Category Archives: wtf

BIG BROTHER

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New police radars can ‘see’ inside homes

Radar devices allowing officers to detect movement through walls have been secretly used by at least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies over the last two years. VPC

At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies quietly deployed radars that let them effectively see inside homes, with little notice to the courts or the public.

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WASHINGTON — At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used. The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person’s house without first obtaining a search warrant.

The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.

The RANGE-R handheld radar is used by dozens of U.S. law enforcement agencies to help detect movement inside buildings. See how it works in this video provided by L-3 Communications VPC

Current and former federal officials say the information is critical for keeping officers safe if they need to storm buildings or rescue hostages. But privacy advocates and judges have nonetheless expressed concern about the circumstances in which law enforcement agencies may be using the radars — and the fact that they have so far done so without public scrutiny.

“The idea that the government can send signals through the wall of your house to figure out what’s inside is problematic,” said Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist. “Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have.”

Agents’ use of the radars was largely unknown until December, when a federal appeals court in Denver said officers had used one before they entered a house to arrest a man wanted for violating his parole. The judges expressed alarm that agents had used the new technology without a search warrant, warning that “the government’s warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions.”

By then, however, the technology was hardly new. Federal contract records show the Marshals Service began buying the radars in 2012, and has so far spent at least $180,000 on them.

Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said officials are reviewing the court’s decision. He said the Marshals Service “routinely pursues and arrests violent offenders based on pre-established probable cause in arrest warrants” for serious crimes.

The device the Marshals Service and others are using, known as the Range-R, looks like a sophisticated stud-finder. Its display shows whether it has detected movement on the other side of a wall and, if so, how far away it is — but it does not show a picture of what’s happening inside. The Range-R’s maker, L-3 Communications, estimates it has sold about 200 devices to 50 law enforcement agencies at a cost of about $6,000 each.

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Other radar devices have far more advanced capabilities, including three-dimensional displays of where people are located inside a building, according to marketing materials from their manufacturers. One is capable of being mounted on a drone. And the Justice Department has funded research to develop systems that can map the interiors of buildings and locate the people within them.

The radars were first designed for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. They represent the latest example of battlefield technology finding its way home to civilian policing and bringing complex legal questions with it.

Those concerns are especially thorny when it comes to technology that lets the police determine what’s happening inside someone’s home. The Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that the Constitution generally bars police from scanning the outside of a house with a thermal camera unless they have a warrant, and specifically noted that the rule would apply to radar-based systems that were then being developed.

In 2013, the court limited police’s ability to have a drug dog sniff the outside of homes. The core of the Fourth Amendment, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, is “the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.”

Still, the radars appear to have drawn little scrutiny from state or federal courts. The federal appeals court’s decision published last month was apparently the first by an appellate court to reference the technology or its implications.

That case began when a fugitive-hunting task force headed by the U.S. Marshals Service tracked a man named Steven Denson, wanted for violating his parole, to a house in Wichita. Before they forced the door open, Deputy U.S. Marshal Josh Mofftestified, he used a Range-R to detect that someone was inside.

Moff’s report made no mention of the radar; it said only that officers “developed reasonable suspicion that Denson was in the residence.”

Agents arrested Denson for the parole violation and charged him with illegally possessing two firearms they found inside. The agents had a warrant for Denson’s arrest but did not have a search warrant. Denson’s lawyer sought to have the guns charge thrown out, in part because the search began with the warrantless use of the radar device.

Three judges on the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the search, and Denson’s conviction, on other grounds. Still, the judges wrote, they had “little doubt that the radar device deployed here will soon generate many questions for this court.”

But privacy advocates said they see more immediate questions, including how judges could be surprised by technology that has been in agents’ hands for at least two years. “The problem isn’t that the police have this. The issue isn’t the technology; the issue is always about how you use it and what the safeguards are,” said Hanni Fakhoury, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The Marshals Service has faced criticism for concealing other surveillance tools. Last year, the ACLU obtained an e-mail from a Sarasota, Fla., police sergeant asking officers from another department not to reveal that they had received information from a cellphone-monitoring tool known as a stingray. “In the past, and at the request of the U.S. Marshals, the investigative means utilized to locate the suspect have not been revealed,” he wrote, suggesting that officers instead say they had received help from “a confidential source.”

William Sorukas, a former supervisor of the Marshals Service’s domestic investigations arm, said deputies are not instructed to conceal the agency’s high-tech tools, but they also know not to advertise them. “If you disclose a technology or a method or a source, you’re telling the bad guys along with everyone else,” he said.

Follow investigative reporter Brad Heath on Brad HeathBrad 

Family Sues After Police Fatally Taze 95-Year-Old Man

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Family Sues After Police Fatally Taze 95-Year-Old Man

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By NBCChicago.com

The family of a World War II veteran has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit after the 95-year-old man died following a confrontation with Park Forest police last summer.

Park Forest Police Officer Craig Taylor, 43, is charged with reckless conduct for striking John Wrana with five shotgun beanbag rounds as he and other officers tried taking him into custody on July 26, 2013.

Wrana was a patient at the Victory Center Nursing home when he refused to go to the hospital for a urinary Police Officer Craig Taylor, Police were called and eventually used a Taser and a beanbag shotgun to remove the belligerent man by force. He died the next day.

Sharon Mangerson says it’s still painful to talk about her stepfather and how he died.

“Why they chose to confront him in this way I have no idea. I can’t comprehend it. It has been a very painful process to relive this over and over again,” Mangerson said.

Wrana’s family filed a $5 million lawsuit against the Park Forest Police Department saying the department overreacted to the situation, and with his advanced age and failing health, he posed no real threat to the officers.

“Officer Taylor fired the five rounds from his shotgun from a distance of only 6 to 8 feet from where Mr. Wrana was standing,” the family’s attorney, Nicholas Grapsas said.

“Unfortunately what the Japanese military failed to do to Mr. Wrana during the war, the Park Forest Police Department succeeded in doing 70 years later in the twilight of was, until then, an extremely wonderful life.”

Park Forest officials say the do not comment on any pending or ongoing litigation.

Drug Suspect Brought 50 Grams Of Pot To Court

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Drug Suspect Brought 50 Grams Of Pot To Court: Cops

Posted: 10/03/2014 1:09 pm EDT Updated: 10/03/2014 1:59 pm ED
 Let’s be blunt: If you’re appearing in court on a drug charge, it might be a good idea to leave your marijuana at home.

Police for the New Jersey Port Authority said Richard Thompson didn’t do that.

Investigators allege he had 50 grams of pot in his backpack when he showed up at the Fort Lee Municipal Court Thursday morning.

Thompson, 32, of Stamford, Connecticut, was arrested in May at the George Washington Bridge on charges of driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license and having marijuana in his car, NJ.comreports.

He was in court to answer to those charges, and went through the normal security screenings.

While he was being searched, officials allegedly found 50 grams of marijuana,two packages of rolling papers and an unrolled cigar wrapper commonly re-used to smoke marijuana, Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo told NorthJersey.com.

Thompson was arrested on marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges. The arresting officer, Steve Pisciotta, is the same cop who arrested Thompson on marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges back in May, according to the Cliffview Pilot.

ONLY IN AMERICA

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Honey Maid Is Okay With People Hating Its Ad Showing “Wholesome”

Gay Parents

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBC-pRFt9OM

Next to Saltines, graham crackers — which were actually created with the intention of curbing one’s animal urges — are about as innocuous a food item as you could imagine. So it’s a bit odd that Honey Maid graham crackers are in the middle of a social media to-do over an ad featured interracial families and same-sex parents and state in no uncertain terms that “This is wholesome.” Some folks weren’t too happy about this ad and unleashed a torrent of nastiness at the company (which, again, makes graham crackers). Today, Honey Maid unveiled a new video showing these detractors what they can do with their complaints.

The Honey Maid spot, which first ran on March 10, has generated its share of negative responses, most notably a letter-writing campaign from the not-at-all-overreacting One Million Moms.

“Nabisco should be ashamed of themselves for their latest Honey Maid and Teddy Graham cracker commercial where they attempt to normalize sin,” wrote the group. “This commercial not only promotes homosexuality, but then calls the scene in the advertisement wholesome.”

Honey Maid’s new clip, which you can watch above, shows two artists going through the process of taking printouts of the angry Tweets and Facebook comments — labeling the spot “disgusting” and calling for a boycott of the company (which, given how many products Mondelez puts out under the Nabisco banner, would mean some very empty pantries) — and rolling them into tubes, which they then stand upright and use to form the word “Love.”

Perhaps the reason that Mondelez/Nabiso/Kraft/whatever it’s called these days is being so bold in its response is that, according to the video, positive responses outnumbered the negative by a ratio of ten to one.

Thanks to Richard for the tip!

THE NORTH POND HERMIT

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The ‘North Pond Hermit:’ the Man That Lived Without Human Contact for 28 Years

August 25, 2014

For nearly thirty years, he was only a legend in small towns – a ghost that slunk into homes at night and surviving on whatever food he could steal without being noticed by scared residents. Such a phantom couldn’t possibly live in the nearby forest.

Well, that phantom was finally arrested for stealing last year, and he’s being called the last true hermit.

When he was captured, the hermit was out for a late night raid at the Pine Trees Summer Camp near North Pond in central Maine. While searching through the kitchen for food, he unknowingly set off an alarm that led to his arrest at the hands of Sergeant Terry Hughes, a warden that had become obsessed with capturing the man, known as the North Pond Hermit in the surrounding community.

Hughes, with the help of some Maine state police, apprehended the burglar and asked him his name. He didn’t say a word, and he had no identification on him. He admitted to the state trooper, Diane Perkins-Vance, saying in a broken voice that he was ashamed to ask questions.

His name, the trooper learned, was Christopher Thomas Knight. He was born in 1965, had no address, and had no vehicle. He lived in the woods, alone. He had gone to live in the woods when he was only 20 years old — now, he was 47.

His way of life is truly remarkable. He never lit a fire, as he was afraid of being detected, and moved only at night, sleeping in a tent during the day. When he was captured, he had no idea if his parents were alive, and had lived without money, car, and phone — he’d never even heard anything of the internet. He admitted to committing about 40 break-ins a year to keep himself well-fed.

Before that night — April 4 of last year — Knight had only said one word to another human being in the last 27 years. He said “hi” to a passing hiker.

The man had long been a legend in the nearby town of North Pond, where residents had suffered break-ins for so long. But most claim they didn’t really believe that such a thing could be true — after all, what man could survive in the woods through the freezing cold of a Northeast winter?

Knight, somehow, managed it. Unfortunately, he didn’t keep a journal or snap any photos to document his long time alone. He had pledged, after all, to live his entire life in secret after he went to the forest as a young man, just out of high school.

While, many have tried to contact him since to hear his story, he hasn’t been saying much. A writer over at GQ managed to get a short response letter from Knight, staying in prison, the two of them bonding over a shared love of literature — Knight had stolen many books during his time in the woods.

They exchanged more and more letters, Knight offering his regrets on a life of crime and reflections on the differences between the two ways of life he had led. One fascinating, surprisingly literate, tidbit:

Solitude did increase my perception. But here’s the tricky thing—when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn’t even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.

To learn more of his stunning story, read the long feature article at GQ, which we’ll again link to here. Trust us, the whole piece, though lengthy, is fascinating.

‘North Pond Hermit’ pleads guilty to burglary, theft
Christopher Knight, the man known as the North Pond Hermit, pleaded guilty on Monday and will be entered into a special program. WMTW News 8’s Aly Myles…

City settles with Brooklyn men arrested by NYPD cops who confused Jolly Rancher candies for crystal meth

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EXCLUSIVE: With their $33,000 payday, plaintiffs Love Olatunjiojo, Omar Ferriera and Jimmy Santos no longer have a sour taste in their mouths over the trippy busts last year in Coney Island.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, September 4, 2014, 2:30 AM
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiSUSAN WATTS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWSThe city has dispensed a sweet settlement to three Brooklyn men who sued the NYPD after cops bizarrely mistook Jolly Rancher candies for crystal meth, the Daily News has learned.

The city has dispensed a sweet settlement to three Brooklyn men who sued the NYPD after cops bizarrely mistook Jolly Rancher candies for crystal meth, the Daily News has learned.

With their $33,000 payday, plaintiffs Love Olatunjiojo, Omar Ferriera and Jimmy Santos no longer have a sour taste in their mouths over the trippy busts last year in Coney Island.

The city admitted no wrongdoing on the part of the cops, arguing they couldn’t be sure whether the red and blue rocks were illicit drugs or candy, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyer Kenneth Smith.

“To my knowledge there is no evidence in the scientific literature that crystal meth looks like Jolly Ranchers or rock candy, other than from the ‘Breaking Bad’ TV show,” Smith told The News.

The city admitted no wrongdoing on the part of the cops, arguing they couldn’t be sure whether the red and blue rocks were illicit drugs or candy, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyer Kenneth Smith.TODD MAISEL/TODD MAISELThe city admitted no wrongdoing on the part of the cops, arguing they couldn’t be sure whether the red and blue rocks were illicit drugs or candy, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyer Kenneth Smith.

“Walter White may dictate what drugs look like in TV land, but not the narcotics policy of the NYPD,” Smith added, referring to the meth-dealing lead character of the acclaimed show.

Olatunjiojo, 26, and Ferriera 23, were stopped by the cops shortly after leaving the It’Sugar candy emporium on Surf Ave. where they had purchased various sweet treats including Jolly Ranchers, according to papers filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Police Officers Jermaine Taylor and Jovanny Calderon handcuffed the men and claimed that an undercover colleague had observed them selling drugs, the court papers state.

Pictured are two rocks of crystal meth.PHIL WALTER/GETTY IMAGESPictured are two rocks of crystal meth.

“Finding only candy, including the Jolly Rancher candy mentioned, the officers repeatedly searched Ferreira and Olatunjiojo and told them it was ‘only a matter of time before they found something,’” the suit states.

Sano, 27, standing nearby with his 3-year-old daughter, protested the arrests of his two friends. Officer Diana Pichardo ordered Sano’s arrest and he was allegedly punched in the face by an unidentified cop before all three men were transported to the 60th Precinct station house.

Court documents filed in connection with the drug possession charges against Olatunjiojo and Ferriera asserted that the cops had performed a field test on the candy and it tested positive for a controlled substance. Sano was charged with obstructing government administration. They spent about 24 hours in custody before a judge released them on their own recognizance.

Jolly Rancher Hard CandyA spokesman for the city Law Department said the settlement was in the best interest of all parties.

The NYPD laboratory later concluded the two red and four blue “crystalline rocks of solid material” were not drugs and the case went up in smoke.

After the suit was filed, Smith said he was informed by the city that there was in fact no drug field test performed and that the cops insisted the district attorney’s officer was never told otherwise.

Olatunjiojo and Ferriera will pocket $4,000 each and $25,000 to Sano to settle their claims, according to papers filed last month. Olatunjiojo and Ferriera will receive less because the cops determined during the booking process that there were outstanding bench warrants against them for failing to show up in court for quality of life summonses.

Smith said the summonses were not for drug-related violations.

A spokesman for the city Law Department said the settlement was in the best interest of all parties.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/city-settles-men-arrested-nypd-cops-confused-jolly-ranchers-crystal-meth-article-1.1927186#ixzz3CYG3FK6s

AINT THAT AMERICA!

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No, A Missouri Bar Did Not Advertise A “Mike

Brown Special”

The owner of The Lounge on Main in St. Charles, Mo., told BuzzFeed that the customer responsible for the sign was thrown out and has been banned for life.posted on Aug. 22, 2014, at 6:33 p.m.

Just saw this on fb. Apparently in St. Charles, same place Darren Wilson is from smh

The original image was uploaded to Facebook by Erin Bergeon, who told BuzzFeed that she took the picture at 8:21 p.m. on Thursday night at the back entrance of a bar on St. Charles’ Main Street.

The original image was uploaded to Facebook by Erin Bergeon, who told BuzzFeed that she took the picture at 8:21 p.m. on Thursday night at the back entrance of a bar on St. Charles' Main Street.

Bergeon told BuzzFeed that she didn’t know which bar the sign belonged to because the back entrance faced the parking lot and had no identifying marks on it.

Bergeon told BuzzFeed that she didn't know which bar the sign belonged to because the back entrance faced the parking lot and had no identifying marks on it.

Google Maps: The parking lot behind The Lounge and other businesses. / Via google.com

Twitter users identified the bar as “The Lounge on Main.” When reached for comment, owner Justin Donahue confirmed that the sign had been on display outside his bar, but said it was the work of a customer who was then banned for life.

Twitter users identified the bar as "The Lounge on Main." When reached for comment, owner Justin Donahue confirmed that the sign had been on display outside his bar, but said it was the work of a customer who was then banned for life.

Facebook: The-Lounge

“The parking lot sign is a community sign,” Donahue said. “Lots of times customers write on it — people put jokes on them. Yesterday, the sign was facing away from the bar and everybody inside couldn’t see it.”

"The parking lot sign is a community sign," Donahue said. "Lots of times customers write on it — people put jokes on them. Yesterday, the sign was facing away from the bar and everybody inside couldn't see it."

Via plus.google.com

Donahue said that message was written sometime after he opened the bar Thursday night, while he was at the gym. “It was up for 40 minutes.”

“When I parked my car and went into the bar, I saw the sign and immediately took it down,” Donahue said. “I confronted the customer who did it and asked him to leave the bar and never come back — he’s banned for life.”

He emphasized that the sign doesn’t reflect his establishment or his personal views. “I would be the last person to ever put that message outside my restaurant.”

“I got hacked,” he said. “The sign sits outside my business, someone hacked it, and now people are coming to burn my place down.”

"I got hacked," he said. "The sign sits outside my business, someone hacked it, and now people are coming to burn my place down."

facebook.com

“The irony of the fact is that I have a half-black son,” Donahue said. “We drove through Ferguson yesterday and I was — let me tell you, I would be the last person to joke about Michael Brown.”

Justin Donahue to BuzzFeed

Justin Donahue to BuzzFeed

 Donahue and his son Jackson, who is 4.

DID GOOGLE STREET VIEW PHOTOGRAPHY CAR RUN OVER THIS DOG-AND CATCH COUPLE HAVING SEX?

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Telegraph.co.uk

 Did Google run this dog over with Street View car?

A striking series of images which seem to show a dog being run over by a Street View photography car have been spotted online – sparking an internal investigation

Google Streetview car runs over dog in Chile

Photo: Google Street View

After all, the cars are driven by humans, not Google’s own near-infallible automated driving software.

Now it seems that one of the cars – equipped with sophisticated 360-degree cameras – may have run over a dog on a quiet suburban street in Chile.

As you virtually travel down a road called Meza Bell you can clearly see a yellow dog sprinting in front of the car (in Chile people drive on the right-hand side of the road). Take a step forward along the street and all you can see where you would expect the dog to be is an inconclusive blur.

Further down the road, from the car’s rear-facing cameras, you can see the same dog laying down near the pavement. What happened between those two images, and the eventual fate of the dog, is unknown. But Google is investigating.

A spokesperson told the Telegraph: “We’ve taken security measures and have guidelines in place to protect people, and animals, as we drive thousands of kilometres to bring useful and relevant information to maps users around the world.

“We are reviewing the imagery to try to understand and maybe inform what happened,” they said.

It is not the first time that unusual sights have been caught by Google’s Street View cars. In April last year a young couple was apparently caughthaving sex on the bonnet of a car beside a busy Australian road.

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The relaxed nature of the pair – she waving to the camera, he draining the last gulp from what appears to be a bottle of beer – led many to believe the image was just a prank.

Other highlights have included a superhero napping on a bench in Japan, a mysterious figure wearing a horse mask in Aberdeen and a man with two heads and three legs in Yorkshire.

In 2010 a young girl caused a local panic in Worcester when images of her lying on the pavement led to concerns that there had been a death in the street. It was later confirmed that she had just been playing with friends.

Woman on Madrid plane had 1.7kg coke in breasts

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WOMAN FOUND ON MADRID PLANE WITH COKE IN HER BREASTS

Woman on Madrid plane had 1.7kg coke in breasts

The woman’s breast implants were found to contain 1.7 kilos (3.74 pounds) of cocaine. Breast implant photo: Shutterstock

Woman on Madrid plane had 1.7kg coke in breasts

Published: 15 Aug 2014 13:55 GMT+02:00

Updated: 15 Aug 2014 13:55 GMT+02:00

A Venezuelan woman with 1.7 kilos of cocaine hidden in her breast implants was arrested at Madrid airport after arriving on a flight from Colombia, police said on Friday.
 “During a check of passengers from a plane from Bogota, the gestures and behaviour of a supposed tourist raised the suspicions of narcotics agents,” they said in a statement.

After a baggage search revealed nothing, female officers conducted a body search of the 43-year-old woman and discovered “certain irregularities and deformations in both breasts”.

At that moment, the suspect started to act nervously and “confessed that she was carrying implants with cocaine inside,” the statement said.

The woman was taken to a hospital where the implants were removed and found to contain 1.7 kilos (3.74 pounds) of the drug.

Although unusual, it is not the first time Spanish police have seen drug smugglers using breast implants to try to beat detection.

In December 2012, a Panamanian woman arriving in Barcelona from Bogota was found with 1.4 kilos of cocaine in her fake breasts. Her recent insertion wounds were still bleeding under bandages.

Other techniques have included drugs hidden under wigs, mixed into a cast put on a leg, and shaped and hardened into crockery.

Spain has a special police unit that checks “hot flights” from major drug-trafficking countries.

So far this year, in Madrid airport alone, the squad has seized around 500 kilos of cocaine and six kilos of heroin, and had made 189 arrests.

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