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Tuesday, 14 March 2006
United Against The Threats of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code Book & Movie
Topic: WP Faith & Values

Adherents of the Christian Faith, Christians as well as Catholics, Are Reacting to The Da Vinci Code Book & Upcoming Movie

Showing the True Jesus, His Authenticity and Life

While Dan Brown has to answer in a British court whether he illegally lifted portions of a previously published book to include in his bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, Christians are getting ready for a battle of clarification. They are not taking it lying down. They want the whole truth about Jesus's life and leadership to come out according to the Scriptures.

The U.S. bishops' Catholic Communication Campaign will offer key resources to provide accurate information on the life of Jesus prior to the release of the movie "The Da Vinci Code."

Those resources will include a Web site and documentary scheduled to air on NBC-TV stations. Also being produced is a 16-page booklet on "The Authentic Jesus."

On Thursday the Catholic Communication Campaign will launch a Web site, www.jesusdecoded.com, to provide accurate information on Jesus, Catholic teaching, and various topics explored in the Dan Brown novel.

The Web site will explain Catholic beliefs and include articles from theologians, media commentators, art experts and others that provide background and also rebut the speculation and inaccuracies about Christ and the origins of Christianity. Contributing to the Web site is the Prelature of Opus Dei.

The Multi-pronged Reaction to The Da Vinci Code Includes a Booklet Too

Also available in March will be the booklet "The Authentic Jesus," which will address questions raised by "The Da Vinci Code" and other popular portrayals of Jesus.

The booklet, produced by the USCCB Committee on Communications, presents authentic Catholic teaching about Jesus and his divinity, the New Testament, Gnosticism, women and the Church, and other important topics in a question-and-answer format.

"The Authentic Jesus" will be available for individual and bulk sale from USCCB Publishing. Also for sale from USCCB Publishing will be a bulletin insert based on the same material.

"Jesus Decoded," a Catholic Communication Campaign documentary that brings authentic Catholic teaching about Jesus Christ into focus, will be available to NBC-TV stations for broadcast starting the third weekend of May.

Scholars interviewed

This first-time airing of the hourlong documentary will highlight clear and accurate information about the person of Jesus, his disciples, and the formation of the books in the canon, or list of books, of the New Testament.

Shot on location in Israel, Turkey, and Italy, "Jesus Decoded" offers a solid Catholic response to "Da Vinci Code believers," concentrating especially on the first three centuries of the development of the Church.

The program includes interviews with scholars versed in art, history and Scripture that help separate Catholic truth from popular fiction.

Compiled from newswire and other catholic and christian publications such as Catholic today, beliefnet and zenit etc.

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Catholicfaithblog and The Da Vinci Code

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Posted by Fashionista Shopping Analyst at 10:16 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006 10:47 AM EST
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Decoding The Da Vinci Code Book & Movie: Dan Brown's Book Made into Movie
Topic: TheDaVinciCode Book Movie

Here is what I have been reading lately. I find this article very interesting. It clarifies things up , forms and informs Catholics, Christians about the untruths of Dan Brown's Bestseller, The Da Vinci Code.

Amy Welborn, former writer for Our Sunday Visitor, now freelance author, lecturer and remarkable mother of five. Many people read her blog, "The Open Book." She talks about her latest works debunking "The Da Vinci Code."

Welborn had been a teacher for nine years and had a master's in Church history. Indeed her books, her studious rebuttals of "The Da Vinci Code" and her blog all speak of a mission to form and inform Catholics.

Welborn's first forays into literature were a children's book on saints and a series of apologetics books for young people. She says that through her writing, she "was able to continue teaching in a broader way." Her knack, she says, "is taking complicated concepts and making them more understandable especially for young people."

Welborn's recent book, "Decoding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code," was written to assist numerous readers of the "Da Vinci Code" who find themselves confused between fact and fiction in the novel.

Welborn's first encounter with the Dan Brown book was a quick (negative) review for Our Sunday Visitor, but she realized that "however silly the story and poorly written the book was, it was very manipulative."

Amy Welborn was not ready to the reaction to her book. She realized that the Da Vinci Code had a lot of followers and readers. Reactions to her review revealed that the novel had unearthed a deep crisis in catechesis. Recalling a letter from a mother saying that her daughter had "lost her faith" as a result of reading the book, Welborn asked, "What faith, if it can be undone by something off a fiction shelf?"

Her newest book, "Decoding Mary Magdalene: Fact, Fiction and Lies" was inspired by her husband who noted that there were no Catholic books setting the record straight on Mary Magdalene.

Welborn notes that Mary Magdalene, besides her role as the faithful disciple who is the first witness to the Resurrection, is also a model of penitence. In this respect, she claims that Dan Brown's errors are the most grievous because "'The Da Vinci Code' gives the impression that her repentance is bad."

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Posted by Fashionista Shopping Analyst at 10:11 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006 10:13 AM EST
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Sunday, 12 March 2006
Show Ideas for the Oprah Winfrey Show: On Location at a Popular Spring Break Hotel & Resort
Topic: SpringBreak Wild Parties

The loyal and faithful fans of Oprah Winfrey would be delighted to watch a show on what's going on at some of the most popular spring break destinations. Every year, hundreds of college students, males and females, go to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Jamaica, South Padres and Baja California to spend their Spring Break. Young women who did not use to engage in excess drinking and bizarre, odd behaviors and acts such as table dancing will get drunk and willingly participate. Far from the sight of parents and those who care about them, they will be plunging in shark-infested waters with lots of men ready to abuse and take advantage of them. Risky behaviors such as alcohol, getting drunk and vomiting will be common place. The young women who are smart enough always go on spring break with close friends who can remain sober. At least, they will be able to drag them to the hotel room or the car, away from the feeding frenzy caused by all the beach and bikini competition.

There is no doubt that any cable networks that are willing to accompany these young people to the beach would rake in huge viewership. For a fair and balanced view, Oprah would do a good job of interviewing not only the spring breakers but also the various companies that are advertising and sponsoring events right on the beach.

Other Important Links

PromQuincenera Dresses & Gowns Portal

AllpromDresses & Gowns Network

Podshopper's Fashion Passion: Blogger's Fashion Shopping adventures

Elegant Prom Dresses, Evening Gowns & California Quincenera Shops

Allpromdresses Rock@ Promdressesrock.com

Podshoppingblog Posh Prom & Quincenera Shopping Network

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Posted by Fashionista Shopping Analyst at 2:32 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 12 March 2006 2:43 PM EST
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Wednesday, 8 March 2006
AMA Warns Women on Spring Break in Press Release
Topic: SpringBreak TravelTips

CHICAGO — Alcohol and sex play a prominent and potentially dangerous role in spring break trips of college co-eds according to an American Medical Association (AMA) poll released today. Eighty-three percent of the respondents agreed spring break trips involve more or heavier drinking than occurs on college campuses and 74 percent said spring break trips result in increased sexual activity.

The poll of college women and graduates, aged 17-35, was funded as part of the AMA's partnership with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on A Matter of Degree, an initiative to reduce high-risk drinking on college and university campuses.

"Scientific evidence shows women process alcohol differently putting them at greater risks for heart problems, reproductive disorders and liver disease," said J. Edward Hill MD, president of the AMA. "These survey results are extremely disturbing because it brings up an entirely new set of issues including increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, blackouts and violence."

Key findings of the poll include:

* A majority (74 percent) of respondents said women use drinking as an excuse for outrageous behavior.*

* More than half of women (57 percent) agree being promiscuous is a way to fit in.

* An overwhelming majority (83 percent) of women had friends who drank the majority of the nights while on spring break.

* More than half (59 percent) know friends who were sexually active with more than one partner.

* Nearly three out of five women know friends who had unprotected sex during spring break.

* One in five respondents regretted the sexual activity they engaged in during spring break, and 12 percent felt forced or pressured into sex.

* An overwhelming majority (84 percent) of respondents thought images of college girls partying during spring break may contribute to an increase in females' reckless behavior.*

* An even higher percentage (86 percent) agreed these images may contribute to dangerous behaviors by males toward women.

* Almost all (92 percent) said it was easy to get alcohol while on spring break.

* Two out of five women agreed access to free or cheap alcohol or a drinking age under age 21 were important factors in their decision to go on a spring break trip.

Each year in Cancun, Mexico, a major spring break destination for American college students, the city and hospitals report an increase in deaths, rapes, injuries, assaults and arrests related to drinking. In Daytona, Fla., another popular spring break destination, last year county officials reported twice as many rape cases during the month of spring break.

"Spring break is broken," said Dr. Hill. "What was a traditional time to relax and take a break from college studies has turned into a dangerous binge-fest."

One spring break promoter's Web site for a trip to Cancun says, "your yearly intake of alcoholic consumption could happen in one small week." It then advises college students to tell parents "its an educational trip" and "don't worry about the water because you will be drinking beer."

"Months before spring break, students are bombarded by promotions on campus that are loaded with ads for cheap or free alcohol," said Dr. Hill. "The American Medical Association is encouraged to hear college women and graduates agree something must be done to fix this problem."

A majority (59 percent) of survey respondents support restricting the content of spring break flyers and ads on campus, and 61 percent support prohibiting drinking or alcohol specials as part of any tour package. Approximately 71 percent support increased regulation of the tour agencies, and 81 percent support the idea of requiring colleges to offer alternative spring breaks that do not include alcohol.

"Women are fed up with the marketing tactics and images from the alcohol industry and spring break tour operators," said Dr. Hill. "Public health advocates should also be fed up since aggressive spring break marketing endangers the health and safety of college students."

Alternative spring break trips, that often emphasize community service, have been increasingly successful across the country. The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are just a few schools that offer service trips to desirable destinations without alcohol as the focal point.

The AMA said the poll results highlight the need for policy change, including offering alternative spring breaks and restrictions on alcohol advertising on campus. Physicians are encouraged to counsel parents about talking with their children about the health risks of alcohol use and spring break.

Editor's Note: The American Medical Association commissioned the survey. Fako & Associates, Inc., of Lemont, Illinois, a national public opinion research firm, conducted the survey online. A nationwide random sample of 644 women age 17 - 35 who currently attend college, graduated from college or attended, but did not graduate from college within the United States were surveyed. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.00 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

* These questions were left to the interpretation of the respondent. Based on the wording of other questions in the poll, the AMA assumes reckless behavior is associated with sex and binge drinking. The AMA assumes outrageous behavior is associated with public nudity, dancing on tables/bars and participating in drinking contests. For more information, please go to:

http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/

Posted by Fashionista Shopping Analyst at 10:32 AM EST
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Thursday, 2 March 2006
The Da Vinci Code Book and Movie: Dan Brown's Bestseller Book & Upcoming Movie
Topic: WordPress Bestsellers

The Da Vinci Code Book Is a Bestseller. Now The Da Vinci Movie is Coming Out

Here is an interview between apologist Mark Shea and Zenit, a religious publication organization. Apologist Mark Shea and theology professor Ted Sri try to dissect "The Da Vinci Code" in their new book titled, "The Da Vinci Deception." They state that the book has some inaccuracies that purport to threaten the faith of many Christians. The authors' message is not to take the Da Vinci Code book and movie seriously.

"Q: What compelled the writing of this book?

Shea: The short answer is that tens of millions of people have read "The Da Vinci Code" and many have had their faith in Christ and the Catholic Church shaken. This blasphemous book has become a major cultural phenomenon, largely by attacking the very person and mission of Jesus Christ. It must be addressed.

The longer answer is that "The Da Vinci Code" has become the source for what I call "pseudo-knowledge" about the Christian faith.

Pseudo-knowledge is that stuff "everybody knows," such as the "fact" that Humphrey Bogart said "Play it again, Sam" -- except he didn't. Pseudo-knowledge doesn't matter much when the issue is the script of "Casablanca."

It matters greatly when it adversely affects the most sacred beliefs of a billion people, and when it levels the charge that the Catholic Church is essentially a vast "Murder Incorporated" network founded on maintaining the lie of Jesus' divinity and resurrection.

When that happens, very nasty genies get let out of bottles, as when the lies recorded by 19th-century czarist secret police forgers in the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" became the basis for what "everybody knew" about the Jews in the terrible anti-Semitic persecutions of the 20th century.

"The Da Vinci Code" has sold close to 30 million copies. In May, it will appear as a major film and will acquire even more unquestioned authority among millions of historically and theologically illiterate viewers -- unless Christians state the facts and help viewers recognize just how badly they've been had.

The Da Vinci Outreach initiative, led by Catholic Exchange and Ascension Press, will equip Catholics and all people of good will with resources to help them respond to this movie.

Those who say, "It's just a story," simply do not understand that this deception is part of the book's power. People often receive through fiction what they would be on guard against in reasoned debate.

And this is particularly true as Dan Brown, the author of "The Da Vinci Code," has actually stated he would not change any of his basic assertions if he were writing nonfiction. Brown means for us to understand that his claims about the origins are Christianity are true.

Q: What are the main inaccuracies found in the "The Da Vinci Code"?

Shea: Let me count the ways. Blunders include factual errors and outright lies, large and small, about practically every subject Brown addresses in art, history and theology. He purports that bogus documents that even his questionable sources repudiate are factual.

He claims Leonardo Da Vinci doesn't give Jesus a chalice in his painting "The Last Supper" in order to hint that Mary Magdalene is the true chalice who held the "blood of Jesus" -- i.e., his child -- despite the fact there are 13 cups in the painting.

He chatters about the meaning of an Aramaic word in the Gnostic gospel of Philip, oblivious to the fact it's written in Coptic.

He calls Mary Magdalene the victim of a Catholic smear campaign without pausing to wonder why she's a Catholic saint.

He blames "the Vatican" for various plots and conspiracies that are alleged to have taken place centuries before there was any Vatican to plot them.

And, of course, in the biggest lie of them all, he declares that nobody before the year A.D. 325 thought of Jesus as anything other than a "mortal prophet" until Constantine muscled the Council of Nicaea into declaring him God "by a relatively close vote."

Of course, he does not stop to ask why, if Jesus was just a "mortal prophet," he bothered founding a Church at all -- nor what the Church was about for the first 300 years if nobody was worshipping Jesus as God.

Q: How do these inaccuracies challenge the Church, her teachings and the person of Jesus Christ?

Shea: Brown is attempting to establish a neo-pagan feminist creation myth. The basic myth is: Jesus was actually a feminist, agog for neo-paganism. The Church supposedly covered up all this with lies about his divinity. Brown's point here is: Let's get back to goddess worship as Jesus intended.

This laughably baseless claim is, of course, utterly contrary to the facts about Jesus. But many in our overly credulous and historically illiterate culture believe it. So Catholics must undertake to catechize not just themselves but their families, friends and neighbors, or they can expect this dangerous myth to continue spreading.

Q: Why is there a concern about Catholics -- and everyone else, for that matter -- viewing "The Da Vinci Code" movie without a discerning eye and solid background information?

Shea: Because it's written with the express intention of destroying faith in Jesus Christ and replacing it with neo-pagan goddess worship.

The problem is the average reader does not know "The Da Vinci Code" actually makes you more stupid about art, history, theology and comparative religion.

"The Da Vinci Deception" and Da Vinci Outreach are there to educate readers on the quite deliberate falsehoods -- as well as ignorant blunders -- that fill the story. We are also including a resource aimed at educating high school students and helping them to tune their "bunk detectors" to Brown's wavelength.

Q: The recent backlash by Muslims against cartoons on Mohammed seems to signal rising tensions between religion and society. What do you think of the timing of this movie?

Shea: Undoubtedly, the promoters of the movie will attempt to characterize Catholic complaints about "The Da Vinci Code's" assassination of the facts as identical to radical Islamist threats to free speech.

The problem with this claim, of course, is that the Church does not condone burning down buildings or threatening people with death, even when they lie about Christ. We simply and politely request that the creators of "The Da Vinci Code" to not palm off scurrilous lies as fact.

Western manufacturers of culture are always braver about smearing the Church than in confronting radical Islam because, as they know perfectly well, the Vatican does not issue "fatwas" or death threats.

Q: How do you hope this book informs those who plan on going to the film "The Da Vinci Code"?

Shea: "The Da Vinci Deception" breaks down in simple terms the basic pattern of lies Brown deploys in "The Da Vinci Code" so that the reader can clearly see the clockwork going on behind this novel.

The book is broken into 100 questions -- as was our previous book, "A Guide to the Passion" -- that walk the reader through the skillful weave of Brown's very artful falsehoods and show you why it's such a scam. Once you understand Brown's game, you start to realize that it is Brown -- not the Catholic faith -- that is taking people for a ride.

We are confident enough in our book that we would, in fact, urge people to go to the film after having read it -- the better to help deluded family members, friends and neighbors see through the scam.

Q: Why are people taking Dan Brown's novels so seriously? In Rome there are even guided tours retracing the places covered in his book "Angels and Demons."

Shea: "The Da Vinci Code" is yet another manifestation of what I call "the latest Real Jesus"; every generation tends to discover the latest Real Jesus.

A hundred years ago, Albert Schweitzer discovered that the Real Jesus was a Social Gospel Protestant. In the booming 1920s, people found that Jesus was actually a poster boy for salesmanship. In the 1930s, the Nazis discovered a Real Jesus who was Aryan, not Jewish, while the Communists discovered a Jesus who was actually the first Marxist.

In the 1960s, the Real Jesus was found to be a flower child in "Godspell" and a devotee of hallucinogenic mushrooms -- which explains all the visions and miracles nicely. In the 1970s, the Real Jesus was found to be a "superstar" as per the diktats of rock culture.

In the 1980s, he appeared on the scene to promise health and wealth and to heal your inner child -- that's when he wasn't suffering existential crises, grappling with his libido and riddled by self-doubt, rather like a self-absorbed baby boomer, in "The Last Temptation of Christ."

In the 1990s, he was suddenly discovered to be an enthusiastic homosexual in the blasphemous play "Corpus Christi."

Today, we live in a culture obsessed with the sex lives of the rich and famous, credulous about vast conspiracy theories, brimming with half-baked notions about paganism and feminism, and hostile to traditional notions of both reason and authority.

By some unfathomable coincidence, Dan Brown has discovered a Real Jesus who perfectly reflects this broad cultural mood. And when people believe things based on such a mood, particularly evil things, this is dangerous to their faith.

"The Da Vinci Deception" is designed precisely to help people stop taking "The Da Vinci Code" so seriously. Happily, Dan Brown and company have made things easy for us in that department.

His book is so laughably bad, its claims so easily and demonstrably false, the whole thing so silly, that debunking takes on a rather gleeful quality -- which is, I think, only fitting. The best cure for "The Da Vinci Code" is, in the end, hearty gales of well-informed laughter."


Posted by Fashionista Shopping Analyst at 9:58 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006 9:59 AM EST
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Monday, 20 February 2006
Prom Lasts A Few Weeks, Quincenera Is Year-round: The Best Outfits of the Season
Topic: Spring Fashion Creations

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Posted by Fashionista Shopping Analyst at 3:46 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 20 February 2006 3:49 PM EST
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Seoul, South Korea: A Country To Visit and Shop
Topic: Travel & Shopping

The People - Very friendly and down to earth. They are welcoming to Westerners and are quite progressive themselves with their personal use of the latest technology and a high sense of fashion.

The Language - It is said that Korean is relatively easy to learn, plus the natives are helpful and eager to learn English as well.

The City - A modern city with sky-scrapers over 60 stories high, but easily navigated AND amazingly safe for a metropolitan city of this size. And, no need to worry about driving or parking � the public transportation system is superb and extremely clean.

The Shopping - Known as the Shopping MECCA of the Pacific, with an abundance of marketplaces, Seoul offers the exotic shopping and designer names found in Tokyo with much lower prices.

The Country - Experience all four seasons. Take day or weekend excursions to explore the other beautiful sites of South Korea such as the many temples or hiking the Halla mountain, or island hopping to areas such as Cheju Island which has tropical weather, palm trees, sandy beaches and sky-blue clear waters.

The Food and Culture - The food, such as the famous Korean BBQ, is quite delicious, but you will also find many international food choices (and don�t worry they also have plenty of McDonalds). If you have an artistic side you can learn to create Korean pottery and ceramics.


Posted by Fashionista Shopping Analyst at 12:03 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 20 February 2006 12:06 PM EST
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Sunday, 19 February 2006
What are Stem Cells?
Topic: Medicine & Technology

There have been a lot of talks about stem cells lately. What are they? They are master cells that grow into any type of bodily tissue. Industry analysts say that cells taken from human embryos are uniquely versatile. They could lead to new treatments of Alzheimer’s, type 1 diabetes, spinal cord injuries and other diseases. So a lot of scientists have been trying to showcase the benefits and treatments that could derive from stem cells. Through therapeutic cloning, stem cells could be manipulated to form different types of tissues. They could be transplanted into suffering patients whose immune system will not reject them.

Now stem cells can also be extracted from uncloned human embryos. They are mostly the results or by-products of fertility treatment. When an infertile woman undergoes various fertility procedures, sometimes, the reproductive specialists will try to collect various eggs from the woman. The idea is to try to have more fertilization. No wonder that dealing with human embryos leads to the rise of opponents and advocates of the practice. Advocates say that stem cells could lead to disease treatments. Opponents do not buy this view. They state that human embryos are destroyed. What many researchers and TV programs such as 60 Minutes have shown is that these embryos may end up being discarded as biohazards since there is no regulation to deal with them effectively. What is clear is that these scientists can not expect to receive funding from the federal government for research on stem cells developed after August 2001.

Read the rest of this article at Fertility Gold: Stem Cell Research Funding Debate


Posted by Fashionista Shopping Analyst at 3:22 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 19 February 2006 3:43 PM EST
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Mohammed Cartoon Causes Nigerian Muslims to Fight Christians
Topic: WP Faith & Values

The cartoon published by the Danish newspaper is causing protests in Nigeria where muslim groups are beating and mistreating Christians. According to various reports, police intervene to stop the protests which many groups with their own agenda and grievance are trying to make the unfortunate events of recent weeks a holy or religious war.


Posted by Fashionista Shopping Analyst at 3:17 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 19 February 2006 3:19 PM EST
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What is Word Press by OprahBookClubFans?
Topic: WP Literary Blog

Word Press by Oprahbookclubfans is about shopping. We are a group of Oprah Winfrey show watchers who love the recommendations of Oprah on books, shopping, style, travels, religion, self-help, empowerment through employment. Word Press by Oprahbookclubfans aims at being an informational tool in the hands of shoppers.

We will also present materials on religious matters in Faith & Shopping Values

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Posted by Fashionista Shopping Analyst at 1:09 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 19 February 2006 3:00 PM EST
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