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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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N A T I O N

Fate of Sonia, Advani to be sealed today
The third phase of the Lok Sabha polls would be held on Thursday in 107 constituencies spread across 11 states and UTs. Among the important leaders in the fray this time are Congress president Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli), BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani (Gandhinagar), former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda (Hassan), senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh (Darjeeling), JD(U) president Sharad Yadav (Madhepura), CPI leader Gurudas Das Gupta (Ghatal) and CPM senior leader Basudeb Acharya (Purulia).

Cong serves notice to newspaper
New Delhi, April 29
The Congress party on Wednesday served a legal notice to Chennai-based newspaper ‘The New Indian Express’ for publishing what it called “wild allegations and sly insinuations” on educational qualifications of party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, “reflecting a well thought out attempt to malign” him.

Two ‘night watchmen’ — PM, Advani
New Delhi, April 29
Days after the Opposition BJP referred to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a “night watchman” for Congress scion Rahul Gandhi, the Congress on Wednesday hit back. Taking cue from senior BJP leaders referring to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the party’s future prime ministerial candidate.



EARLIER STORIES



Post polls, Third Front will not exist: BJP
Kolkata, April 29
BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani today said the Third Front would be a non-entity after the polls. And, the NDA along with some of these Third Front allies, he said, would form the next government at the Centre.

SP might not want English, people do
It is like the proverbial “writing on the wall” for the anti-English Mulayam Singh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party’s manifesto that slammed the reliance on the queen’s language and also the use of computers.

A coaching centre near Hathras in UP that promises to teach English in a few hours. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

A coaching centre near Hathras in UP that promises to teach English in a few hours

Goa battles rumours about swine flu
Panaji, April 29
The Goa administration today denied alarming media reports that claimed that more than a hundred pigs had died of swine fever in some piggeries of the state. “There have been no deaths from swine flu. I have been in touch with the department of animal husbandry, which has inspected the piggeries mentioned in the reports.

The last segment of the Bandra Worli sea link is lifted to complete the bridge in Mumbai
The last segment of the Bandra Worli sea link is lifted to complete the bridge in Mumbai. — PTI

Indian answer to TOEFL on the anvil
Hyderabad-based varsity to introduce language test
Hyderabad, April 29
On the lines of TOEFL and International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Hyderabad-based English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) will introduce All-India English Language Testing Authority (AIELTA) to test the English knowledge skills among Indian students from next year.

Ambani Case
Borge’s family seeks CBI probe
‘No corporate rivalry behind the incident’
Mumbai, April 29
Family members of Bharat Borge, a key witness in Anil Ambani's chopper sabotage case who was found dead under mysterious circumstances on a railway track in a Mumbai suburb, have sought a CBI enquiry into his death.

Seven dead as unauthorised man runs train
Musiri (TN), April 29
In an intriguing incident, an “unauthorised man” ran an electric train for about seven kilometres and rammed it into a goods train, leaving seven persons dead and 20 others injured in Chennai.

LTTE infiltration: Army on high alert
New Delhi, April 29
The Army today has said its troops along with the Navy and Coast Guard are on alert along the southern coastline to prevent LTTE cadres from entering Indian territory.





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Fate of Sonia, Advani to be sealed today

The third phase of the Lok Sabha polls would be held on Thursday in 107 constituencies spread across 11 states and UTs.

Among the important leaders in the fray this time are Congress president Sonia Gandhi (Rae Bareli), BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani (Gandhinagar), former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda (Hassan), senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh (Darjeeling), JD(U) president Sharad Yadav (Madhepura), CPI leader Gurudas Das Gupta (Ghatal) and CPM senior leader Basudeb Acharya (Purulia).

Gujarat: Can BJP Modi-fy its tally?

The BJP’s burden in the state rests entirely on one man - Narendra Damodardas Modi. And the question that arises is: Has Modi over reached this time? Indeed, this is one election result that promises to be a barometer of Modi’s popularity in a state that has become synonymous with his name.

Unless of course Modi has, in the last 48 hours, been able to silently build a “sympathy wave” in view of the Supreme Court’s order for an inquiry into his role in the post-Godhra riots on the one hand, and an anti-Congress “outrage” in view of the CBI’s clean chit to Ottavio Quattrocchi on the other.

Opinion is clearly divided among political observers whether or not the BJP will be able to improve on its present tally of 14 out of the total 26 parliamentary seats from the state. But even if it does, it is unlikely to be without a fight from the Congress, which is drawing strength more from problems being faced by Modi than from any intrinsic merit.

Poll pundits see Cong growing in MP

Madhya Pradesh is going to witness its second and last phase of polling for 16 Lok Sabha constituencies on Thursday (April 30). A ‘khadaun’ (wooden slipper) thrown at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prime Minister-in-waiting LK Advani has remained the most talking point during the entire poll campaigning. The incident jolted the saffron party. It never expected that it would happen in the BJP -ruled state and, that too, with their senior most leader.

The state will witness polling on 16 Lok Sabha seats tomorrow. These constituencies are: Morena, Bhind, Gwalior, Guna, Sagar, Tikamgarh, Damoh, Rajgarh, Dewas, Ujjain, Mandsour, Ratlam, Dhar, Indore, Khargone and Khandwa. The political pundits are expecting the Congress to do a little better this time by nearly doubling its tally. Like the state’s first phase election, tomorrow’s election will also witness a direct fight between the BJP and the Congress

Ist phase of polling in West Bengal

During the first phase of the three-phase polls in West Bengal, elections will be held in 14 Lok Sabha seats in six north Bengal districts and Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore in south Bengal on April 30.

Like the remaining other districts, Singur and Nandigram already figured as major issues in the campaigning in these constituencies where both the Left and the Oppositions used them as poll-planks in their respective ways.

Test of coalitions in Maharashtra

Campaigning for the third and final phase of elections in Maharashtra came to an end today. As many as 10 seats in Mumbai and Thane cities will go to the polls on Thursday.

Elections for the other 38 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra were completed in the first two phases.The 10 seats that are going to gopolls are Mumbai South, Mumbai South Central, Mumbai North Central, Mumbai North East, Mumbaiv North West, Mumbai North, Thane, Kalyan, Bhiwandi and Palghar. In all there are 196 candidates in the fray.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of the BJP, Nationalist Congress leader Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray and Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sanjay Dutt hit the campaign trail to woo the voters. In all more than 14 million voters will exercise their franchise in the two cities. Around 6 million of those registered to vote are women.

Muslim votes crucial in Bihar

The 11 Lok Sabha seats of Bihar going to the polls during the third phase of elections tomorrow are different from the 26 other seats where the polling has been already held in the earlier two phases. These seats are also considered crucial for the NDA as it had won five of them during the last Lok Sabha election in 2004. The Muslim voters would play a decisive role on at least five seats going to the polls in this phase. They are Katihar, Kishanganj, Purnia, Araria and Bhagalpur.

Kin of former PMs, CMs in fray in UP

Descendents of former Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers are trying their luck for the 15 seats going to polls in the third phase of election tomorrow.

Lucknow is witnessing a most interesting four-cornered contest. The seat represented by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for five consecutive terms. Here two children of former Chief Ministers are representing two national parties. In the fray are nine women candidate representing leading parties, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi from Rae Bareli.

Inputs: Dinesh Kumar (Ahmedabad), Man Mohan (Bhopal), Subhrangshu Gupta (Kolkata), Shiv Kumar (Mumbai), Sanjay Singh (Patna), Shahira Naim (Lucknow)

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Cong serves notice to newspaper
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 29
The Congress party on Wednesday served a legal notice to Chennai-based newspaper ‘The New Indian Express’ for publishing what it called “wild allegations and sly insinuations” on educational qualifications of party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, “reflecting a well thought out attempt to malign” him.

Party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters here that the “Strong legal notice was being sent to the group, its editor-in-chief and printer and publisher for an absolutely senseless and vicious attack on Gandhi, deliberately engineered during the election time”.

The legal notice has been settled by Singhvi, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, against the newspaper for questioning the M.Phil degree of Development Ecnomics from the University of Cambridge.

“Deeply distressed by your wild allegations, sly insinuations and self-serving innuendos, all premised on complete falsehoods and steeped in malice, our client is issuing you notices,” the legal notice stated. The notice went further on to add how the newspaper had succeeded in defaming Gandhi at the time of elections, causing him “grave and irreparable harm”. Demanding an unconditional apology, Singhvi also asked the newspaper and its website to clarify the errors.

Quoting a letter from the University, which stated that Gandhi was a student at Cambridge as a member of the Trinity college from October 1994 to July 1995 and was awarded an M.Phil in Development Studies in 1995, Singhvi said it was clear beyond doubt that Gandhi received the degree.

In the article published on April 11, titled “Rahul Gandhi-Spin Doctor” the newspaper had raised doubts about the Congress general secretary’s educational qualifications.

The notice said: “In stead of verifying anything from our client, you wrote the subject article falsely, recklessly and with complete disregard for truth, alleging that our client (Gandhi) did not complete his degree”.

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Two ‘night watchmen’ — PM, Advani
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 29
Days after the Opposition BJP referred to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a “night watchman” for Congress scion Rahul Gandhi, the Congress on Wednesday hit back. Taking cue from senior BJP leaders referring to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the party’s future prime ministerial candidate, the Congress added one more label to describe the saffron party’s current prime ministerial candidate LK Advani-terming him a “night watchman” for Modi.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi called Advani nothing but a “night watchman” for Modi and also doubted whether the senior BJP leader was playing the role just to pave way for the Gujarat Chief Minister.

“Advani is nothing but a night watchman for Modi. How long will the night watchman (Advani) bat is in grave doubt…How long will the real batsman in waiting (Modi) allow the night watchman to bat is also in grave doubt,” Singhvi said, wondering who was in actual control of the party.

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Post polls, Third Front will not exist: BJP
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, April 29
BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani today said the Third Front would be a non-entity after the polls. And, the NDA along with some of these Third Front allies, he said, would form the next government at the Centre.

Addressing an election meeting at Uluberia (Howrah), the BJP leader alleged that the CPM, post the 2004 polls, had packed an “unholy” alliance with the Congress for keeping the NDA out of power. But this time, he hoped, such a thing would not be repeated, as the NDA would have substantial strength to form a stable government, which would ensure good governance, peace and progress.

Later, the BJP leader addressed two more meetings at Krishnanagar and Barast in support of BJP candidates Satyabrata Mukherjee and Tapan Sikhdar, respectively.

Advani alleged that the CPM, with it’s existence only in three states, was again trying to manipulate power by dictating terms to other parties, but the nation was fortunate that this time most of these parties were distancing themselves from it (CPM). He alleged that the communists, who were now existing only in Cuba, Kolkata and Kerala, had lost their credibility.

Referring to the UPA’s performances during the last five years, Advani alleged that they had failed in every sphere. He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was a good person but ineffective and that was why he had to always depend on 10 Janpath Road for running the government.

Advani criticised the CBI’s decision for suddenly withdrawing cases against Quattrocchi. He suspected that the decision had been taken at the instance of 10 Janpath (Sonia Gandhi’s official residence) and accordingly, he demanded an inquiry by an independent authority into the CBI’s recent stand on Quattrocchi. Advani alleged that the Bengal’s CPM government, during their prolonged rule, had not achieved anything tangible.

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SP might not want English, people do
Ajay Banerjee writes from Aligarh/Agra

It is like the proverbial “writing on the wall” for the anti-English Mulayam Singh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party’s manifesto that slammed the reliance on the queen’s language and also the use of computers. In Uttar Pradesh, innumerable walls of houses and shops are painted with ads promising “English coaching” and “computer classes”, even in back-of-the-beyond places like Hathras, Etah, Hapur and Fatehpur Sikri, portraying a picture contrary to the manifesto of the Yadav chieftain. Youth in the region know that English is the key to move forward as are computers, says Rajinder Pathak, a middle-aged marketing salesman-turned “English coach”. He is critical of the stance of the SP, saying the aspirations of the youth are different. Each of these coaching classes promise instant nirvana, an illusion that seems impossible to achieve.

Mulayam Singh Yadav should help to formulate a policy to ensure what is really achievable and what is pure money-making by these institutes often at the cost of gullible youth, says Sadiq-ul- Haq, a student from Agra. One such institute in Hathras, near Agra, makes a rather tall claim and promises to teach “spoken English” within 45 to 90 hours of study. Another claim painted in bright blue and red in a busy street in Aligarh is equally preposterous: “Learn to speak English in 77 days with British, American and Australian accents to get a call centre job”. Asks Haq: “Aping an accent is the need for certain types of call centres handling global clients, but can some one who does not speak English at all do so with an American accent in 77 days?”

More than three weeks ago when SP released its manifesto, it faced flak from all quarters including the Congress and the BJP, which in separate statements, had criticised Mulayam Singh of trying to take India back to the 19th century. The SP, in retrospect, made amends saying it was not against English or computers but the party wanted to say that other Indian languages need to be promoted.

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Goa battles rumours about swine flu

Panaji, April 29
The Goa administration today denied alarming media reports that claimed that more than a hundred pigs had died of swine fever in some piggeries of the state.

“There have been no deaths from swine flu. I have been in touch with the department of animal husbandry, which has inspected the piggeries mentioned in the reports. There is nothing amiss,” state epidemiologist Rajendra Tamba said.

The reports said nearly 110 pigs had succumbed to swine flu in two piggeries located at Siolim in North Goa and Velsao in South Goa in the last 10 days.

“A statewide alert has been sounded and close watch is being kept on the movement and behaviour of pigs. Till date, no pig has died of swine flu in Goa,” said animal husbandry department director H Faleiro. Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and Home Minister Ravi Naik last evening held several rounds of meetings with health, tourism and animal husbandry departments to look at ways to stave off the flu and arrest panic.

“The central health ministry has identified Goa as one of the places that could be hit by the flu as a large number of tourists visit the state. We are taking every measure to prevent an outbreak,” Kamat said. Tamba said health department officials were in constant touch with their counterparts at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, where all the throat swabs of swine flu suspects would be sent for analysis.

“More than a dozen charter flights carrying tourists are expected to fly in during the next fortnight. Our counters at the airports will screen people for symptoms of swine flu,” he said. “We are also in the process of tracking down the 500-odd tourists who landed in Goa during the last 10 days. — IANS

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Indian answer to TOEFL on the anvil
Hyderabad-based varsity to introduce language test

Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, April 29
On the lines of TOEFL and International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Hyderabad-based English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) will introduce All-India English Language Testing Authority (AIELTA) to test the English knowledge skills among Indian students from next year.

This will help the students planning to go abroad and also for selection by corporates, the vice-chancellor of EFLU Prof. Abhay Maurya said here. “We are in talks with the Cambridge University which will assist the EFLU in conducting the test,” Prof. Maurya said.

The EFLU grew out of the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL), a deemed university establishedby central government in 1958 to improve the standards of the teaching of English and foreign languages in the country.

The EFLU has been created by an act of Parliament with a view to building upon the achievements of the former CIEFL and to significantly expand its activities on the national and global stage.

The AIELTA test would be on par with TOEFL and IELTS conducted by the British Council. “We hope that the scores of AIELTA tests are accepted by British universities, given the reputation of EFLU in teaching English language across the globe,” the Vice-Chancellor said. The University would soon design an English examination module that could be used by corporate in hiring employees, he said.

Outlining the new initiatives of the institution, Maurya said MA (English) in the distance mode would be offered from the coming academic year. “This will be a big draw and will benefit students from rural areas and teachers who want to gain a credible degree and also enhance their knowledge,” he said.

The university is also offering a five-year Integrated M.A. course in English for students who have passed their 12th standard examination. After joining the course, students can opt out after three-years with B.A. (Hons) degree or can continue for five years to take the MA degree.

Meanwhile, the EFLU has also been allotted 100-acres at Pochampally in Nalgonda district by the state government for developing a full-fledged campus within a few years.

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Ambani Case
Borge’s family seeks CBI probe
‘No corporate rivalry behind the incident’

Mumbai, April 29
Family members of Bharat Borge, a key witness in Anil Ambani's chopper sabotage case who was found dead under mysterious circumstances on a railway track in a Mumbai suburb, have sought a CBI enquiry into his death.

Borge, who was a technician with Airworks, the company which maintained Ambani's helicopter, was found dead on railway tracks between Vile Parle and Andheri stations last evening.

"The state government must seek a CBI probe into the matter as the entire episode of Bharat's death is not clear. He was in the Army for 20 years and he was strong; he never got depressed. We don't believe it is a suicide," Borge's cousin Sambhaji Botre said.

"Borge's wife and two children are in a state of shock and cannot believe that he has committed suicide," Botre told PTI by phone from Satara, the native place of the deceased in western Maharashtra where his body has been taken for last rites.

"We knew Ambani's chopper sabotage case was a big issue. In fact, Bharat was the one who first brought this to the police's notice and helped it in all possible manner," Botre said.

The police said Borge was run over by a suburban train but preliminary post-mortem report has revealed that Borge died due to multiple fractures and injuries.

Borge was among the first persons to have spotted the fuel cap of Ambani's Bell-412 helicopter open on Thursday last and on inspection found pebbles and gravel inside, one day before he was scheduled to go to neighbouring Navi Mumbai. — PTI

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Seven dead as unauthorised man runs train
N Ravikumar
Tribune News Service

Musiri (TN), April 29
In an intriguing incident, an “unauthorised man” ran an electric train for about seven kilometres and rammed it into a goods train, leaving seven persons dead and 20 others injured in Chennai.

Reports from the state capital said details of the person, who took the train on this strange journey, was still to be ascertained. It is not clear whether he was among the seven who perished in the incident. Southern Railway General Manager MS Jayanth said the train started “unauthorisedly” half-an-hour earlier than scheduled and went on a wrong line, colliding with a departmental train hauling empty wagons. The train was to start at 5.15 am.

On seeing the fast approaching EMU towards them, two drivers of the goods train jumped off the locomotive. Railway officials at the accident spot said the speed instrument of the EMU showed it had clocked 91 km/hour at the time of the mishap.

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LTTE infiltration: Army on high alert

New Delhi, April 29
The Army today has said its troops along with the Navy and Coast Guard are on alert along the southern coastline to prevent LTTE cadres from entering Indian territory.

“Coast Guard and the Indian Navy form the first tier of (guarding against) infiltration from our southern coast. We have some troops deployed in the Southern Command to make sure that certain LTTE elements don’t make inroads into our coastline and enter India,” Army Vice Chief Lieutenant General Noble Thamburaj told reporters here.

After the Sri Lankan armed forces confined LTTE to a small area, there were reports of possibility of the LTTE cadres trying to infiltrate into India. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

Crucial hearing on Quattrocchi today
New Delhi:
A crucial hearing in the politically sensitive Bofors payoff case will take place tomorrow in a Delhi court where CBI is expected to justify its controversial decision to take off the name of Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, an accused in the case, from its list of most wanted persons. The investigating agency, at whose behest the Interpol's Red Corner Notice was withdrawn against Quattrocchi, will file a status report before chief meteropolitan magistrate Kaveri Baweja about its attempts to produce the foreign national before the court. The hearing assumes importance as CBI, before taking the decision to withdraw the Red Corner Notice, has taken a stand that efforts were underway to catch the fugitive against whom the trial court had issued arrest warrant on November 07, 1999. — PTI

Bomb scare aboard AI flight; 1 held
JAIPUR:
A bomb scare aboard an Air India aircraft (IC-611) sent the security agencies in a tizzy here this evening. However, it turned out to be a hoax call. Sources said soon after the Mumbai-Jaipur-Delhi flight took off from Mumbai with 150 passengers aboard, an Air India call centre received a call that there was a bomb in the aircraft. The Mumbai police later detained the caller, identified as Manoj Bansal. — TNS

CCA against Pappu Yadav
PURNIA:
The Crime Control Act (CCA) was invoked against expelled RJD MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav on Wednesday. “We have applied Section 3 of the CCA against Pappu Yadav in view of elections in the constituency on Thursday,” Superintendent of Police Nyer Hasnain Khan said. Khan said under the Section, Yadav would have to report to the satisfaction of station house officer of Purnia police station twice a day, failing which, he would be externed from Purnia district limits. Yadav is canvassing support for his mother who is locked in a virtual triangular fight with BJP’s Udai Singh and LJP’s Shankar Jha in Purnia. — PTI

Student threatens Mayawati
MUZAFFARNAGAR:
A student of Class XII in his UP Board exam answer sheets has allegedly written “objectionable and threatening” words against State Chief Minister Mayawati. The incident came to light on Tuesday during correction of the answer-sheets at a checking centre here, Dy Controller of the centre AK Jain told reporters on Wednesday. The copy has been sealed and sent to the Board headquarters in Allahabad for necessary action, he added. — PTI

Monument as art gallery
KOCHI:
It is no recession time for art galleries in Kerala as they seem to be popping up at regular intervals, with the latest to join the bandwagon being a 400-year-old renovated Dutch monument at nearby Fort Kochi. A hotel chain has taken on lease the ancient monument ‘David Hall’ at nearby Fort Kochi, renovating it into an art gallery and hub of indigenous art forms. A surviving legacy of the Dutch, David Hall is a part of three houses built by the Dutch East India Company in 1695. — PTI

Bomb hoax disrupts exams
PUNE:
A bomb threat that finally proved to be a hoax kept city police on its toes with frantic searches till late Tuesday. It started with a fake letter wrapped in a brown cover that was dropped on Tuesday in front of the cabin of the principal of Fergusson College here. The letter said, “Bombs have been planted at Fergusson and Wadia College and also in a famous Ganesh temple and would go off in the course of the day. Five gun-wielding men would then fire shots at random.” Bomb detection squads combed the entire area of the targets mentioned and concluded that it was a hoax. The episode caused temporary disruption in the examinations for B.A and B.Sc that were being conducted in Fergusson College as panicky students came out of the halls. — PTI

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