Seems like Bubba Wallace is already having a pretty good week. Does that mean he’ll pull off a win this weekend at Michigan International Speedway, a track where some of NASCAR’s younger drivers like Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and Chase Elliott have had success?We shall see, but in the meantime check out the pure emotion the Richard Petty Motorsports driver shows as he rides the waves. It’s almost like the joy he had after a second-place finish in this year’s Daytona 500.
Vermont Busness Magazine On September 9, 2016, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) awarded the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets $500,000 to develop a Vermont State Produce Safety Program. The award will support Vermont in its collaboration with FDA to cooperatively implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. The $500,000 is the first award of a planned five-year, $3.625 million investment in Vermont’s program by FDA, pending congressional budget allocation.This award will allow the Vermont Agency of Agriculture to prepare a multi-year plan for a comprehensive produce safety program; establish a Vermont produce farm inventory; develop a strategy for outreach, education, and technical assistance to all Vermont farms that grow covered produce; and develop an inspectional program for farms that must comply with the rule. The Agency will work closely with local organizations, such as the Vermont Farm Bureau, University of Vermont Extension, and other state agencies throughout the Northeast on program development and implementation of outreach, education and technical assistance. “Vermont’s fruit and vegetable growers are an essential part of our local agricultural economy,” said Governor Peter Shumlin. “These funds will enable Vermont to build a produce safety program that protects consumer health, while also addressing the needs of our local, small-scale producers.”In addition to this award, Vermont has been selected as a pilot state to assess producer readiness for compliance with the Produce Safety Rule through an on-farm readiness review program that will provide education and technical assistance to growers beginning during the 2017 growing season. “Vermont Farm Bureau looks forward to working with Vermont Agency of Agriculture on FSMA rule implementation,” said Vermont Farm Bureau President Joe Tisbert and owner/operator of Valley Dream Farm in Cambridge, Vermont. “We commend FDA for choosing Vermont as one of the pilot states for developing on-farm education and technical assistance to help producers comply with the Produce Safety Rule.”The Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Secretary Chuck Ross have played key roles in the development of the final FSMA Produce Safety Rule and FDA’s approach to educating before and while regulating. This ongoing effort to order to ensure an implementation strategy that is feasible for small-scale diversified agriculture in Vermont and New England reflects the Agency’s commitment to protecting the Vermont brand and its reputation for quality.“FSMA represents an important nationwide investment in food safety,” said Secretary of Agriculture, Chuck Ross. “My agency colleagues and I have worked closely with the FDA since 2011 to ensure that these new food safety rules are not only effective in reducing foodborne illness, but can also be realistically and successfully implemented by diversified and small-scale producers, like many of the farms throughout Vermont and New England. This initial award will allow us to begin building a comprehensive produce safety program that meets the needs of Vermont producers and prioritizes education before and during regulation.” The FSMA Produce Safety Rule was finalized in November 2015 and impacts farms and other businesses that grow, harvest, pack, or hold fresh produce. Larger growers will need to comply with the rule in 2018, while smaller growers have additional time to come into compliance.FDA awarded a total of $21.8 million to 42 states in Federal fiscal year 2016 to begin implementing the Produce Safety Rule. Vermont will receive the maximum amount for which it could apply based on the number of farms growing fresh fruits and vegetables covered by the rule. To view FDA’s news release for the award, visit http://go.usa.gov/xKeuH(link is external).For more information about FSMA and Produce Safety in Vermont, please visit: http://go.usa.gov/xKeu6(link is external) and http://go.usa.gov/xKeuF(link is external) (case sensitive URLs).Source: Vermont Agency of Agriculture. 10.3.2016. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets facilitates, supports and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment. www.Agriculture.Vermont.Gov(link is external)
Related Polar has announced a strategic partnership with i-tri, a community-based program ‘fostering personal empowerment through triathlon training for middle-school girls.’Through this partnership, i-tri girls will train with Polar heart rate monitors to incorporate the technology component of STEM learning into their curriculum. Polar adds that the data-based training will educate girls on the physics and biology of their bodies during exercise while providing real-time, personal data to continue training motivation and boost self-esteem.As a part of i-tri’s integrated STEM-based curriculum, The Science of Triathlon, the girls will also be part of a study to determine the effects of technology on their training process.“Polar’s partnership with i-tri is a major step in empowering adolescent girls to be active and understanding from a young age how real-time data is a reflection of what goes on inside our bodies,” said Tom Fowler, President of Polar US.“We believe that data is a major motivating factor for athletes of all ages, and we look forward to further promoting that inspiration and providing resources to help. Introducing an active lifestyle early is key for encouraging healthy habits throughout adulthood, and we support i-tri’s mission of personal empowerment through sports, science and education.”Since its formation in 2010, i-tri has reported educational gains, specifically in science, from girls who were in the program. With the Polar partnership, girls can take their learning a step further by analyzing their own data. By giving girls a goal of completing a triathlon, i-tri notes that it is also boosting confidence by giving them the physical and mental tools to achieve that goal.“Because of their long-standing history of accuracy, Polar was the clear choice when we decided to partner with a sports technology company,” said i-tri Founder and Executive Director, Theresa Roden.“After training for and completing my first triathlon in my thirties, I saw more than just a physical transformation – I saw the way it positively affected me from an emotional and self-esteem standpoint, and I wanted to create a community to foster those same goals for girls in their formative years.“We are confident that the technologies Polar offers will help do exactly that while also helping to create the next generation of engineers and scientists in the process.”www.itrigirls.org/polarwww.polar.com
Bishop Miege sophomore Josh Early goes up for a dunk in practice on Monday. Early will start today against St. Thomas Aquinas with the absence of senior Francesco Badocchi.Winter break is supposed to be a time where teams become better because all they have to focus on is basketball instead of academics.But Bishop Miege coach Rick Zych isn’t sure his team improved during the two-week break. The Stags have practiced only 28 times since the season began on Nov. 14, and only four times over break.The Kansas State High School Activities Association forces teams to take five days of practice off during winter break. This year it was Dec. 23-28.“We can’t get everybody here,” Zych said. “We’ve had guys out of town. I don’t know if we’re any better, honestly, than we were. I think we’ve taken a step back; 28 practices and three games, we get tired of beating up on each other. We just need to get in the rhythm of playing two or three times a week.”In addition, KSHSAA doesn’t allow teams to play any games. However, schools that are a mile to the east of Miege — in Missouri — have the ability to play in holiday tournaments.But, that’s a discussion for another time. The Stags will start to play two or three times a week beginning tonight against rival St. Thomas Aquinas, who comes in undefeated like Miege.The Saints ended the first half of their season with an 80-78 three-overtime thriller against St. James.Miege will be without leading scorer Francesco Badocchi, who is averaging 15.7 points per game. Zych said Badocchi, whose family lives in Italy, is still there as he deals with illness.Sophomore Josh Early will get the start in Badocchi’s place with Joe Pedrotti and Joe Gleason seeing time as well.Those three won’t be Badocchi, but Zych hopes they can help fill the void. Zych said they need to stay within their game. He added they’d start on a lot of teams in the metro.“I’m going to do the best I can do,” Early said. “I’m going to do what my abilities allow me to do.”This is the first of two matchups between the Stags and the Saints and this one won’t count toward the Eastern Kansas League Standings, which means the game at Aquinas counts.“We don’t control that, the athletic directors do,” Zych said. “We go over 20 days without a home game in late January and early February. We have to take advantage of our home games.“It’s fun to play at home, but the really good teams win on the road and we’ve taken pride in that.”
Robinson, who was a storied wrestler before his coaching career, wrestled for Oklahoma State and had a 20-15 record as a collegiate wrestler. Robinson won two national championships each in Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling after college. He qualified for the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Before he qualified for the Olympics and after he graduated from Oklahoma State, he joined the military, where he served in Vietnam for one year as an Army Ranger. Robinson’s coaching career began in 1976 as an assistant coach at the University of Iowa. Robinson coached at Iowa for nine seasons and the team won seven national championships over that period. Robinson, who had been Minnesota’s coach since 1986, was also inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and named National Coach of the Year three times during his time at the University. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year seven times. Although Robinson has had his share of successes at Minnesota, he continually sparked controversy while head coach. In 2009 Robinson was investigated and cleared in an internal investigation — triggered by a Minnesota Daily investigation — for allegedly violating NCAA rules by buying from and selling real estate to current and former wrestlers. Investigators didn’t find evidence of NCAA violations..Robinson was also a vocal critic of Title IX, the federal law that bars gender-based discrimination. He filed a gender discrimination complaint against the University in 2004 and was reprimanded by the University in 2001 for using school resources to campaign against Title IX. He allegedly forced wrestlers at his wrestling camp to write anti-Title IX letters to elected officials. Two university investigations, three national championships and a hall of fame induction later, the historic Gophers head coach finished his career at the University with victories on the mat and controversy off of it.“Given your conduct, your refusal to obey my directive and your failure to accept responsibility for your actions, you can no longer continue in your position as Head Coach,” Coyle said in a termination letter to Robinson. “I have an obligation to act in the interests of the entire Department, all of our student athletes, as well as the broader University community.” J Robinson fired after controversial, storied careerRobinson’s handling of an alleged prescription drug ring on his team ends his historic and controversial 30-year run as Minnesota’s wrestling coach. Liam James DoyleFormer Gophers wrestling head coach J Robinson addresses his team on Jan. 20. Jack WhiteSeptember 8, 2016Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintJ Robinson, the embattled former Gophers wrestling head coach of 30 years, was fired Wednesday following a University of Minnesota investigation that faulted his handling of an alleged prescription drug problem among more than a dozen student-athletes on his team. Robinson was placed on paid administrative leave in June after allegations surfaced that Gophers wrestlers were using and selling the prescription drug, Xanax. Though authorities declined to press criminal charges, Robinson’s contract was terminated after the University’s internal investigation found he mishandled a drug problem on his team. “I’m terminating coach Robinson’s contract because he was not forthcoming with superiors for reporting his suspicions about selling and abusing prescription medication,” athletic director Mark Coyle said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference. “I have a great deal of respect for coach Robinson and what he’s accomplished during his 30 years at the University of Minnesota. That respect cannot excuse his conduct in this instance.”Robinson will not receive a buyout, Coyle said. Brandon Eggum, who was named the team’s acting head coach in August, was named the interim head coach for the upcoming season. Despite the allegations — which came amid a down year for the team — the longtime coach will also be remembered for turning the Gophers wrestling program into a national powerhouse.Robinson coached the Gophers to all three of their national championships and coached 14 individual national champions. Wrestlers have received 124 All-America honors under Robinson. Several of the best wrestlers in NCAA history wrestled for Minnesota under Robinson — he coached Brock Lesnar to an individual national championship at heavyweight in 2000. Lesnar wrestled professionally in the Ultimate Fighting Championship as recent as this year.He also coached former Minnesota Athlete of the Year Tony Nelson. Nelson won a national championship in 2012 and was runner-up in 2013. “[Robinson did] a hell of a job here,” said Gophers football head coach Tracy Claeys Wednesday. “[Robinson] won a lot of wrestling matches … I think he’s well respected and just so happens that it didn’t end on a good note. But he’s done an awful lot of good things for the University of Minnesota, but the sun will come up tomorrow and both sides will move on.”
MERS infects 2 more in Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia reported two more MERS-CoV cases, according to an update to its week 44 epidemiologic report today.Neither of the patients had contact with camels, a factor known to raise the risk of contracting MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus). One patient is a 62-year-old man from the city of Omluj in Tabuk region in the northwest, and the other is a 53-year-old man from Riyadh in the central part of the country.Both are hospitalized and thought to have primary exposure, meaning the virus probably wasn’t transmitted from another patient.Since the first human cases were detected in 2012, at least 2,266 MERS-CoV cases have been reported, at least 803 of them fatal. Most of the cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia.Oct 31 Saudi MOH report Maternal-fetal transmission found in 26% of Zika pregnanciesA new prospective cohort study conducted in French Guiana found that, in cases of maternal Zika virus infection, 26% of fetuses became congenitally infected. Of those, 21% suffered severe complications at birth, and 14% did not survive until birth. The study was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).The study was conducted at the French Guiana Western Hospital Center during the 2016 Zika epidemic. The hospital admitted 1,690 pregnant women from Jan 1 through Jul 15, 2016, and tested all for Zika.A total of 498 pregnant women tested positive for the virus, and 305 fetuses were included in the study. Seventy-six fetuses tested positive for Zika via testing of the umbilical cord, or placenta, amniotic fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, or blood. Of the 76 fetuses, 34 were asymptomatic at birth, 15 had mild or moderate symptoms of congenital Zika syndrome (CZS), 16 had severe complications, and 11 suffered fetal loss.The authors said only 13% (approximately one in eight) of all fetuses born to mothers positive for Zika virus presented with “severe adverse outcomes.” This rate is similar to other congenital illnesses, including cytomegalovirus infection.”The burden of CZS might be lower than initially described in South America and may not differ from other congenital infections,” the authors concluded. Oct 31 BMJ study Flu elevated in parts of South Asia, Southeast Asia, rising elsewhereFlu in the Southern Hemisphere, which is nearing the end of its season, continued to decline, and though overall activity in the Northern Hemisphere is still at interseasonal levels, activity is starting to increase in Europe and North America, the World Health Organization (WHO) said this week, based on data from the first half of October.In southern Asia, flu remain elevated, mainly due to the 2009 H1N1 virus, and in Nepal, detections of H3N2 and influenza B increased, the WHO said. Flu activity also rose in some Southeast Asian countries, such as Laos, where 2009 H1N1 is the dominant strain, and Myanmar, where health officials are mainly seeing H3N2 and influenza B.Globally, of viruses that tested positive for flu in the first part of October, 84.2% were influenza A and 15.8% were influenza B. Of subtyped influenza A viruses, 80.1% were the 2009 H1N1 strain.Oct 29 WHO global flu update Study highlights role for blood tests for enterovirus in childrenTesting blood for enteroviruses is helpful for diagnosing young children with fever without a source of sepsis-like syndrome, according to a study of French pediatric patients over two seasons, a research team reported yesterday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.Enteroviruses are a frequent cause of acute meningitis and increasingly implicated in sepsis-like disease and with fevers without a known source. Though testing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the gold standard for diagnosis, researchers wanted to assess polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for the virus in blood.The group’s prospective observational study included newborns, infants, and children ages 2 through 16 from 35 French pediatric and emergency departments at 16 hospitals. The study enrolled 822 patients with fever without a source, sepsis-like syndrome, or suspected meningitis who underwent enterovirus testing in blood and in CSF from June through October of 2015 and 2016.Overall, enterovirus was detected in 357 (43%) of children, which included 191 (54%) who had positive blood and CSF samples, 45 (13%) with a positive blood test but negative in CSF, and 40 (11%) with positive blood findings but no CSF available for testing. Only 81 children (23%) whose CSF was positive for enterovirus had negative findings in blood sample testing.The researchers said the findings suggest that adding blood testing, or using it when CSF isn’t available, significantly increases yield, detecting 24% of infections that wouldn’t have been diagnosed otherwise. Testing positivity, however, varied by age, with blood-test-positives more frequent in children ages 2 and younger. In older children with suspected meningitis, enterovirus detection was more frequent in CSF than in blood.In a commentary in the same issue, two experts from the department of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado said blood isn’t routinely tested and isn’t included in many clinical guidelines for managing febrile children, but the study findings suggest that it can contribute to the diagnostic assessment of young children with unknown fever or sepsis-like syndrome, including when CSF isn’t available for testing.They said enterovirus testing is most cost-effective during seasonal circulation and that ideally, results should be available quickly, which can help clinician avoid unnecessary antibiotic prescribing. “The novel information contained in this article should be incorporated into future guidelines for febrile neonates and infants with fever without source, by including recommendations for blood PCR testing for enteroviruses,” they wrote.Oct 30 Lancet Infect Dis abstract Oct 30 Lancet Infect Dis commentary
The World Health Organization (WHO) today detailed eight more MERS-CoV cases in Oman, some of which—including two fatalities—are part of a second illness cluster, and others apparently part of an earlier cluster.Meanwhile, over the weekend and through today, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) reported four more MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases, mostly from Riyadh.Two health workers among latest Oman patientsLast month, Oman reported a cluster of five MERS-CoV patients in Al Batinah North governorate, all of them women from the same family.Today’s WHO update notes four more cases from Al Batinah North, and all are in women ages 30 to 77 who had secondary exposure, meaning they likely contracted the virus from another patient. One is a healthcare worker with an asymptomatic infection, and two of the other women are likewise asymptomatic. The fourth is hospitalized.The new cluster includes four men ages 30 to 68 from Ash Sharqiyah South governorate, which is in northeastern Oman, and three are considered secondary cases, though one also had exposure to camels. The source isn’t known for the fourth patient. The 30-year-old man is a healthcare worker.All four of the men have or had symptoms, with onsets ranging from Jan 27 to Feb 10. Two died from their infections.Whole-genome sequencing is under way to better clarify transmission patterns, and the agriculture ministry is investigating dromedary camel farms of one of the patients, and test results are pending. Also, the health ministry has stepped up infection prevention and control measures in emergency departments, particularly in triage areas.The WHO warned that infection prevention and control measures are critical for preventing the spread of MERS-CoV in healthcare settings, especially because the early phase of symptoms consists of nonspecific symptoms. The agency recommends standard precautions for all patients, droplet precautions for those with acute infection, contact precautions and eye protection in those with probable and confirmed cases, and airborne precautions when performing aerosol-generating procedures.As of Feb 21, health officials have identified and screened 69 contacts of the Al Batinah North patients and 57 contacts of the South Sharqiyah patients.The new illnesses boost the number of MERS-CoV cases in Oman this year to 13. Since its first case in 2013, the country has reported 24 cases, 7 of them fatal. Globally, the WHO has received reports of 2,357 MERS-CoV infections since 2012, 820 of them fatal. The vast majority are from Saudi Arabia.Saudi Arabia reports 4 more casesSaudi Arabian MOH, meanwhile, reported four new MERS-CoV cases, three of them in Riyadh, according to epidemiologic updates.Two of the Riyadh patients are women ages 39 and 55 who are listed as secondary MERS cases, suggesting possible household or healthcare exposure, according to the ministry’s epidemiologic week 10 report. Neither woman reported recent camel contact.The third patient from Riyadh is a 62-year-old man who had contact with camels and is listed as a primary case, the MOH said in an update to its epidemiologic week 9 report. He is currently hospitalized.The fourth new case involves a 61-year-old man from Al Duwadimi in central Saudi Arabia about 120 miles west of Riyadh who is listed as a secondary case-patient, meaning he was likely exposed by a sick person. The MOH noted his case today in its epi week 10 update.The latest infections push Saudi Arabia’s MERS-CoV total so far this year to 87, which includes 51 from Wadi ad-Dawasir, where a large hospital outbreak was recently reported, along with some illnesses linked to camel exposure.See also:Mar 4 WHO statementMar 3-4 Saudi MOH epidemiologic week 10 reportMar 2 Saudi MOH epidemiologic week 9 report
High COVID-19 viral load in hospital patients tied to higher risk for deathHigh SARS-CoV-2 viral load at hospital admission may place patients with and without cancer at higher risk for death, a new multicenter observational study published in Cancer Cell suggests.Researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine used surrogate markers to measure the viral load of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, in 100 cancer patients and 2,914 patients without cancer admitted to one of three New York City hospitals from Mar 15 to May 14.The in-hospital death rate was 38.8% in all patients with a high viral load, 24.1% among those with a medium viral load, and 15.3% among those with a low viral load (P < 0.001).Similarly, cancer patients with a high viral load had the highest death rate (45.2%), while 28.0% of cancer patients with a medium load and 12.1% with a low load died (P = 0.008). Patients with hematologic cancers (affecting blood and blood-forming organs), especially those who had undergone chemotherapy or targeted treatments, had higher median viral loads than non-cancer patients. "We suspect that this finding may be from the underlying immunodeficiencies conferred by either the hematologic malignancies or the administered therapies, which may decrease the ability to inhibit proliferation of SARS-CoV-2," said co- author Lars Westblade, PhD, a pathologist at Weill Cornell Medicine, in a Cell Press news release.High viral loads at admission were associated with increased age; underlying conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic kidney disease; and use of inhaled or oral steroids before hospitalization. Hispanic patients were less likely than those of other ethnicities to carry a high viral load at admission.Cancer patients were more likely than patients without cancer to be white (42.0% vs 21.2%; P < 0.001), be former smokers (29.0% vs 16.5%; P = 0.001), have coronary artery disease (25.0% vs 14.8%; P = 0.004), and have congestive heart failure (14.0% vs 6.2%; P = 0.002). Proportions of cancer and non-cancer patients requiring oxygen support, intubation, and vasopressors (to regulate blood pressure) and who died in the hospital were similar."These findings highlight the critical role of viral load in SARS-Co-V pathogenesis and suggest that providing [viral load] value results to clinicians could serve as a valuable tool in the care of hospitalized patients with COVID-19," they wrote.Sep 15 Cancer Cell study and news release Eastern equine encephalitis case reported in IndianaState health officials in Indiana this week reported a probable human case of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and the detection of the virus in horses in northern Indiana.The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) identified the probable case in a LaPorte Country resident. Three horses in northern Indiana have also tested positive for the virus. Health officials are urging residents of northern Indiana to protect themselves from mosquito bites.EEE is rare but can cause serious illness and death in people, with a fatality rate of around 33% or higher. Children under 15 and adults over 50 are at greatest risk of severe illness if infected."Eastern equine encephalitis virus disease is rare in humans but can cause permanent complications and even death," State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, said in a press release. "While all Hoosiers are at risk for mosquito-borne diseases, northern Indiana residents need to be especially vigilant right now."Health officials recommend that people avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are active, use an Environmental Protection Agency–approved insect repellent, cover exposed skin in places where mosquitoes are active, and eliminate mosquito breeding grounds from their property.Sep 15 ISDH press release High-path H5 avian flu outbreaks hit poultry in KazakhstanAnimal health officials in Kazakhstan today reported seven highly pathogenic H5 avian flu outbreaks in poultry in the north near the Russian border, where several similar outbreaks were recently reported, according to a notification today from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).The outbreaks began from Sep 11 to Sep 14, striking backyard and village poultry. The virus killed 1,763 of 67,794 susceptible birds, and response actions include movement restrictions, vaccination, and disinfection.The report said the source of the virus is contact with wild birds and that the outbreaks mark the first appearance of the virus in Kazakhstan.Russia recently reported a spate of H5 outbreaks, including some involving H5N8 in southwestern Siberia, which isn't far from Kazakhstan's outbreak area. UK veterinary officials have noted that similar outbreaks in Russia in the summer of 2016 heralded widespread H5N8 outbreaks in Europe that winter, and they urged poultry owners to remain vigilant.Sep 17 OIE report on H5 in Kazakhstan Sep 14 CIDRAP News scan "H5N8 avian flu strikes more poultry in Russia"
Harshimi Mukundan, deputy group leader for the physical chemistry and applied spectroscopy division at LANL is the guest speaker for the AAUW virtual luncheon Saturday, Oct. 3. Courtesy/LANL AAUW News:The American Association of University Women (AAUW) will hold its annual Fall Luncheon virtually at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3.The speaker is Harshimi Mukundan who is a deputy group leader for the physical chemistry and applied spectroscopy division at LANL. She will describe her research and what she is doing to help women interested in a science career. Following the talk, a few members will describe some activities and projects sponsored by AAUW.To receive a link to attend the event, email Margaret Gibson at [email protected]
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