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August 29, 2011

Sudanese President releases all detained journalists

Sudanese President releases all detained journalists

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Monday, August 29, 2011

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File photo of President Omar al-Bashir.
Image: Prince jasim ali.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced the release of all journalists detained in the country’s jails in an address to a gathering of journalists in the capital of Khartoum, on Saturday. “I declare amnesty for all the journalists detained by the security authorities and their release,” said Al-Bashir.

This came in the same month as the release of Abu Zar Al-Amin, deputy editor-in-chief of pro-opposition paper Ra’y Al-Sha’b. Al-Almin had served a prison term of nearly two years after he violating press restrictions and reporting on alleged co-operation between Sudan and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

The release and amnesty follows a series of fresh violations of ‘press freedoms’, which resulted in the suspension of independent newspapers such as Al-Jaridah and Al-Ahdath on August 20 and 21. According to Mozdalifa Mohamed Osman, Al-Ahdath’s newsroom chief, the suspension caused financial losses of US$10,000.

No reasons were given for the suspension of the newspapers. However, the editor-in-chief of AlJaridah, Saad Al-Din Ibrahim revealed that his paper was suspended because it did not allow the security services to interfere in its editorial and recruitment policies; sources believe the Al-Ahdath suspension was due to the publication of information on a planned meeting between President Al-Bashir and the leader of armed opposition group Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (northern sector) Malik Aggar.

According to press-freedom watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the Sudanese government aggressively attacks journalists through “contrived legal proceedings, politicized criminal charges, and confiscations”. Amnesty International believes Sudanese press freedom is “openly violated”.

Press freedoms may deteriorate with the National Congress Party contemplating further restrictions, including the possibility of pre-publication censorship.



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July 10, 2011

South Sudan gains independence

South Sudan gains independence – Wikinews, the free news source

South Sudan gains independence

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South Sudan
Other stories from South Sudan
  • 22 December 2013: Rebels take over South Sudan oil regions
  • 26 January 2012: ‘Davos man’ versus ‘Camp Igloo’; 42nd World Economic Forum convenes in Swiss alps
  • 10 July 2011: South Sudan gains independence
  • 10 February 2011: South Sudan minister Milla shot, killed
  • 26 April 2010: Spokesman: At least 55 dead after violence in Darfur, Sudan
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

At 0000 EAT Saturday (2100 UTC Friday), the Republic of South Sudan achieved independent recognition, becoming the newest country on the planet. The parliament speaker for the new country recited a formal independence declaration. After independence was declared, the South Sudanese flag was lifted for all to see, with Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement secretary general Pagan Amum stating: “Today we shall raise the flag of South Sudan to join the nations of the world”.

Cquote1.svg Today we shall raise the flag of South Sudan to join the nations of the world Cquote2.svg

Pagan Amum, Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement secretary general

Thousands of jubilant people celebrated in the new country’s capital Juba. They danced in the streets, sang songs and waved flags. Churches rang their bells at midnight as independence arrived. People crowded to the official ceremonial site, held at the mausoleum of John Garang, leader of the rebellion who died several months after the peace deal was signed with Sudan, ending the bloody conflict. Many of the celebrants spoke emotionally of their family members who died in the long struggle with Sudan.

George Garang, an English teacher, said he lost his father, grandfather and eleven brothers. “My whole body feels happy,” he said. Valentino Achak Deng, who was a refugee during the war, said: “Really in my heart what makes me happiest is that from today, when people ask me where I am from, I do not have to say Sudan.”

Salva Kiir Mayardit has assumed the role as president of South Sudan. Kiir swore to pledge true alliance and faithfulness to South Sudan. In a speech, Kiir declared amnesty for any who have taken up arms against Sudan.

Kiir insisted that martyrs for the cause of the new country did not die in vain, although South Sudan waited 56 years to be free. The southern Sudanese had agitated for more rights, even before Sudan became free from its British colonizers in 1956. Sudan was divided into three separate demographic groups, with the southern part of the country home to Christians and animists and the northern part dominated by Arab populations and those of Muslim faith. Kiir said to people of Abyei, Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, who remain part of Sudan, that “we have not forgotten you. When you cry, we cry. When you bleed, we bleed. I pledge to you today that we will find a just peace for all.”

Amongst those attending the event were Ban Ki-moon, the current Secretary-General of the United Nations and Omar al-Bashir, the current president of Sudan. The latter was the guest of honour, despite the fact that the International Criminal Court has a warrant out for his arrest based on offences of genocide and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region.

“We congratulate our brothers in the south for the establishment of their new state,” al-Bashir said at the event. “We share their joy and celebration. The will of the people of the south has to be respected.”

Two million individuals died in the civil war between the two territories of Sudan and Southern Sudan and four million more exiled, a war that was waged for decades. Control of south Sudan’s oil rich reserves was the primary reason for the fighting. An agreement of peace was signed in 2005, effectively bringing the war to an end, and Sudan became one of the first countries to recognise South Sudan. Under the regulations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Sudan held an independence referendum. In excess of 99% of those participating in the vote agreed to the concept of independence for South Sudan.

Meanwhile, the United Nations plans to make the independent state its 193rd recognised country and its 54th African U.N. member state. United States president Barack Obama formerly recognized the new nation on behalf of the US and acknowledged the enormous struggle of its people to achieve independence.

South Sudan remains a desperately poor country, with one in five of its inhabitants chronically hungry, only one third having access to safe drinking water and with the world’s highest rate of maternal death. The country lacks infrastructure such as roads and railways. It remains torn by ethnic and tribal rivalries and many problems with the north remain unresolved, including the exact boundary line. Important revenue for Sudan has come from the rich oilfields of the south, keeping the country afloat and essential now for both economies. A formula remains to be developed on how to split these revenues between the two areas.

U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said today that the peace process between Sudan and North Sudan could come apart if issues such as the division of the oil revenues and the border location are not solved soon.

Flag of South Sudan. Image: Public domain.

Flag of South Sudan.
Image: Public domain.

The location of South Sudan is highlighted in dark green on this map. Image: Spesh531.

The location of South Sudan is highlighted in dark green on this map.
Image: Spesh531.

File photo of Salva Kiir Mayardit, the president of South Sudan. Image: Jenny Rockett.

File photo of Salva Kiir Mayardit, the president of South Sudan.
Image: Jenny Rockett.

Flag of Sudan. Image: Public domain.

Flag of Sudan.
Image: Public domain.

The location of Sudan is highlighted in dark green on this map. Image: Dinamik.

The location of Sudan is highlighted in dark green on this map.
Image: Dinamik.

Sudan president Omar al-Bashir, seen here in January 2009, attended the independence ceremony. Image: U.S. Navy / Jesse B. Awalt.

Sudan president Omar al-Bashir, seen here in January 2009, attended the independence ceremony.
Image: U.S. Navy / Jesse B. Awalt.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, seen here in September 2010, was amongst those present in South Sudan upon the state's declaration of independence. Image: Gobierno de Chile.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, seen here in September 2010, was amongst those present in South Sudan upon the state’s declaration of independence.
Image: Gobierno de Chile.



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May 27, 2010

Sudanese president sworn in to another term

Sudanese president sworn in to another term

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sudan
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File photo of Omar al-Bashir
Image: Jesse B. Awalt.

Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, has been sworn in to another term after winning the country’s recent polls, which were largely boycotted by the opposition.

The inauguration ceremony, attended by multiple African leaders and two diplomats from the United Nations, was held earlier today. A reporter for the Al Jazeera news agency described the event as being primarily “a gathering of African leaders”.

In his inauguration speech, al-Bashir said that there would be “no return to war” with southern Sudan, and said a referendum on southern independence would be held on time. Southern Sudan is to hold a ballot in January of next year on whether to secede from the rest of the country. The referendum is a key part of the 2005 peace deal that ended Sudan’s north-south civil war.

al-Bashir was re-elected in April with 68% of the vote. Many opposition parties boycotted the election, accusing the president’s party of having rigged the result.

The president is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, including allegations that he ordered mass murder, rape and torture in Darfur, where rebels have frequently clashed with the government; al-Bashir strongly denies the claims.



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April 26, 2010

Sudanese president declared winner of elections

Sudanese president declared winner of elections

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Monday, April 26, 2010

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The Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, has been declared the winner of this month’s elections, after the first multiparty polls in 24 years. Salva Kiir, a former rebel leader, meanwhile, was also declared president of the semi-autonomous southern Sudan in separate elections.

According to the Sudanese election commission, al-Bashir won 68% of the vote, while Salva Kiir obtained 93% of the vote out of slightly more than 2.5 million total votes.

“The first [was] Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir. He was the candidate and won,” said Abel Alier, the chairman for Sudan’s National Elections Commission.

Observers and the opposition complained of fraud in the elections; two of al-Bashir’s main opponents withdrew before the voting began, accusing the polling process of being rigged. Al-Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, which issued a warrant for his arrest, although al-Bashir denies the allegations.



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January 26, 2010

Man throws shoe at President of Sudan during public conference

Man throws shoe at President of Sudan during public conference

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sudan
Other stories from Sudan
  • 15 September 2014: Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels
  • 7 September 2014: Libya accuse Sudan of arming ‘terrorist group’
  • 22 December 2013: Rebels take over South Sudan oil regions
  • 9 March 2012: Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton present 2012 International Women of Courage Awards
  • 29 August 2011: Sudanese President releases all detained journalists
…More articles here
Location of Sudan

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File photo of Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, President of Sudan, at Ethiopia.
Image: U.S. Navy.

Witnesses claim that a man threw a shoe at Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan, during a conference at Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. The man, however, missed the President, and was instantaneously arrested by a group of guards.

Throwing shoes is a mark of great disrespect in common Arab culture. Former U.S. President, George W. Bush, was insulted in a similar fashion during a trip to Iraq in 2008. In that case, the shoe thrower was a local journalist.

No reason was immediately available for this attack. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed in western Sudan’s Darfur region.

Several witnesses claimed that they had seen the incident. According to Reuters, one witness said: “The man was close to the podium and threw the shoe but it didn’t reach him.” The man was middle aged, between 40 to 50 years, and was well dressed.

“He seemed calm, even after he was arrested,” said another witness.

Bashir’s office, however, denied that any such incident had occurred, claiming that an unrecognized man had attempted to send a note to the President. According to them, this man had been arrested. Spokesperson Emad Sidahmed stated: “The man just wanted to give the president a note[…] but was intercepted by the security.”

According to witnesses, they were attending a conference for “strategic planning” at Khartoum’s Friendship Hall.

Bashir often goes to different parts of Sudan and delivers speeches. He is generally greeted by excited crowds. In early 2003, the non-Arab community revolted in Darfur, accusing Khartoum of neglecting them. While the U.N. put the death toll for this conflict at 300,000, the government claims that the figure was 10,000.

Violence in southern Sudan had also increased and the region had been engaged in a civil war till a 2005 peace deal. The deal promised a referendum, scheduled for 2011, about whether the region should form a separate breakaway republic.



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October 22, 2009

Red Cross member abducted in Darfur, Sudan

Red Cross member abducted in Darfur, Sudan

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said one of its staff members has been kidnapped in Sudan’s Darfur region. In a statement, the ICRC said that Gauthier Lefevre, a French national, was abducted Thursday near the town of Al Geneina in West Darfur.

It added that Lefevre was traveling in one of two clearly marked Red Cross vehicles when unidentified kidnappers seized him around midday local time. The ICRC said the man “was returning with other ICRC staff to El-Geneina after completing a field trip north of the town to help local communities upgrade their water supply systems.” It also said that “he was travelling in one of two clearly marked ICRC vehicles when he was seized a few kilometres [miles] from the town.”

The agency said it is working with local authorities to secure the man’s release.

Foreign aid groups have faced increased hostility in Darfur since the International Criminal Court indicted Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir earlier this year for alleged war crimes.

Two workers for the Irish aid group GOAL were kidnapped in July and spent three months in captivity before being released last Sunday. Two civilian employees of the joint United Nations–African Union mission in Darfur still remain captive after being kidnapped in August.



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October 19, 2009

Kidnappers release two aid workers in Darfur, Sudan after more than 100 days

Kidnappers release two aid workers in Darfur, Sudan after more than 100 days

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Sudan
Other stories from Sudan
  • 15 September 2014: Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels
  • 7 September 2014: Libya accuse Sudan of arming ‘terrorist group’
  • 22 December 2013: Rebels take over South Sudan oil regions
  • 9 March 2012: Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton present 2012 International Women of Courage Awards
  • 29 August 2011: Sudanese President releases all detained journalists
…More articles here
Location of Sudan

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The western region of Darfur
Image: ChrisO.

Two members of Irish aid agency GOAL, kidnapped in Sudan’s Darfur region last July, were freed on Sunday, and are “in good health,” according to Abdel Baqi al-Jailani Sudan’s Minister for Humanitarian Affairs. Sharon Commins and Hilda Kawuki say they are “thrilled” to be free at last.

Capture and release

Irish citizen Commins, 32, and her Ugandan colleague Hilda Kawuki, 42, were working for GOAL in a compound run by the charity in the North Darfur town of Kutum. Armed men seized them on July 3.

Following their release early Sunday morning they described their captivity as a “difficult time”, and thanked everyone who had worked to secure their freedom in a joint statement released through the GOAL. They were, “naturally thrilled to be released after such a long period in captivity”.

“We know it must have been a traumatic period for our families especially and for our friends,” they said. “It was of course, a difficult time – but we found strength in each other and in our friendship.” They also could “hardly wait to get home” to spend time with their families.

Al-Gilani indicated the pair were in Kutum and due to fly to Khartoum later the same day prior to them respectively returning to Ireland and Uganda.

John O’Shea, president of GOAL, told AFP by telephone that, “[w]e are all relieved,” and that all at the charity were particularly happy for their families. “We don’t yet know when they will go home but we hope it is as soon as possible.”

No ransom paid

Countering claims earlier in the year that the kidnappers demanded US$2 (€1.34) million for the pair’s release, al-Gilani stressed “no ransom was paid,”. adding that local tribal chiefs pressured the kidnappers into freeing the aid workers.

Increased hostility and threats

The captors held the two aid workers for over 100 days, the longest-running kidnapping in Darfur since the 2003 start of the region’s conflict. Until March, the longest an aid worker had been detained in Darfur was 24 hours.

Following the issue of an arrest warrant in March by the International Criminal Court for Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir for masterminding war crimes, aid workers say hostility and threats have increased towards them, and that Sudan’s relations with foreign relief organisations have declined dramatically.

In March and April two civil workers of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and French aid agency Aide médicale internationale (International Medical Aid) were kidnapped then released after three and 26 days respectively. A different group still holds captive two employees of the region’s joint United Nations—African Union peacekeeping force. These are the only two workers left in captivity.

No amnesty

To date, Sudanese authorities have not punished kidnappers; however al-Gilani announced yesterday that those responsible for the latest kidnapping must be brought to justice. In talking with AFP, he stated, “[t]hey must be punished otherwise there will be no more order”. The government called the kidnappers “bandits” and state no amnesty will be granted for the release of aid workers.



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July 4, 2009

African Union refuses to arrest Sudan\’s President for war crimes

African Union refuses to arrest Sudan’s President for war crimes

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sudan
Other stories from Sudan
  • 15 September 2014: Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels
  • 7 September 2014: Libya accuse Sudan of arming ‘terrorist group’
  • 22 December 2013: Rebels take over South Sudan oil regions
  • 9 March 2012: Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton present 2012 International Women of Courage Awards
  • 29 August 2011: Sudanese President releases all detained journalists
…More articles here
Location of Sudan

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The African Union (AU) has decided it will not act on an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly perpetrating war crimes in Darfur.

Jean Ping, the AU’s current chairperson, said of the decision by the 53 member states “They are showing to the world community that if you don’t want to listen to the continent, if you don’t want to take into account our proposals… if you don’t want to listen to the continent, as usual, we also are going to act unilaterally.”

Thirty African states have ratified the ICC treaty. Libya in particular had pressed for the decision, with leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, who hosted the summit, going so far as to invite controversial Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to address the summit; the Iranians agreed but later canceled the visit.

A Human Rights Watch spokesman said “This resolution, the result of unprecedented bullying by Libya, puts the AU on the side of a dictator accused of mass murder rather than on the side of his victims, but it cannot erase the legal obligations undertaken by the 30 African countries which have ratified the ICC treaty.”

This treaty requires signatory states — which al-Beshir has avoided since the March issuing of the arrant — to arrest any suspects within their borders. Sudan’s foreign ministry commented that now “The president is free to travel anywhere in Africa, including those countries that have ratified the ICC’s Rome statute.”

Amnesty International also criticised the new resolution, with Amnesty Africa’s director Erwin van der Borght saying “This decision by the African Union member states shows a disdain for those in Darfur who suffered gross human rights violation and makes a mockery of the AU as an international body. By supporting a wanted person accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, it undermines the credibility of states which are party to the Rome Statute and the AU as a whole.”

The Sudanese foreign ministry said that “We think that Africa is now one front against the ICC … Most Africans believe it is a court that has been set up against Africa and the third world.”

Sudan’s government has estimated 10,000 people have died as a result of violence in Darfur since February 2003, while the United Nations (UN) puts the figures as 300,000 dead with 2.7 million having fled their homes. The UN Security Council was criticised by the AU for its refusal to consider suspending al-Beshir’s warrant for one year, which Africa said could have helped efforts seeking peace in Darfur.



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March 4, 2009

International Criminal Court in The Hague issues arrest warrant for leader of Sudan

International Criminal Court in The Hague issues arrest warrant for leader of Sudan

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Al-Bashir listens to a speech during the opening of the 20th session of The New Partnership for Africa’s Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jan. 31, 2009.
Image: U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class, Jesse B. Awalt.

Sudan
Other stories from Sudan
  • 15 September 2014: Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels
  • 7 September 2014: Libya accuse Sudan of arming ‘terrorist group’
  • 22 December 2013: Rebels take over South Sudan oil regions
  • 9 March 2012: Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton present 2012 International Women of Courage Awards
  • 29 August 2011: Sudanese President releases all detained journalists
…More articles here
Location of Sudan

A map showing the location of Sudan

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Sudan, see the Sudan Portal
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The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands has ordered the arrest of the president of the African country of Sudan, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The warrant was issued by the ICC for seven charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, in the Darfur region of the country.

In the ruling, the ICC said that al-Bashir was “intentionally directing attacks against an important part of the civilian population of Darfur, Sudan, murdering, exterminating, raping, torturing and forcibly transferring large numbers of civilians and pillaging their property”. The ruling added that there was not enough evidence to charge him with genocide. A few hours after its ruling, the Sudan revoked six foreign aid agency licenses, but did not state why.

The ICC has never before issued an arrest warrant for a head-of-state while they were still in power. In the nearly six-years that the Darfur region has been engaged in battle, over 300,000 people have been killed, or died as a result of the fighting. Countless millions have fled the country, seeking shelter in refugee camps.

During a rally protesting the decision on Wednesday, Al-Bashir spoke, calling the charges worthless and told the ICC to “eat” the warrant. “[It is] not worth the ink it is written on. It is a flawed decision”. Egypt says it is also not in favor of the warrant and the government states it will ask the United Nations Security Council to stop the implementation of it.

The Human Rights Watch, a human rights organization located in the United States, in New York “the International Criminal Court has made Omar al-Bashir a wanted man”, welcoming the warrant.



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August 3, 2008

UN renews Darfur peacekeeping mission

UN renews Darfur peacekeeping mission – Wikinews, the free news source

UN renews Darfur peacekeeping mission

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

A refugee camp in Darfur

The United Nations Security Council has extended its mandate for the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in the Darfur area of Sudan. The resolution, adopted to extend the United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) mission, was approved by 14 of the 15 Security Council members. The United States abstained from the vote, saying that the language used in the mandate undermined efforts to bring Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to justice for war crimes.

The vote comes a day after the UN responded to a report by the Save Darfur Coalition that said the Darfur peacekeeping force lacks enough personnel and essential equipment. The UNAMID force currently has only 9,500 troops deployed out of an assigned 26,000, which it blames on Security Council bickering and the demands of Sudan’s government.



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