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Climate change role clear in many extreme events but social factors also key, study finds

Climate change is to blame for the majority of the heatwaves being recorded around the planet but the relation to other extreme events impacts on society is less clear, according to a study.

“I think on the one hand we overestimate climate change because it’s now quite common that every time an extreme event happens, there is a big assumption that climate change is playing a big role, which is not always the case,” said Friederike Otto, a climate change and environment professor at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, who was one of the lead authors of the research.

“But on the other hand, we really underestimate those events where climate change does play a role in what the costs are, especially the non-economic costs of extreme weather events to our societies.”

In the study published in the journal IOP Publishing, Otto’s team used “attribution science” to pore over available international data, literature and climate models – as well as the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports – and calculate how human-induced climate change is affecting the impact of five types of extreme weather events: heatwaves, heavy rainfall, drought, wildfires and tropical cyclones.

They say that in the case of heatwaves, the role of climate change is unequivocal, and that the average and extreme heat levels in every continent across the globe are increasing specifically because of human-caused climate change.

A heatwave with a one in 50 chance of happening in pre-industrial times is now almost five times more likely to happen and will be 1.2C hotter, according to an IPCC report. In the past 20 years there have been 157,000 deaths from 34 heatwaves, according to data from the EMDAT disaster database. Yet the impact of human-induced climate change on heatwaves and the repercussions are still largely underestimated.

“One big reason why we underestimate heatwaves so dramatically is because no one’s dropping dead on the street during a heatwave, or at least very few people do,” Otto said.

Most people died from pre-existing conditions suddenly becoming acute, Otto said, and this often did not show up in data. Wildfires were also one of the big climate impacts not talked about enough, Otto said.

For other events such as droughts, floods and tropical cyclones, there is a more nuanced link to climate change. For example, there are some regions of the world where droughts are becoming worse because of human-caused climate change, such as southern Africa, Otto notes, while in other droughts the climate change signal is either not there or very small.

“By focusing too much on climate change, it really takes the responsibility, but also the agency, away to address these local drivers of disasters such as high poverty rates, missing infrastructure, investment, missing healthcare system … all these aspects of exposure and vulnerability that make every drought a catastrophe,” Otto said.

“That will not go away even if we stop burning fossil fuels today. I think that that is why the overestimation of climate change – by basically blaming this all on climate change – is not very helpful for actually dealing [with] and for actually improving resilience to these threats.”

Much of the problem in figuring out exactly to what extent climate change was responsible for the impact of extreme weather events, Otto said, lay in the lack of reliable data around the globe.

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There is not enough information coming from lower- and middle-income countries, although these are the places more likely to be at risk of the repercussions of human-induced climate change.

Already there’s been substantial scientific progress in the last few years in attributing extreme events and their consequences to human-made climate change, said Frances Moore, a professor of environmental economics at the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the study.

“But an important caveat is that the consequences of climate change do not only operate through extremes,” said Moore. Changes in “average conditions” can also have large consequences for mortality, agriculture, worker productivity and safety. “It may well be that the aggregate consequences of these changing, ‘non-extreme’ conditions constitute a large fraction of total climate change impacts.”

Otto called for a broader definition of what was considered as “risk” in climate change modelling, rather than simply sticking to hazards and impact. Other factors such as the effects that extreme weather has on individuals, labour productivity, infrastructure, agricultural systems and property should be taken into account, he said.

“We started at ‘no one was ever talking about climate change’ and now we’ve sort of moved over to ‘blaming a lot of things on climate change’,” Otto said. “[This is] a plea towards realising that reality is somewhat messy, in the middle, and that we need to disentangle these drivers better in order to actually prioritise our adaptation and resilience building to really address climate change properly.”

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Information Session: WISIR Transdisciplinary Systemic Innovation Lab | Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience

Information Session: WISIR Transdisciplinary Systemic Innovation Lab | Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience

Transdisciplinary Systemic Innovation Lab

Are you instructing a course at the University of Waterloo this fall?

Looking for ways to spice up your students’ engagement in your course material?

You might like to learn more about an upcoming research project by the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR). Funded by a Learning Innovation and Teaching Enhancement (LITE) Grant (administered by the Centre for Teaching Excellence and the Associate Vice-President, Academic’s Office), WISIR will run a transdisciplinary, participatory lab in which students and researchers from across faculties work with community stakeholders on a ‘wicked problem’ to prototype and test system-changing solutions.

Join our information session on June 23 at 12pm EDT. Discover more about our research questions, delivery model, learning platform, and provide feedback with Principal Investigator Sean Geobey and WISIR’s Innovation Lab Manager Meg Ronson.

Register here.

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Do I Need To Organize Social Events For My Team? columnist Alison Green answers questions about workplace and management issues–everything from how to deal with a micromanaging boss to how to talk to someone on your team about body odor.

Here’s a roundup of answers to three questions from readers.

1. Do I need to organize social outings for my staff?

I manage a staff of about 15 people who work from various locations, so there are many members of my team who won’t see each other if it’s not intentional. For our team to function well, it’s important that we communicate and collaborate. To that end, we have standing meetings, regular professional development sessions and occasional group trips to industry conferences, an orientation process that emphasizes getting to know the rest of the department, etc. … all specifically work-day activities.

Previously, I had a couple of staff members who initiated regular happy hours and other social activities, as well. I was grateful for them because when the work day ends, while I truly enjoy my colleagues, I can’t wait to go home to my family and read a book in the bath. I am also reluctant to be the organizer of happy hours because I don’t want to create “Ugh, I have to go out after work to make my boss happy” situations. That said, I know many people do like to socialize with coworkers. And when someone else organized a happy hour, I went for a drink when I could — it was fun and low-key. I realized recently, however, that after some normal turnover, the main “social directors” are gone and no one has stepped up to take their place. Do I need to take this on? Or can I just go home and lock the door behind me?

You do not need to take this on! You do need to ensure that your team has opportunities to interact and collaborate, and it sounds like you’re doing that. There is nothing that says “and some of those opportunities needs to be after work or with alcohol.”

If you really want to address it, you could say to your whole team, “I’ve realized that since Jane and Marcus left, we haven’t had many happy hours or other social activities since they were generally the organizers. If anyone misses doing those, feel free to organize them! I’m not going to do it myself since I wouldn’t want anyone to feel pressure to attend. But it’s fine if you want to! And it’s fine if you don’t, too.”

2. My employee thinks “thanks” is positive feedback

I have an issue with my direct report, “Karl,” who thinks that when someone thanks him for doing a task, that constitutes positive feedback. He forwards emails to me that read simply “thanks” with notes asking me to take note of the evidence of his fantastic work.

In our work culture, “thanks” means only that someone has received an email. It does not relate in any way to the quality of the work. So by misinterpreting them, Karl is getting an unfairly positive understanding of his work product. This is leading him to push back against the coaching I am doing with him, because his work is in fact unacceptably poor. He gets very upset and defensive at the slightest criticism and often does not seem to take in negative comments. How do I explain that “thanks” and even “great, thanks” does not mean “well done,” in as effective and kind a way as possible?

“I’ve noticed that you’ve forwarded me many emails from people saying ‘thanks.’ That’s an acknowledgement that you did a task for them, but it’s not typically feedback on the quality of your work. However, if you have emails from people talking about the quality of a project you did for them, I’d love to have those.”

You could add, “The sort of feedback that could show praise for your work would be things like if Carrie commented on the thoroughness and accuracy of the report you sent her, or if Bob said he appreciated the nuance in the draft you wrote for him.”

That said, he sounds unreasonable enough, and the issues with his work sound serious enough, that he may not get this no matter what you say. So I wouldn’t make your bar for success here “I find a way to convince Karl of how poor his work is.” Rather, your bar for success is “Karl brings his performance up to a good level quickly or we transition him out.” And if you haven’t already, be very clear with him about that so that he understands that this isn’t a debate.

3. Writing a LinkedIn recommendation for an employee who quit during our busiest time

I run a small organization, and one of our employees recently quit during the busiest time of year by giving two weeks notice. I know that’s professional convention, but given what a specific niche the position is (making it hard to fill) and the timing of the announcement, it put me off. Some of her coworkers were upset by the timing as well.

Now the ex-employee has asked me to write a review on her LinkedIn profile. If she asked me to be a reference for future employers to call, I would, and would give her a positive review. But it irks me to be asked to take time to write a LinkedIn review when she’s already found a new job, and now I’m busy trying to find her replacement. Is it wrong or rude of me to not write one?

It’s pretty petty. The exception to that is if her job is one where it’s very much understood that you you don’t quit at this time of year or without more notice (the way it is for, say, public accountants during tax season, an event planner right before your biggest annual event, or campaign managers the month before Election Day) — but that would need to truly be a norm for the field, not just your own preference. If it’s just that it’s a busy time for the organization and it was inconvenient … well, that’s how these things go sometimes. In that case, if her work was good and you’d have been willing to write her a LinkedIn recommendation otherwise, you shouldn’t withhold it now. (That said, LinkedIn recommendations don’t carry a ton of weight, and you really don’t need to write something extensive.)

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Messiah church’s goals include more social, artistic events

Messiah church's goals include more social, artistic events

SCHENECTADY – Musicians, singers, poetry slam enthusiasts, playwrights, filmmakers, dance troupes, and artists will soon have a new platform for their talents – at Messiah Lutheran Church’s community center on Curry Road in a working-class neighborhood.

The vibrant, diverse congregation managed to raise almost half a million dollars to upgrade the church on Guilderland Avenue to be handicapped accessible, adding an elevator and more parking. This once-struggling church aims to offer the community free mental health counseling in addition to space for local artists to show work.

The Rev. Dustin Wright, who has been candid with his congregation about his own struggles with depression, sees a crucial role for houses of worship in supporting a community’s mental health. And he grasps the therapeutic value art can provide. Currently, Messiah offers Zentangle, a combination of Zen and drawing that helped a congregant navigate rehab. Messiah also hosts three 12-step programs. Wright hopes to offer free services for people wrestling with depression, anxiety and grieving – if he can find enough certified therapists to volunteer.

“As a pastor, I have some training in counseling but the need goes beyond that,” Wright said. “I’ve spent three hours cold calling therapists. I Googled to find one that a member of my congregation can afford. Not everyone has insurance covering mental health.”

Wright encountered the problem personally as a teen. His eighth-grade yearbook christened him one half of the school’s cutest couple. Yet by freshman year, he was so plagued by social anxiety that he missed three months of school.

“It was scary; the roller-coaster manic highs and deep lows,” Wright said. “Then I saw an MTV special about depression. I realized that might be me.”

He told his mother, who tried for months to find a counselor she could afford for him. Wright’s pastor came to the rescue by helping Wright become part of a community. The pastor organized small social events for teens with common interests and invited Wright. Now, as a pastor himself, Wright observes how creative groups like Messiah’s crafting and makers class become supportive communities. Messiah hosts an array of events and classes at Trinity Community Center. The congregation and Wright felt it was important to have a social center close to – but separate from – the church.

“Some people have had damaging experiences in organized religion,” he explained. “Trinity Center helps us serve and welcome neighbors and others who might not feel comfortable in a church.”

Messiah has become well-known for welcoming students, people of all income levels and members of the LGBTQ+ community. And the congregation has been unwavering in its generosity. Congregants produce bumper crops of vegetables in the church garden each summer and give it away via a produce pantry.

Shortly before pandemic lockdowns began, in February 2020, Messiah was shocked to hear the cost of making its church accessible to the disabled would be double what was projected. Like most houses of worship, Messiah endured “lockdowns, way too many Zoom meets and no in-person activities for over a year,” Wright says. Yet Messiah launched a mostly virtual capital appeal campaign called “A Place at the Table for Everyone.” The goal was $570,000. In two years, the congregation has raised $483,274, or 85 percent. Donations are still coming.

The money will pay for installing an elevator, a handicapped-accessible bathroom and a library with study areas. 

The architects are John Fry and Jaclyn Tyler of Nexus Creative Designs and the general contractor is Wade Coton of Manchester Homes, LLC.

The project will include building a new main entrance that allows visitors and congregants to gather and mingle, two new all-gender restroom stalls, the transformation of the church narthex or antechamber into a community art gallery and better lighting in the parking lot. Construction is expected to begin in July and be completed by Thanksgiving.

Dave Barnett, co-chair of the A Place at the Table for Everyone Campaign said in a statement, “I am so appreciative of the time and talent support from the congregation members for the Capital Campaign effort and for the generosity of our members and friends towards meeting our goal.”

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, Trinity hosts a free ice cream social (Stewart’s is donating ice cream) and a bluegrass concert by Midnight Anthem open to all. It’s a chance to wish Wright well before he gets married next week and heads off to his honeymoon.

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New Project Media Launches NPM Events

New Project Media Launches NPM Events

Leading renewable energy market data & intelligence service looks to provide content and networking focused events on development & financing

PRINCETON, N.J., June 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — New Project Media (NPM), a rapidly growing market data and intelligence company providing origination-led coverage of the North American renewable energy market, announced today the official launch of NPM Events, a parallel business line executing impactful, content-first events for the renewable energy development and finance community. By hosting development and finance experts alongside advisors and solutions providers in the space, NPM Events will generate frank discussions with unique and informative content and provide valuable networking opportunities for attendees.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we hosted several virtual events centering on the issues that mattered most to our clients, and they were very successful,” said Ken Meehan, founder and CEO of New Project Media. “Our goal is to elevate the value to our clients and the broader industry by focusing our now in-person events more on the development side, because developers and their partners drive the market, and this approach sets us apart from the broader, ‘later-stage’ content, or trade show models of other renewable energy events.”

NPM Events will host its flagship US Development & Finance Forum every spring in Houston, as well as a revolving series in the fall called NPM Evolutions. This year’s NPM Evolutions conference will be the US Energy Storage Development & Finance Forum, held on October 25 and 26, 2022, in San Diego.

“When we looked at our clients, including developers, financiers, advisors, solutions providers and energy buyers, it became clear to us we needed to create an outlet for them to come together, learn from one another, and discuss topical trends and issues not typically covered on the events circuit,” said Brett Birman, Chief Commercial Officer for NPM. “Our goals for NPM Events are to inspire attendees with expert, insightful content on activity in the renewables space; have them participate in honest, non-biased and informed discussions; and facilitate productive networking opportunities.”

To learn more about NPM, see an archive of past events, or keep informed about upcoming events, please visit  

About New Project Media
New Project Media (NPM) is a leading market data, intelligence and events company providing origination led coverage of the North American renewable energy market. NPM supports renewable energy development, finance, investment, advisory & corporate clients’ origination, market & peer tracking efforts with actionable coverage of the utility-scale, community solar, & energy transition markets. NPM brings a unique view of the pre-RFP, pre-construction and interconnection queue landscape to help its clients identify new business development opportunities and gain a competitive advantage, while also providing full-lifecycle project financing and M&A coverage. NPM Events hosts two industry events each year and produces the NPM Interconnections industry podcast.

SOURCE New Project Media

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Evening social events at Conference 2022

Unwind and have fun at our evening social events at this year’s Museums Association Conference in Edinburgh. Over three nights, delegates will have the opportunity to explore some of the city’s most beautiful and unique spaces after hours.

Opening party – Scottish National Portrait Gallery

1830-2030, Wednesday 2 November

Start off your conference experience at our opening night drinks reception at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. One of Edinburgh’s most remarkable buildings, the neo-gothic palace was the world’s first purpose-built portrait gallery. Our party will be held in the building’s famous Great Hall, where delegates can view its stained glass windows, stunning astrological ceiling and painted murals.

Main party – National Museum of Scotland

1900-2100, Thursday 3 November

Join us in the National Museum of Scotland’s breathtaking Grand Gallery for our main conference party, where you’ll have a chance to meet and mingle with colleagues amid some of the museum’s most dramatic objects, including the 19th-century lighthouse lens and the four-storey Window on the World display, the largest single museum installation in the UK.

Closing party – City Art Centre

1800-1930, Friday 4 November

Round off your conference at our closing reception at the City Art Centre. Located close to Waverley train station, the City Art Centre’s aim is to champion historic and contemporary Scottish visual and applied arts. Artworks from the centre’s Nationally Recognised collection of Scottish art are displayed on a rotating basis.

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Turkey embraces TV series, social media, sports events for exports

Turkey embraces TV series, social media, sports events for exports

Turkey plans to engage with a new strategy to promote its brands and goods and looks to embrace multiple channels such as TV and sports organizations, as well as new store concepts, as it looks to extend the range of its exports further to remote markets.

Turkey has over the recent years voiced its determination to boost sales to distant geographies and unveiled action plans.

To ensure greater recognition of its export products, Turkey now plans to engage with TV series and movies, video games and names influential on social media, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported on Sunday.

It cited the draft strategy prepared by the Trade Ministry, which has been conveyed to the related nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) for evaluation.

The Remote Countries Strategy and Action Plan Draft highlights the aim to extend the range of exports and boost sales to 18 countries.

These include the United States, Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, India, Japan, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Chile, Thailand and Vietnam.

The total foreign sales to these countries soared by 42.2% year-over-year in 2021, reaching $27.16 billion, according to the data compiled from the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM).

The figure rose from $18.9 billion in 2020, the data showed, despite the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and the disruption in supply chains.

Turkey currently holds just a 0.26% share of the $8.2 trillion worth of imports of the 18 target countries, located an average distance of 8,500 kilometers (5,280 miles) from the country.

Ankara foresees further opening up to these markets and increasing exports to the level of at least $82 billion.

Turkey’s overall exports reached a record $225.4 billion in 2021, and the government has revised its target to $250 billion and $300 billion set for 2022 and 2023, respectively.

The strategy envisages the setting up of a support program that will ensure greater visibility of Turkish brands at sports and fashion events, including the Olympics, world cups, motor sports and international fashion weeks.

Turkey plans to back the opening of various concept stores in countries where “pop-up stores” and “pop-up retail” concepts have particularly become widespread and in sectors such as luxury goods.

The strategy projects deep analysis and guides for companies for each of the countries, including potential product groups, investment environment, trade and business policies and market features.

Sub-sectors will be determined and the potentials of these in related countries will be analyzed, followed by a setting of target-focused entry strategies, according to the road map.

Sectoral trade delegations will be paying more frequent visits to the related markets, supported by trips of general trade delegations at least once a year.

Turkey plans to boost financial support for the sectoral delegations and increase the engagements in national, individual and virtual fairs.

The strategy also envisages greater support for advertising activities in printed and visual media, also targeting countries’ consumption channels, shopping malls and chain stores. The activities will seek to particularly bring forward the “Made in Turkey” tag.

Other activities related to Turkish goods and services will include promotions and cooperation with influencers on social media.

TV series and movies, as well as video games, will also be embraced to increase the awareness, driven by cooperation with series and movie actors and placement of products on these platforms.

According to the strategy, Turkey looks to support promoting activities by directing pioneering brands to become sponsors and prestigious international events that will be held in the distant countries.

Events that could increase the recognition of Turkish TV series and film productions in the international arena will also be sought after. And support for participation at such programs, internationally prestigious film festivals, biennials and festivals is planned to be increased.

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USM Symphony Orchestra hosts events for ‘Social Justice Week’

USM Symphony Orchestra hosts events for ‘Social Justice Week’

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra has planned a series of events to raise awareness of social justice issues.

The programming will feature musical performances, guest lectures, masterclasses and more.

Both Thursday and Friday will include concerts featuring the guests, including composer Xavier Foley.

Some of Foley’s compositions, including For Justice and Peace, will be performed by the symphony orchestra with Foley joining.

“Well, the students here are very talented, and I don’t have to worry,” said Foley. “The piece works itself out with this talented group here.”

“Yeah, it is great to hear my own music, but again, sometimes we can get a little too picky, so I try to just let them do their thing and everyone have fun.”

“It’s very special, Xavier is a very special young man,” said USM Director of Orchestral Activities, Dr. Michael Miles. “He’s a composer. He’s a beautiful artist, solo artist.

“The impression that he makes on our young people is instantaneous and just huge for them, so he inspires them the minute he walks on the stage.”

A collection of events is listed below.

Thursday, April 21:

  • 3 p.m.- 4:30 p.m. – Panel Discussion: Challenges in Diversity and Inclusion in the Music Industry. Panelists: Xavier Foley, Weston Sprott, Joyce McCall and Anthony Wellington at the Intermezzo Gallery
  • 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. – Lecture and Q & A with Weston Sprott at The Hub, Room 100
  • 7:30 p.m. – The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra presents …and Justice for All with guest artists Xavier Foley and John Uzodinma. Also, featuring Shostakovich Symphony No. 10 at the Bennett Auditorium.

Friday, April 22:

  • 10 a.m. – Noon – Masterclass with Xavier Foley at the Intermezzo Gallery
  • 7:30 p.m. – The University of Southern Mississippi Wind Ensemble with guest artist Weston Sprott at the Manonni Performing Arts Center

Tickets can be purchased at the door on the night of the performance.

Copyright 2022 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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Gap says earnings set for strong 2022 as social events return

Gap says earnings set for strong 2022 as social events return

People walk past a Gap store on Oxford Street in London, Britain, July 1, 2021. REUTERS/John Sibley

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March 3 (Reuters) – Gap Inc (GPS.N) on Thursday forecast 2022 earnings above estimates, betting on strong demand for its Old Navy and Athleta clothing brands as Americans return to offices and social events thanks to declining Omicron cases.

Shares of the apparel retailer jumped 7.2% to $15.67 in extended trading, as it also posted a smaller-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter.

Many apparel chains have struggled to keep up with rising demand though, as port congestion and tight capacity delay shipments.

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Gap has had to use pricier air freight to bring in goods, and said its inventory at the end of the first quarter would rise in the mid-20s percentage range as it orders early to counter longer in-transit times.

“(Customers are) leaning into categories like dresses or new silhouettes and pants for back-to-work … as well as denim with new leg shapes. It’s a pretty radical change from last year,” Chief Executive Sonia Syngal said on an earnings call.

Gap forecast fiscal 2022 adjusted earnings per share between $1.85 and $2.05, above Refinitiv IBES estimates of $1.86.

It also expects to benefit from tie-ups with Walmart (WMT.N) to sell home goods and with rapper Kanye West to launch new styles.

The strong outlook contrasts those from rivals Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF.N) and American Eagle Outfitters (AEO.N), which have warned of freight expenses pressuring their margins in the first half of 2022.

In the near term, Gap is not immune to the industry-wide supply snags either.

The Banana Republic parent, whose comparable sales growth in the quarter ended Jan. 29 missed estimates, indicated that sales pressure had continued into the current quarter.

It projected net sales to fall in the mid- to high-single-digit percentage range, compared with estimates for a 3.8% decline.

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Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam and Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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