Explaining Sri Lanka’s New Emergency Regulations on ‘Publication’

Sri Lanka’s president issued a new set of Emergency Regulations on 22 April 2019.  This note explains the contents of Emergency Regulation 15, which concerns the ‘control of publications’, and certain other regulations relevant to publication.

There are four features in Regulation 15 worth discussing. Before explaining these features, we should note that a ‘competent authority’ is defined in Emergency Regulation 2 as ‘any person appointed by name, or by office, by the President to be a competent authority’. Regulation 15 does not provide any specific definition for a ‘competent authority’, so we can presume this general definition applies to Regulation 15.

Restriction on publication

First, a competent authority (CA) is given the power to restrict the publication (in Sri Lanka) or transmission (to a place outside Sri Lanka) of something that might be prejudicial to national security, or certain other similar aims. Other aims include public order and the maintenance of essential services. The decision to issue directions can be based on the opinion of the CA. The general focus of this Regulation is on the ‘publication’ of something. However, the term ‘transmission’ can include sharing information to a place outside Sri Lanka even privately. Any person who contravenes a direction of a CA is guilty of an offence.

Prior censorship

Second, a CA can require material, including news reports, editorials, articles, and cartoons, to be submitted to the CA before publication. Regulation 15 therefore appears to enable prior censorship. A plain reading of this provision suggests that the CA’s powers are broad enough to cover any publication that, in the CA’s opinion, might be prejudicial to national security or certain other similar aims.

Newspapers and printing presses

Third, if an offence relates to publishing a newspaper, the president can prohibit the person (convicted of the offence) from publishing a newspaper in Sri Lanka. Alternatively, if a person contravenes a direction of a CA, and the contravention relates to publishing a newspaper, or if the CA is of the opinion that something calculated to be prejudicial to national security (or other such aims) is likely to be published in a newspaper, the CA may (by issuing an order) prohibit the printing, publishing and distribution of that newspaper. In the case of a contravention, the CA is required to first give a warning to the person. However, no warning appears to be necessary when the CA is of the opinion that something calculated to be prejudicial to national security (or other such aims) is likely to be published in a newspaper.

Regulation 15 defines ‘newspaper’ to include any form of publication. This definition can potentially include online publications.

The CA may also prohibit the use of the relevant printing press for any purpose, and may authorise the seizure of the printing press or the premises where it is located. Such powers apply not only to a newspaper specifically named by the CA in an order, but also to any other newspaper (under any other name) that publishes the same content of the newspaper specifically named by the CA. The powers of seizing a printing press extends to situations where the CA is of the opinion that the printing press is likely to be used to produce a document calculated to prejudice national security (or other such aims), even if such document is not meant for publication.

Advisory Committees

Fourth, the president must appoint one or more ‘Advisory Committees’ that are authorised to hear objections from a person dissatisfied with an order of a CA with respect to a newspaper publication or printing press. All members of such committees, including the chairperson, are appointed by the president. The CA is dutybound to inform the proprietor of the relevant newspaper or the owner of the relevant printing press that he (or she) can make representations to the president, and make objections to an Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee must submit a report to the president, who may revoke or vary the order.

Other offences

Apart from Regulation 15, Regulations 32 and 33 contain prohibitions that relate to speech and publication. Regulation 32 prohibits dissemination of any ‘rumour’ or ‘false statement’ likely to cause ‘public alarm’ or ‘public disorder’. Regulation 33 prohibits printing or publishing any document that gives information on or comments on the activities of any banned organisation, or any matter pertaining to investigations of the government into a ‘terrorism movement’, or any matter pertaining to the security of Sri Lanka. For example, publishing a leaked intelligence document would be prohibited under this Regulation.


When a newspaper contravenes any provision of Regulation 15, the proprietor, manager, editor and publisher of the newspaper are all separately guilty of an offence.

The consequences of committing an offence under Regulations 15, 32 and 33 are contained in Regulation 49. The Regulation provides that a person guilty of an offence can be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than three months and not exceeding five years, and to a fine of not less than five hundred rupees and not exceeding five thousand rupees.


(The author is an attorney-at-law and research director at Verité Research. He thanks Luwie Ganeshathasan, Malsirini de Silva and Rehana Mohammed for their generous time in reviewing this note).

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Women and Girls “Preyed on as the Spoils of War”

A young girl whose family fled the Boko Haram insurgency stands in front of a tent in a camp for internally displaced persons in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Boko Haram has abducted thousands of girls and forced them into unwanted marriages and enslavement. Credit: Sam Olukoya/IPS

By Sam Olukoya
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, Apr 25 2019 (IPS)

“They forcefully took us away and kept us like prisoners,” Lydia Musa, a former Boko Haram captive who was abducted at the age of 14 during an attack on her village in Gwoza, in Nigeria’s north eastern Borno State, tells IPS. Musa and two other underaged girls were captured and forced to marry Boko Haram fighters in spite of their protests that they were too young to marry.

“You must marry whether you like it or not they told us as they pointed guns at us,” the now 16-year-old girl recalls.

Boko Haram’s violation of the rights of women and children paints a larger picture of human trafficking, forced marriages and enslavement in Nigeria.

As the extremist group enters the 10th year of its insurgency, it remains formidable enough to abduct women and children at will, continuing “to prey on women and girls as spoils of war,” Anietie Ewang, Nigeria country researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

This West African nation has the highest incidence of Africans being trafficked through the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. The north and north eastern parts of the country, where Boko Haram is active, have high incidences of forced marriages, while across the country there are frequent cases of young girls being ‘traded’ as modern day slaves.

The group, whose name means ‘Western education is forbidden’, is reputed to be among the five-deadliest terror groups in the world. It has been involved in a violent campaign for strict Islamic rule in north east Nigeria and in parts of the neighbouring states of Cameroon, Chad and Niger. More than 20,000 people have been killed since the start of the insurgency in 2009.

Boko Haram is also involved in the kidnapping, trafficking and enslavement of children and women. Hundreds of women and children have been abducted since the group’s insurgency started. But Boko Haram’s most well-known abduction occurred in April 2014, when 276 female students were taken away from their dormitory at the Government Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno State.

The abduction started a global campaign #BringBackOurGirls.

A few months after the Chibok girls were abducted, Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, said he would sell them. “I am the one who captured all those girls and I will sell all of them,” he said in an online video in which he justified human slavery. “Slavery is allowed in my religion and I shall capture people and make them slaves.”

Consequently there have been other mass abductions of children in the region since the Chibok incident. In March 2015, Boko Haram fighters abducted more than 300 children from Zanna Mobarti Primary School in Damasak; while 116 female students from the Government Girls Science and Technical College, in Dapchi, Yobe State, were abducted in February 2018 during an attack on the school.

“The way Boko Haram hold women and children against their will is by itself a form of slavery,” Rotimi Olawale of the group Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) tells IPS. The group is involved in a powerful campaign for the speedy and effective search and rescue of the Chibok girls and other abducted women and children.

Olawale says Boko Haram is also using captives, like the Chibok girls, as “valuable bargaining chips” to collect ransoms and secure the release of their members held in Nigerian prisons. While many of the Chibok girls are still missing five years after their abduction, others escaped or were released by Boko Haram in deals made with the Nigerian government. But 112 girls are reportedly still missing.

In an apparent reference to Boko Haram, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says that since 2012, non-state armed groups in north east Nigeria have recruited and used children as combatants and non-combatants, raped and forced girls to marry and committed other grave violations against children.

Accounts by others who escaped from Boko Haram’s captivity confirm this.

Ali Mohammed is also a former Boko Haram captive. He tells IPS that while in captivity he saw Boko Haram members using captive girls as sex slaves. “At night they freely go to where the girls are kept to pick them for sex,” he explains.

Another former Boko Haram captive who preferred to be called Halima says male children born through sexual slavery are being breed to be the new generation of Boko Haram fighters. Halima, who gave birth to twins (a boy and a girl), tells IPS how Boko Haram members always celebrate when a baby boy is born in their camps.

“Once they realise it is a male baby they will start shooting their guns into the air in happy mood saying that a new leader has been born,” she says.

“After I delivered the babies, they carried the male in jubilation and were chatting Allah Akbar, in contrast, they did not show any joy with the female, they did not even touch her.”

Boko Haram’s abduction of young persons are in part aimed at turning them into fighters. UNICEF says between 2013 and 2017 more than 3,500 children, most of whom were aged 13 to 17, were recruited by non-state armed groups who used them in the armed conflict in north east Nigeria. UNICEF says the true figures are likely to be higher because its figures are only of those cases that have been verified.

Musa confirms that while in captivity she saw abducted boys being trained to be Boko Haram fighters. “In the mornings, they normally teach them how to shoot guns and carry out attacks,” she says, adding that some of the boys were just 10 years old.

Boko Haram is also known to train children to become suicide bombers. A UNICEF report in 2017, says between January and August of that year, 83 children, mainly girls, were used by Boko Haram as suicide bombers. The UN’s children agency said this figure was four times higher than it was for 2016.

Attempts to use legislation to address such abuses as child marriage, sexual abuse, trafficking and abduction have failed in the past. In 2003, Nigeria adopted the Child Rights Act as a legal documentation to protect children from these abuses. Currently the country’s constitution does not have a minimum age of marriage. Though the Child Rights Act set the marriageable age as 18, it failed in part because a number of Nigeria’s 36 states refused to domesticate the law.

“It was also a failure in states where it was adopted because it only existed on paper and was not enforced,” Betty Abah, a women and children’s rights activist, tells IPS.

In 2016, Nigeria’s male-dominated senate voted against a Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill. The bill in part prohibits trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation of women and children. The bill, which also prohibits forced marriage, set 18 as the minimum legal age for marriage.

According to UNICEF, 43 percent of girls in Nigeria are married off before they turn 18. Some of the lawmakers who voted against the bill cited such grounds as their religion which permitted underaged marriage.

“It sends a very bad signal that we have a long way to go if those who are supposed to make laws to protect women and children feel these laws are not necessary,” Abah says.

In the meantime, Musa, may have fled the captivity of Boko Haram but she is too terrified to return home. She now lives in Maiduguri, which is also in Borno State and about 130 kms from Gwoza.

She tells IPS she is home sick. “I am always praying for the crisis to end so that I can return home, for now I cant go back because I don’t want to risk being taken away by Boko Haram again.”


—————————————–The Global Sustainability Network ( GSN ) http://gsngoal8.com/ is pursuing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 8 with a special emphasis on Goal 8.7 which ‘takes immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms’.

The origins of the GSN come from the endeavours of the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders signed on 2 December 2014. Religious leaders of various faiths, gathered to work together “to defend the dignity and freedom of the human being against the extreme forms of the globalization of indifference, such us exploitation, forced labour, prostitution, human trafficking” and so forth.

The post Women and Girls “Preyed on as the Spoils of War” appeared first on Inter Press Service.


This is part of a series of features from across the globe on human trafficking. IPS coverage is supported by the Riana Group.

The post Women and Girls “Preyed on as the Spoils of War” appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Nearly 170m under-10s unvaccinated against measles worldwide


Figure includes half a million in UK, as Unicef warns the disease could ‘spread like wildfire’

Nearly 170 million children in the world under the age of 10, including half a million in the UK and 2.5 million in the US, are unprotected from measles in the face of growing outbreaks of the disease, Unicef is warning.

More than 21 million children a year are not vaccinated against one of the most infectious organisms in existence, says the UN body. Between 2010 and 2017, an estimated 169 million children missed the first of the recommended two-dose regime.

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Nielsen Warned ‘Don’t Tell Trump’ About Election Security: NYT

Don’t fall for it. Nielsen dutifully did her job for nearly a year and a half. She blamed parents for the death of their own kids in U.S. custody, through the family separations whose very existence she denied and then kept denying. She doesn’t need redemption; she needs a conscience, and all indications point to her still not having one.

Source: Nielsen Warned ‘Don’t Tell Trump’ About Election Security: NYT

But 40,000+ cases of AFP in India must mean polio is thriving, right? No.

Have you heard the one about the global conspiracy that polio is rampant in India because thousands of cases of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) occur there each year? Follow me over here dear readers, we have another lie to debunk, driven by that small but loud cabal of confused pro-disease activists I call hardcore anti-vaxxers.

Bustling New Delhi India
Source: Adam Cohn, Flickr

In my last post, “No, they didn’t rename polio“, I tried to make it clear that India and the region it sits within were declared free of polio transmission years ago (see that evolve in the tables below). Part of that declaration was the development of a helluva lot of polio surveillance.

India and other countries free of wild or vaccine-derived poliovirus-induced disease keep watch to make sure it doesn’t appear. Which makes sense right? An easily transmitted infection somewhere can become an outbreak anywhere in an interconnected world.

But along with the conspiracy theory that renaming is behind the hidden poliovirus scourge we (absolutely do not) face, is the use of India’s large number of AFP cases to reinforce the myth. Let’s look at India and its AFP cases.

Yes, India has a lot of AFP cases

First things first. India is the second most populated country on earth. At writing, India hosts around 1,300,000,000 lives.[1] In the six years of 2013 to 2018 inclusive, that massive population has reported between 36,107 and over 54,000 cases of AFP each year.[2] Sounds vast, right? Compare that to the United States. Wait. No. You can’t because the US doesn’t seem to conduct AFP surveillance, or don’t provide those data to the World Health Organization (WHO).[14] Let’s compare it to other countries then.

Australia has reported 53-62 cases during that same timespan. Australia currently has a population of 25,000,000.

Is there some simpler way we can look at these figures, accounting for population size difference and growth? Yes. The WHO tabulate non-polio AFP cases per 100,000 people under the age of 15 years (children).

In a country that no longer has polio, it is expected that 1 case per 100,000 children would still be found. Fewer than that may mean surveillance isn’t capturing AFP. Australia reached this indicator between 2009 and 2014 although there were some gaps to close.[9-13] But how does the world stack up?

Crowded New Delhi street.
Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

AFP rates around the world

There are still a lot of AFP cases the world over (Table below). In the South-East Asia Region (SEAR), India contributed the majority of cases with 27,322. Its rate per 100,000 children was 8.7. That’s not the highest rate though. Afghanistan saw 16.2 AFP cases per 100,000 children, Pakistan reported 14.4 and Nigeria listed 12.35 per 100,000 children. Afghanistan and Pakistan have had wild poliovirus cases in 2019 and Nigeria had vaccine-derived poliovirus cases.

The highest non-polio AFP rates occur in the South-East Asia (SEAR), Africa (AFR) and Eastern Mediterranean (EMR) regions. India is the largest contributor of NPAFP cases in the SEAR.
Source: WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record No. 47, 2018, 93, 633-648.[14]

How many of India’s cases are due to polio?

According to the World Health Organizations, precisely no AFP cases are caused by poliovirus infection.[3]

This information was missed by authors of a recent publication who astonishing pointed to the polio vaccine as the source of India’s AFP caseload.[17] And yet….no AFP cases were due to poliovirus. 😒

If it isn’t laboratory confirmed, it isn’t polio. And samples are collected and they are tested for poliovirus. Ensuring this is happening is cleverly also part of the surveillance system.

This isn’t a conspiracy, this is a highly successful global collaboration with lots of hard work to ensure the world we share is getting closer to 100% polio eradication. And we’re almost there.

A total of 59,436 AFP cases were investigated in India in 2012, another 53,421 in 2013 and 53,383 in 2014. Not a single AFP case has tested positive for polio in 2012, 2013 and 2014. All AFP cases during the last 3 years have been due to non-polio causes.

World Health Organization. Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance: the surveillance strategy for poliomyelitis eradication [3]

Despite a lot of testing. India had its last polio case in January 2011 and was considered polio-free from February 2012 and the South-East Asia region followed.[6-8]

Despite all this, some will wrongly say “but these successes are all due to sanitation, not vaccination.” Improved hygiene and sanitation does reduce the spread of many gastrointestinal viruses. No argument.

Ironically the fact that India still has tens of thousands of NPAFP cases each year – and not a single polio case among them – highlights that the polio vaccine is what made the real difference. Vaccines work. And polio is almost eradicated because of their effectiveness.

It’s also worth noting that we, in our shiny white tiled, mirrored, LED-lit, laminated-bench bedecked bathrooms in our PVC sewer-piped houses in our rich neighbourhoods, also come down with gastro viruses every year.

We do have community outbreaks. If these outbreaks were due to poliovirus, we’d still be getting polio were it not for the bloody vaccine!

In the United States, there is a virus which seems to be heading in the direction of becoming a “new polio”.[15] It isn’t the first.[16] It is an enterovirus called D68. EV-D68 is linked to a syndrome that is a more technically diagnosed and defined subset of AFP called acute flaccid myelitis or AFM.

AFM comes in waves every two years and every wave sees its numbers rise. More cases may just be due to better surveillance (see above) or they may be something new. But it’s happening. Not in India, in the US. And do you know what prevents the illnesses EV-D68 causes? A vaccine. And that’s all that will.

SHared bathing in the sacred water can be a daily ritual .
Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

What are the non-polio causes of AFP then?

For a start – not poliovirus. Have I said that already? Because of this, let’s call these cases by a more obvious name – non-polio AFP or NPAFP.

In my last post, I listed a bunch of non-viral things linked with AFP. Polio is just one of many causes.[3]

Staying in my lane, let’s talk about viruses. There are around 100 cousins of poliovirus nicknamed “non-poliovirus enteroviruses (NPEVs). NPEVs are found in India among people that develop NPAFP.

The enteroviruses belong to a huge viral super-group called the family Picornaviridae. Among the picornaviruses are other viral groups containing members seemingly capable of causing problems for our nervous system. Cardioviruses are one example.[18] Cosaviruses another.[19] And there are the parechoviruses as well.[20]

In one 2019 study, 34 distinct NPEVs were identified from among 20% of stool samples collected mostly from children under the age of five years, with AFP in India.[4] NPEVs were more often circulating where the population density was highest. Some of these viruses were distinct from those found elsewhere in the world.

The implication is that – for some reason – India has a problem with these viruses. One reason could be that transmission is being encouraged in some way. Let’s keep in mind a few things:

  • Outbreaks happen because of humans, not viruses
  • Enteroviruses are mostly spread by faecal-oral infection (droplets and contamination of hands and surfaces)
  • Sanitation and hygiene-related issues are important factors to consider in transmission fo viruses in densely populated regions.[5,19]

To wrap up

India has a lot of NPAFP cases but no polio cases and no sign of poliovirus.

Inadequate sanitation, insufficient hygiene, human habits and population density have likely created an ideal storm for virus transmission. Among these viruses are some capable of causing NPAFP. This is on top of the many non-viral causes.

The pro-disease cult will try and convince us otherwise, but polio is not on the rampage and being covered up. Lies are the only thing rampaging here.


  1. Worldometers | India population
  2. World Health Organization | AFP case count
  3. Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance: the surveillance strategy for poliomyelitis eradication
  4. Identification and characterization of nonpolio enterovirus associated with nonpolio-acute flaccid paralysis in polio endemic state of Uttar Pradesh, Northern India
  5. New strategies for the elimination of polio from India.
  6. Progress Toward Interruption of Wild Poliovirus Transmission — Worldwide, January 2011–March 2012
  7. World Health Organization in South-East Asia
  8. Twenty-eighth meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Commission for Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication
  9. Australian National Enterovirus Reference Laboratory annual report, 2009
  10. Australian National Enterovirus Reference Laboratory annual report, 2010-2011
  11. Australian National Enterovirus Reference Laboratory annual report, 2012
  12. Australian National Enterovirus Reference Laboratory annual report, 2013
  13. Australian National Enterovirus Reference Laboratory annual report, 2014
  14. WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record No. 47, 2018, 93, 633-648
  15. Enterovirus D68 – The New Polio?
  16. Enterovirus 71: emergence of the new poliomyelitis
  17. Oral polio drops linked to paralysis in India | SciDevNet
  18. Cardioviruses Are Genetically Diverse and Cause Common Enteric Infections in South Asian Children
  19. A highly prevalent and genetically diversified Picornaviridae genus in South Asian children
  20. Genomic Characterization of Novel Human Parechovirus Type

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The post But 40,000+ cases of AFP in India must mean polio is thriving, right? No. appeared first on Virology Down Under.

UN waters down rape resolution to appease US’s hardline abortion stance

Racists and sexists have no morals!


Measure on sexual violence in conflict passes after Trump administration threatened to veto document over references to reproductive health

The UN has backed a resolution on combatting rape in conflict but excluded references in the text to sexual and reproductive health, after vehement opposition from the US.

The resolution passed by the security council on Tuesday after a three-hour debate and a weekend of fierce negotiations on the language among member states that threatened to derail the process.

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O que as passwords dizem sobre os utilizadores


Já estamos habituados a ver o top das passwords mais populares – que nunca ninguém deverá utilizar – mas, que mais informação se pode retirar de uma análise mais cuidada aos milhões de passwords que vão sendo revelados na internet? Como se poderá ver, muita coisa, incluindo alguns embaraços para pessoas que trabalham em empresas tecnológicas.

Uma curiosa análise a milhões de passwords revela detalhes bastante interessante sobre as mesmas. Para começar, e sem grandes surpresas. Temos o habitual top de passwords comuns (na imagem inicial, o top das 50 passwords mais utilizadas, lideradas pelas habituais 123456 e password. Mas mesmo aqui já se começam a poder inferior coisas interessantes: que tal se segmentarmos as palavras mais utilizadas em categorias como animais (fish), cores (red – utilizada em combinação com números), frutos (apple), ou até super-heróis (batman)?


Falando de números, muitas pessoas acham que conseguem tornar a sua password mais complicada adicionando um número no final, certo? Pois bem, será melhor terem a noção de que não são as únicas a pensar nisso, e que entre as pessoas que o fazem, quase 24% escolhem o número 1 para adicionar no final da sua password, seguido do 2, 3… e 12. Quanto ao número menos apreciado… é o 39.


Temos ainda os criativos. À primeira vista, uma password como “1qaz2wsx” pareceria bastante robusta – mas só até olharmos para o padrão que desenha no teclado. Passwords constituídas por sequências fáceis de percorrer no teclado são também bastante populares (e inseguras), incluindo as tradicionais “qwerty” e “qwertyuiop”, mas também contando com alguns padrões mais saltitões, como o “a1b2c3d4”.


E por último, que tal uma análise às passwords de alguns funcionários de empresas ou entidades mais conhecidas? Se esperavam que as coisas melhorassem e demonstrassem a superioridade de quem trabalha em empresas como a Google ou IBM… preparem-se para ficar desiludidos. Temos engenheiros da Google a usar passwords como “muffins”, directores da IBM a usar a incontornável “123456”, directores da Nike a usar o seu primeiro nome como password (um sénior da Linux Foundation também), e muitos outros casos de “horror”. A única excepção
é um developer do GitHub, que aparentemente não se esqueceu de usar um gestor de passwords, e que optou por “ns8vfpobzmx098bf4coj”


… Moral da história: se ainda não usam um gestor de passwords (como o KeePass, open-source e gratuito) será melhor começarem a fazê-lo, e escolhendo passwords com dimensão generosa – 20 caracteres, por exemplo. Isto sem esquecer a utilização de sistemas de autenticação multi-factor, sempre que possível, para que não fiquem vulneráveis a um simples key-logger.

AbertoAteDeMadrugada?d=yIl2AUoC8zA AbertoAteDeMadrugada?i=Z8Vpqy4P1Sc:u6UEb AbertoAteDeMadrugada?i=Z8Vpqy4P1Sc:u6UEb

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