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Current Affairs July 27 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Approval of 1,40,134 houses under the Pratan Mantri Awas Yojana(Urban) given during 45th sanctioning committee meeting
Approval was given by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), in the 45th meeting of the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee to construct 1,40,134 more affordable houses to benefit the urban poor under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) (PMAY-(U)). This makes the number of houses sanctioned under PMAY(U) now to be 85,11,574.
Pratan Mantri Awas Yojana- Urban
The mission is to provide housing for all by the year 2022, by that time Nation completes 75 years of its Independence.
♦ Launched- June 25 2014
♦ Ministry- Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.
♦ MoHUA minister: Hardeep Singh Puri

India, Saudi Arabia held discussions on bilateral hydrocarbon cooperation
On July 25, 2019, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel held a meeting with Mr Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of Saudi Aramco in New Delhi. They discussed on improving India-Saudi Arabia hydrocarbon cooperation in order to strengthen the existing overall strategic partnership between the two countries.
Key Points:
i. Minister Al-Falih stressed on the need for capitalizing on the growing momentum in bilateral hydrocarbon cooperation.
ii. Mr Pradhan discussed the current developments in the global oil and gas markets, raised India’s concerns on the recent increase in Asian Premium and the decision of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Plus members on extending production cuts, leading to oil price volatility and highlighted the adverse impact of these developments on the Indian economy.
iii. Both sides reviewed the progress on Saudi investments in Indian oil and gas sector, including the West Coast refinery.
About Saudi Arabia:
Capital: Riyadh
Currency: Saudi riyal

Western Railways first printing press heritage gallery opened at Mahalaxmi, Mumbai
Western Railways (WR) opened its first printing press heritage gallery named Western Railway Mahalaxmi General Stores Depot (GSD) at Mahalaxmi in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was inaugurated by V P Pathak, Member (Materials Management) of the Railway Board.
Key Points:
i. It became the first press in Indian Railways to portray a heritage gallery of the printing and allied machines used in the Western Railway Printing Press since 1948.
ii. The press came into existence in 1912 under the Greater Indian Peninsular Railway (GIP) Bombay, as the railway was in need of stationery and tickets to run the operations. In 1953, it was shifted to GSD Mahalaxmi at the WR.

Approval given to national permit scheme for inter-state travel for bus operators
During the International Bus and Car show, Prawaas 2019 which was held in Mumbai, Maharashtra, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari informed that approval was given to the national permit scheme for inter-state travel for bus operators. It will increase the state revenue by 3-4% as the money will be directly credited to the states in a proportionate manner.
i. Government is also working on alternative fuels such as deriving ethanol from sugarcane which will be cost-effective and pollution-free.
About Ministry of Road Transport and Highways:
Headquarters: New Delhi
Formed: July 1942

23 self-styled and unrecognized universities announced by the University Grants Commission
The University Grants Commission(UGC) which coordinates, determines and maintains standards of higher education, has released a list of 23 universities which are declared “self-styled” and “unrecognized“. These universities contradict the UGC Act 1956.unrecognized universitiesStates with fake universities

  • Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of unrecognized universities – 8
  • It is followed by Delhi having 7 fake Universities.
  • Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Puducherry have 1 fake university each while West Bengal and Odisha have two fake universities each
  • The UGC has warned the students against taking admission in these institutions.

UGC
♦ It is a statutory body set up by the Indian Union government in accordance with the UGC Act 1956.
♦ Headquarters- New Delhi
♦ Ministry- Ministry of Human Resources Department.
♦ Motto- Knowledge Liberates
♦ Chairman- P Singh.

IIM Calcutta Inks MoU With Two Foreign Universities for research and cultural understanding
On July 25, 2019, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta has signed two Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Carleton University, Canada and Montpellier Business School, France to promote advancement in teaching, research, cultural understanding.
Key points:
i. STEP:  The MoU with both institutions valid for 5 years signed under IIM’s “Student exchange program (STEP)”, which is an integral part of its internationalization efforts aims at providing IIM Calcutta students an opportunity to have learning experience from the international environment.
ii. IIM and Carleton University: The reason behind signing MoU with Carleton University to support academic partnerships with the university which include research collaboration, capacity building, executive training, etc.
iii. IIM and Montpellier Business School: The purpose of the MoU with Montpellier Business School was to attain a common interest in teaching and research.
It aims the exchange of postgraduate and doctoral students, faculty members and academic information and materials. It also involves organizing joint Executive Development Programs, joint research programs, joint conferences and workshops, and other academic exchanges.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

INS Tarkash reached Saint Petersburg, Russia to take part in the Russian Navy Day parade
INS Tarkash which was constructed for the Indian Navy by Russia reached SaintPetersburg, Russia to take part in the Russian Navy Day parade celebrated on 28 July. The Indian delegation is led by Vice Admiral Ajith Kumar,Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command and INS Tarkash.
i. More than 40 ships, 40 planes and helicopters, and a total of 4000 service men will take part in the Navy day celebration.
INS Tarkash
♦ Commanding captain– Sathish Vasudev
♦ Builder- Yantar shipyard, Russia
♦ launched- 23 June 2010
♦ Type- second batch of Teg-class frigates
♦ Based at- Mumbai

Jordan opens its first underwater military museum
On July 24, 2019, Jordan, an Arab country in Western Asia, opened its first Underwater Military Museum Dive Site, off its Red Sea coast, Aqaba. The objective of the museum is to offer a new type of museum experience combining sports, environment and exhibits for divers, snorkelers and visitors on glass-bottomed boats.Jordan opens its first underwater military museumi. It has several tanks, an ambulance, a military crane, a troop carrier, an anti-aircraft battery, guns, Jordanian Armed Forces AH-1 Cobra Helicopter, 19 decommissioned pieces of military hardware, submerged at depths up to 28 metres (92 feet).
About Jordan:
Capital: Amman
Currency: Jordanian dinar

BANKING & FINANCE

Cars24 gets RBI NBFC license to offer loans against used cars
On July 26, 2019, CARS24, an online marketplace for buying and selling used cars has received a license of a Non-banking Finance Company (NBFC) from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and will be venturing into the consumer lending business as a separate entity within the Cars24 group.Cars24Key points:
i. With Cars24 Financial Services, it will facilitate vehicle loans to customers as well as finance channel partners to help them expand their businesses.
ii. For consumers, the average ticket size of a loan would be Rs 2.5 Lakh- 3 Lakh & channel partners will able to get credit as high as Rs 1crore depending upon their requirement. Customers are allowed to sell their car any time at CARS24 in future to pay back the loan.
iii. It will be launching its services in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru in August 2019.
iv. It is targeting loan disbursement worth $25 million (Rs 170 crore) within the first year of its launch.
v. Currently, it operates in more than 35 cities with more than 150 branches. It aims to scale up its presence in over 300 Tier 2,3 and 4 markets by 2021.
About CARS24 :
♦ Founded
: 2015
♦ Headquarters: Gurugram
♦ Founders: Vikram Chopra, Mehul Agrawal

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Indian government’s NHA and NATHEALTH signs MoU under Ayushman Bharat scheme
The National Health Authority (NHA) and the Healthcare Federation of India (NATHEALTH) signed MoU (Memorandum of understanding), to improve the efficiency of Service Delivery under Ayushman Bharat scheme which is also called as Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).NHA and NATHEALTH signs MoUAim
Under the vision of “Health for All”, this collaboration will provide and enable the interface for testing healthcare innovation ecosystem, adopting, funding, and providing mentorship in creating channels for scaling these innovations.
Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya (AB-PMJAY)
♦ It is a National Health Protection Scheme launched in 23rd September 2018. It provides health coverage upto Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary Care Hospitalization. It is governed by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister (MoHFW)
♦ CEO- Indu Bhushan
♦ Deputy CEO- Dinesh Arora
National Health Authority( NHA)
On 2 Jan 2019 the National Health Agency was restructured as National Health Authority for better implementation of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Inaugural Tribute actor award won by Meryl Streep in TIFF 2019
Most nominated actor in Academy Award history, Meryl Streep wins inaugural Tribute Actor award in Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The actress has won the Oscar, three times.Meryl StreepTIFF
♦ It is an annual fundraiser “to support TIFF’s year-round programs and to celebrate the film industry’s outstanding contributors.”
♦ Abbreviation- Toronto International Film Festival
♦ Location– Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
♦ Founded- 1976

3rd edition of CSR Journal Excellence Awarded to 6 firms
The third edition of Journal Excellence award instituted by The CSR Journal, a digital and print news publication awarded six firms in terms of best practice of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The theme was “India first
i. These 6 firms were felicitated awards by the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kishan Reddy.
Awarded firms and their category

  • Tata Power for “Education & Skill Training”.
  • ReNew Powerfor “Women Empowerment & Child Welfare”.
  • YES Bank Ltdfor “Health & Sanitation”.
  • Mahindra & Mahindrafor “Environment”.
  • Hindustan Zinc for “Agriculture & Rural Development”.
  • Aditya Birla Capital Ltd for “Sports”.

CSR
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a broad term used to describe a company’s efforts to improve society.
Minister of State for Home Affairs
♦ Minister-  Kishan Reddy
♦ Constituency-  Secunderabad.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

MTNL director Sunil Kumar given additional charge as MTNL chairman &MD
On July 25, 2019, A state-owned telecommunications service provider, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited(MTNL) ’s director Sunil Kumar has been given additional charge of chairman and managing director of the company. He succeeds P K Purwar who was recently appointed the chairman and managing Director of BSNL(Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited).Sunil Kumari. Kumar is currently serving as Director (Human Resources and Enterprise Business) at MTNL.
ii. His appointment effective from July 24, 2019, for a period up to October 14, 2019, or until further orders or till the appointment of regular incumbent whichever is the earliest.
About MTNL:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ CEO: Pravin Kumar Purwar
♦ Area served: Mumbai, New Delhi in India and Mauritius.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury appointed as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee 
On July 26, 2019, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla appointed Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress floor leader in Lok Sabha as the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).Adhir Ranjan ChowdhuryKey points:
i. The other members elected to the committee from Lok Sabha are Jayant Sinha, Ajay (Teni) Misra, Satya Pal Singh, Subhash Chandra Baheria, Sudheer Gupta, Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Vishnu Dayal Ram, Jagadambika Pal and Ram Kripal Yadav (all BJP), T R Baalu (DMK), Rahul Ramesh Shewale (Shiv Sena), Rajiv Ranjan Singh (JD-U) and Balashowry Vallabbhaneni (YSR Congress Party) and Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD).
ii. About PAC: It comprises of total 22 members which include 15 members from Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament, and 7 members from Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament headed by a member from the opposition since 1967. The functions of the committee include an examination of accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by Parliament for the expenditure of the government, the annual financial accounts of the government.
iii. The 7 members from Rajya Sabha in PAC include Rajeev Chandrasekhar, M. V. Rajeev Gowda, Naresh Gujral, Bhubaneswar Kalita, C. M. Ramesh, Sukendu Sekhar Ray and Bhupender Yadav.
iv. The three financial standing committees of the parliament includes:
Estimates Committee(Head:  Girish Bhalchandra Bapat)
Committee on Public Undertakings(Head: Meenakshi Lekhi)
The parliamentary panel on ‘Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes’ headed by Kirit Premjibhai Solanki.

Former Finance Secretary Shri Subash Chandra Garg, takes over as the new Power Secretary of the Power Ministry
Subhash Chandra Garg, who was the former finance secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) has now been appointed as the new Power Secretary. He will succeeded by Atanu Chakraborty as the new Finance Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs.Shri Subash Chandra Garg Ministry of Power
♦ MoS independent charge- K. Singh
♦ Founded- 2 July 1992
♦ Headquarters- New Delhi.

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Apple to acquire Intel’s smartphone modem business for a transaction value of $1 billion
On July 25, 2019, Apple and Intel signed an agreement where Apple will acquire the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business for $1 billion.Apple to acquire Intel’s smartphonei. 2,200 Intel employees will join Apple, along with intellectual property, equipment, and leases.
ii. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter (December) of 2019.
About Apple:
Headquarters: Cupertino, California, US
Founded: April 1, 1976
Chairman: Arthur D. Levinson

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Chinese startup Glory Space Technology launched first private rocket capable of carrying satellites
On July 25, 2019, Beijing-based startup Interstellar Glory Space Technology, which is also known as iSpace, successfully launched the first commercial rocket of China named Hyperbola-1. It is capable of carrying satellites into orbit. It launched two satellites into orbit from Jiuquan, a state launch facility in the Gobi desert.
i. The 20-metre (66-foot) rocket designed by iSpace reached an altitude of 300 kilometres (186 miles).
About China:
Capital: Beijing
Currency: Renminbi

Iran test-launched a medium-range missile Shahab-3
Iran test-launched a medium-range ballistic missile inside its borders- Shahab-3. It is derived from a North Korean missile called the Nodong-A and can fly 1,150 to 2,000 kilometers, or up to 1,242 miles, depending on the variant.
i. The test came amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West (US), mainly regarding the safety of commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

ENVIRONMENT

Proahaetulla antique, 26 million years old species of Vine snake found in the southern Western Ghats
Researchers from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru have discovered new vine snake species named Proahaetulla antique (member of the Ahaetuliinae family), believed to have evolved around 26 million years ago in the southern Western Ghats.
key points:
i. The common name suggested for these individuals is ‘keeled vine snake’. Vine snakes get their names due to their slender bodies and vine-like appearances.
ii. In India particularly there are 4 species of commonly distributed vine snakes, and another one was discovered in Odisha recently.
iii. This research report has been published in the journal PLOS ONE in collaboration with researchers from Chennai Snake Park, Chennai, and Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.
iv. The study was funded by the Department of Biotechnology(DBT), Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), DBT-IISc Partnership Programme and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.

World temperatures rose faster in the late 20th century than in the last 2,000 years: study
According to a study published in the journals Nature, and Nature Geoscience, Global temperatures rose faster in the late 20th century than at any other time in the last 2,000 years.
Key points:
i. The research team having 19 members of the Past Global Changes (PAGES) project, had used data compiled from nearly 700 temperature indicators such as tree rings, sediment cores, coral reefs, modern thermometer readings, etc.
ii. The study shows that the modern climate change marked by unprecedented anthropogenic emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. It also found that pre-industrial temperature fluctuations were largely driven by volcanic activity.
iii. The paper published in Nature examined regional temperature trends over time & the paper in Nature Geoscience examined rates of surface warming, averaged over sub-periods each a few decades-long.

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SPORTS

Overview of ISSF Junior World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun 2019 held in Suhl, Germany
i. International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Junior World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun 2019 was held at the Shooting Center, Suhl, Germany from July 12-20, 2019.
ii. India won

  • 4 Gold in team event & 6 in Individual event
  • 4 Silver in team event & 5 in Individual event.
  • 3 Bronze in team event & 2 in Individual event………………………..Click here to Read more

India tops the medal tally

Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 India 10 9 5 24
2 China 8 8 8 24
3 Germany 5 2 3 10
4 USA 4 3 2 9
5 Russia 3 2 2 7

IOA withdraws from CGF General Assembly to protest dropping of shooting from 2022 CWG
On July 26, 2019, The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) withdraws Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) general assembly meeting to be held in Rwanda in September 2019 to protest against the move of dropping shooting from the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games(CWG).IOAKey points:
i. It also withdrew the nomination of its Secretary-General Rajeev Mehta for the election of a regional vice-president as well as that of Namdev Shiragaonkar for Sports Committee member during the meet.
ii. The CWG Federation left out shooting from the 2022 Birmingham Games in its Executive Board meeting on June 2019. It recommended the inclusion of three new sports(beach volleyball (men and women), women’s T20 cricket and para-table tennis (men and women)).
iii. By removing shooting from 2022 CWG, the medal ranking of India will go down and the total number of medals won will also come down from 66.
2022 CWG:
♦ Host city:
Birmingham, England
♦ Motto: Heart of the UK, Soul of the Commonwealth
♦ venue: Alexander Stadium
About IOA:
♦ Founded: 1927
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ President: Narinder Dhruv Batra
Secretary-General: Rajeev Mehta
About CGF:
♦ Headquarters: London, UK
♦ Motto: Humanity – Equality – Destiny
♦ CEO: David Grevemberg
♦ President: Dame Louise Martin DBE Scotland

Five wrestlers among Bajrang Punia selected at KD Jadhav stadium, for Senior Wrestling Championships
Selection for Senior Wrestling Championship which is the first phase to earn a spot in the 2020 Olympic Games was held at K.D Jadhavwrestling stadium, New Delhi. 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Bajrang Punia got selected in the 65kg weight category to participate in the Senior Wrestling championship at Barys Arena, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
Other players being selected
The other players selected were Ravi Kumar (57kg), Deepak Punia (86kg), Mausam Katri (96kg) and Sumit (125kg)
i. Selection for 74kg weight category and four other non-Olympic freestyle category (61kg,70kg,79kg,92kg) will be held in the second week of August.
Bajrang Punia
♦ Bajrang, is currently in the first position in 65-kg category at the United World Wrestling (UWW) event.
♦ Born- Jhajjar, Haryana
♦ Category– freestyle

Hungarian teenager Kristof Milak broke the men’s 200 meters butterfly world record
A 19 year-old swimmer Kristof Milak of Hungary broke men’s 200 metres butterfly world record to win the gold medal at the 18th FINA (Federation Internationale de notation) World swimming championships 2019 held in Gwangju, South Korea.Kristof MilakKey points:
i. Milak won the event with 1 minute,50.73 seconds to surpass Michael Phelps (23-time Olympic gold medallist, US)record of 1 minute, 51.51 seconds set at the world championships in 2009.
ii. Milak was followed by b Japan’s Daiya Seto (2nd with 1:53.86 seconds) and South African Chad le Clos (3rd with 1:54.15seconds).
iii. At the 2018 European Aquatics Championships, he won the gold medal in the men’s 200-metre butterfly event.
About Hungary:
♦ Capital: Budapest
♦ Currency: Hungarian forint
♦ ♦ President: Janos Ader
Prime Minister: Viktor Orban

Byju’s Replaces Oppo as new sponsor of Indian team till 2022
An e-learning platform, Byju’s will be the official Team India sponsor for a period of three years from 5th September 2019 until 31st March 2022.Byju's Replaces OppoKey points:
i.  Byju’s will now be seen on the Indian team jersey from September 15 when India starts its South Africa tour.
ii. In March 2017, oppo had won the sponsorship rights for Rs 1,079 crore for a period of five years. (till March 2022). Now it took the decision to quit as it finds the value at which it acquired the rights in the year 2017 to be extremely high.
iii. BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket)will keep receiving the same amount from Byju’s also, so that there is no loss throughout the deal which runs till March 31, 2022.
About Byjus:
♦ Founded: 2011
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka
♦ Founder, CEO: Byju Raveendran

Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga retires from ODIs
Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga, aged 35, retired from One Day International (ODI) cricket after the first game of the three-match series against Bangladesh which began on July 26, 2019, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He had retired from test cricket in 2011.Lasith Malinga retires from ODIsKey Points:
i. He made his ODI debut in 2004.
ii. He is the third-highest wicket-taker in ODI cricket with 335 wickets in 219 innings behind Muttiah Muralitharan (523) and Chaminda Vaas (399), both from Sri Lanka.
iii. He was Sri Lanka’s highest wicket-taker in the ICC (International Cricket Council) Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 with 13 wickets from 7 innings.

BOOKS & AUTHORS

Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, released book titled ‘New-Age Technology and Industrial Revolution 4.0’
On July 25, 2019, The Vice President of India Shri Venkaiah Naidu released book titled ‘New-Age Technology and Industrial Revolution 4.0’ in New Delhi. It is authored by Rajya Sabha Member, Dr Narendra Jadhav.'New-Age Technology and Industrial Revolution 4.0'Key Points:
i. The launch was co-hosted by The Dialogue, a Delhi based think-tank which works on the intersection of technology, society and public-policy.
ii. The book is published by Konark Publishers.
iii. It examines various dimensions of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and analyses the intersection of technology with society and explores the policy response towards enabling a balancing act between the opportunities and challenges posed by the fourth industrial revolution.

STATE NEWS

Goa govt. to launch water taxi replacing old ferry boats in inland waterways
Chief Minister(CM) of Goa, Pramod Sawant announced the plan of launching India’s first-ever ‘Water Taxis’, between Panaji and Old Goa which will allow people to travel in inland waterways. The old ferries will soon be revamped into solar-powered boats and North Goa will be focused more on water transportation.
Goa
♦ Important airport– Dabolim international airport
♦ Chief minister – Pramod Sawant
♦ Official language- Konkani
♦ National parks- Bhagavan Mahavir (Mollem) national park.

West Bengal government set to bring legislation for ensuring Journalists’ job security
On July 23, 2019, Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee in the inaugural ceremony of the 75th year celebrations of the Kolkata Press Club, informed that the state government will bring legislation in the Assembly to ensure the job security of Journalists in the State.
Key Points:
i. It will deal with the issues of retrenchment of Journalists and closure of TV channels and Newspapers publication houses.
ii. She announced sanctioning of land for housing complex of Journalists besides 2nd campus of the Press Club in Kolkata.
About West Bengal:
Capital: Kolkata
Governor: Jagdeep Dhankhar
National Parks: Buxa National Park, Gorumara National Park, Neora Valley National Park, Singalila National Park, Sunderban National Park, Jaldapara National Park
Wildlife Sanctuaries: Ballavpur WLS, Bethuadahari WLS, Bibhuti Bhusan WLS, Buxa WLS, Chapramari WLS etc

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