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PMA newsletter - November 1997
Kia ora, this past month has been even busier than ever with a number of networking meetings in Wellington and increasing numbers of enquiries keeping us occupied with collecting and sending out information and reports. We have three new volunteers who we would like to especially welcome - Medini, Helena and Michelle; and thanks to Christine and Mike for their ongoing work for PMA.
Our efforts to 'contract out' columns for the PMA Newsletter have been rewarded this month with the NFIP report (Marcia Cassidy) and Nigeria Update (Michelle Morum) which we hope will appear in every issue in future; as well we have Bob Leonard's report on the national Anti-Bases Campaign meeting in mid-November. If you would like to contribute regular updates on your particular issue or focus, please do not hesitate to send them to us ! All contributions welcome.
There are a number of inserts with this newsletter as we are trying to catch up with petition circulating as well as other recent initiatives.
Please note - we would not usually circulate material produced by a political party, but after consultation we have made an exception in the case of the MAI petition (enclosed) because it is our understanding that no non-governmental organisation is planning on circulating one opposing the MAI, and it is a matter of considerable importance to the well-being of New Zealanders. Also note that the petition states that you must indicate if you do NOT want to receive Alliance mailings as a result of signing it.
Kia kaha until the next Newsletter ...
PMA Special General Meeting
You are invited to attend the PMA SGM which will be held on Saturday, 13 December at 10-30am in the Ernie Abbott Room, ground floor, Trades Hall, 126 Vivian Street, Wellington.
This meeting is to discuss (briefly we hope !) and agree on the updated constitution which has been revised to reflect changes in the laws relating to incorporated societies over the past fifteen years.
If you would like a copy of the constitution before the meeting, please send a large SAE to the office.
Things to do, news and views ...
Aziz Choudry (Gatt Watchdog) is taking a legal case against the SIS over the mysterious case of the botched break-in of his Christchurch home in July 1996. This happened while he was involved in an alternative trade forum critical of the APEC trade ministers meeting which was then about to be held in the city.
This challenge to call the SIS to account publicly for their dodgy operations is being supported by the newly formed Democratic Rights Defence Fund - if you wish to support this, or send donations to help bring this case, please write to the DRDF, PO Box 1905, Christchurch.
This has finally been released, as has the The Shape of NZ's Defence White Paper which is based on a six-year old policy paper. Winston Peters' scuppering of the purchase of the third ANZAC frigate prior to the release of the report meant that there are no great surprises in it - it is really just a continuation of the standard way of thinking about defence.
What would have been surprising and welcome would have been a genuine exploration of our security needs and an examination of why we need armed forces at all - a point highlighted by the sending of unarmed peacekeepers to Bougainville following progress in the peace settlement there.
For those of you who haven't seen the figures - an additional $663 million over the next five years is to go primarily to the airforce and army, although at present only the next two years' funding of $25 million then $96 million is confirmed.
What was perhaps more interesting than the figures was the coverage of it ... "Defence would get an extra $663 million during the next five years
to ease problems caused by prolonged cost-cutting, Defence Minister Paul East said yesterday" (Dominion , 14-11-97, our emphasis).
The editorial for the day started "Defence is an easy political issue for any NZ government to deal with - if it chooses to surrender to populism rather than do the right thing. Spending money on frigates, guns or fighter aircraft will never be a vote-winner, especially when lined up alongside health and education." So there you are - you populist peace people you, causing the government to surrender rather than do the right thing ! Oh but we wish that were true ...
And ... did you know that Australian officials were briefed about the contents of the Assessment TWO WEEKS before it was made public here ?
This is obviously NOT going to go away - during the past month the popular (but not populist it seems !) press was full of headlines such as ... "Navy with two frigates 'not a navy' " (16-10-97), "MPs warned of 'laughing stock' navy'" (17-10-97), and "Frigate decision a bad one says report" (13-11-97).
And the very latest from Paul East who told a business lunch meeting that leasing a frigate was a possible way to get a third frigate for the navy. Another possibility is that officials are going to "investigate the prospect of negotiating with Australia an arrangement under which NZ would buy an earlier ANZAC frigate which had been delivered to the Australian navy, and Australia would buy a further frigate at the end of the production line". If anyone can work out what this convoluted arrangement is in aid of - please let us know.
And an amusing footnote to the frigates saga - our enquiries to the Ministry of Defence over future stationing of an NZ frigate in the Gulf as part of the blockade against Iraq were met with the somewhat bitter comment that there were no plans to send a frigate to the Gulf as they are tied up in the Bougainville peacekeeping operation and ... "we DON'T have that many frigates you know" !
US Joint Chiefs of Staff visit
Joseph Ralston, vice-chair of the US JCS, is due to visit here in the second week of December - he will be the highest ranked US military officer to visit since the passing of the nuclear free legislation.
NZ military exercises
G ongoing - 11 - 24 November, Cygnet Globe, worldwide, high frequency signals communications organised by a British signals regiment; 14 - 24 November, Silver Cobra, Singapore, NZ troops to exercise with the Singapore Armed Forces; 2 September - 26 November, Tonga, NZ soldiers assisting the Tonga Defence force with infantry corps training.
Funding available for Waitangi Day Commemorations
If you or your group are planning commemorative events for Waitangi Day 1998 then you may be able to get funding from Te Tari Whenua (Dept of Internal Affairs) - they are inviting community organisations to submit applications for this, deadline is 13 Dec.
To find out more about this contact Roy Hoerara, DIA, tel (04) 494 0527, fax (04) 495 7287, <roy.hoerara@
Holidays Act submissions
The review of the Holidays Act is underway with a range of options being considered by the government which go from keeping it as it is through to swapping your holidays for pay. There is concern among unions and social justice groups that if the latter option becomes law, this will in effect mean some workers having no choice but to accept contracts with only one week of paid annual leave.
Submissions to the review are due in by 19 December to: Review of the Holidays Act, c/o Industrial Relations Service, Dept of Labour, PO Box 3705, Wellington. Fax (04) 915 4567 or <email@example.com>
Among those working to try and prevent changes to the Act are the Coalition for Wage Justice, a Wellington based coalition which has previously been working on raising the minimum wage. They can be reached at PO Box 11 891, Wellington, tel (04) 384 8963, fax (04) 384 8007.
A set-back on 17 November for those campaigning to keep Watercare's sewage pipeline off the waahi tapu Wiri Stonefields, with the Court of Appeal overturning the High Court judgment which had stopped the pipeline. The Court of Appeal judgment said that Maori cultural well-being is not decisive in deciding if works designated under the Resource Management Act should go ahead.
The local iwi are now asking for a judicial review of the process.
Stop bombing sacred sites !
and another waahi tapu under threat, this time the Volkner Rocks (near White Island) which are part of the Ngati Awa claim. The Chair of the Trust Board, Dr Hirini Moko Mead, said it had come as a nasty shock to discover the airforce and navy are still using the rocks for target practice, and Ngati Awa have asked the government to order an immediate halt to this destruction and to clean up the site by removing all shell cases from it.
the third and largest shipment is due to leave Japan on its way to France at the end of December according to Greenpeace sources. Although the route has not been identified, it is unlikely to go through the Panama Canal (shortest way) due to the level of protest by Caribbean countries in the past.
Perhaps it would be timely to get your notepaper out and write to the Japanese and French ambassadors reiterating the points against the plutonium shipments and asking that this one be cancelled.
Tino Rangatiratanga Day 28 October marked the 162nd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Well over 150 Taranaki People marched from Rangiatea (Maori Studies Dept.) to the city centre. They continued on to Pukeariki Landing for a day of celebration including Kapa Haka, Tai Chi, line dancing and much more.
Otautahi(Christchurch) celebrated with a stall in the Square and pamphleted the public, while
Otepoti(Dunedin) held a free lunch time concert with local artists sharing their musical talents.
12 November marked the sixth anniversary of the killings of over 270 East Timorese.
Tamaki Makaurau(Auckland) held a rally at QEII square, another demonstration will be held closer to 7 December (22 years of illegal Indonesian occupation). In
Whanga Nui A Tara(Wellington) a protest was staged outside the Indonesian embassy.
Otautahi(Christchurch) screened John Pilger's Death of a Nation with a demonstration in the Square, and took a letter to Qantas airways and Rupert Murdoch (who owns The Press). A further demonstration will take place on 5 December starting at the Square.
Otepoti(Dunedin) held a major concert, 'Artists for a Free East Timor' where 23 acts (over 100 performers) took to the stage including a special appearance from East Timorese activist/singer/songwriter Agio Pereira, Executive Director of the East Timor Relief Association. They also screened the uncut version of 'Death of a Nation ' ...
Action against Nike : because of its involvement in Indonesia (and abuse of Timorese and Indonesian workers) activists around Aotearoa participated in the International Day of Action against Nike, protesting and rejecting Nike products, sports stores and writing letters to the Rugby Union (the rumour was that the All Blacks were due to sign up with Nike).
Did you know a Nike 'worker' receives $1-36 a day to make a $3-40 pair of shoes, sold for over $150 - hey ! who's getting ripped off by who ??
Boycott Nike ! (and all other multinational money hungry bloodsuckers !). Heaps more info from Marcia Cassidy, tel (03) 477 3395, fax (03) 474 0736.
Action against arms to Indonesia
in Britain, on 12 November 9 persons entered the British Aerospace factory at Warton to hold a memorial service for the victims of the massacre in Dili in 1991, and to remember all East Timorese killed with BAe weapons. Following their arrest, the three British protesters were released on bail, the most recent report says that the six East Timorese are still in custody.
Blockaders wanted Persons with experience of NVDA are wanted by Sydney Friends of the Earth to assist with the Jabiluka blockade in March / April 1998. They suggest this would be an ideal time of year for a holiday in the Kakadu national park. Contact : John Hallam, FoE, fax + 61 2 9283 2005, <foesydney@peg.
radioactive waste store - secret government plans for this to be sited in a Hobart suburb were revealed on 13 November, community opposition is expected ...
Wik bill - opposition continues to grow against the Federal government's 10-point plan to extinguish native title with rallies and protests, and now opposition parties have filed over 400 amendments to it. These have to be considered in the Senate before the bill can pass through parliament. Amnesty International have issued a statement with a list of concerns about the bill;
Sea of Hands - the first event in Canberra in October attracted more than 1,000 people who placed a mosaic of 66,000 hands representing signatures of the Australian Citizen's Statement in support of Native Title on the lawns of Parliament House.
'Pitch Black' war games - led to protest rallies in Darwin at the window-shattering levels of noise pollution from military jets zooming over the city;
Boycott Kleenex ! - it is estimated that at least $200,000 contracts with Kimberly Clark Australia have been cancelled because of the boycott according to the Otways Ranges Environmental Network - and their Otway Forest Logging Shutdown weekend is on now;
Monash Tent City - 125 days anniversary has passed !
Sydney Olympics - in addition to the calls for a boycott from the Nyungah Circle of Elders, there are now protests over rent hikes and eviction of people living around the Olympic site; there have also been further reports released about the toxic contamination of the site by heavy metals, toxic chemicals and radioactive waste.
Malaysia: $34 million deal with Rosvoorzuzhenie and MiG to modernise Malaysia's MiG-29 fighter planes;
Singapore: Singapore's defence minister recently visited South Africa to sign an agreement relating to co-operation in military training, defence technology and peacekeeping operations. Also investigated a possible purchase of Rooivalk (South African) helicopters;
Taiwan: is seeking a $420 million contract in the US for pilot training and logistics support ($280 million to the US government for this), and spare parts for its F-16s from a variety of US arms manufacturers ($140 million);
South Korea: $90 million proposed deal with US arms manufacturers for a vertical launch system, a weapons direction system and other assorted radio, electronic, training, spare parts bits and pieces for S. Korea's new frigate (under construction);
Papua New Guinea: four helicopters, weapons and ammunition are still stored at the Tindal Air Force base (Northern Territory) awaiting a decision as to their disposal - these arms were on their way to PNG for the Sandline mercenary operation when it was aborted;
Sri Lanka: mystery still surrounds the fate of a ship carrying mortar bombs from the Zimbabwe Defence Industry to Sri Lanka, the ship was last spotted in Madagascar last May.;
Indonesia: the US Congress voted on 13 November to block the use of US arms in East Timor, the strongest yet condition attached to any future arms deals with Indonesia.
- also news that Indonesia is considering buying the South African made Rooivalk helicopter;
- British defence contracts with Indonesia are now close to approval, more news on this as it comes in.
(all figures are US $ unless otherwise stated)
is just finishing as we write, reports on the official bit of it and the further expansion of 'free trade', economic 'liberalisation' and all those other nasty little phrases will be in the next Newsletter .
Just some items which may interest you here ... more than $20 million was spent on security (this was the largest security operation in Canadian history); soldiers were especially trained in chemical and biological warfare procedures ... something for us to look forward to in 1999.
Student protests against the summit have been going on in Vancouver since at least mid-October - one of the pre-APEC protests which caused us great amusement was the demand by the University of British Colombia President for the arrest of students who had been playing road hockey in her driveway every day for the previous three weeks !
The Second International Women's Conference Against APEC attracted over 500 women from the Asia Pacific countries who issued a statement unanimously rejecting APEC and all it stands for; calling instead for fair trade, people-to-people co-operation, government regulation and control of the TNCs and other socially just policies.
Members of the national Anti-Bases Campaign met in the Marlborough region the weekend of 14 – 16 November to engage in a few activities focussed on Waihopai and its nefarious business.
Friday was Show Day in Canterbury, so the Christchurch contingent took advantage of the holiday to stage a lightning strike at the Waihopai base to set the mood for the weekend. We walked the few hundred meters from the farm gate to the main gate of the high security prison that holds the spies and protects them from the New Zealand public. The walk was refreshing not just because of the blustery nor'wester, but because it has been several years since we were last able to do that at an annual demonstration.
But this visit was not an annual demo; it was totally unexpected. There wasn't a cop in sight. We could have had our way with the place. But of course we preferred to behave in a 'childish' and peaceful manner. Our spy outfits did not fool Mr Bruce Miller, the officer in charge, as he did not treat our requests to apply for spy jobs seriously. Ever the good spook, Mr Miller remained amicable but tight-lipped as we plied him with questions about the base, including how soon the construction of the new dome would start. He also asked us to leave or he would call the cops. So we did.
Saturday was Blenheim Petition and Information Day. We inadvertently chose a local garden festival day to launch a petition in Waihopai's host city so the place was packed with people. Several ABCers ventured into the city centre for a couple of hours to pass out leaflets and gather signatures on the brand new petition to Parliament to abolish the GCSB and close Waihopai and Tangimoana.
We all agreed that it was a useful exercise. We got over a hundred signatures and distributed several hundred green leaflets explaining the functions of the GCSB and the base and our reasons for wanting them abolished.
Most Blenheimites knew about Waihopai and many were sympathetic to our cause. Not surprisingly, Blenheim is undoubtedly the best informed city in New Zealand about Waihopai. Even an ex-Army bloke signed the petition, complaining that Waihopai siphons off money that should go to the Army for more troops and weapons. We note in passing that frigates also are none too popular with the Army for some reason.
The remainder of the weekend was spent in meetings focused on the broader aspects of the campaign.
A copy of the petition will be available with the next PMA Newsletter.
Genetically engineered food
will continue to go unlabelled onto our shop shelves after the rejection by parliament of the Modified Foods Labelling Bill on 22 October.
Looking for a unique and unusual Christmas or summer solstice gift this year ? Why not give your very special friend/s a PMA pledge ? You simply make the pledge on their behalf, let us know their details and they in return will receive an amazing card letting them know about your unique gift, AND they'll get to receive our newsletters and other publications. Contact PMA for a pledge form now !
was the theme of the meeting of peace people in Wellington last week to discuss the latest threats to the people of Iraq, and to look at possible ways of helping ease the situation - both the threats of bombing from US and British forces and the effects of the seven year long sanctions now estimated to have killed over 1.5 million people.
While the situation appears to have been at least temporarily resolved without further bombing (but this could of course change between us writing and your reading this), it is not what one could call a lasting peaceful solution by any stretch of the imagination.
Agreement was reached on the following points to be raised in letters to the US ambassador and the British High Commissioner (and also to the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, asking them to raise these points with the US and British representatives) :
that there be no further military action against the people of Iraq, they have suffered enough; and that the current, and any future, crisis be resolved by diplomatic means only;
that inspectors from neutral countries (or representatives from all five permanent security council members, as suggested by Iraq) be used as that would result in a lessening of tension;
that the lifting of all sanctions (with the exception of those relating to weapons) be carried out forthwith;
that humanitarian aid particularly in the form of medical supplies be sent to the people of Iraq;
that the US and British governments desist from repeating this situation interminably into the future through their arming and support of what they later declare to be 'rogue' states.
It was also suggested that as the state with the most weapons of mass destruction, the US could lead by example and begin some genuine move towards disarmament and open all their weapons production facilities up to UN inspection; concern was also expressed about the possibility of Iran being the next target of US / British aggression.
On a more practical level, the meeting agreed to look into the possibility of 'adopting' a hospital in Iraq to try and send medical supplies to - PMA is following this up with the overseas groups who give people-to-people aid to Iraq to find out what would be most useful in this area. It was felt that this would enable peace people here to do something practical to assist and would also be something which could be used to publicise the effects of the sanctions, and the need for a permanent peaceful solution. We will let you know how this progresses.
There was considerable discussion about challenging the media coverage of the latest crisis - which has portrayed the US threats against Iraq as being 'triggered' by the expulsion of US weapons inspectors - however, this obscures the fact that in response to Iranian bombing in Iraq, the Iraqi government threatened the Iranian warplanes, which lead to US threats against Iraq which lead to ... the expulsions did not just come out of nowhere.
Finally on this - a petition is enclosed with this mailing, please return your filled in copy (!) to the address at the top of it.
Meanwhile ... more arms to the Gulf
an interesting mix of reports on weaponry goings on in the Gulf ... news from NBC that all Iraq's germ warfare experts were trained in Britain ... panic in the US over the proposed purchase by Iraq of six anti-spy plane radar systems from Czechoslovakia ... yet no panic at all about bids opening for the $1.2 billion wholly integrated military command system for Kuwait.
Meanwhile a new policy of 'preventative disarmament' (? we're not quite sure what to call it) has lead to the US purchase of 21 Mig-29 warplanes from Moldova to ... "keep them out of the hands of rogue states including Iran". Aha - we've just found the official US title for this, it is called the 'Co-operative Threat Reduction Programme'.
And jubilation amongst South African arms manufacturers at the latest crisis in the Gulf just as President Mandela is about to visit Saudi Arabia - the main purpose is said to be to negotiate an oil-for-arms swap worth around $1.6 billion.
The Dubai air show 97 (on now) is resulting in a frenzy of proposed arms purchases in the Gulf - Lord Gilbert has announced that Britain looks likely to 'win' defence contracts in excess of $100 million from the United Arab Emirates; the Anglo-French company Matra BAe Dynamics has interested the UAE in its 'family' of long range cruise missiles; and Abu Dhabi is looking for the best deal it can get to purchase 80 advanced combat jet fighter planes (estimated cost $6 billion).
Global arms trade snippets
the global arms trade expanded by 8% in real terms during 1996 to US$39.9 billion, most of this expansion was due to increased demand in East Asia and the Middle East ...
the UN 'Security Council' permanent members control at least 88.6% of the global arms export market ...
Indonesia is the fastest growing Asian arms importer, spending US$170 million in 1995 and US$ 700 million in 1996 ...
the US Congress has just approved the US defence authorisation bill (for the financial year from 1 October) of US$268.2 billion.
Nuclear Weapons abolition
We had intended to include a briefing paper with all the things you could do to advance the abolition of nuclear weapons ... however, the information for this has been flowing in and time has been short so have been unable to write the paper. If you are particularly interested in receiving the latest Alerts re this, or in having less urgent information emailed / faxed / posted to you, then please contact the PMA office and we'll add you to the list for this.
Thanks to those who responded to the alerts re the Malaysian resolution before the UN 1st Committee - while the NZ government could not be persuaded to co-sponsor it, at least they voted in support again. The resolution goes to the General Assembly on 5 December, so messages to the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade urging their continued support might be useful.
We currently have an alert re the soon to be established International Criminal Court and the proposal to make the use of all weapons of mass destruction a war crime. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the US (and other NATO states) wish to keep nuclear weapons out of the definition of weapons of mass destruction ...
The NZ government and Switzerland have put forward a wide definition (as proposed by the Intl Red Cross) which does not specify weapons types, so would give the Court much wider scope than a formulation which specifies actual weapons. For more information, contact PMA - the war crimes text will be discussed at the next ICC prep-com meeting in New York, 1 -12 December.
A2000 Local authority sign-ons
The latest news on local authority sign-ons to the Abolition 2000 statement for Aotearoa / New Zealand is that there are now five - Dunedin City, Hutt City, Porirua City, Tasman District and Wellington City. Please let us know if there are more .....
Sub-critical nuclear weapons tests
US tests- the next, 'Boomerang', is scheduled for the early part of next year, one of four sub-criticals scheduled for the 1998 financial year (October-October); news also that in preparing for the last one, 'Holog', there were 15 violations of the plutonium safety regulations where criticality limits were exceeded by workers at the Livermore Lab.
Russian tests- it has been confirmed that Russia conducted two rounds of sub-critical tests during 1996 and a further two this year.
October 1997 -Commonwealth Heads of Government Ministers decide on continuing suspension of Nigeria from the Commonwealth because of Nigeria's human rights standards.
The International Federation of Chemical Energy, Mine and General Workers Unions (ICEM) has called for action to free two detainees: Milton Dabibi and Frank Kokori. Both are being detained without charge or trail by the Nigerian Military regime. They are in poor health and being denied medical attention, access to layers and trade unions. ICEM have taken action against the delivery of selected Nigerian oil exports worldwide.
Acting President of Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni people (MOSOP) Ledum Mitee writes to Her Majesty the Queen requesting reconsideration of her planned visit to Shell Centre on November 10th. Shell's centenary celebrations falls a day after the anniversary of the judicial murder of MOSOP's leader Ken Saro-Wiwa and the 8 other activists. Shell has been criticised for involvement in the deaths and continuing repression of the Ogoni people.
November 1997- A question is to be raised in Parliament regarding New Zealand's position on CHOGM regarding the anniversary of the execution of the Ogoni 9.
November 10th 50,000 demonstrators peacefully protest at the second anniversary of the judicial murder of the Ogoni 9. 20 Ogoni persons are arrested by security agents, 50 other Ogoni are in the wanted list of the government.
Armed soldiers raid the offices of the Niger Delta Human Environmental rescue Organisation in Port Harcourt. The mother and sister of a student activist are arrested along with MK Akopo chairman of the Southern Minorities Movement.
The illegal Sanni Abacha regime is hosting a "World Conference of Mayors" in Abuja from November 16th - 18th. Many municipal leaders from around the world have been invited, the highest profile figure is Mayor Marion Barry of Washington DC. Michelle Morum
For more information contact : Chris Newson (c/o ECO), tel (04) 385 7545; <firstname.lastname@example.org>
International Buy Nothing Day- 28 November - unfortunately we have missed the deadline to advise you of the many activities around the country planned to mark the Day this year. Observance of the Day is obviously growing in popularity as we note there are far more events now than there were last year ...
stranger than fiction ...
... near nuclear catastrophe when a British Harrier jump-jet crashed within 400 yards of the overnight parking area of a convoy including four Trident nuclear warhead carriers in transit through England to Scotland ...
... the US has agreed to sell nuclear technology to China in exchange for an undertaking that China will stop helping Iran and Pakistan develop their nuclear weapons and missile programmes ...
... and the Pentagon is planning to build a $3 million radiation detection facility in Florida to guard against radiation leaks from Cuba ...
14-18 January- Heart Politics: Summer Gathering 1998 at the Tauhara Centre, contact Heart Politics, PO Box 44-178, Pt Chevalier, Auckland, tel (09) 360 0827.
Tamaki Makaurau / Auckland
12-15 February- 'Social Responsibility : Whose Agenda ? Choices for the Future' conference, at Massey's Albany campus. Contact AUWRC, PO Box 3813, Auckland, tel (09) 309 2496, fax (09) 377 4804, <email@example.com>
Sydney- planning is underway for the 26 January re-enactment of the 1938 'Day of Mourning and Protest' - this 60th anniversary event is being organised by the National Aboriginal History and Heritage Council.
1 December - World Aids Day; 10 December - Human Rights Day.An appeal from Tibetans living in exile to light a candle in solidarity with the 1,000 Lamp Mandala Ceremony at Dharamsala.
Link to earlier PMA newsletters.
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