Peres funeral closed to public as security tightened for Abbas, world leaders
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Live updates (closed)Latest: Obama, Clinton to speak at Peres’s funeral

Peres funeral closed to public as security tightened for Abbas, world leaders

Police chief says several people arrested on suspicion of planning to disrupt ceremony, calls it ‘preventative’ measure

  • An Israeli pays his last respects to former president Shimon Peres at the Knesset on September 29, 2016, where his coffin lay in state the day before his burial on Mount Herzl. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
    An Israeli pays his last respects to former president Shimon Peres at the Knesset on September 29, 2016, where his coffin lay in state the day before his burial on Mount Herzl. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
  • The Knesset Honor Guard stands by the coffin of Shimon Peres at the plaza where the public paid their last respects to the former president on September 29, 2016. (Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90)
    The Knesset Honor Guard stands by the coffin of Shimon Peres at the plaza where the public paid their last respects to the former president on September 29, 2016. (Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90)
  • Pope Francis looks on as Israel's then-president Shimon Peres (left), and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas greet each other during an evening of peace prayers in the Vatican gardens, Sunday, June 8, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Gregorio Borgia)
    Pope Francis looks on as Israel's then-president Shimon Peres (left), and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas greet each other during an evening of peace prayers in the Vatican gardens, Sunday, June 8, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Gregorio Borgia)
  • Thousands of Israelis pay their respects to Shimon Peres at the Knesset in Jerusalem on September 29, 2016, a day after the elder statesman died at the age of 93 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)
    Thousands of Israelis pay their respects to Shimon Peres at the Knesset in Jerusalem on September 29, 2016, a day after the elder statesman died at the age of 93 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)
  • A portrait of Shimon Peres stands in the plaza outside the Knesset in Jerusalem on September 29, 2016, as thousands of Israelis pay their respects to the elder statesman a day after his death at the age of 93. (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)
    A portrait of Shimon Peres stands in the plaza outside the Knesset in Jerusalem on September 29, 2016, as thousands of Israelis pay their respects to the elder statesman a day after his death at the age of 93. (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)
  • Israelis line up before paying their respect in front of the coffin of former president Shimon Peres at a plaza outside the Knesset in Jerusalem on September 29, 2016. (AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA)
    Israelis line up before paying their respect in front of the coffin of former president Shimon Peres at a plaza outside the Knesset in Jerusalem on September 29, 2016. (AFP PHOTO/MENAHEM KAHANA)
  • Former US president Bill Clinton, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein pay their respects at the lying in state of former president and prime minister Shimon Peres, September 29, 2016. (Yizhak Harari/Shimon Rivkin/Knesset Spokesman's office)
    Former US president Bill Clinton, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein pay their respects at the lying in state of former president and prime minister Shimon Peres, September 29, 2016. (Yizhak Harari/Shimon Rivkin/Knesset Spokesman's office)
  • Former US president Bill Clinton pays his respects at the lying in state of former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres, September 29, 2016. (Yizhak Harari/Shimon Rivkin/Knesset Spokesman's office)
    Former US president Bill Clinton pays his respects at the lying in state of former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres, September 29, 2016. (Yizhak Harari/Shimon Rivkin/Knesset Spokesman's office)
  • The Knesset Honor Guard carries the coffin of former president and prime minister Shimon Peres at the Knesset, September 29, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
    The Knesset Honor Guard carries the coffin of former president and prime minister Shimon Peres at the Knesset, September 29, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Thursday’s events as they unfolded.

Arab MKs to skip Shimon Peres’s funeral

Members of Knesset from the Joint (Arab) List say they will not attend tomorrow’s funeral for former president Shimon Peres, who died yesterday at the age of 93.

“The memory of Peres among the Arab public is different from the narrative of the last few days, and I understand that complex messages such as this are are hard to hear the moment after someone’s death,” Joint List leader Ayman Odeh writes in Hebrew on Twitter.

“Thanks to Peres, in the 90s there were two positive and important points in the peace process, while building a partnership with representatives of the Arab public, after which 90% of the Arab population voted for him,” Odeh writes.

In this undated photo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) speaks with Leader of the Zionist Union party Isaac Herzog (C) and Leader of the Joint (Arab) List, Ayman Odeh in the Knesset. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In this undated photo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) speaks with Leader of the Zionist Union party Isaac Herzog (C) and Leader of the Joint (Arab) List, Ayman Odeh in the Knesset. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“But on the other hand, we have a fierce opposition to the man of security, occupation and settlement construction, who introduced nuclear [facilities] to the Middle East and, unfortunately, was also a president of who chose to support Netanyahu and his policies.”

No Joint List MKs have yet expressed regret or offered condolences over his passing.

Celebrity rabbi stays in jail after court halts early release

Lod District Court upholds an appeal by the prosecutor against a decision to grant early release to a so-called rabbi to the stars, who is serving a sentence for bribery.

The appeal came after the parole board granted Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto early release, seven months into his year-long term, on the grounds of ill health.

Pinto, who has an international following among celebrities and business leaders as well as high-powered contacts in the Israeli government, is serving his sentence in the medical center of Ramle’s Nitzan Prison.

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto (2nd left) enters Nitzan prison on February 16, 2016, at the start of a 1-year sentence for bribery. (Flash90)

Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto (2nd left) enters Nitzan prison on February 16, 2016, at the start of a 1-year sentence for bribery. (Flash90)

State to pay NIS 120m to victims of wedding disaster

The State of Israel will pay NIS 120 million ($32 million) in compensation to the victims of a deadly building collapse at a wedding hall in Jerusalem in 2001, which killed 23 people including the groom’s elderly grandfather and toddler cousin.

The state will make payments to 428 plaintiffs, the Ynet news website reported. The claimants are the relatives of the dead as well as those who were injured when the top floor and parts of the three-story Versailles wedding hall collapsed during the May 2001 wedding of Keren and Asaf Dror.

The state says the payment is not an admission of guilt and that it plans to be repaid by the Jerusalem Municipality, the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) and the Standards Institution.

Chaos after the collapse of a floor at the Versailles wedding hall, Jerusalem, May 25, 2001. (Photo by FLASH90 FILE)

Chaos after the collapse of a floor at the Versailles wedding hall, Jerusalem, May 25, 2001. (Photo by FLASH90 FILE)

All school flags to fly at half-mast during Peres funeral

The national flag will fly at half-mast at every educational institution across Israel during the funeral for Shimon Peres, who died yesterday at the age of 93.

The decision has been sent to every school principal and regional director, and every other department in the Education Ministry, Channel 10 reports.

Peres will be laid to rest tomorrow at the Mount Herzl national cemetery in Jerusalem.

Abbas plans to bring PA delegation to Peres’s funeral

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas intends to attend Shimon Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem tomorrow, at the head of a PA delegation.

Abbas’s office contacted the head of Israel’s civilian authority in the Palestinian territories, Yoav Mordechai, to coordinate the president’s attendance.

Abbas will be joined by a delegation comprising senior officials Saeb Erekat, Hussein al-Sheikh and Majd Faraz. Former Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qurei might also attend.

Pope Francis looks on as Israel's then-president Shimon Peres (left), and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas greet each other during an evening of peace prayers in the Vatican gardens, Sunday, June 8, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Francis looks on as Israel’s then-president Shimon Peres (left), and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas greet each other during an evening of peace prayers in the Vatican gardens, Sunday, June 8, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Gregorio Borgia)

— Avi Issacharoff

Defense Ministry provides buses for those paying respects to Peres

The Defense Ministry is providing free shuttle services to the Knesset from locations across Jerusalem and the nearby city of Modiin, in order to allow people to pay last respects to Shimon Peres.

As well as serving as president, prime minister and foreign minister, Peres also had a brief stint as defense minister in the 1990s.

The shuttles are running constantly from:
• Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem
• The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo parking lot
• The Teddy Stadium parking lot in Jerusalem
• The Malcha Train Station in Jerusalem
• The Old Train Station parking lot on Hebron Street in Jerusalem
• The Park and Ride parking lot in Modiin

— Judah Ari Gross

Police closing main route into Jerusalem for Peres funeral

Polcie say the main highway (Route 1) into Jerusalem will be closed at various times tomorrow for Shimon Peres’s funeral.

The highway will closed tomorrow morning from 7:30 until 9:30, and then again from 12:30 until 2, due to security considerations.

Channel 10 television says heavy traffic is expected on the alternative routes toward Jerusalem, including Routes 6, 38, 431 and 443. Police are advising anyone who is not making an essential journey to stay off these roads. Traffic jams are expected to continue until Saturday.

Abbas aides says no political motive in attending Peres’s funeral

Sources close to Abbas tell the Ynet news website that he wants to attend Shimon Peres’s funeral for humanitarian reasons, not out of political considerations.

Abbas’s office contacted the Israeli authorities earlier today to discuss arrangements for a PA delegation to attend tomorrow’s ceremony at Mount Herzl national cemetery in Jerusalem.

Ben-Gurion’s secretary: He loved Shimon Peres

Liza Shvetz, the 102-year-old former secretary of David Ben-Gurion, recalls the strong affection Israel’s first prime minister had for Shimon Peres, who in his youth served as one of his aides.

“Ben Gurion loved Shimon Peres and appreciated him,” Shvetz tells Ynet, recalling that even when still a young politician, Peres was a dominant figure in Ben-Gurion’s circle.

“He was very popular and appreciated,” she says. “He was very dedicated and Ben-Gurion just loved it.”

102-year-old Liza Shvetz, David Ben-Gurion's secretary, talks to Ynet about the first prime minister's relationship with his young aide Shimon Peres in an interview aired on September 29, 2016 (screen capture: Ynet)

102-year-old Liza Shvetz, David Ben-Gurion’s secretary, talks to Ynet about the first prime minister’s relationship with his young aide Shimon Peres in an interview aired on September 29, 2016 (screen capture: Ynet)

Shvetz says she will always remember the warmth of Peres and his wife Sonia.

“I visited their home several times and she was always very nice,” she says. “Shimon could not survive without public service. People like this are rare in our era. This generation is vanishing.”

Netanyahu approves Abbas attendance at Peres’s funeral

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agrees to Abbas’s attendance at Shimon Peres’s funeral tomorrow in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian leader contacted the Israeli authorities earlier today to request that he be permitted to lead a delegation of senior PA officials, including Saeb Erekat, to the service.

Cairo confirms Egypt FM to attend Peres funeral, but no Sissi

Egypt confirms that it is sending Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to Shimon Peres’s funeral tomorrow in Jerusalem, but President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi will not attend.

Shoukry will be accompanied by Egypt’s newly arrived ambassador to Israel, Hazem Khairat.

Egypt's new ambassador to Israel, Hazem Khairat, with President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem, February 25, 2016 (Mark Neiman/GPO)

Egypt’s new ambassador to Israel, Hazem Khairat, with President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem, February 25, 2016 (Mark Neiman/GPO)

Jordan’s king sends condolences for Peres’s death

King Abdullah of Jordan sends a letter of condolence to President Reuven Rivlin over the death of Shimon Peres, including a plea for a continuation of the peace process that the former president helped to launch.

“I would like to express my condolences over the passing of former President Shimon Peres,” reads the letter, which is dated today.

“Mr. Peres’ efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and his support for the two-state solution must be upheld and built upon by leaders in Israel and all stakeholders in this conflict.

Then-president Shimon Peres meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the World Economic Forum in Amman, Jordan, on May 26, 2013. (Mark Neyman/GPO/Flash90)

Then-president Shimon Peres meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the World Economic Forum in Amman, Jordan, on May 26, 2013. (Mark Neyman/GPO/Flash90)

“Today, his contributions towards achieving peace and security in the region are more relevant than ever before, as the situation becomes more complex and the security of this entire region comes under threat. It is vital that the voices of reason prevail and the advocates of peace continue to lead the way.”

The missive concludes with the blessing: “May God Almighty bless his soul and grant his family and the people of Israel patience and fortitude.”

 

Turkish official to attend Peres’s funeral

A senior Turkish diplomat will attend Shimon Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem tomorrow, Israel’s Foreign Ministry says.

Turkey’s Undersecretary to the Foreign Ministry Feridun Sinirlioğlu was a key member of Ankara’s negotiating team during the recently signed reconciliation deal with Israel, Walla reports.

Over 100 hurt as train plows into New Jersey station

A packed commuter train crashed into a station in New Jersey during this morning’s rush hour, officials says, with more than 100 people reportedly injured.

The train failed to stop as it pulled into the transit hub of Hoboken, just over the Hudson river from New York.

“Due to a NJ Transit train derailment at #Hoboken Station, NJ, all PATH train service in and out of Hoboken Station is suspended,” New York’s official emergency information system tweets.

New Jersey’s emergency management system is reporting more than 100 people injured, while the New Jersey transit service says there are “multiple” injuries, ABC News reports.

Images on social media show serious damage to the train station, with part of the roof apparently caved in. Video shows the station in shambles with the train tangled in wires and debris from what appeared to be collapsed portions of the roof.

Emergency vehicles are at the scene.

— AFP

Jordan sending deputy PM to Peres’s funeral

Jordan is sending Deputy Prime Minister Jawad Anani to the funeral of Shimon Peres tomorrow in Jerusalem.

Earlier today, Jordan’s King Abdullah sent a letter of condolence at the death of the former president, urging all sides to continue his efforts toward peace.

Jordan and Egypt are the two sole Arab states to have signed peace agreements with Israel.

At least one fatality reported in New Jersey train crash

At least one person died when a train crashed into the station at Hoboken in New Jersey during rush hour, according to reports.

A transit spokeswoman says that there are “multiple critical injuries” in the crash. Over 100 people were injured.

Israel’s mission to UN holds memorial for Peres

Israel’s mission to the United Nations holds a memorial ceremony for Shimon Peres at the UN headquarters in New York.

The ceremony is attended by Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and US Ambassador Samantha Power, as well as envoys from more than 40 countries around the world.

At the ceremony, Danon pays tribute to Peres, hailing him as one of the country’s founding fathers and “a man of vision and optimism who dedicated his life to the State of Israel.”

(L-R) UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Israeli ambassador Danny Danon and US envoy Samantha Power attend a memorial service for Shimon Peres at the UN headquarters in New York on September 129, 2016 (courtesy of the Israeli Mission to the UN)

(L-R) UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Israeli ambassador Danny Danon and US envoy Samantha Power attend a memorial service for Shimon Peres at the UN headquarters in New York on September 129, 2016 (courtesy of the Israeli Mission to the UN)

The mission has also opened a book of condolence.

Ban says at the ceremony: “I had the privilege to benefit from his wisdom. His leadership will be missed as someone who worked to realize the dream of security and peace for Israel.”

PM to meet with Bill Clinton, Trudeau, Hollande

Netanyahu will hold talks with some of the dozens of world leaders in Israel to attend Shimon Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem tomorrow.

The PM will meet tonight with Bill Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and tomorrow he will hold talks after the funeral with French President Francois Hollande, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Netanyahu will not hold talks with US President Barack Obama, whom he met earlier this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

According to Israel Radio, Netanyahu was forced to decline several requests for meetings due to the onset of Shabbat at sundown.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris on November 30, 2015. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris on November 30, 2015. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Decision to skip Peres’s funeral is complex, says Arab MK

Arab MK Aida Touma-Suleiman says the decision by members of the Joint (Arab) List faction to skip Peres’s funeral was a complex one.

“We are expressing a position that represents complex issues, it is not black and white,” she tells Army Radio. “We both remember all the wrongs, and that Peres signed the Oslo Accords. We also remember that Peres was the one who managed the negotiations with the leaders of the Arab population.”

Chief rabbi, Jewish leader part of official UK delegation for Peres funeral

British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and the head of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Jonathan Arkush are part of the official UK delegation for the funeral of Shimon Peres.

Arkush calls the move “a mark of significant recognition for our community.”

The delegation also includes Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Prince Charles. It is unlikely that Prime Minister Theresa May will be in attendance, as her first Conservative Party conference as leader begins on Sunday. Johnson, therefore, will be the highest-ranking member of the British government in the delegation.

Former prime ministers Tony Blair, David Cameron and Gordon Brown are also attending the ceremony on Mount Herzl.

Bill Clinton reportedly to deliver eulogy at Peres’s funeral

Bill Clinton will deliver a eulogy at Shimon Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem tomorrow, Channel 10 quotes US sources as saying.

The former president arrived in Israel earlier today for the funeral. Hillary Clinton was unable to attend as she is on the campaign trail in the final stretch before the US presidential elections in November.

Clinton is remembered in Israel for his eulogy at the 1995 funeral of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, during which he uttered the famous salutation “Shalom Chaver” (goodbye friend).

Thousands of emergency personnel deployed for Peres’s funeral

Thousands of police officers, hundreds of Shin Bet security service agents, hundreds of Magen David Adom medical service personnel and two hospitals will work today and tomorrow to ensure that the ceremonies for Shimon Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem go off without incident, officials say.

With representatives from more than 70 countries around the world attending, the funeral represents one of the largest security operations in the history of the country, according to officials from the police, Shin Bet and MDA.

Police highlight the main areas of attention as Ben Gurion International Airport, through which hundreds of foreign officials will enter the country; the Knesset, where Peres’s coffin is on display until the funeral; the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa; the hotels in which the visiting VIPs will be staying tonight; and Mount Herzl, where Peres will be laid to rest tomorrow.

The Shin Bet says it is specifically responsible for guarding “more than 60 people from Israel and the rest of the world, including 20 presidents, 15 foreign ministers, five heads of state and VIPs from various countries that are coming to represent their nations at the funeral.”

— Judah Ari Gross

Herzog ‘disappointed’ by Joint List boycott of Peres funeral

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog says he is disappointed in the MKs from the Joint (Arab) List who have decided against attending tomorrow’s funeral for Shimon Peres.

“I’m very disappointed in them, it shows that something bad is happening there,” Herzog tells Channel 10 news.

“It’s not possible that if some people write on Facebook about his intellectual integrity, they are not bound to say something about Peres’s deep partnership with the Arab public in Israel or about his efforts not only for peace but also for equality.”

Gaza man dies in ‘accident’ in Islamic Jihad tunnel

The Gaza Health Ministry says a Palestinian was killed in an accident while working in a “military tunnel” used by Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad.

The Hamas-run ministry says Ahmed Mayyat was killed and three others were injured, without elaborating.

Islamic Jihad says Mayyat was a local contractor hired to remove a bomb from the tunnel. Local media reports he also worked for several international aid organizations in Gaza on a freelance basis.

— Agencies

Ukraine marks 75 years since Nazi slaughter of Jews at Babi Yar

A somber Ukraine marks 75 years since the Nazis slaughtered 34,000 Jews on the outskirts of Kiev during one of the worst single massacres of the Holocaust.

President Reuven Rivlin was meant to join a memorial ceremony led by Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko and attended by other global dignitaries, but Rivlin cuts short his visit due to the death of Shimon Peres — although not before drawing criticism for “undiplomatic” comments about Ukrainians’ role in the Babi Yar slaughter.

Poroshenko tries to calm the air by stressing that “there have been those [in Ukraine] for which one felt shame. And this, too, cannot be erased from our collective memory.

“No Ukrainian has the right to forget this tragedy,” he tells a commemoration at which children played a mournful concert before blue skeletal statues honoring the victims.

German President Joachim Gauck tells the thousands gathered under two giant white tents that the Nazis “even used nationalist Ukrainians as assistant police.”

“But we also admit that not only special fences [of death camps], but ordinary Wehrmacht [soldiers] were involved in these crimes,” Gauck says.

— AFP

NY governor skips Peres funeral following Hoboken train crash

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he will not be attending Shimon Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem tomorrow, due to the train crash today in Hoboken, New Jersey.

At least one person was killed and over 100 hundred injured when a train plowed into the station during the morning rush hour.

Cuomo was meant to join the dozens of international dignitaries and heads of state at tomorrow’s service on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

Breitbart columnist calls Washington Post writer ‘Jewish, American elitist’

A columnist for Breitbart News attacks Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum, calling her a “Polish, Jewish, American elitist” and accusing her of having “global media contacts” in a discursive article that tried to link her to partisan Polish politics.

The gratuitous nod to Applebaum’s Jewishness appears in a 1,400-word article titled “WaPo’s Anne Applebaum Embarks On Kremlin-Style Disinformation Offensive vs. the Anti-Globalist Right.” According to the story, Applebaum is “on the warpath against the rising populist forces doing electoral damage to her establishment friends and allies across the world.”

“[H]ell hath no fury like a Polish, Jewish, American elitist scorned,” writes Matthew Tyrmand, who is himself Jewish.

Defending his comment on Twitter, Tyrmand writes: “Apparently I am a wannabe nazi and gestapo [sic]. This is totally unhinged.”

The piece comes a month after Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tapped Stephen Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News, to be the campaign’s new CEO.

— JTA

Obama, Clinton to speak at Peres’s funeral

US presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton will be among the speakers at Shimon Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem tomorrow, according to Israel’s Culture Ministry, which is responsible for the funeral arrangements.

Other speakers include Rivlin, Netanyahu, the former president’s sons Yoni and Chemi Peres, his daughter Zvia Walden, and renowned author Amos Oz.

The ceremony will be held tomorrow morning at the national cemetery on Mount Herzl.

Peres funeral closed to public due to Abbas’s presence

Police close tomorrow’s funeral for Shimon Peres to the public due to the presence of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The police say, however, that the decision was not made by them.

Meanwhile, Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich says several people have been arrested on suspicion of planning to disrupt the ceremony at Mount Herzl.

He stresses that the arrests are preventative rather than in response to a concrete warning, Channel 10 reports.

 

 

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