|Saturday, 24 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-07-25
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 25 July 2012 Issue No: 4130
 Samaras: Government will proceed with changes, reformsThe government will proceed immediately with deep changes and reforms aiming to reverse the climate for Greece abroad and set the groundwork for the renegotiation and kick-start growth, prime minister Antonis Samaras told his New Democracy (ND) party's parliamentary group on Tuesday.
He noted with satisfaction that this was the first time in the last 38 years (since the restoration of democracy in Greece) that there is a programmatic convergence of substance among three political parties, with a four-year horizon and what he called a 'bold' programme on major structural changes to the economy, denationalisations, reform of the political system, citizens' safety and dealing with illegal immigration.
Samaras said that an entire historic period of hesitation, fixations and insistence on outdated stereotypes has come to an end, and put forward two targets for the political system: regaining the people's confidence "without which no major reform task can be completed" and restoring the country's credibility abroad "which is a necessary condition for regaining competitiveness and fighting the recession".
He opined that unemployment could fall to 10 percent in the next four years, and spoke of a step-by-step renegotiation that would be constant, criticising main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras over his demand for immediate renegotiation, saying that the government must first show that it is going ahead with the changes in order to meet the targets and then go ahead with the changes in agreement with is partners.
"Those who have now 'discovered' renegotiation and take us to task for not doing it earlier want the country break with its lenders, from the worst possible position," he charged, noting that the 'new approach' applied by his government is "aggressive", that it can do better than the targets on which it has committed "because we want to end earlier the process of asking for borrowed money every three months".
Samaras pledged to stamp out bureaucracy, said order was being put in the public utilities and organisations (DEKO), bogus pensions were being hunted down, while Community funds earmarked for Greece under the ESPA were being unblocked.
If Greece meets its targets, then no one can deny it the improvements it asks, the premier continued, and reiterated his pledge to deal with illegal immigration and to declare an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Samaras stressed that the people have shown maturity, and now it is the political system's turn to do likewise, adding that the goal is to put a brake on recession through growth and to generate new jobs.
 Bouras elected as ND Parliamentary group secretaryThanassis Bouras was elected as the new secretary of ruling New Democracy's Parliamentary group on Tuesday, for the first time in an election held via a voice vote.
Bouras was the candidate selected by PM Antonis Samaras and will replace Kostas Tasoulas in his party duties. He is a physics graduate from Athens University and a long-standing member of ND since 1974, as well as a founding member of the ND-affiliated trade union group DAKE and a former deputy finance minister in Costas Karamanlis' government.
 PM to meet with Barroso on Thursday morningEuropean Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso will hold talks with prime minister Antonis Samaras on Thursday morning, it was announced on Tuesday.
According to sources, the government places great significance on the visit, as all the crucial issues will be put on the table and a first discussion will take place on extension of the Greek fiscal adjustment programme. Barroso's last visit to Athens was in 2009, when Costas Karamanlis (New Democracy) was prime minister.
Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on Tuesday that the meeting was agreed during a morning telephone call between the two officials.
Samaras will confer with finance minister Yannis Stournaras, development minister Costis Hatzidakis, alternate finance minister Christos Staikouras and the deputy finance and development ministers on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the Barroso visit.
He is also due to meet in the early afternoon Thursday with the leaders of the junior members in the coalition government, PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR) leaders Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis respectively.
He will also meet later Thursday with Hatzidakis, labour minister Yiannis Vroutsis and health minister Andreas Lykourentzos in view of the ministers' meeting with the Troika chiefs on Friday.
 PASOK leader Venizelos: Greece cannot be blackmailedPASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday told party cadres that the situation in the eurozone has deteriorated in recent days, speaking to his party's political secretariat.
He also underlined that major eurozone countries, like Spain and Italy, are in the centre of the crisis and maintained that the decision of the latest European Council has "lost its momentum very quickly and is being challenged".
Venizelos said that "since 2008 we are observing decisions being weakened as a result of the stance adopted by certain member-states and mostly as a result of the markets' reaction."
He repeated the "two national duties of historical importance" namely, that the country will have to be protected from its own national crisis and be shielded against the next phases of the European crisis.
The leader of PASOK, one of the three political parties in the coalition government, stressed that "the momentum of the recent national elections will have to be preserved and our partners should not be allowed to forget the situation the Greek society and political system are in." He added that "we will have to enter a discussion in good faith as to what needs to be done in terms of the macroeconomic situation," adding that the recession recorded is much deeper than anticipated and cannot be ignored.
Venizelos stressed that the talk on Greece's exit from the eurozone that dominates in foreign mass media will have to end, stressing that it undermines the country's efforts.
He said that Greece cannot be blackmailed, stressing that it enters discussions within the framework of European institutions, the bailout programme and the loan agreement and demands that all procedures be observed as regards the programme's assessment and revision.
Referring to the need to change the country's image, the leader of PASOK underlined the importance of structural changes and privatizations.
He said that his party supports the government, stressing that it will serve its four-year term and lashed out at the opposition saying that it seeks to bring about a dead end situation, invests in it and tries to provoke it.
 SYRIZA: Troika coming to oversee implementation of measuresMain opposition SYRIZA warned on Tuesday that the EU/IMF Troika, which arrives later in the day, was returning to Athens to oversee the terms of implementation of the 11 billion euros package of measures that the "Memorandum government was supposedly going to renegotiate".
SYRIZA press spokesman Panos Skourletis said that SYRIZA accuses the coalition government of having encouraged the Troika with its stance, ignoring the message of the recent general elections that condemned the Memorandum policy, resulting in Greece's lenders coercing the country and demanding an additional 5 billion euros in measures.
He said that continuation and toughening of the Memorandum policy and taking of new measures in a ruined economy was absolutely irrational and warned that this would lead to full derailment and Greece's exit from the euro.
Skourletis reiterated SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras' call for an extraordinary EU summit on Greece in order to seek a freeze on the repayment of the Greek debt and re-planning of the European policy on the crisis.
 SYRIZA's Milios says gov't concealed pre-election arrangement to extend IMF loans to GreeceA member of the main opposition party Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Yiannis Milios on Tuesday accused the government of lying and misleading the Greek electorate concerning the issue of negotiating an extension of bailout loans to Greece.
Milios based his claims on the updated tables for International Monetary Fund (IMF) Financial Activities posted on the Internet, according to which Greece entered into a 'extended arrangement' on March 15, 2012 (before the elections in May and then June) for 23.78 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) - a sum equivalent to roughly 29.50 billion euro - until March 14, 2016.
According to Milios, the Greek electorate was not informed of the existence of this arrangement but subjected to daily promises by government members that they would 'renegotiate' an extension of the period of the bailout. He suggested that the government had deliberately concealed the arrangements decided before the elections in order to later present them as a negotiated extension of the bailout programme.
The figures cited by Milios were posted on the IMF web-page: http://www.imf.org/external/np/tre/activity/2012/071912.htm#tab2a
 President: Despite weaknesses, democracy is the best form of governanceThe struggle for democracy is continuous, and the safeguarding of the democratic institutions is the supreme patriotic duty, President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said on Tuesday after laying a symbolic wreath at the former EAT-ESA political prisoners' camp to mark the 38th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece.
"We pay tribute, with very great respect, to all those who were imprisoned, exiled, beaten and tortured for their ideals of freedom and democracy," the President said.
In a message on the anniversary issued earlier, Papoulias pondered how Greece today's circumstances and how it will unmire itself, adding that everyone today has a duty to those who fought against the military junta.
He stressed that answers exist, "provided that they are sought, and even more so it is necessary that a collective, permanent and fair answer is given".
"Despite its weaknesses...democracy is the best form of governance," the President added, while also noting that Cyprus remains divided, 38 years after the Turkish invasion and occupation.
"We are not giving up hope and the effort. We call on Turkey to abandon its intransigence so that the last dividing wall in Europe will fall," Papoulias said.
The President has cancelled the traditional annual reception at the Presidential Mansion that marks the anniversary, due to the deep crisis.
 DIM.AR message on 38th anniversary of restoration of democracyA strong democracy, political stability and a measure of responsibility and social justice are necessary to counter the multi-level crisis we are experiencing, the Democratic Left (DIM.AR) party, one of the three parties backing the coalition government, stressed on Tuesday.
The message, marking the 38th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in the country after a seven-year junta, underlined that "democracy will have to be protected by everyone, institutions and citizens alike, in order to be effective."
DIM.AR stressed that "we are standing opposite the fascist voices of hatred and violence and honor those who fought against the junta."
 KKE GS tables question on what she calls 'anti-popular measures'Communist Party KKE general secretary Aleka Papariga on Tuesday tabled a question in Parliament directed at the prime minister, focusing on what she charged were "anti-popular measures being implemented and promoted."
Papariga called for the immediate abolition of an unemployment benefit reduction and suggested the adoption of measures for the protection of the unemployed. She also called for the abolition of minimum wage cuts and suggested the opening of negotiations on a new basis aimed at signing a satisfactory collective labour contract, while abolishing measures that undermine sector labour contracts, as she said.
Papariga also requested "the immediate abolition of the anti-popular taxation laws and provocative pension cuts".
 Dem.Ar leader meets justice ministerDemocratic Left (Dem. Ar) party leader Fotis Kouvelis, head of the smallest party supporting Greece's coalition government, on Tuesday had a meeting with Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis that the two men afterwards described as "productive".
Noting that the specific ministry's task was to promote the key issues of justice, transparency and human rights during a difficult time for Greece, Kouvelis noted that it had to deal with issues related to prison facilities and real problems in the correctional system, issues relating to the delivery of justice, while he particularly stressed issues linked to promoting transparency.
"There is a need to establish and implement institutions of transparency so that transparency is a component of the policy followed for the defence of the public interest," he said in statements after the meeting.
 'Troika' returns to Athens on TuesdayThe European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'Troika' returned to Greece Tuesday and will remain in Athens through August.
The Troika heads will meet with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Thursday, and with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday.
 Greece to suspend operation of its Damascus embassyThe Greek foreign ministry on Tuesday issued instructions to its diplomatic missions in Syria to take action to deal with the emergency situation in the country, calmly and with the safety of Greek citizens as a guideline.
The announcement said that detailed instructions have been given to the Greek Embassy in Damascus concerning the preparations it must make in order to deal with every emergency and, in the framework of a continuous assessment of the situation, this has initiated the suspension of the operation of the Greek Embassy in Damascus.
The ministry said that there will be further announcements concerning any decisions taken.
 FinMin meets with BoG governor, OTOE delegationFinance Minister Yannis Stournaras met on Tuesday with Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos with talks focusing on the recapitalisation of Greek banks.
Earlier, Stournaras met with the presidium of the union of bank employees (OTOE).
 Labour minister signs for start of 'Help at Home' programme from Oct. 1Labour, Social Insurance and Welfare Minister Yiannis Vroutsis on Tuesday signed an order approving the start of the 'Help at Home' programme on October 1, as well as the details of its implementation.
The programme targets old-age and disability pensioners covered by the main state insurance funds that need assistance in order to live independently within their own homes. The programme provides a broad range of support by social workers, ranging from psychosocial support and nursing care to work therapy, physical therapy and help with household chores. Pensioners also receive assistance that allows their participation in cultural, recreational, social and religious activities.
 IKA to use state bonds to repay repo transactionIKA, Greece's Social Insurance Fund, on Tuesday said it will repay a repo transaction worth 250 million euros - used to pay monthly pensions - by using Greek state bonds.
IKA said the new transaction will be made using Greece's new state bonds, issued after a "haircut" of the Greek state debt, with a number of low-bidding banks and will have a duration of 49 days.
National Bank, ATEbank, Eurobank and Alpha Bank participated in the previous transaction.
Greece's largest pension fund has already received the biggest part of its annual state subsidy envisaged in the state budget.
IKA reported a 14-pct decline in revenues in the first four months of 2012, compared with the same period last year.
 Dep. development minister receives British ambassador, discusses policy for investmentsDeputy Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Notis Mitarakis on Tuesday received a delegation from the British Embassy, led by the British Ambassador Dr. David Landsman, and outlined the government's policy for attracting investments and the efforts underway to create a stable environment favourable for investments in Greece.
 Business Briefs-- Greece's Capital Market Commission on Tuesday announced it was extending a ban on short selling in the Athens Stock Exchange until October 31, 2012, taking in mind prevailing conditions in the Greek and other European markets and a recent decision by market authorities in Spain and Italy to impose a ban on short selling activity.
-- The Hellenic Aviation Industry (EAB) on Tuesday announced it was expanding its partnership with Lockheed Martin in co-production of C-130J and F-16 aircraft.
-- Hellenic Register of Shipping on Tuesday said it appointed Dionysis Kalofonos as its new head, taking over from Nikos Giannakopoulos, who will remain at the register as head of the yacht department.
 Stocks end flat on TuesdayStocks ended flat in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, after plunging more than 7.0 pct on Monday, in what traders described as a failed technical rebound of the market as the composite index ended off the day's highs.
Analysts said the climate in the market remained fragile as investors awaited developments in an expanding debt crisis in the Eurozone and in talks between Greek authorities and the troika.
The composite index rose 0.10 pct to end at 586.64 points, after rising as much as 1.28 pct during the day. Turnover was a thin 16.924 million euros. The Big Cap index rose 0.43 pct and the Small Cap index ended 0.86 pct higher. The Personal Products (2.99 pct), Utilities (2.71 pct) and Telecoms (2.44 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Food (2.32 pct) and Commerce (1.63 pct) suffered losses.
Jumbo (3.57 pct), PPC (3.11 pct), Alpha Bank (3.03 pct) and OTE (2.44 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Viohalco (2.68 pct), Coca Cola 3E (2.33 pct), Folli Follie (1.70 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 73 to 45 with another 21 issues unchanged. Mohlos (27.14 pct), Teletypos (20 pct) and Pegasus (16.47 pct) were top gainers, while Sato (19.48 pct), Neorio (19.19 pct) and Sprider (17.65 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.35%
Personal & Household: +2.99%
Raw Materials: +0.67%
Travel & Leisure: +0.80%
Food & Beverages: -2.32%
Financial Services: +1.16%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, National Bank, OTE and PPC.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.02
Public Power Corp (PPC): 2.32
HBC Coca Cola: 13.86
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.17
National Bank of Greece: 1.12
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.60
Bank of Piraeus: 0.20
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened sharply to 26.43 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 25.46 pct on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 27.67 pct and the German Bund 1.24 pct. There was no turnover in the market.
In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate fell to 0.99 pct, the six-month rate was 0.72 pct, the three-month rate fell to 0.43 pct and the one-month rate eased to 0.16 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.95 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover shrinking further to a low 3.678 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 1,666 contracts worth 1.742 million euros, with 23,124 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 11,789 contracts worth 1.936 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (3,884), followed by Alpha Bank (2,541), OTE (2,393), PPC (1,322), Cyprus Bank (486), OPAP (468), Mytilineos (141), Metka (134), Intralot (82) and Piraeus Bank (50).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.227
Pound sterling 0.790
Danish kroner 7.550
Swedish kroner 8.547
Japanese yen 96.05
Swiss franc 1.219
Norwegian kroner 7.482
Canadian dollar 1.249
Australian dollar 1.193
 Exhibition on ancient Olympia at Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin from Aug. 30The exhibition "Olympia: myth - cult - games" was presented by Alternate Education, Religions, Culture and Sport Minister Costas Tzavaras at the Acropolis Museum in Athens on Tuesday, before it departs for the Martin-Gropius-Bau building in Berlin on August 30, where it will remain on display until January 7.
"Together, all the peoples of the earth will be able to link the ancient world, the world today, the world of tomorrow and the eternal so as to give a message that may come to us from the depths of Greece's past but has is valid for all nations and all history," Tzavaras said.
The exhibition recreates the history of Olympia through the ages, combining ancient inscriptions with excerpts from historical documents and findings discovered during many years of archaeological excavation. Greece will contribute 564 exhibits from the Olympia Museum, the National Archaeological Museum and the Numismatic Museum, while the whole exhibition will include more than 1,000 objects contributed by museum collections throughout Europe, including those of the Vatican Museum, the archaeological collections of Munich and Dresden and the Tubingen university museum.
These will track the history of the Olympia sanctuary and the Olympic Games from the early beginnings of the cult in the Mycenean era through to the period of the Roman Empire.
The exhibition will coincide with 30th modern Olympic Games taking place in London in 2012 and according to Antiquities and Cultural Heritage General Secretary Maria Andreadakis-Vlazaki, it is the culmination of Greek-German cooperation and the continuous presence of Germany's Archaeological Institute at the Olympia excavations in the past 140 years.
After appearing in Germany, the exhibition will next be presented at Qatar in March 2013 and its final destination will be the National and Archaeological Museum in Athens.
 Daughter of jailed ex-DM willing to surrender property purchased with alleged kickbacksAreti Tsohatzopoulou, the daughter of former PASOK minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who is in jail pending trial in a money-laundering case, this week voiced her intention to surrender to the Greek state any real estate bought with money coming from her father "if it is proven that was the product of criminal activity," as she said.
A relevant statement by Areti Tsohatzopoulou, on remand in connection with the case, was forwarded by her attorneys to the examining magistrates investigating the case and the ministry of finance. A few days earlier, Nikos Zigras, Akis Tsohatzopoulos' first cousin, who is also held on remand as an accomplice, reportedly gave a detailed testimony implicating Areti Tsohatzopoulou in the money-laundering case.
The latter maintains that she never engaged in money-laundering on behalf of her father knowingly.
 17 arrests in drug smuggling, trafficking ring in Trikala prisonSeventeen (17) people have been arrested, including a prison employee and a teacher conducting classes for inmates, at the Trikala prison in northwestern Greece in an ongoing investigation into a ring that smuggled into and trafficked narcotic substances in the penitentiary.
The arrests were made in a coordinated operation by police from Thessaloniki, Larissa and Trikala.
The arrestees include a prison employee, a teacher working with inmates and 11 inmates, most of which are serving time in Trikala prison, while case files have been drawn up by police for a further 12 people who so far have eluded arrest.
The mastermind of the gang, according to police, is a 37-yearold inmate of the Alikarnassos penitentiary who in the past had been an inmate at Trikala prison, where he became acquainted with the prison employee.
The investigation began in October 2011 with monitoring of the telephone calls of the suspects.
No details were released on the quantities of drugs trafficked or the sums of money involved. Official announcements will be made when the investigation, which is still ongoing, is completed.
 Correctional officer suspended for selling drugs to inmates; inquiry into alleged prison swimming poolAn officer at a penitentiary in Trikala, central Greece, was suspended from his duties on Tuesday, accused of being a member of a criminal ring supplying inmates with drugs and mobile phones.
Meanwhile, a team of justice ministry experts has concluded, after inspecting the Korydallos Prison near Piraeus, that recent media reports were inaccurate and that a controversial construction in the courtyard of the prison's psychiatric ward was, in fact, a decorative fountain built by inmates and not a swimming pool.
According to the findings of the inspection, a barbeque was also built next to the facility's inner fence, while cages with different bird species can be seen on the perimeter of a small garden. The findings have already been forwarded to the authority conducting an inquiry into the conditions under which the controversial facilities were built, their legality and the source of funding.
The justice ministry has ordered the removal of the structures, underlining that they do not have a place in a prison facility. It has also forwarded official documents to the prosecutor's office proving that it had never received a request to issue a license for such constructions or approved the funds needed.
 Alleged 'hit-men' wanted for Cyprus multiple murders to face extraditionThe Appeals Justices Council on Tuesday decided to approve the extradition of two Greek men wanted for the execution-style murders of five body guards in the centre of Cyprus' Agia Napa on June 23. The appeals justices' decided to grant the request by Cypriot authorities that the two men stand trial in Cyprus for killing three Cypriot nationals and two Romanian nationals employed as body guards by a Cypriot businessman.
The two suspects are a 29-year-old Greek that police say has links with anti-establishment groups and a 41-year-old linked to past drug-dealing cases.
Sources said that the 29-year-old, who according to Cypriot authorities actually carried out the executions of the five victims, agreed to his extradition to Cyprus. The 41-year-old, by contrast, has objected to his extradition on the grounds that there is outstanding legal action against him before Greek courts.
 Civil servant at Public Properties Company arrested for taking bribesA 52-year-old civil servant working as a cashier at the Public Properties Company SA was taken before an Athens Misdemeanours' Court prosecutor on Tuesday, following her arrest by the Greek Police Internal Affairs squad the previous day for accepting bribes. The woman has also been charged with breach of duty and attempted extortion, following a complaint against her by a woman running a leisure craft business.
According to the complaint filed with the police, the civil servant had initially demanded the sum of 1,500 euro, finally accepting 1,000 euro, in order to grant the leisure craft owner's request to transfer the docking space for her boats to another point on the Alimos Marina.
The arrest was carried out at a branch of the Public Properties Company at the Alimos Marina, after the civil servant attended a pre-arranged appointment and accepted a bribe of 1,000 euro in marked bills.
 Farmer trade unionist arrested for massive debts to stateA 72-year-old trade unionist active in the agricultural sector was arrested in Thessaloniki for debts to the state exceeding 25 million euros, it was announced on Tuesday.
Between March 2007 and July 2011, when he chaired a local association of farm cooperatives, the man allegedly failed to pay debts amounting to 25.4 million euros.
 Wildfire in Corinth prefectureA wildfire broke out on Tuesday in a forested area in the region of Louka, Stymfalia municipality, Corinth prefecture, west of Athens.
Eighteen fire-fighters along with nine fire engines assisted by a water-dropping helicopter participated in firefighting efforts.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe critical meetings with the Troika, which returns to Athens later in the week, and the spread of the debt crisis in the eurozone, with Spain in the focus, were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Tuesday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "How they will deal with the Troika".
AVGHI: "They're leading the country to a social crash".
AVRIANI: "Greece at the edge of the cliff because the Troika's programme failed resoundingly".
DIMOKRATIA: "Full-speed ahead towards default on payments".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Spain and eurozone on verge of crash".
ESTIA: "Utter confusion with taxation".
ETHNOS: "Troika ultimatum for express-measures".
IMERISSIA: "Eurozone in flames - Dangerous spread of debt crisis, with Spain at the center".
KATHIMERINI: "Panic in the eurozone due to Spain".
LOGOS: "Who are manufacturing terror scenarios of bankruptcy".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Storm in the markets of the European south".
NIKI: "7,000 teachers at risk of being laid off".
RIZOSPASTIS: "The steelworkers continue (their 9-month long) strike with unity and class solidarity".
TA NEA: "Express settlement (of outstanding tax issues of professionals and small and medium size enterprises) in order to fill the empty state coffers".
VRADYNI: "Changes proposed in the tax system".
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