MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Does the word “sex” in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mean something other than male and female? The Supreme Court will decide.
BURSCH: Treating women and men equally does not mean employers have to treat men as women. That is because sex and transgender status are independent concepts.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.
Also the Monday Moneybeat: A cease-fire in the trade war between the United States and China ignites a rally in the stock market.
Plus the WORLD Radio History Book. 55 years ago this week, Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize…
KING: I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America. I refuse to accept despair as a final response to the ambiguities of history.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, October 14th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Now the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Northern Syria conflict grows bloodier, U.S. troops ordered out » President Trump has ordered the Pentagon to begin pulling all remaining U.S. troops out of northern Syria. That as the conflict there grows bloodier.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday…
ESPER: It’s terrible. I’ve heard the same reports. It gets worse by the hour.
Those reports include word Turkish forces are executing Kurdish prisoners, and that amid the fighting hundreds of ISIS supporters have escaped from a holding camp.
Esper said he warned Turkey about the consequences of attacking the Kurds.
ESPER: We will see everything from the release of ISIS prisoners to a humanitarian catastrophe — it will damage U.S. relations with Turkey, their standing in NATO. All this is playing out exactly as we predicted.
He said the Pentagon now believes Turkey is executing a wider invasion than expected—pushing further south into Syria.
And with United States no longer protecting its allies in the region, the Kurds on Sunday announced a new agreement with the Syrian government.
Esper said with Kurdish Forces teaming up with the government and its Russian allies, U.S. forces are “trapped between a Syrian-Russian army moving north … to take on the Turkish army that’s moving south.” And that’s why the president ordered the remaining troops out.
The U.S. military will not intervene, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Sunday that economic sanctions are locked and loaded.
MNUCHIN: We have put them on warning. The president has authorized me to effectively shut down the entire Turkey economy. And we can do that at a moment’s notice on his command.
Critics on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill continue to call the troop withdrawal reckless and disastrous.
Hunter Biden steps down from board of Chinese-backed firm » Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, announced on Sunday that he will step down from the board of a Chinese-backed private equity firm. The news came amid numerous recent attacks from the White House.
As Democrats press an impeachment inquiry over President Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens’ actions in that country, the president has insisted the Bidens are the only ones guilty of corruption.
On Sunday, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Hunter Biden should have stepped down from the board a long time ago.
CONWAY: In fact, he probably shouldn’t have been on the board to begin with. He hitched a ride on Air Force Two with the vice president of the United States, also his father, at that time — came back with sweetheart deals.
The younger Biden had pledged to forego all foreign work if and when his father wins the presidency. But amid recent attacks from the White House, he said he wants to avoid any appearance of conflicts of interest.
His lawyer released a statement saying Hunter—quote—“never anticipated the barrage of false charges against both him and his father by the President of the United States.”
Wildfire kills three in Southern California » A wildfire in California’s San Fernando Valley has killed three people over the past week while forcing thousands to evacuate.
But firefighters say thanks to cooler temperatures and higher humidity they’re beginning to get the upper hand.
As of Sunday, the blaze that burned 12 square miles and was 41 percent contained.
Investigators don’t yet know what caused the fire. But officials are looking into a witness report that flames were seen at the base of a power transmission tower.
Louisiana gov. race heads to runoff election » Voters went to the polls in Louisiana over the weekend. Supporters of Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards made their voices heard.
AUDIO: Four more years! Four more years!
But whether he’ll get another four years in office remains to be seen. He was unable to top 50 percent in Saturday’s primary election. And as Edwards told his supporters that means the race is heading to runoff election.
EDWARDS: Prepare yourselves, because over the next five weeks, the partisan forces in Washington D.C. are going to pull out all the stops. There is nothing they won’t say or do to try and win this election.
His Republican opponent, Eddie Rispone, said President Trump’s support played a big part in denying Edwards an outright victory.
RISPONE: He’s going to support us. That’s wonderful. Let’s thank him!
Edwards is the Deep South’s only Democratic governor. And as an ardent pro-life Democrat, he’s been a frequent political target from members of his own party.
Voters will decide the runoff on November 16th.
Despite two big debuts at box office, Joker gets last laugh » At the weekend box office…
AUDIO: [Sound of Addams Family trailer]
The Addams Family moved in at second place with 30 million in ticket sales.
And the Will Smith action sci-fi flick Gemini Man debuted in 3rd place with $21 million.
TRAILER: I think I know why he’s as good as you. He is you. Twenty-five years ago, they made you from me.
But the Joker had the last laugh, topping the box office once again with $55 million.
You can find WORLD’s reviews of current films—along with ratings and content information—at WNG.org/movies.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: Redefining sex at the Supreme Court. This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: It’s Monday morning, the 14th of October, 2019. Good morning to you, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. In eight states, several university campuses, and more than 100 cities, it’s Indigenous People’s Day. For the rest of us, Columbus Day, a day off for federal workers and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Tomorrow, the justices return for week two of oral arguments.
On week one, they jumped right in with possibly the biggest controversies of the term: three significant LGBT cases. And Mary will review last week’s arguments in a moment.
Each case, of course, has a different set of facts, but the legal question is similar: Does the word “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 include homosexual and transgendered persons?
Two cases deal with two men who claim they were fired because of their homosexuality. The court consolidated both of those cases into a single hour of argument.
The third case deals with the Michigan funeral home director who was fired after announcing “he” would be transitioning to a “she.”
These are the first LGBT-related disputes to reach the high court since Justice Anthony Kennedy retired. He’s the one who wrote the majority opinion in the 5-to-4 case called Obergefell vs. Hodges that redefined marriage in all 50 states to include same-sex unions.
The political and social ramifications brought out both sides of the debate on argument day last Tuesday outside the courthouse. Patrick Henry College student Danielle Bliven was outside the court and gathered this sound. She said the arguments were familiar, with LGBT activists contending that nothing less than human rights are at stake, and women’s rights groups sounding the alarm about biological females losing ground hard fought over the last 100 years.
CHAVEZ: I’m here because I’m motivated by two simple words: women matter. And that of course includes the most vulnerable women among us. This is what intersectionality is all about, right? Our opponents often throw that term around and yet they’ve chosen to sacrifice the most vulnerable women and girls in society on the altar of gender identity.
REICHARD: That’s what was going on outside the courthouse.
Inside, two hours of argument. I’m going to simplify by combining all of them for the purpose of this report. Remember, the fact difference is two homosexual employees, and one transgender. Each claims job loss due to sex discrimination.
You’ll first hear Pamela Karlan, lawyer for the two gay men. She argued Title VII of the Civil Rights Act needs no “reinterpretation.” She says the law on its face already supports her clients’ argument that they were discriminated against on the basis of sex.
KARLAN: When an employer fires a male employee for dating men but does not fire female employees who date men, he violates Title VII. The employer has, in the words of Section 703(a), discriminated against the man because he treats that man worse than women who want to do the same thing.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked a question about the original intent of Title VII.
GINSBURG: Ms. Karlan, how do you answer the argument that back in 1964, this could not have been in Congress’s mind because in—in many states, male same-sex relations was a criminal offense; the American Psychiatric Association labeled homosexuality a—a mental illness?
KARLAN: Well, I think you read the words of the statute. And this court has recognized again and again forms of sex discrimination that were not in Congress’s contemplation in 1964. In 1964, those were the days of Mad Men, so the idea that sexual harassment would have been reached, most courts didn’t find sexual harassment to be actionable until this court did.
In Price Waterhouse, this court recognized that discrimination against a woman who cursed like a sailor, walked like a man, and didn’t wear makeup was reachable under Title VII.
Chief Justice Roberts brought up a matter that recurred during both hours of argument: Shouldn’t Congress decide whether a law it passed means what Karlan argues it ought to mean? That laws ought not be “updated” by the courts?
Karlan waved that aside.
KARLAN: I think you should read the words as they were understood then, which is “men” and “women.” Title VII was intended to make sure that men were not disadvantaged relative to women and women were not disadvantaged relative to men.
And when you tell two employees who come in, both of whom tell you they married their partner Bill last weekend, when you fire the male employee who married Bill and you give the female employee who married Bill a couple of days off so she can celebrate the joyous event, that’s discrimination because of sex.
And then, an awkward silence, while Karlan still had more than 20 minutes remaining. The chief justice intervened.
KARLAN: Well, if no one has any further questions, I’ll reserve the remainder of my time for rebuttal. (Laughter.)
ROBERTS: Well, I think we’ll have further questions. (Laughter.)
Yes, quite a few. In the transgender employee case, Justice Neil Gorsuch seemed sympathetic to fired employees, and that the text of Title VII itself makes an argument for them.
Still, he worried about something else.
GORSUCH: When a case is really close… on the textual evidence and I—assume for the moment I’m with you on the textual evidence. It’s close, okay?…A judge finds it very close. At the end of the day, should he or she take into consideration the massive social upheaval that would be entailed in such a decision…
That worry was dismissed by ACLU lawyer David Cole who represented the transgender funeral director.
COLE: Federal courts of appeals have been recognizing that discrimination against transgender people as sex discrimination for 20 years. There’s been no upheaval.
As for the employers’ side of the transgender case, lawyer John Bursch distinguished between the meanings of “sex” and “transgender,” and that Title VII doesn’t apply to sexual orientation or gender identity.
He represents the funeral home owner, Tom Rost.
BURSCH: Treating women and men equally does not mean employers have to treat men as women. That is because sex and transgender status are independent concepts.
The problem here is that under their theory, the federal agency that brought this claim and then an unelected panel in the 6th Circuit changed the law. They added a transgender classification, applied it to a business retroactively, and what’s more the 6th Circuit said that sex itself is a stereotype.
And Mr. Cole agrees with that 100 percent. Everything that he said this morning, “sex itself is a stereotype,” you can never treat a man who identifies as a woman differently because to do that IS sex discrimination.
And then Bursch went in for the emotional kill. You’ll hear a very unfamiliar initialism, “BFOQ,” and it stands for “bona fide occupational qualification,” which Bursch will explain.
BURSCH: Now in the context of this case, Title VII gives Tom Rost the ability to consider how enforcement of a sex-specific dress code would impact all of his employees and grieving clients. But the 6th Circuit imposed a new restriction: and its holding destroys all sex-specific policies and even BFOQ’s while undermining the protections that Title VII provides.
So my friend, Mr. Cole, redefines sex to include transgender status in two respects. First, my friend’s but-for test would mean that a women’s overnight shelter must hire a man who identifies as a woman to serve as a counselor to women who have been raped, trafficked, and abused and also share restrooms, shower and locker room facilities with them. That is because, but for the man’s sex, he would be allowed to—to hold that job and to use those facilities.
U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, also arguing in support of the employers, underscored that religious liberty issues are at stake. He also warned about damage to the balance of powers for the courts to make a legislative move that’s for Congress to make.
FRANCISCO: I actually find it troubling for courts to take that approach because I actually think it deprives the people of the ability to struggle with these issues democratically.
But David Cole, lawyer for the transgender individual, disputed that idea, arguing interpreting a statute is part of the democratic process and Congress can change what it doesn’t like.
COLE: The purpose of Title VII as this court defined it was to make sex irrelevant to people’s ability to succeed at work. When Harris Homes fired Aimee Stephens because it learned about her sex assigned at birth being different from her gender identity, it did not make sex irrelevant to her ability to succeed at work. It made it determinative.
And think about it this way: if Harris Homes fired a man because he was a man that would be sex discrimination. If it fired an employee because he was insufficiently masculine that would clearly be sex discrimination. In this case Harris homes fired Aimee Stephens because he thought she is a man who is insufficiently masculine. That too must also be sex discrimination.
Interestingly, the justices did not delve into questions about the rights of employers to decide what is best for their businesses.
Nor did they question the premise that biological males and females who want to be called by counterintuitive pronouns may require everyone else to adjust.
But those weren’t legal questions before the court.
And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.
MARY REICHARD: Coming next on The World and Everything in It, the Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER: We can’t say exactly that peace is at hand in the 15-month trade war between the United States and China. The better term probably is ceasefire.
American and Chinese trade negotiators late on Friday agreed on a temporary truce: Washington will hold off on another tariff increase that had been set to take effect tomorrow. In exchange, Beijing will spend $40-to-$50 billion on products from American farmers.
Otherwise, the details are a little fuzzy. What remains unresolved is one of the key sticking points for Washington, and that is China’s demand that American companies hand over trade secrets as the price of doing business in the communist country.
This is not an end to the trade war: Still on the schedule is a round of tariff increases hitting $160 billion worth of smartphones made in China. That round is set to take effect on December 15th.
But about a month before that, President Trump and China’s president Xi Jinping plan a face-to-face meeting in Chile. The two will be attending an economic conference there in mid-November, and that raises hopes the two leaders can work on a comprehensive peace agreement.
REICHARD: The late-afternoon news of the trade-war ceasefire cheered the stock market. Prior to it, all the major stock indexes were headed for another losing week. But in the last half-hour of the trading day, stocks soared, wiping out all the week’s losses and putting all the indexes into positive territory for the week.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 avoided a fifth straight weekly loss and gained six-tenths of a percentage point.
The Dow Jones Industrials added almost a full point, picking up nine-tenths.
The Nasdaq rose the same nine-tenths.
And the Russell 2000 picked up eight-tenths.
EICHER: In September, the price we paid for goods and services remained exactly the same as in August. No change. And that comes after August prices rose just one-tenth of one percent over July.
If you compare year on year, the Consumer Price Index is up just 1.7 percent. That’s according to Labor Department numbers released on Friday. The CPI is a common measure of inflation.
Now, here’s a qualifier. One of the reasons for the overall price stability is that the cost of gasoline is down quite a bit, almost two-and-a-half percentage points less in September versus August, and that’s a trend. Fuel is more than 8 percent cheaper this year than last.
But prices for fuel and food are typically subject to substantial price swings, and economists prefer to factor those out. If you take the regular CPI and back out the cost of energy and food, that gives you so-called core inflation. That number’s higher: Core inflation is sitting on 2.4 percent year on year.
REICHARD: That might matter to the Federal Reserve, which has set as its target an inflation rate of 2 percent. When it’s below that level, the Fed is more likely to cut interest rates. Above 2 percent, and it’s less likely to do so.
By the end of the month, the Fed meets to consider whether to cut interest rates for a third time this year, after raising them four times last year.
Last week, Fed chairman Jay Powell spoke to the National Association for Business Economics and in his remarks, he took an interest in a number we reported here last week, the September jobs report. Where we had seen a booming job market, Powell noted, we now see more moderate growth. Some economists took that as a sign that the chairman is leaning toward another rate cut to try to stimulate economic growth and guard against a recession next year.
EICHER: Now, when we talk about the Fed and interest rates, we always always refer to the federal-funds rate. This is the rate banks charge one another for overnight loans.
You might ask, Why do banks lend money to one another on an overnight basis? The reason is to keep themselves in compliance with reserve requirements mandated by government. Banks are required by law to keep a certain fraction of deposits on hand. If they run low, they borrow overnight to maintain their daily reserves.
But there was a glitch in that important financial market recently. The Fed ran short of funds and that prompted a brief spike in the federal-funds rate.
The law of supply and demand affects everything, and when supply dips below demand, the price goes up. So for one day the Fed couldn’t make good on the low interest rate it had set.
Last week, the Fed announced that it plans to inject more cash into overnight money markets so that this doesn’t happen again.
Chairman Powell says it’s a technical measure to service the banks and isn’t intended as a broad overall boost to the economy.
The Fed’s glitch in lending reserves is the result of at least two big factors: one, the federal government is issuing much more debt to cover its overspending, and two, government regulations have placed higher reserve requirements on banks.
And that is today’s Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER: The city of Springfield, Missouri has come up with a rather creative way to remind people to do their duty after their dogs do theirs.
Yes, an epidemic of not picking up after your pet!
City employees have begun planting small flags in grassy areas downtown—right next to any pet waste they find.
Each flag is emblazoned with a light-hearted message to remind pet owners to be responsible and clean up after their pets.
City official Carrlie Lam told KOLR tv that Springfield employees every couple of weeks find themselves having to pick up an average of about 25 pounds of pet waste.
LAM: In an average year, that’s costing about $7,500 of public resources that are spent addressing that. So we feel like having a few city staff out here, helping spread the word with these little flags is a great way to address that.
The flags say things like “drop it in the trash, not in the grass,” “keep Springfield fresh, pick up the mess,” and other slogans that at least rhyme, but I’m not going to say them.
The flags are made of paper, and city employees regularly round them up as they’re cleaning up the unheeded and left-behind pet waste.
REICHARD: Keep Springfield smellin’ good!
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Monday, October 14th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD Radio History Book.
Today, FCC regulations usher in the age of ugly yard dishes.
Plus, Martin Luther King, Jr. wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
EICHER: But first, 150 years ago this week, a New York farmer digs a hole and finds what appears to be human remains. Here’s Paul Butler.
AUDIO: [Sound of digging]
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: William “Stub” Newell lived in Cardiff, New York—15 miles south of Syracuse. On October 16th, 1869, he and two neighbors are digging a new well on his property. Not long into the project, one of the shovels hits something hard. The men look closely and discover a large foot. By the end of the day, a 10-foot figure emerges from the soil. Newell convinces his friends and neighbors it’s petrified remains of a large man. “The Cardiff Giant” becomes headline news.
But the whole thing is a hoax. A couple years earlier, New York tobacconist and atheist George Hull got into an argument with a Methodist preacher over giants in the Bible. Hull decides to see just how gullible people can be and commissions a stone worker to make the giant figure from a block of gypsum. Hull and his cousin, Stub Newell, secretly bury the sculpture. Then they wait.
About a year later, Newell allegedly discovers the figure. People come in droves to see it—including many religious people who promote “The Cardiff Giant” as proof of the Bible’s accuracy when it described “giants in the land.”
Eventually, Hull sells the figure for more than $20,000 to promoters in Syracuse, New York. So many people come to see the giant that P. T. Barnum hears of it and wants it for his traveling show. The promoters refuse. So Barnum makes his own—claiming his is the genuine article and the Cardiff figure a fake.
The promoters take legal action. In an interview, one of them offers the now well-known witticism: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
Hull eventually confesses everything to a reporter. And on February 2nd, 1870, a court declares both giants are fake.
Next, October 14th, 1964. The Nobel committee awards its prestigious Peace Prize to Martin Luther King Jr. The committee selected King for his commitment to civil rights and non-violence, even in the face of great suffering. He accepted the award two months later in Oslo, Norway.
KING: I accept the Nobel Prize for Peace at a moment when 22 million Negroes of the United States are engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice.
At the time, King is the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He’s optimistic that the movement will succeed. He believes that “unconditional love will have the final word.” He ends his speech acknowledging that while the $54,000 prize will be put to good use, he’s leaving Norway with something even more valuable.
KING: When I say that I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners…and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]
And finally, October 18th, 1979.
The Federal Communications Commission permits consumers to operate “home satellite earth stations” without a license.
SATELLITE SETUP INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO: Check to ensure that the feed horn…
Television Receive Only, or TVRO satellite dishes sprout up like mushrooms in yards all across the country. They pick up television feeds from communication satellites orbiting the earth more than 22,000 miles away.
HOBBYIST: I found a signal. A test card, and some program material…
Satellite eavesdropping becomes a popular hobby. Within just a few years, more than 1-million systems are operational.
COMMERCIAL: Programs are transmitted to one satellite, bounced off it…
“Big Ugly Dishes,” or BUDs as they’re jokingly referred to, were particularly popular with rural Americans as broadcast television was often spotty and cable services unavailable. Over the decades, as the technology improved, the number of large satellite dishes rapidly declined. BUDs are still available with a handful of free channels and subscription services. But what was once a booming industry is now, like many other once popular technologies, relegated mostly to hobbyists and enthusiasts.
SONG: SATELLITE BY THE DAVID MATTHEWS BAND
That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book, I’m Paul Butler.
MARY REICHARD: Today is Monday, October 14th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Here now is WORLD commentator Andrée Seu Peterson.
ANDRÉE SEU PETERSON, COMMENTATOR: To you it’s the slogan on a license plate from that other world across the border. To me it’s tourtierre for Christmas breakfast, galettes at a summer cookout, and singing “O Canada” to a maple leaf flag in school just after “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Not that I was born in Quebec but more like a stage reproduction of it, a trompe l’oeil of culture, with Ste. Anne de Beaupre in miniature on the banks of the Blackstone River.
We’re talking about a hemorrhaging of humanity southward from the St. Lawrence River around 1900, pooling in little pockets of a territory that, evidently, it was not France’s “manifest destiny” to possess: Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Claremont (New Hampshire); Lewiston, Waterville, Biddeford, Sanford (Maine); Fall River, New Bedford, Central Falls (Massachusetts); Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
Disaffected farmers they were, these less glorious sons of Jacque Cartier and Samuel de Champlain, men weary of nine months of snow-bitten earth, and lured to that new invention of Samuel Slater’s, the textile mill, with its promise of a slight easing of the curse of Adam.
Besides cheap labor they imported their language to New England. There it languished, and there it died, in that graveyard of all languages, America. It was a murder that took four generations and ours put the final dagger in. Still, we might still be speaking French today if Francis I had not been an indifferent patron of exploration, and Henri IV had not been busy waffling between Catholic or Protestant identity.
It was back to this land that my friend Lynn decided I should go and that she should take me. And so, after the death of my husband, not at all sure that I could go forward, I journeyed backward in the summer of ’99.
And it was Europe again!—the smells and window boxes and narrow winding cobblestone roads like the crooked lines of a preschooler’s drawing. And it was breakfast in sun-drenched sidewalk cafes by tree-lined streets hosed nightly and still shimmering, the way Monet does shimmering. And we rode the caliche through the Plains of Abraham and conjured the ghosts of General Wolfe and Montcalme in that fateful battle of 1763. And it was stick bread carried under the arm and shared with cheese and mille feuille on our terrace overlooking the Ursuline convent gardens. And we guessed about Madame Chouinard and Monsieur Giroux who ran the inn. And yes, we even laughed, and for six days pretended that life was only beautiful.
I had been feasted sumptuously. I wanted to pay—a croissant, a taxi fare, something. But Lynn explained that it was a gift. And I could see the truth in it. And how it is we like to pay our own way, not because we are so good but because we are so evil. Never mind, she will be repaid on the day the books are opened. Moi, je me souviens. Et le Seigneur, il se souviendra. (I remember, and the Lord, he will remember.)
For WORLD Radio, I’m Andrée Seu Peterson.
EICHER: Tomorrow, our wasteful ways!
We Americans do waste a lot of food. But efforts are underway to keep unused fruits and vegetables out of produce dumpsters.
And, more families are choosing to teach their children at home, according to a new government report.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
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