Archive for January, 2012

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T-shirt maker has dual motive: Doing well, doing good


2012
01.31

LOS ANGELES — At Sevenly, a business started by young entrepreneurs in Fullerton, Calif., a key to the operation is the number seven.

Each line of T-shirts and hoodies designed by the company goes on sale for exactly seven days. No more, no less.

The company donates to seven causes: anti-slavery, hunger relief, clean water, medical help, disaster relief, anti-poverty and miscellaneous aid.

And for every item sold, Sevenly donates – you guessed it – $7.

Its a great number, said co-founder Dale Partridge, who holds the title of chief world changer. We just happened to be able to break down the worlds greatest issues into seven causes, seven days in a week, etc.

It had tons of parallel brand play.

Partridge, in the hallowed tradition of entrepreneurs, is always looking for an edge and an opportunity. At 26, he already has created and sold a small fitness company, and he currently co-owns a chain of rock climbing gyms in Californias Inland Empire.

The hook at Sevenly, which he co-founded last year with Aaron Chavez, 19, goes beyond the number gimmick. The company is following a recent trend in business models – for-profit firms that donate a major percentage of their revenue to charitable causes.

In Sevenlys case, its nearly 30 percent. That might seem like a huge cut of revenue, but its also a way to generate sales.

Consumers want to do business with brands who do good, said Loren Solomon, founder of Advertising for Good, an agency that creates marketing campaigns for nonprofits.

Since launching in June, Sevenly has sold more than 29,000 items and donated more than $200,000 to charities including Cure Childhood Cancer in Atlanta; the International Justice Mission, which fights sex trafficking abroad; and Hope International, which provides micro-financing for developing businesses in Africa.

Toms Shoes in Santa Monica, Calif., is one of the best known companies built on a social-good business model. For every pair of shoes sold, the company – founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie – donates a pair for a child in a Third World country.

For some customers, wearing Toms has become as much a fashion statement as a public proclamation that theyre socially responsible.

Its cool to be socially good today, said Aradhna Krishna, a University of Michigan professor who studies cause marketing.

A consumer study last year by the Cone Communications public relations agency found that 80 percent of those surveyed said they would be likely to switch to a brand associated with a good cause if product price and quality were comparable.

In the 18-to-24 age group – commonly called millennials – 53 percent had purchased a product or service tied to a cause in the last year.

Sevenly, which has a staff of 12 including the founders, has had $700,000 in sales since its inception, Partridge said. Even with giving away nearly 30 percent to causes, he said the company makes a small profit.

Were not swimming in the green, but were doing well, Partridge said.

The idea for the business was born in Partridges living room in Corona, Calif., in April when he and Chavez, who had dropped out of junior college to become a social media consultant, began brainstorming about how to blend charity, social media and e-commerce.

Whats the point of having a business thats not doing anything for the community? Partridge asked.

The two friends wanted to create a business that could raise money and awareness for a variety of charities that had on-the-ground resources to put donations to use in a meaningful way.

Once a charity is identified, Sevenlys designers create typography and images to go onto stock T-shirts and hoodies. For example, clothing designed for a recent sale that gave funds to Girls Educational Mentoring Services, or GEMS – a nonprofit that aids young women who have been sexually exploited – said Girls Are Not For Sale.

Like any nonprofit, we are always looking for new ways to get our message out there and fundraise, said Bianca Baquerizo of GEMS. Sevenly did that on both fronts.

Items designed for a Sevenly campaign are sold for seven days exclusively on its website. T-shirts go for $22 and hoodies are $35.

The sale is promoted via Sevenlys social media outlets, but the company also asks the causes to promote the campaigns through their own Facebook pages and tweets.

For its week in the Sevenly spotlight, GEMS, based in Harlem, NY, got $16,000. Not a huge amount, but the nonprofit also benefited from being featured on the Sevenly site.

Because they have a lot of followers, they brought a lot of attention to our cause, Baquerizo said. There are more people now who know about GEMS.

And, of course, it works both ways – people who visited the GEMS site that week were exposed to Sevenlys business.

Chavez said 85 percent of the companys sales are driven by social media.

I think its really exciting, said Solomon of Advertising for Good. Theyve tapped into the zeitgeist of social media.

Partridge said Sevenly expects to hit $1.4 million in sales in its first year of operation. Eventually he and Chavez hope to grow the company to the point where it has about 30 employees and yearly revenue of $30 million.

But maybe not more than that. Getting too big would mean a loss of hands-on control, whether in designing the products or working with nonprofits.

Wed like to stay small and efficient, Partridge said. That way we can make the most impact.

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Don Hails Passage Of University Miscellaneous Provision Act By Senate


2012
01.30

Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke of the Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Abia, has commended the Senate for passing the University Miscellaneous Provision Act on the retiring age of professors.

Osodeke said that passing the law was one of the necessary steps toward resolving the ongoing ASUU strike.

The Senate at its plenary on Wednesday passed the bill that seeks to extend the retirement age of university professors from 65 years to 70 years.

The Senate President David Mark, after the passage, said that it had become imperative for ASUU to call off the strike and go back to the classrooms.

But Osodeke, a former Chairman of ASUU, said in Umuahia that the move was not enough to suspend the strike.

He said that though the Senate had shown good cause towards the resolution of the ASUU/FGN face-off, the passage of the bill was just one of the issues that led to the impasse.

The professor said that members of the academia had been canvassing for the upward review of retirement age of professors since 2009.

He said, I hope that President Goodluck Jonathan will be persuaded to follow the path of reason and assent to the bill.

But the major issue that led to the strike has not been resolved and until that is done I doubt if the strike will be suspended.

The professor of Soil Science said that the major issue, which bordered on funding of the universities in the country, was yet to be addressed.

He regretted that universities in the country were grossly underfunded, adding that the situation had led to the dilapidation of facilities at various institutions of higher learning.

Osodeke said it was shameful that our country that prided itself as the giant of Africa, could not boast of world class universities.

He said the latest rating of universities in Africa; it was shocking that no university in the country was among the first three.

Osodeke said that the academia was fighting for a good course, adding that they were committed to the advancement of the universities in the country.

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RM4.9 Million For PPKR Project In Tasek Gelugor


2012
01.29

KEPALA BATAS, Jan 28 (Bernama) — The Implementation Coordination Unit of the Prime Ministers Department has allocated RM4.9 million for the Simpang Tiga Tasek Gelugor Peoples Wellbeing Housing Project (PPKR), here.

Minister in the Prime Ministers Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said the project, comprising 57 terrace houses and four shophouse units, would be carried out by the Penang Regional Development Authority (PERDA).

We have approved RM4.9 million for the PPKR project on 2.032 hectares of Perda land which will enable poor residents, especially those listed in Penangs e-kasihprogramme, to have their own houses, he told reporters after officiating the PPKR project here.

Nor Mohamed, who is also Tasek Gelugor Member of Parliament, said construction of the three-bedroom two-bathroom units would begin Sunday and that the project was expected to be completed by June 2013.

– BERNAMA

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On-the-job training paying off for Nets rookie Brooks


2012
01.28

Brooks was a late scratch against the Bulls Monday when his left ankle tightened up on him. The tendinitis also kept him out of New Jerseys victory over Philadelphia Wednesday.

Were hoping its not chronic, Nets coach Avery Johnson said. We just think part of it is probably fatigue. When he comes back that means were going to have to monitor his minutes a little bit. Maybe hes not going to be able to play 38 minutes. Maybe its 28.

Heres a kid that you could count on somewhere between 15 and 22 points when he plays. And he adds another element, another ball handler to our starting unit. … He means so much to our program. We cant put him out there in a detrimental position.

Rarely do guys drafted at No. 25, just six months earlier, get so much love.

Its not just about what the Nets miss from Brooks when hes unavailable (he was to be a game-time decision Friday at Cleveland). Its what Brooks misses from his crash course workload in NBA Rookie 101.

At Chicago, for instance, he would have experienced the thrill of chasing veteran Richard Hamilton through and around screens, up and down the floor, sideline to sideline. Brooks said he had been looking forward to the chore. I did want to play against Rip, he said. Reputation. Big game. Real good defensive team. Im still learning, so I wanted to see sort of where Im at. Everybodys testing me.

It has been almost nothing but exams so far, with very little classroom or study time, in this mad-dash 2011-12 season. The lockout wiped out summer league for Brooks and other rookies. It squeezed training camps down from a month to just two weeks. It spit out a schedule that forces young guys to learn on the job, when it counts, lights high, rather than in the practice gym.

But then, obstacles are nothing new for Brooks, who turned 23 Thursday. He faced them heading into the NBA Draft in June, stemming from his age and, more so, his stay of four whole years at Providence. These days, entering the Draft that late in a college career is the equivalent of logging in for online dating when you live with Mom and have tape on your glasses. Stigma, bigma.

Yet Brooks had little choice. He barely was on the NBAs radar prior to his senior season, his college numbers jumping from 14.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 1.4 apg as a junior to 24.6, 7.0 and 2.5.

When youre around for four years, its almost like, Why? he said. Well, I grew up in college. I just took a little bit more time. I didnt have a good buzz at all [as a junior]. Thats when I just worked harder that summer with my trainer.

Then Brooks slid to No. 25 before Boston snagged him — and promptly traded him. There had been talk that Indiana was interested at No. 15, until the Pacers cut their Kawhi Leonard/George Hill deal with San Antonio. The long wait through two dozen other selections gave him some incentive for this season. Better still, it got him to — for him — the right team.

Every draft pick who wasnt a lottery pick felt like they should have been, said Brooks, handling himself in an interview like a vet, at least. And every pick who got drafted in the late 20s felt like they should have gone in the early 20s.

Definitely I have a chip on my shoulder. I worked out for a lot of teams — I felt I worked out well in front of a lot of them, and they decided to pass on me. For whatever reason. It really doesnt bother me at this point. In the summer, it was my motivation to work harder. I couldnt ask for a better situation. Being born in New Jersey, on top of the fact of being able to play right away.

Johnson says Brooks, in some ways, fits his notion of my ideal player. He likes his scoring ability, his feel for the game offensively and his long arms and anticipation that should be able to force turnovers and trigger a transition game. He knows Brooks, beyond getting healthy, needs seasoning, attention to defense and continued indoctrination from more experienced teammates. Which has been ongoing.

In the rookie diary Brooks does for the New York Post, he wrote of the obligations — hazing sounds too strong — he has endured: Before every game, DeShawn [Stevenson] wants 38 straws and a large Coke. I get embarrassed every time I go into McDonalds and I have to count out 38 straws.

But Brooks gets value back. DeShawns been helping me with defensive rotations. Just calling me in the mornings, making sure Im on time. First on the bus, first on the court, last to leave. Basically its just little things. Once you get to a certain age, its tough for somebody to teach you the game of basketball. But its all the little things — hes teaching me the NBA world. Be on time. Yes, you can wear this. No, you cant wear that.

Said Stevenson, 30, who entered the NBA straight out of high school 12 years ago: I got him. Me and D-Will [Deron Williams] got him. Weve got some great veterans right here. We stay on him and hes gonna be all right. Hes just in a groove right now.

He was, what, the 25th pick? I dont understand that. He can score the ball, hes very talented. Hes going to be a problem.

When Brooks development was put on hold by the lockout, he made the best of it, picking up some leftover degree credits and working with his trainer. He knew he was getting shorted in terms of prep work — Brooks wanted summer league to adjust to pro officiating — but knows every other rookie was as well.

Obviously, I wanted to come out and play high, play very well coming off the bat, he said. The Nets did a good job of having game tape ready for me — in the offseason, I studied a lot of the plays, things like that. I was amazed at the pace of the game.

Brooks has learned the game, learned his role … and learned a thing or two about the business of the NBA. Given his early impact, the ongoing Dwight Howard speculation has swirled around him, too, as a player who might be headed to Orlando if such a deal gets done. Nets forward Derrick Favors went through it a year ago as the Williams deal swelled, and now Brooks has that as a possible distraction.

As a team, we came together [from the rumors], he said. We just ignore those situations.

Said the rookie who is doing what he can, as fast as he can, to make sure hes never ignored again.

Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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As we become more human, let’s treat animals better


2012
01.27

Updated: January 22, 2012 2:29AM

Several new books point to the fact that wars are becoming scarcer and we as people are becoming less violent as a result.

Joshua Goldstein, professor emeritus of international relations at American University, author of Winning the War on War, told a radio interviewer last month that there is measurably less violence this decade than in the past 100 years. World War II, which started 70 years ago, created levels of violence that were 100 times higher than the wars of today, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

When wars do conflagrate, there is more exposure to the bloody entrails of war, via the Internet and social media, which increases pressure for the violence to cease.

I have always thought that as people become more humane toward other people, they will become more aware of the socially ingrained tolerance we sport when it comes to cruelty to animals. Today’s young people are more aware of the brutality of factory farming and more are vegetarians.

And the more we learn about how animals think and the sophistication of their thinking, the more difficult it becomes to treat them as if they were unthinking, unfeeling machines.

Jonathan Balcombe, a scientist at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, echoes one of my long-held beliefs. The more we learn about animal intelligence, the more we see that it is we who have failed to understand animals and not the other way around.

“Chickens practice deception, pigeons can categorize images in photographs as quickly as we can, a gorilla plays a joke on a human teacher, and a tiny fish leaps from one tide pool to another using a mental map formed during high tide,” he says on the Discovery Channel website.

A new study by a University of Chicago researcher found that “rats are empathetic and will altruistically lend a helping paw to a cage mate who is stuck in a trap,” according to an NPR report. Not only will rats frantically work to free the trapped cage mate; they will do so even when there’s a tempting pile of chocolate chips nearby.

It is not surprising that the National Institutes of Health have revised the guidelines on cage sizes for mice and rats used in animal testing. It is no longer acceptable to crowd a female mouse and her litter into fewer than 51 square inches of space, or a female rat and her litter into fewer than 124 square inches of space. As tiny as those increased spaces are, scientists still worry the cost of compliance is too high and they stand to lose federal funding altogether if they don’t comply.

My hope is that as we become more human toward people and animals alike we will end the practice of animal testing for human medical advancements. The fact is our chemistry is quite different from that of animals. So animal experimentation is a highly unreliable precursor of how humans will react to new drugs, procedures.

The more we recognize the cruelty of violence toward people, the more we will also recognize the cruelty we now visit on animals.

Bonnie Erbe is a TV host and columnist.

Scripps Howard News Service

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Gaming study commission / A truly bad idea


2012
01.26

A group of Assembly members wants to study the possibility of
bringing casino gambling to the Meadowlands in Bergen County.

They have sponsored a resolution to create a Casino Gaming Study
Commission. The thin justification for such action is to study the
impact of last years gaming reforms, which streamlined regulation
of casinos and created Atlantic Citys Tourism District.

But the real reason behind the move is to make yet another push
for casinos in North Jersey.

Assemblyman Ralph R. Caputo, D-Essex, who is the chief sponsor
of the resolution, has previously sponsored an unsuccessful attempt
to amend the state constitution to allow Bergen County casinos.

Caputo said Meadowlands casinos would draw North Jersey
customers who are now going to casinos in Pennsylvania or New York,
rather than Atlantic City. And, of course, sponsors think casino
gaming would bring gamblers to horse races in the Meadowlands.

It sounds like the same argument New Jersey has been hearing -
and rejecting – for years. Nothing seems to have the staying power
of a truly bad idea.

And make no mistake, expanding casinos to other parts of New
Jersey is a terrible idea, because it would undercut the industry
that is such a powerful economic engine for the state.

Atlantic City is a destination nearby states cannot match. The
beach, the Boardwalk, the Convention Center – and the nearby resort
towns – are a backdrop for a concentration of gaming, dining and
entertainment properties that, even in an economic slump, continue
to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue to
Trenton every year.

New Jersey has just gotten serious about supporting that
industry with a coordinated marketing plan and special attention
from the state.

Gov. Chris Christie has made a commitment to Atlantic City and
has said he wants to keep casino gaming exclusively in the city for
the next five years. Theres not much chance he would sign this
legislation, even if it were to be approved by the Assembly and
Senate.

But whenever this idea of expanding gambling resurfaces,
lawmakers should put their collective foot down – on it – and make
sure nothing interferes with the revival of Atlantic Citys gaming
industry.

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States warned on access to bailout funds


2012
01.26

DAN OBRIEN, Economics Editor

TREATY:EURO AREA countries which do not adopt a new treaty designed to strengthen rules on government budgets may not have access to EU bailout funds in the future, according to an adviser to Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council.

Richard Corbett, speaking yesterday at the Institute for International and European Affairs, also suggested that states credit ratings could be negatively affected by non-ratification of the treaty.

He went on to reject suggestions that the treaty would subject its signatories to permanent austerity, saying that it imposed no limits on government spending.

It did, however, impose strict limits on the spending of borrowed money, he said.

Mr Corbett acknowledged the slow pace of the EU-level response to the financial/sovereign debt crisis, but said that, unlike the last such crisis, in the 1930s, European countries had avoided protectionism and had agreed to use fiscal stimulus (shortly after its outbreak).

He also noted that, without the euro, there may have been competitive currency devaluations among countries now using the currency. Such devaluations in the past had caused tensions among the member states.

Mr Corbett, who was a member of the European parliament for the British Labour Party until 2009, outlined a series of measures he believed would re-energise the European economy. These included an acceleration of efforts to negotiate free trade agreements with large emerging economies. Liberalisation of commerce with developing countries had the potential to boost prosperity across the EU, he said.

The protracted failure of EU governments to agree a common European patent continues to the detriment of European innovators, Mr Corbett said. The cost of securing patent rights in the 27 member states is 30,000. This would be cut to one tenth if a single patent was needed to cover the entire bloc, he said.

Mr Corbett likened the EU to a Gothic cathedral and the new treaty to a flying buttress. He said it would have been preferable to strengthen the EUs foundations internally, by agreeing to amend the EUs treaties but this was not possible owing to the veto of one member state, referring to Britains rejection of this option last month.

This forced the other 26 member countries to provide external support to the EU by negotiating a treaty outside the blocs legal architecture, he said. Talks on finalising the treaty are due to be concluded by the end of the month.

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New low-cost spay/neuter clinic opens to serve Fox Valley-area animals


2012
01.25

Only eight months old, Reno found himself lost and alone. Even worse he was injured: Something was wrong with his eyes, one of his back legs had been fractured, the other back leg needed surgery.

Worse yet, baby Reno had pellets shattered inside his body: He had been shot several times.

However, Reno, a male orange tabby kitten, survived it all. Aurora Animal Control (AAC) and Fox Valley Animal Welfare League (FVAWL) helped the homeless kitten find a rescue group, medical care and ultimately a “forever home.”

A non-profit organization, FVAWL has partnered with AAC for the past 65 years to help lost, forgotten and injured animals find love and care.

“We were the liaison between AAC and the rescue groups,” said FVAWL President Ellen Wullbrandt, adding that with FVAWL’s help during the past five years, 2,500 animals have escaped euthanasia. “That’s really what it’s been: saving animals from euthanasia.”

Branching out to serve a larger target audience

Today, in addition to its long-time life-saving operations, FVAWL is branching out on its own and taking animal welfare to the next level–becoming proactiveby opening the Fox Valley’s first state-of-the-art low-cost spay-neuter clinic.

“We need to grow and provide programs and services marketed toward the animals never [even] getting to the shelter,” said Richard Glessner, director of operations for the new spay/neuter clinic. “It was a no-brainer that the spay/neuter clinic was the way to go because spaying/neutering is the only real answer to limiting the pet population.

“That’s been proven time and time again; it’s the only thing that works,” he said. “We wanted to take the resources and the medical knowledge we have to the public and the community as a whole rather than limit it to [just] AAC.”

Glessner, who has previously set up two profitable clinics–one in the Quad Cities and one in Rock Island County, Illinois–emphasized the need for a spay/neuter clinic in the Fox Valley area, from Elgin to Joliet and all communities in between.

“It’s inconceivable to me if you are in animal welfare as a whole, and you really care about animal welfare, why you would not incorporate a spay/neuter program,” said Glessner, adding that his first program involved converting a trailer into a mobile surgical center outside the animal shelter.

“If you really want to do this and make a difference, you can make it happen,” the former Quad Cities native said. “You have to really think creatively.”

Glessner: helping animals for more than a quarter century

In addition to setting up spay/neuter clinics, Glessner, a 26-year animal welfare industry veteran, has served as a director for shelters and animal control facilities; he has spoken at national animal welfare conferences.

And he has spoken to first-year Iowa State veterinary students about how to set up a spay/neuter clinic and why they should consider a career in shelter medicine, rather than private practice.

“If you really want to help animals, you bite the bullet, and you do it,” he said. “You do what you need to do to change animal welfare and make it right.

“That’s always been my philosophy. I’m not afraid of change; I embrace it.”

Initiating change in the Fox Valley

As a result, change has come to the Fox Valley: 11 John Street in North Aurora, just east of Illinois Route 31 and only about two miles from Interstate 88.

“We looked at several different properties, and the minute we walked into this building, we knew it was the perfect place,” Glessner said. “It is the right size, the right space [and] the owners are animal lovers.”

The clinic director says he has already lined up four veterinarians, including one specializing in exotic animals, such as rabbits, birds, iguanas and ferrets. “They are affected just like cats and dogs,” he said. “[These exotic animals] are showing up in the shelters [too].”

Glessner says his goal by the Feb. 28 ribbon cutting is threefold: to perform surgery three days each week; to host at least one or more Wellness Clinic each month; and to reserve two days for the care of exotic animals each month.

“And then it will grow from there,” he said. “My ultimate goal would be to serve seven days a week, around the clock, never stop. Surgeries every day.”

Glessner, who grew up with German Shepherds and cats, says the clinic will feature three different price structures for three different groups: licensed rescue groups, low-income families and the general public.

“Generally, 80 percent of pet owners don’t use regular veterinary care,” he said. “We are really targeting that group of people who aren’t going to private practice.

“We’ll do whatever is in the best interest of the animal–that’s our first and foremost philosophy.”

NEXT: FVAWL’s Pet Food Pantry to help owners keep pets during difficult economic times.

Fox Valley Animal Welfare League’s NEW Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic
You’re Invited!

o Saturday, Jan. 21First Wellness Clinic–open to the community; offers basic exams
amp; basic preventative care, including $10 vaccines

o Sunday, Jan. 29–Open House for the general public: 1-3 pm, refreshments served

o Wednesday, Feb. 15–Open House for government officials, community leaders amp;
media: 5-7 pm, refreshments served

o Tuesday, Feb. 28–National Spay Day; ribbon-cutting ceremony; clinic officially
opens for business

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Foxconn chairman compares his workforce to ‘animals’


2012
01.24

Foxconn chairman compares his workforce to animals

By Hana Stewart-Smith | January 20, 2012, 3:43am PST

Summary: In an ill-worded statement, the chairman of Foxconns parent company compared his workforce to animals and sought management advice from the director of Taipei Zoo.

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145 Animals Found In A U-Haul Are Being Cared For In The Memphis Area


2012
01.23

(Collierville, TN/01/20/12) It was the traffic stop in Fayette County this week that led to the discovery of a U-Haul packed with more than 100 pooches and a cat living in whats been described as horrible conditions.

John Robinson is shelter manager with Collierville Animal Services.

Robinson said, Ive seen a lot of hoarding cases of animals crowded into a small space, but probably never anything like this where theyre crowded and stacked.


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