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South African film takes the lead at the 2009 Pan African Film Festival

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The Pan African Film and Arts festival is here once again and opening this year’s festival is the acclaimed South African drama “” directed by at the star-studded red carpet opening night celebration on February 5th. The movie is about character Lucky Kunene who moves o the rough-and-tumble Hillbrow section of Johannesburg and transforms himself nto a real-estate crime boss even as he tries to elude determined white cop Blakkie Swart, vengeful renegade Nazareth Mbolelo and Nigerian drug lord Tony Ngu.

is America’s largest and most prestigious flagship black film and arts festival and will take place February 5-16, 2009. With over 2,500 submissions, the 2009 PAFF features films from 42 countries and boasts a record attendance now topping a quarter of a million attendees over its twelve-day run. The festival has announced a change of venue to accommodate its ever-growing audience for its film festival to the Culver Plaza Theatres (9919 Washington Boulevard). The PAFF Art Market, a highly anticipated and celebrated major exhibit of black fine art and quality crafts featuring the work of over 100 different artists and artisans, will remain at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (3650 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.). For more information and access to PAFF’s online box office, please visit www.paff.org.

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

Happy Sad (2008/Trinidad & Tobago/105min)
Dir: Dianah Wynter
After her mother is sent to prison, profound changes occur in the lives of several people when 17-year-old Mandy Graham goes to live with her father’s dysfunctional family who she never knew. Soon passions are unleashed, laying bare souls and revealing long hidden secrets.

Joséphine (Le Mystère Joséphine) (2008/Martinique/142min)
Dir: Christian Lara
When a young history professor arrives in Martinique to research her doctoral thesis on Joséphine, Napoleon’s wife, she finds two conflicting death certificates which cast doubt on Joséphine’s true identity.

Nobody Smiling (2008/US/83min)
Dir: Jamal Dedeaux
A college teacher returns home to bury his murdered brother. While wrapping up his brother’s affairs, he is assaulted by gang members who give him 24 hours to pay his brother’s substantial debt. Given little choice, he is pulled into a world of illegal drugs, arms deals, gangsters and underground pornography.

Prince of Broadway (2008/US/102min)
Dir: Sean Baker

The lives of two immigrants converge in the seedy side of New York’s wholesale district. Selling knock-off designer merchandise, Lucky’s world is turned upside down when a child is thrust into his life, while Levon struggles to save a marriage that is falling apart.

Rain (2008/Bahamas/93min)
Dir: Maria Govan

When her grandmother dies, a girl goes to live in Nassau with the mother who abandoned her when she was a toddler. As her mother’s destructive lifestyle becomes evident, the girl must struggle to find her own place in the world. Stars CCH Pounder and Calvin Lockhart.

Run Baby Run (2007/Ghana/117min)
Dir: Emmanuel Apea Jr.

Set against the backdrop of drug dealing and trafficking, a London-based student gets mixed up in the drug trade when his visiting little sister picks up the wrong suitcase at the airport. A dramedy in which the repercussions of a bad decision result in a frantic rescue throughout the Ghanaian countryside. Best Feature, AMAA (African Movie Academy Awards).

Sex, Gumbo & Salted Butter (Sexe, Gombo et Beurre Salé) (2008/France/81min)
Dir: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

The story takes place in the African community in Bordeaux, France. Sexual issues, loneliness, tradition and modernity, interracial relationships, conflict of generations…all are depicted humorously.

Stolen Kisses (Kobolat Masroka) (2008/Egypt/120min)
Dir: Khaled el Hagar

The most watched film in Egypt, Stolen Kisses is a film about the challenges faced by today’s youth. Exploring unemployment, sexual frustration, prostitution, and violence in Cairo, its progressive approach made it the number one box office film in Egypt in 2008. Winner of 8 international awards.

Yellow House, The (La Maison Jaune) (2007/Algeria/France/89min)
Dir: Hakkar Amor

After the death of his son in military service, a farmer journeys to collect the body. Upon his return, he realizes his wife has become withdrawn. Fearing her inability to overcome depression, he tries everything to bring a smile back to her face.

Zimbabwe (2008/South Africa/84min)
Dir: Darrell Roodt

A young girl named Zimbabwe finds that life gets even tougher in rural Zimbabwe after the death of her mother from an AIDS-related disease. Not only are she and her brother now orphaned, but she has her orphaned niece to look after and the village Chief tells her they must leave, that they can no longer support them.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
Black Candle, The (2008/US/71min)
Dir: M.K. Asante Jr.

A landmark documentary uses Kwanzaa as a vehicle to explore the African-American experience. Narrated by world renowned poet Maya Angelou and directed by award-winning author and filmmaker M.K. Asante, Jr. (“500 Years”), this extraordinary, inspirational story celebrates the struggle and triumph of African-American family, community, and culture. Appearances by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Chuck D., Jim Brown, Amiri Baraka and Stic.Man of Dead Prez.

Cuba, an African Odyssey (France/118min)
Dir: Jihan El-Tahri

A chronicle of the crucial role that Cuba played in securing the independence of nations throughout Africa. At the very height of the Cold War, Cuba risked the enmity of both superpowers by its unwavering commitment to the principle that Africa should be governed by the genuine representatives of its peoples. Cuba provided invaluable support to liberation struggles throughout the continent. The film focuses on Cuban efforts in Congo, Guinea-Bissau and during the war in Angola. It reveals incredible events that span thirty years, from Che Guevara’s covert mission to avenge the death of Patrice Lumumba, to Fidel Castro’s command of the decisive battle in Angola and the negotiations with Apartheid South Africa that finally ended the war.

End of Poverty?, The (2008/US/104min)
Dir: Philippe Diaz

A phenomenal discourse on why poverty persists and why the majority of the world’s people live without adequate shelter, food, clothing and little to no access to medical care and education. A must see for anyone wanting to understand not only the US economic system but the foundations of today’s global economy. Narrated by Martin Sheen.

Kassim the Dream (2008/Uganda/US/88min)
Dir: Kief Davidson

Born in Uganda, abducted as a child and forced to become a soldier, Kassim finds his ticket to freedom through boxing. Coming to the U.S., he finds the American dream after becoming the Junior Middleweight Champion of the world.

Milking the Rhino (2008/US/83min)
Dir: David E. Simpson

With memorable characters and spectacular locations, MILKING THE RHINO tells joyful, penetrating and heartbreaking stories from Kenya and Namibia – revealing the high stakes obstacles facing Community Conservation today.

Nubian Spirit: The African Legacy of the Nile Valley (2008/Sudan/UK/73min)
Dir: Louis Buckley

A beautifully photographed documentary revealing the contribution of Ancient Sudan (Nubia) to the culture, history and spiritual mythology of the people from the Nile Valley.

Number One with a Bullet (2008/US/105min)
Dir: Jim Dziura

A thoughtful and informative study of the current violence engulfing Urban America seen through the eyes of many of today’s biggest rappers, many of whom have been victims of violence. Interviews with Ice Cube, Mos Def, Young Buck, KRS-One, Jerry Heller among others.

Peace Mission (2008/Germany/80min)
Dir: Dorothee Wenner

In Nigeria, a whole new film industry developed during the early 1990s. With over 1,400 films produced each year, “Nollywood” is statistically the biggest film industry in the world. Peace Anyiam Fiberesima, the founder of the African Movie Academy, takes the audience on a tour of the vibrant production hub of Lagos and introduces key personalities of Nollywood along the way. Versatile and full of energy, they all share the vision of making Nollywood an important platform for re-telling Africa’s history from an African point of view.

Standing-n-Truth: Breaking the Silence (2008/US/78min)
Dir: Tim Daniels

Transcending differences of sexuality, class and gender, the intimate experiences of stigma, shame and silence of men, women and children living in the face of the HIV/AIDS pandemic are punctuated by interviews with an array of popular-opinion leaders including Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Michael Eric Dyson and Sheryl Lee Ralph.

Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North (2008/US/86min)
Dir: Katrina Browne, Alla Kovgan & Jude Ray

Filmmaker Katrina Browne’s discovery that her New England ancestors were America’s largest slave-trading family compels her into an intriguing and emotional exploration of the legacy of slavery.

NARRATIVE SHORT COMPETITION

Dockweiler (2008/US/15min)
Dir: Nick J. Palmer

An ex-con heads up maintenance at Dockweiler Beach, seeing himself as a savior to the men he hires. Stars Tony Todd.

Happy Anniversary, Punk! (2007/US/30min)
Dir: Michael Ajakwe Jr.

Teen violence and the failure of the justice system form the center of this adaptation of an acclaimed one-act play.

Jump the Broom: A Musical (2008/US/32min)
Dir: Kena Tangi Dorsey

This refreshingly creative musical finds a woman about to be married having second thoughts when her rascal of an ex shows up at the church just before the wedding.

Kwame (2008/Ghana/US/25min)
Dir: Edward Osei-Gyimah

A Ghanaian cabdriver comes to terms with the reasons he immigrated to America.

Nora (2008/US/35min)
Dir: Alla Kovgan & David Hinton

A filmic journey into the life of Nora Chipaumire, choreographer and performance artist from Zimbabwe.

Panty Man, The (2008/US/6min)
Dir: Camrin Pitts

Set in the moody blues atmosphere of an underground poetry club, a married man admits his fetish for womens panties.

Premature (2008/US/15min)
Dir: Rashaad Ernesto Green

A streetwise teenager discovers she’s pregnant. Receiving no support from her community, she has nowhere to turn and is faced with the most difficult decision she will ever make.

Put it in a Book (2008/US/18min)
Dir: Rodrigo Garcia

“Put It in a Book” is about two brothers: when one is killed by gang violence, the other must choose between two paths, one of righteousness or one of revenge.

Second Half, The (2008/US/20min)
Dir: Jeffrey Elmont

To save the future of a young B-ball player, a former player now working as a janitor must come out of the shadows.

Seven Breaths (2008/US/19min)
Dir: Gershon Hinkson

Embarking on a mission to find the thief, the victim of an armed robbery finds his moral path has become blurred.

Tight Jeans (2007/UK/9min)
Dir: Destiny Ekaragha

As they sit on a fence waiting for their buddy, a comedic debate about race and culture is sparked between three Black teens when a white man wearing tight jeans passes by.

Warrior Queen (2008/Ghana/22min)
Dir: Hezekiah Lewis

With the King exiled, Queen Asantewa becomes the strength and protector of her homeland, fearlessly leading her people against British rule and proving that preserving one’s culture and tradition ensures its identity and pride.

DOCUMENTARY SHORT COMPETITION

4 Our Sons (2008/Bermuda/US/82min)
Dir: Vanz Chapman & Eric McKay

Young Black men from different walks of life speak on growing up Black and male in an oftentimes hostile inner city environment. With strength and perseverance they were able to build their own versions of the American dream. An empowering must see for Black youth.

African Underground: Democracy in Dakar (2008/Senegal/France/US/65min)
Dir: Ben Herson, Chris Moore & Magee McIlvaine

Bridging the gap between hip-hop activism and video journalism, this groundbreaking documentary explores the role of youth and musical activism on the political process during recent presidential elections in Senegal.

Disappearing Voices: The Decline of Black Radio (2008/US/65min)
Dir: U-Savior

An examination of the rise and fall of Black Radio discusses the many aspects that made it unique as an art form. Features interviews with prominent individuals in media and Black culture and rare air checks by some of the most famous Black jocks of all time.

Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans (2008/US/68min)
Dir: Dawn Logsdon & Lolis Eric Elie

The Tremé district of New Orleans is arguably the oldest black community in America…the birthplace of the Southern Civil Rights movement as well as the home of jazz. This fascinating historical tour of the Tremé becomes a riveting tale of hope, heartbreak and resilience, especially in light of Katrina.

Has God Forsaken Africa? (2008/Canada/52min)
Dir: Musa Dieng Kala

Each year, thousands of young Africans risk their lives to flee a continent scourged by war and endemic poverty.

It’s Time: African Women Join Hands Against Domestic Violence (2008/Canada/53min)
Dir: Steven Hunt

In a unique partnership, a Canadian agency and two African organizations work to combat the epidemic of domestic violence toward women and girls in South Africa and Ethiopia.

Neo African Americans, The (2008/US/58min)
Dir: Kobina Aidoo

The African American narrative is rapidly being transformed by immigration from Africa and the Caribbean.

Sampari (2008/France/52min)
Dir: Damien Faure & Jerome Bonnard

Every year indigenous leaders from the world over travel to New York to participate in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Viktor Kaisiepo comes to defend the rights of his people of Western Papua, who have been colonized by Indonesia since 1969.

Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre 1968 (2009/US/57min)
Dir: Judy Richardson & Bestor Cram

Over-shadowed by the killing of four white students at Kent State, the little-remembered police attack on South Carolina State College resulting in the murders of three black students is scrupulously researched, offering the definitive account of one of the bloodiest tragedies of the Civil Rights era.

Tulia, Texas (2008/US/54min)
Dir: Cassandra Herrman & Kelly Whalen

A lone undercover cop causes forty-six people, nearly all Black, to be arrested for selling cocaine in a small farming town. It was heralded as one of the biggest drug busts in Texas history, until a team of lawyers set out to uncover the truth.

BEST FIRST FEATURE

13 Months of Sunshine (2008/Ethiopia/US/101min)
Dir: Yehdego Abeselom

The American dream and the immigrant experience collide in this heartwarming comedy focusing on the romance between two Ethiopian immigrants.

Family (2008/US/113min)
Dir: Faith Trimel

A coming-of-age dramedy centering on the lives of a group of lesbian friends who all experience continual strife in their lives as a result of being closeted, causing them to make a pact to come out together.

Happy Sad (2008/Trinidad & Tobago/105min)
Dir: Dianah Wynter

After her mother is sent to prison, profound changes occur in the lives of several people when 17-year-old Mandy Graham goes to live with her father’s dysfunctional family who she never knew. Soon passions are unleashed, laying bare souls and revealing long hidden secrets.

Nobody Smiling (2008/US/83min)
Dir: Jamal Dedeaux

A college teacher returns home to bury his murdered brother. While wrapping up his brother’s affairs, he is assaulted by gang members who give him 24 hours to pay his brother’s substantial debt. Given little choice, he is pulled into a world of illegal drugs, arms deals, gangsters and underground pornography.

Rain (2008/Bahamas/93min)
Dir: Maria Govan

When her grandmother dies, a girl goes to live in Nassau with the mother who abandoned her when she was a toddler. As her mother’s destructive lifestyle becomes evident, the girl must struggle to find her own place in the world. Stars CCH Pounder and Calvin Lockhart.

Run Baby Run (2007/Ghana/117min)
Dir: Emmanuel Apea Jr.

Set against the backdrop of drug dealing and trafficking, a London-based student gets mixed up in the drug trade when his visiting little sister picks up the wrong suitcase at the airport. A dramedy in which the repercussions of a bad decision result in a frantic rescue throughout the Ghanaian countryside. Best Feature, AMAA (African Movie Academy Awards).

Unequal (2009/US/94min)
Dir: John G. White

Due to her very vocal and public stance on celebrating the virtues not only of being celibate, but a virgin who’s “saving herself for marriage”, Candace becomes playboy Urban’s newest challenge. But will the hunter get captured by the game?

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Celebrities

Popular Nigerian Musicians Lead The Campaign For Peaceful Elections

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On Saturday, February 23, 2019, Nigerians will file out en masse for the presidential elections. The election was earlier scheduled to hold on the February 16 but was shifted for logistic reasons. The election will mark another milestone in the country’s democracy. Previous elections have witnessed pockets of violence that are often fatal. However, popular musicians want this time around to be different.

One of the musicians that have consistently led the campaign for violence-free election is Innocent Idibia, popularly called 2Baba. 2Baba started the “Vote Not Fight” campaign and in the past and has enjoyed the support of fellow musicians in the past. This time around, the multiple-award-winning superstar is collaborating with the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). The musician in the company of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, appealed for calmness. In a video posted on NPF official Twitter handle the superstar can be heard saying,

“Vote not fight. Election no be war.”

Wizkid joins other celebrities to sensitize electorates

Sensational music star, Wizkid has also joined the growing number of celebrities calling for a peaceful election. He took to his Snapchat story to ask fans to reject any attempt by anyone to influence their votes. He said,

“Don’t let anybody wey don collect (that has taken) money influence your vote. Vote who you like. Vote wisely. If you’re old enough to get a PVC, you’re old enough to think. Don’t sell your vote. Your vote can make a difference. Go out and vote.”

The unguarded utterances of politicians

Part of the reasons for the tense atmosphere is the insensitive utterances of some politicians. Nigerian politicians are often accused of name-calling rather than issue-based campaigns. On Wednesday 13th February 2019, the presidential candidates were at the International Conference Center (ICC) to sign a peace accord. Sadly, some politicians in the past have failed to keep to similar agreements. Therefore, Wizkid also sent out a message to politicians to act right. He said,

“And politicians wey dey enter (that will win) stop joking with people lives! U’re responsible for the lives of millions of people and your decisions affect all. Help us make Naija a better place. Make una use una head! One love!”

The Candidates

There are a total of 72 presidential candidates. However, the front runners are candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC), People’s Democratic Party PDP), Young Progressive Party (YPP), and Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN).

All Progressive Congress

Muhammadu Buhari (Incumbent)

The presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress is incumbent Muhammadu Buhari. President Buhari is the current democratically elected president of Nigeria. He came into office on May 29, 2015. However, he is also a retired major general in the Nigerian Army. He was the military head of state from December 31 1983 to August 27 1985. Before becoming the democratic president he had unsucessfully ran for the office in 2003,2007, and 2011.

Peoples Democratic Party

Atiku Abubakar

Atiku Abubakar is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party. He has also served the nation as the vice president from 1999 to 2007. Before becoming the vice president, he was the elected governor of Adamawa State. Atiku is the founder of the American University of Nigeria and Adama Beverages Limited.

Young Progressive Party

Kingsley Moghalu

Professor Kingsley Moghalu is new to the political scene but will hope to cause a major upset come February 23, 2019 as the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party. Kingsley founded the Institute for Governance and Economic Transformation in 2016.

Alliance for New Nigeria

 

Fela Durotoye

is also a new name in Nigerian politics. However, he is famous as the president of the GEMSTONE Nation Builders Foundation. Fela is also a motivational speaker and a leadership expert. On February 23 polls, Fela as the presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria will hope to become the next president of Nigeria.

Not for sale

Late January 2019, 2Baba teamed up superstars including Chidinma Ekile, MI Abaga, Teni, Waje, Cobhams Asuquo, and Umar Shareef for a song titled “Not for Sale”. The main idea of the song is to discourage vote-buying, a practice that is gradually becoming a norm. Part of the lyrics read, “The power to change the nation for the better is in everyone of us.”

You can watch the video below.

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Celebrities

Davido vs D’Banj: Which Of Them Was More Romantic This Valentine’s Day 2019?

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Valentine’s Day in many countries has become synonymous with the day of Love. We are often curious about how some of our favorite celebrities showcase their love.

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D'banj vs Davido: Which of these Nigerian Artists was most romantic on Valentine's Day 2019?

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David Adeleke aka Davido seized the opportunity to show off his romantic side. The music star shared a video of himself surprising his long-time girlfriend, Chioma Rowland, on Instagram. In the short video, there were cakes, saxophone, boxes of chocolate, a bottle of wine, and cameras to the delight of his girlfriend. Short of words, the surprised lover hugged the superstar as music played on. The caption of the video read,

I get time sha 😂😂😂 Happy Valentines @thechefchi IT IS THE CHI THERE!! ️ u said bring dollars they brought Bounty 🙄 still her fave tho 😂”

A Long, Public Love Affair

Davido met Chioma at Babcock University when she was a 300 level student of Economics. Ever since, the couple has never made their love affair a secret. In 2018, the musician threw her a lavish birthday party and gifted her a Porsche car. However, the height of the celebration was the release of the music, “Assurance”, dedicated to her. As of 15th February 2019, the song has over 35 million views on YouTube. Many celebrities can only wish for such a lasting and public display of love.

D’banj Also Pulls Off a Creative Romantic Stunt

Another music icon, Oladapo Oyebanjo, popularly known as D’banj successfully pulled off a romantic Valentine treat. He arrived at the door of their house like a delivery man carrying a bouquet of flower. His wife Lineo Didi Kilgrow obviously didn’t see that coming. He shared the video on his Instagram page. The caption read,

SURPRISE; She thought it was the Delivery Man 😂 … Happy Valentine’s Day Guys make sure you show love especially to yourself ️. Love you boo and will always do 💯😍 @lineo_dd #baecation … thanks, @may8gallery for the Gifts she loved them 🎁

In 2018, D’banj shared a photo suggesting the couple were on a vacation in Dubai. D’banj is also good with romantic gestures. On September 6, 2018, he shared a picture of himself feeding his wife.

D’banj and wife on vacation

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Soweto Gospel Choir Beat Three African Nominees to Win Third Grammy

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The annual Grammy Award is a celebration of music achievements in over 80 categories. Of all the categories, the Best World Music Album is reserved for international performers exhibiting “non-European, indigenous traditions”. Four African Albums were nominated for this category in the 61st Grammy Award. This includes;

‘Black Times’ by Seun Kuti – You can get the album here

‘Fenfo’ by Fatoumata Diawara – you can get the album here

‘Deran’ by Bombino – you can get the album here

‘Freedom’ by the Soweto Gospel Choir – you can get it here

However, it was the Soweto Gospel Choir that took home the award for their album, Freedom.

The annual celebration for the coveted award took place on Sunday 10th February 2019. However, this is not the first time that the group will be taking home the award. In fact, it is their third win in five nominations. The album ‘Freedom’ is a rendition of popular South African liberation struggle songs. Mulalo and Mary Mulovhedzi, and album producer Diniloxolo Ndlakuse Shimmy Jiyane were on stage to receive the award on behalf of the group.

poses in the press room during the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Interesting details about the album

The Choir recorded the album in June 2018 as a tribute to Nelson Mandela’s 100 Years celebration. Nelson Mandela died in 2013 at the age of 95. The album is a collection of famous South African struggle songs. A worthy inclusion in the album is a brilliant version of ‘Asimbonanga’ by Johnny Clegg. The album release happened in the United States in 2018. The group also completed a three-month tour in the United States. The group will perform songs from the album in Cape Town Jazz Festival coming up in March. Soweto Gospel Choir also plans Australasia album tour from July to September 2019.

History and previous awards

David Mulovhedsi co-founded the group with Beverly Bryer, a producer, and director 17 years ago. The group won the Grammy in ‘Best Traditional World Music Album’ category in 2007. In 2008 they also took home the award in the same category for their album ‘African Spirit’. The win at the just-concluded 61st Grammy Award makes it their third. The group has also won the Metro FM Music Award and four South African Music Awards. Soweto Gospel Choir’s collaboration with pop icon U2 also won the Emmy.

The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa took to Twitter to congratulate the group for their win. He wrote,

“Congratulations to the Soweto Gospel Choir for being awarded the Best World Music album for ‘Freedom’ at the #Grammys. This is the choir’s third Grammy award and we thank them for telling our story to the world and flying the flag high.”

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