Senators Markey, Menendez, Klobuchar Question Facebook Marketplace’s “10-Strike Rule” for Banning Gun Sales

Source: United States Senator for Massachusetts Ed Markey

In letter to Zuckerberg, Senators call recent reports of Meta’s lax enforcement of gun sales ban “deeply disturbing,” argue that an unenforced ban is no ban at all

Washington (June 24, 2022) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) today pressed Meta Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook Marketplace’s lax enforcement of its own gun sales ban on its e-commerce platform. According to details first reported by The Washington Post, users who violate the platform’s ban on gun sales are given ten ‘strikes’ before they are removed from the platform, allowing for repeated violations that could still result in the sale of untraceable and dangerous firearms. 

“According to the Post’s reporting, despite previous assurances that Facebook would prohibit firearms sales on its social media platforms, Facebook allows gun sellers and buyers to violate its policy 10 times before Facebook removes them from its platform,” the senators write in a letter to Mark Zuckerberg. “If this reporting is accurate, it is deeply disturbing and calls into question Facebook’s commitment to stopping online gun sales and its representations to us about its policies.

The senators have written Facebook in the past about its facilitation of online gun sales. For example, in 2016, after Facebook announced a ban on private gun sales, when it was discovered that users were still engaged in those transactions; and in 2020, when a report documented Facebook’s failure to track down and remove gun sellers who simply moved to new private groups when Facebook shut them down.

“Now, with the United States facing an unrelenting gun violence epidemic, Facebook reportedly continues to allow users to sell firearms on its platform after repeated violations of its ban on peer-to-peer firearms sales. An unenforced ban is no ban at all, and simply invites more of the purportedly prohibited conduct,” added the senators.

The senators expressed deep concerns that gun sales on Facebook — or advertised sales posted online but negotiated and concluded offline — may circumvent or violate state and federal laws, resulting in numerous unlawful sales of handguns, assault weapons, and other firearms.

“We urge you to take immediate measures to meaningfully and effectively enforce your prohibition on firearms sales. Giving users multiple opportunities to sell weapons that can end up in the wrong hands is a loophole that calls into question Facebook’s representations about and commitment to ending gun sales on its platform. Facebook must do better,” concluded the senators.

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

The Senators request responses from Meta to questions including:

  • Does Facebook prohibit gun sales on its service, and what documentation explains this policy?
  • What was the strike threshold before 2020 and why was the 10-strike threshold reduced?
  • What is the company’s policy for sharing information about its 10-strike strike system with the public?
  • Why did the company revise its initial five-strike removal policy and institute a 10-strike policy?
  • How many times has Facebook immediately removed a post that has made a direct or credible threat to kill a specific person and made a law-enforcement referral based on the threat?
  • How many referrals has the company made to law enforcement overall?
  • How has the Oversight Board pushed Facebook to give users more information about the number of strikes assessed against them and the consequences for violating the rules? How has Facebook responded, and why?
  • What instructions or guidance are given to Facebook’s content moderators about its policies on banning users who repeatedly seek to buy or sell guns?

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Sullivan Recognizes Jeff Streit as “Alaskan of the Week”

Source: United States Senator for Alaska Dan Sullivan

06.24.22

WASHINGTON—On the floor of the U.S. Senate yesterday, Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) recognized Jeff Streit, of Fairbanks, the longest-serving employee of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, which operates and maintains the 800-mile-long Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). This week, Alyeska celebrates the 45th anniversary of TAPS, which was built in just three years and has moved more than 17 billion barrels of oil. Jeff’s career with TAPS spanned 48 years, beginning in 1974 when he was one of the 70,000 individuals who had a part in building the engineering marvel. Since working on the construction of TAPS, Jeff has worked for Alyeska as a technician at three pump stations, as a task force supervisor, as a project supervisor, as a pump station operations supervisor, as a pipeline technician trainer, and so much more. Jeff was recognized as part of Sen. Sullivan’s series, “Alaskan of the Week.”

TRANSCRIPT 

Madam President, it is Thursday, and normally, when I am giving this speech, our “Alaskan of the Week” speech–you notice we have a new, pro-energy “Alaskan of the Week” diagram here–normally, when I give this speech, everybody has gone home. The pages love it because it is the most interesting speech of the week. Some of our reporters who like this speech, they are kind of viewing this as the end of the week.

Unfortunately, we are not at the end of the week. There is a lot more business to do for the next day or two or three–who knows?–important business, no doubt about it. But I still want to come down to the floor and talk about a really impressive man who has done incredible stuff for our State. His name is Jeff Streit.

Jeff has been a builder of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline–what we call TAPS–and then has helped run it for 48 years, almost half a century. We are going to talk about Jeff here in a minute. He has done an incredible job. 

I always like to talk a little bit about what is going on in Alaska. All the people who watch this speech–we know there are millions who tune in every Thursday–come on up to Alaska. Come visit. 

What is happening right now is really, really exciting. It is just a few days past summer solstice. Boy, did we celebrate in Alaska: parties, baseball games. The famous Midnight Sun Baseball Game took place in Fairbanks. I talked about that last week. It took place in Fairbanks on Tuesday. The Goldpanners, whom I talked about, the famous Alaskan baseball team, pulled out a 10-to-9 victory in the bottom of the 10th. The crowd of thousands went wild–Midnight Sun baseball. 

So if you are visiting Fairbanks, as many tourists do right now, you might want to check out a baseball game. We have great baseball in Alaska, as I described last week.

You also might want to travel a couple of miles outside of Fairbanks to get a firsthand view of one of the engineering marvels of the world, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, what we call TAPS. That is it right there, a big, beautiful, incredible engineering feat: 800 miles of steel pipeline crossing 3 mountain ranges–one about 5,000 feet high–crossing more than 600 streams and rivers, and has transported over 17 billion barrels of oil to a thirsty America. That is energy security right there.

TAPS has provided countless benefits in terms of tens of thousands of jobs–good union jobs, I might add–not just to Alaskans but to Americans all over the country. I think even one of our Senate colleagues worked on this. It was the largest privately funded infrastructure project ever undertaken in America at the time it was built in the early seventies.

Here is the thing: It took 3 years to build–3 years; that is it–this mammoth, huge, important energy project. 

By the way, we need to get back to that in this country. I and many other Senators are working on that. You can’t do an EIS in 6 years. We have to get back to this can-do American spirit, building things that benefit our great Nation in a timely manner. I am going to talk a little bit about that. 

Our Alaskan of the Week, Jeff Streit, was one who did this. He helped construct this incredible engineering feat, and then he stayed on, and he worked for a company in Alaska, a very famous company called Alyeska, which is a consortium of companies that own and run and built the pipeline.

This week, Alyeska celebrated its 45-year anniversary–45 years of supplying a thirsty America with billions and billions and billions of barrels of oil. Everybody should applaud that. 

I know we have some, unfortunately, who think that if you work in the energy sector, somehow you are a bad guy. Actually, you are a hero.

America needs energy. Alaska has a lot of it. Alyeska has produced it and sent it 800 miles down this incredible pipeline to the whole country. So I want to first congratulate Alyeska for their incredible work. 

Jeff, our Alaskan of the Week, is the longest serving employee there. He has been working for Alyeska all of those 45 years and, as I mentioned, started work on TAPS even longer, 48 years in total, because he is one of the Americans–by the way, there were over 30,000 who came up to build this incredible work of energy infrastructure. Forty-eight years, Jeff Streit, Alyeska, building TAPS–what an amazing career. He is our Alaskan of the Week. 

So let me tell you a little bit about Jeff. Jeff’s father came to Alaska after World War II, where he flew for the Army Air Corps. 

That is another theme you may have seen on our Alaskan of the Week: a lot of vets, a lot of veteran families. Alaska has more veterans than any State per capita in the country.

Jeff’s father worked on projects across the State, married Jeff’s mother in 1952 when they were both working on the Alaska-Canada Highway–the ALCAN Highway, as we call it in Alaska.

By the way, you want to talk about building something efficiently in terms of infrastructure that we need in America? The ALCAN Highway–1,600 miles through Canada, all the way to the lower 48–built in 8 months. We can do that, America. We can build great things–ALCAN Highway, TAPS–efficiently. We have just got to get back to it. More on that later. 

Jeff’s parents then moved back to Illinois, where Jeff was born, but he might have been raised in Alaska because his parents talked about the great State of Alaska so much–their adventures there, what they did there. So he wanted to go back. 

He went to pre-vet school at Iowa State for 2 years, and the first chance he got, in 1973, he moved to Alaska to work on a farm and go to college at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 

Now, Madam President, I am sure a lot of our Senate colleagues know this, but for the interns–the pages, I mean–you might remember in the early seventies, studying history, that we had this big energy crisis where energy prices were going up–a little bit familiar, unfortunately, today–going way up, primarily because there was an Arab oil embargo led by the Gulf Arab States, Saudi Arabia, against the United States and other countries. It was devastating. You couldn’t get gas. There were lines at gas stations that stretched for blocks. States issued rationing based on odd and even license plates. Prices surged, a little bit like today. Motorists turned on each other. It was bedlam. By the way, it really hurt the economy, like today, in terms of inflation.

Enter the great State of Alaska and our vast, vast energy reserves for America. Congress said: We need to get Alaska moving. We need to get that Alaskan energy to the rest of the country. 

So this body and the House debated the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act–what we call, as I mentioned, TAPS–to build this for the country, and we did it. 

It was drama, Madam President. You are sitting right there in the President of the Senate’s seat. The TAPS Act in the U.S. Senate was deadlocked. It was a tie vote here in the Senate, and the Vice President of the United States had to come and break the tie so America could build this for a country that needed energy–American energy, by the way, not energy from the Middle East. 

Another incredible story as it relates to legislation and TAPS was the late, great Congressman  Don Young, a freshman at the time. We just lost our dear Congressman a couple of months ago. He was a brand new freshman in 1973. He got an amendment–and, boy, do we need amendments like this today–that said: On this big infrastructure project, we are going to stop any litigation. We are going to stop more studies. We are just going to build it.

We can do that here, by the way, the Congress. We can say: No more litigation; let’s build. And that is what we did. That is what America did.

As the debate was happening here in the Congress, Jeff moved back up to Alaska, visited a local union hall, got on with the Teamsters, and his life’s work in Alaska began. 

As I said, Madam President, this was the largest private construction project in our country’s history. At its height, we had over 30,000 Americans–great Americans, by the way–building this incredible piece of American energy infrastructure that transformed our State in Alaska, and it transformed America. At one point, this pipeline was producing 2.2 million barrels a day for our Nation. Over 17 billion barrels of oil have flown down that pipeline for America. 

By the way, Madam President, Alaska has billions and billions of barrels of oil left, if our Federal Government would just help us produce it.

Eventually, Jeff got a job, after building TAPS, with Alyeska running TAPS, working at Pump Station 8. In the 48 years since, he has worked nearly every inch of that line as a technician at three pump stations, as a task force supervisor, as a project supervisor, as a pump station operations supervisor, and as a pipeline technician trainer. You get where I am going here, Madam President: He has done it all for Alyeska.

He has great stories and great memories. He remembers the mess halls filled with smoke and laughter and the hard work it took to build this pipeline. He remembers watching “Jaws” at a packed theater camp in the middle of the Alaska wilderness. He remembers the time a Russian delegation came to visit TAPS. The TAPS pump station was so clean.

By the way, Alaska has the highest environmental standards of energy production anywhere in the world.

He said: The Russians came, saw how we produced, saw pump stations, and thought that we were lying about how we produce and transport oil because it was so clean. They thought it was staged.

Jeff said: We were setting standards on the environment–cleanliness, environmental standards–that people across the world didn’t think were possible. “It made us proud.”

Well, guess what, we are still doing that in Alaska. Jeff still marvels at the engineers who designed one of the most complicated engineering projects ever built–before computers; using paper, pencils, slide rules. “Every square inch of the system has to be intact to move even one drop of oil,” Jeff said. “If there is a leak anywhere, we shut the whole thing down.” 

It is a testament to so many that this incredible system has kept oil flowing for America for 45 years. That is what Jeff just said about TAPS and Alyeska. 

To keep it running, there are always upgrades, adjustments, installing enhanced monitoring, detection, surveillance, but, as Jeff said, “The pipeline itself is still the same pipeline that was built in the `70s, still doing battle with the geological and meteorological forces,” and still standing strong for our country. 

Jeff has no plans to retire soon. He is still highly engaged. He is still highly curious. He is now taking on a greater mentorship role, including developing and teaching a hydraulics class, emulating those who taught him.

Jeff said: “When I think about the last 48 years, I think about the thousands of people who have made a difference, who helped me and taught me. And I really think that that’s what America is all about–passing on values and work ethic[s]” to each other.

That is what America is all about. That is the best of our country: people who work hard, who are loyal to their jobs, to their communities, to their State, to their country, and importantly, who produce important things like American energy, which we need to this day. Jeff is exactly one of those kind of people. He built this, ran it, still runs it, and our Nation still needs it. 

So, Jeff, thank you for all that you have done. 

Thanks to the workers at Alyeska who are currently working right now, 24/7, to keep hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil a day, which we need, coming down the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

A big congratulations to Alyeska for 45 years and 17 billion barrels of oil for America.

That company, Alyeska, has produced many great leaders–Jeff being one and Tom Barrett, my good friend, being another. And I just want to say to him—to everybody at Alyeska but particularly to Jeff–congratulations on being our Alaskan of the Week. You people who are producing American energy are American heroes. We need more of you, and we really appreciate all you have done for our great State and our great Nation.

I yield the floor. 

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Sullivan Reacts to Supreme Court “Dobbs” Decision

Source: United States Senator for Alaska Dan Sullivan

06.24.22

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling today in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“I support the Supreme Court’s decision today, which returns the authority to regulate abortion ‘to the people and their elected representatives.’

“I recognize that abortion is a profoundly emotional issue upon which many Alaskans have strongly held views and serious disagreements. The decision today does not by any stretch end that debate. However, it does take the debate out of the realm of federal courts, and gives it back to the states and the people of our country, where I believe it belongs. The people and their representatives, not federal judges, are in the best position to deliberate and decide such an important issue.

“As a pro-life Catholic, I believe there is no greater gift than that of life. Going forward, I will continue to support legislation protecting the most vulnerable in society, including by expanding quality child care and opportunities for adoption. Working with all Alaskans, I will continue to focus on these issues.”

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Hoeven Calls on Delta Air Lines to Address Flight Delays in North Dakota

Source: United States Senator for North Dakota John Hoeven

06.24.22

Airline Expects Performance Improvements in Mid-July, Working to Address Staffing Issues & Improve Consumer-Facing Technology

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week called on Delta Air Lines to address ongoing service disruptions affecting both business and consumer travel. Issues with staffing challenges at airlines and amongst air traffic controllers are causing service disruptions across the entire industry as air travel demand increases.

In a call with Heather Wingate, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at Delta Air Lines, the senator outlined the significant rise in complaints that have been filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding airline service across all airlines and discussed Delta’s performance in North Dakota. During the discussion, Delta acknowledged the need to address these challenges. Wingate expressed that Delta is working hard to restore the airline’s reliability, and accordingly, is in the process of:

  • Engaging with the Federal Aviation Administration on improving processes for air traffic management, which will help make flights more efficient and reliable. 
  • Resetting their staffing model to include building in more safeguards and adjusting the airline’s summer schedule so that when challenges do occur, bouncing back will be faster. Performance improvements are expected in mid-July.
  • Accelerated hiring, including of Reservations and Care specialists, pilots, flight attendants, aircraft maintenance technicians and more.
  • Enhancing consumer-facing technology to allow customers to deal with flight changes more seamlessly.
  • Increasing communication to Delta customers regarding steps the airline is taking to alleviate travel delays and disruptions. 

“Reliable airline service is essential to local economies and our communities’ quality of life, supporting travel for both personal and business purposes,” said Hoeven. “Disruptions impacting air service in North Dakota have grown in recent months, and while staffing shortages have complicated many businesses’ operations, more needs to be done to ensure travelers can make their connections and reach their destinations as scheduled. I appreciate the opportunity to work on these important issues with Delta, and look forward to the implementation of the solutions we discussed and performance improvements soon.”

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Press Releases 06/24/2022 Tillis Statement On Dobbs v. Jackson Ruling This ruling is historic and monumental and affirms my belief that all life is sacred.

Source: United States Senator for North Carolina Thom Tillis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson ruling:

“This ruling is historic and monumental and affirms my belief that all life is sacred. Each state government and its duly elected representatives will now make the determination about the types of laws they wish to have in place. I, for one, will continue to advocate for commonsense measures that the broad majority of Americans support like protecting life at crucial points of development and prohibiting horrendous procedures like partial-birth and pain-capable abortions. This is a very emotional and sensitive issue for many Americans, and I urge calm and respect for the Court’s decision and hope people who have strong feelings on both sides will voice them peacefully.”

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Young, Colleagues Demand Action from Biden Administration Against TikTok

Source: United States Senator for Indiana Todd Young

June 24, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen demanding answers about actions the Biden administration is taking to combat the national security risks associated with TikTok, a social media platform developed and owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd.

In part, the senators wrote, “The Biden Administration has seemingly done nothing to enforce the August 14 order nearly two years since its promulgation. The results of the security reviews, likewise, have not been publicly released after one year. Instead, news reports indicate TikTok is nearing a deal with a U.S. company to ‘store its U.S. users’ information without its Chinese parent ByteDance having access to it, hoping to address U.S. regulatory concerns.’”

“The proposed TikTok deal would do little to address the core security concerns that motivated the August 14 order. That order was not simply concerned about data, but about a Chinese company’s ownership of a social media platform in America. If the Biden Administration focuses solely on data storage and integrity to the exclusion of the critical issue of ByteDance’s ownership, control, and influence of TikTok, serious security risks will remain and the August 14 order will go unenforced,” the senators continued.

 

Text of the letter may be found here.



Heinrich To Highlight Early Childhood Education Legislation, Hold Media Availability With VA Secretary In Albuquerque

Source: United States Senator for New Mexico Martin Heinrich

WASHINGTON – On Monday, June 27, at 10:15 a.m. MT, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) will be in Albuquerque highlighting his legislation to authorize investments in early childhood education and child care with parents, teachers, and community members. 

Senator Heinrich introduced the New Mexico Education Enhancement Act, a bill to provide federal approval for the State of New Mexico’s proposal to invest Land Grant Permanent Fund dollars into early childhood education. In March 2021, the New Mexico Legislature passed House Joint Resolution 1 (HJR1), a historic resolution that will propose a state constitutional amendment to the voters to invest the state’s permanent funds in early childhood education programs. This change to the state’s constitution requires proposed authorization at the federal level from Congress, as well as approval from New Mexico voters. 

WHO:

  • U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)
  • OLÉ 
  • Partnership for Community Action
  • NM Asian Family Center 
  • NM Dream Team 
  • Valencia County Action Network 

WHEN: Monday, June 27, at 10:15 a.m. MT

WHERE: Alvarado Park, 5600 Hannett Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110

RSVP: press@heinrich.senate.gov

At 3:10 p.m. MT, Senator Heinrich will join U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center for a media availability to discuss their efforts to strengthen care and support for New Mexico veterans. 

Senator Heinrich, the Chair of the Appropriations Committee that oversees funding for the VA, has been fighting to retain and strengthen veterans’ services across New Mexico, especially in rural and Tribal communities.

Senator Heinrich recently championed the Senate passage of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. This comprehensive legislation would deliver all eras of toxic-exposed veterans their earned health care and benefits under the VA for the first time in the nation’s history. 

WHO: 

  • U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.)
  • VA Secretary Denis McDonough 

WHEN: Monday, June 27, at 3:10 p.m. MT

WHERE: Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center, 4th Floor, C Wing, Room 4C-140A, 1501 San Pedro Drive, Southeast, Albuquerque, NM 87108. Media should park in front of Bldg. 1 in the circle, just west of the main hospital (Bldg. 41)..

RSVP: 

NOTE: All media present at this event are required to wear face coverings and consent to be screened for COVID-19 exposure/symptoms prior to entering VA facilities.

Participants must be in place 15 minutes prior to the availability.

Shaheen Statement on NH GOP Bill to Obstruct Gun Safety Measures

Source: United States Senator for New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen

June 24, 2022

(Manchester, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement after Governor Chris Sununu signed into law an extreme bill championed by New Hampshire Republicans that prohibits the State from enforcing any federal statute, regulation or Executive Order related to measures to stem the epidemic of gun violence. Sununu signed the bill into law hours after Congress advanced historic bipartisan gun safety legislation and sent it to President Biden’s desk. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is the product of good-faith negotiations in the U.S. Senate following the horrific mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children.

“As our nation works to combat the scourge of gun violence that uniquely impacts the United States at a far higher level than any of our peer nations, it is abhorrent that New Hampshire Republicans chose to prioritize legislation that purposefully seeks to prevent commonsense, meaningful reforms that would keep guns out of the wrong hands. It is reprehensible that weeks after 19 children were slaughtered in their classroom, that rather than work on finding a way to end gun violence, New Hampshire Republicans went out of their way to uphold the status quo,” said Shaheen. “Congress just passed historic, bipartisan legislation to make our communities safer from gun violence. Republicans in Concord should take note instead of standing in the way of measures that would protect our communities, and work in good-faith with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to address the needs of families. This is partisan politics at its worst – Granite Staters deserve leaders who put their safety first.”



“The Right to Life has Finally Been Returned to the People” | Senator Braun Statement on Supreme Court Decision

Source: United States Senator Mike Braun (Indiana)

WASHINGTON – Senator Mike Braun released the following statement today:

“After 50 years, the right to life has finally been returned to the people and their elected representatives. I’m excited to see the states take the lead to protect the unborn, and I look forward to crafting solutions that will defend the unborn and save lives.” – SENATOR MIKE BRAUN

Klobuchar Statement on Supreme Court Decision Overturning Roe v. Wade

Source: United States Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn)

 WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar issued the statement below following the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade.

“For nearly 50 years, Roe v. Wade has protected a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, ensuring that women and their doctors are at the helm of these most personal choices – not politicians and the government.

“We will not give up. We will not back down. We will continue working to protect women’s access to care. And we will use our voices to make one thing loud and clear: we will not settle for a reality in which our daughters have fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers.”

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