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California Bans State-Sponsored Travel to Iowa over Refusal to Provide Medicaid Coverage for Gender-Reassignment Surgeries

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 13:25

California Bans State-Sponsored Travel to Iowa over Refusal to Provide Medicaid Coverage for Gender-Reassignment SurgeriesCalifornia added an eleventh state to its travel blacklist on Friday, banning state-sponsored travel to Iowa over that state's refusal to cover gender-transition surgeries under its Medicaid program.California attorney general Xavier Becerra announced the decision to add Iowa to the travel-ban list, which takes effect October 4 and means public employees and college students will not be able to travel to Iowa on the taxpayer's dime.In May, Iowa governor Kim Reynolds signed a law blocking Medicaid from paying for gender-reassignment surgeries despite the state Supreme Court's ruling earlier this year in favor of charging taxpayers for the procedures. Gender identity is a protected characteristic under Iowa's Civil Rights Act."The Iowa Legislature has reversed course on what was settled law under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, repealing protections for those seeking gender-affirming healthcare," Becerra said in a statement. "California has taken an unambiguous stand against discrimination and government actions that would enable it."California's travel blacklist stems from a 2016 law allowing the Golden State to ban state travel to other U.S. states that roll back protections for LGBT citizens. Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Kentucky are also on the list.

A new image of a mysterious object careening toward our solar system strongly suggests it's the first comet from another star system

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 13:25

A new image of a mysterious object careening toward our solar system strongly suggests it's the first comet from another star systemC/2019 Q4 is likely the first comet ever detected that came from another star system. Our clearest image of it shows its dust cloud and gas tail.

Judge Refuses to Scrap Plea Deal That Protected Jeffrey Epstein’s Co-Conspirators

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 13:04

Judge Refuses to Scrap Plea Deal That Protected Jeffrey Epstein’s Co-ConspiratorsPhoto Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyA federal judge refused to scrap the controversial plea deal that granted immunity to Jeffrey Epstein and his co-conspirators, seven months after ruling that it had violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act.Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra ruled that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami under Alexander Acosta—who later became President Trump's labor secretary—broke the law in 2007 when it devised Epstein’s secret sweetheart deal without notifying victims. The ruling was seen as a huge victory for Jane Does 1 and 2, who sued the government in 2008, alleging the deal violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by keeping them in the dark on the negotiations with Epstein.But in his ruling on Monday, Marra rejected most of the victims' requests for remedies, including their demand that the government turn over FBI records related to the Epstein investigation and strike the immunity provision for Epstein's alleged co-conspirators.Four women were singled out for immunity in the 2007 plea deal—in addition to other potential unnamed accomplices—after victims identified them as recruiters who allegedly helped procure underage girls for the financier's pleasure. The women were identified in the document as “including but not limited to Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova."The plea deal gained national attention in July after Epstein’s arrest in New York, where he was charged with sex trafficking and one count of sex-trafficking conspiracy by Manhattan federal prosecutors. He pleaded not guilty and his lawyers continued to fight to uphold the 2007 plea deal in Florida, arguing that the New York case was an improper "do-over" of the Florida charges. But Epstein's death in August by apparent jailhouse suicide upended the New York investigation, even as prosecutors vowed to continue digging into Epstein's underage sex trafficking ring.Send The Daily Beast a TipSteven Mnuchin’s Mysterious Link to Creepy Epstein Model ScoutOn Monday, Marra denied Jane Does' request to rescind the plea deal's immunity provisions from Epstein’s alleged accomplices. He stated that the co-conspirators were not involved in active litigation and were non-parties to the case against the government. "The question of the validity of the non-prosecution provisions of the NPA as they relate to the alleged co-conspirators will have to be litigated with their participation if any prosecution against them is ever brought," he wrote. "Any decision by this Court on that question is meaningless without their participation in this proceeding."The judge also denied the victims' request for FBI files related to the 2008 investigation into Epstein and his alleged co-conspirators, stating that, "it is also a matter of public knowledge that there is an ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice relative those individuals. The FBI’s documents, to the extent they were not otherwise protected by attorney/client or work product privileges, in all likelihood, are relevant to that ongoing investigation."Additionally, Marra denied the request for a hearing for the victims with Acosta present, stating the former U.S. Attorney is now a “private citizen.” He also rejected awarding attorneys’ fees to the victims or forcing the government to pay for damages associated with their decade-long fight. Despite the mounting legal bill, Marra said that Florida prosecutors did not act in bad faith during the deal and therefore should not have to monetarily compensate Jane Does 1 and 2.Marra concluded his opinion Monday by hoping the women "may take solace, however, in the fact that this litigation has brought national attention to the Crime Victims’ Rights Act and the importance of victims in the criminal justice system.” Highlighting that importance, Marra did order the government to comply with the women’s request for “training for employees in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Florida about the CVRA." Prosecutors are expected to immediately begin training on the proper treatment of crime victims. The victims were also granted their request to meet with U.S. attorneys and the Department of Justice to discuss the decision to resolve the Epstein case. “[The case] has also resulted in the United States Department of Justice acknowledging its shortcomings in dealing with crime victims, and its promise to better train its prosecutors regarding the rights of victims under the CVRA in the future,” the judge wrote, adding the rulings “rendered during the course of this litigation likely played some role, however small it may have been, in the initiation of criminal charges against Mr. Epstein in the Southern District of New York.”  * * *When Epstein was arrested in New York, the charges were a grim echo of what he faced in 2007, when he was accused of sexually abusing dozens of minor girls. Palm Beach police launched their investigation in March 2005, when a 14-year-old girl reported that a man named “Jeff” molested her at his home on El Brillo Way. The girl said she was introduced to Epstein by one of his recruiters, Haley Robson. (“Haley offers these girls a way to make fast cash. The man starts with a massage. If he likes them, he keeps them around and does more,” an early police report stated.)Epstein allegedly procured his alleged victims through a “pyramid abuse scheme,” as one victims’ attorney called it in civil court filings, by paying the girls $200 to $300 in cash for each new underage victim they brought to his lair. The teens made $200 to $300, and sometimes up to $1,000, for giving the massages, which in some cases led to rape, according to court documents.Ultimately, Epstein was accused of sexually assaulting more than 40 minor girls at his Palm Beach mansion after hiring them to give him “massages.” Police say that during these encounters, Epstein forced the girls to undress before he molested them. In some instances, Epstein allegedly had sex with the girls or ordered them to have sex with one of his co-conspirators, a young woman he described as his Yugoslavian “sex slave.”In 2006, local cops asked the FBI to look into allegations that Epstein and his crew of personal assistants used the facilities of interstate commerce to coerce girls ages 14 to 17 into illicit sexual activity. By May 2007, the U.S. Attorney’s Office had drafted an 82-page prosecution memo and 53-page indictment against Epstein. But Epstein’s all-star legal team quickly got in touch with prosecutors and penned lengthy letters arguing he committed no federal crimes. They also tried to discredit the girls by supplying dossiers on their MySpace pages, which allegedly indicated drug use and other unsavory behavior, and supposed run-ins with police. “While we have never intended to and do not here seek gratuitously to cast aspersions on any of the witnesses ... we have been constrained to point out the fact that the alleged victims chose to present themselves to the world through MySpace profiles with self-selected monikers such as ‘Pimp Juice,’” stated one February 2007 letter, signed by Epstein lawyer Gerald Lefcourt. Lefcourt argued the state attorney in Palm Beach had taken Epstein’s case to a grand jury, rather than filing charges, because the victims “have serious credibility problems, including damaging histories of lies, illegal drug use and crime.”In a July 2007 letter, Lefcourt and fellow Epstein lawyer Alan Dershowitz touted Epstein’s philanthropic endeavors, including his relationship with former President Bill Clinton, with whom Epstein traveled to Africa to address the AIDS crisis. They also claimed Epstein “was part of the original group that conceived the Clinton Global Initiative.”In September 2007, Epstein’s lawyers and prosecutors collaborated to find a lesser criminal charge to which Epstein could plead guilty. As part of the NPA signed on Sept. 24, 2007, Epstein agreed to plead guilty to the two misdemeanors in state court. The NPA granted immunity to Epstein’s co-conspirators and included provisions ensuring it would be secreted from the public. As the months passed, Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 believed the feds were still pursuing their case. In January 2008, the FBI sent out victim notification letters informing the women their “case is currently under investigation” and “this can be a lengthy process and we request your continued patience while we conduct a thorough investigation.” Another victim, Jane Doe 5, received a similar letter in May 2008.Yet Another Journalist Who Accepted Favors From Jeffrey EpsteinREVEALED: We Found Billionaire Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s Secret CharityBrad Edwards, an attorney for the Jane Does, contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office to discuss the possibility of federal charges against Epstein. That June, Edwards “was led to believe federal charges could still be filed, with no mention whatsoever of the existence of the NPA or any other possible resolution to the case,” Judge Marra’s February ruling noted.On June 30, 2008, Epstein entered his plea in state court. Instead of pursuing federal charges of sex trafficking of children, which could have landed Epstein in prison for decades, prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to two minor state charges of solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution. Jane Doe 1 filed an emergency petition to enforce her rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act on July 7, 2008. The victims didn’t receive a copy of the NPA until Aug. 28, 2008.“Particularly problematic was the Government’s decision to conceal the existence of the NPA and mislead the victims to believe that federal prosecution was still a possibility,” Judge Marra wrote in his February order declaring the NPA illegal. “When the Government gives information to victims, it cannot be misleading. While the Government spent untold hours negotiating the terms and implications of the NPA with Epstein’s attorneys, scant information was shared with victims. Instead, the victims were told to be ‘patient’ while the investigation proceeded.”Meanwhile, Epstein served 13 months of an 18-month prison sentence (much of it on a cushy work leave, during which time he allegedly continued to abuse young girls), then paid settlements to several victims, and became a registered sex offender. In one January 2015 declaration, Jane Doe 1 stated that Epstein molested her dozens of times from 2002 to 2005 at his Palm Beach home.“If I had been told about a non-prosecution agreement, I would have objected,” Jane Doe said. “Criminal prosecution of Epstein for crimes against me was extremely important to me. I wanted to be consulted by the prosecutors before any resolution.”During the FBI’s investigation of Epstein, Jane Doe said, the billionaire’s investigators trailed her and harassed her but she continued to cooperate with authorities. “I wanted to cooperate in the prosecution more than anything else in my life; I was scared of Epstein; I was scared of what he had done to me and others, and of how he was continuing to harass me, and also what he could do to me and others,” Jane Doe stated.She said Epstein “should be treated the same as other defendants with less money and connections are treated for these crimes.”After Marra ruled in February of this year that the plea deal violated the CVRA, the government argued the court should “give victims a voice in the criminal justice process, but not decision-making authority over prosecution decisions.” Rescinding the non-prosecution agreement, they claimed, would risk “unintended harm to the victims” who wished to remain private and not participate in any new investigation.“There are instances when victims of a crime or third parties may disagree with a prosecutor’s decision, but that decision nevertheless remains with the prosecutor and her supervisors, and this discretion is expressly preserved in the CVRA,” wrote Byung J. Pak, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, which represents the government in the Jane Doe case. Pak was nominated by President Trump in 2017.In his ruling on Monday, Marra largely agreed with the government's recommendations. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Boy Scout leader sang naked in front of kids, and organization failed to investigate: Lawsuit

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 13:03

 LawsuitA Boy Scout leader who was accused of singing naked in front of several young boys was not investigated by his troop despite multiple complaints.

Newly Appointed Women’s March Board Member Accused FBI of Recruiting for ISIS

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 12:51

Newly Appointed Women’s March Board Member Accused FBI of Recruiting for ISISThe Women's March announced the introduction of 16 new members to its board on Monday, one of whom once accused the FBI of recruiting for ISIS.Zahra Billoo, a civil-rights attorney who is also the director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations's San Francisco chapter, made the accusation in a 2015 tweet.> I'm more afraid of racist Zionists who support Apartheid Israel than of the mentally ill young people the FBI recruits to join ISIS. CVE> > -- Zahra Billoo (@ZahraBilloo) February 18, 2015Billoo did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.The news comes as the Women's March announced the departure of former organizers Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, and Bob Bland following allegations of anti-Semitism within the group's leadership.Mallory was condemned after appearing in rallies with Louis Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam. According to a report in Tablet magazine, she also spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories at the first organizers' meeting of the Women's March, claiming that Jews were leaders in the African slave trade. One of the group's original leaders, Carmen Perez, is staying on despite the fact that she too has been accused of blaming Jews for the slave trade.Sarsour, also a supporter of Farrakhan, is active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which advocates an economic boycott of Israel. She was recently hired by Bernie Sanders to work on his presidential campaign.

'A war zone': Propane explosion kills firefighter, injures 6 others, levels building in Maine

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 12:45

 Propane explosion kills firefighter, injures 6 others, levels building in MaineA firefighter was killed and at least six others were injured when a powerful propane explosion destroyed a new building Monday in Farmington, Maine.

Former Ohio judge gets life in prison for killing ex-wife in front of daughters

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 12:38

Former Ohio judge gets life in prison for killing ex-wife in front of daughtersA former Ohio judge was given life in prison last week over the brutal 2018 stabbing death of his ex-wife and the mother of his children.

California governor acts to stem 'epidemic' of youth vaping

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 12:32

California governor acts to stem 'epidemic' of youth vapingCalifornia's governor on Monday ordered a public awareness campaign on health risks from vaping, part of a multi-pronged effort to combat what he called a "youth epidemic," but said he lacked authority to impose a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. Governor Gavin Newsom, acting a day after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced such a ban, became the latest politician seeking to crack down on e-cigarettes and other electronic inhaling - or vaping - devices, which have exposed a new generation of young people to nicotine hazards. "We must take immediate action to meet the urgency behind this public health crisis and youth epidemic," said Newsom, who leads the most populous U.S. state.

Mexico: 5 shot dead in Tabasco bar amid holiday celebrations

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 12:15

 5 shot dead in Tabasco bar amid holiday celebrationsThe prosecutor's office in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco said in a statement that the victims were all adult males, three of them brothers. It added that the attack took place in Rio Tinto, outside the state capital of Villahermosa. The federal Department of Security and Citizen Protection had said previously that the shootings happened in Villahermosa.

GOP 2020 candidate Joe Walsh: 'The Republican Party is a cult'

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:55

 'The Republican Party is a cult'Republican leaders in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas have all canceled their party's presidential primary.

Spain won't extradite Venezuela's ex-spymaster to US

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:31

Spain won't extradite Venezuela's ex-spymaster to USSpain's National Court on Monday rejected the extradition to the United States of a former Venezuelan military spy chief accused of drug smuggling and other charges. The court released retired Maj. Gen. Hugo Carvajal, who denies the charges and says that they were politically motivated. María Dolores Argüelles, a lawyer for Carvajal, said she had no immediate details of the ruling beyond that a release order had been issued for the retired general.

Judge's stern barks at dogfighting defendants prompt appeals

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:24

Judge's stern barks at dogfighting defendants prompt appealsThe judge didn't mince words when it came time to sentence five North Carolina men in an illegal dogfighting operation that involved more than 150 pit bulls. "Either the dogs have to be eliminated from the world or the people who fight the dogs or both, but there needs to be an intervention by the law and it's going to start here," U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle said. The men are now using the judge's words to appeal their sentences, arguing that he should have taken himself off the case because of his "deep-seated antagonism" toward people who engage in dogfighting and the pit bull breed itself.

Obama’s team lines up to defend Andrew McCabe in court

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:24

Obama’s team lines up to defend Andrew McCabe in courtObama-era national security leaders would testify on behalf of McCabe should he face trial over allegations that he misled officials about leaks to the media.

Best Bar Tools for Your Home Bar

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:24

Best Bar Tools for Your Home Bar

IS leader calls on fighters to free detained comrades

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:23

IS leader calls on fighters to free detained comradesThe leader of the Islamic State group released a new alleged audio recording Monday calling on members of the extremist group to do all they can to free IS detainees and women held in jails and camps. The purported audio by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he also said that his group is carrying out attacks in different countries, was his first public statement since April, when the shadowy leader appeared in a video for the first time in five years. With a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head, al-Baghdadi is the world's most wanted man, responsible for steering his chillingly violent organization into mass slaughter of opponents and directing and inspiring terror attacks across continents and in the heart of Europe.

China signals veto in standoff with U.S. over Afghanistan U.N. mission: diplomats

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:16

 diplomatsChina and the United States are deadlocked over a U.N. Security Council resolution to extend the world body's political mission in Afghanistan, with Beijing signaling it will cast a veto because there is no reference to its global Belt and Road infrastructure project, diplomats said on Monday. A planned vote on Monday by the 15-member Security Council to renew the mission, known as UNAMA, was delayed to Tuesday to allow for further negotiations.

New tropical system likely to join Humberto in Atlantic

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:15

New tropical system likely to join Humberto in AtlanticForecasters continued to closely monitor a tropical disturbance over the open Atlantic Monday. The system, dubbed 97L, first caught the eye of meteorologists late last week and they caution that further development is expected. AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski said the system bears watching for progression to a tropical depression and perhaps even the ninth named storm of the Atlantic season."We expect this feature to become a tropical depression and [it] may go on to become Tropical Storm Imelda later this week," according to Kottlowski."The evolving tropical feature is projected to pass just east and north of the Leeward Islands on Friday," he added.As of 2 p.m. EDT Monday, the National Hurricane Center said the system was located about 1,200 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and has about a 90% chance of development over the next five days. This image, taken during Monday midday, Sept. 16, 2019, shows part of the tropical Atlantic Basin. Africa can be seen to the right and South America is visible to the lower left. The feature of interest is a patch of clouds in the middle and slightly closer to South America than Africa. (NOAA/GOES-East) "Early indications suggest this feature will track east of the United States mainland, but it is way too early to say with confidence as to exactly where it will track beyond Friday," Kottlowski said. Interests over the Leeward Islands should monitor the progress of this feature for an uptick in showers and thunderstorms late this week.As the track is uncertain, other areas of the Caribbean and Bahamas should watch this system as it evolves.Meanwhile, a tropical wave will cause some showers and thunderstorms over the Leeward and Windward islands into Tuesday.Hurricane Humberto is forecast to pass close to Bermuda during the middle of this week as a Category 2 or Category 3 hurricane.Swells propagating southward from this distant hurricane can reach unprotected northern shores of the northern Caribbean islands in the form of large waves and strong rip currents this week.

Middle East Mystery Theater: Who Attacked Saudi Arabia's Oil Supply?

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:10

 Who Attacked Saudi Arabia's Oil Supply?The United States doesn't know how to respond to the attack on its ally's oil plant—or who to hold responsible for it.

Suspected Florida Serial Killer Linked to Murders of Four Women: Authorities

Yahoo News - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:00

 AuthoritiesPalm Beach County Sheriff's OfficeFlorida authorities have arrested a suspected serial killer believed to be responsible for the brutal murders of at least four women over the last 14 years.Robert Hayes, 37, was arrested and charged Sunday night with the grisly 2016 murder of 32-year-old Rachel Bey, whose body was found along a highway in Jupiter, Palm Beach County Sheriff Rich Bradshaw announced at a Monday press conference.“We’ve been able to take what we believe is a serial killer off our streets” Bradshaw said. “Had we not done this, we’re pretty certain he would have killed again.”While Hayes has only been charged with one murder, he’s suspected in at least three cold cases in Daytona, Florida, after semen found on Bey’s body matched DNA discovered on other victims. All of the victims—LaQuetta Gunther, 45, Julie Ann Green, 34, and Iwana Patton, 35—were found within a mile of each other in remote or wooded areas, and they had all suffered a .40-caliber gunshot wound to the head.Gary Ray Bowles, ‘I-95’ Serial Killer Who Preyed on Gay Men, Executed in FloridaPolice said that after his Sunday arrest, Hayes’ DNA was linked to two victims who were murdered between 2005 and 2007. Authorities previously said two of the victims were discovered with semen on their bodies.“At this point in time, we have not charged him yet...but we have linked him with forensic evidence to three of our murder victims,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said Monday, calling Hayes a “disgusting serial killer.”Police say Hayes may also be responsible for the murder of 30-year-old Stacey Gage, who was found fatally shot behind a church in 2008, but authorities have yet to find forensic evidence tying him to the slaying.“We don’t know at this point in time if it’s related. We’re still investigating that,” Capri said, adding that the multi-county investigation is “a team effort to get closure for these families and get this killer off the streets.”Authorities previously said Gunther, a painter, was last seen leaving her friend’s house on Dec. 24, 2005. Her partially nude body was found in an alleyway two days later, after she was shot “execution-style” in the back of the head. Family Sues Man They Say Left Their Daughter to Die on Florida HighwayOn Jan. 14, 2006, her friend Julie Green was reportedly found dead in a ditch at a construction site. Green had also been shot in the back of the head. Patton, a 35-year-old nursing assistant, was killed a month later in a similar fashion, authorities said, and her body was discovered in a remote area off busy Daytona Boulevard. Authorities said Monday that Hayes randomly targeted his victims, but it has been previously reported the three women all had a history of prostitution. Hayes, who was a student at Bethune Cookman University, was interviewed by Daytona homicide detectives in 2006. Capri said he was questioned about purchasing a gun “around the time of the murders” but there was no “physical or forensic evidence” linking him to the slayings.Unlike the other victims in Daytona, Bey was fatally strangled and found with multiple broken teeth and a broken jaw. Authorities believe she was dragged to the side of the highway where she was ultimately found on March 7, 2016, by utility workers.Investigators said Hayes moved to Palm Beach County from Daytona Beach around the time of Bey’s murder. Netflix’s Most Dangerous Show Travels Where Only Psychopaths DareThe Florida Department of Law Enforcement credited, DNA tests, genetic genealogy, and the diligence of local authorities for the arrest.  “Killers like Robert Tyrone Hayes are the reason genetic genealogy is so important to public safety,” FDLE spokesman Troy Walker said on Monday. “Without genetic genealogy, predators like Mr. Hayes will continue to live in our neighborhoods, visit our parks, our libraries, restaurants, and go to our nightlife and entertainment districts to continue to hunt for victims.”Hayes, who was charged with first-degree murder, was denied bail at his initial court appearance Monday. It is not immediately known if he has a lawyer. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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