Posts from December 2015 (Page 5)

Netanyahu Warns of ‘Danger’ After Shocking Wedding Video Seems to Show Guests Celebrating Baby’s Killing. Who He Criticized Might Surprise You.

Channel 10 reported that those attending the wedding included friends of men detained by Israeli security forces suspected of being connected to the July arson attack. (Screenshot: Channel 10)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a group of Jewish extremists “a danger to Israeli society” following the broadcast Wednesday night of video taken at a wedding where guests appeared to celebrate the burning to death of a Palestinian baby.

“The shocking pictures that were broadcast this evening show the true face of a group that constitutes a danger to Israeli society and to the security of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

Channel 10 reported that those attending the wedding where guns and knives were brandished included friends of men detained by Israeli security forces suspected of being connected to a July arson attack. (Image source: Channel 10)

Israel’s Channel 10 news obtained cellphone video that was taken at the wedding, in which extremist Israelis passed around army-issued automatic weapons and let children also dance with the guns. Other guests could be seen waving knives, and one man held what appeared to be a Molotov cocktail.

The most shocking part of the video appeared to show a wedding guest repeatedly stabbing a photo of 18-month-old baby Ali Dawabsha who was burned to death along with his parents in a July 31 arson attack on the family home in the village of Duma in the West Bank. Israeli investigators believe Jewish extremists were behind the attack.

Channel 10 isolated in a still shot the moment a guest appeared to be dancing with a bottle designed to look like a Molotov cocktail. (Screenshot: Channel 10)

“We are not prepared to accept people who deny the laws of the state and do not view themselves as subject to them,” Netanyahu said.

Channel 10 marked with a red circle the moment in the video (around 1:12) that guests began stabbing the photo.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfkd0r1yY10&w=650&h=366]

Israel’s Shin Bet security service arrested an unspecified number of Jewish suspects in connection with the arson attack and has reportedly been treating them in a similar manner to Palestinian terrorism suspects, which has elicited condemnation from their lawyers and supporters.

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett confirmed Wednesday that the treatment in custody included preventing them from meeting with their lawyers and depriving them of sleep.

Answering criticism about the Shin Bet’s treatment of the detainees in an attempt to elicit confessions, Bennett of the right-wing Jewish Home party called the attack an act of terrorism.

The Dawabshe family, including 18-month-old Ali, was killed in the July firebombing of their house. (Screenshot: Channel 10) The Dawabshe family, including 18-month-old Ali, was killed in the July 31 firebombing of their house. (Image source: Channel 10)

“They burned a family in their sleep,” Bennett said in a speech Wednesday. “They want to tear apart the state of Israel. These are terrorists.”

Channel 10 reported that the wedding where the video was taken was of a couple “known very well in the extreme right wing,” adding that among the friends of the newlyweds were also friends of those arrested in connection with the arson attack.

Reporting on the suspects’ identity is subject to a court gag order in Israel; however, the U.S. Jewish newspaper the Forward reported that one of the suspects holds both U.S. and Israeli citizenship.

In New Video, Pro-Life Group Hails Carolers’ Victory Over Planned Parenthood: ‘What It Means to Build a Culture of Life’

The American Life League, a group opposed to abortion, praised the victory of pro-life Christmas carolers outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Falls Church, Va.

ALL released a new video of the carolers late Wednesday, showing the carolers opposed to abortion singing Christmas carols outside the clinic, though not speaking directly about abortion. The group videoed the caroling after having been disbursed by police the previous day.

“Expressing the joy of Christmas in songs honoring the Lord of life is not a threat to those who appreciate the value of family, but we understand that to Planned Parenthood such ideas are anathema to their evil agenda,” American Life League President Judie Brown said in statement. “We are thankful that in this case at least the Lord’s victory has been affirmed. That is what it means to build a culture of life: to stand always and everywhere for Him and His truth.”

After being told about the noise ordinance, the legal team appealed to authorities, who determined the noise ordinance didn’t apply in this case. The ALL press release said, “The carolers returned two days before Christmas to sing and celebrate the birth of Christ, and to pray for an end to abortion.”

Here’s video of police confronting the carolers.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpWEa85iZbc&w=650&h=366]

Here is the video after the carolers returned.

See What This City Did After Atheists Forced Them to Remove Public Nativity Display

Photo by Joan Anderson.

The city of Wadena, Minnesota, has received a lot of press this holiday season, but one woman thinks there is something the media overlooked.

Back in November, city officials voted to remove a cherished nativity display from a local park after the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist activist group, threatened legal action.

Every year, the tiny city of roughly 4,000 would set up the beloved nativity in Burlington Northern Park, but the trouble began last year when the display was moved to a central location, TheBlaze reported previously.

“They were offended that we had put it out on city property,” Mayor George Deiss said. “When something is put up that many years it becomes a tradition to the city.”

But just recently a woman named Joan Anderson emailed TheBlaze, indicating that there is much more to this story.

Anderson, an Illinois native, was in Minnesota visiting her brother in a nearby town and decided to make a detour to see if there was any Christmas spirit left in Wadena.

What she found was what she describes as “a blue-collar town full of the Love of God and the birth of Jesus.”

The town, founded in 1858, has a long history of faith, with nine churches to serve its minuscule population.

Photo by Joan Anderson.

Anderson drove past many of the churches before stopping for lunch at the local diner, Boondoggles. In her email, she described the friendly service she received and the unique scene she witnessed.

“These were hard-working farmers, laborers, truckers working hard to put food on their table and keep Christ in Christmas,” Anderson wrote. “But there was something different — it took me a while to put my finger on it.”

Then, while glancing around at the packed diner, she realized: not a single customer had a cell phone out. She noticed that people were talking to their spouses, laughing with their children and talking about their Christmas shopping.

Many of the patrons prayed before their meal. Anderson described the scene as “surreal” and “fantastic.”

As for the nativity scene debacle, Anderson discovered that there were a few things the FFRF might have overlooked.

After leaving the diner, Anderson took a stroll down the whole two blocks that comprise downtown Wadena. To her delight, she saw Nativity scenes in “nearly every shop window.”

Photo by Joan Anderson

And there’s more. According to Anderson, Wadena is a regular Christmas wonderland.

The town square has a gazebo where, “every single day,” a different family rents the space and erects a different nativity scene.

“I started crying with joy,” Anderson wrote, calling the experience “absolutely magical.”

The diner where she had eaten lunch was streaming Christmas music from two speakers atop its roof, and “every person that passed by” wished her a “Merry Christmas.”

Anderson joined TheBlaze’s Mike Opelka on Wilmington, Delaware radio station, WILM. Listen here:

[audio mp3="http://www.theblaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Joan-Phone-Call-smaller.mp3"][/audio]

The hopeful story of this tiny city is best captured in Anderson’s own words:

The Atheist Grinch tried to take Christ out of Christmas but the Whos down in Whoville, would not have it. Christmas came, it came bigger and better than before!

Photo by Joan Anderson Photo by Joan Anderson


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She Feared Seeing ‘A Lot of Islamophobia Because of All the Donald Trump Rhetoric’ — Here’s What She Actually Experienced

MLive Ask a Muslim

Amidst what she believed to be a surge in “Islamophobia” following Donald Trump’s harsh comments about Muslims and ISIS, a Michigan woman took to the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts, hoping to combat ignorance and redeem the religion of Islam.

Her experiment, however, yielded some unexpected results.

Mona Haydar, a native of Flint Township, was tired of hearing all of the anti-Muslim rhetoric being thrown around by Trump and other critics of Islam, so she decided to do something about it herself.

Image source: MLive/Mona Haydar

“There is definitely fear [in America], and I want to talk about it, because it’s actually misplaced and misguided — I am really nice!” Haydar told the Boston Globe.

Haydar and her husband, Sebastian Robins, were visiting Robins’ family in Massachusetts when Haydar said he got the idea to set up a booth and invite others to “Talk to a Muslim,” MLive reported.

“My husband Sebastian was inspired one night and remembered an episode of ‘This American Life’ where an Iraqi guy sets up shop with a sign that (read) ‘Talk to an Iraqi,'” Haydar told MLive. “So he thought why not do something similar.”

Haydar and Robins set up their booth outside a Cambridge library last Friday and Saturday with panels that read “Ask a Muslim” and “Talk to a Muslim,” the Globe reported. The couple supplied donuts, coffee and fruit to draw in the crowds.

“We just wanted to talk to people, and we didn’t see any harm in doing that,” Haydar told the Globe. “We are just normal people.” Haydar told the Globe.

But what happened next surprised Haydar.

According to the Globe, Haydar’s experiment sparked a series of conversations about religion, politics, history and even sports.

If fear and intolerance of Muslims in America has been on the rise lately, Haydar’s interactions with Cambridge locals did not reflect it. Her unexpected big takeaway was that “the community is loving.”

Though Haydar was hesitant at first “because of all the Donald Trump rhetoric,” she learned something during the experiment that confirmed her personal beliefs about humanity.

“I am love,” Haydar told the Globe. “All people at their cores are love. Some do bad things and stray from that, but ultimately I am good and kind because we all are. I am a reflection of my community. My human community.”

Haydar, whose experience has inspired her to set up another booth in the future, had positive things to say about Americans as a whole:

“We believe in what this country was built on,” Haydar told the Globe. “We believe in the dream of the Founding Fathers. Yes, we are largely a community with more recent immigrant roots than other Americans, but that doesn’t make us inferior. Every person in this country came from somewhere else except for my Native American sisters and brothers.”

(H/T: The Boston Globe)

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Days Before Christmas, Imprisoned Iranian Pastor Gets a Miracle

Image source: Elam Church

An Iranian pastor serving a seven year sentence was released Monday after more than five years inside one of the country’s most brutal prisons, a church working to secure his freedom announced on its website.

“We are overjoyed and celebrating!” Elam church’s Executive Director David Yeghnazar said in a statement. “Farshid Fathi has been released today after five years in prison for his faith.”

Image source: Elam Church

“We are deeply grateful for your faithful prayers for Farshid while he has been in prison,” he continued. “We would like to request that you continue praying for Farshid today and in the coming weeks. Please pray especially for protection, his family and his adjustment to life outside prison.”

Yeghnazar said he would “share more information when possible.”

Image source: Family photo

Fathi was arrested on Dec. 26, 2010, with dozens of other Christians in the Iranian capital of Tehran.

The married father of two was accused of taking “actions against national security,” according to the American Center for Law and Justice. He was scheduled for release next year, but was later granted an early release date before being set free this week.

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Israeli Ambassador Designed His Holiday Gifts To Send Message to the ‘Fanatics and the Fools’

Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer took the opportunity of sending holiday gift packages this week to send a message to the “fanatics and the fools” who support a boycott of Israel.

Dermer posted a photo of the gift boxes the embassy was sending out which he said would be filled with products from Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, territories Israel captured in the 1967 war but which the U.S., European Union and others don’t recognize as Israeli.

“This holiday season, I decided to send a gift that would also help combat the latest effort by Israel’s enemies to destroy the one and only Jewish state,” Dermer wrote in his holiday letter, referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

This year I decided to send a gift for the holiday that would also help combat BDS

Posted by Ambassador Ron Dermer on Monday, December 21, 2015

“The main forces behind this movement are fanatics who actively seek to eliminate Israel. Unfortunately, they are occasionally joined by fools who naively believe that in promoting BDS, they are advancing peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” he wrote.

“[T]he fanatics and the fools are simply promoting a new anti-Semitism. Once Jews were singled out and held to a different standard than other peoples. Today, the Jewish state is singled out and held to a different standard than other countries,” Dermer wrote.

The latest example of this, he said, was the EU’s recent move to specially label products made by Jews in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Despite the more than 200 other international territorial disputes, the EU decided to label only Jewish-made products, the ambassador wrote.

A Huffington Post headline accused the ambassador of trying to troll the White House.

“Israeli Embassy Trolls White House, Exclusively Gifts Settlement Goods,” the liberal website wrote.

The Obama administration, like previous administrations, believes the status of the West Bank and east Jerusalem must be decided in negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Israeli embassy told the Huffington Post that the gift boxes would include wine, olive oil, body cream, and halva.

Dermer called the EU singling out of Israel “all the more shameful” because “Israel upholds the highest democratic values in the darkest region on earth and while facing threats faced by no other nation.”

“In response to this effort to cast a beacon of freedom, tolerance and decency as a pariah state, I have decided this holiday season to send you products that were made in Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights. I hope you will enjoy them,” the ambassador wrote.

‘This Arrogant Man’: Saudi Bookstore Chain Pulls Donald Trump Books Over Muslim Remarks

A Saudi bookstore chain said it has removed copies of Donald Trump’s books off from its shelves after a blogger complained that Trump is “known for making comments offensive to Muslims and Islam.”

Jarir Bookstore, which Gulf News reported is one of Saudi Arabia’s largest book chains, posted on Twitter Tuesday, “We agree with you on your keenness. The books have been removed from the bookshop. We thank you for your remark.”

The decision to remove Trump’s book reflected the continued Saudi scorn for the GOP candidate following his call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S.

Gulf News reported that the bookstore’s decision to pull the Trump books came in response to a Twitter inquiry from blogger KSA12300 who posted the photo of a Trump book at Jarir.

مكتبة جرير
تبيع كتب #دونالد_ترامب
المسيئة للإسلام والمسلمين
رغم تحذيرنا لها
من عدم بيع مثل هذه الكتب
@JarirBookstore pic.twitter.com/XLYwNPbgzm

— قناة المجتمع السعودي (@ksa12300) December 20, 2015

Blogger KSA12300 wrote, “Jarir Bookstore is selling Donald Trumps’ books despite our warnings not to sell such books.”

Reuters reported that another Saudi also reached out to the company via Twitter and posted a photo of a shelf at the bookstore displaying the Arabic-language version of Trump’s book “Think Like a Champion.”

Blogger Abu Tariq wrote that Trump’s books shouldn’t be allowed in Saudi Arabia at all “until this arrogant man understands his true value,” Gulf News reported.

Saudi royal family member Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal earlier this month called Trump a “disgrace” to America and urged him to immediately step out of the race.

“Withdraw from the U.S. presidential race as you will never win,” he tweeted.

Texas Governor Shocks Atheists With Fierce Demand that Officials Remove Mock Nativity Display — and Here’s How They’re Reacting

Freedom From Religion Foundation

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has enraged a national atheist group by ordering the removal of a mock nativity display inside the state capitol, with the leader of the activist group accusing him of acting both immorally and unconstitutionally.

Abbott, a Republican, took to Twitter on Tuesday to demand the removal of the display, which had been erected by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national atheist organization that is known for posting signs and displays that take aim at the traditional meaning of Christmas.

“Mocking the capitol nativity scene is offensive,” the governor wrote. “I demand removal of satirical ‘nativity scene’ from capitol.”

https://twitter.com/GregAbbott_TX/status/679389435239096320

According to the Texas Tribune, the “winter solstice” display — a cardboard cutout that featured the founding fathers, the Statue of Liberty and the Bill of Rights in a manger — was removed after Abbott’s official complaint, in which he dubbed the mock nativity a “juvenile parody.”

“It has come to my attention that State Preservation Board staff approved an application by the ‘Freedom From Religion Foundation’ to display an exhibit on the ground floor of the Capitol,” Abbott wrote in a Dec. 22 letter to the State Preservation Board. “This juvenile parody violates the Preservation Board’s regulations and should be removed immediately.”

He proceeded to explain point-by-point why he believes that the atheist display has no place inside the Texas state Capitol. Here’s more from Abbott’s letter:

First, far from promoting morals and the general welfare, the exhibit deliberately mocks Christians and Christianity. The Biblical scene of the newly born Jesus Christ lying in a manger in Bethlehem lies at the very heart of the Christian faith. Subjecting an image held sacred by millions of Texans to the Foundation’s tasteless sarcasm does nothing to promote morals and the general welfare. To the contrary, the Foundation’s spiteful message is intentionally designed to belittle and offend, which undermines rather than promotes any public purpose a display promoting the bill of rights might otherwise have had. The Board has allowed and should continue to allow diverse viewpoints to be expressed in Capitol displays. But it has no obligation to approve displays that purposefully mock the sincere religious beliefs of others.

So far, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is anything but elated over the governor’s successful call for the display’s removal.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the atheist group said that the display was reportedly removed this week, with co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor lambasting Abbott’s actions.

“Ironically, the very document that our display was honoring is what protects this form of expression,” she said. “Government officials cannot censor our speech because they disagree with our secular message.”

She continued, “It’s Abbott’s action that is immoral — and unconstitutional, not our display honoring the Bill of Rights.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation intends to take legal action to remedy the situation.

As TheBlaze previously reported, this is hardly the first time Abbott has defended the traditional Christmas nativity.

(H/T: Texas Tribune)

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He Asked Christians if Violence in the Middle East Is a ‘Sign That the End Times Are Nearer.’ Here’s the Key Result That Truly Shocked Him.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The researcher behind a recently released study that found that the vast majority of evangelicals believe that violence across the Middle East “is a sign that the end times are nearer” told The Church Boys podcast that he was stunned by “how large of a majority believes in this.”

Shibley Telhami, a professor at the University of Maryland and a fellow with the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, said that he wasn’t at all surprised to find a gap between evangelical Christians and non-evangelical Christians when it comes to agreement that violence is a sign that the end is drawing nearer.

But it was the large proportion of evangelicals — 79 percent — who agreed with this sentiment that truly surprised him; this compared to just 43 percent of non-evangelical Christians.

“[I was] not [surprised] by the gap so much, because I expected the evangelicals to focus on prophecy far more than traditional Christians. We’ve known that, that’s not a particular surprise,” Telhami said. “What surprises though, how large a majority of evangelicals believes in this, that this really is a sign and that something is going to happen in Israel, things are going to turn against Israel as you get closer to end times.”

Listen to Telhami describe the results below at the 42:00 mark:

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/238056596" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height='450' iframe="true" /]

He wondered whether this high proportion — which clearly indicates a widespread embrace of a literal belief in biblical prophecy — is elevated due to the news that has been coming out of the Middle East, along with the related fears that many have over terrorism.

Considering that he doesn’t have any historical material to compare the results to, Telhami said that he can’t be sure, though he plans to continue exploring the fascinating worldview.

One of the most unique facets of Telhami’s research was his quest to separate evangelicals and born-again Christians — two groups that he said some improperly assume are homogeneous in nature.

“Here is the interesting thing, in the information that we have, many of the surveys lumped the two together, born again [and] evangelicals, because people assume they’re very similar and people assume that also that helps with enhancing the size of the sample,” he said. “It turns out there [are] really important differences.”

Telhami continued, “Whereas almost everyone who says they’re evangelical, about 90 percent also say they’re born again Christians, the opposite is not true. Nearly half of those who say they’re born again Christians don’t consider themselves to be evangelicals.”

To point out the differences among these two groups, the researcher said that 75 percent of evangelicals are Republicans, though born-again Christians who do not count themselves as evangelical are actually more Democratic.

As for the massive embrace of the Republican Party among evangelicals, Telhami said that there’s an important consideration to make: that the view of evangelical Christians isn’t necessarily the “norm of the Republican Party.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

“If you … set aside the evangelical Republicans out of the Republican party, they constitute roughly 23 percent of the Republican party, those who say they’re evangelicals,” he said. “If you set them aside, then the rest of the Republican party on matters related to Israel and the Middle East is not different from the rest of the population.”

As TheBlaze previously reported, when it came to more specific details about the end times in Telhami’s study, titled, “American Attitudes Toward the Middle East and Israel,” 5 percent of Christians said that they believe the end times and the return of Christ would happen in their lifetime; 72 percent said that they were not sure if it would unfold soon or in a thousand years.

Find out more about Temhami’s research here.

Front page image via Shutterstock.com.

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‘Lord, It’s All in Your Hands’: NFL Team Gives Undrafted Wide Receiver a Shot After Unconventional ‘Job Application’

Football player Joe Anderson was so determined to continue his NFL career that he showed up a few weeks ago outside of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas — home of the Texans — and held a cardboard sign proclaiming that he’s not homeless, but is “starving for success.”

Anderson, a 27-year-old wide receiver, recently posted a picture of these antics, along with a message in which he explained his refusal to give up and his reliance upon God after being cut by the Bears following the 2013 season.

“Lord it’s all in your hands, all I know is that I believe it by faith and see it all happening even when it looks like a joke before the eyes of man!” he wrote. “I fill myself with humility and say let your Will be done and use me to allow others to believe in your power!!!!”

He continued, “I’m not looking at my situation with a worldly mindset and that’s what’s gonna seperate me my hunger can’t be matched my heart can’t be compared to.”

#NothingWillStopMe Lord it’s all in your hands, all I know is that I believe it by faith and see it all happening even when it looks like a joke before the eyes of man! I fill myself with humility and say let your Will be done and use me to allow others to believe in your power!!!! Im not looking at my situation with a worldly mindset and that’s what’s gonna seperate me my hunger can’t be matched my heart can’t be compared too, I’m outside the Houston Texans facility every morning, because I kno what type of gift God has blessed me with!!! A lot of people don’t really live out the meaning #WhateverItTakes they just sayin it!!! You gotta really live that junk if you say it and believe in yourself and trust in the Lord, and living it don’t just mean hold up a sign!! Oh there is much pain behind holding this sign an it’s not from bein doubted or the underdog, like how bad do you really want it?? Forget a publicity stunt Boyz is Really HUNGRY out hur dawg to the point if the coach wanna line up I’ll route him up too, to the point if it’s special teams an the REF get in the way I’ll hit him too!! It’s something flickering in my head everyday with much Humility and WILL power to go the extra mile when it come to believing in myself and proven all doubters wrongI’m not just chasing greatness for myself/family but for all the people that lack faith and wanna quit and don’t believe God still moves, DAWG if you gotta DREAM GO GET THAT!! Let ZERO What If’s stand in the way go to the grave on E, not off what someone told you you can’t do…Create and tell your testimony don’t be ashamed of it, do it all for the glory of the kingdom take yourself outta the picture I’m out here on FAITH, it’s bigger than just collecting a check to me straight up! The way I do what I do and why I do what I do isn’t just to score touchdowns and gain fame that’s far from the case I don’t need all that cause I’m already famous in spirit an you can’t get no famous than that, when I get my shot you’ll see what the Lord is truly about to do in my life and I pray wit all my heart it inspires you to never Give up.When your purpose means more than your situation God will give you favor #TAGandREPOST

A photo posted by Joe Anderson (@_joeanderson) on Nov 6, 2015 at 5:38am PST

Anderson went on to explain that he was outside of the Houston Texans stadium holding the sign, because he knows “what type of gift God has blessed” him with. But he said that his attempt to very publicly battle for an opportunity at NFL greatness is also rooted in an urge to inspire others.

“I’m not just chasing greatness for myself/family but for all the people that lack faith and wanna quit and don’t believe God still moves, DAWG if you gotta DREAM GO GET THAT!!” he continued. “Create and tell your testimony don’t be ashamed of it, do it all for the glory of the kingdom take yourself outta the picture I’m out here on FAITH, it’s bigger than just collecting a check to me straight up!”

Anderson’s wishes have apparently been granted, as he was signed to the New York Jets’ practice squad on Tuesday.

(H/T: KHOU-TV)

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