Bangalore First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Bengaluru, Kannadigas and all the People of Karnataka – here at Home and Overseas
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    Elated lot A team from Bengaluru-based International Centre for Theoretical Sciences has been deciphering data from Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory.   | Photo Credit: By Special Arrangement

    Elated lot A team from Bengaluru-based International Centre for Theoretical Sciences has been deciphering data from Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory. | Photo Credit: By Special Arrangement

    City scientists play significant role in project pioneered by this year’s Nobel laureates

    As Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne take the stage later this year to accept the Nobel Prize for Physics, they will be standing on the shoulders of hundreds of collaborators from across the world, who collectively made it possible to sense gravitational waves that “shook the world” in 2016.

    Of these, more than 35 scientists from India, including a team of seven from Bengaluru-based International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS), played a significant role in understanding and deciphering the data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), an international collaboration pioneered by the three Nobel laureates.

    At Hessarghatta, the seven-member team — led by Parameswaran Ajith from ICTS — works on modelling the sources of gravitational waves, among others; their LIGO Tier-3 grid computing centre tests Einstein’s famous Theory of Relativity with the data thrown up by the detectors in the U.S. and Europe. “The laureates associate themselves with the LIGO/Virgo collaboration rather than their individual academic institutions. They have even said the award would be received on behalf of the collaborators. It’s heartening to see this,” says Dr. Ajith.

    The team, after all, finds a place amongst the thousand authors, including the three laureates, of the paper ‘Observation of Gravitational Waves from a Binary Black Hole Merger’, which announced the experimental proof of gravitational waves in 2016.

    India and LIGO

    Indian scientists have a long, often unacknowledged presence in the fledgling field. For instance, the works of C. V. Vishveshwara, who died in the city earlier this year, in the 1970s continues to remain highly relevant.

    And, it is perhaps these initial forays that has seen India do better in this field of research than others. “A few decades ago, it was just two of us in gravitational waves,” says Bala Iyer, chairperson of IndIGO (Indian Initiative in Gravitational-wave Observations) consortium and also associated with ICTS. “Now, there is a community of over 200 and we are struggling to keep up with the interest.”

    With the ₹1,500-crore Indian LIGO detector expected to be operational by 2024, India is expected to play a key role in utilising the discovery that many scientists say is bigger than X-ray or microwave radiation that gave unparalleled views of the universe.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Mohit M. Rao / Bengaluru – October 05th, 2017

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    Gauri Lankesh

    Gauri Lankesh

    Journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead by unknown assailants on September 5, has been posthumously accorded with the prestigious Anna Politkovskaya Award, instituted by Reach All Women (RAW) in War.

    RAW, in a statement, said that it was honoured to award the annual Anna Politkovskaya Award for women human rights defenders from war and conflict zones jointly to Gauri Lankesh posthumously, and to a brave Pakistani activist Gulalai Ismaial, who similarly is fighting against Islamic extremism. Ms. Ismail has faced the death threats for speaking out against the Taliban in north-west Pakistan.

    Gauri is the 12th woman to receive this prestigious award. Nominations Committee members have observed that they were deeply moved by Gauri and Gulalai’s bravery and dedication to peace and human rights. The citation reads: Gauri Lankesh was a major figure in India, critic of right-wing Hindu extremism, campaigner for women’s rights, fiercely opposed to the caste system, campaigning for rights of Dalits and so on.

    With mixed feelings, Kavitha Lankesh, Gauri’s sister, told media persons here on Thursday that the Anna Politkovskaya Award was a morale booster for people who want to write and continue to fight against injustice. It was an honour not only for the members of Gauri’s family, but also to “huge family” that loved Gauri for her commitment to the cause of secular ideals, justice, equality and women rights. “In fact, the award honours what Gauri stood for throughout her life… that ‘you cannot silence me’,” said a teary-eyed Ms. Kavitha.

    The announcement of the award was an emotional one, as Gauri’s brother Indrajit Lankesh, mother Indira Lankesh and close friend M.S. Ashadevi struggled to find words to express their feelings on RAW honouring Gauri with this international award.

    Gauri was awarded with Periyar Award posthumously by the Thinkers Forum on September 17 in Bengaluru.

    Anna Politkovskaya, a Russian journalist was killed in 2006 in Moscow for her courage to speak out on behalf of the suffering of the civilians in the war in Chechnya. “It is not by coincidence that Gauri’s work, her personality and the way she was killed for her work reminded us so much of the way Anna lived and died for the truth,” said members of nominations committee.

    To mark the anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder on October 7, 2006 and to honour Anna and the women like in the world, RAW in War annually presents the award to a female human rights defender from conflict zone.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Special Correspondent / Bengaluru – October 05th, 2017

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    The Bharat Ratna awardee is the first Asian to be chosen for the prestigious Von Hippel Award

    Eminent scientist, Professor C.N.R Rao, has become the first Asian to be chosen for the prestigious Von Hippel Award for his immense contribution in materials research.

    The award is the US-based Materials Research Society’s (MRS) highest honour.

    It recognises “those qualities most prized by materials scientists and engineers – brilliance and originality of intellect, combined with vision that transcends the boundaries of conventional scientific disciplines,” according to the MRS.

    The award citation noted Mr. Rao’s immense work on novel functional materials, including nanomaterials (having particles of nanoscale dimensions), graphene (the strongest and thinnest material) and 2D materials, superconductivity, and colossal magnetoresistance (change in electrical resistance of a material in a magnetic field).

    The award will be presented in Boston on November 29, during an MRS meeting, according to a release issued by the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research here of which Mr. Rao, a Bharat Ratna awardee, is the founder president.

    The award includes a cash prize, trophy and a diploma.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Science / by PTI / Bengaluru – September 23rd, 2017

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    New Delhi :

    Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha inaugurated Boeing’s additional new facility at the Boeing India Engineering and Technology Center (BIETC) in Bengaluru on Friday. This facility will enable Boeing to focus on state-of-the-art technology areas such as data analytics, internet-of-things, avionics, aerospace design, manufacturing, testing and research, to support Boeing products and systems. The centre also includes laboratories for research to support next-gen innovations in aerospace.

    “Boeing’s commitment to growth of capability and capacity in the Indian aerospace sector is commendable. I congratulate the team on this brand new addition to the Boeing India Engineering and Technology Centre and am proud that Boeing is leveraging India’s engineering talent and its expertise for some of the most advanced aerospace products in the world, and developing complex solutions for the world,” said Jayant Sinha.

    This expansion comes soon after Boeing opened its engineering centre in January 2017. “As a source for innovative and cutting-edge engineering, India offers us tremendous growth potential. This is a winning formula for India and our own global growth strategy for improved productivity, enhanced engineering efficiency and cost advantage, while focusing on quality,” said Pratyush Kumar, president of Boeing India.

    Recently Boeing announced a partnership with aviation ministry and Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) to develop an aircraft maintenance engineers accelerated apprenticeship program. The key objective of the program is to improve the employability of AMEs through training and hands-on experience with actual aircraft.

    source: / The Times of India / News> India News / by Saurabh Sinha / TNN / September 22nd, 2017

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    With every Yakshagana performance, multiple versions of Ramayana are created on the stage. | Photo Credit: File Photo.

    With every Yakshagana performance, multiple versions of Ramayana are created on the stage. | Photo Credit: File Photo.

    Scholars discuss versions of the epic and their influence on India and Southeast Asian countries

    In a Kathakali performance staged in 1780 by Kallaikulangara Raghava Pisharoty, Ravana from the epic Ramayana takes centre stage. Set 10,000 years before Rama’s birth, the dance-drama depicts the story of Ravana’s ancestors, the downfall of the kingdom of the rakshasas, the birth of Ravana, his love for his mother and his great tapasya (austerity) to regain the lost glory of his clan.

    The performance portrays Ravana, the villain of Valmiki’s Ramayana, in the most sympathetic light, bringing out the qualities of courage, resolution and strength of character. Rama is nowhere in the picture.

    The Malaysian shadow play Wayang Kulit Kelantan draws influence from the oral folk versions of the Ramayana, which travelled beyond the shores of India. The role of Gods and saints is reduced drastically. Wayang Kulit portrays different versions of Ravana’s origin, including the one in which he is born in the heavens and banished to Earth. There he meets Adam and they divide the world among themselves.

    These and many other versions of Ramayana and their influence on art, culture and social landscape of India and Southeast Asian countries were revisited by scholars at the two-day international conference on Connecting Cultures: Ramayana Retelling in South India and South East Asia, which was held at REVA University on September 14-15.

    Stating that the manifestations of core themes of the Ramayana are complex and in need of detailed research, Dr. Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof from the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, said, “A lot of Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian versions of the Ramayana can be traced back to Krittivasi Ramayan, composed in 15th century Bengal.”

    Malini Saran, independent scholar, presented a paper about the discourse on governance and ethics initiated in the first known Ramayana in Java called the Old Javanese Ramayana. “An emphasis on the spiritual and ethical rather than devotional values of Rama’s story in this version allowed imaginative interpretations, with its content and characters used as an allegory for contemporary situations.”

    Cheryl Thiruchelvam, a PhD scholar from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia, spoke about the emerging art forms, artistic practices, architecture in Malaysia that have origins from versions of the Ramayana. Citing examples of painters Nik Zainal Abidin, Syed Thajudeen and Loo Foh Sang, she discussed how they drew inspiration from Wayang Kulit (traditional puppet-shadow play in Indonesian culture) for their paintings.

    Sessions were also held on retelling of Ramayana within the canon of Kannada literature and its multiple interpretations in the Yakshagana of coastal Karnataka.

    Dr. Purushottama Bilimale spoke about the 60 episodes of Ramayana created by around 40 authors for Yakshagana performances. “All of these episodes are flexible depending on the time of performance, community and the artistes’ talent. Also versions differ in terms of music, poems and dance. With every Yakshagana performance, multiple versions of Ramayana are created on the stage,” he said.

    The conference also deliberated on Ramayana narratives from the Hoysala to Vijayanagar empires, the influence of the epic on sculpture in medieval India such as Pallava and Pandya archaeology and artistic representations throughout India and Southeast Asia.

    Before the conference began, participants observed silence for one minute in memory of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Bengaluru / by Staff Reporter Bengaluru / September 17th, 2017

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    He gave the country its first spacecraft

    Udupi Ramachandra Rao, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, acclaimed space scientist acknowledged as the father of Indian satellite technology, is no more.

    The celebrated cosmic ray scientist with an MIT scholarship and experience with early NASA projects in the 1960s is best remembered as the man who gave the country its first spacecraft Aryabhata from out of modest un-space-like industrial sheds of Peenya in Bengaluru.

    His demise at age 85 somewhat brings the curtain on the starry era of pioneering space troika of Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan and U.R. Rao.

    Regulars at Antariksh Bhavan, the headquarters of ISRO and the Department of Space, will miss the gentle genius. A workaholic, Dr. Rao was active until about two weeks back in his office at Antariksh Bhavan, recalled ISRO Publications and Public Relations Director Deviprasad Karnik.

    Guided by Sarabhai

    When Dr. Rao returned in 1966 to India from stints in the US, the Americans and the Russians were flying their spacecraft of their rockets and had reached Moon. Over here, they were the days of low budgets, small human resource but high spirits and goals.

    Dr. Rao’s space journey blossomed under the tutelage of Vikram Sarabhai, his doctoral guide and later boss at ISRO: in 1972, Sarabhai tasked the young Rao — fresh from MIT and the only Indian then who had worked on NASA’s Pioneer and Explorer satellite projects — with building an Indian satellite.

    Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had come down to see the assembled satellite — Aryabhata — which was launched on a Russian rocket in 1975. Indian satellites had started sprouting.

    As the first director of what is now called ISRO Satellite Centre, Dr. Rao was responsible for 18 early satellites including the landmark Bhaskara, APPLE, the Indian Remote sensing Satellites or IRSs. His mantra was – ‘If others can do, we can do better’.

    In 1984, Dr. Rao succeeded Satish Dhawan as ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, going on to have the second longest tenure in the high post – ten years. (Dr. Dhawan headed it for 12 years.) Dr. Rao was the chairman of the governing council of Physical Research Laboratory until the end, apart from many science ad technology bodies.

    Shaped many a project

    At ISRO, there has not been a planetary mission that has not been touched or tweaked by Dr. Rao. As the chairman of overseeing body ADCOS or the Advisory Committee on Space Sciences, he finalised, shaped, refined or designed the Chandrayaan-1 lunar mission of 2008; the Mars Orbiter Mission of 2013; and the upcoming Chandrayaan-2 set for 2018.

    “I look for excitement in any field,” he had said. One of the current unfinished projects of the cosmic ray scientist is Aditya L1 mission – India’s upcoming solar observatory, so to say. Aditya was earlier planned as a near-Earth mission looking at Sun. However, Dr. Rao – close associates say – convinced ISRO to greatly enlarge its feature and scope. For him, the spacecraft must gaze at Sun from an apparently stable point called L1 or Legrangian point. He prevailed and now Aditya-L1, as it is now renamed, will travel million km to do its job from a point undistubed by either Earth or Sun.

    Associates recall that he was always updated of developments in his field and related sciences. He was forthright, had a “sharp, analytical mind, enormous intellectual ability and [could] quickly make back of the envelop computations for complex solutions,” recalled V.Jayaraman, his doctoral student and erstwhile Director of ISRO’s Earth Observation Systems and later National Remote Sensing Agency, in an article in Current Science titled Living legends in Indian Science.(Vol. 106, No.. 1588 11, 10 June 2014.)

    The same article recounts how Dr. Rao ensured that a remote sensing satellite was launched from a Soviet spaceport amidst extraordinary conditions: “Even as [then Soviet] President [Mikhail] Gorbachev resigned as general secretary of the Communist Party of Soviet Union on 24 August 1991, and the mighty Soviet Union collapsed in the next few days, IRS-1B was launched without any hitch on 29 August 1991 from Baikonur. The presence of Rao [in spite of advices to stay back] served as a balm, not only for the ISRO team at the launch pad and helping them to stay focussed and keep a high morale, but also as a great relief for their families back home. For us associated with that historic event, it will remain as [a] lesson as to how a leader should behave in times of crisis and to be with his team, … whatever be the hurdles.”

    Two years back, he was down with cough and fever, yet drove 15 km to his ISRO office to keep his engagements – one of them an appointment with this reporter. When he was told that he could have postponed the meeting, Dr. Rao typically said, “Some people prefer to rest, I prefer to work.

    All through my life I have worked when I am sick – to forget the sickness. Or else I will be a nuisance to others.”

    As chairman, Dr. Rao accelerated the rocket development programmes but with mixed luck. He presided over the fruition of the ASLV early rocket, much of the development of the now-famous PSLV. He laid the foundation for the GSLV by signing a pact with the Russians in 1991 for the cryogenic engine technology for its third stage. Dr. Rao’s joy was blunted as the PSLV clicked after his tenure while the Russians reneged on the cryogenic pact.

    The credit for kickstarting the now working GSLV, however, is undeniably Dr. Rao’s, say ISRO oldtimers.

    U.R.Rao was born on March 10, 1932, to Lakshminarayana Acharya and Krishnaveni Amma in Adamaru near Udupi – a small town that hosts one of the eight famous `Madhwa math’s sacred to Kannada Brahmins. He studied in Udupi’s Christian High School and later did his intermediate course in Bellary’s Veerashaiva College. A B.Sc at the Government Arts and Science College, Ananthapur, then under Madras University. He completed his M.Sc in Physics from Banaras

    Hindu University 1953 and briefly taught in Ahmednagar and Mysore. But space sicence was beckoning and he enrolled for a PhD under none other than Vikram Sarabhai at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, and got the doctoral degree in 1960 from Gujarat University.

    The article by Dr. Jayaraman says the story of a small-town boy’s rise “to a lofty position as Chairman of ISRO, a prestigious organisation and of international fame, should be a motivational force to many young aspirants in our country.”

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Science / by Madhumathi D.S / Bengaluru – July 24th, 2017

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    The firm “was founded with the goal of applying modern artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to solve old problems.”

    Google has acquired Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence startup Halli Labs for an undisclosed sum. The firm said it was founded with the goal of applying modern artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to solve old problems.

    “Well, what better place than Google to help us achieve this goal,” said the company in a blog post on Medium. It said the company would be joining Google’s Next Billion Users team to help get technology and information into more people’s hands around the world. “We couldn’t be more excited,” said the company.

    Halli Labs was co-founded early this year by Pankaj Gupta, former chief technology officer of online homestay aggregator Stayzilla, which recently closed down its services. An alumnus of Stanford University, Mr.Gupta has also worked as a senior data scientist at Twitter.

    Caesar Sengupta, Google’s vice-president for product management tweeted about the acquisition on Wednesday on his Twitter handle.

    source: / The Hindu / Home>  Business> Industry / by Special Correspondent / Bengaluru – July 12th, 2017

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    Bengaluru :

    Vinaya Seshan, a grade 10 student of  Inventure Academy , won three medals at the 2017 Dance World Cup held recently in Germany .

    The event is considered to be one of the world’s top all-genre dance competition for children and youth. More than 12,000 participants from 47 countries competed in the qualifiers, and over 10,000 from 43 countries made it to the final.

    Vinaya bagged gold in the duet category and a bronze each in the hip-hop group and hip-hop solo categories, adding to her haul of three medals at last year’s World Championships. Vinaya danced in Inventure’s formal blue uniform as she considers it to be her lucky charm.

    Vinaya’s passion for dance began in Grade 1 and she has been a regular in Inventure’s dance teams and musical productions.

    She got her big break when she was selected for Berserk, a week-long dance workshop conducted by the Lourd Vijay Dance School. She was part of their squad that won a bronze in the 2015 World Cup.

    Vinaya also plays the tabla, guitar and piano. “Being versatile is important; at the same time finding the right balance is difficult, but achievable,” she said.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Bangalore News / TNN / July 10th, 2017

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    The Mysore Lancers march at Haifa, a port city in Israel, on Sept 23, 1918. | Photo Credit: from the collection of Mr. Raja

    The Mysore Lancers march at Haifa, a port city in Israel, on Sept 23, 1918. | Photo Credit: from the collection of Mr. Raja

    They fought hard to liberate it in 1918

    A long forgotten slice of martial history related to Mysuru will be revisited when Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to fallen Indian soldiers at the Haifa cemetery in Israel.

    The Mysore Imperial Service played a big role in the liberation of Haifa on September 23, 1918, from Ottoman Turks and Germans, by allied forces. This is seen as one of the fiercest battles in the west Asian theatre of World War I in which India, as a British colony, fought German and the Ottoman troops.

    The Mysore Lancers were in the 15th Imperial Service as the forces sent by the princely states of Mysore, Jodhpur and Hyderabad. Historian M. Shama Rao in “Modern Mysore” published in 1936 says troops of native States, who were seen as fit only for ceremonial parades, proved their mettle.

    General Sir Edmund Allenby’s despatches of October 31, 1918, on the occupation of Damascus and Aleppo, found in the book, make a special reference to the Mysore Lancers during the capture of Haifa.

    A special recruitment drive was conducted in the princely State and 5,000 men drafted for the war. The then Mysuru Maharaja Nalwudi Krishnaraja Wadiyar sent his troops to defend the empire and even gave nearly ₹50 lakh to the India War Fund.

    Raja Chandra R., son-in-law of the last Maharaja, Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar told The Hindu that the ruler Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV sent a spirited message to the men on the front.

    The book “Mysore’s Part in the War: 1914-1918” cites Sir Allenby and says over 1,350 prisoners and 17 guns were taken in the operation between the spur of Mount Carmel and the marshy banks of river Kishon, about two miles from Haifa road. Mr. Raja Chandra said a memorial at Bengaluru to the participants lies forgotten.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Sharath S Srivatsa / Mysuru-Bengaluru, July 04th, 2017

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    Recreating heritage: An artistic rendering of the temple with its soaring tower. At right is Adam Hardy, lead architect for the project.

    Recreating heritage: An artistic rendering of the temple with its soaring tower. At right is Adam Hardy, lead architect for the project.

    Cardiff architect revives 800-year-old tradition of building with soapstone in Karnataka

    An architectural style that goes back 800 years, a plan for an ornate 21st century temple built out of soapstone in an obscure village, and an architect from Wales to see it through.

    That is the story of the Hoysala-inspired Lord Venkateshwara temple at Venkatapura, a few km away from Mulbagal in Kolar district of Karnataka. The usually quiet hamlet hums with activity as people make a clearing, where the fields lead to a plateau.

    Funded by donations

    The temple, designed in the striking Hoysala style, will come up on seven acres of land here, funded by donations.

    The structure shuns modern-day cement. Floated by a public trust, it promises to be bigger than the Belur Chennakeshava temple. Leading the team is architect Adam Hardy, Professor of Asian Architecture at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University.

    The Vimana, or tower, will stand 108 feet tall.

    The temple has been commissioned by a public trust. “It was my father’s dream to have a temple in Venkatapura,” says Aravind Reddy, from the same village and treasurer of the Sri Kalyana Venkateshwara Hoysala Art Foundation. “I have always been fascinated by Hoysala architecture and wanted to revive the tradition. When we started, we planned a small temple with a budget of ₹15 to ₹20 lakh,” he says. The project is now estimated to cost at least ₹300 crore.

    Classic iconography

    Prof. Hardy says, “The Hoysala style is known for architectural planning, detailed iconography, beautifully carved pillars and use of soapstone instead of sandstone. To replicate it will be no easy job.”

    Quest for the architect

    The planners had no problem sourcing sculptors, artists and even the material. It was the search for an architect who could recreate the Hoysala magic that was the bigger challenge, one that took years to solve.

    A chance meeting with Yashaswini Sharma, architect and author of Bangalore: The Early City AD 1537-1799, in 2009 gave the project its first chance of success. “When I told her I wanted to build a Hoysala temple, She showed me the book written by Mr. Hardy. I found some 60 plans for a Hoysala temple in his book. I knew I had to meet him,” says Mr. Reddy.

    It so happened that the scholar was visiting India at the time. “It was after I met him that the scale of the project became mind-boggling,” says Mr. Reddy. It took eight years of designing and redesigning the plan before construction began a few days ago.

    The trust wants its creation to reflect the best of the three famous temples in Arsikere, Belur and Halebid.

    The foundation for the ambitious plan was laid on June 14, and the ceremony was attended by the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore Yaduveera Chamaraja Wadiyar.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Sarumathi K  / Bengaluru – June 15th, 2017

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