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Eddie Mair | 16:59 UK time, Wednesday, 19 November 2008


Be your own radio critic! Tell us here, frankly, what you thought of tonight's programme. In the PM office we meet every night at 1800 in the Glass Box you see above. Add your comment here.


  • 1. At 5:48pm on 19 Nov 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Where the real action is

    Check out the Auto Companies!

    And, Globally, it's a beautiful cliffscape...


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  • 2. At 5:48pm on 19 Nov 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    I think we should ask Hugh if he'd like to step in as John Sergeant's replacement.

    Incidentally, on another thread, a blogger is saying they'll pay good money to see Eddie without his pants.* Is this another reality show in the making, I wonder?

    *I distance myself considerably from such a suggestion, btw.

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  • 3. At 5:59pm on 19 Nov 2008, eightypercent wrote:

    Will someone ask Ed Iglehart to stop posting those darn indices. Ed - We KNOW !

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  • 4. At 6:02pm on 19 Nov 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Al Qaeda No. 2 Calls Obama Racial Epithet

    Well, he's just a big No. 2 himself! So there!

    AlJazeera translated "House slave" rather differently than the BBC did.

    Peace and a civil tongue

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  • 5. At 6:06pm on 19 Nov 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Hello again, Ed!

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  • 6. At 6:11pm on 19 Nov 2008, bewildebeest wrote:

    I take it today was 'a quiet news day' ?For your information it is NOT news when an ex journalist appears on a reality programme - or do you get a bonus for plugging other programmes ?
    Or do you think it is an interesting story because it involves a journalist ?
    Stick to the real news please - if I wanted witless drivel I would buy a red top.

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  • 7. At 6:15pm on 19 Nov 2008, Lady_Sue wrote:

    (2) Big Sis! I'm shocked!

    Besides, there was no mention of money. I looked. Otherwise money = Nils.


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  • 8. At 6:17pm on 19 Nov 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Thanks Sis, and a welcome to 80% (when she clears moderation). I recommend half a dozen quick, light-hearted posts to become a PM "Trusty", and enjoy the thrill of instant posts...

    Peace and promiscuous blogging

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  • 9. At 6:25pm on 19 Nov 2008, eightypercent wrote:

    # 8 ~ You won't be so pleased when you see what I've got to say.

    I've seen those infernal indices once too often and they're driving me MAD.

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  • 10. At 7:13pm on 19 Nov 2008, aburrow2 wrote:

    I listened in dismay this evening to the news that John Sergeant has left strictly come dancing.
    We have to remember that this show is about light entertainment and I really think the contestants and Judges should remember that. If the rules are that the public can vote people in then so be it. The public were clearly voting for something the other contestants didn't have and the judges just didn't appreciate.

    It sounds like John could sense internal resentment building and decided to leave before it started to get personal. Also I guess he also wanted to avoid a very briusing tabloid exploitation of the situation as it would have developed.
    I for one enjoyed greatly his charming, warm and individual performances which were a breath of fresh air compared to the uptight competition. John is clearly comfortable in his own skin and I salute him.
    I might continue to watch but only for Bruces sake.
    Andy in the Cotswolds.

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  • 11. At 7:29pm on 19 Nov 2008, U11204129 wrote:

    There's talk on this blog of Keynes as a reactionary, and Mombiot is quoted from yesterday's Grauniad.

    It was Keynes who proposed Bancor, y'know.

    But there IS something reactionary to one of his central ANTI-SLUMP policies.

    The government spending to create demand to cure a slump, for Keynes, shifts the wage profit bargain in favour of profit.

    'Cos for him, the spending IS inflationary, but workers, for him, somehow don't notice it, and get a cut in their REAL wages.

    That cut goes to profit instead. Which is what makes entrepreneurs willing to re-start production

    So beware wage cuts and slower increases as the slump comes.

    Another part of Keynes, of current interest, is his liqudity trap. People with money won't buy financial assets, 'cos for them, when the 'trap' is working, the interest rates are artificially low and are bound to rise. So that the value of those financial assets will fall.

    Which is the current scare, that no one will buy all this government debt to come, at implausibly (unsustainably) low rates of interest.

    Keynes sought in the first instance to protect his social class from the effects of Marxism.

    Today, we see through him.

    He is dead, as a saviour of mankind, but Marx and Mao live on.

    Thank goodness.

    So could we have a Keynes, always right, or back in fashion or always wrong, item, please, Edgie?

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  • 12. At 7:35pm on 19 Nov 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    "I've seen those infernal indices once too often and they're driving me MAD."
    Ah, but they change every day (and every moment). Don't get mad; get even! They only look the same because the direction doesn't change, no matter how much silly money the "powers that be" throw into the pool. Do you have a special concern for the modulus of elasticity for morbid felines?

    Peace and bouncy kitties

    (And a great opportunuty for some bottom fishing...)

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  • 13. At 7:39pm on 19 Nov 2008, U11204129 wrote:

    The link at 4. is v. useful.

    Obama at home may take his inspiration from his childeren and wife who ARE the descendants of slaves. He of course is not.

    The question is what form his help for the down trodden in America will take.

    Making sure black children go to excellent schools is imperative.

    But it is also imperative that American 'aristocracy' recognises that it is their turn to work in the factories.

    Otherwise Obama's effect may be just to produce a few more Colin Powells and Congealed Rices (albeit left wing versions), whilst the working class in America fail to take power en masse, and fail to make their historic oppressors the hewers of wood and drawers of water

    Lets hope we show him the way, here.

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  • 14. At 8:32pm on 19 Nov 2008, Charlie wrote:

    Mmmm... from today's PM Newsletter:

    "By the way this Saturday's iPM - the more interactive version of PM that starts and ends with its listeners..."

    "...starts and ends with its listeners..."

    Sounds a bit Blue-Peter-ish to me

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  • 15. At 10:07pm on 19 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Ed I, maybe you know: Could Keynes dance?

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  • 16. At 11:20pm on 19 Nov 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    If Keynes could dance, would it be the Can-Can or, perhaps more likely, the Charleston? (geddit?)

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  • 17. At 00:15am on 20 Nov 2008, justfloating wrote:

    I fear for the innocent sea users. With all the hype and hysteria your reporter was saying. He definitely has never met or used a radar to avoid pirates. Even at 3km the beam width is about 60m so you can not tell the size of any pirate boat.

    There is only one way to determine if a ship is a pirate. Force them to attack you by trying to search the boat. Indian navy style.

    One of the most dangerous tactics is convoys. They find it hard to abide by the collision rules of the sea and therefore can not easily miss other shipping. Even pirates. Are they just going to shoot anything in their way? There is a short window between seeing an attacking vessel and the pirates getting on board. That needs military on every ship.

    If you think a military escort is an answer think about the situation where they do a decoy attack. Without line of sight, only missiles will work. But who would launch a missile in close quarters with an oil tanker!

    Most ships do not answer calls and I have heard the navy calling many ships with no success. A lot of the ships do not recognise the navies as having any power. Why would they? Most boats are trying to hide from the pirates but the navies want to highlight them to the world on open channels!

    Stupid stupid people!

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  • 18. At 00:30am on 20 Nov 2008, jonnie wrote:

    Hello Ed I --

    I'm confused?

    What did eightypercent think we should know?

    I listened to you in the past and swopped my guzzling four wheel drive for a hybrid.

    I nearly crashed and slid off a muddy road in Cornwall last week.

    I don't go on holiday anymore - therefore I'm very depressed.

    I swopped all the cosy warm light bulbs for compact florescents - now guests don't come

    I put nuts out for the squirrels - now the dog is poorly - well the vet said it's an allergy - possibly nut related.

    All of these so called ecological improvements and now the bank balance is at an all time low and we are more depressed than ever!

    Peace and promiscuous blogging -

    Well at least I have that.

    Jonnie ;-o

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  • 19. At 00:41am on 20 Nov 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Or Dashing White Sergeant? Bretton Two-step?

    P.S. I don't geddit ;-(

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  • 20. At 00:47am on 20 Nov 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Sorry If I've ruined your life ;-(

    I think 80% is tired of me gloating about all the air coming out of the bubble, like this link which went screwy at #1:
    This time it should work?

    Wow! Just look at the right-hand column!

    Peace and austerity

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  • 21. At 08:16am on 20 Nov 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    EdI: Keynes was a member of the Bloomsbury group and doubtless spent time with Vanessa and Clive Bell in their Sussex home - Charleston - near Lewes.

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  • 22. At 08:26am on 20 Nov 2008, eddiemair wrote:

    bewildebeest (6), for your information it was news, and judging by the emails and comments we received, listeners have engaged with it as such. Neither was the coverage witless - Hugh Sykes did his usual brilliant job. And you might want to write to The Guardian, The Independent, the Times and The Daily Telegraph today to tell them they're red tops.

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  • 23. At 08:34am on 20 Nov 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    My comment at 21 has been referred to the moderators? It was a simple reply to EdI's post to me at 19 in which I pointed out that the reason I mentioned Charleston in relation to JM Keynes is that he was a member of the Bloomsbury group and therefore a friend of Clive and Vanessa Bell, whose Sussex house (which Keynes visited) is called Charleston.

    Now, moderators, whatever is wrong with that, or is somebody - Eddie, own up now!, being mischievous?

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  • 24. At 08:37am on 20 Nov 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh, and just in case there's any doubt of this - the Bells are no longer living people, and Charleston is a famous Sussex museum ....... So no danger of breaking blog rules, methinks!

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  • 25. At 10:13am on 20 Nov 2008, bewildebeest wrote:

    Mr Mair (post 22) - I disagree with your view that journalists talking about other journalists is 'news'. 'News' is the reporting of real events happening in the real world. Journalists are just the messengers.
    I do however agree with your view that even the 'broadsheets' are similar to 'red tops' these days ;) Hopefully the BBC can reverse its slide in the same general direction.

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  • 26. At 10:48am on 20 Nov 2008, eddiemair wrote:

    bewildebeest (25), you're quite right - it was a fictional event in a parallel universe. And I expressed no view about the broadsheets - how revealing that that's how you interpreted what I wrote!

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  • 27. At 10:56am on 20 Nov 2008, Mrs Effingham wrote:

    bewildebeest, have you been eating sour grasses...?

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  • 28. At 11:02am on 20 Nov 2008, jonnie wrote:

    It's interesting - as I pointed out on another thread, that responses such as bewildebeest seem to reflect that of many Radio 4's listeners.

    What is news exactly? I suppose if so many millions watch 'strictly come dancing' and it has become such a talking point then it should be reported and discussed.

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  • 29. At 11:12am on 20 Nov 2008, eddiemair wrote:

    Except Jonnie that, as I said, most people who've contacted us have engaged with the story, and haven't questioned its value. Bewild doesn't reflect the view of many if the comments on this thread and the National Tragedy thread are any guide. And not a night goes by - seriously - when we don't get an email from someone saying - "why are you talking about this when you should be talking about this..." It's ALWAYS a valid question...but in this case (and I've just been back to the email inbox to check the stuff that came in about the story while we were on the air) there was only one complaint there that we were running it. Everyone else was engaging with the content....(and as it happens were critical of what the Strictly bosses have done!)

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  • 30. At 11:23am on 20 Nov 2008, U12196018 wrote:

    Eddie (26) - I'm afraid bewildebeest is upset after hearing the 9 o'clock bulletin last night and is a bit concerned about what news is/are.

    "... and finally tonight, we've just received a report that the last wildebeest in Africa was shot today.
    That is the end of the gnus. Now over to Dan Corbett for the weather forecast."

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  • 31. At 11:32am on 20 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    bwb 6, 25, PM is not, strictly speaking, just a news program. It is news and comment. For news, tune in at 6 o'clock (where they probably also included the non-news Strictly story).

    I have discovered, as have others, it does little good to complain about things to the BBC (see the foot-dragging over the Ross-Brand debacle), because the BBC is always right. People who produce dumbed-down programs don't know that they are doing so, or they wouldn't do it.

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  • 32. At 11:36am on 20 Nov 2008, annasee wrote:

    Well I saw the only clip of John S that I've caught so far, on Newsnight a couple of nights ago. So Jeremy Paxman obviously thought he was news too!

    I think he's news because, although he is/ was a journalist, he was doing something completely (and oh, HOW completely) outside his usual area of expertise. Rather like the people who appeared in Maestro. I think it's very brave and generous-spirited of him, and also very grown-up to have resigned when he did, rather than hanging on to extract the last ounce of personal publicity out of the story.

    Interesting glimpses of human nature in the various reactions to the story, too.

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  • 33. At 11:48am on 20 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    annasee 32, But, has anybody seen John S and Jo Brand appear on the same program? Now that would be news.

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  • 34. At 11:53am on 20 Nov 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Regarding John Sergeant, I personally found him almost the sole redeeming element of an ordeal I only witnessed due to certain seniority rights in the household...As to his entire participation, including the gracious withdrawal, I say, "Well Done!"

    Peace and perspective

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  • 35. At 12:21pm on 20 Nov 2008, Joe_Palooka wrote:

    Eddie (29), don't feed the trolls.

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  • 36. At 12:48pm on 20 Nov 2008, bewildebeest wrote:

    Eddie, firstly apologies for starting off in a slightly combative manner but it was inspired by a serious point and has had the desired effect in sparking a wider debate. (One of the problems with this kind of forum is that it's very easy to let rip before you have had a reasoned debate)
    Secondly your statement 'most people who've contacted us have engaged with the story, and haven't questioned its value. Bewild doesn't reflect the view of many if the comments on this thread'. Obviously true but not necessarily valid -how many listeners hit the off switch and/or don't add to PM Blog ?
    Thirdly my jibe about the similarity between broadsheets and red tops was obviously a bit too subtle.

    MrsEffingham : sour grasses...?
    No.... bitter almonds is probably nearer the mark.

    My main point was that IMHO the media in general and journalists/reporters/ presenters in particular take themselves and each other very seriously to the point that they start to believe that they are more interesting and important than their reason for being there. That is my perception from the 'outside' which obviously won't match Mr Mair's perception from the 'inside'. That is not intended to be personal - no-one is above critiscism or immune from the opinions of others. The debate I really would like to start is concerned with the general standard of journalism in all forms of media and most of all I would like to involve people from the industry itself because I believe that if there was a bit more introspection and self analysis from those whose apparent obsession (yes IMHO again !!) is chasing ratings/paper sales/trivia/celebrity etc the media would do a better job, regain some integrity and enjoy greater respect from the rest of the population.
    This could not happen pre-internet on a national scale because the 'media' would not support such a self critical debate.
    A reasoned, rational and eloquent response from a journalist please ?

    Why do I care ? Because parts of the media perform a vital function, because I like and respect the BBC (yes really but not as much as I used to) and because I want to be informed of significant and important events, in any universe, by intelligent, factual reporting.

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  • 37. At 12:57pm on 20 Nov 2008, jonnie wrote:

    David @ 31 The first paragraph made perfect sense - then you seemed to lose all credibility in the 2nd - what a shame!

    annasee, I agree with your point.

    It could have been Vera from Corrie - If her lungs were better or even Jack - nothing to do with John Seargeants journalistic background.

    and as Eddie has pointed out, the vast majority seemed happy with PM covering the 'ahem' news story.

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  • 38. At 1:30pm on 20 Nov 2008, jonnie wrote:

    What the papers say:- http://tinyurl.com/558ckp

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  • 39. At 2:42pm on 20 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    jonnie @ 37, I'm not so sure about your view that DMcN's second paragraph lost the plot: I think I probably agree with him that

    'I have discovered, as have others, it does little good to complain about things to the BBC'

    given that I have only once received any explanation for apparently arbitrary censorship on the Blog, and on that occasion the explanation didn't in fact match what I had written

    and anyone who listens to Feedback might go along with 'because the BBC is always right.' as a cynical comment on the way that A Producer is wheeled out to say 'no, this complaint isn't correct, we were right' most times. (Archers fans may now froth at the mouth over the number of times they have been told that the script was carefully researched and is therefore realistic, and ask 'why have Jack and Peggy apparently got no GP?')

    As for 'People who produce dumbed-down programs don't know that they are doing so, or they wouldn't do it', either that is true and slightly sad, or the fact of its not being true would imply that the producers were being very cynical indeed in assuming that their audience were dumb and talking down to them, wouldn't it?

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  • 40. At 3:42pm on 20 Nov 2008, mittfh wrote:

    Markets: I prefer Ed I's approach to PML's approach. And the link that did work had an interesting feature whereby you could compare different stock market indices, and see that most all appear to move in unison...

    Strictly: Here's an idea for an experiment. Take two equally dire dances, where the judges award the same spread of marks to each. However, for the first one, show one half of the country judges comments that are "poisonous", and the other half comments that are more moderate in tone. Reverse with the second dance (so those that heard the nasty comments hear the more moderate ones etc.). Then examine how the public vote for each - i.e. do they always vote for the personality they like best, or do they vote for the person who attracted the most barbed comments?

    Alternatively, in the interests of transparency, publish either the public's ranking of contestants or each contestant's overall ranking (from which the public's ranking could be deduced).

    My personal view is that it's nice to see underdogs surviving beyond the judges' expectations during the first half of the contest - after all, it gives them a chance to try out various dance styles, perhaps find a range of dances that 'suits' them, and improve (not everyone improves linearly - some may have a slow start, but pick up quickly later on), but in the latter stages, if a contestant starts to lag seriously behind the worst of the rest of the competition, they do start sticking out like a sore thumb.

    And bear in mind that this year the opportunities for the public to vote are much more limited - a few hours on a Saturday night, as opposed to the majority of the week as occurred in previous years.

    Having said all that, John's comments during the press conference were brilliant (all the talk of tactical voting), as was Hugh's unconventional coverage (e.g. talking to one of the set dressers, wry amusement at the vast number of press present, mention of his potential upcoming holiday etc.)

    And finally, how long do you reckon it'll be before we hear the magic phrase "Sergeant gate"?

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  • 41. At 3:43pm on 20 Nov 2008, eddiemair wrote:

    Bewild...the subtlety of your point was not lost on me - I only queried your assertion. As for what everyone thinks - of course we can only go on what people tell us. Most people don't. But it's our only guide and on this occasion it supports the opposite argument to yours.
    The wider debate about what news is, is very interesting. And I suppose the slightly narrower point I was making is that our audience is very quick to tell us when they think we've got it wrong. When we do get it wrong we get a LOT of correspondence. We haven't had it about this.
    And we didn't do the Sergeant story because it was BBC, or because he was a journalist...and unlike many other media outlets...including those broadsheets ;o) who'd been writing about him for days, last night was our only mention.
    As for criticism - as I've said, we get it all the time, and PM makes itself more open to public criticism that can be viewed in a public forum, than just about any show I can think of. The serious debate you want is here every day, and something all of us in the production process take VERY seriously. I'm glad you care...really. Please hold us to account.

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  • 42. At 3:53pm on 20 Nov 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    "than just about any show I can think of."
    I thought it was a programme.

    Peace and linguistic imperialism

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  • 43. At 4:17pm on 20 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    When is a programme a show?


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  • 44. At 4:23pm on 20 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    j 37, I'll switch the paragraphs around.

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  • 45. At 4:24pm on 20 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    C_G 39, I'll not switch the paragraphs around.

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  • 46. At 6:00pm on 20 Nov 2008, RxKaren wrote:

    Chris_G - according to my Nan it isn't a show unless there's a man playing a trumpet.

    re JS - damned if you do, damned if you don't really. I thought the coverage was about right and it wasn't a story that could be completely ignored as everyone else seemed to be covering it. Loved the Paxo bit.

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  • 47. At 10:40pm on 20 Nov 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Your Nan sounds quite a laugh, Karen ;o)

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