Wednesday, May 22, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
More Women Needed In Politics
Could the next Hilary Clinton be sitting in a classroom at MUW? Young college women were educated on the importance of getting involved in the political process. “I’ve become inspired to seek office in public service later on in my life,” said Mississippi State University student Bianca Tatum. A workshop at MUW this week is aimed at promoting women being more involved in government. It’s a partnership between the Stennis Center for Public Service, MUW and the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University.
 
Alpha Chi induction at MSU-Meridian
MSU-Meridian recently inducted 22 students into Alpha Chi, a national honor society with more than 300,000 members from some 300 college and university chapters, and member of the Association of College Honor Societies. Members of Alpha Chi are ranked in the top 10 percent of juniors, seniors, and graduate students and represent the best undergraduate and graduate scholarship in all academic fields at their respective institutions.
 
Craig Carter named assistant to Dick Hall at MDOT
Wiley “Craig” Carter joins the Mississippi Department of Transportation in the position of assistant to Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall. Carter assumes a vital role in facilitating external and internal relations for the commissioner. Carter is a Mississippi State University graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in communication with an emphasis on public relations.
 
Lynn beats Sistrunk for Starkville Ward 2 alderman seat
It still needs to be made official, but Lisa Wynn looks to have taken the Ward 2 Alderman seat from incumbent Sandra Sistrunk in a close Starkville run-off. City Clerk Taylor Adams announced late Tuesday night that unofficial numbers, including 19 absentee ballots, showed Wynn with 209 votes and Sistrunk with 189. Eighteen affidavit ballots have yet to be counted, but with the current total, Sistrunk could land all 18, and still be two votes short. Wynn said she is humbled the residents of Ward 2 have placed their trust in her. "I had less than eight days to regroup, refocus and create a plan, I was able to get some friends in a close door meeting and we were able to get this turned around," she said. "I will be a voice, and not only for Ward 2, but for Starkville."
 
Public access wi-fi goes live
Visitors to downtown Starkville can now sit outside and enjoy free access to the city's wireless Internet. The city is utilizing the fiberoptic cable platform constructed by Starkville Electric Company to provide free outdoor wi-fi access from the area around Mugshots on N. Douglas Conner Dr. to the Starkville Public Library on University Drive. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
Judge denies Willie Jerome Manning new trial in 1993 slayings
A judge has denied Willie Jerome Manning's request for a new trial in the 1993 slayings of a 90-year-old woman and her 60-year-old daughter in Starkville. Oktibbeha County Circuit Judge Lee Howard handed down his ruling Tuesday, and Manning's attorneys can appeal it. Manning had been set for lethal injection May 7 in a separate case -- the 1992 slayings of two Mississippi State University students. The state Supreme Court blocked the execution hours before it was scheduled. Justices didn't explain their action, but Manning had argued that DNA tests would prove him innocent.
 
Medicaid viewed favorably in state poll
While Mississippians overall have an unfavorable impression of the controversial federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, they like individual aspects of the law, including expanding Medicaid. A poll conducted by the Joint Center for Economic and Political Studies found that 58.6 percent of Mississippians have a favorable view of expanding Medicaid to cover those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level with the federal government paying the bulk of the costs. But when asked detailed questions about whether they wanted to expand the program, it was supported by a smaller majority of 52.6 percent -- compared to 37.4 percent who wanted to keep the program as it is. The expansion is adamantly opposed by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and the leadership of the House and Senate.
 
Reports support Medicaid expansion, but governor not swayed
Proponents say two new reports bolster the case for Medicaid expansion in Mississippi, including a poll that shows most people in Deep South states support it, even if their governors don’t. But Republican Gov. Phil Bryant isn’t wavering in his opposition to Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and questions the poll’s veracity. Bryant spokesman Mick Bullock said, “Last year, Mississippi spent more than $1.4 billion in state dollars on the existing Medicaid program — more than one quarter of our total state support budget. I’m sure the survey results would have been different had taxpayers been asked if they wanted to foot the bill for a drastic increase to this already enormous cost. Mississippi cannot afford it, and as Gov. Bryant has said many times, any expansion of Medicaid would result in tax increases for Mississippians or cuts to critical spending in areas like education, public safety and economic development.”
 
Public in Deep South supports expanding Medicaid, poll finds, but lawmakers don’t
Even though governors and lawmakers in five Deep South states oppose a plan to cover more people through Medicaid under the health care overhaul, 62 percent of the people in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina support expanding the program, according to a new poll. The level of support for expanding Medicaid – the state and federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled – ranged from a low of 59 percent in Mississippi to a high of 65 percent in South Carolina, according to the poll by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a leading research and public policy think tank that focuses on African-Americans and other people of color. Brian Smedley, director of the center’s health policy institute, said the findings show that lawmakers who are blocking Medicaid expansion in the five states are “out of step with their constituents.”
 
U.S. Senate begins farm bill debate
The U.S. Senate on Monday began debate of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013. Last week, the Senate Committee on Agriculture passed the five-year bill, 15-5, in near record-setting fashion. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is the committee chair and Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., is the ranking minority member. Stabenow said the ease with which the bill passed through the committee “sends a strong signal that we can get this done and sent on to the President.” The House version of the bill is likely to be introduced on the floor after Memorial Day. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., said passing a final piece of legislation is important for Mississippi. “The economy in Mississippi is driven by two things -- manufacturing and agriculture,” he said. “When those two things do well, the rest of the economy thrives.” Nunnelee said reforms to the federal food stamp program are critical to the eventual passage of a joint bill.
 
As farm bill debate looms, Tarheel lawmakers gird for fight over tobacco
The U.S. Senate this week has started to fine-tune the huge, new five-year farm bill, working through votes on a series of amendments that will include a proposal to eliminate federal subsidies for tobacco insurance. North Carolina is the nation’s No. 1 producer of tobacco, and the state’s senators, Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican Richard Burr, said on Tuesday that they’d fight the amendment. It was offered by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to eliminate the taxpayer-supported insurance. Supporters say the subsidies are needed to help keep small tobacco farmers in business.
 
Bill exempting small farms from fuel storage regs passes Senate
Legislation to exempt small farms from Environmental Protection Agency fuel storage requirements has been incorporated into the Senate-passed Water Resources Development Act of 2013 (WRDA), according to a release from U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). The Senate passed WRDA legislation (S.601), and with it also approved all the provisions included in the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship Act (S.496) -- a bill Cochran supported as an original co-sponsor. “The fuel spill rule propounded by the EPA poses an unnecessary financial and regulatory burden on farmers. The legislative corrections we’ve incorporated into the Water Resources and Development Act are reasonable from both the farm operations and environmental protection standpoint,” said Cochran, the ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee.
 
KiOR looks for seat at international table
Just call it the perfect marriage. Mississippi's forest products industry needs to sell trees. It just so happens KiOR is ready to buy. They are producing fuel in a way that just might make mother nature jealous. "We do what nature does over millions of years in a matter of seconds in our processes here," Plant Manager Mike O'Keefe said. KiOR is making fuel from trees-specifically Southern Yellow Pine which are the same trees that are used to make paper and pulp by the state's paper mills. "This is a very new process. To my knowledge, no one else is doing what we do today," O'Keefe added.
 
Study Reveals Solid Support for Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center
A new feasibility study for the proposed Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center found strong support from Meridian area leaders. The MAEC was approved to be built in Meridian more than a decade ago. The site has been changed from Bonita Lakes to Front Street downtown. Before going any further, the center's board wanted to see if the community still supported the project, so it commissioned a study to measure public sentiment. MAEC board members say it's an extremely encouraging report.
 
Mississippi Power could be hot topic at Southern Co. stockholders' meeting
Questions about the abrupt departure this week of Mississippi Power President Ed Day are likely to be asked during the annual meeting of Southern Co. stockholders today in Pine Mountain, Ga. The meeting will start at 9 a.m. It will not be shown live but video will be posted later in the day. Representatives of the Sierra Club said in a conference call Tuesday they will use the shareholders' meeting as an opportunity to ask about the cost overruns at the power plant under construction in Kemper County and the leadership changes at Mississippi Power. On Monday, Mississippi Power announced Day was retiring. Two weeks ago, Tommy Anderson, vice president of generation, also left abruptly. "We've just begun our investigation," said Leonard Bentz, chairman of the state Public Service Commission. His chief of staff, Jay McKnight, will serve as special investigator.
 
Simmons highlights legislative session
Sen. Willie Simmons visited the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors Monday to provide a brief update on the recent legislative session. Simmons said the county and Delta faired pretty well in the session and he remains hopeful for further developments related to Grammy Museum Mississippi, scheduled to open by 2015 in Cleveland. "The project has received a total of $6 million from the state and we hope it continues to move forward rapidly," said Simmons. Simmons also encouraged the board to consider investing in the old C & G railroad line north of Greenville that once ran through the Port of Rosedale, saying the surrounding region would greatly benefit from bringing the service back.
 
Lumumba Wins Democratic Primary; Presumptive Mayor of Jackson
In a race that changed rapidly over the last week, City Councilman Chokwe Lumumba has taken the Democratic primary runoff, and likely the mayor's office, with 20,180 votes over 17,103 for Jonathan Lee. At a celebration party at the Clarion Hotel Tuesday night, the crowd of 150 to 200 campaigners, friends and supporters went wild when news stations began to call the race. About 15 minutes later, Lumumba entered the room to chants of "Chokwe! Chokwe! Chokwe!" After being introduced by his son and daughter, the civil rights leader took to the podium to chants of "The people must decide!"
 
Oklahoma Tornado Reignites Disaster Funding Debate
Even as emergency personnel continued to search through the debris of Monday’s tornado in Oklahoma, talk on Capitol Hill had turned to the question of paying for the recovery. Rep. Peter T. King, a Republican from Long Island, told CQ Roll Call he was prepared to go to bat for the victims in Moore, Okla., as he did when Superstorm Sandy devastated the Northeast last year. If Congress needs to provide additional tornado relief funds in this case, it appears that some of Oklahoma’s own lawmakers could be a major stumbling block, just as they and other fiscal hawks were when King was arguing for Sandy relief in New York and New Jersey.
 
Senate panel approves compromise on foreign workers in immigration bill
A Senate committee approved a sweeping immigration reform bill Tuesday that would provide a path to citizenship for up to 11 million illegal immigrants, setting the stage for the full Senate to consider the landmark legislation next month. After five days of debate over dozens of amendments, the Judiciary Committee voted 13 to 5 in support of the bill, with three Republicans joining the committee’s 10 Democrats. The legislation emerged with its core provisions largely intact, including new visa programs for high-tech and low-skilled workers and new investments in strengthening border control. The comprehensive bill is now headed to the full Senate, where Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged fellow Republicans on Tuesday not to block the bill from a floor vote.
 
Report: Grid vulnerable to attacks
The country’s aging electric grid is vulnerable to attacks from foreign countries such as North Korea, a new congressional report says, calling for stronger mandatory standards to protect it. The report, written by the staffs of Reps. Ed Markey and Henry Waxman, is based on information provided by more than 100 electric utilities. More than a dozen utilities said they constantly, sometimes on a daily basis, face attempted cyberattacks. One utility said it was the target of about 10,000 cyberattacks each month, according to the report. But the report shows that many utilities comply only with the standards set forth by the industry-run North American Electric Reliability Corp., which is charged with ensuring grid reliability.
 
Mars mission sparks stepping-stone debate
Lawmakers and space experts agree that Mars should be the next grand destination for human space missions and that getting there will require a stepping-stone approach. But which stepping stone? At a House hearing Tuesday, several key Republicans promoted a lunar mission, saying the moon’s mineral resources and terrain make it the logical launch pad for a trip to the Red Planet. They questioned the Obama administration’s plan to use a small asteroid instead. Rep. Steve Palazzo, R-Miss., who chairs the Space Subcommittee that held the hearing, called the asteroid mission a potentially expensive distraction.
 
Giant new test stands will rise at Marshall Space Flight Center as Space Launch System grows
NASA engineers are building on the historic foundation of rocket testing in Huntsville -- literally -- as they prepare for critical stress tests on the core of Space Launch System, America's next deep-space rocket. Two large new test stands are being designed for Marshall Space Flight Center, and one of those stands will be built atop the bedrock-deep foundation of the stand Wernher von Braun used to test the massive F-1 Saturn V engines. These new tests won't shake the ground across Huntsville as those Saturn V engine tests did, because NASA does its engine testing now in the vast open space of the Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi.
 
Lawsuit filed against Signal International for trafficking Indian workers in Mississippi, Texas
About 33 Indian guest workers have filed a lawsuit against Signal International LLC, saying they were tricked out of money and forced to work in barbaric conditions at the Pascagoula facility. The suit, being handled by law firm Latham & Watkins LLP for free, was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Gulfport, and requests a jury trial. It is 1 of 3 lawsuits aimed at Signal. According to the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center, the move represents an "unprecedented collaborative effort by several of the country's most prestigious law firms to prosecute, on a pro bono basis, multiple human trafficking lawsuits against Signal International and its network of recruiters and labor brokers." The lawsuits allege that Signal trafficked more than 500 Indian workers to its Pascagoula and Orange, Texas, facilities after Hurricane Katrina.
 
Southern Miss hosts student affairs conference
Tuesday saw a large turnout at the 2013 Mississippi Association of College Student Affairs Conference at the Thad Cochran Center at the University of Southern Mississippi. This is the third time USM has hosted the event. Student affairs professionals across the state have met over the past two days to discuss a wide variety of topics pertaining to student affairs. Topic covered at the event range from how Southern Miss became LGBTQ-friendly to managing Greek life challenges.
 
UMC's Batson Children's Hospital receives palliative care grant
The Palliative Care program at Batson Children’s Hospital at the University of Mississippi Medical Center is one of only a handful nationwide receiving a $10,000 grant from the LIVESTRONG Community Impact Project. The money will be used to implement the Joint Commission’s Advanced Certification for Palliative Care. Advanced Certification for Palliative Care is one of four proven cancer support programs included in the 2013 Community Impact Project created by the LIVESTRONG Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by cancer. “I am very grateful to supporters of Batson Children's Hospital who helped us to achieve this important and generous award,” said Dr. Rick Boyte, professor of pediatrics and director of pediatric palliative care. “This will take a lot of hard work but soon we’ll be among only a handful of children's hospitals in the country with this designation.”
 
A Vice President's Rebranding Effort Propels a University Into the Big Leagues
Jason Cook, who is 39, was Texas A&M University's vice president for marketing and communications from 2008 until April of this year, when he became senior associate athletics director for external affairs. He helped the university enhance its image through athletics and early adoption of social media. For his work, he was named the "2012 International Brand Master" by Educational Marketing Group, and the university was named as the most influential college online by Klout, a social-media ranking Web site, in 2011. Here's his story.
 
LSU: not yet elite
LSU is not one of the nation’s elite institutions, nor is it on the cusp of reaching that status, members of the university’s Transition Advisory Team agreed Tuesday. The group, led by consultant Christel Slaughter, is in charge of recommending how the LSU System’s separate institutions will be consolidated under the main campus in Baton Rouge. The effort is called LSU2015. The goal is to turn Louisiana into a nationally recognized research institution able to attract and retain a share of the country’s and the world’s best talent. “The sobering reality, and it’s extremely clear, is that we are underfunded,” Slaughter said. “We are not in the big leagues.” In recent years, LSU’s research funds have begun to dry up as faculty have left and taken their grant money with them.
 
State historic preservation officials check out U. of Georgia health sciences campus
State historic preservation officials seemed to like what they saw Tuesday as they toured ongoing renovation work on the University of Georgia’s health Sciences campus, including a building that will become the university’s next residence hall when it opens this fall. Brown Hall was used as a kind of hotel when the U.S. Navy used the Normaltown campus for its Navy Supply Corps School. But after renovations, it will provide beds for up to about 200 students, said Krista Coleman-Sliver, a project manager with the UGA Office of University Architects.
 
Intoxicated man plows car into U. of Georgia's historic North Campus fence
A section of University of Georgia’s renovated North Campus fence was plowed into early Tuesday morning by an Athens man who UGA police reported as driving under the influence of drugs. Lawrence Coleman Phelps was driving his car west on West Broad Street about 12:50 a.m. when it veered across the road, struck a parked car, then took out a section of the historic cast-iron fence, according to police. The 18-year-old Little Street resident’s car then struck a tree. Police arrested Phelps on a charge of driving under the influence of drugs and improper driving. The fence is more than 150 years old.
 
U. of Kentucky pharmacy professor's firm receives $3 million grant | Business | Kentucky.com
The National Institutes of Health has awarded $3 million to the start-up company of a University of Kentucky pharmacy professor to test and market a nasal spray that counteracts opioid overdoses. AntiOp Inc., started by professor Dan Wermeling, will receive the money over three years to continue Wermeling's work with naloxone. The drug is currently used in an injectable form to reverse overdoses from heroin and prescription pain medicines. As part of the grant, UK will coordinate a clinical trial for the nasal spray.
 
System President Recommends U. of Arkansas Schools Opt Out of Gun Law
The president of the University of Arkansas system is recommending its 11 campuses opt out of a law allowing faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns on campus. A spokesman on Tuesday said UA System President Donald Bobbitt will recommend that the schools continue banning concealed handguns on campus. The UA Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on the recommendation Thursday. A measure signed into law earlier this year leaves the decision on concealed handguns by faculty and staff up to the institutions of higher education. So far, most Arkansas colleges and universities have opted out of the new law.
 
Leona Rubin named interim Graduate School dean at U. of Missouri
Longtime University of Missouri professor Leona Rubin has been appointed interim dean of the Graduate School. Rubin, currently a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine, will begin serving as dean June 1, according to a news release. She has been teaching at the university since 1989. Rubin said she is excited and honored to have the opportunity but isn't planning any radical shake-ups in the school. With degrees from Temple University, Rutgers University and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Rubin has done extensive research on cellular pathways.
 
Adobe pricing plan raises concerns
College officials are concerned and confused by new licensing terms from Adobe they fear will dramatically raise costs. While colleges have not yet sorted out some of the major issues, the changes by Adobe are already prompting at least a few college officials to say new versions of company's popular creative software will be unaffordable. Adobe, the maker of Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat and more than a dozen other products, recently changed the way it sells its software. The company will stop updating its “perpetual” software, which is software users can buy once and use forever -- in other words, the traditional software model most consumers understand.
 
Election ruling appears in conflict with precedent | Bobby Harrison (Opinion)
The Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "Judges are, after all, human, and humans are allowed to changed their mind. A change of mind is essentially what the federal courts did as it relates to legislative redistricting in Mississippi. In 1991, instead of allowing legislators to serve for four years under an old redistricting plan that did not reflect population shifts found by the 1990 decennial census, a three-judge federal court panel ordered legislators to run in back-to-back years. They ran in 1991 under the old, malapportioned districts that violated the one man, one vote mandates of the state and federal constitutions. But one year later they were forced to run again under newly drawn districts that all had essentially the same number of people. Jump ahead 20 years to 2011, and the courts reached a much different decision."
 
UAW and friends offer crocodile tears for Nissan job incentives
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "As the United Auto Workers continue to try to win a union organization vote at Canton’s Nissan plant, they and their friends have begun public outpourings of crocodile tears over Mississippi’s economic development incentives utilized to bring the global automaker to the state. ...What is most disingenuous about this latest pro-union publicity stunt is that if the UAW has already succeeded on a grand scale in its all-out war to unionize foreign-owned auto manufacturing in the U.S. and particularly in the South, does anyone really believe it would be waving a report that questions taxpayer-funded economic incentives for that same plant employing union workers? The answer, of course, is 'no.'"


SPORTS
 
Bulldogs outlast Missouri 2-1 in 17 innings
Mitch Slauter has caught some tough breaks this season, from surgery on this throat to a fractured hand. But not long after Tuesday night bled into Wednesday morning, the Mississippi State catcher finally got something to go his way. Slauter’s looping two-out single to center field lifted the No. 16-ranked Bulldogs to a 2-1 win over Missouri in 17 innings at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in the first round of the SEC Tournament. The final game of the day turned into the longest SEC Tournament game ever played at Hoover Met, which has been hosting this event since 1998. It’s tied for the longest SEC postseason game, and it’s the longest game in Missouri baseball history. With the win, No. 5 seed MSU (41-16) advances to face No. 4 seed South Carolina (39-16) on Wednesday night, again in the late game.
 
Slauter lifts Mississippi State with RBI single in 17th inning
More than a month had passed since Mitch Slauter recorded a hit. Mississippi State's senior catcher picked the perfect time to end that streak. Slauter singled to center field in the bottom of the 17th inning early Wednesday morning to lift the Bulldogs a 2-1 win over Missouri in the SEC baseball tournament. “It’s funny, I was actually talking to one of the guys about that earlier today, that I hadn’t had a hit since the Friday night game of the Florida series,” Slauter said. “That being my first hit, hopefully that’s just the monkey getting off my back.” Mississippi State returns to the field today at 8 p.m. against South Carolina, about 20 hours after Slauter’s hit.
 
MSU's McDonald tied for 4th place at NCAA's
Mississippi State sophomore Ally McDonald will start the second day of the NCAA women's golf championship among the leaders. McDonald, from Fulton, shot a 2-under 70 on Tuesday at the University of Georgia course and was in a tie for fourth, three strokes off the lead. Regan De Guzman of San Jose State led after a career-best 67. “I started getting tired toward the end of the round,” McDonald said. “I just couldn’t get some putts to fall. That’s not a bad thing, just to know that you left some opportunities out there and that they’ll be out there the next day.” The Bulldogs, making their first NCAA appearance, were in 19th place after the first day at 12 over par 300.
 
Paul Finebaum Ends His Silence, to Join ESPN
Paul Finebaum's radio silence has an end date: Aug. 1. Finebaum, the polarizing personality of college football's signature call-in show, is leaving the Birmingham, Ala., market where his contract expired in January, for Charlotte, N.C., and a national forum: ESPN. His multi-tiered platform will include a radio program on ESPN networks, 100 televised appearances annually on ESPN and a TV simulcast of his radio show on the ESPN-owned SEC Network launching in August 2014. "It would be the understatement of my life to say I wasn't thrilled," Finebaum said.
 
A Quarterback's Lawsuit Over Videogame Likeness Renews Danger to NCAA
It took almost no imagination to pretend that the nameless Rutgers University quarterback in the popular EA Sports NCAA Football videogame was Ryan Hart. The animation has Mr. Hart's skin (white), hair color (brown), number (13), height (6'2"), weight (197 pounds) and helmet visor. The digital quarterback even sported the left wrist band Mr. Hart regularly wore in real life. Electronic Arts Inc. never paid to use the likeness of Mr. Hart. But on Tuesday, a federal appeals court said he can try to collect some of the profits EA made from the 2004, 2005 and 2006 installments of the videogame, in a lawsuit Mr. Hart filed four years ago accusing EA of stealing his likeness. Mr. Hart's lawsuit and another pending in California are being watched closely. The cases are also something of a referendum on the NCCA's amateurism rules.
 
Despite the setbacks, golf is still a game to be loved
Syndicated columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "It just goes on and on...so many hours of golf, so much money spent on golf, and so little to show for it, other than a creaky back that goes completely out on me once or twice a year. And still I love it, even though I sometimes agree with the great golfer Ray Floyd, when he says golf got its name only because 'all the other four-letter words were taken.' I play less and less these days, but I seem to enjoy it more."



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