August 2021 Current Events: World News
The world is a very busy place, and it's hard to stay on top of everything. Infoplease has got you covered. Here are the world news events you need to know so far for August 2021:
- Kidnapped Nigerian School Children Released
- Seven Poisoned at German University
- Scenes of Chaos Continue in Afghanistan
- Coronavirus Updates (4)
- Landslide Election in Zambia
- Fuel Tank Explodes in Lebanon
- Taliban Takes Control of Afghanistan
- Coronavirus Updates (3)
- Rare Shooting in England
- The Taliban Continues to Progress
- Coronavirus Updates (2)
- Knife Attack on Tokyo Train
- Violence Continues Across Afghanistan
- Unrest Continues in Myanmar
- Tokyo Olympics 2021 Updates
- Coronavirus Updates
Kidnapped Nigerian School Children Released
Photo Source: AP Photo
On Friday, August 27, nearly 100 kidnapped school children in Nigeria were released after the parents paid ransom. The parents managed to gather the $140,000 ransom through fundraising and donations. They stated that the government did not help during negotiations because it wasn’t prepared to pay the ransom. The students, who were kidnapped three months prior, will be given medical attention since many looked feeble and malnourished. The reunion was an emotional scene of pure happiness and freedom.
Seven Poisoned at German University
Photo Source: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, Pool
On Wednesday, August 25, German police announced that they were opening an attempted murder case after seven people at a university were poisoned. The students showed signs of poisoning after ingesting food and drink from one of the university kitchens. Blue discoloration appeared on their limbs. Six of the victims were hospitalized, but all have since been released. Police found the water and milk to contain hazardous material. The substance, however, has still been unidentified. Police have searched multiple university buildings, but no evidence has been revealed.
Scenes of Chaos Continue in Afghanistan
Photo Source: Cpl. Davis Harris/U.S. Marine Corps via AP
On Sunday, August 22, President Biden announced changes have been made in order to safely evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from the war-torn area. He stated that the US extended access near the airport and safe zones in order to get more people out. However, President Biden has also stated he doesn’t want to go into too much detail when discussing the changes. Many refugee advocate services are scrambling to make accommodations as images show  On Monday, August 23, dozens of US Air Force planes headed to Kabul as 20,000 people remained at the airport. At least 33 planes are scheduled to head towards Kabul, but the stipulations have changed. Only US citizens, those holding a green card, and citizens of NATO countries will be allowed aboard. The Taliban is outside the gates of the airports checking documentation; however, thousands were able to enter the airport before the new guidelines were put in place, so many could be stuck in limbo after the planes leave. On Tuesday, August 24, an anti-Taliban group stated that it has thousands of fighters ready. The National Resistance Front of Afghanistan’s (NRF) goal is peaceful negotiations, but they are prepared should things escalate. The NRF believes the multicultural country needs multiple sources of power in order to best represent the people. On Wednesday, August 25, US officials stated that the Taliban has promised to allow foreigners and Afghans to leave the country after August 31. More than 82,000 people have left the country on airplanes, with thousands more still staying inside and outside the airport. The Taliban, however, has refused to extend the deadline of August 31. Many countries are working to get nationals and green card holders safely out. The US has said that there’s possible 1,500 more Americans still stuck in Afghanistan. Officials have made contact with 500, but are still trying to desperately reach the rest. The US has been able to safely remove the 500 it’s made contact with. Unfortunately, two dozen San Diego students and their families are still stuck in Afghanistan. The group travelled there over the summer and have not been able to get to Kabul safely. The school district has said they’ve lost contact with the families who were there visiting relatives. Fortunately, the US does have a location for the families and is working towards evacuation. Elsewhere, Mexico welcomed over 100 journalists and their families fleeing Afghanistan. At least 124 people landed in the airport on Wednesday, all of whom faced life-threatening danger under Taliban rule. Private sponsors and civil society organizations in Mexico have agreed to cover travel and living costs for the refugees, and Mexico’s foreign minister has voiced his support for the work the journalists represent. On Wednesday, August 25, the Taliban warned Afghan women to not attend work because their soldiers are “not trained to respect them.” This new development has caused much fear amongst women and girls. The Taliban previously said it was going to approach gender differently this time, but the current statement does not look promising. The UN has called for an investigation into the rights of citizens after this announcement. On Thursday, August 26, a blast outside the Kabul airport left at least 170 people dead, including 13 US troops, and injured another 200. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. Nearly 100,000 people were at the airport as the US continued evacuation efforts. President Biden has stated that the attack will not deter evacuation efforts, and has also stated that he will hunt down those responsible. Though it once worked with the Taliban, ISIS-K has spoken out about the Taliban, stating that it has abandoned some battlefields. On Friday, August 27, it was reported that 4 of the 5 San Diego families had been located and scheduled to return to the US. The fifth family has been located, but is not able to safely evacuate at this time. A sixth family has also been located, but no details have been released regarding them. On Friday, August 27, banks in Afghanistan were reported to be on the verge of collapse. Banks have been boarded up for the two weeks since the Taliban took control, leaving many without access to cash. The economy is heavily reliant on international aid and access to foreign currency, which has been blocked since the fall of Kabul. The Taliban ordered banks to open days ago, but they remain shuttered. A complete meltdown is possible. On Sunday, August 29, the US carried out an airstrike against an ISIS-K planner. The attack was carried out amid warnings that another terror attack was in the works as the US entered its last phase of evacuation. Locals stated that at least three people were killed in the drone strike, and many more were wounded. However, the US reported that two high profile ISIS-K leaders were killed and another was injured. However, witnesses in Kabul later told news outlets that there were indeed civilian casualties. At least ten people from one family, seven of whom were children, died from a secondary explosion caused by the strike. Later that day, a funeral was held with angered attendees shouting “Death to America!” On Tuesday, August 31, two defense officials revealed that the Taliban secretly helped escort Americans to the Kabul airport. Secret gates, call controls, and US troops awaited those Americans, who then were required to show credentials before safely evacuating. Once the last plane officially withdrew, the Taliban could be seen declaring victory. Celebrations erupted on the tarmac, with members of the Taliban parading through the airport and shooting gunfire into the air as America’s longest war officially ended. While Americans were able to evacuate, many wartime weapons and supplies were left behind and are now in possession of the Taliban.
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Coronavirus Updates (4)
Photo Source: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa
On Sunday, August 22, Cuban healthcare workers spoke out against the government’s handling of the pandemic in a rare show of criticism. This comes a month after citizens flooded the streets in a rare anti-government protest. Healthcare workers are required to work for the state and have been overworked with the amount of hospitalizations. Many locations are short on ICU beds, oxygen, and medicines. Some workers have even been required to buy their own protective equipment. Some doctors have gone as far as to upload videos of the abysmal conditions. Many have voiced support for an online protest. On Monday, August 23, China reported no new locally transmitted cases for the first time since July. China first detected the highly contagious Delta variant on July 20 when airport staff tested positive. The outbreak led to 1,200 cases and very strict lockdowns as China attempted to stop the spread almost immediately. China has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to the virus. On Monday, August 23, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen received her first dose of the country’s homegrown vaccine in a show of support for the new rollout. The country’s Medigen Covid-19 vaccine was approved for emergency use just last month for those over the age of 20. Studies stated that 99.8% of the people given the vaccine were able to develop antibodies against the virus. Less than 5% of the Taiwanese population is vaccinated as the country has delayed second doses in an attempt to give more people at least one dose. With this new vaccine, some preventative measures will be decreased, allowing people to go to restaurants and cafes again. On Friday, August 27, doctors in Nigeria went on strike to demand better pay and better conditions. Hospitals impacted have stated that they are not accepting patients with severe needs, which could be dangerous with the Delta Variant ravishing the country. On Sunday, August 29, two people in Japan died after receiving a Moderna Covid-19 vaccine dose from a batch that was suspected to be contaminated. Japan had suspended the use of 1.63 million doses after a foreign substance was discovered in one of the vials. Inquiries are ongoing.
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Landslide Election in Zambia
Photo Source: AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi
On Monday, August 16, Zambian President Edgar Lungu has officially conceded to opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema. A landslide election was a shock as an overwhelming number of young citizens showed up to cast their vote. President Lungu previously stated he would challenge results, but the landslide seems to have taken him by surprise. While addressing the nation, he conceded power. The transition is expected to be peaceful. All across Zambia, celebrations could be seen as people sang and danced in the streets and drove by honking their horns.
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Fuel Tank Explodes in Lebanon
Photo Source: AP Photo
On Sunday, August 15, at least 20 people were killed and another 75 injured following a fuel tank explosion in Lebanon. The explosion occurred in the Akkar region of Lebanon. The country has experienced a shortage in fuel recently, leading to many blackouts and long lines at gas stations. Though there have been differing accounts to the explosion, it is believed that the cause was an individual igniting a lighter. However, others say a conflict between patrons led to a shootout with gunfire igniting the gasoline. The local Red Cross team is still searching for survivors.
Taliban Takes Control of Afghanistan
Photo Source: AP Photo
On Sunday, August 15, the Taliban entered Kabul, something the US has grossly miscalculated the timeline for. The Biden Administration predicted it would be months before Afghan forces retreated, allowing time for US troops to be safely withdrawn. However, the Taliban was able to enter the presidential palace in Kabul with little resistance. The entrance happened hours after President Ghani fled the country. Pictures from the Taliban show a palace that appears to have been abandoned by all officials. Though there were talks between the government and the Taliban about who would maintain control, those seem to have been upended by President Ghani’s absence. An apparent “handover” ceremony showed three Afghan government officials overseeing the Taliban’s claim to the palace. The Taliban is expected to enter other abandoned buildings to begin their return to power. On Monday, August 16, the city of Kabul was filled with Taliban checkpoints as they confiscated anything belonging to police or army members. Many in the city were seen painting over images of uncovered women at salons. Though the Taliban has stated that women will have more rights this time around, many citizens are not taking chances. During their last time in power, the Taliban did not allow women to leave the house unless accompanied by a man and adorned in a burqa. Many women have spoken out about their fear and the city of Kabul was noticeably void of women roaming around after its capture. Elsewhere, airports were scenes of chaos as many people tried to block US troops from leaving. People have also been attempting to flee the country before commercial flights are cancelled. International airlines have already announced plans to reroute trips in order to avoid Afghan airspace. Services to Pakistan, India, and the United Arab Emirates have been the most affected. On Monday, August 16, President Biden returned to the White House to address the crisis in Afghanistan. Thus far, the president has continued to support his decision to withdraw troops, though his approval ratings appear to be slipping. Senior officials have placed most of the blame on the country’s defense forces; however, it has admitted to miscalculating the amount of time it would take for the Taliban to gain control. During his speech, President Biden stated that he may leave US troops past the withdrawal date to ensure that all Americans who want to leave Afghanistan are safely able to do so. However, he did state the it is expected to have all US citizens out by August 31. President Biden also stated that he does not see this crisis as a failure and does not believe the withdrawal could have been handled better. On Wednesday, August 18, it was reported that President Ghani had emerged in the United Arab Emirates. Ghani’s whereabouts had not been known for a few days after he fled Kabul. Ghani spoke out, stating he left the country in an attempt to avoid bloodshed and not because he had accepted a large amount of money, which was rumored. Had he not left, it is likely Ghani would have been hanged in front of the Afghan people, creating a disaster. On Wednesday, August 18, the US embassy warned that the government cannot ensure safe passage to the airport. US citizens who were previously told to shelter in place, are now in a scramble to get to the airport after the embassy announced flights will leave on a “first come, first serve” basis. The airport, while flights are now leaving, has been in a state of chaos since Monday. At least 5,000 people have been evacuated despite the chaos. The US has stated that the military hopes to increase that number soon. On Friday, August 19, Afghan people saw what rule under the Taliban may be like, despite the group’s promises to be more peaceful and open-minded. Many relatives of reporters were killed over the last week as the Taliban searched for reporters. These deaths have concerned people who believed the Taliban’s claims that this new regime will be more “inclusive.” On Saturday, August 21, Facebook announced a new feature designed to protect those in Afghanistan. The platform disabled the ability for people to search the “Friends” list for accounts in Afghanistan in an attempt to protect people living there. LinkedIn has also taken steps to protect people as claims come in that the Taliban is using social media to track down opponents. Profiles have essentially been locked and are now only accessible by those who are already friends. Facebook has also added pop-up alerts to help guide people on how to protect their accounts during this time. On Saturday, August 21, Greece installed a 25 mile fence and new surveillance system on its border with Turkey due to concerns about an increase of Afghan migrants. Turkey has urged Europe to take responsibility for some of the migrants as people continue to flee the area. Turkey has kept borders fairly open for the last few years, which many other countries have claimed creates a surge in the EU overall. Europe continues to prepare for the predicted influx.
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Coronavirus Updates (3)
Photo Source: AP Photo/Mark Baker
On Monday, August 16, Tokyo announced that there will be no spectators allowed at the Paralympics. The city has faced some serious coronavirus concerns since hosting the Olympic games last month. The government is considering expanding the country’s state of emergency as cases continue to rise. It has requested that fans not attend road events, as well. On Tuesday, August 17, New Zealand became the latest country to confirm a Delta outbreak, going into an immediate and strict lockdown following the one positive case. Health officials warn that there could be 50-120 more cases despite the shutdown. It is still unclear how the Delta variant made it into the country which implemented strict mandates and closed most borders, requiring intense requirements for those entering. In total, New Zealand has only had 3,000 cases and 26 deaths since the pandemic began. On Wednesday, August 18, Israel announced it will require children as young as 3 to show proof of a negative Covid test before entering indoor spaces. Many areas, such as restaurants, cafes, gyms, pools, and libraries, are following the “Green Pass” guidelines; however, stores and malls still do not require proof of immunity. Health officials have warned that the country is close to going into a new lockdown if numbers do not improve. On Friday, August 20, the first DNA vaccine against Covid-19 was approved by India’s drug regulator. The ZyCoV-D vaccine is three doses and has prevented symptomatic disease in 66% of people fully vaccinated. The country plans to contract 120 million doses. Previously, DNA vaccines have worked well on animals but not humans. On Saturday, August 21, thousands of people flooded the streets of Australia to protest the newest lockdowns across the country. At least six officers have been hospitalized with injuries due to the protests. Police have been deploying pepper balls and spray into the crowds. At least 218 people have been arrested. The state of NSW has seen 825 new cases and 3 deaths due to the Delta variant, the worst Australia has seen.
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Rare Shooting in England
Photo Source: AP Photo/Jon Super
On Friday, August 13, at least five people were killed in a rare mass shooting in Plymouth, England. The 22-year-old suspect allegedly shot people across multiple areas, terrorizing the seaside town. One of the victims was the gunman’s mother, according to police. The youngest victim was just three years old. This is the deadliest mass shooting Britain has seen since 2010, when a shooting left 12 people dead. A motive and more information is still under investigation.
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The Taliban Continues to Progress
Photo Source: AP Photo/Gulabuddin Amiri
On Sunday, August 8, local officials reported that the Taliban had captured Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. It is the first major city to fall to the Taliban, hitting the government hard. Kunduz has a population of 375,000 people, so the capture is quite significant. It is one of the four provincial capitals captured as the US troops complete the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Taliban has also claimed to have captured many vehicles and weapons, though the claim has not been verified. On Monday, August 9, the Taliban rejected international calls for a ceasefire. US and Afghan planes have been performing airstrikes in response to the ongoing violence. A spokesman for the Taliban, however, has warned against any more US involvement. The Taliban seems to be progressing, now gaining control of five regional areas. On Monday, August 9, it was confirmed that the fifth provincial capital the Taliban gained control of was Taloquan. More than 49.500 people have been helped by the Red Cross in the last six months as violence continues across the country. At least 20 civilians have been killed in the last few days as schools and other buildings have been damaged. On Tuesday, August 10, the US showed concern as the Taliban continued to advance throughout the country. What experts originally predicted to be six months before the fall of the government, has now been pushed up further. The dire situation may cause an earlier removal of diplomats to avoid a more urgent situation in the future. The US is trying to avoid removing people under duress if possible. On Thursday, August 12, the Taliban gained significant control, capturing another large number of cities. According to CNN, the Taliban now have control of 17 of the 34 provincial capitals. The Taliban has claimed to take control of the governor’s office and police headquarters. Some of the areas are even places the Taliban wasn’t able to control back in 1996 to 2001. Many Afghan soldiers are surrendering without much of a fight at all. Reportedly, when US troops appeared at some captured bases, the Afghan troops had on civilian clothes, a clear sign of defeat. Little resistance is causing much concern for the carnage that has already appeared throughout the country. At least 6,000 people have been killed in total since April.
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Coronavirus Updates (2)
Photo Source: AP Photo/Daniel Cole
On Wednesday, August 11, a German nurse was accused of switching Covid vaccines with saline solution. Officials stated that she replaced hundreds of doses between March and April. At least 8,600 people have been notified that they could have been affected by this switch. The government has offered for all people vaccinated during this timeframe to come forward and get another dose. The suspect has remained silent during this time, so police do not know the full extent of her opposition to the vaccine. On Thursday, August 12, India released a report regarding a rise in diabetes due to Covid-19. The steroids the country has been using to reduce lung inflammation has been found to increase blood sugar. Some patients who have been treated for Covid over a year ago are finding that their blood sugar is still much too high and needs additional help regulating. India has 77 million people with diabetes, accounting for 1 in 6 international cases, coming in after China. Doctors believe there are millions more who are undiagnosed due to the pandemic. On Friday, August 13, a recording was released of Israeli Prime Minister Bennett claiming that those over 60 who don’t get a third booster dose are six times more likely to get the virus. Israel has seen quite the rise, with over 3,000 new cases a day. Officials have warned the elderly who don’t have a booster dose to practice caution similar to the beginning of the pandemic. On Saturday, August 14, it was announced that Australia personnel would be deployed to enforce tighter Covid-19 restrictions in Sydney. The area reported 466 locally transmitted cases, marking the highest number since the pandemic began. These new numbers have prompted the area to enter a new 7-day lockdown to avoid a larger spread. The strict lockdown will only allow people to leave their homes for essential business and schools will move back online. Fines for noncompliance have also been increased, coming in at nearly $3700 per incident.
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Knife Attack on Tokyo Train
Photo Source: AP Photo/Kantaro Komiya
On Friday, August 6, at least ten people were injured after a knife attack on a Tokyo train. The suspect ran on the train and began stabbing at random before allegedly walking to a convenience store and turning himself in. The train was between Seijogakuen-mae station and Soshigaya-Okura station in Setagaya Ward. The suspect is thought to be a male in his 30s. While violence is rather rare in Japan, officials have reported an uptick in knife attacks.
Violence Continues Across Afghanistan
Photo Source: AP Photo/Abdul Khaliq
On Monday, August 2, the US ramped up airstrikes against the Taliban in an attempt to regain control for the military. Officials have stated that for the past three days, airstrikes have mainly targeted Taliban-heavy areas Herat, Kandahar and Lashkar Gah. The airstrikes occur each time Taliban members try to enter the cities. The US government has confirmed that airstrikes in Afghanistan are live, but have refused to release details regarding the targets. As of now, President Biden still plans to withdraw all troops by mid-September. The Afghan military has reportedly brought in special forces to endangered cities. On Monday, August 2, the Taliban took over a TV station in the Helmand province. Locals say that despite the take over, nothing has been broadcasted from the area. The attack came after the US ramped up airstrikes in the days prior. On Wednesday, August 4, the Taliban attacked the house of the Afghan defence minister, killing 8 people. The house, located in Kabul, was bombed and bombarded with gunmen. Defence minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi was not home during the attack and his family was evacuated. Four gunmen were killed during the attack. The Taliban has released a statement claiming responsibility and threatening more political leaders. On Saturday, August 7, the Taliban claimed to have captured a prison in Jawzjan, freeing all the prisoners inside. Video footage shows hundreds of prisoners fleeing as the building was under attack. This is the second regional capital that the militants have taken control of. At least 150 people have traveled to the area to help Afghan forces.
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Unrest Continues in Myanmar
Photo Source: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool
On Sunday, August 1, state media reported that military leader Min Aung Hlaing declared himself Prime Minister. The newly formed caretaker government has been formed six months after the military overtook the civilian government. Min Aung Hlaing has stated that he will hold elections by 2023. In that same speech, he pledged to restore democracy to the area. On Saturday, August 7, two Myanmar citizens in New York were arrested for an alleged plot to kill the Myanmar’s ambassador to the UN. The attack was allegedly set to take place on US soil as the duo was in talks with a Thailand manufacturer of military-grade weapons. The FBI is now providing the ambassador with 24-hour security.
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Tokyo Olympics 2021 Updates
Photo Source: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
On Monday, August 2, in a major upset, the US Women’s Nationals Team lost to Canada (1-0) after a penalty kick, knocking the team out of the soccer semi-finals. The team was attempting to become the first winners of the World Cup to win gold, but will now be competing in the bronze tournament. On Monday, August 2, it was also reported that Simone Biles will compete in the balance beam finals the following day. The announcement comes after Biles, citing mental health reasons, dropped out of four competitions. On Monday, August 2, the IOC announced that it is looking into US shot-putter Raven Saunders after she made an X symbol with her arms on the silver podium. Saunders explained the stance as a symbol of "the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet." The stance could possibly be a breach of Olympic terms, which prevent protests from happening on the podium. Saunders has spoken out about the investigation, stating that she wants to be a role model for others, practically daring the IOC to take her medal. On Monday, August 2, Belarusian Olympic sprinter, Kristina Timanovskaya, was seen entering the Polish embassy in Tokyo after refusing to board a plane home. Timanovskaya stated that she was concerned about a possible arrest once landing in her native country and was being forced to go against her will. The agency stated that she plans to seek asylum in Poland after she criticized national sporting authorities for entering her into the 4x400 meter relay without her consent. Asking for political asylum during Olympic games isn’t too uncommon, but Timanovskaya does not appear to have planned this in advance. On Wednesday, August 4, sprinter Timanovskaya boarded a flight from Tokyo to Vienna. She was granted a humanitarian visa from the Prime Minister of Poland, so it is not clear if the flight to Vienna is just a connection. On Wednesday, August 4, reports indicated that Australian athletes behaved unacceptably on the flight home. Japan Airlines stated that there was mass alcohol consumption and unruly behavior from the Australian Olympians aboard the flight. Investigations have been launched and disciplinary action may be taken. On Wednesday, August 4, after winning the bronze medal the day before, Simone Biles announced that her aunt had “unexpectedly” died during her time in Japan. The death occurred only a few days prior to Biles competing on the beams August 3. She went on to say she is leaving the Olympics with “a full heart.”
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Photo Source: AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca
On Monday, August 2, local media in China reported concerns as the Delta variant spread to more areas of the country. In the past 10 days, more than 300 cases have been reported. The government has taken action by imposing new travel restrictions and testing millions of people. This is considered the largest outbreak China has seen in months. On Tuesday, August 3, the WHO released a report stating that Covid-19 deaths in Africa are up 80%. The entire continent has seen a dramatic uptick in Covid-19 fatalities. The WHO director has cited the Delta variant as the cause. On Wednesday, August 4, China introduced mass travel restrictions after the surge in cases, sparked by the Delta variant, hit Wuhan. China has seen its worst outbreak in recent months, with 300 cases detected in more than two dozen cities. All intercity coach, taxi, and online car services have been suspended in response to the outbreak.
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