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  GOV. COOPER NEWS  
 
Gov. Cooper extends N.C. flag lowering for McCain death
Spectrum News // Staff // August 30, 2018

Summary: Governor Roy Cooper’s office has extended its call for all U.S. and N.C. flags to be lowered through Sunday in honor of Senator John McCain."John McCain was a true American hero who served his country with honor throughout his life, and our nation has lost a great man," said Governor Cooper. "Our prayers are with his family and all those who loved him and served with him."

Meadows confirms no FEMA aid for region at CIBO power lunch
Mountain Xpress // Daniel Walton // August 30, 2018

Summary:U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows was bullish about the nation’s prospects in his remarks during the Council of Independent Business Owners “power lunch” at Highland Brewing Co. on Aug. 27. In a response to Xpress questions after the event, however, he said that Western North Carolina will have to recover from recent flooding events without Federal Emergency Management Agency support. Gov. Roy Cooper had requested a federal major disaster declaration on July 30, which would have qualified WNC for funds to repair damage from storms, landslides and mudslides during the month of May. Meadows said he joined Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr earlier in August to support Cooper’s request and had reached out to FEMA directly on several occasions. However, Meadows noted that FEMA Administrator Brock Long’s letter on Aug. 20 denying the disaster declaration was likely the final word on the matter. “I think that decision has been made,” he said. “Obviously, that’s a decision that they didn’t feel met the threshold [for supplemental federal assistance].”
 NCDP NEWS & MENTIONS  

North Carolina Becomes a Nail-Biter for Democrats
Bloomberg // Albert R. Hunt // August 30, 2018

Summary: Democrats’ quest to take control of the House may get a boost, possibly a big one, from an unlikely place: North Carolina, where Republicans have drawn pervasively partisan congressional district lines. This week a federal appeals court reiterated a ruling that the lines are unconstitutional and must be redrawn for this election, which is only 10 weeks away. If they are, and it’s still a big if, it could mean a pickup of as many as three to four seats for the Democrats. Republicans currently hold a 10-to-3 advantage in the House delegation of a state that’s almost evenly divided. A fascinating twist here is that North Carolina Republicans will appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, which earlier had sent the case back to the appeals court. But, in a politically charged case, with Anthony Kennedy’s July 31 retirement, it’s noteworthy there are an equal number of Democratic- and Republican-appointed justices.

 OTHER 




Midterms

NC ballots could postpone November election
Spectrum News // Loretta Boniti // August 30, 2018

Summary: With the ongoing legal wrangling, the state is now just days away from missing a deadline over to get absentee ballots printed 45 days before elections. Political observers say if the election has to be postponed, it raises questions about who is at an advantage or disadvantage. “Here we have, at least in democrats’ minds, the set up for a blue wave election in which democrats would do well,” said David McLennan of Meredith College. “If the election is not on Nov. 6, does that affect democrats’ chances of doing as well as they could?”

How the Democratic Party Can Turn the Sun Belt Blue
The Atlantic // Ronald Brownstein // August 30, 2018

Summary: This week’s competitive primaries in Arizona and Florida suggest the midterm elections could provide revealing signals on one of the most important questions facing the two parties over the next decade: Can Democrats overturn the Republican advantage in the rapidly growing Sun Belt? In the coming years, Democrats will likely face a growing need to expand their inroads in the Sun Belt states—which tend to be younger, racially diverse, and white-collar—as Republicans strengthen their position in older, predominantly white, and blue-collar states across the Midwest and Great Plains. This transition won’t occur overnight. For the 2020 presidential race, the top priority for most Democratic strategists remains recapturing the three Rust Belt states Donald Trump dislodged from the party’s “blue wall” by a combined margin of only about 80,000 votes: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

Gerrymandering 

Our Opinion: A good court decision for North Carolina shouldn't blow up November's election
Greensboro N&R // Editorial Board // August 29, 2018

Summary: The latest bombshell from the courts landed in Greensboro about dinner time on Monday, when a three-judge panel from U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina reinforced its opinion from earlier this year that North Carolina’s congressional districts had been gerrymandered to favor Republicans This development is good for you in the long term because it means that maps may be drawn to give every voter equal access to decision makers, rather than insulating at least 10 of the state’s 13 representatives in districts their party dominates with a stranglehold. That the courts want to dismantle partisan gerrymandering deserves plenty of loud noise. To understand how that works and how it might unfold requires a moment of silence as we consider everyone and everything that would be affected. First, the panel made this determination back in the spring, ordering a redraw for this fall’s elections. State Sen. Phil Berger (R-Eden) and Rep. Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which, as it had in similar cases in Wisconsin and Maryland, punted the case back to the panel to reinforce that the litigants had standing to seek relief.

Why not try fair legislative districts in North Carolina?
Wilson Times // StarNews Editorial Board // August 30, 2018

Summary: “North Carolina Is Ordered to Redraw Its Congressional Map” You’re not seeing double and it’s not a typo. These are headlines from Jan. 9 and Monday after a special panel of federal judges decided for a second time that the state’s congressional districts are unconstitutional due to excessive partisanship. It was not clear what impact the ruling might have on the general election. The field for the election is set, with early voting beginning Oct. 17 and Election Day on Nov. 6. In its 321-page opinion, the panel did not rule out requiring the Republican-controlled General Assembly to redraw the map for this election. The decision also raised the possibility of letting the general election serve as a new primary for the congressional races, then holding a special election for the final vote.

The Four Corners offense has returned. Now NC Republicans are using it.
N&O // David Daley // August 30, 2018

Summary: UNC basketball coach Dean Smith called it the Four Corners: When the Tar Heels held the lead, he’d signal his point guard to spread the floor, play keep-away, and run out the clock. The NCAA pushed back by installing the shot clock and forcing competition. N.C. Republicans have been running a Four Corners of their own when it comes to the state’s congressional maps. This week a panel of federal judges attempted to speed up the game and create a fair playing field. When a federal court invalidated the state’s GOP-leaning congressional map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander — once again — the judges also opened the door to an unusual remedy. The court suggested it might demand a new map for this fall’s elections, even though Election Day looms just 10 weeks away.

Never-ending redistricting battles in N.C., Virginia should force a better process
Virginian Pilot // Roger Chesley // August 29, 2018

Summary: Republican officials in North Carolina got a case of the vapors this week, after a three-judge appellate panel ruled the congressional districts there were unconstitutionally gerrymandered. Not only that, but the judges of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said they may force the drawing of new districts in the Tar Heel State before the November elections. That’s barely more than two months away. “What the court suggests is simply impossible,” huffed state House Speaker Tim Moore and state Senate President Phil Berger in a joint statement. “[We’re] not aware of any other time in the history of our country that a state’s congressional delegation could not be seated, and the result would be unmitigated chaos and irreparable voter confusion.” I will now cue up the world’s tiniest violin, given the long-running deviousness of Republicans there.

Judges are fixing gerrymandered N.C. They may cause mass confusion along the way.
WAPO // Editorial Board // August 29, 2018

Summary: WE SYMPATHIZE with the federal three-judge panel that on Monday repudiated North Carolina’s outrageously gerrymandered congressional district map. But the judges will have to move with extreme care over the coming weeks to avoid mass confusion before Election Day. In a near-identical reprise of a previous decision, the judges found that North Carolina’s legislature drew the state’s congressional districts with impermissible partisan intent. Declaring that “the Constitution does not allow elected officials to enact laws that distort the marketplace of political ideas so as to intentionally favor certain political beliefs, parties, or candidates and disfavor others,” the court found state lawmakers violated no fewer than three constitutional provisions: Article I, which “preserves inviolate the right of ‘the People’ to elect their Representatives;” the First Amendment, which “prohibits election regulations that ‘restrict the speech of some elements of our society in order to enhance the relative voice of others;’ ” and the equal protection clause, which “embodies the foundational constitutional principle that the State must govern ‘impartially.’ ”

North Carolina's Gerrymandering Drama Is Only Going to Get Worse
The Atlantic // Vann R. Newkirk II // August 29, 2018

Summary: Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea for Republican state legislators in North Carolina to openly admit that they were drawing partisan gerrymanders. “I acknowledge freely that this would be a political gerrymander, which is not against the law”—that’s how state Representative David Lewis, the chief GOP official in charge of redistricting, characterized the latest congressional maps. He’d been sent back to the drawing board in 2016 by a federal court, which said the previous maps he’d authorized constituted racial gerrymanders. So Lewis and his team, still seeking to maximize Republican advantage, opted to redraw districts along aggressively partisan lines instead. Lewis’s legal analysis was clearly lacking, as a decision Monday by a panel of federal judges deemed his revised plan an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. Part of a labyrinthian series of court decisions spanning most of the past four federal election cycles, and involving multiple revisions of both state and federal maps, the judiciary’s latest blow to the North Carolina GOP might be the messiest, with midterms just around the corner. How will the decision influence the 2018 elections? How will the pending confirmation hearing of a new Supreme Court justice affect the decision? And just what does it mean that multiple legislative delegations have been elected in a state found repeatedly to have used unconstitutional means to decide who is represented, and how?

Amendments

A late-night Supreme Court ruling, and a new lawsuit: The latest in NC amendments case
Herald Sun // Will Doran // August 30, 2018

Summary: In a rare pair of late-night orders, the North Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday denied attempts by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the N.C. NAACP to stop proposed constitutional amendments from being put before voters in November. And by Thursday morning, at least one of those cases had new life. Cooper filed a new lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court, challenging the constitutionality of two of the six amendments that the Republican-led legislature wants voters to approve. The first hearing in this new case is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m.

Our view: Reject the six amendments
Winston Salem Journal // Editorial Board // August 29, 2018

Summary: In another twist to the soap opera that we call the state legislature, Republican leaders have revamped two of the six constitutional amendments they’re forcing onto the November ballot, thus negating the legal issues that arose with their previous versions. The changes are only cosmetic, though. The new versions would still be damaging to our state. Gov. Roy Cooper is still trying to block them, and his challenge should prevail. “Both amendments, if approved by voters in November, would take the power to appoint members of the state elections and ethics board from the executive and give it to the legislature,” The Associated Press reported. “One also would swing power held by the governor to fill judicial vacancies to the legislature.”

Our Opinion: North Carolina's proposed constitutional amendments need to be defeated
Greensboro N&R // Editorial Board // August 28, 2018

Summary: The General Assembly really wants to amend the state constitution. Legislators really want to get their words on the ballot, so you can ratify them in November and allow those words to permit lawmakers to take more control of your lives. And that, in simple words, is what all this wrangling about wording in Raleigh has been about this past month. Catch your breath and get ready for another riff: In June, on the last day of the General Assembly’s short session, lawmakers passed, without input from any delegate who isn’t designated with an “R,” those six amendments they want you to consider, giving legislators control of appointments for the judiciary and for commissions that the governor now has; enacting a photo ID framework for voters; lowering the cap of the state income tax rate; protecting the rights of crime victims and a reinforcement of your right to hunt and fish.

A late-night Supreme Court ruling, and a new lawsuit: The latest in NC amendments case
N&O // Will Doran // August 30, 2018

Summary: In a rare pair of late-night orders, the North Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday denied attempts by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the N.C. NAACP to stop proposed constitutional amendments from being put before voters in November. And by Thursday morning, at least one of those cases had new life. Cooper filed a new lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court, challenging the constitutionality of two of the six amendments that the Republican-led legislature wants voters to approve. The first hearing in this new case is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m.

NC-9

A true centrist or too vague? NC congressional candidate plays it down the middle
Charlotte Observer // Ely Portillo // August 30, 2018

Summary: A blue wave could sweep Democrats back into power in the U.S. House this fall, but Dan McCready is following a path that looks a lot more purple. McCready, a Democrat, is trying to flip North Carolina’s 9th District from Republican control in one of the nation’s most-watched races, a contest that could help determine control of the House. He’s running on a centrist platform that emphasizes his service as a Marine in Iraq and his small-business bona fides as a solar energy investor. But his opponents charge that in trying to appeal to a broad swath of voters, McCready has touted slogans such as “country over party” instead of telling voters details about what he’d do on issues like immigration and the border, gun control, taxes and healthcare. Political scientist Michael Bitzer, a professor at Catawba College, said McCready is trying to “fit the district” — though a court ruling this week mandating new districts could throw that calculus into disarray, if the 9th is redrawn before the election.

NC-13

Koch-backed political group unveils House endorsements
CBS News // AP // August 30, 2018

Summary: The candidates backed by the network's political arm, Americans for Prosperity, include eight men from seven states: Reps. Rod Blum and David Young of Iowa, Dave Brat of Virginia, Ted Budd of North Carolina, Steve Chabot of Ohio, Will Hurd of Texas, Erik Paulsen of Minnesota and Peter Roskam of Illinois. Brat, Roskam and Hurd in particular are facing serious challenges in November, and are vulnerable to being defeated by their Democratic opponents.

Trump in NC

Whirlwind trip to Charlotte puts Trump in the middle of 2 competitive NC races
Charlotte Observer // Jim Morrill, Ely Portillo // August 30, 2018
Summary: President Donald Trump will visit Charlotte on Friday for a whirlwind trip that includes a private fundraiser for Republican candidates in North Carolina’s two most competitive congressional races. The president’s visit is expected to stretch from early to late afternoon. It will affect traffic near Charlotte Douglas International Airport and in southeast Charlotte around Carmel Country Club, all at the start of a busy Labor Day travel weekend. Flights could be affected as well, due to restrictions on air traffic when Air Force One is landing and taking off. “We encourage passengers to contact their airline for updated flight information before coming to the airport, especially if you are flying tomorrow afternoon and evening,” airport officials said in a statement. “Please arrive early.”

Trump to the Rescue (Maybe) in North Carolina
RollCall // Mary C. Curtis // August 30, 2018

Summary: When Donald Trump travels to North Carolina this week, it won’t be for one of the campaign-style rallies that are his oxygen — especially needed now when the air is filled with praise for his nemesis John McCain, who is being lauded in death in terms the president can only dream about. This Friday in Charlotte, host of the 2020 GOP convention and with the Trump National Golf Club not that far away in Mooresville, the president is scheduled to make a lunchtime appearance at a country club for an audience of those willing and able to pay at least $1,000 ($25,000 will get you admission to a “roundtable” and a photograph with Trump). It is a party with a purpose: to raise enough cash to keep two possibly vulnerable House seats in Republicans hands. Part two of the planned trip is a public appearance at a campus of Central Piedmont Community College to deliver remarks and sign an executive order on retirement security. Expect a good mood if GOP coffers and hopes get a midday boost for crucial contests in the state.

Trump to sign executive order on retirement security Friday
WRAL // AP // August 30, 2018

Summary: The White House says Trump will direct the Labor and Treasury departments to issue regulations to help businesses join together to offer Association Retirement Plans. Administration officials say high costs discourage employers from offering plans like 401(k)s at a time when surveys show workers worrying about being able to live comfortably in retirement.

GenX

Chemours hit with yet another lawsuit over GenX, fluorinated compounds contamination
Progressive Pulse // Lisa Sorg // August 30, 2018
Summary: Cape Fear River Watch, a nonprofit group in Wilmington, is suing Chemours in federal court over the company’s discharges and emissions of GenX and other fluorinated compounds. If a judge rules in favor of CFRW, the company could be fined hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars in civil penalties. The Southern Environmental Law Center is representing Cape Fear River Watch in the lawsuit, which was filed in the US District Court in Raleigh yesterday. The litigation alleges that Chemours and DuPont, its parent company, for decades have illegally discharged the chemicals not only into the Cape Fear River, but also the groundwater and air; these actions violate of the company’s federal discharge permit, the Clean Water Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act, the court filing says.

STATE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD WANTS YOUR INPUT ON GENX REPORT
WWAY3 // Staff // August 30, 2018
Summary: Officials with the North Carolina Science Advisory Board are working on water quality standards. A current draft is the result of extensive research and now they want public comment. The finished report will provide guidance to multiple agencies on emerging compounds.

TOUR CHEMOURS: A LOOK AT COMPANY’S PLAN TO KEEP GENX FROM YOU
WWAY3 // Staff // August 30, 2018

Summary:  It’s been nearly 15 months since WWAY learned about GenX in the Cape Fear water supply. WWAY took part in a tour of the Chemours‘ plant in Bladen County Thursday. Video cameras were not allowed and Chemours employees would not speak on camera, but the company did let us take photos in several areas of the facility. Members of the Bladen County Commission and Bladen Economic Development Commission toured Chemours’ Fayetteville Works Plant to learn what the company is doing to cut GenX emissions in the air and water. “They are very definitive about the things they’re trying to do and are going to do, and the money they are going to spend and are hoping in the next year or two it’s going to be back where it’s supposed to be,” Bladen County Commissioner Russel Priest, a democrat, said.

NC Education 

PW exclusive: Ethics questions raised on DPI’s $6 million iPad purchase
NC Policy Watch // Billy Ball // August 30, 2018

Summary: When N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson announced a $6.6 million purchase of iPads to support early grade literacy in August, it seemed welcome news for North Carolina school districts that have long complained of inadequate state resources. But a Policy Watch review of state documents has found the multi-million dollar investment, which was not put out for bid with other vendors, came roughly seven months after Johnson and a trio of influential Republican budget-writers in the North Carolina General Assembly convened for an “executive briefing” with Apple reps at their Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. During the two-day meeting last October, the trillion-dollar tech giant spent more than $5,300 on transportation, lodging and meals for six state leaders, including dinner at an upscale Silicon Valley restaurant. Those invited wield significant power over the state’s public education budget, which funds services for North Carolina’s 115 school districts and 1.5 million schoolchildren.

Attorney General Stein 
 

Who used special DMV office? Attorney General blocking access to records
WBTV // Nick Oschner // August 30, 2018

Summary: The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office is refusing to allow the Division of Motor Vehicles to produce records detailing who scheduled appointments at the secret driver’s license office operated out of the DMV headquarters building in Raleigh. The office was operated one week each month from January to August. DMV Commissioner Torre Jessup told employees Wednesday the secret driver’s license facility would no longer be used after WBTV exposed the office on Tuesday. The week before WBTV’s investigation, a DMV spokesman initially denied the office existed when asked directly by a reporter from the station. Ultimately, the spokesman acknowledged the office’s existence and defended the agency’s use of the office, which was available by appointment only to certain state employees.

Apex gym closed for more than a week still charging members
CBS-17 // Lauren Haviland // August 30, 2019

Summary: A member of a local gym came to CBS 17 to get answers about why the facility has been closed for more than a week. 9Round, a kickboxing gym, is in a busy shopping complex in Apex. A note on the window states, "Notice: these premises have been padlocked by the order of the Wake County Sheriff's Dept. Do not enter." Deputies confirmed the owner of the building evicted 9Round on Aug. 20. On the same day, members received an email. It said in part: "We will be closed for the rest of the day."
So what are the options for customers? "The gym needs to offer them an alternative membership at another gym that offers similar services within an eight mile radius. That is what North Carolina law provides," Attorney General Josh Stein told CBS 17. If they don't, Stein said the gym needs to refund members their money. "If they paid with a credit card, they can contest the payment, stop future payments, and get refunds," Stein said.

Alamance 12

Gazette editorial: Going after civic-minded felons in NC
Gazette Mail // Opinion // August 29, 2018
Summary: Twelve citizens of Alamance County, North Carolina, were charged with illegal voting in the 2016 election because they had been previously convicted of a felony and were on parole or probation. Felony convictions in North Carolina and other states, including West Virginia, disqualify a person from voting for a period of time. So, OK, those citizens should have not have been voting. But should they have been arrested and charged? The North Carolina prosecutor, a Republican, got onto this issue after North Carolina discovered that 400 felons voted in 2016 who should not have. Most prosecutors don’t go after these cases. (If you can tell there’s a problem in your registration process, shouldn’t you just fix your registration process, rather that heap trouble on people who are already trying to building their lives back from an earlier mistake?) There is no separating the element of race here. You can administer this law “fairly” all day long and be sure to hold back more black Americans than white ones because black Americans make up a greater share of the prison population. That is, for all kinds of other troublesome reasons, collectively called institutional racism.

Silent Sam Aftermath 

As Silent Sam supporters hold vigil, opponents conduct dance party on UNC campus
N&O // Jane Stancill, Andrew Carter, Carlie Brosseau // August 30, 2018

Summary: As a large police presence watched Thursday night, anti-Silent Sam protesters held a “dance party” to celebrate the fallen Confederate statue while members of a Southern heritage group conducted a vigil inside a fenced-off area. About 40 to 50 members of the group ACTBAC, or Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County, unfurled an oversize Confederate flag within the perimeter. They carried signs that said, “Save our monuments, preserve our history.” Roughly twice as many people gathered in opposition to the statue. They yelled “(Expletive) your flag!” “Go home!” and “Pigs in a pen!”

UNC board member: Silent Sam takedown was planned by ‘radicals’ and police did ‘nothing’
N&O // Abbie Bennett, Mark Schultz // August 30, 2018 
Summary: Silent Sam’s takedown was the result of a “sophisticated political agenda” by “non-student radicals” that police let happen, a UNC Board of Governors member says in an 8-minute video he posted Thursday. “The destruction of Silent Sam is not as you are led to believe,” Thom Goolsby said in the video posted to his YouTube channel. Goolsby said the statue’s fate was not the result of a student-led, spontaneous uprising, but that “crime and riot on our UNC-Chapel Hill campus” was the “work of outside, non-student radicals carrying out what is shown to be a pre-planned and sophisticated political agenda.” Goolsby also accused the police present that night of inaction that helped bring the statue down. “If you’ve heard that the police weren’t ready for what was going on; they were surprised — no surprise,” Goolsby said in the video. The plan to topple Silent Sam was “put out all over” Orange and Durham counties ahead of time, Goolsby said, and was “so planned out” there were bandanas that read “Silent Sam must fall.”

Former UNC chancellor’s granddaughter among 14 now charged in Silent Sam protests
N&O // Tammy Grubb // August 30, 2018

Summary: Three more people, including the granddaughter of a former chancellor, have been charged in connection with Silent Sam protests last week at UNC-Chapel Hill, officials said. The latest arrests bring to 14 the number of people arrested since the Confederate statue was toppled from its campus pedestal Aug. 20. The newly arrested include one apparent UNC student, the first charged in the protests. On Saturday, after 11 protesters had been arrested in last week’s protests, Chancellor Carol Folt said none of those 11 were students.

Officer’s tattoo causes chief to ‘question his ability to function effectively’
N&O //
CarliBrosseau // August  30, 2018
Summary: A Chapel Hill police officer has been put on paid leave following questions about a tattoo on his forearm of the Roman numeral three encircled with stars. “The pervasiveness of the concerns raised by many regarding his display of a tattoo that is associated with the ‘3 Percenters’ has caused the Department to question his ability to function effectively as a police officer within this community,” Police Chief Chris Blue said in a statement. The Three Percenters is an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as “antigovernment.” The group eschews the labels “antigovernment” and “militia,” instead characterizing its members as “America’s insurance policy.” Members frequently show up in military-style gear at rallies with other far-right groups, such as Patriot Prayer events in Portland, Oregon; the Unite the Right rally last year in Charlottesville, Virginia; and a standoff with the federal government over a rancher’s grazing fees in Bunkerville, Nevada.

Federal News 

Trump cancels pay raises for federal employees
CNN // Kevin Liptak //  August 30, 2018

Summary: President Donald Trump told lawmakers on Thursday he wants to scrap a pay raise for civilian federal workers, saying the nation's budget couldn't support it. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Trump described the pay increase as "inappropriate." "We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases," the President wrote.
An across-the-board 2.1% pay increase for federal workers was slated to take effect in January. In addition, a yearly adjustment of paychecks based on the region of the country where a worker is posted -- the "locality pay increase" -- was due to take effect.

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