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10-02-2014 Science&Technology
Twitter grants $10 million to MIT for social data analysis, new tools

Twitter Inc on Wednesday gave $10 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for research that would explore how people use and achieve shared goals using social networks.

Over five years, the university's researchers will organize a vast quantity of content from Twitter, Reddit and other online forums and build new communication tools that journalists, policy experts and researchers can use to uncover new patterns and trends.

The new MIT lab is called the "Laboratory of Social Machines."

MIT will access data from Gnip, a Twitter-owned website that stores a vast database of historic tweets. Twitter has previously awarded smaller sums of funding to academic institutions in a program known as "Twitter Data Grants", but the MIT grant is significant due to its size and scope.

There is an "openendness" to the research, said Deb Roy, an associate professor at MIT's Media Lab, which is dedicated to projects at the convergence of technology, science and design. Roy said he has a close relationship with Twitter, in part because his former company Bluefin Labs was acquired by Twitter in 2013.

"Twitter has a special role to play in this concept of social change," said Roy.

Roy said he hopes to understand how far certain messages travel online, and the origins of rumors, opinions and ideas. The research could yield new tools for the press as well as people working on "gender equality and speech in the public sphere," he said.

“Twitter is seizing the opportunity to go deeper into research to understand the role Twitter and other platforms play in the way people communicate, the effect that rapid and fluid communication can have and apply those findings to complex societal issues,” said Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo in a statement.

A Twitter spokeswoman said the company plans to invest more funding into academic research and stressed that the data will not be traced back to individual users.

Source: Reuters

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10-02-2014 Science&Technology
FAA gets more applications for drone use exemptions

The Federal Aviation Administration has received nearly a dozen new applications to allow commercial use of unmanned aircraft over the past week, and it plans to publish draft rules to allow broader use by the end of the year, the top agency official for the program said on Wednesday.

The agency has received a total of 57 exemption applications and approved six for film and TV production companies last week, leaving 51 pending, Jim Williams, manager of the FAA's office of unmanned aircraft systems integration, said at an industry conference.

That's up from 40 applications that the agency said were pending when it approved last week the first exemptions for commercial use in the continental U.S.

Source: Reuters

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10-02-2014 Politics
U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light involving the protection for President Barack Obama.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Pierson's resignation and said Joseph Clancy, a veteran of the agency, was named acting director.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama had called Pierson to express his appreciation to her for her long years of service.

He said Obama had concluded that new leadership was needed at the agency after a number of security lapses, including a White House fence-jumper who managed to enter the front door of the mansion on Sept. 19 and get into the ceremonial East Room before off-duty agents stopped him.

Source: Reuters

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10-02-2014 Politics
Turkey vows to fight Islamic State, coalition strikes near border

Turkey signalled it may send troops into Syria or Iraq and let allies use Turkish bases to fight Islamic State, as coalition jets launched air strikes on Wednesday on insurgents besieging a town on its southern border with Syria.

The government sent a proposal to parliament late on Tuesday which would broaden existing powers and allow Ankara to order military action to "defeat attacks directed towards our country from all terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria".

The proposal would also mean Turkey, until now reluctant to take a frontline role against Islamic State, could allow foreign forces to use its territory for cross-border incursions.

But President Tayyip Erdogan said the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remained a Turkish priority and stressed Ankara's fears that U.S.-led air strikes without a broader political strategy would only prolong the instability.

Turkey accuses Assad of stoking the growth of Islamic State through sectarian policies.

"We will fight effectively against both (Islamic State) and all other terrorist organisations within the region; this will always be our priority," he told the opening of parliament, but added: "Tons of bombs dropped from the air will only delay the threat and danger.

"Turkey is not a country in pursuit of temporary solutions nor will Turkey allow others to take advantage of it."

The new NATO chief said the alliance would come to Turkey's aid if it was attacked, in an apparent reference to the border crisis.

The Islamic State advance to within sight of the Turkish army on the border has piled pressure on the NATO member to play a greater role in the U.S.-led military coalition carrying out air strikes against the insurgents in Syria and Iraq.

The militants are encroaching on the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the Ottoman Empire's founder, which lies in northern Syria but which Ankara considers sovereign territory. It has made clear it will defend the mausoleum.


A column of black smoke rose from the southeastern side of Kobani, a predominantly Kurdish border town under siege by Islamic State for more than two weeks, as jets roared overhead, a Reuters correspondent on the Turkish side said.

"(They) hit a village that is four to five kilometres (two to three miles) southeast of Kobani and we heard they destroyed one (Islamic State) tank," Parwer Mohammed Ali, a translator with the Kurdish PYD group, told Reuters by telephone from Kobani, known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic.

The United States has been carrying out strikes in Iraq against the militant group since July and in Syria since last week with the help of Arab allies. Britain and France have also struck Islamic State targets in Iraq.

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Source: Reuters

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10-02-2014 Society
Special Report: In 'Umbrella Revolution,' China confronts limits of its power

In the heart of Mong Kok, one of the most densely populated districts on earth, an abandoned Hong Kong police van is enveloped in the student-led demonstrations paralyzing swathes of the city. Along with yellow ribbons and flowers, symbols of the city’s pro-democracy movement, protesters have taped a hand-written placard in Chinese and English to the side of the locked and undamaged vehicle.

“We can’t accept the Hong Kong police becoming the Gong An,” it reads - a reference to China’s feared Public Security Bureau, which enjoys virtually unfettered powers on the mainland.

The stranded police vehicle and the protesters’ warning encapsulate the dilemma that the mass protests pose for China’s rulers and the authorities in Hong Kong. They need to contain the campaign for democracy in one of Asia’s leading financial hubs without the tools employed on the mainland to suppress dissent, including sweeping powers of arrest, indefinite detention, compliant courts and a controlled media.

While People’s Liberation Army forces are stationed in Hong Kong, they have remained in their barracks. They will only be deployed on the streets if rioting and looting break out and the local police are unable to contain the violence, said two people with ties to the central government leadership.

“The mobilization of PLA troops in Hong Kong is a last resort and only if things got totally out of control," one of the people said.

As tens of thousands of protesters gather for a sixth day, their demand for the right to choose their leaders in fully democratic elections poses the biggest popular challenge to the ruling Communist Party since Chinese president Xi Jinping took power two years ago. The Umbrella Revolution, so called for the protesters’ use of umbrellas to shield against pepper spray, comes at an inopportune time for Xi. He is trying to steer a slowing economy while moving against powerful vested interests in one of the most wide-ranging purges and anti-corruption campaigns since the Communists came to power in 1949.

“It is a frontal challenge to their authority,” Regina Ip, a lawmaker and a top advisor to Hong Kong’s embattled political leader, chief executive Leung Chun-ying, says of the protests. “People have to understand how Beijing sees this... China feels threatened,” Ip told Reuters.


At the forefront of this challenge is student leader Joshua Wong Chi-fung, a skinny 17-year-old with a mop of straight black hair framing his angular face.

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Source: Reuters

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10-02-2014 Science&Technology
Inverness girl Hayley Fraser gets 3D-printed hand

A Scots girl is thought to be the first child in the UK to have a prosthetic hand made with 3D printing technology.

Five year old Hayley Fraser, from Inverness, was born without fully-formed fingers on her left hand.

Her parents David and Zania Fraser sought help from US-based E-nable, a network of volunteers who design and make prosthetics mainly for children.

Hayley's pink hand was designed from a plaster cast made by her parents.

E-nable's members include engineers, artists and university academics.

Printing in 3D has been described as the "future of manufacturing" and is increasingly being used to make everything from film props to food.

The technology is also being used to make aerial drones for use in civilian roles and parts for motor racing cars.

Source: BBC

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10-02-2014 Science&Technology
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg latest tech CEO to visit India

SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will visit India next week.

Zuckerberg will be in New Delhi to keynote a summit of, which is working to make the Internet more accessible and affordable to people in developing countries.

He will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and members of some ministries.

In July, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg visited India, Facebook's second largest market. She also met with Modi, who used social media during his election campaign and now in governing.

Facebook has more than 100 million users in India, many of whom access the service from mobile devices.

Silicon Valley is converging on India, the second most populous country.

Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Microsoft's Satya Nadella visited India in just the last few days.

Sundar Pichai, the Google executive who oversees Android, Chrome and Google Apps, paid a visit to India in September to unveil new low-cost smartphones for the Indian market to capitalize on the shift to the mobile Internet.

"We expect India to be the second-largest Internet market by 2017," Pichai said at the announcement in New Delhi, according to Bloomberg News. "And it's happening due to mobile."

Source: UsaToday

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10-02-2014 Health
Cancer gene test 'would save lives'

Younger bowel cancer patients should be offered a genetic test to screen for a rare condition linked to a higher risk of further cancers, say researchers.

Genetic screening of tumours would save lives and would be cost-effective for the NHS, a new study has confirmed.

Lynch syndrome raises the risk of developing cancer, particularly bowel cancer and womb and ovarian cancers.

Teenager Stephen Sutton, who raised millions of pounds for cancer research, had a family history of the syndrome.

"This is a way of improving the health of people with Lynch syndrome who currently don't know they have it," said Dr Tristan Snowsill of the Medical School - University of Exeter. Co-researcher Dr Ian Frayling of Cardiff University's Institute of Medical Genetics added: "Now the cost of genetic testing is coming down there is a good argument for younger bowel cancer patients to be screened. It will save lives and save money for the NHS."

Lynch syndrome accounts for around one in 12 cases of bowel cancer in people aged under 50. Around a third of people with the disease will go on to develop bowel cancer by the time they are 70, if no action is taken.

Close relatives have a 50% chance of Lynch syndrome but can be offered risk-reducing measures, such as regular colonoscopies, if they are identified early.

Screening surveillance Screening for the genetic condition in under-50s would be cost-effective for the NHS and prevent new cases in both them and their relatives, a review of evidence has found.

The test is used in some UK hospitals but has not been rolled out nationally. It is offered to all bowel cancer patients in Denmark, and to patients under the age of 70 in Norway and the Netherlands. Deborah Alsina, chief executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said while bowel cancer is relatively rare in people under 50, 550 people in this age group lose their lives to the cancer each year.

"It's critical that more lives are saved by ensuring people gain access to the screening surveillance they need, so that bowel cancer can be ruled out first, not last, in younger patients."

The research is published in Health Technology Assessment.

Source: BBC

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10-01-2014 Science&Technology
German privacy watchdog tells Google to restrict use of data

A German data protection watchdog told Google Inc on Tuesday to seek users' permission for creating data profiles from its various services, adding to pressure on the U.S. technology giant in Europe over its privacy policy.

"Google is ordered to take the necessary technical and organizational measures to guarantee that their users can decide on their own if and to what extend their data is used for profiling," the data protection commissioner for the German city state of Hamburg said in a statement on Tuesday.

Commissioner Johannes Caspar said that Google previously had refused to grant users more control over how it aggregates data across its services including Gmail, smartphones operating system Android and the web search engine.

Data protection in Germany is mainly handled by its regional states but the Hamburg watchdog said it represented Germany as part of a European task force evaluating Google's privacy policy.

Processing data that reveals financial wealth, sexual orientation and relationship status, among other aspects of private life, is unlawful in Germany unless users give their explicit consent, it added.

Google spokesmen in Europe did not immediately respond to requests by phone and email for comment.

The Financial Times earlier quoted a company spokesman as saying Google was studying the order to determine next steps.

European data privacy regulators last week handed the U.S. group a package of guidelines to help it bring the way it collects and stores user data in line with EU law.

Regulators in six European countries, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Britain and the Netherlands, have opened investigations into Google after it consolidated its 60 privacy policies into one and started combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and Google Maps.

Source: Reuters

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10-01-2014 Science&Technology
Microsoft names next operating system 'Windows 10

Microsoft Corp announced its 'Windows 10' operating system on Tuesday to replace the largely unpopular Windows 8, skipping a number to mark a leap toward a new system aimed at unifying computing and mobile devices.

The next version of Microsoft's flagship product, which still runs the vast majority of personal computers, is aimed at recapturing the lucrative business market, which generally ignored the new-look Windows 8.

Windows 10 will be "our greatest enterprise platform ever," said Terry Myerson, Microsoft's head of operating systems, at an event in San Francisco. Only 20 percent of organizations migrated to Windows 8, which was released two years ago, according to tech research firm Forrester.

He said Windows 10, long known by the project name 'Threshold' internally, represented a new type of system for the company, as it seeks to unify computing as mobile devices proliferate. The name represented that leap, he said.

"It's a bold statement for Microsoft to make," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets. "So far there's not as much meat on the bone as we would have wanted, although it's still very early days."

The new system, due out next year, restores the traditional start button menu, a feature which many PC users demanded back after it was omitted in Windows 8.

An early version of the software, demonstrated on stage by Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore, showed two modes, one optimized for touch-controlled tablets, and one for PCs with mice and keyboard. Users can switch between the two depending on the device.

Myerson added that his team toyed with the idea of calling the new product 'Windows One' to emphasize the unity of all the companies' products, but noted that name had already been used.

Source: Reuters

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10-01-2014 Science&Technology
EBay follows Icahn's advice, plans PayPal spinoff in 2015

EBay Inc plans to spin off its PayPal unit next year, bowing to activist investor Carl Icahn's argument that the move would free the fast-growing payments business to compete more fiercely in the competitive mobile payments market.

The move, announced on Tuesday, is an about-face for eBay's top leadership, including Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe, who publicly resisted Icahn's push earlier this year and led a campaign to convince investors that eBay and PayPal should remain together.

EBay's shares jumped as much as 8.8 percent after the announcement. By mid-afternoon, the stock was up 7.8 percent to $56.79.

Donahoe as well as Chief Financial Officer Bob Swan will step down after the spinoff in the second half of 2015, but were expected to serve on the boards of one or both companies after the split. EBay will spin off PayPal as a publicly traded company in a transaction that will be tax-free to shareholders.

PayPal's next CEO will be Dan Schulman, former head of American Express Co's online and mobile payment business. The new eBay will be headed by Devin Wenig, president of eBay marketplaces and former head of the markets division at Thomson Reuters Corp.

EBay's change of heart reflected mounting activist and shareholder pressure, analysts said. In a statement, Donahoe said "a thorough strategic review with our board shows that keeping eBay and PayPal together beyond 2015 clearly becomes less advantageous to each business strategically and competitively."

By wresting free of eBay, PayPal can build partnerships with e-commerce rivals and seize market share from payment startups like Stripe, which is backed by several PayPal founders, and technology behemoths like Apple Inc, which unveiled its own mobile payments initiative earlier this month.

PayPal could be acquired again down the line by a technology company trying to expand into mobile payments, such as Apple, investors and analysts said.

"There are those who have not embraced PayPal because they're part of eBay," said Richard Sichel, chief investment officer of The Philadelphia Trust Co, which manages $2 billion and owns eBay shares. "It's more of a pure play then."


The spinoff also helped PayPal attract Shulman to the post.

"I don't think we would have gotten Dan if it weren't for having a CEO opportunity and he is just the right guy at the right time," Donahoe said on a conference call with analysts.

Icahn, eBay's sixth-largest shareholder with a 2.48 percent stake as of June 30, pushed for a spinoff earlier this year but backed off in April. He also withdrew his two nominees to eBay's board.

But in a concession, the company added a 10th independent director, David Dorman, a founding partner of investment firm Centerview Capital Technology.


Source: Reuters

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10-01-2014 Society
Are ‘Hong Kong people’ still Chinese? Depends on how you define ‘Chinese’

“Hong Kong people! Hong Kong people!” shouted tens of thousands of Occupy Central demonstrators on the streets of downtown Hong Kong as they braved police pepper spray and tear gas this weekend. So simple and self-evident, the slogan gets to the heart of the matter, because beyond the immediate causes of contention are the much larger existential issues of who gets to define just exactly what it means to be part of China, and to be Chinese.

Hong Kong, normally the most civil and efficient of cities, has been swept by an enormous wave of characteristically polite and peaceful protest directed against the Beijing-leaning government’s dilution of long-promised reforms. These would have allowed direct election of the chief executive, under the much touted but perhaps never well understood “One Country; Two Systems” formula.

It was never going to be easy, to have one country where there is still a border dividing the two sides, separate currencies, cars driving on opposite sides of the road, and mutually incomprehensible languages; let alone competing political systems with vastly different ideas of citizenship, rule of law, and transparency.

China is a one-party state; Hong Kong has many political parties, all operating freely. China has the Great Firewall that just now has blocked Instagram, fearing people on the mainland would see the protests; Hong Kong has open Internet. These and countless other contrasts may outweigh — perhaps far outweigh — the shared cultural heritage and economic prosperity that bind these two Chinas together.

For 150 years, Hong Kong was a British colony. Especially during the Cold War, it felt like that would be the case forever. But Hong Kong was first occupied during the gunboat imperialism of the 19th century Opium Wars, so even fervently anti-Communist and Westernized Chinese always felt great ambivalence towards the British: gratitude and admiration terribly tempered by sufferance of arrogance and injustice.

As it turned out, Britain’s last great colony was also its most successful. The racist exploitation of previous generations gradually transformed into Hong Kong becoming a sanctuary for refugees and an entrepot for free trade and manufacturing. It was as if the decline and fall of the once mighty British Empire somehow mellowed the colonizers and colonized both.

The British had never run Hong Kong as a democracy; they simply appointed governors. But at the eleventh hour before the handover to China in 1997, perhaps out of guilt or repentance, they negotiated a deal for the protection of civil liberties, open markets, and gradual democratization in Hong Kong for 50 years. China’s leader at the time, Deng Xiaoping, not wanting to kill a gold-egg-laying goose, agreed.

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Source: Reuters

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Breaking news headlines from world's most important newspapers

10-02-2014 |

Obama Said to Bring Up Settlements in Netanyahu Meeting

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Secret Service Chief Resigns in Scandal Over Security Lapses

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10-02-2014 |

PM offers tax giveaway and issues Ukip warning

Rewriting the moon's fiery history Rift valley discovery triggers new theories

Threat to occupy Hong Kong offices

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10-02-2014 |

Los fallos de seguridad obligan a dimitir a la jefa del Servicio Secreto

Netanyahu pide firmeza a EE UU ante Irán en la negociación nuclear

Los estudiantes dan un ultimátum al jefe del Gobierno de Hong Kong

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10-02-2014 |

Tras el discurso de Cristina, renunció Fábrega al Central y asumirá Vanoli

Crearon un spray para no bañarse y es todo un éxito

En sólo 40 años desapareció la mitad de la fauna salvaje

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Top 100 World Newspapers (*)

No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country
1 The New York Times / United States 2 The Guardian / United Kingdom 3 The Daily Mail / United Kingdom 4 The Wall Street Journal / United States
5 The Washington Post / United States 6 The People's Daily / China 7 The Daily Telegraph / United Kingdom 8 USA Today / United States
9 Los Angeles Times / United States 10 El Mundo / Spain 11 La Repubblica / Italy 12 The Times of India / India
13 Bild / Germany 14 Corriere della Sera / Italy 15 The Examiner / United States 16 The Independent / United Kingdom
17 El País / Spain 18 The Financial Times / United Kingdom 19 The Sydney Morning Herald / Australia 20 Daily News / United States
21 Chicago Tribune / United States 22 Le Monde / France 23 Marca / Spain 24 Hürriyet / Turkey
25 Die Welt / Germany 26 Asahi Shimbun / Japan 27 The Sun / United Kingdom 28 New York Post / United States
29 The Age / Australia 30 Gazeta Wyborcza / Poland 31 The Philadelphia Inquirer / United States 32 The Washington Times / United States
33 Die Zeit / Germany 34 Yomiuri Shimbun / Japan 35 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand 36 The Onion / United States
37 Milliyet Gazetesi / Turkey 38 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 39 The Chicago Sun-Times / United States 40 Al-Ahram / Egypt
41 Le Figaro / France 42 Süddeutsche Zeitung / Germany 43 The Hindu / India 44 Houston Chronicle / United States
45 The Seattle Times / United States 46 Libération / France 47 The Globe and Mail / Canada 48 De Standaard / Belgium
49 The Irish Times / Ireland 50 The Toronto Star / Canada 51 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 52 Mercury News / United States
53 The Australian / Australia 54 The Denver Post / United States 55 The Christian Science Monitor / United States 56 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea
57 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 58 Aftonbladet / Sweden 59 Kommersant / Russia 60 Bangkok Post / Thailand
61 Star Tribune / United States 62 The Hollywood Reporter / United States 63 Daily Mirror / United Kingdom 64 Dawn / Pakistan
65 El Universal / Mexico 66 The Miami Herald / United States 67 Mladá fronta Dnes / Czech Republic 68 DNA - Daily News & Analysis / India
69 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States 70 Sports Nippon / Japan 71 L'Equipe / France 72 Die Presse / Austria
73 Detroit Free Press / United States 74 Neue Zürcher Zeitung / Switzerland 75 Clarín / Argentina 76 Chosun Ilbo / Japan
77 The Sacramento Bee / United States 78 China Daily / China 79 Nihon Keizai Shimbun / Japan 80 AS / Spain
81 The Baltimore Sun / United States 82 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Germany 83 La Gazzetta dello Sport / Italy 84 Mainichi Shimbun / Japan
85 Boston Herald / United States 86 The Dallas Morning News / United States 87 The Times / United Kingdom 88 Newsday / United States
89 Orlando Sentinel / United States 90 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / United States 91 Taipei Times / Taiwan 92 The Hindustan Times / India
93 The Economic Times / India 94 Kompas / Indonesia 95 The Observer / United Kingdom 96 Jornal de Notícias / Portugal
97 South Florida Sun-Sentinel / United States 98 ABC / Spain 99 Le Soir / Belgium 100 The Kansas City Star / United States

(*) Selected by 4International Media & Newspapers

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