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The Weakening Electric Grid: Less Reliable, More Fragile

The Weakening Electric Grid: Less Reliable, More Fragile

As more and more irritated customers become certain that power shortages and blackouts have become more common, the electric grid’s problems receive more attention. They should. Shortages and blackouts have in fact become much more common than they once were. The electric power grid has become increasingly fragile and considerably less reliable. This is especially troubling because, at the same time, Washington and several states plan to burden it further with electric cars and an increase in the use of electric appliances. In part, the power problem reflects the increased reliance on inherently intermittent wind and solar sources. But this straightforward fact of life is only part of the story behind the electric grid’s problems. Matters are much more complicated.

Evidence of failure is irrefutable and has sometimes appeared with great drama. A 2021 cold snap in Texas, for example, led to widespread blackouts and the death of 250 people. California has for years regularly imposed rolling brownouts and blackouts on utility customers. Just this past Christmas season, unusually cold weather across the country prompted utilities from Massachusetts and New York across the Midwest and into the south to beg their customers to turn down their thermostats and delay their use of appliances. Millions lost power for days in North Carolina and Tennessee. Downed power lines caused some of the problems, but in many cases electric utilities simply had to cut off power to some in order to a total crash of their systems. The incidence of prolonged blackouts for all reasons has doubled since 2013.

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Comer Launches Probe into State Department’s Alleged Funding of Group Blacklisting Conservative Media ‘Under the Guise of Combatting Disinformation’

Comer Launches Probe into State Department’s Alleged Funding of Group Blacklisting Conservative Media ‘Under the Guise of Combatting Disinformation’

House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) sent a letter on Thursday to the U.S. State Department demanding records and a briefing by the agency regarding its alleged funding of a “disinformation tracking group” that is blacklisting conservative-leaning news outlets.

The letter (pdf) cites as evidence the Washington Examiner’s series of investigative reports uncovering the State Department’s alleged partnership with activist organizations, specifically one “foreign organization,” to “suppress lawful speech and defund disfavored news outlets under the guise of combatting disinformation.”

“The Committee is disturbed by recent reporting that taxpayer money ended up in the hands of a foreign organization running an advertising blacklist of organizations accused of hosting disinformation on their websites, including several conservative-leaning news organizations,” Comer wrote.

The letter goes on to detail the Washington Examiner’s findings.

According to the outlet, major ad companies look to “nonpartisan” groups that claim to detect and fight “disinformation” online to help determine which news outlets and websites they should avoid.

Some of these “disinformation monitors,” the Washington Examiner went on to explain, “are compiling secret blacklists and feeding them to ad companies, with the aim of defunding and shutting down disfavored speech.”

One such group is British Global Disinformation Institute (GDI), which has compiled a “dynamic exclusion list” of 2,000 websites and rates those outlets based on their “alleged disinformation ‘risk’ factor,” according to the Washington Examiner.

GDI’s website further explains its purpose. Calling itself an “independent, non-profit, open source, intelligence hub,” GDI “tracks disinformation and extremism across platforms online” to “serve a broad array of governments, NGOs [non-governmental organizations], online platforms, and media.”

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The French Pension War

The French Pension War

When a million people protest on the streets of Paris and most major French cities, you know there is a serious problem in French society…

The protests, which had been going on for four days, culminated on Feb. 11 in Paris, where reportedly half a million people participated. The vitriol directed at the president during these protests was uncivilised and contemptuous of government reform proposals.

Reminiscent of the Yellow Vest Revolution in 2018, which was initially directed at a hike in the price of fuel, it soon morphed into a demand to raise the minimum net wage in France, which is now around €1,679 (US$1,800) per month.

The recent proposal, which earned the wrath of the protestors, concerns President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the pension age from 62 to 64. It is a response to the dire situation of the French pension system.

In France, retirees might be paid 50 per cent of their income, with a maximum of €41,136 annually. The state scheme is financed by “social security contributions”—a payroll tax that burdens French businesses.

It could be argued that the French president’s proposal constitutes a justifiable attempt at containing the burgeoning cost of the pension scheme, which otherwise would become unsustainable.

That the pension scheme is economically untenable is an unavoidable consequence of changes in French demographics.

A protester holds a placard reading “Macron pensions, it’s no!” during a demonstration on the fourth day of nationwide rallies organised since the start of the year against a deeply unpopular pensions overhaul, in Paris, on Feb. 11, 2023. (Christophe Archambault/AFP via Getty Images)

In 1910, when the first pension law came into effect, life expectancy was 51.3 years, whereas now it is 82.4 years. Also, the population has increased exponentially since 1910 and now stands at around 65 million, compared to around 39 million in 1910.

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IMF Says World Needs to Prepare for the ‘Unthinkable’ After COVID, War in Ukraine

IMF Says World Needs to Prepare for the ‘Unthinkable’ After COVID, War in Ukraine

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has warned that the world needs to be prepared to better handle shocks and “the unthinkable” in a post-COVID-19 world and in light of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Georgieva made the comments during a World Government Summit panel hosted by CNBC’s Hadley Gamble in Dubai on Feb. 14, where she also referenced the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria that have killed more than 36,000 people.

Asked how “difficult” this year is going to be, Georgieva replied that the world economy is still “in a very difficult place and global growth is slowing down in 2023 but it may be a turning point,” pointing to inflation declining in some countries.

“What we are very concerned [about] is one, the unexpected,” Georgieva said. “What COVID and the war taught us is we live in a more shock-prone world. What the earthquake in Turkey and Syria taught us is, to think of the unthinkable.

“We all have to change our mindset to be much more agile and much more oriented towards building resilience at all levels, so we can handle the shocks better,” Georgieva added, noting that resistance comes in the form of ensuring that the very “fabric” of each country and its society is strong.

IMF Plays ‘Stabilizing Role’ in Ukraine

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Georgieva said the IMF has to play a “stabilizing role” in the war in Ukraine, adding that the nation will need around $40 billion to $48 billion for the economy to function this year.

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Norway Finds Rare Earth Metals That Could Make Europe Less Dependent On China

Norway Finds Rare Earth Metals That Could Make Europe Less Dependent On China

Norwegian scientists have made a discovery of rare earth metals in the country’s northern region. The findings have the potential to transform the country’s economy and secure its place as a major player in the global market for high-tech and green technology. Furthermore, the findings could make Europe less dependent on China for the critical metals.

Today, China is believed to account for more than 80 percent of many metals that are needed for green energy solutions, such as rare earth metals used in electric cars and wind turbines.

Infographic: China Dominates the Rare Earth Market | Statista

Karl Kristensen, a consultant for Bergfald Environmental Consultants, says that the green shift in economics will only multiply the world’s dependence on these materials. He warned that China has almost complete control of the market for rare earth metals in his lecture on the topic during the KÅKÅnomics economics festival in Stavanger, Norway, in October 2022.

The discovery in Norway was made during a routine survey of the region and was confirmed through extensive drilling and analysis.

The deposits are believed to be among the largest of their kind in the world, and the potential for further discoveries in the area is significant.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) was responsible for conducting the research that led to the find“The NPD has built up expertise over many years, in part through a number of expeditions. We’ve mapped relevant areas, collected data, and taken large volumes of mineral samples,” said Kjersti Dahle, director, technology, analysis and coexistence at the NPD.

NPD’s research shows that there is a large area of the Norwegian continental shelf with significant mineral resources, particularly in the deep sea, where several of these minerals are concentrated. The Norwegian government and NPD are now working together to create the necessary framework for a sustainable and responsible exploration and utilization of these minerals…

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Renewable Power Projects Slow In US Over High Costs And Community Opposition

Renewable Power Projects Slow In US Over High Costs And Community Opposition

The installation of wind and solar power projects is slowing down in the United States, with some projects being canceled over persistent cost issues and community animosity.

Solar panels are seen next to a Southern California Edison electricity station in Carson, Calif., on March 4, 2015. (Lucy Nicholson//File Photo/Reuters)

New utility-scale solar installations are estimated to have fallen by 40 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year, according to a report from research firm Wood Mackenzie. Utility-scale solar deployments in the third quarter of 2022 were 36 percent lower when compared to Q3, 2021, and 9 percent lower compared to Q2, 2022.

The low installation figures are the result of previous project delays and continued supply chain constraints,” the report said.

During the third quarter, new wind installations are calculated to have crashed by 77.5 percent compared to the same period a year ago based on another report by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Between July and September, U.S. developers only added 501 MW of new wind power capacity, down 22 percent from Q3, 2021.

No other third quarter saw lower wind capacity additions since at least 2015. The 4,500 MW of new wind capacity added in the first three quarters of 2022 is less than half of that added by the end of 2021’s third quarter, 9,223 MW,” the report states.

High costs are said to be one of the reasons for canceling some of the renewable energy projects. For instance, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) canceled around 245 renewable energy projects in the four years between January 2016 and July 2020 which had reached advanced stages of development.

The 245 projects accounted for 40 percent of total projects by the organization at the time. According to MISO, issues with congestion and costs related to grid upgrades were the main reason behind withdrawing the projects, according to the Institute of Energy Research (IER).

Community Opposition, China Slave Labor

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Twitter Files Prove America Headed For “Totalitarian State Territory”, Expert Warns

Twitter Files Prove America Headed For “Totalitarian State Territory”, Expert Warns

Thanks to the revelations in the Twitter Files, there’s evidence that the FBI and other agencies worked to suppress “lawful speech,” and if this type of action is allowed to continue, the United States is headed for “totalitarian state territory,” Matthew Peterson, the cofounder of New Founding, said in an interview with Epoch Times–NTD collaborative program “Newsmakers.”

New Founding helps people and organizations position themselves to avoid threats from Big Tech and “woke capital,” and Peterson has two decades of experience in digital media and political consulting.

When asked what will happen if the country’s current trajectory continues for three to five years, Peterson said, “We’ll be in totalitarian state territory, there’s no question about it.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray (C) on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Nov. 15, 2022. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“I mean, remember, this went so far as the government saying, ‘You need to find evidence that there are Russians influencing the election on Twitter.’ And Twitter saying, ‘No, that’s not happening.’

“And then [Twitter had] to be quiet about it and not even defend themselves when they knew that there wasn’t Russian interference that they could find,” he added.

Peterson further explained that the U.S. government drove a narrative that it knew wasn’t true and was the “antithesis” of America’s founding principles.

“[The government’s actions are] the antithesis of America. The American founding is basically contradicted by what’s happening here, over and over again. And if we don’t do something about that, we will not have free speech in this country,” Peterson warned.

FBI and Fake News

Peterson pointed out that one of the biggest revelations in the Twitter Files—a collection of internal emails and communications made public by the company’s CEO, Elon Musk—was that the intelligence community’s influence on Twitter was more significant than anyone imagined.

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What’s Behind California’s Skyrocketing Natural Gas Bills: Insiders

What’s Behind California’s Skyrocketing Natural Gas Bills: Insiders

Californians are expecting skyrocketing natural gas bills this month, but this can’t all be blamed on the weather, according to industry insiders.

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), which serves about 5.9 million households and businesses, warned customers to expect “shockingly high” January bills that could be 128 percent higher compared to December.

Those who typically paid around $65 a month last winter are likely to pay about $160 this year, SoCalGas said in a statement Dec. 29. Those with bills around $130 a month could see charges jump to $315.

Last December, wholesale natural gas prices already cost five times more than that of 2021. The utility also paid unprecedented prices for the supply in January, the company reported.

Natural gas prices rose in 2022 for five reasons, according to a biennial report (pdf) published by California Gas and Electric Utilities, a group of utility providers including SoCalGas, San Diego Gas & Electric, and SoCal Edison.

First, North American inventories fell below the five-year average last year. Second, the national supply was also strained by Europe’s steady demand for American natural gas during the Ukraine conflict.

Third, the Biden administration restricted licensing and drilling in the country for fossil fuels, and investment for such production has lagged behind the rapidly growing demand for natural gas over the past year, according to the report.

Lastly, the growing electric power sectors nationwide also consume natural gas, the company reported.

“From an economic standpoint [reducing reliance on fossil fuels] may be costly and is certainly not expected to be rapid or easy,” the utility reported. “Nonetheless, the push to find ways forward and to provide energy solutions to customers in a clean and affordable way is an imperative.”

Climate Goals Restrict Production, Grow Demand

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Avian Flu Is Crushing Farmers

Avian Flu Is Crushing Farmers

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania—The public’s pocketbooks have been hit hard by the skyrocketing cost of eggs in the last few months. Prices have doubled and, in some places, tripled over what they cost a year ago—if you can even find them in your local grocery store.

The average cost of a dozen eggs in the United States is over $4.25, more than twice what it was just a year ago. Options such as cage-free eggs or organic go for over $7. Inflation is a part of the reason, but the agriculture industry says the bigger cause is the outbreak of the avian flu here in the United States a year ago; nationwide, it has affected nearly 60 million birds—nearly 5 million of them here in Pennsylvania.

American consumers love their eggs. The food staple is highly regarded by every walk of life for its simplicity and accessibility; for some families, it is their major source of protein. For others, it is the most important ingredient in baking and the central element in preparing casseroles, pasta, and numerous other dishes.

For many of us, it is hard to make a meal without an egg, so of course consumers are deeply affected by this. However, there is another side of that story that we are not examining. That is the equally devastating economic impact this is having on American poultry farmers and all of those who work with them. Their lives, livelihoods, and family legacies have been upended and even destroyed by the avian flu, a worldwide outbreak that shows no signs of subsiding.

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The Renewable Energy Problem That No One Talks About

The Renewable Energy Problem That No One Talks About

An obvious barrier to adopting wind and solar power for electricity supply is their intermittency—when the wind isn’t blowing, and the sun isn’t shining, substitute sources are required. This issue is given much attention by conservative media, as it should.

Yet one of the less well-known roadblocks for these renewable technologies is frequency control, even though it becomes a critical concern much sooner.

Since the 1890s, electricity networks and devices all around the globe have used alternating current (AC) systems, which means that the flow of electricity in the system is repeatedly changing direction.

In Australia, it alternates 50 times a second, that is, at a frequency of 50 Hertz (in the USA, it is 60 Hertz).

Supplying electricity at a consistent frequency is very important because appliances and electronics on the network are designed for a specific frequency/voltage input. Therefore, they can be damaged by the wrong electricity supply.

As a rule, networks would rather supply no electricity than bad electricity. Automated controls through the electricity system will disconnect the supply if the frequency or voltage is “off-spec.”

Epoch Times Photo
A technician monitors electricity levels in front of a giant screen showing the eastern German electricity transmission grid in the control centre at Neuenhagen bei Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 17, 2015. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

South Australians will not soon forget when this happened to the entire state network in 2016. The state-wide blackout started late in the afternoon during some poor weather conditions, and thousands of people had to drive out of the city without any streetlights or traffic signals.

There were a range of contributing causes, including gusty winds taking down some transmission lines and a lightning strike on a power station.

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In War for Control of Humanity, Thoughts and Emotions Are the Battlefield: Dr. Robert Malone

In War for Control of Humanity, Thoughts and Emotions Are the Battlefield: Dr. Robert Malone

Social media platforms are being weaponized, he said

Inventor of mRNA vaccines Dr. Robert Malone, having worked with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for many years, warns that a war is being waged by the government for control of people’s minds, and that social media platforms are being weaponized in this war and are “actively employed” by the intelligence community to influence what people think and feel.

“This new battleground, in which your mind and your thoughts, your very emotions are the battleground. It is not about territory,” Malone said during a recent interview for EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program. “Twitter, it’s clear now, has become the premium platform for shaping emerging global consensus about the topics of the day.”

Musk Twitter Jet Tracker
A sign at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco on Dec. 8, 2022. (Jeff Chiu/AP Photo)

During his work with the DOD, Malone became aware of companies researching multilingual programs that assess the emotional content of the language used on social media, which those companies then use to “map relationship clouds,” including what topics people are discussing, who the influencers are, and who is at the fringe of that cloud, said Malone.

Phenomena like being deplatformed, shadowbanned, and a “tweet” going viral is a part of this weaponizing of social media.

Epoch Times Photo
Twitter prevented users from sharing former President Donald Trump’s post. (Screenshot/Twitter)

“By using these tools of manipulating what information, what tweets you put out, what messages you put out to your influencer cloud, they can modulate how those people behave,” he said. “You can actually very actively control what individuals are thinking, the information that they’re gathering, what they’re being influenced to do.”

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Elon Musk Calls Out ‘Corporate Journalism’ Over Coverage of His ‘Twitter Files’

Elon Musk Calls Out ‘Corporate Journalism’ Over Coverage of His ‘Twitter Files’

Elon Musk has criticized mainstream media outlets over their coverage of the so-called “Twitter Files.”

“Why is corporate journalism rushing to defend the state instead of the people?” Musk wrote on Twitter on Dec. 27, in response to a tweet from journalist and documentary filmmaker Leighton Woodhouse. The latter was sharing his new Substack post about how corporate media rushed to defend the FBI and the state instead of exposing them.

“The Hunter Biden laptop story shows the extent to which the corporate media has become the propaganda arm of the state,” Woodhouse wrote in his Substack, pointing to the recent release of the seventh installment of Twitter’s internal documents.

Independent author Michael Shellenberger published the seventh installment on Dec. 19, revealing how there was an “organized effort” by federal law enforcement agents to discredit the 2020 Hunter Biden laptop report, by targeting social media and news companies.

Other installments of Twitter’s internal communications have shown how the media giant placed certain individuals on “secret blacklists,” debates over how to handle former President Donald Trump’s account before it was suspended in January 2021, and how the FBI allegedly flagged accounts and tweets for Twitter to take action against.

The FBI has dismissed the “Twitter Files,” alleging that “conspiracy theorists” are attempting to discredit the bureau.

A Twitter user responded to Musk’s question by writing, “Simple… it’s Corporate Journalism… Not Journalism.”

To which Musk replied: “Exactly. Why would anyone trust corpo journalism?”


In the same thread, Musk also said that he was “open to the idea” of buying the Substack platform, while responding to a tweet from Wall Street Silver.

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Americans Face Elevated Winter Power Outage Risks From Tight Fuel Supplies, Faltering Grid: Report

Americans Face Elevated Winter Power Outage Risks From Tight Fuel Supplies, Faltering Grid: Report

As the snow flies and temperatures plummet, regulatory agencies and analysts alike warn that residents in multiple U.S. states are at an elevated risk of dangerous winter blackouts.

States such as Texas and North Carolina, and also the Great Lakes and New England regions are in the highest risk category, according to a report from the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC).

Meanwhile, a “large portion” of the U.S. power grid is at risk of insufficient electricity supplies during peak winter conditions, the agency concluded in the same analysis.

Although climate change advocates claim that severe weather events are the primary culprit, energy insiders say tight fuel supplies and an outdated electric grid play a critical role in potential blackouts.

Epoch Times Photo
People take shelter at Gallery Furniture store after winter weather caused electricity blackouts in Houston, on Feb.18, 2021. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

Conservative estimates this year put the cost of critical power grid and infrastructure upgrades at $4 trillion, with the use of supplemental nuclear power; the price tag jumps another $500 million without nuclear energy.

The Biden administration approved a $13 billion stopgap measure on Nov. 18 to “modernize and expand” the power grid. However, people in the energy industry say it will take months or years for U.S. residents to see the difference.

Falling Behind

“There is a significant gap to upgrade aging grid infrastructure to meet net-zero mandates and maintain reliability, and we are running out of time,” analyst Kim Getgen told The Epoch Times.

Getgen is the CEO and founder of Innovation Force, which tackles complex issues such as America’s energy crisis. She says the Biden administration’s infrastructure investment is a good start, but it’s exactly that, just a start.

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More Than Half of Canadians Worried About Putting Food on the Table: Poll

More Than Half of Canadians Worried About Putting Food on the Table: Poll

A new poll suggests that more than half of Canadians surveyed are worried about having enough money to put food on the table, while 86 percent of people are worried the country will face an economic recession in 2023.

Food inflation is reported at higher than 10 percent, and the most recent Canada Food Price Report released Dec. 5 says the cost of groceries will increase another 5 to 7 percent on average next year. These are the highest increases in food prices in the last 12 years that the report has been produced.

“This year’s report predicts that a family of four, including a man (age 31–50), woman (age 31–50), boy (age 14–18), and girl (age 9–13) will pay up to $14,767.36 for food, an increase of up to $966.08 from the total annual cost in 2021,” said the report.

Food price increases in Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Saskatchewan will likely be higher than the national average in 2022, while price increases in the remaining provinces will be lower.

Gas Costs

Besides food prices, Canadians are also worried about putting gas in their cars and trucks. Sixty-one percent of 1,005 adult Canadians surveyed Nov. 11–15 in the Ipsos poll commissioned by Global News said they were worried they may not be able to afford fuel for their vehicles.

Seventy-one percent were worried that interest rates will rise too fast, while 42 percent said they were worried about losing their jobs if the economy did not rebound.

Fifty-two percent of Canadians surveyed said they were worried they would be short of money to buy Christmas gifts, and 48 percent said they were worried about overspending during the holidays. Eighty-one percent of those surveyed were worried inflation was making everyday items less affordable.

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UK Warned by Farmers That It Is Facing a Food Supply Crisis

UK Warned by Farmers That It Is Facing a Food Supply Crisis

In an emergency press conference, the National Farmers Union (NFU) said the government needed to step in to assist farmers who are under severe strain.

The British farming industry is facing major issues across almost all sectors, with the price of animal feed and nitrogen fertiliser, and fuel skyrocketing. The union warned that yields of crops will likely slump to record lows this year with farmers also considering reducing the size of their herds.

Under Threat

In the emergency press conference, NFU president Minette Batters said that “shoppers up and down the country have for decades had a guaranteed supply of high-quality affordable food produced to some of the highest animal welfare, environmental, and food safety standards in the world.”

“That food, produced with care by British farmers, is critical to our nation’s security and success. But British food is under threat,” she added.

“We have already seen the egg supply chain crippled under the pressure caused by these issues and I fear the country is sleepwalking into further food supply crises, with the future of British fruit and vegetable supplies in trouble. We need government and the wider supply chain to act now—tomorrow could well be too late.”

According to the NFU, since 2019 the price of wholesale gas has increased by 650 percent, with nitrogen fertiliser up by 240 percent and agricultural diesel up 73 percent. Furthermore, animal feed raw material has increased by 75 percent.

Nearly 1 in 10 NFU members who produce beef said they were considering reducing the size of their herd in the next 12 months.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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