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News Article

December 14, 2013
Sustainable art communities

"Creativity and Policy in the Transnational Caribbean" explores how the understanding and formation of sustainable community for the Caribbean and its global diaspora may be supported by art practice, curating and museums. The project was a collaboration between The Open University and the University of Leiden, in partnership with the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam and the Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva), London, and was led by Dr. Leon Wainwright.
Participants in the second conference in this series, which took place December 3-4, 2013, included Alessio Antoniolli (UK), Marielle Barrow (Trinidad and Tobago), Charles Campbell (Jamaica/UK), Annalee Davis (Barbados), Joy Gregory (UK), Therese Hadchity (Barbados), Glenda Heyliger (Aruba), Rosemarijn Hoefte (the Netherlands), Yudhishthir Raj Isar (France/India), Tessa Jackson (UK), Nancy Jouwe (the Netherlands), Charl Landvreugd (the Netherlands), Wayne Modest (the Netherlands), Petrona Morrison (Jamaica), Jynell Osborne (Guyana), Marcel Pinas (Suriname), Dhiradj Ramsamoedj (Suriname), Leon Wainwright (UK) and Kitty Zijlmans (Netherlands).
As the conference on Sustainable Art Communities started, we immediately encountered one of the problems relating to sustainability across the diaspora - first speaker Marcel Pinas could not be there because of visa issues, thus highlighting a key obstacle in the transnational dialogue. Meeting in person builds community, as all who attended can attest to, and nothing beats a face to face discussion. Raj Isar used the German word "gemeinshaft", which basically refers to living, breathing and eating together; for a few days that is what this conference facilitated. Leon Wainwright started the discussion with a few questions, one of which was "Should the arts be burdened with the task of building community?"
Rather than actually coming up with answers, the conference was very enlightening because it showed that issues experienced in the Caribbean are also in effect in the diaspora. Questions like "for whom is the work made?" and "are institutions disconnected from the audience?" were addressed. The importance of critical discourse in countries like Jamaica, Suriname and the Netherlands was expressed by Petrona Morisson.
As the mark of success in art seems to be related to public engagement, establishing links through existing spaces to broaden local audiences on artistic, critical and financial levels is paramount. Part of this can be achieved through carefully archiving Caribbean lived experience. As an example of this, Joy Gregory started/is starting up a residency in the former house of fashion designer Trevor Owens in Jamaica, providing a way into understanding this experience. At the same time, according to Therese Hadchity, the local and historical context is being transcended by artists like Sheena Rose, Ewan Atkinson and Alicia Alleyne, and is being picked up in other parts of the world. A new hybrid globalized subject is emerging with mixed sensibilities. Jynell Osborne made this clear by speaking about diversity in heritage and how this affects social and political issues in a country like Guyana. "We have to recognize where cultures come together and where they stay apart in Guyana, and by extension in the Caribbean. Part of building a strong society is building a strong culture that is sustainable." Tying back to the production of a critical discourse, this seems to be done more by writers than visual artists in smaller countries. Why is that?
One thing that the speakers and audience agreed on was Petrona Morisson's sentiment that the Caribbean and its diaspora should not repeat patterns of exclusion in our effort to build a sustainable art community. Annalee Davis' presentation on the initiative Fresh Milk is seen as one of the ways in which talent can be nurtured in our own geographical space. She made a case for the fourth sector model of social economy in light of the lack of funds, creating wealth by means of nurturing creative talent within the region. This, the panel agreed, is a revolutionary act. By first working within the local space and sustaining creative process, expansion to include all of the region is anticipated. The question of an understandable art language for everybody may be a consequence of this way of working. What the impact of this will be outside and inside of academia can only be imagined at this point. Who defines and critiques history, and is history in the way of the future? This was asked by Ozkan Golpinar when he explained the way decisions on funding are being made in the West.
The question about craftmanship vs art was raised by Wayne Modest, who is concerned with the relationship between the local and the global; "What happens when elite practices take up the 'ghetto'?" He took some time speaking about the 'ghetto' as a native place for contemporary Jamaican artists, in comparison to previous generations who saw Africa as the native place. This echoed my idea of continental Europe as a native space to Caribbean subjects who were born and or raised there. It was also exemplified by Glenda Heyliger's presentation on her work in Aruba. Fittingly, Marielle Barrow contributed to this exchange, joining the conversation via Skype from the Ghetto Biennale in Haiti. Unfortunately the connection went bad several times as it did with Raj Isar, but her message of multimodality was strong. How to sustain a network without funding was one of her main questions. Transformation seems to be one of the principles here. Charles Campbell showed us how he did it with 'Actor Boy', who became real, participated in society, started creating his own artworks and mythologized himself once over. As Alessio Antoniolli said about the organizations connected through the Triangle Network, "The most successful groups are the ones who are self serving."

o Orignally published on
o Charl Landvreugd is a Dutch artist, born in Suriname and raised in Rotterdam. Aesthetically, politically, theoretically as well as practically, black is the base color in his practice. The artist has studied at the Goldsmiths College (London) and Columbia University (NYC), and now continues his investigations of black and Blackness. He explores the plurality of black hues and advocates for distinctions in black diversity. Inspired by the gathering of people from the African diaspora in the Bijlmer, he unites the four continents around the Atlantic in the video work Atlantic Transformerz 2010.

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News Article

December 06, 2013
VAT: A hangman's noose

Dear Editor,

The gold rush administration is between a rock and a hard place. During the electoral campaign back in 2012 its leadership cadre, sycophants and political allies said that they had the solutions to all national problems, inclusive of being able to fix the economy. All the PLP wanted was an opportunity to govern again. The party was returned to office big time.
Fast-forward to 2013. A badly managed opinion poll, dressed up like a referendum, was soundly defeated by an ill-informed and apathetic electorate. The PM's pronouncement that he had no horse in the race was a deathblow to the possible success of the same. Strike number one.
The party also promised to introduce a modified form on National Health Insurance within its first year in office, having had an opportunity to extensively research the feasibility and ramifications during its 2002 to 2007 term in office. Sixteen months later, the plan has been relegated further down the road and is not likely to see the light of day anytime soon. Strike number two.
Now the administration is faced with a looming fiscal crisis and possible economic downgrade by various international credit rating agencies. Successive governments, especially the last Ingraham administration, racked up debt and spent taxpayers' money like dirt. We are now saddled with a declared debt in excess of $6.5 billion and counting. The annual deficit exceeds $500 million, if not more.
To dig its way out of this fiscal hole the gold rush administration has proposed the introduction of a value-added tax regime, complete with a new level of bureaucratic support and an enforcement arm. In the majority of regional nations where VAT has been introduced and implemented their economies have gone south and debt servicing consumes in excess of 70 percent of GDP (gross domestic product). If you wish, refer to Barbados as a classic example of a failed economy which is burdened down with a VAT regime.
There are any number of creative ways through which this administration would be able to claw its way back to fiscal stability without imposing a knuckleheaded, unworkable and badly thought-out replacement tax regime.
The administration has rolled out several individuals, who really should know better, to act as propaganda fodder, in the form of Ishmael Lightbourne and one John Rolle. The former is a former senator within a former PLP administration and the latter is a big honcho at the Ministry of Finance and an academic to boot.
Lightbourne is a noted chartered accountant and has some private business experience. Rolle, I believe, is a career civil servant who has never operated or managed even a petty shop. This is not to suggest that they might not know what they are talking about, but the administration is dead wrong on this issue of VAT.
The gold rush also rolled out a former prime minister of Barbados, Owen Arthur. He was brought in to opine on the benefits of VAT. He did not tell his restricted audience in Grand Bahama, however, that under his watch (he served as PM of Barbados for three terms) his nation went from a surplus to a massive deficit. In fact, Barbados tried to float a $500 million bond issue the other day and was unable to get a single dollar on the international market.
An income tax, at a flat rate of 10 percent , across the board, coupled with a sales tax of four percent to five percent and an aggressive collection policy on overdue existing taxes would wipe out the national debt at the stroke of a pen. The gravy would come when this administration promulgates legislation to regulate and tax the so-called web shop industry.
It is interesting that the Bahamas Christian Council and its self-appointed leadership of potentially political bootlickers have come out in support of VAT. Will VAT be applicable to church collections and the income from tithes and love offerings? That council is infested with theological bloodsuckers of the highest order.
The Bahamas Christian Council appears to have no problem with yet another tax being imposed upon the collective backs of the poor and middle-class Bahamians but are bitterly opposed to the regulation and taxation of the web shop industry. Gaming by Bahamians, regardless of the shape or form thereof, is not going to just go away. I often wonder just where the council's head is. I have a good idea but will not opine at this time.
The PLP will lose the goodwill of the business community and the political support of its traditional bases over this vexing issue of VAT, mark my words. Perry Christie is being ill advised and, clearly, he does not have a grip on what to do with the economy.
It is most unfortunate, however, that people and politicians like Christie & Company, will never be subjected to the harsh realities of VAT or any other form of taxation as most of them, inclusive of the PM, are set for life. VAT will be the hangman's noose for the PLP.
I now appeal to the DPM to urge the hapless minister of finance to step back from the brink. Davis has a date with destiny as the next logical PM of The Bahamas and he can ill afford to permit the stillbirth of his ascendancy by bumbling colleagues.
To God then, in all things, be the glory.

- Ortland H. Bodie Jr.

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News Article

November 13, 2013
Gov't urged to protect poor in VAT roll-out

As the target date for the implementation of value-added tax (VAT) approaches, a retired politician is calling on the government to develop a plan that would cushion the impact for poor people.
"We have to find the avenue to make sure that the increase in the living cost that will inevitably come is not too much for the disadvantaged among us," former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Cabinet Minister George Smith told The Nassau Guardian.
"We have to make sure that the people least among us, the people who can least afford to pay more, we have to find avenues of easing the burden on them."
Financial Secretary John Rolle said on Monday the cost of living in the first year of VAT is likely to increase by around five or six percent based on an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) study.
Smith said there are several things the government can do to soften the blow for the poor, including subsidizing their electricity bills.
The government has not yet outlined specific measures intended to protect the poor.
In a speech to the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce earlier this year, former Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur underscored the importance of implementing policies to shield the poor.
Noting the tendency for VAT to hit the pockets of the poor disproportionately, Arthur said it is important to build "special discriminatory features" to help the poor or to redistribute a percentage of VAT proceeds to support programs targeted at the poor and the disadvantaged.
Arthur, whose administration implemented VAT in 1997, said one of the measures introduced in Barbados was a new Poverty Eradication Fund, which was annually capitalized from the proceeds of VAT to deal with poverty at the individual level.
The government of The Bahamas intends to introduce VAT in July 2014 at a rate of 15 percent.
The introduction of the new tax regime is one of the measures intended to enhance public finances.
Smith said the government must also move to cut wastage. Specifically, he said it is the time for the government to stop pumping money into Bahamasair.
"We need to find a way to operate Bahamasair so that it is profitable," he said.
He said the government must also address subsidies to the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) and Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC), which have been a consistent drag on the public purse.
The government allocates tens of millions of dollars annually to BEC, WSC, and Bahamasair in subventions funding.
Based on the legislation and regulations that were drafted to guide the VAT regime, the government would tax over 80 different professions, cable bills and phone bills for all consumers, and electricity and water bills for businesses.
The Value Added Tax Bill 2013, and the Value Added Tax Regulations 2013, obtained by The Nassau Guardian, proposes that many financial transactions and insurance transactions and premiums, except for health and life insurance, will be subject to VAT.
However, a variety of breadbasket items, educational institutions, daycare, after school, retirement, medical, and disabled facilities, religious institutions, charitable organizations and the sale or rental of a dwelling not part of a hotel complex would be exempt.
VAT is expected to improve revenue by $200 million, officials estimate.

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News Article

September 23, 2011
Bahamas 'must update' trademark law

A former legal adviser to the Ministry of Finance says The Bahamas must come of age when it comes to trademark laws, intellectual property and the rules that govern cyberspace if it wants to establish itself as a serious global player - or risk being left behind.
Rowena Bethel, who now works as a consultant on matters concerning the Internet, e-commerce law and cross-border cooperation, said the vast majority of Bahamians don't
understand the importance of these issues.
"The situation in The Bahamas is our trademark law is from 1906," he told Guardian Business.
"It was drafted before people even dreamt about the Internet.  Its power needs to be recognized and we must update our laws.  When you live in a global environment, and you wish to take advantage of being a global citizen, you must play by global rules."
The comment comes after Chanel, the luxury retailer, filed a legal suit against 399 websites in the U.S. this week, charging that the online retailers are infringing on its trademarks and selling counterfeit goods.
Although the suit was filed in a U.S. district court, there is one problem - lawyers contend many of these websites operate out of The Bahamas, among other "foreign jurisdictions with lax trademark enforcement systems".
The suit also contended that the websites use search optimization strategies to dupe online consumers and lead them astray from the legitimate, mainstream vendors.
Chanel is requesting an injunction against the defendants, stopping them from infringing and counterfeiting.  They also wish to seize, and perhaps disable, the domain names of the perpetrators.
Questions were submitted to a Chanel spokesperson in the U.S., but Guardian Business didn't receive a response before press time.
Bethel said this particular case is a perfect example of the need to update trademark laws in The Bahamas.
Whenever a website is registered, she explained, you apply for a domain name and provide personal details.
"I suspect that's how the lawyers from Chanel were able to find these websites," she added.  "They then would know who the owners are and who is registered.  The fact they are in The Bahamas does not stop them from suing them in the U.S."
With higher developed trademark and infringement laws in the U.S., Chanel is able to take legal action against Bahamas-based websites if the products are accessible to American consumers.  In other words, if Americans can buy the Chanel products, U.S. courts have jurisdiction to prosecute.
Cases like these are damaging to the reputation of The Bahamas as a serious exporter / importer of goods, especially as the country seeks full privileges and membership with the World Trade Organization, she said.
Counterfeit luxury goods have been a persistent problem in The Bahamas.
In September 2010, seven Bahamian straw vendors were arrested at JFK airport in New York and charged for possession of counterfeit goods.
The arrests were a drop in the bucket in a more larger issue, Bethel said, as the sale of these products continues to be quite common on Bahamian streets - with the new downtown straw market preparing to open its doors in the coming days.
Meanwhile, in July of this year, the Customs Management Bill was passed by the government to create measures that would allow Customs to confiscate counterfeit goods at the border, or detain and dispose of them if they make it into the country and are later found.
Winston Rolle, the Chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC), said the fighting against intellectual property and counterfeiting is a working process and more work must be done.
"We realize there is a deficiency here," he told Guardian Business.
"We not only need to protect Chanel, but ourselves."
Rolle revealed that the BCCEC is currently working on a virtual platform for the handicraft industry, which will source and quality control Bahamian goods.
Incredibly, he pointed out that, on the world stage, there is very little the country can do if a foreign manufacturer claimed its merchandise was: "Made in The Bahamas."
"We need to have strong intellectual property laws to protect our industry, from others getting their hands on it and saying products are Bahamian made," he added.
"People need to not just see the Chanel side - it's also to protect our own manufacturers."
For now, as it relates to Chanel, Bethel felt the injunction will likely go in favor of the luxury brand.
She anticipated the websites will be forced to close down or cease their activities and further penalties, including fines and "handsome damages" could be down the road.

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News Article

September 12, 2011


Tribune Business Editor

THE BAHAMAS-BASED Islands of the World Fashion Week is working with two other local operations that will act as "stepping stones" for Bahamian designers to progress to the main event, its head telling Tribune Business that many are "truly not ready" yet for international exposure.

Owen Bethel, head of the Nassau-based Montaque Group and president of Modes Iles, the Islands of the World Fashion Week organiser, said he was looking to make the latter - now a biennial event taking place in May and November, starting in 2012 - a "more exclusive event".

Of the 10 designers who would exhibit at each Islands of the World event, Mr Be ...

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News Article

October 23, 2014
Loretta Butler-Turner must distance herself from her backers who are spreading misandristic rhetoric

Dear Editor,
In the event FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner comes out of the November 21 convention as the newly-minted FNM leader, she would then be on the cusp of making history as The Bahamas' first female prime minister in 2017.
Her becoming this nation's chief executive officer would not be a precedent in this 21st century global society, as there have been many female leaders. Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Chile, Malta, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Liberia, Saint Maarten, Kosovo, Denmark and Bangladesh all have female leaders.
In their anxiousness to see Butler-Turner best Hubert Minnis in the leadership competition, some of Butler-Turner's staunchest backers have launched a campaign of inaccurately portraying Bahamian men in general as being chauvinist pigs and radical misogynists who have an aversion to the idea of a woman being prime minister.
This misandristic rhetoric simply does not square with reality in today's Bahamas, considering the many great strides many Bahamian women have made. Had it not been for Bahamian men, who are by and large philogynistic, the achievements that their female counterparts have made would not have materialized.
Ironically, the Butler-Turner faction responsible for smearing men with the broad brush of misogyny, seems to have conveniently forgotten that Butler-Turner is the deputy leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, the FNM, and a sitting member of Parliament for Long Island. How did she ascend to these lofty positions without the support of men?
It is extremely difficult debating persons whose presuppositions are firmly cemented. Be that as it may, I hope to challenge this preconceived notion of The Bahamas being a male chauvinist society with the following.
The governor general is a female, Dame Marguerite Pindling. Dame Ivy Dumont was the first female governor general. The first female speaker of the House of Assembly was Italia Johnson. The current attorney general is a female, Allyson Maynard-Gibson. Melanie Griffin, Glenys Hanna-Martin and Hope Strachan are PLP members of the House of Assembly and are also members of the Christie Cabinet.
South Beach MP Cleola Hamilton is parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Aviation. There have been many other women who have graced the halls of Parliament: Pleasant Bridgewater, Verna Grant, Ann Percentie, Junianne Dorsette, Veronica Owens, Italia Johnson, Theresa Moxey-Ingraham, Allyson-Maynard-Gibson, Janet Bostwick and Agatha Marchelle are former female parliamentarians.
There are five females in the Senate: Sharon Wilson, Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Cheryl Bazard, Tanisha Tynes and Heather Hunt. Wendy Craigg is governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas. Anita Allen and Deborah Fraser are both Court of Appeal and Supreme Court justices. The former director of public prosecutions was a female, Vinette Graham-Allen. Mother Cynthia Pratt served as MP, PLP deputy leader, deputy prime minister and acting prime minister during her prestigious political career. The general manager of ZNS is Diana Swann.
Based on the above, any objective observer can see that the argument that the Bahamian society is misogynistic does not hold water. It is a lie straight from the pits of hell.
The individuals seeking to assist Butler-Turner to become the next FNM leader by railing at men must rethink their strategy, as this will only be a turn-off to the many male and female FNM delegates who will be voting on November 21. It will also be a turn-off to many non-delegates who will be voting in 2017.
If these people refuse to desist from excoriating men, then Butler-Turner would be wise to distance herself from this feminist group of men bashers.
While bashing men has become fashionable in recent times, it will not cut the muster; therefore, Butler-Turner must resist the temptation of basing her campaign on gender. She must run a gender-neutral campaign, that treats all genders with dignity and respect.
If Bahamian men perceive that Butler-Turner is pandering to the misandristic faction of her party, she will never become FNM leader; and more importantly, she will never become prime minister. Hence, the utmost importance of her distancing herself from this group.

- Kevin Evans

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Little Fockers
  • Genre : Comedy
  • Rating : T - 15yrs and Older

The Focker and the Byrnes families brace themselves for the arrival of a baby....

News Article

June 15, 2013
Bahamas Prime Minister welcomes Former Prime Minister of Barbados

Nassau, Bahamas - Prime Minister
the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie welcomes former prime minister of 
Barbados Owen Arthur during a courtesy call at the Office of the Prime
Minister June 14.

Mr. Arthur was in The Bahamas to speak at The Bahamas at 40: Reflecting on the Past, Envisioning the Future conference at College of The Bahamas.

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I Am Number Four
  • Genre : Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Rating : T - 15yrs and Older

John is an extraordinary teen, masking his true identity and passing as a typical high school student to elude a deadly enemy seeking to destroy him. Three like him have already been killed ... he is Number Four....

News Article

June 02, 2011
Garth Basil Dadso Wells, 71

Funeral services for Garth Basil "Dadso" Wells, 71 yrs., a resident of Albury Street and formelry of George Town, Exuma, who passed away on 27th May, 2011, will be held at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Farrington Road, on Saturday at 11 a.m. Officiating will be Fr. Martin Gomes, SS.CC.  Interment follows in Catholic Cemetery, Tyler Street.
Left to mourn his faithful and loving memories are:
His loving and devoted wife: Mary

SONS: Stephen, Terrance, Ricardo and Valentino Wells, and Jonathon Barry

DAUGHTERS: Dorothea Wells-Brown and Elaine Wells-Lightbourn

BROTHERS: Willis Hart, Dereck Wells, Sidney and Carlton Adderley

SISTERS: Jacquelyn Wells-Dean, Laura Smith, Elsie Moxey, Brenda Wells-Rolle and Brenda Wells-Martin

AUNT: Rowena Rolle

SON-IN-LAW: Rudolph Brown

DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW: Beroline, Kendra and Sharmaine Wells  

BROTHERS-IN-LAW: Clement, Simeon, Leander, Ephraim and Thomas Higgs

SISTERS-IN-LAW: Norma Pinder, Thaclia Higgs, Carmetta Saunders, Veronica Adderley and Philicia Roberts of Harbour Island, Daisy Dorsett and Daphne Adderley.

NIECES: Cheryl Strachan, Pamela Lowe, Tammy Butler, Jan Miller, Deidre Taylor, Darshelle Sands, Glenda Rolle, Brendalee Martin, Julie and Lisa Hart, Dereeka, Marsha and Cypriana Wells, Jonella and Kaylisa Adderley, Theresa Wells-Maclour and Charmaine Wells-Burrows, Laverne Bethel, Joy Armbrister, Karen Rowland, Tanya Thompson and Dominique Thompson.

NEPHEWS: Derell, Patrick, David, Jeffery and Wentworth Wells, George Wells, Jr., Tavyn Sands, Rodney Cruz and Creflo Adderley.

GRANDCHILDREN: Shandon Wells, Sr., Patrick, Brian, Stevette, Suzuette, Stevandrae, Joshua, Jonathon, Joel, Joshua, Jamel, Jermiah, Racquel, Shonell, Sheurell, Jahsiri, Tyler, and Theo Wells.  Crystal, Dominique, and Rachael Brown, Michael, Shane, and Marnarrey Lightbourn.

GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN: Michael, Kristin, Ashley and Miley Cartwright, Shandon Wells, Jr., Brenay and Trinity Wells.
A host of other relatives and friends including Michael Cartwright, Tashel Wells, Shelia Murchision-Johnson, Antoinette Dean, Jeffery Adderley, Wellington Walkes, Jr., Mr. & Mrs. Reginald Turnquest and Family, Pastor H.A. Roach and Family, Ena Thompson, Stephanie Delancey, Charlice Curry, Karal Roach, and Luther & Wendell Rolle, (EXUMA). The Doctors and Nurses of the Princess Margaret Hospital, Male Surgical Ward #2, The Food and Nutrition Department of Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre and Princess Margaret Hospital, the entire Chippingham Community, and the Cricket Club Association.
Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 2-5 p.m. on Friday & on Saturday at the church from 10 a.m. until service time.

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