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IS Flag Student Guilty Of Syria Terror Plan

Written By andika jamanta on Rabu, 17 Desember 2014 | 20.49

A student who wanted to fly an Islamic State flag over Downing Street has been found guilty of planning to join rebels in Syria.

David Souaan, 20, began to cry when the judge warned him jail is inevitable when he is sentenced in the new year.

He was accused of preparing for terrorist acts in Syria around the time he was stopped at Heathrow Airport on May 31.

The prosecution said he had visited in December last year, and was on his way back to fight the jihadist cause when he was arrested.

The Birkbeck College student, who comes from a wealthy family in Serbia, denied this and insisted his earlier visit to Syria was to collect his grandfather's belongings.

He claimed he posed for pictures with guns because he wanted to look "cool".

A jury took nine hours to find him guilty following a trial at the Old Bailey.

Remanding Souaan in custody, Judge Peter Rook said: "You have been convicted of a very serious offence indeed. You must understand that you will be receiving a custodial sentence in this case."

Souaan came to the UK in 2013 on a three-year visa to study global politics and international relations at Birkbeck College in London.

He was arrested after fellow students became concerned at his radical views on Islam and he had shown off pictures of himself posing with guns.

Police seized his laptop and iPhone and found a mass of pictures, videos and documents revealing his "extremist sympathies" and that he had not only been fighting in Syria before but was intending to return, the Old Bailey heard.

Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse QC said one video clip on his iPhone was "so graphic and so shocking" that it could not be played in court.

It featured a man kneeling with his head held back as another man cut his throat.

The court heard that Souaan filmed himself attending a demonstration in the UK.

In the background, a man can be heard to say: "The flag of Tawheed in London, all praise be to Allah the lord of the universe."

This was in reference to the wish of Muslim extremists to see the black flag fly over Downing Street.

Sentencing was adjourned until 3 February for pre-sentence reports.


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Exclusive: Death Pact Of IS-Fighting Britons

Exclusive: Death Pact Of IS-Fighting Britons

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By Lisa Holland, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

Two Britons who went to Syria to fight IS have told of their battles on the front line - and how they vowed to kill each other rather than get captured.

Jamie Read and James Hughes told how they dodged bullets during chaotic patrols with Kurdish forces after recording a "goodbye" video for their families in case they died.

They described spending hours lying in the "pitch black" in no-man's land, in conditions they said were reminiscent of World War One.

On one occasion, it was so cold that a young Kurdish comrade collapsed with hypothermia - "body-popping" on the ground next to them.

In an exclusive Sky News interview after their return to the UK, the pair also revealed how panic alarms have been installed in their homes, amid fears they could be targets for IS supporters.

They strongly denied being mercenaries, telling how they had sold possessions to fund their flights and had returned to the UK to "mounting debts and bills".

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  1. Gallery: British Pair Joined Fight Against Islamic State

    James Hughes and Jamie Read gave an exclusive interview to Sky News

James Hughes from Worcestershire is a former soldier who served three tours in Afghanistan

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Jamie Read from Lanarkshire, Scotland, spent time training with the French army

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He said that he had 'zero tolerance' for terrorism

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The men joined Kurdish fighters in Syria battling IS

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Exclusive: Death Pact Of IS-Fighting Britons

We use cookies to give you the best experience. If you do nothing we'll assume that it's ok.

By Lisa Holland, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

Two Britons who went to Syria to fight IS have told of their battles on the front line - and how they vowed to kill each other rather than get captured.

Jamie Read and James Hughes told how they dodged bullets during chaotic patrols with Kurdish forces after recording a "goodbye" video for their families in case they died.

They described spending hours lying in the "pitch black" in no-man's land, in conditions they said were reminiscent of World War One.

On one occasion, it was so cold that a young Kurdish comrade collapsed with hypothermia - "body-popping" on the ground next to them.

In an exclusive Sky News interview after their return to the UK, the pair also revealed how panic alarms have been installed in their homes, amid fears they could be targets for IS supporters.

They strongly denied being mercenaries, telling how they had sold possessions to fund their flights and had returned to the UK to "mounting debts and bills".

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  1. Gallery: British Pair Joined Fight Against Islamic State

    James Hughes and Jamie Read gave an exclusive interview to Sky News

James Hughes from Worcestershire is a former soldier who served three tours in Afghanistan

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Jamie Read from Lanarkshire, Scotland, spent time training with the French army

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He said that he had 'zero tolerance' for terrorism

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The men joined Kurdish fighters in Syria battling IS

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Former UK Soldiers 'Compelled' To Fight IS

When confronted with the atrocious truth of the Islamic State death cult's murder videos there is a natural instinct to "do something".

In the case of the British Government, the reflex has led to muddled thinking. In the case of two former British soldiers, it led to the front line.

Both are naïve. But only one of these groups is guaranteeing their own failure.

Jamie Read and James Hughes travelled to Kurdistan and took up arms against IS. They spent a little over three weeks on the front line.

They were interviewed by the police on their return but not, unlike every other group of Britons that has travelled to fight in the Syrian civil war, arrested and charged with terrorism.

Volunteers who have gone to fight against the regime of Bashar al Assad are all deemed to be dangerous terrorists.

Those who fight alongside the Kurds are seen as intelligence assets.

Of course, some of those who choose to fight in Syria do so because they subscribe to the theology of the IS and its global ambitions to enforce a Caliphate.

But other Syrian groups fighting against Assad do not have this agenda. Seen as "moderates", these rebel movements have received funding, training, and non-lethal aid from London and Washington.

Join them, though, and you'll be jailed.

Right now, in Jordan, there is a Military Operations Centre (MoC) staffed by, among others, British and American officers working with Syrian rebels and trying to put together a coherent ground force to exploit the effects of air strikes by the US-led coalition against Islamic State.

It's a bit of a struggle to win the trust of Syria's non-Kurd rebels.

The West has done very little to help them, has not imposed a no-fly zone on the Damascus regime but has bombed the al Nusra Front, probably the most effective rebel group fighting Assad.

Syrian rebel sources have told Sky News that the coalition has "about six months" before they collapse completely and may throw their lot in with Islamic State or al Qaeda affiliate the al Nusra Front.

Meanwhile, a small but steady trickle of volunteers - all of them unpaid - are making their way to the Kurds from the UK and other parts of Europe.

Their motivations are mixed.

Some, Hughes and Read admitted, have a "death wish" and nothing to live for back home. Others, like them, felt a compulsion to do their bit to stop IS, and no doubt others are war junkies, fantasists or downright nutters.

They have, though, managed to do something that their governments have shied away from. They have reached a conclusion about who in this war are the "goodies" and then joined up.

UK and US leaders have not quite figured out who they want to win in Syria.

The Kurds get backing for their plucky defence of their autonomous region.

But Syria's other rebels are a mixed bag, which in terms of UK law, are all being defined as "terrorists" - even the ones that the UK and US are funding.

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  1. Gallery: British Pair Joined Fight Against Islamic State

    James Hughes and Jamie Read gave an exclusive interview to Sky News

James Hughes from Worcestershire is a former soldier who served three tours in Afghanistan

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British Soldier Torture Claims 'Lies' - Inquiry

British Soldier Torture Claims 'Lies' - Inquiry

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By Alistair Bunkall, Defence Correspondent

The Defence Secretary has accused Iraqi prisoners of attempting to use the UK legal system to damage the reputation of Britain's armed forces.

Michael Fallon lambasted them for making "false allegations" of abuse by British forces, which triggered a judge-led inquiry costing the British taxpayer £31m and put soldiers through six years of anxiety.

Mr Fallon made his comments after a major inquiry ruled allegations of torture and murder, made against British soldiers bythe former prisoners, were "wholly without foundation".

The Al Sweady Inquiry found accusations of war crimes made in 2008 were "entirely the product of deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility".

Mr Fallon said the claims had been a "shameful attempt to use our legal system to attack and falsely impugn our armed forces".

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  1. Gallery: Al Sweady Inquiry Releases Images

    Detained Iraqis being guarded by a British soldier - one of the images released by the Al Sweady Inquiry into alleged British army abuses of Iraqi prisoners

The inquiry, which lasted five years and cost the taxpayer £25m, has ruled claims that members of the British military tortured captured Iraqis were "lies". Continue through for more images

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British Soldier Torture Claims 'Lies' - Inquiry

We use cookies to give you the best experience. If you do nothing we'll assume that it's ok.

By Alistair Bunkall, Defence Correspondent

The Defence Secretary has accused Iraqi prisoners of attempting to use the UK legal system to damage the reputation of Britain's armed forces.

Michael Fallon lambasted them for making "false allegations" of abuse by British forces, which triggered a judge-led inquiry costing the British taxpayer £31m and put soldiers through six years of anxiety.

Mr Fallon made his comments after a major inquiry ruled allegations of torture and murder, made against British soldiers bythe former prisoners, were "wholly without foundation".

The Al Sweady Inquiry found accusations of war crimes made in 2008 were "entirely the product of deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility".

Mr Fallon said the claims had been a "shameful attempt to use our legal system to attack and falsely impugn our armed forces".

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  1. Gallery: Al Sweady Inquiry Releases Images

    Detained Iraqis being guarded by a British soldier - one of the images released by the Al Sweady Inquiry into alleged British army abuses of Iraqi prisoners

The inquiry, which lasted five years and cost the taxpayer £25m, has ruled claims that members of the British military tortured captured Iraqis were "lies". Continue through for more images

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Sydney Hostage Siege: What We Know So Far

Written By andika jamanta on Senin, 15 Desember 2014 | 20.49

The gunman took an unknown number of people hostage at the height of Monday morning's rush hour and the siege is ongoing. Here are the facts we know:

:: At least one gunman went in to the Lindt cafe in Sydney at around 9.45am local time (10.45pm GMT).

:: Police were alerted when a woman reported seeing a man carrying a gun in a blue bag.

:: The man appears to be middle-aged, with a beard, and is wearing a black and white headband. There are reports he is known to police and media outlets.

:: A flag with Arabic writing was displayed at the cafe window and several hostages were seen with their hands up against the window.

:: The writing on the flag appears to be the shahada, or profession of faith in Islam, and says: "There is no god but Allah; Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah."

:: Australian prime minister Tony Abbott said there are indications the siege could be politically motivated.

:: The scene of the drama, Martin Place, is in Sydney's financial centre and houses several prominent buildings, including the New South Wales parliament, the US consulate, the country's central bank and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

:: Some six hours into the siege, three men emerged from the popular cafe and ran for their lives, two from the front door and one from an emergency exit.

:: Around an hour later two women who appeared to be staff members also fled into the arms of police.

:: It is understood that they all escaped and were not released.

:: Police have confirmed that negotiators have made contact with the gunman.

:: His motives are unknown. The two female hostages told Channel Ten news the gunman claims there are four bombs; two inside the Lindt cafe and two in Sydney's financial district.

:: It is not clear how many hostages are being held. Reports vary from eight to 50 people.

:: However, police said the numbers are "not as high as 30".

:: In a news conference at around 8.30pm local time, police said they have the "very best negotiators on the job" and that their only priority is to get the hostages out safely.

:: Speaking directly to the hostages, Commissioner Andrew Scipione said: "Rest assured we are doing all we can to set you free."

:: They did not say if anyone has been harmed.

:: Anyone who works in the area has been advised to work from home on Tuesday.

:: Australia raised its terror threat level in September.

:: Watch continuous live coverage on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 132 and Freesat channel 202.


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Police Storm Building To End Belgium Siege

Three men have been detained by police who stormed an apartment in Belgium after reports of a man being taken hostage in an armed siege.

Police were called after four armed men were reportedly seen entering a building in the Dampoort district of the city on Monday morning.

A spokeswoman for the state prosecutor said the victim was safe and well.

"Three men have been taken away though there were no weapons found. The earlier reports were of four men with kalashnikovs," she said. "... It's not entirely clear whether someone was in fact taken hostage."

Armed police in balaclavas emerged at about 1pm from the cordoned-off building.

"It's over," one police officer said.

Belgian broadcaster VRT cited neighbours as saying that the flat had been used by drug dealers.

A federal police spokeswoman said the incident was not terrorism-related.

Television footage showed police blocking traffic at a cordoned off intersection while a helicopter hovered overhead and sirens blared in the background.

Local media reported that there was another hostage incident in Ghent, linked to extortion, two months ago.

The siege also comes as a gunman holds a number of people hostage at a cafe in Sydney, Australia.


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Sydney Siege: Gunman Switches Lights Out

A gunman is holding up to 20 people hostage in complete darkness at a cafe in Sydney's financial district.

Chilling footage has emerged of a female hostage apparently trying to communicate with police by miming her throat being cut - while news channels have chosen not to broadcast a video of another hostage relaying the assailant's demands.

Witnesses described seeing the hostages looking "exhausted" and "absolutely petrified".

But as night fell and the siege entered its 14th hour the gunman turned off the lights, meaning people outside could no longer see in.

The siege began at 10am (local time) when the assailant - who was previously known to both Sydney police and media - entered the Lindt cafe in Martin Place carrying a pump-action shotgun.

Shortly afterwards, hostages were seen holding a black flag with white Arabic text.

Footage showed the assailant apparently using one hostage as a human shield.

:: Follow live updates of the siege

Channel Ten spoke to two hostages who said the gunman is claiming to have four bombs - two inside the cafe and two elsewhere in the financial district.

Police are investigating reports the assailant has used hostages' social media accounts to demand a meeting with Australian Prime Minster Tony Abbott.

Some of the hostages have spoken to their families on mobile phones - while five, three male customers and two female staff, have managed to escape.

Journalist Chris Reason, who has a view of the cafe from the Channel 7 building, said the gunman was "extremely agitated" when the hostages fled.

But he told Sky News the cafe had now "gone completely black" - although he could make out a man, thought to be the hostage taker, holding an iPad.

"We can see very little of what is going on inside, which is obviously not good news," said Mr Reason.

"From our position over the last couple of hours we have counted 15 hostages in total. Five of those have escaped.

"They are all ages, all demographics. Fortunately no children that we could see."

Mr Reason said the gunman had been forcing hostages to stand at the window with their hands against the glass - and that they were rotated every two hours.

One woman in that position looked like she had been "crying her heart out", he said.

One of the gunman's reported demands is that an IS flag be brought to the cafe.

Police have confirmed they are working "on a footing" it is a terrorist incident - but they remain "confident" a peaceful resolution can be achieved.

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  1. Gallery: Latest Images From Australia

    Two hostages run for cover behind a policeman during a hostage siege in the central business district of Sydney

A hostage runs towards a police officer

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Trending Hashtag And Sydney Siege Cafe Selfies

The ongoing hostage situation in Sydney has sparked an outpouring of solidarity on social media with the hashtag #illridewithyou trending worldwide.

Two Arabic flags, similar to those used by Islamic State, have been seen inside the Lindt cafe.                                                            

The Australian government and Muslim leaders have condemned the attack and called for unity.

Amid uncertainty about the hostage-taker's motives and fears of reprisals an Australian woman reportedly started the #illridewithyou hashtag to reassure Muslims who might feel threatened on public transport in the coming days.

@SirTessa wrote: "If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don't feel safe alone: I'll ride with you. @ me for schedule."

Twitter users have responded to this in their thousands with many offering to accompany people in Sydney and other Australian cities.

@Eddieperfect wrote: "My family and I are heading in and out of the city by tram in melbs tomorrow. We'll stand by anybody #illridewithyou."

@karennaree tweeted: "#illridewithyou anytime, anyplace, anywhere. We won't be beaten by evil. Praying the hostages will be safe."

The hashtag has been tweeted over 90,000 times.

Elsewhere on social media a number of people have been criticised for tweeting selfies standing by the cordon around the Lindt cafe.

Passers-by and shoppers uploaded the images of themselves to Twitter with hashtags including #hostagesituationselfie.

Their actions have been condemned on the micro-blogging site.

@stillgray wrote: "People taking selfies at the area around the Sydney hostage situation. We have reached peak selfie and it is terrible."


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Top MP's Demand Over CIA Torture Report

Written By andika jamanta on Minggu, 14 Desember 2014 | 20.49

By Sophy Ridge, Political Correspondent

The head of the UK's Intelligence and Security Committee is demanding to see material documenting any British links to the CIA's use of torture.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, chair of the Commons committee, is seeking any intelligence relating to the UK that was redacted from the explosive Senate report into the CIA.

It concluded that the CIA lied over its torture and interrogation programme developed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Sir Malcolm told Sky's Murnaghan programme: "This is a major United States' report and so we are requesting, both our colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee ... but also it will ultimately be the United States government, that will decide whether some of the material that has been redated in the American report can be shown to us.

"We don't need to see everything that's been redacted, what we need to see are the bits that might refer to the UK government."

Asked whether that information would be made public, he said the ISC would only agree for it to be withheld "if the Prime Minister was able to convince us that there were legitimate national security reasons why it shouldn't be published".

He said there had been "justified" criticism of the ISC in the past, but it had new powers to order intelligence agencies to hand over requested files and for its staff to go to MI5, MI6 and GCHQ to "personally inspect files to make sure nothing's been left out".

He said once the ISC had looked through the written material, "we will come to a judgement as to which people, first of all who in the intelligence agencies we wish to take evidence from, secondly either current ministers or former ministers who have intelligence on these matters".

Sir Malcolm said he does not think a judge-led inquiry into any British involvement in the CIA's rendition and torture programme is necessary.

He agreed the ISC does not have the power to compel ministers to give evidence, "but, of course, it would be huge scandal if they did refuse to".

The British Government has admitted requesting the deletion of references to Britain's intelligence agencies for national security reasons.

UK Government representatives had 24 meetings with members of the US committee responsible for the findings.

Some of the deletions are believed to relate to the British Overseas Territory of Diego Garcia.

There is escalating pressure on the British government not to extend an agreement allowing the US to use the territory in the Indian Ocean as a military base.

Andrew Tyrie, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on rendition, said any negotiations should address allegations that it was used by the CIA to render terror suspects around the world.

"The negotiations on the lease can focus minds on establishing the scope and limits of Britain's involvement, direct or indirect, in extraordinary rendition," Mr Tyrie said.

"We are talking about kidnap and taking people to places where they may be maltreated or tortured."

The former Home Office minister, Lib Dem MP Norman Baker, who has taken a close interest in the atoll, said: "As it comes up for renewal, we need a full explanation of what happened in our name on that island."

It comes amid reports former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was questioned by police investigating the abductions of two Libyans who say they were handed to Colonel Gadaffi and tortured by his regime.

Mr Straw was interviewed as a "witness" by Scotland Yard following claims the Government was complicit in the rendition of the two men and their families, the Sunday Times said.


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UN Climate Talks Reach 'Watered-Down' Deal

Negotiators at United Nations talks in Peru have reached a compromise deal which sets the stage for a global climate pact to be made next year in Paris.

After late-night wrangling, delegates from more than 190 nations meeting in Lima adopted a format for national pledges to cut greenhouse gases and approved a blueprint to guide negotiations for the Paris pact in December 2015.

"As a text it's not perfect, but it includes the positions of the parties," said Peru's environment minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who was the conference chairman.

The hard-fought agreement - dubbed the Lima Call for Climate Action - was reached hours after a previous draft was rejected by developing countries who accused rich nations of shirking their responsibilities to fight global warming.

The two-week talks overran by 32 hours after the delegates failed to reach a consensus by the end of the session.

While hailing the Lima agreement as one that "unites all nations", UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey warned there was a lot of work to be done before the Paris summit.

Mr Davey said: "The talks were tough but the Lima Call for Climate Action shows a will and commitment to respond to the public demand to tackle climate change.

"The next 12 months will be critical and the UK's leadership will be needed more than ever in the difficult negotiations ahead - but we have to succeed because the threat to our children's future is so serious."

Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint told Sky's Murnaghan programme: "What is really positive is that for the first time we have got the developed countries and the developing countries on the same page and they have all agreed that they all need to reduce their carbon emissions."

The European Union welcomed the outcome of talks as a "as a step forward on the road to a global climate deal in Paris next year."

But environmental campaigners said it was a step backwards in protecting poor countries from catastrophe.

Friends of the Earth's international climate campaigner Asad Rehman said: "The only thing these talks have achieved is to reduce the chances of a fair and effective agreement to tackle climate change in Paris next year.

"Once again poorer nations have been bullied by the industrialised world into accepting an outcome which leaves many of their citizens facing the grim prospect of catastrophic climate change."

Samantha Smith of the WWF conservation group said of the successive drafts: "We went from weak to weaker to weakest."

And Alden Meyer of the US-based monitoring group Union of Concerned Scientists said the deal was "definitely watered down from what we expected".

Due to take effect in 2020, the Paris pact aims to limit global warming to 2C (3.6F) over pre-industrial levels. At its heart is a roster where all nations enter voluntary commitments to reduce their carbon emissions.

But the Lima deal came after a rebellion by developing nations like India and China, who warned tougher measures would put an unfair burden on them.

The final draft apparently alleviated those concerns, with language saying countries have "common but differentiated responsibilities" to deal with global warming.

"We've got what we wanted," said Indian environment minister Prakash Javedekar, who said the text preserved the notion enshrined in a 1992 climate convention that the rich have to lead the way in making cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Historically Western nations have been the biggest greenhouse gas emitters but now developing nations are pulling ahead, as they grow their economies and lift millions out of poverty, meaning China is now the biggest greenhouse gas emitter ahead of the US, the EU and India.

The main goal for the session in Lima was to agree on what information should go into the pledges that countries submit for the summit in Paris.

But the deal weakened language on the content of the pledges, saying they "may" instead of "shall".

And after opposition led by China it was agreed that there will not be a full-blown review comparing each nation's pledge.

And it restored language demanded by small island states at risk of being flooded by rising seas, mentioning a "loss and damage" mechanism agreed upon in last year's talks in Poland.


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