Letters to the Editor – Saturday, August 10, 2019

Sam Matavesi goes through the defence during the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians training session at Albert Park in Suva on Thursday, August 08, 2019. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Final PNC outing

The Flying Fijians loss at the hands of the Brave Blossoms means that the USA Eagles or the Brave Blossoms will compete for the PNC title which Fiji has been defending for the past four years.

Tonight at the ANZ Stadium after the Japan versus USA battle Fiji will face an in-form Manu Samoan team which beat Tonga (25-17) but lost narrowly to USA (13-10) via a Nigel Owens blunder.

Past Fiji v Samoa clashes have always been entertaining and exciting with those bone crunching tackles.

The clashes bring to mind the playing days of the likes of Brian Lima, Vaiga Tuigamala, Semo Sititi, Census Johnston, David Lemi, Alesana Tuilagi, Lome Fa’atau, Earl Va’a, Roger Warren, Tanner Vili and Mapusua.

Recently Samoa Rugby took a nose dive but now the blues are finding their form and coach Steve Jackson has named an unpredictable side in the likes of Mulipola, Matu’u, Emile, Paulo, Le’aupepe, Vui, Lam, Ioane, Polata’ivao, Seuteni, Tuatagaloa, Lee-Lo, Fonotia, Leiua and Tuala to take on the Flying Fijians in Ma’afu, Sam and Josh Matavesi, Ravai, Cavubati, “The Beast”, Bill, Ben, Nakarawa, Waqaniburotu, Lomani, Pat, Botia, “The Trailer”, Goneva, Tuicuvu, Dolokoto, Mawi, Kali, Ratuva, Yato, Matawalu and Kini.

This is the final opportunity for our boys to show their stuff so they make the 30-member squad to the land of the rising sun.

It’s time to end the 2019 PNC battle on a high note so I’m pleading with our boys to put up a brave effort and finish with maximum points!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Appointed administrators

Why are the ratepayers being imposed to be ruled by the appointed administrators?

If these personnel can be appointed why could not they be elected?

Why cannot this Government call for municipal elections?

What is so wrong in having the elected councillors?

Why is there so much of reluctance in holding municipal elections if Fiji is genuinely democratic?

Why cannot the rate payers exercise their democratic rights?

Why are the NGOs, human rights leaders silent on this subject?

I believe that there were cases of wrongdoings by the elected councillors in the past but those histories should not be referred for not having municipal elections at all.

How long will the ratepayers be dribbled with such past histories.

There are people out there who have the capacity, capability and desire to serve their council as councillors.

I believe the present government is undermining the rights of the ratepayers in this regard.

I believe that the Fiji First Government has delivered on most of their commitments but have failed to hold municipal elections which is one of this government’s downfall so far.

Ministers have been appointed, sworn in and took commitment to hold elections but that commitment has also gone with their portfolio change.

Gulsher Ali, Lautoka

10c levy

The government has just approved a new levy of 10 cents per GB of data used by a customer.

We have the plastic levy which started with 10 cents and then to 20 cents and now 50 cents each.

From 2008 can you see how many new taxes, levies and charges have been introduced by this government?

But I don’t blame the government for this.

I blame the people.

Why?

When the government was giving freebies we could see people waiting from early morning and the line a mile long.

Did you realise who will pay for all this?

Off course you.

I believe you should know that the government has no money and it runs on yours which they get as tax, levy, charges or any other way.

They are like any business and they have to balance their books and if there is a shortfall they will look for ways to fix it.

Don’t forget “nothing is free”.

Nardeo Mishra, Suva

Smoke fine

$1000 fine for selling cigarette rolls is too little.

I mean, if it’s a breach of law, it attracts a fine.

If only every other breach of law could be handled that effectively, alas!

If I were in power, or even close to it, I would try to impose fines even on the licensed cigarette sellers.

That wouldn’t be possible, would it?

I would even try shutting down cigarette manufacturers.

I understand that a good number of our people depend on the product for their livelihood, and that includes tobacco farmers, farm workers, the cigarette company employees, the people in the supply chain, retailers and now the juice sellers too.

However, I would still attempt to shut the industry down, and even ban importation of the product.

Such is the peril that is tobacco.

There are many reasons I am not in any sort of power and not even near to power, apart from being able to dish it out to the occasional wayward at home!

Can someone please increase the fine, or maybe try to get the offenders to pay up?

It would be good also to check what’s filled in those rolls, especially with the recently flourishing drug business in Fiji.

Donald Singh, Lautoka

Home feeling

Wherever you stay, a Fijian feels at home in Fiji.

While it is true to say you take the Fijian out of Fiji, but you can’t take Fiji out of the Fijian.

The Fiji Times also plays a major role with the daily newspaper online.

Tahir Ali, New Zealand

With guts

Encouraging to hear government MPs talking with guts.

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Data levy

The government giveth and the government taketh.

George Kutty, Padam Lala Rd, Namadi Heights, Suva

Pacific clash

As the Flying Fijians and Manu Samoa go head to head, one can expect Pacific fireworks at its very best.

For both sides it’s about restoring pride and confidence among fans as they make their way to the Rugby World Cup.

On paper Fiji appears packed with several star players but as experience in the past two matches, our opponents are countering us with the right frame of mind on the field.

There is a strong likelihood that Samoa will create an upset by defeating the Flying Fijians in front of their home fans.

This will be an exciting match as not often have the two sides played night matches in Fiji.

All in all, it will be a Pacific clash and one can expect tempers to flare.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

Hybrid cars

Government should lead by example and travel in hybrid cars.

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Parliament TV

Why, when our Government has spent millions on the setting up of Walesi, which has its own Parliament Channel, do we have to watch Parliament on TV1 and FBC too?

Alastair Ward, Tamavua, Suva

Data levy

I believe the new levy of 10 cents per gigabyte of data used to be charged to service providers will eventually be passed on to consumers.

The Attorney-General said in Parliament that this levy would not cause a dent to ordinary consumers.

I just want to inform the honourable A-G that as a pensioner, this means an additional $12 per month for me and it certainly causes a dent in my budget.

Emosi Balei, Suva

Grants, funds

When I read the headline — don’t mix grants, funds, it reminded me about someone who said not to mix poultry with politics.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Town and city heads

The Fiji Times reported (29/07/2019) that the Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar had stated that new municipality CEOs and special administrators will be announced soon promising a more energetic, efficient and innovative provision of services in towns and cities of the country.

While this pronouncement might be welcomed in some quarters, it is disappointing for those who would like to see participatory democratic local government re-instituted.

It has been almost a decade since when ratepayers have had a direct say in their local governments via the local councils.

As the former very well regarded and popular CEO of the Consumer Council of Fiji, the minister had been a staunch advocate of consumer rights.

It is most surprising therefore that she has now adopted a top down approach to municipality governance via the appointment of CEOs who are answerable to her and the national government and not ratepayers.

Democratic rule in Fiji appears to be halted at the national level based on a single national level constituency thereby limiting the capacity of people in geographical regions and municipalities having direct representation and a voice in their own governance.

Electing town and city councillors and through them participating in local government ensures that people at the local level have a say about the issues that they face, and the quality of services that they receive.

According to legislation regarding local government in a country in our region, the functions of local government are: – To enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of, communities; and – To meet the current and future needs of communities for good-quality local infrastructure, local public services and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses. (New Zealand Local Government Act 2002, section 10 (1).

Infrastructural issues such as traffic through Nadi (FT 22/07/2019) are better aired and dealt with by local representatives rather than bureaucrats sitting in some distant place from the problem.

Ratepayers and citizens’ voices must be heard through their representatives and not constrained, and stifled by the national government appointing CEOs to manage the affairs of our towns and cities.

I believe the imposition of special administrators and CEOs at local level is not democratic but despotic.

There is some urgency in giving substance to the notion of town and city councils by populating these councils with genuinely elected representatives.

Vijay Naidu, Nailuva Rd, Raiwai, Suva

Road patching

The conversation overheard went “man, the road at Hutson St was patched up so fast-kind! I was like, drove through yesterday afternoon and it had potholes and this morning it was like all patched up!”

The response was: “trues up, when did this happen?”

They were talking about the roadworks that was done last night at Suva Point.

Yes, it was a first-time experience; who would have thought road patching would be done at night?

Early evening would have raised eyebrows, but this was like getting late in the night, I mean it went to midnight, for goodness sake!

Tough luck for the sick and unwell, trying to get a peaceful night; the voices that go with the “fast kind job” complementing the thumping, pounding sound of the compacting machine would have conjured up quite a few expletives for sure!

Loud partying and music definitely would have got the police making an appearance for sure; the roadworks made a lot more noise.

Maybe there was no transport … how can this kind of activity be allowed?

Moses Fong, Suva

Special needs

Thank you for your report (FT 05/08) on children with special needs.

Having worked in Suva, Levuka, Nadi and Lautoka I have seen and heard of parents who hide children with special needs.

I am told that they do this out of shame because the children draw stares from passersby when they go into town.

Many just keep the children at home out of the public eye.

Thank you Education Minister Rosy Akbar for encouraging parents to enrol children who have special needs.

I know that these children have a future and while not all may progress, there are those who will.

They will get an education and prosper.

We have heard of people with special needs graduating, getting married and starting a family and their disability is no longer a barrier.

Let’s encourage parents who have these children to give them an education, who knows some may even work and support their parents.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Carbon tax

The Government has just introduced 10 cents levy on every GB of data used by us.

May be it is high time to introduce 10 cents per litre for carbon tax on the airlines too.

I believe Fiji Airways made about $90 million of profit before tax last year and do you know how much carbon (carbon dioxide) emission they are producing?

I believe they should be paying the tax just like us the ordinary people.

Time to have a fair go.

Nardeo Mishra, Suva

Reward commitment

I believe the Fiji Football Association should reconsider giving the prizemoney to the best four teams of the 2019 Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants tournament.

In the current format the winner will receive $17,000 while the runner–up will get $5000.

The third place winner gets $2500 while the fourth placed team will receive $1000.

Imagine the payout for third and fourth placed teams.

$2500 and $1000 between eight competing teams.

The winner of the 2019 Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants can receive $10,000, runner-up $8000.

Third place winner could be paid $4000 and fourth placed team $3500.

I believe the Fiji FA should display some form of rewarding commitment.

$1000 seriously?

Sponsors should look into this for the betterment of the sport and their image branding.

I am sure the teams spend a lot more money in preparation than the sum they receive as prizemoney.

Standard of football I must say.

Gulsher Ali, Lautoka

All the best

Churchill Park in Lautoka will be abuzz with soccer fans from all over the country when the BOG tournament resumes today.

I think the fans will be treated to good entertaining soccer this afternoon.

The first semi-final will see the giant-killers Nasinu take on Labasa while the second will be a clash between the two cities.

Don’t forget that all these teams have played in the BOG final before.

Except for Nasinu, the rest of them have also taken the cup home.

The BOG trophy has travelled to the Capital City on three occasions, twice to Lautoka, once to Labasa and to Nasinu not yet.

On the two occasions that they have appeared in the final, Nasinu were not successful.

In terms of attendance, I think it has not been bad so far.

Let’s hope the competition is completed without any disruption.

May I take this opportunity to wish all the contenders all the best?

Suresh Chand, Nadi

Soccer action

It’s a sporting weekend.

Fans are in for a sports treat — the Bledisloe Cup, Rugby Championship, Deans, BOG, secondary schools IDC and the Barclays Premier League.

Thanks to The Fiji Times and social media we have been updated with reports from Ba as secondary schools fight out for top spot in the U15, 17 and 19 grades and thanks to sponsors Vodafone the officials have been able to stage soccer action by our younger generation.

Wishing the participating schools all the best and I hope to see our secondary schools IDC competitive like the Deans which boasts a huge crowd even with soaring ticket prices!

On the other hand, the English Premier League kicks off this weekend and it’s a delight that the Red Devils will be in soccer action hoping to win the EPL title since the glorious days of Sir Alex Ferguson.

The EPL has been dominated by City and Chelsea and Man City won the Community Shield after beating Liverpool.

All the best Manchester United for the 2019-20 season!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Bledisloe Cup rugby thriller

The All Blacks and Qantas Wallabies will renew their stories and 116-year rivalry for the 165th time at Optus Stadium in Perth this weekend.

In one of the oldest and most treasured battles since 1931, NZ has a distinct edge over Australia, winning 101 of their 143 Bledisloe Cup clashes.

This dominance has been prevalent over the past 17 years, which has been the longest winning streak.

Since the (21-17) win at Eden Park in 2003 when Crusader Reuben Thorne lifted the great trophy the Wallabies have never been able to recapture the Bledisloe Cup. Memory takes me back to the 2000 cracker at Sydney’s Homebush Stadium, which has been one of the fiercest battles fought.

NZ was coached by Wayne Smith and captained by Crusader Todd Blackadder.

In that epic battle the visitors had scored 21 points in the opening five minutes with tries to Umaga, Alatini and Cullen but Australia responded with tries to Mortlock, Latham, Roff and Jeremy Paul but Lomu broke thousands of Aussie hearts as he scored a late match winner to secure (39-35) victory in the greatest test ever played.

As many as 109,874 fans had packed the stadium in a record rugby attendance.

Prior to the battle the AB’s were coming off a RWC semifinal exit to France while the Wallabies had just been crowned RWC champions for the second time.

Isa those were the days of the greats- Lomu, Tim Horan, Eales, Larkham, Mortlock, Taine Randell, Gregan, Kefu, Justin Marshall, Jeff Wilson, Mehrtens, Jason Little, Phil Kearns, Umaga, Matt Burke, Josh Kronfeld and Latham.

As I prepare for tonight’s cracker I wish the super powers of rugby — the All Blacks in Moody, Coles, Franks, brothers Scott and Beauden Barrett, Whitelock, Savea, Cane, Read, Aaron Smith, Mo’unga, Ioane, Lienert-Brown, Goodhue, Ben Smith, Taylor, Moli, Todd, Ta’avao, Tuipulotu, Perenara, Laumape and Bridge all the best against the likes of Beale, Hodge, O’Connor, Kerevi, Koroibete, Lealiifano, White, Naisarani, Hooper, Salakaia-Loto, Arnold, Rodda, Alaalatoa, Latu, Sio, Fainga’a, Slipper, Tupou, Coleman, Jones, Genia, To’omua and Banks.

Go ABs!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Comparing our standard

I feel the increase in fees for births, deaths and marriages certificates are really too high.

Also, $3000 to become a marriage officer just too costly.

How can people below the poverty line afford such increases in fees when they are already struggling with high cost of consumer goods and vegetables/fruits?

We should not compare our nation with other countries and instead compare Fiji’s standard of living with Fiji only.

I scrolled the internet and learnt that there are more than 700 Samoan families working on 33,000 hectares of land and are of fully organically certified to international standard.

Can anyone tell me how many organic farms are there in Fiji and then compare something like this with Samoa?

We should not compare fees for births, deaths and marriages certificates with Samoa and Vanuatu.

Those with higher income levels should also not compare themselves with low income earners who cannot meet basic needs.

Government should keep within expenditure levels and according to income derived so that fees are not increased and more taxes are not imposed on the public to pay for extra operating costs and high debt payments.

I am sure many people will fully agree with me regarding paying more for such services when their income is less.

Prem Wati, Singh Sivi Rd, Caubati Housing, Nasinu

Censor board

There is an Act that exists, is it still relevant?

There are certain TV series that, in my opinion, should be censored, or taken off air.

Most of them are shown after 9pm, what’s the guarantee that no children are watching?

We have had a rise in sex-related crimes where children are involved.

Have we researched why the rise?

Who knows movies could be one of the contributing factors.

Let’s do something for the sake of our people.

Don’t leave it too late and then start when things really get out of hand.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Care for roads, infrastructure

The new road upgrade between Suva and Nausori is progressing well with a modern outlook, streetlights, vegetation and other infrastructure.

The State is spending millions on roads and other infrastructure and we just cannot take things for granted and make a total misuse of public facilities.

While the construction is still going on, I request the authorities to conduct a thorough cleaning of the new road because there is a lot of dirt piled up.

It seems it’s an old road constructed years ago.

The mud and silt or soil deposits dry and turn into dust particles creating an eyesore for other users.

On that note, there should also be some monitoring on vehicles that pile their mud and dirt on the roads.

I feel people need to exercise greater responsibility and care.

Naveen Dutt, Wainibokasi

Police patrols

OK, I’ve read that the police can’t be everywhere, fair enough, that’s logical.

Now they have been called upon to do police work the good old fashioned way — walking the beat.

The walk will do them good, but it can be tiring.

Ahem, seeing the size of some of my police officer friends (I’m joking).

May I suggest a section of the beat police to have horses.

They will be called the mounted police.

Benefits -— they will be more mobile and can travel longer distances, they can go where patrol cars can’t go.

They are low maintenance and the officer will bond with his horse.

It’s a psychological thing, because a person who loves animals is a mighty decent person.

They will only be deployed at night and being high up they will be safe from being one-sided by thugs.

Then they can be used during parades for ceremonial purposes.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Gun controls

I totally agree with sentiments expressed by other contributors on the need for stricter gun controls in the US.

Most people talk about the banning of assault rifles such as those used in mass shootings, but the problems are deeper than that.

Records vary widely but generally Brazil has the highest number of gun-related homicides and suicides, at 46,215 per annum, with the US second at 40,175.

Expressed in numbers per 100,000 of population, Honduras rates first at 60, the US in 10th spot at 12.

The countries in between are generally violent drug and gang-related Latin American countries many of whose residents are trying to flee to the US.

The most relevant statistic is the suicide rate per 100,000 people.

The US rate is 7.46, well above the homicide rate of 4.46.

However, the countries with worse overall rates than the US have suicide rates 15 to 40 times less than the US, why would that be?

It is extremely difficult to commit suicide using an assault rifle, therefore hand guns would be the weapon of choice.

Presumably most people in the other countries covered do not have access to hand guns, or are not suicidal.

So is the mental health issue in the US real?

Or is it that those who may be contemplating suicide just go ahead and do it because handguns are so easy to get?

Figures suggest there are 1.2 guns per person in the US, it will be virtually impossible to get people to hand them in given many are illegal anyway.

Sure attempts can be made to pass legislation on stricter gun laws, banning of civilian purchase of assault weapons etc but such attempts will be doomed to failure as those elected to high office (Senate, HOR and others) will not pass it.

Why?

Simply because they ignore public opinion and choose to follow the money trail of those who backed them for election.

Is that corruption?

Apparently not in the US political system.

Allan Loosley, Tavua

Natabua road

Pathetic road conditions and speeding of trucks are a big threat from Natabua road right up to Saru main road.

Some drivers do not give a thought to who is travelling whether they are young, old, physically challenged but keep pressing the accelerator of their big trucks.

LTA and the Fiji Police Force should monitor this stretch and these carefree drivers should be pounded with heavy fines.

A lesson for the driver and the owner.

The Fiji Corrections Service road leading right up to Saru is being abused by some lunatic drivers who think that this particular stretch is for speeding as and how they please.

I am raising awareness with the respective authorities and whether they dare to take measures or wait until a fatal accident occurs on this road is their responsibility.

I believe some truck drivers are at their worst form on this stretch.

I believe that not everyone would be deaf and will take such carefree drivers to task.

Will the authorities dare?

Gulsher Ali, Lautoka

Traffic control

Will our authorities in Sigatoka be able to control and direct traffic in an efficient manner this Saturday?

Having passed through Sigatoka last Saturday evening, one was rather surprised and annoyed at the traffic jam and delays.

It took an hour to travel from the hospital to the Sigatoka Bridge.

For some reason, traffic out towards Nadi was allowed to move but those heading to Suva had to wait for an hour at least.

Perhaps our police officers need more communications equipment and equally important, our pedestrians need to clear the roads to allow traffic to move.

All in all, one looks forward to the Deans finals at Lawaqa Park and hope for improvements in traffic management so that it will be easier to pass through Sigatoka Town.

A blessed weekend and stay safe.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

Bulitavu issue

The parliamentary debate on Thursday evening on the motion from Government to condemn MP Bulitavu’s supposedly racial comments which lasted almost four hours, to me wasted a lot of time which could have been productively used to discuss ways of improving the livelihood of the people of Fiji when life has generally become difficult.

By the time the fourth speaker made his/her speech, the subject had been adequately covered and I thought the rest of the contributions from the Government side were just repetition over and over again.

Perhaps Government could have appointed three or four of its speakers to represent their views and save valuable parliament time.

Especially now that the number of sittings per year have been reduced.

I wish people see this issue from my perspective.

I disagreed totally with MP Bulitavu’s statements and dismissed the same as simple rantings without any facts to support them.

I dismissed the whole episode and moved on.

I like many people have already forgotten this unfortunate episode until it was brought up again in Parliament.

The hurt, if any, that it caused could fester and cause further problems when we are reminded continuously.

Please people I believe it was just an opinion and these have been condemned while at the same time being subjected to police investigation.

But heck, this is just my opinion.

Emosi Balei, Suva

Suffering in silence

Rise in plastic levy, rise in reprinting of birth and death certificates, rise in data usage, rise in living costs, because Fiji is being modernised.

I believe only minimum wage rate is at minimum.

I believe something that takes so much of debates, protests, talks, reviews, consultations is just to provide an increase in the minimum wage rate for the workers of this country.

I believe other matters come through in the form of Bills and then passed.

And surely the Government of the day has a lot of reasons to give.

I believe workers suffer in silence while the leaders reap the benefit.

Truly said, soldiers fight the battle and generals take the credit.

Gulsher Ali, Lautoka

Boom and costs

I used all available search engines, a microscope and binoculars to locate the relationship between our economic boom and rising costs.

I also went to our achievements list.

It reminded me of nine straight years of economic growth and positive projections.

Yes, I also see the honey drenched pie.

Deliciously baked and presented.

When I bite it, kaboom!

Instead of being sweet, it is smoking hot.

Who put the chillies inside my pie?

My sincere appeal in these strange times, of all things, don’t consider charging us for breathing as well.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Congratulations in order

I wish to congratulate FNPF for being there for us.

I know I benefited.

I put my children through higher education from my savings and I still had enough to buy a house, renovate it and do other things.

I can still remember when I joined the then Customs department in 1977 and the officers from FNPF came to sign us up and explain what the fund was all about.

Many people cannot save money, it’s a fact, so the fund did us well.

To the management, keep your eyes open all the time for those who want to gain illegally.

Keep your audit team on their toes so that the peoples’ money is not misused.

And do keep the members informed about projects you wish to undertake.

And make sound investments not the kind that look good but simply make losses.

Anyway thank you from me.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Holiday and traffic

Thank goodness it’s that time of the year when schoolchildren are on holiday and adults can travel to work without experiencing much traffic jam.

Meanwhile, the homes will be full of children and neighbours can expect much noise.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

Letter of the month

Sexual offences

THE Deputy Commissioner of Police, Rusiate Tudravu, revealed a decline in sexual offences (FT:26/06).

The former assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Shyamala Algendra, says that the reduction must be looked at cautiously (FT: 26/06).

I say sex is something we all need to clearly understand.

Without it, none of us would be here.

Without it, there is no life.

It is the key to a great marriage.

Some of the best things in life are the ones you can’t tell anyone about.

It’s like money, only too much is enough.

It involves all the senses.

It’s like air, it’s not important unless you aren’t getting any.

You can forget your name.

Only your neighbour will know your name.

It is by far the most sacred act humans can perform.

And it is perfectly natural.

It is said that love is for the soul and sex is for the body that both cry out for satisfaction.

While we rarely speak about sex, it plays a huge part of our quest for happiness.

It is about connection, intimacy, and pleasure and this is the reason why we all love it.

The problem is that many find it hard to communicate their desires and end up going about it the wrong way.

What we need is an awareness program about what one needs to do when one has sexual desires!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

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