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    "The volume and rate at which decisions were made to deny requests is concerning," the memo reportedly said. "Assuming a 10-hour work day with no breaks or attention to other matters, the average review period was about 12 minutes for each package. Such a review period seems insufficient to process each request in an individualized manner and still perform the duties required of their position." Several legal challenges have already been filed alleging unvaccinated service members were discriminated against by the military. In late March, a Texas judge blocked the Navy from discharging sailors with pending exemption requests, Military.com reported. Last week, the U.S. Marine Corps announced a pause on administrative actions against unvaccinated Marines after a federal judge in Florida in August blocked the Corps from discharging religious exemption applicants. Many service members remain in limbo as the Biden administration navigates these legal challenges. The Army National Guard has about 40,000 unvaccinated soldiers that it has no plan for, according to Military.com. Another 1,200 Coast Guardsmen are seeking to qualify for a class-action lawsuit against the military for...
    A religious organization called the Japan Unification Church confirmed on Monday that one of its members is the mother of Yamagami Tetsuya, a 41-year-old Japanese man suspected of assassinating former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo in recent days, Kyodo News reported, noting that Tetsuya allegedly told police he originally intended to kill the leader of an unspecified “religious” group to which his mother belonged but ultimately targeted Abe for his loose association with the same group. Police arrested Yamagami Tetsuya as a suspect in Abe’s murder on the morning of July 8, moments after the former prime minister was shot in the back while delivering a campaign speech in Nara, Japan. The vehicle, left, carrying the body of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe leaves Zojoji temple after his funeral in Tokyo on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. Abe was assassinated Friday while campaigning in Nara, western Japan. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae) A Tokyo-based representative of the “Family Federation for World Peace and Unification,” widely known as the “Japan Unification Church,” confirmed on July 11 that Yamagami Tetsuya’s mother, Yamagami Yoko, is...
    An Indonesian nightlife venue called Holywings apologized on Thursday for offending religious sentiments in the Muslim-majority country after it offered men named Muhammad free alcohol in a promo, the Malay Mail reported on Friday, noting the venue was accused of “blasphemy” over the incident, which is a crime punishable by prison time in Indonesia. In a since-deleted social media post, Holywings offered “a bottle of Gordon’s dry gin for men named Muhammad and a bottle of Gordon’s Pink Gin for women named Maria every Thursday. To claim the freebies, eligible patrons only had to present their ID cards at the venue,” the news website Coconuts Jakarta reported on June 24. “Though Maria is an important figure in both the Bible and the Quran [Islamic holy book], the outrage mostly centered on the use of the name Muhammad, the last of the prophets in Islam,” the news website noted. “We have taken action against the promotions team, who made the promo without the management’s prior knowledge, with heavy sanctions,” Holywings wrote in a statement posted to its social media accounts on...
    U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) has blasted a decision by the U.S. State Department to remove Nigeria from its list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC), calling the move “a retreat from the noble and necessary fight to protect victims of religious persecution.” Smith noted this week that Genocide Watch has called Nigeria a “killing field of defenseless Christians” while the Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors ranked Nigeria the world’s ninth most serious violator of religious freedom, stating that “more Christians are murdered for their faith in Nigeria than in any other country.” In May, the Tablet reported that thousands of Christians in Nigeria had been kidnapped and hundreds killed in just the first four months of 2021, noting a dangerous “escalation” in targeted violence against Nigeria’s Christian population. The Nigeria-based Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law (Intersociety), a human rights group, also reported in May that Islamic jihadists had massacred 1,470 Christians in the first four months of 2021 and abducted over 2,200. The 1,470 Christian deaths in those four months exceeded the total number of...
    A Torah was "desecrated" and other items were damaged in a burglary that occurred at The George Washington University's Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter house early Sunday morning, according to a statement from the fraternity.  The fraternity, known colloquially as "Teek," is about 25 percent Jewish, fraternity president Chris Osborne told The Washington Post.   The damage included blue detergent poured over a copy of a Torah and smoke detectors pulled out of the ceiling in addition to hot sauce that was rubbed on the walls of the fraternity house. Most of the damage was in the main living room which housed a Bible and a Torah. Members use a text of their choosing when they are sworn into the organization, the Post reported. "All I know is the Bible and the Torah were in the same place and only the Torah was desecrated, which makes me feel this was an act of hate against the Jewish religion," Osborne said to the Post.Reports indicated there was no forced entry into the house. The Jewish frat house at George Washington University was broken into and its Torah was destroyed.They ripped...
    At least 10 people died and 25 were wounded after a Houthi rebel missile hit a religious facility in the province of Marib, Yemen, country officials said Monday, the Associated Press reported. Women and children died in the attack targeting the Dar al-Hadith religious academy and mosque in Sanaa’s al-Aumd neighborhood Sunday night, according to the AP. The missiles also damaged several homes in the area, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity since they weren’t authorized to speak on the matter. Around 1,200 students attended the school but many of them left after the Houthis increased attacks around Marib last month, the AP reported. The Houthis have not commented on the attack and Yemen’s Information Minister Moammar al-Iryani said several women and children were injured. “This horrific massacre comes after a series of systematic killings of civilians that the terrorist Houthi militia committed in the past few days,” al-Iryani said, the AP reported. Yemenis attend the mass funeral of Huthi rebel fighters killed in battles with Saudi-backed government troops in the Marib region, at the capital Sanaa’s...
    A group of 17 Christian missionaries including children was kidnapped late Saturday by an armed gang near Haiti’s Port-au-Prince, a voice message sent to various religious missions by an organization with direct knowledge of the incident has claimed. The religious aid workers were on their way home from building an orphanage when they were snatched off their transportation by an armed gang, according to a message from Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries. “This is a special prayer alert,” the one-minute message said, according to AP. “Pray that the gang members would come to repentance.” The message says the mission’s field director is working with the U.S. Embassy, and the field director’s family and one other unidentified man stayed at the ministry’s base while everyone else visited the orphanage. A child waits at the gates of the SOS Children’s Village in Croix des Bouquets, outside of Port-au-Prince. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) No other details were immediately available. A U.S. government spokesperson said they were aware of the reports on the kidnapping. “The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the...
    Washington, D.C., city officials said nearly 2,500 health care workers have failed to comply with their COVID-19 mandate deadline requiring at least one dose of the inoculation by Thursday. Nearly 70% of those health care workers who have not yet been vaccinated have requested religious exemptions.  City Administrator Kevin Donahue said the largest number of exemption requests have come from the D.C. Fire and EMS Department, The Washington Post reported. About 267 of the agency’s some 2,000 employees have sought some type of exemption from the vaccine mandate, with the vast majority of that group citing their religion. All 20 requests which have been reviewed so far have been rejected.  NORTH CAROLINA HOSPITAL SYSTEM NOVANT HEALTH TO FIRE 175 EMPLOYEES WHO REFUSED COVID VACCINE MANDATE  Donahue said 89% of all D.C. government employees had reported their vaccination status by Thursday afternoon, with 75% reporting that they were fully vaccinated. During a call Friday, D.C. City Council member Elissa Silverman suggested that the city health department might eliminate the religious exemption for the vaccine mandate, arguing possible abuse.  But members of...
    Thousands of state employees and health care workers in California are planning to avoid Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new coronavirus vaccine mandates, either by seeking exemptions, or resisting the new policy altogether in a show of defiance. The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that roughly 25% of the LAPD workforce plans to avoid the vaccine mandate: More than 2,600 LAPD employees have indicated that they plan to pursue religious exemptions, while more than 350 plan to seek medical ones, according to a source in city government who was not authorized to share the preliminary data. Under the ordinance, city employees must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 5 unless they are granted a religious or medical exemption. Employees who receive exemptions will be subject to regular testing for the coronavirus, according to the ordinance. City officials pushed back a deadline last week for employees to seek an exemption to the vaccination requirement, instead giving workers until the end of Monday to indicate that they plan to pursue an exemption. As of early evening on Monday, nearly 3,000 of 12,311 LAPD employees had done...
    A federal appeals court heard a case Wednesday regarding a Michigan Catholic school’s lawsuit arguing that mask mandates violate religious liberty. The Resurrection School in Lansing filed a lawsuit in October, 2020, against Michigan’s Department of Health, Attorney General Office, the Health Officer of Ingham County and the county’s Prosecuting Attorney over the state’s mask mandates, claiming that they hide “God’s image.” Judge Paul Maloney denied the school’s efforts to ban mask mandates for its students in a December ruling, The Washington Post reported. Two days after Maloney’s decision, the Catholic school informed the court of its intention to appeal the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. “Unfortunately, a mask shields our humanity and because God created us in His image, we are masking that image,” the school said, according to the Post. The school, along with two parents who joined the suit, argued that masks bar students from socializing and interfere with personal relationships, which the school said is “essential” to Catholicism, the outlet reported. The suit added that masks cause discomfort to the...
    The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will get a $150,000 payout from Blackpool Council in Britain, ending a two year battle over canceled bus advertisements for an event featuring its CEO, Franklin Graham, the eldest son of the famed evangelist. Christian Today reported the advertisements for the Lancashire Festival of Hope ran on local buses but were removed because of Grahams traditional views on marriage. It followed a social media campaign by local LGBT activists. The council, however, admitted it was wrong and agreed to pay the festivals legal costs plus damages, the news outlet reported. The settlement was reached after an April ruling from Manchester County Court that, in removing the ads, Blackpool Council and Blackpool Transport Services violated the Equality Act and the Human Rights Act, Christian Today reported.  After reaching the settlement, attorney Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, issued an apology in which she said lessons had been learned. "We accept the findings of the court that we discriminated against Lancashire Festival of Hope because of the religious beliefs of Franklin Graham and in doing so interfered with Lancashire...
    Andrew Jose, The Western Journal May 31, 2021 0 Comments The Supreme Court will soon be deciding on a landmark case that will determine where the law sees the line separating religious liberty from “LGBT rights” when it concerns foster children. The case is none other than Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. The case began in March 2018 when the Catholic Social Services sued the City of Philadelphia for blocking it from helping children find foster homes because the organization had a policy of not giving children to homosexual couples. The CSS contested Philadelphia’s refusal to renew its contract with it. The organization argued that refusing to provide foster children to same-sex couples because they are homosexual couples falls within its right to free exercise of religion and free speech, even if there is no other “reason related to their qualifications to care for children,” according to The Oyez Project. The plaintiffs lost in two lower courts before petitioning the Supreme Court, which decided to hear the case in February last year, Time reported. According to the Supreme Court’s...
    ROME — Officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have arrested the bishop of Xinxiang along with 10 priests, in an apparent attempt to apply further pressure to the illegal underground Catholic Church, Asianews reported Monday. Police took the bishop and priests to a hotel where they have been kept in solitary confinement and subjected to “political sessions” to indoctrinate them with the CCP’s understanding of religious freedom, reported AsiaNews, the official press agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. On May 24, the Catholic Church marked the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, a yearly feast established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. The bishop of Yangon in neighboring Myanmar, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, called this year for a special week-long prayer campaign for the Chinese people. Cardinal Bo has been a stern critic of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under the guidance of General Secretary Xi Jinping, which he has called “despotic” and “impossible.” Bishop Giuseppe Zhang Weizhu of the prefecture of Xinxiang (Henan) is a member of the underground Catholic Church faithful to...
    JERUSALEM -- Israel's national rescue service has officially confirmed some deaths at a stampede during a religious festival in northern Israel.Zaki Heller, spokesman for the Magen David Adom service, told Army Radio early Friday that some 150 people were hospitalized and that there were deaths.He did not provide an exact figure, but Israeli media, citing anonymous medical officials, have said more than 40 people died.THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS STORY. AP's earlier story follows below.A stampede broke out early Friday at a Jewish religious gathering attended by tens of thousands of people in northern Israel, leaving scores injured, authorities said. Israeli media reported that at least 40 people were killed and published photos of rows of bodies.The disaster occurred at Mount Meron at the main celebrations of Lag BaOmer, a holiday when tens of thousands of people, mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews, gather to honor Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a 2nd century sage and mystic who is buried there. Large crowds traditionally light bonfires as part of the celebrations at Mount Meron.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a "great tragedy," and said...
    JERUSALEM — More than 100 people were injured, dozens critically, in a stampede at a religious gathering popular with ultra-Orthodox Jews in northern Israel attended by tens of thousands of people, Israel's main rescue service said early Friday. Israeli media reported dozens of deaths. Magen David Adom tweeted that it was treating 103 people, including 38 in critical condition. Israeli media had earlier reported that a grandstand collapsed, but the rescue service said all the injuries happened in a stampede. Israeli media reported that up to 38 people were killed, but the rescue service did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation. The Ynet news website was among those reporting the figure, and photos from the scene showed several wrapped bodies. The Israeli military said it had dispatched medics and search and rescue teams along with helicopters to assist with a "mass casualty incident" in the area. It did not provide details on the nature of the disaster. The incident happened late at night and there were conflicting reports. Videos circulating on social media showed large numbers of...
    The Connecticut State Senate approved a bill Tuesday that aims to end a religious exemption for vaccinations at schools after nine hours of contentious debate. The Hartford Courant reported that Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, vowed to quickly sign the legislation that was approved in a 22-14 vote on Tuesday. Republicans, who were joined by two Democrats, claim First Amendment freedoms were being disregarded. Rev. Yashica Blue, the minister of a non-denominational church in Hartford, said she is opposed to the bill. The paper reported that Blue was wearing a shirt, "This mom calls the shots." Fox 61 reported that thousands took to the streets outside the State Capitol earlier in the day to voice their objection to the bill that will take effect in 2022. It does not require a COVID-19 jab. "It’s not something I’m willing to do. I don’t co-parent with the government; I co-parent with my husband and I’m doing what’s best for my children and my body," one protester told the news station. GET THE FOX NEWS APP Connecticut will become the sixth state to put aside...
    The Connecticut State Senate approved a bill Tuesday that aims to end a religious exemption for vaccinations at schools after nine hours of contentious debate. CLICK FOR THE LATEST ON THE CORONAVIRUS The Hartford Courant reported that Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, vowed to sign the legislation quickly. Republicans, who were joined by two Democrats, opposed to the bill claimed that First Amendment freedoms were being disregarded. Rev. Yashica Blue, the minister of a non-denominational church in Hartford, said she is opposed. The paper reported that Blue was wearing a shirt, "This mom calls the shots." Fox 61 reported that thousands took to the streets outside the State Capitol earlier in the day to voice their objection to the bill that will take effect in 2022. "It’s not something I’m willing to do. I don’t co-parent with the government; I co-parent with my husband and I’m doing what’s best for my children and my body," one protester told the news station. Connecticut will become the sixth state to put aside religious exemptions when it comes to vaccinations. The paper said the COVID-19 jab is not...
    Grant Atkinson, The Western Journal April 7, 2021 0 Comments It’s no secret that Chinese citizens do not get to enjoy religious freedoms the same way Americans do. However, a new report suggests that Christians in China are even worse off than many realized. “Authorities in China are detaining Christians in secretive, mobile ‘transformation’ facilities to make them renounce their faith,” Radio Free Asia reported on Thursday. RFA reportedly spoke to a Christian from the Chinese province of Sichuan who said he was held in one of the alleged brainwashing camps, run by the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department. He asked to be identified by the pseudonym Li Yuese. “It was a mobile facility, that could just set up in some basement somewhere,” Li said. “It was staffed by people from several different government departments.” “It had its own (CCP) political and legal affairs committee working group, and they mainly target Christians who are members of house churches.” The CCP is unabashedly against religion, and the party has long been attempting to shut down religious activity in...
    Religious leaders have mixed feelings about President Joe Biden’s agenda over issues such as immigration, abortion, LGBTQ rights and immigration, The Associated Press reported. Since Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, religious leaders from major faiths have had to grapple with the administration’s stance on a range of issues, often resulting in a blend of hope and dismay, the AP reported. On issues like abortion, Biden has created angst amongst Roman Catholic Church and Southern Baptist Convention leaders, as the president has indicated strong support for abortion rights for women, according to the AP. “It is deeply disturbing and tragic that any president would praise and commit to codifying a Supreme Court ruling that denies unborn children their most basic human and civil right,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas and Chair for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities told The Associated Press when asked about Biden’s abortion views. While unpopular with Catholics and Southern Baptists, Biden’s pro-choice stance is expected to draw support from mainline Protestant denominations as well as the Reform and Conservative branches of...
    A California woman has admitted to threatening to bomb the nation’s oldest Catholic school for girls — after the school’s alumni magazine said it planned to feature same-sex wedding announcements, federal prosecutors said. Sonia Tabizada, 36, left two menacing voicemails with the Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Washington, DC, in May 2019 after learning of the announcements, stating that “we are all children of God … worthy of respect and love,” federal prosecutors said. Tabizada threatened to kill school officials and students in one message before calling several minutes later to say she intended to blow up the school and commit “terrorism,” court documents show. One threatened to kill students if the magazine didn’t remove “gay motherf—-s,” the Washington Post reported . “The defendant made violent threats against high school students, religious leaders, and school officials based solely on her disagreement with a private school’s application of religious doctrine,” Eric Drieband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. The disturbing messages came just two days after Sister Mary Berchmans Hannan, the school’s president emerita,...
    Roger Sollenberger October 1, 2020 5:24PM (UTC) An obscure religious group tied to President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has scrubbed photos and mentions of her from its website ahead of her Senate confirmation hearings and interviews with lawmakers. The New York Times reported last week that Barrett and her husband, who are the parents of seven children, are members of People of Praise, an obscure Christian sect which opposes abortion and teaches God has willed men to assume authority over their wives and family. : The Associated Press on Thursday reported that a search on the Internet Archive revealed that the group had removed content featuring Barrett and her family from its website in the summer of 2017, when she was on Trump's short list for the seat later filled by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The deletions included back issues of the group's magazine, "Vine & Branches," which had birth and adoption announcements for some of the Barrett family's seven children, as well as several articles involving the federal judge or members of her family. The group deleted more photos, articles and blog entries last week when Barrett again appeared as a likely nominee. A group spokesman confirmed to the AP that the...
    President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump-backed candidate wins NH GOP Senate primary to take on Shaheen Trump, supporters gather without masks in NC despite request from local GOP official Trump-backed candidate wins NH GOP primary to take on Pappas MORE on Wednesday pushed back on the reported cancellation of Navy contracts with Catholic priests who serve as chaplains at military bases. The president announced on Twitter that the Navy would not follow through on the move, saying Catholic priests "serve our men and women in the Armed Forces so well, and with such great compassion & skill."   “This will no longer be even a point of discussion!" Trump wrote, tagging Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York. The United States Navy, or the Department of Defense, will NOT be cancelling its contract with Catholic Priests who serve our men and women in the Armed Forces so well, and with such great compassion & skill. This will no longer be even a point of discussion! @CardinalDolan— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2020 Typically, the Navy contracts priests to make up...
    Fox News host Laura Ingraham stepped into a Twitter controversy on Friday, after sharing a link to an article that falsely claimed that the city of Toronto is banning communion in Catholic churches, and bringing Donald Trump and Joe Biden into the discussion. As The Wrap reported, in a tweet Friday afternoon, the host of “The Ingraham Angle” asked her followers this question: “Will Joe Biden do more to protect religious liberty than Donald Trump? Not a prayer. ‘City of Toronto Bans Catholic Churches From Administering Holy Communion'” She then posted a link to a blog post from BigLeaguePolitics with the headline she cited, and with the byline, “Politicians use COVID-19 hysteria to escalate the war on Christianity.” Readers quickly pointed out a rather obvious problem with her assertion. *psst* Toronto is in Canada… pic.twitter.com/pqAnzhG7Dq — ???? Shane ???? ????️???????????? (@egheitasean) July 17, 2020 One user jokingly suggested that, “if this gets out, Biden will never carry Toronto.” Another user noted that Biden is a “lifelong practicing Catholic.” “I think he’s a better Christian than you, even though you...
              U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty on Thursday released a statement concerning the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling as it pertains to President Donald Trump’s taxes. Hagerty said this in a press release he posted to his campaign’s website. “This sets a dangerous precedent,” Hagerty said in the press release. “The government shouldn’t be able to investigate you because they disagree with your politics. The American people are not worried about the President’s tax returns. They are worried about getting our kids in school, getting the economy going again and making sure we don’t defund the police. As your next Senator, I’ll stand with President Trump in support of justices who respect the Constitution and the rule of law.” As The Tennessee Star reported Thursday, Hagerty also commented on the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings for religious freedom. “As a pro-life Christian conservative, I proudly stand with religious groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor and President Trump, who worked to repeal this burdensome government mandate. No one should be forced to go against their values to...
    With infections that do not subside in the most affected countries and outbreaks that increasingly worry those who believed they had overcome the worst, the pandemic of the new coronavirus returned today to establish the need to review the reopening in several nations and to put at risk or to modify the conditions of electoral processes and traditional religious celebrations. The world already accumulated more than 11.32 million confirmed cases and 532,340 deaths from the disease, according to the daily part of the World Health Organization (WHO), or more than 11.52 million infections and 535,499 deaths, as reported this afternoon the online database of the American Johns Hopkins University. In U.SIn addition, the 130,000 deaths by Covid-19 barrier was surpassed today and authorities from the southern states Florida and Texas warned that their health systems were on the verge of collapse, while experts expressed fear that contagions and deaths would increase after that on Saturday, Independence Day, there would be massive celebrations encouraged by President Donald Trump. In Brazil, despite the rapid increase in infections, the...
    A bus carrying Sikh pilgrims returning from a visit to a shrine in Pakistan was struck by a train Friday, killing 20, according to the Associated Press. At least 19 people have been killed after a train hit a van carrying Sikh pilgrims in NE #Pakistan on Friday, local media reported. pic.twitter.com/yKUSXQECDw — People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) July 3, 2020 The Sikh pilgrims were reportedly returning from the shrine of Nankana Sahib in Sheikhupura, Pakistan, per the AP. At least eight pilgrims were also allegedly injured in the crash at the unmanned railway crossing. (RELATED: Video Shows Extremely Rare Rhino Taking Mud Bath) Arif Ali, the president of Pakistan, and Imran Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan, both issued statements obtained by the AP expressing sorrow and demanding local authorities provide the best treatment to those injured. An official told the AP that an initial assessment indicated that the bus driver tried to cross the railroad tracks, but got stuck. Several shrines of Sikh religious leaders are present in Pakistan due to the partition of the subcontinent by the British...
    Firefighters were able to save religious artifacts for parishioners during a fire at a Fairfield County church. The fire, at the Greater St. John Fire-Baptized Holiness Church, at 804 Fairfield Ave., in Bridgeport, was reported around 11:20 p.m., Thursday, said Scott Appleby, director of the city's Office of Emergency Management.  Arriving firefighters found a working fire, but were able to extinguish without any injuries, Appleby said. During the fire, Appleby said firefighters were able to save religious artifacts found on the first floor.  The extent of damage to the church was not reported. An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.
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