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tv   Wednesday in Parliament  BBC News  January 21, 2021 3:30am-4:01am GMT

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joe biden's been sworn in as the 46th us president, ending one of the most dramatic political transitions in american history. he said �*democracy had prevailed' after taking the oath of office from chiefjusticejohn roberts. �*my whole soul is in putting america back together again�* he added. kamala harris has been sworn in as vice president. she becomes the first woman, and the first black and asian—american person, to serve in the role — a heartbeat from the presidency. she was inaugurated by the us supreme courtjustice sonia sotomayor — the court's first latina member. donald trump, who never formally conceded the presidency to mr biden, snubbed the inauguration ceremony in a departure from longstanding precedent. instead, he left washington to travel to his home in florida. president biden said he did leave a generous personal letter to his successor.
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now on bbc news, wednesday in parliament. hello there and welcome to wednesday in parliament. coming up on this programme: asjoe biden is sworn in as us president, borisjohnson is challenged on the uk's international leadership. will the prime minister begin by reversing his cruel policy of cutting international aid for the world's poorest? but borisjohnson reckons the uk has led the world. the first major country in the world to set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. all other countries are following. we hope that president biden willjoin us. the government faces stiff criticism in the lords over a bill to protect british troops from false allegations about their conduct overseas.
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and as storm christoph brings more rain to many parts of the uk, a call for ministers to visit flood—hit areas. the one thing they don't get i from television and the media is the smell, and it's that smell that would wake them up - to do even more. but first, all eyes were on the united states, wherejoe biden took over from donald trump as us president. donald trump left the white house by helicopter, flying to the andrews air base in maryland for a final farewell ceremony. in a last speech, he thanked his supporters and vowed to be back "in some form". his early departure meant donald trump wasn't in washington for the inauguration of his successor, joe biden, who was sworn in as the 46th us president — calling it "a day of history and hope, renewal and resolve." i, joseph robinette bidenjr, do solemnly swear... ..that i will faithfully execute...
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..the office of president of the united states... the speaker of the commons, sir lindsay hoyle, kicked off prime minister's questions with his congratulations. before i call the prime minister, may i express, on behalf- of the house, the best wishes to president biden and - vice president harris on this, their inauguration day? - and the prime ministerjoined him in wishing the new president well. as i said when i spoke with him on his election as president, i look forward to working with him and with his new administration, strengthening the partnership between our countries and working on our shared priorities, from tackling climate change, building back better from the pandemic and strengthening our transatlantic security. thoughts echoed by the other westminster party leaders at the session. the snp�*s ian blackford said millions around the world would breathe a massive sigh of relief. turning the page on the dark chapter of trump's presidency isn't solely the responsibility of presidentjoe biden.
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it is also the responsibility of those in the tory party, including the prime minister, who cosied up to donald trump mr speaker, this morning, the former prime minister, the member for maidenhead, accused the current prime minister of abandoning moral responsibility on the world stage by slashing international aid. so — he said — if today was to be a new chapter... will the prime minister begin by reversing his cruel policy of cutting international aid for the world's poorest? mr speaker, i think it's very important that the prime minister of the uk has the best possible relationship with the president of the united states. that's part of the job description, as i think all sensible members opposite would acknowledge. as to the uk's place in the world... it was the uk, the first major country in the world to set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. all other countries are following.
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we hope that president biden willjoin us. we're working to promote global free trade. and, of course, mr speaker, we'll work with president biden to secure the transatlantic alliance and nato, which, of course, the scottish nationalist party would unbundle. the speaker reminded borisjohnson once again that the snp�*s full title was the scottish national party, and ian blackford — having used up all his questions — didn't get a chance to respond to borisjohnson�*s last challenge. the labour leader, sir keir starmer, turned to comments made in a video call obtained by the guido fawkes website, in which the home secretary told tory supporters she was an "advocate" of closing the uk's borders ten months ago. the labour leader quoted her words. on, "should we have closed our borders earlier?", the answer is, "yes, i was an advocate, says the home secretary, "of closing them last march." why did the prime minister
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overrule the home secretary? mr speaker, i think it was last march that the right honourable gentleman, along with many others, was actually saying that we didn't need to close borders. but as usual, captain ironside has changed his tune to suit events. keir starmer moved on to the deletion of around 400,000 fingerprint, dna and arrest records from a police database. mr speaker, it's ten days since the home office mistakingly deleted hundreds of thousands of vital criminal records, including fingerprints, crime scene data and dna records, so can the prime minister tell the house how many criminal investigations could have been damaged by this mistake? well, mr speaker, the home office is actively working to assess the damage. and as the right honourable gentleman will know from the urgent question that was held in the house only a few days ago, they believe that they will be able
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to rectify the results of this complex incident, and they hope very much that they will be able to restore the data in question. keir starmer. mr speaker, that's not an answer to my question, and it was the most basic of questions. it was the first question that any prime minister would have asked of those briefing him — how many criminal investigations have been damaged? so, let me ask the second basic question that any prime minister would have asked those briefing him — how many convicted criminals have had their records wrongly deleted? i answered the first question entirely accurately, mr speaker. we don't know how many cases might be frustrated as a result of what's happened, but i can tell him that 213,000 offence
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records, 175,000 arrest records and 15,000 personal records are currently being investigated, because they are the subject of this problem. borisjohnson. a new law to protect british troops from false allegations about their conduct in past conflicts has faced strong criticism in the house of lords. the overseas operations bill introduces a presumption against prosecution five years after an incident, unless compelling evidence emerges. a defence minister told peers why it was needed. having asked these personnel to risk life and injury in the most unforgiving of environments, overseas conflicts, they have returned home to face a dark shadow of uncertainty, an enduring, corrosive uncertainty, about whether or not they will be called into criminal or civil proceedings many years down the line. the minister anticipated some of the arguments put by the bill's opponents. this bill is not an amnesty, nor a statute of limitations.
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prosecutions can still go forwards after five years from the date this bill does not prevent allegations of offences being made and investigated after five years. labour said that by putting troops on a different legal basis, the bill would break international law. it calls into question britain's proud commitment to the geneva convention and undermines our role at the united nations. it threatens our moral authority to require the conduct of other nations to meet the standards set by international conventions. critics say the bill could effectively decriminalise torture or war crimes. and the presumption against prosecution doesn't apply to sexual offences. there's an anomaly. sexual offences are excluded from the presumption. so, if a soldier tortures, rapes and kills a civilian, there's a presumption against prosecuting him for the torture and the murder but not for the rape. this is surely indefensible on any policy or moral basis.
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a former head of the army said there had been an outrageous number of groundless allegations made against soldiers. a presumption against prosecution was a reasonable safeguard. it's well recorded that a virtual industry to pillory british soldiers was set up following the unpopular intervention into iraq in 2003, as the secretary of state for defence has said. for example, in 2004, phil shiner — a lawyer — went fishing. he fished for stories, he fished for victims, he fished for terrorists. that conduct was completely unacceptable and mr shiner was quite properly struck off, but the damage to the reputation of the british armed forces had been done. but a former head of the navy gave the bill only five out of ten. my lords, an added concernl is that the legislation seems to make our servicemen and women i more likely to be called before i the international criminal court. surely this cannot be - what the government wants. it's something we worked
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very hard to avoid. - others made international comparisons. on the day that president biden is sworn in, are we choosing this moment to step aside from international law? the implication surely isn't that we believe in british exceptionalism, that our troops shouldn't be subject to international law as others are. i expect the chinese communist party and putin think that of theirs. trump certainly thought that of his followers. the new law won't apply to operations in northern ireland, including during the troubles. missing from this bill is equal protection for those brave servicemen and women who served in northern ireland, facing a vicious onslaught from the ira. government ministers in the other place have pledged to progress the principle of equal treatment, but to date, their actions have certainly not matched the spirit of their promises. two former ministers — one an ex—soldier — said people should understand the pressures facing the military in action.
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we have pressure groups and very clever lawyers —j often not well disposed - of the armed forces, often left wing, sitting in comfortable, warm offices in london — - picking over every split—second i decision made in a foreign country by scared young people doing their duties. - now, soldiers do not always get it right. l some behave maliciously, criminally, and some do. go to jail quite rightly, _ but i stand up for the young men doing their duty to the best . of their ability who have been pursued by smug, overpaid lawyers. my lords, you cannot begin to compare the environment, the action, the challenges and decisions in real time facing our military on overseas operations with that of a civilian�*s life choices. this bill strikes a proportionate balance between the rights of genuine victims�* access to justice, in a reasonable time, and fairness to those who defend our country.
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lady buscombe there. and the overseas operations bill, which has already been passed by mps, now goes for more detailed scrutiny in the house of lords. the northern ireland secretary, brandon lewis, has accepted the new trading arrangements between great britain and northern ireland have brought "challenges". it follows criticism that he�*s underplayed the impact of some goods entering northern ireland having to undergo checks. but the dup mp ian paisley said the current situation was an "unmitigated disaster". secretary of state, you might want to reach for a stiff drink to stifle your surprise when i go into the protocol. could you just give us...? there you are — reaches for water. could you give us your sort of assessment? in percentage terms, how well do you think it�*s working? what further have you identified needs ironing out? and what is your hope for the timeframe and the use of the grace period?
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people who cover what we say pick out things and interpret things in wonderful ways, but if you look at exactly what i've been saying over the last few weeks, the point i've been making and trying to make — and i'd make today — is i'm not going to deny that there are... when you've got new processes and a new system and a new situation, as we have got at the end of transition, there are going to be challenges and learning curves within that. but we've also seen in northern ireland — across parts of the uk, particularly in northern ireland — is a number of different things coming together at one time, particularly in the early part ofjanuary — which is why i said in an interview i did for the bbc, i think it was, last week or the week before, that, actually, when we're going to really assess the protocol will be in a month or two down the line, rather than the first few days ofjanuary. and he maintained that coronavirus had had an impact. particularly in some of the food supplies, particularly leading to the covid issue we had at the border in dover, with the lorries and the drivers not
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being able to travel through just before christmas. that definitely had a knock—on effect, notjust in northern ireland. secretary of state, there�*s a de facto border, administrative, red tape blockade between trade in northern ireland and gb, and your government promised there would be unfettered movement. the first 20 days of january have been an unmitigated disaster for trade, haven�*t they? well, we were very clear we wanted to make sure we could do that, unfettered access for northern ireland businesses to the whole of the uk market, which is what the protocol and the deal do. we wanted to make sure there was a good, flexible flow of products and an ability to trade for businesses, gb into northern ireland. but he said there were issues around compliance with eu rules on animal products. we always recognised that certain areas, particularly sps areas, that there would be — we would build on the checks any work that's been in place, as you know, for a considerable
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period of time before we left the eu and before the protocol. and, yes, we are building on that, for those sps checks, because that recognises that single epidemiological unit of the island of ireland. but ian paisley maintained that the protocol was causing "huge problems" and some haulage companies in northern ireland were laying people off. you�*re watching wednesday in parliament, with me, alicia mccarthy. the prime minister has said the government is making sure it�*s "totally prepared in every part of the uk" for flooding in the face of storm christoph. borisjohnson was speaking after a meeting of the cobra emergency committee. the environment agency has dozens of flood warnings in force, mainly across central, eastern and northern england. some rail services have been affected. in the lords, a former labour environment minister attacked the government�*s record on flood prevention. does the minister accept the car crash performance of his department and the environment agency at the public accounts committee last week
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failed to answer the criticism in the national audit office report on flood waste management? of the four and a half thousand homes flooded last winter, there is a few that are 100 yards from my home in ludlow, some still empty with no extra protection. can i ask ministers to visit flood areas, as the one thing they don�*t get from television and the media is the smell? and it�*s that smell that would wake them up to do even more. we're pleased that the report highlights that government investment is making a difference by significantly lowering flood risks for thousands upon thousands of homes right across the country on the back of the government's {2.6 billion flood defence programme, which has since been significantly increased. and this is programme is on time, it is on budget and it has yielded results, as acknowledged by the national audit office. but i fully take on board the noble lord's comments about the misery involved in having one's life turned upside down
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by the horror of flooding, and this is, of course, a priority for this government. the noble lord, the minister, is probably aware that - it's not only homes and businesses and agricultural land that's - flooded, but it's also our transport infrastructure. | last year in scotland, - a train crashed into a land slip and three people died. so, has the government actually got a national plan, _ an urgent, national plan? it couldn't be more - appropriate today when storm christoph is - hammering at our country. we are putting our money where our mouth is in relation to tackling this issue. we have a suite of measures that we're introducing on the back of that 5.2 billion, and we hope, of course, to reduce year on year at the risk of flooding, even against the horrors of climate change. the environment minister, lord goldsmith. now, with more than 511,000 cases waiting to go through crown courts in england and wales, the government has been defending its actions to reduce the backlog and to allow the criminaljustice system to operate safely during the pandemic. thejustice minister, chris philp, was accused of complacency as he told the commons of the government�*s
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"monumental" effort, including investing in technology and opening new nightingale courts, and he insisted the system was recovering. in the first lockdown and as these measures have been put into place, backlogs have understandably developed. this has been the case across the world, but the fruits of our labours are now being seen. we have been faster than almost everyjurisdiction to recover, and we believe we were the first country in the world to restart jury trials back in may. estimates show that the current scale of increasing the backlog would take ten years to clear at pre—pandemic rates, but numbers do not tell the whole story. behind criminal cases, there are victims, victims of rape, robbery, domestic abuse and violent assault. each of these victims is being denied the speedyjustice that our society owes them.
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it has been repeated many times before, but it is true. justice delayed isjustice denied. as a responsible opposition, we accept the pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for the justice system. however, we do not accept the government's presentation of the backlog as a crisis that's only resulted from coronavirus. before the pandemic, the crown court backlog stood at 39,000 cases. northwest wales is only just a centre that's - equipped with a small sales, consultation rooms without i protective screens and insufficient space forjurors in one _ of its two crown courts. there's recently been a sharp rise in covid cases in the area, - and these conditions pose a significant risk to - everyone attending at court. of course, the chronic - underfunding of courts and the current covid induced backlog of cases are combining _ in a crisis ofjustice. behind every alleged offence lies a victim, often many. i can't imagine how hard it must be for them waiting month after month forjustice. what is the minister doing to reassure all those victims who could be waiting up to four years for trial? justice will be done.
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after this statement finishes, what concrete action is he going to take to do something differently to address this? well, the sort of lead time she�*s describing are thankfully very, as i said already, for the most serious cases, cases where the defendant is remanded in custody, for the clear majority of those, we should have a first hearing in november. they will have their substantive trial byjuly of this year. but we are taking action, we have been taking action and we will continue to take action to look after victims of these most serious offences, the most distressing ones, like, for example, rape and domestic violence by making sure they are supported. chris philp. scotland�*s first minister has insisted that the country�*s coronavirus vaccination programme is not lagging behind other parts of the uk. at question time in holyrood, the conservatives raised concerns that some gps have not yet been given supplies of the jab and accused the government of changing its target date for when all over—80s would have
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received their first dose. the problem here is this insistence from the first minister that this is all on track. the health secretaryjean freeman said on the 11th ofjanuary that all over 805 would have the vaccine by the end of this month, which is the 315t ofjanuary. but, this morning, the deputy first ministerjohn swinney rolled back on that commitment, saying instead that "i can confidently say to you that the commitments we have given with the over 805, for example, will all be vaccinated by the end of the first week of february is a commitment that will be fulfilled," repeated just now by the first minister. so, the health secretary's committed to all over—805 being vaccinated by the 315t ofjanuary, but the deputy first minister has committed to the 7th of february. the first minister explained that it took longer to vaccinate those in the priority care home group, that packs of vaccine were being delivered to gps and that vaccine rates for the over—80s were picking up.
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we refine these target dates as we go along i based on our developing| understanding of supply. so, if the health secretary, i ican't recall, but if she did say a few weeks ago the end ofjanuary, we will now know more _ about supply that have made us through the modelling we do, . say that that's the first few days in february. i we've been saying that consistently throughout this year, _ so there is no change in that. that is what we are working to, that is what we are on track - to deliver, and i would suggest that ruth davidson perhapsjust delves. a little bit more into the detail of these exchanges of - how all of this works. if she wants to continue - to to have these discussions. there we have ape residing officer. —— have a. it�*s not a slip, it�*s a refinement. following richard leonard�*s resignation as labour leader last week, it fell to the acting leader to raise another aspect of the roll—out.
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last week, the government published the covid—19 deployment plan, which allowed for 5% of covid vaccines to be wasted. can i ask the first minister, could you tell us how many vaccine doses have been wasted since rollout began? nicola sturgeon said the 5% figure was a planning assumption. itjust to make sure we are factoring in the possibilityl of some large—scale breakdown. a big freezer breaking down, for example _ or something else happens that disrupts the supply. _ the greens turned to the departure of donald trump from office. will she stop hiding and ensure that trump�*s purchases in scotland will be given the scrutiny they urgently need? i'm sure many of us across - the chamber and scotland will be very happy to say cheerio to donald trump today. i don't haste you back might be the perfect _ don't haste you back might be the perfect rejoinder- don't haste you back might be the perfect rejoinder to - don't haste you back might be the perfect rejoinder to him. l the perfect rejoinder to him. and — the perfect rejoinder to him. and in— the perfect rejoinder to him. and in advance _ the perfect rejoinder to him. and in advance of— the perfect rejoinder to him. . and in advance of inauguration leter— and in advance of inauguration later on. — and in advance of inauguration later on. i'm _ and in advance of inauguration later on, i'm sure _ and in advance of inauguration later on, i'm sure we - and in advance of inauguration later on, i'm sure we all-
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and in advance of inauguration later on, i'm sure we all wantl later on, i'm sure we all want to send— later on, i'm sure we all want to send our— later on, i'm sure we all want to send our congratulations . later on, i'm sure we all want| to send our congratulations to soon — to send our congratulations to soon to — to send our congratulations to soon to be _ to send our congratulations to soon to be president - to send our congratulations to soon to be president biden i to send our congratulations toi soon to be president biden and seem _ soon to be president biden and seem to — soon to be president biden and seem to president _ soon to be president biden and seem to president kamala - seem to president kamala harris _ seem to president kamala harris -- _ seem to president kamala harris. —— soon—to—be - seem to president kamalal harris. —— soon—to—be vice president _ harris. -- soon-to-be vice president-— harris. -- soon-to-be vice president. finally, in a time of videoconferencing, - president. finally, in a time of videoconferencing, there | president. finally, in a time . of videoconferencing, there are times when it all goes wrong. the chamber lost connection with the snp minister, ian blackford, when he was due to ask his second question. ian blackford. inaudible laughter i somehow think we�*ve lost ian blackford. nicole richards? inaudible nicole? you�*re muted. press the mic. i'm not muted, can you hear me?
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can you hear me? it's not working. the speaker did eventually go back to ian blackford and nicola richards for their questions, but another mp had to fight an all—too—familiar battle. brian? mr speaker, thank you. phone rings i'm so sorry. the — it's excellent we are - leading europe in vaccinations. it's excellent that we are leading _ it's excellent that we are leading european- it's excellent that we are - leading european vaccinations. and it's excellent that we now have strong health _ borders. the mp later confirmed that the call on a little—used landline was from an insurance company, asking whether he�*d recently been involved in an accident! and that�*s it from me, for now. but do join me next time for our round—up of the week here at westminster. but for now, from me, alicia mccarthy, goodbye.
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hello, we yet have more severe weather in our forecast for thursday. we start the day still with the met office amber warning in force for heavy rain across northern england. that will lapse through the morning but, obviously, the flooding situation lags somewhat behind the falling rain, so i don�*t anticipate the flood warnings going up once again across england. and then for scotland, we have an amber warning for the risk of disruption across the borders where heavy snow is set to fall accompanied by strong winds. the reason for all of these problems is storm christoph, this deep area of low pressure. it�*s now pulling off into the north sea but behind it, we�*ve dragged down some cold air all the way south from the arctic right the way across the uk, and that gives us a cold start to thursday. it means ice is possible, well, just about anywhere — a lot of surface water lying around
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aside from where we see showers falling first thing. but wintry weather for scotland the biggest issue through the course of the day. the rain, improving across northern england. still some showers around here, though. still some wintry, even as far south as the southern pennines, perhaps the odd one getting into the peaks. to the far south of the uk, perhaps some rain grazing the south coast. much of england and wales seeing a dry and sunny day but feeling chillier certainly. northern ireland largely fine. scotland keeps on packing in those wintry showers even overnight thursday into friday as christoph pulls off towards scandinavia. there will be some, as well, for northern ireland, a few more for northern england but scotland with the greatest risk of piling up some more snowfall. a widespread frost, though, takes us into friday. so, again with that surface water sitting around across many parts of the uk, could be icejust about anywhere as the day gets under way. friday, quite a bit of sunshine for england and wales. a few showers of rain running into the south. some more wintry showers though for northern england grazing the north of northern ireland, and across scotland. but friday, in contrast to the last few days, a much quieter day. as for the weekend,
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low pressure still to the north—west. we feed in some weather systems around it through the course of the weekend. don�*t put too much stake on the exact detail of where these are pushing through but you can see white there. those weather systems are set to interact with the very cold air. hard to put the detail on them because they are quite small, but the upshot is we will all be sitting in the colder air this weekend. and if those features do run in where you are, you could see some snow.
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welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. my name�*s mike embley. our top stories: mr president. cheering and applause- — a new day for america — joe biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the united states. we�*ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile, and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed. kamala harris takes the oath of office as vice president — making history as the first woman ever to hold the post.
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getting straight to work — the new president signs a raft


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