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Month: March 2023

We obtained the letter: TikTok to be removed from all European Parliament devices and content blocking will also be introduced

Media1 has obtained the letters sent to all 705 MEPs on this issue.

The Directorate-General for Innovation and Technology Support writes to MEPs that cybersecurity concerns have been raised on the usage on the use of TikTok social media platform, in particular regarding data protection and collection of data by third parties.

In view of these risks, the President of the European ParliamentRoberta Metsola, and the Secretary General, in alignment with other institutions have agreed to

  • that TikTok application must not be used or installed on Parliament’s corporate devices, such as mobile phones and tablets,
  • TikTok applications that have already been downloaded and installed must be uninstalled as soon as possible.

Access to the service will also be technically blocked

This measure applies as from 20 March 2023 to Parliament corporate devices enrolled in Parliament’s mobile management application. As of this date, web access to TikTok through our corporate network, i.e. on corporate desktops and laptops, will also be blocked.

There is also a Hungarian connection to the case

As previously reported by Media1, the respected international free market lobbying organisation Consumer Choice Center, which has a Hungarian manager: former MP Zoltán Készwrote in a January resolution to EU policymakers that it is time for the EU to step up its action on TikTok “before it is too late”.

Read the full text here

LES DANGERS DES MONNAIES NUMÉRIQUES DE BANQUES CENTRALES

De nombreuses banques centrales ont annoncé qu’elles commençaient à explorer l’idée d’introduire des monnaies numériques de banque centrale (MNBC) : de l’e-naira, une MNBC émise par la banque centrale du Nigeria, au yuan numérique en Chine, en passant par la Banque centrale européenne, qui explore l’idée de l’euro numérique.

En fait, selon une étude de la Banque des règlements internationaux, 90% des 81 banques centrales interrogées ont étudié, sous une forme ou une autre, l’idée de lancer une MNBC.

Selon la même enquête, un nombre croissant de pays adaptent l’autorité légale des banques centrales en leur donnant des dispositions qui permettent le lancement de ces monnaies numériques.

Des cryptomonnaies centralisées

Les banques centrales concernées font valoir que les MNBC contribueront à l’inclusion financière en offrant un meilleur accès aux services financiers aux personnes sous-bancarisées et non-bancarisées, qu’elles entraîneront une réduction significative de la fraude et du blanchiment d’argent et qu’elles amélioreront l’efficacité et permettront en fin de compte une politique monétaire meilleure et plus efficace grâce à un contrôle accru de la masse monétaire.

Les MNBC sont souvent considérées comme la réponse du gouvernement aux cryptomonnaies, la façon dont les banques centrales tentent de s’adapter à l’époque et de numériser la monnaie. Toutefois, à l’exception de l’utilisation de technologies similaires, elles sont fondamentalement différentes du Bitcoin et de nombreuses autres cryptomonnaies.

La différence la plus importante entre les MNBC et le Bitcoin réside dans le niveau de centralisation et de contrôle. Alors que le Bitcoin est une monnaie entièrement décentralisée fonctionnant sur un ledger décentralisé qu’aucune personne ou organisation ne peut contrôler, les CBDC sont émises et entièrement contrôlées par une banque centrale qui en contrôle ainsi l’approvisionnement, les émissions et l’utilisation.

Le Bitcoin a été créé comme une alternative décentralisée aux monnaies fiduciaires traditionnelles et comme une réponse aux politiques monétaires des banques centrales qui créent de l’incertitude et sont responsables de la dévaluation de la monnaie, avec des effets d’entraînement dans toute l’économie. Les MNBC doteraient les gouvernements d’outils permettant un contrôle total, rapide et facile de la politique monétaire, jusqu’à cibler les entreprises, les organisations et les particuliers.

Le niveau de contrôle qu’un Etat aurait sur chaque transaction et la capacité d’appliquer la censure des transactions sur n’importe qui donneraient aux dirigeants un niveau de contrôle sans précédent dans l’histoire, un outil dont n’importe quel dirigeant totalitaire d’il y a quelques décennies aurait seulement pu rêver.

Une étape de plus

On pourrait arguer que la plupart de l’argent est déjà numérique, une collection sans fin de 0 et de 1. Cependant, la distinction cruciale est qu’aucune base de données unique ne peut suivre et superviser chaque transaction existante. Il existe un certain nombre de lois et de règlements qui permettent aux forces de l’ordre de demander l’accès à des dossiers, mais les tribunaux doivent donner leur accord pour de telles actions.

En renonçant à ces contrôles et équilibres actuellement en place et en autorisant un accès en un clic aux comptes des citoyens, on donnerait non seulement un pouvoir sans précédent en termes de violation de la vie privée, mais aussi la possibilité de surveiller ou de désactiver des comptes indésirables sur la base de toute violation perçue ou réelle.

Retirer à une personne toute sa capacité à subvenir à ses besoins en verrouillant ses comptes équivaut à l’emprisonner. Donner à des fonctionnaires la possibilité de geler ou d’interdire certains comptes sans procédure régulière pourrait porter gravement atteinte aux principes de l’Etat de droit sur lesquels repose notre société.

La possibilité pour tout fonctionnaire élu ou nommé d’affecter de la sorte les moyens de subsistance d’un citoyen pourrait avoir de graves conséquences, telles que la mise en danger de la capacité des citoyens à utiliser leur droit à la libre expression dans la crainte que leur vie soit ruinée en un seul clic.

Il n’est par ailleurs pas difficile d’imaginer les nombreuses façons dont un acteur malveillant pourrait utiliser ce pouvoir centralisé. De nombreuses autres conséquences involontaires sont possibles et certaines pourraient créer d’immenses niveaux de méfiance sociale.

Ensuite, il y a la question de la vie privée. Les transactions effectuées à l’aide des MNBC peuvent être enregistrées sur une blockchain publique, ce qui permet à d’autres de suivre et d’analyser les données financières. Le fait que des citoyens utilisent un outil susceptible d’affecter fondamentalement leur vie privée à une échelle inimaginable jusqu’à présent dans l’histoire de l’humanité constituerait une grande violation des droits à la vie privée et entraînerait, sans aucun doute, des problèmes supplémentaires.

Vous pensiez que votre historique de navigation pouvait être retourné contre vous ? Il ne serait pas beaucoup plus amusant que n’importe qui ait accès à toutes les transactions monétaires que vous avez effectuées, et il est une fois de plus facile d’imaginer des dizaines de façons dont de mauvais acteurs pourraient exploiter l’accès à ce type d’informations.

Remplacer le Bitcoin ?

Une autre conséquence potentielle souvent négligée de l’introduction d’une MNBC est la concurrence monétaire numérique. Si nous assistons à une augmentation des monnaies numériques émises par les banques centrales, il est probable qu’elles entreront dans une course avec les monnaies émises par d’autres pays ainsi que les monnaies privées ou décentralisées, telles que le Bitcoin.

Ce type de concurrence pourrait exposer les citoyens non avertis à des fluctuations monétaires imprévisibles et créer une instabilité encore plus grande pour certaines monnaies nationales. La façon dont cela pourrait affecter le pouvoir d’achat et conduire à des troubles civils potentiels est évidente.

Ce ne sont là que quelques exemples de la façon dont l’adoption des monnaies numériques des banques centrales pourrait affecter la vie telle que nous la connaissons.

Il est facile de voir comment une monnaie extrêmement centralisée, hautement contrôlée et surveillée mettrait fin à de nombreuses libertés dont jouissent nos sociétés et montre pourquoi, à l’inverse, le Bitcoin, une monnaie hautement décentralisée, sécurisée et résistante à la censure, est immensément important et représente l’un des outils les plus puissants dont dispose l’humanité aujourd’hui pour préserver ces libertés.

Originally published here

Three things that could save you $1,000 yearly

Imagine if you had an extra $1,000 right now. You could use the money to go on a road trip, buy a few weeks’ worth of groceries or pay a few bills.

The federal government could easily put $1,000 in the hands of Canadian households by abolishing federal laws that lobbyists have secured at the expense of Canadian consumers. Specifically, the government could take on: big cellphone companies, big airline companies and the dairy cartel.

First, consider your cellphone bill. A 2021 study by Rewheel, a Finnish cellphone market research consulting firm, found that prices in the Canadian wireless market “continue to be the highest or among the highest in the world.” Some in industry blame high cell bills on our nation’s large geography and the need to put up many cellphone towers. That does play a part, but readers should note that Australia is also a large country with a small population and their cell bills are less than half of Canada’s.

Canada’s problem is that we simply don’t have enough cellphone companies competing with each other to offer great deals for customers. Our nation is dominated by three large companies — Bell, Rogers and Telus — which also own several smaller carriers, such as Fido, Virgin, Koodo, etc. One reason Canada doesn’t have a strong market is due to the fact that government rules prevent foreign companies from owning no more than 20 per cent of a cellphone company. If we rescinded this rule, we could see companies from allied nations, who don’t present a threat to our national security, enter our market and help push down cellphone prices.

Considering many households spend over $100 per month on cell coverage, a mere 15 per cent savings could add up to nearly $200 per year.

We find the same problem in the airline sector. Federal laws prevent foreign entities from owning more than 49 per cent of an airline that operates domestic routes in Canada. This has left consumers dependent on Air Canada and WestJet for domestic flights for far too long — high prices are once again a consequence for consumers due to federal laws that reduce competition. Travel booking company Kiwi.com notes that Canada ranks 65th globally in terms of flight affordability. Our cost per 100 kilometres travelled is 2.1 times higher than in the United States, 2.8 times higher than in New Zealand and 3.6 times higher than in Portugal.

Rescinding foreign ownership rules could lead to more airlines entering the market and reducing costs for consumers. This could lead to a situation where WestJet and Air Canada suddenly have to compete with Korean Airlines or Delta when flying passengers from Toronto to Vancouver and other domestic routes.

Under a more competitive model, a family that purchased two $500 flights a year could save $150 if prices dropped by a mere 15 per cent.

Federal laws also force Canadians to pay high prices for dairy and poultry products. This is because Ottawa’s “supply management” system decides how much each farmer can produce and how much they get paid. There’s no competition. The end result is that Canadians pay high prices for chicken, turkey, eggs, milk and other dairy products while farmers in those industries get rich. According to Statistics Canada, the average dairy farm in Canada had a net worth of $4.5 million in 2019 while poultry and egg farmers had a net worth of $6.2 million. These are both far higher than most other agricultural farms which operate under competitive models.

According to a 2015 University of Toronto study, Ottawa’s supply management system forced the typical Canadian family with two kids to pay an extra $585 per year for dairy and poultry products. Adjusted for inflation, eight years later, the cost to households for this policy would be much higher at approximately $724.

Thankfully for Canadian consumers, the vast majority of industries do not operate with federal rules slanted so heavily in favour of industry at the expense of consumers. By tackling these three areas of federal policy, the government could save Canadians a large amount of money — something most households could do with right now.

Originally published here

Ireland’s unilateral decision on mandatory alcohol labels sets a bad precedent for the EU’s Single Market

Minor wine and beer companies operate with thin profit margins and cannot afford the extra costs of complying with Irish rules on the one hand while maintaining their foothold in the European industry on the other, writes Emil Panzaru

The European Commission’s passive reaction to upcoming Irish alcohol labels is a sobering development for the future of the European Union. In July last year, the Republic of Irelandsubmitted a draft law called Public Health (Alcohol) Labelling Regulations 2022 to the Commission for approval. The new draft follows Section 12 of the 2018 Public Health (Alcohol) Act. It adds mandatory health wrapping on all drinks, cautioning consumers about the health dangers of alcohol, such as cancer, liver disease, and fetal alcoholic disorders. The Commission has given the proposal its green light in the most surprising way possible. It has done so by failing to comment on the text despite objections from Italy, France, and Spain, the EU’s biggest alcohol producers, and no less than five other member states.

Set aside the fact that people often don’t pay attention to packaging, so the policy will likely be ineffective. Allowing Ireland to change trade rules unilaterally throws a spanner into the usual Single European Act mechanisms that are supposed to operate at an EU-wide level.

This interruption of the Single Market represents a blow to an already fragile agricultural sector. The European Union claims to support small and medium-sized businesses in its single-market strategy. Yet, unlike multinationals, minor wine and beer companies operate with thin profit margins and cannot afford the extra costs of complying with Irish rules on the one hand while maintaining their foothold in the European industry on the other. Artisanal producers from Italy or Spain will have to exit the Irish market altogether. When the bloc is barely recovering from the higher food and beverage prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, any further disruption would be a self-inflicted wound. 

In the long-term, the ruling creates a dangerous political and legal opt-out that countries besides Ireland may find fitting to exploit. Nothing will stop other member states from one-sidedly amending trade rules whenever doing so suits domestic politics and objectives. As Europe’s agricultural powerhouse (accounting for 18% of all produce), France may decide that its champagne is not just special because of the designated place of its origin. Indeed, champagne could enjoy a unique position on the market and be bought and sold strictly with French packaging under French rules. Of course, countries will find ways to apply the same logic to non-agricultural items, too (like electric vehicles). Each state stands to gain from interventions, restrictions, and demands for special treatment, but the outcome would make everyone collectively poorer.

To prevent this scenario, the European Commission should uphold and ensure the harmonization of Single Market rules. At the very least, it must stop being quiet when real objections need answers. Instead, the Commission’s Department for Growth ought to respect provision 138 from the rules and procedures for the European Parliament, allow MEPs to submit 20 questions on the matter, and answer their queries within three months.

At best, the Commission must stand firm on its legal and political principles. Article 41 of 1169/2011 EU food labeling regulation only allows for national measures regarding the listing of ingredients and packaging when there are no existing EU regulations. Ireland must, therefore, refrain from pursuing a campaign that overwrites regulation 2019/787 and code 1308/2013 of EU law. Of course, Ireland can pursue other strategies compatible with EU law to achieve its objectives. For instance, the Taoiseach’s office could launch a nationwide educational campaign on alcohol or revise the country’s health guidelines.

We all want people to lead happier, healthier lives. But we should not let the Union’s grandest achievement, the free movement of free people, goods, services, and capital, be squandered. 

Originally published here

Potensi Besar Kekayaan Intelektual di Indonesia

Indonesia merupakan salah satu negara dengan kekuatan ekonomi terbesar di dunia. Diestimasi, pendapatan domestik bruto (PDB) Indonesia pada tahun 2021lalu adalah sebesar USD1,19 triliun, dan menduduki posisi negara dengan PDB terbesar ke-16 di dunia (investopedia,com, 1/9/2021).

Angka ini tentu merupakan sesuatu yang tidak kecil. Hal ini tentu bisa dimengerti mengingat Indonesia memiliki jumlah penduduk yang sangat besar, yakni sekitar 270 juta penduduk. Besarnya jumlah penduduk yang ada di Indonesia tentu memiliki pengaruh yang sangat besar terhadap besarnya output ekonomi Indonesia secara keseluruhan.

Sektor yang berperan dalam perekonomian Indoensia juga sangat beragam, mulai dari industri berat yang membutuhkan pabrik besar dengan pekerja yang banyak, hingga industri padat karya dan usaha kecil dan menengah. Dari berbagai sektor usaha tersebut, salah satu sektor yang memiliki peranan penting adalah industri kreatif yang ada di negara kita.

Industri kreatif sendiri dipahami sebagai industri yang bertumpu pada proses menciptakan ide dan kreativitas, yang nantinya bisa digunakan untuk mendapatkan profit dan keuntungan. Jenis-jenis dari industri kreatif sendiri sangat beragam dan mencakup berbagai aspek, mulai dari industri kuliner, iklan, fotografi, musik, film, seni pertunjukan, seni rupa, permainan seperti video game, dan lain sebagainya (greatdayhr.com, 12/11/2021).

Oleh karena itu, salah satu hal yang sangat penting dan memiliki pengaruh yang besar terhadap industri kreatif adalah adanya perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual yang kuat. Perlindungan kekayaan intelektual yang kuat sangat penting karena kekayaan intelektual merupakan salah satu aset utama yang dimiliki oleh para pelaku industri kreatif, melalui karya yang mereka buat dan inovasi.

Tanpa adanya perlindungan kekayaan intelektual yang kuat, maka akan sangat mustahil industri kreatif dapat berkembang di Indonesia. Bila hak kekayaan intelektual di Indonesia tidak dilindungi dengan baik, maka pihak-pihak yang tidak bertanggung jawab dapat dengan mudah membajak karya tersebut, sehingga para inovator dan pelaku industri kreatif tidak bisa mendapatkan manfaat ekonomi dari karya yang telah mereka buat.

Seiring dengan perkembangan teknologi, dengan segala aspek positif yang dihasilkan, hal ini juga membawa banyak tantangan baru bagi perlindungan kekayaan intelektual di Indonesia. 

Dengan perkembangan teknologi yang semakin pesat, maka distribusi konten-konten bajakan, dan juga mekanisme untuk membajak sebuah konten akan semakin mudah. Misalnya, saat ini sangat mudah bagi kita untuk bisa mendapatkan barang-barang bajakan dari merek ternama, atau pun mendapatkan karya seni bajakan seperti film dan musik.

Oleh karena itu, adanya perlindungan kekayaan intelektual yang kuat sangat penting terutama karena potensi industri kreatif dan pemanfaatan kekayaan intelektual di Indonesia sangat besar. Berdasarkan estimasi misalnya, Indonesia memiliki potensi kekayaan intelektual yang sangat besar, yakni sekitar 300 triliun rupiah (idxchannel.com, 29/1/2023).

Angka ini tentu merupakan potensi yang sangat besar, dan sangat penting untuk diperhatikan. Potensi 300 triliun rupiah dari kekayaan intelektual merupakan hal yang sangat penting untuk diperhatikan. Terlebih lagi, angka yang sangat besar tersebut diestimasi hanya berdasarkan pengembangan dua sektor industri kreatif saja, yakni lisensi dan media hiburan (idxchannel.com, 29/1/2023).

Baru-baru ini, pemerintah sendiri juga sudah mengeluarkan peraturan yang ditujukan untuk memaksimalkan potensi yang sangat besar tersebut, salah satunya adalah Peraturan Pemerintah (PP) No. 24 Tahun 2022 tentang ekonomi kreatif. Salah satu poin yang penting dari peraturan tersebut adalah pelaku industri kreatif bisa mendapatkan fasilitas pembiayaan untuk mengembangkan usaha yang dimilikinya.

Selain itu, para pekerja kreatif tersebut juga bisa menggunakan kekayaan intelektual yang mereka miliki sebagai jaminan untama untuk pembiayaan. Skema dari fasilitas pembiayaan ini juga berbasis pada lembaga keuangan bank dan juga lembaga keuangan non-bank (idxchannel.com, 29/1/2023).

Berbagai kebijakan untuk memaksimalkan potensi industri kreatif dan kekayaan intelektual yang kita miliki tersebut tidak hanya dilakukan oleh pemerintah pusat saja, tetapi juga berbagai pemerintah daerah di berbagai wilayah di Indonesia. Kantor Wilayah Kementerian Hukum dan HAM (Kemenkumham) Sumatera Selatan misalnya, mengeluarkan program “One Village Brand” dan Kawasan Hak Cipta untuk mendorong kekayaan intelektual di provinsi tersebut.

Program tersebuts endiri sudah disosialisasikan ke berbagai daerah di seluruh Sumatera Selatan, mulai dari lembaga pendidikan SMA/SMK dan juga sosialisasi kepada masyarakat secara umum. 

Program dari kegiatan ini ada bermacam-macam, mulai dari inventarisir Usaha Mikro, Kecil, dan Menengah (UMKM) yang sudah mendaftarkan kekayaan intelektual, hingga perlombaan inovasi yang dilakukan oleh berbagai sekolah dan juga pembinaan terhadap para pelaku usaha UMKM di provinsi tersebut (vibizmedia.com, 2/2/2023).

Sebagai penutup, Indonesia merupakan negaar dengan potensi industri kreatif dan kekayaan intelektual yang sangat besar. Untuk itu, perlindungan hak kekayaan intelektual yang baik adalah sesuatu yang sangat penting. Tidak kalah pentingnya juga reformasi berbagai aturan agar para pelaku industri kreatif bisa lebih mudah dalam mendaftarkan hasil inovasinya.

Originally published here

Prestazioni sanitarie, tempi di attesa e nuove tecnologie

Presentato ieri un particolare ‘Indice di risparmio tempo’. I dati mettono a confronto i sistemi di dieci paesi sviluppati e ne evidenziano le disuguaglianze (allo scopo di correggere il sistema)

Il tempo è denaro, recita un vecchio adagio, ancor più se parliamo di quello che ciascuno di noi investe per la propria salute. Mentre la politica (e non solo) si interroga come abbattere le liste di attesa, il Consumer Choice Center (realtà consolidata che rappresenta i consumatori in oltre 100 Paesi del mondo) ha pubblicato un ‘indice di risparmio di tempo’. Di cosa si tratta? L’indice mette a confronto i sistemi di 10 Paesi sviluppati, tra i primi e gli ultimi classificati, in termini di tempo risparmiato dai pazienti per ottenere un appuntamento dal medico, andare in farmacia o in ospedale, ordinare i farmaci e accedere alla contraccezione.
Si tratta del primo database di questo tipo (o almeno con una ampia scala di valutazione), e si prefigge di offrire ai consumatori uno strumento utile a operare le scelte migliori e più sane per sé stessi, nonché di evidenziare lacune strutturali sulle quali richiamare l’attenzione delle politiche sanitarie dei singoli Paesi.

Read the full text here

Europe’s Farm Reforms Come to Haunt It

When the European Commission (the EU’s executive arm) unveiled the “Farm to Fork” (often referred to as F2F) strategy in May 2020, the repercussions of the years to come were unknown. Brussels laid out an ambitious roadmap for agricultural reform: reducing land use, severe cuts in synthetic crop protection, reduction in synthetic fertilizers and boosting organic production.

Three years later, the strategy at the heart of the European Green Deal faces stark opposition, even from within. The commission’s agriculture commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski, has said he thinks F2F unfairly disadvantages Eastern European member states. And farm lobbies oppose the plans based on feasibility. In arguing for pausing the F2F, President Emmanuel Macron of France said, “Europe cannot afford to produce less.”

Arguably, the commission has been surprised by two events that will continue to shake Europe: the COVID-19 pandemic and the incurred recovery spending, and the war in Ukraine. Ukraine and Russia are large food exporters to the European Union, which relies on them for everything from fertilizers to non-GMO animal feed. However, the commission also failed to deliver on impact assessments. While a U.S. Department of Agriculture study found the Farm-to-Fork strategy would shrink Europe’s food trade and even GDP, Brussels faced criticism from European Parliament lawmakers who claimed its impact assessments were delayed and overly optimistic.

The flagship legislative cornerstones of F2F are stuck in inter-governmental dispute: the reduction of chemical pesticides pins farm-heavy member countries against the commission; Italy rejects the EU’s approach on food labeling, which it believes discriminates against the Mediterranean diet; and EU trade partners take issue with the planned animal welfare rules. 

On trade, Europe is opening itself up to battles at the level of the World Trade Organization because it also requires trade partners to start imposing agricultural regulation that mirrors its own. African nations have pointed out that EU food rules unjustly discriminate against foreign imports.

The baseline for F2F is the precautionary principle, a legal doctrine that has imposed the strictest food standards on European farming. While this system appears cautious on its surface, it has also prevented European farmers from using modern technological advances in their work. Take gene editing: as CRISPR-Cas9 technology revolutionizes foodstuffs in the United States, Canada and Brazil, it remains banned in the EU under precautionary rules. Producers would have to disprove all eventual negative side-effects before getting market access.

Contrary to risk-based analyses, this is what scientists refer to as hazard-based risk assessments. Hazard, in this context, refers to the possibility of doing harm, while risk refers to the probability that it will. This approach has led to the ban of many chemical pesticides authorized for use in the United States.

EU rules on greenhouse gas emissions have also angered farmers across the continent. Last summer, Dutch farmers descended on the cities to protest nitrous oxide reduction targets. Nitrous oxide and methane emissions are byproducts of livestock, for instance, when manure decomposes — an effect Dutch authorities are trying to avoid by buying farmers out of their livestock business.

Agricultural expos these days flaunt high-tech solutions: smart sprayers, drones, and AI-powered data analysis. New breeding technologies allow plant breeders to create efficient and resource-saving crops, meaning that we produce more with less, effectively surpassing peak agricultural land use. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda has made innovation a prime target for biodiversity and sustainability gains. Meanwhile, Europe feels the weight of an agricultural policy that essentially asks farmers to cease their professions to protect the environment — an approach that is coming to haunt it as international trade and losses in purchasing power lay bare the vulnerabilities of our food systems.

Originally published here

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