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Sunday, 2 August 2015

From Today's Papers - 02 Aug 2015

Centre plans social media checks to counter IS threat
Facilities at police stations across the country to be ramped up
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
In its efforts to counter the growing radicalisation of the youth and the threat emerging from the Islamic State (IS), the government has decided to keep tabs on social media websites and applications to check radical, at times false, propaganda. It has also decided to ramp up facilities at police stations across the country and train the forces accordingly.

The decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary LC Goyal and attended by top police and civil officers from 12 states, besides key counterterrorism operatives of central agencies.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will draw up a “blueprint” to counter radicalisation of the youth and possible spread of the IS. As the meeting was on in Delhi, three IS flags were seen fluttering in Mendhar sector along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi is worried as a latest assessment by the US has indicated the IS may attack India to trigger a wider conflict.

The blueprint, expected to stress ‘community initiatives’, would involve religious leaders to prevent radicalisation, said a senior official who attended the meeting. The MHA will also suggest the strategy and means to check the spread of the IS agenda on the internet. “There is a need to not only monitor but also ideologically counter the IS in the cyberspace,” an official said. The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), which also participated in the meeting, shared tools to monitor the internet.

Sources said the MHA’s blueprint would lay down possible “red flags” for state police forces to follow on the ground and track signs of radicalisation.

Ticket bookings are being tracked and 20 youths have been prevented from leaving India for Syria.

The meeting also discussed how to ramp up institutional mechanisms for sharing information. At present, a multi-agency centre sends alert to all states. It was decided to strengthen the capacity building of the police officers in states through training programmes with the help of the central intelligence and security agencies.
Satellite phone intercept sends Army to look for terror moles
Service provider Thuraya was used by 26/11 attackers too
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/New Delhi, August 1
An intercepted overseas call from a banned satellite phone service provider to a recipient located near Jalandhar has prompted a security hunt for the unauthorised use of such an instrument.

The service provider has been identified as Thuraya, a firm based in the United Arab Emirates, which was also used by Pakistani terrorists in the Mumbai attacks in November 2009. The use of Thuraya satellite phones is specifically prohibited in India under the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act.

The "suddenness" of the attack and the call interception has led to suspicion that these could be an attempt to revive Pakistan's "K2" (Kashmir and Khalistan) agenda. The army and Punjab Police have gone on a high alert and launched a joint operation in Punjab to thwart any possible "after shocks" of the Gurdaspur attack. Sources said the call was intercepted three days ago by an Army signals unit and the information was passed to the state police and intelligence agencies. Several agencies monitor wireless signals, including satellite and cellular calls, but it's the local police that has to verify the location and user of such calls.

The assessment of the security establishment is that five persons had crossed over for the Gurdaspur attack. While three were killed in the Dinanagar police station attack, the whereabouts of the other two are unknown.

Sources said following intercepts of a satellite phone conversation, the Army and the state police have launched a "sanitisation" drive in in two districts — Nawanshahr and Jalandhar — strategically located on the national highway.

This is the preferred route for movement of trucks and other public and private transportation from J&K towards Delhi and beyond, government sources said.  A liaison meeting was held between Army officers and the Punjab Police on Friday. Jalandhar-based 11 Corps, including an officer of the rank of a Brigadier, were part of this operation with the Nawanshahr police.  While the joint operation was originally said to be a confidence building measure, sources say the Jammu-Delhi stretch with a substantial Gujjar habitation is being sanitised.

Sources said, GPS sets recovered from the terrorists neutralised in J&K, particularly in Jammu-Sambha region, had route coordinates fed into them, which coincided with Gujjar locations.
India, China open 5th border meeting point
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
India and China today took another step to maintain peace along their disputed boundary running along the Himalayan ridge and opened their fifth border meeting point for local military commanders on either side to sort out local issues to prevent needless flare-ups.

Today, the two sides met for the first time at Daulat Beg Oldie in northern Ladakh. Located at an altitude of some 16,000 ft, the place had seen a three-week-long tense stand-off between the armies of either side in April 2013. It is at southern side of the Karokaram pass an ancient trade route between Leh and Xinjiang – China’s Muslim-dominated region. The Indian and Chinese delegations were led by Col BS Uppal and Col Song Zhoanli, respectively.

The meeting was scheduled to mark People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Day. The occasion was marked by salutations to the Chinese national flag and was followed by ceremonial address by both delegations’ leaders. The two sides reflected a mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at the border. A cultural programme showcasing Chinese culture and tradition was also organised.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out his China initiative, this was the second border meeting point to be opened. In mid-May, the first-ever meeting was conducted at Kibithoo (Anjaw district) in the extreme eastern area of Arunachal Pradesh on the banks of the Lohit river. A hotline was set up and the first meeting was conducted around the time Modi was visiting China between May 14 and May 16 this year.

Before these two new border meeting points opened, local commanders met at three points —Spanngur Gap at Chusul in Ladakh, Bum-La near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and Nathu-La in Sikkim. Today a meeting was also conducted at Chusul, the Chinese were the hosts at Moldo Garrison. The delegations were led by Brigadier JKS Virk from the Indian side and Senior Colonel Chen Zheng Shan from the Chinese.

In April, the two countries had conducted a two-day annual defence dialogue with a promise of maintaining peace along the 3,488-km-long disputed frontier, a vision outlined by PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at their September 2014 summit in India.

The militaries of the two countries are expected to control divergence of opinion at the LAC in a proper way, strengthen strategic mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation and make contributions to safeguarding the regional and world peace and stability, Chang added.

The two armies stand virtually face-to-face across the Himalayan ridgeline and patrolling in disputed areas is common from both sides.
Capt who saved the day, and lives
A former Punjab Police DGP, then an Army Captain, recalls the battle hours that saw a fellow Captain display rare valour
I joined the Army as an Emergency Commissioned Officer in 1963. In the 1965 war, I was serving in 10 Mahar as a Captain. Orders came for our unit to move to the Jammu (RS Pura)-Sialkot border. I was commanding Alpha Company. We mobilised near RS Pura. Maj SD Mehta, the adjutant of the battalion, asked me to come to the sand model room for operational orders from our Commanding Officer, who told me in lighter vein, "Puran, it is not an exercise. We are really going into battle this time."

Our task was to enter Pakistan, attack Muhadipur and Rang Pur Jattan villages, capture and thereafter hold them. We marched into Pakistan in the middle of the night in a single-line formation. We were to form up about 100 yards in front of our target and launch a bayonet attack. The moment we entered Pakistan, we were subjected to heavy artillery shelling; their guns were booming and the sky was scarlet red, spitting hellfire everywhere around us.

My orderly, Nain Singh, who was advancing along with me, was suddenly hit by an artillery shell. He died on the spot. I could do nothing more except to entrust his body to our medical detachment and continue advancing.

We finally launched a battalion attack but to our surprise, the villages were deserted, and the Pakistani army had withdrawn. We took up positions there. My company was in the reserve. Charlie and another company were deployed with a small detachment of tanks in the front. Just a day before the declaration of ceasefire, Pakistan launched a well-planned and determined attack on our positions. We had to face heavy shelling. Their attack formations had moved very close to our forward positions.

Our Charlie Company had to retreat from its forward position. I was asked to launch a counter-attack and reoccupy the position vacated by the company.

We expected hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, but we got huge artillery support from our redoubtable support company commander Capt Ajit Singh. He set up his 3-inch mortars perfectly, zeroed in on to the FUP (Forming Up Place) of the Pakistan army unit, where the enemy troops had formed up for a final and frontal attack on us.

They came under effective and direct fire of our unit mortars. They had tanks for support. It was a question of minutes and we would have been engaged in a hand-to-hand fight and there certainly would have been heavy casualties on both sides. In fact, the Pakistanis had breached our forward lines in another company front and a few of their soldiers had come close to our tactical headquarters.

Our unit intelligence officer Lt Harjit Singh Pawar was killed by the infiltrating enemy troops.

The targeted mortar shelling by Capt Ajit Singh played havoc with the Pakistani assault line. It spread chaos and mortal fear in the enemy ranks and they had to withdraw.

When I moved to the forward position, we came under direct tank shelling of the enemy. I had a tank deployed by my side. It was not responding and retaliating. I was surprised and annoyed. I decided to crawl up to the tank to find out and admonish them to act fast. I went up to the tank, got up to see inside, but found the body of a crew member with his head slanging out. I saluted the soldier and crawled back.

We did not have to fight at all in the end. The hero for us was Capt Ajit Singh, who demolished the assault line of the enemy. His valour remains etched in my memory. A salute to you!

The writer retired as DGP, Punjab
Indian Army, PLA personnel hold maiden meet at Daulat Beg Oldie in Ladakh
"The Indian delegation was led by Colonel BS Uppal and the Chinese delegation by Colonel Song Zhoanli," he said, adding that the BPM on the occasion of PLA Day is organised every year by Chinese troops with great enthusia
- See more at:
For the first time ever, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Saturday hosted an Indian Army delegation in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) area along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh sector of Jammu and Kashmir. The day marked a milestone in India-China ties at the border-troops level as the PLA hosted an Indian Army delegation for the first time in the area of Daulat Beg Oldie, a defence spokesman said. - See more at:
“The Indian delegation was led by Colonel BS Uppal and the Chinese delegation by Colonel Song Zhoanli,” he said, adding that the BPM on the occasion of PLA Day is organised every year by Chinese troops with great enthusiasm. “The occasion was marked by a salute to the Chinese flag and was followed by ceremonial addresses by the leaders of the two delegations. The proceedings reflected the mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at a functional level at the border,” he said.

A cultural programme showcasing Chinese culture and tradition was also organised to mark the occasion. He said that both the delegations interacted in a free, congenial and cordial environment. “The delegation parted amidst a feeling of friendship and commitment towards enhancing the existing cordial relations and maintaining peace along the LAC,” he said.

Further, the spokesman said that “a ceremonial border personnel meeting (BPM) on the occasion of PLA Day was conducted today at Chinese BPM Hut in Moldo Garrison in Chushul Sector of Eastern Ladakh”. The delegations were led by Brigadier JKS Virk from the Indian side and Senior Colonel Chen Zheng Shan from the Chinese side, a defence spokesman said.

Indian and Chinese troops were last year locked in an over three-week long stand-off in the Chumar and Demchok areas of eastern Ladakh which was resolved by way of an understanding reached between the two sides to carry out disengagement and redeployment of border troops to restore the “status quo a
- See more at:
Lt Gen MMS Rai takes over as Army’s new vice chief of staff
Rai replaced Lt Gen Philip Campose, who superannuated last evening. He was the Eastern Army Commander prior to his appointment as VCOAS.
Lt Gen MMS Rai on Saturday took over as the Vice Chief of Army Staff while Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who is tipped to be the next army chief, replaced the former as the new General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command in Kolkata.

Rai replaced Lt Gen Philip Campose, who superannuated last evening. He was the Eastern Army Commander prior to his appointment as VCOAS. A third generation officer in the army, Rai was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers (Bombay Sappers) on December 15, 1976, and joined an Armoured Engineer Regiment. He has held various staff and instructorship appointments and has attended various prestigious army courses, including the Defence Services Staff College Course at Wellington and Higher Command Course at Mhow.

He has rich operational and command experience and has commanded an Armoured Engineer Regiment, a Mountain Brigade in the Northeast, a Counter Insurgency Force in the volatile and highly militancy-infested region of J&K and a Desert Corps. Lt Gen Bakshi is an alumnus of National Defence Academy and was commissioned into Skinner’s Horse. Important appointments held by him include command of an Armoured Brigade in the Western Sector, a Division in the desert sector and a Corps in the plains sector of Punjab and J&K.

Prior to the appointment as Eastern Army Commander, he was Chief of Staff of Northern Command at Udhampur.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

From Today's Papers - 01 Aug 2015

Lt Gen Gurdeep Singh is COS of Western Command
Chandigarh, July 31
Following the retirement of Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lt Gen Philip Campose and Lt Gen MMS Rai moving from the Eastern Command to take over the post, the postings of several other lieutenant generals are also being effected by Army Headquarters.

Lt Gen Gurdeep Singh, who was serving as Commandant of the Army War College, Mhow, will take over as Chief of Staff (COS) of the Chandimandir headquartered Western Command. He will replace Lt Gen V Menon, a sapper officer. Lt Gen NPS Hira, currently posted as General Officer Commanding, 11 Corps, is tipped to take over as the Chief of Staff, Northern Command in place of Lt Gen Parveen Bakshi, who has been elevated as Army Commander and posted as the head of the Eastern Command.. — TNS
Intake of women officers in Army declining
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The government is considering an increased role for women in the armed forces, but the intake of women officers in the army has seen a consistent decline since 2011. The downward trend comes even as the overall shortage of officers in the army has increased vis-a-vis last year.

The number of short service (SSC) women officers commissioned into the army was 166 in 2011, which came down to 104 in 2014, according to latest figures released by the Ministry of Defence. Till July this year 39 women SSC officers have been commissioned.

During his visit to Mohali on July 25, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had expressed concern over the “low participation” of women in the armed forces and announced that in the next one or two months, a number of decisions regarding role and participation of women in the services would be taken by the government. Official sources said that the intake depends upon the overall number of vacancies available and is also commensurate with annual wastages. The number of women SSC officers leaving the services has also seen a downward trend, the figure coming down from 60 in 2011 to 12 in 2014. The number of women officers leaving the army varied from 11 per cent to 36 per cent of the intake during the particular year in this period.

While a permanent commission has been introduced for women Army officers in the Judge Advocate General’s Department and the Education Branch, they first have to join as SSC officers and are considered for permanent commission only after the end of their SSC tenure.

The decline in the intake of SSC officers in the army, including male officers, come in the backdrop of the overall shortage going up from 8,455 officers last year to 9,642 this year. Though the situation has improved from 2010, when the shortage was 26 per cent of the authorised strength as compared to 17.77 per cent last year, the spurt in shortage this year is being attributed to an increase in the authorised strength due to force accretion and new raisings.

The situation is better in the Air Force, which, according to MOD’s latest figures, no longer has any officer shortage. The intake of women SSC officers in the Air force has, on the other hand, increased over the past years and in fact from 2013 to 2015, more women SSC officers have been commissioned than SSC males.
ISIS_ abducts 4 Indians in Libya; 2 freed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 31
Efforts mounted by India today led to the release of two of the four Indians who were allegedly kidnapped by the ISIS, Islamic State terror outfit, while they were on the way back to the country from Tripoli, Libya on Wednesday.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced the release of the two Indians through Twitter. “Four Indians abducted in Libya — I am happy we have been able to secure the release of Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar. Trying for other two."

The two Indians have been brought back to safety in the University of Sirte while efforts were on to secure the release of the other two, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

"Two days ago, on July 29 at around 11 pm, our mission in Tripoli came to know that four Indian nationals, who were returning to India via Tripoli and Tunis, were detained at a checkpoint approximately 50 km from Sirte.

Of the four Indian nationals, two are from Hyderabad, one from Raichur and one from Bengaluru. Three of them were faculty members at the Sirte University and one was working at the Sirte University branch in Jufra," the spokesperson said.
Shift in nature of terrorism worries former RAW chief
Naveen S Garewal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The hanging of Yakub Memon will have repercussions in Kashmir and other parts of the country, said former head of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) AS Dulat. He expressed concern over the shift in the nature of terrorism in the Valley over the last six months, which included growing influence of the ISIS and its attraction among influential youth.

Dulat was speaking at a roundtable on Perspective on Kashmir: A Way Forward at the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC).

The former RAW chief, who has 27 years of experience in dealing with the Kashmir issue, said when he was first posted to Kashmir the ultras in the form of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) were easily identifiable, but today the father did not know his son’s activities, brother did not know what his sibling was doing and educated youth, including doctors and engineers, were being attracted to the gun out of sheer sense of hopelessness with the system.

He felt that no one was clear as to where the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir was headed. But he hoped that the Centre would give the state government at least three years before considering any change in support to the PDP. This alliance, he said, can reduce polarisation in the state. At the same time he felt that the Centre should not push CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed much because if the Mufti quits, the ground reality in Kasmir will take a dip for the worse.

While his book ‘Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years’ was being discussed, he said that Pakistan could not be wished away from the Kashmir issue. However, support for Pakistan fluctuated in the valley based on how India dealt with the state. He advised the Centre to deal with a little more sensitivity and provide “Kashmiris a dignified exit from a hard-line stand” as none wanted to align with Pakistan. “But when Kashmir is not treated well the ISIS and Pakistan flags come out”.

Former Army Chief Gen VP Malik said many Muslims from the valley had moved to the safer Doda region.
Pak shells five posts in Poonch
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 31
Four days after the Dinanagar attack and killing of a soldier in sniper fire in the Krishna Ghati (KG) sector along the Line of Control in Poonch district on July 29, Pakistan troops used automatic weapons’ fire and rained mortars on five Indian posts in the same sector last night.

Indian soldiers retaliated in equal measure and the intermittent gun duel went on throughout the night before guns fell silent on both sides.

However, there was no loss of life or injury to the Indian troopers in the latest skirmish.

Two BSF jawans were killed in similar incidents along the LoC in the Kashmir valley in recent times.

“Pakistan troops, in another truce violation, rained mortars on Indian posts in the KG sector of Poonch district on Thursday evening. From 6.15 pm till 7.50 pm, Pak used small arms fire and then from 8 pm to 8.20 pm they fired 82 mm mortar shells on five of our posts. We also retaliated in equal measure and targeted six of their posts - Fatima, Badr, Billi, Roza, Peer and Pimple posts,” said defence sources.

The troops of the 651 Mujahid Regiment on these posts had initiated the first fire drawing troops of 22 Sikh Regiment to retaliate in equal measure, they added.

A defence spokesperson said Pakistan troops fired 82 mm mortars and the Indian troops retaliated with 81 mm mortars. “After trading mortar fire, exchange of small arms fire ended late in the night,” he added.

An Intelligence source, however, said that intermittent fight went on throughout the night. This was the third ceasefire violation in less than 24 hours.

There have been 18 ceasefire violations along the Indo-Pak border in July so far. Since July 15, Pak troops and Rangers have been regularly opening sniper fire and heavy fire on Indian posts and forward villages.

Meanwhile, the BSF opened preventive fire along the international border in the Samba sector after they noticed suspicious movement. “Last night, the BSF personnel observed some suspicious movement near the Khora post and fired three to four rounds to prevent possible attempts of infiltration,” said a BSF source.
Masked youth wave IS, Pak flags in Srinagar after Friday prayers
Mirwaiz terms Yaqub Memon’s hanging as ‘murder of justice’
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 31
For the fifth time in a row, masked youth waved Islamic State (IS) flags in downtown Srinagar after Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid, where moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq condemned the hanging of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon.

Alongside IS flags, Lashkar and Pakistani flags were also waved in the area today by the masked youth whose identity and antecedents are not know.

Masked youth had waved IS_flags in the Nowhatta area of Srinagar soon after the Friday prayers were over in Jamia Masjid laat week.

Earlier on three occasions — May 22, June 12 and July 17 — IS_and Pakistani flags were also waved by the protesting and masked youth in Srinagar.

The routine waving of these flags and stone throwing after Friday prayers are resented by the moderate group of the Hurriyat Conference._Mirwaiz has on an earlier occasion said there should no protests in the Jamia Masjid area without programme.

However, these calls have not been heeded by the protesting youth. Hurriyat insiders and the police are also of the view that most of the youth who resort to stone-throwing and waving of flags belong to the radical organisations.

“The youth who indulge in protests and stone throwing in the Jamia Masjid area are mostly outsiders and come from far-off places,” said a police official, adding that the protests by these people is also being resented by locals in the downtown.

Meanwhile, moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq today termed the hanging of Yaqub Memon as “unfortunate” and “murder of justice”. He was talking to the reporters outside Jamia Masjid.

“The hanging is unfortunate and murder of justice,” Mirwaiz said, while questioning “why the culprits behind the Gujarat riots, Malegoan blasts and Mumbai riots are not being punished to satisfy the collective conscience of the nation.”

Earlier in the day, Hurriyat leaders and activists also held a protest demonstration in the Press Enclave area of the city against the hanging of Memon and to highlight the plight of Kashmiri prisoners lodged in Kashmir and outside jails.

However, Hurriyat leaders, including former JKLF commander Javed Mir, Shahid-ul-Islam, Ghulam Nabi Zaki and others, were prevented by the police from moving forward and taken into custody. In the melee, Javed Mir also got injured and was later admitted to a city hospital for treatment, a Hurriyat spokesman said.

A protest was also held here by leaders and activists of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat headed by Syed Ali Geelani, who continues to be under house arrest at his Hyderpora residence. The protest, a Hurriyat spokesman said, was also a mean to show solidarity with the Muslims of Jammu.

At Kashmir University, students offered “Gaibana Nimaz-i-Jinazah” (funeral prayers in absentia) for Yakub Memon and Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar.
Tension on LoC after Pakistani snipers kill Indian army soldier
Pakistani army violated the border ceasefire again when its snipers killed the Indian army soldier on the Line of Control (LoC) in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district in the Jammu division on Wednesday night.

The incident occurred on Wednesday night when Pakistani army sniped at the Indian army jawan who was guarding his post along the LoC. The jawan suffered grievous injuries and was shifted to the hospital where he succumbed.

“There was a sniper fire from across the (LoC) in which one of our solider was martyred. The jawan was in the post when they (Pakistan army) sniped at him,” Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu, told dna.

Indian army exercised restrain and did not retaliate to Pakistani provocation. “We did not retaliate,” said Lt Col Mehta.

The fresh ceasefire violation comes 12 days after Pakistani army pounded civilian areas to disrupt the Eid revelry in Shahpur and Qasba villages of Poonch district injuring five people including three women.

Official figures reveal that there have been 199 ceasefire violations from January 1 to June 30 2015 in which two soldiers and two civilians were killed. Last year 583 ceasefire violations took place in which four jawans and 13 civilians were killed. Official figures reveal there have been 347 ceasefire violations from Pakistan in 2013 in which 10 jawans were killed.

“All violations of ceasefire are taken up with Pakistan military authorities at the appropriate level through the established mechanism of hotlines, flag meetings as well as weekly talks between the Directorate Generals of Military Operations of the two countries. BSF, too, holds talks at various levels with its counterpart viz. Pakistan Rangers,” said Colonel SD Goswami defence spokesman at Northern Command, quoting the reply of defence minister Manohar Parrikar in Rajya Sabha.

Colonel Goswami added, “Diplomatically, India has repeatedly emphasised, the need for Pakistan to uphold the sanctity of the Line of Control (LoC) and abide by the ceasefire commitment of 2003 along the International Border and LoC.”

On Thursday evening, Pakistani army resorted to unprovoked firing on the Indian forward posts at 6.15 pm in Krishna Ghati Sector of Poonch district.
"Our troops are responding appropriately. No casualty or damage has been reported till now,” said Lt Col Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu


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