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Yearly Archives: 2011

NASA Satellite Confirms Sharp Decline in Pollution from U.S. Coal Power Plants

A team of scientists have used the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite to confirm major reductions in the levels of a key air pollutant generated by coal power plants in the eastern United States. The pollutant, sulfur dioxide, contributes to the formation of acid rain and can cause serious health problems.

The scientists, led by an Environment Canada researcher, have shown that sulfur dioxide levels in the vicinity of major coal power plants have fallen by nearly half since 2005. The new findings, the first satellite observations of this type, confirm ground-based measurements of declining sulfur dioxide levels and demonstrate that scientists can potentially measure levels of harmful emissions throughout the world, even in places where ground monitoring is not extensive or does not exist. About two-thirds of sulfur dioxide pollution in American air comes from coal power plants. Geophysical Research Letters published details of the new research this month.

These maps show average sulfur dioxide levels measured by the Aura satellite for the periods 2005-2007 (top) and 2008-2010 (bottom) over a portion of the eastern United States. The black dots represent the locations of many of the nation’s top sulfur dioxide emissions sources. Larger dots indicate greater emissions. (Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory)
› Larger image (2005-2007)
› Larger image (2008-2010)

Read the rest here.

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FLASH: $SAP to Buy SuccessFactors $SFSF for $3.4 Billion

SAP of Germany announced plans on Saturday to buy SuccessFactors, a Web-based enterprise software company, for $40 a share, or $3.4 billion.

The all-cash transaction, which is expected to close early next year, offers SuccessFactors’ shareholders a 52 percent premium above Friday’s closing price.

“The cloud is a core of SAP’s future growth, and the combination of SuccessFactors’ leadership team and technology with SAP will create a cloud powerhouse,” Bill McDermott, the co-chief executive of SAP, said in a statement on Saturday.

Deal activity is heating up in the enterprise software industry, as giants like SAP hunt for smaller companies that provide services through the so-called cloud. In late October, for instance, rival Oracle, agreed to purchase RightNow Technologies, a maker of customer service software, for $1.43 billion. It was Oracle’s largest acquisition, since the takeover of Sun Microsystems last year.

SuccessFactors, a provider of employee management software, helps companies assess the performance of their employees, manage recruitment and fulfill other human resource needs. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which reported revenue of $91.2 million in the third quarter, has more than 3,500 customers spread across nearly 170 countries.


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SEC May Not Prosecute Congressmen For Fear of Budget Cuts

Peter Schweizer discusses the pattern of those that have friends on Capital Hill usually escape consequences for ethics violations. He also talks about the case where the FBI stopped investigating congressmen when they were threatened with budget cuts.

Watch the video here.

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ROGER AILES STRIKES AGAIN: Hot Blonde Melissa Francis Ditches CNBC for Fox Business

TVNewser has learned Melissa Francis is leaving CNBC and joining Fox Business Network.

Francis was a co-anchor of daytime programs “Power Lunch” and, before that, “The Call.” The Harvard grad has been on TV since she was one year old, staring in a Johnson & Johnson commercial. She would later play the role of Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie.”

CNBC spokesman Brian Steel confirms the departure telling TVNewser, “We thank Melissa for her years of hard work and wish her well.”


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This Week’s Biggest Winners

No. Ticker 1-week Return
1 DEXO 115.38
2 CEDC 67.97
3 DYN 43.30
4 MBI 40.43
5 INHX 38.12
6 CX 37.93
7 ZUMZ 37.29
8 LAVA 36.53
9 TWER 36.46
10 ZOOM 35.96
11 CHRS 33.94
12 ERX 33.88
13 TNA 33.50
14 VICL 33.33
15 USG 33.04
16 HEB 32.72
17 OCZ 32.45
18 EDC 32.43
19 GMXR 32.20
20 PVA 32.05
21 GLUU 31.73
22 MTOR 31.43
23 ORI 31.28
24 HDY 30.88
25 FAS 30.68
26 ARNA 30.31
27 AATI 30.20
28 BZH 30.05
29 CLWR 29.87
30 JRCC 29.62
31 MTW 29.17
32 TEX 28.73
33 ANR 28.65
34 GDP 28.64
35 ING 28.59
36 LEAP 27.83
37 CHTP 27.59
38 LZB 27.58
39 TTI 27.47
40 WDC 27.40
41 MHR 27.25
42 JBLU 27.01
43 YOKU 26.97
44 MITI 26.92
45 CSIQ 26.11
46 XING 25.87
47 X 25.55
48 SCS 25.28
49 UPRO 25.23
50 SLXP 25.16

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REALITY TV: Trump to Moderate Republican Debate

It’s officially a reality television Republican primary now.

Donald Trump is pairing up with Newsmax, the conservative magazine and news Web site, to moderate a presidential debate in Des Moines on Dec. 27.

“Our readers and the grass roots really love Trump,” said Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media. “They may not agree with
him on everything, but they don’t see him as owned by the Washington establishment, the media establishment.”

Mr. Trump’s role in the debate, which will be broadcast on the cable network Ion Television, is sure to be one of the more memorable moments in a primary season that has already delivered its fair share of circus-like spectacle.

Mr. Trump’s own flirtation with running for president this year seems almost quaint (whose birth certificate was he all worked up about?) compared with more recent distractions – like allegations of adultery and sexual harassment, gaffes that seemed scripted from a late-night comedy show, and a six-figure line of credit at Tiffany & Co.

But despite being derided by liberals – President Obama likened Mr. Trump to a “carnival barker” for his repeated assertions that the president was actually foreign-born – the real estate mogul is seriously influential in manyRepublican Party circles. And that sway seems especially deep with the party’s conservative base, which will be a decisive factor in the early primaries that are likely to determine the nominee. The debate, which unlike many recent ones will not be limited to a specific topic like national security or the economy, is set to happen just a week before the Iowa caucuses.

Newsmax sent candidates the invitation on Friday afternoon. It began, “We are pleased to cordially invite you to “The Newsmax Ion Television 2012 Presidential Debate,” moderated by a truly great American, Mr. Donald J. Trump.” Spokesmen for several candidates did not immediately respond to questions from The New York Times about whether they would accept.

Though presidential candidates may initially balk at the idea of appearing in a debate where Mr. Trump – with his bombast and The Hair – is the one posing the questions, they may ultimately see it as an invitation they can’t refuse. In fact many of the candidates have already met with him, some more publicly than others. Representative Michele Bachmann has sat down with Mr. Trump several times this year. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas had dinner with him at Jean Georges, the posh Manhattan restaurant. And Mitt Romney paid a visit but carefully avoided being photographed.

And Newsmax is a powerful player itself. It has a broad reach into the conservative base, with monthly Web traffic second only to Fox News among sites with conservative-leaning audiences.

Mr. Trump has been a popular attraction at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual gathering in Washington. He was such a successful presence in the eyes of Fox News executives that they added a special weekly segment to their morning show “Fox and Friends” for him called “Mondays With Trump.”

Whether his professed presidential ambitions are genuine or merely a publicity stunt seems not to matter in terms of the news media attention Mr. Trump can command. His highly publicized flirtation with running this year coincided with a Trump-branded product that stood to benefit from all the attention – a new season of his highly rated NBC show “Celebrity Apprentice.”

The arc of his noncampaign was similar in 1987 and 1999 – when Mr. Trump also said that he was considering running for president, episodes that are often forgotten.

His book ”Trump: The Art of the Deal” was published in November 1987 and reached The New York Times best-seller list by December. But by the time theRepublican National Convention rolled around in August 1988, he had opted out.

”Everybody wants me to do it,” he declared then. ”But I have no interest in doing it.”

And in late 1999, just before his book ”The America We Deserve” went on sale, he began courting support as a candidate on the Reform Party ticket. He even toured the country with his girlfriend, Melania Knauss, now his wife. The outcome? You guessed it.


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Postal Worker Went Postal Inside Post Office

he man accused of firing shots inside the main post office in Alabama’s capital city was a postal employee who was carrying two guns when he reported for his shift.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Clark Morris, said Friday the man showed up for work and began firing shots in the mail processing room about 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Montgomery.

No one was injured. Police took the man into custody within 10 minutes of getting a 911 call from the post office. Federal and local officials said it’s unclear what the suspect’s motive may have been.

Officials originally said he had three guns, but later changed it to two.

He is being held in jail in Montgomery pending charges.


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EFFICIENT OR DESPERATE? Parents Can Rent XMas Toys At New Website

When you are a kid on Christmas morning, it’s all about volume. But when you are a parent, cruising the aisles of the toy-store in December, it’s about trying to balance a happy holiday with a reasonable budget.

Paul Reinsmith of Boston has found a great way to have plenty of toys under the tree, and all year, without breaking the bank.

Paul and his wife Pam discovered what they call the ‘Netflix’ of toys. It’s called Toygaroo, a website that lets parents rent toys for a fraction of what they would cost to buy.


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FLASH: Republicans are Crafting Bill to Kill IMF Bailout of Europe

Conservatives say they will try to block the International Monetary Fund from bailing out Italy and Spain, which they say could leave U.S. taxpayers with a huge bill.

Republicans on both sides of the Capitol complain that the Obama administration has refused to share details of what Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is discussing with European leaders amid reports the IMF could intervene.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says he is planning legislation directing the U.S. government to veto an expanded role for the fund.

Senate Republican Steering Committee Chairman Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), a member of the House Republican leadership, also have legislation to curb the proposed intervention.
“I’m adamantly against the IMF being involved in this,” Coburn said.

“We’re throwing good money after bad down a hole that I think is not a solvable problem,” he said.

“Europe is going to default eventually, so why would you socialize their profligate spending,” he added.

Coburn estimates the U.S. could be liable for as much as $176 billion if the IMF shores up Italy and Spain and the European Union collapses.

President Obama this week said the U.S. “stands ready to do our part” to help resolve the crisis, and Geithner in October said using U.S. tax dollars through the IMF to shore up Europe’s efforts was appropriate.

DeMint offered an amendment to the defense authorization bill instructing the U.S. executive director of the IMF to use the voice and vote of the United States to oppose funding of the European Financial Stability Facility, the bailout fund that would be used to stabilize countries at risk of default.

“We need some transparency about what’s really going on,” said McMorris Rodgers. “It’s hard to get information. We’re talking about U.S. taxpayer dollars being involved in the European bailout. The administration needs to be honest with the Congress. I believe Congress needs to be involved in making this decision.”

But Coburn and other Republicans are skeptical their effort will be successful. They expect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to prevent the Senate from voting on legislation to block U.S. funds from being used in an IMF bailout.

Even if it passes Congress, Coburn says President Obama would likely veto the legislation.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde announced Thursday that Group of 20 nations are prepared to fund a massive IMF intervention.

“If circumstances require, the G-20 will commit the resources that are necessary for the IMF to play its systemic role,” she said, according to Bloomberg. “That gives you a range that is almost without a cap, without a limitation.”

An IMF spokesman said Wednesday the fund is not in discussions with Italy about a bailout.

An IMF bailout of Italy would have to be limited unless rich nations boost its resources. The IMF has about 390 billion euros, but could only spend about 150 billion on Italy because of other commitments. Bailing out Italy alone could cost 600 billion euros, according to Desmond Lachman, an American Enterprise Institute scholar and former IMF deputy director.

Republican lawmakers were alarmed by business news reports earlier this week that the IMF was ready to expand its role in Europe. Traditionally the fund has worked with relatively small, emerging economies. Switching its financial firepower to established economies the size of Italy and Spain would mark a significant change of mission.

Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman John Thune (S.D.) and other lawmakers said they would join an effort to block an IMF bailout of those countries.

“I’m really leery and skeptical about having the IMF be the point on that because that exposes the U.S. because we’re such a big funder of the IMF,” said Thune.

“I don’t know why the European Central Bank wouldn’t do that directly as opposed to going through the IMF except to get other nations drawn in,” Thune added. “It’s not our best interests or Europe’s best interests to have the United States bailing out countries that need to deal with their own issues.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said “he’s very concerned” from what he’s heard in recent days and would support the efforts of Coburn and DeMint.

“There’s a lot of concern,” he said. “The reason we’re in the situation we’re in [is] because of excessive debt in the industrialized world.”

Domenico Lombardi, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former board member of the IMF, said the advantage of bailing out Italy or Spain through the IMF instead of the European Central Bank is that doing so would allow European leaders to condition aid on the implementation of fiscal reforms.
Lombardi said the IMF has the authority to attach strings to a possible bailout and monitor the actions of the recipient countries, which the central bank does not.

“The EU system does not have ability to impose conditionality, but the IMF does,” he said.

Lombardi said the Republican criticism has some validity because if the IMF loaned massive amounts to Italy and Spain and failed to prevent a default, the IMF, not the European Central Bank, would be liable.

The U.S. is the biggest contributor to the IMF, kicking in about 17 percent of its budget. A European default could put U.S. taxpayers on the hook for 17 percent of the IMF’s liabilities.

European leaders set a $1.3 trillion goal for an expanded bailout fund. If it failed to recoup its loans, U.S. taxpayers would face a liability of more than $200 billion.


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This Morning’s 52 Week Highs and Lows


New Highs 68 

COMPANY                       SYMBOL      HIGH                VOLUME 
-------                       ------      ----                ------ 
Alabama Pwr 5.2% pfd.         ALPpN       25.90                3,203 
American Water Works Co       AWK         31.72              107,919 
BNY Capital V 5.95%           BKpF        25.54                8,396 
BlackRock CA Municipal Tr     BFZ         14.40                9,956 
BlackRock Long-Term Muni      BTA         11.60               19,645 
Blkrck MunHl NJ Qlty          MUJ         14.99               11,533 
BlRk MuHldg NY Qlty           MHN         14.97               17,690 
BlkRk MuniHldgs Quality       MUS         13.84               14,580 
BlkRd MuniYld Michigan II     MYM         13.98                3,876 
BlRk Muyld NJ Qlty            MJI         14.79                4,500 
BlkRk MuniYld Quality         MQY         15.49               11,240 
BlRkMunyldQltyIII             MYI         13.75               28,529 
BlkRk MuniYld Ins Qlty        MFT         14.44                5,344 
Blyth                         BTH         69.95                6,181 
Boston Beer                   SAM         101.96               5,743 
Chesapeake Granite Wash       CHKR        19.97               98,731 
Core Labs                     CLB         119.49              42,424 
Dominos Pizza                 DPZ         34.05              100,371 
Enterprise Pdts Partners      EPD         46.61              119,587 
FMC Tech                      FTI         53.86              200,255 
FTI Consulting                FCN         43.98               53,658 
Fair Isaac                    FICO        36.83               31,419 
Genuine Parts                 GPC         59.91               67,244 
WW Grainger                   GWW         190.63              75,796 
Home Depot                    HD          39.98            2,325,016 
Humana Inc                    HUM         90.00              138,171 
Invesco Mun Incm Opps Tr      OIA         6.53                24,285 
Invesco MIO II                OIB         7.20                20,727 
Invesco MIO III               OIC         7.89                10,005 
James Hardie Indus ADS        JHX         35.65                  850 
KIMCO Realty Pfd H            KIMpH       27.15                4,437 
Kodiak Oil & Gas              KOG         9.15               726,665 
Manning & Napier              MN          12.77               13,415 
Mastercard                    MA          384.99             105,210 
McDonald's                    MCD         96.47              463,923 
Metro Health Ntwks            MDF         7.60                66,787 
Movado Group                  MOV         18.58               38,279 
NeuStar A                     NSR         34.73               76,404 
Nuveen CA Muni Value          NCA         9.30                 4,594 
Nuveen Connecticut Prem       NTC         14.15                  955 
Nuveen Div Fnd                NAD         14.10               25,038 
Nuveen Insured Premium        NNF         15.50                1,962 
Nuveen Insurd Prem Inco 2     NPX         13.20               14,376 
Nuveen Muni Mkt Opp           NMO         13.66               10,316 
Nuveen NJ Premium Income      NNJ         15.01                6,905 
Nuveen NY Div Fnd             NAN         13.92                3,155 
Nuveen NY Investment Qual     NQN         15.26                7,495 
Nuveen NY Select Quality      NVN         15.27                7,640 
Nuveen Pa Premium Inc 2       NPY         13.76                8,750 
Nuveen Premier Muni Inc       NPF         14.34               16,484 
Nuveen Premium Inco Muni      NPI         14.21               23,676 
Nuveen Quality Income         NQU         14.25               21,095 
ONEOK Partners                OKS         52.98               41,283 
Oceaneering Intl              OII         48.45               72,144 
Oiltanking Partners LP        OILT        29.55                5,836 
PartnerRe Pfd E               PREpE       26.25                2,703 
PimcoNY                       PNI         11.40                3,524 
Rex American Resources        REX         19.22                5,157 
TJX Cos                       TJX         63.14              362,900 
Targa Resources               TRGP        37.49              149,356 
Targa Resources Partners      NGLS        38.50               62,965 
Tesoro Logistics LP           TLLP        28.81                5,045 
Tyson Foods                   TSN         20.50              340,405 
VISA  (Cl A)                  V           98.60              371,660 
Western Asset Mun Tr Fund     MTT         21.81               10,094 
Western Gas Partners LP       WES         38.50               19,352 
World Fuel Svcs               INT         43.36              121,956 
Wyndham Worldwide             WYN         36.30              484,364 

New Lows 5 

COMPANY                       SYMBOL      LOW                 VOLUME 
-------                       ------      ----                ------ 
Gildan Activewear             GIL         16.32              623,812 
iStar Finl 7.80%  Ser F       SFIpF       14.03                4,104 
Source Cap $2.4 Cum. pfd.     SORp        33.70                4,661 
Tortoise Pipeline & Engy      TTP         24.14              104,932 
Verso Paper                   VRS         1.10                45,484


New Highs 19 

COMPANY                       SYMBOL      HIGH                VOLUME 
-------                       ------      ----                ------ 
Akorn                         AKRX        10.95               81,535 
Altisource Ptfl Sol SA        ASPS        47.90                7,239 
American Dental Ptnrs         ADPI        18.90                4,876 
America's Car-Mart            CRMT        37.67                1,573 
Barrett Business Svcs         BBSI        19.30                1,750 
Citizens Republic Bancorp     CRBC        11.04               50,978 
Costco Wholesale              COST        88.68              380,420 
Epoch Hldg                    EPHC        24.40               10,375 
Fastenal Co                   FAST        42.45              277,353 
Home Federal Bancorp LA       HFBL        17.12                  500 
Magal Security Systems        MAGS        5.10               112,924 
Medivation                    MDVN        47.46               87,700 
OSI Systems                   OSIS        49.04               22,933 
Pizza Inn Holdings            PZZI        6.60                72,429 
RBC Bearings                  ROLL        42.90                5,024 
Ross Stores                   ROST        93.18              106,902 
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals      SPPI        14.43              114,094 
Synageva BioPharma            GEVA        18.42              102,900 
Verisk Analytics Inc          VRSK        39.39               73,864 

New Lows 14 

COMPANY                       SYMBOL      LOW                 VOLUME 
-------                       ------      ----                ------ 
ApplEntrgtcs                  AERG        0.08               111,934 
Clovis Oncology               CLVS        12.22                1,700 
Crumbs Bake Shop Inc Un       CRMBU       2.52                   500 
eOn Comm                      EONC        0.92                   450 
FiberTower                    FTWR        0.16               556,042 
Innovative Sols & Support     ISSC        3.70                   890 
Jacada                        JCDA        1.78                   267 
Meru Networks                 MERU        4.30                16,290 
Presstek                      PRST        0.52                10,160 
ProShs UlShrt Nsdq Biot       BIS         34.00                  400 
RPX                           RPXC        13.50               22,939 
Recovery Energy               RECV        3.66                 9,200 
Zillow Cl A                   Z           21.22               43,060 
ZipRealty                     ZIPR        1.10                10,300

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This Morning’s Most Active Put/Call Options Trades

BAC       12/17/11           6.0000         215            0.1800      up 0.0400 
FAZ        12/2/11          40.0000         201            0.6100      dn 1.6000 
BAC        2/18/12           7.0000         180            0.2300      up 0.0300 
GOOG       12/2/11         615.0000         160            4.6000      up 1.9500 
JPM        12/2/11          31.0000         132            0.3400      up 0.2300 
AAPL       12/2/11         390.0000         127            2.5900      up 1.6000 
AAPL       12/2/11         395.0000         114            0.2700      up 0.0200 
X          12/2/11          29.0000         110            0.0900      up 0.0400 
JPM        12/9/11          33.0000         109            0.2700      up 0.0700 
JPM       12/17/11          34.0000         100            0.3600      up 0.2200 

RIMM       12/2/11          17.0000         297            0.3000      up 0.2800 
FAS1      12/17/11          10.0000         250            0.3000      dn 0.0400 
AAPL       12/2/11         385.0000         248            0.1100      dn 0.9400 
AAPL       12/2/11         390.0000         233            0.7000      dn 2.8500 
LVS       12/17/11          47.0000         200            1.4000      dn 0.3100 
BAC       12/17/11           6.0000         180            0.4500      dn 0.1600 
RIMM      12/17/11          20.0000         178            3.2500      up 0.9000 
RIMM       12/2/11          16.0000          92            0.0700      up 0.0600 
RIMM      12/17/11          16.0000          91            0.7600      up 0.2800 
AAPL       12/2/11         380.0000          81            0.0400      dn 0.2300 

    CALLS      PUTS           TOTAL 
    16289     17514          33803
JNJ        12/17/11          67.5000        3500            0.0700      up 0.0000 
VLO         1/21/12          24.0000        3015            1.0600      up 0.2300 
HRB        12/17/11          15.0000        2643            0.5000      dn 0.7500 
RIMM        12/2/11          18.0000        1532            0.0200      dn 0.7100 
PXD         1/21/12         105.0000        1500            1.5000      dn 0.2000 
PXD         1/21/12          85.0000        1500           11.7000      up 0.4100 
JPM        12/17/11          34.0000        1494            0.3600      up 0.1900 
AAPL        12/2/11         390.0000        1367            2.5700      up 1.4700 
F           2/18/12          10.0000        1349            1.2300      up 0.0800 
MSFT       12/17/11          26.0000        1345            0.2400      up 0.0300 

RIMM       12/2/11          16.0000        1385            0.0500      up 0.0200 
RIMM       12/2/11          17.0000        1265            0.3000      up 0.2700 
RIMM       1/21/12          17.5000        1253            2.1900      up 0.5400 
LULU      12/17/11          47.5000        1074            1.1500      dn 1.0000 
C1         1/21/12           4.0000        1000            1.2800      up 0.0000 
GMCR       1/21/12          30.0000         963            0.1100      dn 0.2800 
AAPL       12/2/11         385.0000         925            0.1200      dn 0.9300 
MOS       12/17/11          50.0000         898            1.0200      up 0.0700 
RIMM      12/17/11          20.0000         772            3.4500      up 1.1100 
AAPL       12/2/11         390.0000         674            0.7000      dn 2.8500 

    CALLS      PUTS           TOTAL 
   256329     285002         541331

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