30 NOVEMBER 2002

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T he Fire Brigades Union and employers' representatives agreed to a

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deal on a 16 per cent pay rise, in the early hours of the morning on which an eight-day strike was to begin. But the office of Mr John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, said...

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O f the many personal mishaps to have afflicted ministers in the last Conservative government, few, ultimately, can have proved as damaging as the revelation that Norman Lamont...

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W ithin an hour of returning to the Commons after a sabbatical tour of ex-British South Asia I find myself plunged into the firefighters' strike. The Blairites have long been...

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Poor, proud Prescott will soon be hauled off to the knacker's yard

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PETER OBORNE T he origins of government mishandling of the firefighters' strike are to be found in the immediate aftermath of the general election in June last year, when Tony...

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Toby Young says the savage new religion of celebrity has displaced older cults, with which it has much in common STOP all the clocks, cut off the telephone, prevent the dog...

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Rachel Johnson talks to The Archers' Brian Aldridge, whose sexual exploits make television look tame AT 7.02 p.m., women all over the country lock themselves into bathrooms....

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Mark Steyn says that the President's cosying up to the Saudis is making a mockery of the war on terrorism New Hampshire I ALWAYS like the bit in the Bond movie where 007 and...

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Hugh Russell reports that the mixed-race tribes of Africa look down on their black cousins Lusaka I'M ashamed of myself. When the 2 November issue of The Spectator finally...

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Mind your language

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MY husband's new hero is Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, the Chief of the Defence Staff. He (my husband) keeps exclaiming 'Re-Boyce! Re-Boyce!' in a poor approximation to the tone...


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Labour is downgrading the crime of bestiality after lobbying by zoosexuals, reveals Ross Clark WHEN David Blunkett stood up last week to launch his blueprint on sexual...

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Tim Luckhurst on Greg Dyke 's tax-payer-funded mission to destroy his commercial rivals IN the BBC's prime-time plug for the offerings available on its Freeserve digital...

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How Churchill fought the spirit of the age to snatch victory from Diana

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FRANK JOHNSON S o many people seem not to realise how close Diana, Princess of Wales, came in that fateful autumn of 2002 to conquering these islands. Only Isambard Kingdom...

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Ancient & modern

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WHAT a fuss everyone is getting into about the funding of universities! If ministers would only sit back with their Aristotle and Plato and think about results, all would become...

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Why does Downing Street encourage Dirty Des?

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Because he threatens the Daily Mail STEPHEN GLOVER 0 ne of Richard Desmond's heroes is Rupert Murdoch, who was profiled in glowing terms in the most recent Sunday Express. The...

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Leah McLaren meets Rod Eddington, who is rescuing BA by sacking thousands A COWBOY name. Heavy on the consonants and crudely clipped, the first three letters doubling as an...

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Banned wagon: global

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A weekly stiney of world restrictions on freedom and free trade CHRISTMAS shoppers are being urged to boycott the clothes store Gap on the basis that it exploits workers in the...

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Sentenced to months of hard labour, fraud juries empathise with the men in the dock

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CHRISTOPHER FILDES T he charge of fraud at the Royal Mail Line led to a sensational trial, and Sir Patrick Hastings was briefed for the defence. It seemed that the company's...

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Matthew Leeming says that right-on liberal commentators were quite wrong about the war against the Taleban Faiza bad I WAS halfway up the track that leads to the salt-mine at...

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Philip Delves Broughton, in Monaco for the trial of Ted Maher, finds that the principality is a rotten little retirement home for fat cats IT was bucketing down in Monte Carlo...

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You'd think the Tories would have more sense than to try to rock and roll. But you'd be wrong

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ROD LIDDLE S ome time ago I was jammed into the back of a large white Mercedes van and sent across the dead and dusty plains of northern Uganda to see how desperately poor...

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THE YEAR? Tam Dalyell says that Tony Blair may be many things but he is not a Parliamentarian; all his achievements are extra-parliamentary EVEN now. I am not sure that I...

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An insult to Parliament

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From Mr Roderick Rudsmith Sir: The awarding of 'Parliamentarian of the Year' (23 November) to the Rt Hon, Tony Blair. MP, was a shocking and gross mistake. Surely you and your...

Media studies must stay

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From Mr Jaldeep Katwala Sir: In your leading article (23 November), you argue for a free market in higher education but then entirely fail to get the point about media studies....

From Mr Brian Jenner Sir: It is ridiculous to say

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that most Oxbridge students can expect to earn £45,000 two years after graduation, as you suggest in your leading article. It com pounds the middle-class myth that getting into...

Obituarising Myra

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From Mr J. Fergusson Sir: My old friend Stephen Glover (Media studies, 23 November) complains of the 'measured obituaries' of Myra Hindley in the Independent and the Guardian,...

The making of a soldier

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From Corporal James Bussey Sir: It seems fashionable for servicemen such as Gordon Bourne ('Why I quit the army', 23 November) to complain to the press about inadequacies in the...

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From Mr Andrew Wauchope Sir: Gordon Bourne's article reminded me

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that Labour governments have always allowed penny-pinching to affect operational efficiency. During the Attlee Labour government, my uncle did his national service in Benghazi...

Peacekeepers of Kosovo

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From Mr Simon Haselock Sir: Andrew Sutton (The black hole of Europe', 9 November) accomplishes the seemingly impossible: firing a wild fusillade of criticism at the political...

Weeping for the war dead

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From Major-General Julian Thompson Sir: I am sorry that Rod Liddle ('Diana wins — from beyond the grave', 16 November) has to use the Queen's tears at a remembrance service as...

Let loose your daughters!

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From Mr Callum Fisken Sir: I was moved beyond tears by John Gibb's tale (`Hookers at sports day', 23 November) of distressed gentlefolk forced to embrace the oldest profession...

Posh theory

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From Mr W.J. Kelly Sir: I was interested to read about the origins of the word 'posh' (Mind your language, 16 November), My understanding has always been that it did relate to...

Wine Club correction

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In the wine column of 16 November, Corney & Barrow Ltd's telephone number should have read 020 7539 3200.

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Social climbers, beware! What fresh hell are you climbing to?

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PAUL JOHNSON S ocial climbing isn't what it used to be. Dress, for instance. The right gear, a Shakespearean term, used to be essential. Provincials trying to make it at...

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Master of the shrug

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Philip Hensher NOBODY'S PERFECT: BILLY WILDER, A PERSONAL BIOGRAPHY by Charlotte Chandler Simon & Schuster, 120, pp. 352, ISBN 0743217098 L ong long ago, they used to say that...

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Footloose for half a lifetime

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Justin Marozzi THE TRAVELS OF IBN BATTUTAH edited by Tim Mackintosh - Smith Picador, £20, pp. 325. ISBN 0330497 13X W alk into an airport bookstore and chances are the shelves...

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The lines are immaterial

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Jane Gardam BYRON: LIFE AND LEGEND by Fiona MacCarthy John Murray, £25, pp. 674, ISBN 071955621X I once met a thoroughly heterosexual old naval officer who had been a...

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Stooping to conquer

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Ian Thomson NOBODY'S PERFECT by Anthony Lane Picador, £15.99. pp. 752, ISBN 0330491822 A nthony Lane has been film critic for the New Yorker since 1993, and the light lash of...

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The man

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who would be Stalin David Pryce-Jones SADDAM: THE SECRET LIFE by Con Coughlin Macmillan, £20, pp. 384, ISBN 0333782003 SADDAM HUSSEIN by Andrew Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn...

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self-promoting recluse

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Jane Ridley CHARLES DARWIN, VOLUME II: THE POWER OF PLACE by Janet Browne Cape, £25, pp. 591. ISBN 0224042122 I f Charles Darwin had spent the first half of his life in the...

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In their own words

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Charlotte Moore RORY & ITA by Roddy Doyle Cape, £16.99, pp. 338, ISBN 0224069233 My first memory is of the stone floor. Stone slabs. And I remember ... soldiers marching, with...

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Back in the dock

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Douglas Johnson VERDICT ON VICHY: POWER AND PREJUDICE IN THE VICHY REGIME by Michael Curtis Weidenfeld. £20, pp, 419, ISBN 0297842242 h e French have never forgotten Vichy....

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Can you spot the difference?

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Henry Hobhouse FAUNA BRITANNICA by Stephan Buczacki Hamlyn, £40, pp. 528, ISBN0600598675 FAUNA BRITANNICA by Duff Hart-Davis Weidenfeld, £30, pp. 415, ISBN 0297825321 T ime was...

A good tale

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spoilt in the telling Andrew Roberts WINSTON'S WAR by Michael Dobbs HarperCollins, £17.99, pp. 487, ISBN 000225414X M ichael Dobbs is a charming, intelligent and self-effacing...

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New figures in our national story

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Graham Stewart HISTORY OF BRITAIN, VOLUME III: THE FATE OF EMPIRE by Simon Schama BBC, £25, pp. 576, ISBN 0563534575 I n the first two volumes accompanying his History of...

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Finding Paradise in your own back garden

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Mary Keen G ardening is the nation's hobby. It is worth around £3 billion in annual business, much of it generated by television makeovers. No one is letting on that what keeps...

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Still cloaked in mystery

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Anne Somerset SIR WALTER RALEIGH by Raleigh Trevelyan Allen Lane, £20, pp. 640, ISBN 0761399326X E lizabeth I was nearly 50 when her fancy was taken by a 'tall, handsome and...

Naughty but nice

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Sebastian Smee INTERESTING WOMEN by Andrea Lee Fourth Estate, T9.99, pp. 222, ISBN 0007135041 T he first story in this very fine collection takes the most risks, not unlike its...

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Magnificent joint venture

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Simon Courtauld SPAIN'S ROAD TO EMPIRE by Henry Kamen Allen Lane, £25, pp. 609, ISBN 0713993650 O ne might think that Henry Kamen, having written books on Spain in the 15th,...

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Cooking the books

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Elfreda Pownall I n the past famous cooks were content to distil the experience of a lifetime into one book: Hannah Glasse and Eliza Acton wasted little time thinking of the...

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Quiet man of letters

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David Hughes CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE NOVEL by David Lodge Seeker, £17.99, pp, 320. ISBN 0436210053 I ntroducing a book of his pieces for the weekly press (Thoughts in the...

The Robertson revolution

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Hilary Spurting B ryan Robertson, who died two weeks ago on 18 November, did more than any other single person to transform the contemporary art scene in this country, and from...

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The Empire strikes back

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Andrew Lambirth welcomes the opening of the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum T en years ago, Bristol council were apparently thinking of demolishing the building which now...

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Winifred Nicholson: - Unseen Works on Paper (Crane Kalman Gallery, 178 Brompton Road, SW3, till 11 January)

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Painting for pleasure Laura Gascoigne I n our brand-obsessed era, artists who don't belong to movements tend to slip through the net, which is why, when you look up Winifred...

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Anthem for Doomed Youth (Imperial War Museum, London, till 27 April)

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Poetic injustice Roderic Dunnett W hen you see millions of the mouthless dead/Across your dreams in pale battalions go „ . ' This vision of stark horror, found in a British...

Die Another Day (12A, selected cinemas)

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Forever Bond Mark Steyn T he big difference between the Bond books and the Bond films is the formula. Ian Fleming didn't have one. Sometimes he put 007 up against evil...

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Dinner (Lyttelton Loft) The BFG (Playhouse) The Mousetrap (St Martin's)

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Insubstantial fare Toby Young D inner, a new play by Moira Buffini at the National, starts off brimming with promise. Harriet Walter plays a brittle, acid-tongued hostess...

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Trio of hits

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Michael Tanner G lyndebourne's autumn season, which takes in six venues, but could surely with profit (if not of the financial variety) take in many more, is on even more...

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Knussen revealed

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Robin Holloway T he tapes made in my unavoidable absence had cut off the broadcast's first couple of minutes: but there was no mistaking the music's voice — lithe, bright,...

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Drippy heroes

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James Delmgpole H ow boring is Daniel Deronda? It's 15 odd years since I ploughed through it but I do dimly recall a conversation with some of my fellow undergraduates which...

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Mystery man

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Michael Vestey U ntil Georges Simenon claimed to have slept with 10,000 women, the Belgianborn novelist was chiefly known for his Inspector Maigret detective stories. After...

The reason why

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Charles Moore T he Editor wants to know why people hunt. Being a classicist, he puts it differently. He asks what is the mens rea of the hunter. Looking round the leading...

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Crazy business

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Robin Oakley A delegate staying in a Blackpool hotel for a conference once complained to his landlady about being woken at 5.00 a.m. by the baying of a pack of dogs. 'Why don't...

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Wh at

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manners? Taki New York hey know they cannot help their clumsy, one-handed table manners, and even the most seemingly sophisticated American makes a point of checking which...

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Facts and figures

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Jeremy Clarke F acing each other across the piazza of the Sardinian village we stayed in last week were two bars, one right-wing and one communist. The communist bar sold...

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Wild times

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PetroneIla Wyatt T he tiny propeller plane that seemed to be made from beaten tin dipped and shuddered in the air. One of the girls opposite me turned the colour of vegetable...

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Simon Hoggart

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BERRY Bros ST. Rudd are Britain's oldest wine merchants. A visit to their 300-year-old building in St James's is delightful but also somewhat disconcerting, even overwhelming....

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A long winter for England

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Michael Henderson Perth ENGLAND's cricketers lost a Test match in Adelaide but, viewed from a wider perspective, it was a wonderful week. The 'city of churches' (and sex...

Q. I am a hereditary peer. I am also in

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the auctioneering business and my work takes me to the United States, where confusion frequently arises over my Christian name. What is the most tactful way for me to correct...

Q. During the summer I attended a performance of Gifford's

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Circus, where everyone in my party was totally enchanted by the dancing pony, the tightrope walkers and the acrobats. I, however, found my own eyes were totally transfixed by...

Q. I do not think that your correspondent (9 November)

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and partner, together earning £500,000 p.a., should consider themselves 'rich' and therefore feel guilty. Surely the definition of 'wealthy' is the ability to live off the...

Q. I am a little nervous because next week I

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am going to meet someone called Olinda Adeane. Can you give me any advance information about what she is like? Name and address withheld A. Mrs Adearie is a Suffolk landowner's...

Mary Killen

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