Jussie Smollett staged hoax attack as ‘publicity stunt…to promote his career’: Police

first_imgABC News(CHICAGO) — Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson blasted Jussie Smollett in an emotional press conference on Thursday in which he said that Smollett’s alleged staging of a hoax attack was a “publicity stunt…to promote his career.”“Jussie Smollett tool advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career,” Johnson said. “Why would anyone especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? … How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in the city in the face with these false claims?”Johnson charged that Smollett, an actor on the hit show ‘Empire’ who has consistently denied any role in staging the alleged attack, orchestrated it because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”In addition to staging the attack, officials said, Smollett also sent himself a hate-filled letter to the Fox studio where the hit show is filmed.Smollett turned himself in at 5:15 a.m. local time and made a statement to police before being taken into custody. His lawyers, Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, were not present at the time but they released the following statement the night before, “Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense.”Police add that Smollett gave no statement to police after turning himself in and that his lawyers had reached out to them Wednesday night to discuss his surrender.During a press briefing later Thursday morning, Chicago law enforcement officials said that Chicago police detectives interviewed more than 100 people and reviewed dozens of police cameras trying to get to the bottom of Smollett’s claims.Johnson, a well-regarded and popular big city police chief and Chicago native, appearing genuinely aggrieved as he described how, he said, Smollett took advantage of the pain of racism to advance his career.“Why would anyone use the symbol of a noose” to further his “own public profile,” Johnson wondered aloud.“I’m offended by what happened and I’m angry,” Johnson continued. “This publicity stunt was a scar that Chicago didn’t own and certainly didn’t deserve.”Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men near his apartment in Chicago. The two men, Smollett initially said, shouted racist and homophobic slurs at him as a rope was wrapped around his neck and a chemical compound was poured on him. The alleged assailants yelled “MAGA country,” a reference to President Donald Trump’s “Make American Great Again” slogan, police were told.In an interview with “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, Smollett said he was heartbroken when he found out that people questioned his story.Police identified and questioned two “persons of interest” captured on surveillance video near the scene around the time of the alleged attack. The men, who are brothers, were arrested on Feb. 13 but then released without charges, with police saying they were no longer considered suspects.While being questioned by investigators, the brothers claimed that Smollett paid them to help orchestrate and stage the crime after he became upset that a letter threatening him, sent Jan. 22 to the Fox studio where “Empire” is filmed, did not get enough attention, sources told ABC News.On Wednesday, Smollett was charged with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false crime report. By that evening, police officially had classified the actor as a suspect in the ongoing investigation. Detectives subsequently presented evidence to a Cook County grand jury.“That was a pretty hateful allegation, and it really put a terrible look on Chicago,” Guglielmi told ABC Chicago station WLS in a telephone interview Thursday morning. “Chicago trusted this young man. We loved ‘Empire,’ and we took this very seriously that something this hateful could happen in our city.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Pittsburgh synagogue massacre 1 year later: How family of one of the 11 victims faced the ‘unanswerable hate’

first_imgTwitter/@TheNextPGH(PITTSBURGH) — When a gunman burst into the Tree of Life Synagogue last Oct. 27, lives were shattered and the community was changed forever.Among the 11 killed by the shooter, who was allegedly looking to target Jews, was Joyce Fienberg, a longtime member of the congregation.Fienberg’s daughter-in-law, like relatives of so many of the victims and survivors of what the Anti-Defamation League called the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, was thrust into despair.Over the past 12 months, Marnie Fienberg embarked on the difficult journey from mourner to activist, finding her own way to combat the “unanswerable hate” of anti-Semitism, which advocates say is on the rise in the United States.A matriarch goneJoyce Fienberg, a Toronto native, moved to Pittsburgh for her husband’s career, but she became a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh and immersed herself in the city, said her daughter-in-law.The family grew, and as a loving grandmother of six, Joyce Fienberg was the leader of the family’s Passover Seders.“My mother-in-law was one of those quiet, gracious people” who “makes you feel comfortable,” Marnie Fienberg told ABC News.Her in-laws were members of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue for 30 years, and for Joyce Fienberg, that continued after her husband’s death in 2016.“Part of the Jewish mourning process is to go and say the prayer for the dead,” Fienberg said. “If you’re a primary mourner, you’re supposed to say it every day.” Ten people must be present for the prayer, Fienberg said, so her mother-in-law chose to make trips to synagogue a daily part of her morning, not only to pray for her husband, but to be there for other mourners.So when news broke of a shooting the morning of Oct. 27, Marnie Fienberg knew her mother-in-law would be there. She and her husband jumped in the car and drove from their Washington, D.C.,-area home to Pittsburgh.She and her husband rationalized why they weren’t hearing from Joyce on their drive up — they decided she must be helping someone, she must have dropped her phone. They got confirmation about her body about six hours after arriving, but by that point, reality sank in. “Because we hadn’t heard from her in so long, we knew,” Fienberg said.Two-thousand people came to Joyce Fienberg’s funeral.“In the face of this hate, of this unanswerable hate, to have so much more love and support, it really makes you feel this country that we’re in is an amazing, positive place,” Fienberg said. “It’s not going to be dragged down by these people who want to hate.”A ‘communal grieving process’ For Fienberg, a crucial step forward in the grieving process was meeting with the Parkland survivors, who she said helped guide the Pittsburgh families them through what to expect in the traumatic months ahead.While Fienberg lives in the D.C. area, most survivors and their families are near Pittsburgh, and this month a resiliency center opened for those impacted.With a focus on community support and well-being, the 10.27 Healing Partnership offers trauma-based wellness classes, health resources and a peaceful place for anyone feeling vulnerable, said director Maggie Feinstein.By offering a “comfortable door for people to walk through,” Feinstein told ABC News, “they can feel safe, they can decide what services may be helpful for them.” The Tree of Life Synagogue remains closed and it is unclear whether it will reopen.Feinstein said one congregant told her it had been difficult to find support without having a physical synagogue anymore; now that member looks forward to using the center to simply enjoy coffee in a communal atmosphere.“There has been an outpouring of support from the community in using the center and volunteering to help prepare the space,” Feinstein said. “There has been such a positive energy since we opened earlier this month. “‘Painful wake up call’ The attacks at the Tree of Life Synagogue and another six months later in San Diego County, which left one woman dead and injured three others, come amid a rise in anti-Semitic expressions in the country.From 2001 to 2015, anti-Semitic incidents were on the decline, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), told ABC News.That changed in 2016, when incidents spiked 34%, he said.Then in 2017, the year of the Charlottesville attack — during the largest white supremacy rally in 15 years — “we saw the largest spike we’d ever observed — a 57% surge,” Greenblatt said.Jews have enjoyed privilege and freedom for hundreds of years in the U.S, he said, but Pittsburgh was “a reminder of how fragile all this [freedom] can be.”Synagogues, Jewish schools and Jewish community centers (JCCs) across the country have ramped up security in the wake of Pittsburgh and other attacks, said Greenblatt.Marnie Fienberg said her own daughter sees police outside synagogue and undergoes active shooter training at Hebrew school.“Communities don’t feel like they can take the risk of not [increasing security],” Greenblatt said. “Knowing what we know, having seen what we’ve seen, as we still mourn those lives lost, don’t be surprised where synagogues and JCCs and Jewish day schools take extraordinary measures to make sure that their children, their communities are safe.”“I don’t think we can take the risk of being sanguine about it,” he said, “because the downside is too great.”The current threat environment is “alarming,” says John Cohen, an ABC News contributor and former acting undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Cohen says while the number of white supremacists is likely not on the rise, what’s changed is that “people who connect with this ideological belief feel comfortable coming out publicly.”“In the past white supremacists were geographically isolated,” Cohen said, but now they “consume that material online and communicate with like minded people across the globe and receive a sense of empowerment and validation for their angry or violent behavior.”‘Build a bridge as opposed to tearing a bridge down’ In the wake of her mother-in-law’s killing, Marnie Fienberg couldn’t bring herself to return to work. Instead, she felt compelled to contribute to the fight against anti-Semitism.While some mass shooting survivors, like the Parkland activists, poured their energy into changing policy, Fienberg chose to focus on the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, which is working to repair the world through acts of kindness.Her outlet was through an initiative she named “2 for Seder,” which encourages Jews to invite two non Jews to Passover Seder — the annual dinner where family and friends eat, drink, sing and re-tell the story of the enslaved Jews’ escape from Egypt.“2 for Seder” was inspired by her slain mother-in-law, who Fienberg said hosted the family’s Seders for 12 years and would go out of her way to invite friends from diverse backgrounds and make them feel comfortable.Fienberg decided this was her own small way to fight anti-Semitism and hate, because an interactive Seder can start a conversation.“We can have a discussion about what we have in common as opposed to what we don’t have in common,” she said.In the first year of “2 for Seder,” Fienberg said 1,000 people signed up to participate across 45 states and some Canadian provinces.She hopes the initiative comes full circle in the years to come, so those who attend Seder extend invitations for Jewish friends to come to their own events, whether Easter or Diwali. “That is the only place you can begin to build a bridge as opposed to tearing a bridge down,” said Fienberg,Going forward in the fight against anti-Semitism, Greenblatt said elected officials and those “in positions of authority need to call out anti-Semitism when it happens.”“The trend line clearly demonstrates that white supremacy is a global terror threat,” Greenblatt said. “So we [the ADL] have been and will continue to be loud and unambiguous advocates for a set of policies at the federal level and a set of practices, whether it’s in the public sector or the private sector, to call attention to the fact that this threat needs to be dealt with in a much more effective and energetic way.”As Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh synagogue suspect, heads to trial, Fienberg said she’ll go to court because she feels it’s important to have a representative from her family “bear witness.”And Fienberg says her husband now sets aside one hour each day to go to synagogue and pray for his mother — just like she had done until her untimely death.On Sunday — the one-year mark of the massacre — mourners in Pittsburgh will gather at 5 p.m. for a public memorial service.But everyone across the globe is invited to the moment of remembrance and solidarity via live stream, said Rebecca Dinar, a spokeswoman for the Jewish Federation. Several thousand have registered online for the “Pause with Pittsburgh” event. Each participant will receive a text at 5 p.m. which will contain a video with a mourning prayer and the names of the 11 victims.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Creative Planning acquires $320 million RIA

first_imgCreative Planning, an Overland Park, Kansas-based registered investment adviser that manages more than $76 billion, has acquired Castle Wealth Advisors, which manages $320 million in assets. Castle, founded in 1973 by Gary Pittsford, the first president of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, is the oldest fee-only financial adviser in Indiana. The firm has offices in Indianapolis and Naperville, Illinois.[More: Creative Planning doubles retirement plan assets with $6 billion deal]last_img read more

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Post-doctoral Fellow (several posts)

first_imgRef.: 503731Work type: Full-timeDepartment: Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology(21000)Categories: Academic-related StaffHong KongApplications are invited for appointment as Post-doctoral Fellow(several posts) in the Department of Orthopaedics andTraumatology (Ref.: 503731), to commence as soon as possiblefor one year, with the possibility of renewal.Applicants should possess a Ph.D. degree from a recognizedUniversity in computer science, information technology, electricalengineering or a related field. They should be familiar withUnix/Linux operating system, data structure and Algorithms; beproficient in programming languages such as Java, Python, C++ orGo; and preferably have experience in IT application software,Internet software, IOS/Android and other related productdevelopment. Familiarity with front-end or back-end developmenttechnologies and database related applications, such as JavaScript,AS, AJAX, HTML5, CSS, Database, PHP, Java, as well as havingpublications in recognized learning-related conferences or journalsare advantages.Applicants should also have strong interests in medicalapplications, software and platform development as well as strongtechnical knowledge and skills in one or more of the followingfields: deep learning/machine learning, computer vision, naturallanguage processing, medical image analysis, computer graphics,gait analysis, computational imaging, ML system. They should beable to work independently and willing to cooperate; be keen on newtechnologies; and possess good analytical, problem solving andcommunication skills and strong learning initiatives. Experience inscientific publications and competitive funding acquisition isdesirable.The appointees are expected to conduct interdisciplinary researchand work with the Department’s surgeons to develop clinicalapplications for doctors and patients, with a focus on algorithmdevelopment. They may also perform administrative duties asassigned.A highly competitive salary commensurate with qualifications andexperience will be offered, in addition to annual leave and medicalbenefits.The University only accepts online applications for the above post.Applicants should apply online and upload an up-to-date C.V.Closes May 12, 2021 .Advertised: Apr 14, 2021 (HK Time)Applications close: May 12, 2021 (HK Time)last_img read more

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Melania Trump issues legal threat over ‘little bit of English’ ads

first_imgThe language school had posted a photo of the ad campaign on their Facebook page last week, writing: “We entered the billboard game.” The post has since been taken down.“We are very sorry that the billboards were misunderstood as something intended to mock the U.S. first lady,” said American Institute spokeswoman Ivis Burić. “It was meant to be something positive, to show her as a role model.”Burić admitted though that the marketing campaign turned out to be “very successful” due to the publicity it received both nationally and internationally.https://twitter.com/LaneMojeAlex/status/909040850293940224Trump is originally from Croatia’s neighbor, Slovenia, and her image has been used in her home country to promote cakes, underwear and tourism.As well as English and Slovenian, the first lady also speaks German, French and Serbian. Adverts for a language school in Croatia depicting Melania Trump have been removed after the U.S. first lady’s lawyer threatened to take legal action.The billboards for the Zagreb-based American Institute showed a picture of Trump with a microphone in front of an American flag next to the words: “Just imagine how far you can go with a little bit of English.” Trump’s lawyer demanded that the billboards be removed immediately, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday.“I’m satisfied with the fact that the school admitted that they violated the law and that they are ready to remove the billboards and [Facebook] ads,” said lawyer Nataša Pirc-Musar. “We are still analyzing possible further legal steps.”last_img read more

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Kurt Busch: ‘We’re in negotiations’ on 2018 contract

first_imgRELATED: Key players in NASCAR’s Silly SeasonFORT WORTH, Texas — Fresh off his Coors Light Pole Award-winning run at Texas Motor Speedway, Kurt Busch offered a short statement on his contract status for beyond 2017.“No updates from me,” Busch said. “We’re in negotiations so days like today help quite a bit.”Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart chimed in on the ongoing talks about the future of the No. 41 team on Sunday after SHR’s Kevin Harvick prevailed in the AAA Texas 500. Stewart noted that the organization plans to announce Tuesday the 2018 replacement for Danica Patrick in its No. 10 Ford; SHR has fielded Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series entries for Harvick, Busch, Patrick and Clint Bowyer in its four-car campaign this year.“We’re still working through all that, but obviously it’s pretty busy right now,” Stewart said. “Obviously, we’re going to have a big announcement next week for the 10 car and we’re still working on the 41 right now. But that’s our goal is to have Kurt back in that car for next year.”Busch posted a fast lap of 200.915 mph in the final round of group qualifying to notch his 22nd pole of his career. The 39-year-old Las Vegas native, who won the season-opening Daytona 500 in Ford’s first race with SHR in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, qualified for the 2017 Playoffs but failed to advance past the Round of 16.Busch confirmed that he was a free agent in August after SHR reportedly declined his contract option. The team tweeted out at the time that Busch was expected to return to the organization in 2018.RELATED: SHR expects Busch back in ’18 | Busch ‘optimistic’ about futureIn 18 seasons thus far, Busch won the 2004 championship and has 29 wins at the sport’s top level. In four seasons at SHR, Busch has five wins and has qualified for NASCAR’s postseason in each season with the Tony Stewart-Gene Haas owned organization.Contributing: Staff reportslast_img read more

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REV Ambulance Group Unveils Firstar New Ambulance Line

first_img“Themission for Firstar was to leverage the latest in materials and fabricationprocesses to deliver a high-quality vehicle at an economical price point,” saidAnoop Prakash, President of the Ambulance Division at REV Group. “Our designfocus on safety, quality and value comes through in the Firstar line, and weare eager to unveil the two new models at AAA Annual and hear customerfeedback.” FirstarType II RAM® ProMaster Van Additional features include REV Ambulance Group’s exclusive Per4Max seat belt system in every Firstar ambulance, which allows flexibility of movement, while keeping the emergency responder restrained. For maximum storage, there are four large exterior compartments, three of which are diamond plate lined. And for service convenience, the ambulance’s electrical system features individually printed circuit boards with integrated diagnostics. The rear step bumper provides an underride feature to reduce damage to the rear for those minor bumps. TheFirstar Type II has been designed with a focus on ergonomics providing easyaccess to patient care equipment. The primary attendant seat and secondaryseating positions are comfortable and include REV’s exclusive Per4Max seatbelts. For enhanced visibility in the patient compartment, direct lighting hasbeen added to light the floor at night, along with blue LED lighting in thecabinets. In addition, there is easy access to the electrical panel with afold-down cabinet door which allows for quick repairs. Fromthe cab to the rear of the Type III Modular 146″, special attention is given tocreate a comfortable crew environment. In the cab, the forward body wall hasbeen recessed a full 10 inches for increased recline and movement, as well as afront console that has been ergonomically designed. The action area providesample space to securely mount defibrillator/monitors while still providingworkspace for patient care and easy access to vehicle controls. A new featureis an integrated “action tray” that runs alongside the patient at cot heightand is within arm’s reach for the attendant. The ambulance also boasts a highoutput air-conditioning system with dedicated multi-directional vents forattendant and patient comfort. And for ease of taking patients in and out ofthe back of the ambulance, Firstar 146″ has large rear doors with an extra tall60″ clearance. FirstarType III Modular 146″ unit on a Ford E-350 Chassis center_img TheType II Firstar has been created to help solve the issue of increased responsetimes, occupant safety and maintenance ease, just like the industry hasdemanded. Built on a RAM® ProMaster chassis, the only front-wheel driveType II chassis platform available, this vehicle offers better traction in rainand snow conditions. It’s easy to maneuver in congested city environments andnarrow streets, and yet still manages to pack a spacious interior with itsraised-roof design, 72″ in height, and a wider aisle between the cot andsquadbench. Packedwith features, yet purpose built for affordability, durability, and minimalmaintenance, the Firstar Type III Modular 146″ uses modern and hard-wearinggel-coated fiberglass throughout to make up the wall units, cabinetry, workareas, and squadbench. Radius edges and seamless cabinetry is not only easierto clean and disinfect between patients, but the smooth edges reduce the riskof emergency responder injuries during collisions or sudden braking. The all-aluminumvehicle body features a fully welded tubular super structure with aluminumexterior skin, making for a strong and durable ambulance. For moreinformation, visit https://www.revgroup.com/rev-group-best-ambulance-manufacturers. MILWAUKEE, WI–Firstar is a concept line of new ambulances from REV GROUP (REVG), the leading manufacturer of fire and emergency vehicles and the nation’s largest producer of ambulances with over 50 years’ experience. Firstar ambulances are engineered and purpose-built for affordability, durability, and low maintenance.last_img read more

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Trump to make fundraising trip to Houston, San Antonio

first_imgPresident Donald Trump is planning to return to Texas next month to raise money for his re-election campaign, according to people familiar with his plans.Trump has scheduled fundraisers on April 10 in Houston and San Antonio, according to those sources. Asked about the trip, the White House said it did not have any scheduling announcements to make at this time. By Patrick SvitekThe Texas Tribunetexastribune.org The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.center_img Trump last visited Texas in mid-February, when he went to El Paso to rally support for a border wall. That event drew a counter-rally headlined by Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman and U.S. Senate nominee who has since entered the presidential contest.O’Rourke is not the only Texas Democrat running to take on Trump. Julián Castro, the former U.S. housing secretary and San Antonio mayor, is also in the race.last_img read more

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Burlington Free Press publishes ‘compact smart’ tabloid

first_imgFree Press Media,The Burlington Free Press launched its much-anticipated new daily newspaper format Thursday with a cover story concerning the opposition to wind power in Vermont. FreePressMedia, the local subsidiary of Gannett, which publishes the Free Press, spent $2.4 million on a press rebuild in order to print the new format. The tabloid-sized newspaper ran a nearly full-page picture on the front, with a strip ad on the bottom and a weather teaser. The four-section paper included two stapled sections â Innovate,’which is its weekly business section, and â Weekend.’The back page, unlike typical daily tabs like the New York Post which includes news, had a full-page ad. Readers will notice that there is four-color throughout, including the obituaries, that the features include large photos and that in the initial issue the sports section did not contain any box scores or agate (neither local nor national statistics, scores or results). The Thursday edition in recent months has been the second largest paper of the week, next to the Sunday edition. The Friday edition sports section had limited agate.In its 185-year history, the Free Press was always a broadsheet. The new format (11’wide x 15’in length) is taller and a little wider than Seven Days, the Burlington alternative weekly tabloid, which also uses a feature front, color throughout and employs, like the new Free Press, a table of contents to help guide the reader. The headline fonts are also new.â We are excited to announce a new format for our printed edition which puts us on the cutting edge in our industry ‘an innovation in both style and content. This new approach in print is making the newspaper fresh again while complementing the immediacy of our news coverage on our website, on mobile and tablet apps. President and Publisher Jim Fogler said in a statement upon the launch on Thursday. Fogler said the full scope of FreePressMediaâ s new â compact smart edition,’as he called it, enhancements includes:  A shift from broadsheet page size to a new compact smart format that gives the Burlington Free Press printed edition more of a magazine-feel with design upgrades. Color on every single page, which will give us color obits, comics, and TV week in color. This new, easy-to-use format features a modular approach to advertising display which will provide greater impact and ad-size flexibility for advertisers. Our easy-to-use compact smart format incorporates print and online content into a comprehensive subscription model. Fogler said at the heart of the new reader experience for printed edition readers will be the approach pioneered since 2009 in the Free Press’â passion-topics’sections: in-depth reporting, rich photographs and eye-catching design in Green Mountain, Savorvore, ARTSbtv and Innovate. The Free Press will also introduce a new passion section to the line-up called â Round Here on Saturdays that defines life in Vermont and the Vermont way. Editor Michael Townsend said: â The new Free Press will be clean, elegant, simple, compelling, commanding, photo driven, text driven, compact and easy to handle, full color every page, narrative driven, big with impact, provocative, engaging, a definite sense of place, local, well written, what you didn’t read elsewhere, far different than any other, complementary of online with its own unique personality. In addition to this new-look, the Burlington Free Press will deliver the most accountability reporting and narrative writing in all of Vermont.â  FreePressMedia recently changed its subscription model, as part of an historic shift toward digital-first publishing. The new model provides the flexibility of how, when and where its readers want to consume the local news and information in Vermont. Free Press readers will see significant digital enhancements in the next few months, the statement said, including more video and photos, and a renewed focus on the topics that matter most to Vermonters. FreePressMedia also re-did its Web site. It said it has launched new and improved digital platforms for readers to access news and information, including a more robust mobile site and a tablet-friendly reader experience.last_img read more

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