Category Archives: Featured

One killed, five wounded in shooting spree in Phoenix suburb

A police officer keeps watch outside a room at the Tri-City Inn, one of the scenes of a multiple location shooting that has injured at least four people in Mesa, Arizona
(Reuters) – One person was killed and five others wounded when a gunman opened fire on Wednesday at a motel and at least three other locations across the Phoenix suburb of Mesa before he was captured in a manhunt, police said.

 

Police used a stun gun to subdue the suspect and led him out of a residential complex in a white full-body suit with his wrists shackled and took him to a hospital, television station 12 News, an NBC affiliate, reported.

Acting Police Chief John Meza confirmed the arrest but did not immediately provide details.

The gunman, who was not publicly identified, first opened fire inside a Mesa motel, where he killed one man and wounded two women, Mesa police spokesman Esteban Flores told reporters.

The shooter, described as a man in his 40s with a tattoo on his neck, then went to a nearby restaurant that is operated by a trade school and shot and wounded an adult student there, Flores said.

After driving off in a vehicle he carjacked at the restaurant, the gunman went to a nearby apartment complex where he barged into a home and shot a man, then went to another apartment complex and shot another man, Flores said.

“We don’t know the motive. We know there was some type of argument at the first location, at the motel,” Flores told reporters.

He said six people were shot in total, including one who died and another who was in critical condition.

Dozens of police officers stood at the site of the first shooting – the Tri-City Inn motel and an adjacent tattoo parlor.

The East Valley Institute of Technology, the trade school near where the shooting started, and nearby Mesa Community College were placed on lockdown as a precaution due to the shooting, the campuses said on their Twitter pages.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said in a statement that he had spoken to the mayor of Mesa and offered the support and resources of the state, including the Department of Public Safety, in handling the shooting.

“Right now, our hearts and prayers are with the people of Mesa, the individuals affected by this tragedy, and all law enforcement and first responders working to assist the victims,” Ducey said.

(Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Lisa Lambert and Bill Trott)


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Senator McCain raps Air Force over Russian rocket engines

Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks sits for a portrait in New York

Chairman of the Armed Forces Committee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington February 11, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts


(Reuters) – Senator John McCain on Wednesday criticized the U.S. Air Force’s “troubling lack of urgency” in ending dependence on Russian rocket engines for space launches, saying there was still no strategy to replace them a year after Moscow seized the Crimea.

“Continued reliance on Russian rocket engines is unacceptable and it’s time the Air Force conduct itself accordingly,” McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told a hearing with senior Air Force officials.

McCain said Congress had given the Air Force $220 million this fiscal year and set a deadline of 2019 for replacing the engine.

Congress is pushing for development of a U.S. engine amid rising tensions between the United States and Russia over Moscow’s annexation last year of the Crimea region of Ukraine.

“Instead of giving the effort the level of attention needed, the Air Force has wasted a year doing very little to end our reliance on Russian rocket engines,” McCain said.

“If the Air Force is unwilling to do what is necessary to meet the 2019 deadline, they are going to have to figure out how to meet our space launch needs without the RD-180 (Russian engine),” he said.

McCain made his remarks a day after Air Force officials told lawmakers they planned to release a draft request for proposals next month and could award initial study contracts by the end of the 2015 fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The officials said the Air Force planned to focus the competition on launch services rather than development of a new American engine, since any engine must be closely integrated with the rocket it fuels.

The Russian-built RD-180 engine now powers the Atlas 5, one of two rockets used by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, which launches most big U.S. military and intelligence satellites.

Privately held Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, expects to be certified by June to compete for some of those launches, but it may be years before its Falcon Heavy rocket is certified to launch the heaviest intelligence satellites.

(Reporting by David Alexander and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Grant McCool)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

Discovery Channel founder starts nonfiction streaming video service

Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks sits for a portrait in New York

Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks sits for a portrait in New York March 17, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) – Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks on Wednesday launched a subscription streaming service for fans of science, technology and history, with the goal of dominating the nonfiction category in on-demand, online video.

Hendricks said the ad-free service CuriosityStream fulfilled his long-held desire to deliver programming that people can watch whenever they want. He hopes it will become viewers’ third or fourth online video subscription after choices like Netflix Inc and Hulu.

“I’ve been dreaming and scheming about this for over 20 years,” Hendricks said in an interview.

To pursue the project, Hendricks retired in 2014 from Discovery Communications Inc, which operates the Discovery Channel and other networks that are sold in bundles through cable television operators.

“This needs to be independent of the legacy business,” he said. “It’s really difficult to just break ranks and threaten your existing revenue stream.”

CuriosityStream costs $3 a month for standard resolution or $6 a month for high-definition. A sharper-definition option, known as 4K, is planned for later this year.

The service is available in the United States and will expand worldwide over five years.

Like other Internet-delivered video, CuriosityStream will compete for viewers in a sea of online content as networks like Time Warner Inc’s HBO and CBS jump into the streaming mix. Apple Inc also is in talks with some broadcasters about an online service, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Programming on CuriosityStream includes short videos of less than eight minutes and longer documentary-style series that were produced for the service or acquired from partners such as British Broadcasting Corp or Japanese broadcaster NHK. “Destination Pluto” follows a team that sent a space probe to the planet. Another series features a photographer’s interviews with celebrities such as Ray Charles and Martin Scorsese.

Hendricks said he remained a “very bullish” shareholder of Discovery, citing the growth potential of its cable TV business in international markets.

He said CuriosityStream was aimed primarily at viewers who watch video online and will pay for commercial-free content.

Hendricks said he may add live streams of events to CuriosityStream and was exploring virtual reality applications that could immerse people in experiences such as hang gliding or a trip to the moon.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)


Source: Newsjyoti Entertainment

Nearly 40 percent of iPhone owners interested in Apple Watch – poll

File photo of  Apple watches are displayed following an Apple event in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:25am IST

1 of 3. Apple watches are displayed following an Apple event in San Francisco, California in this March 9, 2015 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith/Files

 

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – About 40 percent of adult Apple iPhone owners in the United States are interested in buying the company’s new Apple Watch, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

 

The high-tech smartwatch, which will range in price from $350 to $17,000 for an 18-karat gold model, is Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) first major new product in five years and consumer demand for the device is being closely watched by competitors and investors.

 

Owners of the iPhone are a particularly important market for Apple as it launches the new watch, which goes on sale April 24. Because the watch needs an iPhone to work fully, analysts say the most likely pool of initial buyers will already have an Apple smartphone in their pockets.

 

BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said that with more than 100 million active iPhone users in the United States and closer to half a billion globally, the survey was “pretty encouraging” for a product that has not been seen in shops, even if was unclear how much of the interest would translate into purchases.

 

Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andrew Hargreaves said it was not clear how many people wanted or needed a smartwatch. But he expected Apple’s cache and marketing might to deliver strong initial sales of the Apple Watch.

 

“Winning Apple customers is more realistic at this point,” said Hargreaves.

 

The watch allows users to check email, listen to music and make phone calls.

 

Ipsos surveyed 2,469 Americans aged 18 and older online between March 9 and March 17 and found that 24 percent expressed an interest in purchasing the Apple Watch, including 10 percent of those describing themselves as “very interested.” The data was weighted to reflect the U.S. population and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

 

Among the iPhone owners, 39 percent were interested in purchasing the Apple watch, including 17 percent describing themselves as very interested. There were 788 iPhone owners in the survey with a credibility interval of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

 

Discussions about the watch have flooded online social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook since Apple held a splashy event in San Francisco on March 9 to showcase the watch.

 

Social media chatter about the Apple watch was 15 percent positive and 5 percent negative in the week following Apple’s event, according to an analysis that the firm Networked Insights conducted for Reuters. The remaining 80 percent was neutral. By contrast, the social conversation for Apple’s iPhone 6 during the same week was 5 percent positive and 0 percent negative, according to the analysis.

 

Among the conversations relating to the Apple watch during the one-week period, 5.8 percent of the comments showed an intent to purchase, according to Networked Insights, which analyses tweets, public Facebook posts and other sources. Social comments about the iPhone 6, which has been on sale since September, showed a 2.9 percent purchase intent during the same week.

 

Apple is among several large tech companies looking to jumpstart a new market for “wearable” electronic devices. Samsung Electronics(005930.KS), Sony Corp(6758.T) and LG Electronics (066570.KS) have all released their own smartwatches, many of them powered by software developed by Internet company Google Inc (GOOGL.O).

 

More than half of iPhone users in the Reuters/Ipsos survey believe that a smartwatch in the near future will be an essential gadget that’s as common as the smartphone, whereas 44 percent a broader poll of U.S. adults felt that way.

 

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic, editing by Peter Henderson and Bernard Orr)

 

Source: Newsjyoti India Technology

In boon for bitcoin, UK to regulate digital currency exchanges

A bitcoin ATM machine is shown at a restaurant in San Diego

A bitcoin ATM machine is shown at a restaurant in San Diego, California September 18, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake


(Reuters) – Britain took a significant step towards becoming a global bitcoin hub on Wednesday as the government announced it would regulate digital currencies for the first time by applying anti-money laundering rules to exchanges.

 

Already the center of the $5-trillion-a-day market for traditional currencies, the UK is fast emerging as a center for digital currencies too, cementing its place as European’s financial technology, or “FinTech”, capital.

In a report published alongside finance minister George Osborne’s annual budget statement, Britain’s Treasury said the new regulation would support innovation and prevent criminal use of digital currencies. The proposals will be consulted on early in the next parliament.

Tom Robinson, co-founder of Elliptic, the world’s first bitcoin insurance vault in London, and a board member of the UK Digital Currency Association, said the new regulation effectively served as a “stamp of approval” from the government.

“It provides enough oversight to provide legitimacy without stifling innovation,” he said. “I think it is a good balance between on the one hand the U.S. and specifically New York, which I think have gone too far, and what a lot of countries are doing which is just completely ignoring it.”

The potential for digital currencies to be used for illicit financial transactions has led many to steer well clear of the them. They were dubbed the “Wild West” of finance by U.S. regulators last year, since they are not backed by a central bank or government like conventional money.

The so-called “cryptocurrencies” are also prone to wild swings in value and can be a target for hackers. Last year Mt. Gox, a Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange, was forced to file for bankruptcy after hackers stole an estimated $650 million worth of customer bitcoins.

But bitcoin’s supporters are numerous, and say that the technology behind it could be revolutionary. Last week Reuters revealed that International Business Machines Corp is considering adopting the technology to create a digital cash and payment system for major currencies.

Even the Bank of England has got behind bitcoin, despite last year warning that digital currencies may be at increasing risk of fraud and could damage Britain’s economy if they find widespread use.

In a discussion paper in February, the BoE said digital currencies showed “considerable promise” and that it was possible to transfer value securely without a trusted third party. The bank also raised the question of whether central banks should themselves issue digital currencies.

Along with the Treasury document on Wednesday, the government also released a report from its Office for Science on the future of FinTech more broadly. “Digital currencies such as bitcoin have the potential to replace traditional currency and, by extension, the need for central banking and regulatory systems,” the paper said.

The Treasury further announced on Wednesday a new research initiative on digital currency technology, and said it would inject an additional 10 million pounds ($14.66 million) into the area. It will work with the British Standards Association to develop a set of standards that will protect consumers, it said.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)


Source: Newsjyoti Tech

Republican congressman with ‘Downton Abbey’ office resigns

U.S. Republican lawmakers Lummis and Schock arrive at the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave


(Reuters) – U.S. Representative Aaron Schock, a Republican from Illinois whose Downton Abbey-styled office launched a series of media reports questioning his use of taxpayer dollars, announced on Tuesday that he is resigning from Congress.

 

The 33-year-old congressman from Peoria, Illinois had been a rising star in House Republican circles since he was elected in 2008. But he said in a statement that he was stepping down “with a heavy heart.”

“The constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself,” Schock said in a statement.

Schock did not notify any House Republican leaders before making his decision, a House Republican aide said.

“With this decision, Rep. Schock has put the best interests of his constituents and the House first. I appreciate Aaron’s years of service, and I wish him well in the future,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement.

Schock gained a following for posting flashy photos on social media of himself traveling, surfing and on other adventures. But he was hounded with questions after the Washington Post wrote in February about lavish decorations in his Capitol Hill office based on the television series “Downton Abbey.”

“Bright red walls. A gold-colored wall sconce with black candles. A Federal-style bull’s eye mirror with an eagle perched on top. And this is just the Illinois Republican’s outer office,” the Post wrote at the time.

Although staff told the Post that the interior design work had been done for free, the story prompted more investigations into Schock’s spending habits, with several media outlets reporting that he failed to disclose some expenditures and had to repay others after improperly using taxpayer funds.

The newspaper USA Today called him one of the top travel spenders in the U.S. House, even out-flying the state’s two senators.

Schock will resign as of March 31, his statement said, citing a statement from the lawmaker.

The senior senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, said: “I don’t know what the future holds for Aaron Schock but I was stunned that he resigned.”

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will hold a special election to fill Schock’s seat. “This is a sad day for the people of Illinois and the 18th District,” Rauner said in a statement.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Emily Stephenson, with Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Sandra Maler and Jonathan Oatis)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

U.S. FCC inspector general reviewing net neutrality process

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) logo is seen before the FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) logo is seen before the FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington February 26, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

(Reuters) – The Federal Communications Commission’s inspector general has opened an investigation into how the agency arrived at its new rules for Internet service providers, U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz said at a hearing on Tuesday.

Republicans have accused the FCC, an independent agency, of being unduly influenced by the White House in setting stricter “net neutrality” rules earlier this year. The rules largely followed the tack that President Barack Obama publicly supported in a video released in November, which sought a more drastic change in the regulatory regime for Internet providers than the one previously proposed by the FCC.

FCC Inspector General David Hunt could not immediately be reached but Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Jay Keithley said in an email that it was the office’s policy “not to comment on the existence or non-existence of an investigation.”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the Democrats on Chaffetz’s House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform pushed back against the notion that the White House called the shots on the new Internet rules. The regulator instead has said his views on how to write them evolved over months.

“There were no secret instructions from the White House,” Wheeler said at the hearing. “I did not, as CEO of an independent agency, feel obligated to follow the president’s recommendation.”

Wheeler said that he was unaware of the investigation but would cooperate with it. FCC spokeswoman Kim Hart referred inquiries to the inspector general’s office.

Chaffetz told reporters after the hearing that he learned of the process investigation from the FCC inspector general’s office in recent days but didn’t have any further details.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Eric Beech and Christian Plumb)


Source: Newsjyoti Tech

Facebook to allow users to send money to friends through Messenger

A picture illustration shows a Facebook logo reflected in a person's eye, in Zenica

Wed Mar 18, 2015 1:40am IST

.

Facebook Inc (FB.O) said it is adding a new feature to its messaging app that allows friends to send and receive money through it.

 

Users can tap or click a dollar icon in a new chat window to send money to their friends, after they link a Visa or MasterCard debit card issued by a U.S. bank to their accounts.

 

The free feature will roll out over the next few months for users in the United States who access Facebook Messenger through desktop computers or Google Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Android and Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) iOS operating systems on mobile devices.

 

Users can create a PIN or enable Touch ID if they have an iPhone to add a level of security to the payments.

 

Snapchat had launched a similar service last November, called Snapcash.

 

The mobile messaging company partnered with online payments company Square to allow Snapchat users to link their debit cards to their account and quickly send money to a contact by starting a chat on a smartphone.

 

(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru)

 

Source: Newsjyoti India Technology

Kurds report more chlorine attacks, Iraq pauses Tikrit offensive

A chlorine-tinged cloud of smoke rises into the air from a bomb detonated by Iraqi army and Shi'ite fighters from Hashid Shaabi forces, in the town of al-Alam in Salahuddin province
(Reuters) – Iraq paused its Tikrit offensive on Monday and officials called for more air strikes against Islamic State militants, while an officer said Kurdish forces sustained two more chlorine gas attacks by insurgents.

 

General Aziz Waisi told journalists the insurgents used chlorine twice during a January offensive west of Mosul and once in a December attack on his military police brigade in the Sinjar mountain area. One attack near Mosul, on Jan. 23, was described by Kurdish authorities on Saturday.

Waisi said a number of military police – he did not say how many – were taken to hospital, where blood tests indicated they had inhaled chlorine gas released by the bombs.

“When it exploded, we realized it was not a normal smoke because it caused unconsciousness and vomiting,” he said.

He declined to say whether samples from the two previously unreported attacks had been tested along with those from the Jan. 23 attack.

The Dutch-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said over the weekend it had not had a request from Iraq to investigate claims of chemical weapons use.

Iraq’s Kurds were the victims of the deadliest chemical attack of modern times when Saddam Hussein’s air force bombed the town of Halabja in 1988, killing at least 5,000 people.

TIKRIT PAUSE

In Tikrit, military officials said there was no fighting on Monday. Islamic State insurgents controlling large parts of north and west Iraq and territory in neighboring Syria have held onto central districts of Saddam’s home city and have laid explosives to hold up the advancing forces.

The offensive by Iraqi security forces and mainly Shi’ite militia, who entered Tikrit last week, is their largest yet against Islamic State, but it stalled on Friday.

Government forces control of most of the northern Qadisiya district as well as the southern and western outskirts of the city, trapping the militants in an area bounded by a river along Tikrit’s eastern edge.

“We need air support from any force that can work with us against IS,” Deputy Minister of Defence Ibrahim al-Lami told Reuters, declining to say whether he meant from the U.S.-led coalition or Iran, which is playing a role in the assault.

The Pentagon said it did not view the offensive in Tikrit as stalled. “Offensive operations like this have a rhythm to them,” said Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren.

“There’s always going to be a requirement to regenerate combat power, to consolidate and reorganize before the next phase,” he said.

Warren said the U.S.-led coalition helping Iraq had not conducted any strikes in support of operations in Tikrit.

Powerful militia commander Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Shi’ite paramilitary Badr Organisation, said earlier in the offensive that militia victories before the Tikrit battle had been won without coalition air support.

Interior Minister Mohammed al-Ghaban said authorities had temporarily halted the offensive in Tikrit “to reduce casualties among our heroic forces… and to preserve the remaining infrastructure.”

“We will choose the appropriate time to attack the enemy and liberate the area,” he told journalists in Samarra, 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad.

KURDISH ADVANCE

More than 20,000 troops and Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia are taking part in the operation, which began two weeks ago, supported by a relatively small contingent of Sunni fighters from Tikrit and the surrounding Salahuddin province.

The assault is seen as a litmus test for plans to retake the large northern city of Mosul, which is likely to be a far more complex operation.

Meanwhile, coalition air strikes helped Kurdish forces seize Wahda, Saada, and Khalid villages from Islamic State in the north and drive militants away from the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Shi’ite Turkmen fighters also clashed for a fourth day with Islamic State insurgents near Bashir village, south of Kirkuk.

In Baghdad, U.S. presidential envoy General John Allen addressed a meeting of Iraqi and foreign officials aimed at kicking off efforts to stabilize and rebuild territories retaken from Islamic State.

The militants have been driven back by Kurdish peshmerga forces in the north and Shi’ite militia known as Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) in the eastern province of Diyala, the Baghdad belt and north of the capital.

Allen said Iraqis were beginning to recover from life under Islamic State in Diyala and “hopefully soon” in Tikrit, local governance would prove difficult because many officials had been killed, were in exile or co-operated with Islamic State.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s spokesman Rafid al-Jaboori echoed calls for more air strikes: “We have been saying we need more air support for all operations,” he told Reuters. “We welcome air support for all our campaigns against IS”.

(Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and Saif Hameed in Baghdad, Mustafa Mahmoud in Kirkuk, David Alexander in Washington; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Tom Heneghan)


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Families flee Libya’s Sirte as clashes with Islamic State escalate

Fighters from Misrata move towards positions of Islamic State militants, near Sirte
(Reuters) – Dozens of families fled Libya’s coastal city of Sirte on Monday after two days of clashes between Islamic State militants and fighters loyal to a government based in Tripoli, with violence likely to escalate

 

Witnesses reported families packed into cars and headed west toward Misrata, stronghold of the Libya Dawn armed group that backs the self-declared government in the capital, Tripoli. Some 20 cars evacuated staff from a hospital.

A Serbian nurse leaving Sirte told Reuters their manager had advised them to leave because there would be more fighting soon. Fuel was running short and some shops had closed, another resident said.

Pan-Arab TV channel Al-Arabiya said on its website that Islamic State (IS) militants had kidnapped foreign medical staff in Sirte. Reuters could not confirm this.

Two Serbian nurses traveling with a Bulgarian colleague said they saw IS fighters as they left Sirte, but the men had not stopped them.

The region east of Sirte has been a battlefield since December when Libya Dawn tried to seize Libya’s biggest oil ports, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf. They are held by forces loyal to the internationally recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni based in the east.

Spain said on Monday the European Union should consider an oil embargo and freezing of Libyan central bank assets if U.N.-brokered talks to resolve the country’s political crisis failed.

Reinforcements from Misrata arrived on Monday on the outskirts of Sirte, birthplace of the late strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who was ousted in 2011 after four decades in power.

Islamic State has exploited turmoil in Libya, where Thinni’s government and the administration in Tripoli and their respective allies are fighting for power.

Militants loyal to Islamic State have taken over government buildings, a hospital and the university in Sirte and fought at the weekend near the city with Libya Dawn forces, residents said.

On Sunday, a car bomb exploded at the Misrata headquarters of a force sent to fight Islamic State in Sirte and IS militants claimed the attack on social media. Misrata has largely been spared the violence gripping other parts of Libya.

Militants loyal to Islamic State have also claimed responsibility for an attack on Tripoli’s luxury Corinthia hotel in January, as well as the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts from Sirte.

During the 2011 uprising that toppled Gaddafi, Misrata forces captured Sirte, where the former strongman had made a last stand. Some residents accused Misrata forces later of taking revenge on them by looting houses.

(Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Tom Heneghan)


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