Attorney General William Barr

BZ posted this video this morning (May 23), thought I’d do likewise.  Its an important speech from Attorney General Barr and a sign of things to come…

And then there’s this bit of news… which makes for a very interesting day!

8:47 PM 05/23/2019 | US
Chuck Ross | Reporter

President Donald Trump has directed the heads of several government agencies to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation of the origins of the Russia probe.

In a memo sent out Thursday, Trump also authorized Barr to declassify documents related to the Russia investigation.

The memo grants Barr the authority to “declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence” related to the Russia probe as he sees fit.

Barr has said that he is investigating whether government agencies improperly surveilled members of the Trump campaign. In testimony to Congress, Barr has asserted that the FBI and other agencies spied on the campaign by using informants and surveillance warrants.

Trump’s memo directs the heads of several federal agencies, including the CIA, FBI and State Department, to “promptly” provide assistance and information to Barr to complete his review.

“Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

“The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information.”

It is not clear from the memo when information will be declassified, and whether it will be made public soon.

Trump’s Republican allies in Congress have pressed him to declassify portions of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the FBI obtained against Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

The FBI relied heavily on the unverified and Democrat-funded Steele dossier in applications for FISA warrants against Page. Republicans also want Trump to declassify notes from FBI interviews given by Bruce Ohr, the Justice Department official who served as Steele’s liaison to the FBI.

Trump authorized declassification of the documents on Sept. 17, 2018, but backed off several days later due to pressure from the Justice Department.

Trump has recently said he would declassify the documents, and that he wanted to wait until the special counsel’s investigation was over.

“Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions,” Sanders said in her statement.

Article Video – For All The Jural Assemblies – 59 Lessons in Sovereignty May 22, 2019 By Anna Von Reitz

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How to Grow Figs

Something about figs feels rich and decadent. The fruit has deep colors, a distinctive shape and a gentle scent. Throughout history the fig tree has become a symbol of peace and prosperity. The fig is from the genus Ficus and the mulberry family (Moraceae).1

The common fig (Ficus carica) is believed to be indigenous to an area from Turkey to Northern India. It grows from 3 feet to 39 feet high with broad deciduous leaves that are deeply lobed.2 The tree bears fruit in singles or pairs. There are four horticultural types of fig: Smyrna, Caprifig, San Pedro and common.

The tree has a shallow but spreading root system that can penetrate up to 20 feet in permeable soil. The spreading branches and large leaves offer ample shade. Figs have been used to sweeten desserts and appear in popular holiday dishes.3 The fruit has multiple seeds, soft skin and may be eaten ripe or dried.4

Figs have been called nature’s candy as they have a high amount of natural fructose, but they are also a source of fiber and full of vitamins and minerals.5,6,7

Figs Have a Long and Illustrious History

The fig is one of the world’s oldest trees and may be traced back to early historical documents. It’s native to the Middle East and Mediterranean areas. The Greeks valued them so highly they had laws preventing their export from the country.8

Remnants of figs have been found in Neolithic sites traced to 5000 B.C..9 The fig was a principal food in the Greek culture, and the Spartans used it in their public tables.

Pliny the Elder wrote about the many varieties and in Latin mythology the fig was held sacred and employed in religious ceremonies.10 In Mediterranean countries, the fig was used so frequently it was called “the poor man’s food.”11

Figs were introduced in England in 1525 and first planted in Mexico in 1560. They were introduced to the U.S. in 1769 during the establishment of the San Diego Mission. Although the Smyrna fig was brought to California in the late 1800s, commercial agriculture was not possible until wasps were introduced in 1900 to pollinate the plants.12

Currently, California produces 98% of the figs consumed in the U.S, while Turkey tops global production.13 In Venezuela, the fig is in great demand by fruit processors. An inadequate supply triggered the launch of a program in 1962 encouraging commercial planting, which had a favorable response. Fresh figs were regarded as a highly desirable luxury.14

Planting and Propagating Figs

Although they have an exotic appearance and sweet rich flavor, they are easy to grow. In colder climate zones below hardiness zone 6,15 they may be successfully grown in containers and sheltered during the winter months. In hardiness zones 6 and above, the trees may be planted directly in the ground and grown as large trees.16

Figs will appreciate a sheltered area on the south or southwest side of your house. If they’re grown in containers, you may shelter them on a covered porch or in the garage during the winter. Figs purchased from a nursery should be planted 1 or 2 inches lower than they were growing in the original pot.17

This helps protect their shallow root system and reduces the risk of harming the plant. Fig trees are also easily propagated by taking an 8- to 10-inch wood cutting in the early spring. Place this in a pot of good soil several inches below the surface, with one or two buds above the dirt line.18

Keep the soil moist but well-drained. The tree will root in the pot and should remain in the container for at least one season before transplanting into the ground. Fig trees are dormant in the springtime, which is when they should be transplanted into the ground.

Figs Do Not Usually Require Pruning

The trees are fairly drought tolerant, but you’ll want to water them if the ground gets too dry. Most of the time, the trees do not require fertilization,19 but a side dressing of well-balanced organic fertilizer or compost in the spring may help jump-start leaf development. However, too much fertilizer encourages more leaves and less fruit.20

When grown in the ground, you may wish to train it against the wall or fence. This makes it easier to harvest the fruit and when grown against the home, will protect the branches from the elements. If grown in a container, the plant should not be pruned during the first year. 

During the second year, cut each branch by about half to keep the plant manageable in the pot. Ensure any cuts made are above a node in order to encourage the plant’s lateral growth and greater fruit production.21 You may also want to remove an ill-placed branch, and any dead wood.

Naturally Deter Pests

Fig plants are naturally healthy but there are a few insects and pests that may threaten the health of your plant. The first is the root-knot nematode, more commonly found in parts of the southern U.S.22

The larvae of these pests infect the plant roots and reduce their ability to absorb nutrients from the soil. While an infected plant may be pruned to balance the weak system, it will eventually die as there is no treatment.

Rust is a fungus, showing up on the underside of leaves and is usually not fatal.23 There are more than 5,000 known species of rust. The fungal disease favors four to eight hours of low-intensity light, warm temperatures and moisture.

By planting in full sun and allowing the leaves to dry, you’ll go a long way toward reducing the potential your plant will get infected. Pick off and destroy any infected leaves falling from the plant and never use them in compost.24

The biggest challenge to a successful harvest will be picking the fruit before the squirrels and the birds get to them. Some gardeners find covering smaller trees with netting may dissuade wildlife.25 While this might be practical with container plants and smaller trees, it is impractical with large trees. You’ll have the most success being diligent watching for ripe fruit and harvesting immediately.

Harvest and Store Fresh Figs

Under the right conditions, some species produce two crops in one year.26 The first ripens in late May or early June and the second is ready in late September to early November. The first crop is often a smaller harvest and the second season of fruit has thicker skins but a greater concentration of sweetness.27

The fruit will be ready to harvest when the narrow area where the fruit connects to the plant begins to shrivel and the fruit begins to droop.28 The fruit will be soft to the touch and the skin may begin to split. Most varieties of fig will darken just before it’s time to harvest.29

If you pick the fruit and find a milky liquid substance draining from the stem, the fruit has not quite ripened. Wait a couple of days before trying to harvest again. Be aware, this milky substance may irritate your skin, so it is helpful to wear gloves while harvesting.30

Once off the plant, figs do not continue to ripen. They also have a short shelf life and will last in the refrigerator for only two to three days. Many find drying figs helps extend their life and makes them tasty. Before drying, the figs should be washed thoroughly and dried with a towel.

You may cut them in half or leave them whole on a wire rack across a baking sheet in a 140 degrees Fahrenheit oven for eight to 24 hours. You know they’re done when the outside becomes leathery and you don’t see any juices on the inside.31 However, they should still be slightly pliable. Dried fruit will last in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container for 18 to 24 months.

Choose From a Large Variety of Figs

There are over 700 varieties of named fig trees, but some are synonyms. Those in the Caprifigs, Smyrna and San Pedro types are not usually grown by home gardeners as they have complex pollination requirements to bear fruit.

However, the common fig (Ficus carica) is parthenocarpic, meaning it bears fruit without fertilization. Fig varieties requiring pollination have an opening to allow pollinating wasps to enter the flowers. Since common figs don’t have an opening, they are also less susceptible to insect and water damage. Some of the common figs performing well at home include:

Celeste — This is a small to medium-sized fig growing on a large tree.32 The fruit ripens earlier than most and is more commonly used as a dessert fig as it is sweeter. The pulp of the fruit is white pink and the fruit is almost seedless. While it produces a heavy crop, it happens over a short period of time,33 and it will only produce one crop per season.34

Alma — This variety was developed by the Agricultural Experiment Service of Texas A&M University.35 It’s a cross between two Caprifigs and was introduced in 1975. The fruit has excellent flavor and ripens late in the season.

It is highly productive and starts bearing fruit early but is less cold-hardy than some. It does well in Texas coastal areas, and while most figs do not require pruning, this variety requires some to produce a good crop.

Brown turkey — This tree produces a large crop of figs over a long season. The fruit is smaller and not quite as rich as Celeste, but it often produces a second crop.36 The fruit has few seeds and the main crop begins in mid-July while the earlier crop is smaller. It’s adapted to warmer climates and is often found on the islands of Hawaii.37

Purple Genca — This tree is also known as Black Genoa or Black Spanish and produces large deep purple colored fruit with red flesh. The fruit is oblong, broader at the apex and narrower at the base, with a juicy, sweet, rich flavor.38

Health Benefits of Figs

While dried figs are nearly always available, the unique taste and texture of fresh figs is an experience you won’t soon forget. One medium sized fig is approximately 37 calories and provides 1.5 grams of fiber, in addition to vitamin B6, copper, pantothenic acid and folate.39

Figs are a good source of potassium, which your body uses to control blood pressure and balance the sodium potassium ratio. As you might expect, the nutritional value increases by weight as the fruit is dried. For instance, 100 grams provide 35 mg of calcium when fresh40 but 162 mg of calcium when dry.41

Since the food is high in fiber, it may act as a natural laxative.42 High fiber foods provide a feeling of fullness and the fiber in figs acts as a natural prebiotic to support pre-existing beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Fig leaves may be as important nutritionally as the fruit itself as they have unique health benefits, including an ability to regulate blood sugar. In one study,43 patients given a decoction of fig leaves for one month were able to lower their average insulin dose by 12%.

An animal study evaluating hypertriglyceridemia in rats used an administration of fig leaf decoction. While total cholesterol levels were unaffected, the fig decoction had a clear positive effect on lipid molecule breakdown.44

Another animal study45 evaluated the effects of figs, dates and pomegranates on neuroinflammation. They found daily administration of a supplement containing these three fruits decreased inflammatory cytokines and delayed formation of senile plaques. The researchers concluded the fruit mediated the reduction of cytokines and may be one mechanism that can help protect against neurodegenerative diseases.

What to Do With Your Figs

Figs are tasty and versatile. Use them within two to three days after picking from the tree or move on to drying them in the oven or dehydrator. The Kitchn46 offers several ways enjoying your figs, including:

Cooked with oatmeal

Roasted with honey

Chopped into a salad

Made into fig chutney

Sliced into a spoonful of creme fraiche

Added to muffins, scones and cookies

Stuffed with cheese and baked, goat and mascarpone

Added to a roast to add a sweet note to the savory sauce

How to Grow Green Beans

Enjoy the health benefits of green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) all year-round when you discover how to grow green beans in your garden, containers and even indoors. Green beans were originally grown in Central and South America.1 The vegetable was introduced to the Mediterranean region and cultivated around Italy, Greece and Turkey by the 17th century.

Today, backyard farmers grow green beans around the world as they are easy to grow and you may enjoy a large harvest from a limited space. Green beans come in varieties that may need support (pole beans), or may grow on their own without support (bush beans).

Although growing green beans in your own vegetable garden may seem challenging, as long as you provide some of the basic requirements, you’ll be reaping a bountiful reward whether your beans are planted indoors or out.

Those rewards also extend to the health benefits of green beans, which include being high in fiber, low in calories and having repeatedly demonstrated the ability to lower your risk of chronic illness.2

Prepare Before Planting a Garden or Container of Green Beans

Green beans are annual plants so you’ll be planting new green beans each year. The plants enjoy a slightly acidic pH, near 6.0 to 6.2, and moderately rich soil. Prepare your soil before planting green beans seeds by adding organic compost. The seeds may be sown directly outside after the danger of frost is gone.3

Plant the seeds about an inch deep and water immediately. Keep the soil moist by watering regularly. The most important factor for a good harvest is ensuring the soil is warm, as cool, damp soil will rot the plants.4

Sow the seeds for pole beans close together and then thin to about 6 to 10 inches apart after germination. Bush beans may be thinned to 3 to 6 inches apart after germination. Both may be started indoors before the last frost; transplant 3-inch seedlings to your garden or container after the threat of frost has passed.5

If you choose container gardening, the green beans will need at least an 8-inch pot. However, for best results, the container should be 12 inches or larger. The larger the container, the less they will need to be watered. However, the container should have good drainage soil and about an inch of gravel at the bottom to encourage drainage and reduce the potential for root rot.6

Green beans enjoy full sun, so whether in the garden or in a container, they should be placed where they’ll receive at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Bush beans planted in containers need more space around them than pole varieties for airflow and to reduce the potential for fungal growth.

On the other hand, pole beans require more vertical space and a stake or trellis to support their growth.7 Once the seedlings are 3 inches or taller, add mulch around the plants to retain moisture and discourage weeds.

Green beans are not heavy feeders. When grown in garden soil an initial addition of compost and a side dressing of organic fertilizer midway through the growing season is usually enough to produce a hearty harvest of beans. In containers, the vegetables may benefit from monthly organic fertilizer.8

Growing Green Beans Indoors Takes the Sting Out of Winter

You may also consider growing green beans indoors, especially if you enjoy the flavorful addition to your recipes all year long. As it is a relatively quick growing plant and quite pretty, it can make a visually appealing addition to your windows.

When growing indoors, the seeds may be planted any time of the year. However, it is helpful to remember the plants continue to have certain environmental requirements, such as plenty of sunlight. Alternatively, consider using grow lights if you don’t have a window receiving at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.9

The plants are warm weather plants and enjoy a spot where the temperature will be at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit (F) and up to 85 degrees F. However, excessive heat and humidity may trigger a variety of problems.10 Since they are an annual plant, you’ll get the same number of harvests grown indoors as you would outside.

Fill your containers with the same type of soil as you would have used outdoors — enriched with compost, well-draining, with a pH of 6 to 6.2. Avoid using soil rich in nitrogen. When the seedlings begin to appear and are 3 inches tall, add mulch to retain moisture.

As with outdoor containers, a light feeding of organic fertilizer once a month may help your harvest. Whether grown indoors or out, most varieties will be fully grown and ready to begin harvesting within 50 to 60 days.11

The Determinacy of Your Green Bean Seeds Predicts Your Harvest

As you begin to choose your green bean varieties, it’s helpful to remember your harvest will be determined on whether your plant is determinate or indeterminate. These are botanical terms identifying basic growth patterns. In general terms, bush beans tend to be determinant, while pole beans tend to be indeterminate.12

Indeterminate plants grow and produce until the first frost hits and kills the plant. Indeterminate growth also refers to sequential flowering on a plant, on which the production of beans relies. In your vegetable garden, the most common plants having determinate or indeterminate seeds are tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans and strawberries.

For the most part, your seed packets will be identified as determinate or indeterminate. In either case, by consistently harvesting your beans as they mature, you’ll increase production. Usually, the first crop will be the largest and the subsequent crops will come in at a reduced number.13 

Gardeners who like to harvest green beans all summer long may prefer to use indeterminate plants. On the other hand, by stagger planting your green beans you’ll get similar results with larger harvests.14

Some crops may also be semi-determinate, which means they’ll stop producing but may be coaxed into a second round of production by regularly harvesting the beans as they’re produced.

Pay close attention to the type of seeds you plant as it affects the type of pruning you may consider. As shared by the Daily Garden,15 indeterminate plants may be pruned of unwanted shoots, which then directs nutrients to the area of the plant you’d like it to go. On the other hand, determinate plants will perform better if they’re not pruned excessively.

Types of Green Beans You May Grow in Your Garden

There are slight variations in the shape and size of green bean varieties and they are called different names depending upon the geographical region, such as fine beans, snap beans, string beans or French beans. However, despite the varying names they are all green beans.

Throughout the world there are approximately 150 varieties in all shapes and colors, but despite the differences in appearance, the health benefits are similar. As such, most green beans are more or less interchangeable in any recipe you find. The variations may come in the time it takes to cook or the texture. According to The Spruce, some of the more common varieties include:16

Green beans, string beans or snap beans — These are long, rounded and green. Heirloom varieties may have a fibrous string running down their sides, but since this has proved inconvenient for most cooks, it has been bred out of varieties sold in the grocery store. Kentucky Wonder is an old pole variety with good taste and Bountiful produces stringless heirloom bush beans.17

Wax beans — These are identical to green beans except they’re yellow. Since this is the only difference, use wax beans in your recipes in much the same way you would use green beans. The Golden Wax Bean is a soft textured, yellow bush bean.18

Haricot vert — Also known as French green beans or filet beans. Although these look nearly identical to green beans, they’re usually very thin, slightly more tender and higher priced at the grocery store. Many consider them to have a better flavor than regular green beans. Triomphe de Farcy is an heirloom haricot vert bush bean.19

Long beans — These are sometimes called yard-long beans and are from a different family than green beans. They’re similar in flavor and look, but are extraordinarily long. They may grow over 24 inches, but for those with the best flavor and texture, look for long beans less than 18 inches.

Purple string beans — These are simply a purple variety of a classic green bean or wax bean. However, while they have a unique color, it’s lost during cooking. Consider lightly steaming them with an immediate ice bath to preserve as much color as possible. Royal Burgundy is an early producing bush bean.20

Romano beans — Also called Italian green beans or flat beans, these are wide and need a little more cooking than other pole beans. The smaller ones are tender, while larger ones have more beans.

Take Care of Pests and Disease in Your Bean Garden Naturally

Insects and four-footed animals enjoy beans as much as you do. Deer and groundhogs may eat the entire plant so it is necessary to use fencing to deter them.

By giving the plants plenty of air circulation and keeping the ground moist but not soggy, you may help prevent fungal diseases thriving in damp conditions. Some of the more common pests described by Clemson Cooperative Extension, include:21

Aphids — These soft-bodied insects are usually green but may appear to be yellow, brown or black. Although aphids are most prevalent during cool dry weather, they may appear at any time during the summer. Heavy populations may stunt your plant growth and treatment should be started anytime you find them on your plant.

You may control aphid populations by taking advantage of their weakness.22 Beneficial bugs, such as lacewings and ladybugs, may be attracted to the garden by planting fennel, mint and dill nearby. A strong spray of water may dislodge a light infestation, or spraying the plants with a solution of several drops of dish soap and water.23

Thrips — These small insects measure one-eighth inch or shorter. They commonly feed on beans and peas and may negatively affect your harvest when they’re present on early bloom flowers. As thrips affect pollination, if you have three or more thrips for every flower it may result in defectively shaped pods.

Prune your plants to get rid of any injured area of the plant.24 Garlic is a powerful way to remove these insects. Blend two cloves in 2 cups of water. Cover and let it rest for 24 hours and then filter with cheesecloth. Put two drops of the liquid in 12 cups of water and spray your plants.

Mexican bean beetle — This beetle is up to one-third inch long and yellow to brown in color. The wings have eight small black spots. After feeding for one to two weeks the female deposits yellow eggs on the underside of the leaves, which hatch up to two weeks later. Both adults and larvae feed on the undersides of the leaves.

Natural predators include several species of tiny parasitic wasps. Hand pick the adults and larvae, and squash egg clusters off with your fingers. Interplant companion plants between beans using petunias or potatoes to deter the beetle.25

Spider mites — These are tiny eight-legged creatures more closely related to spiders than insects. They appear on the underside of the leaves and a light infestation shows up as whitish stippling. A heavy infestation turns the leaves yellow or bronze. You’ll find the underside of the leaves covered with silk and webs.

A strong spray from your garden hose may be enough to knock off a light infestation. The plants may be sprayed with a mixture of 3 tablespoons of dish soap to a gallon of water.26

Slugs — Slugs eat any part of your plant touching the damp ground, which means they may cause more damage to your bush beans than your pole variety.27 Fortunately, there are a number of organic home remedies you may use to get rid of slugs.

One of the more popular is a beer trap. Bury half a cup in the soil near your plants and fill it halfway with beer. The slugs will be tempted by the smell and drown in the beer.

Harvesting, Cleaning and Storing Your Green Beans

Harvesting is an ongoing adventure in your garden and the more you pick, the more beans the plant will likely set. Most varieties are ready for harvest between 50 and 60 days.28 Your green bean pods may be ready to harvest once they reach a length of 4 to 7 inches in diameter and are a little fatter than a pencil.

Some gardeners prefer determining the time of harvest based on the texture of the green bean and not the size. They should be firm, crisp and show no visible signs of bulging in the bean.29

However, since the plants continue to produce beans, it’s important you take care not to damage the plant as you’re harvesting. Use two hands to pick them and keep from ripping the vine as you use a twist and snap motion to remove the bean.

Once harvested, your green beans may be stored on the kitchen counter with the stems on. Once you remove the stems, they must be moved to the refrigerator. The stems usually snap easily and you may also be able to remove any fibrous strip running along the length of the pod at the same time.30

Your green beans may also be stored in the freezer for up to a year. Prior to freezing, add them to boiling water for two minutes and then directly into an ice bath. This blanching process helps the beans retain their bright green color. Place them in an airtight container prior to freezing.

Green beans may also be canned to preserve them over the winter. Only can fresh beans to ensure a better tasting bean later. Green beans need to be pressure canned since they are a low acidic food and pressure canning reduces the risk of botulism. Take care while using a pressure canner as they may be dangerous if not handled properly.31 Fermenting your green beans is another excellent and tasty choice that will make them last longer.

Health Benefits of Green Beans

Green beans are a rich source of vitamins A, C, K and manganese, fiber and folate. The combination of these nutrients make green beans helpful in the reduction of heart disease and colon cancer.32 The boost to your immune system helps reduce your risk of colds, and the nutrients contribute to helping you control diabetes.33

Fiber helps to regulate your digestive process and the nutrients also provide benefits to your eyes and bones. Folate present in green beans is important during pregnancy as it helps to prevent birth defects and is needed for the healthy growth and development of the infant. Read more about green bean food facts in my previous article “What Are Green Beans Good For?

How to Cook Green Beans to Perfection

Green beans have graced tables around the world for decades. Especially popular during the holiday seasons, green beans are available year-round and are a wonderful fresh treat straight from your garden. Green beans contain natural toxins produced by the plant to defend against predators or threats, such as bacteria or fungi.34

However, the type of toxin is different from other beans and not as dangerous, especially in small amounts in your salad or as a quick snack.35 Most green bean recipes start out with cleaning and preparing the beans for cooking. What’s Cooking America offers these ideas on washing and preparing your beans:

First, wash them thoroughly with clear, cool water to rid them of any dirt or garden debris. And then rinse again. Break off both ends as you wash them and then either leave them whole or cut them into your desired length.36 They can be cut crosswise, diagonally or French cut.

You’ll get the sweetest-tasting crisp beans when you cut them as little as possible. Beans can be boiled, steamed or sautéed. Cooking as little as possible in the smallest amount of water is the best way to preserve nutrients.

Some green bean recipes call for blanching the beans, where they are first added to boiling water for a few seconds to one minute and then immediately removed and placed in an ice bath. This sets the color and keeps the texture. Green beans can also be steamed using a steamer basket that keeps your green beans over boiling water, but not in it.37

Green beans may also be sautéed by first boiling or steaming for one to two minutes, tossed with coconut oil or avocado oil and garlic powder and then added to a skillet over medium heat for several minutes. Salt and pepper the beans to taste and enjoy!

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