Better.com CEO Fires 900 on Zoom Call, Including Diversity Recruiters

Vishal Garg

Better.com confirmed to The Tennessee Star Monday that it did indeed fire 900 employees on a recent Zoom call. 

“If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off,” CEO Vishal Garg said on the call. “Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”

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Former Georgia GOP Sen. David Perdue Announces Primary Bid Against Gov. Kemp

Former Georgia GOP Sen. David Perdue on Monday announced his primary bid against incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.

In a video announcement Monday, Perdue said Kemp “has failed all of us and cannot win in November.”

Perdue was recruited to challenge Kemp by former President Donald Trump.

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Federal Jury Convicts Pharmacy Owner on Multiple Charges in Prescription Con Topping $174 Million

A federal jury in Greenville, Tennessee, found Peter Bolos of Tampa, Florida guilty on multiple charges. He was charged with 22 counts of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and the introduction of a misbranded drug into interstate commerce. Bolos is set to receive his sentencing on May 19, 2022.

The Department of Justice United States’ Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Tennessee said in a news release that according to evidence, Bolos and his co-conspirators had deceived Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) of more than $174 million dollars. The group was able to deceive Pharmacy Benefit Managers such as CVS Caremark and Express Scripts regarding tens of thousands of prescriptions.

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Commentary: Omicron, a Variant of Control

Last week, I dusted off my Chinese-flu soapbox and said a word or two about (cue the scary music) the Omicron variant. It sounds like the title of a Robert Ludlum novel, doesn’t it? A friend told me about a parlor game that the journalist Christopher Hitchens and his pals used to play in which the object was to contrive names for Shakespeare’s plays that sounded like the title of a Ludlum novel. Hamlet was “The Elsinore Conundrum.” I am sorry that Hitch is not still with us to try his hand at the Omicron variant. 

So far, I have to say, it’s been pretty much of a dud—unless, that is, you’re the stock market, which has taken a beating this last week or so, in part because of this new kid on the medical block (there is also that much more toxic financial emergency, the Biden Administration, but that’s for another day). The new variant has also been a godsend for scolds, nags, bureaucrats, and meddlesome so-called public health officials nannies who are just itching for another excuse to lock down your world, introduce new travel restrictions, and impose new testing protocols.

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Low Income Tennessee Families to Receive $950 in Aid from COVID Relief Funds

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) announced that specific low-income families would receive $950 in aid from COVID relief funding. It said that families who are enrolled in the state’s Family First Program and qualified for the money in October will receive a deposit on their Electronic Benefit Transfer debit cards.

The TDHS said that this money was specifically for caregivers who did not receive other aid such as child care assistance, job training, or transportation support. It explained that these were for cases considered to be child-only. This means a home “where no adult receives Families First benefits themselves and the child living in the household is being raised by relatives instead of the child’s parents.”

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SCOTUS to Consider Maine Religious School Tuition Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments next week in a Maine lawsuit that challenges a state law prohibiting the use of tuition funds for religious education.

A lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice and First Liberty Institute on behalf of several Maine families seeks to overturn a state law that prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars for students to attend religious-based schools. 

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Taxpayer-Funded Critical Race Theory Training Program Draws Criticism

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

Critics are questioning a taxpayer-funded program that trains students in critical race theory.

The backlash comes after The Center Square uncovered federal grant documents from the Department of Education that showed the federal government has awarded millions of dollars to a program that trains future educators in critical race theory.

Experts said the program disproves claims that critical race theory is not being pushed at K-12 schools.

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Cook Political Report Shifts Eight Governor’s Races Toward GOP

Map of America on a laptop screen

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report on Friday shifted eight high-stakes gubernatorial races toward Republicans as Democrats continue to face political headwinds.

Ratings in Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada, three pivotal battleground states, shifted from “Lean Democratic” to “Toss Up.” Each has a first-term Democratic incumbent — Govs. Gretchen Whitmer, Tony Evers and Steve Sisolak, respectively — fighting to win reelection in a state that President Joe Biden won by fewer than four points in 2020.

Other states that saw changes were Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Iowa and South Carolina. While Democrats remain favorites in the first three, Cook noted, the ratings in Iowa and South Carolina both moved from “Likely Republican” to “Solid Republican.”

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Student Shatters Women’s Swimming Records After Switching from Men’s Team

Person swimming

Lia Thomas, a swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, shattered records after transitioning from male to female and joining the women’s team.

Thomas, who is biologically male, competed for three years on the men’s team before moving to the women’s team after transitioning, the Daily Mail reported. NCAA rules require males to undergo at least one year of testosterone suppression treatment before they can compete in the women’s category.

Thomas’s top time for the 500 Free event in the male category was 4:18.72. Thomas won the 500 Free while competing against Villanova and participated in eight regular season events as a male in the 2019-2020 season.

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Taliban Claims They’ve Changed, Declares Men Need Women’s Consent to Marry Them

Young Muslim Couple with Toddler at Masjid al-Haram

The Taliban banned forced marriages in a Friday decree, saying that women are free persons and not property.

“Both (women and men) should be equal,” the decree said, according to ABC News. “No one can force women to marry by coercion or pressure.”

The Taliban ordered courts to allow widows to seek the inheritance of their families and to choose who they marry after their husbands die rather than being forced to marry an in-law, ABC News reported. The Taliban reportedly seeks an end to the practice of forcing women into marriage for money or to settle disputes.

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‘Political Uncertainty’: Energy Firm Abandons Oregon Pipeline Project After Years of Environmentalist Pushback

The newest inflatable pipeline prop had it's debut action at the Capitol in Salem, OR. 350Eugene mobilized the creative imagery joining with people across the state to call on the governor to take concrete action to halt the proposed LNG pipeline and export facility in Jordan Cove. The prop was used to highlight the first life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions analysis and climate impacts of the project from the fracking in Colorado, Wyoming or Canada, to the export facility and the burning of gas overseas. The rally in Salem, Oregon during Lobby Day with Governor Brown and Legislators amplified the call to end the Pacific Connector Pipeline and Terminal plans for Jordan Cove, Coos Bay, Oregon. Activist from all over the state took part with diverse rally speakers, songs, chants, a skit with bobble head Puppet Gov Brown & the actions she must take to halt the project. They walked the pipeline to the Department of State Lands Board building then back to Capitol steps. Photos by 350Eugene, Don Ewing.

Canadian energy firm Pembina Pipeline Corp. pulled the plug on a years-long project that would have led to greater natural gas exports from to Canada to the U.S.

The multi-billion-dollar Jordan Cove project included plans to construct a marine export terminal, which would have been the first of its kind in the continental U.S., and a 230-mile pipeline across Oregon, The Associated Press reported. The terminal would have liquefied up to 1.04 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day for export and hosted two full-containment storage tanks on site, according to previous federal permit records.

But the project, which dates back to 2004, was fiercely opposed by environmentalists while state officials created permitting roadblocks that Pembina struggled to hurdle. In 2020, the Republican-majority Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the project, but the agency rescinded approval in January, upholding Oregon’s rejection of the plans.

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Nashville Metro Health Department Reports High Numbers of Overdoses

Spilled pill bottle on table top with a spoon underneath

The Nashville Metro Health Department (NMHD) released a statement last week regarding an increase in drug-related overdoses. The statement, posted on the Health Department’s Twitter, said there had been an increase in drug-related overdoses, and that overnight there were three overdoses in Hermitage that involved a white powder substance. 

Trevor Henderson, director of the overdose response program, told Fox17 in an interview that while it’s too early to determine what drug was involved with the overdoses, that 75 percent of fatal drug overdoses have involved fentanyl. “It is heartbreaking,” he said, “and to be frank, it’s heartbreaking every single time.” 

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CIA Covered up Staff Sex Crimes Committed Against Minors

CIA logo

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was aware that at least 10 members of its staff committed alleged sex crimes against children, though only one employee was ever prosecuted, according to released documents first reported by BuzzFeed News.

One CIA employee had “inappropriate sexual activity with an unidentified two-year-old girl” and confessed to having sexual relations with a six-year-old, according to internal CIA reports dating from 2004 to 2019 accessed by BuzzFeed through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The employee was fired but never charged.

Another employee allegedly bought pornographic films depicting young girls, while another claimed to have viewed thousands of sexually explicit images of children, according to the documents. These employees also were not charged with any crimes.

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Princeton Students Call out Dean’s Rittenhouse Email for ‘Factual Inaccuracies, Misconstrual, and Virtue Signaling’

Kyle Rittenhouse

Some Princeton university students are pushing back after receiving a politically-charged email from a dean following the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict.

Princeton University students enrolled in the School of Public and International Affairs received a Nov. 20 email, obtained by Campus Reform, titled “Our Moral Duty” from the dean of the school, Dean Amaney Jamal.

“Last August, Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two protestors and wounded a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin. During his trial, he emotionally broke down on the stand, saying he was acting in self-defense. Today, he was acquitted of all six charges against him, including three of which were homicide related,” the email read.

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Commentary: Benjamin Crump Is America’s Premier ‘Racial Justice’ Profiteer

As Benjamin Crump continues to carve out his niche in the legal arena, it is time America recognizes what’s going on. The George Floyd attorney is not a crusader for justice, he’s an opportunistic race profiteer. More sophisticated than the local ambulance chaser—but ambitious in a similarly distasteful way—he scours news reports to find examples of deadly interactions between Americans he can miscast as a racist relics of a bygone era.

In this land of possibility, everyone is free to chart his own course. But what should we make of those who seem only to want to chart a course of decrying and disparaging America?  

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Pennsylvania Governor Blocks Conceal-Carry Without a License

Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed legislation that would have allowed residents to carry a concealed firearm without a license, claiming the measure would exacerbate gun violence in the commonwealth.

“This legislation removes the requirement that an individual obtain a license, and with it, the ability of law enforcement to conduct a background investigation,” Wolf said. “Removal of the licensing background investigation will hinder the ability of law enforcement to prevent individuals who should not be able to carry a firearm concealed from doing so.

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Dozens of Republicans Slam Biden Administration for Considering Crude Oil Export Ban

Texas Rep. August Pfluger and Congressman Roger Williams

A large group of House Republicans penned a letter to top Biden administration officials Friday, urging them not to ban U.S. crude oil exports.

The GOP lawmakers, led by Texas Reps. Roger Williams and August Pfluger, said the move would be a “catastrophic mistake” and further exacerbate high energy prices in the letter addressed to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. The congressmen noted that a previous crude oil export ban had been opposed by Democrats and Republicans alike.

“President Biden’s war on American energy continues with his Administration’s latest discussions to reinstate the export ban on crude oil, which was repealed in 2015 on a bipartisan vote,” Williams said in a statement.

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Missouri Governor Attacks Journalist’s Mask Mandate Reporting, Democrats Push Back

Mike Parson

Democrats used the word “fascism” to describe Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s criticism of a journalist for his story on research conducted by the state health department on mask mandates.

“He’s attacking the press again for doing their job,” state Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, told The Center Square. “This is getting to a point where it’s beyond concerning. When the press points out something your administration is doing wrong, he turns around and attacks them and says they are criminals or liars. It’s a dangerous, dangerous road he’s going down.”

The Missouri Independent reported on Wednesday a freedom of information request found Parson’s office requested in November research from the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) on the effectiveness of masks in St. Louis, St. Louis County, Kansas City and Jackson County. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed lawsuits earlier this year against the municipalities because of their mask mandates.

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Emerson Promotes Professor Who Doubts That Black and White Women Can Be ‘True Friends’

Emerson College is appointing Kim McLarin, an associate professor of creative writing, to serve as the institution’s interim Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies. McLarin has written a number of essays and opinion pieces in which she denigrates White people, particularly White women.

In an article she wrote for the Washington Post, McLarin expressed doubt as to whether Black women and White women could be “true friends”. A New York Times piece she authored details her experience briefly dating a White man in which she ultimately decides to end the relationship because of the man’s race. She also wrote an essay for The Morning News in which she, among other things, argues that Morgan Freeman films are part of an effort by “White America” to “remain at the center of black consciousness.”

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Developing: Trump Goads David Perdue to Take on Gov. Kemp in GOP Primary

The former Republican Georgia senator who lost the January runoff election to Sen. T. Jonathan Ossoff is expected to announce his challenge to Gov. Brian P. Kemp Monday in the May 25 primary, after months of prodding from President Donald J. Trump, setting up a clash of two former allies and another test of Trump’s sway over the GOP.

“Bonnie and I have been praying about our state and I am concerned about the state of our state,” said David A. Perdue Jr., speaking with the host of WDUN’s “The Martha Zoller Show” and teasing his run with an appearance that broadcast a week before Thanksgiving.

The leading Democrat in the race in the party’s 2018 nominee Stacy Abrams, who Wednesday announced her 2022 campaign.

Trump has been angry at Kemp after the governor refused to back efforts to review the 2020 election before it was certified.

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University of Georgia Set to Rename Buildings After Prominent African American Alumni

Following a request from University of Georgia President Jere W. Morehead, members of the University Cabinet voted on Wednesday to recommend renaming two facilities after prominent African American alumni.

The unanimous support would change the name of the Science Library in memory of Shirley Mathis McBay and a new residence hall in honor of Harold A. Black, Mary Blackwell Diallo and Kerry Rushin Miller.

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Wisconsin Gubernatorial Candidate Rebecca Kleefisch Aims to Recruit Hundreds of Republican Poll Workers

Former Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch on Friday announced that her campaign located hundreds of potential new, Republican poll workers.

Kleefisch’s campaign, which identified 600 potential recruits, has sought to have poll workers for each county throughout the state.

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Rejuvenated Virginia GOP Prepares for Future Victories at 2021 Advance

In a weekend that was part play, part work, attendees at the Republican Party of Virginia’s Advance spent weekend networking and attending events including a Friday reception with Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, breakout sessions, a congressional breakfast, a luncheon with Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares, and a 1920s-themed gala and ball featuring Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears. The event was held at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, which provided activities like the Cascades Gorge hike or a hayride. Moods were high as Republicans celebrated Virginia’s sudden-seeming return to swing state status, with more wins expected in future years.

“I encountered a relatively empty shell of an organization in August of 2020. But we have worked together, we have grown, we have expanded, we’ve answered the challenge,” RPV Chairman Rich Anderson said in remarks at the Saturday gala. “Virginia Republicans: we fought! We won! The Virginia GOP is red again.”

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Georgia Power Nuclear Plant Facing More Delays

An expansion of the Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear plant in Waynesboro may be delayed once more.

Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear are building two additional nuclear energy facilities, Plant Vogtle Unit 3 and Unit 4. The project, which started in 2013, is supposed to accommodate the state’s growing population

It has been riddled with delays. Now, construction quality issues and productivity problems may lead to another three-month delay, an independent monitor said Thursday.

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Report: Florida Named the Second-Freest State in U.S.

Only a state with the motto “Live Free or Die” is freer than the Sunshine State. 

That’s according to the nonprofit CATO Institute’s annual Freedom in the 50 States report, which compares states based on different aspects of autonomy and choice in key policy areas. The report uses hundreds of variables to gauge states on fiscal, regulatory and personal terms.

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Seminole Tribe Shuts Down Sports Betting App Amid Legal Disputes

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino entrance

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has temporarily shut down their sports betting app as an appellate court in the District of Columbia denied the tribe’s request to continue sports betting while they are appealing a federal ruling shutting that down the Seminole Gaming Compact.

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Ohio GOP Reformers Reflect on Ohio GOP Central Committee Meeting Paduchik Cut Short

Members of the Ohio Republican Party’s Central Committee, who have been punished for demanding more transparency and accountability, shared with The Ohio Star their thoughts on Friday’s meeting, which ended suddenly with items still on the agenda.

Party Chairman Robert A. Paduchik had gaveled the meeting in recess until two Delaware County Sheriff’s deputies cleared out everyone from the sitting in the two dozen chairs set up in the public gallery and the people standing, who crowded the roped-off space in the back of the room.

Two of the five resolutions on the agenda were left to consider when Paduchik and his allies quickly ended the recess and adjourned the meeting on a voice vote.

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Outrageous Tab: Minnesota School Charges $901,000 for Critical Race Theory Records

AMinnesota school district billed a group $900,000 to fulfill a public records request about Critical Race Theory (CRT) in its curriculum.

A law firm representing parent group Equality in Education filed a records request with Rochester Public Schools in southern Minnesota to disclose materials mentioning CRT, the Daily Caller reported.

Wenyuan Wu tweeted: “Serious ask: is it normal for a Minnesota school district to ask $901k for a public records request on its CRT, DEI, SEL … practices?”

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Florida’s AdventHealth Ends Vaccine Mandate

One of Florida’s largest healthcare providers, AdventHealth, has ended their COVID vaccine mandate for employees. The healthcare network cited the recent federal court ruling to block the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) vaccine mandate.

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Georgia Department of Health Announces First Case of Omicron Variant in the State

Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) officials said Sunday that they have confirmed the first case of COVID-19 caused by the Omicron variant in the state. “The individual recently traveled from South Africa and developed mild symptoms and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. Genomic sequencing confirmed the presence of the Omicron variant,” DPH officials said in an emailed press release.

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Commentary: When Antifa Returns from Winter Break

The 2021-2022 academic college year is nearing completion. Students have quickly forgotten the early apprehensions associated with dorm and housing arrangements, parking permits, class scheduling, and connecting and reconnecting with peers on campus. Winter break has nearly arrived on campus.  But college students across the United States should not forget that Antifa will not be taking a winter break. Their agenda continues to oppose college students seeking knowledge and skill acquisition, job market competitiveness, and related material and social benefits critically important to the “pursuit of happiness.”  These self-professed “anti-Fascists” have planned to do much more than just continue normal operations.

In fact, through publications like CrimethInc (formerly Inside Front) Antifa has boldly asserted that violence, subversion, demoralization, and corruption will be their primary objectives for the academic year.  Empowered by increased funds, new recruits, tactical experience, optimism created by victories won in battles on and off college grounds, and a permissive environment created by an increasingly politicized and defanged police force, these radical socialists are now calling for nothing less than a total undermining of the college system through “an effort to infiltrate and undermine the institutions of power from within.”

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Border Patrol Agents Apprehend Fentanyl, Other Drugs from Suspect Who Attempted to Escape Law Enforcement

Border Patrol agents in the Yuma Sector on Wednesday apprehended drugs and $10,000 in cash from a suspect who attempted to escape law enforcement.

Giang Van Thi Slaughter, who is a Lawfully Admitted Permanent Resident (LAPR), refused to pull over when agents initiated a traffic stop.

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Republicans Hold On to Virginia House Majority After Recount

Republicans officially have control of the Virginia House of Delegates after the state completed its recount of the 85th District, determining that Republican Delegate-elect Karen Greenhalgh defeated incumbent Del. Alex Askew, D-Virginia Beach.

“The recount is over and has confirmed what we knew on Election Day,” Greenhalgh said in a tweet. “I’m grateful for the trust of the 85th District and to those who helped see this victory secured. It’s time to get to work for Virginia Beach. I also want to thank Del. Askew for his service to the Commonwealth.”

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Gov. Walz’s Education Department Lobbied Against Measure to Remove Violent Students from Classrooms

Minnesota schools are struggling with an increase in student violence, yet Gov. Tim Walz’s Department of Education (MDE) lobbied against a measure to quell the chaos.

Rochester schools are “taken over with violence,” a fight between students at Hopkins High School recently left three staff members with injuries, and ISD 728 is accused of not cracking down on student-on-student sexual abuse. Meanwhile, Rochester is banning parents who don’t wear masks from school grounds for a year, a St. Louis Park Catholic school has rolled out a new “social justice algebra” class, and some other schools are moving back to “distance learning.” Critics say that spending time and money on initiatives like these distracts from what schools should be focused on: stopping classroom violence.

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Nashville Mayor John Cooper to Discuss Future of Second Avenue in the Wake of Last Year’s Christmas Day Bombing

Nashville Mayor John Cooper is scheduled to discuss the future of Second Avenue, nearly one year after it and several businesses got bombed on Christmas Day. Cooper is scheduled to join members of his Second Avenue Task Force at 10 a.m. Wednesday, December 8, at The Wildhorse Saloon at 120 Second Avenue in Nashville.

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