Current Affairs August 14 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

16 state governments and the textile ministry signs MoU on skill training
On august 14,2019,  Ministry of textiles and a total of 16 states from the country have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at a function in New Delhi to take project Samarth– which is Scheme for Capacity Building In Textile Sector (SCBTS) to impart skill based training to workers.
i. The aim is to develop 10 lakh youth upto 2020 in the textile sector, excluding spinning and weaving in the organised sector, with a projected outlay of Rs.1300crore.
ii. The 16 states that signed MoU They are Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu,Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Karnataka, Manipur, Haryana, Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand………………………..Click here to Read more

‘Operation Number Plate’ launched by RPF in all Railway premises ahead of Independence day
Indian Railways’ Railway Protection Force (RPF) launched a drive named ‘Operation Number Plate’ under the direction of the Director General of RPF Shri Arun Kumar, to check and verify unauthorised parking in the railway premises.
i. Unauthorized parking of unidentified vehicles are considered as a threat to the safety and security of passengers. Hence the Principal Chief Security Commissioners of RPF and all zonal Railways have been instructed to look into the threats related to security of Railways.
ii. Owners of the vehicles should have to contact helpline number 182 if their vehicles have been seized by the RPF from railway station premises……………………..Click here to Read more

New lighting system was inaugurated in the Parliament House by the Prime minister
On August 13, 2019, As many as 875 energy-efficient LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights were installed in the parliament complex and dynamic Facade Lighting of the parliament House estate was inaugurated by the prime minister of India Shri Narendra Modi. These LED bulbs will illuminate lights throughout the year.New lighting system Key points
i. These LED bulbs are capable of creating 16 million combinations of colours and uses only one-fifth of the electricity compared to other light types.
ii. The LED bulbs are programmable and controlled through computers.
iii. The vibrant coloured lights create an aura and enhances Grandeur of the Parliament House.
iv. On this occasion Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and other Union Ministers including Hardeep Puri(Minister of State for housing and urban affairs) and Jitendra Singh( Minister of State for Ministers of development of North Eastern Region) were present.
v. Previously the LED were installed in North block and South block of the parliament house.

Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat launches 2nd Edition of Swaccha Survakshan Grameen for 2019
On August 14, 2019, Jal Shakti Minister Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat launched the 2nd Edition of Swaccha Survakshan Grameen, India’s largest sanitation survey, for 2019 in New Delhi.
Key Points:
i. Objective: To engage rural communities in improvement of the sanitation status of their districts and states through the intensive campaign and to accelerate the momentum of Swachhta Abhiyan.
ii. Description: Under the Swachh Survekshan Grameen, districts and states will be ranked on data collected from citizen feedback, direct observation, and service-level progress.
iii. Coverage: The 45-day long survey will take place in 18 thousand villages of 698 districts.
About Ministry of Jal Shakti:
Founded: 31 May 2019
Headquarters: New Delhi
Constituency of Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat: Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Paddy stubble burning declined by 41% in 2018 over 2016 level in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi-NCR 
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Director General & Secretary of the Department of Agricultural Research & Education (DARE) under the Ministry of Agriculture , Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra highlighted that the paddy stubble burning declined by 41% in 2018 over 2016 level in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi-NCR. It was reduced with the help of a Rs 1,151.80 crore (2018-19 to 2019-20) Central Sector Scheme (CSS) on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue’.
Key Points:
i. In 2017, it was reduced by 15%.
ii. More than 4,500 villages in Punjab and Haryana were declared as zero stubble burning villages in 2018.
iii. The CSS is implemented by ICAR through 60 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) of Punjab (22), Haryana (14), Delhi (1) and UP (23).
iv. Within 1 year of its implementation utilizing an amount of Rs 500 crore, the happy seeder/zero tillage technology was adopted in 8 lakh hectares of land in the north-western India.
v. In 2018-19, the funds amounting to Rs 269.38 crores, Rs 137.84 crores and Rs 148.60 crore were released to the Governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively.
vi. In 2019-20, funds amounting to Rs 273.80 crore, Rs 192.06 crore and Rs 105.29 crore are released so far to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, respectively.
vii. Crop residue burning in north-west India contributes to air pollution, health hazards, disruption of transportation, school closures and soil degradation.
About ICAR:
Motto: Agrisearch with a human touch
Established: 16 July,1929
Headquarters: New Delhi

A 3-day Global Investors Summit 2019 will be held in Srinagar, J&K
 A 3-day Global Investors Summit 2019 starting from October 12, 2019, will be held in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir(J&K) which will provide the state an opportunity to showcase its strengths, strategies, and potential.Global Investors Summit 2019Key points:
i. National Partner: The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) will be the national partner for the investor’s summit, which has signed an MoU(Memorandum of understanding) with Jammu and Kashmir Trade Promotion Organisation (JKTPO).
ii. The summit, which was announced after the government removed special status to J& K under Article 370, will help reduce fears and apprehensions in the minds of trade and business communities outside the state.
About J&K:
Capitals
: Jammu (Winter), Srinagar (Summer)
Governor: Satya Pal Malik
Lakes: Dal Lake , Wular lake, Gangabal Lake, Nigeen Lake

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

$ 1 million dollar contributed to the UN fund by India
India contributed $1 million to reform the United Nations (UN) Development system by contributing to the UN Special Purpose Trust Fund (SPTF) for the resident coordinator system.$ 1 million dollar contributed to the UN fund by IndiaAbout the SPTF
i. It is a specific fund established mainly to receive, consolidate, manage and account for all contributions and financial transactions in an efficient and transparent way. It is housed within the UN secretariat.
ii. SPTF web portal: The web portal displays in real-time all commitments, contributions and expenditures recorded for the fund.
iii. India’s permanent representative to the UN is Syed Akbaruddin (appointed since January 26).
3 streams in funding:

  • Voluntary contributions from member states.
  • Doubling of cost sharing amounts from UN entities(member of UN development system).
  • Levy of 1% applied to UN related activities.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI releases the final regulatory sandbox framework for fintech companies
i. On August 13, 2019, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued the final draft ‘enabling framework for regulatory sandbox (RS)’, for the startups, banks and financial institutions aims at enabling innovations in the financial technology space. The Fintech entities can now set up their own RS for live testing of innovative products in the areas of retail payments, digital KYC(Know your customer) and wealth management.
ii. RBI will launch the sandbox for companies/banks that meet the criteria of the minimum net worth of Rs.25 lakh and the promoter/director of the entity should meet fit and proper framework.
The concept of Regulatory Sandbox was proposed by a committee headed by Sudarshan Sen, former executive director of RBI………………………………..Click here to Read more

Injeti Srinivas committee suggests CSR expenditure be made tax deductible
A high level steering committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) headed by Injeti Srinivas, Corporate Affairs Secretary has recommended to make CSR expenditure tax-deductible and that non-compliance of CSR norms be treated as a civil offence.
i. The committee presented its recommendations to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
ii. The committee also recommends companies may be exempted from constituting a CSR committee, if its CSR prescribed amount below Rs 50 lakh……………………………….Click here to Read more

HFCs will be treated as one category under NBFCs: RBI
On August 13, 2019, India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) stated that, for regulatory purposes, Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) will be treated as one of the categories of NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Companies) & it will come under RBI’s supervision.
Key points:
i. This comes after the Finance (No 2) Act, 2019 (23 of 2019) amended the National Housing Bank Act, 1987, granting certain powers to RBI for the regulation of HFCs.
ii. RBI will review the regulatory framework applicable to the HFCs & release a revised guideline for these companies. Till the time RBI issues fresh revised guideline, HFCs will continue to comply with the National Housing Bank’s(NHB) directions and instructions and submit various returns to it.
The grievance redressal mechanism regarding HFCs will also continue to be with the NHB.
iii. Background: On 5 July 2019 in the maiden Budget 2019-20 speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had proposed an amendment that National Housing Bank (NHB) will not remain as the regulator for the HFCs. Since then the amended act (Section 45-IA of RBI Act 1934 in the Finance Bill,2019) the powers for regulating HFCs given to RBI.
About RBI:
Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra,
Formation: 1 April 1935
Governor: Shaktikanta Das
About NHB:
Founded
: 9 July 1988
Headquarters: New Delhi
Managing Director: Sarada Kumar Hota

Axis Bank and Aditya Birla Health Insurance signed bancassurance pact
On August 13, 2019, The 3rd -largest of the private-sector lender, Axis Bank has signed a bancassurance agreement with stand alone health insurer, Aditya Birla Health Insurance Co Ltd (ABHICL) to provide Aditya Birla’s suite of insurance products to its customers.Aditya Puri, CEO of HDFC bank Key points:
i. Aditya Birla’s products will now be available in Axis Bank customer base across its 4,094 branches and digital channels.
ii. Through this partnership, Aditya Birla will deepen the penetration of its product offers and enable more customers in Metro, Urban and Rural areas to access their risk solutions anytime, anywhere.
About AXIS bank:
Founded: 1993
Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO : Amitabh Chaudhry
Independent Director & Non Executive (Part time) Chairman : Shri Rakesh Makhija
Tagline: Badhti Ka naam Zindagi.
About ABHICL:
CEO :Mayank Bathwal
It is a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Capital &completed 2 years of operations as of 31, March 2019.

Aditya Puri, CEO of HDFC bank, is the top-paid bank CEO in FY19
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of HDFC Bank Aditya Puri, who led the bank since its inception 25 years ago, is the highest-paid bank chief executive in India with a monthly basic salary of Rs 89 lakh in FY19. The data was compiled from annual reports. Perks and other privileges were not taken into account because these are treated differently by various banks.
Other Rankings 

RankCEOBankBasic Salary (Per Month)
2Amitabh ChaudhryAxis BankRs 30 lakh
3Uday KotakKotak Mahindra BankRs 27 lakh
4Chanda KochharFormer CEO of ICICI BankRs 26 lakh
5Sandeep BakhshiICICI BankRs 22 lakh
6Romesh SobtiIndusInd BankRs 16 lakh
i. CEO-level pay is based on creating shareholder value and improving key performance parameters.
ii. Sandeep Bakhshi of ICICI Bank started as Chief Operation Officer (COO) in June 2018 and became CEO in October 2018. Amitabh Chaudhry of Axis Bank became CEO in January 2019. The monthly numbers have been arrived at after dividing the annual amount given in the report by the number of months they have served the respective banks.
iii. The basic salaries of Yes Bank’s CEO Ravneet Gill and former CEO Rana Kapoor were not calculated as the bank gave a consolidated number including perquisites, contributions towards provident fund and medical reimbursement under the head of the salary.
About HDFC Bank:
♦ HDFC stands for Housing Development Finance Corporation.
Headquarters: Mumbai
Founded: August 1994
Tag Line: We understand your world

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

ADB to invest $23 million in non-convertible debentures issued by GRIL
In order to support road sector investment plans of the Indian government, Asian Development Bank(ADB) has signed an agreement to invest $23 million in non-convertible debentures (NCD) being issued by GRIL( GR Infraprojects Limited).ADBKey points:
i.
This investment will promote the GRIL’s ability for the construction of roads and highways in India through the purchase of new building equipment & help execute its existing order book of $ 2.78 billion and enable it to bid for larger and more complex infrastructure projects.
ii. The agreement was signed by Michael Barrow, Director General of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department and Vinod Kumar Agarwal, GRIL Chairman and Managing Director.
iii. It was signed with the aim to support the growth of the transport sector in India.
About NCD:
i. These are fixed-income instruments, usually issued by high-rated companies.
ii. They offer a higher interest rate than convertible debentures.
About GRIL:
Founded
: 1996
Headquarter: Udaipur, Rajasthan
It is an engineering, procurement, and construction company in India focused purely on the roads and highways sector.
About ADB:
Formation
: 19 December 1966
Headquarters: Manila, Philippines
President: Takehiko Nakao

NAE and CIAL signs MoU for the commencement of air naval operations
On August 14, 2019 the Naval Air Enclave (NAE) which is a naval aviation facility in Kochi, Kerala, and Cochin International Airport Limited ( CIAL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the commencement of Naval air operations from NAE in Nedumbassery, Kerala.
Key points
i. The MoU was signed between NAE Officer-in-charge, Captain Satish Kumar S and CIAL airport director A.C.K Nair on behalf of both the organisations for safe and Secure military air operations.
ii. On the northwest side of the CIAL, the facility comprises of an independent dispersal, aircraft hangar (a closed building structure to hold aircraft or spacecraft), administrative building and a taxy track.
iii. The CIAL runway will be used as a runway for military aircraft take-off and landing.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Rajdeep Sardesai awarded the prestigious 2019 Prem Bhatia Award for political reporting
On August 11, 2019 veteran journalist and consulting editor at India Today TV(television), Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai was awarded the 2019 Prem Bhatia Award for his Outstanding Political Reporting with a career spanning over three decades.
This year the 2019 award for Environmental reporting was given to Down to Earth’s  IshanKukreti and independent journalist Sharada Balasubramaniam. They both will be felicitated with 1.5Lakh each……………………Click here to Read more

96 police personnel awarded the Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation 2019
Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation 2019 was conferred to 96 police personnel, including 15 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers. The award was instituted in 2018 to promote high professional standards of investigation of crime and to recognize such excellence in investigation by officers.
Key Points:
i. 11 were from Maharashtra Police, 10 from Uttar Pradesh Police, 9 from Kerala Police, 8 from Madhya Pradesh Police, 6 from Delhi Police and Karnataka Police and the remaining were from the other States/Union territories and Central Investigating Agencies.
ii. 13 women officers were among the 96 personnel.
About Ministry of Home Affairs:
Headquarters: New Delhi
Founded: 15 August 1947
Minister In-Charge: Amit Shah (Constituency: Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat)

‘Panchamirtham’ of Palani temple in Tamil Nadu gets GI tag
Geographical Identity (GI) tag was given to the famous Panchamritham, an offering of the Palani Dandayuthaswamy temple, in Tamil Nadu. It became the first temple offering – Prashad – from Tamil Nadu to be conferred this honor.Panchamirtham Key Points:
i. Panchamritam (Five Nectars) of Palani temple is prepared using 5 sweet substances including plantains, jaggery, grapes, forest honey, and ghee.
ii. The quality of the offering is monitored by the Central Research Institute of Food Technology in Mysore, Karnataka.
iii. Earlier, the Tanjavoor Veenai, Madurai Malligai, Neelgiri Tea leaves and Turmeric from Erode from Tamil Nadu were given the GI tags. Now, the total number of such products indigenous to Tamil Nadu mounted to 29.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

India’s greatest athlete PT Usha got appointed as  Asian Athletics Association’s Athletes Commission member
On August 13, 2019, Queen of Indian athletics, P T Usha (Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha) from Payyoli (Kerala) has appointed as one of the six members of the Asian Athletics Association’s (AAA) Athletes Commission, in recognition of her outstanding achievements at the continental stage. This is the 2nd time she has been appointed a member of the Commission.PT Usha Key points:
i. Other members: The commission will be headed by Andrey Abduvaliyev (Uzbekistan),a1992 Olympics gold medallist hammer thrower. Other members of the commission include Wang Yu (China), Olga Rypakova (Kazakhstan), a 2012 London Olympics gold medallist triple jumper, Lee Hup Wei (Malaysia) and Saad Shaddad (Saudi Arabia).
ii. About Usha: She is popularly known as ‘Payyoli Express’, created a string of good performances at the Asian stage in the 1980s.  She won 4 gold medals and 1 bronze in the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul, South Korea & in the 1985 Jakarta Asian Championships, she won 6 medals (5 gold and 1 bronze).
iii. Missed medal: A first-class athlete, Usha missed an Olympic medal in the 1984 Games in Los Angles by a whisker as she finished 4th by falling behind the eventual bronze medalist by 1/100th of a second in women’s 400m hurdles.
About AAA:
i. It is the continental governing body for the sport of athletics in Asia, It organizes the Asian Championships in Athletics and other continental competitions.
ii. Headquarter:  Bangkok, Thailand.
iii. president Qatari Dahlan Jumaan al-Hamad

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Govt. to launch new app ‘Uber for tractors’ to aid farmers
The agricultural Ministry and the centre decided to launch a farm equipment rental app to aid farmers in accessing cutting- edge technology at affordable prices. Farmers can book and hire agricultural equipment and use them on rent basis. Through this initiative, small farmers will be able to make use of tools equipped with technology that are expensive to own.
i. The name ‘Uber for tractors’ was kept by the govt. keeping in mind the popular app ‘Uber’. Just like uber connects to cabs, this ‘uber for tractors’ will reach the grassroot level people and farmers.
ii. Trial run for the app was conducted in four states. They are Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab……………………Click here to Read more

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SPORTS

Simone Biles becomes the first woman to make ‘triple-double’ twist
22-year-old American Artistic gymnast Simone Arianne Biles became the first woman in the world to make a “triple-double” floor exercise landing which is a finale featuring two flips and three twists at the 2019 US (United States) Gymnastics Championships held at Kansas City, Missouri, US.Simone BilesKey points
i. The event was held from August 8-11.
ii. The triple-double involves two flips and three twists in the air( only 2 men in the world have done the move successfully).
iii. Biles was part of the “final five” gold medal-winning team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

New transgender-inclusive policy to include transgender player in cricket unveiled by cricket Australia
On August 8, 2019, cricket Australia took a revolutionary move announcing new guidelines with the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) gender recognition policy to include transgender players to play cricket.
Key points
i. The transgender players willing to play for the state and national women’s team will have to undergo a test to verify the testosterone level limit set out in the policy.

  • The testosterone concentration should be less than 10 nanomoles per litre over at least for 12 months and players should demonstrate consistency in their elected gender on a daily basis.

ii. Cricket Australia’s chief executive, Kevin Roberts announced that this initiative was taken to support the players to participate in elite cricket irrespective of gender identity allowing the players to experience Australian Cricket’s inclusive culture.

Ireland women’s cricket team makes record-breaking performance-makes two records against the Netherlands
Ireland women’s cricket team made two records in the 2019 Netherlands Women’s Quadrangular series against the Netherlands held at Sportpark Het Schootsveld cricket ground in Deventer, the Netherlands from August 8-14, 2019.
Key points
First record
Ireland which won the toss and elected to bat first made the highest opening stand in the T20 Internationals.
i. Openers Gaby Lewis and Orla Prendergast’s partnership scored 112 runs making the highest partnership for any wicket for Ireland women in T20Is.
Second record
i. It also made history by posting the highest T20Internationals score made by a team. They scored  213-4 from 20 overs.
ii. Other records: It is also the second-highest T20I team score for Ireland (men or women) and 7th highest team score in T20I history.
iii. Irish Opener Gaby Lewis made her second ever T20I half-century with a total score of 71 runs from 41balls marking her highest T20I score.

OBITUARY

Ivory Coast music star DJ Arafat passed away in a road crash in Abidjan
On August 12, 2019, Ivorian musician DJ Arafat (Real name: Ange Didier Huon), aged 33, passed away in a road crash at a hospital in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Born on January 26, 1986 in Yopougon, Ivory coast, he had issued 11 albums, mainly of “coupe-decale” – a dance music form combining rapid percussion, choppy rhythms with hip hop-style vocals.DJ Arafati. He was named as the “Best Artist of the Year” at the Ivorian “Coupé-décalé” Awards in 2016 and 2017.
ii. He was the recipient of 2 WatsUp TV Africa Music Video Awards in the year 2016.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Youth Day observed on 12 August,2019
The International Youth Day was observed on August 12, 2019, to recognize the efforts put in by the youth for the betterment of the society. The 2019 theme is “Transforming education”.The day was initiated in1999.International Youth DayKey points:
Twenty persons conferred with National Youth Award on International Youth day
i. The Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Kiren Rijiju conferred the National Youth Awards on 22 individuals (aged between 15-29) and 3 organizations for great work and contribution in different fields of development and social service, such as health, promotion of human rights, active citizenship, and community service in New Delhi.
ii. He also inaugurated a Photo Exhibition on China through Eyes of Indian Youth – 2019, an exhibition of photos taken by youths who participated in the recent Youth Exchange Program to China. Three awards were also given to individuals for the photo exhibition.

Pakistan observed its Independence Day as Kashmir Solidarity Day on August 14, 2019 
On August 14, 2019, Pakistan observed its 73rd Independence Day as ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’, after India revoked Article 370 of the Constitution. The Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan Syed Haider Shah read out the message of Pakistan President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan, hosted on the Chancery’s lawns, by hoisting the Pakistani flag to the tune of its national anthem.
i. Pakistan has announced to celebrate August 15 – India’s Independence Day – as “Black Day”.
ii. Pakistan introduced a special logo for Independence Day which has been created to express solidarity with the people of occupied Kashmir. It is based on the “Kashmir banega Pakistan” theme, with the word ‘Kashmir’, written in red, representing sacrifices rendered during the struggle for freedom by the Kashmiris.

STATE NEWS

Madhya Pradesh govt waives off loans taken by tribals from non-licensed money-lenders
In order to make the tribals debt-free,  Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath announced on the occasion of World Tribal Day (August 9, 2019), that all the loans taken from non-licensed money-lenders by tribals living in 89 scheduled villages in Chhindwara would be waived in the state. It will benefit 1.5 crore tribals.
i. If the tribals mortgaged his/her jewelry and land for the loan, then it will also be returned to them. In the future, if any Money-lenders will do lending in the tribal area, they have to obtain a license from the government.
ii. The state government will also provide tribals with debit cards. Through this, they can withdraw up to Rs 10,000 from ATM(Automated Teller Machine), which will be installed at weekly markets.
The Madhya Pradesh Government also announced “Mukhyamantri Madad Yojna” for providing assistance to tribal families on childbirth and death of a family member……………………..Click here to Read more

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik dedicates ‘The Rath’, a steel monument, to the people in Bhubaneswar
On August 13, 2019, Chief Minister of Odisha Shri Naveen Patnaik dedicated ‘The Rath’, a steel monument seeking to accentuate Odisha’s diverse culture and rich heritage, to the people of the state. It is built at the picturesque Biju Patnaik Park in Bhubaneswar.
Key Points:
i. The steel monument is presented by Tata Steel in collaboration with the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA).
ii. It is built using 13.5 tonnes of Tata structural steel hollow sections.
iii. The monument design is inspired by the dual narrative of the Sun Temple and the Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival).

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