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calendar   Wednesday - June 10, 2020

The Current Global Disaster That Didn’t Make The News At All

MAJOR PETROLEUM SPILL OF NEARLY 3/4 MILLION GALLONS

The Taymyr Penninsula is in northern central Russia along the Arctic Ocean. It is between 1200 and 1700 miles east of Finland and about 1600 miles west of Alaska. This is one of the more remote and inhospitable places on the planet.

Norilsk is a mining and industrial city in the southwest end of the peninsula. What isn’t mines is boggy swamp, when it isn’t frozen solid by the 8 months long brutal winter.

At the Norilsk-Taymyr Energy Company there, a massive spill of diesel fuel from their giant storage tanks has released more than 21,000 tons of diesel fuel into the local waterways and across the tundra. That’s at least 600,000 gallons.

And there’s no way to clean it up right now. They can try and contain it, but actual removal won’t happen for months until things freeze up again.

Perhaps the leaking tanks are right here: 69.329191, 88.251773 (decimal map ref).

There is not a lot of precise information available, but it doesn’t look like the diesel could get into the Artic Ocean from there. No, it will just destroy several of the few bog lakes on the whole peninsula.

Large territories of rivers, streams and tundra lands are covered by more than 20 thousands tons of diesel oil from a reservoir owned by company Nornickel. The catastrophe was reported to the authorities only two days after the spill and nobody really knows how to clean up.

A thick layer of diesel oil now covers more than 20 km of rivers around the installations of the Norilsk-Taymyr Energy Company. Practically all rivers and affluent creeks are filled up by oil products, leader of Russia’s Federal Environmental Control Service (Rosprirodnadzor) says after a visit on site.

Water samples show several tens of thousands times higher concentrations of oil products than the maximum allowed level, Svetlana Radionova told President Vladimir Putin in an online video meeting on Wednesday.

According to Radionova, about 6,000 tons of diesel oil has spilled into the tundra and another about 15,000 tons have ended up in the local waterways.

A layer of diesel oil as thick as 20 cm is found by the oil booms put out on the local river about 20 km away from the site of the accident, the leader of Rosprirodnadzor says. [ 6” thick 14 miles away ]

“We are now identifying damage and potential consequences for the waters, as well as the soil,” she explained to the President.
Reported after 2 days

The accident took place in the morning of the 29th of May, but was reported to the authorities only on the 31st of May. Neither the Norilsk-Taymyr Energy Company, nor its mother company Nornickel had published any official information about the spill until 3rd June, and the regional authorities in the Krasnoyarsk Kray put out a small notice only on that same day, at the same time as regional Governor Aleksandr Uss was ordered to report to the President.


Big clean-up after the catastrophe, but spilled oil will be removed from Taymyr tundra only next winter

Thousands of tons of spilled diesel oil are being pumped into special containers placed along affected rivers and creeks. The substances will be removed from the desolate area only after the tundra freezes next winter.
...
Nornickel must cover the full cost for restoring nature in the area, Putin underlined to Nornickel CEO and majority owner Potanin.

“The owners are obliged to fully liquidate the pollution of soil and waters, ” Putin underlined and added that a comprehensive compensation scheme for restoration of bio diversity and nature in the area will have to come in place.

He also made clear that the Russian General Prosector and the Investigative Committee will study the case carefully to find reasons and assess damage.

“We will pay whatever it costs,” Potanin responded. He added that he believes the price for the clean-up will amount to “ten billion rubles, and more.”

Nornickel fully owns the Norilsk-Taymyr Energy Company, and manages the huge industrial facilities of city Norilsk and the surrounding Taymyr tundra. Nornickel from before has a dubious environmental reputation. Air pollution around the company’s industrial plants in Norilsk and in the Kola Peninsula is among the worst in Russia.

The good news? Russia has decided that they aren’t going to set it on fire to clean it up. Gee, genius in action, what what?

Russian authorities were long at odds over how to clean up the vast volumes of harmful substances from the remote and vulnerable Arctic nature.

Burning was first considered to be the best alternative way to get rid of the oil products. But that alternative has now been abandoned.

Instead, a big number of special containers are being flown into the area and placed along the worst affected rivers and streams. Spilled oil is now pumped into the reservoir tanks.




Russian Inspectors: Drain the other tanks before we have another accident!!

According to Rosprirodnadzor, the environmental catastrophe happened after the concrete foundation on which the reservoir rests began to sink. Following the sinking, the bottom of the reservoir detached from its walls whereupon the diesel oil spilled into the surroundings.

On site are another four similar reservoirs, three of which are in operation. They are now a major subject of concern for the environmental inspectors in the area.

In a letter addressed to the Norilsk Taymyr Energy Company, the environmental watchdog now warns that the remaining reservoirs could ultimately get the same fate as the first collapsed tank.

The reservoirs might together hold more than 60,000 tons of fuel oil.

The control authority proposes that the company pumps all the diesel fuel out of the reservoirs and that it carefully studies the technical condition of the facilities.

The work must be completed by 9th August this year, the letter explains.
Hard clean-up

The major spill happened on the 29th May, but is believed to have been reported to the authorities only on the 31st May. Clean-up operations are now in full swing with more 650 people and 250 equipment items involved, Nornickel informs.

And of course all this happened because of ... wait for it ... Global Warming. Things got warmer, the permafrost softened up, foundations built on them sunk, oil tanks on those foundations split open. Climate change is real there, and across much of northern Russia. It’s why they’re opening all those LNG facilities in the west, and why so many freeze dried mammoths are being found in the east.

The reservoir facilities in Norilsk hold only a tiny fraction of the volumes of oil and oil products stored across the Russian Arctic. A lion’s share of Russia’s oil production is made in the country’s north and storage facilities, pipelines and terminals are stretched across the vast region.

Potentially, similar spills like the one in Norilsk could soon happen in numerous places across the region, including in nearby oil-rich Khanti-Mansiisk area, Yamal-Nenets Autonmous Okrug, Komi Republic and Nenets AO.

Looks like it’s time for Russia to clean up it’s act. Literally.

And this massive spill isn’t even a blip on the news radar here or in Europe. Because protests. And COVID. And politics.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/10/2020 at 08:20 PM   
Filed Under: • DisastersEnvironmentOil, Alternative Energy, and Gas Prices •  
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calendar   Tuesday - June 02, 2020

Good Writing

I found City Journal this morning after thinking of the “four boxes” relative to this national rioting thing, (the four boxes being the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box, ) which made me think of Kim Dutoit, the patron saint of so many right leaning blogs, and knowing that he is once again writing although I rarely visit anymore, I clicked over and found the gist of the post I made earlier. OK, I snagged a lot of it. Samizdat-ism. Afterwards, I started reading some of the essays at City Journal, and linked to the States’ Rights one below. 

POINT: Here’s another one, about the rioting and the breakdown in law an order, and how it’s been a long time coming, excused or not ...

On the other hand, the Civil War analogy seems too linear, too coherent, too automatic—a cliché, even. The current outbreak of protests and riots feels like something else—like a sudden, comprehensive event of physics or meteorology, a perfect storm of perfect storms, multilayered and interpenetrating and simultaneous.

The motives at work in the disturbances are mixed and contradictory. So are the moods—a wind-shear of psychologies and attitudes: hysteria, grief, anarchy, frolic, spectacle, revolution, a fest of selfies against a backdrop of flames. Anarchists out of Joseph Conrad’s Secret Agent trade germs with angry blacks and young whites on skateboards or $1,900 bikes. The deadly serious and the deadly unserious appear side by side in the performance.

Unfortunately, a crowd on the march does anger better than it does grief. An angry crowd tends to become a mob, and a mob tends to smash windows, to loot and burn. If that happens, whatever blameless emotion may have prompted the protest in the first place is corrupted into mere power. A mob, turning abusive, will, ironically, imitate the abuse of power that the demonstration was called to protest in the first place. On the other hand, if your intention is to destroy American society, then what’s the problem?



COUNTERPOINT:

The extent to which high elected officials in New York City are willing to excuse the mobs burning and looting the city, and attacking its police officers, is shocking. Even Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is taking enormous heat from the Left for his supposed hard line on policing the “protesters,” makes a point every time he opens his mouth of embracing their demands for “change” and acknowledging their “deep pain.”

Enough already. Peaceful protesters have had several days in which to make themselves and their concerns heard about the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. The Antifa hooligans firebombing police vehicles, and the looters gleefully grabbing sneakers, are not only not in mourning, they are having a party. This is a perverse holiday for them, one to which the liberal leaders of our city pay obsequious deference.

...

New York City’s political class is up in arms today—but not because criminals and arsonists are holding the city hostage. Instead, they’re alarmed because President Trump has pledged to restore order. Any New Yorker who wants safety and order must see de Blasio and the rest of the city’s leadership as abject failures during this crisis. Those who believe, on the other hand, in the transformative potential of chaos should be grateful for his leadership.

[ PS Mark Levine is a two faced hypocrite. ]

There’s many paragraphs more at the links.

Other essays there point out that voting Progressives into office leads to all kinds of problems, from increased crime, to homeless camps full of drugged out street poopers, to frustration in the police departments, to pandering socialist attitudes, to rioting and looting. What we are seeing today is what they have worked a generation to build.

Good writing is always worth a read and a think, whether you agree or not. Which implies it’s worth talking about too. Check it out, talk it out.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/02/2020 at 10:17 AM   
Filed Under: • CULTURE IN DECLINEDisasters •  
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calendar   Thursday - February 06, 2020

And A Plague On Both Your Houses

Africa Sucks

Good Weather Caused Giant Locust Swarm Devastating East Africa

Even when they win, they lose


Tearing across East Africa right now is a plague of biblical proportions: Hundreds of billions of locusts in swarms the size of major cities are laying waste to the crops in their path.
It’s the worst outbreak in 25 years in Ethiopia. In Kenya, make that the worst in seven decades.

Fueling the locusts’ destruction is a bounty of vegetation following unusually heavy rains. All that food means the landscape can support a huge number of rapidly breeding insects. And the problem is about to get a lot worse—the insect population could boom by a factor of 500 by June. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN is calling the situation in the Horn of Africa “extremely alarming,” and estimates that a swarm covering one square kilometer can eat as much food in a day as 35,000 humans. Farmers throughout East Africa now face food shortages, as the plague consumes both crops in the field and in storage.

Desert locusts only lay eggs in moist soil, to keep them from drying out. When heavy rains come in to saturate the desert, locusts—ever the opportunists—breed like mad and fill the soil with their eggs, perhaps 1,000 per square meter of soil. When those eggs hatch, they’ll have plenty of vegetation to eat, until things dry up once again.

As soon as things start getting crowded, desert locusts become gregarious and migrate away in search of more food.
...
These swarming grasshoppers love grains, a staple of the human diet. This is particularly threatening to farmers with depleted soils, because overgrazed lands tend to harbor more carbohydrate-rich species—grasses in particular are sapped of their protein as nitrogen washes out of overworked soil. It all but guarantees a swarm is going to make itself at home on somebody’s farm.
...
Water, another critical factor of locust biology, also helps explain why things are so bad in Africa right now. In 2018, the heavy rains that locusts crave came with two cyclones, in May and October, that made landfall in nearly the same place in the southern Arabian Peninsula. The May storm alone dumped enough water for desert vegetation to grow for six months, which is long enough for two generations of locusts to appear and explode their populations—fast.
...
Then the October cyclone added several more months’ breeding time.

Five Little Airplanes To Save Three Nations

As locusts by the billions — yes, billions — descend on parts of Kenya in the worst outbreak in 70 years, small planes are flying low over affected areas to spray pesticides in what experts call the only effective control.
...
Just five planes are currently spraying as Kenyan and other authorities try to stop the locusts from spreading to neighboring Uganda and South Sudan. The United Nations has said $76 million is needed immediately to widen such efforts across East Africa.

A fast response is crucial. Experts warn that if left unchecked, the number of locusts could grow by 500 times by June, when drier weather will help bring the outbreak under control.
...
n swarms the size of major cities, the locusts also have affected parts of Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea, whose agriculture ministry says both the military and general public have been deployed to combat them.

Kenya’s agriculture minister has acknowledged that authorities weren’t prepared for the scope of the infestation this year. That’s not surprising, considering it’s been decades since the country’s last comparable outbreak, U.N. officials say.

The locusts also are heading toward the breadbasket of Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country, in that nation’s worst outbreak in 25 years. On Thursday, startled residents of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, started reported sightings of the insects.

I wonder what they’re spraying with. I bet DDT would work wonders.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/06/2020 at 04:40 PM   
Filed Under: • AfricaDisasters •  
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calendar   Tuesday - December 31, 2019

well blow me down

Not Even 2 Weeks Old, Bronx Wind Turbine Falls

Car crushed, nobody injured

A shoddy wind turbine fell apart in the Bronx on Monday when it couldn’t handle its own power source — gusty winds.

The blade damaged a nearby car and an illuminated billboard when it flew off the 250-foot structure in Baychester at about 1:20 p.m., police said.  There were no injuries reported.

Local politicians rushed to the scene and blasted the “hastily” constructed alternative-energy source.  The turbine started spinning on Dec. 17, providing power to nearby buildings, according to the Bronx Times.

“This shouldn’t have been put up so hastily,” said state Sen. Jamaal Bailey. “A wind turbine should not be able to be taken down by the wind.”

During the press conference, Bailey and Assemblyman Mike Benedetto called on the city Department of Buildings (DOB) to make “sure something like this doesn’t happen again.” Both men spoke at the site of the collapse and were struggling to project their voices over the sound of roaring wind.

And the whole thing was a stop-gap? Yeah right, like they needed a 250 foot tall tower to put a billboard on? Sounds like a bait and switch to me.

[ 12/20/19 ] The controversial, recently halted monopole, partially built at the southern edge of Co-op City, will support a wind turbine instead of a billboard that was expected to soar over 250 feet above the ground.

That structure at 500 Baychester Avenue, will join two other billboards as well as a 7-Eleven convenience store, a TD bank and a Sherwin Williams paint store on the commercial property.

The originally-planned illuminated billboard would have shined all night into the bedrooms of many Co-op City apartments.

On Thursday, December 12, two flatbed trucks carrying pieces of the wind turbine arrived at the property.

Elected officials and Community Board 10 fielded hundreds of inquiries from local residents that spotted the erector on the property.

As of Tuesday, December 17, the wind turbine was assembled, and the power generator now towers over 200 feet above the current illuminated billboards.

Matt Cruz, district manager of Community Board 10 stated that while he doesn’t oppose wind turbines, he finds the newly erected turbine location inappropriate.

Rodney Saunders, second vice president of the Riverbay board of directors was bewildered by the wind turbine installation.

He said he has not been able to find any building permits for the structure.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/31/2019 at 10:12 AM   
Filed Under: • DisastersEconomics •  
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calendar   Tuesday - March 22, 2016

BOMBING IN BRUSSELS!! Terrorists hit the Belgian Capitol!

EXPLOSIONS GUT BRUSSELS AIRPORT AND METRO


A few hours ago, near-simultaneous explosions tore through the Belgian capitol. It seems pretty clear- even with the sketchy information- that there were at last two targets. One was the Maalbeek Metro Station, and the other Brussels Airport. Initial reports indicate that we’re looking at dozens of casualties, including at least a baker’s dozen dead. I don’t think that number is going to go anywhere but up in the next hours. This map is the best one I could find on short notice showing the relative locations of the two.
image

I’ll probably put more information- pictures I don’t trust putting above the fold, my two cents, and news articles- below the fold. But let’s make one thing ABSOLUTELY clear: This Had to have been a coordinated attack, and a daunting one at that. Half a dozen miles may not seem like a big distance but it can’t be easy to coordinate this kind of attack in a densely urban area like the heart of Brussels is. Which says nothing good about our security or the enemy’s capabilities.

God be with us all… I don’t pretend to know the full story behind this but I do hope that these savages get theirs.

See More Below The Fold



Posted by Turtler   United States  on 03/22/2016 at 05:30 AM   
Filed Under: • DisastersFRANCEGenocideHomeland-SecurityIllegal-Aliens and ImmigrationInsanityInternationalMilitarymuslimsNews-BriefsOutrageousplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobilesREALLY WORTHLESS and PUTRID PEOPLEScary StuffTerroristsWar On Terror •  
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calendar   Wednesday - December 09, 2015

Germans to Greeks.  Do as you’re told. Again. IMF wants monies on loan paid on time. lol!

Germany to Greece.  Shut up and do as you’re told.  Again.

Couldn’t resist that line.  That isn’t an exact quote but close enough.
Not that it’s a major story.  Just a short bit in the business section, which I rarely read.
But it caught my eye and attention. 

One headline reads;

Tension grows over IMF’s role in Greek program

Another reads;

Lay off the IMF, Germany warns.

Woo-hoo.  Is it to be war then?

To boil it down without reading the whole thing, which I’ll post for anyone interested.  And I am , cos I see it as a sit-com. 

Greece to IMF.  “What?  Pay back a loan?  Why?  How long has that been going on”? 

The German finance minister warned Greece not to question the involvement of the IMF in its bailout program.  This was after the Greek PM, Alexis Tsipras said the global lender was making unrealistic reform demands on Greece.

That’s it in a nutshell.

However … things got kind of messy and the German finance minister felt the Greeks needed some advice.
Here’s the longer version.

IMF’s role in Greek program

Tension between Greece and its lenders grew on Tuesday when German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble seized on comments by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras regarding the involvement of the International Monetary Fund in the Greek bailout program.

During a TV interview on Monday night, Tsipras indicated that he is not keen on the IMF joining the program because of the demands it is likely to make.

“The Fund must decide if it wants a compromise, if it will remain a part of the program,” said Tsipras. “If it does not want to, it should come out publicly and say so.”

Speaking on the sidelines of Tuesday’s Ecofin meeting, Schaeuble slammed Tsipras’s stance. “It is not in Greece’s interests for it to question the IMF’s involvement in the bailout program,” he said.

· “I believe we negotiated at length with Mr Tsipras in July and August,” added Schaeuble. “I also believe that he signed the agreement and then held elections to get a mandate from the Greek people so he could implement what he signed.”

The German finance minister also indicated that he has the impression Tsipras is having second thoughts about adopting some of the measures demanded by Greece’s lenders.

“They should focus their attention on doing what they have to do,” he said. “As always, they are behind schedule. Maybe questioning the agreement is necessary for domestic reasons; he has a slim majority I have noticed. This may be the easy route but it is not in Greece’s interests.”

Schaeuble’s comments prompted an immediate response from Athens. “We remind that the Greek government is responsible for deciding what is in the country’s interests,” said government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili.

“We expect the German Finance Ministry to separate its stance from the unacceptably tough stance of the IMF,” she added. “Europe should and is able to solve its problems on its own.”

Greek government sources believe that Schaeuble’s comments indicate there is a split within the German government over Greece.

SOURCE


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 12/09/2015 at 07:36 AM   
Filed Under: • DisastersEconomicsFinance and InvestingInternational •  
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calendar   Saturday - April 25, 2015

Nepal Earthquake

Thousands Dead In Nepal

7.8 Earthquake, >15 major aftershocks, buildings toppled, avalanches on Everest

image

Nearly 1,000 are known to have died in a powerful earthquake in Nepal, with many more feared trapped under rubble, officials say.

The 7.8 magnitude quake struck an area between the capital, Kathmandu, and the city of Pokhara, the US Geological Survey said.

Tremors were felt across the region, with further loss of life in India, Bangladesh, Tibet and on Mount Everest.

The government has declared a state of emergency in the affected areas.

A national police spokesman told the BBC that 970 people had died in the quake, and that more than 1,700 had been injured. At least 539 people were killed in the Kathmandu valley, he added.

Nepali Information Minister Minendra Rijal said there had been “massive damage” at the epicentre, from where little information is emerging.

image

World landmark Dharahara Tower has fallen

Major historic monuments in the Nepalese capital have been destroyed in the powerful earthquake, eyewitnesses and officials have said.

These include a nine-storey tower, temples and some parts of what was once a royal palace, all listed as Unesco world heritage sites.

Pictures posted on social media show some of the monuments have been reduced to rubble.

Eyewitnesses say several others now have cracks and could collapse.

Officials have said some temples and monuments at other world heritage sites near Kathmandu have also been damaged.

These sites are Nepal’s major tourist attractions.

The quake struck at 11:56 a.m. local time (2:11 a.m. ET), occurred at a depth of 9.3 miles, which is considered shallow and more damaging than a deeper quake. It was reported by people in the area as having lasted a long time. On person said he felt as if he were on a ship in rough seas.

The U.S. Geological Survey had at first rated the temblor at 7.5 magnitude but later upgraded the strength. It reported aftershocks of 6.6 and 5.1 magnitude, among many others others. The USGS said, at least 15 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater had been felt in Nepal so far.

One witness told CNN by phone that people had gathered outdoors in fear. Another said via Facebook that people were listening for news on their car radios.

“We are scared and waiting for the tremors to end,” Shiwani Neupane said on Facebook chat from Kathmandu. “We are all sitting outside because there is more news of another quake.

“There is no power and families are listening to the FM radio inside their cars,” Neupane said. “News of multiple building collapses. I’ve seen many cracked walls and roads and buildings. The (Dharahara, a landmark tower in Kathmandu) was packed with people a while ago. There are police everywhere trying to move rubble to make space on the roads for ambulances. Everyone is very scared.”

The force of the quake was said by people who contacted the USGS to be from “severe” to “violent,” nearly the highest rating on the intensity scale. Tremors were felt as far as New Delhi, more than 200 miles away in neighboring India. An official said they were felt there at magnitude 5.0.

With the roads cut by the quakes, as well as damage to the airport, not to even mention how the whole country is at the top of the world, and in the total back of beyond, rescue and relief efforts are going to be very difficult. With cold weather, a lack of shelter, food, water, sanitation ... expect the death toll to climb drastically.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/25/2015 at 11:39 AM   
Filed Under: • DisastersInternational •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
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It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.

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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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