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Before a meeting with a team of security agents led by Police chief Kale Kayihura at State House Entebbe on May 31, President Museveni separately met with mid-level police leadership and their intelligence counterparts from around the country.

According to our sources, Museveni sought the meeting to understand the source of the escalating murders and robberies around the country. During that meeting, sources said, the mid-level police officers and intelligence agents told the president they are too deprived of cash and other resources by their bosses to undertake meaningful policing, let alone take on criminal gangs.

Although the inspector general of police, Kale Kayihura, had been invited to Entebbe, he was excluded from the president’s first meeting with these police officers.

According to our sources, for three hours the president prodded the officers for answers on why murders are spiraling out of control yet police is allocated much more money than the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and Internal Security Organisation (ISO).

“Before this meeting, the president has been receiving security briefs and reports from high-ranking officers only,” a State House source told this writer at the weekend.

President Museveni inspecting an army guard of honour recently

Museveni later invited Kayihura and his team, who included the director of Criminal Investigations, Grace Akullo, director of Operations Asuman Mugenyi, and director of Crime Intelligence, Col Ndahura Atwoki, among others, to the second meeting.

That meeting, which was covered by the president’s press team, had district police commanders, and district Internal Security Officers, among others.

Asked to comment on Saturday, Asan Kasingye, the police spokesperson, confirmed the president had met the middle-level officers last week.

“It is true the president held a meeting with police at State House on Wednesday and it was attended by DPCs from Greater Masaka, Kampala and Wakiso,” he said.

According to Kasingye, the president called the meeting to address the rising number of murders and robberies in some parts of the country.

“The president was receiving security briefs from [middle-level] officers about the increased crime in their areas and the way forward,” he said.

Kasingye added that the president also discussed security plans with police. Asked about claims by DPCs that they don’t have adequate resources to fight crime, Kasingye said he was not in the meeting and therefore couldn’t comment about what trans- pired.

3 weeks 2 days ago

China has piled fresh pressure on Uganda over President Museveni’s claims that two of its alleged diplomats were involved in illegal ivory trade.

The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Zheng Zhuqiang, told The Observer on Saturday that the embassy has formally sought for a meeting with the Foreign Affairs ministry.

“We have sought for a meeting with the minister but we are yet to receive feedback from them,” he said by telephone.

The Observer has also learnt that President Museveni, who is facing the possibility of hurting his close ties to China, has taken steps to thaw the growing diplomatic tensions. According to the senior presidential press Secretary, Don Innocent Wanyama, after China’s terse response to the contents of the president’s letter last week, Museveni decided to leave the resolution of the now contentious matter at the hands of his foreign relations experts.

“Given their [Chinese] reading of the President’s statements, it has now become diplomatic issue and it is now being handled by [the ministry of] Foreign Affairs,” Wanyama told The Observer by telephone on Saturday.

On May 2, Museveni wrote to the Inspector General Government Irene Mulyagonja ordering an investigation into the affairs of Uganda Wildlife Authority and two Chinese diplomats, Li Wejin and one Yinzhi, whom he accused of involvement in the illegal sale of ivory smuggled from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Zheng last week said Museveni’s claims were based on wrong information. (See: China protests Museveni ivory trafficking charges, The Observer June 2).

BEIJING SPEAKS

On the same day that Zheng protested against the contents of the president’s letter, the spokeswoman of the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry, Hua Chunying, told journalists in Beijing that Museveni’s allegations were “totally unfounded”.

“We have rigorous regulations and laws on governmental officials, embassy members, and visiting groups to forbid them from buying or engaging in [smuggling] activities,” Hua said.

Zheng said his interest is in ensuring that the Ugandan government restores his embassy’s reputation, which he said was damaged by Museveni’s letter. However, the foreign affairs ministry’s spokesperson Margaret Awino Kafeero said she hadn’t seen any communication from the Chinese embassy.

“I am not aware [of that] because I have not seen it, maybe because I have been out of [office] but in any case, if the embassy has raised the matter, I wouldn’t be able to discuss it with the media,” Kafeero said.

Uganda is keen to maintain good relations with China being that the world’s second largest economy is one of Uganda’s key development and economic partners.
For instance, between 2000 and 2011, there were approximately 54 development projects financed by the People Republic of China.

Among the projects is the construction of the Kampala-Entebbe expressway, e-governance and national backbone infrastructure, construction of Isimba and Karuma hydropower dams and the ongoing expansion works of Entebbe International Airport.

BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS

Besides the illegal trade in ivory, Museveni highlighted seven other issues that he asked the ombudsman to investigate. They include the illegal export of pangolin (olugave), murders in the national parks and procurement of gorilla tracking software.

Others are, alleged extravagant travel expenses, ignoring his repeated directives to erect electric fences around national parks, and soliciting bribes from banks keeping their money.

In his letter, Museveni alleged that UWA executive director Andrew Seguya solicited for bribes from Centenary bank, DFCU bank and the defunct Crane bank so as to deposit with them Shs 28 billion.

“When the banks refused to bribe him, he withdrew the money and caused a loss of Shs 1.5bn. Even without causing financial loss, it is criminal enough for a public officer to ask for a bribe,” Museveni wrote.

Seguya, in a statement, pleaded his innocence. He said money that is fixed in banks is earned through sell of gorilla permits which is done in up to two years in advance of actual gorilla tracking by tourists.

“The decisions related to fixing such funds are vested in the board of trustees and not the executive director. I don’t have powers to deposit or withdraw this money. There is no basis for soliciting a bribe and this allegation is false,” Seguya said on Saturday, adding that such decision are done through a transparent bidding process that eventually awards the bank with the best interest rates.

Seguya also downplayed accusations of extravagant expenditures on travels saying that because of UWA’s limited budget, the conservation body had failed to send delegations to various international conservation conferences.

3 weeks 2 days ago

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Uganda Airlines will succeed - Museveni

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Uganda Airlines will succeed - Museveni

By Vision Reporter

Added 4th June 2017 03:53 PM

Earlier this year, cabinet passed a resolution to revive the airline to boost the country’s air transport system

President Museveni greets Airbus representative Patrice Bauebo at State House in Entebbe. PPU Photo

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said that once revived, the Uganda Airlines will succeed mainly because of the direct travel opportunities that it will offer to Ugandans in the diaspora, business community, tourists and the vast domestic travel opportunities.

Museveni was on Saturday speaking during a meeting with Patrice Bauebo, a representative of Airbus Group at State House in Entebbe. Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services that unite the capabilities of Airbus and Airbus Defence.

Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Based in France it provides tankers, combat, transport and mission aircrafts as well as Europe’s’ number one space enterprise and the world’s second largest space business.

Uganda is looking to revive the defunct Uganda Airlines. Earlier this year, cabinet passed a resolution to revive the airline to boost the country’s air transport system and boost its trade and development prospects in the region.

"I am convinced that Uganda Airlines will succeed mainly because of six factors; Ugandans in the diaspora, the Indian community, businessmen, tourists, regional traffic and internal travel," he said.

Museveni explained that the Ugandans in the diaspora especially in South Africa, Canada and the United States of America and Indians who were expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin in the United Kingdom are inconvenienced by other airlines that must pass through their capitals but once Uganda Airlines is revived they will benefit from direct travel.

"Uganda has a captive travelling population. Many people want a flying schedule that suits them and yet most of the airlines look at nationalism and must first pass through their countries of origin," he said.

He said that once the airline is revived, Ugandan tourist sites will be well marketed to the world in a way that no country would compete with Uganda.

"In terms of tourism, no country can compete with Uganda if we have an airline and promote our nice weather, wildlife and the other tourist attractions," he said.

Museveni also said that Uganda Airlines will survive once revived because there are many industries developing in the country that will use the airline to export their products.

He said this would increase the number of exports and reduce imports thus earning Uganda foreign revenue adding that regional travel and internal travel would also ensure that the airline survives.

"Although Uganda is not big geographically, the road network is improving, there is a need among Ugandans to spend less time travelling," he said.

He also explained that there are many Ugandans traveling and exporting cargo to Bunya in Democratic Republic of Congo, Juba in South Sudan, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Lagos in Nigeria and the airline would make their travel and business faster and more direct.

Bauebo commended Museveni on the move to ensure that the airline will have internal or in country flights.

"What makes the success of an airline market is the feeder market. You need nationals flying within Uganda and not only abroad," he said.

Bauebo also urged government to develop Soroti Aviation School saying that it was greatly linked to the airport industry through training of pilots, engineers and other aviation related jobs.

The meeting was attended by Ugandan Ambassador to France, Nimisha Madhvani, Minister of Works and Transport, Azuba Ntege, and other government officials.
- See more at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1454672/uganda-airlines-succe...

3 weeks 2 days ago

State Minister for Works, Gen Katumba Wamala, has scoffed at people who have gone to the Constitutional Court challenging his ministerial appointment while still a serving army officer. Robert Mugisha and Deusdedit Bwengye in their complaint filed last Monday, state that the appointment of Gen Katumba to a partisan portfolio as State Minister of Works is a violation of the Constitution. The duo contend that Katumba’s appointment is against Uganda Peoples Defence Forces’ (UPDF) cardinal rule of being nonpartisan and subordinate to civilian authority under Article 208 (2) of the Constitution and section 99 of the UPDF Act of 2005. They argue that his appointment by the President and his subsequent approval by Parliament on February 14, 2017, subject him to conflict of interest, which may compromise his office as a minister. Gen Katumba, who is the former Chief of Defence Forces, quoted section 38 (2) of the UPDF Act 2005 that he said permits him to serve as minister. “There is nothing illegal. Ask them to give you section 38 (2) of the UPDF Act and read what it says. Until the UPDF Act is repealed my appointment as state minister is in accordance with the law,” he told New Vision on phone. When asked about the conflict of interest, Gen Katumba said; “I think that point of argument doesn’t make sense. Are they challenging the President, that the President is not the President of the country? Is the President not the President of the country which I am serving? If yes, then I am not serving an illegal system.” Asked whether he was unnerved about the duo’s challenge in court, Katumba said no. “It is okay; I will not be the first one. Let them to go to court, I will get free money from them.” In 2013, lawyer Eron Kiiza challenged Museveni's appointment of the late Gen Aronda Nyakairima as the Internal Affairs Minister. Kiiza argued that Aronda’s appointment was illegal because he had not retired from the army. Court is yet to determine whether that appointment was illegal. In May 2010, Gen Jeje Odongo was forced to retire before being cleared as State Minister for Defence. Museveni appointed Odongo minster a year before, but the defence and internal affairs committee of Parliament refused to approve him on the grounds that he was still a serving officer. The committee also threatened not to pass his ministry’s budget unless the issue was resolved. - See more at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1454676/gen-katumba-wamala-de...

3 weeks 2 days ago

The battle for Kyadondo East constituency, which recently fell vacant after court nullified the election of FDC’s Apollo Kantinti, has kicked off with the nomination of five other candidates.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the new returning officer for Wakiso district, Francis Nkurunziza, confirmed the nomination of Kantinti, William Sitenda Ssebalu (NRM), Lillian Babirye Kamoome (DP), as well as independents Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (aka Bobi Wine), Nkunyingi Muwada, and Kayongo Sowedi Male.

With popular musician Kyagulanyi in the race, the contest for a seat that has been held by FDC ever since the return of multiparty politics in 2005 has been thrown wide open.

Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi at his maiden rally

Hundreds turned up for Kyagulanyi’s maiden rally at Gayaza playground, throwing FDC into panic. FDC president Mugisha Muntu said losing the seat would reduce the momentum of their push for a change of government in 2021.

“We want to warn the people of this constituency that whatever feelings they might have about Kyagulanyi, this is a battle about this country,” Muntu said. “If you send the wrong signal to Museveni that he can manipulate the situation; that he can even take a seat that is already in our hands, that would be wrong.”
 
BATTLE FOR FDC FLAG

Before the nomination, FDC was embroiled in an internal struggle over who should carry their flag between Kyagulanyi, Nkunyingi and Kantinti. The Wednesday meeting that lasted over 10 hours failed to agree on anything, hence maintaining Kantinti as the FDC candidate. FDC secretary general Nathan Nandala-Mafabi explained they chose to stick to the party’s policy of not holding fresh party primaries for a by-election.

“Kantinti was an MP who just [got] disqualified by court because of the actions of the Electoral Commission. [Otherwise], he would still be a member of parliament.” Mafabi said.

FDC's candidate Apollo Kantinti

This resulted in Kyagulanyi declaring that he would make a rogue run for the seat on the independent ticket.

“Time has come for us to stop being supporters and stone throwers and get involved in the change that we aspire for,” he said.  “I come not to represent any political party or any particular politician but the views and aspirations of the people of Kyadondo East.”

Nkunyingi, on the other hands, said even if FDC had denied him the flag, he would continue to pay allegiance to the party, despite contesting on an independent ticket.

“This doesn’t take away my political affiliations to FDC,” he insisted. “I am a member of the FDC; not merely because of the card but because of its values.”

Muwanda Nkunyinyi

DP EMBRACES BOBI

Interestingly, some members of DP have cast their lot with Bobi Wine, even though their own party has an official candidate. DP members behind the musician-turned-politician include former presidential candidate Walter Lubega and Kasangati town council chairperson Tony Kiyimba Ssempebwa.

However, DP president general Norbert Mao said the country’s oldest party needed to have an official candidate in the by-election. He said he will talk to his party’s supporters to abandon Kyagulanyi.

“All sorts of people are coming to contest; can you imagine a witchdoctor wanting to run Mulago hospital?” Mao said. “Kyadondo East failed an examination and they have been given a retake, so, it is important for DP, a party that fought for multiparty democracy, to front a person.”

3 weeks 5 days ago

KAMPALA - It's two days to Uganda Martyrs' Day, marked every June 3 to celebrated the lives of 22 Ugandan Christians whose commitment to their Christian faith led to their deaths by the orders of Buganda king Mwanga.

In the run-up to this year's celebrations, a special service was held Thursday inside the Uganda Martyrs' basilica to pray for the beatification of former Tanzanian leader Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, who died 18 years ago.

His wife, 87-year-old Mama Maria Nyerere, attended the special service, as did President Yoweri Museveni, who was delighted to meet Tanzania's first First Lady.

Kampala Archbishop Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga led the prayers attended by several high-profile people, pilgrims from Tanzania and other faithful. - See more at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1454527/museveni-mama-nyerere...

3 weeks 5 days ago

There was drama at Nakawa Chief Magistrate on Thursday morning after the suspects in the murder of late Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP), Andrew Felix Kaweesi, appeared in court. The suspects’ spouses threw children to prison warders as they (suspects) were led to cells.

In the process, prison warders cocked their guns to scare off the furious women thus causing panic at court.

Work came to a standstill and several magistrates in open courts were seen running to their chambers. Other workers looked through windows to see what was going on.
- See more at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1454524/kaweesi-murder-suspec...

3 weeks 5 days ago

China on Thursday rejected allegations that two of its diplomats working in Uganda were involved in the trafficking of ivory from the African country.
The Chinese embassy officials are suspected of helping move ivory from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan, using Uganda as a transit point, Ali Munira, a spokeswoman for Uganda's top anti-corruption body, told this reporter this week.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has ordered a probe into possible collusion between the country's wildlife agency and the diplomats, Munira said.
But China dismissed reports of the allegations as "totally unfounded".

"We have rigorous regulations and laws on governmental officials, embassy members, and visiting groups to forbid them from buying or engaging in (smuggling) activities," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.
But she added: "We will punish them if they are found to be engaged in such activities."
Poaching has risen sharply in recent years across Africa, fuelled by rising demand in Asia for ivory and rhino horn, coveted as traditional medicine and a status symbol. Uganda is a major transit country for the illegal trade.

China announced in December that it would ban all ivory trade and processing by the end of 2017, a move hailed by conservationists as a "game changer" for African elephants.
More than 35,000 elephants are killed across Africa every year for their tusks.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned the ivory trade in 1989.
But China permits the resale of ivory bought before the 1989 ban -- and also has a stockpile purchased with CITES approval in 2008, which it releases for sale with certification.

3 weeks 5 days ago

The Anti-Corruption court has convicted Geoffrey Kazinda, the former principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and three others for the theft of more than Shs 316 million meant for fuel.

Having completed his other five-year jail term recently, Kazinda has been handed another 5 years in prison.

The other convicts are Beatrice Kezabu, the former resettlement officer in OPM, Shamim Masembe, the proprietor of Total fuel station Ntinda and manager, Hussein Katumwa.

In his judgment delivered this morning, Justice Lawrence Gidudu of the Anti-Corruption court found Kazinda and Kezabu guilty of embezzling more than Shs 316 million meant for fuel for the post-war reconstruction scheme in Northern Uganda and Karamoja sub-region under the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan.

"It has been proved that Kazinda was the architect and master planner of the theft," said Justice Gidudu. He also found Kezabu guilty of false accounting, forgery and uttering false documents contrary to section 351 of the Penal Code act. He also found Masembe and Katumwa guilty of conspiring with Kazinda to commit fraud contrary to section 309 of the Penal Code.

However, unlike Kazinda, Justice Gidudu sentenced the three to fines ranging between Shs 10 million and Shs 50 million on grounds that they were not the masterminds behind the theft of the Shs 316 million.

In his judgment, Justice Gidudu, said prosecution presented irrefutable evidence implicating the four on the charges brought against them.

"Even though they were never at the original planning meeting where the theft was hatched, the actions of Kezabu, Katumwa and Masembe made them conspirators to the theft," said Justice Gidudu.

Masembe and Katumwa were found guilty of having facilitated the theft of the money by handing it over to Fatumah Kezabu in cash who in turn gave it to Kazinda. During the hearing, Katumwa confessed that he would return the money to Kazinda. However, Justice Gidudu said this was not sufficient defense as the fuel station had an option to return the money of unconsumed food to the consolidated fund.

"Accused persons 2, 3 and 4 are sentenced to fines given that they jumped on the theft bandwagon after their master planner Kazinda had crafted the plot," Justice Gidudu said.

Keezabu is to pay a fine of Shs 50 million because court found her guilty of facilitating the said theft by making false entries on the fuel order forms well knowing that no fuel had been drawn.

Justice Gidudu also sentenced Masembe and Katumwa to a fine of Shs 10 million each for helping Kazinda realize the fruits of his crimes as they let their fuel station formerly, Caltex Ntinda to be used as the conduit for the theft. The convicts have also been ordered to refund the Shs 316 million to government coffers.

They are also to keep away from public service employment for the next 10 years. Keezabu, Masembe and Katumwa are to deposit their fines before they are released or face spend a year in Luzira prison.

Kazinda has just completed his 5 year jail sentence handed to him in June 2013 after he was found guilty of forging the signature of Pius Bigirimana, the then OPM Permanent Secretary.

Earlier on the court assessor, Vincent Oketch had advised court to acquit Kazinda and Katumwa of all charges and convict Kezabu and Masembe on the charges of conspiracy to defraud.

Following the judgment, prosecution asked court to give the accused the maximum sentence for each crime. However, Kazinda's lawyer, Andrew Kasirye pleaded with court for lenience, saying his client has been in prison since 2012.

"It's not fair that prosecution keeps bringing snippets of the case against my clients and he is convicted and sentenced for each snippet. I ask my lord that you he be allowed to serve all his sentences concurrently or you allow him serve a custodial sentence," Kasirye told court. Adding that, "It is wrong for prosecution to assume that Kazinda has not changed. He has learnt from his past, given the many years [spent] in prison."

Despite completing his five-year prison sentence in November last year, Kazinda remained on remand at Luzira prison pending the conclusion of his corruption cases.

3 weeks 6 days ago

Parliament yesterday, Wednesday passed a Shs 29-trillion budget for the financial year 2017/2018 after a prolonged debate. 
                              
The House presided over by the deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah managed to beat the deadline set by the Public Finance Act which requires legislators to have the budget approved by May 31.
 
The new budget will see expenditures for the next financial increase by Shs 3 trillion from the Shs 26 trillion allocated in 2016/2017. The opposition had bitterly opposed the budgetary proposals especially plans to spend money on the oil roads in the absence of feasibility studies.
 
The opposition with a minority report wanted government to a re-allocate Shs 705 billion budgeted for construction of 15 oil roads. The opposition said only two out of the planned 15 oil roads earmarked for funding in the next financial year had feasibility studies and have detailed designs.

Government allocated Shs 1.3 trillion to the construction of the 15 oil roads in the coming financial year. The total works and transport budget proposed is Shs 4.6 trillion.
 
The roads with complete feasibility studies and detailed designs are Hoima-Butiaba-Wanseko road whose construction is budgeted at Shs 444 billion and Lusalira-Nkonge-Ssembabule road budgeted at Shs 190.8 billion.

MPs in the House yesterday

The roads whose construction the opposition is contesting due to absence of feasibility studies include Masindi-Biiso road budgeted at Shs 108 billion, Masindi-Bugungu via Murchison Falls national park budgeted at Shs 152 billion, Kaseeta-Lwera via Bugoma forest whose budget is Shs 34 billion, and Wanseko-Bugungu road estimated to cost close to Shs 5 billion.
 
Others are Buhimba-Nalweyo-Kakindu-Kakumiro road estimated to cost over Shs 195 billion, Kyotera-Rakai road at Shs 43 billion, and Kabaale-Kiziranfumbi road budgeted at Shs 56.8 billion. Also on the list are a bridge at Paraa crossing to cost Shs 8.7 billion and Hahwa-Nyairongo-Kyarushesha road estimated to cost Shs 54.3 billion.
 
Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal presented the minority report on the floor of parliament. She said it was not prudent for parliament to appropriate funds to 13 roads that lack feasibility studies and detailed designs.
 
"There is no basis to inform the costs and commit public funds," said Ogwal.
 
She further demanded that Shs 705 billion be reallocated from oil roads without feasibility studies and detailed designs to fund other priority budget items. The opposition demands touch one of the 2017/2018 proposed financial year budget focus areas.

Government seeks to intensify transport infrastructure development to lower production costs as well as completing oil-related infrastructure development to enable commercialisation and the first oil output in 2020.
 
The opposition's demands could however not sail through. They were defeated by the majority ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) legislators who turned up to vote in favour of the budget proposals.
 
The largest proportion of the resources have been allocated to works and transport sector taking Shs 4.6 trillion followed by education at Shs 2.4 trillion. Energy and mineral development takes Shs 2.3 trillion with health and security taking Shs 1.8 trillion and Shs 1.4 trillion respectively.
 
Key sectors like agriculture have been allocated Shs 863 billion while water and environment takes Shs 595 billion.
 
The budget focus according to parliament's budget committee chairperson, Amos Lugoloobi, is on increasing agricultural production and productivity for food security and strategic exports. It also focuses on enhancing private sector development for export promotion and import substitution.
 
Finance minister Matia Kasaija is expected to present details of the budget in his budget speech scheduled for June 8.
 
Parliament approved the budget in line with Section 14 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) that now requires parliament to approve the budget before it's read out to the public.
 
Out of the Shs 29 trillion budget, Shs 7.6 trillion will go towards recurrent expenditure, Shs 11.4 trillion for development expenditure while 9.9 trillion is for statutory expenditure.
 
Revenue measures

According to Lugoloobi, the Ntenjeru North MP, domestic revenue collections are projected at Shs 16.6 trillion in the financial year 2017/2018.  The projected revenue is equivalent to 15.2% of GDP against 14.42% of GDP in the financial year 2016/2017.

3 weeks 6 days ago

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