domingo, junio 30, 2013

Genetically engineered food is dangerous

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jueves, junio 27, 2013

Puerto Rico: Etiquetado de transgénicos AHORA!

¡Exhortamos a tod@s a hacer cabildeo ciudadano por la etiquetación de productos transgénicos en Puerto Rico! Más de 50 países poseen reglamentación para la etiquetación de los alimentos genéticamente modificados. La literatura científica que apunta a la peligrosidad del consumo de alimentos genéticamente modificados es abundante y creciente. 

Solo tienes que llamar al 787-724-2030, preguntar por la Comisión de Salud y exigir fecha para las vistas públicas. Mientras más personas llamemos, más presión tendrán para llevar a cabo las vistas.
No dejemos pasar este momento. Tenemos hasta el 30 de junio, porque si no, tendríamos que esperar a la próxima sesión del Senado.

!Lo mínimo a lo que tenemos derecho es conocer la calidad de lo que comemos!

Pasa la voz

Pronto estaremos publicando una revisión de literatura completa sobre las amenazas de los transgénicos a la soberanía alimentaria de Puerto Rico
La agricultura es la espina dorsal de un pueblo - Hostos 

Personas contacto:

Agro. Ian Pagan: (787) 666-0625
Lcda. Amaris Torres: (787) 616-9592

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miércoles, junio 26, 2013

Seeds of Freedom

The story of seed has become one of loss, control, dependence and debt. It’s been written by those who want to make vast profit from our food system, no matter what the true cost.  It’s time to change the story.

A landmark film from The Gaia Foundation and the African Biodiversity Network.
Narrated by Jeremy Irons.
Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system.The film highlights the extent to which the industrial agricultural system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds in particular, has impacted on the enormous agro -biodiversity evolved by farmers and communities around the world, since the beginning of agriculture.
Seeds of Freedom seeks to challenge the mantra that large-scale, industrial agriculture is the only means by which we can feed the world, promoted by the pro-GM lobby. In tracking the story of seed it becomes clear how corporate agenda has driven the take over of seed in order to make vast profit and control of the food global system.
Through interviews with leading international experts such as Dr Vandana Shiva and  Henk Hobbelink, and through the voices of a number of African farmers, the film highlights how the loss of indigenous seed goes hand in hand with loss of biodiversity and related knowledge; the loss of cultural traditions and practices; the loss of livelihoods; and the loss of food sovereignty.  The pressure is growing to replace the diverse, nutritional, locally adapted and resilient seed crops which have been bred by small-scale farmers for millenia, by monocultures of GM seed.
Alongside speakers from indigenous farming communities, the film features global experts and activists Dr Vandana Shiva of Navdanya, Henk Hobbelink of GRAIN, Zac Goldsmith MP (UK Conservative party), Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser, Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace International, Gathuru Mburu of the African Biodiversity Network, Liz Hosken of The Gaia Foundation and Caroline Lucas MP (UK Green party).
This film is co-produced by  The Gaia Foundation and the African Biodiversity Network. In collaboration with GRAIN, Navdanya International and MELCA Ethiopia .

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Monsanto Bullies Small Farmers Over Planting Harvested GMO Seeds


by Puck LoCorpWatch Blog
March 26th, 2013

"Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers." New report by Center for Food Safety.
Does Monsanto own all future generations of genetically modified seeds that it sells? The Missouri-based agribusiness giant wants farmers to pay a royalty to plant any seed that descended from a patented original. The legal decision has ramifications for other patented "inventions" that reproduce themselves like strands of DNA.

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared to side with Monsanto in oral arguments heard this past February in a lawsuit that the world's largest seed company has brought against Vernon Hugh Bowman, a 75 year old farmer in Indiana, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat on a small farm of 600 acres (242 hectares).

The impending court decision, which will probably come this June, has sparked alarm among consumer advocates.

"Judges don't understand agriculture," says Bill Freese, science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety, a Washington DC based watchdog group. "The Monsantos of the world have everyone convinced through a massive misinformation campaigns that biotech crops are essential to feed the world, and patents are necessary for biotech crops. So there's this patina of virtuous innovation when in fact what biotechnology is really used for primarily is to develop pesticide-promoting crops."

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martes, junio 25, 2013

GM a failing biotechnology in modern agro-ecosystems


Posting date: June 19, 2013


Dear friends and colleagues, 

Re: GM a failing biotechnology in modern agro-ecosystems 

A new paper “Sustainability and innovation in staple crop production in the US Midwest” published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability challenges high profile claims about the benefits of GM crops. 

Led by University of Canterbury, New Zealand researchers, the study analysed data on agricultural productivity in north America and western Europe over the last 50 years, focusing on maize, rapeseed and wheat. It found that the biotechnologies used in north American staple crop production are lowering yields and increasing pesticide use compared to western Europe. A conspicuous difference in choices is the adoption of GM seed in North America, and the use of non-GM seed in Europe.

The main conclusions are: 

* GM cropping systems have not contributed to yield gains, and appear to be eroding yields compared to the equally modern agroecosystem of Western Europe. This may be due in part to technology choices beyond GM plants themselves, because even non-GM wheat yield improvements in the US are poor in comparison to Europe. Therefore, the agricultural system (innovation and biotechnology choices) of Western Europe shows more promise of meeting future food needs than does the US system. 

* Both herbicide and insecticide use trends are increasing in the US relative to achievements in Western Europe. Hence the agricultural system of Western Europe appears to be reducing chemical inputs and thus is becoming more sustainable than the US, without sacrificing yield gains. 

* The US agricultural system continues to decline in agricultural biodiversity of staple crop germplasm and in options for non-GM and GM farmers. (A similar trend was not detected in selected European countries.) 

We reproduce below the abstract of the paper, a press release from the University of Canterbury and a briefing paper by the authors. The full journal paper is available at:

With best wishes,

Third World Network

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10400 Penang



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lunes, junio 24, 2013

You can't put the GE genie back in the bottle, by Marcia Ishii-Eiteman

The surprise appearance of Monsanto’s unapproved GE wheat in an Oregon field last month dominated the “bad GE news” cycle of the day, stoking worries among farmers, millers, bakers and eaters about the extent of the contamination. 
Public outcry and demands to end open-air field testing of experimental GE crops are growing louder. And the discovery of rogue GE wheat in Oregon has driven key trading partners — like Japan and Korea — to suspend some wheat imports. All this exploded just days after millions of people around the world marched against Monsanto, denouncing its control, corruption and contamination of our food systems.
GE wheat in the loose is the latest in a series of warning signals that the systems we have put in place to ensure a vibrant and healthy food system are not working. We have had nearly two dozen other major incidents of noncompliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's notoriously lax rules on GE crops.

Contaminated food, fields & communities

Several years back Bayer's experimental GE rice contaminated our rice supply, eliciting import bans from Europe and Japan. And “Starlink corn,” a genetically engineered variety approved only for animal feed,somehow got into our tacos and corn chips.
Undeterred by the ongoing genetic contamination of our food and farms, USDA continues to allow some 1,000 field trials to test new GE crops each year, covering thousands of acres in multiple states. This little known, searchable USDA database reveals just how extensive and widespread these field trials are.
Genetic drift aside, these test plots are typically doused heavily with pesticides that can drift from the fields where they're applied, threatening the health of local communities and contaminating air, soil and water.
In Hawai’i — the global center of the Big 6 pesticide/GE corporations' open air field testing operations — a fierce battle is heating up, with Hawai’ian residents no longer willing to let the pesticide industry exploit their land and damage their health.

Who's in charge?

It’s not just our food and fields that have been contaminated. Our public agencies — those that bear the serious responsibility of protecting the public interest, our health and well-being — have been over-run by corporate influence. The revolving door between Big 6 industry representatives and USDA offices spins without pause, and millions of corporate lobby dollars flow directly into congressional campaign funds.
Recently, in a move that (on the surface) seemed to go against the grain of corporate control, USDAannounced its intention to produce a full “environmental impact statement” (EIS) regarding Dow and Monsanto’s new and highly controversial 2,4-D and dicamba-resistant GE crops.
After receiving over 500,000 public comments last year — highlighting the dangers to farmers’ livelihoods and the health and well-being of rural communities — the agency acknowledged that its decision on these crops could have a significant effect on the “quality of the human environment.” Many, myself included, welcomed this news. For one thing, the EIS process is long enough that it will delay any possible commercialization of these crops into the 2015 season.
More importantly, the decision suggested that USDA might be preparing to pull its head from the corporate sands and began to look around at what is happening to our farmers and our rural landscape. Maybe that's what the agency will do with the EIS. After all, USDA says it's all about "helping rural America thrive" and "conserving the Nation's natural resources." But I’m worried.  

Safeguard food & farming

Buried in the middle of the EIS notice, are signals from USDA that it has no intention of taking its own findings seriously. The agency warns that despite whatever the EIS might conclude regarding the GE seeds' broader impacts on rural communities, the agency has “[no] authority to address those impacts beyond what the Plant Protection Act requires.” And the latter simply requires USDA to determine whether or not a new GE seed might be a “plant pest” that could harm another crop or plant. A “yes/no” decision on "pest status" almost always enables the agency to approve the new GE seed, a decision the Big 6 corporations have come to expect.
It's time for USDA to take a long, hard and honest look at the full range of impacts of GE crops on our food and farming systemAnd then actually use this information to guide the agency’s decisions to safeguard our collective well-being. Gee, what a good idea.

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domingo, junio 23, 2013

Monsanto and the World Food Prize

As reported in the New York Times, the prestigious World Food Prize was awarded today to a trio of scientists who had important roles in the early development of crop genetic engineering. One, Robert Fraley, is at Monsanto, and another Mary-Dell Chilton, is with another seed giant, Syngenta. The third is European scientist Marc Van Montagu.
When I was a doctoral student doing research using molecular biology in the 1980s (and in the early 90s as a post-doctoral researcher at USDA), the contributions of Chilton and Van Montagu were invaluable. Thirty years later, the science of applied molecular biology in agriculture, genetic engineering, is mired in controversy.
While these awardees have made some important contributions to science, it has not translated into major positive contributions to agriculture and food security—the supposed purpose for awarding the World Food Prize.

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The 2013 World Food Prize: Monopolizing the War on Hunger?

By Eric Holt-Gimenez, Huffington Post, June 21, 2013
Read the original blog at the Huffington Post.

The biotech industry has awarded itself the World Food Prize. A career Monsanto executive, a Syngenta scientist and a private industrial scientist will share the $250,000 prize for "feeding a growing global population."

The trouble is, GMO seeds produce feed and fuel, not food. Over the last 20 years they've yet to feed any of the planet's poor or hungry. In any case, the world already produces enough food for 10 billion people, so simply increasing production clearly won't end hunger. The World Food Prize's love affair with biotechnology not only elides the structural causes of hunger; it ignores the documented successes of agroecological methods for building in farm-scale resiliency and ensuring productive, sustainable yields.

The World Food Prize has become a corporate celebration of self. In addition to Syngenta, Pioneer and Monsanto, the foundation's donor list includes Cargill, ADM, Walmart, Pepsi, Land O'Lakes, the American Soybean Association, the Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Farm Bureau. Biotech boosters Howard Buffet and Rockefeller foundations each gave a cool million bucks; the Monsanto-friendly State of Iowa gave $1.4 million.

Even The New York Times suggested that this award may be a PR attempt to counter the growing global backlash against GMOs. It is also an effort to fibrillate the industry's flat economic performance that has followed the heady days of the 2008-09 food crisis (in which they made record profits while a billion people were pushed into the ranks of the hungry). Apparently the way to revive lackluster seed monopolies is to guarantee them a monopoly on ending hunger. But giving the World Food Prize to the monopolies profiting from hunger is like awarding the Nobel Peace prize for going to war... wait, that's already been done. So it goes.

It is no wonder farm and food activists have established the Food Sovereignty Prize to celebrate organizations working to democratize--rather than monopolize--our food system. While the World Food Prize emphasizes increased production through proprietary technologies, the Food Sovereignty Prize rewards social and agroecological solutions coming from those sectors that are most negatively impacted by the corporate food regime.

Given by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, this prize, first awarded in 2009, has been given to honorees that include the MST--Landless Workers Movement of Brazil (2011), Family Farm Defenders (2010): La Via Campesina (2009) and honorable mentions like the Movimiento Campesino a Campesino (Farmer to Farmer Movement), as well as urban organizations like the South Central Farmers of Los Angeles, the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and the Toronto Food Policy Council.

Behind the thinning public veil of the World Food Prize lurk the corporate interests of the monopolies controlling the food system. It is time to recognize the people and organizations fighting to end the injustices that cause hunger in the first place.

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sábado, junio 22, 2013

The World Food Prize, Brought to You by Monsanto


| Wed Jun. 19, 2013  
Update: earlier today, the 2013 World Food Prize was awarded to three scientists: Marc Van Monatgu from Belgium, Mary-Dell Chilton of the US and Robert T. Fraley, also of the US. Fraley is an executive vice president chief technology officer at Monsanto. A statement on the announcement from the World Food Prize Foundation can be found here.
Today Secretary of State John Kerry will announce the recipient of the quarter-million-dollarWorld Food Prize. Sometimes called "the Nobel Prize of food," the award has been handed out yearly since 1987 to "outstanding individuals who have made vital contributions to improving the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world," according to the website of its namesake foundation. Past winners have included agricultural scientists and presidents of developing nations who have made strides toward growing more food in their countries.
This is the 10th year that the State Department has hosted the World Food Prize's announcement ceremony; according to a Department press release, the event is intended to showcase "the administration's dedication to improving lives; counteracting suffering; and focusing on the role that science, technology and policy play in reducing hunger and under-nutrition." But while the US government's involvement might suggest that the prize is a neutral barometer of agricultural excellence, funders of the foundation which backs it have a vested interest in promoting industrialized farming around the world. In fact, many of the World Food Prize's major donors are among the biggest names in agribusiness today. 
Out of 125 donors who contributed more than $500 between fiscal years 2009 and 2011 (the years for which the foundation's tax records are most readily available), 26 were either agribusiness or charities directly affiliated with agribusiness. Together, donations from these companies amounted to more than 28 percent of funds raised for that period, Mother Jonesanalysis has found. The combined support of ADM, Cargill, Monsanto, and General Mills alone for this period came to more than a half million dollars.  

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viernes, junio 21, 2013

Monsanto looks for PR firm


Monsanto Seeks PR Counsel Amid NGO Opposition

EMEAGlobalNorth America
Arun Sudhaman 17 Jun 2013
ST LOUIS, MO--Monsanto is seeking public relations counsel as the seed giant attempts to counter fierce opposition to its products in many countries around the world.
The Holmes Report understands that the company has issued an RFP that involves PR and social media counsel. 
According to sources familiar with the situation, Monsanto is aiming develop a more cohesive communications approach, in the face of sustained NGO criticism.
Once dubbed 'the world's most evil corporation', Monsanto is no stranger to criticism. Earlier this year, a 'March Against Monsanto' protest was held in numerous countries, following a Facebook campaign that attacked the company's promotion of genetically modified crops.
The company recently signalled that it will not attempt to expand its GMOs in many European countries, because of public opposition.  
While acceptance of GMO crops in other regions is higher, Monsanto has found itself battling US farmers. The company recently won another round in its legal battle with organic growers, but faces new lawsuits from farmersregarding GMO wheat.
The US Senate recently rejected an amendment that would require mandatory labelling of GMO foods, despite pressure from consumer groups. The Biotechnology Industry Organization, which includes Monsanto, DuPont and other major players, has said that it supports voluntary labelling.
State legislatures in Vermont and Connecticut, meanwhile, are pushing ahead with mandatory labelling plans, while Whole Foods has said it will implement its own labelling policy by 2018. 
Monsanto is not thought to work with a PR agency-of-record in the US, but has enlisted support Burson-Marsteller and APCO on recent projects.
Representatives from Monsanto did not respond to request for comment as this story went live.
- See more at:

Monsanto looking for PR help

Wanted: Highly Skilled Professional Liar to Make Over Monsanto’s Image

Perception is everything. And the public’s perception of Monsanto is, well . . . “World’s Most Evil Corporation” neatly sums it up.
Most of the world has awakened to the dark side of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). People are literally marching in the streets, all over the world, to show their disdain for Monsanto’s planned takeover of the world’s food supply and its penchant for drenching the planet in herbicides and pesticides.
Monsanto, meanwhile, has awakened to the fact that it has a little PR problem. According to the Holmes Report, a resource for public relations professionals, the Biotech Bully is looking for some experts to help paint a pretty face on its evil deeds. Talk about a challenging job.
Meanwhile, someone is obviously already helping Monsanto smooth over its little problem concerning the killing off of honeybees. According to the Pesticide Action Network, Monsanto had the gall last week to host something called the Honey Bee Health Summit, a gathering at the company’s headquarters in Missouri where, presumably, the pesticide-maker feigned great concern for the plight of honeybees. It just tests the limits of credulity, doesn’t it?

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Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Monsanto

June 6th, 2013
Litigants Seek Injunctive Relief as Well as Damages following Illegal Genetically Engineered Wheat Contamination
A class action lawsuit was filed today on behalf of Pacific Northwest wheat farmers and Center for Food Safety (CFS) after Oregon wheat farmers suffered depressed wheat prices following the discovery of illegal genetically engineered, glyphosate-resistant wheat plants.  The GE crops, created by Monsanto, have not been approved for sale or commercial production in the United States.  The presence of the illegal crops spurred top wheat importers such as Japan, South Korea and the European Union to enact restrictions on American wheat or call for testing.  
“We farmers cannot stand idly by while companies like Monsanto destroy our export markets and our economy,” said Tom Stahl, 4th generation Washington wheat farmer.  “These reckless open-air test plots of GE wheat must be put to an end.”
“Monsanto has put our farmer’s wheat export market at grave risk. Billions of dollars, and our food supply, is at risk because of Monsanto’s negligence. They must be held accountable,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director Center for Food Safety.”
Monsanto conducted field tests of its genetically-engineered glyphosate-resistant (Roundup Ready®) wheat plants in 16 states from 1998 to 2005, but never commercialized the controversial crop.  Monsanto decided in May 2004 to give up its pursuit of regulatory approval due to considerable market resistance.
Wheat farmers and advocacy organizations have long argued that GE wheat would contaminate conventional wheat, making it unsellable to many markets that reject GE products. Past transgenic contamination episodes involving GE corn and GE rice have triggered over $1 billion in losses and economic hardship to farmers. For years, Center for Food Safety has sought to prevent outdoor GE crop field testing and commercialization of genetically engineered crops for these very reasons. 
Center for Food Safety and Washington white wheat farmers are representing the broad class of farmers affected by the contamination, seeking relief and forcing Monsanto take measures to clean up the contamination and ensure it never happens again. 
“The discovery of unapproved Roundup Ready wheat in a farmer's field in Oregon, years after Monsanto terminated field testing, is one more example of Monsanto's inability to keep their engineered genes under control.  Until Monsanto and USDA begin to take gene flow from field tests more seriously, we can expect escaped genes to continue to cause havoc,” said Martha Crouch, Ph.D., Plant Sciences and a consultant for CFS.
The farmers also seek compensatory damages for class members resulting from the contamination of the general wheat supply in the form of diminished prices for soft white wheat resulting from the loss of export and domestic markets for wheat, and increased grower costs resulting from the need to maintain the integrity of the soft white wheat supply.

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jueves, junio 20, 2013

EPA to raise allowable limit of glyphosate residue in produce


Another Monsanto Handout: EPA Set to Raise Limits on Glyphosate

In another glaring example of how Monsanto has the U.S. government in the palm of its Roundup Ready-covered hands, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is poised to raise – yes, raise – the limits for glyphosate residue allowed on fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S. stores. Glyphosate is the key ingredient in Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used broad-spectrum herbicide. The deadline to tell the EPA what you think of its new ruling is July 1.
The new EPA ruling is incomprehensible in light of the barrage of new studies revealing how much more dangerous glyphosate is than we originally thought. Monsanto’s story has always been that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. Not so, say scientists who point out the many ways in which glyphosate causes widespread systemic damage to human health. One recent study found traces of the poison in the bodies of people in 18 European countries. And far more glyphosate is used in the U.S. than in Europe.
Unless the EPA changes its mind, and decides to protect us rather than Monsanto, flax oil, canola oil, soybean oil and olive oil will be allowed to contain glyphosate residues of over 100,000 times the concentration known to cause cancer. And that’s just the half of it.
Read the essay
View the EPA Regulation
TAKE ACTION BY JULY 1: Tell the EPA to Lower the Allowed Limits for Monsanto’s Roundup!

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GM is a failing technology

University of Canterbury press release 

GM a failing biotechnology in modern agro-ecosystems 

University of Canterbury (UC) researchers have found that the biotechnologies used in north American staple crop production are lowering yields and increasing pesticide use compared to western Europe. 

A conspicuous difference in choices is the adoption of genetically modified/engineered (GM) seed in North America, and the use of non-GM seed in Europe. 

The team led by UC Professor Jack Heinemann analysed data on agricultural productivity in north America and western Europe over the last 50 years. 

Western Europe and north America make good comparisons because these regions are highly similar in types of crops they grow, latitude, and have access to biotechnology, mechanisation and educated farmers. 

The findings have been published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. 

“We found that the combination of non-GM seed and management practices used by western Europe is increasing corn yields faster than the use of the GM-led package chosen by the US. 

“Our research showed rapeseed (canola) yields increasing faster in Europe without GM than in the GM-led package chosen by Canada and decreasing chemical herbicide and even larger declines in insecticide use without sacrificing yield gains, while chemical herbicide use in the US has increased with GM seed. 

“Europe has learned to grow more food per hectare and use fewer chemicals in the process. The American choices in biotechnology are causing it to fall behind Europe in productivity and sustainability. 

“The question we are asking is should New Zealand follow the US and adopt GM-led biotechnology or follow the high performance agriculture demonstrated by Europe? 

“We found that US yield in non-GM wheat is also falling further behind Europe, demonstrating that American choices in biotechnology penalise both GM and non-GM crop types relative to Europe. 

“Agriculture responds to commercial and legislative incentive systems. These take the form of subsidies, intellectual property rights instruments, tax incentives, trade promotions and regulation.  The incentive systems in North America are leading to a reliance on GM seeds and management practices that are inferior to those being adopted under the incentive systems in Europe. 

“The decrease in annual variation in yield suggests that Europe has a superior combination of seed and crop management technology and is better suited to withstand weather variations. This is important because annual variations cause price speculations that can drive hundreds of millions of people into food poverty. 

“We need more than agriculture; we need agricultures – a diversity of practices for growing and making food that GM does not support; we need systems that are useful, not just profit-making biotechnologies – we need systems that provide a resilient supply to feed the world well,” Professor Heinemann says. 

For further information contact Professor Jack Heinemann, School of Biological Sciences (, on or UC media consultant Kip Brook on 0275 030168

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