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No Right To Force The Legalization Of Same-Sex Union By Hannatu Musawa.


 

Hannatu Musawa
Columnist:

Hannatu Musawa

The signing of the Same-sex Prohibition Act by President Jonathan on January 7 2014, elicited negative reactions from Western countries such as the US, member countries of the European Union and Canada. They have consistently mounted pressure on the federal government over the president’s signing of the Same-Sex Prohibition Act 2014, claiming that the law is a violation of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians with same sex orientation.

Notably, the law does not only criminalize same-sex marriage, it also makes public displays of affection and even socializing in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex community illegal. The US ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle threatened that his country would scale down its support for HIV/AIDS and anti-malaria programs in response to government’s position on the gay rights issue. The Vanguard also reported that they learnt the US is committing “substantial” resources to fund the emergence of gay clubs and advocacy groups in Nigeria. The Canadian government canceled a planned state visit by President Jonathan scheduled for next month. The Canadian government’s action is believed to be that country’s reaction to the president’s assenting to the bill, which has so far enjoyed popular support in Nigeria.

Since 2011, certain Western countries have been considering and implementing laws that limit or prohibit general budget support to countries that restrict the rights of homosexuals. Regardless of this, many African countries have continued to refuse pressure to legalize homosexual practices. Many African leaders feel that gay rights are against Africa’s culture and religious value systems and believe that they have the sovereign right to reject what is seen as an imposition by Western nations that attempts to affect national sentiments via aid. While I vehemently disagree with the laws that impose the death penalty on those who come out as homosexuals, the reality is that same sex acts are illegal in about 38 African countries and actual enforcement varies widely and punishment ranges from prison sentences to the Draconian sentence of the death penalty.

In Mauritania, Sudan and Nigeria, homosexuality is a serious punishable crime. In Uganda, Tanzania and Sierra Leone, offenders can receive life imprisonment for homosexual acts. South Africa’s constitution is the most liberal towards gays and lesbians within the continent, with a constitution that guarantees gay and lesbian rights and legal same sex marriage. However, even there, gay rights have been described as an “exclusive privilege of the whites and well-heeled, a small but high-profile subset.”

The raucousness from Western nations that has been accompanying the banning of same sex unions in some parts of Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia has risen to a crescendo. And in their bid to ram the freedom of same sex unions down the throat of more traditional and conservative nations, the west has discarded high-minded rhetoric for bullying tactics dressed in the guise of human rights mantras. The result? Hypocrisy has taken center stage as the preferred response of the west in their bid to redefine the limits of marriage, privacy and religious freedom in some African, Eastern European and Asian countries.

The hypocrisy of the west regarding their stance on the banning of same sex unions is most apparent when considered next to the position taken on polygamy under western laws. In most western nations, the practice of polygamy is not only frowned upon but has been criminalized. The hypocrisy and bully politics of the west in regards to the banning of same sex unions occurs when Western countries pass laws that limits the boundaries of marriage, privacy and religious freedom in line with their value system while they employ strategies and tactics to intimidate, harass, undermine, threaten and abuse other countries for doing the same.

In the case of Reynolds vs. United States, the American courts declined accepting polygamy as a legitimate religious practice, dismissing it as “almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and African people.” While that particular case is very old, in later decisions, American courts have declared polygamy to be “a blot on our civilization” and compared it to human sacrifice and “a return to barbarism.”

In all the countries that have banned homosexual unions, traditions and religion defines the issue and because most countries have varying values of which they adhere to and are guided by, none should have a right to impose their value system on another. Not only is the practice of polygamy one of the common threads between Christians, Jews and Muslims, studies have found polygamy present in 78% of the world’s cultures. In the same way that countries that accept polygamy have no right to force western nations to legalize polygamy, western nations have no right to impose same sex unions on the countries that ban it.

As a sovereign nation, Nigeria has a right to ban same sex unions in the same way the west has banned polygamy. Indeed the anti-gay legislation is a reaffirmation of core Nigerian values, as the Nigerian society is, to a great extent, based on respect for traditions and religion. The leadership in Nigeria has taken a position on a practice that is alien to its culture and its religious and traditional institutions. The public relations officer of the northern Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) stated that Christians and their counterparts in other religions have unanimously expressed gratitude to the president and National Assembly for passing the Anti Same-Sex Marriage law, despite opposition from Europe and the US. Similarly, the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State, commended the president for signing the bill into law. The group applauded the president for standing his ground, despite pressure to reject the anti-gay bill by some international organizations and foreign countries.

In line with traditions that don’t prohibit same sex unions, neither of the two dominant religions of the world supports homosexuality. In the scriptures, marriage is a sacred contract between a man and a woman that cannot be redefined and it is the cornerstone of family life. In the Bible, passages in the book of Leviticus prohibit homosexuality. Chapter 18:22 states, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” Similarly, chapter 20:13 also states, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Jews and Christians have historically interpreted these two verses as the clear prohibition of homosexual acts. Furthermore, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah has historically been interpreted as condemning homosexual acts.

In Islam, the traditional schools of Islamic law based on Qur’anic verses and hadith consider homosexual acts a punishable crime and a sin. The Qur’an cites the story of the “people of Lot” (also known as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah), destroyed by the wrath of God, because they engaged in “lustful” carnal acts between men. The Qur’an contains seven references to the people of Lot; 7:80-84, 11:77-83, 21:74, 22:43, 26:165-175, 27:56-59 and 29:27-33, and their destruction by Allah is associated explicitly with their sexual practices.

In 2012, the Nigerian parliament approved a bill banning same sex marriage despite threats from the US and UK that they would consider withholding aid if the country didn’t recognize gay rights. Curiously though in the US, 17 states out of 50 (less than half) have endorsed same-sex practices and others reject its legality. This means that even in the US, not all its citizens are in support of same-sex practices.

Nigeria and the countries that have banned same sex unions have cultures that are clear and intact and they have a right to rededicate themselves to their traditional values. Same-sex marriage is inconsistent with Nigerian values of procreation and the belief in the continuity of family and clan. And in that vein, Nigeria has a right to fashion its laws in accordance with its values and traditions.

It increasingly seems that the Western countries’ mandate is to coerce African states to institutionalize behavior systems that they frown upon or deem illegal. There is the urgent need for these African states and the Nigerian leadership not to be dependent on foreign assistance for governance. Nigeria and the continent should use its net worth to dismantle the entrenched dependence syndrome and to also say no, no matter how many times they are accused of not adhering to the value system of the West. Aid given with strings attached is not worth it. Nigeria should not lose its moral and spiritual integrity for the sake of aid.

Just like with polygamists in Western countries, a day of social acceptance is unlikely to come for homosexuals in Nigeria and most African and Asian countries. It is unlikely that any law will be passed in Nigeria where the act of same sex marriage will be legalized. No matter, the rights of every nation to infuse its value system into its laws should not be based on the views of other nations, but on each nations individual principle.

Despite one’s view on the subject matter, there is no doubt that Nigeria has a right to enact laws that are reflective of its traditions and religious values and norms. No country has a right to dictate another countries laws that defines the boundaries of marriage, privacy and religious freedom. Thus, just as Nigeria has no right to harass America, Canada or any other nation to enforce and adopt polygamy and other traditional practices into their statutes, these nations also have no right to harass Nigeria to adopt laws that legalize homosexuality. The more the West continues to malign Nigeria for passing laws that prohibit certain modern western value systems, while they hold onto laws that disallow traditional practices acceptable in Nigeria, their hue and cry over human rights becomes a little more than hype and they become much more than hypocrites. May each country be free to preserve the value systems they wish to be defined by and adopt the laws of which they wish to be governed.

Article Written by Hannatu Musawa

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Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Thieves As Heroes By Anthony Kola-Olusanya.


By Anthony Kola-Olusanya

Recently, around the middle of December 2013, in the south-central city of Jaén, Spain, a thief helped the Spanish police to arrest a suspected paedophile football coach after the thief tipped them off as a result of incriminating videotapes stolen from the man’s home. The videotapes, three in number contained graphic recordings of sexual abuse against children aged about 10. The thief after watching the video wrote the police an anonymous letter giving them the address of the suspect, alongside the videotapes in a brown envelope and placed it beneath a parked brown car. In the letter to the police, the thief wrote “I have had the misfortune to have these tapes fall into my hands and feel obliged to submit them so you can do your work and put this … in jail for life.” The Spanish police have since identified the alleged suspect from the content of the videotapes and arrested him after a search of his home and the indoor football club where he worked.

Interestingly, the suspect had earlier reported a burglary at his home nine days earlier, listing several appliances as stolen, but making no mention of his missing video camera and tapes. For reference sake, a paedophile is a person who is 16 years of age or older, who is primarily or exclusively sexually attracted to children who have not begun puberty (girls 10 years old or less, and boys 11 year old or less, on average). Meanwhile, the police had asked the thief to report at the police station to answer the case of burglary despite cooperating with the police in the arrest of the paedophile coach.

About the same in Nigeria, the two people that have taken part in the plundering of Nigeria topped the headlines in the national media, blogosphere and social media world. These two people are former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military head of State and retired army general, and Chibuke Rotimi Amaechi, a former speaker and present governor of Rivers State. The former was in the news for his 18-page treatise to the President Jonathan on the present situation of things between both of them, their party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Nigeria. The thrust of Chief  Obasanjo letter entitled “Before it’s too late” on one part, it was meant to forewarn  President Jonathan about the worsening state of the nation in relation to governance breakdown, massive looting and corruption, insecurity, exponential increase in unemployment among others. On the part of the later, Gov. Amaechi at a public function was quoted saying “we steal because you never stoned us for it.”  Gov. Amaechi words were more of an in-your-face-scorn of the Nigerians in general. On the other side of the two communications which have gone viral on the social media was a salient call for the people to stand up and revolt against the rot plaguing the country.

The actions of both men can be likened to that of the Spanish thief mentioned earlier above. Both have through their communications have reported other criminal actions of others out of supposed concern for the Nigeria. Both Obasanjo and Amaechi’s letters are similar to the Spanish thief’s note to the police that helped arrested the paedophile coach. Rather than been arrested like the Spanish thief for their roles in the destruction and entrenchment of corruption and other plagues bedevilling the country, unfortunately both men have somehow been successful at stealing Nigerians’ focus from the real issues. Even though Gov. Amaechi and other thieves who recently decamped from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) may escape arrest and the wrath of law momentarily, his message remains poignantly relevant because of its importance as a future guide to what should be direction of the people’s action.

“Even the musicians, you’re singing about us, the leaders? If you see a thief and you allow him to be stealing, what do you do? You have stoned nobody that’s why we are stealing. Who have you stoned? We came out and you started dancing, the oil subsidy, we told you they stole N2.3trillion, what did you do? Instead you’re protesting. The oil subsidy that is not reaching the poor, few individuals are going away with the money, you have done nothing … It’s good to steal if you can’t fight back. You have heard about $50 billion, nobody is talking… In some countries people will be on the street, until they return that money. $50billion is N8trillion, it will change Nigeria. Me I want to steal only $1billion, let them bring it.”

The context of words captured in full here is very strong yet very damning. A friend of mine has compared his vituperation to that of rapists who always blame their victims for committing the crime of rape; it’s always about the way she dressed, the way she looked at me, the way she talked to me, she has been taking my money etc., but no excuse absolves a rapist of the crime he has committed.

Since Gov. Amaechi decided to reference other climes, it just as important for me to bring to his awareness what occurs in those climes to those who corruptly enriched themselves or their families from state coffers. For the avoidance of doubt, Gov. Amaechi, just recently in nearby Ghana, President John Dramani Mahama relieved the deputy minister of communication, Victoria Hammah, of her position a day after she was heard in a leaked tape to radio stations saying she would not quit politics until she has made at least $1 million. In the United State, the governor of President Obama’s home state of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich is presently in jail for attempting to sell the vacant senate seat of President Obama to the highest bidder. Even Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife are not spared either for daring to spend campaign funds on themselves. In communist China, a top party official was sentenced to jail for corruption while the uncle of the North Korean Leader was also recently convicted and killed for corruptive practices against the state.

In other climes, Gov. Amaechi and many of his likes will be cooling their asses in a police cell awaiting trial for corruption, besides the fact that, he would have ceased to be the governor of Rivers State. Perhaps, Gov. Amaechi does not know that those who steal from the public have not been spared either by the laws of their land, which abhors corruption and corrupt practices. Unfortunately, this isn’t so because President Jonathan’s failure to provide leadership in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. Perhaps because he too is implicitly corrupt too, has chosen to gloss over the Gov. Amaechi’s comment regarding the stealing of government funds and bleeding of country’s coffers dry. Although Gov. Amaechi may be protected by immunity for now, his newly assumed ‘neo-progressive’ stance may not be enough to save him from future prosecution and jail-term for corruption.

As for Chief Obasanjo, his despicable roles in the emergence and elevation criminally motivated economic and political crimes in Nigeria is still very fresh in our minds and can never be forgiven. If Chief Obasanjo had allowed enthronement of genuine democracy in 2007, without forcing the duo of late Alhaji Umar Yar’ Adua and Goodluck Jonathan on Nigeria, perhaps the nations could have fared better. Just perhaps, corruption, insecurity, bad governance, may have been reduced to the barest minimum. Perhaps, our education and health sectors would have been better by now or be on the road to full restoration. Perhaps, had Chief Obasanjo strengthened the anti-corruption institutions like the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) while in the office, the likes of Gov. Amaechi and other thieves likes him including Chief Obasanjo  wouldn’t be as bold to bully Nigerians with their ill-gotten wealth and stolen largesse.

In addition, Dr. Jonathan, the only sit-in president presiding over a most corrupt and crime ridden Nigeria, and his fellow travelers would have exercised some caution in the daily destruction of Nigeria, if the judiciary hadn’t been compromised during Chief Obasanjo’s period in Nigeria. Sadly, this is not the case, and this explains why Nigeria has become a country of anything-goes. What a shame, the once vibrant most populous black nation has become a dancing floor for criminals to practice corruption and other vices.

But lest, Gov. Amaechi and his fellow thieving friends across the political divide forget, the revolution in Nigeria is not far in the horizon and Nigerians will not just stone you thieves, but you will all be publicly tried for your crimes against the people and Nigeria and executed. The only regret for Gov. Amaechi and his fellow thieves is that they will not be able to use their private jets to escape the wrath of the people when Nigerians stand up. Finally, although thieves can become can become heroes just for a moment, a thief will remain a criminal forever and shall be brought to book according to the laws.

Anthony Kola-Olusanya is a teacher and citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Snowden Criticizes Obama’s Surveillance Review Panel as Sham.


Image: Snowden Criticizes Obama's Surveillance Review Panel as Sham

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Former government contractor Edward Snowden, who’s been given asylum by Russia after leaking National Security Agency secrets, is criticizing a panel established by President Barack Obama’s to review U.S. surveillance programs as a sham designed to do nothing more than restore public confidence in spying activities.

“Their job wasn’t to protect privacy or deter abuses, it was to ‘restore public confidence’ in these spying activities,” Snowden said in an email exchange with Globo TV in Brazil, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The review panel last week recommended sweeping limits in the government’s surveillance programs, including requiring a court to sign off on individual searches of phone records and stripping the NSA of its ability to store that data collected from Americans.

In the email exchange with Globo, Snowden continued to defend his public release of classified information about NSA surveillance programs, describing himself again as a whistleblower and not traitor. Snowden, who earlier this year fled from his NSA job in Hawaii for Hong Kong, and later Russia, after handing over secret information to reporters, said he does not believe he would be treated justly if he returns to the United States because he has embarrassed the Obama administration and the U.S. intelligence community.

“It’s clear that I could not possibly get a fair trial in my country,” he insisted.

Snowden is reportedly seeking permanent asylum in several countries, including Brazil. For now, he lives in Russia under temporary asylum. But he denied in the interview that he has offered Brazil and other countries information about U.S. spying operations against them in return for asylum.

“I will never exchange information for asylum and I don’t think the Brazilian government would do that either,” Snowden reportedly told Globo. “A grant of asylum should always be a purely humanitarian decision . . . I will never cooperate with anyone outside of a lawful and appropriate manner.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rove: Latest Obamacare Changes Are Admission of ‘Complete Failure’.


The latest changes in Obamacare that grant people a “hardship exemption” from having to purchase healthcare insurance are an admission by the Obama administration of the “complete failure” in rolling out the healthcare law, Karl Rove said Friday.

“This is an admission of utter, complete failure on the part of the administration in rolling this plan out and making it available to Americans,” Rove told Fox News’ “America’s News HQ.”

“It is an utter total declaration that this program is a mess. And that everything they have tried to date has not worked,” Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, said.

Story continues below video.

President Barack Obama’s administration announced Thursday night that people who had lost their health insurance because of Obamacare could purchase catastrophic plans. The White House also announced some people who do not purchase insurance may avoid paying the mandate.

Rove said the administration had already deemed some catastrophic health policies as “junk,” but are now saying those same policies are now acceptable.

Rove questioned why only people who had formerly had coverage could buy a policy under the latest change.

“If it’s good enough for the people who lost their coverage, why isn’t the same option good enough for the people who are currently uninsured? Why not allow everybody to do it?” Rove asked.

Rove said the latest change would drive up premiums “because the people who are going to be left in the exchanges are going to tend to be people who are older and less healthy.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Wanda Carruthers

War College Considers Removal of Confederate Portraits.


Image: War College Considers Removal of Confederate Portraits

By Melanie Batley

The U.S. Army War College is considering the possible removal of portraits depicting Confederate generals, including Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson, after an official questioned why the school honors those who fought against the United States.

The issue arose as the college conducts an inventory of all its paintings and photographs, with plans to re-hang them in historical themes to chronicle the military’s history, The Washington Times reported Tuesday.

“This person was struck by the fact we have quite a few Confederate images,” college spokeswoman Carol Kerr, told the Times. “[Lee] was certainly not good for the nation. This is the guy we faced on the battlefield whose entire purpose in life was to destroy the nation as it was then conceived . . . This is all part of an informed discussion.”

Army Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, the commandment of the college, said that inaccurate rumors were spread about the removal of the portraits because a faculty member took them down as part of the inventory process. He nonetheless confirmed that changes would be made.

There will be change: over the years very fine artwork has been hung with care — but [with] little rationale or overall purpose,” he said Wednesday in a statement on the school’s website.

“I will . . . approach our historical narrative with keen awareness and adherence to the seriousness of several things: accurate capture of U.S. military history, good, bad and ugly; a Soldier’s life of selfless service to our Nation; and our collective solemn oath to defend the Constitution of the United States (not a person or a symbol, but a body of ideals). Those are the things I will be looking to reinforce with any changes to the artwork.”

Two portraits of Lee are on display at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and his portrait is also on the walls of other military institutions and government buildings, according to the Times.

The Army War College was established in 1901 in Carlisle, Pa. for the study of lessons in warfare, and the institution has been the making of future field generals. It graduates more than 300 U.S. officers, foreign students, and civilians in two classes each year, according to the Times.

Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Six months after surrendering to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Lee swore allegiance to the Constitution and to the Union.

In 1975, Congress enacted a joint resolution reinstating Lee’s U.S. citizenship, stating, “This entire nation has long recognized the outstanding virtues of courage, patriotism and selfless devotion to duty of General R.E. Lee.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Paul Vallely: Military Benefit Cuts in Budget Deal ‘Atrocious’.


Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely says budget cuts that trim the benefits of military retirees are “atrocious,” especially considering the vast waste of money in Washington.

“It is atrocious, and somebody told me yesterday, it’s like we’re living in the Twilight Zone in Washington, D.C. What is wrong with these people?” Vallely told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“With all the billions of dollars of waste in the government . . . All the agencies that are just burning money like mad . . . I mean, this is a travesty of justice,” he said Wednesday.

Story continues below video.

Vallely was critical of Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, who were instrumental in putting together the bipartisan budget deal that passed the House last week.

“What is Paul Ryan doing? Patty Murray? [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid? The vast majority of them have never served in the military, do not understand what military families go through,” he said.

“I mean, someone’s got to finally stand up and put this down. This is just terrible.”

The cuts may see military personnel losing up to a full percentage point from their cost-of-living raises when they retire. That would mean a more than 20 percent reduction in retiree pensions over 20 years.

Vallely, chairman of Stand Up America and a Fox News military analyst, says lawmakers should concentrate on cutting from the “billions of dollars of waste throughout all of the other government agencies.”

“They won’t address most of those. Again, they must be in the Twilight Zone. I can’t figure out any other reason. It has no logic to it,” Vallely said.

See the “Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Bill Hoffmann

Notre Dame Challenges US Contraceptive Mandate in Lawsuit.


abortion pill
Will the Obama administration succeed in causing Catholic institutions to violate their religious beliefs?

The University of Notre Dame filed a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging mandatory coverage of contraception under U.S. federal healthcare laws that it said run contrary to the Catholic university‘sreligious beliefs.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in South Bend, Indiana, followed university discussions with the Obama Administration that sought an expanded exception for schools and universities from the requirement, Notre Dame said.

“This lawsuit is about one of America’s most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one’s religion without government interference,” Notre Dame said in the lawsuit filed on Tuesday that asks a judge to block the requirement.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, requires employers to provide health insurance policies with cover preventive services for women including access to contraception and sterilization.

The act makes an exception for religious institutions such as houses of worship that mainly serve and employ members of their own faith, but not schools like Notre Dame, hospitals and charitable organizations that employ people of all faiths.

The Notre Dame lawsuit follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement in November that it would hear appeals from two businesses whose owners said the mandatory coverage of contraception violates their religious beliefs.

Notre Dame had challenged the mandate in May 2012, but a federal judge dismissed that lawsuit because the rules were not yet final. They became final in June.

Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, on Tuesday said in a statement that at its core the lawsuit was about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission and went beyond a debate about contraceptive services.

Notre Dame’s employee health plan covers about 11,000 people including employees and dependents and a student health program covers about 2,700 people, it said.

The plans do not cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives when they are used to prevent pregnancy, or sterilization. The plans do not appear to meet exceptions allowed for religious entities, Notre Dame said.

Those services will continue to be freely available in the United State outside of Notre Dame, and the university was not seeking to impose its religious beliefs on others.

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

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