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Civil society organization calls for assistance of street children

By Modi Gilbert

South Sudan as one of Africa’s most war affected countries is not exceptional to challenges of street children in its towns.

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Some of them; their parents were killed during the war yet others were, separated from parents as they escaped to save themselves from the raging bullets.

Leftovers in hotels and expired foods damped out at garbage dumping site have become their sources of survival.

However, Network of Education and Empowerment for Sustainable Services (NEESS) a street children centre in Yei Municipality has come out to coordinate efforts to help street children.

Amuna Ester the center manager for NEESS in Yei Municipality in an interview told The Nation Mirror that there are many children wandering around the towns in desperate need for humanitarian assistance.

She called on other Nongovernmental Organization (NGOs), Civil Society Organizations, the government and the parents to combine effort to bring to an end the scourge of street children.

She said “We need to work together; we need not to spoil these children, let us see that these children help us in the future. If you get some children outside there, you need to ask them why they are on the streets and help them. We need to work hand in hand to see that the rate of street children within the towns is brought to an end”

Children without parents, according to Ms. Amuna are not the only ones on the streets but also others with parents.

She attributes this to lack of parental care.

“One thing is the school fees, then the environment within the family, the place where they sleep and feeding which is not enough” Amuna said.

The manager said that the centre is engaging the parents whose children are in the centre in meeting to make aware of them the importance of having children and how to take care of them as a step forward for stoping of the rampant street children.

Early this year, street children in Yei Municipality demanded the government to provide them with safe places for protection. The assistant commissioner for gender and social welfare for Yei River County and the Municipality, Victoria Naisrah in reaction said that the government has a plan, but financial limitation is affecting its implementation.

According to The Child Act 2008, 70. (1) The Government shall ensure that any child who is parentless, or who is temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or who in his or her best interest cannot be brought up or allowed to remain in that environment, shall be provided with alternative family care in his or her community, including care by relatives, a foster placement or an adoptive family.

 

 

 

 

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Lakes State Minister urges locals to support peace



By Achol Achien Kiir

Lakes State Minister for information Marial Amum has called upon local communities in the State to stop killing themselves and accept peace.
“We must accept peace and harmony; God created us to live in peace and harmony and prevent somebody from killing another one and prevent theft,” Marial said.

“So we always appeal to our communities in greater Lakes to accept peace and stay in harmony. Peace is the priority, peace is needed everywhere in South Sudan so they should allow peace in them,” he added.

He said that maintenance of peace and security is the primary responsibility and is the message that people should accept.

Marial, however appreciated that the general security situation in Lakes State has improved for the last two weeks with exception of small issues of revenge attacks by some individuals.

He said that the state government has trained the administrative police who are helping the police in arresting the suspects of revenge attacks or any crimes. He assured that those administrative police are helping the regular police in enforcing law and order.

He said the number of administrative state has reached 3000.

“Those Administrative police are going as far as greater Yirol; they have made controlled random shooting; if you shoot you can be arrested and they give you some fines,” Marial said.

He said the administrative police is one of their elaborate security program that will rid the state of lawlessness.

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SPLA rescues 50 abductees in WES


By Achol Achien Kiir

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) say it has rescued 50 abducted men by unknown gunmen in Western Equatoria State. Speaking to Journalists at Bilpam Military Headquarters, General JohnsonJuma Okot, the SPLA Commander of division six which is deployed in Western Equatoria State, Rumbek of Lake State and oil fields said that they had series of ambushes and attacks with forces of the SPLA in Opposition.

Col Philip Aguer
“We brought this situation under control between the 15th of this month when our forces had to track down these elements they were able to recover 50 captives that the group had kept,” Okot said.
He said that those people were abducted from their houses adding that some of them are from police and some are from the prisons.
He said that the civilians have been reunited with their families and the people are happy.
Okot said that those ambushes were being conducted by an SPLA officer called Joseph Kebila. He added that Kebila  defected from the SPLA unit with his group for the last two months.
  “It is unfortunate that civil populations have been displaced by their own sons and daughters of the area because these people who are coming out to attack the SPLA are mainly sons and daughters of Mundri,” he said.

 Okot also responded to the report by the media about salaries that have disappeared and not paid to the soldiers.
“The salary that was lost was lost as a result of misappropriations by some officers whom we have arrested, they are under investigation and they will be presented for final court findings,” said Okot.
He said that there was poor infrastructure In July and August which created difficulties in circulating the salaries of the soldiers in Rumbek Lake State, to forces in Mayendit in Unity State adding that they use plane fro; there is no Banking system.
“There is no reason for the command of division 6 not to take seriously paying our soldiers in Rumbek, some of the allegations that the division commander together with the chief administrator for finance, chief administrator for logistics participated in distribution process
is a lie,” Okot.
He assured that they have laws and regulations that prohibit some of these misconducts.
“The ministry of defense has a right to ask me to explain because I’am the commanding officer of this unit,” he said.  Meanwhile, SPLA Spokesperson Philip Aguer said that there is violation still going on in Leer County of Unity State with the forces of Riek Machar reportedly shelling Leer in the early hours of Monday.

By Achol Achien Kiir

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) say it has rescued 50 abducted men by unknown gunmen in Western Equatoria State. Speaking to Journalists at Bilpam Military Headquarters, General Johnson
Juma Okot, the SPLA Commander of division six which is deployed in Western Equatoria State, Rumbek of Lake State and oil fields said that they had series of ambushes and attacks with forces of the SPLA in Opposition.
“We brought this situation under control between the 15th of this month when our forces had to track down these elements they were able to recover 50 captives that the group had kept,” Okot said.
He said that those people were abducted from their houses adding that some of them are from police and some are from the prisons.
He said that the civilians have been reunited with their families and the people are happy.
Okot said that those ambushes were being conducted by an SPLA officer called Joseph Kebila. He added that Kebila  defected from the SPLA unit with his group for the last two months.
  “It is unfortunate that civil populations have been displaced by their own sons and daughters of the area because these people who are coming out to attack the SPLA are mainly sons and daughters of Mundri,” he said.

 Okot also responded to the report by the media about salaries that have disappeared and not paid to the soldiers.
“The salary that was lost was lost as a result of misappropriations by some officers whom we have arrested, they are under investigation and they will be presented for final court findings,” said Okot.
He said that there was poor infrastructure In July and August which created difficulties in circulating the salaries of the soldiers in Rumbek Lake State, to forces in Mayendit in Unity State adding that they use plane fro; there is no Banking system.
“There is no reason for the command of division 6 not to take seriously paying our soldiers in Rumbek, some of the allegations that the division commander together with the chief administrator for finance, chief administrator for logistics participated in distribution process
is a lie,” Okot.
He assured that they have laws and regulations that prohibit some of these misconducts.
“The ministry of defense has a right to ask me to explain because I’am the commanding officer of this unit,” he said.  Meanwhile, SPLA Spokesperson Philip Aguer said that there is violation still going on in Leer County of Unity State with the forces of Riek Machar reportedly shelling Leer in the early hours of Monday.

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E. Equatoria hunger situation worsens as plea for help falls on deaf ears

By Aurelious Simon Chopee

For a common man in greater Kapoeta who has to depend on milk and meat from cows greatly reared there, continued drought has not only cut agricultural food production but also reduced the amount of milk produced and the quality of meat as streams dry up and grass reduce to dust.

Kapoeta South Commissioner with Gurtong

Marko Lopir, Commissioner of Kapoeta South County says the situation remains dire for the citizens of not only his county but also the other three counties, as delayed or no rains has seriously affected food production. He said many people in his county have fled to Kakuma in search for relief food.

“Many people from greater Kapoeta have gone to Kakuma. We have appealed to the relief organizations to help but no food has reached up to now. If the it was raining, it would have been possible to collect wild fruits in the bushes for survival, but the land is just dry. Even the animals have no grass to eat” Lopir told The Nation Mirror on Tuesday.

The information was confirmed by Margret Idua, Eastern Equatoria State minister for Gender and Social Welfare, also concerned with humanitarian affairs. She said although the state was declared hunger stricken by the assessment mission of relief agencies.

“The situation remains dire and not even a drop has been extended to the state. At the moment as I am talking to you now EES was declared a hunger stricken state during the assessment but we have never received any help neither from the national government nor aid agencies and the situation remains very bad for the people of Ikotos, greater Kapoeta Counties and indeed the greater part of the state” she said.

 She said that the drought in the state was never expected as most state’s citizens are always self-reliant in food production without need for relief.

“This was really not expected and aid agencies were not prepared to encounter another crisis in the state. The calendar for the aid agencies is that they plan for the whole year and that is why the state was not included in the plan” she said.

Idua said her ministry’s budget is so meager that it doesn’t include any provisions for emergencies. She therefore called on aid agencies to squeeze what they can to help the state’s citizens before they all flock to neighboring countries for relief assistance.

Commissioners of Ikotos and Budi Counties had earlier reported worsening drought and severity of the hunger situation, claiming that ten lives have been lost as a result. However, the Minister of Information, Mark Akio, denied that the deaths were related to hunger.

 

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Bahr el Ghazal Youth in Kenya support creating of more states

By Aurelious Simon Chopee

Much as there has been opposition to the latest Presidential order creating 28 states, a group calling itself Bahr al Ghazal Youth Union (BYU) in Kenya, has said the order fulfill long time aspirations of the people for self-rule.

The youth organization added to a number of congratulatory messages voicing support for the move to create 10 states in the Bahr al Ghazal region.

“ Your Excellency, what you decreed previously had been a popular demand of the people of South Sudan dated back to 1947 and indeed, the decision came at the right time when our people are dearly yawning and demanding for the devolution of powers and service delivery to the local population at the grassroots level” Celestino Maluak Deng, Chairperson of BYU in Kenya said in the message.

“The decree renewed our trust in your leadership and reflected the vision and mission of SPLM Party of taking towns to people instead of people to town, it has indeed lifted high morale/confidence of Youth in your government but the biggest happiness and millions of congratulations are still awaiting, this will be the time when your able office constitute and implement the administration of those created states, hence adopted in the new constitution of South Sudan” he added.

In 1947, while deliberating in the famous Juba Conference, chiefs in the then Southern Sudan region had asked the British government, the then colonial masters to grant federal status and apply federal system of governance to Sudan in order to curb marginalization of the periphery; however the demands were not met when the Arab elites in Khartoum opposed to the move. Since then, Sudan has been governed through unitary system of governance. During the reign of Omar Hassan Ahmed al Bashir, quasi federalism or decentralization was adopted and Southern Sudan was fractured into ten states but with concentration of power in the central government.

The people of South Sudan reacted with mixed reactions to the recently pronounced order to partition the country into 28 states after 21 months of a brutal conflict, with mostly international community and other opposition parties opposing the move as being unconstitutional and derailment of the recently signed accord to silence the guns. The SPLM/A-IO also rejected the order accusing President Kiir for reneging on the implementation of the accord. However the government says the move would not affect the power sharing matrix, especially in the states of Upper Nile where the armed opposition is to take a lion’s share.

Recently, the Equatoria Council of Elders also voiced opposition to the order saying it was far from the needed federalism.

Angelo Beda, the Co-Chairperson for the Equatoria Elders Forum, after unexpected cancellation of the planned meeting last Friday told journalists that he  appreciated
the creation of 28 States by the president but that the order  talked about decentralization and devolution of power, which does not rhyme with the demands of the Equatoria region.
“Decentralization means you sit in Juba and decide on what goes where, but with federalism you put it in law. So we want federalism,” Beda said.

But Maluak said “we are contented and convinced by your bold decision of establishing 28 states, more especially the creation of more six states in my region of Greater Bhar El Ghazal and we all received this message (Order No.36) with great jubilation”

“We are behind the government’s decision and we will always remain loyal to the elected government” he added.

He urged citizens and the international community to respect the supremacy of the country and not to use the presidential order “as a tool to obstruct peace” pointing out that the president habours no ill intention to drag the country back to war.

“Our peace will go on as the three principals signed and our establishment of the newly created states will continue as planned by our president” he stressed.             

 

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S. Sudan youths in Rwanda for Transform Africa Summit


By Achol Achien Kiir
A Youth delegation on Monday went to Rwanda to participate in a Transform Africa Head of States summit.

The chairperson for Youth Technology Development Organization, Thomas Muto Samuel, who led the South Sudanese delegation, said that Youth are going to present their Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ideas to the Summit.

“We are going to attend a Transform Africa summit which is always held in Rwanda where heads of state come together and discuss on how to transform Africa,” said Muto.

He said that the summit is focusing on advocating for digital literacy in Africa. The summit started on Monday and will continue for three days till Wednesday.

Muto explained that the team comprises of three young men and one female. These Muto revealed that are the youth who have developed their technology ideas on digital integration programs which they are going to present on behalf of South Sudan during the summit.

He added that this is a chance for youth to participate in such an event so that they learn from other African Countries and improve technology in South Sudan. 

“Already we have two innovative ideas that young people have come up with,’ he said.

He mentioned that one of those initiatives youth developed is MOBI Bank, a money transfer system which he described as being almost the same as MPESA in Kenya.

He said that those ideas were brought up as a result of the first ICT conference attended by young entrepreneurs among others organized by YTDO this year.

 

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MSF concerned about increase in health gaps in Unity State


By Achol Achien Kiir
The medical charity, Medecins sans Frontiers (MSF) has expressed worry over expected sharp increase in malnutrition cases and health gaps in Leer and Mayendit Counties of Unity State after it pulled out of the area. MSF announced its suspension of medical and humanitarian assistances to Civilian populations in Leer and Mayendit Counties of Unity state last week after their compound in Leer was looted twice by armed groups.

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“We expect a sharp increase in malnutrition in the next month,” Luigi Pandolfi, Emergency Coordinator for MSF told The Nation Mirror in an interview.
“Obviously prolonged lack of access to health together with limited access to adequate water supply and poor living conditions due to displacement pose serious risk of outbreaks of communicable diseases,” he added.
Pandolfi said that health needs in Leer and Northern Mayendit Counties are massive; he said that there is no provision of primary health care and many of the people who have been displaced by the violence have been living without access to medical assistance for months.
Meanwhile, Pandolfi said that there is no any food assistance delivered to the civilians in the two Counties since July.
 MSF was the only medical provider in the two Counties of Leer and Northern Mayendit County.
  “MSF remains committed to providing urgently need of medical assistance in Leer but cannot resume its operations until these incidents are addressed by the appropriate authorities,” Pandolfi
said.
 "Over the last month, it's been increasingly hard to work outside" because of insecurity or threats,” said Vanessa Cramond, MSF's medical coordinator in Bentiu in a report released this week.
He said that MSF, had staff member shot dead in Unity state, adding that the staff was just pulled out of Leer County along with those of the International Committee of the Red Cross as they both their shared facilities were raided  twice in one weekend by armed men who stole cars, medical supplies, and cash while threatening staff.
MSF called for all armed actors to respect international humanitarian law, which protects medical facilities and staff.

 

By Our Reporter

The Editor in Chief of the now closed Al Rai Arabic daily newspaper, Wazir Michael Liah was detained but later released by the national security services on Friday at their headquarters in Jebel.

Mr. Wazir whose newspaper was shutdown early last August together with The Citizen and Free Voices Radio said over his facebook account that Officers of the National Security got hold of him on Thursday as he was approaching his house at Hai Thoura Residential Area in Juba, confiscated his identity card and asked him to follow them to their headquarters the following Friday. However at noon on the same Friday, he said he was released without elaborating on what he was interrogated about.

“I was released in a short while……” his Arabic language post said.

The situation of journalists in South Sudan has been deteriorating since the outbreak of violence in December 2013, with seven journalist dead in 2015 alone.  Working in the country as a journalist has been a difficult and risky venture, with a number of journalists reporting verbal threats in the form of phone calls and SMS.

The Committee to Protect Journalists CPJ ranks South Sudan fifth after Philippines, Syria, Iraq and Somalia, in the list of countries where killers of journalists go unpunished.

 

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Save the Children roots for girl child rights protection

By Atekdit Tualker

The Country Director for Save the Children, Pete Walsh has urged the government and other institutions in the country to consider girl child education in the Country. Walsh made the remarks as he marked the International Day of the Girl Child. The Day that is commemorated on 11 October 2015 was marked under the theme: “…There is no greater gift on earth that we can give the girl child in South Sudan than to give her the best possible opportunity to learn, dream of the impossible, and realize her full potential.”

Walsh says that Girl Child international Day reminds concerned people, government and organizations that girls like every child must have the right to survive, be protected and enjoy the benefits of a quality basic education

“Today, the world marks the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’.  As an organisation whose mandate is child-focused, we join the world in commemorating this day.  Here in South Sudan, the ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ presents us with the opportunity to re-appraise our programming to ensure that we are doing everything we possibly can to ensure that the girl child, like every child in South Sudan, attains the right to survive,”

“The people of South Sudan will be the first to acknowledge that, even before the onset of the conflict in December 2013, their communities had deep-seated socio-cultural practices that place enormous constraints on the ability of the girl child to realize her full potential,” Walsh added.  

“As Save the Children, we have been consistent in urging parents across the length and breadth of South Sudan to be brave and resist the urge to treat their daughters as “exchangeable property”.  Of course, with early marriage comes the possibility of early pregnancy – and we all know that there is ample clinical evidence in the public domain to show that girls whose bodies are not mature enough for child birth can suffer irreversible physical and psychological harm, even death.” Walsh said in a statement.

 

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Aweil Youth applaud Kiir for creating 28 states

By Aurelious Simon Chopee

Aweil Youth Association in Kenya have praised the decision of President Salva Kiir to dissolve the 10 states and increase the number of states to 28 as meeting the aspiration of citizens and concur with Dr John Garang philosophy of taking towns to villages.

“His Excellency deserves applause for such an answer to the people’s need for self-rule through lower level of governance and devolution of powers to the grassroots” a congratulatory message to the President by Aweil Youth signed by Chairman Mawien Athian Athian said.

He said the President has demonstrated his constitutional mandate to serve the diverse nation and therefore calling on citizens to stand behind the decree.

This message comes amidst criticism by the international community, the political forces both armed and unarmed, civil society, of the unconstitutionality of the order.

Last week, the National Alliance of Political parties headed by Dr. Lam Akol called on the president to annul the order because of its lack of procedural process. They also argued the order violates the letter and spirit of the recent agreement for the resolution of conflict in South Sudan.

Similarly, the armed Opposition SPLM IO and Former Detainees have also raised concern over what they termed as unilateral decision by the President. John Luk Jok, one of the former detainees said the order derails peace efforts.

On the international arena, the TROIKA Countries and the European Union have both urged President Kiir to put his decision on halt to be deliberated on during the Permanent Constitutional Making Process. In the same cases, a group of Civil Society Organizations have also called on the president to stay the implementation of the order and concentrate on efforts to attain sustainable peace in the country.

The government however defends the decision as based on the sovereignty of the country in response to the criticism by the international community. Micheal Makue Lueth the spokesperson of the government and Minister of Information and Broadcasting said the decision is “irreversible” and that the country has sovereign rights to make such decisions.   

 

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Bor choking on Fuel shortage

By Anyang John Kur

Jonglei state government officials will soon abandon their vehicles due to fuel shortage that has affected the entire state; no fuel station is functional at the moment and the government has no enough fuel in stock, In a series of interviews done by The Mirror in the state, most of the ministers are sharing vehicles while at work.

Line for petrol in Nyala 0 0 1 0

Speaking at the state secretariat, Mamer Kuur, an information specialist in the ministry of cabinet affairs said most of the ministers and the top officials in the ministries use the commissioner’s Land cruiser which still has some little fuel in them.

On his part, the commissioner of Bor County Mamer Ruuk told The Nation Mirror that he has a very little amount of fuel left in his official car which he said is about to run out.

“We used to have our huge tank to store our fuel when it comes but now it is empty and we don’t know really what will happen next week if no fuel trucks come,” Mamer said.

In Bor, there is no petrol being sold either on the streets or in the few existing petrol stations. Both in Juba and Bor, the little petrol available is being sold in water bottles. In Juba, a small water of 1.5liliters is sold at 120 SSP while in Bor it is sold at 70 SSP; making Bor a little bit cheaper than Juba the Capital City.

Public transport now is hard due to scarcity of vehicles as they complain of lack of fuel. Transport from Juba to Bor has been raised from 150 SSP to 200 SSP which makes it hard for ordinary people to travel.

 

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UNESCO explains how Internet Universality principles are relevant to East Africa

By Our Reporter

The second Forum on Internet Freedom in East Africa that took place in Kampala, Uganda last week provided a platform for UNESCO to introduce the latest UNESCO flagship research on Internet Freedom. Making reference to the new study, Principles for Governing the Internet: A Comparative Analysis of 52 Internet-specific declarations and frameworks, UNESCO speakers spoke in support of multi stakeholder consultative processes related to Internet freedoms in Africa.

The forum brought together over 150 stakeholders from 37 countries from the ICT sector, academia, human rights entities, the media, the arts community, law enforcement agencies and communication regulators. It was organised by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)to debate on issues influencing internet freedoms and cyber security in East Africa.

CIPESA used the forum to launch its State of Internet Freedoms in East Africa 2015 Report, which explores citizens’ knowledge and perceptions of internet freedom and the effect of information controls on the online behaviours and freedom of expression for citizens, journalists and human rights defenders.

During the keynote address, UNESCO’s regional advisor for Communication and Information, Jaco du Toit also drew from the World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development to highlight some of the trends in media freedom, media pluralism and safety of journalists.

Internet Universality principles of human-rights, openness, accessibility and multi-stakeholder participation were introduced, and linked to African development.

He highlighted the relevance of all these to the growing digital landscape, especially in view of the quadrupled internet penetration rate in Africa between 2007 and 2012 and the tripled mobile-cellular subscriptions during the same period.

Participating in a panel discussion that focused on how Africa can embrace Internet freedom, Ms. Lydia Gachungi, Communication and Information Specialist in the UNESCO Juba Office, outlined the most common guiding principles for internet governance, as identified from 52 Internet-specific declarations and frameworks analysed by UNESCO.

Ms. Gachungi noted that aspects such as ethics and gender were key principles for internet governance but were contained in very few Internet related declarations and frameworks. “It is important that stakeholders identify these gaps and start addressing them through a multi stakeholder process, as they search for answers to the question of which way for Internet freedoms” she stated.

Some of the other issues raised by UNESCO during the two day deliberations included the importance of sensitization campaigns on what constitutes online freedoms and the important need to further media and information literacy for online users.

Also underlined was the importance of inclusive national regulatory frameworks that adhere to human-rights, openness and accessibility, elaborated through multi stakeholder consultative processes.

 

UNESCO facilitated the participation of participants from South Sudan, Rwanda and Somalia. During a side discussion held with the forum organisers, a roadmap to the establishment of the Internet Society (ISOC) chapter in South Sudanwas agreed on. UNESCO Juba office and CIPESA pledged their support in working with the national partners and the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services, in ensuring the necessary structures for the ISOC chapter.

Participants from Rwanda and Somalia were supported within the framework of the project, entitled “Promoting an Enabling Environment for Freedom of Expression”. This project is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and aims at fostering the development of free, independent and pluralistic media. It also promotes institutional capacity-building, the empowerment of women through widened access to information and the role of young people in dialogue, reconciliation and sustained peace.

 

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