Business

ALIV Continues Expansion to Eleuthera
ALIV Continues Expansion to Eleuthera

March 29, 2017

ALIV, The Bahamas’ newest mobile network, is pleased to announce the opening of two retail stores on the island of Eleuthera.On Monday, March 27th, 2017 an ALIV retail store opened in Spanish Wells and another in Governor’s Harbour...

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Castrol Quote of the Day: March 29, 2017
Castrol Quote of the Day: March 29, 2017

March 29, 2017

Castrol Quote of the Day: March 29, 2017

"Your 'Castrol Car Care Minute'
is on during 'Our News' broadcast
tonight at 7:30, 9:30
& 11:30p.m."

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Bahamas-based banks implicated in Brazil oil scandal

March 29, 2017

The Bahamas was named in a scandal sweeping through Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras.
Brazilian prosectors announced yesterday the arrest of Roberto Goncalves, a former executive engineering manager of Petrobras, according to the Associated Press. The prosecutors allege offshore accounts in China, Switzerland and The Bahamas were used to receive bribe money that was paid by construction companies to Petrobras executives in an effort to secure lucrative contracts.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Guardian Business yesterday that the matter is a "private banking matter" and "in the event of any criminality, the nation of Brazil would take appropriate action".
When asked about The Bahamas' cooperation in the investigation, the ministry said, "The Bahamas takes seriously and fulfills all its international obligations. If asked for specific assistance in this case, the country will respond accordingly."
Petrobras was formed in 1953 as Brazil's national oil company; the scandal erupted in 2014. This recent development in the Petrobras probe comes on the heels of Brazil's meat packing scandal, which led countries to ban meat imports from Brazil. Brazilian authorities accused health inspectors of taking bribes to sell rotten meat at some meatpacking facilities. China and other major meat importers have lifted their bans, but The Bahamas' precautionary ban still stands.
Petrobras has been at the center of corruption scandals surrounding former Brazilian politicians and allies of Brazil's current government.
According to the Rio Times, "Brazilian prosecutors say that Petrobras executives received at least R$2.1 billion in bribes and illicit funds from companies interested in multimillion-dollar contracts with the oil giant."

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Bahamian angel investors scarce thus far

March 29, 2017

The search for angel investors in The Bahamas has thus far been a challenge for Manager of Competitiveness and Innovation at the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) Christopher McNair, but he is hopeful he will find a willing group before departing the country.
McNair held a "Link-Caribbean sensitization workshop" on Grand Bahama and New Providence this week to inform entrepreneurs about Link-Caribbean, a new vehicle for CARICOM members to access funding for startup businesses. Link-Caribbean is a partnership between Caribbean Export and the World Bank. Through Link came the development of a Regional Angel Investor Network (RAIN).
McNair was also in The Bahamas on a mission to recruit individuals and companies for RAIN, that might act as angel investors for entrepreneurs looking to access financing in this country and throughout the region.
"Hopefully this project, if it gets the kind of support we have gotten so far from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, and hopefully The Bahamas, it can grow and develop an ecosystem that can support the region," he said.
"Do we have persons in The Bahamas who want to become angel investors and start an angel group?"
McNair said the potential for angel investors in Grand Bahama was slim during his visit, with only two individuals expressing some interest in the program. He was hopeful that a meeting yesterday afternoon with potential investors in New Providence would garner better results.
"If you can get one person and you can convince that one person, then maybe he can convince other persons around him," said McNair.
Meantime entrepreneurs and small business owners continue to struggle with access to financing. The challenge for Caribbean entrepreneurs is the lack of the appropriate financing that would allow them to enter the export market and grow their businesses substantially.
"The biggest constraint is access to finance, and the kind of investment that is needed sometimes to export," said McNair. "To enter a new market is quite significant, and banks may not be willing to lend you that unless you have the assets to collateralize that loan."
He said he encountered two companies in Grand Bahama that impressed him with business ideas he thought "were really good ideas". He insisted that they think beyond the borders of The Bahamas as they grow their ideas and businesses.
He implored the audience of the workshop to visit Link-Caribbean online, in order to seek out possible angel investors who might be interested in financing their business ideas.

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Bahamas shark dive business biggest in the world, study reveals

March 29, 2017

A recent study published in the journal "Biological Conservation" found that sharks and rays contributed $114 million to the Bahamian economy in 2014 and that this country has the largest shark diving industry in the world.
The study also found that the industry benefits economically deprived islands the most, and the potential for shark diving has been under-realized on those islands.
"This study establishes The Bahamas' dive industry as the largest in the world, contributing approximately US$113.8 million annually to the Bahamian economy in direct and value-added expenditures," the article said.
"Elasmobranch tourism generated 99 percent of the total revenue, and the balance was generated by film and television and research. The relative economic importance of shark diving was greater in economically disadvantaged out islands, where specific charismatic species are sought."
The study was penned by Edward Brooks and Andrea Haas, from the Shark Research and Conservation Program at the Cape Eleuthera Institute, and Tony Fedler, from the University of Florida.
Of the 44 scuba dive operators in The Bahamas, 28 were interviewed for the study. The study notes that 45,082 divers came to The Bahamas in 2014, of whom 43 percent came to dive with sharks.
"All divers made a total of 157,344 diver days, and shark divers represented 63,191 of those diver days," the study states.
According to the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), the study is the first of its kind to "estimate the full economic impact of shark-related activities in The Bahamas". The study was supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Executive Director of the BNT Eric Carey said: "We still get questions from folks about the status of sharks in The Bahamas. We hope that through our continued education about the economic and ecological importance of sharks, that the fear of them will decrease and reduce incidents of sharks being killed throughout The Bahamas."
In 2011 The Bahamas moved to protect its shark populations and prohibited commercial shark fishing and the sale, importation and export of shark products.

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Maritime stakeholders looking to grow industry and provide jobs

March 29, 2017

As it continues to grow, the maritime industry is generating opportunities for Bahamians seeking jobs outside of the tourism and financial services industries.
President of the LJM Maritime Academy Dr. Brenda Cleare yesterday highlighted the economic impact the industry could have for the country. She was responding to questions posed by Guardian Business at a press conference. Cleare pointed out that the academy represents a near $30 million investment.
In taking steps to promote the maritime industry, the academy will host its first maritime conference, scheduled to take place October 18 to 20. The conference is expected to attract 200 to 250 delegates locally and from places like the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and India.
"I think we have to realize that, for the last several years, we have only had banking and tourism as the number one and number two industries in The Bahamas," said Cleare.
"We have something to the tune of some 16,000 ships. If we were to put a youth on each of those ships, they are going out and not waiting here for funds, but bringing funds while they are on international ships.
"For the most part, persons who would have completed their diploma with us or any other institution, that actually starts at the beginning of this profession, they may be paid somewhere between $2,800 to $3,000 per month. They don't have to use their funds for food or board or anything like that, and they can help by bringing that money back home and help to build the economy here.
"If those persons are from the Family Islands, they don't have to come and move to Nassau, where they would be spending money. They could return to the Family Islands and build their home there. In other words, they are bringing in more money into the economy as we move forward."
Captain Arun Bhatnagar, who also attended the press conference, said LJM is seeking "to offer an option of employment other than tourism and the hospitality industry".
The upcoming conference is a positive step in the direction for the academy and will feature a format comprised of plenary sessions, concurrent breakout sessions and sessions designed for maritime cadets.
Cleare, in a statement handed out at the press conference, said "The Bahamas is a global leader in ship registry and our academy, LJM Maritime Academy, is proud to set the pace in bringing together at the October 2017 conference key leaders in the global maritime industry and top international academicians in maritime education, to discuss the hot button issues of the industry and to apprise the public of the vast employment opportunities that exist in the maritime field."

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Heineken Party: New York, New York
Heineken Party: New York, New York

March 28, 2017

It was 1933, a time when gangsters like Al Capone ran the streets, backroom gambling ran rampant, prohibition was law and drinking only happened at speakeasies..A rumor began to spread that after 11 years, prohibition was coming to an end. Being the quick minded entrepreneur that he was, Freddy Heineken...

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Govt 'on track' over Baha Mar documents
Govt 'on track' over Baha Mar documents

March 28, 2017

THE Christie administration is "fully on track" to honouring its commitment to push for the release of the sealed Supreme Court Baha Mar documents before the scheduled April soft opening of the beleaguered West Bay Street mega resort, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said yesterday...

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Gomez: Refrain from eating Brazilian corned beef until all-clear

March 28, 2017

Consumer Protection Commission Chairman Jerome Gomez is warning consumers to refrain from eating corned beef until the Ministry of Agriculture lifts the precautionary ban on all beef products and beef by-products being imported from Brazil.
Speaking with Guardian Business yesterday, Gomez said he is proposing the creation of a national food committee in light of what has happened with the Brazilian meat packing scandal.
"My advice would be to consumers that they should refrain from eating the product for the time being until the Ministry of Agriculture issues an all-clear," said Gomez.
"We need to have organizations in the country that can watch what is going on in different parts of the world and warn all citizens accordingly."
Gomez also advocated for a means of compensation for those wholesalers or retailers that could be affected in these types of situations.
Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources V. Alfred Gray previously asked for all local suppliers of corned beef and other beef products to remain "patient", keeping in mind that some suppliers could have a large amount of relative stock waiting to be cleared at the dock.
The precautionary ban does not require local merchants to remove corned beef from their shelves.
But Gomez, speaking in the context of if the product was to be removed for consumption, argued that merchants should not "eat that cost".
"We probably need to improve the way we get the word out on certain products or have more collaboration on what actions should be taken, whether you ban the product from being imported, whether you make a decision to move the product off the shelves and stop the wholesaler/retailer from selling it. Then once you do that, how are these people to be compensated? What discussions are going to be had with the manufacturers or the foreign distributor?" Gomez asked.
"We can't expect the merchants to eat that cost."
Gomez said that he would be "proposing a national food committee".
"This committee will immediately convey to decide what course of action would be recommended to the government. So, this will be simply technocrats who will convey and make a recommendations," said Gomez.
The committee would be expected to have a representative from the consumer commission, Customs, the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Health, the Standards Bureau, and any other organization that may be relevant.

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Super Value owner: No risk to the public with our corned beef

March 28, 2017

Owner of Super Value Rupert Roberts said yesterday that there is no risk involved in consumers purchasing corned beef, despite the Brazilian meatpacking scandal that led countries around the world, including The Bahamas, to put a precautionary import ban on beef and beef products such as corned beef.
Speaking with Guardian Business, Roberts said he has "complete assurance" in the corned beef being sold in The Bahamas.
The precautionary ban has been in place just over a week and corned beef sales at Super Value have been "usual" since then. Roberts revealed that Super Vale sells approximately 600,000 cans of corned beef per year.
"I have had complete confidence and the ministry must have complete confidence," said Roberts.
"They must know that the suppliers into The Bahamas were not affected.
"There is no risk at all to the public."
Roberts also said that the suppliers of corned beef products sold at Super Value were "completely unaffected".
According to news reports relative to the matter, police investigations into Brazil's meat industry led to the conclusion that companies BRF SA and JBS SA, along with dozens of small companies, were allegedly involved in a scandal that permitted the overlooking of condemned practices.
In a communication from Brazil last week, it was stated that federal police in Brazil unveiled an investigation on the country's agriculture ministry and found that 21 meat-producing facilities were allegedly involved in irregularities out of Brazil's nearly 5,000 meat-producing plants.
But Roberts said that Super Value has never done any business with "any of those factories".
"All of our suppliers, in which we have corned beef on the shelf, have given us complete assurance that there has never been a problem and they are not under investigation," he said.
Already, China and other major meat importers have lifted an import ban on beef from Brazil. Roberts suggested The Bahamas would follow suit shortly.
Roberts said that he thinks the government will lift the precautionary ban in a "few days" once they do their investigation.
"I am sure that our government will lift this ban," he said.
Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources V. Alfred Gray previously told Guardian Business that the ban would stand until more information is directly acquired from the Brazilian government on the matter.
Roberts contended: "To my knowledge, there is nothing that has ever been imported into The Bahamas by us or any competitor that was affected."

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Davis: Road to number portability not easy, but Aliv is ready

March 28, 2017

Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of BeAliv Ltd. Dwayne Davis said yesterday that the platform for mobile number portability (MNP) is ready, but the road to get there was far from "easy".
"It definitely wasn't easy. Everything we do, we are doing from scratch. Mind you, there are vendors that handle the portability of numbers, but we then also have to build on Utilities
Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) requirements," Davis told Guardian Business.
Since Aliv's launch last year November, Davis said the telecoms company has been doing a lot of "integration and testing".
He pointed out that MNP, which is expected to launch for consumers on April 25, is not "as easy as people think".
Davis noted various functions that had to be put in place in order for the MNP service to be effective.
"When you walk into a store to port your number, you have to bring a valid I.D. So, we had to prepare to be able to accept and store the documents for identification process," he said.
"And then there is also what they call a cooling off period, meaning that if for any reason within the first 90 days, you want to go back to your provider, you have to have your number for 90 days to allow you to go back.
"We have to build a system that talks to BTC's network and vice versa."
He also explained that there two parts to MNP for the vendor: consumer and corporate.
"With a big corporation, those are a lot of phones you have to move. So, you ask yourself do you do bulk or individuals. So, it is not as easy as people think. There are a lot of technical requirements in there," Davis said.
He also pointed out that MNP for fixed lines is "totally different" from MNP for a mobile network.
"The platform for MNP is being constructed now from scratch," said Davis.
"We have had to build that from scratch, and then we need to integrate with the national roaming database, and then, of course, we need to be able to integrate with BTC so that we are able to send as well as receive.
"When MNP comes on board, if you are an Aliv customer and you are not happy with us, you can go to BTC, just like BTC customers can come to us.
"We are ready and prepared for MNP. The platform is ready."

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Jet Ski operators' business so far unaffected by U.S. Embassy warning

March 28, 2017

Jet Ski operators have been largely unaffected by a warning issued through the United States Embassy in Nassau urging visitors not to use their services, but they are worried that continued warnings will eventually cause their operations to tank.
As the spring break season began, the U.S. Embassy issued a warning to American visitors to steer clear of Jet Ski operators in New Providence, which it said are unregulated and "continue to commit sexual assaults and other crimes against tourists, including U.S. citizens".
In its travel warning the embassy said, "U.S. Embassy personnel are instructed not to use Jet Ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Island, including Cabbage Beach and Cable Beach.
"We strongly recommend you also avoid patronizing Jet Ski rental operations."
However, Marcia Rolle, owner of J.R. Action Water Sports, said the start to spring break has proven that her operation has not been negatively affected by the warning. She said once the operators obey the rules set by the Port Department "we shouldn't have a problem".
She said about the embassy's warning: "They are the guests and they are going to look out for the guests. I was upset that they made the statement at first."
She said port rules prohibit male Jet Ski operators riding with females and prohibits female operators riding with males, lessening the possibility of sexual misconduct by workers.
Sharad Bowe, owner of R.G. Water Sports, noted however that he is not convinced spring breakers read the embassy advisories. He contended that all of the parties involved have to come together to resolve the issues that cause the advisories.
Bowe, who is also a beach marshall for the Jet Ski
industry, said even though the advisories have not negatively affected business this season, "eventually it will definitely".
"We would like whatever issues that cause these advisories to stop," he said.
The government has worked hard to change the stigma surrounding the misconduct of jet ski operators and their workers, and jet ski operators who have felt the pressure have come together to help to manage their own identity.
"It was unfortunate that whatever happened, happened," said Bowe. "We all are working hand in hand to ensure they stop putting out advisories."

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Aliv appoints Gravette Brown to lead business development

March 28, 2017

Aliv has announced that Gravette Brown has joined the company as its chief Aliv business developer, responsible for driving business development, fundraising, and investor relations initiatives. She will work closely with the company's senior management team to establish business goals and identify pathways to drive the business. Brown will also lead the process of propelling Aliv's product objectives in customer acquisition and business expansion services, through the identification and development of new product opportunities and funding initiatives.
Brown has many years of experience working in investor relations and business development globally and has worked across Africa, Europe and Latin America. As a former principal investment officer of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, Brown originated new senior client relationships, led global and regional deal execution teams in complex debt and equity transactions, monitored the investment performance of portfolio clients, and represented the IFC at local business and investment conferences.
With almost 20 years of experience in the field, Brown has proven to be a highly skilled investment professional with strong financial and business development capabilities. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in international relations, French and economics. Brown also has a Master of Business Administration in finance and social enterprise from Columbia Business School. She is fluent in French and has a passion for mentoring and assisting in projects that promote educational advancement and opportunity.
Aliv is excited to have Brown join the leadership team as a key asset to the continued growth of the company.

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BHTA, Walden University honor 'tourism champion' from Atlantis

March 28, 2017

The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) has partnered with Walden University to honor, celebrate and provide educational opportunities to the BHTA's "tourism champions".
"Tourism champions put forth by their employers are persons who contribute significantly to the tourism industry through their respective organizations. Tourism champions are chosen for their consistent efforts to provide the highest standard of service; for their professionalism; their ever-present positive, friendly attitudes. Tourism champions offer the best of themselves in their work environment," states Carlton Russell, president of the BHTA.
The BHTA and Walden University, who are global leaders in student-centered online education, have partnered to recognize tourism champions every month at a luncheon hosted by Walden University, where fellow employees, peers and supervisory staff gather to listen to a Walden faculty presenter speak on a topic chosen by the respective tourism champion, and to hear about educational opportunities provided by Walden University. Each tourism champion is awarded a $2500.00 Walden University scholarship, and employees of BHTA member organizations are offered a 25 percent discount on Walden University online courses.
This month, Dario Charlton, room analyst and executive assistant to Stuart Bowe -- the BHTA's immediate past president and senior vice president and general manager of Atlantis, Paradise Island -- was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the tourism Industry in his capacity at Atlantis.
Jason Lyons, vice president of Laureate International University, joined the celebratory event to honor Dario Charlton and to personally express his thanks to Stuart Bowe and Carlton Russell, who are currently enrolled in Walden University's online doctoral program. The Atlantis executives, who are also leaders in the tourism industry, said undertaking continued educational opportunities provides a befitting, real-life example that a person can always benefit from continued education, no matter where they are in their career path.

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More than 3,000 pass through NTA 70 find employment

March 28, 2017

The National Training Agency (NTA) is boasting 70 percent employment after participants have acquired a variety of skills for the workforce.
Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson addressed the success of the NTA during the graduating ceremony of Cohort 7 on Thursday, March 23, 2017. The disciplines were hospitality, allied health, auto body, office procedures, Microsoft Office/Quick Books and customer service, retail business skills, and teacher's aide.
The exercise brings to approximately 3,000 the number of individuals graduating under the training program since its inception almost four years ago.
"Graduates, you have done well. You have upgraded your skills and earned relevant certification. Use the knowledge and skills you have acquired wisely," Gibson said.
Approximately 70 percent of all NTA graduates have found employment at more than 40 public and private sector companies and organizations across the country.
"Words cannot express how proud I feel to be the minister responsible for this agency of change and second chances," Gibson said.
Established three years and eight months ago, the NTA is touted by the government as the national symbol of excellence. It has provided training and certification for over 3,000 young Bahamians.
Additionally, over the last six months the agency has provided soft skills training associated with several Inter-American Development Bank projects, impacting the lives of an additional 1,200 individuals on New Providence and Grand Bahama.
On July 15, 2013, Prime Minister Perry Christie officially launched the National Training Agency and Cohort 7 became the first group of NTA trainees to receive their certificates and awards in a ceremony at the facility on Gladstone Road, which is designed to accommodate the Mandatory Workforce Preparatory Programme - the signature program of NTA.
"When I reflect on the success of this agency, I often think about how much further along we could have been in our efforts to develop employability skills and reduce youth unemployment if the agency had been established in 2007 as planned.
"We are grateful to have a prime minister who fully supports the work of the NTA and is extremely proud of every one of you for taking full advantage of the training that this agency offers," Gibson said. Christie delivered the keynote address to Cohort 7.
"Graduates, we know that you are going to be successful in work and in life. It is gratifying to know that the investment the government has made in each of you is paying substantial dividends in the form of the many jobs NTA graduates have secured," Gibson said.
Graduates have been employed at Atlantis, One & Only Ocean Club, Sandals, Breezes and the British Colonial Hilton. Baha Mar - which is expected to begin its phased opening in April - has also partnered with NTA in its recruitment drive and it is anticipated that a number of NTA trainees will become Baha Mar employees.
Other businesses and organizations such as Doctors Hospital, the Public Hospitals Authority, the National Insurance Board, Super Value, Solomon's, Diamonds International, Dollar Rent A Car/Quality Auto Sales and Sanpin Motors, have also enabled NTA graduates to pursue their dreams.
"Graduates, the trainees who passed through this program before you are now a significant part of a vibrant and productive Bahamian workforce. I hope that when you join them, you will continue this positive trajectory," Gibson said.
He congratulated the NTA's board of directors, chaired by Elizabeth Keju, Executive Director Agatha Marcelle and the "hardworking, dedicated team" for the success of the program.
"I look forward to the continued growth and development of the agency, especially as it relates to the development of employability skills and the reduction of youth unemployment," Gibson said.

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Preschool Teachers Get Gifted From BTC
"Preschool Teachers Get Gifted From BTC"

March 27, 2017

BTC presented mobile devices to Tiny Tots Preschool in honour of the Ministry of Education’s Pre-School Week. Public Relations Manager, Indira Collie said that, “This is the second time around that we’ve been involved in the activities...

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ALIV Appoints Gravette Brown to Lead Business Development
ALIV Appoints Gravette Brown to Lead Business Development

March 27, 2017

ALIV is pleased to announce and welcome to the executive leadership team, Gravette Brown. Brown will act as the company’s Chief ALIV Business Developer, responsible for driving business development, fundraising and investor relations initiatives...

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BTC Set to Completely 'Fiberize' The Country
"BTC Set to Completely 'Fiberize' The Country"

March 27, 2017

With the support of the world’s largest internet and television provider
...BTC recently announced that more than 5,000 residents have transitioned to Fiber to the Home (FTTH) services. The company is now preparing to complete its fiber rollout throughout New Providence...

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Castrol Quote of the Day: March 27, 2017
Castrol Quote of the Day: March 27, 2017

March 27, 2017

Castrol Quote of the Day: March 27, 2017

"Ever wonder WHY motor oil
is so important? Consider-blood
without it, your heart will STOP
and you will die. Without motor
oil your engine WILL seize and
your car WILL die! It's just that simple."

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