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RMI'S Current Affairs - https://www.facebook.com/RMIS-Current-Affairs


15- OCTOBER - 2016



  • Bangladesh feels “frustrated” with Pakistan over its export of terror, but Dhaka’s reasons for pulling out of the SAARC summit in Islamabad were “different from India’s,” says Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
  • “It was over the situation in Pakistan that we decided to pull out. Terror has gone everywhere, which is why many of us felt frustrated by Pakistan” Ms. Hasina said.
  • Ms. Hasina said one of the other main reasons for her government’s SAARC pullout was the hurt felt over Pakistan’s strident criticism of the war crimes tribunal process in Bangladesh in which a dozen Jamaat-e-Islami leaders.
  • When asked about India’s decision to launch cross-LoC strikes after the Uri terrorist attack, in which 19 soldiers were killed, however, Ms. Hasina said, she feels “Both the countries should maintain the sanctity of the LoC and that can bring peace.”
  • She defended her government against allegations of persecution of the opposition and a clampdown on the media, and human rights violations by security forces in the crackdown on terror.


  • The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), along with several other organisations associated with the Muslim community, has opposed the Law Commission’s questionnaire on the possibility of a Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
  • Announcing that they would boycott the entire exercise, the organisations accused the NDA government of threatening the pluralistic fabric of India.
  • AIMPLB general secretary Wali Rehmani, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani and representatives of other bodies addressed a press conference where the announcement was made.
  • The Board suggested the Centre’s affidavit in the Supreme Court last week rejecting the validity of the triple talaq was an underhand means to impose a UCC in India.


  • Singer and songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”, in the words of the Swedish Academy.
  • He is the first American to win the prize since novelist Toni Morrison, in 1993.
  • Dylan was born on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota, and grew up in Hibbing.
  • Dylan joins a number of American Jews who have been awarded the literature Nobel.
  • However, unlike him, they were all born abroad: Saul Bellow, born in Canada, won in 1976; Isaac Bashevis Singer, who was born in Poland and wrote in Yiddish, won in 1978; Joseph Brodsky, born in the Soviet Union, won in 1987.



  • Even as it moves into making heavier communication spacecraft weighing 4,000 kg to 6,000 kg, ISRO has also firmed up a strategy to a make increasingly smaller satellites for earth observation and scientific, experimental and other missions.
  • The plan for small satellites is two-pronged and can range from 10 kg ‘micros’ to 300 kg-500 kg ‘minis’.
  • A series of 350-kg ‘mini’ satellites, probably with high resolution cameras and innovative features, will be built in the near future for the ISRO’s own remote-sensing uses.
  • They will be built on the decade-old IMS-2 platform on which the ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) has earlier brought out half a dozen EO (earth observation) satellites.
  • It also plans to build 10 kg or smaller nano and micro satellites using a 100 kg IMS-1 platform.
  • This will offer ready and reliable micro and nano satellite ‘shells’ on which the Indian Institutes of Technology, universities and even start-ups can put their experimental payloads or devices.
  • The idea is to encourage users to save time to import a suitable small satellite and instead focus on test novel concepts on the satellites. IMS stands for 80 kg Indian Mini Satellite, launched in 2008.
  • The 300 kg- 400 kg class may be the new norm in Indian EO.
  • It estimates that more than 3,600 small satellites are expected to be launched over the next 10 years, much more than during the last decade.
  • Their market value, including the cost of satellites and their launch fee, is put at at $22 billion which would be 76 per cent more than what it was in the previous decade (2006-15).


  • Inaccurate estimates of the tuberculosis burden in India between 2000-2015, has led the World Health Organisation (WHO) to seriously underestimate the global TB epidemic.
  • The most crucial finding of the latest Global TB Report 2016 is that India had reported only 56 per cent of its TB burden in 2014 and 59 per cent in 2015. This massive underestimating will result in health authorities revising the global TB data.
  • The WHO has noted with concern that the TB burden is, “larger than previously estimated, reflecting new surveillance and survey data from India.”
  • In 2015, an estimated 10.4 million people were infected with TB around the world — which is a jump of 500,000 from 2014. The disease killed 1.4 million worldwide in 2015.
  • The report said “In 2015, 6.1 million new TB cases were notified to national authorities and reported to the WHO. Notified TB cases increased from 2013–2015, mostly due to a 34 per cent increase in notifications in India.”
  • The revised estimates put the incidence of TB in India at 217 per 1,00,000 population in 2015 as against the previously estimated 127 per 1,00,000.
  • The report and the WHO stated that the size of the epidemic has increased considerably because researchers have realised that earlier estimates in India — for the previous 15 years — were too low.
  • According to the WHO, the substantial increase in reporting from India is due to the policy of mandatory TB notification.



  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia remains one of India’s leading suppliers of advanced weapons and defence technology as “India is Russia’s especially privileged strategic partner”.
  • Mr. Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to sign an agreement on the delivery of S-400 ‘Triumph’ anti-missile defence systems and other deals during the BRICS Summit in Goa.
  • Russia has deployed the S-400, its most modern air defence system, for the bombing campaign Syria.
  • “Our countries actively collaborate in the military technical field. Russia remains in the lead in terms of both direct supplies of most advanced weapons and military equipment and conducting joint researches with India, as well as producing goods for military purposes,” Mr. Putin told.
  • He said many of the Russian projects in India had commercial importance and played a social and economic role for the two economies.
  • The S-400 anti-missile system can track some 300 targets and shoot down around three dozen simultaneously over a range of several hundred kilometres.
  • India has signed a series of key defence deals under the Modi government as part of a $100-billion upgrade of its Soviet-era military hardware, making it an attractive proposition for arms exporters.


  • The Maldives angrily quit the Commonwealth on Thursday after years of wrangling over its human rights record since the toppling of its first democratically-elected leader four years ago.
  • The island nation said it had been treated “unjustly and unfairly” by the bloc, a voluntary association of more than 50 countries, many of them former territories of the British empire.
  • The Commonwealth put Male on notice after Mr. Nasheed stood down as President in February 2012 and said he had been forced out in a coup.
  • It has since criticised the government over its crackdown on dissidents and its controversial judiciary, and sent a special envoy to try to improve the archipelago’s rights record.
  • In its statement, the Maldives, which had previously threatened to pull out of the bloc, accused the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat of interfering in its affairs.
  • The United States has said democracy is under threat in the strategically located archipelago, which sits on key international shipping lanes.
  • A UN panel has also ruled that Mr. Nasheed’s imprisonment last year was illegal and ordered the regime of President Abdulla Yameen to pay him compensation.
  • Mr. Nasheed secured political asylum in Britain this year after travelling to London for medical treatment while on prison leave from a controversial 13-year prison sentence.
  • The country becomes the latest to leave the Commonwealth after Gambia which quit in October 2013.


  • The UN General Assembly on formally appointed Antonio Guterres as the new Secretary-General of the United Nations, replacing Ban Ki-moon.
  • The 193 member states adopted by acclamation a resolution appointing the former Prime Minister of Portugal for a five-year term beginning January 1.
  • Mr. Guterres, who also served as UN refugee chief for a decade, is expected to play a more prominent role than Mr. Ban, who will step down after two five-year terms.
  • Mr. Guterres won unanimous support from the UN Security Council during a vote last week that capped the most transparent campaign ever held at the UN for the top post.
  • He campaigned on a pledge to promote human rights and enact reforms within the United Nations system, seen as clunky and too slow to respond to unfolding disasters.



  • With an eye on job creation, the government is going all out to make the textile sector more competitive by pursuing a lower Goods and Services Tax rate and is even willing to allow automobile and wine imports from the European Union in return for market access for Indian apparel.
  • Government is seeking to nullify the competitive disadvantage that arises due to these countries getting duty-free access to the EU and U.S. Indian products attract a 9.5 per cent duty in the EU.
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has chaired about six meetings on India’s strategy towards free trade agreements (FTAs) with the textiles and commerce ministries, with a view to offset this disadvantage.
  • The entire cabinet is on board with a proposal to trade-off access to automobiles and wine imports under an India-EU FTA in return for access to Indian textiles.
  • A one crore rupees investment in most sectors creates ten to twelve jobs, but in textiles it creates 100 jobs.
  • The government realises the need to incentivise the sector for its job-generation potential, especially for women who form 70-80 per cent of its workforce.



The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released the fourth Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2016-17. The key announcement under the policy was the interest cut of 25 basis points. This move may lead to banks in lowering EMIs for housing, car loan and corporate borrowers.

This policy decision was not only RBI Governor Urjit Patel’s maiden policy announcement but was also the first to be announced by the newly constituted Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). All the six members of MPC unanimously decided to cut repo rate by 0.25 per cent; bring in to a nearly six-year low of 6.25 per cent. This was also the first interest rate cut in last six months.

According to the monetary policy statement, the decision to cut interest rates is consistent with the aim of achieving a midterm inflation target of 4 percent within a band of plus or minus 2 percent.

Based on the assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to:

• Repo Rate: The policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) was reduced by 25 basis points from 6.5 per cent to 6.25 per cent with immediate effect.

Reverse Repo Rate: The reverse repo rate under the LAF stands adjusted to 5.75 per cent.

• Marginal standing facility (MSF) Rate: The MSF rate was fixed at 6.75 per cent.

• Bank Rate: The Bank Rate also stands at 6.75 per cent.

The decision of the MPC is consistent with an accommodative stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving consumer price index (CPI) inflation at 5 per cent by Q4 of 2016-17 and the medium-term target of 4 per cent within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth. The main considerations underlying the decision are set out in the statement below.

Assessment of the Economy

• Global growth has been slowing more than anticipated through 2016 so far, with weak investment and trade damping aggregate demand.

• Risks in the form of BREXIT, banking stress in Europe, rebalancing of debt-fuelled growth in China, rising protectionism and diminishing confidence in monetary policy have slanted the outlook to the downside.

• World trade volume has contracted sharper than expected in the first half of 2016, and the outlook has worsened with the recent falling off of imports by Advanced Economies (AEs) from Emerging Market Economies (EMEs). Inflation remains subdued in AEs and has started to edge down in EMEs.

• International financial markets were overwhelmed by the BREXIT vote in Q2, with equity markets losing valuations worldwide, currencies plunging and turning volatile, and investors rushing for safe havens. Markets, however, recovered quickly and reclaimed lost ground in Q3, with a return of risk appetite propelling capital flows back into EMEs.

• Crude prices rose to a recent peak in Q2 of 2016, mostly on supply disruption in various parts of the world, and again in late September as the OPEC announced intentions of cutting back on supply; but, the upturn has been curbed by higher inventories.

Assessment on the domestic front

• Agriculture: The outlook for agricultural activity has brightened as the South West monsoon ended the season with a cumulative deficit of only 3 per cent below the long period average, with 85 per cent of the country’s geographical area having received normal to excess precipitation.

Kharif: Kharif sowing has surpassed last year’s acreage, barring cotton, sugarcane and jute and mesta. Accordingly, the first advance 2 estimates of kharif food grains production for 2016-17 by the Ministry of Agriculture have been placed at a record level, and higher than the target set for the year.

• Industrial sector: The industrial sector, by contrast, suffered a manufacturing-driven contraction in early fiscal year Q2, after a sequential deceleration in gross value added in Q1. Even after trimming the statistical effects of the lumpy and order-driven contraction of insulated rubber cables, industrial production as measured by the index of industrial production (IIP) turned out to be slower than a year ago.

• Steel: In August, steel production rose to a 37-month high and cement production maintained momentum - auguring well for construction activity - even though the output of core industries as a whole was weighed down by a decline in the production of coal, crude oil and natural gas and deceleration in refinery products and electricity generation.

Nonetheless, business expectations polled in the Reserve Bank’s industrial outlook survey and by other agencies remain expansionary in Q2 and Q3.

• Roads, Railways And Inland Waterways: The strong public investment in roads, railways and inland waterways, the recent efforts to unclog cash flows in large projects under arbitration, and the boost to spending from the 7th Pay Commission’s award, should improve the industrial outlook.

• Services Sector: The acceleration in the pace of activity in Q1 appears to have been sustained. An increasing number of high frequency indicators are moving into positive territory, construction is boosted by policy initiatives, and public administration, defence and other services will be supported by the pay commission award.

Retail inflation: Measured by the headline CPI had been elevated by a sharp pick-up in the momentum of food inflation overwhelming favourable base effects during April-July. In August, however, the momentum of food inflation turned negative and surprised expectations; consequently, base effects in that month came into full play and pulled down headline inflation to an intra-year low. Fuel inflation has moderated steadily through the year so far. Inflation excluding food and fuel (including petrol and diesel embedded in transportation) has been sticky around 5 per cent, mainly in respect to education, medical and personal care services.

• Liquidity conditions: It remained comfortable in Q3, with the Reserve Bank absorbing liquidity on a net basis through variable rate reverse repo auctions of varying tenors. Liquidity was injected through open market purchases of 200 billion rupees in line with the system’s requirements. As a result, the Weighted Average Call Money Rate (WACR) remained tightly aligned with the policy repo rate and, in fact, traded with a soft bias. Interest rates on commercial paper (CPs) and certificates of deposit (CD) also eased.

• External Sector: Merchandise exports contracted in the first two months of Q2. Subdued domestic demand was, however, reflected in a faster contraction in imports. Moreover, the still soft crude prices pared off a fifth of the oil import bill and gold import volume slumped to a fifth of its volume a year ago. As a result of the same, the merchandise trade deficit narrowed by 10 billion US dollars in April-August on a year-on-year basis.

• Foreign Direct Investment: The pace of foreign direct investment slowed compared to a year ago, portfolio flows were stronger after the BREXIT vote, galvanised by a search for returns in an expanding universe of negative yields. The level of foreign exchange reserves rose to 372 billion US dollars by 30 September 2016 – an all-time high.


• The food inflation outlook will improved due to strong improvement in sowing, along with supply management measures.

• Sharp drop in inflation reflects a downward shift in the momentum of food inflation, which holds the key to future inflation outcomes, rather than merely the statistical effects of a favourable base effect.

• Government’s measures to curb the food inflation would help in moderating the momentum of food inflation in months ahead.


President Pranab Mukherjee presented the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships (Akademi Ratna) and Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskars) for the Year-2015. The awards were presented at a function in Rashtrapati Bhawan.

C V Chandrasekhar, an eminent personality in the field of performing arts, was conferred with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellow (Akademi Ratna). The Fellowship of the Akademi is the most prestigious and rare honour, which is restricted to 40 numbers at any given time. Presently there are only 40 Fellows of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.

Forty three artists from field of Music, Dance, Theatre, Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre and Puppetry and Overall contribution/scholarship in Performing Arts for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the year 2015. These forty-three (43) artists include two joint awards. The awardees are



In field of Music

2015 Akademi Award in field of Music was conferred on eleven artists and they are

  • Krishna Bisht and Mashkoor Ali Khan for Hindustani Vocal Music
  • Kartik Kumar for Hindustani Instrumental Music–Sitar
  • Brij Narayan for Hindustani Instrumental Music–Sarod
  • R N Thyagarajan and R N Tharanathan (joint award) for Carnatic Vocal Music
  • Suguna Varadhachari for Carnatic Vocal Music,
  • Lalgudi G J R Krishnan for Carnatic Instrumental Music–Violin, Mambalam M K S Siva for Carnatic Instrumental Music-Nagaswaram
  • Bhupinder Singh, Hridyanath Mangeshkar and Prafulla Kar for Other Major Traditions of Music–Sugam Sangeet

In field of Dance

2015 Akademi Award in field of Dance was conferred on nine artists and they are

  • Ranganayaki Jayaraman for Bharatanatyam
  • K Kunhiraman Nair for Kathakali
  • G Padmaja Reddy for Kuchipudi
  • Aloka Kanungo for Odissi
  • Sharodi Saikia for Sattriya Dance
  • Mandakini Trivedi for Mohiniattam
  • Sadashiva Pradhan for Chhau Dance
  • W Lokendrajit Singh for Contemporary/Experimental Dance
  • Rajkumar Bharathi for Music for Dance

In field of Theatre

2015 Akademi Award in field of Theatre was conferred on nine artists and they are

  • Nand Kishore Acharya and Shafaat Khan for Playwriting
  • Parvez Akhtar and Mushtaq Kak for Direction
  • Manoj N Joshi and Himani Shivpuri for Acting
  • Pradeep Mulye for Allied Theatre Arts–Scenic Design
  • Sarojini Nangiar for Other Major Traditions of Theatre–Kutiyattam
  • Rani Balbir Kaur for Overall Contribution in Theatre

In field of Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre and Puppetry

2015 Akademi Award in field of Theatre was conferred on ten artists and they are

  • Khuman Lal Sao for Folk Music of Chhattisgarh
  • Ramchandra Singh for Folk Theatre of Bihar
  • Khem Raj for Folk Music of Jammu and Kashmir
  • S R D Prasad for Martial Art of Kerala
  • Chhaya and Maya Khutegaonkar joint award for Folk Dance of Maharashtra-Lavani
  • Gangmei Aluna Kabuini for Traditional Dance and Music of Manipur
  • Paramjit Singh Sidhu for Folk Music of Punjab
  • Sayeed Sabri Jaipuri for Qawwali, Rajasthan
  • K K Ramachandra Pulavar and T N Sankaranathan for Puppetry

In the field of Overall Contribution/Scholarship to Performing Arts

  • Shanta Gokhale and Chaman Ahuja were conferred with the 2015 Akademi Award

The honour of Akademi Fellow has been conferred since 1954 and Akademi Award since 1952. These honours not only symbolize the highest standard of excellence and achievements, but also recognize sustained individual work and contribution. The honour of Akademi Fellow carries purse money of 3 lakh Rupees and Akademi Award carries one lakh Rupees, besides a Tamrapatra and Angavastram.


Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman Udupi Ramachandra Rao, popularly known as U. R. Rao, was inducted into the 2016 IAF Hall of Fame by the International Aeronautical Federation (IAF).

With this, Rao became the first Indian to be inducted into IAF Hall of Fame.

Who is Udupi Ramachandra Rao?

U. R. Rao is the former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation.

At present, he is the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad.

He is also the chancellor of Indian Institute for Space Science and Technology (IIST) at Thiruvananthapuram.

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1976.

On 19 March 2013, he was inducted into the Satellite Hall of Fame, Washington at a ceremony organised by the Society of Satellite Professionals International. He was the first Indian to be inducted.

About International Astronautical Federation

The International Astronautical Federation is an international space advocacy organisation based in Paris.

It was founded in 1951 as a non-governmental organization to establish a dialogue between scientists around the world.

It has over 300 members from 66 countries across the world.

It is linked with the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) with whom the IAF organises the annual International Astronautical Congress.

The IAF Hall of Fame consists of a permanent gallery of honoured personalities, a citation, biographical information and a picture on the IAF website.


France has become the first country in the world to ban disposable plastic cups and plates.

The country has passed a law that will go into effect in January 2020. The law will require all disposable tableware to be made from 50% biologically-sourced materials that can be composted at home. That number will rise to 60% by January of 2025.

The measure is an addition to France's Energy Transition for Green Growth Act, a wide-reaching law adopted in 2015 with the aim of mitigating the impact of climate change.

In July 2016, France imposed a total ban on the distribution of lightweight plastic bags at supermarket checkouts.

Why the ban?

As per the French Association of Health and Environment, ASEF One hundred and fifty single-use cups are thrown away every second in France, which counts to 4.73 billion per year. Only 1 percent of the cups is recycled, largely because they are made of a mixture of polypropylene and polystyrene.

About Energy Transition for Green Growth Act

France enacted its Energy Transition for Green Growth Bill on 17 August 2015 following an initial presentation at the 2012 environmental conference and nation-wide public consultation in 2013.

The Act lays out a roadmap for transforming France's energy model without hampering growth.

Six objectives set by the Act are:

i. Reduce GHG emissions by 40% by 2030 from 1990 levels.

ii. Halve final energy consumption by 2050 from 2012 levels.

iii. Reduce fossil fuel consumption by 30% by 2030 from 2012 levels.

iv. Have renewable energies account for 32% of final energy consumption and 40% of electricity generation by 2030.

v. Halve the amount of landfilled waste by 2025.

vi. Reduce the share of nuclear power in the energy mix to 50% by 2025.


India and Singapore signed three Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) agreements during the visit of Singapore Premier Lee Hsien Loong to India.

Highlights of the MoUs


Title of MoU

Signed Between


MoU on collaboration in the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training.

National Skill Development Corporation and ITEES Singapore.


MoU on collaboration in the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training.

Government of Assam and ITEES Singapore.


MoU in the field of Industrial Property Cooperation.

DIPP and Intellectual Property Office Singapore.

India-Singapore Bilateral Relations

The close ties between India and Singapore have a history rooted in strong commercial, cultural and people-to-people links. Singapore is not only an important trading partner in ASEAN but also a major source of FDI inflows in India.

The robust relationship was elevated to a Strategic Partnership during the visit of PM Narendra Modi to Singapore in 2015 who signed a Joint Declaration on a Strategic Partnership with Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong. Later, Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam undertook a State Visit to India on 8-11 February 2015 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

India is Singapore’s eight largest investor. India-Singapore bilateral trade accelerated to USD 17.44 billion in 2010-11 from USD 14.04 percent in 2009-10.


The 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir James Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L Feringa.

The trio were bestowed with the prestigious award for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.

Jean-Pierre Sauvage is a French coordination chemist. Sir James Fraser Stoddart is a Scottish chemist. He works in the area of supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology. Bernard L Feringa is a synthetic organic chemist, specializing in molecular nanotechnology and homogenous catalysis.

Development of world's smallest machines

Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir James Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L Feringa have developed molecules with controllable movements, which can perform a task when energy is added.

The first step towards a molecular machine was taken by Jean-Pierre Sauvage in 1983, when he succeeded in linking two ring-shaped molecules together to form a chain, called a catenane.

The second step was taken by Fraser Stoddart in 1991, when he developed a rotaxane. He threaded a molecular ring onto a thin molecular axle and demonstrated that the ring was able to move along the axle.

• Bernard Feringa was the first person to develop a molecular motor. In 1999, he got a molecular rotor blade to spin continually in the same direction. Using molecular motors, he has rotated a glass cylinder that is 10000 times bigger than the motor and also designed a nanocar.

The 2016's Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have taken molecular systems out of equilibrium's stalemate and into energy-filled states in which their movements can be controlled.

About Nobel Prize in Chemistry

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of chemistry.

It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895.

The first Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded in 1901 to Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff for his discovery of the laws of chemical dynamics and osmotic pressure in solutions.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 was awarded jointly to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for mechanistic studies of DNA repair.




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