MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
The government requires appliances in your home to use less water and less energy—but are they?
LANKFORD: It might be high efficiency, but then if I’m having to put it on higher settings of water, is it really high efficiency?
NICK EICHER, HOST: Also Holland is beginning to rethink its acceptance of prostitution as having no victims. We’ll tell you why that’s happening.
Plus a report from last week’s March for Life in Washington.
And Cal Thomas makes an argument for a much-shorter election season.
REICHARD: It’s Thursday, January 30th. 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 here’s Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: President Trump signs U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement » President Trump on Wednesday signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement into law. It is a major rewrite of the trade agreement known as NAFTA.
The president put pen to paper at an outdoor signing ceremony and told those gathered at the White House—quote— “we’re finally ending the NAFTA nightmare.”
TRUMP: This is a colossal victory for our farmers, ranchers, energy workers, factory workers, and American workers in all 50 states, and you could almost say beyond.
And the president wasn’t the only one celebrating the signing of the USMCA. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi touted changes to the original bill that House Democrats negotiated.
PELOSI: The differences in enforcement, about protecting American workers, protecting the environment, and the prescription drug piece of that.
Trump made replacing NAFTA a top priority in his 2016 campaign.
The auto industry is a major focus of the USMCA. It requires automakers to get 75 percent of their production content from within North America to qualify for the pact’s duty-free benefits. That means more auto content would have to come from North America, not imported more cheaply from China and elsewhere.
And at least 40 percent of vehicles would also have to originate in places where workers earn at least $16 an hour.
The leaders of the United States, Canada, and Mexico signed the deal in late 2018. Canada has yet to formally ratify the agreement.
Senators submit written questions to impeachment managers, defense team » With opening arguments wrapped up in the impeachment trial, senators are now getting a chance to ask questions, but only in writing.
AUDIO: Mr. Chief Justice — senator from Iowa — I send a question to the desk.
Senators on Wednesday submitted questions to the presiding officer, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who then read them to House impeachment managers and the president’s legal team.
The question-and-answer session can last up to 16 hours, and is expected to resume today. It allows lawyers on both sides to make their final points before the senators take a vote on whether to hear witnesses.
Roughly 200 Americans evacuated from Wuhan arrive in California » Amid the coronavirus outbreak in China, a jetliner evacuating roughly 200 Americans from the city of Wuhan arrived at a California military base Wednesday.
Dr. Chris Braden with the Centers for Disease Control told reporters…
BRADEN: The coronavirus is spreading rapidly, we think, in China. We think it is appropriate that our citizens who are at the epicenter of that outbreak in Wuhan be repatriated home for their own safety.
The jet touched down at March Air Reserve Base near Los Angeles after a refueling stop in Anchorage, Alaska. During that stop, a ground crew wearing masks and white protective clothing screened everyone on board for symptoms. Health officials also screened them in Wuhan before they boarded the plane.
Officials say some passengers with a cough, fever, or shortness of breath remained in Anchorage for further assessment.
Those who arrived in California yesterday will undergo additional screenings. And they’ll be temporarily quarantined until health officials can be sure they’re healthy.
White House defends Middle East peace plan » White House adviser Jared Kushner is defending the Middle East peace proposal that President Trump unveiled on Tuesday—after Palestinian leaders angrily rejected it. Kushner played a key role in drafting the plan. He said Wednesday that the Palestinians rejected it before they even saw it, but he urged them to take another look.
KUSHNER: It doubles the territory that they have the ability to have, and it gives them a lot of economic incentives, if they’re willing to change their governance structures. You need to have freedom of the press. You need to have respect for human rights. You need to have credible institutions that can run a state.
But he said the deal gives the Palestinians “a pathway to really achieve everything that they’ve always spoken about.”
Meantime, Israel has postponed a move to annex large parts of the West Bank. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said the Cabinet would vote Sunday on extending Israeli sovereignty to dozens of Jewish settlements as well as the Jordan Valley. But that risks provoking backlash from the Palestinians and the international community.
Pentagon raises number of U.S. service members injured in Iranian missile attack » The Pentagon on Tuesday raised the number of U.S. service members who suffered brain injuries in Iran’s recent missile strike. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen has more.
ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: Military officials now say 50 service members suffered traumatic brain injuries in Iran’s missile strike earlier this month on an Iraqi air base.
The White House initially said no Americans were harmed. But the Pentagon later reported that 11 service members had injuries before raising that total to 34, and now 50.
Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Colonel Thomas Campbell, said the 16 additional service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. Of the 50, he said 31 have returned to duty.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen.
COVINGTON: I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the frustration over low-flow plumbing fixtures.
Plus, signs from this year’s March for Life.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: It’s Thursday, the 30th of January, 2020. So glad you’ve joined us for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. First up: water regulations and appliances.
Even President Trump is fed up with low-flow toilets and so-called efficient dishwashers. He’s railed against them in recent interviews and rallies.
TRUMP: People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times as opposed to once.
REICHARD: Now, this may seem like an odd target for presidential ire, but a lot of people share his frustration.
Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to roll back regulations on low-flow toilets, faucets, and shower heads.
WORLD Radio correspondent Katie Gaultney reports.
KATIE GAULTNEY, REPORTER: Ashleigh Lankford lives in an area she calls “country-ish.” It’s close enough to have major retailers within just a few minutes’ drive. But on their acreage, surrounded by livestock, things get dusty and dirty quickly. And with a big dog, a cat, and three young, homeschooled kids, Lankford does a lot of laundry.
LANKFORD: You know what, I have a laundry day. So on laundry day I’ll probably do around at least five loads, not counting if we do any sheets or extra things like that.
About a year ago, her old washer broke, and she replaced it with a new, high-efficiency model. It’s supposed to use less energy and water than older models. But efficiency doesn’t always translate to “getting the job done.” Lankford starts a load of wash to illustrate her point.
LANKFORD: And so I can actually see the amount of water that’s going in and um, I’ll be able to see it turning the clothes around and some of them are dry.
Lankford compensates by putting her washer on the “extra heavy load” and “max fill” settings, just to get it to cover even the smallest loads. Some things have to be washed more than once.
But how did it start? Why is our satisfaction with water appliances and fixtures “circling the drain?” In 1992, President George H. W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act. The law made 1.6 gallons per flush a mandatory federal maximum for new toilets. Other water-efficient policies relating to washing machines, dishwashers, and the like followed in the mid-1990s.
Of course, the goal of water conservation is laudable. Biblical even, some would say. Rev. Mitch Hescox leads the Evangelical Environmental Network. He says caring about water conservation is part of loving your neighbor, particularly with what he calls a strain on our current supply.
HESCOX: From the Midwest to the Western United States, we are running out of fresh water. You know, we are pumping more water out of aquifers than we’ve ever done before…. New Mexico is probably the worst state off, then California, Arizona, Colorado, even Nebraska and Iowa are all going to have continuing pressures on having water security in the coming years.
And those who support low-flow standards say frustration with appliances is misplaced. Jeff Porter has been in the plumbing industry for over 40 years and now trains new plumbers.
PORTER: Low flow toilets. The modern ones, they’re good! They work. I’ve actually got a 0.8 gallon, low-flow or ultra low-flow commode in my house and I’ve had one for about four or five years and it works perfectly well… As long as they’re maintained properly… You don’t have to flush it 10 or 15 times that somebody said that you do.
Porter said the “multiple flushes” come into play with older models of toilets that people tried to retrofit. Or maybe they only replaced part of the toilet, not the whole thing.
So a low-flow toilet that really works may not be just a pipe dream. But some policy experts say laws and regulations aren’t the best way to encourage environmental conservation.
Brendan Steinhauser is a political consultant in Austin. He and his wife work from home, and there are often six people there at once. His frustrations with the low water pressure that arise in a full house with efficient appliances and fixtures aren’t just practical, they’re ideological too.
STEINHAUSER: I think that for things like water or electricity, kind of the daily needs of a family or of an individual, those decisions should be made by that individual and by that family… So to have government come in and mandate things or tell you what the price of something is always leads to some kind of economic distortion and usually a disaster for that commodity or for that service.
Still, government data show that—though they may not realize it—homeowners with low-flow toilets could be flush with cash. Replacing old, inefficient toilets with WaterSense-labeled models saves the average family $140 a year, and 13,000 gallons of water.
Steinhauser says that’s why people should consider efficient appliances, not because they have to.
STEINHAUSER: I mean, I do think it’s important to protect the environment, to have clean air and clean water, to use resources in a way that’s efficient, to the best of your ability and how it makes sense for you and your family. And for society at large. I just think that if you look at history, the most inefficient way to manage those resources is through government.
Even if the Trump administration rolls back water regulations, efficient appliances and fixtures are likely to stick around. Local governments often offer rebates to homeowners who install them. And most consumers are interested in saving money and conserving resources as long as they really can do both with one flush.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Katie Gaultney, reporting from Dallas, Texas.
MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: the seamy side of Amsterdam.
Now, obviously before we get started, this story requires a warning to parents. It may not be appropriate for young ears. So if you’re listening with the kids, you might want to hit pause right now and just come back to this later.
NICK EICHER: Fair warning, the story concerns human trafficking.
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. It’s known for many things: art, gabled houses, an intricate canal system. The house where young Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution is there, as well.
But it’s also ground zero for trafficking, where young women are displayed in store fronts and the locals consider it business as usual. Prostitution is legal there.
Now some Christian activists are trying to change that, and we sent WORLD Radio correspondent Jenny Lind Schmitt there to tell their story.
JENNY LIND SCHMITT, CORRESPONDENT: Growing up in the Netherlands, Natasja Bos heard all the accepted arguments for legal prostitution.
BOS: We have educated our people in the Netherlands with a lot of propaganda about prostitution. Everybody says, if it’s visible we can control it, if you criminalize it it will go underground. Prostitution is just a normal job, it’s the oldest job in the world.
As an adult she started working with women coming out of the sex industry. And she soon realized their stories didn’t fit the accepted narrative. Most had backgrounds of abuse and poverty that made them vulnerable to manipulation into prostitution. Many did not stand in brothel windows of their own free choice.
In 2012, Bos and a friend saw a documentary that showed Amsterdam as an end destination for global sex trafficking. That was their breaking point, and they began to publicly challenge long-held Dutch beliefs about the freedom of sex workers.
BOS: We say, people make a brave choice to be in prostitution sometimes, but it’s not because they have choices, it’s because there’s only one choice left, and that’s because of a pimp, because of money issues, because of trauma. We want to tell the whole story.
They started a blog called Exxpose to spread that message. Then they started looking for alternatives to the Dutch system and ended up in Sweden. Lawmakers there had made an innovative change in 2000.
BOS: They asked themselves, who are the people in prostitution and who are the people who are buying sex. That was kind of revolutionary, but it worked out actually, they have less trafficking, but also less people in prostitution. Less people are buying sex.
What has become known as the Swedish or Nordic model outlaws buying sex, not selling it. Instead of arresting prostitutes, authorities offer them help and social support if they want to get out of the business. And that approach is working. Prostitution has dropped by half in the last 20 years. In messages intercepted by police, traffickers say Sweden is “no longer a good place to do business.”
Last year Exxpose started a campaign to bring the Swedish model to the Netherlands. By spring it had gotten the 40,000 signatures needed to force debate in the Dutch parliament. It’s also bringing the issue back into public conversation. The Dutch don’t want their country known for human trafficking.
Fourteen years ago, Frits Rouvoet and his wife started a ministry to prostitutes called Bright Fame. He spends several nights a week in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, building relationships with the women who work in the windows. Most come from the poorer countries of Eastern Europe or South America.
Rouvoet says legalization was supposed to help the government track women and keep them safe. But in reality, officials don’t even know how many there are.
ROUVOET: Our government did some researches and said maybe we have 4000 girls or maybe we have 8000 girls in prostitution, over the year, only in Amsterdam. Maybe 10 percent or maybe 90 percent is trafficked. We don’t know! And then our government will say, Everything is under control.
In the Netherlands a prostitute must pay for licensing and taxes, so the Dutch legal system actually becomes part of the web that keeps her enslaved. Most have large amounts of tax debt that make it even harder to break free.
ROUVOET: I think for a pimp it’s better that his girl is standing in the legal prostitution. So everybody’s thinking, it’s under control, it’s okay, it’s fine, she choose by herself, she has her own company, she’s free to choose or to quit what she want, but that’s not true.
But Rouvoet also sees a shift starting to happen.
ROUVOET: More than 50 percent of the citizens of Amsterdam say now that prostitution is not normal, it’s not from this time. Also our city council here in Amsterdam, for the first time, start to discussed about the future of the prostitution. And that’s very very very new. Little by little, something is changing here in the atmosphere.
Bos says the key to change is a multi-pronged approach. Punishing buyers is essential. But women also need job training and trauma counseling. And Bos also wants to help and educate those addicted to buying sex.
BOS: This is something that has to happen in the Netherlands, but it also has to happen in Europe. Because it’s an international problem. It’s not a Dutch problem….
Prostitution is also legal in Germany and Switzerland. But in the last 10 years, Norway, Iceland, France, and Ireland have adopted the Swedish model. Bos says for abolitionist movements to work, they must work together.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Jenny Lind Schmitt reporting from Amsterdam.
NICK EICHER: Maybe you live in an area with car-pool lanes set aside, HOV lanes. Stands for high-occupancy vehicles, and the rules aren’t hard to understand: HOV-2 means one driver, one passenger. HOV-3, one driver, two passengers.
Well, human nature being what it is, someone’s always looking to bend the rules. But one guy in Arizona took it to another level. Here how officer Martin Sotero explained it:
SOTERO: The motor unit that pulled up next to the vehicle looked inside the vehicle and at that point pretty much realized that the passenger in the front row was actually a skeleton.
But a well-dressed skeleton, give him that. Mr. Skellington had on a jacket with a hood. And a fishing hat, too. And, you know, to sit up straight the seatbelt was insufficient, so the driver tied his skeleton to the seat with a rope. Apparently the driver thought of everything. Well, except this:
SOTERO: Just know that if you are caught, you are going to be cited, points are going to be added to your license. Therefore, it’s just not worth it.
Cost-benefit ratio: Is it worth the risk of a $400 ticket to get there earlier, versus just leaving earlier?
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER: Today is Thursday, January 30th. You are listening to The World and Everything in It, and we are really glad you are!
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next: the 2020 March for Life.
Last Friday’s March for Life drew tens of thousands to the Mall in Washington D.C. Maybe into the hundreds of thousands.
Most had made their plans to attend long before they knew that President Trump was coming. But the president’s appearance did add additional excitement. We had reporters there, and Kristen Flavin brings us that story.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Forty-seven years. That’s how long pro-life people have been coming to Washington, D.C. in January to march for life. The atmosphere feels like a combination of family reunion and pep rally. Outside the National Museum of African American History and Culture, marchers gather. Pro-life groups hand out swag: signs, backpacks, hats, and gloves. Karen Sorenson represents Feminists for Life.
SORENSON: My sign is double sided. The sign right here says: “Peace begins in the womb.”… this is the logo for the female. You have the male and female gender…and then the other side says women deserve better than abortion.
Most signs are professionally produced. They convey messages that reinforce the overall theme of the March: Pro-Life is pro-women. The signs read “Choose love, choose life.” “Human Rights begin in the womb.” “I am pro-abundant life.” “I vote pro-life.”
PA: Good morning. Good morning. Good morning.
The Silent No More Campaign signs carry a more sobering personal message.
MARCHER: I regret my abortion and I’m silent no more. I’m recovering. My last abortion was in 2002. I went through Rachel’s vineyard and went through recovery.
A large contingent of women carry those black and white signs down Constitution Avenue. Men walk alongside them. They too carry black and white signs. But theirs say, “I regret lost fatherhood.”
PA: Good morning to you. Good morning. Smile, it’s the March for Life.
Marchers have to pass through metal detectors to reach the area near the stage where the president will speak. As helicopters fly overhead, secret service and park police bark commands.
Inside the secure area, marchers gather and wait for speeches. Music blares over the loudspeakers. In the sea of mass-produced signs, some hand painted ones stand out. They hint at the personal stories that inspire pro-life commitment. So we ask about the signs and the stories behind them. Here’s a sample of their answers.
Here’s a young woman named Brianna.
BRIANNA: Mine says, “Bless successful autistic pro-life because love isn’t ableist. I’m autistic and that’s a big part of why I’m pro-life because so many children with even small disabilities like cleft palette are aborted and it may not be easy but all life is precious even if it’s going to take a little bit more work.
Erica is from Manassas, Virginia. Her sign says, “Thankful 3 months was too old back in 1984.”
ERICA: my mom was pregnant with me when she was young and couldn’t tell her family. She tried to have an abortion but found she was too far along. So she hid her pregnancy and gave me up for adoption but then regretted it and got me back a few weeks later and brought me home to her family. And they were supportive and took her and me in, and so I’m thankful to be here.
Philip, a young Asian man, has a sign that says, “Smile your mom chose life.”
PHILIP: My mother considered abortion. But chose life. Choosing life God’s gift.
A middle aged woman named Cheryl also has a handwritten sign. It says, “When I was 16 I was pregnant.”
CHERYL: Pressured to have an abortion I was 16 scared and pregnant, but her life mattered too. Picture of mom and daughter. Love is sacrificing yourself for others…hate is when you sacrifice others for self. We got to get it right.
Gwen also holds a sign.
GWEN: My sign is an unborn child: Life is good. Proverbs 31:8,9.
That passage says, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
GWEN: This is my first March for Life. I’m on two sides of this issue. My mother was an unwed mother in 1968. I was born and placed for adoption and then didn’t make some good choices and ended up pregnant myself unmarried and through the grace of God that child saw the light of day. I’m just grateful for people who choose life and God’s plan is good even when things are tough.
A young mom named Melissa was at the march with her husband and baby. She chokes up when we asked about her sign.
MELISSA: This is my friend Kim who I met in high school. She is a part of my family. She is my daughter’s aunt. We just think about all of the babies who don’t get the opportunity to live because they have Down Syndrome. It’s not fair. It’s a tragedy.
Melissa remembers her experience during pregnancy. At every appointment, the doctors asked her: Do you want to know? Do you want the test to screen for Down Syndrome?
MELISSA: And I finally looked at the doctor and said, if we found out my child had Down Syndrome would you treat my pregnancy any differently, medically. And he said no. And I said I don’t want to know.
In honor of her friend Kim, Melissa carried this sign.
MELISSA: It’s a picture of my sister Kim, my friend Kim holding my newborn baby at the hospital and it reads, “an estimated 90 percent of babies with Down Syndrome never get a chance to live their lives because of abortion. Here’s the thing. Aunt Kimmy has a really awesome life and there’s no prenatal test to predict that.”
For WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin, with reporting from Susan Olasky in Washington, DC.
MARY REICHARD: Coming up next, an excerpt from Listening In.
This week, a conversation with Sandra McCracken, a singer and songwriter. For more than 20 years, she’s been a leading voice in Christian music.
NICK EICHER: She released her latest album in 20-18 titled Songs from the Valley. It explores lament, suffering, and healing. Host Warren Smith starts out with the analogy of a broken bowl. Let’s listen.
WARREN SMITH: Sandra, I know you know the work of Makoto Fujimura and he often talks about this concept. It’s an ancient art form, I think it’s called Kintsugi—where the ceramic bowls that are broken and then they’re put back together using gold in the cracked places. That’s the solder, and the broken places, it’s actually much more valuable than the original ceramic bowl.
SANDRA MCCRACKEN: Yeah. I was out in California at Fuller Seminary and got to see one of these bowls and was there with a group of artists and Mako was there and he put one in my hands and it’s profoundly beautiful. So it’s the value of the gold itself, but it’s also the fact that somebody had to put that back together and had to take the time to reconstruct something.
There’s so much that I, from an artistic standpoint, that I don’t know, but I could experience it from holding that in my hands, and say: “Yes, and amen.” Like this is something that I feel like it resonates deeply, and I know that, even in our church community and in the practice, the more honest we can be in bringing forward who we really are with the cracks exposed, the more we find the freedom to still be a vessel that holds beautiful things for our life.
And, you know, I mean there are so many implications to that. There’s something for me that I thought of a couple of days ago during our prep for Easter. We were talking about when Jesus is on the cross and in the seven last words he says to John and to Mary, he says John, this is going to be your mother now and Mary you go home with John. And you think in that moment he was like putting together a new family structure, sending them out because they needed something like that.
What an incredible affirmation of like, he continues to pull things together and say, “you’re going to need each other. You’re going to need a home, you’re going to need a system to make this work.” And that’s the incarnational bit, right? He continues to affirm who we are. Our bodies, our…every little detail about the cracked bowl would say, like, this matters and not a Sparrow falls to the ground without the will of our father in heaven—without his attention on it. And I think that bowl really reminds me of that attention to detail and the renewal of all things.
NICK EICHER: Today is Thursday, January 30th. Good morning to you! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Only 278 days until the next national election.
Feeling exhausted already? So is WORLD Radio commentator Cal Thomas.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: I love Ireland for its natural beauty, its people, some of its food, its music, its writers, and especially its elections. They are shorter and less costly than ours. And they are designed to engage citizens and boost voter turnout.
On January 14th, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar called a general election for February 8th. That means a campaign of slightly more than three weeks. In the process, the Irish Parliament dissolved. What a delightful thought. If only the U.S. Congress could dissolve—at least occasionally.
Unlike Irish politics, U.S. election campaigns increasingly resemble endless wars. They cost too much and never seem to resolve the conflict.
Multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg says he is willing to spend up to $1 billion of his fortune to win the Democratic nomination. If he doesn’t win, he’ll use that money to help the eventual nominee defeat President Trump. Some estimates put the cost of 2020 ad spending alone at over $6 billion. So Bloomberg’s contribution will ensure this year’s presidential campaign sets another record.
And as soon as—or possibly before—this election season ends, people will be talking about 2024 and 2028. It never ends.
Does any of this time and money spent produce real solutions to obvious problems, such as reforming entitlement programs and reducing debt? If it did, wouldn’t those solutions have been implemented by now? Too many politicians are focused on getting elected and then re-elected, not on solving real problems.
All of this contributes to generally low voter turnout compared to other developed nations. That gives power to activists on both the left and right. And that skews the results and gives no clear picture of where most Americans would like to see the country go. Consider how often the parties exchange power in Congress and the White House. Why do we elect a liberal like President Obama and then eight years later elect President Trump, who has been enacting and promoting the conservative agenda?
Ireland isn’t the only country that has sane campaign and election practices.
Canada held its longest election in 1926. From announcement to voting took 10 weeks.
In Great Britain, election spending is strictly limited. In Germany, political parties may not release more than one 90-second televised political ad during a campaign. Many countries hold elections on weekends, making them more convenient.
Not every country’s campaign and election practices may be worth copying. But why can’t we learn from those that are? The only thing stopping us is our lack of will.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: Critical Race Theory. What is that, exactly? We’ll talk about it on Culture Friday.
And, have your listener feedback.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
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