How monsoon winds impact climate change by transporting pollutants into the upper atmosphere

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

While the Asian monsoon brings rain that is vital for the agricultural economy of the vast region, it is also known to suck up into the upper atmosphere chemical pollutants that accelerate climate change.

Scientists are eagerly awaiting the results of a US-led international project that seeks to confirm earlier findings published in Science that pollutants generated by get transported upwards by the and impact and, in turn, change climate.

Atmospheric chemistry is the study of the components of planetary atmospheres, which includes the troposphere—the layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth—the stratosphere and other layers.

Laura Pan is a principal investigator on the project and a scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, which is leading the Asian Summer Monsoon Chemical and Climate Impact Project (ACCLIP) along with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACCLIP is investigating how gas and affect global chemistry and climate.

“In recent decades, satellites have revealed that the monsoon creates a distinct layer of chemicals about 16 kilometers above the Earth, but we know very little about its composition and evolution,” Pan told SciDev.Net.

“ACCLIP will give us an opportunity to sample what’s there, but we know that whatever its composition, it connects to the climate.”

Studying the skies

The month-long project involves scientists from Korea, Japan, Italy and Germany, who will focus on the powerful circulation of the monsoon and sample the that are pulled upwards into the higher atmosphere where they affect rainfall over Asia in different ways—leading to both floods and droughts.

Researchers, using aircraft based at the US air base in South Korea, will fly through areas with the worst air quality—which happen to be where the Asian monsoon occurs. Scientists believe that while rain pours downwards a wide range of chemical pollutants get sucked by wind systems into the upper atmosphere and that their reactions with one another are linked to .

Evidence that the South Asian monsoon transports pollutants as high as the stratosphere was first available in 2015 when a similar experiment, using flying into pollution hotspots, was carried out by the Germany-based Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the German Aerospace Centre.

The lifted air contains various chemicals and aerosols produced by industry, agriculture, vehicle emissions and other human-related activities, along with natural biological processes.

“Research conducted until now shows that the Asian summer monsoon lifts pollutant gases and aerosols from the boundary layer of Asia to the upper atmosphere. A part of these pollutants are transported higher into the stratosphere and horizontally to the Western Pacific and West Africa in the form of eddies,” Suvarna Fadnavis, from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune, tells SciDev.Net.

“These pollutant gases and aerosols affect the radiative balance and chemical composition of the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (upper atmosphere).”

Measuring monsoons

Lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic brought industrial and road traffic to a temporary halt, reducing the generation of pollutants and affecting the monsoon, according to a 2021 Environmental Research Letters study. Researchers found that rainfall increased over South Asia, which has been facing water scarcity over recent decades.

In South Asia, East Asia and West Africa, increases in monsoon rains due to global warming have been counteracted by decreases in monsoon rains due to cooling from human-caused aerosol emissions during the 20th century, according to a report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Scientists have been interested to know if the pollutants at the surface reach the stratosphere during the strong ascent that occurs during the monsoon and this project may prove helpful,” says Jayaraman Srinivasan, a distinguished scientist at the Divecha Centre for Climate Change and honorary professor at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore’s Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

Fadnavis says that the ACCLIP project may help understand the “linkages of the unknown pattern of Asian summer monsoon with chemical changes occurring at higher altitudes over the Asia-Pacific region and the implications on the monsoon precipitation, extreme or drought, ice clouds, temperature changes etc.”

Jayanarayanan Kuttippurath, climate scientist at the Centre for Oceans, Rivers, Atmosphere and Land Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur says that wind systems that transport pollutants and moisture are a concern for East Asian and South Asian countries.

“This is particularly important for regions such as the Indo-Gangetic Plain, where atmospheric pollution is very high—the urban regions are already big heat islands and additional warming would make life in the cities more miserable,” he says.

Recent studies identified a region of high aerosol loading near the tropopause—the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere—called the Asian Tropopause Aerosol Layer. This also serves to move aerosols to the upper atmospheric layers where high aerosol concentrations can impact “radiative forcing” and cool the Earth’s surface.

Radiative forcing is a measure of the energy balance change in the atmosphere that results from a “forcing agent”—such as greenhouse gases and aerosols.

The Asian Summer Monsoon Chemical and Climate Impact Project will study the outflow—the wind generated by a storm—of the Asian monsoonal circulation, which occurs primarily in the upper troposphere and stratosphere, says Kenneth Jucks, manager for the Upper Atmosphere Research Program at NASA.

“Because we are looking at the outflow, being deployed on the coast of Asia to observe over the Pacific is ideal,” Jucks said. “The outflow is influenced by processes that occur throughout much of Asia, including China, the Himalayas, northern India, and even South-East Asia.”

Kuttippurath says that reliable measurements from the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere have been hard to come by, adding that “this type of campaign would definitely help scientists to better understand the chemistry and dynamics of the region.”

High altitude research aircraft explores the upper levels of the Asian Monsoon

More information:
J. Lelieveld et al, The South Asian monsoon—pollution pump and purifier, Science (2018). DOI: 10.1126/science.aar2501

Suvarna Fadnavis et al, The impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on the Indian summer monsoon, Environmental Research Letters (2021). DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac109c

J.-P. Vernier et al, CALIPSO detection of an Asian tropopause aerosol layer, Geophysical Research Letters (2011). DOI: 10.1029/2010GL046614

Pengfei Yu et al, Radiative forcing from anthropogenic sulfur and organic emissions reaching the stratosphere, Geophysical Research Letters (2016). DOI: 10.1002/2016GL070153

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Primary results make Wisconsin a center of the 2022 fight to save democracy – People’s World

Primary results make Wisconsin a center of the 2022 fight to save democracy

In this Aug. 29, 2020 file photo, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes speaks at a rally for Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wis. Barnes was nominated for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. | Morry Gash / AP

Wisconsin is the focus of a titanic 2022 mid-term elections battle. The stakes are enormous. The outcome could determine control of the U.S. Senate, elimination of the filibuster, the ability to block GOP schemes to steal the 2024 presidential election, and the future of democracy itself.

In the August 9 state primaries, Democrats nominated incumbent Gov. Tony Evers for a second term against Trump-backed millionaire Tim Michels and state assemblywoman Sara Rodriguez for Lt. Governor against Roger Roth. Current Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes will take on incumbent and deeply unpopular billionaire GOP Sen. Ron Johnson for one of Wisconsin’s two Senate seats in Washington.

The choice couldn’t be starker: Electing state and federal representatives who reflect popular majorities supporting climate and social justice, reproductive choice, gun safety, and constitutional democracy or MAGA extremists who spread the “Big Lie” that Democrats stole the 2020 election and support Trumpism’s assault on democracy, bans on abortion, and global warming denialism.

Evers, Barnes, Rodriguez, incumbent Attorney General Josh Kaul, and Secretary of State Doug La Follette are attempting to mobilize the anti-MAGA majority that won the state in 2018 and 2020 for Democrats. They are backed by a broad and growing multi-racial coalition of organized labor, farmers, youth, anti-gun violence and environmental groups, and other grassroots progressive organizations.

Barnes would make history as Wisconsin’s first Black senator if elected. “The other Mandela,” was raised in a union household in Milwaukee’s Northside African American working-class community. He is the son of a union autoworker and union teacher who named him in tribute to the late South African anti-apartheid leader and president.

Barnes cut his political teeth as a community organizer for MICAH, an interfaith social justice coalition, and as a state representative fighting GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on democracy, union rights, and social benefit programs. He has served as Lt. Governor for the past four years, responsible for implementing some of Gov. Evers’ policies.

Barnes chaired the Task Force on Climate Change, which made recommendations to address the impact of the climate crisis, environmental justice, and transition to green energy.

Barnes is also tapping into the outrage over the GOP-dominated U.S. Supreme Court striking down federal protections for abortion rights. His latest television ad features his mother, Lajuan, courageously discussing her wrenching decision to end a complicated pregnancy. “It was my decision, not some politician’s,” she says.

If elected, Barnes vowed to support the elimination of the filibuster so Democrats could pass sweeping legislation to reform electoral laws, protect voting rights, the PRO Act, abortion, LGBTQ and immigrant rights, and address the climate and ecological crisis.

“Let’s be clear: The filibuster has been weaponized by the GOP—and they’re destroying our democracy,” said Barnes. He believes federal election reform would eliminate extreme gerrymandering, which the GOP has wielded to cement control of the Wisconsin legislature and allowed Republicans to put extremism on steroids.

Barnes opposes Johnson, one of the Senate’s nuttiest and most extreme Republicans. Johnson’s support remains in the low 40th percentile in most polls, a horrible place for an incumbent to be. Even before the primary, polls showed Johnson losing to three of four potential Democratic candidates.

Johnson was deeply involved in Trump’s multi-pronged conspiracy to carry out a coup and overturn his 2020 election loss. Johnson continues to spread QAnon lies and disinformation that Democrats rigged the vote and that the January 6th attack was “an inside FBI job.”

Johnson was one of six Republican senators who objected to the electoral vote certification. He attempted to delay the vote to allow insurrectionists to assault the Capitol, halt the count, and sow chaos for Trump to declare martial law. The January 6th hearings exposed his attempt to pass a list of knowingly fake electors from Wisconsin to Vice President Mike Pence on January 6th, a potential felony.

Johnson voted against COVID relief, joined every Republican in voting against the Inflation Reduction Act, the infrastructure jobs act, which he didn’t bother to read, gun control legislation following the Buffalo and Uvalde massacres, and a cap on insulin prices.

He and other Republicans voted against medical aid for veterans exposed to toxins from Agent Orange and burn pits. Angry veterans and the public forced him to backtrack. He advocates making Social Security and Medicare a part of discretionary spending, subject to yearly cuts with the eventual aim of total dissolution of the programs.

Inexplicably, Johnson also opposed manufacturing the next generation of USPS trucks in Wisconsin, instead outsourcing production to a non-union plant in South Carolina. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO blasted him, “He is so out of touch that he won’t even lift one finger to help secure over 1,000 good union jobs for his hometown of Oshkosh.”

Evers’ veto is the firewall against a fascist GOP-dominated state legislature, including nine anti-abortion and 12 voter suppression bills. He has confronted a gerrymandered GOP state legislature since before taking office. They obstructed Evers from cleaning up the mess left behind by Walker by passing a law weakening his authority. They’ve attempted to block Evers’ actions as governor, including statewide COVID mandates during the height of the pandemic.

The Wisconsin GOP has so gerrymandered the state election maps that despite losing the governorship in 2018 and the presidency in 2020, they still control two-thirds of the legislative districts. In addition, the GOP controls the state Supreme Court.

With this consolidated power, the Republican Party hopes to pass legislation to control election administration by empowering the secretary of state, a position they hope to capture, to certify election outcomes. Incumbent Democrat Doug La Follette is standing in their way.

Michels, the millionaire challenging Evers, is a construction magnate who lives part-time in mansions he owns in New York and Connecticut. He received Trump’s backing after promising to throw out the 2020 Wisconsin election results if elected, something he knows he can’t do. He embraced Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban but pledged to eliminate exceptions in cases of rape.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.| Bonnie Cash / Pool Photo via AP

Were Michels to win, he and a GOP-dominated state legislature would be in place for the 2024 elections. The state legislature could try to overturn a Biden victory and approve GOP electors undemocratically.

Rodriguez, a registered nurse, won in a traditionally GOP assembly district in 2020, signaling extremist Republicans are losing moderate voters. If she wins lieutenant governor, she will be Wisconsin’s first statewide Latino elected official.

The multi-racial alliance of labor and social and environmental justice groups with the state Democratic Party has methodically been building since the GOP takeover of the state in 2010, notching several vital victories in the process.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party has rejuvenated over the past six years. Led by Ben Winkler, the party adopted the organizing and movement-building strategy developed by Stacy Abrams in Georgia. That strategy includes year-round organizing, contesting in all parts of the state, building broad alliances with labor and social justice organizations, and organization at the grassroots among Wisconsin’s racially diverse communities and at the precinct level.

The work paid off with a string of victories, including electing Evers and Barnes in 2018 and Biden in 2020. Progressives have won eight of the last nine statewide elections and flipped two assembly seats, including Rodriguez’s.

Now comes perhaps the biggest test yet. In addition to electing Evers, Rodriguez, La Follette, Kaul (who has vowed not to enforce the Supreme Court ruling striking down Roe v. Wade), and Barnes in November, a big turnout could flip Congressional seats from Republicans and narrow GOP majorities in the state legislature.


John Bachtell

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Music Entrepreneur, Dwayne “DCat” Cornelius, Moves Into the Metaverse with DCat Music NFTs – Music Industry Today

Music Entrepreneur, Dwayne “DCat” Cornelius, Moves Into the Metaverse with DCat Music NFTs – Music Industry Today – EIN Presswire

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12% of New Jersey voters turned out in 2022 primary election

The official voter turnout in the 2022 primary election was at 12% with 766,012 ballots cast, according to final tallies received by the state Division of Elections.

But the real number is probably around 19%, when roughly 2.5 million unaffiliated voters and more than 80,000 New Jerseyans registered to one of seven minor political parties are removed from the equation.

In the primary, 433,733 Democrats and 332,279 Republicans cast ballots for the June 8 election.   That represents turnout of approximately 17% among Democrats and 22% among Republicans.  (Those numbers are not precise, since some unaffiliated voters joined one of the two parties by casting their votes in the primary.)

Republican turnout was boosted by competitive congressional primaries in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 11th districts, while Democrats had mildly competitive primaries in the 8th and 10th.

Turnout matched the 12% in the 2021 gubernatorial and legislative primaries.

The top turnout counties where Monmouth and Hunterdon with 21% and 20%, respectively.  The lowest turnout came in Passaic County, where just 8% of voters showed up.

The 12% statewide turnout in 2022 was just slightly less than the last mid-term election four years when 13% of voters cast ballots.  A U.S. Senate seat was up that year, but just three hotly contested congressional primaries.  Since 2018, New Jersey has expanded vote-by-mail and established early voting.

Turnout was at 8% in 2014 and 9% in 2010.

A total of 6,314 ballots were rejected by election officials in June.

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White House energy rule delays may threaten climate goals

The White House regulatory review shop has blown past deadlines for multiple energy-saving standards, worrying advocates that President Joe Biden could further slip on his climate goals.

Five of nine Department of Energy appliance standards this year have exceeded the established 90-day review period at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), records show. Currently four Energy Department efficiency standards are under review, including one on clothes dryers that has been stuck for five months. A pool heater standard advanced in March after six months.

“If the reviews continue to take more than 90 days, they are going to get backed up, and they are going to have a hard time meeting the president’s climate agenda,” said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

The delays come as the Biden White House has yet to nominate someone to lead OIRA, which is housed within the Office of Management and Budget. OIRA scrutinizes and ultimately gives its stamp of approval to hundreds of “economically significant” regulations drafted by federal agencies every year.

Biden has held off nominating an OIRA head longer than former President Donald Trump, who waited until May 2017 — five months after his inauguration. Trump was the slowest president at the time.

Biden announced immediately after taking office plans to “modernize” the regulatory review regime, which was created through a 1981 executive order by then-President Ronald Reagan (Greenwire, Jan. 21, 2021). A Clinton order sharpened the review process and inserted the 90-day review deadline.

Progressives have long considered the reviews a way to block national priorities on public health and the environment.

“OIRA has become a Frankenstein monster of its own making,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. “A Republican anti-environmental administration created it, and we are all still stuck with it.”

In its order more than 40 years ago, the Reagan White House said it would “reduce the burdens of existing and future regulations” and “minimize duplication and conflict of regulations.”

The White House did not respond to request for comment. A DOE spokesperson said, “DOE has already made progress on updating a number of efficiency standards and will work as quickly as possible to continue finalizing new rules as they clear the regulatory process.”

Some observers suspect top Biden aides have been focused on getting a pared-down Biden legislative climate agenda across the congressional finish line.

Or perhaps — more cynically — the Biden administration has been avoiding any major climate-related rules to avoid upsetting Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), said James Goodwin, a regulatory analyst at the Center for Progressive Reform. It’s unclear, however, how much Manchin cares about appliance efficiency, he said.

The DOE efficiency rule delays could be a lingering effect of a temporary injunction against a social cost of carbon analysis, said Goodwin.

A federal appeals court in March reversed a lower court’s decision to prevent the administration from using its updated metric to calculate the harm caused by greenhouse gas emissions. The social cost of carbon analysis would be used to justify rules and something OIRA would analyze.

Another possibility, Goodwin thought, is a governmentwide review of pending rules to account for the colossal West Virginia vs. EPA Supreme Court ruling, which restricted exactly how EPA could regulate fossil fuel power plants. Perhaps that has taken up the office’s already limited bandwidth.

The efficiency rule delays could stem from a combination of factors, said Cary Coglianese, a University of Pennsylvania law professor whose name was once floated as a possible Biden OIRA pick.

To be sure, he said, it’s not unheard of for OIRA reviews to take longer than 90 days. In fact, he said research has shown one out of every five rules misses the mark.

“The longest took about 1,200 days!” he wrote in an email, pointing to a 2014 study.

‘A long and cumbersome process’

Jonathan Adler, a Case Western Reserve University School of Law professor, argued federal agencies are taking on more than they can handle. In a recent blog for the Niskanen Center, a conservative climate action group, Alder explored the constraints of climate regulations.

“Even in the best of times,” he wrote, “the control of GHG emissions through federal regulation would be a long and cumbersome process, requiring dozens of complex rulemakings. Yet these are not the best of times.”

Specifically, he said federal agencies, namely EPA, are depleted of personnel. Meanwhile, ideologically opposed groups are ready to hurl legal challenges on every climate policy. And those lawsuits, he pointed out, might endure a “potentially hostile judiciary” which will “further complicate efforts to make federal regulation a central component of carbon control.”

Progressive advocates contend stringent pollution rules are necessary to fight climate change. They say they hope the Biden administration will not make the same mistakes they lamented during the Obama years.

“These lengthy reviews are concerning given the emphasis on increasing the efficiency of OIRA review in the modernizing regulatory review memo,” added Amit Narang, a policy advocate at Public Citizen. “But certainly not indicative of any systemic delays at OIRA currently like we’ve seen in the past.”

Around 2011, progressives accused OIRA administrator Cass Sunstein — now doubling as a Harvard professor and “special government employee” at the Department of Homeland Security — of deliberately obstructing reviews out of political fear ahead of the 2012 reelection campaign. Sunstein denied it denied it (Greenwire, Nov. 17, 2011).

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Pelosi calls on Republicans to tone down attacks on FBI

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday urged Republicans to cease their attacks on the FBI and other law enforcement, suggesting the rhetoric has heightened the threat of violence against public officials. 

A number of GOP lawmakers have gone after the FBI in the wake of Monday’s search by the agency into classified documents allegedly held by former President Trump at his South Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.

During a press briefing in the Capitol, Pelosi denounced Trump’s history of bashing the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, saying the threat to public officials, including members of Congress, has been “exacerbated by the statements of the [former] president.” 

Pelosi then called on other Republican leaders to condemn GOP attacks of the same ilk, particularly before the details surrounding the FBI search become known. 

“You would think there would be an adult in the Republican room that would say, ‘Just calm down. See what the facts are, and let’s go for that,’” she said, “instead of … instigating assaults on law enforcement.”

Following Monday’s FBI search, a number of GOP lawmakers have attacked the agency, accusing the Justice Department of abusing its powers for the sole purpose of doing political harm to Trump, who is speculated to be eying another run for the White House in 2024. 

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) quickly tweeted the need to “destroy the FBI” in order to “save America.” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) compared the U.S. under President Biden to a banana republic. And Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) are calling on Congress to defund the FBI. 

The fiery GOP response prompted Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday to rush to the agency’s defense, condemning the “unfounded attacks” on “patriotic public servants.”  

“Every day, they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights,” Garland said.

The threat of violence against law enforcement was amplified on Thursday when police in Ohio killed a man who had stormed into a Cincinnati FBI building with an AR-15-style rifle.

Reports have indicated that investigators are looking into the man’s potential ties to extremist groups and last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump’s supporters.  

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who has also hammered the FBI following Monday’s search, gave no indication Friday that he is ready to take Pelosi’s advice to tone down the rhetoric. He said Democrats are to blame for any demonizing of law enforcement. 

“It’s all on the Democratic side, they want to defund the police. They’ve been doing that for a number of years,” he said. “I just think that’s wrong.”

While congressional leaders are frequently briefed on matters of national security, Pelosi said Friday that she had not been made aware of any aspect of either Monday’s search or the ongoing investigation into the documents Trump had held at Mar-a-Lago. 

“Just know what’s in the public domain,” she said. 

But Pelosi also characterized what’s appeared in those public reports as deadly serious when it comes to protecting national security, likely alluding to The Washington Post report that the documents pertained to nuclear weapons. 

“If the nature of these documents is what [it] appears to be, this is very serious,” Pelosi said.

Aris Folley contributed. 

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SD Government Business Loan Hit With Loss – The Dakota News Network

(Pierre, SD) — A South Dakota government business loan program is being hit with a loss. Directors of the South Dakota Economic Development Finance Authority agreed Wednesday to take a 35-thousand dollar loss on a loan made to a Kadoka business. Fromm’s Hardware and Plumbing were sold for less than what was expected to pay for the loan. The authority will receive over 69 thousand from the sale, thousands under what was owed on the loan.

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Athol Daily News – Open House Sunday at Millers River Environmental Center

Published: 8/12/2022 10:53:22 AM

Modified: 8/12/2022 10:50:07 AM

ATHOL — The Athol Bird and Nature Club will hold an Open House Sunday, Aug. 14, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Millers River Environmental Center, 100 Main St. ABNC President Dave Small said in a press release, “We are proud of this town owned resource and want to share our enthusiasm with the community. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy.”

Tour the grounds to enjoy the native habitat gardens and new fern garden. Try out the new stone benches. Explore the rooms inside the center to view our extensive renovations, new exhibits, and beautiful murals by Sonja Vaccari and Susan Marshall.

Schedule of events

1 p.m. — “Alley Music ” (Myra Macleod & Doug Feeney)

1:45 p.m. — David Small – Welcome, Remembering our friends, Looking forward.

2 p.m. — Tom Ricardi – Birds of Prey

2:45 p.m. — Refreshments in the main hall

3 p.m. — “Lazy River Jazz Band” (Terry Reed, Ann Reed, Steve Babineau, Daniel walker and Jim-my Burgoff)

4 p.m. — Closing

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