Indigenous artists contributing to truth and reconciliation through music and dance

WATCH: Indigenous performers speak about how their art contributes to the movement of truth and reconciliation.

The Snotty Nose Rez Kids are two indigenous artists and friends who spread the message of truth and reconciliation through rap.

“Since the beginning we’ve always told our story the way it was meant to be told. We spoke our truths, raw and unconditionally, and unapologetically to be honest,” said Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce of the Snotty Nose Rez Kids.

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“We’ve always wanted our story to be told from our words, instead of having someone else do it elsewise you know, because it’s from the source,” said Darren “Yung D” Metz, the second half of the Snotty Nose Rez Kids.

They were inspired by hearing other indigenous rappers on radio, and T.V.

“For us just being on the rez, we’re just like yo, what, there’s native rappers out there, they’re doing it, we could do it, you know that’s what we wanna do, we wanna inspire the youth.”

Metz and Nyce hope other kids are inspired by their work the same way they were inspired by others.

“I think when indigenous people hear our stories it’s like really empowering for them because like D said earlier, representation matters, so for us it’s like just being able to see ourselves, hear our stories, and just being able to relate to something on a mainstream level is huge,” said Nyce.

He believes their work plays a role in truth and reconciliation.

“I think that what we’re doing is really important towards a bigger picture, like the movement that is the indigenous movement right now, we are a part of a massive resurgence movements that’s going on and we’re just a small part of it”.

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“I feel first of all grateful and honoured to be a part of something that was created hundreds of years ago, you know through people who have been doing the work that we are now following in their footsteps you know.”

Michael “Micsmith” Tootoosis is the co-founder of Stay Royal Records in Saskatoon, a label wanting to give a platform to young indigenous artists. He said there are other ways besides music to express their art like dance.

“They’re able to express their stories in dancing and prayer, once you get into the pow wow circle, you’re not dancing only for yourself, but you’re dancing for the people, you’re honouring the generation that went through the trauma,” said Tootoosis.

Lawrence Roy has been hoop dancing for 33 years and the mark left by residential schools has affected his life as well.

“My mom, she went to a residential school so that’s always something that’s always in the back of my head of what happened,” said Roy.

He teaches hoop dancing to people of all ages and hopes indigenous culture lives on. He believes hoop dancing speaks to the history of indigenous culture.

“It talks about the truth, and it talks about tradition, it talks about the elders, it talks about old ways, it talks about different things, and that’s where it makes a difference for everybody to know all about that,” he added.

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The Snotty Nose Rez Kids added that arts are a way for everyone to come together.

“Once they start listening, they’ll see like we are incredible people, so I think what we’re doing and what everybody’s doing today like getting our story out there, getting our art out there it’s making turtle island, and Canada, and America a lot more of a beautiful place to live,” said Nyce.

Both Roy and the Snotty Nose Rez Kids say more non-indigenous people are coming to not only watch but learn as time goes on.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Reconciliation in Southern Alberta sees progress

Back in 2017, the City of Lethbridge introduced its Reconciliation Implementation Plan, which included guiding principles meant to steer those efforts. As Jaclyn Kucey reports, there are local successes to celebrate but the road to reconciliation remains a long one.

In 2016 the City of Lethbridge formed its Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee. According to co-chair Treena Tallow, it is one of the first of its kind in Canada.

The committee continues working towards fulfilling the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“In the next year, we will be working towards strategic planning and maybe changing some of our direction a little bit,” said Tallow. “I do have faith and hope that we will come together as a community and continue on with our Reconciliation Week, our national Indigenous People’s Week, as well as our Sisters in Spirit vigil.”

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Echo Nowak, Indigenous relations specialist with the city, said progress was slow when the committee first formed but senses momentum for more initiatives in the next year.

“We’re in the process of doing an Indigenous women’s needs assessment, so that is part of the MMIWG work plan,” said Nowak. “The placemaking strategy and trying to bring heritage back into our area.”

In 2021, the city signed a memorandum of understanding with the Blood Tribe, agreeing to work together in areas like economic development and health and wellness.

“Real change can occur when all voices are at the table,” said Dr. Terri-Lynn Fox, director of the wellness program with the Blood Tribe Department of Health. She said reflection on the past, present and future is integral to progress towards reconciliation.

“We didn’t get to this point because we wanted to, right? There were these systems that hindered and held First nations people back, were very oppressive and still are,” said Fox.

With reconciliation’s goal of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, everyone involved is eager to continue the work towards healing.

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“We must, again, dismantle the usual and create new ways of working together,” said Fox

“I can’t really say if there’s an end date, but I really do believe that these reconciliation initiatives do contribute to the wellbeing of our people,” said Tallow.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

'It's an honour': Survivor touched by Tsleil-Waututh Nation reconciliation march

On this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation held a pilgrimage in North Vancouver to pay tribute to the children and families impacted by residential schools on the North Shore and beyond. Jasmine Bala reports.

Warning: This story deals with disturbing subject matter that may upset and trigger some readers. Discretion is advised.

At the age of seven, Samuel George said he began to live a life in fear.

The Squamish Nation elder was taken to day school in 1950 and moved to St. Paul’s Indian Residential School shortly afterward. He was one of the last children to attend that “ugly place,” which was torn down in 1959.

“You try to be invisible,” George recalled, standing in front of the former school grounds in an orange sweater and bear claw necklace.

“You knew if you got singled out, it would mean a slap on the head, or a slap on the wrist, or your ears pulled … it was a time of trauma”

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George is one of many residential school survivors for whom the Tsleil-Waututh Nation marched on Friday, Canada’s second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The walkers travelled nearly nine kilometres from the site of the former St. Paul’s Indian Residential School to their reserve in North Vancouver, and were greeted by allies and supports along the way. Last year, they made the pilgrimage in reverse.

“We are retracing the steps back that our survivors used to have to walk on a weekly basis,” explained Tsleil-Waututh Chief Jen Thomas before the march began.

“We just wanted to acknowledge what they had to go through. The walk is minor compared to what happened in the schools.”

Last year, the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, along with the Catholic Archdiocese, launched an investigation into St. Paul’s, which operated from 1889 to 1959 as the only residential school in Metro Vancouver.

According to Tsleil-Waututh, more than 2,000 children were institutionalized there, many of whom were later relocated to the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Stories told by survivors of St. Paul’s include children disappearing, although public records say only 12 unidentified students died there between 1904 and 1913.

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George said speaks about his experience at the institution of assimilation often as a way to help him heal. When first started sharing his story, he “choked up” every time, he added.

“When I left there in ’59, I didn’t know I was hurting and I was in pain. I did four-and-a-half years in jail because of my anger, the abuse I suffered — sexual abuse, physical, verbal, cultural,” said George.

“I had to go to treatment and join a program … I prayed a lot to the Creator to help me get here.”

Tsleil-Waututh Nation Coun. Kevin O’Neill said he marched to support elders and survivors like George, knowing that trauma can be overcome if “we stick together as one big family.”

“When we are with them we help lift them up. We lift up their spirits and it actually helps lift all of our spirits,” he explained.

“Truth and reconciliation to me is honouring the past trauma and learning from those mistakes … it’s reaching out to Indigenous communities and asking how to reconcile, what you can do for your community, your elders, your youth.”

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Thomas, whose father attended St. Paul’s, said the support the community has received during the marches is proof that “living together in the world is changing.”

“Reconciliation to me is acknowledging our truths, having our stories heard, and then re-shared, and then coming together to find that path for this journey together,” she told Global News.

“We can’t do it alone. We may not see the big change that we’re hoping for in our generation but we’re making it easier for future generations.”

Meanwhile, George agrees the world is changing.

He said he’s encouraged by the sea of orange shirts he sees each Sept. 30, and enjoys giving an unexpected thumbs up to youth he passes who are wearing them. He feels humbled, he added, that so many people show their support for people like him, whom they’ve never met.

“I’m glad for days like this. It’s an honour,” George shared. “We did suffer. Many of us died in there. It was tragic. I got tired of going to funerals … but it’s all changing now.”

The elder said he has returned to his culture and enjoys dancing and drumming, along with all of the “strong ones who hung onto it.”

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line 1-800-721-0066 is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.

The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers culturally competent counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous Peoples experiencing trauma, distress, strong emotions and painful memories. The line can be reached anytime toll-free at 1-855-242-3310.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Police seek 3 suspects after robbery reported at Toronto business

Police are investigating after a robbery was reported at a business in Toronto.

In a tweet Friday, Toronto police said the incident occurred in the Jane Street and Annette Street area at around 6:10 p.m.

Police said a robbery took place at a business and three male suspects fled the area.

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“Reports that one of the suspects had a firearm,” police wrote in the tweet.

Officers said no injuries were reported as a result of the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-1100.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

2 people taken to hospital after motorcycle, vehicle collide in Toronto

Two people have been taken to hospital after a motorcycle and vehicle collided in Toronto, officials say.

In a tweet, Toronto police said the collision occurred in the Jarvis Street and Carlton Street area at around 5:30 p.m.

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Officers said a motorcycle and vehicle collided.

Toronto paramedics said a man was taken to a trauma centre with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.

Another adult was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries, paramedics said.

 

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Canada's long-delayed Indo-Pacific strategy will come this year after China assembly: Joly

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced new sanctions on Russian officials and elites Friday, after President Vladimir Putin formally annexed four regions of Ukraine. Forty-three Russian oligarchs, financial elites and their family members, and 35 Russia-backed senior officials in the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are now subject to Canadian sanctions.

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly says she will release Canada’s long-delayed Indo-Pacific strategy this year.

She says the strategy will be shaped by a major meeting the Chinese government is holding in two weeks.

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The strategy will include co-operation on climate change, she said in an interview with the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, D.C.

Joly also revealed she will visit Peru next week for the Organization of American States summit.

In mid-October, she will head to Japan and South Korea.

Business leaders and former diplomats have been pushing the Trudeau government for months to outline Canada’s friends, foes and priorities in the Indo-Pacific region.

“I’ll be coming up with our Indo-Pacific and China policy before the end of the year,” Joly said in a Friday afternoon interview with the think tank.

“We haven’t defined ourselves as an Indo-Pacific country, since the beginning of our history. We’ve always invested a lot in the transatlantic relationship,” she said.

“We need to turn west.”

Joly said the strategy will be shaped in part by the Communist Party of China’s national Congress, a major, weeklong meeting that occurs every five years and will start Oct. 16.

President Xi Jinping is expected to outline the country’s economic focus, and whether a strict COVID-19 policy that has disrupted global supply chains will remain in place.

It’s because of those strict rules that Montreal is hosting a major UN summit on biodiversity in December, despite China’s role as its chair.

Joly said she is confident the U.S. will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions but needs more assurance from China, which is the world’s other major polluter.

“We will be leading the way and that’s why it’s important to bring China along,” she said.

“China needs to be at the table. That’s the only way we’ll be able to achieve our objectives. This is existential for us.”

Meanwhile, Joly said her looming visit to Peru will include discussions on how countries can send more fertilizer to Latin America to help offset the knock-on impact of sanctions on Russia.

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She blamed Russia for anti-American disinformation in the region, but said governments need to address the grievances that allow disinformation to thrive.

“We have to show up and make sure we offer solutions for inflation, and for the economic challenges that Canadians are also going through,” she said.

“We need to make sure that government works, because following the pandemic, there are definitely frustrations.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Nurse sees improvement in Barnes since last season

VICTORIA – Nick Nurse’s challenge to Scottie Barnes heading into this past off-season was to keep improving his game. Pretty straightforward, but not necessarily so easy coming off an outstanding rookie season.

“We were all talking about what’s his ceiling? What’s his ceiling? What’s his ceiling? And for me, it’s he continues to play as hard and competes as hard as he can … with experience and time and skill work and the skills improving, he’ll just keep heading toward that ceiling,” Nurse said.

“But I think that’s a challenge, right? I think it’s a challenge,” he added. “Kid played hard last year and the kid competed last year, and can you continue to do that each time the ball goes up?”

The 21-year-old Barnes, drafted fourth overall by Toronto, earned NBA rookie of the year honours last season, averaging 15.3 points on 49.2-per cent shooting, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game.

Four days into training camp at the University of Victoria, Nurse has seen an improvement in Barnes’ shooting.

“It feels like it’s better and he’s making more in the rhythm of what we’re doing,” Nurse said after Friday’s practice. “He’s not hesitating to take them at all, the threes. He’s still doing the rest of the stuff. He’s got that long, slow, strong drive where he puts it in the basket.

“He’s got that pull-up thing when he has a size advantage. But the frequency with which he’s letting them go is certainly on the rise.”

Nurse said Barnes has made improvements to his six-foot-nine 227-pound body as well.

“Every time I saw him in the summer I would go ‘Wow!’ … He’s in great shape. He looks strong and I think the good thing is he feels it as well, and he’s using it right? He’s a physical player, man, which is good.”

BATTLE IS ON

The fight for final roster spots between Toronto native Dalano Banton, Justin Champagnie, D.J. Wilson and Josh Jackson has been fierce so far in camp.

“We do a staff vote every single day and that vote changes every single day,” Nurse said. “You can tell it’s competitive.”

The Raptors have 20 players in camp, and must whittle that down to a roster of 15, plus two players on two-way deals between the NBA team and Raptors 905, the club’s G League affiliate.

“It’ll be interesting,” Nurse said. “You can make a case for just about everybody. We’ll start dialing it in right now.”

The evaluation of bubble players will continue in Sunday’s pre-season opener in Edmonton.

Notes: The Raptors practised in orange T-shirts Friday to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 30, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Indigenous health professionals claim little has changed since Joyce Echaquan's death

WATCH: It's been two years since Joyce Echaquan died at a Joliette hospital. The Atikamekw mother of seven filmed herself moments before dying, as staff made derogatory comments. Following the coroner's report concluding that racism and prejudice contributed to the 37-year-old's demise, the Quebec government implemented sensitivity training for healthcare workers. But as Olivia O'Malley reports, some Indigenous professionals say it has hardly helped.

It’s been two years since Joyce Echaquan died at a Joliette hospital. The Atikamekw mother of seven filmed herself moments before dying, as staff made derogatory comments toward her.

Following the coroners report concluding racism and prejudice contributed to the 37-year-olds demise, the Quebec government implemented mandatory sensitivity training for healthcare workers. But, Indigenous professionals say the hour and forty-five minute online course is not nearly enough.

“One hour and 45 minutes is not enough. That’s just a baby step, you know, and unfortunately it’s not very good information,” said Cree family physician Dr. Darlene Kitty.

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The exercise’s length is not the only element Dr. Kitty has serious concerns about.

She says Quebec’s health and social services ministry’s mandated training was poorly developed. Focusing on information not relevant to the current issues and realities that Indigenous people living in Quebec face today.

“We really need to focus on the important issues at hand, such as residential schools, systemic racism and culturally unsafe care,” Dr. Kitty told Global News.

While she appreciates the government-funded initiative, Dr. Kitty wants it to be led by First Nations people.

“The best thing to learn about Indigenous health and social issues and how the communities are impacted, is by the people themselves, not the government teaching us this,” she said.

In a statement to Global News, Quebec’s health and social services ministry wrote, it fully understands the criticisms that are made in connection with training in awareness of Indigenous realities adding in the interests of continuous improvement, the MSSS will continue discussions and work with a view to improve existing training.

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The training was made available in June 2021. As of September 21, 183,844 thousand network employees have completed it. That represents 58 per cent of employees, according to the ministry.

Innu surgeon Dr. Stanley Vollant says it’s a good first step, but it’s going to take years or even decades for Indigenous people to trust the health-care system.

“People still don’t go to hospital because they’re afraid to be mistreated, to not be treated equally like the rest of Quebecers,” said Dr. Vollant.

Indigenous professionals want to see the government take further action, including appointing a First Nations ombudsman and improving sensitivity training.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Joe Biden signs bill to avert partial government shutdown, provide aid to Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday he was “committed” to the recovery of Puerto Rico after the island was hit hard by hurricane Ian, adding that his administration would “stand by you for however long it takes to get it done.”

President Joe Biden signed into law Friday a bill that finances the federal government through mid-December and provides another infusion of military and economic aid to Ukraine after lawmakers acted to avert a partial government shutdown set to begin after midnight.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 230-201 earlier in the day. Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the measure. Some wanted to extend government funding into January when, based on the results of the midterm elections, it’s possible they’ll have more leverage over setting federal spending for the full fiscal year. Others argued the measure needed to do more to address border security.

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Democrats said passing the bill was important to helping Ukraine as well as victims of recent natural disasters in the U.S., including Hurricane Ian, as it provides a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster fund with a year’s worth of money up front rather than for two-and-a-half months.

“Turn on the news. Look what’s happening in Florida right now. Look at what happened to Puerto Rico. Look at what’s happening in Alaska. I mean, people need help,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. “And look at what’s happening in Ukraine. Do we support helping preserve democracy in Ukraine or not? That’s what’s at stake here.”

But Republicans complained the bill brought to the floor was not subject to bipartisan negotiations in the House and didn’t reflect their priorities.

“We know we have a crisis on the southern border. You can turn on the television every night. You can look at the fentanyl pouring into the country, You can see the tragedy of human trafficking. Is there anything in this bill that asks us to do anything different, anything new?” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. “No, you just ask, `please allow us to continue the current state of affairs on the southern border.’ That is a travesty.”

In the end, support for the bill was unanimous among Democratic lawmakers. Only 10 Republican lawmakers joined them in voting yes.

The bill finances the federal government through Dec. 16 and buys lawmakers more time to agree on legislation setting spending levels for the 2023 fiscal year. The bill generally keeps spending at current levels, though it does provide more than $12.3 billion in Ukraine-related aid. The money will go to provide training, equipment and logistics support for the Ukraine military, help Ukraine’s government provide basic services to its citizens and replenish U.S. weapons systems and munitions.

“This contribution ensures we continue upholding our moral responsibility to support the people of Ukraine in the face of a vicious invasion that continues to demand decisive action by us,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the Democratic chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

Disaster assistance was also attached to the stopgap bill, including $2.5 billion to help New Mexico communities recover from the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, the largest wildfire in the state’s history; $2 billion for a block grant program that aids the economic recovery of communities impacted by recent disasters; and $20 million for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements previously authorized for Jackson, Mississippi.

“We cannot leave communities behind that are still picking up the pieces from disastrous floods, wildfires and hurricane, and even basic water system failures,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

The bill would provide an additional $1 billion for a program that helps low-income households heat their homes. And it would transfer $3 billion from a Pentagon aid program to the State Department for continued Afghan resettlement operations.

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Lawmakers also included a reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration’s user fee agreements for five years, which ensures the agency can continue critical product safety reviews and won’t need to issue pink slips for thousands of employees working on drug and medical device applications.

One thing missing from the bill is the billions of dollars in additional funding that Biden sought to aid the response to COVID-19 and monkeypox. Republicans criticized the health spending as unnecessary. The White House said the money would have been used to accelerate the research and development of vaccines and therapeutics, prepare for future COVID variants and support the global response.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Canadian Forces exploring drone defenses at CFB Suffield

As drone technology becomes more advanced and easily accessible, their potential military application is raising the attention of the Canadian Armed Forces. Companies from around the world are currently testing their technology at Canadian Forces Base Suffield, which aims to counter possible threats from uncrewed aerial systems. Erik Bay takes a closer look.

Canada’s military is keeping an eye on the skies as it tries to counter a fast-developing technology.

“It’s very easy for anyone to use a drone at this point, so they’re becoming a part of our modern world that we have to become conscious of,” said Jared Giesbrecht, a defense scientist with Defense Research and Development Canada.

Commonly known as drones, uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) are the focus of the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program’s latest sandbox, where companies demonstrate their advancements detecting, tracking and defeating smaller, commercial UAS.

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The IDEaS program is designed to improve Department of National Defence’s access to the creative potential of Canadian innovators.

Businesses from Canada, Germany and Australia were at Canadian Forces Base Suffield, presenting solutions both kinetic — such as physically disabling the drones — and non-kinetic — such as radio frequency signal jamming.

“It’s really good to have an exchange with the different scientists here who are attending this event,” said Bernd Burger, a sales director with Hensoldt Sensors, one of the companies participating in the sandbox. “It’s a very good week for us to learn and test.”

Two drones collide in midair as part of sandbox testing ways to detect and defeat smaller, commercial drones at CFB Suffield.

Two drones collide in midair as part of sandbox testing ways to detect and defeat smaller, commercial drones at CFB Suffield.

Courtesy: Steve Berry DRDC/DND

“This is very proactive in our ability to be able to understand the threat and how these can be used,” said Maj. Raymond Green, with the Canadian Joint Operations Command.

A counter UAS sandbox was also held at CFB Suffield in 2019.

As the technology continues evolving, experts believe the security risks associated with drones will shift along with it.

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“Their speed and radio range increases every year and so that capability is continuing to improve, so we need to continue to work on solutions as they both develop in step,” Giesbrecht said.

Canadian Forces members believe the current work is encouraging.

“It’s a multiplier effect, the systems we’re seeing,” Green said. “The advancement in the technology makes… the war fighter be able to do their job more effectively and minimize the collateral damage in the process.”

The knowledge-sharing exercise will continue for another week.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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