Meditation Focus #72
Renewed Urgency to Help Southern Africa
Avert a Massive Famine
What follows is the 72nd Meditation Focus suggested for the two consecutive weeks beginning Sunday, September 22, 2002.
Renewed Urgency to Help Southern Africa Avert a Massive Famine
2. Meditation times
3. More information on this Meditation Focus
4. Special Autumnal Equinox Peace Meditations Networking Section
Across southern Africa, 14 million people are at risk of starvation. The United Nations says it's "the most severe crisis in the world" today. It's not yet a full scale famine, but thousands have already died, and time is running out. In some countries, it's the second year that crops have failed. Communities no longer have a safety net of food stocks. In many countries, over a third of working age people are infected with the HIV virus. And in others - like Angola - years of civil war mean that millions can't produce enough food. At the moment, six million people are already dependent on food aid - but by the end of the year, that number will double.
From a global perspective, hunger is rarely caused by a lack of food; the world already produces an excess to the extent that governments in the West have to artificially support the market price and encourage non-production. Rather, it is a lack of wealth and/or political freedom that prevents the purchase of food, the instability of corrupt, dictatorial regimes, war, civil or otherwise, and the devastating economic effects produced by the West dumping foodstuffs at below market prices on the developed world whilst discouraging imports through tariffs.
Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming two weeks, and especially in synchronous attunement at the usual time for the next 2 Sundays, starting at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT), to contribute in fostering a greater global awareness of the urgent need to help our brothers and sisters of Southern Africa - and anywhere else in the world - where lack of food is causing widespread malnutrition and hunger. In a world where hundreds of billion of US dollars are wasted every year in military spending or hoarded in the deep pockets of corrupted CEOs and transnational corporations, there is no justification to not attend to such urgent needs and ultimately completely eradicate hunger with all the resourcefulness and ingenuity humanity can muster when we set our minds upon achieving certain goals. Please envision a rapid shift of priorities from warmongering and greed to peace-making and service, so as to make possible a world free from hunger and utter poverty. May all human beings recognize the sacredness of all human lives, for the Highest Good of All.
This entire Meditation Focus is also available at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus72.htm
2. Meditation Times
i) Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes with a special Earth Healing Focus in the last few minutes.
ii) Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.
These times below are currently corresponding to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT: Honolulu 06:00 -- Los Angeles 09:00 -- Denver & San Salvador 10:00 -- Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 11:00 -- New York, Toronto, Montreal, Asuncion & Santiago 12:00 -- Rio de Janeiro & Montevideo 13:00 -- Reykjavik & Casablanca 16:00 -- London, Algiers & Lagos 17:00 -- Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Johannesburg & Madrid 18:00 -- Athens, Helsinki, Jerusalem, Nairobi & Istanbul 19:00 -- Moscow & Baghdad 20:00 -- Tehran 20:30 -- Islamabad 21:00 -- Calcutta & New Delhi 21:30 -- Dhaka 22:00 -- Rangoon 22:30 -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 23:00 -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur 00:00+ -- Seoul & Tokyo 01:00+ -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne 02:00+ -- Wellington 04:00+
(+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time)
3. More information on this Meditation Focus
This complement of information is for those who wish to understand in more detail the situation of this week's Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read it, especially those receiving this material for the first time, we encourage you to view the abovementioned information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provided these details because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to structure our awareness to maximise our healing effect.
See also the GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN CRISIS section in the Meditation Focus #70 archived at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus70.htm
Southern Africa food crisis worsens, U.N. officials say (Sept 16)
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - A massive food crisis in six southern African countries has worsened and now threatens more than 14 million people with famine, U.N. officials said Monday.
"The intensity of this crisis is increasing faster than we ever could have expected," said James Morris, the U.N. special envoy to the southern African hunger crisis.
"The human devastation to the most vulnerable people in those six countries is overwhelming," said Morris, who just completed a tour of the affected region.
The United Nations had previously estimated about 12.8 million people were at risk of hunger before next year's harvest begins in April. However, the situation has been exacerbated by a total lack of food in some countries and the inability of the poor to afford what little food is available, officials said.
People in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique are affected by the crisis, which officials say is caused by devastating droughts and floods and, in some countries, government mismanagement.
"It's going to take the most incredible, generous, coordinated response ... to work out of this situation," Morris said.
The U.N. World Food Program has received pledges to cover about one-third of the dlrs 507 million in emergency food aid it needs for the region and has commitments for nearly a third more.
The United Nations has asked for more than dlrs 100 million in related aid, for agriculture and health care.
The AIDS pandemic was making the crisis far more deadly, Morris said. The affected countries have adult AIDS rates ranging from 12 percent to 36 percent and the lack of food was exacerbating the effects of the disease.
"This is a crisis of incredible proportions," he said.
Many farmers have no seeds, tools or fertilizer, though planting for next year's harvest should be getting underway, U.N. officials said. Without a robust harvest, many of those countries risked another year of hunger, they said.
According to the new assessment, 6.7 million people are at risk in Zimbabwe, 3.3 million in Malawi, 2.9 million in Zambia, 650,000 in Lesotho, 590,000 in Mozambique and 270,000 in Swaziland.
"Even with assistance starting to move, it's not enough, and time is running out," said Judith Lewis, the World Food Program's regional director.
Political situations in several of the countries have complicated the crisis. Zambia has refused to accept corn donations from the United States, the top donor, because it might be genetically modified. Zambian officials fear health risks from those food donation, though the United Nations has said it was safe.
Zambian scientists were currently touring South Africa, Europe and the United States to learn more about the modified food, Morris said.
In Zimbabwe, the WFP blames the government's often-violent seizure of white-owned commercial farms for exacerbating the food crisis. The government has refused to relax its monopoly on grain imports to allow private companies to bring in food.
The Zimbabwean government is also accused of selling the food it does import to government supporters and keeping it away from the political opposition, a charge the government denies. The WFP says the food it is bringing into Zimbabwe is not being distributed according to political lines.
U.N. officials also fear that with the disruptions in the commercial farming sector, Zimbabwe, once the region's breadbasket, will have an agricultural shortfall for several years.
Serious food problems also plague Angola, which is just coming out of a quarter century of civil war, Morris said.
Southern Africa's famine: Country by country (September 5)
The medical relief organisation Medecins sans Frontieres estimates that at least 1.5 million people are suffering from acute malnutrition.
The World Food Programme (WFP) says that it will be feeding 1.9 million people by the end of this year.
Full story: Famine in fertile Angola
Five people a day have been dying of malnutrition in demobilisation camps set up for former Unita rebels. There are fears that some ex-guerrillas could escape and turn to crime to survive.
The crisis is seen as the direct result of the long civil war and strategies followed by the government and the rebels, which led to an exodus of people from rural areas to the towns.
The ability of the government and relief agencies to deliver aid could be hampered by the start of the rains, due in September, which often render rural roads and bridges impassable.
The Zambian Government has declared the country's food shortage a national disaster.
Full story: Zambia's sad road to famine
Officials say 2.4 million people face starvation and the country could soon run out of food.
Severe drought has caused total crop failure in the south of the country.
Maize production fell by 30% in the 2000/2001 season, meaning there was little in store when this year's crops also failed.
The drought has also affected parts of eastern Zambia.
A maize shortage of 630,000 tonnes is estimated.
President Levy Mwanawasa has reaffirmed that Zambia will not accept food aid containing genetically modified grain.
High rates of HIV/Aids mean many people are especially vulnerable to hunger, while thousands of young people who should be working in the fields have died.
In September, the Southern African Development Community Regional Early Warning Unit said that Zimbabwe needed more food aid than any other country in the region facing famine.
Invasions of white-owned land and plans to seize more farms for blacks have been blamed for causing a big drop in grain production in the country's commercial farms.
Full story: Zimbabwe's hunger
Erratic rainfall also played a hand, leading to a poor harvest in the 2001/2002 season.
The southern and western regions of Matabeleland and Masvingo are worst hit.
Long queues for maize meal are becoming a common feature in the capital Harare and Bulawayo.
Zimbabwe could face a maize deficit of 1.5 million tonnes. About six million people will need food aid. Evidence is also emerging that the government and its allies are stopping food aid reaching political opponents.
Initially opposed to importing food aid containing genetically modified material, the government then agreed with the WFP to accept the shipment of genetically modified corn donated by the United States.
Zimbabwe will mill the corn before distributing it to ensure it is not planted, he said.
Zimbabwe has the highest rates of HIV/Aids of the affected countries.
After two years of devastating floods, a prolonged drought is said to have affected an area of 90,000 hectares and about 100,000 households.
Full story: Disease and hunger in Mozambique
There have been severe dry spells and drought in the 2001/2002 season in northern Mozambique and heavy rain and floods in southern and central areas.
United Nations agencies say more than 500,000 people need food aid.
The situation is also compounded by sharp rises in price of staple foods and delays in maize deliveries, particularly from South Africa.
President Bakili Muluzi declared a state of emergency in February.
Full story: Malawians struggle for survival
This is the worst affected country, and hundreds of people have already died.
Relief agencies estimate that 3.2 million people are now threatened by famine, the majority in the southern part of the country.
Out of 27 districts, 14 were hit by floods and six others experienced dry spells.
Maize production is said to have fallen by 10% since the last year.
But the situation has been made worse by the sale of surplus grain in 2001 after a bumper harvest in 2000.
Malawi needs 560,000 tonnes of food to avert widespread hunger, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF announced in September 2002 that it was providing an emergency loan of $23m to Malawi for the putchase of food. The fund said that Malawi would continue to face food shortages this year because of another poor harvest.
HIV/Aids is also taking its toll and in August Malawi suffered a worse than usual outbreak of cholera in which over 1,000 people died.
The Malawian Ministry of Health said that 33,000 people had been infected and the results had been more severe because people had been weakened by malnutrition.
It has been another poor harvest in this tiny, mountainous country following a second year of severe weather: heavy rainfall, frost, hailstorms and tornadoes.
Full story: Lesotho needs food
The government declared a state of famine in April.
The 2002 harvest is said to be 60% below normal and UN agencies say some 500,000 will require emergency food aid throughout the country.
Other factors: decline in production of Lesotho's major crops, falling remittance from Basotho workers employed in South African mines because of retrenchment and poverty.
Again, HIV/Aids is exacerbating the situation.
Erratic weather for a second consecutive year is being blamed for food shortages. According to the UN agencies, production is 18% down on last year's already poor harvest.
Full story: Swaziland crisis
Crops planted early have escaped the effects of a dry spell.
Swaziland normally imports crops from South Africa, even in good years. This year more than 100,000 tonnes of cereal will need to be imported.
Two-thirds of Swaziland's population live below the poverty line and prices of maize and wheat have been rising.
Aids continues to undermine food security. One third of Swazis are estimated to be HIV positive.
There is a growing problem of children orphaned by Aids and unable to fend for themselves.
U.N. Endorses New Plan to Rejuvenate Africa (September 17)
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 16 (IPS) - The 190-member U.N. General Assembly formally endorsed Monday a new initiative to rebuild and rejuvenate one of the world's most crisis-stricken and war-ravaged continents: Africa.
''I am delighted to join you for this important meeting dedicated to exploring ways in which the international community can support the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD),'' U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a special meeting of the General Assembly.
The one-day meeting, which specifically focused on Africa, was addressed by several African heads of state and heads of government who arrived in New York last week for the opening of the 57th session of the General Assembly.
South African President Thabo Mbeki said that through NEPAD, Africa could create a new path to prosperity.
''What had hindered Africa's development in the past was the absence of resources to facilitate the realization of its development objectives,'' Mbeki said.
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said that NEPAD reflected the continent's determination to launch a new development path whose objectives were designed by Africans.
''Africa was increasingly marginalized within the global economy because of its conflicts, the spread and aggravation of poverty, HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis,'' he said.
''Therefore, it became necessary to move off the beaten track, and identify a new approach, with new premises, bases and objectives, and new steps of implementation.''
NEPAD aims to achieve 7.0 percent annual growth, so Africa can meet one of the goals laid down by the 2000 U.N. Millennium Summit: halving poverty on the continent by 2015.
Up to half of Africa's population now lives on less than one dollar a day. And of the 49 least developed countries (LDCs), described as the poorest of the world's poor, 37 are African.
Africa's economic growth is estimated at 3.4 percent this year compared with 4.3 percent in 2001 and 3.5 percent in 2000, according to a U.N. report released last April.
But it is generally thought that 7.0 percent growth will only be achieved through the infusion of billions of dollars in development assistance, increased foreign investment, a rise in commodity prices, unfettered market access for African goods and reduction or elimination of external debts.
A resolution adopted by the Assembly on Monday welcomed NEPAD ''as an African Union-led, -owned and -managed initiative'' and ''a serious commitment to addressing the aspirations of the continent.''
The Assembly also urged ''the U.N. system and the international community, in particular donor nations, to assist with NEPAD's implementation.''
The initiative for NEPAD came from four African nations - South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria and Senegal - which have taken a leading role in shaping the plan of action. The plan, which received its formal blessings at a summit meeting of the 53-member African Union in Durban, South Africa last July, was endorsed by leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized countries in Canada in June.
African leaders say that about 64 billion dollars in aid and investments are needed annually to fight poverty and disease, and also rebuild the African continent.
But the G-8 countries - the United States, France, Britain, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy and Russia - have pledged only about eight billion dollars annually, starting in 2006, to help bolster Africa's economic development.
NEPAD has also been described as ''seriously flawed'' because it depends on that aid money, much of it with strings attached.
African nations have been asked to promise a wide range of political and economic reforms, including multi-party democracy, free and fair elections, respect for human rights, the elimination of corruption, transparency and accountability, market access and free market economies.
Several non-governmental organizations, including Action Aid and Oxfam, have criticized Western donors for offering ''peanuts'' in return for those commitments.
''NEPAD has been instrumental in mobilizing discussion about Africa, but beyond that we have serious concerns, including the fact that NEPAD has been developed in a closed way and doesn't reflect the priorities of the African continent,'' said Amboka Wameyo of London-based Action Aid.
The strongest Western backing for NEPAD has come from British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
Chretien told the Assembly on Monday that Canada expects NEPAD to be the centrepiece of the U.N. agenda. The time for talk had passed, he said, adding that Canada has already decided to commit six billion dollars to Africa's development.
Beginning January next year, Canada would also eliminate tariffs on products from developing nations, Chretien said.
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo told the General Assembly on Monday that urgent action was required to redress inequitable development, including increased official development assistance (ODA).
''Africa was seeking to lift itself up by its own bootstraps through NEPAD, and hopes for greater support for it from the international community,'' he said.
''Massive assistance'' was needed to combat the scourges of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases on the African continent, added Obasanjo.
Nations applaud Africa's recovery plan (September 17)
"We stand in front of the peoples of the world to pledge that we'll honour the commitment we have made - that we'll act firmly to extricate Africa out of her long night of misery," South Africa's president Thabo Mbeki told the United Nation's general assembly. And Nigeria's president, Olusegun Obasanjo, vowed to be accountable to his people, setting "very high standards". In return, world leaders praised the recovery plan, known as Nepad, and vowed to stand with Africa in its struggle to overcome poverty. CLIP
The Nepad plan aims to win yearly investments of $64bn (£41bn) for Africa, enabling annual economic growth of 7%.
And the UN has set a goal of halving the number of Africans living in poverty by 2015.
When Nepad was unveiled in July, Africa had already suffered a significant decline in prosperity and dwindling foreign investment.
Development aid to Africa has been falling, with rich countries becoming increasingly fearful that investments are being mismanaged by incompetent or corrupt leaders.
The Nepad plan is based largely on ideas drawn up separately by Mr Mbeki, Mr Obasanjo and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.
Ten African heads of state were amongst the representatives of 80 nations thrashing out the key issues surrounding the effective implementation of Nepad.
Fergal Keane appeals on behalf of Disasters Emergency Committee Southern Africa Crisis Appeal
Annan calls for war on AIDS and focus on girls' education to fix Africa's problems http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020916/ap_wo_en_po/un_africa_5
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for a war on AIDS and the promotion of girls' education as the United Nations took a break Monday from its regular debate to focus on what one African leader called extricating "Africa out of her long night of misery."
U.N. special envoy says food situation in Zimbabwe is urgent (September 6, 2002)
Hunger takes its toll on students at Zimbabwean school
NHWALI, Zimbabwe - The girls giggle nervously as they talk about their hunger. Their grades have plummeted. They fall asleep in class from exhaustion. Often, when they have nothing at all to eat, they don't even bother coming to school. "Sometimes it's better to stay home than to come and collapse here," Litsoanelo Moyo, a 19-year-old student at Nhwali secondary school, said Saturday. A visit to the village of Nhwali, 700 kilometers (430 miles) southwest of Harare this weekend clearly showed that Zimbabwe's worst food crisis in a decade has begun to take its toll. (...) Meanwhile, human rights groups accuse the government, which sells corn at the fixed price of 555 Zimbabwean dollars (less than dlrs 1) for a 50 kilogram (110 pound) bag, of refusing to sell grain to opposition supporters and making only sporadic deliveries to opposition strongholds. The government says drought is the sole cause of the food shortage. It denies allegations that it is not selling food in opposition strongholds, or that its land reform policies are to blame for food shortages. CLIP
Zambia's Policy on GM Food for Refugees in Disarray
Can world hunger be defeated? (June 24, 2002)
Corruption 'costs Africa billions' (17 September, 2002)
Bribery and gratifications are a way of life in Africa
4) Special Autumnal Equinox Peace Meditations Networking Section
Please note that the precise moment of this 2002 Fall Equinox is on Monday September 23 at 04:56 Universal Time (GMT)
1. September 21st Meditations and prayers
2. GLOBAL MEDITATION: Harvest Full Moon
3. Peace the 21st: A Quarterly "Thought Image" of Peace and World Healing
4. Praying for Peace
September 21st Meditations and prayers
Till the end of the year, all the full moons will be very important. They will have a great influence on some human beings who will not have been ready enough. These ones will undergo this with more important difficulties. If you've relieved yourselves, you will feel this energy and you will welcome it in the deepest of your hearts.
The full moons will concern the great periods of infusing energies. These ones will not only come from the Moon. You will receive a lot of energy coming from our group of suns of the Pleiads. You will also receive a lot of energy coming from Proxima of the Centaur and the Lyra Constellation. They are different but very powerful energies. They are the new energies, something like the new sowing on your cultivated ground.
The work required from you for the next full moon (that will take place on September 21st ) is first of all to focus on yourselves.
You will try and empty your mental as much as you can. You will put your feet flat on the ground, and you will feel as if roots of Light were under, that will dive towards the heart of the Earth, towards the Love Center of the Earth. These roots of Light will bring your Mother's Love to you.
You will make this energy go upwards, up to your heart force centre, and you will leave it there for the moment.
Then, at the level of your coronal centre, you will raise gigantic antennae that will go up to your Sun to look for Sun Love and energy. These antennae will bring back to you this strength, this Love and this Energy that will combine with the energy of your Mother the Earth at the level of the heart centre.
As soon as you feel these two energies blending, combining the one into the other, you will spread this huge and united Love and Energy towards all your brothers on the Earth.
You will particularly have to pay attention to your human brothers. They are unaware and suffering. They must be helped. They can be helped with your Love. They need you. They can't understand and they are revolted, they are in violence. They must be helped and calmed down.
You will spread these waves of Love all around the Earth towards all your human brothers living on this Earth. Several waves will leave your heart to go and help all the beings who suffer. Maybe this wave will wake up one being here and another being there. If your Love is strong enough, it will wake up some of your brothers. And that is what is important ! You can help a lot those who suffer, help them remove a little of their suffering.
Then, during this full moon meditation, get connected to the Divine in you, and also to the Divine in the whole Universe. You will feel its Love, its power, its strength. You will feel it in you, you will feel it vibrating everywhere around you. Its Presence is everywhere as well as you are the Presence.
There is no separation between the Divine in you and the Source, because you are its emanation. You are a tiny little bit of it.
Then, when you have visualized your brothers in peace, in serenity, in joy and in Love, you will send this wave of Love towards your Mother the Earth. She is still suffering from living but she accepts it with pleasure, because, as you say it on the Earth, she can see the end of the tunnel for her.
Children of the Earth, do not forget that Love and consciousness of Love carry out miracles. Love is the Energy of transformation. LOVE IS LIFE ! No life can exist without Love. Without Love, life goes out.
During these moments of meditation in which you will be very numerous to be connected, send what is most precious : Divine Love in you. Send it generously, it will go where it has to go.
When you are ten, when you are a hundred, when you are a thousand to be connected to the Divine, to send all His Love around you, miracles come true. You are not aware of it, but miracles come true !
Source of this material:
GLOBAL MEDITATION Harvest Full Moon
'A call to Action'
Saturday, September 21st, 2002
"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world; and that is an idea whose time has come."
- Victor Hugo (1802-1885)
Peace One Day began as the vision of one man, young British filmmaker Jeremy Gilley. Launched in 1999, with the support of countless individuals and organisations, Peace One Day has successfully driven the initiative to establish the United Nations International Day of Peace as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, now fixed in the calendar as 21st September from 2002.
Peace One Day is asking the people of the world to honour and celebrate the Day on the 21st September; with the vision of the Day extending far beyond the cessation of violent conflict and representing an opportunity for the people of the world to create a moment of global unity.
Peace the 21st
A Quarterly "Thought Image" of Peace and World Healing
You are invited to participate. The next event is Sept. 21st, 2002 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. Local Time
Autumnal Equinox 2002 Message
From Peace the 21st Spiritual Sponsor
Ascended Master Hilarion
Beloved friends of peace,
I come to you in Peace. Have you wondered why Peace always seems to elude you? That when one war stops, another begins, when one disaster has been dealt with, another follows? In the past centuries, the time between these events has often been at least a generation. However, today, the time between events is compressed to within several years, if not months. This, dear friends, does not mean that your work is not effective, that you are not helping; rather, it is because you are so effective, that the hierarchy is speeding up the karma and compressing time.
At this moment in the Earth's life, it is necessary to deal with much negativity to push the Earth into a new age. This is the accumulation of the effect started when the Earth entered the new milenium. The original karmic plan did not predict the quantitative effect of the Light as now is emitted by the millions working with Spirit.
Therefore, we can only say, indeed, pray, that you to continue this work. Intensify your efforts if possible. Involve others at every opportunity. We can see the Light at the end of the tunnel.
As always we love you.
Om Mane Padme Aum,
Peace the 21st is a non-profit charitable organization, promoted and supported globally by volunteers, networking and donations. You may receive complete information about membership by sending an e-mail indicating your interest to email@example.com. Information is also available by writing:
Peace the 21st, 76 Jane Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, M6S 3Y5
Phone: 888-859-5579, Fax: 416-763-4799
From: John <John@prayforpeace.com>
Sent: Thursday, September 12, 2002
Subject: Praying for Peace
I am writing to invite your organization to join us in a prayer for peace at http://www.PrayforPeace.com
Our mission is to encourage universal prayer on a daily basis so that we may realize world peace within our lifetime. I invite you to add the name of your organization to our section "World Peace Supporters" so that others may visit your website to learn of the work that you do.
Thank you for your time.
Peace be with you,
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