Canada: Quebec law bans niqab, burka

By Barry Ellsworth


TRENTON, Ont. (AA): Muslim women will be forced to remove their face coverings and burkas to access public services, including riding a bus, under a new law passed Wednesday by the Quebec National Assembly.

Bill 62, known as the religious neutrality legislation, forbids public workers and those who wish to access a public service from wearing a face covering, including the niqab and burka. Public workers include teachers, day care workers and doctors.

The bill was introduced in 2015 but was shelved after the shooting at a Quebec City mosque, where six Muslims died while at prayer Jan. 29.

The government wants to keep deep separation between state and religion – to reduce the presence of conspicuous religious symbols in public. It is considered a fundamental Quebec value that the state not promote religion.

Quebec Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee said the law is necessary for “communication reasons, identification reasons and security reasons.

“This is a bill about le vivre ensemble [living together in harmony], it’s a bill about guidelines and clearly establishes the neutrality of the state,” Vallee said.

But the Canadian Council of Muslim Women’s Samaa Elibyari said the law is disturbing because it focuses on Muslims.

“It gives the impression that we are a problem,” Elibyari said.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has criticized the bill and said the province has no right to tell city workers what to wear.

He also worried about employees like bus drivers telling riders they have to remove anything that covers their faces before boarding a municipal bus.

Vallee said a woman wearing a niqab or burka would have to remove the clothing while using public transit.

Guidelines on how to apply the law and who will do it will be phased in by the end of next June, after consultations with groups, Vallee said.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims said it is studying its options, including the possibility of a court challenge.

Vallee said she expected the bill to be tested.

“In every piece of legislation, there’s a risk of it being contested by those who don’t agree with it, she said.

Coderre said there could be tense situations, particularly on buses.

“We have niqab police as bus drivers?â he said. “Will we refuse to provide them services if they are freezing with their children?”

Officials said the Muslim community would have an opportunity to give opinions on the face covering ban in the near future but it is possible to apply for an exemption.

And those who provide spiritual guidance are exempted.

Others have said the new law will not stand up to a legal challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Beyond the face-covering ban, the law sets out broad limits for all requests for religious accommodation.

It says a request has to be €œserious,” respect the right to equality between men and women and “the right of every person to be treated without discrimination.”

The law also details under what circumstances employers and schools should refuse requests for time off for religious reason.

The new law also bars subsidized daycares from teaching children specific religious beliefs.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Quebec National Assembly by Paul VanDerWerf/Creative Commons]

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Palestine: Israel detains 2 Palestinian journalists, bringing number in prison to 24

By Qais Abu Samra


RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA): Israeli forces on Wednesday detained two Palestinian journalists in the occupied West Bank, bringing the total number of Palestinian reporters now languishing in Israeli prisons to 24, according to a Palestinian NGO.

In a statement, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said that Israeli security personnel had detained two journalists working for Trans Media, a Palestinian media firm, during an army raid in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Earlier Wednesday, Israel’s Military Authority in the Occupied Territories (COGAT) confirmed it had recently raided eight Palestinian companies suspected of “inciting violence” against Israel.

Israel shut them down under direct military orders, in addition to confiscating equipment.

Some of the invaded agencies are Ramsat, Trans Media and Pal Media, which the military confiscated their broadcast equipment and many machines, for providing services to Palestinian TV stations such as Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds.

According to official Palestinian statistics, Israel currently holds some 6,500 Palestinian prisoners, most of whom hail from the occupied West Bank.

Additional report from Imemc

[Archive Photo: Palestinian journalist looks at damaged office at her radio station Minber-el-Hurriye which was shut down and equipment seized by Israeli army in Hebron on 3 November 2015. Photographer: Wisam Hashlamoun/AA]

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Afghanistan: Multiple gun-and-bomb attacks kill over 70

By Shadi Khan Saif


KABUL, Afghanistan (AA): More than 70 people, including the provincial police chief were killed in multiple gun-and-bomb attacks in southeastern Paktia and central Ghazni provinces on Tuesday, officials said.

The initial twin attack in Paktia took place when the militants attacked the regional police headquarters at around 9.00 a.m. local time (0ᑮ GMT) in the province, less than 100 miles (161 kilometers) from capital Kabul.

The militants used a truck and an armored vehicle stolen from security forces to carry out the bomb attack that left 41 people, including police chief Brig. Gen. Toryali Abdiani dead and more than 100 wounded, Deputy Governor Hidayatullah Hamidi told Anadolu Agency.

According to officials, a large number of Paktia University students and civilians, who were present near the police headquarters for collecting their identity cards and passports, were also among the victims.

Deputy Interior Minister Gen. Murad Ali Murad told journalists in Kabul thatಕ civilians were among the dead in Paktia blasts.

In a statement, the Ministry of Interior in Kabul said seven militants took part in the attack; two carried out the bombings and the rest of the attackers engaged with the police in armed clashes.

Special police units later overpowered the remaining five attackers, the statement added.

Bordering Pakistan’s restive North Waziristan tribal agency, Paktia province of Afghanistan is the birthplace of the Taliban’s Haqqani Network.

Ghazni attack

In a statement published on Twitter, Zabihullah Mujahed, the Taliban spokesman, claimed the Paktia attack and said the special police unit was the prime target; up to 450 policemen were living in the headquarters at the time of the attack.

The Taliban carried out another attack in central Ghazni province, also less than 100 miles (161 kilometers) from the capital.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the provincial administration said militants blew up an armored vehicle at the entrance of Andar district administration in the wee hours, and later engaged in a gunfight.

Up to 30 people, mostly policemen, were killed, the statement added.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed gave a higher death toll, claiming 44 policemen had been killed in the Ghazni attack while large cache of arms and ammunition were also seized.

The deputy interior minister said the enemies and their foreign backers were under immense pressure from the Afghan and allied forces, which was why they had chosen this time for such attacks when efforts for peace talks were gaining momentum.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the attack.

“We learned with sorrow that police officers and civilians were killed and many more were wounded in an attack perpetrated against a police-training center in Paktia province in east of Afghanistan,” the ministry said in a statement.

-Attacks amid drone strikes

“We condemn this terrorist attack, wish Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives, speedy recovery to the wounded, and convey our condolences to the brotherly government and people of Afghanistan,” the statement added.

Pakistani Foreign Office also condemned the attack and expressed grief over the loss of lives.

“We are deeply saddened and grieved at the loss of precious lives in the dastardly attack. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones in this brutal terrorist attack and to the Government and the people of Afghanistan,” it said in a statement.

The latest attacks in Afghanistan come after several U.S. drone strikes were reported in the country and neighboring Pakistan.

At least two drone strikes were carried out in eastern Nangarhar province bordering Pakistan’s restive tribal agency Tuesday.

Hazrat Hussain, spokesman for the police headquarters in Jalalabad city, told Anadolu Agency that one of the strikes had killed 11 suspected members of the Lashkar-e-Islam faction based in Afghanistan’s Achin district. This was followed by another drone strike in the Nazyano district where 12 suspected pro-Daesh militants were killed, Hussain added.

According to Pakistani daily Express Tribune, a drone strike on a house in Lower Kurram Agency near the Pak-Afghan border on Monday killed at least five suspected militants.

One of the slain suspect was identified by local officials as militant commander Sangeen Wali Shah, the daily added.

[Archive Photo: Explosion site in Kabul targeting bus with police cadets killing many on 30 June 20ǰ. Photographer: Haroon Sabawoon/AA]

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Myanmar: Mass destruction continues in Rakhine says rights body

By Kubra Chohan


(AA): According to newly released satellite images, at least 288 Muslim villages have been partially or totally destroyed by fire in Myanmar’s Rakhine State since Aug. 25, the Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

The rights group said they monitored and analyzed 866 villages in Maungdaw, Rathedaung, and Buthidaung townships in Rakhine and found that the most damaged area was Maungdaw, adding the destruction encompassed tens of thousands of structures, primarily homes inhabited by ethnic Rohingya Muslims.

“These latest satellite images show why over half a million Rohingya fled to Bangladesh in just four weeks,” said HRW’s deputy Asia director Phil Robertson.

“The Burmese military destroyed hundreds of Rohingya villages while committing killings, rapes, and other crimes against humanity that forced Rohingya to flee for their lives.”

The HRW said that 62 percent of all villages in Maungdaw township were either partially or completely destroyed, with about 90 percent of the destruction happening between Aug. 25 and Sept. 25.

The group noted that at least 66 villages were burned after Sept. 5, which was announced by Myanmarâ€s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi as the date on which the security force operations ended.

Robertson said the “shocking images of destruction” in Myanmar and “burgeoning refugee camps in Bangladesh” were “two sides of the same coin of human misery being inflicted on the Rohingya”.

“Concerned governments need to urgently press for an end to abuses against the Rohingya and ensure that humanitarian aid reaches everyone in need,” he added.

Since Aug. 25, some 582,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages.

According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

[Photo: Rohingya Muslim mother with her child fleeing ongoing military operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, crossing the border in Palongkhalii of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on October 16, 2017. Photographer: Stringer/AA]

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Myanmar: 12 dead as boat carrying Rohingya Muslims sinks near Bangladesh

By Mutasim Billah


DHAKA, Bangladesh(AA): Twelve Rohingya Muslims, including six children, drowned after their boat capsized as they fled Myanmar, Bangladeshi police said Monday.

Moinuddin Chowdhury, the senior officer at Teknaf police station, which lies on the Bangladeshi side of the mouth of the River Naf, said a further six people were thought missing.

The Bangladesh Coast Guard and border guards had been searching for survivors and bodies since Sunday night’s incident.

“So far 12 dead bodies have been recovered and 21 people were rescued alive with the help of local people,” Coast Guard Capt. Shahidul Islam told Anadolu Agency.

“Carrying additional people in a small wooden fishing boat may be one of the reason for the capsizing.”

According to TV channel NTV, at leastಞ boats carrying Rohingya refugees have floundered in the river, which divides Bangladesh from the western Myanmar state of Rakhine, since Aug. 25, resulting in around 200 deaths.

In that period, around 536,000 Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh, according to the UN, as they fled a brutal military clampdown.

The operation has seen security forces and Buddhist mobs kill civilians, including women and children, loot homes and torch Rohingya villages.

Last month, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali said around 3ꯠ Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

[Photo: Large group of Rohingya Muslims fleeing from ongoing military operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, try to cross the border in Palongkhalii of Coxâ€s Bazar, Bangladesh on October 16, 2017. Photgrapher: Stringer/AA]

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Somalia: Death toll from Mogadishu truck bombing rises to 270

By Mohammed Dhaysane


MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA):The death toll from Saturday’s suicide bombing in the Somali capital Mogadishu has climbed to well above 270, with just as many or more injured, a federal member of parliament said Sunday.

MP Mahad Salad said in a statement posted on his official Facebook page that 2Ǿ had been killed in the attack, based on his visits to local hospitals.

From visits to Medina Hospital and Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital — a jointly run Turkish-Somali facility — Salad wrote: “There are 2Ǿ dead in these two hospitals alone, 130 of them unrecognizable. This is a national disaster.”

Of more than 300 people wounded, 30 sustained life-threatening injuries, he added.

Senator Ahmed, deputy speaker of the upper house of Parliament, wrote on his Facebook page that the director of one hospital had told him at least 130 bodies there were burned beyond recognition.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed announced three days of mourning. He donated blood for the victims and asked his fellow citizens to do the same.

œToday’s horrific attack proves our enemy would stop nothing to cause our people pain and suffering. Let’s unite against terror,” Mr. Mohamed said on Twitter. “Time to unite and pray together. Terror won€™t win.

“The truck exploded at the KM5 injunction,” also known as Zobe, Ali Mohamed, a policeman at the scene, told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

“The explosion caused massive destruction to buildings, including shops, restaurants, and hotels, and civilian vehicles were in flames.”

Omar Ibrahim, 25, a driver and eyewitness, told Anadolu Agency “I saw huge destruction and dead bodies lying around the scene.”

Security forces, ambulances, and government officials reached the site as emergence services were still treating casualties, another eyewitness told Anadolu Agency.

No group has claimed responsibility.

As Ankara sent air ambulances with medical supplies to take the critically injured to Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the attack.

In a message to Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, Erdogan said: “I condemn this attack targeting security and stability in Somalia in the strongest terms.”

He added that Turkey remains committed to standing by the government and people of Somalia against terrorism.

Last month Turkey opened a military base to train soldiers in the Horn of Africa nation, its largest base outside Turkish soil.

Saturday’s suicide truck attack at the capital Mogadishu’s busiest intersection destroyed buildings, restaurants, and hotels.

Farmajo and Somalia’s prime minister also called on the public to donate blood at hospitals, setting the example by doing so themselves.

“It was the deadliest explosion in Somali history,” Abdisalam Yusuf Guled, former deputy director of Somalia’s Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), told Anadolu Agency.

“There will be no accurate accounting of the deceased, injured, or missing anytime soon because there are no facilities in place. But given the time, location, and the magnitude of the explosion, I will not be surprised if the numbers reach into the hundreds.”

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo:  Scene of a massive explosion is seen in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia on October 14, 2017. Photographer: Sadak Mohamed/AA]

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Iraqi military launched operation in Kirkuk

By Idris Okuducu and Haydar Hadi


BAGHDAD,ERBIL,KIRKUK, Iraq (AA): Clashes between Iraqi security forces and Peshmerga were reported in the Taza Khurmatu town south of Kirkuk on Monday.

The Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Security Agency announced early Monday that their security forces began an operation to take military bases and oil wells from the Peshmerga.

A statement on the Twitter account of the Security Agency said that Iraqi forces and the pro-government Hashd al-Shaabi militia started at Tuz Khormato to take full action.

Additionally according to the statement the purpose of the launched operation is to enter the city of Kirkuk to take the ‘K1 Military Base†and oil wells which are under the control of the Peshmerga.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Peshmerga commander Salar Teymur said that the Iraqi forces and Hashd al-Shaabi militia opened fire at their positions.

Teymur stated that the Peshmerga responded to the fire by the Iraqi forces.

The clashes between the two sides continue, he added.

Earlier Monday KRG president Masoud Barzani ordered the Peshmerga not to open fire against the Iraqi forces.

Barzani’s chief aide Hemin Hawrami said on his Twitter account that the KRG president ordered the Peshmerga not to be the party who starts the conflict.

Hawrami stated that in case of an attack by the Iraqi forces, Barzani gave the Peshmerga ‘the green light’ to use any kind of force to defend themselves.

Earlier the Iraqi Prime Minister ordered the armed forces to protect the safety of all components in Kirkuk, Iraqi state television said on Monday.

“Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the armed forces to protect the life and safety of all components in Kirkuk,” the news on the state run television said.

To ensure security in Kirkuk, al-Abadi also wanted the cooperation of the people in the city and the Peshmerga.

The news also said that the anti-terror-branch, the 9th Brigade and the federal police gained control over a broader range in Kirkuk without conflicts.

“Hashd al-Shaabi under the Joint Operations Command, also offers support for the armed forces outside Kirkuk,” al-Abadi was quoted in the news.

In June 2014, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces took a number of strategic positions in Kirkuk when the Daesh terrorist group swept through northern Iraq and the army collapsed.

Tension has been on the rise between Erbil and Baghdad since last month when the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) held a controversial referendum on the independence of the Kurdish region.

The Sept. 25 illegitimate referendum has faced strong opposition from most regional and international actors †including the U.S., Turkey, and Iran — who warned that the poll would distract from Iraq’s fight against terrorism and further destabilize the region.

The Iraqi parliament has approved a set of measures against the Kurdish region, including the deployment of federal forces in disputed areas, including Kirkuk.

[Photo:  Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani (R) and President of Iraq Fuad Masum (L) meet with Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) party and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) politburo members at a hotel in Dokan district of Suleymaniyah in Iraq on October 15, 2017. Photographer: Feriq Fereç/AA]

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Central African Republic: Christian attack on mosque kills 20

By Sylvestre Krock and Felix Nkambeh Tih


BANGUI, Central African Republic (AA): More than 20 Muslims were killed in a mosque in the Central African Republic’s southeast during Friday prayers, community leaders said Saturday.

“The victims were at the mosque when Anti-balaka militants stormed the mosque, killing at least 20 worshipers,” said Abdouraman Bornou, a local community leader.

The incident took place at the Djimbi Mosque, in the country’s southeast.

Ousman Mahamat, a Muslim community leader, said, “what has just happened in Djimbi is devastating.”

Since 썝, thousands of people have been killed in sectarian conflict in the country, and thousands have fled their homes to seek refuge in neighboring countries, including Cameroon and Chad.

In a 2015 report, Amnesty International has estimated that more than 5,000 people, most of them civilians, have died in sectarian violence in the Central African Republic despite the presence of international forces.

The country’s UN peacekeeping mission, the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic or MINUSCA, strongly condemned the attack.

”The violence resulted in the death of several members of the Muslim community. MINUSCA and the government of the Central African Republic will dispatch a joint mission to Kembe in the coming hours to take stock of the situation on the ground,” said a MINUSCA statement.

”MINUSCA deplores the wave of violence … which has resulted in several casualties, including peacekeepers. These acts of violence have contributed to the increase in the number of displaced persons and paralyzed humanitarian work.”

Seleka versus Anti-balaka

Violence erupted in the central African state in 2013, when Muslim Seleka rebels ousted then-President Francois Bozize, a Christian leader, who himself came to power in a 2003 coup.

Fierce fighting has continued between Muslim Seleka and Christian Anti-balaka rebels.

The Anti-balaka militia is made up of people from the southern and western part of the country, who are mostly Christians. The insurgent group identifies itself as a Christian militia.

It surfaced in 2013 as a self-defense group to fight against the Seleka militia that ousted Bozize, and is dominated by his supporters.
Some former members of the nations armed forces who remained loyal to Bozize belong to the group.

The Seleka is an alliance of several armed groups from the majority-Muslim northeastern part of the country.

Almost half of the country’s population depends on humanitarian assistance, according to the UN Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs.

[Archive Photo: Central Mosque in Bangui, Central African Republic during Pope Francis visit on 30 November 2015. Photographer: Herve Serefio/AA]

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Somalia: Suicide attack kills over 30, wounds dozens in Mogadishu

By Mohammed Dhaysane and Hassan Istilla


MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA): Over 30 people were killed, dozens wounded when a truck full of explosives exploded at the busiest intersection in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday afternoon, police said.

“The truck exploded at the KM5 injunction,” also known as Zobe, Ali Mohamed, a policeman at the scene, told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

“The explosion caused massive destruction to buildings, including shops, restaurants, and hotels, and civilian vehicles were in flames.â€

He described the suicide truck attack as largest and deadliest attack in the recent history of the Horn of Africa nation.

Omar Ibrahim, 25, a driver and eyewitness, told Anadolu Agency I saw huge destruction and dead bodies lying around the scene.”

Security forces, ambulances, and government officials reached the site as emergence services were still treating casualties, another eyewitness told Anadolu Agency.

Local media reported that the death toll had risen to 50 people, but that figure is unconfirmed.

No group has yet claimed responsibly for the attack, but insurgent group al-Shabaab had claimed recent attacks in Somalia.

Turkey condemned the attack late on Saturday.

â€We strongly condemn the terrorist attack perpetrated today (October 14) in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, with bomb-laden vehicle causing numerous civilian deaths and injuries,” Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.

The statement also wished Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives in the attack and a speedy recovery to the wounded.

“Turkey renews its strong solidarity with the Government and people of Somalia in the wake of the said terrorist attack occurring in a period in which significant progress has been achieved to ensure stability in Somalia,” it added.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation also condemned the attack.

In a written statement, Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen wished Allah’s mercy upon those who lost their lives in the attack which was against the security and stability of the region.

The organization supports Somali government in building peace, stability and development in the country, the statement added.

[Photo:  People carry bomb attack victims from the scene in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia on October 14, 2017.
Photographer: Sadak Mohamed/AA]

Article source:Ǿ-wounds-dozens-mogadishu/

Azeri MP slams EU politicians over anti-Muslim rhetoric

By Omer Aydin


STRASBOURG, France, (AA) – An Azeri lawmaker accused European politicians Thursday of using the Daesh terrorist organization as an excuse to spread anti-Muslim propaganda.

Ganire Pashayeva, part of the Azeri delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and a member of Azerbaijan’s Parliament, spoke at PACE’s autumn session in Strasbourg on behalf of the Free Democrats Group.

She reminded the group that Daesh is an international terrorist organization.

“So there are people from various nations and different religions in this organization. For this reason, there should not be given an opportunity to those who see Daesh as a terrorist organization consisting of only Muslims and those who aim to create negative thoughts against Muslims. I object to the calls of some European politicians against Islam and Muslims by pretending it is the doings of Daesh.”

Pashayeva said she visited Syrian refugees near the Turkish border with Syria and Iraq, the people there expected more help from Europe.

She said Daesh damaged local people as well as Muslims in the region.

“The rise of anti-Islam thoughts in Europe annoys all of us, and we all together should make efforts against it,” she said.

Pashayeva also thanked Turkey for combating Daesh and hosting over 3 million Syrians and providing all kinds of support to them.

She also called on Europe to pay attention to the oppression faced by Turkmens in Bayirbucak and Mount Turkmen in northwestern Syria.

Turkey hosts 3.2 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world, according to official figures.

Ankara has spent more than $25 billion helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.

Syria has remained locked in that vicious battle since 썛. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed by the conflict and millions more displaced, according to UN figures.

[Photo: Strasbourg European Union Parliament. Photographer: Ahmed J Versi/The Muslim News]

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