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Current Affairs July 12 2019

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WCD implements a Scheme for Women in Difficult Circumstances called “Swadhar Greh”
The Ministry of Women and Child Development(WCD), Government of India is implementing the Swadhar Greh Scheme for the rehabilitation of women in difficult circumstances so that they could lead their life with dignity.Key points:
i. Support:  It envisages providing shelter, food, clothing, and health as well as economic and social security for the women who are deserted and without any social and economic support, victims of domestic violence, family tension, and natural disaster.
ii. Helpline:  The ministry is also implementing Universalisation of Women Helpline Scheme to provide 24 hours emergency and non-emergency response to women affected by violence.
iii. OSC: As a part of Nirbhaya Framework, One Stop Centres(OSC) has been established for violence affected women across the country with the help of States/UTs (Union territory).
iv. Facilities: OSC formed under One Stop Centre Scheme provides legal and psycho-social counseling &other facilities include temporary shelter, police facilitation and medical support to the women affected by violence.
About WCD:
♦ Founded
: 30 January 2006
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Union Minister: Smriti Irani

DBT 2.0 of Fertilizer Subsidy launched by D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Union Minister for Chemicals
On July 10, 2019, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda launched the Phase-II of the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of Fertilizer Subsidy in New Delhi in the presence of Minister of State for Shipping (IC) and Chemicals & Fertilizers, Shri Mansukh L. Mandaviya, Secretary, Fertilizers, Shri Chhabilendra Roul and Additional Secretary, Fertilizers, Shri Dharam Pal.Key Points:
i. Initiatives: 3 new technology initiatives DBT Dashboards, PoS (Point-of-Sale) 3.0 Software and Desktop PoS Version will help to transfer over Rs 70,000-crore fertiliser subsidy directly to farmers’ bank accounts.
ii. Implementation: To look into the implementation of DBT exclusively, a Project Monitoring Cell was set up. 24 State Coordinators were appointed across all States to monitor the on-going DBT activities.
iii. DBT 1.0 : Phase-I of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) system in fertilizer subsidy pan-India in Fertilizers was implemented with effect from March 2018. It anticipated the release of 100% subsidy on various fertilizer grades to the fertilizer companies on the basis of actual sales made by the retailer to the beneficiaries.
About DBT:
It is an attempt to change the mechanism of transferring subsidies launched by Government of India on 1 January 2013. Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System (CPSMS) implemented by the Office of the Controller General of Accounts acts as the common platform for routing DBT.

Defence Ministry signs MoU with IPFC and NRDC to implant IP into Defence Industry
The Defence Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Intellectual Property Facilitation Cell (IPFC), Department of Defence Production, National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) and Ministry of Science and Technology to promote a culture of Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights (IP-R) in the Defence system.
Key points:
i. Fillip: The partnership will provide a major impetus to “Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti”, which was launched in 2018 aims to provide a boost to IPR culture in the indigenous defence industry.
ii. Achievement:  Under this mission, Defence Ministry has established Intellectual Property Facilitation Cell (IPFC) in 2018 under the aegis of Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA), which has achieved ambitious targets of training more than 12,000 personnel on IPR and facilitating the filing of over 1,000 new IPR applications.
iii. Action Plan 2019-20: Additional 20,000 personnel from the Public/Private Sector Industry and Armed Forces will get training on the relevance of Intellectual Property culture to Indian Defence manufacturing industry.
About NRDC:
i. It was established in 1953 by the Government of India.
ii. Objective : To promote, develop and commercialise the technologies / know-how / inventions / patents / processes emanating from various national R&D institutions / Universities.
About IPFC
i. It has been set up in the Department of Defence Production
ii. It provides general advisory about IPRs, such as patents, trademarks, designs and copyrights and Services such as IP Protection, IP Awareness & Training, and Counseling& Advisory Services.

RPF launches “Operation Thirst” to curb the menace of unauthorized Packaged Drinking Water
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has launched an all India drive ‘Operation Thirst’ (on 8-9 July 2019) in New Delhi to crackdown the selling of unauthorized Packaged Drinking Water (PDW) in the premises of railway stations.Key points:
i. During the drive,1,371 people were arrested and over 69,294 bottles of unauthorised brands were seized under the sections of 144 and 153 of the Railway Act 1989, by the RPF.
ii. The special operation covered almost all major stations over Indian Railway and a total fine amount of Rs. 6,80,855 has been realized by offenders.
iii. The drive will be followed by continuous action by concerned Zonal PCSCs (Principal Chief Security Commissioners) on this issue.
About RPF:
♦ Founded: 1872
♦ Motto: “Attaining honor”
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Governing body: Ministry of Railways

5th India-EU High Level Dialogue on Migration and Mobility held in New Delhi 
On July 11, 2019, The 5th India-EU High Level Dialogue on Migration and Mobility (HLDMM) was held in New Delhi between India and the European Union (EU). It was co-chaired by Mr. Sanjiv Arora, Secretary (Consular, Passport & Visa and Overseas Indian Affairs) and Ms. Paraskevi Michou, Director General [Migration and Home Affairs], European Commission. It was also attended by Heads of Mission and other representatives of the Diplomatic Missions of EU Member States who were invited as Observers for the first time.Key Points:
i. They discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest in the context of migration & mobility along the India-EU corridor and reaffirmed that migration and mobility are important dimensions of the strategic partnership.
ii. On 10 July, 2019, the co-chairs addressed the Opening Session of an India-EU Seminar on Sharing of Good Practices on Migration Governance in New Delhi under the Technical Support Project for undertaking collaborative activities in the framework of the Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility [CAMM] between India and the European Union and its Member States. It was signed on March 29, 2016.

Article 370 a temporary provision with respect to J&K in Part XXI of the Constitution: Government
On July 10, 2019, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy stated that Article 370, which provides special status to Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) is contained as a temporary provision in Part XXI (Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions) of the Constitution.
Key Points:
i. Article 35A, that gives special rights to the natives of the state contained in the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, was added through a Constitution order issued by the President of India under Article 370.
ii. It was also brought to notice that foreign government or organisation don’t have  any locus standi in repealing Article 370 in J&K as matters related to Constitution of India are internal and it is to be dealt by Indian Parliament only.
About Jammu & Kashmir:
Capital: Srinagar (Summer), Jammu (Winter)
Governor: Satya Pal Malik
National Parks: City Forest (Salim Ali) National Park, Dachigam National Park, Hemis National Park, Kishtwar National Park
Wildlife Sanctuaries: Baltal-Thajwas WLS, Changthang Cold Desert WLS, Gulmarg WLS, Jasrota WLS, Karakoram (Nubra Shyok)  WLS, Nandini WLS, Surinsar Mansar WLS etc

Chandigarh best performing state in the field of education in the Performance Grading Index 2017-18
Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) informed that in the Performance Grading Index 2017-18, Chandigarh was ranked best among States and Union territories (UTs) in the field of education. The Index ranked the states on the basis of 5 parameters including learning outcomes and quality, access, infrastructure and facilities, equity and governance process. 36 States/ UTs were ranked in the Index.
i. Other Rankings: Kerala was ranked second followed by Gujarat (3), Haryana (4), Tamil Nadu (5), Punjab (7), Rajasthan (8), Delhi(9).
ii. Least Rankings: Arunachal Pradesh (36), Nagaland (35) and Meghalaya (34) were the least performing states.
iii. Literacy: Kerala had the highest literacy rate followed by Lakshadweep and Mizoram.

Tamil Nadu to be the first state to manufacture electric cars: Minister
M C Sampath, minister for industries stated that South Korean multinational automotive manufacturer Hyundai plans to launch its electric car for India and the global market from Chennai facility will help make Tamil Nadu the first state in India to manufacture electric cars.Key points:
i. Motive:
The Tamil Nadu (TN)State Government aims to attract the multinational companies that are moving out of China after the US(United States)-China trade dispute.
ii. Investment: Tamil Nadu ranks 3rd in capital investment in the industrial sector with Rs 4.02 lakh crore, after Gujarat (Rs 8.14 lakh crore) and Maharashtra (Rs 5.02 lakh crore).
iii. Industrial o/p: Tamil Nadu has 37,220 factories (the most in India followed by Maharashtra (27,010 units) and Gujarat (25,966 units)) also ranks 3rd in  total industrial output(o/p), with Rs 7.66 lakh crore, after Gujarat (Rs 12.22 lakh crore) and Maharashtra (Rs 10.74 lakh crore).
iv. Workforce: TN has a high number of persons engaged in the factory at 24.08 lakh persons which are 25%higher than the next state Maharashtra.
v. Eco-friendly initiative: The TN Industries Development Corporation (TIDCO is selecting a consultant for preparing a report on developing a greenfield airport near Chennai.
vi. Defence: The state also aims to attract Rs 10,000 crore in the defence sector for five years.
About Tamil Nadu:
♦ Capital: Chennai
♦ Chief minister: Edappadi K. Palaniswami
♦ Governor: Banwarilal Purohit
♦ National Parks: Guindy National Park,Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, Indira Gandhi (Annamalai) National Park, Mudumalai National Park,Mukurthi National Park

Gaganyaan National Advisory Council created
On July 11, 2019, Union Minister of State (MoS) (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh informed that Gaganyaan National Advisory Council was created with members from different institutions and industries in order to launch the Gaganyaan project by the 75th Independence day or earlier.
i. Members: It consists of Secretaries of Department of Space, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Defence Research and Development, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Principal Scientific Advisor to Prime Minister, Senior Officials from Armed Forces, Indian Coast Guard, Former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Member of Space Commission, Former Director of Aeronautical Development Agency, Former Indian Astronaut, Directors of Premier Academic and Research Institutions and Heads of various Indian Industries.

ICSI rolled out UDIN to improve corporate governance
The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) launched an initiative in the form of a Unique Document Identification Number (UDIN) to improve corporate governance and strengthen the practising side of company secretaries.ICSI functions under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and sets standards for company secretary members.Key Points:
i. Functions: The UDIN will help to maintain a register of attestation and certification services, prevent counterfeiting of various attestations and certifications, ensure compliance with regard to ceilings on the number of certifications and attestations and enable stakeholders and regulators to verify genuinity of documents signed or certified by company secretaries in practice.
ii. Working:  An alphanumeric number will be generated for the identification of every document. It will act as a trust enhancer by facilitating verification that the document is genuinely signed or certified by a company secretary in practice.
iii. Applicability: ICSI UDIN will be mandatory for every document except an e-form, signed or certified by a company secretary with from October 1, 2019.
About ICSI:
Headquarters: New Delhi
President: CS Ranjeet Kumar Pandey

Port Integrity Campaign launched in India by Maritime Anti-Corruption Network
In order to tackle corruption in the maritime industry, Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), a global business network of over 110 companies has launched ‘Port Integrity Campaign’ with the support of the Government of India, international organizations and local industry stakeholders.
Key points:
i. Aim: To reduce & eliminate integrity issues and bottlenecks to trade during operations in Indian ports that enables fair trade to the benefit of society at large.
ii. Key activities: A pilot of the campaign will take place in Mumbai ports (MbPT(Mumbai Port Trust) and JNPT(Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust)) until October 2019, includes the implementation of integrity training for port officials, the establishment of clear escalation and reporting processes.
iii.Plan: MACN has also planned to expand this campaign in other ports.
About MCAN:
i. It was established in the year 2011 by a small group of committed maritime companies.
ii. MACN works towards its vision through three objectives include Capability Building, Collective Action, and Culture of Integrity.


India successfully lifted 271 million out of poverty in ten years: UN Multidimensional Poverty Index 2019
According to the “Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2019” by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) between 2006 and 2016, India registered a fastest reduction of poverty rate from 55.1% to 27.9% and lifted 271 million (from 640 million to around 369 million) out of poverty.Key points:
i.Key indicators: The poverty reduction was measured on a significant drop in some deficiencies of the 10 indicators, particularly assets, cooking fuel, sanitation, and nutrition.
ii.No.1:  Jharkhand is among the poorest regions in the world improving the fastest (poverty reduction from 74.9% to 46.5% in the ten years) followed by Rattanak Kiri in Cambodia.
iii. Report: 364 million people (156 million (34.5%) are children) in India still living in multidimensional poverty in the world.
iv. Progress in achieving SDG 1: The report identifies 10 countries(Bangladesh, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam)have shown statistically significant progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 1(SDG 1), ending poverty “in all its forms, everywhere”.
v. Across the 101 countries, 23.1% of the people are multidimensionally poor & out of that 50% are children, and children under age 10 with over 85% of poor living in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ukraine inaugurates gigantic dome worth $1.7 billion over destroyed Chernobyl reactor
On July 10, 2019, Ukraine and its European partners have inaugurated the world’s largest new metal dome encasing the destroyed reactor at the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power station.Key points:
i. The New Safe Confinement seals the remains of the fourth reactor worth 1.5 billion euro( $1.7 billion, partly funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and sponsored by 45 countries).
ii. Chernobyl plant was the site of the world’s worst nuclear civilian accident on April 26, 1986, when Reactor 4 exploded, killing at least 30 people.350,000 people were evacuated from within a 30-kilometer radius around the plant.
iii. The new dome is 354 feet high, weighs 39,600 tons and strong enough to withstand a tornado & it will undergo a year-long pilot operation period before getting the license from Ukraine’s regulatory authorities.
iv. New dome marks a new era for Chernobyl, with the Ukrainian government investing sufficient amounts to make its surroundings attractive to tourists.
About Ukraine:
♦ Capital: Kyiv or Kiev
♦ Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia
♦ President: Volodymyr Zelensky
♦ Prime Minister: Volodymyr Groysman


Exim Bank signs Loan Pact worth  $124 Mn For Infra, Health Projects In Papua New Guinea, Senegal
On July 11, 2019, The Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) has signed a loan agreement of providing $124 million (over Rs 850 crore) to Papua New Guinea and Senegal governments to finance infrastructure and health care projects.
Key points:
i. Exim bank has extended Line of Credit(LoC) of USD 100 million to the  Government of Independent State of Papua New Guinea for the purpose of financing infrastructure related projects($60 million is to go for Bayer-Madang road project and $40 million for Hoskins-Kimbe road project).
ii. Exim Bank has also extended Line of Credit of $24.50 million to the Government of the Republic of Senegal for the purpose of financing up-gradation and rehabilitation of Health Care System.
About Exim Bank:
♦ Headquarters:
♦ CEO & MD: David Rasquinha
♦ Founded: 1 January 1982
About Papua New Guinea
♦ Capital
: Port Moresby
♦ Currency: Papua New Guinean Kina
♦ Prime minister: James Marape
About Senegal
♦ Capital
: Dakar
♦ Currencies: CFA franc, West African CFA franc
♦ President: Macky Sall


France became the first country to pass GAFA tax on digital giants
On July 11, 2019, France became the first country to pass GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) Tax on digital giants in defiance of a probe ordered by the United States (US) President Donald Trump.Key Points:
i. It will levy a 3% tax on total annual revenues of the largest tech firms providing services to French consumers.The 3% of digital sales in France regard to advertising, websites and the resale of private data.
ii. It will help to plug taxation gaps.
iii.The tax was passed by the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament. After earlier passing the chamber of the National Assembly the GAFA was enacted by a simple display of hands in the Senate Upper House.
iv.The U.S was not welcomed this move and concerned that the digital service tax expected to pass the French Senate is unfairly targeting American companies.
About France:
Capital: Paris
Currency: Euro
President: Emmanuel Macron

Indian Army places an order for procuring Israeli anti-tank Spike missiles
Indian Army has placed an order for procuring anti-tank Spike missiles from Israel under emergency purchases powers to meet operational preparedness. The deal was approved by Army in April 2019 during emergency purchase powers granted to three armed forces after February 14, 2019, Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed followed by Balakot airstrike.
Key points:
i. Anti-tank Spike missiles: It is designed and developed by Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It can be fired from different platforms -vehicles, helicopters, ships and ground launchers.
ii. Speciality: It is known for its precision targeting with an ability to pierce even bunkers. It can hits targets at a range of four kilometers and can be deployed in both mountains and plains. It can be deployed even along the Line of Control (LoC).
iii. Power: Under the emergency provision, the forces can make procurement up to Rs 300 crore.
About Israel:
♦ Capital: Jerusalem
♦ Currency: Israeli new shekel
♦ Prime minister: Benjamin Netanyahu
♦ President: Reuven Rivlin


Taylor Swift is the highest-paid celebrity on Forbes Celebrity 100 List 2019
The Pop singer Taylor Swift topped the Forbes Celebrity 100 list 2019 for the second time after 2016. She is the highest-paid celebrity with her 2019 estimated earnings to be over $185 million. Her 2018 ‘Reputation’ tour became the highest-grossing tour in the history of the United States collecting over $266.1 million.Other names in the list:
i. Second name in the list was of Kylie Jenner, with estimated earnings of $170 million followed by Kanye West with earning over $150 million.
ii. Ed Sheeran, singer-songwriter, stood at the fifth position with $110 million and Dwayne Johnson stood at No. 15.
iii. Top 20 included Roger Federer, Howard Stern (No. 12, with $93 million), J.K. Rowling (No. 13, with $92 million), Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, LeBron James, Rush Limbaugh, Elton John (No. 19, with $84 million), and Jay-Z and Beyonce (tied at No. 20 through marriage and business alliances, with an estimated $81 million each).
iv. Akshay Kumar was the only Indian in the Forbes Highest-Paid Celebrities 2019. He stood at the 33rd spot with earnings of Rs 444 crore ($65 million).
About Forbes:
First published: September 15, 1917
Editor in Chief: Steve Forbes

Isha Kanth, Delhi girl, bags ICJ internship programme
Delhi girl Isha Kanth, aged 20, is selected for the internship programme with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) based in the Hague, Netherlands.
i.She was one of the two persons in the world to attend an internship programme at the International Court of Justice.
ii. She completed her higher secondary in humanities from Sanskriti School, Delhi and is pursuing her graduation in law at Queen Mary University, London, United Kingdom.
About International Court of Justice(ICJ):-
Headquarters location  :  The Hague, Netherlands
Currentlies :   Abdulqawi Yusuf, Xue Hanqin
Established  : 1945


India’s envoy to Canada Vikas Swarup appointed as the Secretary of Overseas Indian Affairs
Department of Personnel and Training issued an circular that the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) appointed a Author-diplomat Vikas Swarup, India’s High Commissioner in Ottawa, Canada as the Secretary in the Consular, Passport, Visa and Overseas Indian Affairs Division in the External Affairs Ministry with effect from August 1, 2019.
He will succeed Sanjiv Arora. Swarup is  a 1986-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer.

Dinesh Bhatia concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay
On July 10, 2019, As per the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India Shri Dinesh Bhatia has been concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, with residence in Buenos Aires. He succeeds Shri Sanjiv Ranjan.
Key points:
i. He presently served as the ambassador of India to Argentina
ii. He is a 1992-batch IFS(Indian Foreign Service) officer.
iii. He also served as the Consul General, Consulate General of India, Toronto.
About Uruguay:-
Capital                         :          Montevideo
National language      :           Spanish
President                     :           Tabaré Vázquez

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Japan spacecraft Hayabusa2 lands on asteroid Ryugu for second time
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that its asteroid-exploring unmanned $270-million spacecraft Hayabusa2, a second touchdown operation, landed on Asteroid Ryugu, 300 mn km (185m miles) from Earth, for the second time for its final sample collection which will could shed light on the evolution of the solar system.Key Points:
i. It hopes to collect pristine materials from beneath the surface of the asteroid, which will provide insights into what the solar system was like at its birth 4.6 billion years ago.
ii. It will depart Ryugu in December 2019 and return to Earth by the end of 2020 with its cargo of samples.
iii. For the first time, it was landed in February 2019.

Indian Scientists from TIFR develop ‘Black Gold’
Indian Scientists from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai have developed a new material called ‘black gold’. They rearranged size and gaps of gold nanoparticles to develop the new material, It can absorb light and carbon dioxide. It can be used for applications that range from harvesting solar energy to desalinating seawater.Key Points:
i. It was published in Chemical Science, a scientific journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
ii. The team was led by Professor Vivek Polshettiwar and it included Mahak Dhiman, Ayan Maity, Anirban Das, Rajesh Belgamwar, Bhagyashree Chalke and Vivek Polshettiwar (TIFT); Yeonhee Lee, Kyunjong Sim and Jwa-Min Nam (Seoul National University).
iii. The study was funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).


The Brazilian singer and composer Joao Gilberto, one of the pioneers of bossa nova passed away
Joao Gilberto, a Brazilian singer, guitarist, and songwriter &considered one of the fathers of the bossa nova passed away after battling with health issues. He was 88.Key points:
i. He was born on 10 June 1931 in Bahia, Brazil. He won two Grammy awards and was nominated for six.
ii. In 2009, The U.S. jazz magazine DownBeat named him one of the 75 great guitarists in history and one of the five top jazz singers.
iii. In 1959, he released the record Chega de Saudade which marked the beginning of the world-famous bossa nova music style.
iv. His last live performance was in 2008.

Former Bengal leg-spin Soumendranath Kundu passed away in Kolkata
On July 11, 2019, Former Bengal and Railways leg-spinner Soumendranath Kundu, aged 77, passed away in Kolkata, West Bengal.i. Born on January 5, 1942 in Kolkata, he took 127 wickets including 13 five-wicket hauls with a career-best 8/104 during his 30 first class matches between 1958-59 and 1968-69. He also took 10 wickets in a match 3 times.
ii. He was conferred the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) Kartick Bose Lifetime Achievement award in 2013-14.


Non-Resident Keralites Investment Company to be set up by the Kerala Government
On July 10, 2019, At a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, the state Government decided to form a Non-Resident Keralites (NRK) Investment and Holding Company Ltd in order to bring investments from overseas Keralites for major infrastructure development in the state. It was one of the major recommendations submitted by the standing committees of the Loka Kerala Sabha (World Kerala Assembly),
i. The 74% stake of the company will be held by expats and 26% will be held by the Kerala Government.
ii. A Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA) Chief Executive Officer will be appointed as special officer of the company.

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