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Liz Cheney says more lawmakers would have voted to impeach Trump but ‘feared for their lives’

Liz Cheney says more lawmakers would have voted to impeach Trump but ‘feared for their lives’
Liz Cheney says more lawmakers would have voted to impeach Trump but ‘feared for their lives’


Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney has claimed that some Republican lawmakers voted against the impeachment of Donald Trump out of fear for their lives, not because they believed the president was innocent of impeachable offenses.

The Republican lawmaker told CNN on Friday that there were “more members who believe in substance and policy and ideals than are willing to say so,” referencing the impeachment vote which took place after the deadly US Capitol riots.

“If you look at the vote to impeach, for example, there were members who told me that they were afraid for their own security – afraid, in some instances, for their lives,” Ms Cheney said, claiming that she heard this fear from several members of Congress.

“And that tells you something about where we are as a country, that members of Congress aren’t able to cast votes, or feel that they can’t, because of their own security,” she added.

Her statements came hours after Republican Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, who holds a less-conservative voting record than Rep Cheney, was elected to take over as House GOP conference chairwoman.

What separates the two women, though, is Ms Stefanik has pushed the “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from the former president.

Rep. Cheney was ousted from her leadership position in the House GOP after she repeatedly denounced Mr Trump and his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

“We’ve seen an evolution of, you know, a general situation where conspiracy theories are rampant, where good people in a lot of instances have been misled and believe things that are not true,” Ms Cheney said on CNN.

“And so, I think that we all have an obligation to make sure we’re doing everything we can to convey the truth, to stand for the truth and to stand for the Constitution and our obligations.”

Rep Cheney voted to re-elect Mr Trump in 2020 but has since expressed regret over that decision.

She was one of ten Republican House lawmakers who voted to impeach Mr Trump for his actions that led to the 6 January US Capitol riots.

Ms Cheney has vowed to do everything in her power to prevent the former president from being re-elected in 2024.

“I was never going to support Joe Biden and I do regret the vote [for Mr Trump],” Ms Cheney also told ABC.

“It was a vote based on policy, based on substance and in terms of the kinds of policies he put forward that were good for the country. But I think it’s fair to say that I regret the vote.”

Since the 6 January riots and Mr Trump’s lies about President Biden winning the election, Ms Cheney has become more outspoken against the former president.

“We have to recognize what it means for the nation to have a former president who has not conceded and who continues to suggest that our electoral system cannot function, cannot do the will of the people,” she said.



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US, EU, Britain and Canada agree sanctions on Belarus

US, EU, Britain and Canada agree sanctions on Belarus
US, EU, Britain and Canada agree sanctions on Belarus



The United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada joined forces Monday to impose sanctions on several senior officials in Belarus over the forced diversion to Minsk of a passenger plane travelling between two EU countries last month.

Asset freezes and travel bans were also imposed on a number of officials linked to the security crackdown that continues to rock the country some 10 months after President Alexander Lukashenko was returned to power in elections branded by the EU and others as “fraudulent.”

“We are united in our deep concern regarding the Lukashenko regime’s continuing attacks on human rights, fundamental freedoms, and international law,” the four said in a joint statement.

“We are committed to support the long-suppressed democratic aspirations of the people of Belarus and we stand together to impose costs on the regime for its blatant disregard of international commitments,” they said.

The EU hit seven people and one entity over the “forced and unlawful” landing of the Ryanair plane, which was traveling from Greece to Lithuania when it was ordered to stop in Minsk, where authorities arrested Raman Pratasevich, a dissident journalist who was one of the passengers.

The four called on Minsk to cooperate with an international probe into the incident, immediately release all political prisoners, and “enter into a comprehensive and genuine political dialogue” with the democratic opposition and civil society.

Among those targeted by the United States were close Lukashenko associates, those accused of helping to violently suppress peaceful protests since last year and others alleged to have orchestrated fraud during the elections.

At a meeting in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers also prepared a series of economic measures that are aimed at hitting Lukashenko and his allies. EU leaders are expected to endorse them at a summit in Brussels on Thursday.

The EU has gradually ratcheted up sanctions since Lukashenko – dubbed the last dictator in Europe – won a sixth term last August.

But the 27-nation bloc has taken a harder approach since the Ryanair incident, and over the country’s alleged use of migrants to pressure neighboring Lithuania, which has provided a safe-haven to Belarusian opposition figures and is one of Lukashenko’s most vocal critics.

Among their actions Monday, the ministers imposed travel bans and asset freezes on 78 Belarus officials and froze the assets of 8 “entities,” which are usually companies, banks, or associations. It means that a total of 166 people and 15 entities are now under EU restrictive measures.

“This decision was made in view of the escalation of serious human rights violations in Belarus and the violent repression of civil society, democratic opposition and journalists,” a statement said.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who chaired the meeting, said the economic sanctions “are going to hurt … the economy of Belarus heavily.”

The measures are likely to include action against the export of potash – a common fertilizer ingredient – tobacco industry exports and petroleum products, among others.

“We will no longer just sanction individuals. We will now also impose sectoral sanctions – meaning that we will now get to work on the economic areas that are of particular significance for Belarus and for the regime’s income,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

“We want to make very, very clear to Lukashenko that there is no going back,” Maas said.

Maas said the 27 EU countries stand united on sanctions “We are really very, very determined not to budge, not just today – nothing about this will change in the coming weeks and months,” he said.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said EU countries had thought only a month ago that it still might be possible to reason with Lukashenko but that “the mood is different now.”

Landsbergis accused Minsk of “weaponizing” migration flows. He said around 500 people are sheltering in Lithuania, most from Iraq, and that Belarus border guards brought 30 refugees to the border in recent days. He said Lithuania has limited capacity for them and is building a tent camp.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the main opposition challenger who fled Belarus after the vote, welcomed the new measures, saying that “the EU and the entire civilized world have set a goal to stop Lukashenko and the escalation of violence.”

“The EU sanctions would raise not only external, but also internal pressure on Lukashenko … and will make it more costly for his main sponsor, the Kremlin, to maintain the Belarusian regime,” she said.

Tsikhanouskaya said the Ryanair incident shows that “Lukashenko’s regime has become a threat not only to citizens of Belarus but also to international security.”

Associated Press



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Fed’s Williams says US economy does not yet justify policy shift

Fed’s Williams says US economy does not yet justify policy shift
Fed’s Williams says US economy does not yet justify policy shift


A senior Federal Reserve official said the US economy was not yet ready for the central bank to start pulling back its hefty monetary support, even though the outlook has become rosier.

The comments from John Williams, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, were delivered on Monday amid high sensitivity in financial markets to Fed policy. Economic projections by central bank officials last week signalled they expect to increase interest rates in 2023, a year earlier than previously indicated.

Williams said the economy was “getting better all the time”, in some of his most bullish remarks since the pandemic started. But he insisted the Fed would stick to the terms of its monetary policy framework, introduced last August, which sets a high bar for tightening policy.

“It’s clear that the economy is improving at a rapid rate, and the medium-term outlook is very good,” he said.

“But the data and conditions have not progressed enough for the Federal Open Market Committee to shift its monetary policy stance of strong support for the economic recovery.”

The comments came ahead of Jay Powell’s scheduled testimony in Congress on Tuesday. In the Fed chair’s prepared remarks, released late on Monday, Powell pointed to “sustained improvement” in the economy but highlighted the “uneven” pace of the recovery in the labour market and lingering risks from the pandemic, including the slowdown in the rate of US vaccinations.

The Fed chair added that “inflation is expected to drop back toward our longer-run goal”, reiterating his view that the current surge in consumer prices will be transitory.

Both Powell’s prepared testimony and Williams’ remarks suggest the top brass at the Fed are more cautious on the prospect of a quick policy change compared to those of some of the other regional bank presidents who have made comments after last week’s FOMC meeting.

Speaking to CNBC on Friday, James Bullard, the president of the St Louis Fed, suggested the central bank might be ready to increase interest rates as early as next year, sparking a sharp sell-off in US stocks.

Williams told an event hosted by the Midsize Bank Coalition of America that interest rates would not be raised until full employment was reached and inflation had risen to 2 per cent and was “on track” to exceed that target moderately for some time.

He also said that any tapering of the Fed’s $120bn monthly asset purchases would not take place until “substantial further progress” had been made on those fronts.

And later, in response to questions from reporters after the event, he said there were both upside and downside risks to employment and the Fed’s inflation 2 per cent target. “It’s still a very uncertain outlook and we have to take that into account in how we think about policy decisions going forward,” he said.

On Monday, at an event hosted by Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, a think-tank, Bullard reiterated the need for the Fed to begin considering scaling back its bond purchases in the face of higher inflation. 

Robert Kaplan, Dallas Fed chair, struck a similar tone at the same event.

“It would be healthier as we are making progress in weathering the pandemic and achieving our goals to start adjusting these purchases — Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities — sooner rather than later,” Kaplan said.



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The farmers burning their own crops to fight a mouse plague

The farmers burning their own crops to fight a mouse plague
The farmers burning their own crops to fight a mouse plague



Colin Tink, 63, has been farming all his life and has never experienced a mouse plague like the one ravaging Australia‘s eastern grain belt. Nor a drought like the one that preceded it, which turned fertile crop areas into dust bowls.

When the rains finally came last year, Mr Tink thought his fortunes were changing.

The rain led to bumper crops through the spring and summer months (September to March in the Southern Hemisphere). Silos are overflowing with grain. And barns are piled high with hay. Mr Tink grew enough hay to feed his cattle for two years.

Then the mice arrived. Thousands of them.

The vermin burrow deep into his hay. What they don’t eat is ruined anyway as their urine trickles down through the bales. The smell is acrid. It sticks in your nose and lingers on your clothes.

“It breaks your heart a bit,” Mr Tink said. “We’re back to square one.”



When I wake up in the morning I am talking about mice and then when I go to bed I am still talking about mice

Not one to give up, Mr Tink recently fashioned a giant mouse trap out of a shipping container he uses to roll out grain for his cattle. He lures mice into the container by scattering grain on the floor.

Then, Mr Tink, or his five-year-old grandson, Jock, sweep the mice with a broom toward a pool of water positioned at the open end of the container. The rodents hurtle into the water. Trapped by a thin layer of dishwashing liquid, they quickly drown.

On the first evening, they caught 7,000 mice. The next night it was 3,000. Now, they’re averaging about 1,000 a night.

“We won’t beat ’em but we might slow them down a bit,” Mr Tink said.

Australia suffers a mouse plague every decade or so. Some older farmers recall an infestation during the 1970s in which the ground felt as if it was moving, it was so thick with mice.

Approximately 7000 mice, caught using a homemade water trap by Colin Tink, lie in a field near Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia on 24 May 2021

(Matthew Abbott)

One contributing factor is changing farming practices. To maintain moisture in Australia’s arid soil, farmers are sowing new crops directly onto the old stalks that were left in the ground.

That means mice have more places to shelter – and have more food.

The New South Wales government has secured 5,000 litres (1,320 gallons) of a deadly bait called bromadiolone. Scientists worry the poison may inadvertently kill other species – wedge-tailed eagles, owls, snakes and goannas (large lizards) that are feeding on the abundant mouse prey.

The mice also carry viruses that are potentially deadly to humans. Health authorities in Queensland state say the number of cases of leptospirosis – a flu-like illness that can lead to meningitis, kidney failure, bleeding and respiratory complications – have almost doubled in 2021 compared with this time last year.

Dead and drowning mice float in a homemade trap near Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia on 26 May 2021

(Matthew Abbott)

With a shortage of traps, farmers have had to come up with their own systems to catch mice.

They’re crafting makeshift traps out of barrels and buckets. They’re laying down treats to tempt the mice to scuttle to their doom.

Some farmers have enlisted the help of experts like Henry, a government scientist who roams the country advising people on how to deal with the rodents.

In Coonamble, west of Sydney, last month, Henry inspected a 3,000 bale haystack – worth roughly $93,000 (£67,000) at current prices – that had been destroyed by mice. In a drought, the straw would fetch twice that, he said.

Mark Iles, publican at the Royal Hotel, holds a dead mouse in Yoeval, New South Wales, Australia on 28 May 2021

(Matthew Abbott)

“When I wake up in the morning I am talking about mice and then when I go to bed I am still talking about mice,” he said.

At the Royal Hotel in Yeoval, about 200 miles west of Sydney, the publican, Mark Iles, said he was catching mice in his bare hands a few weeks ago as they scampered across his bar.

Greg Younghusband is a 40-year-old farmer near Gilgandra, about 270 miles west of Sydney. In dealing with the infestation, he has had to burn his own crops and set up scores of traps.

One Saturday about a month ago, things got so bad that Mr Younghusband had to send his wife and daughters away to a nearby town for the weekend. The mouse invasion was too much to bear.

Colin Tink, inside his giant homemade mouse trap, pushes mice into a bath to drown the mice near Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia 26 May 2021

(Matthew Abbott)

They were in his shed. They were in the house. They destroyed his washing machine, dryer and two refrigerators. They chewed through his couch, his coffee machine and his daughter’s bed sheets. They were under the oven.

He could hear them in the walls. He also smelled them. The smell of death. Everywhere.

“You can’t get rid of the smell because they die in the walls. They die under the stove,” Mr Younghusband said. “It’s the worst smell you’ve ever smelt. It’s unbelievable.”

He armed himself with 40 traps and between 2pm and 2am he caught 450 mice, before giving up and going to bed. “I’d unload a trap and bait it again and as soon as I turned away it would go off again.”

An agriculture supply shop has completely run out of mouse bait and traps in Wellington, New South Wales, Australia on 28 May 2021

(Matthew Abbott)

One recent evening, Mr Younghusband lit a fire under about 130 hay bales that had been destroyed by mice and stood back to watch, beer in hand, as flames lit up the night sky. He estimates he has lost about 1,500 bales so far.

Normally a mouse plague will end apocalyptically, according to Henry, as the population grows too big to support itself. Riddled with disease and running out of food, the vermin turn on each other, starting with the sickest and weakest.

He worries that if temperatures don’t drop sharply enough over the winter, many will survive the cooler months, setting up for an even more explosive outbreak next spring.

© The Washington Post



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Amal Clooney ensures justice for Yazidi girl, 14, raped while an ISIS slave

Amal Clooney ensures justice for Yazidi girl, 14, raped while an ISIS slave
Amal Clooney ensures justice for Yazidi girl, 14, raped while an ISIS slave


Amal Clooney ensures justice for Yazidi girl, 14, raped while an ISIS slave, with successful prosecution of jihadi bride who oversaw victim’s abuse

  • Clooney represented one of three victims in trial against ISIS bride in Dusseldorf
  • Her client was 1 of 7 Yazidi girls enslaved by defendant named only as Sarah O.
  • Sarah O., 23, who holds Algerian nationality, married ISIS fighter in Syria in 2013
  • She beat the Yazidi slaves and helped to ‘prepare them’ for rape by her husband










Amal Clooney has secured justice for a Yazidi woman who was raped from the age of 14 after being enslaved by ISIS in Syria.

Clooney was representing the woman as one of three victims of an ISIS bride named only as Sarah O, who was jailed for six-and-a-half years in Dusseldorf on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old, who holds Algerian nationality, travelled to Syria as a teenager in 2013 where she married a German-Turkish national named only as Ismail S., who remains at large.

From 2015, the couple started enslaving Yazidi women and girls who were kidnapped by marauding ISIS fighters and sold throughout the ‘caliphate.’

The Yazidi ethnic group, who are mostly based in Iraq, faced genocidal persecution by Islamic State which claims they are a race of ‘devil worshippers.’ 

Amal Clooney ensures justice for Yazidi girl, 14, raped while an ISIS slave

Amal Clooney is pictured at the United Nations Security Council during a meeting about sexual violence in conflict in New York in April, 2019

Over two years, Sarah O. and Ismail S. enslaved seven Yazidi women, some of whom were sold onto others, while another, a 14-year-old girl, died in captivity.

Sarah O. beat the prisoners and helped her husband sexually abuse at least two of the victims, helping to ‘prepare them’ for rape.

She also forced the Yazidis to carry out slave labour at her house.

The couple were arrested in Turkey in February 2018. After seven months in custody, Sarah O. was deported to Germany and her trial began in October 2019.

The proceedings were closed to the public because she was a teenager when some of the events took place. In accordance with German law, her full name has not been released either.

The victim represented by Clooney, along with her German colleagues, Natalie von Wistinghausen and Sonka Mehner, was present in Dusseldorf on Wednesday when judges announced the verdict.

Following the judgment, the victim said: ‘No conviction can make up for our suffering, but I am immensely grateful to the German Federal Prosecutors and the German court for investigating and shedding light on the crimes committed against the Yazidis and I hope that many more countries will follow this good example.’ 

Sarah O. was convicted of membership in a foreign terrorist organisation, assault, deprivation of liberty, aiding and abetting rape, enslavement and religious and gender-based persecution as crimes against humanity. 

Clooney’s German colleague Sonka Mehner said: ‘Thanks to the victims, the full extent of the defendant’s criminal conduct could be established.’ 

George Clooney and his wife Amal Clooney attend the "Money Monster" premiere during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival in 2016

George Clooney and his wife Amal Clooney attend the ‘Money Monster’ premiere during the 69th annual Cannes Film Festival in 2016

The other German attorney representing the Yazidi woman, Natalie von Wistinghausen, added that ‘for the first time ever, a court handed down a conviction for religious and gender-based persecution and this recognition is of utmost importance for our client and for all Yazidi women, for their religious community as a whole, as well as for other victims of gender-based violence.’

Clooney, the 43-year-old wife of Hollywood actor George, is a barrister who specialises in international criminal and human rights law.

She was called to the London Bar in 2010 after being called in New York in 2002.

Fluent in French and Arabic, she has worked in The Hague including at the International Court of Justice.

In addition to her legal work, she served as a senior adviser to Kofi Annan when he was the UN’s Envoy on Syria. 



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Carl Nassib becomes the first active NFL player to come out as gay

Carl Nassib becomes the first active NFL player to come out as gay
Carl Nassib becomes the first active NFL player to come out as gay



Carl Nassib has become the first active NFL player to come out as gay, after he made the announcement in an Instagram video.

“What’s up, people. I’m Carl Nassib. I’m at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” Nassib, a defensive lineman, said in the video.

“I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest.”

Nassib, 28, told his followers that he hoped that people would not have to make similar videos in the future and announced he was donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, which aims to prevent suicide among LGBTQ+ youths.

“I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” he said.

“I actually hope that like one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary.

“But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project.”

In an online written message, Nassib said he had “agonised over this moment for the last 15 years” and decided to go public with the support of his family and friends.

Nassib signed for the Raiders in 2020 on a three-year, $25m free-agent deal, with $16.75m of his money guaranteed.

The team’s official Twitter account posted a black heart symbol and said: “Proud of you, Carl.”

Last season he had 2.5 sacks and an interception in 14 games.

He was selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL drat by the Cleveland Browns, after playing his college career at Penn State, and has also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Former New England Patriot’s receiver Julian Edelman took to Twitter to congratulate Nassib.

“Awesome moment. Spreading the love to the Trevor Project very classy move,” tweeted Edelman.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, also welcomed the announcement.

“The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters,” said Mr Goodell.

“We share his hope that someday soon statements like this will no longer be newsworthy as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season.”



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Brexit poll shows ‘limited enthusiasm’ for UK-EU trade deal

Brexit poll shows ‘limited enthusiasm’ for UK-EU trade deal
Brexit poll shows ‘limited enthusiasm’ for UK-EU trade deal


British voters have “limited enthusiasm” for the post-Brexit agreement Boris Johnson’s government negotiated with the EU last year, with only one in five describing it as a “good” deal, a survey has found.

However, ahead of the fifth anniversary of the 2016 EU referendum on Wednesday, the poll also found that years of divisive political debate had changed few minds — with four out five people who voted saying they would still vote the same way.

Sir John Curtice, politics professor at Strathclyde university, who led the research for the polling group What UK Thinks and the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), said the findings were “far from a ringing endorsement” of the Brexit trade deal.

“Five years on, it is difficult to argue that the Brexit referendum has been an unalloyed success,” Curtice wrote, noting Leavers’ limited enthusiasm for the Brexit deal. At the same time, he added, the outcome had reconciled few Remain voters to the Brexit project.

The overall tepid response to the trade deal negotiated by Lord David Frost last year found that even among Leave voters, only one in three felt it was a “good” deal, although that figure reflected the fact that some Leave voters would have preferred to have left the EU on even harder terms, with no deal at all.

Column chart of Per cent showing Enthusiasm is limited for the UK's post-Brexit deal with Brussels

The survey was conducted just weeks after the UK left the EU single market on January 1 and is the latest in a rolling series of polls that have been conducted by What UK Think and NatCen since 2016.

The UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) did not trigger the significant disruption predicted for UK ports this January, but did cause UK exports to the EU to fall sharply in some sectors such as agrifood, where exports fell by nearly 50 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to 2019 and 2020. 

Other broader impacts, particularly on professional services and travel, have to some extent been masked by Covid-19, which has sharply reduced leisure and business travel to Europe this year. 

Despite misgivings about the post-Brexit deal, the poll continued to vindicate Johnson’s decision to make good on his 2019 election promise to “get Brexit done”, with dissatisfaction with the UK government’s handling of Brexit falling from a peak of 88 per cent in autumn 2019 during the period of prolonged parliamentary stalemate, to about 50 per cent today.

“The confidence that Leave voters had in the UK government was badly shaken when it appeared that Brexit might not happen, but it has now largely been restored,” Curtice wrote. 

At the same time, the survey found that three out of four Leave voters now expect either immigration to fall or that the economy will be better off — two key metrics of Brexit — indicating that for many voters, “the detail of Brexit matters less than the principle”.

As for whether a rerun of the 2016 Referendum today would see a different result, the poll found it probably would not.

While a clear majority of those who did not vote in 2016 say they would now vote to rejoin the EU, they are likely to be cancelled out by the number of Remain voters who — even though they still wished the UK had remained a member of the EU — would not now vote because of the further upheaval of rejoining. 

“We estimate that a referendum held now on ‘rejoin’ versus ‘stay out’ could well produce a narrow majority (52%) in favour of staying out,” Curtice said.

Looking to the future, Curtice said it was not clear whether public opinion would swing if future difficulties with the UK-EU TCA emerged once Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in the coming months. 

Much would depend on whether the opposition Labour party, which has so far been reluctant to campaign on Brexit issues for fear of alienating Leave voters in target constituencies, was prepared to make an issue of Brexit in the future.

“Proof of the Brexit pudding will be in the eating, and the main course has been delayed by the pandemic,” Curtice told the FT.

“To make a difference, the government’s record will have to be criticised and that will depend on the extent to which the opposition is willing to tackle what they regard as the operational failures of Brexit.”



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