The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Last white farmers vow to hang on in Zim

June 22 2002 at 06:56PM

By Basildon Peta

Virtually all the remaining white farmers in Zimbabwe, who have been asked to surrender their land to President Robert Mugabe's government on Monday, have vowed to defy orders to stop farming and vacate their properties, saying they have nowhere else to go.

At least 2 900 white farmers have been ordered to close shop and surrender their farms in line with recent changes to land acquisition laws which gave the Zimbabwe government sweeping powers to seize land for black resettlement.

But Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) spokeswoman Jenni Williams said the spirit of resistance had never been stronger among the farmers who now feel they have no option but to "hold firm" against the Zimbabwe government's last-ditch effort to dispossess them of the entirety of their properties.

The fastest shrinking economy in the world
Williams said unless the Zimbabwe government made a sudden U-turn, the orders would attempt to force farmers whose land had been designated for seizure to shut down on Monday - giving them 45 days to cease operations. The farmers had since sent over 230 000 farm workers on forced leave.

The changes to the Land Acquisition Act came into effect on May 10 and required all farmers who had, prior to that date, been served with Section 8 orders for the acquisition of their properties, to cease operations within the 45 days.

Williams said the government had since rejected a request by farmers for the suspension of the orders to enable them to continue farming until they had completed harvesting their land. Agriculture minister Joseph Made could not be reached for comment.

Although the farmers can remain in their farmhouses until August 10, they are required to refrain from any agricultural activities.

Any farmer who defies the law and attends to his crops or livestock will risk a two-year jail term or a Zim $20 000 (R3 300) fine or both.

  • Zimbabwe's agro-based economy has been ranked as the fastest shrinking economy in the world by international economic organisations. The Commercial Farmers Union said the soya bean crop output had been reduced by 60 percent.

    The CFU further estimated Zimbabwe's maize harvest shortfall to be at least two million tons next year because of disruptions in commercial agriculture.
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    Zimbabwe most dangerous place for papers -editor

    0XFORD, England, June 22 - Award-winning editor Geoffrey Nyarota said
    President Robert Mugabe had made Zimbabwe the most dangerous place in the
    world to publish a newspaper.

           Nyarota, in a lecture late on Friday at Oxford University's St
    Anthony's College, said Mugabe intended to cripple the independent media
    with a new press law enacted soon after he won a March election that was
    condemned as fraudulent by the opposition and many Western governments.
           Nyarota, editor of the independent Daily News, said more than a dozen
    journalists, including two foreign correspondents, had been arrested in the
    southern African country since the Access to Information and Protection of
    Privacy act became law.
           This, and a public order act making even mild criticism of Mugabe a
    punishable offence meant that ''publishing a newspaper in Zimbabwe has
    become the most dangerous journalistic enterprise anywhere in the world, ''
    he said.
           Nyarota, who has himself been charged under the law and been detained
    several times in Harare, said most of the allegations against independent
    journalists had been spurious but they could be jailed for two years for
    contravening parts of the act:
           ''What started as a war of attrition seeking to wear out and exhaust
    journalists in order to render them totally incapable of discharging their
    professional obligations with the required vigour, has since degenerated
    into a war of annihilation seeking to permanently cripple the independent

           One of Nyarota's reporters, Lloyd Mudiwa, is awaiting trial under the
    press law, charged with publishing a false story alleging that Mugabe's
    supporters beheaded a woman in a rural district last year.
           A Harare court on Thursday agreed to a prosecutor's request to defer
    the trial until July 22 so that Mudiwa could be tried at the same time as
    Nyarota, who faces the same charges.
           Andrew Meldrum, an American journalist working for Britain's Guardian
    newspaper went on trial on June 12 on similar charges after he reproduced
    the Daily News story. His trial was this week adjourned until July 12.
           The government says the beheading story was part of a Western-backed
    campaign to damage Mugabe's image. The Daily News has acknowledged that the
    story was false and has apologised.
           Nyarota said on Friday that whatever the result of the trials of
    Mudiwa and himself they would ''set a precedent with the potential to change
    the manner in which we write or speak out against anything in our
    beleaguered country and society.''
           But he complained about the attitude of much of the Western press,
    which seemed to be interested only in the arrests of foreign correspondents
    and attacks on white farmers, ignoring the greater predicament of black farm
    workers and local journalists.
           Nevertheless, he said the foreign press had an obligation to keep
    covering Zimbabwe despite the difficulties and dangers.
           ''They can't give up and pack their bags and fly home. It is on the
    basis of their coverage that the chances of Zimbabwe's recovery are based.
    If they all depart and watch from the sidelines, it is just what Mr. Mugabe
           Nyarota this year won the World Press Freedom Prize of the U.N.
    Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
           The Friday lecture was sponsored by the Reuters Foundation, a
    humanitarian and educational trust primarily funded by the global news

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    Daily News Sit-in Enters Second Day

    The Herald (govt mouthpiece) (Harare)

    June 22, 2002
    Posted to the web June 22, 2002

    The Daily News sit-in entered its second day yesterday with journalists adamant about a 150 percent cost of living adjustment and better working conditions while the opposition paper's editor-in-chief flew out of the country yesterday.

    The Daily News failed to come out yesterday morning and was not available until late in the afternoon.

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    Sources at the paper said the management had decided to move their offer of an increase up from 15 to 28 percent but the staff refused to accept this saying it was "peanuts".

    The sources said they would not accept anything less than 50 percent because management was leading a luxurious lifestyle, an indication that the company was doing well.

    Recently the company is understood to have acquired vehicles worth millions of dollars and management has moved to Karigamombe Building where they are renting two floors.

    The workers committee refused to go into negotiations with the manager, Mr Innocent Kurwa, yesterday.

    "There is a worrying discrepancy between the management lifestyle and those at the shop floor level.

    "We feel this is unacceptable and the matter should be addressed urgently," sources said.

    As the cost of living continued to rise, the sources said a paltry percentage increase would not to pull them through the year.

    They said their salaries are pathetically low.

    The editor-in-chief Mr Geoff Nyarota was said to have left for the United Kingdom and it is not known when he would be returning. Senior managers and desk editors face the same plight as their juniors. Desk editors who pioneered the paper have no vehicles while newly-employed staff are moving in sleek 4x4s and BMWs.

    Sources said business editor Ngoni Chanakira tendered his resignation on Thursday robbing the paper of a hard working and dedicated journalist. Chanakira could not be contacted yesterday.

    The deputy editor, Mr Davison Maruziva, is in the same predicament as he has not been allocated a company car while Mr Nyarota who is now referred to as the "flying editor" has changed four vehicles.

    The ANZ board recently decided that Mr Nyarota should concentrate on PR and marketing the paper, but he has not taken up the post.

    This would deprive him of the awards he receives and the United States dollars that go with them.

    Mr Maruziva is understood to have been earmarked for the managing editor's post as he effectively edits the paper as Mr Nyarota is rarely in the country.

    "Now Mr Nyarota is in charge of advertising and some of the perks and commissions for sales representatives have been withdrawn. The Daily News is no longer the once happy family that it used to be.

    "The desk editors are scared to question Mr Nyarota's management style since they have nowhere to go. It is a sorry state at the paper," said a journalist who refused to be named.

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    Fears Of Acute Shortage Of Sugar Ease

    The Herald (govt mouthpiece) (Harare)

    June 22, 2002
    Posted to the web June 22, 2002

    ZIMBABWE Sugar Refineries and the National Railways of Zimbabwe yesterday reached an agreement whereby the NRZ will deliver 30 wagons of coal every fortnight to the sugar producer's Harare plant.

    The agreement eases fears of an acute shortage of sugar that was imminent as a result of inadequate coal supplies to ZSR's Harare refinery, which had subsequently stopped production.

    ZSR managing director Mr Patison Sithole said on Thursday his company had been unable to supply the market with sugar because its Harare refinery had been out of production due to shortage of coal.

    He blamed the NRZ for failing to supply the coal needed to keep the refinery operational.

    However, NRZ chairman Mr Chivarange Chimombe said an agreement had been reached after intensive consultations with the ZSR yesterday.

    Under the agreement, ZSR undertook to resume operations last night, he said.

    "Following intensive consultations between the NRZ and Zimbabwe Sugar Refineries following the closure of the Harare ZSR factory, an agreement has been reached to supply and deliver to the ZSR one unit train of 30 wagons of coal every fortnight.

    "This predictable continuity of supply will mitigate any operational disruptions that have hitherto affected both ZSR and NRZ operations," said Mr Chimombe.

    He said the NRZ understood that ZSR required 100 tonnes of coal daily and another 100 tonnes to start up after shutdown.

    The sugar producer also needed four days cover of 100 tonnes of coal.

    "Thus in view of the above, the ZSR have, after assurances that another five wagons are en route to and expected in Harare within the next 24 hours, undertaken to resume operations tonight (Friday night). Notwithstanding its own capacity limitations, the NRZ undertakes to expedite delivery of available coal wagons to key national institutions, of which the ZSR is one," he said.

    Mr Chimombe, however, said the NRZ had supplied the ZSR with coal over the past two weeks.

    The railways had supplied the sugar producer with 240 tonnes of coal on June 15, 160 tonnes each on June 16 and June 17, and 80 tonnes on June 20.

    Meanwhile, the prices of sugar and cooking oil on the black market is now beyond the reach of ordinary people as the shortage of the commodities continues.

    The gazetted retail price of sugar is $76,47 for a two kilogramme packet, but this is being sold for $250 on the black market.

    A 750 millilitre bottle of cooking oil is now selling at around $400 on the black market. Consumer Council of Zimbabwe senior manager Mr Victor Chisi expressed concern at the prices being offered on the black market and said the practice was illegal and unacceptable.

    "The best way is to investigate the distribution process and the companies should show a keen interest in the distribution process of their products," Mr Chisi said.

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    At the Beit Bridge border post (Zimbabwean side) travellers are forced to pay a toll fee for crossing the "new" bridge. The fee is either charged in Rand or the Zimbabwe Dollar equivalent, converted at the official rate.
    Many South African visitors do not have the exact amount and are given change in Zimbabwe Dollars at the official exchange rate. This angers many visitors as they know they should be either given change in Rand, or ZW$ at a higher rate. The official rate is about 1 Rand to ZW$6, yet on the parallel market the rate has recently gone as high as ZW$100. It is obvious that the officials are just personally cashing in on the situation.
    Many people object to this illegal practice and recently a white South African man and a white South African woman have been jailed over night, in two separate incidents, for tearing up Zimbabwean money, as a means of protesting. They were released the next day after paying ZW$50 fines each.
    M. (Identity protected)
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    Zim's Electricity Supply Stabilises

    The Herald (govt mouthpiece) (Harare)

    June 22, 2002
    Posted to the web June 22, 2002

    Zimbabwe's electricity supply has stabilised after the resumption of normal supplies from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Hwange Power Station, which had been hit by some technical problems.

    "The situation is now back to normal," said Zesa's transmission services manager, Mr Edward Rugoyi. "There won't be any load shedding. Our machines are now operating at full swing."

    Last month, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Cde Edward Chindori-Chininga, said Zimbabwe would experience limited load shedding following a generator breakdown at Hwange Power Station and technical problems on the DRC transmission line.

    "We are going to cope with the winter peak demand," Mr Rugoyi said. "The DRC line is getting serviced and normal supplies have resumed. We are managing without having to resort to load shedding."

    The maximum winter peak demand is estimated to be about 2 100 mega-watts this year.

    Hwange has an installed capacity to produce 920 megawatts while Kariba is capable of supplying 666 mega-watts. Apart from getting supplies from local stations and DRC's Snel, the country also imports electricity from Eskom in South Africa, Hydro Cabora Bassa in Mozambique and Zescom of Zambia.

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    Zimbabwe leads three nations into starvation

          June 21 2002 at 07:11PM

    By Brian Latham

    International food-donor agencies say southern Africa faces a massive food
    deficit situation with Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe needing emergency relief
    to stave off imminent starvation.

    According to the Southern African Development Community's Famine Early
    Warning Systems Network, Fewsnet, the three countries need between
    3,22-million and 3,6-million tons of maize this year. Zimbabwe, according to
    the Red Cross, was the worst affected, despite its traditional role as the
    "region's breadbasket".

    World Food Programme (WFP) regional director Judith Lewis said: "The
    situation is very bleak for people throughout southern Africa.

    "Natural disasters and high maize prices have forced hundreds of thousands
    of people in the region to rely on food aid for survival, but donor response
    to WFP appeals has been sluggish." She added that it was "extremely clear
    that there is a major crisis on the horizon".

    The WFP has managed to raise only 30 percent of the R600-million needed to
    avert disaster in Zimbabwe alone. "Food aid in the rural areas we're working
    in will run out by next month," said Lewis.

    The WFP's complaint of slow donor response is mirrored by the International
    Committee of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. According to ICRC
    information officer Solveig Olafsdottir, the organisation has raised only
    about R3-million of a required R42-million for feeding programmes in
    southern Africa.

    Reports from Fewsnet show that Malawi will need as much as 600 000 tons of
    maize to see it through the year, while Zambia needs an estimated 750 000

    Still, both countries pale next to Zimbabwe's staggering shortage of at
    least 1,5-million tons. By the beginning of this month, Zimbabwean
    authorities had imported a paltry 213 000 tons, less than two months of
    normal demand.

    With Robert Mugabe's beleaguered regime slated for its flawed presidential
    election in March, propagandists loyal to Mugabe blame the food crisis on
    sabotage by white farmers. The WFP and the UN Food and Agriculture
    Organisation have warned that as many as six-million Zimbabweans, almost
    half the population, will be on food aid by the end of the year, largely
    because of Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms.

    Earlier this month the Zimbabwean government turned down an offer of 10 000
    tons of maize from the US after the American government could not guarantee
    that the commodity was not genetically modified (GM).

    Zimbabwean authorities argued that the importation of GM maize into the
    country would ruin the chances of resumed agricultural exports to the
    European Union (EU).

    The EU, which before Zimbabwe's farm crisis imported substantial amounts of
    Zimbabwean beef, has a universal ban on all GM products and even GM-fed
    meat. The Americans have said they will re-route the maize elsewhere in the

    Zimbabwean agriculture minister Joseph Made has refused to allow anyone
    other than the state-owned Grain Marketing Board to import maize. Critics
    argue that the ruling Zanu-PF party is reluctant to allow anyone other than
    government to get the credit for feeding a starving population.

    The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused Mugabe of
    using food aid as a political tool, ensuring that those areas which
    supported the MDC during the violence-marred March presidential poll are
    kept starving.
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    "Human excrement encrusting their feet"
    Dear Family and Friends,
    It is with great sadness that I write this letter to you today. On Monday morning 51% of Zimbabwe's commercial farmers will be confined to their homesteads and forbidden to continue operating. If they attempt to keep producing food these farmers face either 2 years in prison, a fine of Z$20 000 or both. 2443 farmers have Section 8 letters of Compulsory Acquisition and from Monday have 45 days in which to pay off their workers, pack their belongings and get out of their houses. This is an obscene and sickening irony in a country that has almost 7 million people facing starvation and needing international food aid. Officials estimate that by the end of the year, when the remainder of Zimbabwe's farmers with Acquisition Notices have been evicted, 2 million people will be homeless and jobless. On Friday night ZBC television interviewed a man described as a Zanu PF strategist and this incredibly young Brigadier General gave his opinions on the coming eviction of farmers and their workers. "We should not give these people even 2 days to get out. We want our land" he said, "we should move in with our security forces and just take it. What is the law for, we should just take it." Zimbabwe's farmers are scared and confused and do not know what to do but, after listening to the Brigadier General's intimidatory speech, I suspect many farmers and their workers will throw in the towel. To exacerbate the looming horror, neither the Director nor President of our Commercial Farmers Union have made any statements this week and have given no directives to the members whom they supposedly represent. For 27 months the CFU have continued to say they can do nothing; they have dropped all litigation against the government and urged their members to negotiate with the very people who have stripped us all of our human, legal and constitutional rights. They have urged the farmers to engage in dialogue and co exist with arbitrary men who have raped, murdered and beaten farmers and their workers, burned and looted their homes and crops and stripped them of every ounce of pride and dignity. It is a tragic situation for us all and the paralyzed silence and inaction of the Commercial Farmers Union now leads the entire nation to widespread starvation.
    To really appreciate the enormity of the tragedy in Zimbabwe, this week I paid a visit to our farm just outside of Marondera. I had been told that upwards of 500 people had been dumped there and that 2 people had died on the farm in the last week. What I saw was beyond all comprehension and I am still struggling to come to terms with the reality of it. Our farm was completely taken over by war veterans less than 6 weeks ago and is being used by the government as a dumping ground for squatters who have been evicted from other farms which have now been claimed by senior government officials. There are indeed at least 500 people on the farm now but they are not squatting all over the 1000 acre property, they are camped out in less than 5 acres on the driveway, in the house, tobacco barns, workshops, bulk feed rooms and in the milking parlour. The homestead area is littered with plastic and tin shacks and children (estimated to number 200) barefoot and in raggedy clothes play amongst goats, chickens and ducks. There are only 3 pit latrines in the homestead area of our farm and the local people say that the smell of human feaces is permanent and nauseating. They say you cannot walk in amongst the squatters because the ground is a sea of human and animal excrement. The war veterans who took over the farm 6 weeks ago burnt out the borehole so there is no water either and there are already fears of cholera. The squatters say they were dumped on our farm by Marondera government officials. They have been told that they will be moved to other farms at a later date after they have completed the necessary government application processes. These 500 people have been used for political purposes for 27months and have now been discarded like trash. There is a humanitarian disaster of massive proportions unfolding on our Marondera farm and absolutely no one to turn to for help. In my book African Tears I spoke of foreseeing the day when there would be blood on our fields, never did I think that it would be urine or that children would run through our timber plantations with  human excrement encrusting their feet. Until next week, with love and tears, cathy.
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    Safari Operators Lose 90% of Their Game

    Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
    June 21, 2002
    Posted to the web June 21, 2002
    WILDLIFE producers have since the beginning of the fast-track land reform
    programme lost up to 90% of their safari-hunting game and there has been a
    huge reduction in capture and translocation of wildlife, it has been learnt.
    Conservative estimates show that the country has lost about 50% of its
    wildlife and 65% of its tourism as lawlessness prevails on farms and
    Addressing participants at the Wildlife Producers Association AGM last week,
    chairman Wally Herbst said the country had so far failed to capture animals
    for export.
    "There has been no export for some years, although accusations of illegal
    exports from settlers and national parks abound," said Herbst.
    "This is all as a result of the so-called fast-track resettlement."
    Since the beginning of farm invasions in 2000, the country has experienced a
    rapid decline in hunting business by commercial wildlife operators.
    Herbst said there was no let-up in the slaughter of wildlife throughout the
    country as thousands of snares were still being recovered, some with dead
    animals still in them.
    "Vehicles continually drive onto commercial farms with letters from the DA,
    Rural District Councils, and provincial wardens and the occupants shoot
    animals at will, first for Independence celebrations, then to feed the
    militia and then just to commercialise and capitalise on the lack of the
    rule of law in the country," he said.
    "We report vehicle poaching to the police complete with government
    registration numbers and they say, 'it's political, there is nothing we can
    do about it'."
    Between 1991 and 2001, 39 661 wild animals were caught and sold and the
    country earned $280 million dollars.
    Herbst described the problems on the farms as a "war zone" adding the
    ultimate losers were the wild animals and ordinary citizens.
    He said if the rule of law was not restored and poaching stopped, the
    country would have to pour money into a natural history museum to show its
    children what wonderful wildlife it used to have.
    "I also hear that the poaching in the national parks is getting out of
    control with pressure back on the elephant," he said.
    "We hear in the media of up to 30 rhino lost since land invasions started.
    But no one is saying how many. Why?
    "How are we as custodians supposed to support our Cites stance when we daily
    watch the poaching tally mount?" he asked.
    "How many pieces of paper with poaching stats must be produced before our
    ministry acts? Stats are but history."
    He questioned why government and in particular the Department of National
    Parks and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism had not stopped or
    condemned such practices in writing so that all law enforcement agencies
    could react positively.
    "The current Parks initiative to validate losses is commendable but too late
    to save the hundreds of thousands of dead animals," he said.
    He mentioned Barberton Ranch where 127 animals have been killed and 1 980
    snares collected over a 12-month period.
    Of the 33 ranches surveyed, 1 900 animals were reported killed and 13 400
    snares retrieved over 17 months, Herbst said.
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    New Measures Introduced At Harare Passport Office

    The Herald (Harare)
    June 21, 2002
    Posted to the web June 21, 2002
    The Registrar-General's Office has introduced new measures aimed at
    de-congesting queuing at the Harare passport office.
    The new system will ensure that those applicants not able to submit their
    forms on any day of the week are guaranteed service on a Wednesday each
    week. Although no comment could be obtained from the Registrar-General, Mr
    Tobaiwa Mudede, who was said to be away, officials at the passport office
    said the new move was introduced a few days ago.
    Wednesdays have been set aside to accommodate all applicants while normal
    passport processing will go on as usual on other days of the week.
    "Passport applicants are not turned away on Wednesdays any more, even if the
    number of people to be served on a particular day is reached.
    "Instead, all passport applications are now being given numbers and those
    who can not be served on any particular day are automatically booked to come
    on another day which could be the following day or in the next three days
    depending on the backlog," said the official.
    Passport applicants who were at the offices yesterday said they were happy
    with the new arrangement.
    "The new system appears to be transparent and very convenient. It is no
    longer necessary for one to sleep at the passport office as has been the
    norm in the past," said Mr James Shumba of Mabvuku.
    Normally, it is supposed to take between four and six months for one to be
    issued with a new passport but the backlog at the offices has seen the
    processing of passports taking up to seven months.
    A notice at the offices states that only those who submitted their
    applications before November 21 last year could now collect their passports.
    The processing of emergency passports is supposed to take between one and
    three weeks. The delay in the processing of passports has been attributed
    mainly to the large volume of new applications.
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    Mail & Guardian - SA
    Deadline looms for 2900 Zim farmers to leave land
    22 June 2002 11:50 About 2 900 white-owned farms in Zimbabwe must stop operating on Monday under a new law to pave the way for the government's land redistribution exercise, a farmers' representative said on Friday.

    The farmers represent about 60% of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) members who held about 4 813 title deeds before the land reforms began in 2000.

    They would have to stop running their farms by Monday under a new law, representative Jenni Williams said.

    On May 10 the government passed new legislation under which a farmer whose property has been earmarked for acquisition stops farming 45 days after the notice of acquisition has been issued and vacates the property within 90 days.

    According to the CFU, the 2 900 farmers had been notified by the government before May 10 of the intention to acquire their property. Therefore the 45-day notice period to stop farming came into effect from the day the law was passed.

    Farmers who ignore the time limit commit an offence liable to two years in jail or a 20 000 Zimbabwe dollar ($364) fine or both.

    Some tobacco farmers who had made a special application to the government to continue farming until the end of next season early next year, had their request turned down, according to the state-run Herald newspaper Friday.

    The government rejected the request saying it would not act outside the law, and accused white farmers of trying to derail the land reform programme.

    The CFU representative said on Friday that, in addition to farmers who have to stop operations, an estimated 232 000 farm workers would also have to stop working on Monday in line with the new law. - Sapa-AFP
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