What to watch on Netflix: The Global Edition

What to watch on Netflix: The Global Edition

1. Remembrance (Die verlorene Zeit) – Germanydie-verlorene-zeit-212518
Set in Nazi Germany, Remembrance is based on the true story of a Jewish woman, Hannah Sibberstein, and a Polish political prisoner, Tomasz Limanowski, who fall in love, then subsequently escape a German concentration camp. What makes this movie unique is its depiction of the couple’s life at the concentration camp in 1944 and Hannah’s life in New York in 1976 following her escape from Nazi Germany. Like any movie about the Holocaust, Remembrance is by no means uplifting. But Remembrance’s captivating plot twists and moving dialogue (in the form of subtitles) make it one of the best Holocaust movies I’ve seen.

crouchingtigerhiddendragon2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wo hu cang long) – China
This classic film is great for anybody who wants to see some good old-fashioned butt-kicking scenes. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon follows martial arts master Li Mu Bai’s quest to avenge the death of his master and reclaim his stolen sword. Though the plot is pretty unoriginal, the martial arts action scenes make this a must see movie.

likewaterforchocolate3. Like Water for Chocolate (Como Agua para Chocolate) – Mexico
If you’re in the mood for a good chick flick, look no further than Like Water for Chocolate. Based on a bestselling novel, Like Water for Chocolate tells the story of a young girl, Tita, who wishes to marry the love of her life, Pedro, but cannot because family tradition dictates the youngest daughter must stay single and take care of her mother. Though Tita suppresses her outward feelings for Pedro, her emotions manifest themselves through her cooking, influencing everyone who eats her food. The result is a fantastical story of love, betrayal and delicious Mexican cooking.

theattack4. The Attack (L’Attentat) – France
The Attack gives a unique and personal perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Set in modern Israel, the movie is about an Israeli Palestinian man, Amin Jaafari, whose life is forever changed when his wife is accused of setting off a bomb in a restaurant killing 19 people including herself. This suspenseful drama will keep you guessing until the very end.

bliss5. Bliss (Mutluluk) – Turkey
Bilss tells the story of a young woman who is sentenced to death after she is accused of having sex before marriage. Before being killed, the young woman escapes with the man sentenced to kill her. This movie takes a provocative look at traditionalist Islamic laws and throughout the course of the movie shows the dire effects they can have on women. The acting is what sets this movie over the top and makes it a must see.

Dilwale-Dulhania-Le-Jayenge6. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge – India
If you’re looking for a classic feel-good Bollywood musical then look no further than Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ). This romantic comedy is about a young couple that meets and falls in love against their parents’ wishes. The movie is packed full of the upbeat song and dance numbers that are crucial to any successful Bollywood film and to date, DDLJ is the longest running film in Indian cinema history, showing nearly 1000 weeks straight.

LesChoristes7. The Chorus (Les Choristes) – France
The Chorus is an uplifting movie about a world-renowned music teacher who takes a teaching job at delinquent boys boarding school following his mother’s illness. Though it has a fairly predictable plot (teacher takes job at a troubled school and ends up inspiring students), The Chorus is still well worth a watch, especially for music fans.

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON8. Like Father, Like Son (Soshite Chichi ni Naru) – Japan
Like Father Like Son is the perfect movie to watch if you’re looking for a real tearjerker. The movie is about two couples that discover that their now 6-year-old sons were swapped at birth. The couples then face a nearly impossible choice: keep the children they’ve been raising or switch back. The actors in this movie do such a great job that by the end, you’ll be completely invested in these families.

sidewalls9. Sidewalls (Medianeras) – Argentina
Sidewalls is the story of two neighbors who are a seemingly perfect couple but have never met. Though it can be cheesy at times, I often found myself yelling at the screen when the couple came close to meeting but one thing stood in their way. If love stories don’t appeal to you, this movie’s footage of Buenos Aires and its depiction of city life make it worth a watch.

the-hunt10. The Hunt (Jagten) – Denmark
Nominated for countless awards including a 2014 Oscar for best foreign language films, The Hunt is the story of a teacher, Lucas, who is wrongly accused of sexual assault by one of his students. Don’t watch this movie if you are looking for something uplifting. On the contrary, The Hunt will take you on an emotional rollercoaster that very rarely lifts you up.

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Insight From Abroad: Study Abroad in South Africa

Insight From Abroad: Study Abroad in South Africa

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Leah Wainwright is a senior in advertising management. The Big Green sat down with her to discuss her summer in Cape Town, South Africa, and what she learned from her study abroad experience.

The Big Green: What study abroad program did you participate in? Where was it located?
Leah Wainwright: I did a summer study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa.

TBG: What did you study and what classes did you have to take?
LW: It was an internship study abroad worth 12 credits, 6 credits were for Advertising and 6 were for Communications. I worked for a company called Netsport Media. They hey own South Africa Swimsuit and South Africa Lingerie magazines.I worked as a writer and content generator for their website, worldswimsuit.com, and also assisted on site at photo shoots.

TBG: What were you most surprised by when you first got to South Africa?
LW: The diversity the United States has always been called a “melting pot” but we have nothing on Cape Town in South Africa. They are a true melting pot. I met someone from a different part of the world daily.

TBG: What was the hardest thing to adjust to?
LW: Definitely the public services like transportation and the police force. The trains and buses were often unsafe and full of graffiti. The police are mainly on foot and on almost every corner and especially by outdoor ATMs.

TBG: What we’re some of the biggest differences between South Africa and the USA?
LW: The wealth gap. The USA definitely has areas of poverty, but it isn’t in the form of townships, which are a lingering affect of Apartheid in South Africa. South Africa has only been a democracy for 20 years so people there view politics differently. The average person was much more in tune with not only South African politics but American politics as well. It definitely helped me personally to become more aware of politics.

TBG: What did you miss the most about home?
LW: Definitely my parents. The Internet service in South Africa isn’t very good and it’s very expensive so it was hard to find time to talk to my parents between the terrible internet and the time change- it was 7 hours ahead.

TBG: Now that you’re home, what do you miss the most about South Africa?
LW: Everything! Cape Town was beyond beautiful and so full of life. My coworkers were amazing and I still stay in touch and write regularly for their website. They offered to fly me out again next year when they go on location to shoot for SA Swimsuit. They think it may be the Maldives!

TBG: Any advice for students considering a study abroad?
LW: Do it and don’t just go through the motions. Embrace everything you can and soak up all the experiences you can. Also, go somewhere you couldn’t typically see yourself going. I chose South Africa because it’s not typically on the top of people’s top destinations, which is unfortunate.

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Redrawing the Political Boundaries: Gerrymandering in Michigan

Redrawing the Political Boundaries: Gerrymandering in Michigan

Egelston Gerrymandering Graphic

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Global Events Breakdown: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Global Events Breakdown: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Since the 1940’s, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has been at the center of American international affairs. Each decade since the conflict’s start, leaders from around the world have come together to help the two sides negotiate a peace treaty. Regardless of the outside parties involved, the terms of negotiation or the willingness of Israel and Palestine to come together, so far each deal has failed.

As far as conflicts go, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most complex of our time.To help, here is the necessary information needed to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Following the end of World War II, the newly formed United Nations declared the need for an independent Jewish state where Holocaust refuges and other Jews could live. On May 14, 1948 Israel was established along the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. Immediately after, Jewish refugees started moving to Israel and by 1970 more than 1 million people had immigrated to the country.

Today, Israel has a population more than 8 million people, 80 percent Jews and 20 percent Arabic. Israel is recognized by the United Nations as a sovereign state which operates under a form of parliamentary democracy.


Palestine is a geographic region within Israel that is not recognized as a sovereign state by the United Nations. Palestine is comprised of the West Bank, located on the east side of Israel, and the Gaza Strip, located on the Mediterranean Sea.

Palestine declared itself an independent state in 1988 . In 2012 the United Nations granted it observer status meaning Palestinians can attend UN meetings but have no vote.

Origins of the Conflict

Violence between Jews and Muslims around modern-day Israel is not new. The two religions have been in conflict has since Jerusalem was founded thousands of years ago. However, the modern conflict quickly escalated as soon as Israel was founded in 1948.

The first war between Israel and Palestine was from 1947-1949 and resulted in Israel obtaining control of the majority of the region. Israel gained control of the rest of the region in 1967 leaving only the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in control of the Palestinians.

Following an uprising by Palestinians in 2000, the tension between Israel and Palestine escalated into a war like conflict with constant violence from both sides.


  • From 2000-2012 6,663 Palestinians and 1,097 Israelis were killed because of the conflict
  • Almost 50 percent of all Palestinians living in in the Gaza Strip or West Bank are refugees
  • The conflict has caused highly unsteady employment rates in Palestine: In 2000, the Palestinian unemployment rate reached 22 percent
  • Israel’s economy has also been damaged by the conflict: the country has had a lower credit rating and slower economic growth than many other Middle Eastern and Asian countries

Current negotiations 

These wars and their resulting land acquisitions are at the heart of the modern Israeli-Palestinian conflict: both believe they have a right to control the same land. This notion along with arguments concerning refugees, security and the inevitable hatred associated with years of fighting has made current negotiations all but impossible

Despite the overwhelming strength of Israel and Palestine’s disagreements, UN delegates and U.S. politicians have optimistically sent representatives into the region countless times in order to help Israel and Palestine reach an agreement to no avail.

Most recently in early November, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry went to Israel in hopes of brokering a peace deal between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. After a week of negotiations, arguments and threats, the deal once again fell through.

What’s Next?

Peace between Israel and Palestine may not be completely impossible. Even though peace negotiations have failed thus far, a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians favor the solution to creation of two independent states.

Because the foundation is there, peace could occur if the two sides simply come together and agree upon the specifics of a treaty like how to address refugees and where to set country borders. Without this discussion and compromise, the violence between Israel and Palestine will inevitably continue.

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Global Events Breakdown: Syria

Global Events Breakdown: Syria

Unless you’ve avoided watching TV, listening to the radio, reading newspapers and the internet for the last few years you’ve have probably heard something about the Syrian Civil War. Because it has received so much attention, many of the causes, events and even basic facts of the conflict have been jumbled up making it hard for many to understand what is going on.


Photo credit: Freedom House. www.flickr.com/photos/syriafreedom

To help with this confusion, here are all the things you need to know to understand the Syrian Civil War.

About Syria

Syria is located in the Middle East and is bordered by Lebanon, Turkey and the Mediterranean Sea. The largest cities in the country are Aleppo and Damascus, the capital.

The country’s population of about 22.5 million people is comprised mostly of Arabic- speaking Muslims. Before the conflict, the Syrian government was considered a republic under authoritarian regime. This means that the president, Bashar al-Assad, singularly held the power to make most of the decisions for the country.

Origins of the Conflict

The conflict started in the city of Daara during March 2011 in response to the poor economic conditions, the further restrictions of human rights and unjust practices by the Syrian government, such as torturing of civilians. Protestors called for the overthrow of al-Assad and the establishment of a democracy.

In response to the protests, the government dispatched the Syrian army to stop the uprisings in Daara through arresting the protestors. Instead of stopping the uprising, the government’s actions reinforced and help spread the protestors’ message throughout the country.

Protesting continued throughout March. In response, al-Assad ordered large-scale military attacks on cities with high concentrations of protestors in late April. These attacks resulted in the deaths of many civilians and escalated the conflict into a Civil War.

Key Players

The Syrian opposition has received support in the form of weapons and limited military support from countries both inside and outside of the Middle East. The support for the Syrian opposition in the Middle East comes from the predominately Sunni Muslim countries including Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. France, the United Kingdom and the United States have also given political support to opposition forces.

The main supporters of the Syrian government are Iran and Hezbollah, a Shia political and military group. These supporters have given the government troops, weapons and have aided in military training and tactics. Russia, the Syrian government’s main ally outside the Middle East, has provided political support and weapons to government troops.

Chemical Weapons

One of the most unclear and contested aspects of the Syrian Civil war is the use of chemical weapons. Both the Syrian government and the opposition forces have claimed that the other side has attacked civilians using chemical weapons.

The deadliest chemical gas attacks occurred from June to September 2013 during which hundreds of people were killed in western Syria. Though the Syrian government denies the attacks, the United States proclaimed that the government was responsible for the chemical attacks in August 2013.


As of August 2013, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented approximately 110,000 deaths since the start of the civil war. The Syrian Observatory also estimates that 4.25 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes.

More than two million people have fled Syria to countries including Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon with the hopes of finding safety. The UN estimates that nearly half of the evacuees from the war are children, most of which are younger than 11 years old.

More than 9,000 buildings have been destroyed since the start of the conflict. The public sector has also lost an estimated $15 billion because of lost or damaged infrastructure and manufacturing sites which drove the Syrian economy.

The Next Steps

After declaring the Syrian government responsible for the chemical gas attacks in August, President Obama announced that the United States would perform military air strikes on the country unless the Syrian government handed over their chemical weapons to the United Nations. At first, Syria continued to deny the attacks and the United States seemed ready to perform missile strikes, but Russia proposed a diplomatic solution involving the disarmament of Syria and the United States agreed.

The solution, which was backed by the United Nations, includes sending in a weapons task force to collect and destroy all of Syria’s 1000 tons of chemical weapons.  This taskforce arrived in Syria on Oct. 1 and are expected to have the stockpile destroyed and cleaned up by mid-2014.

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Studies show alcohol affects men and women differently

Studies show alcohol affects men and women differently

On any given weekend, MSU students can be found drunkenly stumbling between house parties, frat parties, bars and dorms around campus until the early hours of the morning. Because this is such a common occurrence, some students don’t realize that the widely believed myths about alcohol and gender could lead them to drinking too much and put themselves in danger.

On a typical night, the average blood alcohol content (BAC) of an MSU student is at around 0.067 percent regardless of gender, said Rebecca Allen, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs educator for MSU. Even with similar BACs, alcohol affects women and men’s bodies and behavior in different ways.

Julia Grippe

Photo credit: Julia Grippe

The higher proportion of body fat and fewer alcohol-breaking enzymes cause women’s bodies to absorb alcohol slower than men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This means that alcohol will start affecting a woman faster and stay in her body longer than it would in a man of the same height and weight. The slow absorption time also causes women to be at a higher risk for alcohol-related heart, liver and brain disease than men, according to the CDC.

Women also have the difficulty of being the “weaker sex.” Women’s and gender studies junior Kim Kaiser said she thinks being a woman puts her at a disadvantage when she drinks because of the likelihood of getting assaulted.

“I definitely feel less safe when I drink and I don’t think that’s fair,” Kaiser said. “It sucks that women are taught not to wear certain things when they drink or not to drink as much as men because there is still this whole idea that women are here for the taking.”

Circumstances are slightly different for men. Chemical engineering sophomore Cory Holtshouser said that even though he does make some bad decisions under the influence, he thinks men in general are much safer than women while drinking.

“Being a guy makes me feel safer because I don’t have the fear of someone taking advantage of me,” Holtshouser said. “Girls have to worry about guys trying to pick them up the entire night.”

While drinking, men are more likely to experience an increased sense of aggression or desire for risk taking, Allen said. As a result, men are more likely to binge drink, get in alcohol-related traffic accidents, fight others and injure themselves while drinking alcohol.

Even though men’s bodies absorb alcohol faster than women, this risk-taking tendency has given men higher chance of alcohol-related deaths than women, according to the CDC.

Gender is not the sole determining factor when it comes to a person’s ability to tolerate alcohol. How much a person drinks, how fast a person drinks, personal circumstances (body type, mood, food, etc.) and the circumstances of where a person is drinking all factor into how drunk a person will be at the end of the night, Allen said.

In the rare circumstances when students have gotten extremely ill or even died, the individual was separated either physically or mentally—not allowing intervention—from their friends, Allen said. To prevent this from occurring, he said students need to look at drinking like they do any other risk in which they try to minimize the consequences as much as possible.

“Nobody wants to wake up the next morning and regret what they’ve done,” Allen said.


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Support for gay marriage continues to grow

Support for gay marriage continues to grow

During his second inaugural address Jan. 21, 2013, President Barack Obama made history. Never before has an American president argued for the legalization of same-sex marriage or called for gay rights during an inaugural address.

In his speech, Obama said that same-sex marriage must be legalized in order to move the country forward.

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” he said.

Obama’s historic stance represents a larger trend of Democratic politicians now favoring and pushing for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Matt Grossman, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University, said a dramatic positive shift in public opinion caused this shift which forced politicians to change their stance on same-sex marriage.

Students made fake proposals to same-sex peers in support of gay marriage in Case Hall. Photo credit: Maleah Egelston

He said the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage wasn’t controversial at first because the majority of Americans were completely opposed to the idea.

Since then, there has been a slow trend towards more support in both the public and politicians for the legalization of same-sex marriage, said Grossmann.

“Today, people are now overwhelmingly for gay marriage,” Grossmann said. “Most of the activism comes from those who are for gay marriage, not the other side.”

One way students show their support for gay rights at MSU is through joining the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) caucuses in their residence halls.

Members of the LGBT caucuses work towards educating the student body on issues faced by the LGBT community.

James Madison freshman Kaitlyn Beyer, Case Hall representative for the South Neighborhood LGBT caucus PRISM, said she sees MSU becoming more accepting and inclusive towards the LGBT community.

PRISM does not take official political stances so as not to exclude any member of the community, but Beyer said she is excited about the Democratic Party’s push towards the legalization of gay marriage.

“The Democratic Party is supposed to be the party that stands up for minorities,” she said. “Supporting same-sex marriage is just another step towards representing everybody’s opinions- not just straight white men.”

Beyer said that even though she is excited about Democrats’ newfound activism, she is skeptical about how much Obama will be able to accomplish.

Along with her doubts, Beyer said she thinks the issue of legalizing gay-marriage could further divide American voters by forcing them to choose sides, making any progress impossible.

An Elvis impersonator “officiated” the fake marriages in Case Hall. Photo credit: Maleah Egelston

“I think the President’s stance could make people more divided between the parties. People who are moderate may be drawn to one political party over another because of their thoughts on gay marriage,” she said.

In general, Grossmann said Americans don’t base their political decisions on the candidate or party’s stance on same-sex marriage.

Though she strongly supports the legalization of same-sex marriage, social relations and policy sophomore Kylie Cumback said a candidate’s stance on the issue doesn’t really influence her vote.

“How a candidate feels about same-sex marriage is important to me, but there are other issues that are more important to me that determine who I vote for,” Cumback said.

Grossmann said gay voters are more likely to vote for a liberal candidate who supports gay rights even if they see themselves as conservative or moderate because of the personal connection they feel with this issue.

Even though Republicans have been reluctant, he said the party is now slowly moving towards accepting same-sex marriage and other gay rights in order to gain the support of moderate or conservative gay Americans.

This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on two pieces of legislation dealing with same sex marriage.

One piece of legislation in question is the Defense of Marriage Act, which if overturned will require the federal government to recognize state-recognized same-sex marriages.

The other piece of legislation in question is California’s Proposition 8, which will determine whether states’ same-sex couples must be recognized in states where same-sex marriage is not legal.

Though these cases are important, Grossmann said he is skeptical about how much influence they will actually have.

“A majority of the justices on the current Supreme Court are conservative, so I don’t see these rulings as the time when gay marriage will be legalized,” he said.

Grossmann said even though he is skeptical about the influence of the court cases, he still sees public opinion moving towards universal acceptance of same-sex marriage.

He said he believes this shift will lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage.

“The passion used to be against gay marriage,” Grossman said.  “Now the passion is overwhelmingly in favor of it.”


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Flu shot may not be the best way to prevent the illness

Flu shot may not be the best way to prevent the illness

Flu Season: a time full of coughing, doctors’ visits and lots of tissues. At a large school like MSU, the question on many students minds is whether or not it’s worth getting the flu shot this late in the season.

For sophomore Valerie Morel, getting the flu shot this year was never in question.

Photo credit: Julia Grippe

“I’m pretty sure I have gotten the flu shot every year.” Morel said. “This year in particular I know a lot of people around campus are getting sick and I wanted to give myself the best possible chance of not catching the flu.”

Unlike Morel, sophomore John Seno doesn’t plan on getting a flu shot this year.

“I haven’t gotten a flu shot in a long time. I think the last time was when I was in elementary school and my mom made me,” Seno said. “I haven’t gotten sick yet so I don’t regret my decision.”

Seno said the only way he will get a flu shot this year is if his friends or roommates start getting sick. Until then, Seno just plans on “using common sense” and avoiding those who are sick.

For some, the vaccination has never been worth the risk. Sophomore Jessica Arnold has never gotten a flu shot, but with plans to travel to Liberia this spring, she thought she may need to get the flu shot to prevent herself from getting sick overseas.

“I went to the MSU Travel Clinic to get my flu shot, but they advised me not to,” Arnold said. “They said I should be fine because I’ve never gotten the flu and I’ve never gotten vaccinated before.”

Like many, Arnold is skeptical of vaccines and the ability they have to prevent a person from getting sick. Vaccines have never been a priority for Arnold because she believes the side effects of the vaccine often don’t outweigh the benefit.

According to Dawn Boechler, nursing administrator at Olin Health Center, getting the flu shot typically reduces a person’s risk of contracting the flu by about 60 percent, so she said it is important that students still get vaccinated. She said it is especially important for high-risk patients, such as people with diabetes and asthma, to get their flu shot because they are at a greater risk for complications from the flu than the average person.

Cough, fever, headaches and soreness at the injection site are some of the possible side effects of the flu shot, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). While the symptoms are similar to the side effects, according to the CDC a person cannot get the flu from the vaccine.

Inevitably, some students will get sick. When this happens, Boechler said there are steps students can take to make sure they get better quickly while making sure their disease doesn’t spread. When a student first gets sick, they can call the 24/7 nurse information phone line at 517-353-5557 through Olin Health Center and talk to a nurse who can help assess whether they need to see a doctor or not.

Besides the nurse information line, students can visit Olin Health Center located at 463 East Circle Drive or one of the four neighborhood clinics around campus (127 South Hubbard Hall, W-9 West McDonel Hall, 148 Brody Hall and to get treated for their illnesses. In addition to getting treated for current illnesses, flu shots are still available at Olin Health Center.

Flu shots are still available throughout the Lansing area. Photo credit: Julia Grippe

Basic health measures like washing your hands or using hand sanitizer can also help prevent the spread of the flu and other diseases, said Boechler.

“Kindergarteners have it right… Students need to cough or sneeze into their elbow in order to prevent the spread of germs,” Boechler said.

There are still ways for people to prevent themselves from getting sick even if they choose not to get vaccinated this year. MSU Coordinator of Health Education Dennis Martell said one of the best things students can do to prevent themselves from getting the flu is eating a well-balanced diet, getting 8 hours of sleep a night and limiting stress and anxiety.

Because MSU is one of the largest universities in the United States, students need to take precautions so they don’t get sick or get their peers sick.

“Do not go to class if you have a fever,” said Martell. “Stay home and wait until it has been gone for 24 hours.”

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