Monthly Archives: July 2018

Burnie’s lost opportunity

Eugenie Bouchard.FORMER prime minister Tony Abbott had better not appear in the stands at the Australian Open.
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It would be too much to swallow to see him enjoy a day at the tennis.

Good tennis is something the people of Braddon would usually get to witness around this time, but not this year.

Mr Abbott was PM when the government failed to provide $430,000 to allow Burnie’s brilliant tennis tournament to be held again this year.

It’s maddening to think about the tournament not being held for a year and the reason for it.

It’s such a stupid waste and a significant loss to a regional city that can ill afford it.

I was spewing onions just recently after hearing Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard speak glowingly of her fond connection to Tassie.

Bouchard was in Hobart competing at the Hobart International where she has just made the quarter-finals.

She’s ranked about 48 in the world and she chose Hobart as the lead-up event to the 2016 Aussie Open.

The reason Bouchard has nice stories to tell about the state is because she won her first pro title in Burnie.

She spoke in Hobart of the great memories of her time playing in Burnie.

It’s probably why she chose to play in Hobart instead of at some other tournaments where she could prepare for the Australian Open just as well.

During a press conference in 2012, Bouchard said she really liked the courts in Burnie.

Asked what she liked about Burnie off the court, Bouchard mentioned how pretty the city was, close to the ocean and how quiet.

She was able to relax, go back to the hotel and prepare for the next day.

The only good news is the Burnie Tennis Club’s Burnie International tennis event will return in 2017, funds forthcoming.

Burnie had hosted the international for the past 13 years until the club was told that over two years the courts had deteriorated beyond an acceptable standard for international tennis.

The club set out and raised $670,000 toward new courts but was unsuccessful in obtaining $430,000 from the feds for the $1.1 million project.

Financial support was gained from the Tasmanian government, Tennis Australia and Burnie City Council.

Tennis Australia has since shown a lot of goodwill, deciding to park the Burnie event for a year and not allow it to go elsewhere.

That said a lot about the way the international event in Burnie had been conducted for a long time.

The goal is still to have new courts completed and bring the Burnie international back in 2017.

Last year, when all this blew up and people were standing around gobsmacked to think the federal funds were not coming, Liberal Braddon MHR Brett Whiteley said the Burnie Tennis Club’s application for funding through the Stronger Regions Fund had his full support. However, he said it was assessed at arm’s length from members of Parliament, as it should be, he said.

That’s code for don’t blame me when you don’t get funding.

But hey, what about the obligatory picture opportunities when funding of this nature is granted?

The Burnie International generated an estimated $850,000 for the local economy each year.

What a waste.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Greyhound Cup day pulls crowd

AMONG the leading lights of the North-West greyhound industry are three women who speak proudly and passionately about their sport.
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At the Devonport Cup for greyhounds are Devonport Greyhound Association president Robyn Johnson (centre) with Cheryl Sutton (left) and Sharon Jones. Picture: Jason Hollister.

For Robyn Johnson, the first woman chairperson of North-West Greyhound Racing Club, fellow committee member Sharon Jones and her mother Cheryl Sutton, a lifelong stalwart of greyhound racing, along with her late husband Gary, there’s no bigger day than Devonport Cup Day.

The Devonport Cup, held on Tuesday, has been around since 1953.

“It’s our biggest day of the year,” Ms Sutton said.

“It’s a family day for us and there are no fascinators in sight,” she said.

There are face painters and a jumping castle for the kids to enjoy.

“It’s a nice day for parents, grandparents, and children and we often see three generations coming,” Mrs Johnson said.

“It’s a very relaxed day for families.

“It’s all about enjoying the atmosphere and the racing as well as the family entertainment.”

With Tuesday’s fine weather the Cup attracted a large weekday crowd of between 250 and 300 racegoers.

The traditional Cup Day luncheon was held upstairs at the Devonport Showground, for 75 invited guests.

Mrs Johnson, an owner and breeder, said the Cup field did not include any interstate entries this year.

She said the dogs that were meant to come from Victoria could not get on a booked out Spirit of Tasmania.

It left an all-Tasmanian field in the Cup but a quality field, she said.

Mrs Johnson said race spectators in Devonport were able to get closer to the action than at some other greyhound tracks.

“Devonport is the only track that’s still got the good atmosphere because of it,” she said.

Speaking about the damage that was done to the image of greyhound racing interstate last year because of shocking animal cruelty matters, Mrs Johnson said it also impacted on the local industry, which was tarnished with the same brush.

Mrs Johnson said the breeding numbers were down nationally.

Mrs Johnson said Tasmania had a clean up of its industry a decade ago which led to changes and improved paperwork and dog trace-ability.

She said the cruelty matters on the mainland led to changes to the industry interstate.

“We’re all proud of the industry we have here and we all love our dogs that are well cared for ,” Mrs Johnson said.

Ms Sutton and Mrs Johnson became well-known nationally as co-owners of Tasmanian superstar and former national champion Buckle Up West, now at stud.

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Tigers jump from last to first in Tamworth T20

ADAM Jones couldn’t believe his luck after leading the TPW Tigers to two T20 victories in as many nights at Riverside to book a spot in the final.
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Tigers skipper Adam Jones led the charge from last to first and is confident they can keep the momentum going until the final on January 29. Photo: Barry Smith 070116BSC08

His smile got even bigger when he realised across the road that season leaders McDonalds were going down to Steggles for the Tigers to pounce on the top spot heading into the Friday, January 29 final.

“Two days ago we were last and we just came off the field in first,” Jones said.

“Two big wins is great momentum to take into the final as well.”

The Tigers proved that they can do it both ways last week, their bowlers rolling Steggles for just 75 on Thursday before the batsmen stepped up on Friday to knock 3-170 out against Halpins.

“I would take 3-170 in any game,” Jones said.

“Our bowling was really good as well and we are holding catches and fielding well.”

Speaking of holding on to catches, the skipper thought that Matt Everett’s glove work behind the stumps was some of the best form he has seen.

“His gloves were exceptional,” he said.

Everett also scored a 35 and an unbeaten 37 over the two days to set up the wins.

“A good keeper is one of the most important picks in these games,” Jones said.

Jones used his first pick to snare former Bective team- mate and greenkeeping apprentice Everett for the Tigers, the keeper-batsman now playing for Cardiff in the Newcastle competition.

“He can keep up close to all our medium pacers and that adds so much pressure to a batsman,” Jones said.

The skipper and keeper combined to hit two half century stands in the final two games opening for the Tigers, and that is where Jones believes these games can be won and lost with both bat and ball.

At the other end is surprise package opening bowler Jinto Joseph, who took 5-13 in the win against Steggles on Thursday, before tieing an end up and taking a few catches on Friday as fellow opener Tait Jordan tore through Halpins’ top order.

“After we scored 170 I told the boys that if we field and bowl well we could wrap it up in the first six overs,” Jones said.

“It is the same with the batting if we can get away to a good start and not losewickets.”

The short form game is all about momentum and, after last week, the Tigers might have the upper hand as they prepare to face off against McDonalds in the final after the golden arches lost their final-round match after being the form team all season.

“We are very excited to play the final this year after missing out for Plasterworks last year,” Jones said.

“We will take plenty from those two big wins as well.”

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Get ready, a scorcher is on the way

HEATWAVE: Weather experts predict the heatwave to peak on Thursday with a top of 41C predicted for Maitland before a cooler 25C expected on Friday.If you think Tuesdaywas warm wait until Thursday when the mercury in Maitland is tipped to nudge a toasty 41 degrees.
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Weather experts forecast a top of 33 degrees for the city on Wednesday, but say Thursdays’s temperature will be even hotter with the Bureau of Meteorology issuing a warning about heatwave ­conditions.

The bureau has advised Hunter ­residents to have a heat wave action plan in place.

People should stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and hot or sugary drinks, limit physical activity and try to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.

The forecast conditions have also prompted NSW Ambulance to issue warnings relating to swimming pools and general water safety.

NSW Ambulance education director Alan Morrison said with temperatures set to rise this means more drowning or near drowning incidents as people flock to the beach, pools, lakes and creeks.

Mr Morrison said there was never a time to be complacent when children and water were involved.

“It only takes a moment for a child to get themselves into trouble around water, so it is vital they are supervised vigilantly at all times,” he said.

Don White of Weatherwatch said Hunter residents had been spoilt with below average temperatures the week before Christmas and then a few moderately warm days over the festive season before the rain events and cooler conditions of last week.

“It has definitely warmed up this week and the hottest day looks to be Thursday at this stage, with the low 40s forecast,” Mr White said.

“We will be back into the mid to low 20s on Friday with a few showers.”

Mr White said the Hunter could also expect possible thundery showers on Thursday.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast a high of 33 degrees on Wednesday, with a 30 per cent chance of showers and the chance of a thunderstorm in the afternoon and early evening.

South-south-easterly winds are forecast in the morning, becoming light in the afternoon.

Thursday’s temperature is tipped to reach 41 degrees with a 40 per cent chance of rain most likely in the evening.

Overnight temperatures expected to dip to the low to mid 20s.

Friday will be cooler with a top of 23 degrees forecast and a 90 per cent chance of rain.

Temperatures over the weekend are also expected to hover around the low to mid 20s.

The days aheadWeather and medical authorities are warning Maitland residents to be prepared with the city’s temperature set to soar into the 40s tomorrow.

The RSPCA has also warned pet owners to provide plenty of food and water for their animals and where possible bring them inside.

The Bureau of Meteorology said there will be no reprieve until late Thursday when temperatures are forecast to drop dramatically.

Wednesdayis expected to reach 33Thursday 41Friday 23Saturday 23Sunday 25This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

WA fires: Donation tins swiped from firey’s car as he tackled South West blaze

The firefighters car was broken into as he tackled the Waroona fire (file picture). Photo: Maridav A charity tin belonging to the RFDS has been stolen.
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Scene outside the Harvey Fire Station on Sunday morning. Some firefighters hadn’t slept more than a few hours since the fire started. Photo: Michael Reynolds

Donation tins collected for the Royal Flying Doctor Service were swiped from a firefighter’s car as he tirelessly battled blazes devastating the South West.

Ben Casaburi, from the Sussex Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade in Busselton, said he was “gutted” thieves had broken into his car on Tuesday morning – which had been securely parked at a gated workplace in Bunbury.

“Who would break into a firefighter’s car while he is away fighting fires?” he said.

“It’s just wrong. It’s a real kick in the…well, it’s a kick in the everything.”

Mr Casaburi, who is also the secretary of the RFDS in Busselton, said someone had smashed the window of his car, stole his car battery and a number of tins full of money for the RFDS.

“My car had been locked away since Thursday and I was staying in accommodation in Collie while I went out to the fires,” he said.

“I haven’t seen the car yet, because I’m out at Waroona, but two other blokes back in Picton said it was broken into. I just can’t believe someone would do that.”

Mr Casaburi, said he didn’t care about the stolen car battery, but was more concerned about the unknown amount of cash as well as 30-odd empty collection tins that were stolen along with the money.

He was hoping if someone found the tins they could return contact the RFDS headquarters based in Perth.

Mr Casaburi said he was completely shattered after tackling a number of blazes since Thursday.

“Everyone has gone the extra hard yard,” he said. “But what happened in Yarloop was crazy.”

He was one of the hundreds of firefighters that had been brought in to fight the fires in the South West, started after a lightning strike on Wednesday.

At least 128 homes, and 143 properties in total, are now believed to have been razed by destructive blaze and police announced on Saturday night they had discovered two bodies in burnt-out Yarloop, aged 73 and 77. 

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Man rides children’s push scooter through Cross City Tunnel

A man and his scooter entered the Cross City Tunnel. Photo: Seven News Drivers were forced to change lanes to overtake the man who occupied one of two lanes. Photo: Channel Seven
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“The individual in question is putting his own life at risk”: Ben Burden from toll-road operator Transurban. Photo: Channel Seven

A man has been publicly shamed after he was filmed riding a children’s scooter without a helmet through one of Sydney’s busiest tunnels.

Dressed in typical office attire, the man disrupted afternoon traffic as he travelled westbound down Sydney’s Cross City Tunnel just before 4pm on Tuesday.

The man occupied the entire lane, propelling himself forward using his right leg, while vehicles slowed down or changed lanes to overtake him.

Brad Burden from toll-road operator Transurban, which operates the Cross City Tunnel, described it as “incredibly dangerous behaviour”.

“The individual in question is putting his own life at risk as well as the other drivers,” Mr Burden told Channel Seven.

Under NSW law, foot scooters, skateboards and rollerblades are banned from roads with a dividing line, median strip or a speed limit greater than 50km/h, or a one-way road with more than one marked lane.

The footage, which appears to be filmed by a passing motorist, was obtained by Channel Seven and Channel Nine.

Witness Alberto Flamingi also hit out at the man’s reckless behaviour.

“I don’t know what this guy was thinking to do that in that place, especially at 4 o’clock,” he told Channel Seven.

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Essendon saga hits BLG footy

The 2012 Essendon Bombers doping saga has already had far reaching consequences – that now includes our local Barossa, Light and Gawler football competition.
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Henry Slattery, a member of the so-called ‘Essendon 34’ playing group from 2012who had been dealing with the fall-out from what has been found to be an illegal supplements program, had been appointed to succeed Nuriootpa premier coach Darren Reeves for the 2016 season, after the incumbent took the role at the Central District SANFL Under 18 role.

Slattery confirmed todaythis sanction means he will be unable to be at the club or in any official capacity with the BLG Tigers in 2016.

“There has been a long stream of phone calls today,” Slattery confirmed.

“I’m still getting my head around the implications from this decision.

“It is pretty numbing really.”

After the ruling was handed down, the AFL Commission backed the Court of Arbitration for Sport decision to suspend this group of Essendon footballers from the 2012 campaign for the 2016 season, changing the dynamic of the AFL competition this year and having far-reaching implications.

The Bombers had 12 players from that year still on their current list and a further five were at other AFL clubs.

Most of the other 17 are still involved with football at other levels of the game, including Slattery, who moved to the Barossa for work last year and played a vital role in the Nuriootpa Tigers premiership success in 2015.

A South Australian state Under 18 player in the Darren Trevena era, who started his SANFL football with the West Adelaide Bloods and the youngest of four siblings to go through the famous Milner Road club, Slattery was recruited by Essendon with selection 46 at the 2004 AFL draft.

Now 29, he played 96 AFL games with Essendon from 2005 to the ill-fated 2012 season.

The following two years he played with the Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL before moving to the BLG Tigers at the beginning of last season.

He was a marquee player in the BLG competition.

His season finished with Slattery first senior premier with Nuriootpa defeated Gawler Central at Kapunda Oval.

Slattery, who was highly respected by his peers, hadn’t intended playing in 2016, but now can’t coach either.

The Nuriootpa Rovers Football Club prime concern is Henry Slattery.

Over the next week the club will work through the implications of what this means for their 2016 BLG season.

None of the 34 former Essendon players can be involved in any official sporting organisation, professional or non-professional, until November 2016.

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WA fires: Julie Bishop visits fire-ravaged South West

Julie Bishop being briefed by emergency services at Waroona Incident Control Centre. Photo: Heather McNeill Yarloop residents are angry they were given minimal warning of the impending fire. Photo: Bunbury Volunteer Bushfire Brigade
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The Yarloop Hotel lies in ruins – as does much of the small WA town.

Yarloop residents ‘given 25 minutes notice’Fears bad weather may harm fire recoveryAuthorities warned about Yarloop’s lack of water in 2015

Federal Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and other dignitaries have visited fire-ravaged towns in regional Western Australia to announce additional financial assistance for those who have lost their homes and businesses.

The funding relief came on Tuesday as residents from Yarloop were able to return to their small South West town for the first time since fire tore through it destroying 128 houses and killing two people.

Ms Bishop was joined at the Waroona Incident Control Centre by Federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan who announced those most impacted by the fires would receive 13 weeks income support plus a one-off payment of $1000 for each adult and $400 for each child.

“These fires are among the most catastrophic that Western Australia has seen in a number of decades,” Ms Bishop said.

“We want to express our deepest sympathy and concerns for the communities and the people who have been affected by the fires that have been experienced in this region over the past week.

“We are not out of the danger zone yet and we’ve been advised that given the weather conditions that are upcoming there is still some considerable concern.”

The additional relief funding is on top of the $1 million already committed by the state government to assist families impacted by the fire.

Mr Keenan did not rule out offering further Commonwealth assistance to help rebuild Yarloop, but said it was too soon to determine what assistance may be required.

State Emergency Services for WA, Minister Joe Francis, said a decision on whether to rebuild the town would be made after consultation with residents.

“The [state] government point of view is it’s a community conversation that has to take place… I think perhaps it’s a bit early…  we’ll offer them whatever support they’ll need,” he said.

Following criticism that residents in Yarloop were only given 25 minutes to evacuate, Mr Francis fiercely defended the efforts of fire and emergency crews but announced a review of the incident would be independently carried out.

“[The firefighters] are heartbroken, as is everyone, that people have lost their lives,” he said.

“There is only so many fire trucks in the state of Western Australia, and there are only so many one side of the fire and the rest on the other side of the fire.”

Mr Francis said the review would be broad, independent and completed in a timely manner.

“We want to learn from any mistakes that may have been made,” he said.

“Having said that… the volunteer community made the best calls with the information they had on hand at the time.

“They would not have let a town burn unless they had done everything possible to defend it.”

More than 1100 homes in the area remain without power as Western Power revealed on Tuesday it may take weeks to repair the unprecedented damage done to its powerlines and other infrastructure.

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Josh Hodgson insists there’s ‘no need to worry’ about his Canberra future

Hodgson was a revelation in his first NRL season last year and the 26-year-old is the last key piece of the puzzle to lock up after a raft of player re-signings over the off-season. Photo: Bradley Kanaris Hodgson was a revelation in his first NRL season last year and the 26-year-old is the last key piece of the puzzle to lock up after a raft of player re-signings over the off-season. Photo: Rohan Thomson
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A new contract for Canberra Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson seems a fait accompli with the English rake adamant “there’s no reason for anyone to worry” about his future at the club.

Hodgson was a revelation in his first NRL season last year and the 26-year-old is the last key piece of the puzzle to lock up after a raft of player re-signings over the off-season.

Fresh from helping England to a series win over New Zealand, Hodgson isn’t going anywhere but isn’t in any rush to get a deal done.

“I don’t know what the panic is really, I’m happy here and I’ll talk to the club in good time,” he said.

“I won’t be asking around or knocking on doors to go anywhere else.

“There’s still a long season ahead and enough time to sit down and have a conversation about how long I’m staying here for.

“I’ve not spoken yet [to the club], but there’s no reason for anyone to worry.”

The Raiders have hooker options in Kurt Baptiste and Newcastle recruit Adam Clydsdale, but Hodgson’s ability to play other positions could give the Raiders flexibility given interchanges have been cut from 10 to eight, and if injuries arise during games.

“We’re fortunate with Hodgso he can play other positions,” Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said.

“We can still have a hooker on the bench for Josh, because he can also play seven-six or he can play lock.

“Having eight interchange and even going to six which is the speculation, having the ability to play in the halves or at lock gives you that utility value, and you can have fresh legs coming on into nine.”

Hodgson is working on becoming an 80 minute hooker, a goal he achieved in a handful of games toward the end of last season.

“Obviously I’ll have to see how the body feels when we play in the reduced interchanges and the shot clocks [before scrums and line dropouts] this year,” Hodgson said.

“I like to stay on the field as much as possible so if that’s an option I’d definitely like to do that.

“But I’ve always said if it’s best for the team for me to come off and have a breather for 20 or 30 minutes, whatever helps us get the win.”

Canberra’s much-improved depth even has captain Jarrod Croker looking over his shoulder.

The centre needs 91 points to beat David Furner’s club point scoring record, but he highlighted the rise of youngster Brenko Lee as a reason to avoid complacency.

“Brenko Lee is training really well, it keeps me on my toes and it’s the same with everyone else, there’s that much competition,” Croker said.



“We’re looking to start well and we need to win at Canberra Stadium. We want to get the fans back and get the place pumping again.”

The Raiders have been anointed as one of the potential big improvers this year, in particular by Canterbury coach Des Hasler.

But Croker said higher outside expectations wasn’t any different to the goals set behind closed doors.

“There’s going to be expectation and we put it on ourselves, we want to play semi-final football,” Croker said.

“Des is pretty good at throwing the buck onto someone else isn’t he, he’s probably just covering for his own team there.

“People can talk about us all they want, but at the end of the day we just have to go back out there and perform.”

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Rafael Nadal says he used Lleyton Hewitt as an example throughout his career

Lleyton Hewitt says he is embarrassed by all the attention he is receiving on his farewell tour as he prepares for his final Australian Open later this month.
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But the accolades for the two-time grand slam champion keep rolling in, with former world No.1 Rafael Nadal describing the retiring veteran as an “example” he followed throughout his career.

Nadal joined Hewitt in Sydney for the Fast 4 exhibition match on Monday night and after the fun-packed night paid tribute to the 34-year-old’s resilience over a career that spans over two decades.

“He’s just a huge example for me and I think for the kids and everybody,” Nadal said.

“He should be a reference and an inspiration for a lot of new generations. What he did was just amazing because he had amazing success when he was so young, almost a kid, and then he had a lot of injuries and he kept fighting until the end.

“He keep enjoying the sport, kept showing the passion on court every time he was healthy enough to keep on competing and that’s something great. It’s so important that people like him stay involved on the tour in the future and I hope that’s what’s going to happen because it’s great for tennis.”

Hewitt has already played in Hobart, Perth, Sydney this summer, with his farewell tour taking him to his home town of Adelaide on Tuesday night before he arrives in Melbourne for the final grand slam event of his career.

While he admits he was a little uncomfortable with the attention, especially having to do a lap of honour at Allphones Arena, he said: “I guess it’s the last time and I get to say thanks to the fans.

“I’ve had so much support here in Australia and it’s a great way to show my thanks to them. You probably look back on it all after it’s finished. I’ll probably think about it more then and read about it a bit more. Coming from the likes of Rafa and those guys who I have so much time and respect for.

“They’ve done so much for our sport, guys like he and Roger, they’ve been such ambassadors for our sport for so many years now.”

One of the most rewarding reasons for playing on for so long is the fact his eldest child, son Cruz, is now old enough to gain an appreciation for what his father has achieved and get to see him bow out a hero in front of his home fans.

“He’s been pretty happy hanging around Nick … he loves Nick and Rafa and all these guys,” Hewitt said of his son.

“I’ll try to have him next week as part of it for me as well, just the lead-in. It’s pretty special he’s at an age where he can remember all of it. I think he knows it’s my last tournament.

“I don’t know if he understands retirement. I still go out and watch. I kind of joke that I’m a part-time player now and I’ve got a full-time job as more of a coach and mentor.” Sponsored: Australian Open tickets available from just $75 at Queen of Tickets

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