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Will Julian Assange Die in Prison?

Will Julian Assange Die in Prison?

Julian Assange gestures to the media from a police vehicle on his arrival at Westminster Magistrates court on April 11, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is suffering significant “psychological torture” and abuse in the London prison where he is being held, and his life is now “at risk,” according to an independent UN rights expert. A senior member of his legal team believes Assange may not live until the end of the extradition process.

Assange mumbled, stuttered, and struggled to say his own name and date of birth when he appeared in court on October 21. The Wikileaks founder is being subjected to long drawn-out “psychological torture” as he battles to prevent his extradition to the United States where he faces a slew of espionage charges, warns Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

“Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr. Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life,” Melzer said in a statement on Friday.

“His physical appearance was not as shocking as his mental deterioration,” writes former British ambassador Craig Murray, who was present at the October hearing. “When asked to give his name and date of birth, he struggled visibly over several seconds to recall both… his difficulty in making it was very evident; it was a real struggle for him to articulate the words and focus his train of thought… Until yesterday I had always been quietly skeptical of those who claimed that Julian’s treatment amounted to torture… and skeptical of those who suggested he may be subject to debilitating drug treatments.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Immediate moratorium on fracking in England because of tremor risk

Immediate moratorium on fracking in England because of tremor risk

pnr 190805 Ros Wills 2

Gooseneck at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site, 5 August 2019. Photo: Ros Wills

After seven years of promoting fracking, Conservative ministers have withdrawn their support and blocked the prospects of a shale gas industry.

The UK government has issued an immediate moratorium in England because of the risk of earth tremors. Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already issued measures that amount to moratoriums on fracking.

In a statement released just after midnight, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said new scientific advice concluded that it was not possible with current technology to predict accurately whether fracking would cause tremors and how big they would be.

Opponents of fracking described the announcement as a victory for communities and the climate but called for a full, permanent ban. IGas, the only industry representative to respond to our invitation to comment, said it was confident it could operate safely and environmentally responsibly. The industry organisation, UKOOG, later said fracking was a long-standing technology and the UK had a world-class shale resource.  Full reaction

Ministers said they had based their decision on a report by the industry regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA). It had been investigating earth tremors caused by fracking at the UK’s only shale gas site, at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, operated by Cuadrilla.

The report looked at the impacts of fracking the PNR1z well in autumn 2018, which caused more than 50 tremors. The OGA is also examining 134 seismic events caused by fracking the second well, PNR2, in August 2019. They included the UK’s largest fracking-induced tremor, measuring 2.9ML. The British Geological Survey said this tremor was felt by several thousand people, while several hundred reported damage to homes. The OGA suspended fracking within hours.

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Campaigners outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road near Blackpool, 26 August 2019. Photo: Used with the owner’s consent

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

UK Gov’t Halts Fracking In England Ahead Of General Election

UK Gov’t Halts Fracking In England Ahead Of General Election

The U.K. fracking industry has grounded to halt as the British government ended its support for the controversial practice of extracting oil out of the ground, reported Bloomberg.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government announced Saturday that all new hydraulic fracturing wells would be banned. The country’s only active site in northwestern England would be immediately shut down.

The move to ban fracking across the country, which involves injecting water and sand into oil wells at high pressure, was followed by the Oil and Gas Authority publishing a new study that concluded there are severe hazards for people living around fracking sites. Some of the pollution risks were toxic water and earthquake-related damage.

Johnson’s administration banned fracking just weeks ahead of a general election. His party is attempting to win over voters in rural areas in northern England, where much of the fracking sites reside.

The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, cheered on Twitter about the fracking prohibition, though he said it was only a “temporary pause” and “an election stunt to try and win a few votes.”


The Conservatives’ 𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗿𝘆 pause of fracking is an election stunt to try and win a few votes.

Boris Johnson described fracking as ‘glorious news for humanity’. We cannot trust him.

Labour would ban fracking. That’s real change.


Britain’s business and energy secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said after reviewing the Oil and Gas Authority’s report into fracking-related risks, “we can not rule out future unacceptable impacts” that fracking has on communities.

Seismic activity around a fracking site near Blackpool, a seaside town on the Irish Sea coast of England, operated by shale gas group Cuadrilla Resources, was suspended in August after earthquakes spooked residents.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Finding our common ground and common purpose

Finding our common ground and common purpose


We are living in extraordinary, stormy times. In the political sphere, a sixteen-year-old girl speaks truth to powerful global leaders in New York; in the UK, the Supreme Court finds our Government has acted unlawfully in the proroguing of Parliament. In spite of all the promises and declarations, the planet is still set for 3 degrees of global warming above pre-industrial levels, sending us more rapidly towards the tipping point for our climate and all life on earth. We are travelling through unchartered territories. Tribal and polarised politics shape the public discourse. It can feel profoundly unsettling. Where on earth is the solid ground from which we can find common purpose and make the urgent progress we need on the really critical issues facing us?

In July 2019, The RSA Food Farming and Countryside Commission (FFCC) published a series of important reports. Funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, this two-year independent inquiry helped to shape a new vision for safe, secure and sustainable food and farming systems and a flourishing countryside. Initially focussed on matters raised by the Brexit vote, the inquiry quickly turned its attention to the urgent issues that transcend Brexit: the crises in climate and nature, health and wellbeing and rural communities. For eighteen months, we worked with business leaders and academics across different sectors, and with citizens in their communities around the UK, to arrive at the recommendations in our report, Our Future in the LandThe report garnered widespread – and cross-party – backing, both for our recommendations and for the process by which we arrived at them. We were determined that the many and diverse perspectives we’d heard through our inquiry were respected, and that everyone who’d given their time, experience and expertise to us so generously would see their voices in our reports. And make no mistake: this is contested territory.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Blain’s Morning Porridge – October 21st 2019

Blain’s Morning Porridge  – October 21st 2019 

“If you wake up on a Casper mattress, work out with a Peloton before breakfast, Uber to your desk at a WeWork, order DoorDash for lunch, take a Lyft home, and get dinner through Postmates, you’ve interacted with seven companies that will collectively lose nearly $14 billion this year.”

It’s a big week for markets with the ECB meeting, some critical Q3 stock numbers and a host of things to worry about in terms of economic releases and the continuing slowing of the Chinese economy. Its all critical stuff for the bond market – which I reckon is a ticking time-bomb. But more about that later… For stock markets, the quote this morning sums it up – the mood is changing: forget the disruptive tech unicorns and focus on fundamentals. But, first up we really can’t ignore the Brexit mess in the UK.  Saturday’s SNAFU gives investors another chance to load up on Sterling.  At some point Brexit will be fixed.  It might be messy. 

Brexxxxxxiiiiitttt….. 

I am sure foreign readers are wondering how the Mother of All Parliaments is making such a Horlicks of the Brexit negotiations.  It really doesn’t look good does it?   On the other hand, it does show the vibrancy of our political process, and the fact individuals can force it to change. It’s just a shame so many of these individuals seen to be self-seeking egotistical numpties of the worst kind – but even Oliver Letwin has a mother that probably loves him.  

The reason Brexit is so messy is simple. It boils down to weak government – which is a recent thing here in the UK. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pesticides in the Dock: Ecological Apocalypse But Business as Usual

Pesticides in the Dock: Ecological Apocalypse But Business as Usual

Photograph Source: United States Department of Agriculture – Public Domain

In a new paper published in King’s Law Journal –  ‘The Chemical Anthropocene: Glyphosate as a Case Study of Pesticide Exposures’ – the authors Alessandra Arcuri and Yogi Hale Hendlin state:

“As the science against glyphosate safety mounts and lawsuits threaten its chemical manufacture’s profits, the next generation of GMO crops are being keyed to the pesticide dicamba, sold commercially as XtendiMax® – and poised to be the next glyphosate. Regulatory agencies have historically been quick to approve products but slow to reconsider regulations after the decades of accumulated harms become apparent.”

They add that the entrenched asymmetries between public and ecological health and fast-to-market new chemicals is exacerbated by the seeming lack of institutionalised precautionary policies.

According to environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason, these ‘entrenched asymmetries’ result from the corporate capture of key policy-making bodies and their subversion by agri-food oligopolies.

In her new report, ‘Why Does Bayer Crop Science Control Chemicals in Brexit Britain’, she states that Bayer is having secret meetings with the British government to determine which agrochemicals are to be used after Brexit once Britain is ‘free’ of EU restrictions and becomes as deregulated as the US.

Such collusion comes as little surprise to Mason who says the government’s ‘strategy for UK life sciences’ is already dependent on funding from pharmaceutical corporations and the pesticides industry:

“Syngenta’s parent company is AstraZeneca. In 2010, Syngenta and AstraZeneca were represented on the UK Advisory Committee on Pesticides and the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Foods, Consumer Products and the Environment. The founder of Syngenta, Michael Pragnell CBE, was the Chairman of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) from 2011-2017. CRUK started by giving money (£450 million/year) to the Government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences and AstraZeneca provided 22 compounds to academic research to develop medicines. AstraZeneca manufactures six different anti-cancer drugs mainly aimed at breast and prostate cancer.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Society Is Only As Free As Its Most Troublesome Political Dissident

A Society Is Only As Free As Its Most Troublesome Political Dissident

You wouldn’t know it from any western mass media reporting as of this writing, but musician Roger Waters is about to perform the iconic Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here” in front of the office of British Home Secretary Priti Patel in order to draw attention to the persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Earlier this year, billionaire Richard Branson staged a “Live Aid”-stye concert in Colombia near the Venezuela border with the purported goal of helping the Venezuelan people. In reality the stunt was nothing other than a ploy to advance the entirely false narratives that President Maduro was blockading bridges and turning away all foreign aid, and the funds raised ended up being embezzledby the Trump-backed regime change opposition group led by US puppet Juan Guaido. The British mass media, however, went absolutely bananas over the story. Each word in this sentence ishyperlinked to a different story about the concert from mass media outlets in the UK alone. And that was a concert on the other side of the planet, while the Assange event is happening right in London, in front of the office of a prominent British official, featuring one of the greatest British rock musicians of all time.

This discrepancy tells you everything you need to know about the so-called “free press” in western society, and indeed about western society itself.

This discrepancy tells you everything you need to know about the so-called “free press” in western society, and indeed about western society itself.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Elites “Going Rogue” Suggests The Global Neoliberal Architecture Is Collapsing

Elites “Going Rogue” Suggests The Global Neoliberal Architecture Is Collapsing

Listen carefully. That is the sound of going rogue – and bond yields further through the floor.

Yesterday UK PM Boris Johnson announced he is going to prorogue–or close–Parliament, meaning that when MPs come back to sit next week they will only do so briefly, and will then not return until 14 October, when there will be a new Queen’s Speech to launch BoJo’s slate of legislation as the new PM. So far, so technical. Yet what this effectively means is that there will be a very narrow window next week, and then a slightly larger one in the final two weeks of October, for Parliament to act to prevent Hard Brexit on Halloween.

This is explosive and unprecedented stuff, politically. The British constitution is largely unwritten and so allows wiggle room, and the government insists they have checked the legality of all they are proposing; nonetheless, as the press and opposition note, it smells awful. This is clearly a case of Erskine May (the ‘parliamentary bible’ that looks and sounds like it belongs in a Harry Potter tale) turning into Erskine Maybe or Erskine Might.

Indeed, BoJo is being accused of a “coup”, a “constitutional outrage”, an “abomination”, and of being a “tinpot dictator”, though this being the UK, perhaps that should be “teapot”; but there is not just tea but a genuinely revolutionary atmosphere brewing. Bob Kerslake, former head of the civil service, is quoted in the Guardian as stating:

We are reaching the point where the civil service must consider putting its stewardship of the country ahead of service to the government of the day.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Mass Surveillance: NJ Cops Turn Individuals’ Phones Into Spying Devices

MASS SURVEILLANCE: NJ COPS TURN INDIVIDUALS’ PHONES INTO SPYING DEVICES

It’s for their own good, of course! A New Jersey police department has unveiled technology that will allow 911 operators to stream video from callers smartphones.

For the time being, callers have to turn on the live video stream, meaning they are consenting and giving the police permission to see what’s happening as they call. This is the first step to automatic surveillance upon calling people who are assumed to be there to help. According to RT, the technology allows the 911 operators to use the phone’s camera and microphone. This is the first step down a very slippery slope.

Police Drop “Crime Prediction” Software, But Not Because It’s Orwellian

911eye, developed by Capita Secure Solutions and Services in conjunction with West Midlands Fire Service in the UK, represents a step toward a terrifying surveillance infrastructure that can turn any internet-capable device into a remote-activated surveillance tool. West Midlands Police were the first to embrace “pre-crime” technology in the UK, developing the National Data Analytics Solution to sniff out potential offenders and divert them with ostensibly therapeutic “interventions.”

If the fact that it was developed by the people behind the real-life version of ‘Minority Report’ isn’t enough reason to give 911eye a wide berth, take a look at Carbyne911, one of its competitors. Funded by deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein through former Israeli PM Ehud Barak, Carbyne911 markets itself as the solution to mass shootings. The program – founded by current and former Israeli intelligence personnel, which isn’t at all worrisome given that this country spies on the US so extensively it scares Congress – lets emergency dispatchers commandeer the camera and microphone of any internet-capable device within a certain range of the person who made the call. –RT

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Boris Johnson, GMOs and Glyphosate: Irresponsible, Negligent and Criminal?

Boris Johnson, GMOs and Glyphosate: Irresponsible, Negligent and Criminal?  

Photograph Source: Richard Humphrey – CC BY-SA 2.0

In his first speech to parliament as British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said: “Let’s start now to liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules and let’s develop the blight-resistant crops that will feed the world.”

Johnson reads from a well-rehearsed script. The ‘GM will feed the world mantra’ is pure industry spin. There is already enough food being produced to feed the global population yet around 830 million are classed as hungry. Feeding the world effectively, sustainably and equitably involves addressing the in-built injustices of the global food system.

The never-ending push to force GM on the public under the guise of saving humanity is a diversion that leaves intact the root causes of world hunger and undernutrition: neoliberal deregulation and privatisation policies, unfair WTO rules, poverty, land rights issues, World Bank/IMF geopolitical lending strategies and the transformation of food secure regions into food deficit ones, etc.

Even in regions where productivity in agriculture lags behind or concerns exist about climate change, numerous high-level reports have recommended that (non-GMO) agroecological practices should be encouraged to enhance biodiversity and deal with food and climate crises.

However, pro-Brexiteer Conservative politicians talk of the essential need for Britain and the world to adopt GM is little more than an attempt to justify a post-Brexit trade deal with Washington that will effectively incorporate the UK into the US’s regulatory food regime. The type of ‘liberation’ Johnson really means is the UK adopting unassessed GM crops and food and a gutting of food safety and environmental standards.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Inflationary Financing and GDP

INFLATIONARY FINANCING AND GDP

This article demonstrates that only government borrowing in the US and UK drives GDP growth. This surprising conclusion is confirmed by long-run statistics. GDP does not represent economic progress, nor does it include the expansion of activity in the non-financial private sector, because that marries up with larger trade deficits, which are excluded from GDP. These findings have important implications for how the global downturn will be reflected in national statistics for the US and UK and the eventual prospects for the dollar and sterling.

Introduction

We tend to think of a nation’s accounts as being split between government and the private sector. It is for this reason that key tests of a nation’s economic sustainability and prospects for the currency are measures such as a government’s share of a nation’s economic output, and the level of government debt relative to gross domestic product.

While there is value in statistics of this sort, it is principally to give a quick overview in comparisons with other nations. For a more valuable analysis it is always worthwhile following different analytical approaches in assessing the prospective evolution of a currency’s future purchasing power.

Bald comparisons between government and non-government activity are a bad indicator of the true position. A more practical approach would admit that government finances are inextricably linked with the private sector. As Robert Louis Stevenson might have put it, a public servant is a Mr Hyde, who is a non-productive cost on productive society, while being a Doctor Jekyll spending his salary into the private sector as a consumer and contributing to a nation’s production in a demand role. The source of Mr Hyde’s income is the production of others, and increasingly his pay is made up by the debasement of everyone’s currency. Governments also spend money acquiring private sector goods and services, further distorting the overall picture. It all takes some untangling, a long way beyond a simplistic or conventional approach.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

BigBrotherWatch: Facial Recognition ‘Epidemic’ in the UK

BigBrotherWatch: Facial Recognition ‘Epidemic’ in the UK

BigBrotherWatch: Facial Recognition ‘Epidemic’ in the UK

At TruePublica we have written endlessly about the continued slow strangulation of civil liberties and human rights in Britain. We have warned about the rise of a techno-Stasi-state where technology is harnessed and used against civilians without any debate or indeed any real legal framework.  We have alerted the public on the illegal mass data collections by the government and subsequent loss of much it by MI5 who should not have had it all in the first place. We warned against ‘digital strip searches‘ – an activity of the police of the victims in rape cases, and the fact that Britain is becoming a database state. At TruePublica we have tried to press home the story that surveillance by the state on such a scale, described as the most intrusive in the Western world – is not just illegal, it’s immoral and dangerous. (see our surveillance database HERE).

Here is more evidence of just how dangerous and out of hand this creeping surveillance architecture is becoming. An investigation by Big Brother Watch has uncovered a facial recognition ‘epidemic’ across privately owned sites in the UK. The civil liberties campaign group has found major property developers, shopping centres, museums, conference centres and casinos using the technology in the UK.

Millions of shoppers scanned

Their investigation uncovered the use of live facial recognition in Sheffield’s Meadowhall, one of the biggest shopping centres in the North of England, in secret police trials that took place last year. The trial could have scanned the faces of over 2 million visitors.

The shopping centre is owned by British Land, which owns large areas within London including parts of Paddington, Broadgate, Canada Water and Ealing Broadway. Each site’s privacy policy says facial recognition may be in use, although British Land insists only Meadowhall has used the surveillance so far.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Another Tanker With Iranian Oil Now Headed For Syria, Intel Sources Say

Another Tanker With Iranian Oil Now Headed For Syria, Intel Sources Say

A new report suggests we could be headed toward yet another Grace 1-type incident and showdown involving an Iranian tanker intercept by US or UK forces.

A tanker full of Iranian oil is said to be currently on its way to Dubai, with an ultimate offload destination of its 600,000 barrels of oil in Syria. According to the breaking Fox report, citing unnamed Western intelligence sources:

The Bonita Queen loaded 600,000 barrels of crude oil on August 2 near the Iranian coast at Kharg Island. Shortly after, the tanker was de-flagged by the country of St. Kitts and Nevis, fearing retaliatory U.S. sanctions.

The vessel is now headed to Dubai, where it will refuel before beginning a months-long journey around the horn of Africa, through the Mediterranean and to the shores of Syria.

Bonita Queen tanker, via Baltic Shipping

The Bonita Queen, according to its reported route, intends to link up with two Syrian-owned tankers in the Mediterranean in the coming months, where it will conduct a ship-to-ship transfer of the Iran-sourced crude. 

Analysts have claimed to identify the Syrian tankers as the “Kader” and “Jasmine” — described as owned by a businessman said to be close to Assad, Muhammad al-Qatirji. Qatirji and his firm, the Qatirji Company, are under sanction by the US Treasury.

We can’t say for sure where Bonita Queen is going because she’s still anchored off of Larak Island in the Strait of Hormuz. There are three other vessels currently en route to Syria. Also, BQ still doesn’t officially have an Iranian flag, and without it she’ll risk arrest at Suez https://twitter.com/HezbollahWatch/status/1163891213830959105 …

https://www.ranian-oil-syria-sanctions 

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British colonialism laid the ground for the crises in Hong Kong and Kashmir

British colonialism laid the ground for the crises in Hong Kong and Kashmir

British colonialism laid the ground for the crises in Hong Kong and Kashmir
© REUTERS/Thomas Peter; © REUTERS/Mohsin Raza 

Though distance-wise Hong Kong and Kashmir may be about 4,000km (2,485 miles) apart, they have in common a history of being scarred by the crimes of British colonialism.

This history and those scars cannot be abstracted when it comes to grasping the nettle of the crises that have engulfed both places now because, without factoring this in, no serious analysis can be undertaken and no salutary lessons will be learned.

Starting with Hong Kong, when senior Conservative Party MP and former British Army officer Tom Tugendhatrecently suggested that the people of Hong Kong should be granted UK citizenship (regardless of whether they want it or not) as a form of protection from Beijing, he provided the world with an insight into the colonial mind of the British establishment.ALSO ON RT.COMHong Kong phooey! Would you like any hypocrisy with that?

In making this ludicrous suggestion, amounting to an outrageous imposition of British sovereignty over the city, Mr Tugendhat revealed that to him China should know its rightful place as a lesser power. In this he has been joined by the UK’s former governor of Hong Kong, Lord Patten of Barnes (I promise you, I’m not making this up), who with astonishing arrogance has called for a British commission of inquiry to be established to look into the unrest, with particular emphasis on the actions of the Hong Kong police.

Both Tom Tugendhat and Lore Patten could, to all intents, have been standing on the shoulders of Lord George Macartney, the man who led Britain’s first ever trade delegation to China in 1792 on the orders of King George III.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran Seizes Foreign Oil Tanker Accused Of Smuggling Fuel

Iran Seizes Foreign Oil Tanker Accused Of Smuggling Fuel

In what will be seen as another escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf on July 31, adding to rising concerns about the safety of shipping in a region crucial to oil exports.

The vessel – the third foreign ship seized by Iran in the Gulf since July 14 in response to a UK seizure of Iran’s own ship – is suspected of smuggling a large volume of fuel, the Guards said on their Sepah News portal according to Bloomberg. They did not, however, give any details about the flag or nationality of the ship or its operator.

The ship’s seizure took place last Wednesday, Sepah News, the Revolutionary Guard’s official news service, reported, a day after United Arab Emirates officials traveled to Iran to discuss maritime border cooperation and the flow of shipping traffic, including illegal movements.

The ship was carrying 700,000 liters (4,403 barrels) of smuggled fuel when it was seized near Farsi Island in the western part of the Gulf, off Iran’s southwestern coast, Sepah News reported. The island is located about 400 miles (640 kilometers) from the Strait of Hormuz, the volatile center of Iran’s standoff with the West in recent weeks. Iran’s state-run Press TV reported that the seized ship is an Iraqi tanker that was delivering the fuel to some Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian state news agency IRNA reported that a video of the moment the vessel was seized showed it was Iraqi, although as the WSJ notes, maritime confrontations between Iran and Iraq are considered rare. The Iraqi ship’s seizure would follow July’s visit to Tehran by Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who has sought to ease tensions between the U.S. and Iran, both close allies of Iraq.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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