News & Commentary:

June 2002 Archives


Bretton Woods Update 28
Bretton Woods Project May/Jun 2002
NGOs discuss perils of Bank engagement following mines review meeting, On the road to 'Qatar-naskis', World Bank/IMF meetings attract praise and protests, WB land reform: "land for whoever can buy it", Success of Brazilian land reform contested, and more.

Optimism for Global Rebound Relies on United States
Latin Focus Jun 2002
The optimism about a global economic recovery continues to mount but so far hinges mainly on a recovery in the United States. Japan is seen to remain mired in recession this year and even the recovery next year comes close to what other nations define as recession. Europe, which last year experienced a less pronounced slump than the United States will experience a more modest rebound, trailing behind the US in scope and timing. Latin America stands to profit from the global upswing but recession will hit Argentina hard, as the government continues its struggle to hammer out a viable strategy to steer the economy clear from plummeting demand and rising inflation. Meanwhile, the political situation has stabilised in Venezuela and President Chavez has reshuffled his cabinet to improve relations with the domestic business community and investors abroad.

Pollyanna Meets Cassandra
Bill Keller (NYT) Jun 1, 2002
Those welfare-to-work reforms changed the politics of poverty. Is something similar happening to our attitude toward the rest of the world's poor?

Trade Differences Dog WSSD PrepComm
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 21 Jun 4, 2002
Issues related to trade and finance, including the relationship between multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and WTO rules, continue to deeply divide countries at the fourth and last official preparatory meeting (PrepCom IV, 27 May - 7 Jun, Bali, Indonesia) for the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD, 26 August - 1 September). Fundamental differences are also emerging around the purpose of WSSD and its relationship to the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha (November 2001) and the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey (March 2002). With the high- level segment set to begin on 5 Jun, it now lies in the hands of Ministers whether and how the World Summit can complement and/or go beyond Doha and Monterrey.

Services: Still No Breakthrough On Autonomous Liberalisation
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 21 Jun 4, 2002
At an informal special session of the Council for Trade in Services (CTS) on 29 May, delegates failed for the second time to agree on a Chair's text on modalities for so-called autonomous liberalisation credits. The existing draft Chair's text outlines possible elements for setting up a credit system for Members who unilaterally open up their service sectors outside of the WTO negotiations context. Regarding Services subsidiary body developments, the Working Party on GATS Rules (WPGR) met on 3 Jun to address the question of how to include an emergency safeguard mechanism (ESM) into the General Agreement on Trade in Services. In addition, the Working Party of Domestic Regulation met on 4 Jun to discuss the development of disciplines under the mandate of Article VI:4 of the GATS.

WTO Dispute Settlement: Sardines Panel Sides With Peru
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 21 Jun 4, 2002
In the first ruling to be decided under the WTO's Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), on 29 May a dispute settlement panel decided in favour of Peru over the EC regarding a European ban on the import of Peruvian canned sardines. Also, on 3 May the WTO Dispute Settlement Body agreed to set up a panel to rule on the EC's complaint on US steel safeguards.

Agriculture: Members Warm Up For Mid-Jun Talks On Export Competition
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 21 Jun 4, 2002
At a 3-4 Jun informal prep-up meeting of the WTO Committee on Agriculture (CoA) on export competition, the US called for a five-year deadline to eliminate agricultural export subsidies. This demand comes at a time where the US is being heavily criticised by its trading partners for boosting farm spending by some 80 percent in line with its new farm bill. The informal meeting took place to prepare for the first substantive negotiating session in the modalities phase, to be held from 17-20 Jun.

America and warming
NYT Jun 4, 2002
As it is required to do under international treaty, the Bush administration has sent to the United Nations a report on global warming, and the report is much more pessimistic than the administration's earlier calculations about the environmental damage that unchecked warming could cause. A White House spokesman, Scott Mc-Clellan, said the report is reason "to move forward on the president's strategies for addressing the challenges of climate change." There is only one thing wrong with this picture. President George W. Bush has no serious strategies for climate change.

Investors look beyond U.S.   Recommended!
IHT Jun 5, 2002
Its economy is bouncing back rapidly from the shortest and shallowest recession since World War II, growing an impressive 5.6 percent in the first quarter. So why are big international investors increasingly shifting money out of the United States?

Rebuilding the tiger
John Thornhill (FT) Jun 5, 2002
Five years after East Asia suffered a devastating financial crisis, the region has gone a long way towards imporoving corporate governance.

China tightens controls on internet content
FT Jun 6, 2002
Chinese security authorities announced on Wednesday they had "punished" three of the country's top websites for disseminating "harmful information" at the beginning of a three-month campaign to tighten controls on internet content.

Bononomics Rocks   Recommended!
Jeffrey Sachs (WSJ) Jun 6 2002
Africa is dying. We can do something about it.

The dollar weakens   Economist Subscription Required
Economist Jun 6, 2002
The dollar continued its slide against the world's big currencies, hitting a 17-month low against the euro, as investors dumped their bucks. The dollar held up against the yen, however, after fresh intervention by the Bank of Japan.

Global: Idiosyncratic Risk   Recommended!
Stephen Roach (MSDW) Jun 10, 2002
Recessions always unmask systemic risk -- those inherent flaws in economies that exist under normal operating conditions. What’s different about this downturn is an extraordinary outbreak of idiosyncratic risks -- namely heightened geopolitical instability along with wrenching corporate governance shock in the United States. In my view, the confluence of systemic and idiosyncratic risks could put unrelenting pressure on an overvalued US dollar as the principal means to vent the heightened uncertainty in the global economy and world financial markets. Unfortunately, that would perpetuate the already vicious circle of this post-bubble era.

Murdoch to duel with Blair on euro
FT Jun 11, 2002
Rupert Murdoch will campaign against British entry into the euro in a head-on battle with Tony Blair in the event of a referendum on joinng the single currency. In an interview with the Financial Times, Britain's most influential newspaper Baron positioned himself as a big obstacle to the prime minister's hopes of seeing the UK join the single currency.

Access to medicines: the true story, the state of negotiations
EU DGT Jun 11, 2002
EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy has been at the forefront of the discussion on medicines and intellectual property, especially at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Conference in Doha in 2001. Clearly, there is still a great deal to be done to improve the poorest people's access to essential medicines. The Commission is convinced that solutions can be found if all those involved work together to draw up and implement a response to the problem.

Farm payments dog talks on new members
FT Jun 12, 2002
Foreign ministers from candidate countries for the European Union yesterday forged ahead with enlargement negotiations, determined to conclude their agreements by December's Copenhagen summit.

The recovery myths   Financial Times Subscription Required
Martin Wolf (FT) Jun 12, 2002
The view that the US has now led the world through the worst of the post-boom trough is comforting but false. In truth, the adjustment has barely begun.

Dangers of a Falling Dollar   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
Jesper Koll (AWSJ) Jun 12, 2002
A currency collapse in America is the biggest threat to global economic recovery.

Final WSSD Prep Meeting Breaks Down Over Trade And Finance
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 22 Jun 12, 2002
Delegates at the fourth and last official preparatory meeting (PrepCom IV, 27 May - 7 Jun, Bali, Indonesia) for the forthcoming World Summit in Sustainable Development (WSSD, 26 August - 1 September) fell far short of their intended goal to finalise the Plan of Implementation for WSSD, with issues related to trade and finance, globalisation and the relationship between multilateral environmental agreements and WTO rules proving to be some of the biggest stumbling blocks. Many civil society groups, however, welcomed delegates' failure to finalise the text, saying that an unfinished text was better than a bad deal.

'Right To Food' Pushes FAO Closer To Trade Debate
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 22 Jun 12, 2002
As BRIDGES Weekly went to press, representatives of some 180 nations and the EU were convening in Rome at the 10-13 Jun World Food Summit - Five Years Later (WFS-FYL) held by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). At the meeting, FAO members are committed to reversing current trends away from effective poverty and hunger reduction and to remobilise their political will to halve the number of hungry people by 2015 as formulated at the original WFS in 1996. As a first step to agreeing on possible measures to implement this ambitious goal, heads of delegations have created an Intergovernmental Working Group mandated to establish a "set of voluntary guidelines" for realisation of the right to adequate food as stipulated in the 1996 Rome Declaration. The Summit is also attended by other intergovernmental organisations as well as by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The latter are holding a parallel NGO/Civil Society Organisations (CSO) Forum on Food Sovereignty from 9-13 Jun.

WTO Environment Committee Zeroes In On Scope Of Negotiations
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 22 Jun 12, 2002
The WTO's Committee on Trade and Environment met on 11-12 Jun in a special (negotiating) session where Members focused on the scope of negotiations outlined in paragraph 31(i), (ii) and (iii) of the Doha Declaration. Discussion centred around proposals from Australia, Argentina and Switzerland the US and New Zealand.

Services: No Progress On Horizontal Issues As Members Prepare For Request/Offer
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 22 Jun 12, 2002
From 3-7 Jun, Members convened at the WTO Council for Trade in Services (CTS) and its subsidiary bodies for a short one-week services cluster to advance discussions on sectoral proposals as well as on horizontal issues such as assessment of services liberalisation, credits for autonomous liberalisation, the development of an emergency safeguard measure (ESM) and the development of disciplines for domestic regulation. As expected by observers, Members did not make much progress on the horizontal discussions, because they were busy at their capitals and missions preparing for bilateral sessions, which commence in early July after initial requests have been tabled.

WTO Tech Transfer Group Setting Up Work Programme
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 22 Jun 12, 2002
On 11 Jun, the WTO's Working Group on Trade and Transfer of Technology (WGTTT) met to further discuss a possible work programme for the body. At this second session, Members also heard presentations on country experiences from Brazil and China and had further discussions on two background pieces prepared by the WTO Secretariat surrounding the nexus of trade (and investment) and the process of technology transfer.

Dollar hits 17-month low versus euro
FT Jun 13, 2002
The dollar on Wednesday fell to a 17-month low against the euro, amid continued worries over the outlook for US companies.The euro's rise above $0.95 was fleeting, but rekindled hopes that the currency is now heading back towards parity against the dollar.

U.S. Trade Policy: Canned Heat
FEER Jun 13, 2002
New moves on the tuna trade contradict the notion that to fight poverty is to fight terrorism.

Plutocracy and Politics
Paul Krugman (NYT) Jun 14, 2002
The Gilded Age looked positively egalitarian compared with the concentration of wealth now emerging in America. Pretty soon denial will no longer be possible.

Raising Farm Subsidies, U.S. Widens International Rift
NYT Jun 15, 2002
Less than one month after President Bush signed the new farm bill, agriculture has leaped to near the top of the list of international complaints against the United States.

The Role of Fiscal Policy in Crisis Situations
Flemming Larsen (IMF) Jun 17, 2002
Response to Point de vue de Joseph E. Stiglitz, "L'actualité de Keynes".

The world economy
Economist Jun 17, 2002
After a turbulent week on the world’s stockmarkets, finance ministers from the world’s biggest economies remained resolutely upbeat at their weekend meeting in Canada? Is their optimism justified—or have they underestimated the risk of another global slowdown?

Asia's Argentina?
Gordon G. Chang (AWSJ) Jun 19, 2002
China's leaders are worried as their nation's economy shows all the signs of going from boom to bust.

As EU grows, some fear it will burst
IHT Jun 20, 2002
The planned Eastern enlargement of the Union to 25 members in 2004 and possibly 27 members later in the decade will radically change the politics of language in the EU. Enlargement poses major new problems about how the EU will govern itself, and it aggravates some existing strains within the Union.

CTE Still Struggling With MEA Observer Question
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 23 Jun 20, 2002
On 13-14 June, the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) held its second session for 2002, including an information session with multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). Focusing on the CTE mandate from the Doha Declaration, Members addressed a wide variety of submissions on areas ranging from the MEA-WTO relationship, capacity building and environmental reviews to the interface between the WTO's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and market access. The question of how MEAs could be included as observers in the CTE's special session, which deals with the Doha negotiations on environment, continued to dog discussions around the MEA-WTO interface.

'Development' At WTO Endeavours To Meet Its Deadline
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 23 Jun 20, 2002
The body tasked by WTO Members to review the special and differential treatment (S&D) provisions in the WTO agreements -- which make up the core of 'development' at the WTO -- met informally on 10 June and formally on 14 June. The 10 June informal special session of the Committee on Trade and Development (CTD) met specifically to discuss proposals tabled at its 16 May session by the Africa Group and the Least-Developed Countries (LDCs).

Food Summit: NGOs Stress Primacy Of Food Sovereignty Over Trade
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 23 Jun 20, 2002
Described by one press source as a "low-impact conference", the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) World Food Summit: five years later (10-13 June, Rome, Italy) ended last week with deep divisions over how to achieve the goal set at the 1996 Food Summit of halving the number of hungry people by 2015. In their final statement, civil society groups sharply criticised the outcomes of the Summit as "more of the same failed medicine", calling on governments to shift their focus from trade liberalisation to achieving food sovereignty. Their campaign is set to continue at the upcoming World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD), to be held on 26 August - 4 September in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Climate Change Round-Up
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 23 Jun 20, 2002
Australian Prime Minister John Howard signalled to the world on 5 June that Australia would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), saying it was "not in Australia's interests" to do so. The reasoning behind the decision, he said, was that the "arrangements currently exclude -- and are likely under present settings to continue to exclude -- both developing countries and the US," and that Australia's ratification of the Protocol would cost it jobs and industry. As such, Australia looks set to join the US as one of the key non-ratifiers of a treaty that aims at reducing worldwide emissions of six greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

Euro at two-year high as US data disappoint
FT Jun 21, 2002
The euro reached a two-year high against the dollar after trade data prompted fears the US currency could slump further if investors continued to shy away from US assets.

US trade gap widens to record level
FT Jun 21, 2002
The monthly US trade deficit hit a record $35.9bn in April, according to official data released on Thursday, as the US economy's recovery from last year's global downturn outpaced those of its major trading partners.

Investors Have a Question for Brazil
David Malpass (WSJ) Jun 21, 2002
How to prevent another Argentina.

Managing the euro
Economist Jun 21, 2002
European economic and finance ministers have finally resolved an ugly argument about the controversial stability and growth pact. A meeting which ran on into the early hours ended with an agreement to exempt France from meeting the target of a balanced budget by 2004. Will this fatally undermine the pact?

The G8 summit
Economist Jun 21, 2002
When leaders of the world’s richest nations gather in Kananaskis, Canada, for their annual summit on June 26th, the main focus will be on the developing world. Helping the poorest countries become full participants in the global economy has become a top priority: but can the G8 deliver?

Trade Liberalization Boosts India's Economic Growth
WTO Jun 21, 2002
WTO members, in their third review of India's trade policies held on 19 and 21 June 2002, said that the Indian economy has grown rapidly over the past decade, with real GDP growth averaging some 6% annually, in part due to the continued structural reform, including trade liberalization.

Attempt to calm fears over Brazil's crisis
FT Jun 24, 2002
Brazil's left-wing Workers' Party on Sunday sought to calm fears about its economic programme, as the two-month sell-off in the country's financial markets fuelled the deepening crisis in the region.Brazil's currency on Friday fell to an historic low against the dollar while its sovereign risk premium - measured by yield spreads over US treasury bonds - rose to more than 17 per cent.

Bitter battle likely over EU enlargement
FT Jun 24, 2002
Fears of an increasingly bitter battle over the terms of EU enlargement cast a shadow over the European summit in Seville, which ended with a hard-fought compromise plan to tackle illegal immigration.The 15 EU leaders committed themselves to taking in up to ten new countries in 2004, but German reservations over the cost of the enlargement came to the fore.

Editorial Comment: The eagle is landing   Financial Times Subscription Required
FT Jun 24, 2002
From 1995 to 2000, the combination of strong demand with a soaring dollar made the US the locomotive of world demand. That era is now over. It is essential for policymakers everywhere to adjust to this uncomfortable new reality.

Latin America’s financial crisis
Economist Jun 25, 2002
International investors appear to be losing confidence in Brazil as the fall-out from the economic collapse in Argentina threatens to damage economic prospects in several Latin American countries. Is the region heading for a new financial crisis?

The European Union summit
Economist Jun 25, 2002
The summit of European Union leaders in Seville in Spain ended with only limited progress on the main agenda item—immigration policies—and setbacks over the establishment of a European military force and the management of the euro. But all of these issues pale into insignificance compared with the main challenge facing the EU in the coming months: enlargement.

Egovernment gap widens
Charlie Taylor (Nua) Jun 25, 2002
Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, egovernment may not seem important. But we should be concerned about the lack of online services in poorer countries, because egovernment is about giving citizens access to information which allows them to make informed decisions on subjects that affect their lives.

Sterling's fall may add to pressure on rates
FT Jun 25, 2002
The pound's fall against the euro has increased the threat of higher inflation, which could add to pressure on the Bank of England to put up interest rates.

CAP Contortionists   Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
WSJE Jun 25, 2002
The bends and twists of EU enlargement.

EU pays the price for farm subsidies
IHT Jun 26, 2002
Today, the EU faces a crossroads in its four-decades-old farm policy. The planned admission of 10 countries into the Union in 2004 will increase by half the number of farmers in the EU. Enlargement presents EU nations with a dilemma: If they subsidize East European farmers at the same level they do West European farmers, they risk breaking their budget.

Let's hear it for Third World sweatshops
Nicholas D. Kristof (IHT) Jun 26, 2002
When Group of Eight leaders meet this week, cowering in a Canadian mountain resort beyond the reach of organized anarchists, here's a way for them to bolster terror-infested Third World countries like Pakistan: They should start an international campaign to promote imports from sweatshops.

Japan backs integrated approach on trade
FT Jun 26, 2002
Japan on Tuesday approved an important shift in its trade policy towards Asia that encourages regional integration and avoids the language of all-out competition with east Asia's economies that has characterised previous policy statements.

Special event at the UNDP 2002 executive board meeting
WTO Jun 26, 2002
Work on the Doha Agenda will fold neatly into the priorities of the New Partnership for Africa's Development and will play an important role in the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development, WTO Director-General Mike Moore said in a speech to the Executive Board of the UNDP on June 25, 2002 in Geneva.

World economy
Economist Jun 26, 2002
The world’s financial markets are in turmoil after the revelation of a massive accounting fraud at WorldCom. Is the collapse in share prices and the dollar a short-term reaction: or might policymakers now find themselves struggling to keep the economic recovery on track?

Latin America’s financial crisis
Economist Jun 26, 2002
International investors appear to be losing confidence in Brazil as the fall-out from the economic collapse in Argentina threatens to damage economic prospects in several Latin American countries. Is the region heading for a new financial crisis?

The G8 summit
Economist Jun 26, 2002
With leaders of the world’s richest nations in Kananaskis, Canada, for their annual summit, the main focus will be on the developing world. Helping the poorest countries become full participants in the global economy has become a top priority: but can the G8 deliver?

Agriculture: Little Progress In Export Competition Debate
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 24 Jun 26, 2002
WTO Members on 18 June wrapped up a two-day informal special (negotiating) session of the Committee on Agriculture (CoA) focusing on export competition without agreement on any of the agenda items, including future disciplines on the use of export subsidies; export credits, guarantees and insurance; food aid, state trading enterprises; and export restrictions and taxes.

ACP Gearing Up For New Relationship With EU
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 24 Jun 26, 2002
Ministers from the governments of the Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries met in Brussels over the past week for sessions of the ACP Ministerial Trade Committee (19 June) and the Joint Meeting of the ACP Trade and Finance Ministers (20-21 June). The ACP is moving to finalise its negotiating guidelines for upcoming negotiations with the EU at the end of the month.

Access To Medicines In Spotlight At TRIPs Council
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 24 Jun 26, 2002
Discussions on the contentious paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on TRIPs (Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) and Public Health are set to continue at the meeting of the TRIPs Council on 25-27 June based on proposals submitted by the EC, the US and a group of developing countries. Members will also resume the long-running debate on the Article 27.3(b) review (patentability of life forms), traditional knowledge, biodiversity and observership.

N. American Environment Ministers Meet On Cross-border Issues
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 24 Jun 26, 2002
The Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation of North America (CEC) convened in Ottawa, Ontario, for its two-day annual session on 18 June. The Council is the CEC's executive body and consists of the environment ministers from the three North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) parties -- Canada, Mexico and the US. Key issues discussed included environmental challenges and opportunities of the North American electricity market, transborder movements of hazardous wastes, and transparency in trade and environment areas. In related news, the CEC will be launching an investigation into allegations of transgenic corn contamination of Mexican crops in Oaxaca.

Chrétien, Blair Struggle To Make G-8 Summit Meaningful For Africa
BRIDGES Weekly Trade News Digest - Vol. 6, Number 24 Jun 26, 2002
Strengthening world economic growth and sustainable development, fighting terrorism and an action plan/approval for the New Partnership For Africa's Economic Development (NEPAD) are on the agenda for the 26- 26 June Group of 8 (G-8) Summit starting on 26 June in Kanasaskis, Canada. Chaired by Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien the summit will attended by leaders of the seven most industrialised countries and Russia, as well as by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, South African president Thabo Mbeki and four other African leaders.

Japanese explode the myth of Miti
FT Jun 27, 2002
The Ministry of Finance yesterday exploded one of the myths surrounding Japan's postwar economic growth by saying the protectionist policies implemented by the once-revered Ministry of International Trade and Industry had hindered rather than aided economic growth.

Knifing Free Trade Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
WSJ Jun 27, 2002
Democrats may succeed at killing TPA.

U.S. Defends Its Farm Subsidies Against Rising Foreign Criticism
NYT Jun 27, 2002
The Bush administration's top trade and agricultural officials tried Wednesday to quell the rising chorus of foreign criticism of new American farm subsidies.

Giving Aid to World Trade
Daniel Yergin (NYT) Jun 27, 2002
Foreign aid can play a very important role in relieving hardship and helping poor countries, but trade is the primary engine for economic development.

Africa aid plan inadequate, agencies say
FT Jun 28, 2002
A rescue plan for Africa from the world's richest economies has been attacked as "woefully inadequate" by aid agencies for its failure to deliver the big boost called for by the continent's leaders.

China Races to Replace U.S. as Economic Power in Asia
NYT Jun 28, 2002
China is rapidly strengthening its economic presence across Asia and chipping away at the United States' position as the region's most important trading partner.

Clapping With Both Hands Wall Street Journal Subscription Required
WSJE Jun 28, 2002
The euro finally may benefit from the right fiscal policies.

ICANN Board Unanimously Approves Reform Blueprint
Computerworld Jun 28, 2002
Meeting in Romania, the board voted 18-0 to reorganize the nonprofit group that oversees basic technical issues related to the Internet.

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