Monsanto Announces New Poison For Your Consumption

Monsanto, arguably one of the ten most hated corporations in the world, is going to release a more deadly genetically modified strain for everyone to get sick and or die from. Sometimes I become speechless. The loathing and disgust I feel over altering things that are food and turning them into tertiary or quaternary things that can be swallowed is causing me to feel a little speechless right at the moment. Does their logo have a plant in a coffin?

Here’s an article about their recent bragging:

Monsanto announces new technology to make its GM crops more pest resistant

 The entrance sign is seen at the headquarters of Monsanto in St. Louis, Missouri © Juliette Michel
Monsanto says it has developed breakthrough technology to help make its crops more resistant to bugs and pests. The new techniques will help target insects that have developed resistance to previously genetically modified crops.

The research was conducted by scientists at Harvard University in conjunction with Monsanto. The aim was to try and speed up the process of generating proteins, which have properties that can kill pests.

The team was using PACE (phage-assisted continuous evolution) technology, which is able to eliminate insects that have grown resistant to prior agricultural solutions. The PACE method is 100 times faster than other methods in trying to identify protein with insect killing properties, according to the research team.

“Scientific breakthroughs like PACE technology are key to continue bringing solutions to farmers to help them get more out of every acre,” Tom Adams, vice president of biotechnology at Monsanto said in a press release.

“The remarkable progress that’s been made in applying PACE to agriculture biotechnology is a huge testament to the success that comes when parties work together and collaborate to advance science in a way that can bring long-term benefits to global agriculture.”

The importance of the technique means that the proteins are able to be developed at faster than the insects and pests are able to become resistant.

“It’s a breakthrough in a way we can handle resistance in the future,” Tom Malvar, the head of insect control discovery at Monsanto said, according to the Agriculture journal. “This technology is not limited to insect control. We envision this having broad applications,” he added.

In November, a report by Greenpeace slammed the genetically modified (GM) crop industry, for failing to tackle problems regarding superbugs caused by insects becoming resistant to previously genetically modified crops.

“GM crops can only increase yield by reducing losses to pests in years of high infestation, and this effect is not permanent as pesticide-producing crops lead to resistant ‘superbugs’. GM crop yields have often failed to isolate the effects of GM technology from other factors, or to compare like-for-like farms,” the report stated.

GM corn and soyabeans have given smaller yields in recent years in the US due to pests and weeds becoming resistant to weedkillers used to protect the plants.

In March, the US Department of Agriculture announced its intention to end regulation of Monsanto’s GM corn that is engineered to resist the company’s herbicide, meaning that farmers will now be able to plant the corn strains without permits.

However, the move was slammed by critics, with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, a nonprofit advocating pro-family farm policies, saying the unregulated process could lead to environmental damage.

“Without a coordinated and thorough evaluation of the full technology package, and a meaningful analysis of impacts, adding yet another new crop/herbicide package will continue adding to the existing harmful effects on herbicides on ecological systems, human health, and farmers’ livelihoods through herbicide drift and non-target crop losses; the widespread increase in herbicide-resistant weeds; and environmental and public health impacts,” the group said in a statement.

In November, protesters took to the streets in hundreds of cities around the world for the 2015 Million Mask March, which saw activists storm the doors of Monsanto in Washington, DC. In May, activists from over 400 cities spoke out against GMOs and Monsanto’s monopoly over the food supply.

Activists accuse the agricultural corporation of selling toxic chemicals, which are bad for people’s health, water supplies, vital crop pollinators and the environment in general. The giant is also criticized for its attitude towards food safety regulations and staunch opposition to GMO labeling. Small farmers blame Monsanto for monopolizing the seed market.

In January, Seattle announced its intention to sue Monsanto over allegations the company polluted the Lower Duwamish River and city drainage pipes, becoming the sixth city to file a lawsuit against the bio-tech giant.

“Long after the dangers of PCBs were widely known, Monsanto continued its practice of protecting its business interests at our expense,” City Attorney Pete Holmes said in a statement. “The City intends to hold Monsanto accountable for the damage its product wreaked on our environment.”

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Monsanto To Pull Out of India?

Every now and again, there’s some good news. If they actually do pull out, maybe the Indian farmers can get their health back!

Seeds of trouble: Monsanto threatens to pull out of India

  • By Nirmala George • Associated Press
  • Mar 6, 2016

NEW DELHI • U.S. seed giant Monsanto has threatened to pull its genetically modified crop technology from India if the government goes ahead with its plan to cut the company’s royalty fees.

Monsanto’s joint venture firm in India said that it would be difficult to bring new technologies to India because it was becoming difficult for the company to recoup its investments in research and development of genetically modified seeds.

Shilpa Divekar Nirula, chief of Monsanto’s India unit, said in a statement seen late Saturday that if the committee recommends imposing a cut in the fees that local seed companies pay to use Monsanto’s crop genes then the company would have to reevaluate its position in India.

Nirula said it was difficult for Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Limited, the company’s joint venture, “to justify bringing new technologies into India in an environment where such arbitrary and innovation-stifling government interventions make it impossible to recoup research and development investments.”

In December, India’s government ordered that cotton seed prices, including royalties on seeds, be controlled from the 2016-17 crop year. India’s agriculture ministry has set up a committee to determine the price of cotton seeds, including fees the company charges for licensing crop genes.

“If the committee recommends imposing a sharp, mandatory cut in the trait fees paid on Bt-cotton seeds, MMBL will have no choice but to reevaluate every aspect of our position in India,” Nirula said.

Seeds of trouble: Monsanto threatens to pull out of India
In this Feb. 18, 2014 file photo, an Indian worker processes cotton for quilts at a factory on the outskirts of Jammu, India.U.S. seed giant Monsanto has threatened to pull its genetically modified crop technology from India if the government goes ahead with its plan to cut the company’s royalty fees. Over the last two decades, millions of small farmers have adopted genetically modified cotton seeds, making India one of the world’s biggest producers of cotton. (AP Photo/Channi Anand, file) The Associated Press

The company said it was “shocked and disappointed” at the news that the government plans to reduce the “trait fees,” or the fees that seed companies pay Mahyco Monsanto to use its crop genes, by around 70 percent.

Monsanto said about 7 million cotton farmers in India use its seeds. Over the last two decades, millions of small farmers have adopted genetically modified cotton seeds, making India one of the world’s biggest producers of cotton and a major exporter of raw cotton.

However, farm activists say that the pest-resistance of the seeds has gone down and that farmers have to use more insecticide on their cotton crops.

Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds that are engineered to resist insects and herbicides, add nutritional benefits or otherwise improve crop yields and increase the global food supply. Advocates say these new strains will boost yields and stabilize supply by also improving drought resistance.

India has allowed the use of genetically modified seeds only to grow cotton. It says further study needs to be done to guarantee consumer safety before genetically modified food crops can be cultivated in the country.

The FDA To Test for Round Up Residue

As most people who pay any attention to our food supply issues know, glyphosate is in pretty much everything. It’s in urine, breast milk and umbilical cord blood in over 90% of urban dwellers tested for presence. Over 90% of the corn and soy in this country are GMO variants…What could go wrong?

Additionally, a very likely cause of the increase in gluten intolerance is that some wheat farmers are flooding the wheat fields with glyphosate prior to harvest to cause the wheat to know it’s dying and push it’s energy into the seed quickly (increasing the weight of the yield) and to make it easier to harvest because the dead, dry plants are less likely to tangle and slow the equipment down. Not all are doing this, but some are…and it’s no good.

The article below details a recent announcement that the FDA (Food Destruction Agency) is going to test four foods for the presence of glyphosate. If history is an indicator, as it usually is, the FDA results will probably be “negligible presence found”, and they will pat themselves on the back for being good controllers of the food supply. But maybe, just maybe, a few honest people will be involved and real results might be put out-officially, or unofficially.

Link to the article is in the headline below:

 

FDA to test food for Monsanto weedkiller

© Vincent Kessler

Science is Indeed For Sale- Story of a Monsanto Purchase

A few months ago, in preparation for a talk on GMO’s, I came across some information clarifying how the research and educational systems are literally up for sale. People (or corporations) can buy seats on research boards for an average of $20k. Likewise, they can sponsor professorships for a larger sum, usually in the few hundreds of thousands. So, University level science has become incredibly corrupt. The stories of scientists who have been blackballed by the controllers of research are striking, and actually quite sad. The article below covers an aspect of this issue. For those who still think that GMO’s are either needed or safe, they need to be intellectually honest and research the funding and control behind the studies that report that GMO’s -of any variety- are safe.

The source for the article is linked in the headline:

The Inside Story of How a University Professor Quietly Collaborated With Monsanto

Carey Gillam, AlterNet | Fe

Former University of Illinois food science professor Bruce Chassy is known for his academic gravitas. Now retired nearly four years, Chassy still writes and speaks often about food safety issues, identifying himself with the full weight of the decades of experience earned at the public university and as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health. Chassy tells audiences that before he retired in 2012, he worked “full time” doing research and teaching.

Many consumer and environmental groups want to see more restrictions and regulation on GMO crops. Photo credit: Stephen Melkisethian / Shutterstock
Many consumer and environmental groups want to see more restrictions and regulation on GMO crops. Photo credit: Stephen Melkisethian / Shutterstock

What Chassy doesn’t talk much about is the other work he did while at the University of Illinois—promoting the interests of Monsanto Co., which has been trying to overcome mounting public concerns about the genetically engineered (GMO) crops and chemicals the company sells. He also doesn’t talk much about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Monsanto donated to the university as Chassy was helping promote GMOs or Monsanto’s secretive role in helping Chassy set up a nonprofit group and website to criticize individuals and organizations who raise questions about GMOs.

But emails released through Freedom of Information Act requests show that Chassy was an active member of a group of U.S. academics who have been quietly collaborating with Monsanto on strategies aimed at not just promoting biotech crop products, but also rolling back regulation of these products and fending off industry critics. The emails show money flowing into the university from Monsanto as Chassy collaborated on multiple projects with Monsanto to counter public concerns about genetically modified crops (GMOs)—all while representing himself as an independent academic for a public institution.

A New York Times article by Eric Lipton published last September laid bare the campaign crafted by Monsanto and other industry players to use the credibility of prominent academics to push the industry’s political agenda. That New York Times article focused primarily on University of Florida academic Kevin Folta, chairman of the university’s Horticultural Sciences Department and Folta’s work on behalf of Monsanto. But an examination of recently released email exchanges between Monsanto and Chassy show new depths to the industry efforts.

The collaborations come at a critical juncture in the U.S. regarding GMO public policy. Mandatory GMO labeling is set to take effect in Vermont on July 1; Congress is wrestling over a federal labeling law for GMOs; and several other states are seeking their own answers to rising consumer demand for transparency about this topic.

Many consumer and environmental groups want to see more restrictions and regulation on GMO crops and the glyphosate herbicide many know as Roundup, which is used on GMOs. But the companies that market the crops and chemicals argue their products are safe and there should be less regulation, not more. Monsanto’s roughly $15 billion in annual revenue comes almost exclusively from GMO crop technology and related chemicals.

Amid the furor, the revelations about corporate collaboration with public university scientists to promote GMOs have sparked a new debate about a lack of transparency in the relationships between academics and industry.

Chassy has said he did nothing unethical or improper in his work supporting Monsanto and the biotech crop industry. “As a public-sector research scientist, it was expected … that I collaborate with and solicit the engagement of those working in my field of expertise,” Chassy said.

Still, what you find when reading through the email chains is an arrangement that allowed industry players to cloak pro-GMO messaging within a veil of independent expertise and little, if any, public disclosure of the behind-the-scenes connections.

Critical Collaborations 

  • In a November 2010 email, Monsanto chief of global scientific affairs Eric Sachs tells Chassy that Monsanto has just sent a “gift of $10,000” to the university “so the funds should be there.” He then tells Chassy he is working on a plan for Monsanto and others in the agribusiness industry to support an “academics review” website that Chassy can use to counter concerns and allegations raised by critics of GMOs. “From my perspective the problem is one of expert engagement and that could be solved by paying experts to provide responses,” Sachs wrote. “The key will be keeping Monsanto in the background so as not to harm the credibility of the information.”

  • In a separate 2010 exchange, Jay Byrne, president of the v-Fluence public relations firm and former head of corporate communications for Monsanto, tells Chassy he is trying to move the Academics Review project forward. He suggests “we work on the money (for all of us).” Byrne says that he has a list of GMO critics for Academics Review to target. He tells Chassy that the topic areas “mean money for a range of well-heeled corporations.”

  • In 2011, several emails show Chassy and Monsanto chief of global scientific affairs Eric Sachs, along with others, discussing ways to lobby the Environmental Protection Agency against expanded regulation of biotech crops.

  • In one email exchange from September 2011, Chassy suggests how the biotech crop industry might “spin” a government study that found significant levels of the chemical glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, in air and water samples.

  • In emails from 2012, Chassy and Monsanto’s Sachs and Monsanto’s John Swarthout, who leads the company’s “scientific outreach and issues management,” discuss an upcoming presentation Chassy is preparing to make in China. They discuss Monsanto’s review of and changes to, the presentation. Monsanto’s Sachs instructs Swarthout to send slide decks to Chassy as material for his presentation.

  • In April 2012, Monsanto toxicologist Bruce Hammond asks in an email if short videos can be created about the “safety of GM crops.” Chassy says that he is applying for funding from the State Department and “also seeking other sources of support” and can use university equipment to make the videos. Chassy asks Monsanto’s Hammond for a list of videos that “you think would be helpful.” Chassy tells Hammond that Byrne’s group v-fluence has helped create and edit the video scenarios.

  • In separate emails, Monsanto’s Sachs tells Chassy that Monsanto is shooting its own videos,” but says, “Obviously, independent content from the University of Illinois and supported by U.S. government agencies is the preferred approach.” Sachs tells Chassy that Monsanto is happy to help “provide guidance or approaches for additional videos.”

 

Emails About Money 

The emails also discuss money.

  • In an October 2010 email, Chassy tells colleagues at the university that Monsanto has told him it is going to make a “substantial contribution” to his biotech account at the university.

  • In an October 2011 exchange, Chassy asked Sachs about a contribution for the university foundation biotech fund. The Monsanto executive responded that he would “make a gift to the foundation right away” if it had not already been made. Chassy instructs Monsanto to mail the check to the head of the university’s department of food science and to enclose a letter saying the check is “an unrestricted grant … in support of the biotechnology outreach and education activities of Professor Bruce M. Chassy.”

  • And in April and May of 2012 Chassy asks Monsanto directly about an expected “deposit.” In one, on May 31, 2012, as he was preparing to begin his retirement on June 30, Chassy wrote Monsanto’s Sachs again asking “is there any way to find out if a check was issued to University of Illinois for me? I don’t see it in my account yet …”

  • Also in May 2012, Monsanto made a $250,000 grant to the university to help set up an agricultural communications endowed chair. That donation was just a drop in the bucket of the donations from Monsanto—at least $1.9 million in the last five years, according to the university—for agriculture-related projects.

Continued Close Ties 

The close ties between Monsanto and Chassy continued past Chassy’s retirement in June 2012 from the university. Through 2013 and 2014 Chassy frequently appeared as an “independent expert” on the GMO Answers website, a pro-GMO site funded by Monsanto and other agribusiness giants. In that role, he answered questions and concerns about GMOs.

Chassy also has continued to operate Academics Review, publishing critical articles about individuals and organizations, including the World Health Organization’s cancer experts, that report information unfavorable for the GMO crop industry. (I was the subject of at least two such attacks in 2014. Chassy objected to my presentation of both sides of the GMO safety debate in one Reuters article and objected to a second Reuters article that detailed the findings of a USDA report that found both benefits but also concerns associated with GMOs.)

When asked about its interactions with Chassy, Monsanto has said that there is nothing improper with its “engagements” with “public sector experts” and that such collaborations help educate the public on important topics. The university also has said it sees nothing wrong with the relations. A university spokeswoman said Chassy has “strong scientific credibility.” She also said that Monsanto has given the university at least $1.9 million in the last five years.

But others familiar with the issues say the lack of transparency is a problem.

“These revelations regarding the connections are very important,” George Kimbrell, senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety, said. “The basic disclosure that some academics and other ‘neutral’ commentators in the public sphere are actually paid operatives/working directly with the chemical industry rightly alarms the public, as they are being misled.”

Revelations similar to these involving University of Florida Professor Kevin Folta’s connections to Monsanto did spark a public backlash after emails showed Folta received an unrestricted $25,000 grant and told Monsanto he would “write whatever you like.” Folta said in a Jan. 18 blog that he no longer works with Monsanto because of the heated backlash.

Both Chassy and Folta have repeatedly written or been quoted in news articles that failed to disclose their connections to Monsanto and the GMO industry. In a recent example, Chassy has co-authored a series of articles that argue GMO labeling is a “disaster in waiting,” again with no disclosure of his collaboration with GMO developer Monsanto. His co-author is Jon Entine, founder of the PR firm ESG MediaMetrics, whose clients have included Monsanto, a connection Entine does not include in the article.

The revelations in the emails about Chassy, Folta and other assorted academics leave many questions about who to trust and how to trust information critical to understanding our evolving food system. With food labeling issues at the forefront of debate, it’s time for more transparency.

GM Mosquitos to Fight Zika….What could go wrong?

Maybe I’m one of only a few people that think there is something inherently dangerous about modifying mosquitos and releasing them into the general population. I’m sure only conspiracy theorists would go…”Umm, wait a minute. Let’s really think this through.” Well, it looks like more fast tracking on this front. Article is linked in the title:

Scientist Plan to USE GM Mosquitos to Combat Zika Virus

Scientists plan to use genetically engineered mosquitoes to fight the spread of Zika virus

If you’ve been paying attention to the news for the past week, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the recent Zika virus outbreak by now. The virus, which is currently spreading across the Americas, has been linked to a rare birth defect known as microencephaly, a condition in which infants are born with abnormally small heads and brains. Since the outbreak, there’s been a sizable uptick in infants born with this condition. The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 4 million people could be infected with the virus — and to make matters worse, there’s currently no vaccine to help stop it from spreading.

But all is not lost. Biologists are taking a bold new approach to stop the virus from spreading any further. Rather than developing a new vaccine or keeping mosquito populations at bay with insecticides, biotech firm Oxitec plans to fight the spread of Zika by deploying swarms of genetically engineered mosquitoes that will prevent virus-carrying bugs from multiplying.

Related: Biologists have successfully bred genetically engineered mosquitoes that can’t carry malaria

The science behind it all is immensely complicated, but the overall idea is actually pretty easy to grasp. Basically, Oxitec has created a genetically modified breed of the Aedes aegypti mosquito — the species that is primarily responsible for spreading the Zika virus. This GM version (called OX513A), has been engineered to carry a gene that causes offspring to die before they reach reproductive age. When Oxitec releases these OX513A mosquitoes into the wild, they mate with females and produce offspring that never fully mature — eventually leading to a sizable reduction in the Aedes aegypti populaiton, and (hopefully) a noticeable decrease in the spread of the Zika virus.

It’s basically the biological equivalent fighting fire with fire. To stop the spread of a disease that causes birth defects, we’re essentially using genetic engineering to give mosquitoes birth defects. And it’s highly effective too — Oxitec has reportedly seen a 90 percent reduction in mosquito populations in a number of different trial locations across the globe.

Now here’s the awesome part. As it turns out, the Aedes aegypti mosquito also happens to be the same species that carries a number of other tropical diseases. Oxitec actually developed the OX513A mosquito in an effort to stop the spread of dengue fever, and has already trialed it (with a great deal of success) in various locations in Latin America and Asia. This means that the company’s solution is more or less ready to roll — it doesn’t need to be adjusted in any major way to help fight the spread of Zika.

Moving forward, Oxitec has plans to expand its existing operations in Brazil (which currently cover about 5,000 people) and eventually build a new mosquito factory that will allow the company to scale up and provide mosquito control for a population of over 300,000. The future of vector control is looking bright!

GMO Salmon-No Label Needed!

The other day, when my internet wouldn’t work dependably, the FDA approval of AquaBounty GMO salmon came through. As if that isn’t bad enough, now it doesn’t need to be labeled. Ick. So, as matters to a lot of people, what they have done is implant in the genes of  a Levitically clean fish, the genes of an  an eel fish (which isn’t clean) and now we get insanely fast growing genetically modified fish with no labeling. And of course, it will never get out and breed in the wild! Sheesh. Here’s an article on the lack of labeling:

Genetically Engineered Salmon Will Not Be Labeled

Consumers wanting to avoid genetically engineered salmon, if it eventually reaches grocery stores, might have a hard time being sure. That is because the Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday that the salmon would not have to be labeled as genetically engineered.

That is consistent with the F.D.A. stance on the widely eaten foods made from genetically modified corn, soybeans and other crops. The F.D.A. on Thursday rejected two petitions from groups asking for required labeling of genetically engineered foods.

Agency officials explained on Thursday that the law required labeling of “material” aspects of food, and that use of genetic engineering per se is not material. A significant change in the nutritional content of a food would be an example of a material change, and that altered nutritional profile would have to be on the label, but not the fact that it was produced by genetic engineering. (In the case of the salmon, the agency said there were no material differences between the genetically engineered salmon and a conventional counterpart.)

Still, the F.D.A. on Thursday issued draft guidance for voluntarily labeling salmon and final guidance for voluntarily labeling foods made from bioengineered crops.

Few or no companies want to voluntarily label their products as being genetically engineered since that might hurt sales, and many have lobbied heavily against mandatory labeling. But as consumer pressure for transparency about ingredients grows, an increasing number of companies are labeling their nonengineered products.

The labeling issue is heading for a showdown.

A Vermont law requiring labeling of genetically engineered foods will take effect in July unless food industry groups succeed in getting it blocked by a court. The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would pre-empt states from requiring such labeling.

US Study Shows Round Up Concerns

It seems like every week there is another heavily weighted study showing how negative Round Up is for life. Here’s yet another article on a US study that, of course, Monsatan is baling about:

* Study says chemical residues linked to disease

* Roundup developer Monsanto says glyphosate is safe

* Researchers say more study is needed

By Carey Gillam

April 25 (Reuters) – Heavy use of the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup, could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers, according to a new study.

The peer-reviewed report, published last week in the scientific journal Entropy, said evidence indicates that residues of “glyphosate,” the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, which is sprayed over millions of acres of crops, has been found in food.

Those residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to the report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc. Samsel is a former private environmental government contractor as well as a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body,” the study says.

We “have hit upon something very important that needs to be taken seriously and further investigated,” Seneff said.

Environmentalists, consumer groups and plant scientists from several countries have warned that heavy use of glyphosate is causing problems for plants, people and animals.

The EPA is conducting a standard registration review of glyphosate and has set a deadline of 2015 for determining if glyphosate use should be limited. The study is among many comments submitted to the agency.

Monsanto is the developer of both Roundup herbicide and a suite of crops that are genetically altered to withstand being sprayed with the Roundup weed killer.

These biotech crops, including corn, soybeans, canola and sugarbeets, are planted on millions of acres in the United States annually. Farmers like them because they can spray Roundup weed killer directly on the crops to kill weeds in the fields without harming the crops.

Roundup is also popularly used on lawns, gardens and golf courses.

Monsanto and other leading industry experts have said for years that glyphosate is proven safe, and has a less damaging impact on the environment than other commonly used chemicals.

Jerry Steiner, Monsanto’s executive vice president of sustainability, reiterated that in a recent interview when questioned about the study.

“We are very confident in the long track record that glyphosate has. It has been very, very extensively studied,” he said.

Of the more than two dozen top herbicides on the market, glyphosate is the most popular. In 2007, as much as 185 million pounds of glyphosate was used by U.S. farmers, double the amount used six years ago, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data.

Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/25/roundup-health-study-idUSL2N0DC22F20130425#We3PpH2hcL7tFrpy.99

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