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May 8, 2014

eBay removes Canadian town\’s listing of sperm whale carcass

eBay removes Canadian town’s listing of sperm whale carcass

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

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Citing violations of its policy regarding “Marine mammal items”, eBay terminated an online listing on Monday by the town of Cape St. George, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, for a 40 ft (12 m) sperm whale carcass reportedly beached upon its shores about a week prior.

With an initial asking price of 99 cents, bidding for the carcass reportedly rose to C$238.03 within 15 bids. Reports variously state the final price of the whale, prior to the removal of the listing from the auction site on Monday at about 2:30pm, was C$2,025 or C$2,075. Listed in eBay’s “really weird” category, the carcass was considered by eBay to be an example of “items made from marine mammals regardless of when the product was made”, which are prohibited as per site rules.

Following a council meeting on Sunday in the town of 950 residents, Cape St. George’s mayor, Peter Fenwick, put the whale up on the auction site in a bid to have it removed from the town’s premises, citing a lack of cooperation from provincial and federal government officials on the matter. “It’s your problem, you solve it”, Fenwick recounted to The Globe and Mail (TGaM) as the response he received from them. Apart from eBay, Kijiji was also suggested as another avenue by which to sell the carcass.

Fenwick told CTV News, several years prior another sperm whale measuring 15 ft was beached in the area, but disappeared without incident, an act Fenwick attributed to be the work of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “This time”, he remarked, “the authorities have told us that it’s our whale, it’s our responsibility to get rid of it.”

On putting the carcass for sale, Fenwick remarked, “We knew we had to do something with it and this seemed to be the least expensive way of disposing of it.” In a news release, Fenwick highlighted a possible use for the carcass, particularly its bones. “The 40 foot sperm whale will make a spectacular exhibit once the fat and muscle is removed, and the town is asking museums and other organizations that could use a whale skeleton to contact the town for further details.”

On retaining the whale himself, Fenwick stated, “As a town we would dearly love to keep the whale and put it on exhibit in the town but the cost of such a venture would be hard to justify.” Fenwick told TGaM the whale was “in half decent shape”. “This one looks like it died very recently and hasn’t decomposed much”, which Fenwick suggested elsewhere was due to the whale’s present location, partially submerged in near-freezing water. However, Fenwick noted its close proximity to a residential area, saying homeowners who lived there were “very interested in seeing the whale gone.”

eBay was not the only organization who barred the sale from taking place. “We also got threatened by the federal department of the environment, and told to pull the ad off or they would prosecute us”, said Fenwick on the opposition he said he received from Environment Canada, which viewed the sale as contravening a federal act designed to protect endangered species. “I received a call from the federal department of the environment saying that you’re not allowed to sell any parts of sperm whales, even if they’re dead.” he added. “So I said, ‘Oh that’s very good, I’m glad to hear that, now can you send somebody over here to get rid of it for us?'” Fenwick’s request was met with a negative response from Environment Canada.

“They’ve got to sort it out somehow. The uncertainty means it just sort of sits there and rots.” Once decomposition sets in, Fenwick remarked the carcass would become a “real nuisance”. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a whale that’s been rotting on the beach for a couple of months — actually sometimes you can’t see it for the clouds of flies around it — but you can smell it for about a mile”, he added.

On finding alternate means to dispose of the carcass, Wayne Ledwell, a member of Newfoundland’s Whale Release and Strandings, suggested the whale be towed out to a remote area. “They need to do that right away, when they come in and they’re fresh,” said Ledwell. “No one wants to go touch them … everything becomes gooey and slippery and you can’t stand up on the whale and it gets on your boots and you can’t get the smell off and then you go home and the dog rolls in it and you get it in your kitchen and you curse the whales, and you curse the government and … it becomes a mess.” Fenwick said they’d considered the idea, enlisting a local fisherman who, however, judged his engine too small for the job.

Previously, blue whale carcasses washed ashore in the towns of Trout River and Rocky Harbour, located about 150 km further north, and were taken by Royal Ontario Museum for preservation of the skeletons. Fenwick suggested the sperm whale carcass in his town might also meet a similar fate, as the sperm whale’s status as the largest toothed whale might prove to be a drawing attraction for such a facility.

Regarding what he plans to do next with the carcass, Fenwick said “If we’re not allowed to sell it, we’re willing to drop our 99 cent price down to a zero.” He said he hoped some eBay bidder stays interested in the whale. “We’ll be glad to talk to them about giving them the whale. We’re hoping that’s not illegal.” He also said he hoped the publicity from the town’s predicament, which garnered national attention, and its unusual means of finding a solution, would draw in someone interested in taking the whale off his hands at their own expense.

Should the whale fall under new ownership, Fenwick advised it be moved away from the town to a beach devoid of people, and the blubber left as food for seagulls, insects, and other predators. He estimated “It’ll probably take a year or so to get down to the skeleton.” As monetary gain was reportedly not what the town cared about, Fenwick was willing to offer the carcass for free, though one report noted money raised from the listing could have gone towards the building of a skate park.

The listing on eBay, as put up by Fenwick, read:

Cquote1.svg This 40 foot sperm whale rolled up on the beach last week. The actual seller is the town of Cape St. George which is responsible for disposing of it before it starts to decay. Once the fat and flesh is removed you have a spectacular 40 foot skeleton of the largest toothed whale in the world, great for museums and other attractions. To prevent it rotting in the town it can be towed to isolated beaches on the Port au Port Peninsula to allow the seagulls and other birds to remove the flesh. Call 709-644-2290 or 709-649-7070 for more details.

Please note the successful bidder will have to remove the whale within 30 days

Cquote2.svg



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March 27, 2009

Preliminary investigation results released on Canadian helicopter crash

Preliminary investigation results released on Canadian helicopter crash

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Friday, March 27, 2009

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A broken bolt from a lorry, caused by metal fatigue

Two stud bolts of the Sikorsky helicopter that crashed recently off the coast of Canada broke causing first a loss in oil pressure followed by a deadly crash landing on Thursday March 12, 2009 killing 17 of 18 people on board.

“I can safely say now that the stud broke in flight and the loss of oil pressure was a result of that,” Mike Cunningham, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada’s lead investigator said, “So far, we cannot find any other anomaly that would account for that loss of oil pressure. There is further analysis and work to be done on exactly how and why that stud broke.”

Upon examination of the wreckage and seats, it was determined the helicopter landed at an acceleration of about 20g. On impact windows and doors flew off. It is not known at this time whether the victims drowned or were killed in this violent impact.

“It was […] belly first in an upright position with a tail low attitude. That’s what the damage is telling us,” Allan Chaulk, a TSB investigator, “We are just scratching the surface of analyzing the data we’ve so far collected.”

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did issue a directive to replace the titanium studs to steel studs before any Sikorsky S92 helicopters can resume flights. So far about 30% of helicopters worldwide still need to make the update.

Sikorsky had issued an Alert Service Bulletin to helicopter operators in January to replace the studs by 1,250 flight hours or within the year. A S-92A flight in Australia prompted the alert when it lost oil pressure and needed to make an emergency landing.

During the examination of the wreckage, TSB investigators are uncertain why two of three aircraft flotation devices did not activate to keep the aircraft from sinking. The cockpit voice and flight data recorders were operational between cruising altitude of 9,000 feet and the descent to 800 feet, and then an unexplainable electrical malfunction caused them to cease operating.



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March 25, 2009

Canadian annual seal hunt begins amid controversy

Canadian annual seal hunt begins amid controversy

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

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Seals Pagophilus groenlandicus are hunted for their pelts for coats and the fashion industry, blubber for oil, meat for pet food, and genitals as reported aphrodisiacs.
Image: Matthieu Godbout.

The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, opened the Canadian seal hunt amid protests by animal rights groups, at a time when bans on seal product imports are becoming more prevalent internationally.

Seal hunters along the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence are allowed to catch a maximum of 270,000 Harp Seal pups from a total estimated population of 5.5 million. 8,200 is the allowable catch of Hooded seals from an estimated population of 600,000, and seal hunters may catch 50,000 grey seals from an approximate population of 300,000.

The Harp seal pups may be killed as soon as they have molted their white pelts, which occurs 10 to 21 days after birth.

It is reported that Russia has shut down the seal hunt on its shores. The United States, Netherlands, and Belgium ban the import of seal products. The European Parliament committee has endorsed a ban on seal product imports by the 27 European Union (EU) member states, in the form of a proposed bill that would still allow the Canadian Inuit to trade in seal products for first nation cultural purposes. All members of the EU must approve the bill for it to become law.

“While we are extremely disappointed that the European Parliament has called for a ban of the trade of seal products, our position remains that any ban on a humanely conducted hunt, such as Canada’s, is completely without merit. We will continue to explore all legal and diplomatic options and we will exercise our rights to their fullest extent under international trade laws if and when it becomes necessary and appropriate.”

“Sealing is a significant source of income in many small, isolated coastal communities throughout Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the North, and creates critical employment opportunities for processing plants, as well as fuel, food and equipment suppliers in coastal communities,” said Minister Shea.

“Our government will continue to defend the rights of Canadian sealers to provide a livelihood for their families through our humane, responsible and sustainable hunt,” she said. “It represents as much as 35 per cent of a sealer’s annual income and is important for thousands of families at a time of year when other fishing options are limited at best.”

The first area to open up to the seal hunt was the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where 30 percent of the catch is allowed.

Sixteen observer permits have been issued. “The majority of the observers are people who protest against the seal hunt, but there are journalists and other observers as well. We try to make sure there’s an even proportion of sealing activity and observer activity,” Mr. Jenkins, Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokesman said. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is going to observe and record the commercial seal hunt.

“It’s devastating to be here, to know the commercial seal hunt has started again. It’s clear that a change is on the horizon with the European Parliament voting on a proposal to ban seal-product trade in the EU and many people in the Canadian sealing industry believe that could spell the beginning of the end of the commercial seal hunt,” commented Rebecca Aldworth, director of the Canadian chapter of Humane Society International.



Related news

  • “Newfoundland government launches seal hunt website” — Wikinews, March 26, 2007
  • “Harp seal hunt approved by Canada, activists call for boycott of Canadian seafood” — Wikinews, March 23, 2005

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March 21, 2009

Emergency directive for Sikorsky S-92A helicopters

Emergency directive for Sikorsky S-92A helicopters

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

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Sikorsky S92A helicopters are expected to be grounded until the mounting stud on the main gearbox filter bowl are changed. Following examination of the wreckage from a Canadian helicopter crash, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is developing an emergency safety directive for operators of similar Sikorsky helicopters to change titanium studs to steel studs before any S-92A helicopters can take to the air again.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Headquarters, Washington, D.C..
Image: AgnosticPreachersKid.

Cougar Helicopters Flight 91 crashed into the north Atlantic Ocean last Friday, March 13, killing 17 of the 18 people on board. All bodies were recovered Tuesday and they have been released by the coroner to their families. The voice and flight data recorders have been retrieved and are in good condition. They have been sent to Ottawa for examination by aviation officials.

Mr. Robert Decker was the only survivor and has not recovered enough to speak with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). “Mr. Decker was back in the fuselage and what happened during the occurrence, happened in the cockpit and Mr. Decker wouldn’t be privy to that. But on the issue of survivability, he may be able to help with that,” said Dave Cunningham, of the Transportation Safety Board.

A review of immersion suit standards of the two year old suits worn during this trip is being called for by the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Danny Williams. Williams is also urging for a review of offshore safety procedures, including placement of search and rescue aircraft closer to the capital.

The final report on the crash will take about a year to compile, however Cunningham will speak to the media at the end of next week.



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March 17, 2009

All bodies recovered from Canadian helicopter crash

All bodies recovered from Canadian helicopter crash

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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  • 3 July 2014: Indian space agency launches five foreign satellites
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Search and rescue basket
Image: Hustvedt.

Funerals began Monday across Newfoundland for the deceased of the downed Sikorsky S92 helicopter that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Friday killing 17 of the 18 people on board. All bodies have now been recovered, and the voice and flight data recorders have been retrieved to aid the investigation.

“We have a big attachment to the sea, even if a family is not directly involved you know how dangerous it is out there. Some funerals are strictly a family matter. In this situation there’s a large extended family because we’re all affected,” said Jim Maher, the uncle of Allison Maher, 26, the first deceased recovered after the crash.

The Archbishop of St. John’s, Martin Currie, said, “Tragedy is no stranger to the people of Newfoundland. They’re very resilient people and in a time of tragedy, they come together to support each other. Most of the communities in Newfoundland are small communities. Everybody knows everybody.”

The Transportation Safety Board has retrieved nine more bodies from the wreckage. The Atlantic Osprey is the offshore supply vessel which has been with the search and rescue effort since day one. The newly recovered bodies were taken back to St. John’s aboard the ship.

Since the recovery operations began Monday “it took 24 hours to get nine bodies out Each presents its own challenges depending on how it is entangled inside the aircraft” said RCMP Sergeant Wayne Newell.

Operations continued Tuesday to recover the final seven bodies tangled inside the mangled wreck 120 to 150 meters (394 to 492 feet) below the ocean surface. Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are being used in the icy waters to place the bodies in a basket so they can be raised to the surface. After the Atlantic Osprey arrived in port, the bodies were taken to the Newfoundland’s chief medical officer by hearse for identification.

Of the 19 people aboard, Robert Decker is the sole survivor. Decker’s family has informed the RCMP that he is not yet able to communicate. Decker, who was put on life support when first admitted to hospital with injured lungs and broken bones, has said a few words; RCMP investigators hope that he will be able explain what happened in the accident and assist with the investigation, possibly toward the end of the week.

Twelve names of the missing victims had previously been announced, and with family permission, the RCMP have now released the names of Corey Eddy, from Paradise, N.L., age 32, and John Pelley, from Deer Lake, N.L. age 41.



Related news

  • “Search for survivors of Canadian helicopter crash ends, recovery mission focuses on victims” — Wikinews, March 16, 2009
  • “Recovery planned for crashed Canadian helicopter” — Wikinews, March 15, 2009
  • “Canadian helicopter with 18 onboard crashes into Atlantic Ocean” — Wikinews, March 13, 2009

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March 16, 2009

Search for survivors of Canadian helicopter crash ends, recovery mission focuses on victims

Search for survivors of Canadian helicopter crash ends, recovery mission focuses on victims

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Disasters and accidents

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Map of Newfoundland, Canada
Image: Coach, nyta, edited by Qyd.

The search for the 16 missing people has been called off about 34 hours after the Sikorsky S92 helicopter crashed in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday. The helicopter is lying on its side at a depth of 178 metres approximately 30 miles (48 kilometers) off the Newfoundland shoreline, about 55 miles (89 km) southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Of the original 18 people on board, Robert Decker is in critical condition in hospital and the body of Allison Maher had been recovered. Decker is the only survivor of the crash.

The remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) used to search the wreckage, have videotaped ten to thirteen of the missing within the helicopter. At first recovery crews were hoping to haul the main body of the helicopter and its fuselage up intact, but because of the helicopter’s condition, the Transportation Safety Board will first retrieve the bodies from within the tangled metal.

Weather permitting, the recovery of the helicopter should be completed by the end of today.



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March 15, 2009

Recovery planned for crashed Canadian helicopter

Recovery planned for crashed Canadian helicopter

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

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Sikorsky S-92: detail of rotor
Image: David Monniaux .

The fuselage of the Sikorsky S92 helicopter that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday has been found at a depth 120 to 150 meters and is being retrieved. 17 of the 18 people who were on board the helicopter died after it crashed.

Personal belongings, upper and lower segments of the main entrance door, the aft cargo door, and one emergency exit door have been recovered. “We totally dissect everything we can and certainly that is going to be an area that will be examined,” said Mike Cunningham, lead investigator with the Transportation Safety Board (TSB). “It looks like the fuselage is relatively intact.” An underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is aiding in the investigation.

“The structure of the aircraft, the body of the aircraft seems to be in relatively solid state. The tail section has broken off and it is lying by the side of the aircraft which is not a problem. We are still evaluating how it’s going to be brought to the surface but we believe it should be done relatively easily, possibly in a couple of days,” said Charles Laurence, TSB’s lead investigator of operations.

The remaining victims may still be strapped within their five-point harnesses.

The mayday to Transport Canada aviation database reported oil pressure in the main gearbox which caused the problem. The gearbox links the engines and transmission and is located on the top of the fuselage and under the main rotor head.

Robert Decker remains in critical at the St. John’s Health Sciences Centre but has stabilised. It is reported that he suffered a broken bone, hypothermia and had aspirated sea water.

The recovered body is that of Allison Maher from Aquaforte, Newfoundland, aged 26. Throughout the search and rescue there were no locator signals received from survival suits of any of those missing.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have released the names of twelve of those who are are still missing. It is a partial list, as some relatives were “not prepared at this point of time to release the names of their loved ones, and we respect that,” said Supt. Reg Reeves.

They are:

  • Peter Breen, from St. John’s, N.L. age 55;
  • Gary Corbett, from Conception Bay South, N.L. age 46;
  • Wade Drake, from Fortune, N.L. age 42;
  • Wade Duggan, from Witless Bay, N.L. age 32;
  • Colin Henley, from St. John’s, N.L. age 38;
  • Ken MacRae, from Greenwood, N.S. age 47;
  • Derrick Mullowney, from Bay Bulls, N.L. age 51;
  • Burch Nash, from Fortune, N.L. age 44;
  • Paul Pike, from Bay Roberts, N.L. age 49;
  • Allison Maher,from Aquaforte, N.L., age 26
  • Tim Lanouette, from Comox, B.C., helicopter first officer age 48; and
  • Thomas Anwyll, from Langley, B.C. Crew member age 46.



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March 13, 2009

Canadian helicopter with 18 onboard crashes into Atlantic Ocean

Canadian helicopter with 18 onboard crashes into Atlantic Ocean

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Two life boats were empty, one person is dead and sixteen others are missing after a helicopter crashed into the frigid north Atlantic Ocean reported search and rescue official, March 12. The Sikorsky S92 helicopter sunk below the surface and the debris field was located about 47 nautical miles (87 km; 54 mi) southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Maydays and alerts were sent at 9:18 local NL time (7:48 EST). The helicopter pilot radioed his intent to return to St. John’s.

File:CHC S-92.jpg

file photo: Sikorsky S-92 of CHC Helicopters
Image: Christian Sager.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

The lone survivor, Robert Decker, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition. He was rescued by a helicopter which arrived 45 minutes after take off.

Of the eighteen people on board one other body was found and taken to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The cause of the crash is under investigation, but Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper called the incident a “tragic accident”. Julie Leroux of the Transportation Safety Board said that mechanical problems were reported on the helicopter, but further investigation was needed.

Earlier reports stated that two people and a life raft were seen in the waters 87 kilometers (54 miles) southeast of St. John’s. There were reports of a second life raft as well. Rescuers soon discovered that the life rafts were empty.

For those wearing survival suits, the survival time would be approximately 24 hours. Wave heights at the time of the crash were six to nine feet (two to three meters), with freezing water temperatures. As a result, emergency rooms at St. John’s hospital were prepared for survivors suffering from hypothermia reported Deborah Collins of the Eastern Health Board.

On board were workers heading to two offshore oilfields, mainly the Sea Rose platform, a part of the White Rose offshore oilfield 315 kilometers (196 miles) southeast of St. John’s. Two people on board were staff of Cougar Helicopters, and two passengers traveling to the Hibernia platform.

Two Cormorant rescue helicopters and one military Hercules plane flew into high winds during the rescue effort. The search and rescue team was supplemented by a coast guard ship and supply ship. There were reports that two other helicopters were dispatched as well.



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December 4, 2007

Parts of Newfoundland still without power following weekend storms

Parts of Newfoundland still without power following weekend storms

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

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Parts of the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, Canada, in particular the Bonavista Peninsula, were hit hard following a Sunday evening storm. Power went out in St. John’s Sunday night, but was promptly restored. By Tuesday, around 7500 customers were without electricity on the Bonavista Peninsula alone. However a spokeswoman with Newfoundland Power Corporation said Tuesday that power had been restored faster than expected in parts of the peninsula.



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July 7, 2007

Toshiba Transatlantic Challenge – success

Toshiba Transatlantic Challenge – success

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

British Toshiba Transatlantic Challenge pilot, David Hempleman-Adams, successfully crossed the Atlantic and in doing so broke 5 world records. His helium gas balloon landed safely in the French countryside on Friday evening.

The explorer is known for the grueling challenges he undertakes. Having created the “Adventurers’ Grand Slam” in which he visited both geographical and magnetic poles and climbed the highest peaks in each of the seven continents, this is his latest undertaking.

Monday saw Hempleman-Adams leave Newfoundland in his balloon. The successful crossing netted him the record for distance travelled in that size of balloon, although he battled with sleep deprivation in the latter stages of the journey.

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