SKorean Ferry: Search at Difficult Stage, NKorea Sends Condolences
Author: Steve Han
Posted: April 23rd, 2014
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Image via NoCut News: A table set by the families of the South Korean ferry victims

Hopes of finding survivors from the capsized South Korean ferry are dwindling as the death toll reached 159 as of 9 a.m. PST on Wednesday, according to Yonhap News Agency.

As the tragedy reached its one-week mark, 140 people are still missing as divers continue searching through cold and murky waters. Most of the victims were students from Danwon High School who were on a four-day field trip to South Korea’s Jeju Island.

Authorities told the Associated Press that the search operation has now reached a difficult stage of having to break down cabin walls in order to get to certain parts of the ship, where many of the missing are believed to be. They are reluctant to start a “salvage” operation, essentially searching for corpses, trying to be sensitive to families of the missing, some of whom still hold on to hope of finding survivors.

However, other families of the missing want the government at this point to do whatever they can to bring back bodies before they decompose even more.

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Wednesday’s Link Attack: Obama May Return Ancient Korean Seals; Sandra Oh Prepares for ‘Grey’s’ Departure; Legal Experts Outraged by Comfort Women Suit
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: April 16th, 2014
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“Disgusting!,” Cry Legal Experts: Is This The Lowest A Top U.S. Law Firm Has Ever Stooped?
Forbes

Would any self-respecting U.S. law firm represent a client who suggested the Jews deserved the Holocaust? Probably not. As a matter of honor, most law firms would run a mile, and even the least honorable would conclude that the damage to their reputation wasn’t worth it.

Where imperial Japan’s atrocities are concerned, however, at least one top U.S. law firm hasn’t been so choosy. In what is surely one of the most controversial civil suits ever filed in the United States, the Los Angeles office of Chicago-based Mayer Brown is trying to prove that the so-called comfort women – the sex slaves used by the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II – were no more than common prostitutes.

Obama may return ancient Korean seals on upcoming trip to Seoul
Yonhap News

The U.S. government may return a set of Korean national treasures, shipped out of the country by an American soldier during the Korean War, when President Barack Obama visits Seoul next week, diplomatic sources here said Monday.

“The two sides are in the final stage of consultations to complete relevant procedures,” a source said.

There is a possibility that the process will finish ahead of Obama’s departure for Asia next Tuesday, added the source.

Korean hair gripe goes to the top
Independent

North Korea’s displeasure at a poster in a hair salon that poked fun at their leader’s unusual hairstyle has reached the corridors of power in Whitehall.

The Foreign Office has confirmed it received a letter from the North Korean embassy earlier this week complaining about the picture of Kim Jong-un that was displayed in a London salon’s window emblazoned with the words “Bad Hair Day?”.

Mandarins received the letter earlier this week and are now considering a response, a spokesman said.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 10 Spoilers: Sandra Oh Posts Photo From Last Scenes With Kevin McKidd
ENSTARS

Goodbyes aren’t easy and that’s something Sandra Oh is making clear. As the actress prepares for her last season on Grey’s Anatomy, she’s been posting emotional posts on Twitter.

The 42-year-old uploaded a photo of herself along with co-star and on-screen lover Kevin McKidd with the caption, “shooting one of our last scenes,” and a sad face.

“My dearest partner in crime,” McKidd, who plays Owen Hunt, tweeted back. “It’s too much to take! What we gonna do?”

Korean-American Band Talk About Rise to Pop Charts
Chosun Ilbo

The debut album of Run River North, a band consisting of six second-generation Korean-Americans in Los Angeles, has made it to No. 3 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Alex Hwang spoke to the Chosun Ilbo by telephone on Tuesday morning in a mixture of Korean and English.

Run River North are currently on a U.S. tour, stopping in Washington. Another member, Jennifer Rim, who plays the violin, also was on the phone.

Wie ready for LPGA Lotte Championship at Ko Olina
KHON2

The LPGA Lotte Championship tees off Wednesday morning at Ko Olina Golf Club. The tournament marks a triumphant homecoming for 24-year-old Michelle Wie.

The Punahou graduate is off to her best start as a professional, recording six top-16 finishes to open the season, including a runner-up major finish at the Kraft Nabisco Championship two weeks ago.

“I’ve just been working hard the last couple of years,” Wie told KHON2. “Obviously I went through quite a bit of a struggle, and I’ve just been trying to improve a little bit here and there every day, trying not to do anything too drastic. I’ve just been patient. A lot of times it was hard being patient. I knew it was getting better and better, it just wasn’t showing. I feel like I’m improving a little bit here and there which is good.”

ISU receives South Korea complaint over figure skating judging
NBC Olympics

South Korea has officially filed its complaint over figure skating judging at the Sochi Olympics to the International Skating Union, nearly two months after Yuna Kim won silver behind Russian Adelina Sotnikova in a controversial decision.

The Korea Skating Union (KSU) filed a complaint over the makeup of the judging panel for the women’s free skate rather than the results of the competition, according to Yonhap News, reporting that the KSU believes the panel’s composition was in violation of the ISU’s ethical rules.

One of the judges from Sochi is married to a top Russian figure skating federation official and was seen hugging Sotnikova shortly after she won gold. Another was suspended one year as being part of the 1998 Olympic ice dance fixing scandal.

Sneak a Peek at Beverly Kim and John Clark’s Parachute Opening Menu
Chicago Eater

When Beverly Kim and John Clark open Parachute (probably next month), expect a different take on Korean cuisine. Kim and Clark are terming their first restaurant “Korean-American,” fusing the textures and flavor profiles of traditional Korean cooking with creative ingredients available to modern restaurants in Chicago.

“I don’t want to compete with mom-and-pop Korean restaurants,” Kim says. “I definitely grew up with those dishes, those dishes excite me, but with our experiences we can put a twist on it that makes it approachable for non-Koreans and Koreans alike.”

“It might take some time for people to grasp that.”

NKorea to Consider Broadcasting ‘Teletubbies,’ ‘Top Gear,’ ‘Doctor Who’
Author: James S. Kim
Posted: April 9th, 2014
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 Image via Reddit

The Doctor has traveled to the ends of the universe across time and space, but even he hasn’t been to North Korea. That may be about to change, however, as Pyongyang is in talks with the BBC to bring three of its most popular programs to North Korean viewers: Doctor Who, Top Gear and Teletubbies.

The BBC began an initiative last year to come up with a list of programs that North Korea could consider airing, according to The Independent. Foreign Secretary William Hague said it would be “a good way to improve understanding about the outside world within such a closed society.”

Negotiations apparently didn’t go smoothly, as it took the North Korean delegation months to select the three shows. The BBC now awaits approval from Pyongyang. Continue Reading »

Friday’s Link Attack: NKorean Drones; Stephen Kim Sentenced in Leak Case; Lee Min-ho Meets President Park
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: April 4th, 2014
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North Korean crew missing after capsize off South
BBC

A Sixteen sailors were on board the Mongolian-flagged cargo ship that went down off the southern coast of South Korea.

Three of the crew have been rescued, South Korean officials said. A search was under way for the remaining 11 crew members. The vessel was heading from North Korea to China with a cargo of steel.

South Korea’s coast guard said 13 vessels and six aircraft were involved in the search. It is not clear what caused the ship, which sent a distress call in the early hours of Friday, to sink.

N.Korean Drone Snapped Photos of Cheong Wa Dae
Chosun Ilbo

A drone that crashed in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on March 24 hovered above Cheong Wa Dae and took close-range photos of the facility, it was revealed on Wednesday.

Based on several photos the Chosun Ilbo obtained on Wednesday, the drone started taking photos near Paju along a pre-set route. It flew right above Cheong Wa Dae and Gyeongbok Palace at an altitude of 1.3 km.

Analysis of digital information contained in these photos shows that the drone photographed the Cheong Wa Dae compound and its vicinity while flying from northwest over the area.

Japan’s claims in grade school texts
Korea JoongAng Daily

The Korean government yesterday “strongly denounced” Japan’s plan to significantly step up claims to the Dokdo islets in the East Sea in elementary school textbooks and said it was trying to distort history once again.

Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology yesterday revealed that its textbook authorization committee approved fifth and sixth grade social science textbooks from four publishers that explicitly claim Takeshima, Japan’s name for the islets, as Japanese territory.

These four textbooks will be used in classrooms starting from April 2015. All four say that “Korea is illegally occupying Takeshima.”

Kim Is Unafraid to Fly
Wall Street Journal

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un clearly doesn’t share his father’s fear of flying.

On Wednesday, North Korean state media showed Mr. Kim disembarking from an airplane at Samjiyon airport in the north of the country, a rare shot of the leader traveling by plane.

Mr. Kim took part in an “oath-taking meeting” of Korean People’s Army officers close to Mt. Baekdu on the border with China, according to the Korean Central News Agency. The officers were reportedly wrapping up a study tour of battle sites associated with Mr. Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, in the area.

Ex-State Department adviser Stephen J. Kim sentenced in leak case
Washington Post

A former State Department arms expert who leaked classified information to a Fox News reporter was sentenced Wednesday to 13 months in prison after a pointed courtroom debate about the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of unauthorized disclosures of top-secret information.

Stephen Jin-Woo Kim pleaded guilty in February to sharing classified information from an intelligence report on North Korea with reporter James Rosen, Fox’s chief Washington correspondent. Rosen was also targeted in the investigation by federal agents, who described him as a possible “co-conspirator” in a bid to search his personal e-mails.

Occupational therapist John Hwang hangs with the homeless
Southern California Public Radio

By day, La Puente resident John Hwang works in Monterey Park as an occupational therapist. By night – and sometimes quite late into the night – he’s walking L.A.’s Skid Row, checking in with old friends and making new ones along the way.

“I’ve always been very intrigued by people living on the street,” says Hwang, “because if you live in L.A., you see them all the time.” He had no plans to document his visits when he started going out to Skid Row about a year and a half ago. Yet as he met more people, and heard more of their stories, he felt he needed to share them somehow.

Kim Soo Hyun Scores Coca-Cola China Endorsement Deal
KDrama Stars

Soon, China will be filled with Kim Soo Hyun’s face with a Coca-Cola product.
In a statement made by KeyEast Entertainment, Kim Soo Hyun’s agency, the actor has been chosen as Coca-Cola China’s latest ambassador and is set to shoot a commercial film this May. The actual release will be made late this year.

Kim Soo Hyun’s popularity is mainly attributed to his hit SBS TV drama “You Who Came From The Stars” which started airing in Korea in December 2013 and concluded last February.

It was also reported that the broadcasting rights of the TV drama was the most expensive ever for a Korean drama in China.

Korean Author Kyung-sook Shin On Literature and Geopolitics
Publishing Perspectives

The border with North Korea and its famous Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) must be one of the happiest and saddest places on the planet – happy because it is full of tourists having their pictures taken with the South Korean soldiers, who clearly enjoy the flattery (“Hey, he looking good this one!” josh their colleagues to each other over the tannoy); sad because it divides one people, brother from brother.

Newspapers in the west are full of the animosity between the two countries – all those stories of missile launches and military exercises on each side of the border. But when you visit, when you are there on the ground in this odd place, one doesn’t sense a raised fist; rather, an outstretched hand. The message, the signs, are all of peace and reconciliation. It is moving, even more so when one gazes out on the four-mile strip (two on each side of the border) that forms the DMZ itself.

The Walking Dead Relationships: Glenn and Eugene? Josh McDermitt Explains
Wetpaint

The Walking Dead may be a show centered around a specific group of people just trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, but there’s still time for our characters to have romantic relationships with one another, and boy do they ever! We’ve got Gleggie, which is the name for Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and Maggie Greene’s (Lauren Cohan) totally legit union, but we also have ‘ships like Richonne or Caryl, which advocate for pairings that haven’t happened on screen yet and may never even get to that point. Richonne is for Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) fans, while Caryl supporters are those that want to see Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) enter into a relationship.

Roof of Kim Jong-un’s Jerry-Built Luxury Villa Caves In
Chosun Ilbo

The roof of a luxury villa in Wonsan belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has collapsed, apparently due to faulty construction.

A comparison of a photo of the villa taken by South Korea’s Arirang 3 satellite and an earlier image of the area on Google Earth shows a building in the compound with a collapsed roof.

One U.S. satellite image expert who analyzes photos of the luxury villas and government buildings used by the North Korean elite said the building appears to be an aquarium that was built in 2011.

Lee Min-ho meets President
Korea JoongAng Daily

Actor Lee Min-ho met with President Park Geun-hye yesterday at the third conference of the Presidential Committee for Cultural Enrichment, which looks at issues related to developing Korea’s cultural content.

Lee was invited by the committee and the Blue House because of his fame as a leading figure in the Korean Wave. The meeting was held at Bitmaru Broadcasting Center in Ilsan, Gyeonggi.

 

Monday’s Link Attack: Japan Won’t Revise Comfort Women Apology; Run River North Charts; Hyun-Jin Ryu
Author: Cassandra Kwok
Posted: March 10th, 2014
Filed Under: BLOG
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Japan Won’t Alter Apology to World War II Sex Slaves
New York Times

Japan will not revise a landmark apology to women forced to work in military brothels during World War II even as it moves ahead with a review of the testimony used to create that apology, a spokesman for the Japanese government said Monday.

Yoshihide Suga, the chief cabinet secretary, told reporters that the conservative government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had no intention of changing the 1993 apology, called the Kono Statement. The apology admitted for the first time that the Imperial military played at least an indirect role in forcing the women, known euphemistically as “comfort women,” to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.

Mr. Suga was responding to rising criticism from South Korea, a former Japanese colony where many of the women came from, of an announcement made two weeks ago by Mr. Suga that the government would review evidence used to support the apology. At that time, Mr. Suga said the government would form a panel of experts to review the evidence used to back up the statement, mostly testimony made two decades ago by 16 aging former sex slaves.

North Korea Election: A Sham Worth Studying
TIME.com

Kim wins. That is the unsurprising outcome of North Korea’s first legislative election under the leadership young dictator Kim Jong Un. State media report that nearly 100% of eligible North Koreans voted in Sunday’s poll, and 100% cast votes in favor of the status quo. This is only partly as ridiculous as it sounds: voting is mandatory and there is one option on the ballot.

Indeed, when North Korea votes, it votes. When exactly 100% of eligible North Korean set out to cast votes 100% in favor of pre-determined politicians, they were carried forth on “billows of emotion and happiness,” state media reported. And nowhere were they happier — or more billowy, presumably — that in Kim Jong Un’s district, Mount Paektu, the Korean peninsula’s highest peak. The group that voted at the storied site were so moved by the exercise that they spontaneously burst into song, state media said.

North Korean Flagged Tanker Puzzles Observers
Wall Street Journal

Is North Korea trying to import oil from rebel forces in Libya?

The Libyan government and militias are threatening to attack a North Korean-flagged tanker off its coast that they say rebels are hoping to use to export oil from the port of al-Sidra.

“Any attempt (by the tanker) to move, it will be turned into scrap,” Libyan Culture Minister Al-Habib al-Amin said on Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

The presence of the tanker, named “The Morning Glory,” has puzzled observers because it’s very unusual for North Korean-flagged vessels to appear in the Mediterranean.

Dennis Rodman pledges to end North Korea trips
Sporting News

Dennis Rodman, back from a North Korea trip that included an exhibition game and birthday song for Kim Jong Un, has pledged he will not make a return visit to the dictator if that is not what people want.

Rodman said he went to North Korea with pure intentions, stating that he only wants to “do great things in life” in a television interview with ESPN’s Mark Schwarz.

“I wish they understood the whole purpose of why I went to North Korea,” Rodman said. “I wish they did.”

Kim Jong-un’s Sister Secures Place in Nomenklatura
Chosun Ilbo

North Korea’s state-run media have for the first time mentioned leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Yeo-jong by name, suggesting she has established a position of some influence for herself in the corridors of power.

North Korean state TV on Sunday reported that Kim Jong-un visited a polling station at Kim Il-sung University for elections for the Supreme People’s Assembly on Sunday, accompanied by military politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae, Workers Party deputy directors Kim Kyong-ok and Hwang Pyong-so, “and comrade Kim Yeo-jong.”

Challenging South Korea’s Gender Barrier
Wall Street Journal

When Cho Eun-sook started her career as the first female software developer at LG Electronics Inc. in 1988, there was no such thing as maternity leave. Instead, she took vacation days to give birth to her two sons.

Now in her 27th year at the company, Ms. Cho runs mobile accessory development and is one of three female vice presidents at the company.

Ms. Cho was one of more than 120 female engineers who met to discuss women working in technology at an event hosted by Google Inc. in Seoul on Friday to mark International Women’s Day.

Fugitive tracked by Tribune is returned from S. Korea
Chicago Tribune

U.S. authorities today extradited international fugitive Kyung Ho Song to Chicago from his native South Korea, more than a decade after Song fled Cook County to avoid being tried on charges of drunken driving and reckless homicide.

The hunt for Song was reactivated after the Tribune contacted prosecutors and police about the dormant case in connection with its 2011 “Fugitives From Justice” investigation. The Tribune separately tracked down Song in a suburb of Seoul and interviewed him there in early 2012.

Korean authorities arrested Song in December 2013 on a U.S. provisional arrest warrant, and the Korean ministry of justice authorized his extradition back to Chicago.

Affirmative action amendment has some Asian-Americans furious
Southern California Public Radio

A proposal to reinstate affirmative action at California’s public universities is riling some Asian-American groups more than any recent political issue, with critics unleashing their anger on social media and in protests and public meetings.

At issue is a Democrat-backed bill that would lift a 1996 ban keeping University of California and California State University schools from considering race or ethnicity in admissions and recruitment.

SCA 5 – short for Senate Constitutional Amendment 5 – passed on a party-line vote in the state Senate late January, and if it’s approved by the supermajority in the Assembly, Californians could vote on the issue as early as this year.

More charges after cyclist killed in W. Colorado
AP via Seattle Post-Intelligencer

A 29-year-old Palisade woman involved in a crash in western Colorado that killed a man on a cross-country bicycling trip is now facing several drug charges.

Prosecutors say Tonie Rosales used cocaine for two days in September before heading to Delta for a court hearing relating to a prior DUI arrest. She struck and killed 25-year-old Eunjey Cho on U.S. Highway 50 on her way to court Sept. 18 and was formally charged with the drug offenses Thursday.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1gc4wnD ) Rosales already has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide — one alleging DUI and another alleging reckless driving.

Brentwood girl gets two perfect ACT scores, looks to future in science
The Tennessean

For most students, taking the ACT is a rite of passage.

It can be an eye-opening and sometimes brutal experience, often repeated to achieve better results and possibly gain college scholarship money and win selective admission.

But for Joyce Kang, a senior at Brentwood High School, the college entrance exam was a piece of cake both times she took it. That’s right: She made the highest possible score — 36 — both times.

Kang had to endure the exam a second time because she didn’t take the ACT written assessment the first time.

Folk rockers Run River North flows in the right direction on debut album
Music Times

Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven’t heard of.

Week of 03/07/2013
WHO: Run River North
WHAT: Run River North
SPOT: 196

Run River North first came to our attention in a method befitting the the style of music they play. The six-piece had assembled its own music video (under its then name Monsters Calling Home) shooting inside a Honda Fit. The car company appreciated the gesture and hooked them up with Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Uncomfortable questions with Shin-Soo Choo
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas)

Shin-Soo Choo’s big league career began when he was 22 as a rookie with the Seattle Mariners. He is 30 now, and should be fairly secure with the seven-year, $130 million contract he signed with the Texas Rangers in the offseason. He should be able to live off that for at least two to three years.

A native of South Korea, Choo is expected to bat leadoff hitter, and be the Rangers’ every day left fielder. He was nice enough to answer some uncomfortable questions.

Dodgers to start Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu in Australia openers
Los Angeles Times

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly made official Sunday what had been suspected for some time: Left-handers Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu are set to start the team’s season-opening games against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia.

But anything beyond that, Mattingly said, is still to be determined.

“We still haven’t made all our decisions on exactly how we’re going to set up our roster,” he said. “So those are issues that we continue to talk with guys about.”

IOC Deletes Fake Quotes from Kim Yu-na
Chosun Ilbo

The International Olympic Committee has quietly deleted fabricated quotes from Korean figure skating star Kim Yu-na that appeared to downplay controversy over judging irregularities at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The IOC published an article with the implausible quotes on its official website on March 6, focusing on figure skaters from the Innsbruck Youth Winter Olympics who won medals in Sochi.

One skater in focus was Russian gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova. The IOC claimed Kim had been “magnanimous in defeat” after a highly dubious judging decision in Sochi put her in second place.

Kim Yu-na to hold farewell ice shows in May: agency
Yonhap News

South Korean figure skating icon Kim Yu-na will hold farewell ice shows in Seoul this spring, her agency announced Monday.

All That Sports said Kim will take the center stage at her corporate-sponsored ice shows from May 4 to 6 in the nation’s capital.

The 23-year-old star retired from competition after the Sochi Winter Olympics last month. She picked up the silver medal behind Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, after winning the gold at the previous Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.

The agency said the three days of performances will be Kim’s last appearances on ice as a figure skater. Through the agency’s press release, Kim said she hopes to take the opportunity to show her appreciation for her fans.

Beverly Kim and John Clark Plan to Open Parachute
Chicago Magazine

When the husband-and-wife chef team Beverly Kim and John Clark took over the now-defunct Bonsoirée in 2012, they fulfilled a dream of working together on a Korean-inspired modern restaurant. Unfortunately, the dream lasted only a few months there, and Bonsoirée closed.

After a year-plus deferral, they’re leaping back into their restaurant-ownership dream, and if you leap, you need a Parachute (3500 N. Elston Ave., Avondale, no phone yet). The 40-seat, liquor-licensed, Korean-American-perspective restaurant is scheduled to open in April.

Kim and Clark say the food will pull together traditional Korean flavors with new and creative ones. “Reminiscent of familiar traditional flavors, but presented in a new creative way,” Kim says. As an example, they offer a crispy mung bean pancake with pork belly, black garlic, and kimchi. The menu breaks down into snacks in the $4 to $7 range, appetizers such as crudos or salads, rice and noodles, and larger plates intended for sharing and costing between $18 and $25.

Korea’s Most Popular Online Eating Shows
Wall Street Journal

One of South Korea’s hardest-to-explain phenomena in recent months is the boom of “mokbang”: Internet-streamed shows where hosts eat often supersized meals – for the audience’s pleasure.

Choi Ji-hwan, a top mokbang host, told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that one of his satisfied viewers was on a diet seeking a vicarious thrill. Others were living alone and enjoyed his virtual company as they ate “together.”

Every night on a local YouTube-like platform AfreecaTV, multiple show hosts vie to be selected by hundreds of thousands of viewers. Several of them make a living through these shows and have hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

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