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August 11, 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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The following is the third edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: two individuals previously interviewed by Wikinews announce their candidacies for the Reform Party presidential nomination; a former Republican Congressman comments on the Republican National Convention; and Wikinews interviews an historic Democratic National Convention speaker.

Summary[]

As July started, presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton met with the FBI to discuss the private e-mail server she used as Secretary of State. A few days later, FBI Director James Comey held a press conference where he announced that charges would not be appropriate against Clinton. He noted, however, that Clinton had acted carelessly in installing a private e-mail server for State business and had risked compromising State secrets. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump tweeted that the lack of charges in the case showed “the system is totally rigged!” Polls from the early part of the month gave Clinton a slight lead in the race. She led the July 4 Real Clear Politics average 44.9% to 40.3%. At this time, media interest in the running-mate selections of Trump and Clinton intensified. The Washington Post speculated that New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were the leading contenders to be Trump’s running mate. However, other reports pointed to Indiana governor Mike Pence, who confirmed he would accept the position if asked. Trump commented that ten names were on the shortlist including some not mentioned in the media. In later days, General Michael Flynn was floated as a possibility in reports. Gingrich, Flynn, and Pence were apparently finalists for the position, with Pence believed to be the favorite. For the Democrats, Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Xavier Becerra and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro received mention as potential running mates for Clinton, but the shortlist reportedly included Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Trump speaks at a July Iowa rally with Mike Pence’s name affixed to his logo
Image: Max Goldberg (flickr).

On July 7, Trump arrived in Washington D.C. and met with Republican members from the House of Representatives and Senate. During the meeting, Trump reportedly told the attendees if they did not support his candidacy, they were, in effect, supporting Clinton. Trump agreed to allow his former rival, Senator Ted Cruz, to speak at the convention, but he did not secure an endorsement from Cruz. The next day, both Trump and Clinton canceled campaign events as an African American shooter in Dallas killed five police officers. Trump’s state chairman in Virginia blamed the shooting on Clinton and others “who label police as racists.” In the aftermath, Trump proclaimed himself the “law and order candidate.” Ahead of its convention, the GOP platform committee approved a socially conservative platform that opposed same-sex marriage and identified pornography as a “public health crisis.” The convention’s host, Ohio governor John Kasich, a former presidential rival of Trump, would not endorse Trump and claimed through a spokesman that Trump had asked Kasich join the presidential ticket in May, but Kasich had declined. Trump’s spokesman denied the claim. Another former rival, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, said he might vote for Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson instead of Trump. On the other side, Hillary Clinton’s principle rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, dropped his campaign and officially endorsed Clinton. Clinton also seemingly received support from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who called Trump “a faker” and wondered why he has “gotten away” with not releasing his tax returns. Democratic Senator Chris Murphy questioned whether the country was “well served” with a Supreme Court justice openly discussing her political views. Trump referred to Ginsburg’s comments as “highly inappropriate.” Ginsburg later apologized.

Trump announced he would officially name his running mate on July 15. Though Pence was the favorite to receive the nod, Trump met with Senator Jeff Sessions, and had additional meetings with Christie and Gingrich. According to multiple news reports, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner, and financier Sheldon Adelson all tried to convince Trump to select Gingrich, while campaign manager Paul Manafort favored Pence, and pollster Tony Fabrizio wanted Flynn. CNN reported Trump had offered the position to Pence, who accepted. According to NBC, the purported leak of the news had left Trump “seething.” Due to the July 14 attack in Nice, France, Trump postponed the planned announcement. Both CNN and NBC reported Trump was looking for ways to get out of the selection of Pence. The campaign denied the report. The New York Times alleged the Pence selection was revisited because Christie had begged the campaign to reconsider its decision and replace Pence with himself. On July 15, Trump officially announced via Twitter that he had selected Pence. Through the selection, Trump said he hoped to unify the party. Manafort said the ticket would appeal to former supporters of Sanders. As the GOP convention approached, Manafort declared the #NeverTrump movement “gone,” as the GOP rules committee voted not to unbind delegates. Clinton announced she would reveal her vice presidential selection after the GOP convention. The Washington Post tapped Vilsack as the favorite.

RNC[]

Trump with Pence
Image: VOA.

As the GOP convention began in Cleveland, Ohio, Trump trailed Clinton in the July 18 Real Clear Politics average 40.6% to 43.8%. Although Ohio was hosting the convention, the state’s delegates were not placed in the front as is tradition. This was believed to be punishment for Governor Kasich’s refusal to endorse Trump or attend the convention. Manafort called Kasich’s absence a “big mistake” and “embarrassing [to] his state.” With the release of the lineup of speakers showing many members of Trump’s family, former RNC chairman Michael Steele called the convention “a [Trump] family affair.”

On the opening day, on the floor of the convention at Quicken Loans Arena, anti-Trump delegates unsuccessfully attempted to force a roll call vote on the convention rules. Protests outside were relatively minor with only 24 arrests throughout the entire convention. During the convention speeches, delegates frequently chanted “Lock her up!” in reference to Hillary Clinton. Patricia Smith, mother of diplomat Sean Smith who died in the 2012 Benghazi attack, blamed Clinton for her son’s death and exclaimed, “Hillary belongs in prison. She deserves to be in stripes.” In his speech, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani commented Clinton “would go to jail” if he were allowed to prosecute her. In the prime-time opening-night speech, Trump’s wife Melania delivered a speech that initially received acclaim. However, this changed once the media pointed out some lines were nearly identical to those from the speech of First Lady Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Quicken Loans Arena ahead of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Image: Erik Drost.

The Trump campaign spent most of the second day of the convention explaining away the plagiarism flap as speechwriter Meredith McIver took the blame for the passages and offered to quit. Trump requested she remain. Trump officially received the presidential nomination on the second day of the convention and Pence received the vice-presidential nomination. Christie delivered a speech in which he held a mock trial prosecuting Clinton in absentia before the delegates. He was followed with prime-time speeches by Trump’s children Tiffany and Donald Jr.

View from the floor of the Convention
Image: VOA.

On the third day, The New York Times released a transcript of an interview with Trump in which he criticized NATO and questioned whether the US should honor the treaty if member nations do not contribute their share of funds. Several Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said they disagreed with Trump’s comments. Disagreements seeped into the convention as well when Cruz gave a speech in which he did not endorse Trump. When his refusal became evident, a chorus of boos erupted from the delegates, continuing until he left the stage. The speech overshadowed that of Pence who accepted the vice-presidential nomination later that night. Cruz received almost universal condemnation from prominent Republicans. However, Gingrich, who spoke after Trump’s son Eric, who followed Cruz, commented he did not take the speech to show a lack of support for Trump. Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. claimed it had helped Republicans unite behind Trump.

On the last day of the convention, after a formal introduction from Ivanka, Trump accepted the GOP nomination and delivered, CNN noted, the longest nominee acceptance speech in 40 years. In the speech, Trump emphasized “law and order”, and referenced his proposals of building a wall along the southern border and banning immigration from nations with a history of terrorism. Trump described the legacy of his opponent Clinton as one of “death, destruction, terrorism, and weakness.” President Barack Obama criticized the speech, accusing Trump of basing it on fear and inaccurately painting a bleak portrait of the nation. Nevertheless, a CNN/ORC instant poll showed 57% of respondents who watched the speech received it favorably and 56% were more likely to vote for Trump. According to pundit Joe Trippi, the speech and overall convention provided the GOP with about a 5.9% bounce in the polls, one point higher than the average. Most polls at this time showed Trump leading Clinton.

A day after the convention, Clinton announced her vice-presidential selection. The New York Times had reported that Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, wanted Clinton to pick Senator Tim Kaine. Indeed, she named Kaine, a centrist from Virginia, as her running mate. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus called Clinton-Kaine a “failed Democrat status quo” ticket.

DNC[]

Pro-Bernie Sanders protests of the DNC
Image: Becker1999.

Ahead of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wikileaks released nearly 20 thousand hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails. The e-mails showed favoritism of Clinton within the DNC and revealed plans to diminish the Sanders campaign. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned her position as a result. Initially, she was to gavel-in the convention, but after a highly negative reception from her home state Florida delegation before the convention, she was replaced with DNC Secretary Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Media reports and the Clinton campaign itself blamed Russia for the hacking and leaking of e-mails. The DNC issued an apology to Sanders. Sanders urged his supporters not to protest on the floor of the convention. He was booed upon reiterating his support for Clinton before a group of delegates. Presumptive Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein invited Sanders to meet with her, but Sanders declined. Via Twitter, Trump said Sanders had “sold out.”

View of the floor of the DNC
Image: JefParker.

On the first day of the convention, the first speakers received boos upon mentioning Clinton with the crowd erupting into chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” and “Count our votes!” As the convention continued, the protests died down inside Wells Fargo Center, but continued outside. Overall, a total of 103 citations were issued in lieu of arrests, while the Secret Service arrested eleven. As the convention moved along, commentators oddly noted a common theme of “American exceptionalism” in speeches and more religious references than at the RNC. On the first night, Michelle Obama addressed the convention in a well received speech. She did not mention Trump by name, but referenced his slogan in proclaiming, “don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this right now is the greatest country on earth!” She heaped praise upon Clinton, whom she called a leader “guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.” She was followed by the keynote speaker Elizabeth Warren, who opened a blistering attack on Trump, accusing him of defrauding people. Sanders spoke. He expressed disappointment in the outcome of the primaries but heralded the “historical accomplishments” of his movement and urged his followers to get behind Clinton.

Clinton accepts the Democratic presidential nomination
Image: VOA.

In a historic moment on the second day, Clinton officially received the Democratic presidential nomination, making her the first woman to be nominated by a major party. That night, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, addressed the convention, discussing his relationship with his wife and highlighting her accomplishments. Before the convention convened on the third day, Trump held a press conference. Referencing the DNC hack leak, he remarked, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” The Clinton campaign attacked Trump for “actively encourag[ing] a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” though Trump claimed he was merely joking. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange commented in an interview that he timed the release of the hacked e-mails to hurt Clinton in the election.

On the third day, after a speech from Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, addressed the convention. He formally endorsed Clinton and referred to Trump as a “con,” arguing, “[t]he richest thing about Trump is his hypocrisy.” Later, Kaine officially accepted the vice-presidential nomination. President Obama followed with a speech to wrap up the third day. He argued that no one, himself included, was “more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.” He accused Trump of offering “no serious solutions to pressing problems — just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.”

On the final day, Chelsea Clinton spoke and introduced her mother, Hillary Clinton, who accepted the Democratic nomination. During her speech, Clinton laid out policy proposals and attacked Trump for making some of his products overseas. In addition, she argued that Trump cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons. Clinton’s speech was deemed a success. A CNN instant poll revealed 71% of viewers had a favorable opinion of the speech with 60% more likely to vote for her after watching. Although Trump’s speech received higher television ratings, Clinton overtook Trump in post-convention polls.

Khizr and Ghazala Khan
Image: VOA.

Press coverage of Clinton’s speech was overshadowed by an earlier speech from Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a Muslim couple whose son died in Iraq in 2004. The speech set off a back-and-forth between Trump and Khan that lasted several days. With his wife at his side on the convention stage, Khizr Khan delivered a stinging attack on Trump for his earlier proposal to ban Muslim immigration and wondered whether Trump had ever read the U.S. Constitution. Trump responded, attacking Khizr for his comments and questioning whether Khizr’s wife remained silent during the speech because she was not allowed to speak. Trump’s comments were condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike. Khizr labeled Trump “void of decency” and accused him of having a “dark heart.” Ghazala responded with an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she attributed her silence at the convention to grief.

As July came to a close, Trump had additional setbacks. First, he mistakenly asserted that no Russian troops were currently in Ukraine. Second, he made an unsupported claim that the NFL had complained to him about the presidential debate schedule coinciding with NFL games. Nevertheless, Trump received some positive news with the announcement that Julian Assange had “extremely interesting” information on Clinton that had yet to be released through Wikileaks. In the July 31 Real Clear Politics average, Clinton, who had just received the endorsement of billionaire Mark Cuban, held a 1.1% lead over Trump .

Reform Party race features two Wikinews interviewees[]

Two candidates who each previously spoke with Wikinews have both announced their candidacies for the 2016 presidential nomination of the Reform Party of the United States. Historian Darcy Richardson and businessman Rocky De La Fuente each decided to seek the nomination in July. Both have previously run for president as Democrats.

Logo for the Reform Party of the United States of America.
Image: Reform Party National Committee.

[T]here was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century
Darcy Richardson on the Reform Party

Richardson, a veteran of third-party politics, sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2012 and briefly vied for the Reform Party presidential nomination that same year. He is the author of “The Others” anthology, covering third-party candidates, and has written books on such political topics as the 1968 presidential election and the presidential candidacies of Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, and recently, Bernie Sanders. He served as campaign manager during McCarthy’s 1988 presidential bid. In addition, he ran for Pennsylvania Auditor General in 1980, and was the Consumer Party’s 1988 nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. In 2010, he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Florida as the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Farid Khavari.

Richardson has a history within the Reform Party beyond his 2012 run. He participated in the party’s 1996 and 2000 mail-in primaries, was part of the 2004 nominating conference calls, donated to candidates nominated by the party, and contributed to the Reform National Committee. Richardson says Reform Party Secretary Nicholas Hensley encouraged him to enter the 2016 race. As the nominee, he plans to spread the party message through television, radio, and speaking engagements.

“In short, my candidacy is designed to remind older folks about the Reform Party’s important role in American politics”, says Richardson, “and to inform younger millennials — those facing a low-paying, if not jobless, future — that there was and is a party that was opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other unfair trade agreements and which is still deeply committed to the Hamiltonian idea of protecting U.S. jobs and industry as we proceed into the 21st Century.”

De La Fuente, a San Diego businessman with properties throughout the world, got his start in the automobile industry and has since branched into the banking and real estate markets. Before his 2016 Democratic Party campaign for president, he had not sought political office, but did serve as the first-ever Hispanic superdelegate, at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. During his 2016 presidential campaign, which he began largely as a reaction to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, De La Fuente qualified for the ballot in 48 Democratic primary contests. In addition to seeking the Reform Party nomination, he is current attempting to qualify for the general election ballot in several states as an independent or as the nominee of the new “American Delta Party,” which he founded. De La Fuente is currently running in the Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate in Florida as well. According to Hensley, in remarks to Wikinews’, ballot access expert Richard Winger encouraged De La Fuente to seek the Reform Party nomination.

Rocky De La Fuente in January 2016.
Image: Marc Nozell.

Darcy Richardson in 2010
Image: Darcy Richardson.

According to Richardson, De La Fuente entered the race a mere 24 hours after he did. Moreover, Richardson distinguishes himself from De La Fuente, arguing that while those within the Reform party encouraged him to run, De La Fuente ran at the insistence of “a partisan Libertarian [Winger] […] who personally has little interest in the Reform Party’s current fortunes or its future”, and who sees the Reform Party as “just an available ballot line”.

Richardson’s preferred running mate, activist Thomas Knapp, founder of the now-defunct Boston Tea Party, draws an even greater contrast between Richardson and De La Fuente.

“[There were] five states that both Mr. [De La] Fuente [in 2016] and Mr. Richardson [in 2012] appeared on a Democratic primary ballot [in different election cycles] […],” explains Knapp, comparing De La Fuente and Richardson’s Democratic Party candidacies, “Richardson outpolled [De La] Fuente and did so on a budget two full orders of magnitude smaller, even though Richardson was running against a popular incumbent president [Barack Obama] and [De La] Fuente was running against one of the most hated politicians in America [Hillary Clinton].”

“In his presidential campaign so far [De La Fuente] has spent $6.4 million to get 67,000 votes”, Knapp continues. “That’s $95.50 per vote.”

De La Fuente was asked to respond to these statements and to comment on this report, but he has yet to do so.

The Reform Party was founded in 1995 by industrialist Ross Perot. Perot ran as the party’s first presidential nominee in 1996, and won over eight percent of the popular vote, the highest percentage for a third-party candidate since. In 1998, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura ran on the Reform Party ticket and was elected Governor of Minnesota. The party fell in prominence during the lead-up to the 2000 presidential election when it was plagued by infighting between ideological factions. In 2000, Donald Trump briefly sought the party’s presidential nomination, but it was ultimately won by paleoconservative icon Pat Buchanan, who went on to receive only 0.4% of the popular vote in the general election. In 2004, the party opted to endorse consumer advocate Ralph Nader, but ended the year nearly bankrupt. Ted Weill won the party’s 2008 presidential nomination, but appeared on the ballot in only one state and won a total of 481 votes. In 2012, the party’s presidential nominee, fitness model Andre Barnett, on the ballot only in Florida with write-in status elsewhere, received a total of 952 votes. The party is currently on the ballot in New York and Florida, but, according to Ballot Access News, the New York affiliate is expected to nominate Trump.

The party held its 2016 convention the last weekend in July. It had planned to formally announce its presidential ticket on August 8. According to Knapp, Richardson and De La Fuente were the two leading contenders for the nomination. Others seeking the nomination included 2012 vice presidential nominee Kenneth Cross and psychologist Lynn Kahn.

“I was approached about entering the contest very recently”, says Richardson. “I plan to support whatever ticket the party nominates.”

Former Congressman responds to Cruz RNC speech[]

Congressman Tancredo
Image: United States Congress.

As Senator Ted Cruz delivered his much-discussed speech before the Republican National Convention, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, an early supporter of Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, watched with disappointment. In an exclusive interview with Wikinews, Tancredo argued that Cruz’s refusal to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the speech, which prompted what was perhaps one of the most negative crowd reactions to a convention speech in recent memory, was a mistake.

“He needs to realize and appreciate the bigger picture”, said Tancredo about Cruz, “[y]ou can still hate Donald Trump for the things he says [but] he has to recognize what will happen to the country if the Supreme Court is under the control of Hillary Clinton.”

Ted Cruz delivering his convention speech
Image: VOA.

Tancredo, who represented Colorado’s 6th congressional district from 1999 to 2009, endorsed Cruz in January, writing an op-ed for Breitbart.com in which he touted Cruz as an outsider and “the real deal.” Tancredo himself ran for president in 2008 as an outsider Republican, focusing on securing the U.S.–Mexico border and enforcing laws against illegal immigration. Notably, during his campaign, Tancredo had a September 2007 interview with Wikinews.

Cruz’s speech affected more than just Tancredo’s opinion. Though some praised the speech as principled and politically astute — including Hillary Clinton, who tweeted “vote your conscience”, repeating what Cruz had said — many prominent Republicans offered rebukes. Former Congressman Joe Walsh called for a Texas Republican to “primary” Cruz in 2018, when his Senate seat goes up for re-election, as a consequence for not honoring the GOP endorsement pledge. Chris Christie described Cruz as “selfish” for refusing to endorse. Congressman Peter King called Cruz an “asshole”, a term which RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said was apt. Polls from before and after the speech showed Cruz’s approval rating among Republicans fall from 60% to 33%.

Addressing the backlash, Cruz defended his decision, arguing “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.” Moreover, he claimed the GOP endorsement pledge “was not a blanket commitment that, if you go and slander and attack Heidi [his wife], that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and my father”.

The attacks Cruz refers to are Trump’s re-tweeting in March of a graphic comparing an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife, Heidi, to a glamour shot of Melania Trump, as well as Trump’s mention last May of a National Enquirer report connecting Cruz’s father to Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of President John F. Kennedy.

Tancredo said he believes the issues facing the nation are “more important than [Cruz’s] personal feelings about his wife or father.” He maintained that Cruz “could have avoided the problem and ‘lived with himself’ by passing on the invitation to speak. Apparently the few minutes still in the spotlight was too alluring”.

A new view on Cruz was not Tancredo’s only takeaway from July’s convention. He appreciated Trump’s acceptance speech as well, calling it the “[b]est I’ve heard from him”.

Wikinews interviews history-making DNC speaker[]

Before Hillary Clinton’s historic moment on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention, as she became the first woman to accept the presidential nomination of a major US political party, another woman, much younger than Clinton, made history of her own. Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), became the first openly transgender person to address a major political party’s national convention when she spoke before the Democratic National Convention. Wikinews contacted McBride to find out more about her groundbreaking speech.

Sarah McBride
Image: Human Rights Campaign.

McBride, a native of Delaware in her mid-20s, came out as a transgender woman during her term at American University as student body president. Before HRC, an LGBT lobbying group, McBride was employed by the Center for American Progress, a progressive advocacy organization, and was the first openly transgender woman to intern at the White House. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the LGBT activist group Equality Delaware, through which she successfully lobbied the legislature of Delaware to expand the state’s anti-discrimination and hate-crimes acts to include gender identity and expression.

During her convention speech, McBride discussed her relationship with a transgender man, Andrew, who continued LGBT activism despite having terminal cancer. McBride married the man just a few days before his death. McBride’s speech received widespread coverage with feature stories from Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Daily Mail, CNN, ABC News, NBC News, Rolling Stone, New York, and others.

With Wikinews, McBride discusses the speech, her experience at the convention, and any future political plans.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How did you find out the DNC wanted you to speak at the convention? What were your initial thoughts?

McBride: I found out that I was speaking about a week before the convention started. The Congressional LGBT Caucus was granted six minutes on the main stage of the convention and they decided that they wanted to dedicate half of that time to having a transgender person speak, breaking that barrier of finally having an openly trans speaker at a major party convention. When I found out, I was excited, nervous, and honored. Throughout the week leading up to the convention and during the week of the convention, my main thought was that I wanted to do the trans community proud and do them justice.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How did you prepare for the speech and what did it feel like to deliver it before millions of people?

McBride: For the last few years, much of my advocacy has been about telling my personal story and weaving it in to the larger effort for LGBTQ equality. In writing my speech for the DNC, I took some of the themes, thoughts, and experiences that I’ve spoken about before and condensed them for the speech. During the week of the convention, I didn’t have much time to really focus on the upcoming speech. Instead, I went from interview to interview, talking with various outlets about this opportunity and the stakes of this election for LGBTQ people.
Standing on the stage and delivering my remarks was one of the most empowering and inspiring experiences of my life. While I was nervous beforehand, once I got on the stage and started speaking, I felt calm and determined to utilize those three minutes to effectively speak to the audience, both in and out of the arena. Throughout the speech and right afterward, I kept on thinking about a young transgender person in North Carolina who may be watching, who is wondering whether this country has a place for them too, and hoping that my speech could give that person, and anyone like them, just a little comfort and hope that things are changing, that they matter, and that their dreams and identity are not mutually exclusive.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What did you hope to achieve with the speech and what reaction have you received thus far?

McBride: I really hoped to drive two major points home. The first was that there is a lot of unfinished work for the LGBTQ equality movement and that Hillary Clinton is the champion and fighter we need to deliver the change so many of us still need. The second point was that I wanted to reinforce that behind this national conversation on transgender rights, are real people who hurt when we are mocked, who hurt when we are discriminated against, and who just want to be treated with dignity and fairness.
The energy in the arena was palpable as I stood on stage and I hope that the trans community could see and hear the love in that space. [The] response was and has been overwhelming and heartening. I hope that my speech helped open some hearts and change some minds, even if it was just one person.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Other than the speech, how was your experience at the convention?

McBride: This was the first convention I had ever attended and needless to say it was an incredible experience. Watching the first woman nominee of a major party stand up and accept the nomination of her party for President of the United States was a sight and experience I will never forget. I feel so lucky to have witnessed so much history in Philadelphia.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png After participating in the convention, do you personally have any interest in pursuing political office?

McBride: I’ve always been interested in politics and government and I definitely plan on returning to my home state of Delaware at some point, but I don’t know if running for office is ever in my future. Right now, I’m incredibly focused on contributing whatever I can to push equality forward for LGBTQ people and if there is anything I’ve learned in the last few years, it’s that making long term plans is usually a pretty fruitless exercise.



Related articles[]

Sources[]

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

October 27, 2013

Slow start to winter 2013/2014 flu season in USA

Slow start to winter 2013/2014 flu season in USA

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

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With the United States flu season having started this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Weather Channel and Google‘s FluTrends websites report today low flu levels.

All three sources say there are no, or minimal, reports of the flu in Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. All three indicate Alabama has moderate flu levels. Google FluTrends indicates that at the same time last year, the flu level nationally was at moderate.

During the early part of the month, there were some concerns about the quality of flu reporting as the CDC and other government supported flu tracking organizations were impacted by the US government shutdown. Some non-profits and private organizations provided their own data during this period to fill the information void.

The CDC advises people to get a flu vaccine as the best means of avoiding getting the flu. Dr. Harry Leider, Chief Medical Officer for Walgreens, also is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine now before the flu becomes more widespread. For the 2013/2014 flu season in the US, there are two types of vaccines available. One provides immunization for two influenza A viruses and an influenza B virus — specifically, an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus; an A(H3N2) virus, similar for antigenic purposes to cell-propagated prototype virus A/Victoria/361/2011; and a virus similar to B/Massachusetts/2/2012. A second type of vaccine provides immunization for two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.

Flu prevelance by state
State Google FluTrend CDC The Weather Channel
Alabama Moderate Local Localized
Alaska Low Sporadic
Arizona Low Sporadic Sporadic
Arkansas Low No activity
California Low Sporadic Sporadic
Colorado Low No activity
Connecticut Low Sporadic Sporadic
Delaware Low No activity
Florida Moderate Sporadic Sporadic
Georgia Moderate Sporadic Sporadic
Hawaii Low Sporadic
Idaho Low No activity
Illinois Moderate Sporadic
Indiana Low Sporadic Sporadic
Iowa Low Sporadic Sporadic
Kansas Moderate No activity
Kentucky Moderate No activity
Louisiana Moderate Sporadic Sporadic
Maine Low No activity
Maryland Low No activity Sporadic
Massachusetts Low Sporadic Sporadic
Michigan Moderate Sporadic
Minnesota Moderate Sporadic Sporadic
Mississippi Moderate Local Sporadic
Missouri Moderate No activity
Montana Low No activity
Nebraska Low Sporadic
Nevada Moderate Sporadic
New Hampshire Low No activity
New Jersey Low Sporadic Sporadic
New Mexico Moderate Sporadic Sporadic
New York Low Sporadic Sporadic
North Carolina Low No activity
North Dakota Low Sporadic Sporadic
Ohio Low Sporadic Sporadic
Oklahoma Moderate No activity
Oregon Low Sporadic
Pennsylvania Low Sporadic
Rhode Island Low No activity
South Carolina Low Local Localized
South Dakota Low No activity Sporadic
Tennessee Moderate No activity
Texas Moderate Sporadic Localized
Utah Low Sporadic Sporadic
Vermont Low No activity
Virginia Low No activity
Washington Low Sporadic Sporadic
West Virginia Low No activity
Wisconsin Low Sporadic Sporadic
Wyoming Low Sporadic Sporadic
District of Columbia Low Sporadic



Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

February 28, 2012

U.S. Army identifies remains of last U.S. soldier unaccounted for in Iraq

U.S. Army identifies remains of last U.S. soldier unaccounted for in Iraq

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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The remains of United States Staff Sergeant Ahmed K. Altaie of Ann Arbor, Michigan, were identified on Saturday. Although Army officials provided no details surrounding his death, the military’s mortuary in Dover, Delaware positively identified Altaie’s remains. Altaie was the last missing United States service member unaccounted for in Iraq.

Altaie was born in Iraq and moved to the United States during his teenage years. He served as a translator for the U.S. Army when he was abuducted on October 23, 2006, having joined the Army Reserve two years before.

Altaie took a motorcycle trip from Baghdad’s Green Zone to visit his Iraqi wife when three abductor’s pulled up, handcuffed the 41 year old, and left with him. Iraqi officials offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to Altaie.

In February 2007, a ten-second video posted on a militant Shiite website appeared to be of Altaie.

Hathal Altaie, the man’s brother, told McClatchy, “We’ve been waiting for five years, suffering, not knowing if he’s alive or dead. This was not the news we wanted, of course, but it’s better than staying like that, without ever knowing what happened to him.”


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December 28, 2010

December blizzard slams Northeastern United States

December blizzard slams Northeastern United States

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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An infrared satellite image of the storm
Image: NOAA.

Snow covered Journal Square in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Image: Rajkumarth.

The United States’ first major blizzard of the winter season has left much of the New England region covered in snow. Stretching from Virginia to Maine, the storm, packing winds of over 50 miles per hour (80.5 kilometres per hour), dropped more than two feet of snow in some areas.

Residents prepared for what would be one of the worst nor’easters in quite some time. The storm contained similar conditions to a category 2 hurricane. Wellfleet, Massachusetts saw an 80 miles per hour wind gust, the strongest recorded throughout the storm. Connecticut, New York and Maine all recorded wind gusts of over 60 miles per hour and gusts of over 70 miles per hour blasted Cape Cod.

A total of 32 inches (81.3 centimetres) fell in Rahway, part of the hardest-hit state in the storm’s path. Most New Jersey cities received over a foot of snow, while Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, and Maryland all had snow totals topping out at around 1 foot (30.48 centimetres) with Massachusetts topping out at a foot and a half.

On Monday, travel proved difficult, with flights from Philadelphia, Newark, New York City, Hartford, Boston, Portland, and Washington, D.C. canceled. Drivers also ran into problems on major highways as accidents were unavoidable on the slick roads.


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September 15, 2010

Tea Party-endorsed Christine O\’Donnell wins Delaware Senate primary election

Tea Party-endorsed Christine O’Donnell wins Delaware Senate primary election

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Christine O’Donnell in August 2010.
Image: Delawareguy.

Christine O’Donnell has defeated Mike Castle in a Republican primary election for U.S. Senator from Delaware, CNN and the Associated Press have announced. With 325 of 325 precincts counted, O’Donnell, who has received the endorsement of the Tea Party movement, led Representative Castle by 30561 votes to 27021, 53.1% to 46.9%.

The Republican O’Donnell will likely face Democrat Christopher A. Coons in a special election on November 2. The Senate seat from Delaware was vacated when Joe Biden became Vice-President of the United States in January 2009, and interim appointee Ted Kaufman declined to run for the seat. Analysts such as Taegan Goddard and Bill Kristol question whether O’Donnell can defeat Coons in November. Before the nominations for the race opened, Mike Castle had been favored to win the seat, which would be a Republican gain in the now Democratic-controlled Senate.

Former Alaska governor and Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin endorsed O’Donnell late in the race. The Tea Party movement presents itself as a constructionist conservative movement seeking to reclaim the Republican Party from established politicians.



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February 7, 2010

Major snowstorm sweeps across Eastern US

Major snowstorm sweeps across Eastern US

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

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A major winter storm, which has been nicknamed by some as “Snowmageddon”, has pummeled parts of the U.S. Middle Atlantic region, dumping up to 19 inches (50 centimeters) of snow in some parts of the Washington area.

The National Weather Service is predicting as much as 24 to 30 inches (60 to 75 cm) of snow for the Washington, D.C. region by late Saturday. The storm brought high winds and low visibility, with winds gusting at 56 miles per hour (93 kilometers per hour) along the coast.

Life in the nation’s capital ground to a halt with the federal government and most businesses closing early on Friday and residents warned to stay off the snow-clogged roads. Hundreds of thousands of homes were without power as the wet snow weighed heavily on trees and power lines. Power lines in some areas have been brought down by the heavy snow.

The Weather Service issued blizzard and winter storm warnings for states reaching from Virginia and West Virginia up to Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.

Forecasters say this could be the largest recorded snowfall in Washington, rivaling a storm, known as the Knickerbocker Storm, that hit the city nearly 90 years ago, in January 1922. The largest amount of snowfall recorded so far has been in Elkridge, Maryland, reporting 32 inches (81 cm). The 1922 storm was named the Knickerbocker Storm for a theater where 98 people were killed when the building’s roof collapsed due to heavy snow. Snowfall in that storm measured 28 inches (71 cm).

Airlines and airports across the region have canceled flights and train service has been disrupted. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport suspended flight operations for the day while nearby Washington Dulles International Airport reported only a few international flights would be departing. Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport reported most flights were canceled. Flights at Philadelphia International Airport are also canceled.

Amtrak announced that it was canceling a number of trains between Washington and New York City, along with service from Washington to cities in the south. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, known as the Metro locally, has suspended bus service and above ground train service. Underground subway service is running at 30 minute intervals.

As the storm approached, residents emptied supermarket shelves, stocking up on food and other supplies, especially due to Super Bowl XLIV which will be held on Sunday. Local area sports teams in Washington, D.C. will still play games as scheduled. People are urged to take the Metro to see the games and not use the roads. Impromptu snowball fights have also broken with some people going as far as to organize them over Facebook and Twitter.

The winter weather has already been blamed for hundreds of road accidents. So far two fatalities have been reported, a father and son who were rendering aid to a stranded motorist on Interstate 81 in Virginia, when an approaching tractor-trailer jackknifed and killed the pair.

This is the second major snowstorm to hit the region in less than two months.

In pictures

North American blizzard 2010 Feb 6 0531 UTC.jpgSatellite image of storm from February 6
Image: NOAA GOES 12.

DCA Blizzard 02 2010 9127.JPGCars covered by snow near the end of the blizzard, Pentagon City, Arlington, Virginia.
Image: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz.

1600 block of 19th Street, N.W. - 2010 blizzard.JPGSnow falling on the 1600 block of 19th Street, N.W., in the Dupont Circle neighbourhood of Washington, D.C.
Image: AgnosticPreachersKid.
Property damage at Diego's Hair Salon - Blizzard of 2010.JPG A broken awning and window at Diego’s Hair Salon, located in The Moorings in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Image: AgnosticPreachersKid.
Alley behind Connecticut Avenue, N.W. - Blizzard of 2010.JPG A snow-covered alley, located behind Connecticut Avenue, N.W., in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Image: AgnosticPreachersKid.
Fallen tree on Q Street, N.W. - Blizzard of 2010.JPG The 1800 block of Q Street, N.W., in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. A fallen tree, lying on top of a vehicle, is visible in the background.
Image: AgnosticPreachersKid.
2010 NA Blizzard in Ephrata PA.JPG In Ephrata, Pennsylvania, 16 inches of snow had fallen by 8:30 AM EST on February 6.
Image: Killervogel5.
390px In Gaithersburg, Maryland, 24 inches of snow had fallen by 10:00 AM EST on February 6.
Image: Nachomanin2010.
Pentagon City Feb 2010 snow storm Panorama 2.jpg Pentagon City Mall, Arlington, Virgina, near the end of the North American Blizzard of February, 2010
Image: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz.
Dupont Circle - February 2010 blizzard.JPG Snow falling in the park located in the center of Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.
Image: AgnosticPreachersKid.


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January 10, 2010

U.S. Vice President Biden\’s mother dies, aged 92

U.S. Vice President Biden’s mother dies, aged 92

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

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U.S. Vice President Joseph R. Biden (Circa 2009)
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Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Biden, mother of United States Vice President Joe Biden and matriarch of the Biden family, died Friday evening after suffering from a brief illness – possibly related to a recent hip fracture. She was 92 years-old.

In a statement to the Associated Press, the Vice President said his mother died at home in Wilmington, Delaware surrounded by family and friends. Details of scheduled funeral services and memorials will be released in the upcoming days, the Vice President’s Washington office said.

Jean Biden, whom the Vice President often quipped “ran the show” and taught him to believe in what he calls “America’s creed … [how] everyone is your equal and nobody is better than you,” was always a source of strength for Biden ever since he was a young working-class boy growing up Scranton.

In his autobiography, Joe Biden recalls, when in seventh-grade, being publicly mocked at school by a belligerent nun for his speech impediment. The current Vice President maintains that, upon hearing this, his mother went to the school, confronted the nun, telling her, “If you ever speak to my son like that again, I’ll come back and rip that bonnet right off your head! Do you understand me?”

He also writes about how his mother, a devout Irish-Catholic, used her faith in comforting him after his wife and daughter were killed in a car crash in December 1972 – the month he was elected to his first term as a Delaware Senator. He emotionally writes how, “After the accident, she told me, ‘Joey, God sends no cross that you cannot bear…'”

Biden also states that his mother taught him to have dignity, self-respect, and principle. On the subject he remembers how, in his youth, “When[ever] I got knocked down by guys bigger than me, and this is the God’s truth, she sent me back out [on] the street and told me, ‘Bloody their nose so you can walk down the street the next day.’ And that’s what I did.'”

Biden said in a separate statement to the media, “Together with my father, her husband of sixty-one years who passed away in 2002, we learned the dignity of hard work, and that you are defined by your sense of honor. Her strength, which was immeasurable, will live on in all of us.”

He continued, “She was the center of our family, and taught all of her children that family is to be treasured, loyalty is paramount, and faith will guide you through the tough times. She believed in us, and because of that, we believed in ourselves.”

Jean Biden is survived by the Vice President, two other sons, her daughter, grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

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October 30, 2009

Nokia files lawsuit against Apple

Filed under: Archived,Delaware,Finland,Nokia,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Nokia files lawsuit against Apple – Wikinews, the free news source

Nokia files lawsuit against Apple

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Nokia headquarters in Espoo, Finland.

Mobile phone and computer manufacturer Nokia is filing a lawsuit against Apple over patent infringements. The infringements include speech coding, wireless data, security and encryption technology Nokia claims is used in Apple iPhones.

According to a Nokia press release, 40 other companies are paying royalties to them in return for the use of their patented technology. Therefore, Nokia wants Apple to also pay for its usage.

“The basic principle in the mobile industry is that those companies who contribute in technology development to establish standards create intellectual property, which others then need to compensate for,” Ilkka Rahnasto, Nokia’s Vice President of Legal & Intellectual Property, said in the press release. “Apple is also expected to follow this principle. By refusing to agree appropriate terms for Nokia’s intellectual property, Apple is attempting to get a free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation.”

One industry analyst told PC World that that he believes Nokia is seeking 1–2% royalties per device. Based on the number of iPhones sold since its 2007 release date, that figure would amount to approximately 400 million USD.

Ben Wood, research director at CCS Insight, said, “It is almost inconceivable that someone can produce a mobile phone without using Nokia patented technologies,” showing how widespread Nokia’s mobile technology is.

In Apple’s SEC 10-K, Apple responded to Nokia claims. “The complaint alleges that these patents are essential to one or more of the GSM, UMTS and 802.11 wireless communications standards, and that the Company [Apple] has the right to license these patents from plaintiff [Nokia] on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms and conditions. Plaintiff seeks unspecified FRAND compensation and other relief. The Company’s response to the complaint is not yet due. The Company intends to defend the case vigorously,” said Apple.

The Nokia v. Apple lawsuit is set to take place in a Delaware District Court.



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July 2, 2009

2.8 magnitude earthquake rattles northern Delaware, southwest New Jersey

Filed under: Archived,Delaware,Earthquakes,New Jersey,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A rare earthquake, registering 2.8 on the Richter scale, struck northern Delaware and southwest New Jersey on Wednesday. The earthquake occurred at 9:44:43 am local time, and was centered near Pennsville, New Jersey, or about 30 miles southwest of Philadelphia, according to the USGS.

Map of Salem County, NJ

Despite being felt by many people in the area, officials say it was too small to cause any significant damage. At Woodstown, New Jersey, rattling lasted for just seconds.

Salem County 911 received approximately 150 calls, but no injuries or deaths were reported. Robin Weinstein, a spokesman for the county department of emergency services, noted “The engineering department will be out doing site inspections”.

Residents initially feared the rumbling was caused by an explosion.

Shock waves from the earthquake were registered from as far away as Claymont, Delaware.


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March 25, 2009

New Jersey files lawsuit against federal sports betting ban

New Jersey files lawsuit against federal sports betting ban

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

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A New Jersey state senator has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a federal law banning sports betting in 46 states.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, a Democrat representing portions of Union County, filed the suit Monday, arguing the 17-year-old law is unconstitutional because it treats four states differently than the other states.

Under the law, sports betting is prohibited in all states except Delaware, Oregon, Montana and Nevada, although only the latter two currently allow wagering.

“This federal law deprives the State of New Jersey of over $100 million of yearly revenues, as well as depriving our casinos, racetracks and Internet operators of over $500 million in gross income,” Lesniak said in a statement to the press.

The 39-page lawsuit is believed to be the first challenge to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. New Jersey missed a 1994 deadline that would have allowed it to join the other states when the law was implemented.

Atlantic City officials and their political allies have argued allowing sports betting would give all the states a new source of revenue needed in the face of a staggering recession.

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine was not involved with the lawsuit, but he said legalizing sports betting would help Atlantic City and said it was “worth pursuing”.

Legalizing sports betting in New Jersey could bring the state more than $50 million in annual tax revenue, according to officials from the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based consultant for the electronic gaming industry, which joined Lesniak as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

“This is about more than revenue,” said Joe Brennan Jr., chairman of Interactive Media Entertainment. “It’s about jobs and economic activity.” According to 1999 study, $380 billion in illegal sports betting occurs in the state each year.

Atlantic City, New Jersey
Image: Bob Jagendorf.

New Jersey, in particular, is facing a difficult budget season, and the Atlantic City casinos are in what the Associated Press called a “financial meltdown”. Eleven of the city’s casinos suffered their biggest revenue decline in 30 years last month.

Delaware is reported to be considering regulating sports betting, which New Jersey backers of the lawsuit said adds a sense of urgency to the issue.

“We cannot afford to be naive about illegal sports betting,” New Jersey State Sen. Jeff Van Drew said in a statement to the press. “It’s happening right now, and is funding other criminal enterprises which are far more dangerous.”

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, the Thoroughbred Breeders Association of New Jersey and the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey were also listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.



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