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PUSH FOR DIWALI AS OFFICIAL HOLIDAY IN NYC PUBLIC SCHOOLS

By THE OLD BAG

There may be a new holiday in the New York City public schools.

It’s called Diwali.

What is Diwali, you ask?

It’s not a Christian holiday.

Nor is it a Jewish holiday.

And nope – it’s not Muslim either.

Atheist, you ask?

Wrong!

Pick one of the following: Buddhist, Hindi, Jainism (whatever that is), Jedi Knights (huh?), or Mithraism (???).

 Confucius say it’s a holiday from the Hindu religion.

According to a press release issued:

“Hindus are urging New York City (NYC) Council to support the idea of Diwali as permanent official holiday in the city schools as its Committee on Education is meeting on November 22 to discuss this issue…Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement today, said that it was not fair with Hindu pupils and their families as they had to attend school on Diwali, the most popular Hindu festival…NYC Department of Education school calendar 2016-2017 included the holiday closures on Rosh Hashanah (two days), Yom Kippur, Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr. Good Friday (which falls during the Spring recess of April 10-18 when the schools are closed) is also paid holiday for employees (except for ‘prevailing wage rate employees’).”

The press release also provided:

“Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that this unfairness did not send a good signal to the impressionable minds of schoolchildren who would be the leaders of tomorrow. Holidays of all major religions should be honored and no one should be penalized for practicing their religion. Moreover, it was important to meet the religious and spiritual needs of these students, Zed added…Zed stressed that since it was significant for Hindu families to celebrate Diwali day together at home with their children, we did not want our children to be deprived of any privileges at the school because of thus resulting absences on this day. Closing schools on Diwali would ensure that and it would be a step in the positive direction…Zed noted that awareness about other religions thus created by such holidays like Diwali would make the NYC pupils well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow….Zed further says that Hinduism is rich in festivals and religious festivals are very dear and sacred to Hindus. Diwali, the festival of lights, aims at dispelling the darkness and lighting up the lives and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Besides Hindus, Sikhs and Jains and some Buddhists also celebrate Diwali, which falls on October 19 in 2017. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. There are about three million Hindus in USA.”

Why not add Diwali as an official holiday for the NYC public schools? Two reasons: most kids will want another day off, so give it to them; and another day away from their teachers and the liberal crap that most of them are force-feeding upon them can make for a better America.

The Old Bag is…old…and cranky…but one smart lady.

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BILL DE BLASIO IS USING PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PENSIONS IN A POLITICAL STUNT

By PRINTUS LEBLANC

There is just something nutty about New York. First Governor Cuomo announces he is going to sue the federal government to stop the recent tax cut legislation into law. Now the Mayor of New York City Bill De Blasio is going to divest the public employee pension funds from one of the most stable, growing, and in-demand industries in the world. A little research shows this is nothing more than a political stunt, but a political stunt that could cost billions.

This week De Blasio announced his intention to divest city assets from the fossil fuel industry. It means he intends to sell all fossil fuel interests in the five pension funds controlled by the city, stocks bonds everything. Comptroller Scott Stringer plans on investing the funds into projects and assets linked to the sustainability of the planet, i.e., Solyndra like investments.

The economic impact of the fossil fuel industry cannot be ignored. The industry contributes $1.3 trillion to the U.S. economy. That would make it the 12th largest economy in the world, larger than Russia and slightly smaller than South Korean economies. With the election of President Donald Trump, the impact can only grow as the President has announced his intentions to release American energy dominance. Why would any person that cares about the financial future of their employees not want to take part in that?

More importantly, the announcement shows De Blasio believes it is acceptable to use the pensions of police officers and teachers for a political stunt, or he has no idea how the economy of the city he lives in works. So far he is talking about divesting $5 billion out of the $191 billion managed by the city. This proves it is nothing but a publicity stunt.

Goldman Sachs, probably the most famous investment bank in the world, has an entire division dedicated to natural resources, which includes fossil fuels. The largest bank in the U.S., JP Morgan Chase, also has a substantial presence in the fossil fuel industry. It would be almost impossible to find any bank in the world that is not in the fossil fuel sector.

What about the insurance business? Major insurers like AIG are also in the fossil fuel industry. They ensure everything from the fuel to the pipelines to the people working on oil platforms.

What about the pharmaceutical industry? Petroleum is used widely in the healthcare industry, primarily as a transport fuel and feedstock for pharmaceuticals, plastics, and medical supplies, and there are few substitutes available.

Is the Mayor going to get rid of all bank stocks and CDs held by the pensions? Is he going to divest from the insurance companies? Is the Mayor going to sell all shares in Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer? Is he going to shut down the plants that supply millions of New York citizens natural gas for heat or electricity?

The answer is a resounding no, and that’s how you know this is nothing more than a publicity stunt to get national attention for his future presidential run. The only real problem is, why is the Mayor allowed to use the other people’s pensions as a political prop for a stunt? Former President Barack Obama’s Department of Labor is the answer.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration, in the Department of Labor, issued a controversial rule on October 26, 2015. The rule states:

“The Department has been asked periodically over the last 30 years to consider the application of ERISA’s fiduciary rules to pension plan investments selected because of the collateral economic or social benefits they may further in addition to their investment returns. Various terms have been used to describe this and related investment behaviors, such as socially responsible investing, sustainable and responsible investing, environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, impact investing, and economically targeted investing (ETI).”

This means a fiduciary can invest money into a project or asset that has a higher chance of failure or lower rate of return than traditional investments as long as the investment is “socially responsible.”

It should be illegal for the Mayor to use the pensions as a political prop, especially if the new investments are linked to often failed sustainability projects, i.e., SolyndraBeacon PowerRange Fuels, etc. After all, a fiduciary has a legal duty to act in your best interest.

De Blasio did nothing but show his lack of understanding about how an economy works, and his willingness to use other people’s money to further his political career. De Blasio also reminded us the Department of Labor needs to resend this idiotic rule. The U.S. has a pension crisis as it is, it should not be exacerbated by giving political hacks the ability to invest based on “feelings.”

Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government. You can read more of Printus LeBlanc’s articles at www.netrightdaily.com. 

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NYPD’S SECRET USE OF CELLPHONE-SWEEPING TECHNOLOGY

By R. J. NICHOLAS

Scores of police departments across the country are quietly using a highly secretive technology developed for the military that can track the whereabouts of suspects by using the signals constantly emitted by their cellphones, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Las Vegas.

Objections to the suitcase-sized devices known as StingRays or cell site simulators are increasingly growing amidst civil liberties and privacy groups. The StingRays or cell site simulators mimick cell towers and can sweep up cellphone data from an entire neighborhood. The cellphone user doesn’t even have to make a call or send a text message, the Police can still determine the location of a phone without the phone being in use. Some versions of the technology can even intercept texts and calls, or pull information stored on the phones.

Privacy experts say, that part of the problem is the devices can also collect data from anyone within a small radius of the person being tracked. In most cases, law enforcement will go to great lengths to conceal usage by offering plea deals rather than divulging details on the StingRay. Attorney Jerome Greco, of Legal Aid Society said, “We can’t even tell how frequently they’re being used.” Greco recently succeeded in blocking evidence collected with the device in a New York City murder case. “It makes it very difficult”

It has been brought to public attention that at least 72 state and local law enforcement departments in 24 states plus 13 federal agencies use the devices. The departments that use them must take the unusual step of signing nondisclosure agreements overseen by the FBI which makes further details hard to come by.

The Harris Corporation is a defense contractor that makes the devices. They are involved with the agreements that are intended to prevent the release of sensitive law enforcement information to the general public, states an FBI spokeswoman. The agreements, however, don’t prevent an officer from telling prosecutors the technology was used in a case.

The use of this technology was virtually unknown to the public in New York City until last year. The New York Civil Liberties Union forced the disclosure of records showing the NYPD used the devices more than 1,000 times since 2008. The NYPD and other police departments across the country are standing behind the continued use of this current technology saying it helped catch suspects in kidnappings, rapes, robberies, assaults and murders. It has even helped find missing people, if they even had a cell phone on them.

None-the-less, privacy experts and citizens that support the constitution say such deceptive gains come at too high a cost. Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation said, “We have a Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.” She is referring to the protection against unreasonable search and seizure. “Our Founding Fathers decided when they wrote the Bill of Rights there had to be limits placed on government.”

Proposals to stop this invasion of privacy have been introduced by lawmakers in several states ranging from warrant requirements to an outright ban on the technology. There are a dozen states that already have laws requiring warrants. Last year, federal law enforcement said that it would be routinely required to get a search warrant before using the technology — a first effort to create a uniform legal standard for federal authorities.

As a result case law is slowly building. A Washington, D.C., appeals court overturned a conviction on a sex assault after judges ruled a violation of the Fourth Amendment because of evidence improperly collected from the simulator without a proper warrant, two months ago.

Last month, in the New York murder case argued by the Legal Aid Society, a judge in Brooklyn ruled that the NYPD must have an eavesdropping warrant signed by a judge to use the device. This is a much higher bar than the “reasonable suspicion” standard that had previously been required.

State Supreme Court Judge Martin Murphy wrote, ”By its very nature, then, the use of a cell site simulator intrudes upon an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy, acting as an instrument of eavesdropping and requires a separate warrant supported by probable cause.”

Even though there had been a court order to use a StingRay, New York City police officials disagreed with the ruling and disputed that a StingRay was even used in the case. Police officials say they require a higher stander of probable cause when applying for the devices, but who knows what’s really happening.

Many hope the ruling will push the nation’s largest department into meeting the higher standard, and help judges better understand the intricacies of more cutting-edge surveillance, including Greco from the Legal Aid Society. Greco said, “We’re hoping we can use this decision among other decisions being made across the country to show that this logic is right. The fact that most judges don’t understand this growing technology, is what is making cell tapping a major issue. It makes it easier if another judge has sat down, learned about this new surveillance and really thought about it.”

Will American citizens continue to sacrifice their boundaries and privacy out of fear and oppression or will they stand like their forefathers did and say no more?

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ATTORNEYS FOR NYPD POLICE OFFICERS CHARGED WITH RAPE FILE MOTION TO DISMISS

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

A paid of New York City police officers were charged with raping an 18-year-old girl at the end of October. The attorney for Officer Eddie Martins said, in a 37-page notice of a motion filed recently, that he wanted the charges dismissed. They are accusing the alleged victim of lying about the brutal attack by stating that the tale told by the teen  was “patently false,” and that she “perjured herself and made numerous material consistent statements.” The young woman “gave shockingly contradictory accounts of the incident to (police), the media and under oath,” according to the papers filed in the Brooklyn Supreme Court.

In November, Martins and fellow Officer Richard Hall quit their NYPD jobs. The two ex-cops now face charges of rape and kidnapping nearly two months after the stunning Sept. 15 allegations about an alleged rape inside their police minivan. A spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney said, “We will review the motion and respond to it in court.”

During the course of the investigation, the court papers also asked for the suppression of physical evidence from Martins’ “person, locked office, desk, locker and body.”

According to the documents, the search warrants were issued based on information from witnesses lacking in credibility — and most egregiously, the accuser. The court papers charged, “The integrity of the grand jury proceeding was impaired by … the prosecution’s presentation of false testimony by their essential witness. The prosecution’s conduct deprived the grand jury from ‘the full truthful story’ and such evidence would have materially influenced the grand jury’s determination.”

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MANHATTAN BIKE ATTACK WAS FUELED BY ISIS

By DEVON ST. CLAIRE

Federal officials say, that the pickup driver accused of fatally mowing down people on a Manhattan bike path on October 31st has been charged in a 22-count indictment that accuses him of murder and providing key support to the terrorist group ISIS.

According to court papers released Tuesday, Sayfullo Saipov, is 29 years old and from New Jersey. Due to a simple decision he made last month he now faces life in prison or the death penalty on eight counts of murder in aid of racketeering and 12 counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering. These are charges often lodged against organized crime and gang members. The criminal enterprise ISIS is steeped in killings, kidnappings, suicide bombings and other intimidation tactics.

The alleged killer rented a Home Depot truck and wanted to display the ISIS flag in the front and back of it during the attack. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan which has the case, he decided against it because he did not want to draw attention to himself.

The indictment said, in the allegation of providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, Saipov knew the foreign group’s members were terrorists but still “provided services and personnel” — namely himself — when he barreled down a mile-long stretch of the West Side Highway path before hitting a school bus van. Saipov was also indicted on one count of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle.

On Tuesday night Saipov’s attorney could not be reached. However, the facts remain that Saipov killed eight people and injured 12 others while driving directly through a bicycle and pedestrian path near Houston and West streets. This murderous rampage forced nearby schools to go on lockdown just as students were leaving for the day. Saipov then allegedly waved around a weapon after ditching the pickup truck. He was then shot by an NYPD officer who later determined that the weapon was a paintball gun and a pellet gun.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement, “Sayfullo Saipov murdered eight innocent people and injured many more in a calculated act of terrorism in the heart of one of our great cities. People have a right to safety walking down a sidewalk or riding a bike, and we will not change our resolve to confront these threats both at home and abroad.”

Saipov, arrived to the states in 2010 from Uzbekistan and was a legal, permanent resident of the U.S. Prosecutors said they intend to seize all of his assets. Federal officials accused Saipov of “substantial planning and premeditation,” but the information released was largely known as was listed in court papers.

Authorities said, Saipov waived his Miranda rights after his capture and he revealed plans to continue driving on to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was apparently another soft target where he could maximize deaths. He chose to attack on Halloween because it was a day when many people were guaranteed to be on the streets.

Investigators found a stun gun, three knives and a document about 10 feet from his truck, with Arabic text saying “It will endure.” Federal officials said, this statement is commonly used to refer to ISIS, meaning the group will last forever. Prosecutors said, there were also cellphones in the truck that were key in the investigation. The cellphones contained scores of ISIS images and propaganda that inspired him to start planning his attack a year in advance. He choose the truck as his weapon after watching ISIS videos on his cellphone.

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MANHATTAN BIKE ATTACK WAS FUELED BY ISIS

By DEVON ST. CLAIRE

Federal officials say, that the pickup driver accused of fatally mowing down people on a Manhattan bike path on October 31st has been charged in a 22-count indictment that accuses him of murder and providing key support to the terrorist group ISIS.

According to court papers released Tuesday, Sayfullo Saipov, is 29 years old and from New Jersey. Due to a simple decision he made last month he now faces life in prison or the death penalty on eight counts of murder in aid of racketeering and 12 counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering. These are charges often lodged against organized crime and gang members. The criminal enterprise ISIS is steeped in killings, kidnappings, suicide bombings and other intimidation tactics.

The alleged killer rented a Home Depot truck and wanted to display the ISIS flag in the front and back of it during the attack. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan which has the case, he decided against it because he did not want to draw attention to himself.

The indictment said, in the allegation of providing and attempting to provide material support to ISIS, Saipov knew the foreign group’s members were terrorists but still “provided services and personnel” — namely himself — when he barreled down a mile-long stretch of the West Side Highway path before hitting a school bus van. Saipov was also indicted on one count of violence and destruction of a motor vehicle.

On Tuesday night Saipov’s attorney could not be reached. However, the facts remain that Saipov killed eight people and injured 12 others while driving directly through a bicycle and pedestrian path near Houston and West streets. This murderous rampage forced nearby schools to go on lockdown just as students were leaving for the day. Saipov then allegedly waved around a weapon after ditching the pickup truck. He was then shot by an NYPD officer who later determined that the weapon was a paintball gun and a pellet gun.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement, “Sayfullo Saipov murdered eight innocent people and injured many more in a calculated act of terrorism in the heart of one of our great cities. People have a right to safety walking down a sidewalk or riding a bike, and we will not change our resolve to confront these threats both at home and abroad.”

Saipov, arrived to the states in 2010 from Uzbekistan and was a legal, permanent resident of the U.S. Prosecutors said they intend to seize all of his assets. Federal officials accused Saipov of “substantial planning and premeditation,” but the information released was largely known as was listed in court papers.

Authorities said, Saipov waived his Miranda rights after his capture and he revealed plans to continue driving on to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was apparently another soft target where he could maximize deaths. He chose to attack on Halloween because it was a day when many people were guaranteed to be on the streets.

Investigators found a stun gun, three knives and a document about 10 feet from his truck, with Arabic text saying “It will endure.” Federal officials said, this statement is commonly used to refer to ISIS, meaning the group will last forever. Prosecutors said, there were also cellphones in the truck that were key in the investigation. The cellphones contained scores of ISIS images and propaganda that inspired him to start planning his attack a year in advance. He choose the truck as his weapon after watching ISIS videos on his cellphone.

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THANKSGIVING WEEKEND SHOOTOUT

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

Gunfire rang out inside the Galleria at Crystal Run Mall on Sunday afternoon. Two people were injured and the mall evacuated during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.

Police say a round was apparently fired into the floor when a man discharged a handgun on the second floor of the mall near the American Eagle store around 3:00 p.m.

A 49-year-old woman from Goshen and her 12-year-old son suffered minor abrasions during the incident states Chief Robert Hertman, of the Wallkill Police Department. They were both treated for their injuries and released from Orange County Regional Medical Center. The two were injured as a result of the round being discharged into the floor, believe’s Hertman. The Town of Woodbury police believe the shooting may have been an accidental discharge of a firearm, but investigators of the case have not confirmed it yet.

No arrests have been made at this time. The shooter has been described by officials as wearing a dark jacket and grey pants. Officials also state he was with a female wearing maroon pants, a dark jacket and pushing a baby stroller.

An incredibly busy time for a shooting to occur as it took place during the Black Friday weekend. This also marks the start of the holiday shopping season. The police swarmed the mall and called a complete evacuation. This caused Sunday’s holiday shopping extravaganza to be cut short and by early evening the parking lot was mostly empty except for response vehicles. That’s one way to thin the crowds at the mall during the holidays.

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COHOES WOMAN ATTEMPTS TO SMUGGLE DRUGS INTO PRISON

By DEVON ST. CLAIRE

On Saturday, a Cohoes woman was arrested and charged with two counts of promoting prison contraband. She was also charged with trying to smuggle drugs into Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill.

Her name was Erin Kowalewski, 39, and she was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and a misdemeanor for drug possession. She was going to visit an inmate and intended to provide him with the drugs, stated Police. Diazepam, Suboxone, hydrocodone and marijuana was found in her possession. She was sent to the Dutchess County Jail in lieu of $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond.

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CYCLIST & ADVOCATE KILLED BY HIT-AND-RUN DRIVER

By JUSTICE CAMPBELL

 

A 57-year-old Brooklyn man recklessly killed a 35-year-old Queens cyclist and advocate Matthew von Ohlen. He left the scene of the fatal crash and was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison.

 

“The reckless and dastardly actions of this defendant took the life of a beloved cyclist and advocate for safe streets. We cannot tolerate this kind of violent behavior by motorists and I am committed to continue doing my part in ensuring the safety of everyone who uses Brooklyn roads – drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike,” said Acting District Attorney Gonzalez.

 

The defendant has been identified as Juan Maldonado, 57, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Today he was sentenced to the maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Suzanne Mondo. This sentence followed last month’s conviction of second-degree manslaughter, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting and reckless driving after a jury trial. The Department of Motor Vehicles has been contacted by the judge who requested a lifetime revocation of the defendant’s driving license.

 

On July 2, 2016, at approximately 2:37 a.m., the defendant was behind the wheel of a black Chevy Camaro in the vicinity of Grand Street and Manhattan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, states the Acting District Attorney.

 

The defendant sped through a red light at an intersection, swerved into a designated bike lane on Grand Street where the victim was riding his bike, and then struck the victim. The defendant hit the victim’s bicycle from behind causing the victim to fall according to the evidence. The defendant ran over the victim and dragged him approximately 10 to 20 feet as he continued driving and sped away. The victim was pronounced dead after he was taken to Bellevue Hospital. Blunt force trauma was the cause of death.

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JACK MARTINS FOR NASSAU COUNTY EXECUTIVE

By DEVON ST. CLAIRE

The New York State Fraternal Order of Police, Empire State Lodge, the oldest and largest national association of law enforcement professionals with over 20,000 members statewide, along with significant, deep support from law enforcement unions on Long Island and New York City endorsed Nassau County Executive candidate Jack Martins.

“We have based our endorsement upon Jack Martins’ demonstrated and continued support of police professionals. Further, as police professionals who most experience and witness the trauma and effects of criminal behavior wrecked upon our fellow citizens, we understand, all too well, the significance of dedicated public servants like Jack who possess the courage and compassion to promote the confidence in our government and courts.” said, President Michael Essig.

Jack Martins said, ”I am honored to have the endorsement of the New York State Fraternal Order of Police. The men and women of the NYS FOP put their lives on the line every day to keep New Yorkers safe. I am proud that they trust in my experience and ability to lead Nassau County forward.”

Jack Martins substantially reduced Mineola’s debt and returned the village to a sound financial footing by developing balanced fiscally responsible budgets and debt management plans. He also expanded the village’s economic base through smart growth principles and led the effort to create Mineola’s award-winning master redevelopment plan.

As a State Senator, Martins cut state taxes on middle class families to the lowest level in 50 years, enacting the state property tax cap and delivering record state funding for Nassau County schools all while enacting an historic series of balanced, on-time state budgets.

Martins has the right experience and ability to lead Nassau forward along with securing deep union support for his candidacy, in particular with law enforcement unions. His union support includes: the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, Patrolman’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York, the Correction Officer Benevolent Association, the Superior Officers Union, Nassau Correction Officers Benevolent Association, Detectives’ Association Incorporated, Deputy Sheriff’s Benevolent Association, Inc., Police Medic Benevolent Association, Fire Marshal Benevolent Association, Local 237 Teamsters, the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters and the NYC District Council of Carpenters, the Civil Service Employees Association. Martins has also earned the endorsement of former New York Governor George E. Pataki and Congressman Peter King.

Jack Martins is the Republican, Conservative and Reform Party nominee for Nassau County Executive. Jack is a former three-term New York State Senator, the former Mayor of Mineola, and he lives in Nassau with his wife and four daughters. Jack Martins is focused on making Nassau County a better place to live, work and raise a family. As Nassau County Executive, Jack is committed to ending the corruption that has compromised the public’s trust in government, protecting local property taxpayers and creating an economic renaissance to provide a brighter future for the middle class.  The election is November 7, 2017.

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