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South Sudan News

Media Upholds Justice, Good Governance And Accountability-Experts

By Majak Kuany

 

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A group of researchers and legal experts from United States of America in conjunction with African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministers (ALARM) and Christian Lawyers Association of South Sudan (CLASS) on Friday recounted how media can promote peace, Justice and accountability in the country.

The group paid a courtesy visit to The Nation Mirror offices in Juba where they interacted with the management as they explore the contribution of media in strengthening peace building.

Justice Jeff Boyd, of Texas Supreme Court, exclusively told this medium that it was significant for judicial system and media to jointly fight alongside political leaders to unite the country.

He emphasized how media can encourage and ensure transparency for good governance.

“The importance of transparency in governance, the importance of education of the public, the importance of knowledge among the people is all crucial to the development of good governance,” said Justice Boyd.

“The media plays important role in that because they are able to be a neutral player to help people to see what is happening in the government and the good thing the government is doing in gaining confidence in government. And also bad things the government may be doing make government understand how the people are responding. So the media is crucial element,” he added.

This week ALARM and CLASS conducted a four days conference on building Peace and Justice.

The conference which was held in Nile Beach Hotel in Juba drew participants from faith-based group, lawyers, legislators and military Chaplain as a way to promoting peace in post-conflict societies.

The experts said Media as the fourth estate of government in given nation like South Sudan play critical role in shaping people’s attitudes towards peace and reconciliation.

Leah, one of the experts coordinating ALARM and CLASS said it was significant to train Lawyers, Legislators, religious leaders and media fraternity to know their ethics in order to execute their duties and make things work professionally. She said that can bring peace and reconciliation into the country.

Steve Long another American researcher and peacemaker lauded the cordial atmosphere he experienced in the past days in Juba.

He said he was delighted to be in the country and to get chance to talk about peacefully transition society to respect human rights and to find peaceful way to accomplish to advance peace.

“The integrity I have seen in the country, generally across the people I have met has been very encouraging,” Long told The Nation Mirror.

The American experts said they were happy to help South Sudan to achieve its goals of becoming the peaceful and vibrant nation in Africa.

Juma Mabor Marial, ALARM programme Coordinator in South Sudan concluded that the conference was annually organized to bring religious leaders and other stakeholders to do community transformation.

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UNHCR Warns Of Overcrowding, Funding Shortages Amid Worsening South Sudan Displacement

Our Reporter

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The United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) has expressed worry over swelling numbers of people fleeing South Sudan following recent conflict to the surrounding countries. The Agency said in the report that the number of refugees is straining under the weight of large numbers of displaced people and critically underfunded operations.

“Already there are some 930,000 refugees in the region, and more are arriving daily. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is extremely worried that even as the refugee population grows, funds to meet basic needs are becoming exhausted” UNHCR Spokesperson Adrian Edwards said. The reported cited sporadic armed clashes, human rights violations including sexual and gender based violence by armed groups and worsening food insecurity following outbreak of violence in Juba which tipped the scales against an imminent political solution to the conflict.

“ General security conditions are unpredictable with renewed clashes reported in Central and Western Equatoria, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile and parts of Unity” UNHCR said. Uganda and Sudan have received an estimated 110,000 and 100,000 new arrivals respectively in 2016, together accounting for more than 90 per cent of the new arrivals in the region this year according to the agency. “Most of those fleeing to Sudan arrived in the first six months of the year, driven by fighting in previously stable areas in Western Bahr al Ghazal state, as well as the worsening food security. In addition to the refugee numbers, there are 1.61 million people who are displaced within South Sudan” it added. In the case of Uganda, more than 8,000 arrive in one day according to the report. Consequently,  Uganda has opened a new settlement in the north-west of the country at Yumbe with capacity for more than 100,000 individuals.

“Funds are urgently needed to speed the relocation of more than 45,000 refugees out of overstretched and severely congested reception and transit centres. With so many people living in such close proximity, the potential for disease outbreak is high” UNHCR said.

It stressed that their teams are monitoring the situation closely, but need further resources to respond effectively. “With some reception sites accommodating more than five times their capacity, protection interventions, particularly prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence including psychosocial services, are critical” it stressed.

High numbers of refugees are creating a burden on local health and education services. The development of the Maaji III settlement, which was opened earlier this year, has been put on hold leaving the new settlement without key basic infrastructure and services (medical services are being provided in tents). In Adjumani (some 20km from the South Sudan border), clean water is being trucked, which itself is expensive, until resources become available to drill more boreholes and extend water systems to reach new settlement areas. At the same time, the development of newly opened settlement areas in Adjumani and Yumbe districts will require significant additional investment. 

Torrential rains are hampering relief efforts, slowing relocation efforts and requiring immediate road repairs. And there are fears that in the event of outbreak of disease, existing capacities and resources will be inadequate to respond effectively.

In the face of desperate needs for the population of South Sudanese refugees now standing at 930,000, UNHCR is facing critical funding shortages. With US$ 122 million received, representing 20 per cent of the $608.8 million needed by UNHCR for refugees in South Sudan and the six countries of asylum, many activities have been suspended in favour of providing critical life-saving support to new arrivals. Worst affected are remote regions in Uganda, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic where UNHCR had no previous presence. Ethiopia and Sudan, which have experienced mass influxes, are also badly affected. UNHCR continues to commend the generosity of countries that are keeping their borders open and providing South Sudanese refugees with land for settlement. In particular, we applaud Uganda’s generous refugee law and policy regime, which among other benefits grants refugees freedom of movement, the right to seek employment and provides them with plots of land on which to build new homes and to grow agricultural crops.

UNHCR is appealing to the international community to support countries of asylum to protect and assist South Sudanese refugees. Continuing funding shortages will further disadvantage women, children and men who need urgent sustained help to overcome the trauma of forced displacement and get on the path to recovery, self-reliance and human dignity. The inability to provide food, shelter, basic services, psychosocial assistance, education and livelihood opportunities increases and prolongs vulnerabilities.

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Government Requests $1.9 Billion Loan To Boost Economy

 

By Majak Kuany

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The government has asked the People’s Republic of China for a loan of 1.9 billion US Dollars in a bid to boost the country’s ailing economy.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deng Alor Kuol told journalists on Tuesday that the country had asked China to consider its request out of its $60 billion pledge to support Africa development made during China-African Cooperation Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa last year. Alor was speaking in a press conference in Juba yesterday.

“We asked for 1.9 billion US. Dollars because of our project proposal sum to 1.9 US. Dollars billion,” Alor said.

Last year Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a pledge of funding support to African’s development, worth of $ 60 billion during a forum on China – African cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg. In that regards, Deng Alor stressed that during their visit to Beijing last month, they met with Chinese Minister of Commerce who is a focal person responsible for $ 60 billion pledge to support African and discussed the details of South Sudan priority list as proposed last year in September. “We agreed on priority list and we then went to China and attended the forum on African China cooperation (FOCAC) submission of the proposal to benefit from 60 billion pledge,” he said. He said the delegation in series of bilateral talks seeking to bolster economic ties between Beijing and Juba met with Chinese X-zhang Bank President to push for the release of the loan.

 “The meeting was fruitful and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and X-zhang bank promised to consider most of the projects we presented, if not all of them,” Alor explained. Alor said the loan will be used to boost good number of projects which includes education, physical infrastructure, civil aviation, Security sector, information, among others.   In his address, Alor said South Sudan also asked China to increase its oil production and agree to protect the oil workers as well as extending all Chinese oil companies contract.

The China $60 billion offer is divided into three phases, and in a phase in a year will gives Africa $20 billion and for the period pledge end.

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Over 500 Million Youth Worldwide Live In Poverty; Says UNFPA

By Staff Writer

 

Over 500 million youth worldwide live in poverty, United Nations Population Fund, Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin has said ahead of International Youth Day.

Dr. Babatunde reaffirmed and recognized the central role of young people in promoting the well-being of their families, communities and nations.

This year’s commemoration will be observe under the theme “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption,” couldn’t be more relevant and timely. “More than 500 million youth worldwide live in poverty, and often cannot afford their basic needs. They lack access to vital resources, and are disproportionately represented amongst the world’s poor,” Dr. Babatunde said in a statement.

He said youth have the most to gain if UNFPA succeeded in eradicating poverty, and will have the most to lose if the organisation failed. He said however that young people are not the problem, as is often thought, but, in fact, they are the solution. Last year, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which requires global to balance the needs of present and future generations, create economic growth without destroying natural resources and reduce consumption while enforcing well-being and dignity.

The UN official underscored that to achieve these goals, a fundamental shift is needed.

“We must make decisions on the allocation of resources while keeping the interests of future generations in mind. We must make investments in social sectors that improve the resilience of individuals and communities. And we must place the fulfilment of human rights at the centre of development,” read the statement. 

Globally, large youth populations represent a historic opportunity to introduce progress and adopt innovative solutions to ignite this change. Essential to this is the realization of young people’s rights to participate in the political, economic and social life of their communities and countries, and to freely make informed choices regarding their bodies, sexuality and reproduction without discrimination, violence or coercion.  The statement added that empowering young people means giving them the tools to become even more influential, productive actors in their societies.

It underscored the need by countries to end all forms of discrimination faced by young people, particularly adolescent girls, such as forced and child marriage and sexual violence, which can result in unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and HIV infections, and risk derailing their future.

Central to these efforts must be the promotion of access to education, health services, including sexual and reproductive health and family planning. These combined interventions are critical in order to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, strengthen the resilience of populations in the face of all challenges and seize the opportunities of the new economy.

Young people are already driving innovations in science and technology, making conscious choices that are drastically influencing patterns of consumption and production, and mobilizing to make companies, organizations and governments more socially and environmentally responsible. Where they can get information, technology, financing, mentorship, and platforms for collaboration, young innovators are able to turn their ideas into transformative solutions.

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FIFA Delegation Encourages Peace, Reconciliation To Promote Sports

 

By Garang Abraham Malak

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The delegation of Federation for International Football Association (FIFA) who are in South Sudan for an official visit has called on citizens of the young nation to unite and promote sports for peace and good sporting spirit among the upcoming generations.

FIFA head of delegation, Veron Mosenco Omba told journalists on his arrival at Juba International Airport on Tuesday that his visit was to unite the country FIFA representative to boost sporting activities in the country. Veron said him together with his colleague George Mohwincket FIFA Public Relation Officer have come to the country to preach peace and unity.  

“We are not here to point hands on who have committed mistakes but we are here to unite all South Sudanese for peace and reconciliation to prevail,” Veron stated. Veron mentioned that it was his first time to be in the country and that he was so glad that he has been welcomed kindly. It is one of the FIFA rule to maintain peace with its members. “South Sudan is one of the member of FIFA and we are not happy seeing them in conflict. South Sudan is a football family, one of the principles of FIFA is to maintain its relationship, friendship between all members and that is why are here to make sure the friendship does not fade,” said Veron.  He urged all citizens to embrace the spirit of togetherness, patriotism, forgiveness, peace and reconciliation for a better nation. South Sudan joined FIFA 10 month after gaining independence in 2011 and become number 209 member of world football governing body.

The African country was voted into full membership by delegates at FIFA’s annual congress in the Hungarian capital Budapest.

Currently it is participating at Rio de Jenario for the 2016 International Olympics Games.

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Number Of Street Children Increases In Aweil State

By Kawac Deng    

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Aweil State authorities have said there is ongoing influx of street children to the Town. Officials said hunger remained as main factor causing the move.

Joseph Mel Mel, Director for Gender, Child and Social Welfare said number of street kids is increasing this year in comparison with last year.

He said some children left homes to the roads because their parents are deceased and some whose parents are alive choose it as trend to make up their own life out of the families. “Number of street children was about four hundred which now becomes too high,” said Joseph Mel. He urged families to have full responsibilities in rearing   up young children   by offering necessary needs.  “Lastly and finally our community at large should take care of their children, many children come to the Town. The Town is full of children simply because of mismanagement in their families. I assure our people to let their children be reunited with their families”

Aweil state is experiencing hunger condition since the beginning of this year, hundreds evacuate to Sudan in search for food, and meanwhile World Food Program (WFP) is supplying the state with food air drops. The Aweil state Governor Ronald Ruai Deng said  hunger is a challenge in his state, and  called for more assistance from humanitarians agencies.

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I Don’t Want To Represent Graves: Yei River MP

By Roger Alfred Yoron

 

A Member of Parliament representing Yei in the newly constituted Transitional National Legislative Assembly has called on the government to ensure peace in Yei River State. MP Paul Yoane Bonju yesterday told the TNLA that Yei is not stable.

“let the government ensure that there’s peace in Yei because I don’t want to represent graves. I want to represent people. When I clap my hands here, I want to clap for people in Yei: the youth, farmers, the chiefs!” said the visibly emotional Bonju.

“I would like through you, as you sit here, I would like to call you, to appeals [sic] to you, so that we have the minister of the National Security to update us on the security [sic]. What is happening in the Republic of South Sudan? There is rampant killing, there is rampant insecurity and I’m a member of the SPLM and I feel sad when I talk when my people are dying.  I don’t want to represent graves,” he added. However, TNLA speaker Anthony Lino Makana urged the honorable MP to put the matter in writing before he could summon the minister. Makana acknowledged that Members of parliament have the right to initiate parliamentary oversight over the executive. “If you have issues, you table it in a good way, with evidence like the information you have given but documented, so that I from my part can summon the minister, so that the minister concerned can come and give reports here. Also you have privileges where you can question ministers when they come to the August House. I’m going to give you adequate time for that,” he said. The speaker thanked Bonju for bringing-up the issue saying “It is emotional, but thank you for representing you people very well.” For his part, MP representing Maridi Peter Bashir Gbandi and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, argued that Yei is not an exception to the crises in the Country.

“Yei is not an exception. What is happening in Yei is happening in each and every part of South Sudan. And we want us to dress this national dress,” said Gbandi stressing that the Parliamentarians should put the interest of South Sudan and the people above all. “My appeal to you, as we discharge our new responsibility and new mandate, let us speaks as nationals of this Country. Because the ills that have made us to be divided amongst ourselves, we know it: it is about tribalism, it is about corruption, it is about bad governance. This is why this Agreement [ARCISS] is full of reforms... this Assembly will be championing the review of all the laws that has caused havoc in this Country,” he said.

“So I’m appealing to you that, as much as it is painful, at time when you are personally affected because your constituency is affected, you cannot do it alone. Let us do it together.” It remained unclear whether MP Bonju will put the issue in writing and address it to the TNLA as an urgent motion. The Nation Mirror could not reach him for details by the time of the press.

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Economic Crisis Hampers Juba City Cleanness Campaign- Mayor

By chuty Anyar

Stephen Wani Michael Commissioner of Juba County Central Equatoria State CES speaking in an interview with Radio Tamazuj 1

The Mayor of Juba City Council his worship, Stephen Wani Michael has said the ailing economic situation in the country has hampered cleanness campaign in the city.

His worship who is the former Juba county commissioner while addressing members of press on Wednesday stated that since last year’s currency devaluation and the recent renewed fighting the incident has paralyzed all the city council activities.

The Mayor said many factors has halted the collection of garbage in the city and caused delay to pick the accumulated garbage as previous garbage trucks under former Mayor Administration are worn off with only two left out of 10 that cannot cover all 54 quarter councils in the city.

 “The garbage vehicle which were used by the previous administration to collect all the waste product  in the city become old and good number of them got broke down with no swift repair because of economic crisis,” Wani said.

Wani further elaborated that the former leadership had a good bilateral relationship with partners like UNICF and through that cooperation with some non-governmental organizations the city authority was then promised three trucks currently in Nimule.  

However, he said the City Council is working very hard in-collaboration with the Ministry of finance to produce a letter of exemption for the trucks to be cleared and released to rescue the dire situation amid cholera outbreak.

The city official said the city authorities are trying their best to ensure that other mechanisms are explored to collect garbage in a bid to maintain sanitation in the capital.

“This time the quarter councils will design blocks on how wastes can be collected base on the time arrangement allocated to avoid phenomenon of diseases outbreak in the city.

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UNICEF Sounds Alarm On ‘Catastrophic’ Food Insecurity In Country

Our Reporter

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said it is responding to a growing food security emergency causing malnutrition in children in both rural and urban areas of crisis-gripped South Sudan.

“The situation in South Sudan is catastrophic, and even more so for children,” UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac told a news briefing in Geneva, where he also pointed out that so far this year, the agency has treated 120,000 children under age five for severe malnutrition; a nearly 50 per cent increase over the same period in 2015.

Initially, UNICEF had been planning to provide support to 166,000 children in 2016, but that figure has been revised to more than 250,000, he added.

Seven out of the country’s 10 states have reached the malnutrition-rate-emergency threshold of 15 per cent, while in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, the malnutrition rate stands at 33 per cent, he explained. UNICEF has also noted a sharp rise in malnutrition in South Sudan’s urban areas, including the capital, Juba, where the rates of children admitted for malnutrition to UNICEF-supported Al-Sabbah children’s hospitals were some 20 per cent higher in the first six months of 2016 than for the same period last year. The spokesperson cited the country’s inflation rate as one of the main reasons for the high increase, explaining that it made basic household staples too expensive for many families.

Mr. Boulierac stated that while UNICEF could not provide figures of children dying from starvation, “one quarter of a million children in South Sudan are facing severe malnutrition.” According to the spokesperson, with a number of roads inaccessible, the ongoing conflict has further limited UNICEF’s ability to respond – leaving, in the most urgent cases, the more expensive option of air transport for delivering supplies. Additionally, Mr. Boulierac stressed that “due to insecurity and the rainy season, UNICEF staff in South Sudan are unable to be fully mobile and deliver their goods and services.”

Mr. Boulierac said that of the $154.5 million UNICEF needs for South Sudan in 2016, the Fund had, to date, received only $52 million to assist with water and sanitation; child support services; nutrition; health; and education. He indicated that more than 900,000 children have been displaced in the country, which – with 1.8 million children, or 51 per cent of school-age youngsters out of school – also had the highest proportion of out-of-schoolchildren in the world.

“An estimated 16,000 children had been recruited by armed groups, and there were concerns that the renewed violence would lead to a further expansion of that practice,” explained the spokesperson. He also called attention to the fact that sexual violence and rape had been used as a weapon of war, saying “all the ingredients were there to be extremely concerned.” Between 8 and 25 July, at least 72 civilian deaths and 217 cases of sexual violence had been documented in Juba alone.

The spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), William Spindler, added that the total number of South Sudanese refugees in the region stood at 917,418 – most of whom are sheltering in Uganda.

The recent fighting in South Sudan between rival forces – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing First Vice-President Riek Machar – erupted in and around Juba, on 7 July, close to the fifth anniversary of its independence.

The young country has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between the two leaders erupted into conflict in December 2013. The crisis has produced one of the world’s worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.

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TNLA Boss Vow To Adjust Public Universities Budget

By AcholAchien Kiir

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The newly appointed Speaker of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly Anthony Lino Makana has promised to work hard to see into it that the budget for all the five public Universities is increased. 

The Speaker told the Nation Mirror in an interview on Thursdayin the Parliament after meeting with executive body from the University of Juba students’ Union. The delegation on behalf of students from Juba University presented their challenges facing the high institution of learning to the speaker before assuring to students to address the challenges confronting the university.

The challenges discussed during the meeting include inadequate number of lecture halls, reduction of tuition fees, accommodations, and transport among others. The agenda was to congratulate the speaker for winning the trust of the president, and to share with him and requesting him to be the voice of the students in solving the issue of students’ welfare funds.

The university has problem with the number of lecture halls adding that the university has very many students but the lecture halls are very few that they cannot accommodate all of them. Abuba Evelin, the first Juba University female Student president stated that the number of students was very high but have inadequate lecture halls and could not accommodate students to take their lectures in comfort.

She mentioned that there are few books for reading and that there are challenges in paying for transport which she stressed that it has prevented most students from attending lectures.

“Another thing is also most of the students come from different states and they always wish that after their academic activities, they should also go and enjoy with their family members,” said Evelyn. “The condition is many students are not working and they come from families that earn low incomes,” she added. She further stressed that tuition fee, lecture halls for the students and accommodation among other agenda are very importance.

“We discussed with them and the parliament promise that they will work hard to see that the  budget for all the National Universities are increase so that they can be able to address these challenges of accommodations, feeding, laboratories and all other things,” Makana stated.

He said that the meeting was very nice and also appreciated that it was the first time in the history of the University of Juba that they have elected a female president. The university according to him has more than over 15,000 students who need government support.

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Ban ki Moon Welcomes IGAD Plus Decision On South Sudan

By Aurelious Simon Chopee

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The United Nations Secretary-General has welcomed the communique of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Plus countries to send protection force to salvage the faltering peace in Juba.

In a statement issued from the UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ban commended the IGAD leaders for their decisive action and welcomed the Government’s acceptance of a regional protection force.  

He called on all South Sudanese leaders to set aside their personal differences and demonstrate their commitment to the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, which he said remains the only viable path to ending the crisis. 

The Secretary-General according to his spokesperson remains deeply concerned about the continued fighting in the country and calls for an immediate end to the hostilities. “He is outraged by the continued reports of serious human rights violations and abuses, including widespread sexual violence against women and young girls, committed by armed men in uniform” the spokesperson stressed. “He calls on all parties to uphold their responsibility to protect civilians and demands that they take immediate steps to hold accountable those responsible for these despicable crimes” he added.  The Secretary-General reiterates his commitment to work with all South Sudanese, IGAD, the African Union and international partners, to implement the recommendations of the summit.  IGAD Plus Heads of State convened an extra-ordinary summit on Friday in the Ethiopian City of Addis Ababa to discuss the unfolding situation in South Sudan and forge way forward. Among the agenda discussed were; what the region can do to ensure the country doesn’t break into pieces due to conflict. Consequently, the region agreed to send a protection force to protect the internally displaced persons, important installations in the country and to ensure the agreement is implemented as planned.

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