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By Jennifer Hassan | Washington Post

LONDON – Whale, whale – what do we have here? A beluga in the Thames, actually.

Yes, a beluga whale was spotted splashing around in Britain’s River Thames, and Brits can’t quite believe it.

This story began Tuesday, when ecologist and ornithologist Dave Andrews captured rare footage of a beluga whale swimming in the Thames. The famed river runs not just through London but for miles through England, and this particular sighting occurred near Gravesend, Kent.

There she (or he) blows!

'Beluga whale' caught on camera in River Thames https://t.co/JNoV63UQBy

[tap video to expand] pic.twitter.com/xqSrDD8yOW

— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) September 25, 2018

Taking to Twitter, Andrews shared the video, writing: “Can’t believe I’m writing this, no joke – BELUGA in the Thames off Coalhouse Fort.”

The video has since been viewed more than 160,000 times, sparking “River Thames” to trend on Twitter. Throughout the day, Andrews continued to share whale updates and additional video footage, much to the delight of those following the story on social media.

By Tuesday lunchtime, photographers were lining the banks of the Thames, as were locals and others, and the BBC had launched its own live-stream of the creature, with some folks giving themselves the afternoon off work just to watch it.

“Nobody tell my boss i’m currently watching a live feed of a river,” tweeted one distracted worker.

“As I live in Gravesend I had no choice today but to literally run to the River Thames to watch the Beluga Whale . . . Winning!” a Kent local tweeted.

“The River Thames beluga whale has reportedly headed back out to sea after discovering how much it costs to rent a one bed in zone 1,” tweeted one user, who couldn’t resist using the day’s news to take a swipe at London’s housing market.

As excitement around the beluga sighting peaked, many wondered just how the whale ended up in the Thames. “If this animal is a beluga whale, it is very far from home,” London’s Natural History Museum wrote on Twitter.

“Beluga whales are an Arctic species, often seen in groups. They are rarely seen in U.K. waters,” said Sarah Dolman, a senior policy officer with Whale and Dolphin Conservation. “Belugas are friendly, sociable and live in family groups. They are known for living long lives and are typically found further north, in Arctic waters.

“People love whales, and an opportunity to see such a beautiful individual is rare,” Dolman added when asked about the level of interest in the creature. “What this animal needs is space. We would encourage people to look from the land if the whale is still close to the coast. And boats in the water crowding the whale could cause it a great level of distress.”

Describing the Thames whale as “vulnerable,” Dolman explained that noises from nearby and passing boats may alarm the animal as it attempts to make its way out of the Thames and back home to the Arctic.

Tuesday’s sighting is not the first time a whale has been spotted in the Thames. In January 2006, a northern bottlenose whale caused a splash after being spotted by a man on a train. Within moments of the sighting, crowds gathered along London’s Battersea Bridge to catch a glimpse of the whale. According to Dolman, bottlenose whales (unlike belugas) are usually found in deep waters, so the whale of 2006 found itself in trouble – fast. Despite the best efforts of rescuers, the 18-foot whale died as those in the water rallied to save it.

As day turns into evening here in Britain, many hope that the whale of 2018 will have a much happier ending

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Former Oakland Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack has purchased a mansion on Chicago’s North Shore in Glencoe, Ill. for $3.75 million, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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The former Raiders defensive phenom traded to the Chicago Bears a week before the start of the season chose a six-bedroom, seven-and-a-half bath newly constructed estate.

It features a sport court, media center, wine cellar and yoga studio among many other amenities.Related Articles

Completed in 2018, the home had originally been listed for $3.925 million.

After three Pro Bowl seasons with the Raiders, Mack signed a six-year, $141 million contract with the Bears, becoming the highest paid defensive player in NFL history.

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A Lennox man who bludgeoned his girlfriend to death with a hammer and buried her in a shallow grave behind his home was convicted of first-degree murder Monday, Sept. 24.

25Lisa Marie Naegle. (Courtesy photo)After nearly three days of deliberations, a Torrance Superior Court jury found Jackie Jerome Rogers, 35, guilty of first-degree murder in the December 2016 slaying of 36-year-old Lisa Marie Naegle, a San Pedro nurse who once starred in the reality TV series “Bridalplasty” in 2010.

Jurors also found true the allegation that Rogers used a hammer in the killing.

The trial took more than a week.

Naegle’s cousin, Patty Alarcon, wept and clasped her hands in prayer after the verdict was read.

“It’s a bittersweet moment,” she said in the hallway after Rogers was led away by bailiffs.

Naegle’s mother, Dolores Naegle, wiped tears as she described the pain of sitting through the trial and listening to Rogers vilify her daughter as an abuser on the witness stand.

He never expressed remorse, she said.

“She was a very nice girl and this diablo took her life and they way he did it was horrible,” Dolores Naegle said, saying she wished Rogers could be sentenced to death.

Naegle’s sister, Michelle Naegle, thanked prosecutors for their work and the San Pedro community for its support from the day her sister disappeared.

“When we were putting it out there that she was missing, everybody stepped in and helped. We were so thankful,” she said.

It was “heaven” to hear a first-degree murder verdict, she said.

Rogers and Naegle had been in a relationship for about six months when he hit her over the head with a hammer eight times during an argument while the two sat in his car near a fast food restaurant in Inglewood.

Earlier that night, they had attended a holiday party in Alpine Village in Torrance together. After they left, they drove through the fast-food restaurant and parked the car across the street, prosecutors said.

It was there Rogers killed Naegle before burying her in the backyard of his Lennox home, prosecutors said.

He then lied to her husband and other family members, telling them Naegle still wanted to party and he left her to go home, prosecutors said.

He ultimately confessed to the crime and pointed police to her body, buried underneath dirt and manure behind his home, prosecutors said.

While Defense Attorney Jeremy Lessem admitted Rogers’ involvement during opening statements, he argued that Rogers did not plan to kill Naegle that night, but lost control in the heat of the moment and asked the jury to instead find Rogers guilty of manslaughter.

Prosecutors argued a witness, a coworker of Naegle’s at West LA College, had seen a hammer in Rogers’ car twice about a month prior to Naegle’s death, suggesting the attack might have been planned.

“We are grateful for the jury’s hard work in diligently going through the evidence and coming to the only just and right verdict,” said Deputy District Attorney Allyson Ostrowski. “I hope it brings her family some peace even though it can’t bring Lisa back.”

Lessem could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Rogers was a student in Naegle’s nursing class at West LA College and the two began a romantic relationship after Rogers passed his certification, Lessem said.

Lessem said Naegle was abusive and would make fun of Rogers’ appearance, refer to him as her gay friend and videotape him cleaning her house to show to her friends. She also made fun of his developmental issues, Lessem said.

Rogers testified about the alleged abuse. The defense also brought in a psychiatric expert to testify to the developmental issues.

Rogers faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Torrance on Oct. 25.

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For complete Oakland Raiders coverage follow us on Flipboard.

Neiron Ball, who ascended to a starting position as a Raiders rookie linebacker after surviving a rare blood vessel disorder, has been in a medically induced coma since Sept. 16 after an aneurysm burst in his brain.

Ball, 26, was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) after experiencing headaches following a 2011 practice at the University of Florida. The condition can vary in terms of severity, and after surgery Ball recovered to the point where he resumed his career at Florida and was eventually drafted in the fifth round by the Raiders in 2015.

According to the Aneurysm and AVM Foundation, which spoke to Ball’s family Tuesday, “We believed Neiron’s AVM was obliterated, that doesn’t seem to be the case as he developed an aneurysm which burst. His family asks for continued prayers.”

UPDATE: Upon speaking with @neiron_11's family, we've learned that he's been in a medically-induced coma since the 16th. We believed Neiron's #AVM was obliterated, that doesn't seem to be the case as he developed an aneurysm which burst. His family asks for continued prayers pic.twitter.com/wbSDXrew5x

— TAAF (@TAAF) September 25, 2018

With the Raiders, Ball befriended a 10-year-old boy who had an AVM two years earlier, a story which was reported in the Mercury News on Oct. 22, 2015.

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As a Raiders rookie, Ball played on special teams and began to get more time on defense before getting his first NFL start against the San Diego Chargers in Week 7. Ball played 18 snaps before sustaining a non-contact knee injury.

Having already undergone microfracture knee surgery while at Florida — after he recovered from his AVM — Ball again needed knee surgery. He never recovered fully and was eventually released by the Raiders having played in six games with nine tackles and one sack.

Like our Oakland Raiders Facebook page for more Raiders news, commentary and conversation.

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Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare health plan in Northern California received the highest rating from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a national group that rates health plans for consumer experience, prevention and treatment, a Kaiser spokeswoman announced.

Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare health plan in Northern California was rated 5 out of 5, according to the announcement, and Kaiser Permanente’s commercial health plans in Northern and Southern California were ratedf 4.5. No other California commercial health plan is rated higher, spokeswoman Deniene Erickson said.

The national group analyzed more than 1,000 health plans nationally – private, Medicare, Medicaid – for quality and service. Only 14 health plans in the country, or about 1 percent, were rated 5 out of 5. In all, Kaiser Permanente has nine of those highest rated plans, Kaiser officials said.

“These ratings reflect our commitment to providing high-quality care and service to our members and patients,” President, Kaiser Permanente Northern California region Janet Liang said, “We continue to lead the nation in transforming health care because of the dedication of our physicians and care teams who are focused on keeping people healthy.”

NCQA is a national, private, nonprofit organization that surveys health plans for performance in a wide range of clinical service measures. All Kaiser Permanente health plans were rated 4 or higher. For the fourth consecutive year, all Kaiser Permanente Medicare health plans were rated highest (or tied for highest) in the areas they serve, according to the announcement. Kaiser Permanente serves more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia, it says.

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“We are proud of this remarkable accomplishment. It is a testament to the clinical excellence of our physicians and staff,” said Richard S. Isaacs, CEO and executive director of The Permanente Medical Group. “Through our integrated model of care, our advances in health information technology and our focus on prevention, we are leading the way in making sure our patients have healthy and productive lives.”

The ratings and methodology are posted on the NCQA’s website at www.ncqa.org.

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By John Wagner | Washington Post

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Tuesday attacked the second woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, dismissing her account because she was “totally inebriated and all messed up,” and accused Democrats of playing a “con game” in an attempt to derail his Supreme Court nominee.

In comments to reporters following a speech at the United Nations, Trump took aim at Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale University, who told the New Yorker magazine that said he exposed himself to her at a party when they were both first-year students.

“The second accuser has nothing,” Trump told reporters. “The second accuser thinks maybe it could have been him, maybe not. She admits she was drunk. She admits time lapses.”

The president dismissed the notion that the allegation could be disqualifying, saying sarcastically: “Oh, gee, let’s not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that.”

Kavanaugh has denied the allegation as well as Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that he sexually assaulted her when they were high school students in Maryland.

Trump blamed the accusations, which arose late the confirmation process, on Democrats.

“I think it is horrible what the Democrats have done,” he said. “It is a con game, they are really con artists.”

Trump’s latest comments came amid growing acrimony among Democratic and Republican senators as they prepare for a high-stakes Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday featuring testimony from Ford, a professor in California, and Kavanaugh.

In a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., promised a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination shortly after the hearing and cast the judge as a victim of “the weaponization of unsubstantiated smears.” He argued that Democrats have scuttled any presumption of innocence for a distinguished jurist.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., responded in unusually personal terms, criticizing McConnell for a promise last week to “plow through” the proceedings despite the drama over Kavanaugh’s accusers.

“Does that sound like someone who’s treating these allegations with respect and fairness and evenhandedness?” Schumer asked. “Does that sound like someone who wants to get the real facts no matter where they fall? Certainly not to me. Not to the American people.”

Schumer also said McConnell had brought the process to “a new low” with a floor speech Monday in which he called the allegations against Kavanaugh a Democratic smear job.

“They were not,” Schumer said, demanding that McConnell apologize to Ford.

The New Yorker reported Sunday that in her initial conversations with the publication, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty.

After six days of assessing her memories and consulting with a lawyer, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away, the magazine said.

Earlier Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders indicated that the White House is open to the idea of hearing testimony from Ramirez at that hearing.

“Certainly we would be open to that, and that process could take place on Thursday,” Sanders said during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” She also reiterated Trump’s view that the confirmation process should wrap up soon.

In a Fox News interview on Monday night, Kavanaugh vigorously denied Ramirez’s and Ford’s allegations and said he would not “let false accusations drive us out of this process.”

It remains unclear whether Ramirez will testify and how quickly that could occur, given her more recent accusations. Several Republicans on the committee have said they want to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination shortly after the Thursday hearing.

Though Sanders said the White House is open to testimony from Ramirez, she also stressed Tuesday that the confirmation process needs to come to a close.

“I do think it’s unfair to continue to drag the process out and continue to put good people through the wringer for the sake of political games the Democrats want to play,” Sanders said in a separate interview on Fox News.

During his remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday, McConnell did not mention Ramirez.

“I look forward to hearing from both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh under oath this Thursday morning,” he said. “I’m glad we’ll be able to hear testimony from both. And then I look forward to and up-or-down vote on this nomination right here on the Senate floor.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has reached out to Ramirez through her lawyer, but there has been no indication that he is preparing to invite her to testify publicly at this point.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, considered a key vote on the Kavanaugh nomination, has said she would like to see Ramirez speak under oath to the committee but has not specified when she would like to see that happen.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, another potential swing vote, said that it was hard to assess Ramirez’s credibility at this point.

“If the are allegations out there, then Ms. Ramirez needs to be willing to come forward with them, just as Dr. Ford has been willing to come forward, albeit reluctantly and understandably so,” Murkowski said. “And so in order for us to take them under consideration, she needs to take the next steps.”

Earlier in the day, Murkowski told reporters that an FBI investigation could help clear up the facts in the case. Republicans have resisted calls by Democrats for the FBI to investigate the claims of Kavanaugh’s accusers. She later said the Judiciary Committee could handle the investigation for now.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Ramirez’s accusations seem “pretty thinly sourced” to him. As to whether it should be explored, he said he leave that to the Judiciary Committee. “Whatever they decide is fine with me,” Corker said.

Some senators on the Judiciary Committee have already cast doubt on Ramirez’s claims.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, among those pressing for a quick vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, on Monday referred to Ramirez’s allegation as “phony.” When pressed on why he characterized it that way, Hatch responded: “Because I know it is. That’s why.”

Ford has alleged that Kavanaugh drunkenly pinned her to a bed, groped her and put his hand over her mouth to stifle her screams as he tried to take off her clothes at a house party in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied being at the party.

By the time the Judiciary Committee holds its hearing on Thursday, there could be a third Kavanaugh accuser.

Lawyer Michael Avenatti has said he is representing a woman who has accusations about Kavanaugh’s behavior in high school. In a Tuesday morning tweet, Avenatti said the woman would come forward only when she is ready but said he expects that to be within 36 hours.

Avenatti also represents Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who was paid money by a personal lawyer for Trump to remain silent about an alleged decade-old affair.

Asked Tuesday if he can envision any scenario where the White House withdraws Kavanaugh’s nomination, deputy press secretary Raj Shah said: “Absolutely not.”

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“We firmly believe in Judge Kavanaugh,” Shah said during an appearance on MSNBC. “We believe in his nomination. We think that he’s going to make a fantastic Supreme Court justice. .. We’re moving forward.”

The Washington Post’s Gabriel Pogrund and Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.

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Bill Cosby’s first stop as he enters the state prison system will be  at the State Correctional Institution at Phoenix, a new $400 million, 3,830-bed prison in Collegeville, near Philadelphia.

Cosby, 81, was sentenced Tuesday to three to 10 years in state prison for drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home.

When he arrives at SCI Phoenix — a maximum-security prison — the staff will assess his physical, medical and security needs.

Cosby could end up in a long-term medical care unit there or elsewhere. If he’s deemed at risk because of his celebrity or as a risk to others, he’d be held in solitary confinement, spending most of the day alone in his cell.

Otherwise, he’d likely share a two-person cell, leaving for meals, exercise, counseling and other activities. He’d be free to bring a personal tablet for music or games but wouldn’t have internet access, corrections spokeswoman Amy Worden said.

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A key question was whether Judge Steven O’Neill would let Cosby stay home while he appeals his conviction. His age was thought to weigh in his favor on the issue.

“You don’t want your client to go to prison and find out that those twilight years of their life they shouldn’t have had to spend there in the first place,” said Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson.

At the sentencing, however, the judge said Cosby is not entitled to bail.

His lawyers are arguing that Cosby should remain on home confinement pending appeals; O’Neill says Cosby had no right to it.

Tour Pennsylvania's newest prison: SCI Phoenix - YouTube

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MORAGA — Fire crews rushed to St. Mary’s College on Tuesday after a fire that began in a car spread to vegetation, a fire dispatcher said.

Moraga-Orinda Fire District crews declared the blaze under control about 20 minutes after it first broke out on the campus off Saint Mary’s Road around 10:50 a.m. Crews initially contacted the California Department of Forestry but those crews were called off within five minutes.

According to the dispatcher, the fire was in the vicinity of the rugby fields. No other information was available immediately.

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Check back for updates.

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The Mercury News by Bay Area News Group - 2h ago

September 2018: San Jose city officials have launched a major study of raising the height limits for buildings in the downtown area. The city must balance the needs of airlines that use the fast-growing airport with the desire by business leaders and property owners to increase density.

The map above shows the tallest buildings in San Jose:

  1. The 88, 286 feet
  2. San Jose City Hall, 285 feet
  3. Sobrato Office Tower, 280 feet
  4. 360 Residences, 270 feet
  5. San Jose Marriott, 268 feet
  6. Fairmont Plaza, 261 feet

Marked with a star is the site of Miro Towers, which is to be 298 feet when it is completed.

Notes:

• The Fairmont Plaza office tower (formerly the Knight-Ridder building) was the tallest building in San Jose from 1988 until 2002, when the Marriott and the Sobrato tower were completed. The Fairmont Hotel building is 253 feet, the city’s 10th-tallest building.

• Before the Fairmont Plaza, the Bank of Italy (Bank of America) at 1st and Santa Clara was the tallest, 256 feet. It was built in 1926.

• The Pruneyard Tower in Campbell is 256 feet.

• The tallest building in California is Los Angeles’ Wilshire Grand Center, 1100 feet, completed in 2017. It is the 11th-tallest in the nation. The state’s second tallest is Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, 1070 feet.

• The tallest 39 buildings in California are all in Los Angeles or San Francisco.

• The tallest in San Diego — where the proximity of an airport requires a limit — is One America Plaza, 500 feet. The tallest in Sacramento is Wells Fargo Center, 429 feet.

• The tallest building in the United States is One World Trade Center in New York, 1776 feet. Of the 10 tallest in the nation, five are in New York, four in Chicago and one in Philadelphia.

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Four years after he arrived, the Knight Foundation’s San Jose program director is leaving Silicon Valley.

Daniel Harris announced Tuesday that his last day on the job will be Oct. 12. After that, he said during a phone conversation, he will return home to pursue “other opportunities” in New York with his wife and two children, including a son born this past Sunday.

“Regardless of my zip code, I will always remain a champion for this wonderful city and stay connected to the important work still to be done,” Harris wrote in an email announcing his departure. “San Jose’s future looks ever-so-bright with all of you leading the charge for a more inclusive, vibrant, and people-focused city.”

The organization is still in the process of determining who will fill the role moving forward, but Harris insisted that Knight “remains committed to San Jose.”

During his time in the nation’s 10th largest city, Harris said, his team awarded at least 250 grants worth more than $16 million. He’s shaped everything from the city’s appearance to the festivals it hosts.

“There are few people who have had such a tremendous impact on San Jose in such a short time,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a phone interview. “In addition to being a great champion for our community, Danny’s vision and creative thinking has inspired many around him to take on the cause of place making in our city.”

Harris championed Viva Calle, an annual event that closes some San Jose streets to cars, opening the roads for bikers and walkers to explore the city. He’s been deeply involved in conversations about how the Diridon Station area — set to be home to a massive Google campus — and the Guadalupe River front should look.

The goal, Harris said, has been to try to “reorient the compass of the city around the resident and not the automobile.”

That’s a mammoth task in a city known for its sprawl and suburban feel. And if he harbored the belief when he arrived, Harris isn’t under any illusion now that San Jose should try to compete with San Francisco or New York.

Rather, Harris said, “I think San Jose should be the global model of how suburban cities urbanize,” a guiding star for cities like Atlanta and Dallas and Manila.

Likening his job to that of a therapist, Harris said he wants San Jose to have the self-confidence to see itself as a world-class city in its own way — a welcoming, authentic city regarded for its diversity and deep sense of innovation.

“He helped us see and realized our city’s potential, and understand the importance of public life and public spaces to unite people across difference and connect them to their place,” said Deputy City Manager Kim Walesh. “He empowered emerging leaders to step up, learn from each other and from peers nationally, and take creative initiative to make things happen.”

It’s that last bit — supporting emerging leaders — that Harris thinks will be his most important legacy, and perhaps the most enduring.

He knows that four years is a blip in the lifetime of a city, but Harris says his time in San Jose has left him optimistic about the future.

“It seems like the city is in this really unique moment,” he said. “I’m really confident in the leadership.”

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Asked what he’ll miss most, Harris — who cofounded the food-focused startup Feastly in a past life — couldn’t resist mentioning the region’s vast array of culinary delights.

“I’ll miss the incredible food,” he said, “the welcoming people, the weather, and just the sense of possibility.”

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