What’s News, Breaking: Wednesday, September 27, 2023
WOMAN’S BODY DISCOVERED IN PROSPECT PARK,
WAS BELIEVED TO HAVE LIVED IN ENCAMPMENT THERE
PROSPECT-LEFFERTS GARDENS — ANOTHER GRUESOME MURDER OF A WOMAN MAY HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN PROSPECT PARK, where a passerby encountered a body Tuesday morning, Sept. 26, the Daily News reports. The deceased woman was discovered in the park’s southeast corner, near the Ocean Avenue/Parkside Avenue intersection, positioned face down with stab wounds and blunt-force trauma to her head. According to police, a knife was recovered near the scene. The medical examiner continues the investigation.
The woman was part of a nearby homeless encampment, an acquaintance named Thomas Harris told the Daily News. He described the woman as last wearing a royal blue coat with a dreadlocks hairstyle, and said she was embroiled in an argument with another man.
NYPD AWAITS MEDICAL EXAM RESULTS
IN GRISLY DEATHS OF MOM, TEEN AND DOG
EAST FLATBUSH — POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING THE GRISLY DEATHS OF A WOMAN, HER TEEN DAUGHTER AND A PET as a possible murder-suicide, the Daily News, AM NY and other news outlets are reporting. NYPD detectives are awaiting a final autopsy report from the city medical examiner’s office on the deaths of 37-year-old Azalea Rivas and 14-year-old Azeris Wright. The teen was found with blunt trauma to the skull and stab wounds; the teen’s head and the poodle were wrapped in plastic bags.
Rivas’ 38-year-old friend (some accounts indicate he is an ex-beau) found the two women and their poodle mix terrier on Monday, Sept. 25, after having not heard from them for days. He knocked down their door and found the bodies. Neighbors told the police and reporters that Ms. Rivas was mentally and emotionally unstable.
USE OF FLOYD BENNETT FIELD
TO HOUSE MIGRANTS
IS SUBJECT OF HEARING
BERGEN BEACH — U.S. REP NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS (R-11/Southwestern Brooklyn) on Wednesday, Sept. 27, joined the House Committee on Natural Resources in conducting oversight of the migrant crisis and the Biden Administration’s use of national park land to house migrants, including Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field. Earlier this month, Malliotakis had hosted members of the committee on a tour of migrant shelters, with Floyd Bennett Field as one of the stops. Witnesses at Wednesday’s hearing included the U.S. Park Police, New York City Council Member Joann Ariola (R-District 32), and New York State Assemblymember Jaime Williams (D-District 59), all of whom are leading a lawsuit with Malliotakis to prevent migrants from being housed at Floyd Bennett Field or any other park in the Gateway National Recreation Area (which includes Staten Island).
Rep. Malliotakis lamented, however, that officials from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service were no-shows.
SEVERAL LEADERS BEING HONORED
AT BISHOP’S HUMANITARIAN DINNER
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN AND WALL STREET — CATHOLIC CHARITIES BROOKLYN AND QUEENS ON THURSDAY WILL HOST A MAJOR DIOCESAN TRADITION, the 2023 Bishop’s Humanitarian Award Dinner. The annual dinner, with Brooklyn Bishop Robert J. Brennan and Rev. Msgr. Alfred P. LoPinto, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, benefits the agency’s 160+ programs and services. Jesus Linares of BRS Business Relocation Services, Joseph J. Lynch of Nixon Peabody and John Rafferty of Watch Guard 24/7 LLC will all be presented with the 2023 Humanitarian Award. Moreover, William R. Guarinello of HeartShare Human Services of New York will receive the 2023 Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Service Award, and Mary Whelan of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens will receive the 2023 Ubi Caritas Award.
The emcee will be acclaimed comedian, actor and talk show host Joe Piscopo, who will also run a silent auction at the event on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Cipriani Wall Street.
COLTON LAUNCHES PETITION DRIVE
TO PROTECT HISTORICAL STATUES
BATH BEACH TO DYKER HTS. — A PETITION DRIVE THAT ASSEMBLYMEMBER WILLIAM COLTON HAS LAUNCHED AIMS TO PROTECT the city’s history-rich statues. Colton (D-47), who represents Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights and Gravesend, wants to protect statues of such historical figures as Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington against a City Council bill, currently under review, to remove the statues. The legislation, which recently was the subject of a hearing by the Council’s Cultural Affairs Committee, would, according to the City Council website, “require the Public Design Commission (PDC) to publish a plan to remove works of art on city property that depict a person who owned enslaved persons or directly benefited economically from slavery, or who participated in systemic crimes.”
In cases where the decision is made to preserve the statue (work of art) the Public Design Commission would be required to send details on installing an explanatory plaque about the statue or monument.
CONSTRUCTION FIRM OPERATOR SENTENCED TO PRISON
FOR DEATH OF LABORER IN 2018 WALL COLLAPSE
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN AND SUNSET PARK — THE OPERATOR OF A SUNSET PARK CONSTRUCTION COMPANY HAS BEEN SENTENCED to two to four years in prison in connection with an excavation wall collapse in 2018 that killed a construction worker, Luis Sanchez Almonte, who was buried under thousands of pounds of debris. The site’s foreperson was convicted of criminal mischief and is awaiting sentencing. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez identified the defendant as Jiaxi “Jimmy” Liu, 49, of Staten Island, whom Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun sentenced to two to four years in prison, following his bench trial conviction in March of several charges, the most serious being criminally negligent homicide.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The death of Luis Sanchez Almonte was not an accident but a preventable disaster that was caused by disregard of safety protocols and reported signs of danger. The prison term imposed today is an affirmation of these facts – and also a message that those who put their workers in jeopardy will pay a steep price when their actions result in tragedy.”
CIVIL COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST EBAY
FOR SELLING HARMFUL PRODUCTS
EASTERN DISTRICT, NY — A CIVIL COMPLAINT FILED IN BROOKLYN FEDERAL COURT on Wednesday, Sept. 27, accuses the e-commerce marketplace, eBay, of unlawfully selling and distributing hundreds of thousands of products in violation of the Clean Air Act. The United States, on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), filed the civil complaint, which names several products that eBay sold, including aftermarket parts that defeat motor vehicle emission controls (commonly known as “aftermarket defeat devices”), a high toxicity insecticide banned in the U.S., a restricted use pesticide that only certified applicators may apply, and a product falsely claiming to protect users against the SARS-CoV-2 virus; and, products containing methylene chloride for paint and coating removal.
The focus of the Environmental Justice Team is the protection of the rights of residents within the U.S. District (federal) court system’s Eastern District of New York (counties of Kings, Nassau, Queens, Richmond, and Suffolk) who are disproportionately burdened by environmental and health hazards.
OFFICIALS, UNION WORKERS PROTEST OUSTER OF ONE BROOKLYN HEALTH CEO LARAY BROWN
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — BROOKLYN OFFICIALS AND CHANTING HEALTH CARE WORKERS GATHERED on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall Wednesday morning to protest the sudden ouster of LaRay Brown, CEO and president of the One Brooklyn Health network, and the lack of communication from OBH’s board about the future of its three safety-net hospitals serving east and Central Brooklyn. Advocates said OBH Board Chair Alexander Rovt, described as a “billionaire political donor,” orchestrated the removal of Brown without any input from the community or union partners. OBH includes Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, Interfaith Medical Center and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center.
Speakers including Brooklyn BP Antonio Reynoso, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and other officials asked that Gov. Kathy Hochul intervene to ensure “proper governance” of OBH, reform the board and promote transparency.
SCOTUS JUSTICE THOMAS MOVES TO CONSIDER CHALLENGE TO NY’S CONCEALED CARRY GUN LAW
STATEWIDE — GOV. KATHY HOCHUL SAID ON TUESDAY THAT U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has moved to consider a challenge to a requirement of the New York Concealed Carry Improvement Act to conduct background checks for ammunition purchases. “We just learned in the last hour that Justice Clarence Thomas – yes, the one and only – granted a request for an emergency conference in a case that is designed to dismantle New York’s Concealed Carry Improvement Act,” Hochul said at a press conference in Albany.
The Act currently requires background checks not just for firearms but also for ammo purchases, and charges fees of $9 and $2.50 respectively each time, according to NY State of Politics.
SENATE LEADERS, INCLUDING BROOKLYN’S SCHUMER,
REACH AGREEMENT ON PLAN TO AVERT SHUTDOWN
NATIONWIDE — DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS IN THE U.S. SENATE REACHED AGREEMENT on Tuesday, Sept. 26, on a stopgap spending plan that would prevent a government shutdown on Sunday and provide billions of dollars in disaster relief and aid to Ukraine, according to the New York Times and other news reports. The stopgap bill, which faced a test vote late on Tuesday, would allow government funding to continue through Nov. 17 so that negotiations on several fiscal matters can be completed. However, the Republican-led House gave pushback on the deal; and, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, being under pressure of removal by some hard-liners within his party, may wind up not bringing it to a vote.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is from Brooklyn, told the Associated Press, that the Senate agreement “will continue to fund the government at present levels while maintaining our commitment to Ukraine’s security and humanitarian needs while also ensuring those impacted by disasters across the country begin to get the resources they need.”
BROOKLYN CONGRESSWOMAN REINTRODUCES
BILL TO HELP WOMEN ACCESS CONTRACEPTION
NATIONWIDE — OBSERVING WORLD CONTRACEPTION DAY on Tuesday, Sept. 26, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez of Brooklyn and Queens (D-07) reintroduced into Congress a resolution that expresses support for global and domestic access to family planning resources. She asked both Congress and the Biden Administration to study areas where contraceptives are not readily available and encouraged them to find ways for federal policy to remedy the issue. Globally, 270 million people have an unmet need for family planning using modern contraception. Within the United States, 19 million women of reproductive age live in an area with a lack of reasonable access to a health center that offers the full range of contraceptive methods.
Research has shown that some women of color experience implicit and explicit racism when interacting with the medical system, a lack of quality information about effective family planning methods, and an inability to access or afford reproductive health care.
STATE JUDGE RULES THAT TRUMP COMMITTED FRAUD IN BANKING AND REAL ESTATE DEALS
STATEWIDE — A SUPREME COURT JUDGE IN MANHATTAN ON TUESDAY AFTERNOON, SEPT. 26, RULED THAT FORMER PRESIDENT Donald Trump has committed fraud for years as he built his real estate holdings, reports the Associated Press. Justice Arthur Engoron of State Supreme Court, New York County, made the ruling from a civil lawsuit that NY Attorney General Letitia James initiated, and found that Trump and his company defrauded banks, insurers and other entities when he exaggerated his net worth and overvalued his assets. Justice Engoron also denied a request from Trump team lawyers to dismiss the case, in which they had claimed that Attorney General James did not have legal grounds to sue him if it couldn’t be proven that his business dealings harmed the public.
While Justice Engoron’s decision in the summary judgment phase resolves one of the claims in Attorney General James’ suit another non-jury trial begins on Oct. 2 to address the remaining claims and to decide on damages.
POLICE SEEK AMAZON PACKAGE THIEF IN BUSHWICK
BUSHWICK — POLICE ARE LOOKING FOR A MAN SUSPECTED IN A STRING OF THEFTS from Amazon delivery vehicles across Bushwick over the summer. On Aug. 8, he allegedly entered an Amazon vehicle in front of 86 George Street and removed multiple packages before fleeing. He struck again in the same manner on Aug. 9 at 18 Jefferson St.; on Aug. 13 at 123 Melrose St.; and on Aug. 19 at 143 Jefferson St. In addition, the same individual is suspected of entering a parking garage at 594 Bushwick Ave. on July 13 and taking a scooter.
Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), or submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimestoppers.com.
AMAZON LAWSUIT INCLUDES ALLEGATIONS ON COERCING FULFILLMENT CENTER USE
NEW YORK AND NATIONWIDE — A LAWSUIT AGAINST AMAZON THAT THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION and 17 state attorneys general have initiated alleges not only that the online retail giant is violating federal and state antitrust laws but is also forcing sellers to use its logistics service, Fulfillment by Amazon, in order to make their products eligible for Amazon Prime. Among the complaints stipulated is that a majority of third-party merchants who use the company’s fulfillment service to store inventory and ship orders have seen Amazon raise its fees for those who depend on the program. Last quarter, Amazon reported $32.3 billion in revenue from third-party services.
Amazon maintains several fulfillment and distribution (last mile delivery) locations within Brooklyn, including an Amazon Fresh Warehouse on Bay St. on the Red Hook waterfront, a Warehouse Fulfillment Center on 38th Street in Borough Park; a fulfillment center at 850 Third Avenue (Industry City), one on Flatlands Avenue in East New York and a warehouse on Linden Boulevard in East New York, among others.
ANTI-DRAG QUEEN BOMB THREAT IN BROOKLYN IS JUST ONE OF SEVERAL ACROSS U.S. OVER WEEKEND
DITMAS PARK — A FALSE BOMB THREAT FORCED FAMILIES TO ABANDON a kid-friendly Drag Story Hour NYC event at the Cortelyou Library branch in Ditmas Park this past Saturday, according to reports in Gothamist and the New York Post. NYPD later confirmed that an email threat was sent to the branch by an unknown individual in Buffalo. Local Councilmember Rita Joseph said that city councilmembers planned to discuss potential legislative remedies. According to The Advocate, the Brooklyn bomb threat was just one of several threats to LGBTQ+ community members across the U.S. this past weekend.
“The orchestrated attempts to induce fear and disrupt peaceful groups reflect a grim reality in a political environment that has seen Republican lawmakers and pundits create culture wars against vulnerable groups, including the LGBTQ+ community,” The Advocate said.
NY TIMES SPOTLIGHTS WORK OF BROOKLYN CAT CAFÉ OWNER
BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — BROOKLYN HEIGHTS RESIDENT AND CAT CAFÉ FOUNDER ANNE LEVIN WAS THE SUBJECT of a New York Times feature last Saturday, Sept. 23, focusing on how the animal rescue hero spends her Sundays. Levin is executive director of the Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition — which provides animal rescuers with veterinary, foster and adoptive support — and a co-founder of its affiliated cat café. In fact, the Brooklyn Cat Café is the only one in NYC that is owned and operated by a local, non-profit, 501c3 animal rescue organization with a focus on supporting animal rescuers and owners. The NY Times feature followed Anne Levin through a sample Sunday, which is anything but typical because she often prioritizes emergencies for the safety and well-being of the cats.
The Brooklyn Cat Café has expanded to include an adoptable menagerie of gerbils and even rats, including an orphaned baby subway rat, whom she raised and named after an American founding father, Alexander Hamilton.
FALLEN TREE DISRUPTS N TRAIN SERVICE BUT MTA CLEARS DEBRIS WITHIN 2 HOURS
SUNSET PARK — MTA FRONTLINE CREWS TOOK ONLY TWO HOURS TO CLEAR AWAY A TREE AND the debris from its branches that fell onto the southbound N train tracks near 8th Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway on Monday, Sept. 25. The tree, which fell around 11:29 a.m. on Monday, was a casualty of strong winds and heavy rains from Tropical Storm Ophelia’s trek through the Northeast and the New York metropolitan area. Crews by 1:30 p.m. had cleared the track of all tree debris, enabling service to be restored before the evening rush hour. (See story, page ____)
D trains were also being diverted. MTA kept riders updated via its website, apps, email and digital signage.
PATRICK BORGEN WILL LEAD MAIMONIDES HEALTH’S 15TH ANNUAL RIDE 2 LIVE EVENT
BOROUGH PARK — WHEN A GROUP OF BIKERS TAKE TO THE ROAD THIS SUNDAY, they will ride to raise awareness for the Maimonides Breast Center and research on a deadly form of cancer. Maimonides hosts its 15th Annual Ride 2 Live Motorcycle Tour to support breast cancer care. Leading the ride will be Dr. Patrick Borgen, chair of the Department of Surgery and director of the Maimonides Breast Center. Registration for the October 1 event starts at 10 a.m; at the Maimonides Breast Center (745 64th St.). Kickstands go up at noon sharp.
The Maimonides Breast Center, which has received several prestigious awards, offers comprehensive and holistic treatment plans that include mental health care in response to the psychological and emotional aspects of being a patient.
COMING UP THIS WEEKEND: 2023 DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN ARTS FESTIVAL
DOWNTOWN — THE 2023 DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN ARTS FESTIVAL is taking place this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 29-30 on The Plaza at 300 Ashland Pl. The free annual festival, presented by Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and sponsored by Two Trees Management and Orange Barrel Media, is a celebration of Downtown Brooklyn’s cultural community and creative spirit. The event brings performances, interactive experiences and family activities with acclaimed arts organizations including LayeRhythm, Chop and Quench, the Knights Orchestra, BRIC Arts Media, Theatre for a New Audience, UrbanGlass, Mark Morris and more.
The full schedule of festival events can be found at dbartsfestival.org.
NYC RESIDENTS CAN NOW USE CITY RENTAL ASSISTANCE VOUCHERS ANYWHERE IN THE STATE
STATEWIDE — NYC RESIDENTS USING CITY-FUNDED RENTAL ASSISTANCE VOUCHERS can now choose to live not only in the city, but anywhere in the state, Mayor Eric Adams said Tuesday. The mayor said the decision was made in the face of a serious housing shortage, with a record-high shelter population totaling more than 113,000 individuals. “These reforms will give longtime New Yorkers the ability to move out of our city’s shelter system to other parts of the state with more affordable housing options, while simultaneously opening up space in our city’s shelter system … We hope our partners across the state will greet these longtime New Yorkers with open arms and good job opportunities,” Adams said in a statement.
The CityFHEPS voucher program currently supports 30,000 households, with 10,000 additional voucher-holders still in homeless shelters due to lack of affordable housing, the city said. The Brooklyn Eagle has reached out to City Hall for more information regarding how moving out of the city will affect voucher-users’ residency status.
WITH 13-YEAR-OLDS GETTING HIV, NYC SCHOOLS LAUNCH NEW LESSONS
CITYWIDE — ALL NYC KIDS STARTING IN KINDERGARTEN will learn about HIV with a newly updated curriculum, Schools Chancellor David C. Banks announced on Tuesday. The new curriculum, Growing Up and Staying Safe: New York City K-12 HIV Education Curriculum, is “skills-based, student-centered, and culturally responsive, and reflects advances in HIV prevention and treatment guidelines that have changed substantially in the past decade,” the city said in a release. The school system hopes to provide “potentially life-saving skills” for kids in NYC, where 37% of people newly diagnosed with HIV in 2021 were 13-29 years old.
Officials said the lessons are “age-appropriate,” and were developed in partnership with HIV and medical experts, educators and community members, and include lesson overviews for parents and caregivers. Teachers will receive a “30-minute self-guided Introduction to HIV Education course.”
‘INCROYABLE!’ NYC PARIS BAGUETTE WORKERS WIN $2.7M SETTLEMENT
CITYWIDE — WORKERS AT PARIS BAGUETTE CAFES ACROSS NYC HAVE WON a settlement with the company over numerous violations of the city’s Fair Workweek Law, which gives fast food and retail workers the right to a predictable schedule, among other rights. The settlement, announced by the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs, covers the period from November 2017 to October 2020, and requires Paris Baguette to pay $2.7 million in restitution to more than 1,500 workers, $270,000 in civil penalties and other costs, and comply with the law.
In Brooklyn, Paris Baguette cafes are located at 97 Court St. in Brooklyn Heights and 5810 Eighth Ave. in Sunset Park.
‘BKLYN ROCKS’ HIP-HOP FESTIVAL AT BEDFORD STUYVESANT RESTORATION
BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — BEDFORD STUYVESANT RESTORATION CORP. is hosting “BKLYN Rocks,” a celebration of hip-hop’s 50th Anniversary, in the heart of Bed-Stuy, this Friday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Sept. 30. All festivities will take place on Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton St. BKLYN Rocks aims to showcase the borough’s rich artistic tapestry, ethnic diversity and community-driven initiatives.
While Friday’s Hip-Hop Symposium is sold out, Saturday features a free music festival and block party with multiple DJs, roller skating, double dutch, community graffiti mural, Brooklyn Nets dance demo, and hip-hop pioneer April Walker’s fashion showcase, all taking place from noon to 6 p.m.
SEN. GILLIBRAND ANNOUNCES $20M FOR URBAN FORESTRY PROJECTS
CITYWIDE — NEW YORK CITY IS GETTING $20 MILLION FOR ENVIRONMENT-FRIENDLY PROJECTS, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced during a press conference on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the Central Park Arsenal. The funding will underwrite two projects of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation: the first establishes a green job training and employment program, for forest restoration careers for underserved communities. The second project includes growing the urban forest through planting trees and preserving existing trees, promotes community engagement through outreach, education, and empowerment and offers paid training and employment opportunities for youth and adults, focusing on workforce development and green jobs. Senator Gillibrand helped secure this funding in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which included $1.5 billion over the next decade for the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program.
Also receiving a portion of the funds will be a project named The Bronx is Blooming, which engages K-12 students in environmental education and tree stewardship and provides green jobs and forestry training for local youth.
FTC, ATTORNEYS GENERAL ACROSS U.S. SUE AMAZON FOR ‘MONOPOLISTIC’ POLICIES
NATIONWIDE — A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE ONLINE RETAIL COMPANY AMAZON HAS BEEN FILED, with NY Attorney General Letitia James leading a bipartisan coalition of her counterparts in 17 states from New England to Oregon, and the Federal Trade Commission as the plaintiffs. The FTC and coalition allege that the online retail and technology company is a monopolist that uses a set of interlocking anticompetitive and unfair strategies to illegally maintain its monopoly power. According to the Office of Attorney General James, the complaint alleges that Amazon violates the law not because it is big, but because it engages in a course of exclusionary conduct that prevents current competitors from growing and new competitors from emerging. By stifling competition on price, product selection, and quality, and by preventing its current or future rivals from attracting a critical mass of shoppers and sellers, Amazon is accused of ensuring that no current or future rival can threaten its dominance.
Amazon is also accused of degrading the customer experience by replacing relevant, organic search results with paid advertisements — and deliberately increasing junk ads.
NEW YORK LANDMARKS CONSERVANCY MARKS 50TH YEAR WITH ‘I AM PRESERVATION’ VIDEO SERIES
CITYWIDE — THE NEW YORK LANDMARKS CONSERVANCY IS CELEBRATING ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY by creating a video series and New Yorkers are encouraged to participate. The video series, titled “I am Preservation,” exhibits the widespread love of landmarks throughout the city and demonstrates the importance of historic preservation to many people. Some of the short video clips already submitted are of people representing the New York Building Congress, Coney Island Museum and Roosevelt Island Tramway. Interested readers can visit www.nylandmarks.org for specific details and tips on how to make one’s own “I am Preservation” video. Participants should briefly comment on what they love about New York City landmarks or a specific historic building, place, or structure. Completed videos or downloadable clips should be emailed to [email protected].
Founded in 1973, the New York Landmarks Conservancy advocates for sensible development, and offers technical expertise and financial support, having loaned and granted more than $60 million in more than 1,300 restoration projects throughout the state.
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