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Updated 2019-05-24 01:17
Latest global school climate strikes expected to beat turnout record
Organisers say more than 1.4 million young people are set to protest about the climate crisisHundreds of thousands of children and young people are walking out of lessons around the world on Friday as the school strike movement continues to snowball.Climate strikes are planned in more than 1,400 cities in more than 110 countries. Organisers say the number of young people taking part is set to top the 1.4 million people who participated in the global day of strikes in March. Continue reading...
Julian Assange: US charges WikiLeaks founder with violating Espionage Act –as it happened
Eighteen-count DoJ indictment alleges Assange, who was arrested last month in London, ‘risked serious harm’ to America
Burrow action: female crickets more attracted to older males – study
Mature crickets better at luring females – but struggle to live up to expectationThe sweet singing charms of an old male appear to be irresistible to a younger female – if you are a field cricket in a Spanish meadow.Researchers studying wild crickets have found older males are better than younger, more immature rivals at attracting females back to their burrows with their song. Continue reading...
Pollutionwatch: the fight for clean air at the school gates
Parents across Europe take action as air pollution found to restrict children’s lung growthAlmost every week our newspapers report new studies on the damage that air pollution does to our health and especially to children. For example, last November, researchers revealed reduced lung growth in children who lived in the most polluted parts of east London.In March 2018, a group of Belgian parents took action. Instead of going for coffee on a Friday morning, they closed the road outside their children’s school. They named their movement Filter-Café-Filtre. Over the next two weeks, another 42 schools joined in. Now parents and teachers in 21 cities meet each Friday morning. With hazard tape from DIY shops, banners and musical instruments, they close about 76 schools. Children play in the street and the parents drink coffee together to demand traffic-free zones, better walking and cycling routes and public transport so children do not have to be driven to school. Continue reading...
NSW towns including Dubbo and Tamworth face water emergency within months
In some central and western areas on Murray-Darling no ground water can be accessed by bores, as dams run close to dryTowns in western and central New South Wales, including Dubbo, Nyngan, Cobar, Walgett and Tamworth, are facing a crisis in their water supplies within a few months unless it rains, prompting emergency planning by water authorities.And on properties throughout the Murray-Darling basin, irrigators are bracing for their water entitlements to be reduced to around 10% of their usual allocations, which will severely constrain agricultural production. Continue reading...
Recycling steel could give lifeline to the industry, report says
Vast quantities of carbon would be saved if the UK moved away from primary productionRecycling steel could provide a much-needed lifeline for the UK’s troubled steel industry, a new study has found, and have the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.Two-thirds of the steel currently used is made from primary production, and most of the remainder comes from off-cuts of the steel-making process, rather than recycled goods. The UK does not currently use all the scrap steel produced in the country, but global stocks of recyclable steel are expected to rise sharply in the coming decades. Continue reading...
‘We need everyone’: Greta Thunberg calls on adults to join climate strikes
Global general strike on 20 September could be historic turning point, say activists
2020 candidate John Delaney pitches vastly unusual climate change plan
Maryland congressman wants to capture carbon dioxide pollution heating the planet and transport it in pipelines criss-crossing USThe first three Democratic presidential candidates to declare their plans to tackle the climate crisis are focussing on setting deadlines to neutralize US pollution. But one Democrat is proposing something vastly different. Environmental advocates are likely to find it unacceptable, but some experts say it might be necessary.Maryland congressman and long shot 2020 candidate John Delaney wants to scale up technology to capture the carbon dioxide pollution heating the planet, and transport it in pipelines crisscrossing the country. Continue reading...
'I feel empowered and scared': pupils speak before climate strike
We asked children around the world to tell us why they will be taking part in Friday’s climate strikes. Here’s what they said
Botswana condemned for lifting ban on hunting elephants
Country with Africa’s largest elephant population says its growth is affecting farmersConservationists have reacted with outrage and concern to a decision by Botswana to lift its ban on elephant hunting.The southern African country said the move was justified by an increase in population and its impact on farmers’ livelihoods. Continue reading...
Republicans aren’t just climate deniers. They deny the extinction crisis, too
Republican officials and their industry benefactors are sowing doubt about the wildlife extinction crisis that threatens as many as one million speciesMaybe you’ve read King Lear and remember this famous line: “‘Tis the time’s plague when madmen lead the blind.” The words were written more than 400 years ago as a comment on the deadly consequences of greed, delusion and political folly, but they could serve just as well as a Republican party slogan today. They’re a fitting description of the Republican party’s delusional campaign to deny the environmental crises that threaten our planet and our civilization.For decades now, Republican politicians and their patrons in the fossil fuel industry have used thinktanks, front groups and public relations operatives to promote faulty science and perpetuate the myth that the climate crisis is a hoax. This campaign of climate deception, which is elegantly documented in books like Merchants of Doubt, has exacted a huge toll on the planet and its people – it has sabotaged domestic and international efforts to combat greenhouse gas pollution and exacerbated a crisis that is acidifying oceans, melting polar ice caps, supercharging storms and making the Earth less hospitable to human and animal life. We have a name for the purveyors of this deceitful campaign: we call them “climate deniers”. Continue reading...
Marlin jumps into boat, seriously injuring two men off NSW north coast
100kg fish lands in brothers’ five-metre vessel north of Coffs Harbour, slicing man’s arm openA large marlin weighing up to 100kg jumped into a small boat off the New South Wales coast, seriously injuring two brothers, with one of them suffering a fracture when his arm was sliced open.The marlin breached and landed in the brothers’ boat off Wooli, north of Coffs Harbour, at midday on Thursday. Continue reading...
A trail of toxicity: the US military bases making people sick
In Colorado Springs, businesses are suing the military for perfluorinated compounds, which some are calling ‘Agent Orange 2.0’Over the last 80 years, much of the land surrounding Venetucci Farm was sold to the US army to establish the base now known as Fort Carson, and today it is hemmed in by highways. Still, with its 200 acres of fields, farmhouse and big red barn, it is a beloved institution in Colorado Springs. As the only community urban farm left in the sprawling city, it is a valuable resource, educating thousands of children about agriculture, sustainability and healthy eating and known above all for its annual pumpkin giveaways. Continue reading...
Tony Burke floats Green New Deal-style approach to Labor's climate policy
Shadow environment minister says ALP can’t keep pushing a market mechanism to reduce emissions nor could it ‘give up’ on tackling crisisThe shadow environment minister, Tony Burke, has declared Labor can no longer pursue a climate policy based on a market mechanism to reduce emissions.But he insists there can be no retreat from what the science says needs to happen to avoid dangerous warming. Continue reading...
A promise unfulfilled: water pipeline stops short for Sioux reservation
After 25 years and a half-billion dollars, only half of the project’s water delivered to Pine Ridge Reservation comes from the Missouri River – unlike supplies for white ranchersUp until late last year, Ella Coleman, a diminutive, soft-spoken Oglala Sioux grandmother who lives in one of the hundreds of mobile homes on the semi-arid plains of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, lacked running water.Sometimes, she received water deliveries by truck. Other times, she drove to a community spigot, where she filled buckets and hauled them in her minivan. At home, she ladled water from the buckets for cooking and bathing. Continue reading...
Galilee Basin mine next to Adani put on hold amid doubts over future of thermal coal
MacMines Austasia abandon plans, raising questions about basin’s viability as a source of Queensland employmentThe backer of a massive coal proposal in the Galilee Basin, adjacent to Adani’s Carmichael mine site, has quietly abandoned its plans amid growing doubts about the long-term profitability of Australian thermal coal exports.The ABC reported this morning that the proponents of the $7bn China Stone mine had withdrawn their application for a mining lease in March. Continue reading...
China factories releasing thousands of tonnes of illegal CFC gases, study finds
Levels of ozone-depleting gas spiked when air from industrialised areas of China arrived, say researchersIndustries in north-eastern China have released large quantities of an ozone-depleting gas into the atmosphere in violation of an international treaty, scientists have said.Since 2013, annual emissions of the banned chemical Chlorofluorocarbon-11 (CFC-11) from that region have increased by about 7,000 tonnes, according to a report in peer-reviewed journal Nature. Continue reading...
Philippines threatens to dump rubbish back in Canadian waters as row deepens
Two nations have been at odds over 69 containers of waste sent to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has ordered his government to hire a private shipping company to send 69 containers of garbage back to Canada and leave them within its territorial waters if it refuses to accept the rubbish.“The Philippines as an independent sovereign nation must not be treated as trash by other foreign nation,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo told a media briefing. Continue reading...
Republicans give platform to climate science deniers at hearing on biodiversity
Conservative members of Congress called on climate change deniers at hearing on endangered speciesThe climate crisis has become a top issue among Democrats running for president. But many Republican lawmakers are still resistant to the science showing global heating is a serious, manmade problem.When Democrats in control of the House scheduled a hearing for international scientists to explain their warnings that humans are critically wounding biodiversity on Wednesday, conservative members of Congress called on career climate science deniers to testify alongside them. Continue reading...
Budj Bim Indigenous eel trap site on verge of world heritage listing
Aquaculture network in Victoria, maintained over 6,600 years, faces final step in recognition processA 6,600-year-old, highly sophisticated aquaculture system developed by the Gunditjmara people will be formally considered for a place on the Unesco world heritage list and, if successful, would become the first Australian site listed exclusively for its Aboriginal cultural value.Known as the Budj Bim cultural landscape, the site in south-west Victoria is home to a long dormant volcano, which was the source of the Tyrendarra lava flow. Continue reading...
Anger as Church of Scotland decides not to divest from fossil fuels
Despite agreeing upon climate emergency, delegates vote to back oil and gas companiesMore than 70 Church of Scotland delegates – including the outgoing moderator the Very Rev Susan Brown – have formally lodged their frustration at the decision of its general assembly not to divest from fossil fuels, with advocates describing Wednesday’s vote as “an embarrassing abdication of moral leadership”.Although the general assembly voted to “recognise and affirm the declarations of the Scottish government, UK parliament and others that we are experiencing a climate and ecological emergency” on Wednesday morning, a counter-motion to disinvest from oil and gas companies by 2020 was narrowly defeated. Continue reading...
White stork pair could become first to breed in wild in UK for centuries
Birds brooding three eggs due to hatch in June are part of a rewilding projectWhite storks nesting on top of an ancient oak tree could become the first wild pair to successfully breed in Britain for hundreds of years.The enormous birds are brooding three eggs on the rewilded Knepp estate, in Sussex, as part of a project to reintroduce the species to south-east England. Continue reading...
BHP warns investors coal could be phased out 'sooner than expected'
Mining giant loses its appetite for thermal coal and will turn instead to oil, copper and nickelBHP is looking to add more oil, copper and nickel resources to its portfolio, while souring on thermal coal because it thinks the fossil fuel will be phased out, “potentially sooner than expected”.BHP’s chief financial officer, Peter Beaven, told investors and analysts in a strategy briefing on Wednesday that “the world will be a very different place in 10 to 20 years’ time” and the global miner must be thoughtful about the risks and opportunities. Continue reading...
Is modern life poisoning me? I took the tests to find out
We are exposed to synthetic chemicals in plastics, cosmetics and food every day. Could it be making us toxic? Our environment reporter was tested for over 1,530 chemicals to find out• Help us reach our $150,000 goal to fund this series. Make a contributionSitting on a plastic chair in a small office, I’m wearing medical scrubs rolled up to my knees and I have an X-ray machine strapped to my shin.The machine is scanning my bones for lead as an expert monitors readings streaming on to a screen. Continue reading...
Explained: the toxic threat in everyday products, from toys to plastic
Thousands of potentially harmful chemicals are in products ranging from electronics to medical equipment and carpets in the US• Help us reach our $150,000 goal to fund this series. Make a contributionSynthetic chemicals are in nearly everything we touch and consume. But some chemicals can be potentially harmful and a number of experts are anxious about possible long-term health effects of our everyday exposure. They say US regulations could be stronger.One of those who is concerned is Leo Trasande of NYU Langone Health, an expert in children’s environmental health and author of Sicker Fatter Poorer, which is about the threat of hormone-disrupting chemicals. Continue reading...
Floods in 2009 and 2015 were worst in Cumbria for centuries – study
Analysis in north-west England linked to evidence of UK’s vulnerability to climate crisisThe floods of 2009 and 2015 in north-west England were the worst for more than 550 years, according to groundbreaking analysis of lake sediment in the region.Residents have long suspected that the devastating floods were the worst in living memory, but this confirmation – from an analysis of lake sediment layers – provides a unique window on to the history of flooding in one of the wettest parts of England, and reveals the global climate crisis. Continue reading...
Plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers to be banned in England
Government confirms ban on sale and use of items from April next yearPlastic straws and drink stirrers, and cotton buds with plastic stems will be banned from sale and use in England from next April, the government has confirmed.The move, which has been in the offing for more than a year, is hoped to vastly reduce the litter and other environmental impacts of the nearly 5bn plastic straws currently used each year in the UK, along with more than 300m plastic stirrers and close to 2bn cotton buds with plastic stems. Continue reading...
Climate crisis more politically polarizing than abortion for US voters, study finds
Democrats ranked global heating as the third most important issue on their list, while Republican voters ranked it last in a Yale pollSurging concern among Americans about an overheating planet has done little to shift a political polarization that has now reached a stunning extreme: climate breakdown divides Democrats and Republicans even more than abortion does. Continue reading...
'Fed up': Queensland premier calls for Adani coalmine approvals timeline this week
Annastacia Palaszczuk says state ‘needs some certainty’ about timing of outstanding approvalsQueensland’s premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, says she is “fed up” with the state’s process for Adani’s Carmichael coalmine and has called an emergency meeting to set a deadline for the outstanding approvals.Labor’s vote was hit hard on Saturday in central Queensland seats including Dawson, Herbert and Capricornia, which some commentary has attributed to anger over environmental campaigns against the mine and federal Labor’s failure to articulate a clear position on the development. Continue reading...
Environment minister Melissa Price's allies say she was gagged for 'tactical' reasons in election
Minister facing calls for demotion from cabinet despite Scott Morrison’s repeated praiseSupporters of the environment minister, Melissa Price, say she was deliberately gagged during the election campaign, as the embattled MP faces calls for her demotion from cabinet.As Coalition MPs jostle for promotion in Scott Morrison’s new frontbench, Price is understood to have told colleagues it was a tactical decision made by the prime minister and Coalition headquarters to keep her out of the limelight during the campaign. Price was supportive of the move, which ensured Morrison kept the focus on the economy and Labor’s tax agenda. Continue reading...
Pacific leaders urge Scott Morrison to act on climate emergency following election win
Samoan and Fijian leaders say Australia must take leading role in climate battlePacific leaders have congratulated Scott Morrison on his surprise election victory but have urged him to do more to fight the climate crisis, which poses an existential threat to the region.“[Australia] has been lagging behind,” said Tuilaepa Sailele, the prime minister of Samoa, about Australia’s action on the climate emergency. Continue reading...
Garden feeders are supporting rising numbers of urban birds
More than half of British homeowners feed birds, maintaining 133 speciesThe increasingly appetising buffet provided for garden birds, from sunflower hearts to suet cakes, is supporting a rising number and greater diversity of species in Britain’s urban areas, according to research.In the 1970s, half of all birds using garden feeders belonged to just two species, the sparrow and starling, but by the 2010s the number of species making up the same proportion had tripled, with goldfinches, woodpigeons and long-tailed tits soaring in number because of the food on offer. Continue reading...
Far-right MEPs could threaten EU climate policy, experts warn
Fears that predicted influx of climate deniers would obstruct action on environmentAn influx of climate-denying far-right MEPs could pose a “toxic” threat to EU climate policy after the European elections, according to senior MEPs and academics.Populist parties are expected to take up to a third of the parliamentary seats in Thursday’s vote, with Matteo Salvini’s League in contention to be the largest single party, and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) overtaking Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche in some polls. Continue reading...
Revealed: 1.6m Americans live near the most polluting incinerators in the US
Lower-income and minority communities are exposed to majority of the pollution coming from waste-burning plants, report finds
Raw ivory sales: Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia call for end to ban
Southern African countries to appeal to watchdog for permission to sell stockpiled ivory worth more than £230mZimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia are making a fresh appeal for a global watchdog to lift restrictive measures on the trade in raw ivory.The watchdog, Cites, prohibits unregulated commercial trade in endangered species around the world. Continue reading...
'Panic is setting in': Jayda G brings climate crisis home to fans
DJ and producer wants to banish ‘disconnect’ between climate issues and daily lifeOne of dance music’s rising stars is swapping the decks for a microphone to deliver a series of talks about the importance of environmental sciences to help tackle the climate crisis.Jayda G – real name Jayda Guy – is a Canadian DJ and music producer whose livestreamed mixes on YouTube clock up thousands of views, and now she is fusing two worlds by using her platform to expose fans to issues affecting the natural world. Continue reading...
Eden Project plans $150m ecotourism site for Victorian coalmine
Joint venture aims to turn Alcoa’s open-cut mine site into Anglesea project near Great Ocean RoadA UK charity that redeveloped a china clay quarry in Cornwall into a major ecotourism project has its eyes on Alcoa’s former coalmine in Anglesea, Victoria.The Eden Project and Alcoa announced a plan to turn a portion of the site into a $150m ecotourism attraction based around Anglesea’s coastal location. They say they will seek input from the community. Continue reading...
Changing travel: the sustainable startups boosted by awards from Booking.com
Ten eco-minded startups to receive assistance from a €2m fund, including a social enterprise training trekking guides in NepalDigital travel firm Booking.com has announced the sustainable travel startups that will receive financial assistance from its 2019 Booking Booster programme. As part of the programme – which has a fund of €2m – awards have been made to a variety of organisations, from a social enterprise training at-risk women to become trekking guides in Nepal, to a hotel school helping young people in Indonesia kickstart their careers.Each organisation’s plans were judged by a panel, including Booking Booster ambassador, Livia Firth. At the awards event Firth spoke about the importance of supporting sustainable travel. “Whoever we are and wherever we work – whether in startups, established companies, policymakers or members of government – we have the power to make a difference every day,” she said. “Today we know that we can also make a huge difference when we book a trip.” Continue reading...
Rewild a quarter of UK to fight climate crisis, campaigners urge
Subsidies to restore woodlands and meadows would also boost wildlife, says Rewilding BritainA quarter of the UK’s land could be restored to nature, making a significant contribution towards cutting the nation’s carbon emissions to zero, under a new rewilding proposal.The plan, published by Rewilding Britain, calls for billions of pounds in farm subsidies to be redirected towards creating native woodlands and meadows and protecting peat bogs and salt marshes. The group says wildlife would benefit, farmers would not lose money and food production need not fall. Continue reading...
World’s biggest investor accused of dragging feet on climate crisis
BlackRock, which controls $6.5tn in assets, urged to use its influence on planet’s biggest pollutersWhen a letter from BlackRock’s founder and chief executive, Larry Fink, landed in inboxes in January saying that the world’s biggest investor would no longer invest in companies that are not compliant with the Paris climate agreement, people took notice. The media jumped on the announcement, which appeared to herald a new era of finance facing up to the perils of the climate emergency.The letter was a hoax, carried out by the Yes Men, a group of pranksters with a history of embarrassing big companies. But while the message was fake, the concern behind it was not: environmental campaigners see BlackRock as a key obstacle to progress on meeting climate crisis goals. Continue reading...
Labor's entire policy agenda is up for review, Jim Chalmers tells Q&A
‘Our job now is not to engage in some year-long pity party,’ leadership aspirant saysThe Labor leadership aspirant Jim Chalmers says the party’s entire policy agenda, including its ambitious 45% emissions reduction target, could be upended in the wake of Saturday’s shock election loss.“Everything is up for grabs,” Chalmers told the ABC TV’s Q&A program when asked whether Labor would review its climate policy. Continue reading...
A vision of 2040: everything we need for a sustainable world already exists
There are real obstacles to environmental progress, but we must focus on what we are for, not just what we are againstWhen my daughter was two years old, I found myself struggling to finish any article relating to the dire state of our environment. I would get halfway through the piece, then disengage and move on to something else. I assumed I wasn’t the only parent to feel this way.Curious to understand why I seemed incapable of persisting, I reached out to the environmental psychologist Renee Lertzman. She explained that when we receive information charged with fear, dread or anxiety, the limbic system in our brain can be activated, which can override the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with creative thinking and problem solving. These days our news feeds are filled with images and stories of a bleak future. This is what we bombard our consciousness with, the images we expose our children to and they may also be why many of us feel paralysed when it comes to taking action on solutions to save our planet. Continue reading...
Seagull wars: councils spending scarce resources in effort to banish birds
Plastic owls, birds of prey and swapping eggs for dummy eggs among methods being usedIt’s not just your chips that are threatened by seagulls at the British seaside: increasingly, the gull menace is hitting taxpayers in their pockets too, as research shows local councils are spending hundreds of thousands trying to control the birds.Waste management practices are partly to blame, as less frequent collection of bins gives the scavengers plenty of access to free meals, in turn encouraging them into urban areas. The problem has escalated in the last 15 years, according to Sarah Trotter, an assistant professor of law at the London School of Economics, who has written two papers on the subject. The birds have been blamed for attacking pets and people in towns all around the UK’s coastline, and sometimes even inland. Continue reading...
BP headquarters in London blockaded by Greenpeace
Environmental activists accuse oil company of ‘fuelling’ climate emergencyGreenpeace activists have blockaded all entrances to the BP headquarters in London, demanding an end to all new oil and gas exploration.The campaigners arrived at 3am on Monday and encased themselves in heavy containers before the oil company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday. Continue reading...
Coal industry urges re-elected Morrison government to build new coal plants
The Coal Council calls on Labor to reverse many of its climate policies after strong election swings against itThe coal industry has begun lobbying the re-elected Morrison government to support hardline positions, including building new coal-fired power stations and weakening approvals processes for new mines.The Coal Council of Australia released a statement on Sunday welcoming the election result, praising the Coalition for supporting coal, and calling on Labor to reverse many of its climate-focused policies towards the fossil fuel. Continue reading...
BP pushed for Arctic drilling rights after Trump's election
Despite PR damage over earlier spills, documents show oil firm pressed for reduced regulationBP stepped up its campaign to be allowed to drill for oil in the Arctic sea and an Alaskan wildlife refuge after Donald Trump was elected president, according to documents that detail the British firm’s lobbying efforts.Documents written by BP and oil industry groups show how the oil “supermajor” seized on the opportunity presented by Trump’s 2016 election victory to expand its offshore business, just seven years after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Continue reading...
Justin Bieber effect leads to closure of Icelandic canyon
Fjaðrárgljúfur closed off to protect it from fans after it starred in pop star’s videoWith one music video, Justin Bieber has made a pristine Icelandic canyon famous around the world. And that’s the problem.Icelandic environmental officials have had to close off Fjaðrárgljúfur to protect it from the hordes of Bieber fans who are determined to visit the site, which is featured in the video for I’ll Show You. But these fans are not letting a few fences, signs or park rangers keep them away. Continue reading...
Labour’s plans for cheap green energy are no more than electric dreams
Proposals for renationalising gas and electricity are based on hopes of buying companies on the cheapLabour’s plans to renationalise water, energy and rail companies have widespread support and with good reason: these industries are failing to meet the legitimate expectations of the public.The question mark that hangs over these proposals is whether expectations are now being ramped up to such an extent that taking these industries back into public ownership will almost certainly be considered a failure. Continue reading...
Extinction Rebellion urges ad industry to use its power for good
Letter to senior figures urges them to use their power to influence public opinion on climate changeEnvironmental activists Extinction Rebellion have turned their fire on the advertising industry in a public letter, encouraging it to use its expertise in manipulating public opinion for good or risk mass public protests against it.Speaking to the Guardian, one of the authors of the letter, which was written by Extinction Rebellion members with decades of experience of the advertising industry, said the group was not “singling out advertising, as we previously disrupted fashion week and are systematically challenging all industries who have the platform, influence and skills to tackle this epoch-defining crisis but are failing to do so in any meaningful way”. Continue reading...
130,000 trees to be planted in English cities and towns
As part of efforts to tackle global heating, grants will be available for planting and three years’ careMore than 130,000 trees are to be planted in English towns and cities over the next two years as part of the nation’s battle against global heating.The environment secretary, Michael Gove, will announce on Sunday that grants for the plantings will be made available through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund. Continue reading...
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