The Lanka Academic

MARCH 15, 2001 EST, USA
VOL. 1, NO. 343

F R E E      C L A S S I F I E D S
T  O  P      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E
India requests Sweden to assist in the Gandhi assassination case
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 10 a.m. SLT Friday March 16. According to a Swedish newspaper today, Indian investigators have requested the Swedish government to cooperate in arresting a Swedish resident believed to be involved in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Sweden's Justice Minister has confirmed that such an appeal had been made in February this year by India and that Sweden will most likely cooperate.

Twenty six suspects believed to have been involved in the murder of Rajiv Gandhi were arrested in 1998.
Published: Thu Mar 15 23:07:18 EST 2001

No Connection Fee! Calls to Sri Lanka, only 39c/m!
O  T  H  E  R      H  E  A  D  L  I  N  E  S
Estate workers demands met
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.30 a.m. SLT Friday March 16. The Satyagraha campaign initiated by Minister Arumugam Thondaman demanding a wage increase of Rs. 400/- for estate workers was amicably settled yesterday. Soon after the government stepped in to settle the crisis a new wage package effective from March 15, was worked out within the framework of the collective agreement.

The settlement finally came to a close following weeks of discussion between the CWC and other trade unions and EFC. Senior ministers too intervened. Minister Thondaman threatened to resign from the cabinet if the workers and the CWC demands were not met by the government.

The estate wrokers have been protesting for the last 23 days before a settlement was reached. The Satyagraha campaign resulted in a go slow and nearly crippled the country's tea export sector. The campaign also led to a breakdown of law and order in the estates.
Published: Thu Mar 15 23:07:17 EST 2001 Back to the top

Related News Stories
Sri Lanka wage hike ends storm in tea cup  -
Lankan tea crisis ends as minister wins wage demand  - India Abroad

Lankan Navy shoots Indian Fishermen
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.15 a.m. SLT Friday March 16. One Indian fisherman was shot dead by Sri Lanka's Navy on Wednesday March 14, 2001, When the trawler boat they were using for fishing allegedly strayed into Lanka's territorial waters. Two other fishermen were wounded in the incident and are being treated at the national hospital in Tamil Nadu.
Published: Thu Mar 15 23:07:17 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka to request West Europe to ban LTTE
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 8.20 a.m. SLT Friday March 16. Sri Lanka plans to lobby all West European nations to ban the LTTE. The announcement was made following President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge's first leg of her tour to West Europe.

The president it is reported, has already made representations to the German government in this regard, requesting that the Germans follow suit, similar to the UK and proscribe the Tamil militant group.

The Germans have not made any committment yet, stating only that while the Germans are committed to fighting international terrorism the state cannot yet decide if the LTTE should be banned in Germany. Meanwhile, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has stated that such an issue cannot be discussed in a public forum and can only be addressed after closed door sessions.
Published: Thu Mar 15 23:07:16 EST 2001 Back to the top

Fresh fighting grips Sri Lanka's Jaffna, Mar 15 2001 17:12 IST. COLOMBO, March 15 (AFP) - Fresh fighting erupted in Sri Lanka's embattled northern peninsula of Jaffna with troops moving to destroy a Tamil rebel base, the defence ministry here said Thursday. Security forces attacked guerrillas of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at Karadiyankadu on Tuesday night, the defence ministry here said in a statement. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 08:16:44 EST 2001 Back to the top

British parliament approves ban on LTTE
Island, 16 March 2001. The British parliament on Wednesday approved the list of proscribed organisation listed by Home Secretary Jack Straw as per the provisions of the British Terrorism Act 2000. The inclusion of the LTTE in that list means that the British parliament has in effect endorsed the decision of the Home Secretary Jack Straw to brand the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organisation. The debate also highlighted the minuscule level of British parliamentary support the LTTE has in Britain.The LTTE who have silenced all alternative political opinion by selective assassinations, and presented itself fraudulently as the "sole representatives of the Tamil speaking people" was only able to muster two British MPâs to speak sympathetically on its behalf. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 20:48:27 EST 2001 Back to the top

Six dead, 26 injured when bus goes off road
Island, 16 March 2001. Six passengers were killed on the spot and twenty-six seriously injured when a bus from the Peoplised Depot, Ratnapura went down precipice at Demanhandiya, Kuruwita yesterday (15), Kuruwita police said. The injured have been admitted to Ratnapura hospital. Investigations revealed that the bus was plying from Kuruwita to Eratna when it went down a precipice around 5.30 a.m. Most of the passengers were pilgrims to Sri Pada. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 20:50:38 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Pada pilgrims killed in bus tragedy Six dead, 29 injured  - CDN

Brutally ragged Lankan student commits suicide
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, March 15. A SRI Lankan student, who was hospitalised after being brutally ragged at his college, later committed suicide by hanging because his father insisted that he get back to college. In a front page story today,"The Island" daily said that fresher Sameera Chaturanga Dabare (19) had refused to go back to college after he was treated in hospital for injuries to his sexual organ caused by the application of a strong chemical, methyl-calycilete. But his father, P.P.H. Dabare, insisted that he get back for the sake of his career. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 17:34:02 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Severely ragged Lankan freshman hangs himself  - India Abroad

Sri Lanka Reports Few Cases Of Foot-And-Mouth Disease
Yahoo India, 15 March 2001. COLOMBO (AP)--Sri Lankan health officials reported a few cases of foot-and-mouth disease Thursday, saying there was no risk of an epidemic. A "small percentage" of about 150,000 cattle in north-central Sri Lanka have contracted the virus, said G. Karavita, a government veterinary surgeon. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 08:40:33 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan PM visits Buddhist era ruins in Pakistan, Mar 15 2001 22:29 IST. ISLAMABAD, March 15 (AFP) - Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake Thursday visited ruins from the Buddhist era in the northern Pakistani town of Taxila, officials said. Wickremanayake visited a Buddhist archaeological site in Sirkup, near Taxila and "appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan for the preservation of the heritage," an official statement said. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 13:55:54 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka parliament seeks acting head of state, Mar 15 2001 12:56 IST. COLOMBO, March 15 (AFP) - Sri Lanka's parliament was Thursday asked to appoint an acting head of state as both the president and the prime minister had left the country without naming replacements. The main opposition United National party (UNP) proposed that its party member, parliament Speaker Anura Bandaranaike, the estranged brother of President Chandrika Kumaratunga should take over as the acting head of state. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 06:41:00 EST 2001 Back to the top

Gangster on bail among three killed in shootout with cops
Island, 16 March 2001. Three members of a notorious gang of armed robbers, believed to be responsible for last month’s abortive bid to seize the payroll amounting to Rs 850,000 of Tuffline [Pvt] Limited, Meegoda, a subsidiary of the Maharaja Group, were shot dead by Athurugiriya police on Wednesday night. DIG Jayantha Wickremaratne yesterday said that the gangsters were killed during a brief gun battle at Shanthalokagama, Athurugiriya. Police did not suffer casualties, he said adding that initial investigations have revealed that the gang had been involved in a series of armed robberies. One of the dead was identified as Upul Dammika, a resident of Depanama Pannipitiya, the DIG said revealing that the gangster had been previously arrested in connection with his alleged involvement in armed robberies but bailed out. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 21:02:34 EST 2001 Back to the top

Erik Solheim meets Jaswant
Yahoo India, 15 March 2001. NEW DELHI, MARCH 15. India today reiterated its support for Sri Lanka's sovereignty and territorial integrity and pointed out that lasting peace in the island nation was possible only when the aspirations of all elements of its society were respected. This was stated by the External Affairs Minister, Mr.Jaswant Singh during his talks with the visiting Norwegian Special envoy, Mr.Erik Solheim, who was engaged in facilitating a dialogue between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE. Mr. Solheim had earlier met the Foreign Secretary, Ms. Chokila Iyer. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 17:36:32 EST 2001 Back to the top

Fighting as mediator leaves Sri Lanka
Yahoo, Thursday, 15 March. A military spokesman in Sri Lanka said troops ambushed and killed eight Tamil Tiger rebels in the Peraru jungles, near the eastern port of Trincomalee. The attack came hours after an international peace envoy, Erik Solheim, left the island. The spokesman said that, in a separate incident, rebels killed a soldier near Weli Oya close to the north-eastern front. And he said a rebel committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule when troops tried to arrest him in the northern Mannar district. The reports could not be independently verified. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 06:43:29 EST 2001 Back to the top

Buddhists from several countries protest in Shravasti
Yahoo India, 15 March 2001. Bahraich (Uttar Pradesh), Mar 15 (PTI) Buddhists from Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, Bhutan, Myanmar and India took out a procession at Shravasti, an important Buddhist pilgrimage centre, condemning Taliban's destruction of Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 08:45:53 EST 2001 Back to the top

Nurturing a musical legacy
Yahoo India, 16 March 2001. JANAKI RAMANA..., Mamava...'', the Kulasegaran family of Sri Lanka was captivated by the beauty of Carnatic music. It cast its spell especially on the eldest of his six children. She migrated to India and achieved name and fame here as Bhushany Kalyanaraman. ``By the age of four I had memorised the Sivapuranam. I also sang the Thevaram and other devotional songs at the local temples. My father, `Sangeetha Bhushanam' from the Annamalai University, was my first guru and my manaseeka guru is M.S. It was my life's dream to learn from her. I also admired NCV's music and...,'' began Bhushany Kalyanaraman giving us interesting insights into her past. The little girl's exceptional talent earned her many gold medals and attracted the attention of the local connoisseurs. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 17:46:34 EST 2001 Back to the top

Lanka throw away initiative in final session
CDN, 16 March 2001. Sri Lanka threw away a golden opportunity of running up a total big enough to put pressure on England when they slumped to 221 for seven wickets by the close of the first day of the decisive third and final cricket Test played at the SSC grounds yesterday. From a seemingly strong position of 205 for three wickets, Sri Lanka let England wrest the initiative in the final hour by losing four wickets for 14 runs. All four wickets fell to spinners Ashley Giles and Robert Croft and if that is any indication of what the SSC pitch has to offer for the next few days, then the Sri Lankan batsmen can be excused to some degree for getting out. But overall, it was their impetuosity and the lack of patience that led to their downfall after Sanath Jayasuriya had won his 16th toss out of 18 Tests as captain and decided to bat first. Sri Lanka recovered through the early loss of Marvan Atapattu in the second over for a duck, when Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara put together a stand of 86 for the second wicket. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 20:39:02 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Cricket-Giles and Croft send Sri Lanka sliding  - Yahoo India

Sri Lanka To Seek Free Trade Agreement With Pakistan
Yahoo India, 15 March 2001. Sri Lanka will seek a free trade agreement with Pakistan, a commerce department official said Thursday. "The Cabinet has approved it and given the finance ministry the go ahead, but negotiations have not started," Saman Udagedara, deputy director at the commerce department, told Dow Jones Newswires. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 08:35:17 EST 2001 Back to the top

'Corruption at highest levels in Sri Lanka'
The Hindu (International), Friday, March 16, 2001. COLOMBO, MARCH 15. Sri Lanka's main Opposition United National Party (UNP) has called for a parliamentary probe into defence deals after a senior Minister admitted that there was corruption at the ``highest levels of administration'' in the Government's multi-million dollar purchases of arms. The Minister of Justice, Mr. Batty Weerakoon, stunned both Treasury and Opposition benches in Parliament with the admission that came during the budget debate on Tuesday. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 17:32:49 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sharjah tournament still under consideration: Uma Bharti
Yahoo India, 15 March 2001. New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) India's participation in a triangular one-day cricket series in Sharjah, also involving Pakistan and Sri Lanka scheduled for next month, is still under consideration and a decision on it would be taken soon, according to Federal Sports Minister Uma Bharti. More...
Published: Thu Mar 15 08:42:02 EST 2001 Back to the top

Growing number of mentally ill linked to ongoing war
India Abroad, Wednesday, 134 March. SRI Lanka's protracted anti-separatist war is one of the leading causes for the rise in the number of mentally ill young people, officials of a leading mental health organization said Wednesday.One in eight Sri Lankans has some form of mental illness, debilitating enough to prompt sufferers to seek psychiatric help, said Leslie Rajakaruna of Sahanaya, a non-governmental organization.The statistic is well above the world average of one mentally ill patient in ten, said Rajakaruna. Sri Lanka already has the distinction of having the highest suicide rate in the world. Army rehabilitation officials recently said there was increasing concern over the large number of depressed and psychologically-impaired among the over 9,000 servicemen who had been injured in the government's war against Tamil separatists. Rajakaruna told IANS that many of the afflicted are between 15 and 35 years and the commonest illness. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 17:39:34 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
War driving more Sri Lankans to suicide  -

Schroeder pushes investment in Sri Lanka, Mar 14 2001 20:44 IST. BERLIN, March 14 (AFP) - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Wednesday encouraged German businesses to invest in Sri Lanka following talks here with visiting President Chandrika Kumaratunga. "I want to stress that, in light of President Kamaratunga's policies, I don't think one needs to be especially concerned about the security of German investments in Sri Lanka," Schroeder said. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 17:38:25 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Schroeder Meets Sri Lanka Pres, Vows Action On Terrorism  - Yahoo India

Lankan panel to probe multi-million dollar defence deals
The Hindustan Times, Colombo, March 14. SRI LANKA'S Bribery Commission would probe shady defence deals running into millions of dollars, Minister for Justice Batty Weerakoon told the Hindustan Times here today. Mr Weerakoon had startled Parliament on Tuesday by revealing that he suspected corruption at "high levels" in defence deals. He had quoted the Indian High Commissioner Gopalkrishna Gandhi as saying that there was no defence deal which was clean. The opposition United National Party MPs clamoured for more information, and asked if any ministers were involved, pointing out that last year alone SLRs 40 billion worth of military hardware was bought and this year a purchase of SLRs 60 billion was planned. They asked for a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to probe the deals. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 17:40:39 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Sri Lanka opposition demands arms graft probe  - Yahoo India

Ranatunga Brothers Warned not to Intimidate Witnesses
Saroj Pathirana in London, Wednesday 14/03/01 1845 GMT. Sri Lanka’s cricket hero Arjuna Ranatunga and his politician brother Prasannna have been warned by a Colombo judge not to attempt to intervene investigations by intimidating witnesses. Ranatunga brothers and four members of their household staff today appeared before the Colombo Magistrate Kusala Weerawardhana to answer the charges that they brutally assaulted school boys of Maradana Asoka Vidyalaya.

Two people were identified as the attackers in the identification parade while Western Provincial Councilor Prasanna Ranatunga, who was reported to be sick and came to the hearing on an air-conditioned ambulance, has been seen walking without a sign of illness after the magistrate ordered bail for him and other four accused.

Arjuna was earlier released on bail when he surrendered to the authorities on his return from Kenya where he took part in a charity match in aid of Gujarat earthquake victims.

Though Ranatunga brothers or the staff have not been charged for carrying or handling firearms, the schoolchildren had identified a man called Prasanna Gunasekara as the person fired in the air and assaulted them. He was remanded till March 21 by the magistrate. SLBC freelance journalist K.S. Udayakumar told BBC’s Sandeshaya that the magistrate warned both parties to maintain peace and not to attempt to influence witnesses. " You should maintain peace; otherwise those who break the peace will be remanded," magistrate Weerawardhana said.
Published: Wed Mar 14 13:42:18 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lankan PM offers to purchase historic artifacts from Taliban, Mar 14 2001 18:10 IST. ISLAMABAD, March 14 (AFP) - Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake Wednesday offered to purchase whatever historic artefacts are left in Afghanistan, a Sri Lankan diplomat said. Wickremanayake conveyed the proposal during a 40-minute meeting with Taliban envoy Abdul Salam Zaeef in Islamabad, they said. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 08:43:55 EST 2001 Back to the top

Security forces attack bunker at Welioya
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 4.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday March 14. A report from the Special Media Information Center said today that troops had attacked a terrorist bunker nine kilometers north of Welioya yesterday. The troops had engaged the rebels with small arms fire and mortar attack and the rebels had fled the area together with their casualties. One Tiger cadre is reported to have been killed in the attack.
Published: Wed Mar 14 05:18:46 EST 2001 Back to the top

Singapore Bans Two Tamil Tiger Fund Raisers
Yahoo India, Wednesday, 14 March. Two people have been banned from Singapore and a third is under tight restrictions after using the city-state as a base to raise funds and goods for the separatist Tamil Tiger group in Sri Lanka, the government said Wednesday. The three were among 13 people in Singapore found to be helping the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement. "The clandestine network was involved in covert fund-raising and procurement activities in support of the LTTE," the statement said. Singapore's Internal Security Department cracked the Tamil Tiger aid ring in an operation late last year, the statement added. The ministry said the action wasn't taken in response to any request by, or in coordination with, any foreign government. The statement didn't give the identities, nationalities or whereabouts of the two people banned from Singapore. The leader of the group, who is a Singapore resident, has had tight restrictions placed on his movements in and out of the country, the ministry's statement said. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 08:45:08 EST 2001 Back to the top

Govt finds no fault with LTTE's Eelam concept
Times of India, 15 March 2001. COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government has said it is not disappointed at LTTE not dropping the demand for a Tamil homeland prior to peace talks as it is only the "recognition of a concept" and not a separatist claim. "You cannot expect the LTTE to publicly state that they have abandoned their idea of a separate state. The homeland question is not for a separate state. It is more of a recognition of a concept," Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar told the state-owned Daily News. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 20:08:45 EST 2001 Back to the top
Related News Stories
Lanka Govt not disappointed at LTTE sticking to homeland claim  - Yahoo India

Eastern teachers threaten hunger strike
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 1.10 p.m. SLT Wednesday March 14. Teachers from the Patirappuwa College in Batticaloa have threatened a one day token hunger strike if they are not paid their promised allowances when they served as duty officers during the last general election. The education department says the matter is being looked into but that the money has to come from the Elections Department. The teachers have stated that if the money is not paid by the 15th of this month they will launch a hunger strike.
Published: Wed Mar 14 05:18:45 EST 2001 Back to the top

Amnesty call for deserters extended
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 12.50 p.m. SLT Wednesday March 14. The military has extended the amnesty for all army deserters until 12 midnight today. Military Spokesman Brigadier Sanath Karunaratne said no disciplinary action will be taken against army personnel who report back for duty. He said they would also be promoted in due course after receiving the relevant training. Presently, over 10,000 men are reported to have absconded from their military duties in the Army.
Published: Wed Mar 14 05:18:44 EST 2001 Back to the top

UN to meet OIC to protect remaining Afghan statues
TOI, 14 March 2001. PARIS: The director general of UNESCO was to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday with members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to try to find a way to save Afghanistan's remaining statues, a statement from the agency said. Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia have already destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas, two huge pre-Islamic monuments, after branding them false idols. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:35:01 EST 2001 Back to the top

Taliban expel BBC for criticism of destruction
Yahoo India, 14 March 2001. KABUL (Reuters) - The ruling Taliban expelled the British Broadcasting Corporation from Afghanistan on Wednesday for transmitting criticism of the group's destruction of all ancient statues, including two of the Buddha in Bamiyan.While much of the country's pre-Islamic heritage has been destroyed, Taliban officials continued to offer conflicting versions of the fate of the giant Buddhas, Afghanistan's most famous archaeological treasure. A Pakistan-based Afghan news service quoted Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal as saying no trace of the Buddhas remained while Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil told reporters in Kabul the demolition continued. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:45:08 EST 2001 Back to the top

Yahoo India, 15 March 2001. CRICKET, it appears, is a great leveller not just for match-fixing by different players in different nations and making money through foul means, but also in earning revenue for countries where the game is played. Notwithstanding the injustice of a few getting richer through quick money and the criminal wastage of time by hysteric fans, cricket brings unsolicited but the much needed foreign exchange with thousands travelling long distances and staying in countries they would not visit otherwise.t is time tourism turned into a movement if not a revolution of the Industrial, Green or the White kind. For the tiny island-nation Sri Lanka, cricket-tourism revenues seem considerable. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 19:14:16 EST 2001 Back to the top

Breakthrough in probe into bid on Chandrika's life
Times of India (Breaking News), 14 March 2001. COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police has claimed a breakthrough in investigation into the December, 1999 attempt to assassinate president Chandrika Kumaratunga after an LTTE suspect confessed to being the stand-by suicide bomber if the woman assigned the job failed, a state-run newspaper reported on Wednesday. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:39:49 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Power Min Names New Electricity Board Chairman
Yahoo India, 14 March 2001. Sri Lanka's Power and Energy Ministry has appointed K.L. Ariyananda as the new chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board, a ministry official said Wednesday. He said the new chairman will take up his post within the next few weeks. Ariyananda has succeeded Arjun Deraniyagala, who resigned from the post last week, citing health reasons and family commitments. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:46:57 EST 2001 Back to the top

Defence scam virus infects Sri Lanka too !, 14th Mar 2001 17.01 IST . Even as Indian Parliament was rocked by kickbacks over defence deals, a Sri Lankan Minister dropped a bombshell in Parliament by admitting there was corruption at the highest administrative levels in the multi-million dollar purchase of arms. Speaking during the budget debate Justice Minister Batty Weerakoon said in Colombo on Tuesday that his comment was made in the context of a discussion with a diplomat who maintained that no arms deal was ever clean. . More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:38:23 EST 2001 Back to the top

Sri Lanka Tea Protest Continues But Min Not Quitting Govt
Yahoo India, 14 March 2001. COLOMBO (AP)--Tea workers continued their two-week-old slowdown in Sri Lanka but a senior Cabinet minister who had threatened to quit over their wage hike demands said Wednesday he would instead stay and pressure the government. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:42:37 EST 2001 Back to the top

ICC chief wants upgrading referees and umpires
Yahoo India, 14 March 2001. MELBOURNE, Australia, March 14 (AFP) - Cricket's most senior administrator has called for the old boys' network of appointing match referees to be abolished and the installation of a new, full-time, professional umpires panel. International Cricket Council (ICC) president Malcolm Gray made an attack on all of cricket's on-field personnel Wednesday, describing the behaviour of some players as "inexcusable" and calling for greater control to be exerted over them. More...
Published: Wed Mar 14 07:56:42 EST 2001 Back to the top

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