

“This ban is one of the most important issues the union has been working for,” said Belainesh Seyoum, NUEW’s head of international relations, adding that they had carried out workshops to alert people to the risks of the practice across the country.

Circumcision, which is already a health risk because many practitioners lack appropriate medical equipment, can range from the stitching up of young girls’ vaginas to the excision of the clitoris.

Among the long-term complications are cysts, painful sexual intercourse, urinary incontinence and difficulties with childbirth.

Supporters of female circumcision argue that it helps prevent promiscuous behaviour. Women carry out the surgery as part of an initiation rite to adulthood.

The UN children’s agency UNICEF, which works with the Eritrean authorities to halt FGM, said it welcomed the ban but warned that community-based work must continue.

“The proclamation needs to be complemented by a continued strong sensitization of communities leading to a behavior change,” UNICEF spokeswoman Sara Johansson told AFP in Asmara.

Several African countries have banned female circumcision, including Ghana, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Senegal, but bans do not always halt the practice.

Young Eritreans on the streets of Asmara said they hoped the law would help change traditional beliefs.

“A lot of work has gone into trying to change attitudes, but people still believe that a girl who has not been circumcised will be wild and promiscuous,” said a 23-year-old female student, declining to be named.

“Having a punishment will act as a real deterrent.”

A 20-year-old male doing his military service also welcomed the measure.

“It’s a good move,” he said, also asking to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the subject.

“It will still continue, but it will make people think twice, and it provides a reason to resist pressure from the community to do it.”

Posted to APN by Karuga wa Njuguna

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Many countries are yet to ratify protocol on Great Lakes

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) So far, none of the eleven core member countries of the recently formed Great Lakes Group have ratified the protocol on the establishment of the International Conference on Great Lakes, APA has learnt.

The Executive Secretary of the Conference, Ms Liberata Mulamula, said in Dar es Salaam on Saturday in a press conference that the ratification of the protocol was critical to speed up implementation of the regional body’s aspirations.

She however said that Tanzania was finalizing procedures to ratify the protocol and that it will soon be tabled in parliament. Other countries forming the regional bloc are Uganda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Angola, Kenya and Sudan.

“Currently, the protocol ratification process is at the ministerial level, but we intend to take the pact for ratification under the certificate of urgency,” added Ambassador Begum Taj, the new national co-ordinator, who has replaced Ms Mulamula in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation’s Great Lakes desk.

Mrs Mulamula, who is in the country for consultative talks with the government on the proposed regional Council of Ministers conference scheduled for next month, said only Zambia and Burundi have so far paid their contributions to the Secretariat.

She said Tanzania has promised to settle immediately the outstanding contribution amounting to US$259,000.

Ms Mulamula said that the African Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to support the establishment of the Special Reconstruction and Development Fund, which will be used to fund the regional cross border development projects.

The pact to establish the Great Lakes countries grouping was sealed by the heads of the state and government summit held in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital last year.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Member states committed to the Regional Centre on Amall Arms and Light Weapons

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

Nairobi (Kenya) The Kenya minister for foreign affairs has lauded the efforts of the member states of the Regional Centre on Small Arms and Light Weapons (RECSA) for their continued efforts in fighting the proliferation of small arms in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa.

Raphael Tuju commended the 10 member states of the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa for their commitment and the political goodwill they have given to the RECSA secretariat which is based in Nairobi.

“Kenya notes that the success of the achieved by RECSA in the implementation of the Nairobi Declaration and the Nairobi Protocol is largely due to existing commitment and dedication of the member states and the political goodwill they continue to give to the secretariat”, said Tuju.

Speaking during official opening of the RECSA’s new offices in Nairobi on Tuesday, the minister said the Kenyan government would continue to support RECSA in order to contain the proliferation and use of illicit small arms and light weapons.

“Kenya would like to assure her neighbours of her continued support to RECSA in order to contain the proliferation and the use of illicit small arms and light weapons,” he said.

Speaking at the same function, Isaac Musumba, Uganda’s minister for state and foreign affairs and who is also the chairman of RECSA, said that continued collaboration between governments and also the civil society through interaction with RECSA has eased out hostility.

“This collaboration has greatly assisted in easing out traditional suspicions and hostilities between civil society and governments,” Musumba said.

The Nairobi Declaration, setting up RECSA, was signed by the 10 member states in 2000 to contain the proliferation of arms.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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International Olympic Committee (IOC) dishes cash to Kenyan teams

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

Nairobi (Kenya) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has given 115,942 dollars to the National Olympic Committee of Kenya and other 18 federations in the country, towards the preparations for the forthcoming All Africa Games as well as the 2008 Olympic Games, APA has learnt.

Among the disciplines that benefited are athletics, swimming, handball, softball, tennis, lawn tennis, weightlifting, wrestling, boxing, volleyball and shooting.

Speaking at the ceremony, National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) chairman Kipchoge Keino, challenged the federations to use the money efficiently.

He also challenged the federation to improve on Kenya’s performances better than what was seen in Athens in the 2004 Olympics where it won only one gold medal.

Kenya will take part in the All African Games in Algiers in July as well as in next year’s Olympic Games in Beijing.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Regulating Lake Victoria to be given priority by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

Nairobi (Kenya) The Kenyan minister for East African Community (EAC), has announced that the three member states have signed a new strategic action plan that will regulate the use of Lake Victoria.

John Koech and his colleagues from the three East African partner states unveiled the plan as they signed the treaty on Friday in Kisumu, about 600 kilometres from Nairobi, according to a statement sent to APA on Saturday from the EAC offices in Nairobi.

The statement signed on Friday said that the treaty aims at reducing pollution and a myriad of other problems such as the water hyacinth (weed), among other things in the lake shared by Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.

“As a shared resource, it is imperative that the lake be used in a manner that will benefit all the three East African countries” said the statement.

Koech said the effective utilization of the lake would translate into massive economic gain for the region.

He added that the community, through the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, had formulated both short and long-term measures to eradicate the water hyacinth from the lake and prevent similar future occurrences

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Sufferers from hypertension in Ghana rises over 50%

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

Accra (Ghana) Ghana’s medical director of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Dr. Fred Sarfo, Wednesday said hypertension was on the rise in the country and estimated that about 50 percent of the citizens were suffering from the disease, APA has learnt.

He observed that heart-related diseases were increasing in the country, and warned that if left unchecked, many people will die of the illness in greater proportions than the deadly HIV/AIDS virus.

Dr. Sarfo, who is the medical director of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, the second largest city in Ghana, located some 250 kilometers northeast of Accra, made the statement at the end of a two-day cardiothoracic and muscular workshop in Kumasi on Wednesday.

He therefore enticed Ghanaians to regularly visit hospitals for check-ups in order to help them to detect the disease earlier and prevent deaths.

The workshop deliberated on early detection of heart-related diseases.

A Ghanaian medical professor in Germany, Prof. Charles Yankah, said there was only 10 percent of survival rate among Ghanaian suffering from hypertension while was 60 percent in Europe and urged government to provide adequate resources for all regional hospitals to ensure early detection of the disease so as to minimize its infection.

The workshop was attended by experts from South Africa, Germany and Ghana.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Ghanaian Teaching Hospital trains heart surgeons

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

Accra (Ghana) The President of the Ghana Heart Foundation and Chief Executive Officer of Ghana’s Cardiothoracic Centre at Korle -Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Tuesday disclosed that the centre has trained 27 heart surgeons from four African countries since its establishment in 1990 by former Ghanaian President Jerry John Rawlings, APA has learnt.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng made the disclosure during the launch of a book titled, “Deep Down My Heart” in the Western Regional capital of Sekondi-Takoradi some 200 kilometers southwest of Accra.

The renowned Ghanaian surgeon said heart surgery was very difficult to perform owing to the delicate nature of the heart coupled with its complex location and urged practising surgeons to step up commitment in their duties in Africa.

Professor Boateng said the Centre was committed to support and promote access to heart surgeons in Africa through the provision of quality and improved training for heart surgeons in Africa.

The training of the African surgeons indicated that Ghana’s Cardiothoracic Centre has assumed international dimension, he noted.

Those trained include 20 candidates from Nigeria, five Ghanaians, one Togolese and one Ethiopian.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Ghanaians pray for more rain as Akosombo Hydro-Electric Dam is threatened

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

Accra (Ghana) Christians in Ghana on Friday which is known here as “Good Friday” filled churches to capacity and prayed to God to send down more rain to fill the dwindling water volume in the Akosombo Hydro-Electric Dam , the country’s main power generator, to end the current energy crisis that has hit the country.

Preaching a sermon at Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana in Accra, Rev. Dr Livingston Buamah, the General Overseer of the church asked Ghanaians not to despair in the face of the current energy crisis confronting the West African country but rather asked them to intensify their prayers to enable God pour down more rain into the dam.

While Dr Buamah was on it, various officiating priests across Ghana also urged members to go on their knees to ask God to send down the rain to fill the dam and free them from the jaws of the energy crisis that have recently taken a political twist in the country.

Good Friday is celebrated by Christians worldwide to commemorate the death and triumphal resurrection of Jesus Christ that occurred about 2000 years ago.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Saving Wouri River in Cameroon intensifies

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

Yaounde (Cameroon) A national movement to save the Wouri River “threatened from disappearance in the coming decades” was launched by Lawyer Alice Nkom, a member of the Cameroonian bar.

This river waters the economic metropolis of Douala, shelters the largest port of Cameroon and also supplies goods to neighbouring countries such as the Central African Republic (CAR) and Chad.

Through the association “Il faut sauver le Wouri ” (We should save the Wouri River) set up Friday in Yaounde, Lawyer Alice Nkom intends to organise a series of events throughout the country to bring the authorities, the civil society and the users of the river to join her to combat the threat.

According to Nkom, the warming of the Wouri River, caused by the absence of depth of the river, drove out the fish and other fresh water inhabitants, while fishing is seldom happening there.

“The problems of the residents are accentuated by dredging and the installation of factories on the banks of the river. These make the Wouri the biggest bin of the Littoral province where very few industrial projects take into account the environmental impact”.

The macro wastes, the waste from industrial and human effluents, the gravel and sand dredging, the maritime transport, over-fishing, pollution, or the anarchistic occupation of the banks to which it is necessary to add the global warming are added to the previous practices.

“The other great threat, quite visible currently by all, is the wild invasion of the water hyacinth (weed), which, after blocking all the accesses of the villages, eliminates any life in the river,” the lawyer explained.

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Large number of immigrants arrested in Mauritania

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

Nouakchott (Mauritania) Some 126 sub-Saharan candidates for illegal emigration to the Canary Islands in Spain were arrested off Nouadhibou (470 km, north of Nouakchott), APA learnt Saturday from security sources in this city.

According to this source, a patrol of the Spanish Civil Guard arrested on Friday these illegal immigrants who were mainly Senegalese and Gambians. The Spanish led them to Nouadhibou where they were placed in a housing camp especially set to accommodate such ’guests’.

The boat transporting these passengers lacked fuel and provisions at the time of its inspection, the same source added anonymously in a telephone conversation with APA in Nouakchott.

The immigrants will without delay be taken to the border with Senegal to get back to their countries of origin, the source noted.

Spain and Mauritania are bound by an agreement in the fight against illegal immigration.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Will the games be “Fair played”

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

Maseru (Lesotho) An over age scandal has hit the inaugural tournament of the Association of National Olympic Committees for Africa (ANOCA) Zone VI Under-18 Games which are currently going on in Lesotho, APA observed Saturday.

Though the athletes made a pledge that the games will be played with the spirit of ’Fair Play’ as one of them pronounced during the official opening of the games, the Lesotho national Under 18 side, the Bahlabani was accused of playing an over-aged player (Makhalanyane Posholi) in their opening match against Botswana at Bambatha Tsita sports arena in Maseru, the capital on Friday. Lesotho won the match 2-0 and Posholi was the second goal scorer.

The presiding officer over the protest that was lodged by the Botswana management, Mr. Baba Malephane said the regulations of the competition stipulate that athletes born on January 1, 1990 and under were eligible to play at this competition and not before.

However, he said Posholi’s passport showed that though he is still under 18, he was born in 1989, which makes him ineligible to feature into the competition hence the player and the team were found guilty and forfeited the three points and three goals from that match which were then awarded to Botswana.

Malephane said Posholi has been expelled from the camp as a result.

The tournament director Mofihli Makoele said another Lesotho player in the athletics team was also expelled in the camp after it was discovered that she had given wrong information about her birth date.

When approached for comment, the Bahlabani coach, Bishop Molatoli said he was not aware of the competition regulation which says that only players born on January 1, 1990 were eligible to play.

He pointed out that Posholi is still Under 18 because he was born in 1989.

Lesotho will play Namibia in the second match on Sunday.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Fear mounts on Nigerian elections as police warn on intent to rig it

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

Lagos (Nigeria) The Commissioner of Police in charge of Rivers State of Nigeria, Mr Felix Ogbaudu, Saturday raised alarm over alleged plans by some politicians in the state to rig the forthcoming general elections in Nigeria.

Ogbaudu said in Port Harcourt, about 600 kilometres from Abuja that the police command had received intelligence reports that some politicians were sewing army and police uniforms with a view to using them to rig the elections.

He also said the intelligence report indicated that some politicians had acquired arms and ammunition to be used on Election Day.

“All such persons are warned in their own interest to desist from such acts as it is highly criminal. The full weight of the law will descend on those who fail to heed this warning,’’ he said.

The commissioner assured the people that the police would ensure a level playing field for all political parties and stakeholders during and after the elections.

He, however, warned that the command would prosecute those caught violating the law on Election Day.

“I urge parties contesting for elective posts to ensure that their accredited agents are at the polling stations and collation centres.

“Such agents should conduct themselves responsibly, lawfully and peacefully,’’ he advised.

Ogbaudu urged parents not to allow their children or wards to be used as thugs by politicians because anyone caught involved in thuggery would be prosecuted.

The commissioner advised youths to beware of politicians, who were desperately in need of their services now, but would switch off their phone lines on them once the elections were over, having used and dumped them.

“All stakeholders are advised to be very patient and show sufficient understanding at the polling stations and collation centres.

“I advise politicians to go for this election in the spirit of sportsmanship. Those who win should be congratulated, while losers should look up to some other elections,’’ Ogbaudu said.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Ivorian premier forms government

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) The newly formed government of Ivorian Prime Minister, Guillaume Soro, secretary-general of the Forces Nouvelles (New Forces-FN, ex rebel group), comprises 32 ministers, APA noted.

The new cabinet which held its first Council of Ministers meeting in the presence of President Laurent Gbagbo is also marked by 9 departures from the previous cabinet and 6 new comers.

Four women are also part of the government team led by Soro against three in the previous government of Charles Konan Banny.

While waiting for the official publication of the list of the ministers, the appointments of the FN spokesperson, Sidike Konate and that of President Laurent Gbagbo’s negotiator, Desire Tagro, have been announced.

Tagro had led the government delegation to the inter-Ivorian negotiations held in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and which led to the political agreement between the FN and President Gbagbo.

The inclusion in the cabinet of Bamba Amza of the Movement of the Forces of the Future (MFA) is also announced just as that of Gervais Coulibaly of the presidential camp.

Laurent Gbagbo appointed on 29 March Guillaume Soro as Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire, in accordance with the Ouagadougou agreement to run the Ivorian transition which should lead to elections in this country in ten months’ time.

The government of Guillaume Soro could possibly keep the same set-up as that of Charles Konan Banny, which was then dominated by the Ivorian Patriotic Front (FPI) and the New Forces with respectively 7 and 6 ministers each.

Then the Democratic Party of Cote d’Ivoire (PDCI) and the Rally of Republicans (RDR) had each 5 ministers, while the UDPCI, the PIT, the MFA and the UDCY had each one ministry.

Cote d’Ivoire is divided into two since September 2002 following a foiled coup.

Published by Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525 source.apa

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Some women Members of Parliament in Kenya are asking President Kibaki to take HIV test

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2007

We all know that the killer disease, HIV is in our midst. We all know that it kills without discrimination on whether you are black or white. We know that leaders die if they do not protect themselves when having sex.

The question now is why the women members of parliament in Kenya are asking their president to go public and take a test. What has motivated the women to do so at this time? Maybe they are simply saying “we care” and do not want our leaders to die and leave leading the country. Many things can be read into this out-spring by the women MPs involved.

According to the Kenya Times, a number of women MPs are asking Kenya’s president Mwai Kibaki to take a HIV test and make it public in order to encourage Members of Parliament to do the same.

This is a very interesting move by the women MPs. HIV/Aids is a very serious thing and must be attended to. The question here is why now and not earlier. Is it a campaign tactic by the women involved in an effort to popularise their candidature during the coming elections?

We doubt that their call is genuine. Why wait until the last few months before parliament is to be dissolved then come with popular statements of this kind.

The women may be having a motive. If the president does not do it, then the women involved will go around in the last months of the campaign to discredit the government and the president of not taking HIV/ Aids seriously.

Alternatively, they want to embarrass the president if he has the disease by saying one cannot lead the country unless free of the disease. This will be discriminatory.

It could also be a good idea. Because if a leader does not have such a disease, it can be used as a moral issue that is positive and must be emulated.

We have no quarrel with fighting HIV and promoting health, but we are concern on the timing and motive behind the announcement by the women involved.

The women in question should go forward and test themselves in the presence of their constituents and encourage them to do so instead of squeezing the president.

Meanwhile, we wish to reiterate that governments should give priority to the fight against the spread of HIV and fund projects that are geared into educating the masses.

By Korir, African Press in Norway, apn, tel +47 932 99 739 or +47 6300 2525. source.kenyatimes

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