Citigroup Said to Be Ousted From ECB FX Group for Rigging

Citigroup/Citibank is well on its way to being tossed-out of the European Union, due to manipulating currency prices, and this is just one of six banks that have been fined in the US and UK for price-fixing. -LW


The European Central Bank ejected Citigroup Inc. (C) from its foreign-exchange market liaison group after the U.S. bank was fined for rigging the institution’s own currency benchmark, two people with knowledge of the move said.

The ECB removed Citigroup from the panel, which advises the central bank on market trends, after regulators fined the lender $1 billion for rigging currency benchmarks including the ECB’s 1:15 p.m. fix, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the decision hasn’t been made public.

Citigroup was one of six banks fined $4.3 billion by U.S. and U.K. regulators last week and is the only one that also sits on the ECB Foreign Exchange Contact Group. About 20 firms with large foreign-currency operations, ranging from Airbus Group NV to Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), sit on the committee. The panel’s agenda includes how to improve currency benchmarks.

Citigroup is the world’s biggest foreign-exchange dealer, with a 16 percent market share, according to a survey by London-based Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc. A spokesman for the New York-based bank declined to comment.

The panel isn’t involved in how the ECB’s daily fix is calculated. Currency benchmarks such as the ECB fix and the WM/Reuters rates are used by asset managers and pension funds to value their holdings, including $3.6 trillion in index tracker funds around the world.

According to documents released with the settlements, senior traders at the firms shared information about their positions with each other and coordinated trading strategies to the detriment of their clients. They’d congregate in electronic chat rooms an hour or so before benchmark rates were set to discuss their orders and how to execute them to their mutual benefit.

$99,000 Profit

In Citigroup’s settlement, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority gave an example of a day when dealers at the bank joined three other firms to manipulate the ECB 1:15 p.m. fix.

The Citigroup trader told the group he had client orders for 200 million euros ($249 million) at the ECB fix rate. By buying the currency for less and then pushing up the rate at which he would offer it to the client, he could make a bigger profit. The others agreed to transfer their buy orders to him and offload any positions that ran counter to his strategy to maximize his chances of success, the FCA said.

Over the 33 seconds around 1:15 p.m., the Citigroup dealer made several transactions, buying 374 million euros for more than the best rate to push up the fix.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

A Citi logo sits outside the offices of Citigroup Inc. in London. Citigroup is the… Read More

The bank made a $99,000 profit on the trades, the FCA said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gavin Finch in London at gfinch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Heather Smith at hsmith26@bloomberg.net Edward Evans

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Buffalo News photographer took stunning snowstorm photos from the sky

These are some amazing photos! -LW


Sometimes it’s nice to get a little perspective.

That’s what Derek Gee, chief photographer at The Buffalo News, gave us on Thursday when he soared high over the Buffalo area to capture the aftermath of Tuesday’s massive snowstorm.

SEE ALSO: Time-lapse shows why New York state is getting pounded with snow

His photos captured a Buffalo-area resident digging a path out from his or her home, a handful of trucks that remain stranded on Interstate 90, rows of cars buried at a dealership, houses that look like igloos and a very snow-covered Ralph Wilson Stadium — home of the Buffalo Bills and current host to more than 220,000 tons of snow.

“This storm has been extremely difficult to cover because the sheer volume of snow makes it impossible to get into the hardest hit areas,” Gee told Mashable in an email. “In order to show our readers what was happening in these areas, we knew we had to be creative. One reporter-photographer team hired experienced snowmobile drivers to bring them in. Another photographer finally made it to the Thruway in a convoy with the governor. A fortuitous break in the weather today offered just the right conditions to fly over the community.”

The approach his team chose was a simple one: “To show the regions with the most snow and the places with the most news value. As the eye of our readers, it’s my job to bring them places and see things they wouldn’t normally be able to see,” Gee said. Check out a few select photos, below, and you can view the full gallery on BuffaloNews.com.

Snowvember-aerial-photos-1

A resident in Depew, New York, digs out after a massive lake-effect snowstorm blanketed the region.

IMAGE: DEREK GEE/THE BUFFALO NEWS

 

Snowvember-aerial-photos-2

Trucks remain stranded on Interstate 90 outside Buffalo on Wednesday, Nov. 19. Officials asked motorists to stay off the roads, but many didn’t heed the warning. As a result, dozens spent the night in their cars awaiting rescue — including the band Interpol — and documenting their long, cold nights on social media.

IMAGE: DEREK GEE/THE BUFFALO NEWS

 

Snowvember-aerial-photos-3

Test drives are likely suspended for a few days at a dealership in Orchard Park, New York, as nearly 7 feet of snow was dumped on the area.

IMAGE: DEREK GEE/THE BUFFALO NEWS

 

Snowvember-aerial-photos-4

These snow-capped houses in West Seneca, New York, could be mistaken for igloos if you didn’t know any better. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he fears “roof collapses” could be a lingering issue for residents in the region. “First we were worried about getting people off the roads — 7 feet of snow, the plows aren’t even effective. Now we’re having the secondary issues of roof collapses, people with no heat, structure failures — and we’re looking at another 2 to 3 feet of snow today and warming on the weekend, which can potentially bring flooding as the snow melts. So this is a very long episode,” he said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday.

IMAGE: DEREK GEE/THE BUFFALO NEWS

 

Snowvember-aerial-photos-5

This is Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park; it is totally buried in snow. Local news reports said more than 220,000 tons of snow will need to be removed in time for Sunday’s game, and the building is in need of volunteers. Snow-moving heroes will be rewarded with free tickets.

IMAGE: DEREK GEE/THE BUFFALO NEWS

Show As Gallery

Communities just south of Buffalo, New York, are barely beginning to recover after a deadly blitz of more than 5 feet of snow fell like a smart bomb, with pinpoint precision, on Tuesday into Wednesday. Still, more heavy snow is on the way.

But the National Weather Service forecast office in Buffalo has narrowed the areas most likely to see more than 30 inches of snow through Friday, largely excluding the locations that saw the blitz of 40 to 65 inches fall on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Additional reporting by Andrew Freedman .

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Caesar Obama

Has Obama invoked an open rebellion with his executive action on immigration?


Pat Buchanan: Amnesty will make U.S. the Third World country of BHO’s dreams

Asserting a legal and constitutional authority he himself said he did not have, President Obama is going rogue, issuing an executive amnesty to 4 to 5 million illegal aliens.

He will order the U.S. government not to enforce the law against these 5 million and declare that they are to be exempt from deportation and granted green cards.

Where did Obama get his 4-5 million figure, not 2-4 million, or 5-7 million? Nowhere in law, but plucked out of his own mind, as to what he can get away with. Barack Obama just felt it was about right.

Thus does our constitutional law professor-president “faithfully execute” the laws of the United States he has twice swore to uphold?

Our rogue president has crossed an historic line, and so has the republic. Future presidents will cite the “Obama precedent” when they declare they will henceforth not enforce this or that law, because of a prior commitment to some noisy constituency.

We have just taken a monumental step away from republicanism toward Caesarism. For this is rule by diktat, the rejection of which sparked the American Revolution.

The political, psychological and moral effects of Obama’s action will be dramatic. Sheriffs, border patrol and immigration authorities, who have put their lives on the line to secure our broken borders, have been made to look like fools. Resentment and cynicism over Obama’s action will be deeply corrosive to all law enforcement.

Businessmen who obeyed the law and refused to hire illegals, hiring Americans and legal immigrants instead, and following U.S. and state law on taxes, wages and withholding, also look like fools today.

Obama’s action makes winners of the scofflaws and hustlers.

Bosses who hired illegals off the books will also receive de facto amnesty. La Raza is celebrating. But, make no mistake, a corrupt corporate crowd is also publicly relieved and privately elated.

Immigrants who waited in line for years to come to America, and those waiting still, have egg on their faces. Why, they are saying to themselves, were we so stupid as to obey U.S. laws, when it is the border-jumpers who are now on the way to residency and citizenship?

When the world hears of the Obama amnesty, millions more from Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East will be coming. And if they cannot get in legally, they will walk in, or fly in, and overstay their visas. Why not? It works.

That this action will be as much a part of Obama’s legacy as Obamacare is certain. The unanswered question is how the Obama amnesty will be remembered by history. His aides think that it will be seen as a second Emancipation Proclamation. Perhaps.

But with this amnesty Obama takes custody of and responsibility for the entire illegal population. He is the patron saint of illegal aliens. And for what they do, he will be held accountable, as was Jimmy Carter for the Marielitos Castro sent and Carter welcomed.

If the amnestied illegals contribute to the drug trade and violent crime, that will be Obama’s legacy to his country. If they turn up disproportionately on the welfare rolls, exploding state and federal deficits, that will be Obama’s legacy.

If this amnesty is followed by a new invasion across the border America cannot control, that, too, will be Obama’s gift to his countrymen.

One wonders. Will poor and working class blacks and whites, Hispanics and Asians, welcome this unleashed competition from the amnestied illegals, for jobs where the wages never seem to rise?

In the four decades before JFK, the nation had a pause in legal immigration. During that pause, the Germans, Irish, Italians, Jews, Poles, Greeks and Slav immigrants who had come in from 1890-1920, and their children and grandchildren, were fully assimilated. They had become not only U.S. citizens, but also identifiably American.

The Melting Pot had worked. We had become one nation and one people, almost all speaking the same language, and steeped in the same history, heroes, culture, literature and faiths.

Today, in 2014, after an influx of perhaps 50 million in 50 years, legal and illegal, no longer from Northwest Europe, or Europe at all, but Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, of every race, color, creed, culture and language, we seem less a nation than some mammoth Mall of America. An economy, but not a country.

Running in 2008, Obama said he intended to become a “transformational president.” With this decision, he succeeds.

He has accelerated and ensured the remaking of America. Now when the wives and children of the illegals arrive, and their extended families apply for and receive visas, and bring their wives and children, we will become the Third World country of Obama’s dream, no more a Western nation.

But then, the community organizer did not much like that old America.

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Anonymous: KKK members may have infiltrated Ferguson cop support group

RT has some extensive coverage of Anonymous and their on-going battle with the KKK. It seems Anonymous has connected the KKK to the whole mess in Ferguson, Missouri. The KKK hasn’t really been in the news since the 1970s. Why would they threaten “lethal force” if there is an outbreak of violence after the grand jury decision? 


Reuters/Adrees A. Latif

Reuters/Adrees A. Latif

The latest move in its cyber battle against the Ku Klux Klan, the hacktivist group Anonymous claimed to identify three members of the Klan at a recent rally in support of Wilson. A grand jury is currently deliberating whether to hand down an indictment of Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown, who was killed on August 9. That decision is expected any day.Anonymous claims it has identified members of the Ku Klux Klan at a support group rally for police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed a black teen in Ferguson, Missouri. Following the expose, the support group removed the photograph from Facebook.

The Anonymous cyber conflict started during the weekend, when the group seized two of the KKK’s twitter accounts after the white supremacist group issued flyers threatening the use of “lethal force” should violence erupt following the grand jury decision.

Another group, dubbed “Now” – which is part of Anon Cop Watch – started an exposure campaign when they thought they had identified unmasked members of the KKK at a Wilson support rally, and circulated photographs with the “unhooded” Klan members. One of them appears to be Frank Ancona, Imperial Wizard of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Missouri, and the man behind the recent fliers.

READ MORE: Anonymous: Campaign against ‘terrorist group’ KKK will continue

RT reported earlier that Anonymous published a statement by way of the affected Twitter account, @KuKluxKlanUSA, explaining the status of the headline-grabbing operation launched over the weekend on November 16.

“Before going any further, we’d like to address our idea of freedom. After exposing Klan members and seizing the Klan’s websites and Twitter accounts, Anonymous members faced much criticism regarding freedom,” the message reads in part.“Anonymous stands for freedom, so why would we strip someone of his or her freedom of speech? The Ku Klux Klan is a terrorist group. The blood of thousands of human beings are on the hands of Klansmen. In most of Anonymous’ member’s eyes, the KKK no longer has the right to express their racist, bigoted opinions.”

READ MORE: #OpKKK: Anonymous hacks KKK websites, Twitter over Ferguson threats

The situation between Anonymous and the KKK is just one of conflicts unfolding in Missouri ahead of the grand jury decision. Governor Jay Nixon declared a State of Emergency and activated the National Guard on Monday, a move seen by many as confirmation that a decision from the Grand Jury is imminent. Prosecutor Bob McCulloch has always maintained that a verdict would be reached by mid to late November.

Leaked reports by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggest the officer will not be indicted, and have only heightened the likelihood of violent reprisals.

READ MORE: KKK rebrand: Blacks, Hispanics, gays & Jews now welcomed by Ku Klux Klan

Leaked reports by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggest the officer will not be indicted, and have only heightened the likelihood of violent reprisals.

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Related

Russian website posts baby monitor, home camera video from Canada, US

Light Worker 29501:

Now this is bizarre . . .

Originally posted on Global News:

ABOVE: Is someone watching you through your webcam without your knowledge? 

LONDON – A child playing in Bucheon, South Korea. An empty crib in Absecon, New Jersey. Cattle feeding in Behamberg, Austria. Footage from more than 100 countries is being streamed from bedrooms, office buildings, shops, laundromats, stables and barns.

Experts have a message for anyone with a webcam, baby monitor or home security camera: change your password now, because feeds from the cameras are being posted online by a Russian website.

The site takes advantage of the fact that camera users receive default passwords to get devices working – such as “1234.” Many manufacturers also put default passwords online, Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office said Thursday.

READ MORE: Young Canadians lack understanding of online privacy, says study

“The ability to access footage remotely is both an internet camera’s biggest selling point and, if not set up correctly, potentially its biggest security weakness,”…

View original 156 more words

Watch Obama Say Over and Over He Won’t Take Executive Action on Immigration

This is actually a paid message from the Republicans. Should this be such a big deal? -LW

In the past, President Obama has been adamant that he won’t use executive action on immigration reform. To cite just one example, he said in 2010 in an Univision interview:

I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself. We have a system of government that requires the Congress to work with the Executive Branch to make it happen. I’m committed to making it happen, but I’ve gotta have some partners to do it.

Tonight, he’s expected to announce that he will take executive action on immigration. In the video above, the Republican National Committee assembles some of his past soundbites assuring Americans he wouldn’t take that step.

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Related: What You Need to Know About Obama’s Move on Immigration

Transcript: President Obama’s immigration address

Did you listen to President Obama’s Immigration speech? Basically, if you’ve been in the States for over five years, you can stay as long as you pay taxes. -LW


Washington (CNN) – My fellow Americans, tonight, I’d like to talk with you about immigration.

For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities — people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.

But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.

Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their workers good wages and benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.

It’s been this way for decades. And for decades, we haven’t done much about it.

When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system. And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today, we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. And over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it’s been in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.

Meanwhile, I worked with Congress on a comprehensive fix, and last year, 68 Democrats, Republicans, and Independents came together to pass a bipartisan bill in the Senate. It wasn’t perfect. It was a compromise, but it reflected common sense. It would have doubled the number of border patrol agents, while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line. And independent experts said that it would help grow our economy and shrink our deficits.

Had the House of Representatives allowed that kind of a bill a simple yes-or-no vote, it would have passed with support from both parties, and today it would be the law. But for a year and a half now, Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote.

Now, I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common sense law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President — the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican Presidents before me — that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.

Tonight, I am announcing those actions.

First, we’ll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings, and speed the return of those who do cross over.

Second, I will make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed.

Third, we’ll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country.

I want to say more about this third issue, because it generates the most passion and controversy. Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable — especially those who may be dangerous. That’s why, over the past six years, deportations of criminals are up 80 percent. And that’s why we’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mother who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.

But even as we focus on deporting criminals, the fact is, millions of immigrants — in every state, of every race and nationality — will still live here illegally. And let’s be honest — tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn’t being straight with you. It’s also not who we are as Americans. After all, most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard, often in tough, low-paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches. Many of their kids are American-born or spent most of their lives here, and their hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours.

As my predecessor, President Bush, once put it: “They are a part of American life.”

Now here’s the thing: we expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect that those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes — you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.

That’s what this deal is. Now let’s be clear about what it isn’t. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive — only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you.

I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty. Well, it’s not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today — millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time.

That’s the real amnesty — leaving this broken system the way it is. Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. What I’m describing is accountability — a commonsense, middle ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.

The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican President and every single Democratic President for the past half century. And to those Members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill. I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution. And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary. Meanwhile, don’t let a disagreement over a single issue be a dealbreaker on every issue. That’s not how our democracy works, and Congress certainly shouldn’t shut down our government again just because we disagree on this. Americans are tired of gridlock. What our country needs from us right now is a common purpose — a higher purpose.

Most Americans support the types of reforms I’ve talked about tonight. But I understand the disagreements held by many of you at home. Millions of us, myself included, go back generations in this country, with ancestors who put in the painstaking work to become citizens. So we don’t like the notion that anyone might get a free pass to American citizenship. I know that some worry immigration will change the very fabric of who we are, or take our jobs, or stick it to middle-class families at a time when they already feel like they’ve gotten the raw end of the deal for over a decade. I hear these concerns. But that’s not what these steps would do. Our history and the facts show that immigrants are a net plus for our economy and our society. And I believe it’s important that all of us have this debate without impugning each other’s character.

Because for all the back-and-forth of Washington, we have to remember that this debate is about something bigger. It’s about who we are as a country, and who we want to be for future generations.

Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law? Or are we a nation that gives them a chance to make amends, take responsibility, and give their kids a better future?

Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms? Or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?

Are we a nation that educates the world’s best and brightest in our universities, only to send them home to create businesses in countries that compete against us? Or are we a nation that encourages them to stay and create jobs, businesses, and industries right here in America?

That’s what this debate is all about. We need more than politics as usual when it comes to immigration; we need reasoned, thoughtful, compassionate debate that focuses on our hopes, not our fears.

I know the politics of this issue are tough. But let me tell you why I have come to feel so strongly about it. Over the past few years, I have seen the determination of immigrant fathers who worked two or three jobs, without taking a dime from the government, and at risk at any moment of losing it all, just to build a better life for their kids. I’ve seen the heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn’t have the right papers. I’ve seen the courage of students who, except for the circumstances of their birth, are as American as Malia or Sasha; students who bravely come out as undocumented in hopes they could make a difference in a country they love. These people — our neighbors, our classmates, our friends — they did not come here in search of a free ride or an easy life. They came to work, and study, and serve in our military, and above all, contribute to America’s success.

Tomorrow, I’ll travel to Las Vegas and meet with some of these students, including a young woman named Astrid Silva. Astrid was brought to America when she was four years old. Her only possessions were a cross, her doll, and the frilly dress she had on. When she started school, she didn’t speak any English. She caught up to the other kids by reading newspapers and watching PBS, and became a good student. Her father worked in landscaping. Her mother cleaned other people’s homes. They wouldn’t let Astrid apply to a technology magnet school for fear the paperwork would out her as an undocumented immigrant — so she applied behind their back and got in. Still, she mostly lived in the shadows — until her grandmother, who visited every year from Mexico, passed away, and she couldn’t travel to the funeral without risk of being found out and deported. It was around that time she decided to begin advocating for herself and others like her, and today, Astrid Silva is a college student working on her third degree.

Are we a nation that kicks out a striving, hopeful immigrant like Astrid — or are we a nation that finds a way to welcome her in?

Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too.

My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal — that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.

That’s the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That’s the tradition we must uphold. That’s the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this country we love.

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