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‘Not Called in As an Accused,’ ED Officials Tell K Kavitha, Claims Her Team


Reported By: Sherine Elizabeth

Edited By: Abhro Banerjee

Last Updated: March 21, 2023, 10:31 IST

BRS Leader Kavitha at ED headquarters in central Delhi. (Image/PTI)

BRS Leader Kavitha at ED headquarters in central Delhi. (Image/PTI)

Kavitha reportedly asked the ED officials whether they found incriminating evidence on the phone seized from her and sought to know who leaked to the media that she destroyed her phone.

Senior BRS leader K Kavitha was summoned by Enforcement Directorate for the second round of questioning in connection to the liquor policy case on Thursday and was quizzed for nearly 10 hours. Kavitha’s team claimed that during questioning, the central agency officials told her that she was “not called in as an accused”.

Sources close to Kavitha informed that the MLC was made to sit alone in a room for hours and that ED failed to share evidence about her involvement in the case.

A statement by her team mentioned:  “The close to half-a-day-long questioning of the BRS MLC K Kavitha by the officials of the Enforcement Directorate in New Delhi on Monday saw the legislator repeatedly asserting she was innocent and that she was being political targeted at the behest of the ruling party.”

Sources told News18 that Kavitha wanted to know from the ED officials about how they concluded that she was involved in the Delhi Excise policy case but the officials, however, chose not to tell her.

Sources close to Kavitha also disclosed that ED officials had conceded she was not called in for questioning as an “accused person”.

That confirmation came when the BRS leader asked officials if she was being questioned as a witness or as an accused. Sources also said the tone and tenor of ED officers’ questions did not belie the political nature.

As per the demand made by K Kavitha,  the central agency officials had to arrange for audio and video recording of the entire questioning process. Despite her repeated requests, officials were said to have failed to share any evidence about her involvement in the case.

Sources also confirmed that the Enforcement Directorate’s questions were also said to be on the lines to explore her political relations. Throughout the 11-hour questioning on Monday, ED officials reportedly posed 14 questions to Kavitha, who answered all of them.

It was learnt that Kavitha was not made to confront with any other accused in the case, according to sources close to Kavitha.

“Though some officials had earlier leaked information to a section of media that the BRS legislator will be confronted with several other accused persons in the case, it is now confirmed that she was kept alone in a room for many hours and was not made to confront anyone else,” said the statement by K Kavitha’s team

Further, K kavitha’s team claimed the officials had arrived nearly one hour after she reached the office to record her statement. Kavitha reportedly asked the ED officials whether they found incriminating evidence on the phone seized from her and sought to know who leaked to the media that she destroyed her phone.

The BRS leader had also demanded to know why was the Central agency in such a hurry to question her, despite a case filed by her being scheduled for hearing in the Supreme court on March 24.

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Crimea: Ukraine hints it hit Russian missiles in occupied Crimea


KYIV: Ukraine’s military intelligence agency reported what appeared to be a brazen attack late Monday on Russian cruise missiles being transported by train in the occupied and illegally annexed Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula.
The region’s Russian-appointed governor reported an incident in the area of the same Crimean town, Dzhankoi in the northern part of the peninsula, though he did not mention cruise missiles as an attack target.
None of the reports could be independently verified.
A vague statement by the Ukrainian military agency, posted on its website, said multiple Kalibr cruise missiles were destroyed by an explosion, without explicitly saying Ukraine was responsible or what weapon had been used. It said the missiles were being carried by rail and were destined for submarine launch.
The agency implied the Kyiv government was responsible by saying the explosion destroying the missiles continues “the process of Russia‘s demilitarisation and prepares the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea for de-occupation.”
In a pre-cursor to last year’s full invasion of Ukraine, Russia in 2014 seized Crimea, then annexed the peninsula in a move that many countries condemned as illegal. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to re-capture all the Ukrainian land Russia now occupies, including Crimea.
A possible indication of a Ukrainian attack came from the Russian-appointed governor of Crimea, Sergei Aksenov. He said on social media that anti-aircraft weapons were fired in the vicinity of Dzhankoi, where Ukraine’s intelligence agency said the cruise missiles were destroyed.
Aksenov said falling debris injured one person and damaged a home and a store. His report did not mention that cruise missiles were hit, specify why the anti-aircraft weapons were fired or whether the injury and damage were caused by debris from the anti-aircraft weapons or from an object that was shot down.
Unconfirmed social media reports claimed Russia’s anti-aircraft defences shot down drones.
Throughout the current war, reports have surfaced of attacks on Russian military bases, assassinations and other targets in Crimea, with Ukraine rarely, if ever, explicitly claiming responsibility but welcoming such incidents.
These incidents in Crimea and other areas of Russia far from the war’s front lines have exposed major weaknesses in Russia’s defenses, and embarrassed Russian President Vladimir Putin, who reportedly believed the invasion would be quick and easy.

Ukraine: US announces $350 million in ammunition and supplies for Ukraine


WASHINGTON: The US announced $350 million in ammunition, river boats and other equipment for Ukraine’s military as part of a broader effort by the country’s allies to keep it from running out of artillery shells and missiles in the face of Russia’s invasion.
Among the supplies announced Monday was ammunition for HIMARS rocket-launcher systems and howitzers, as well as for Bradley infantry vehicles, secretary of state Antony Blinken said in a statement. Anti-tank weapons are also being sent.
“This week, as Russia’s unconscionable war of aggression against Ukraine continues at great human cost, we are again reminded of the boundless courage and steadfast resolve of the Ukrainian people, and the strong support for Ukraine across the international community,” Blinken said.
The aid falls under the Presidential Drawdown Authority, meaning it comes from current US stocks. Ammunition has become an urgent need for Ukraine, which is currently using on average 60,000 and as many as 210,000 rounds of ammunition per month.
Earlier Monday, European Union envoys agreed to a plan to back spending €1 billion from the bloc’s European Peace Facility to jointly buy ammunition. They backed spending another €1 billion from the same fund to reimburse what member states send from their own existing stockpiles of both modern and Soviet-era ammunition to Ukraine.

New York City braces for Donald Trump indictment after ex-president urges protests


NEW YORK: Workers erected barricades around a Manhattan courthouse on Monday as New York City braced for a possible indictment of Donald Trump over an alleged hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 campaign.
It would be the first-ever criminal case against any US president. On Saturday, Trump urged followers on social media to protest what he said was his looming arrest.
In his call for protests, Trump raised concerns for law enforcement that supporters might engage in violence similar to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol in Washington.
Fearing a trap, however, several far-right grassroots groups have opted not to heed his call, security analysts said.
A grand jury, which heard further testimony on Monday, could bring charges as soon as this week. Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the White House again in 2024, had predicted he would be arrested on Tuesday.
On Monday the grand jury heard from a witness, lawyer Robert Costello, who said Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen had handled the hush-money payments without Trump’s involvement.
“Michael Cohen decided on his own – that’s what he told us – on his own, to see if he could take care of this,” Costello told reporters after testifying to the grand jury at Trump’s lawyers’ request.
Cohen, who testified twice before the grand jury, has said publicly Trump directed him to make the payments on Trump’s behalf.
An indictment could hurt Trump’s comeback attempt. Some 44% of Republicans say he should drop out of the presidential race if he is indicted, according to a seven-day Reuters/Ipsos poll that concluded on Monday.
The investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is one of several legal challenges facing Trump. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal campaign finance violations tied to his arranging payments to Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, and another woman in exchange for their silence about affairs they claimed with Trump.
Trump has denied that any such affairs took place
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office had asked that Cohen be available as a rebuttal witness, but he was told on Monday afternoon that his testimony was not needed, according to his lawyer Lanny Davis. Cohen told MSNBC he had not been asked to return on Wednesday.
No sign of unrest
New York Mayor Eric Adams told reporters police were monitoring social media and keeping an eye out for “inappropriate actions” in the city. The New York Police Department said there were no known credible threats.
If charged, Trump would likely have to travel from his Florida home for fingerprinting and other processing. Law enforcement officials met on Monday to discuss the logistics, several media outlets reported.
Sources have said Bragg’s office was presenting evidence to a grand jury about a $130,000 payment made to Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign.
Trump’s fellow Republicans have widely criticized the probe as politically motivated.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Trump’s rival for the Republican presidential nomination, said on Monday Bragg was imposing a “political agenda” that compromised the rule of law, but he also took a veiled swipe at Trump.
“I don’t know what goes into paying hush money to a porn star to secure silence over some type of alleged affair,” he told reporters.
Republicans in the US House of Representatives launched an investigation of Bragg’s office with a letter seeking communications, documents and testimony related to the probe.
Trump and other Republicans have also said the Manhattan District Attorney’s office should focus more on tackling crime.
Asked to comment on the letter, a spokesperson for the DA’s office, citing statistics that homicides and shootings were down this year, said:
“We will not be intimidated by attempts to undermine the justice process, nor will we let baseless accusations deter us from fairly applying the law.”
Trump was impeached twice by the House during his presidency, once in 2019 over his conduct regarding Ukraine and again in 2021 over the attack on the US Capitol by his supporters. He was acquitted by the Senate both times.
Several more legal challenges remain
Bragg won a conviction last December against Trump’s business on tax fraud charges.
But legal analysts say the hush-money case may be more difficult. Bragg’s office will have to prove that Trump intended to commit a crime, and his lawyers will likely employ a range of counterattacks to try to get the case dismissed, experts say.
Trump, meanwhile, has to contend with other legal challenges, raising the possibility he will have to shuttle between campaign stops and courtrooms before the November 2024 election.
Trump’s lawyers on Monday asked a Georgia court to quash a special grand jury report detailing its investigation into his alleged efforts to overturn his 2020 statewide election defeat.
The filing in Fulton County Superior Court also seeks to have the county district attorney, Fani Willis, recused from the case, arguing her media appearances and social media posts demonstrated bias against Trump.
Trump is also seeking to delay a civil fraud trial, scheduled for October 2, brought by the New York attorney general that alleges a decade-long scheme to manipulate the value of his assets to win better terms from bankers and insurers.
Trump faces two civil trials involving former magazine columnist E Jean Carroll, who claims that Trump defamed her by denying he raped her. A federal judge on Monday denied a request from both sides to combine the two cases into one.

IPCC synthesis report endorses India’s call for climate justice and equity: Bhupender Yadav | India News


NEW DELHI: India on Monday welcomed the IPCC’s synthesis report, saying it confirmed climate change as one of the key environmental challenges facing humanity and endorsed the country’s call for “equity and climate justice”.
Articulating India’s point on the synthesis report which integrated findings of all earlier six reports of the IPCC post-2015, environment minister Bhupender Yadav said, “The Report echoes the vision of ‘Mission LiFE’ launched PM Narendra Modi in October, 2022 and the call for a global mass movement under ‘Mission LiFE’ for inducing behavioural changes focused on ‘mindful and deliberate utilization’ of resources.”
He said the report reaffirmed the role of unequal historical and ongoing contributions to GHG emissions. “Role of unsustainable lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production have been emphasized along with unsustainable energy use,” said Yadav
The minister referred to the points made by the IPCC in its summary for policymakers (SPM) where it said that many options are available for reducing emission-intensive consumption, including through “behavioural and lifestyle changes”, with co-benefits for societal well-being.
Yadav also referred to the points of finance and adaptation gap where the SPM said that the critical adaptation gaps exist which are expected to widen at current rates and called for rapidly ramping up global finance flows for adaptation, targeting developing countries.


The report, in fact, draws attention to the fact that the largest climate finance gaps are in developing countries. “Scientists confirmed that financial support from developed to developing countries is a critical enabler of climate action highlighting that current flows are inadequate. This includes the promised-but-never-received US $100 billion,” said Yadav.
The IPCC before coming out with its synthesis report reviewed 6,841 comments and thousands of reference materials from across the globe. Total 93 authors from 40 countries, including from India, were involved in compiling the report. Thirty-seven of them were from developing countries while 56 from developed nations.
Overall, the authors had collectively assessed more than 1 lakh literature and over 3 lakh comments for compiling all the reports of the sixth assessment report (AR6) cycle.
The synthesis report integrates the main findings of the AR6 cycle based on contributions from the three Working Groups, and the three Special Reports. It recognises the interdependence of climate, ecosystems and biodiversity, and human societies; the value of diverse forms of knowledge; and the close linkages between climate change adaptation, mitigation, ecosystem health, human well-being and sustainable development, and reflects the increasing diversity of actors involved in climate action.
“The report re-emphasizes India’s consistently held position that development is our first defense against climate change and that urgent and rapid climate actions are needed by the developed countries based on the principles of climate justice and equity, both in terms of emissions reduction and the mobilizing of finance and making available the latest technology to the developing countries,” said Yadav.
The report reinforces the scientific view that CO2 is the primary GHG and needs to be drastically reduced. The report mentions that for every 1000 GtCO2 emitted by human activity, global surface temperature rises by 0.45°C (best estimate, with a likely range from 0.27 to 0.63°C). The remaining carbon budgets from the beginning of 2020 are 500 GtCO2 for a 50% likelihood of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and 1150 GtCO2 for a 67% likelihood of limiting warming to below 2°C. Reaching net zero CO2 or GHG emissions primarily requires deep and rapid reductions in gross emissions of CO2, as well as substantial reductions of non-CO2 GHG emissions.
As the report noted that the adverse impacts from human-induced climate change will continue to intensify, and the vulnerability to impacts of climate change in the near term are strongly dependent on levels of development, and exposure to extreme weather and climate events which will increase at higher warming levels, the minister said, “These findings underline India’s position that we must focus on sustainable development.”

IND vs AUS 3rd ODI: Mitchell Starc threat looms large as India face Australia in ODI series finale | Cricket News


CHENNAI: Scores of 39/4 and 49/5 after 10 overs aren’t quite what one is used to seeing in ODIs on Indian belters, especially when the home team is batting. But that’s exactly how things panned out in Mumbai and Vizag against Australia. Though the situation could be managed at the Wankhede, things spiralled out of control in the second ODI.
India’s colossal collapse on Sunday has set the stage up for a ‘final’ at the Chepauk on Wednesday and the chief architect behind this dramatic denouement is Aussie tearaway Mitchell Starc.
India’s much-vaunted top-order has been unable to deal with the pace and swing he has generated. With figures of 3/49 and 5/53, he has shaped up into a serious headache for India ahead of the midweek blockbuster.
The Chepauk pitch, which will be the home for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL starting later this month, is likely to be a traditional made-to-order slow track, primarily prepared with the franchise in mind. But Starc has the ability to take the pitch out of the equation with his pace and swing. And with the humidity and sea breeze around, there is every chance he will make the ball talk yet again on Wednesday.


“Starc has the ability to bring the ball back at the right-hander at a pace of 145 kmph. His action is also round-arm and pacers like that — be it Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga or Waqar Younis — have always been successful against India,” former India pacer L Balaji told TOI.

While the incoming ball has been a huge problem for the likes of Virat Kohli and Suryakumar Yadav — who has got two back-to-back golden ducks — Starc also has the ability to take one away from the right-hander as a surprise delivery. Rohit Sharma mentioned about that delivery after India’s loss in Vizag and it’s his opening partner Shubman Gill, who has fallen to that trap in both the games.


The talented opener has looked to play the expansive drive away from the body and has ended up giving catches in the gully region.
“The only way to deal with a pacer like that is to play him late. Let the ball do whatever it wants to do and then play the shot,” Balaji said.


The other option, as pointed out by Sunil Gavaskar during an analysis after the second ODI, is to try and play Starc as straight as possible, especially in the first few overs.
“The tendency to play across the line against that kind of pace so early can cause a few problems,” Gavaskar said.
Balaji, with all his experience of playing at the Chepauk, feels India can just try and be cautious against Starc in the first few overs.

India’s top 5 lowest scores

“It’s a matter of two or three overs. If the top-order can go through that period, Starc can leak runs because the ball won’t do that much when the pacer tries to pitch it up, because that’s his natural style. Later in the innings, reverse swing can come into the equation but by then the runs should be on the board,” Balaji said.
The Indian think-tank, too, would be trying to find ways to deal with this threat before it turns into a menace, especially with the teams slotted to meet each other for a bigger prize in June. And who knows, even in November as well!

Cricket Batsmen.

Murdoch: Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, 92, engaged for 5 th time, says this would be his last


WASHINGTON: Conservative media tycoon Rupert Murdoch will tie the knot for the fifth time, at the age of 92 years, he said Monday in an interview with his own newspaper, the New York Post.
Murdoch is engaged to Ann Lesley Smith, a 66-year-old former police chaplain in San Francisco and widow of American country singer and media executive Chester Smith.
“I was very nervous. I dreaded falling in love — but I knew this would be my last. It better be,” he told the tabloid. “I’m happy.”
Murdoch divorced his fourth wife, model Jerry Hall, last year after six years of marriage.
The Australian Murdoch, whose media empire includes The Wall Street Journal, Fox News and other influential outlets, is worth more than $20 billion, according to Forbes.
Murdoch met his new fiancee last year at an event he hosted at his vineyard in California and soon enough the pair decided to spend “the second half of our lives together,” the tycoon was quoted as saying.
“In perspective, it’s not my first rodeo. Getting near 70 means being in the last half,” said Smith. “I waited for the right time. Friends are happy for me.”
The wedding will take place this summer and the couple plans to split their time between the United States and Britain.
Murdoch, who has six children, was first married to Patricia Booker, an Australian flight attendant, whom he divorced in the late 1960s.
He and his second wife, Anna, a newspaper reporter, were together more than 30 years before divorcing in 1999. His third marriage to Wendi Deng ended in 2013.

‘It’s time’: Coach Stead calls for separate coaches for New Zealand teams | Cricket News


New Zealand head coach Gary Stead says it is time for the Black Caps to have separate coaches for their Test and white ball teams. Stead further added that separate coaches guiding the different teams will help ease the demands on staff.
Stead has held both roles since succeeding Mike Hesson in 2018, guiding New Zealand to the final of the 50-over 2019 World Cup and the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) title in 2021.
“I think it’s time that we do need to split off and look at it. I think the modern game is becoming very, very tough for players and coaches to try and sustain everything across that whole period of time and New Zealand Cricket and I are definitely talking about that as an option,” the 51-year-old told reporters in Wellington on Tuesday.
New Zealand capped the home Test summer on Monday with an innings and 58-run win over Sri Lanka to sweep the series 2-0. New Zealand’s WTC title defence is already over but they won their last three Tests of the cycle and can look forward to the next championship with optimism.

cricket match2

Stead will now turn his attention to coaching the Black Caps in three ODIs and three T20Is against Sri Lanka starting at Eden Park on Saturday, with a slew of regulars such as Kane Williamson absent to play in the Indian Premier League.
Stead hopes to continue coaching New Zealand when his contract expires after this year’s ODI World Cup in India.
Stead suggested his preference was to continue coaching the Test team if still in charge when the squad assembles for a tour of Bangladesh after the World Cup in October-November.
However, he said he would not rule himself out of the job if New Zealand Cricket wanted him to continue overseeing the white ball teams as well.
Despite the comprehensive series win over Sri Lanka, New Zealand’s bowling depth remains a concern following Trent Boult and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme’s decisions to opt out of their national contracts.

cricket match

Kyle Jamieson is recovering from back surgery while 37-year-old fellow paceman Neil Wagner is sidelined with a serious hamstring strain and carried a back problem through the home summer.
None of New Zealand’s fast bowling reinforcements offered a compelling case for their retention, though Blair Tickner battled hard against the Wellington wind to take 3-84 in Sri Lanka’s second innings on Monday.
Selectors opted against calling up Boult for the home Test series against England and Sri Lanka, and Stead said it was still too early to confirm the former pace spearhead would join New Zealand’s bid for a first 50-over World Cup title in India.
“Trent and I will be talking in the near future before he goes to the IPL and just trying to, I guess, work out where we both lie with expectations as well,” he said.
(With inputs from Reuters)

Imran claims he could be targeted during court depositions, requests chief justice to allow him to appear virtually


LAHORE: Pakistan‘s ousted prime minister Imran Khan has requested the country’s chief justice to allow him to join court proceedings through a video link in cases lodged against him, claiming he could be killed if he deposes physically.
In a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Atta Bandial on Monday, the embattled PTI chief also urged him to club the cases registered against him.
“A death trap was laid out at the Federal Judicial Complex, Islamabad on Saturday last where I had to attend a hearing in the Toshakhana gifts case. Some 20 namaloom afraad (unknown people) — a reference to intelligence agencies men — were present in the complex to kill me,” Khan said during an address to the nation on Monday.
He also played a video which showed the purported suspects in plainclothes present in the judicial complex carrying plastic handcuffs.
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) alleged these men planned to strangulate Khan with the rope they were holding.
The PTI chief requested the CJP to investigate as how these 20 or so “unknown people” managed to enter the high security zone (judicial complex). “In fact they were stationed there to kill me.”
“if I keep being exposed like this then it won’t take too long for them to kill me,” Khan said.
Referring to social media trends in Pakistan against the army leadership, Khan said, “Attempts are being made to pit my party against the army and at the same time the PMLN-led coalition government is trying its best to turn the army against me and PTI.”
There had been clashes between the law-enforcement agencies and PTI workers in Lahore and Islamabad during court appearances and attempt to arrest Imran Khan over the past one week.
Scores of PTI workers and policemen have been injured in these clashes. Police have arrested more than 300 PTI workers from Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad and slapped terrorism charges on them.
The cricketer-turned-politician has also been booked in close to 100 cases facing charges like terrorism, murder, blasphemy, attempted murder and treason.
All these cases have been instituted against Khan during the last 11 months when the PMLN-led government came to power after ousting him through a vote of no confidence.

Amid AAP vs Centre Over Delhi Budget, a Reply from Amit Shah’s Ministry


At News18 India's 'Chaupal', Arvind Kejriwal accused Centre of resorting to 'gundagardi'.

At News18 India’s ‘Chaupal’, Arvind Kejriwal accused Centre of resorting to ‘gundagardi’.

AAP vs Centre War of Words: The Union home ministry’s statement comes after CM Kejriwal, speaking at a News18 event, said that it was for the first time in the history of the country that a budget of a government was put on hold

The Union home ministry has said that a reply from Arvind Kejriwal-led government on Delhi budget is “awaited for the last four days”. L-G VK Saxena had raised some concerns regarding fiscal interest. While the action sought should be immediate, the AAP government is yet to submit its reply, the ministry stated.

The Union home ministry’s statement comes after CM Kejriwal, speaking at a News18 event, said that it was for the first time in the history of the country that a budget of a government was put on hold. A video clip of his speech, accusing the Centre of “gundagardi” was also tweeted by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs told News18 that draft budget only had 20% allocation for capital expenditure, which is inadequate for Delhi since it is the capital of the country.

“Kejriwal government has doubled expenditure on advertising in last two years. And hence, the L-G sought a clarification on it. L-G has also sought to know why benefits for central government schemes like ‘Ayushmaan Bharat’ were being denied to Delhiites,” the sources added.

In an official statement, the MHA said, “The Annual Financial Statement (Budget) for the year 2023-23 and the second and last batch of Supplementary Demands for the year 2022-23 was received in the Ministry of Home Affairs, under the provisions of Section 27(1) and Section 30(1) of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 for the previous sanction of the President of India for laying it before the Legislative Assembly of Delhi.”

“The Lieutenant Governor, Delhi, had raised certain concerns of administrative nature on the proposed Budget, keeping in view the fiscal interest of the National Capital Territory on which MHA vide its letter dated 17.03.2023 has requested GNCTD to resubmit the Budget addressing these concerns for taking further action. The reply from GNCTD is awaited for last four days. For the benefit of the people of Delhi, the GNCTD should submit reply immediately,” the statement further read.

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