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A lot of people have been asking me

Eddie Mair | 13:43 UK time, Sunday, 7 January 2007

when I intend to make my views clear on the hanging of Saddam. To avoid confusion, it will be three weeks on Thursday.


  1. At 01:46 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Oooh, Eddie, are you in the office having a Farewell-to-Lissa do?

    Meanwhile, don't hurry on the Saddam front. True leaders don't.

  2. At 01:48 PM on 07 Jan 2007, jonnie wrote:

    February the 1st then ?

    I'll ponder a while ?

  3. At 01:55 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    I'll mark it in the diary to remind me to ask you again then!

    So, Eddie, has Marc been shown what the blog is like? Does he know what he's let himself in for?

  4. At 02:14 PM on 07 Jan 2007, steve wrote:

    well that's alright then Eric, because whilst all the froggers are waiting with baited breath...

    (What is one supposed to catch with baited breath, anyone know?).

    As I was saying, to while away the days until Feb 1 any froggers who wish to see & feel the wood for real, and maybe have a chat, could do no better than go here. In truth, it's probably a gathering of PM listeners anyway judging by the number of artist's studios featured on WOYW!

    peaceful new year to all

  5. At 02:16 PM on 07 Jan 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Is your comment as straightforward as it sounds Eddie ?

    Am I being thick or is there some cryptic message within ?

    Could it be that Tony the PM will be on PM ?

  6. At 02:32 PM on 07 Jan 2007, steve wrote:

    re. 4 (at present)

    those pesky little codes always disappear just when you need them! With the links, it should have read more like this:

    As I was saying, to while away the days until Feb 1 any froggers who wish to see & feel the wood for real, and maybe have a chat, could do no better than go here. In truth, it's probably a gathering of PM listeners anyway judging by the number of artist's studios featured on WOYW!

  7. At 02:45 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Frances O wrote:

    steve, I think it's 'bated' breath, as in abated, perhaps? This is just speculation, though.

  8. At 03:11 PM on 07 Jan 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Frances O

    Well it's a welcome change from the apostrophe!
    Origin, here is a little I've copied from the link below:-

    Which is it - bated or baited? We have baited hooks and baited traps, but bated - what's that? Bated doesn't even seem to be a real word, where else do you hear it? Having said that 'baited breath' makes little sense either. How can breath be baited? With worms?


  9. At 03:12 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Jason Good wrote:

    Eddie, you are aware that if you speak out then the Iraqi Government will be forced to re-appraise it's stance towards you.

    I wonder if Tony came out against the hanging that the Iraqi Government would say that our troops were no longer welcome and that they would have to all come home? It would be one way out of the mess we find ourselves in.

  10. At 03:17 PM on 07 Jan 2007, steve wrote:

    Frances O - yes, I think you're absloutely right. I was just stuck in a rut there!

  11. At 03:29 PM on 07 Jan 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re (4) steve,

    In case the 'bated' discussion took us from your original comment.

    I'd love to see your art and have a chat with you. Please let us know when you are exhibiting on the South Coast and I'll try and pop over.

  12. At 03:33 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Sara wrote:

    Delay as long as you can, Eddie, and then with a bit of luck everyone will have forgotten about it and you can then forget to tell us.

    I think that's the strategy. Ask the PM.

    THE PM, I suggest, not PM.

  13. At 03:53 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Hi Eddie! Trust you to be topical. And working on your day off. Or do you regard frogging as we do - Frolicking?

  14. At 04:38 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    A lot of people (well, one in particular!) have been asking me when I'll get off my computer and get on with other things around the house. And my response, sadly, has to be 'now', because I've prolonged too much.

  15. At 05:10 PM on 07 Jan 2007, james wrote:

    I have to agree with sara (12). I don't think there is more to say - it has all been said

  16. At 07:54 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Adam Naylor wrote:

    Sara (12),

    PM is "the" PM.

    The other PM is merely the prime minister.

  17. At 08:39 PM on 07 Jan 2007, madmary wrote:

    Adam, why not try out the beach. There is always one on a Monday.

    Someone has left some tasty nibbles and drinks on the bar.


  18. At 08:39 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Mmm. Remind me to post a useful guide to the use of the apostrophe when I'm back in the office. But don't bate your breath.

    BTW, what is the difference between deep and profound?

  19. At 08:40 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Valery P wrote:

    Steve - I still have your site favourited (not a word but perhaps it could be?)(or favouritised instead maybe?), from way back at the beginning of PMBlogTime :o), a feast for the eyes. Let us know when/if you exhibit in Scotland?

  20. At 08:59 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Annasee wrote:

    Adam - well put.

    We could perhaps further distinguish the two by using "the current PM" (implication being that he's not around for much longer in that position) while we know that "the real PM " endureth for ever & is the true power in the land...

  21. At 09:00 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Steve (10), after Valery P (17), me also, except W London re exhibitions...

    I followed Ed I's link on a previous thread to the cartoon from Fiore about this; F got it right. How to make a martyr out of a tyrant in one minute.

    I am not surprised at TB's lack of comment, but that just deepens my cynicism concerning his premiership. Just what is he waiting for - permission from GWB?

  22. At 09:06 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Adam Naylor wrote:

    Valery (17) - favourited? Favouritised?


    As a fellow pedant I'd have to say "on my Favourites list"

    Although it's "Bookmarks" on Firefox.


    PS, at least you didn't mention "Favouritized" which would have really got my goat :)

    PPS, I'm the sort of person who will recast a whole sentence to remove a split infinitive, although it sounds worse and makes less sense. Ho hum.

  23. At 09:44 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Bill'n'Ben wrote:


    Sorry Adam I just couldn't resist it.


  24. At 10:55 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    I too have Bookmarks. (Opera User) I only use the Windoze internet thingy when I shop online at a certain supermarket. But having just tried that supermarkets web page with Opera on this new pc of mine it seems fine. So even fewer reasons for IE.

    I would advice all Windows users to download another browser and try it.

  25. At 11:05 PM on 07 Jan 2007, Sara wrote:

    Adam (16) - you're so right. Sorry. Do come to the beach.

  26. At 11:09 PM on 07 Jan 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    Don't you have to wait until your nextdoor neighbour talks to Andrew Marr?

  27. At 12:53 AM on 08 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Blame Whisht!

    Houb Salaam
    08/01/2007 at 00:55:15 GMT

  28. At 01:20 AM on 08 Jan 2007, james wrote:

    well I am very glad noone actually commented on the original thread - as usual it disintegrated into the banal

  29. At 02:06 AM on 08 Jan 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: james ((28)

    Now I'm the last to make any comment about spelling, however in james recent post he used the word 'noone' as opposed to 'no one'

    Is that correct ?

    As I'm always being hauled over the coals for my spelling I thought I'd check with you all ?

    I'm not bothered but if it's the james who uploaded the 20 year old picture to Eddie's WOYW on the 5th December last year, and the same james who picks me up on every apostrophe, I'd like a response.

  30. At 02:14 AM on 08 Jan 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: james (28)

    After casting my eye over all the comments, I can only see comment (28) as banal (devoid of freshness or originality; hackneyed; trite)

    Goodnight james.

  31. At 02:26 AM on 08 Jan 2007, james wrote:

    jonnie, yes, you are correct.. Well done! I stand corrected. Gold star. clever boy!

  32. At 02:30 AM on 08 Jan 2007, james wrote:

    what cheek (30) and having to resort to google for remarks - hackneyed - who says that? unless you are from Essex

  33. At 08:40 AM on 08 Jan 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    favourited? Favouritised?
    As a fellow pedant I'd have to say "on my Favourites list"
    Although it's "Bookmarks" on Firefox.
    PS, at least you didn't mention "Favouritized" which would have really got my goat.

    Form a pedantic extremist:-

    This is going down the American path of "Verbing" any noun you like, and introducing unnecessarily long words to replace originally short ones. Leveraged instead of levered comes to mind. In the case of favorites (sic) the word should be "Favoured"/"Favored", should it not?

    [BTW, I'm glad to hear of someone else (Stewart M 24) using Opera. It has a facility to "Imitate" the microshaft browser; the said facility has been known to overcome problems with some sites. I used to use Opera when my PC only had 16 MB of RAM, as it was light on memory requirement.]

    Now, about apostrophes: The following is pasted from a "Word" document. I fear that when it is displayed (if the mods allow such longnessitude) some of its point will be lost, e.g. crossings-out.
    At the request of a colleague, I have written a short guide to correct apostrophe use (I taught English as a second language in a former life). He found it useful and has suggested that I make the guide available here.

    Note that there is some variation in apostrophe use from region to region. The guide below is just one set of rules. However, if you follow this set, then you will not be wrong.


    1. Apostrophes Showing Possession
    1.1. Singular Possessives:
    An apostrophe is used with the letter s to show ownership or possession:
    “That is Joan's jacket.”
    Words ending in s
    If the singular noun ends with an s, add apostrophe s if the extra syllable is pronounced:
    “The boss’s office is the biggest.”
    If the extra syllable is not pronounced (or if it otherwise looks confusing to add apostrophe s), simply add an apostrophe:
    “Jeff Bridges is Lloyd Bridges' son.”
    Some authorities always add an apostrophe only to any word ending with s, regardless of its pronunciation. This is acceptable. Whichever standard you choose to follow, be consistent.

    1.2. Plural Possessives:
    To make a plural noun possessive, simply add an apostrophe to the word:
    “These are the boys’ toys.”
    If the plural does not end in an s, then add an apostrophe plus s:
    “Can you tell me where the men's toilet is?”

    1.3. Apostrophes with Possessives of More than One Owner:
    To show that more than one person owns the same item, make only the last owner in the series possessive:
    Ken and Barbie’s house (they share the same house)
    Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (they shared the same excellent adventure)
    Dick’s and Troy’s fortunes (they each have their own fortune)

    2. Apostrophes with Verb Contractions
    Note that in formal writing such contractions should be avoided.
    The most common contractions involve verbs in five situations.
    2.1. Examples of verbs with “not” contracted, or shortened:
    aren't, don't, isn't, wasn't, can't, weren't, weren't, wouldn't, doesn't, hasn't, haven't, couldn't
    The word “won't” is a contraction of “will not” - in older dialects “will” was often spelled “woll”. The word “shan't” for “shall not” is rarely used in the United States. The word “ain't” is not considered correct in formal English.

    2.2. Examples of pronouns with “will” contracted, or shortened:
    I'll, you'll, he'll, she'll, they'll

    2.3. Examples of pronouns and nouns with the verb “to be”:
    I'm, you're (you are), who's (who is), he's, she's, it's (it is), we're, they're (they are)
    Do not confuse:
    you’re with your (“You’re washing your car.”)
    it’s with its (“It’s building its nest.”)
    who’s with whose (“Who’s washing whose car?”)
    they’re with their (“They’re off on their holidays.”)

    2.4. Examples of pronouns with the verb to have:
    I've, he's, you've, we've, they've
    Sometimes the word “have” is slurred, especially after verbs like “would”, “could”, and “should”. In informal writing this can be shown as “would've”, but never as “would of”.

    2.5. Examples of pronouns with “would” or “had” contracted:
    I'd, he'd, she'd, you'd, we'd, they'd

    3. Apostrophes with Years
    3.1. Insert an apostrophe where numbers are dropped:
    ‘65 for 1965
    3.2. Do not use an apostrophe where years are plural:
    The 1960s but not The 1960’s

    4. Apostrophes with Italicised or Underlined Items
    When letters, numbers, symbols, and words are used to represent themselves, they should be italicised or underlined. In such cases, when these items are made plural, the plural can be shown by adding apostrophe s to the underlined or italicised item. The apostrophe and s are not italicized or underlined.
    These two instances are the only times in English when adding an apostrophe plus s makes something plural.
    “You should always dot your i's.” (Letter as a letter – note lowercase only)
    “My 7's look like 2's.” (Number as number – apostrophe not obligatory)
    “Your &'s look like 8's.” (Symbol as symbol – apostrophe not obligatory)
    “I find the thee's and thou's in older writing hard to follow.” (Words as words)

    5. Never use an apostrophe
    To make a plural noun: “He keeps [bee’s] bees in his garden.”
    To make decades plural: “I was born in the [1960’s] 1960s.”
    To make acronyms plural: “I attended two [JAD’s] JADs yesterday.”
    With possessive pronouns:
    “[Who’s] Whose book is this?”
    “That is [her’s] hers.”
    “This car has had [it’s] its day.”


    Declan Chellar
    Telford, somewhere foggy in the UK

  34. At 09:24 AM on 08 Jan 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Vyle/Declan (33),

    My mother used to have a book "English in a Nutshell". It had a pretty similar set of rules, so far as I recall, for the apostraphie. Other punctuation marks were similarly treated. Cannot find the book anywhere these days.

  35. At 09:43 AM on 08 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Re Vyle (18):

    Are you suggesting that there's no difference between Deepthought and Profoundthought?

    I wonder if Deepthought(JohnW) can oblige with his views?

  36. At 10:18 AM on 08 Jan 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Well that's all very clear and comprehensive, even though I disagree with some of it - mainly the plurals. It's not long since we decided here onhte frog that the plural acronym for Weapons of Mass Destruction was WMDs. My grammar teacher had quite a simple rule, if something has disappeared, eg the 'o' in things like wouldn't and couldn't then the apostrophe is a 'gravestone to mark its passing'.

    So glad that I am not the only one who hates the american habit of making nouns into verbs. They do a similarly annoying thing with present participles as in 'the beginning singer' which annoys me even more.

    Surely the difference between Deepthought and profound thought is obvious: profound thought is what philosophers go in for; Deepthought is a computer who was asked to work out the answer to the ultimate question of the world the universe and everything.

  37. At 10:33 AM on 08 Jan 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Vyle (18) my guess would be that 'deep' is Anglo-Saxon in original and 'profound' from the French. Meanings similar but nuances different. I'll try to check.

    Would highly recommend Melvyn Bragg's "The Adventure of English" to anyone interested in such things and who has not yet come across it.

  38. At 11:01 AM on 08 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Never mind those damned apostrophe's!

    I just heard someone on Women's Hour ask for predictions fot the future!

    Monday January 08, 2007 at 11:05:09 GMT

  39. At 11:13 AM on 08 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    A pity that Bill Dixon's excellent questions for politicians are likely to be overlooked on a deadhead thread...
    Monday January 08, 2007 at 11:15:13 GMT

  40. At 11:38 AM on 08 Jan 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    I wasn't thinking about Deepthought, but musing upon the fact that Eddie was reporting the planned leaving of Lissa with deep and profound regret. I wondered if he was being tautological.

    That'll get me into trouble with the Lord Mayor again.

  41. At 12:16 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Just don't tell them WHICH Thursday....

    Heard a real gem on 'Today' this morning. Some composer chappie from Merseyside has composed music using the natural rhythms and inflections of the Liverpool accent to provide him with the main musical themes in the piece.

    It's in the key of A!

    *Scally accent* A. A. A. Calm down, calm down. A. A. A.

  42. At 12:35 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Scally accents - That reminds me of something my SO did many years ago. When on a business trip with colleagues from Whitbreads (he's in the brewing business - I know, I know, he's a very popular man!), there was a bunch of them in a car on the outskirts of Birkenhead. They were lost, so decided to ask for directions. At the instigation of another of the occupants - a wiseguy who loved to wind people up - SO was told that, in order to be understood, he had to end any question with 'Wack'. He duly followed orders.

    Amazingly, he didn't get a bit more than traffic directions!

  43. At 12:47 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Humph wrote:

    Vyle (18)

    Deep is used to describe something that goes a long way down whilst profound is a dog with a seat in academia.


  44. At 12:47 PM on 08 Jan 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: james and Essex.

    Well as Simon Worrall once said of me.

    'You can take the boy out of Essex but can't take Essex out of the boy'

    It's actually a nice County. Have you visited it ever james ?

    Do you ever leave Dorset ?

  45. At 12:56 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    The Answer to Life the Universe and Everything is, as you all know, 42. The Question to .... from the TV series was something like "what is 7 X 8". I stand to be corrected.

    Whilst on Grammar things. When did Trains start to come to a complete Stand at the Station? and When did Railway stations become Train Stations?

    My Middle School Headmaster and English Teacher gave us Grammar lessons at teh age of 11. I don't think its taught like that anymore.

    "Tom lies beneath the sod" was a a favorite sentence of his. Add a comma after beneath and its got an entirely different meaning.

  46. At 01:54 PM on 08 Jan 2007, RJD wrote:

    Humph (43)

    Ha ha ha! Very very Humph-like.

    I was hoping somebody would come up with something like that - I couldn't think of anything.

  47. At 02:11 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Good one, Humph!

    Jonnie, re Essex: I agree. There are some lovely bits.

  48. At 02:26 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Whisht wrote:

    Ed I - what've I done??

    You've linked my name to an Israeli cartoonist thing!!

    erm..... well, I was an illustrator, but cartoons were never really my thing.

    I wasn't funny enough.

    [what am i being blamed for??]

  49. At 02:37 PM on 08 Jan 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Yes, very goof Humph, it took a sec or two to sink in, but after reading it out loud :-)

  50. At 02:37 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Whisht wrote:

    ah - Ed I,

    right - just gone back and found that you'd followed a link of mine and.... right.

    panic over!!

    (for me that is! I'd clicked the link, seen a cartoon about something Israeli, saw the words "anti semitic" and knowing your inclinations thought "Wha??!!??")

    phew, thought I'd really offended someone!

  51. At 02:45 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Simply 'blaming' you for pointing me/us )through the medium of growabrain) to some brilliant (and some less so) antisemitic humour from Jews.

    Nobody does antisemitism better!

    Now, whisht yer gob!

    Monday January 08, 2007 at 14:45:10 GMT

  52. At 03:20 PM on 08 Jan 2007, RJD wrote:

    Humph - If I lob them up will you hit them?

    Can you explain the difference between "machinate" and "conspire"?

    Or more topically the subtleness of "insurgent" rather than "rebel"?

  53. At 03:31 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Valery P wrote:

    Errm - you do realise I was teasing with the bit about saving as a Favourite? with reference to discussions on a previous thread about resurrecting my pedantic ways! I wouldn't dream of verbalizing, now would I folks? ;o)

  54. At 03:48 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Whisht (and all)

    For the record, I'm not antisemitic, but I am pretty strongly antizionist. To those who don't know the difference, *loud raspberry*

    Looking somewhat Semitic, I was often treated as an 'honorary' Jew in New York, and learned much of enlightened business practices as well as intellectual achievement in Jewish company. It always amuses me when someone asks me, "Were your parents strict?" ;-)

    Salaam/Shalom (cognate!)

  55. At 04:09 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Humph wrote:

    RJD (52)

    If I remember correctly, an insurgent is someone who uses military tactics in an attempt to overthrow the government whilst rebel is a drink that gives you wings (if their adverts are to be believed).


  56. At 04:28 PM on 08 Jan 2007, RJD wrote:

    Humph - Yes I agree.

    And my Shorter Oxford has machinate as joining or combining to plot for evil puposes, whilst conspire is a fake addition to a steeple.

  57. At 06:20 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Ian Yewendo wrote:

    Humph 43 & Vyle 18

    From the Uxbridge English Dictionary:

    Deep indicates something which has a low base or bass, whilst Profound is the result of a successful kerb crawling expedition.

    Insurgent is a very proper male person who has his suits tailored from a particular sort of cloth, whereas Rebel is an item from a bag of assorted chocolate covered sweets made for export to Spain.

    Incidentally, I had thought that
    Conspire was the outdoor cremation site for deceased prisoners.

  58. At 07:10 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    But what about Basso Profundo?

  59. At 08:11 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    ODD ONE OUT! Spot the odd one out

    Surge represents first stage of Operation Empire Strikes Back.

    In Major Shakeup, Ministers of Defense, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Oil Remain in Place in Iraq; Maliki Replaces Ministers of Culture, Tourism.
    Mullah Omar Says He Hasn't
    Seen Bin Laden in 5 Years
    What's more, “he never writes, he never calls.”

    Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran's uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.
    Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear "bunker-busters", according to several Israeli military sources.

    Compliments of the Ironic Times and the Sunday Times
    Monday January 08, 2007 at 20:15:26 GMT

  60. At 10:26 PM on 08 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Remember, it ain't about oil, is it?

    I. Surging Toward the Ultimate Prize
    By Chris Floyd

    The reason that George W. Bush insists that "victory" is achievable in Iraq is not that he is deluded or isolated or ignorant or detached from reality or ill-advised. No, it's that his definition of "victory" is different from those bruited about in his own rhetoric and in the ever-earnest disquisitions of the chattering classes in print and online. For Bush, victory is indeed at hand. It could come at any moment now, could already have been achieved by the time you read this. And the driving force behind his planned "surge" of American troops is the need to preserve those fruits of victory that are now ripening in his hand.

    At any time within the next few days, the Iraqi Council of Ministers is expected to approve a new "hydrocarbon law" essentially drawn up by the Bush administration and its UK lackey, the Independent on Sunday reported. The new bill will "radically redraw the Iraqi oil industry and throw open the doors to the third-largest oil reserves in the world," says the paper, whose reporters have seen a draft of the new law. "It would allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil companies in the country since the industry was nationalized in 1972." If the government's parliamentary majority prevails, the law should take effect in March.

    As the paper notes, the law will give Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell and other carbon cronies of the White House unprecedented sweetheart deals, allowing them to pump gargantuan profits from Iraq's nominally state-owned oilfields for decades to come. This law has been in the works since the very beginning of the invasion - indeed, since months before the invasion, when the Bush administration brought in Phillip Carroll, former CEO of both Shell and Fluor, the politically-wired oil servicing firm, to devise "contingency plans" for divvying up Iraq's oil after the attack.

    Jus to keep up a lighthearted tone for proceedings....
    Monday January 08, 2007 at 22:27:06 GMT

  61. At 09:45 AM on 09 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:


    Oh, so it was REALLY all about OIL? What a big surprise!

  62. At 10:01 AM on 09 Jan 2007, vyle hernia wrote:

    Ed (60),

    "You cannot be serious, man," comes to mind. Surely Dubya would realise that as soon as his compatriot victims have vacated the place the Iraq government can change the law.

  63. At 12:12 PM on 09 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    What? And invite another invasion? Remember that one of the (if not THE) main straws on that particular camel's back was Saddam's switching to Euros for oil trading.

    Tuesday January 09, 2007 at 12:14:50 GMT

    And don't tell me the USA can be expected to learn anything from the fiasco, or I'll ask for evidence of such a capacity ;-)

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