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Archive for April, 2009

by MC2 D. Keith Simmons
US Naval Forces Central Command

ABOARD KHAWR AL AMAYA OIL TERMINAL, Iraq – The Iraqi Navy assumed control of the Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal (KAAOT) during a ceremony held today aboard the terminal in the North Arabian Gulf.

This turnover is the first step of a multi-step naval transition plan that will eventually transfer security responsibilities to the Iraqi Navy.

“The Iraqi Navy is ready and capable of assuming security responsibility for KAAOT,” said Rear Adm. T.C. Cropper, Commander, Task Force Iraqi Maritime (CTF-IM). “This milestone represents another indication of increasing Iraqi operational independence. It’s very important to the way ahead and the future of Iraq.”

U.S. and Coalition forces have maintained a presence on KAAOT since April 2004, assisting the Iraqi Navy by helping provide security to their oil platforms, which account for approximately 70 to 85 percent of Iraq’s gross domestic product.

Coalition forces have operated jointly with Iraqi Navy sailors and marines, training them in point-defense force protection and visit, board, search and seizure operations.

“Our Sailors have labored diligently to make this day possible, working by, with and through the Iraqi Navy in a very close partnership,” said Capt. Karl Van Deusen, Commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 55, which is responsible for providing security to the oil platforms. “They have brought great credit upon our Navy and our nation.”

U.S. and British forces will continue to operate jointly with the Iraqi Navy to provide training and assistance in support of future security transfers in accordance with a security agreement, to include Iraq’s other key oil platform, the Al Basrah Oil Platform.

“It’s my duty to defend the oil terminal”, said an Iraqi Marine aboard KAAOT. “It belongs to my country. It belongs to my people. Our economy is based on it. I take pride in doing so.”

The U.S. Navy will continue to conduct Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the North Arabian Gulf and provide assistance as requested. MSO help set the conditions for security, which promotes stability and prosperity in the North Arabian Gulf. These operations protect Iraq’s sea-based infrastructure, which provides the Iraqi people the opportunity for self-determination. MSO complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists’ use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel,weapons or other material.

Iraqi and Coalition officials render a hand salute at the beginning of a ceremony in which the Iraqi Navy assumed control of the Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal in the North Arabian Gulf. This turnover is the first step of a naval transition plan that will eventually transfer security responsibilities to the Iraqi Navy.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts.

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by John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2009) – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus attended a ceremony here last night honoring several giants of military, government, industry and the arts.

Gates introduced former President George H.W. Bush, an honoree at the Atlantic Council’s annual gala, while Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, received the council’s Distinguished Military Leadership Award.

Helmut Kohl, former chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Samuel J. Palmisano, chairman and CEO of IBM Corporation, and Thomas Hampson, a world reknowned opera singer, also received awards.

Along with highlighting the work of these key leaders, the event also celebrated the 60th anniversary of NATO and the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and emphasized the role the Atlantic community has played since World War II. Guest speakers punctuated the ceremony with Cold War anecdotes and nostalgia for the era when former Soviet satellite states emerged from behind the Iron Curtain.

Gates recalled witnessing these moments in history from a front-row seat. “I remember being the note-taker when President Bush spoke on the phone about these matters with [German] Chancellor [Helmut] Kohl,” recalled Gates, who was Bush’s deputy national security advisor at the time. “It was the afternoon of Nov. 10, 1989, the day after the Berlin Wall came down, and thousands of East Germans had already begun moving freely across the border,” he said.

Before welcoming Bush onstage to accept the council’s Distinguished International Leadership Award, the defense secretary shared his recollection of the president’s deft handling of the vanquished Soviet empire during Moscow’s moment of great vulnerability.

“As the communist bloc was disintegrating,” he said, “it was George Bush’s skilled, yet quiet, statecraft that made a revolutionary time seem much less dangerous than it actually was.”

Petraeus said he was grateful to receive the council’s award, but quickly turned the spotlight on the nation’s troops. “I can only accept this award inasmuch as I do so on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of troopers, who day after day don Kevlar helmets and body armor, strap themselves into a cockpit or take to the sea and perform complex missions against tough enemies in challenging conditions to do what our country has asked them to do,” the general said.

Petraeus, whose command responsibility includes the war in Afghanistan, underscored the significance of NATO’s commitment to that mission.

“In signing on to support missions in Afghanistan, NATO nations signaled their recognition that transnational extremism poses a threat to all of us,” he said. “In so doing, NATO committed its resources, its institutions and its expertise in cooperative defense endeavors — built over 60 years of partnership — to the international effort to ensure that extremists cannot re-establish safe havens in Afghanistan like those from which they launched the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in 9/11.”

The general said critics have seized on the deteriorating security conditions in some parts of Afghanistan and questioned NATO’s competency and level of commitment.

“Afghanistan has thus emerged as a critical challenge for NATO, and the alliance now faces a very urgent moment,” Petraeus said. “I offer that observation while noting that with the recent announcement of the new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and with the conduct of the NATO summit earlier this month, new resources have been pledged and new resolve has been demonstrated.”

Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, speaks after receiving the Atlantic Council’s 2009 Distinguished Military Leadership Award during the council’s gala in Washington D.C.

Source: CENTCOM.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts.

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Throughout the world we have been in a recession, but there is one country that has flourished. I’ll bet you wouldn’t guess this country if you tried (unless you’ve been following the financial improvements like I have). This country has seen much war, much death, much dislocation, much tyranny. She is now coming out on the other side of hell, and she is taking the free markets by storm.

Yes, that country is Iraq. See the graph below. The horizontal line represents the devastation from the war to the success of the ‘surge’ to the entrepreneurial spirit ingrown in each of us. I am very glad to see Iraq finally succeeding in a good way.

They may not have billions of dollars in their trading, but what they do have seems to be stable. That is more than I can say for many countries. Good on you, Iraq! Who said they couldn’t handle freedom and/or Liberty? Oh yes, that was the Left. Who do you trust to run the country?

Hat tip: Omar over at Iraq The Model (ITM).

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts. Digg! Digg!

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April 14, 2009.
Pakistan President Signs Deal Expanding Taliban’s Power.
By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor

Islamic militants on their way to a peace meeting with Pakistani government officials in Peshawar, Pakistan on Monday, Feb. 16, 2009. Pakistan will impose Islamic law in the northwest where Taliban fighters increasingly hold sway. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)(CNSNews.com) – Just days before Pakistan’s government hopes to secure billions of dollars in aid pledges from the U.S. and other countries, President Asif Ali Zardari has signed a law enabling Pakistani Taliban extremists to impose Islamic law in the North-West Frontier Province’s volatile Swat valley…CNSNews.

April 15, 2009.
Dare To Stand.

April 16, 2009.
The NRA is giving FREE 1-yr memberships to everyone who wants to join. They are trying to build up their membership to fight pending legislation that impacts our right to keep and bear arms. It is very important that anti-gun congressmen see how many people they will have to fight to get their legislation through. Please pass this on to everyone you know! This can include spouses and children also.

Hat tip: Mike C.

Exclusive: Obama Administration Stacking the Deck with Islamists.
by M. Zuhdi Jasser.

As we try to understand where the Obama administration will fall with regards to the global threat of political Islam, the first few months have provided a number of hints, not least of which was the tenor of the recent visit to Turkey. It was painfully obvious after witnessing the length to which the Obama team went to avoid any substantive discussion on political Islam and the threat it poses to human rights abroad and domestically…Family Security Matters.

April 17, 2009.
Napolitano is Lying to Americans About Her Department’s Rightwing Extremism Report; TMLC Files Suit.

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced that on Thursday, April 16th, it filed a federal lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The lawsuit claims that her Department’s “Rightwing Extremism Policy,” as reflected in the recently publicized Intelligence Assessment, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” violates the civil liberties of combat veterans as well as American citizens by targeting them for disfavored treatment on account of their political beliefs. Click here to read the complaint filed by the Thomas More Law CenterThe Thomas More Law Center article.

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    April 18, 2009.
    The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was caught selling Sayyid Qutb (the father of Jihad) books and anti-Judeo-Christian material which state that those who wrote the Bible should “burn in hell for blasphemy.” (Video. Hat tip: Stop The ACLU.)

    April 19, 2009.
    Texas takes aim at Planned ParenthoodTexas takes aim at Planned Parenthood.

    The state of Texas has shut down four Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in San Antonio that were operating without licenses. Clinic officials say it is a matter of miscommunication, claiming that they were told no licenses were needed because they do not conduct surgical abortions. Jonathon Saenz of Free Market Foundation does not accept that…OneNewsNow.com.

    Okla. lawmakers OK teaching on religious documents.

    Oklahoma teachers would have broad flexibility to discuss religious documents, speeches, and other materials under a bill working its way through the state lawmakers. The Oklahoma Senate voted 40-7 Wednesday to approve the legislation. State Senator Clark Jolley says the bill would allow teachers to discuss the religious context of historical documents like the Mayflower Compact and the Declaration of Independence…OneNewsNow.com.

    EDITORS NOTE: I’ll bet no one who fought the Revolutionary War and wrote the Constitution of the United States ever dreamed that a bill would be necessary to discuss THAT history on the grounds that is religious. So what, they would have said! It’s history, you fools.

    Dismissal sought in military religious bias case.

    Government lawyers are seeking dismissal of a federal lawsuit alleging widespread religious discrimination in the military. The Justice Department says many of the lawsuit’s claims are only “general grievances” and not wrongs against specific soldiers. They also contend that a soldier who joined the Military Religious Freedom Foundation in filing the lawsuit did not pursue his complaints enough with superiors first. The lawsuit alleges a pervasive bias within the military in favor of evangelical Christianity, including allowing troops to try to convert Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan…OneNewsNow.com.

    April 20, 2009.
    John Adams on Islam in 1830.
    John Adams knew this, and Thomas Jefferson kept a copy of the Koran for The Barbary Wars from 1801-1805, but our leaders act “baffled” today. Have post-modernism, liberal secularism removed the yardstick people used to determine right from wrong and good from evil?…Mary Christina Love. Hat tip: ACT! For America.

    May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts. Digg! Digg!

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    McClintock: Tea Parties

    I receive e-Team e-mails from Congressman Tom McClintock, and I would like to share them with you so you may be informed as well. I’m off to a bad start, however. See, today is actually the 27th of May, but I received this on the 30th of April. So why the delay? I have had over 200-300 e-mails everyday since we had the Tea Party!

    I am going to post each e-mail on the date received, and then I will keep up with it. Thanks for being patient.

    ******************************
    Dear E-Team,

    It was a great privilege to speak to the 10,000 participants at the Sacramento Tea Party. I have never seen so many people gathered at the state Capitol for a taxpayer rally. I can tell you that I came away from that event knowing that ordinary citizens throughout our nation is starting to awaken to the terrible direction which our nation is headed.

    People are tired of Congress using taxpayer money to bailout other people’s bad decisions. They don’t want to burden their children and grand children with our debts and mismanagement. This is the message I am taking away from these Tea Parties and I will take this message to the halls of Congress.
    ******************************

    PS. This is the only person I consider worthy to serve in Congress. I would love to have him as president. So that is where I stand as far he goes. Do I support him? He’s one of the only ones I willingly support. If you would like to support him or check him out to find out if you would like to support him, his (campaign) website is www.TomMcClintock. (He even has a blog!) This is his House website: McClintock.House.gov. Thank you.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts.

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    by Fred W. Baker III
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON (April 29, 2009) – Any gains in Afghanistan will be tied to the coalition’s ability to tighten control of the Pakistan border, the top Marine officer said Wednesday. In a briefing to Pentagon reporters, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway said his 8,000 Marines deploying to southern Afghanistan this spring face “tough days ahead.”

    Southern Afghanistan is adjacent to a wide-open border with Pakistan, with many unrestricted crossing points. Neither the Afghan nor Pakistani border police have sufficient manning there, Conway said.

    “We can and will eventually run up the victory pennant in Afghanistan, but without eliminating sanctuary across the border, the bad guys will simply come back, as they did in 2003 and 2004,” Conway said.

    Conway has met three times with the chief of the Pakistani army, who has expressed concerns over an influx of coalition forces in southern Afghanistan. Conway said the Pakistani general is concerned that forces going into the south could cause a refugee problem that Pakistan is ill-equipped to handle, and that the Taliban could be forced out of the south and onto supply lines that Pakistani forces are trying to protect.

    The U.S. general said it remains unclear how Pakistan will deal with the internal threat posed by Taliban and al-Qaida presence.

    “How they deal with that is going to be, I think, very important and pretty educational for us all over the next few weeks,” Conway said.

    Defense leaders have voiced approval of recent Pakistani military action against the increasingly emboldened Taliban forces there, and have offered additional support if Pakistan’s government will accept it. Still, Conway said, his Marines will follow through on their planned push in the south, working to stamp out the Taliban and cut off its funding provided by illegal poppy production in the region.

    “We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do in the south,” he said. “And there will be pond rings coming off of that that I think we’re going to have to adjust to.”

    Southern Afghanistan produces of most of the poppy grown in the country. Estimates widely vary, Conway said, but up to $400 million in drug production money is making its way to Taliban funding. Military officials recently authorized U.S. forces to destroy drug-related facilities that have known connections with the Taliban.

    But, Conway said, fighting the drug production must take on a more holistic approach that gives the farmers an alternative to their poppy cash crop.

    “I mean, otherwise, we’re going to be creating Taliban if we simply take away the ability of a man to feed his family,” Conway said.

    The general, who recently returned from a visit to the country, said programs to combat drug production need to be expanded. The programs need to include alternate seed crops, education for farmers and infrastructure so that the farmers can move their crops to market, he said.

    Some of that is in place now, he added, but not on a large enough scale to deal with the size of the drug production problem. And, Conway said, more help is needed from NATO partners and civilian agencies.

    As the drawdown of forces in Iraq continues, Conway estimated there eventually may be as many as 18,000 Marines in Afghanistan. About 2,000 Marines are in the south now, and about 500 more serve in embedded training teams with the Afghan army and police.

    Soldiers patrol the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province, which borders Pakistan. Gen. James Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps, said controlling border areas will determine U.S. gains in Afghanistan.

    Source: CENTCOM.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts.

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    Black Activists Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Invalidate Outdated Section of Voting Rights Act.
    Washington, DC – As the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments today in the voting rights case Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder, the Project 21 black leadership network is joining with other organizations to ask that this outdated portion of the Voting Rights Act be found unconstitutional…. More

    Outrage of the Day: Keith Olbermann Got a Big Raise While His Employer Got a Bailout.
    Writing on U.S. News and World Report’s website, Peter Roff notes that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann negotiated a $3.5 million raise at the very time his employer was receiving a taxpayer bailout… More… (Video included)

    Outrage of the Day: “Change Has Come. It’s Very Demoralizing.”
    A letter from a combat soldier on the front lines of the War on Terror… More

    Editors Note: The above letter is a must read. I believe everyone should read this to understand even deeper how demoralized our troops are feeling. Please.

    Obama Reverses Labor Union Transparency Rules.
    Obama Administration decides labor unions don’t have to fill out financial disclosure forms, since they are so much of a bother… More…Short blog, funny (if you still have your sense of humor).

    Outrage of the Day: The Leaders of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
    Pity the citizens of these six nations… More…Ah, what can I say? It is short and to the point.

    And the Left Claims the Skeptics are in the Global Warming Debate for the Money.
    Al Gore’s net worth increases by perhaps as much as a hundred-fold… More

    Outrage of the Day: Hurting the Nations by Hurting the Rich.
    Composer/producer Andrew Lloyd Webber explains how it hurts a nation to overtax its rich… More

    Not “Nobody,” Rep. Dingell, But We Appreciate You Saying It Anyway.
    Yes, cap-and-trade is a tax… More…Video

    Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly Report the Alleged GE Corruption Story.
    The story as video… More…Three videos!

    A Help to Workers.
    Better for workers than card check… More…Amy has an excellent idea. Short and to the very good point.

    Olbermann Watch Has Tom Borelli/Glenn Beck Interview Audio as Video.
    Our Free Enterprise Project’s Tom Borelli’s Glenn Beck radio interview as video… More

    Keith Olbermann: Worst Fact-Checking in the World.
    The odious Keith Olbermann, GE employee, named Jesse Watters runner-up for “Worst Person in the World” for asking questions at the GE stockholder meeting… More…The nerve! Imagine that? Someone asking big business a question? The nerve! [/sarc]

    GE-Owned Networks’ Media Bias, Conflicts-of-Interest Remain Focus Day After Stockholder Meeting.
    At yesterday’s annual GE shareholder meeting, CEO Jeffrey Immelt was challenged on the subject of media bias at GE-owned NBC, CNBC and MSNBC… More

    Her Microphone Was Cut Off: GE Executives Respond to Questions About Media Bias, More at Shareholder Meeting.
    GE executives apparently have little patience for questions about media bias at their holdings CNBC and MSNBC… More

    Want Tax Money to Fund a New “Green Bank”? If “No,” Sign Our Petition to GE.
    Do you agree with GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt that America needs a taxpayer-funded “green bank”? If you’re not sure, watch Glenn Beck interview Tom Borelli. Afterward, you may wish to sign our petition… More

    Bill O’Reilly Interviews Tom Borelli on GE Doing Business with Iran.
    Bill O’Reilly interviewed Tom Borelli about his confrontation with GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt at last year’s GE annual shareholder meeting… More

    On Nancy Pelosi’s Contempt.
    Mychal Massie is fed up… More

    Outrage of the Day: No Tolerance for the Truth.
    It seems there’s no tolerance for truth these days… More

    Outrage of the Day: United Nations Threatens Bush Administration Officials.
    America must get out of the United Nations… More

    The Kangaroo Returns: Obama Administration’s One-Sided Energy Hearing a Kangaroo Court.
    The kangaroo is back… More

    Disconnect on Accuracy Doesn’t Add Up.
    Jeffrey Temple writes that the left seems to prefer estimates over accurate data when it comes to the census and radio ratings… More

    Green Trumps Black and White for Television Diversity.
    Research Associate Devon Carlin asks and answers the question: Complaints about a racial “white-out” on television are common, but are they valid? More

    A New Government Bank?
    Should taxpayer funds be spent on a new government-owned bank? The left thinks so… More

    The New Byrd-Hagel.
    The Senate has voted 89-8 to oppose cap-and-trade if it raises electricity or gasoline prices… More

    Black Leader Speaks Against the Radical Underpinnings of Obama’s Bailout Agenda.
    This nation was founded on a rebellion against a tyrannical government. We should not now create a new one… More

    Outrage of the Day: Obama’s Hypocrisy on Lobbying.
    As a candidate for President, Barack Obama made attacking lobbyists one of the linchpins of his candidacy…. More

    Outrage of the Day: Senate Majority Leader Calls Chief Justice a Liar.
    U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Friday called Chief Justice John Roberts a liar… More

    Outrage of the Day: Obama Raised Cash for Never-to-Be-Run Senate Race After Leaving Senate.
    Barack Obama was still raising money for his 2010 U.S. Senate re-election fund as late as December 26, 2008, more than a month after being elected President… More

    Outrage of the Day: The Terrible Health Care Canadians and Britons Receive.
    Who needs health care reform? Britons and Canadians, that’s who… More

    The Left Calls for $60 Billion in Subsidies to Mainstream Media.
    The left has begun a bailout appeal for floundering mainstream newspapers… More

    Waxman Drags Feet on Needed CPSIA Reform.
    Outrage of the Day to Rep. Henry Waxman for his refusal to hold hearings on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA)… More

    Carol Browner: Dictating Climate Policy Like Caesar of Old.
    An op-ed by David Ridenour on President Obama’s choice of Carol Browner to serve as a so-called “climate czar” has appeared in newspapers nationwide… More

    Lifestyles of the Spendthrift and Infamous.
    “Reagan said most Americans simply want a better life for themselves and their families without too much government intervention. Unless we do something to change our nation’s course, we will have neither,” says Ak’Bar A. Shabazz… More

    Real Stimulus: Reform How Banks Shop Credit Cards.
    Many of our current problems are rooted in our economy being lured away from its free-market roots, says Bishop Council Nedd II… More

    Obama Can Protect or Destroy Marriage.
    “President Barack Obama’s personal triumph over the generational legacy of black broken homes has the power – by virtue of example – to heal and strengthen marriage in America,” says Niger Innis. More

    The Scandal that is the EPA.
    With so many disasters going on in our government, scandals that are business-as-usual at the EPA can fly under the radar. They shouldn’t… More

    What Greenhouse Gas Restrictions Could Do to Our Economy.
    Writing in Investor’s Business Daily, David Ridenour says, “When our economic bus is teetering at the edge of a cliff, it’s a bad time to throw on some extra weight…” More

    Public Employee Pensions Endangered by State Officials Playing Global Warming Politics, Report Says.
    Already at-risk public employee pension funds are being placed at further risk by state officials, says a report by Steve Milloy and Tom Borelli… More

    Pensions in Peril: Are State Officials Risking Public Employee Retirement Benefits by Playing Global Warming Politics?
    State and local pension fund administrators who promote or ignore global warming regulation may be contributing to undesirable economic conditions that will adversely impact the portfolios they manage… More

    Cap and Trade Carbon Policies Could Increase Emissions, Says Justin Danhof.
    If Congress adopts cap and trade, it may not like the results, analyst warns… More

    Overwhelming Majority of Americans Oppose Cap and Trade.
    A National Center for Public Policy Research poll shows an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose the higher energy costs that cap and trade would impose… More

    Americans Reject Proposed Expansion of Clean Water Act, Poll Shows.
    A majority of Americans oppose the Oberstar/Feingold Clean Water Restoration Act, according to a survey by Wilson Research Strategies for the National Center for Public Policy Research… More

    May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

    Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts. Digg! Digg!

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