Thursday, June 11, 2015

Together We Stand, Hand in Hand Launches #TshirtsforRelief Campaign - And You are Invited

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An independent club, "Together We Stand, Hand in Hand" launched a "T-shirts for Earthquake Relief" campaign. The fundamental idea of this campaign is to contribute NPR. 1,00,00,000 (NPR. 1 crore) to the PM's Disaster Relief fund, for the earthquake victims.
"Understanding the importance of trusting the government for national upbringing and realizing the need for contributing to the PM Relief Fund, #TshirtsforRelief is a campaign that aims at selling 17,000+ T-shirts (NPR. 600) to contribute a sum of 10 million rupees to the Prime Minister Relief Fund.", a member, Aashish Acharya said in an email.
After the earthquake, responding to the needs of emergency and immediate relief, a group of companies came together to form an informal club ‘Together We Stand, Hand In Hand" and had launched an emergency relief campaign, that touched the lives of around 27,000 people and distributed over 48 Lakhs worth of relief materials. #TshirtsforRelief campaign is their next initiative.


"Together We Stand, Hand in Hand" is organizing a launch event for the #TshirtsforRelief campaign on Friday, 12th June 2015. The event includes painting exhibition, T-shirt displays and musical performances.
Event Details: #TshirtsforRelief Campaign Launch
Date: June 12, 2015
Time: 4 PM to 6 PM
Venue: Office Space of Three H Management Pvt. Ltd., Jwagal, Kupondole, Lalitpur
For more information, visit #TshirtsforRelief campaign page.
Update: Previously, article mistakenly stated "Together We Stand, Hand in Hand" as a campaign. We have updated the article. "Together We Stand, Hand in Hand" is an independent club, that has launched a  #TshirtsforRelief campaign.
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Nepal PM Office (@PM_Nepal) Joins Twitter

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Office of the Prime Minister Nepal joined Twitter as @PM_Nepal on Wednesday (10th June 2015).


Prime Minister Sushil Koirala's, Chief Press Advisor Prateek Pradhan confirmed that, the PM has joined a popular micro blogging site Twitter. He tweeted, "Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Sushil Koirala is on Twitter. @PM_Nepal".

After joining Twitter, PM Office tweeted"Prime Minister Office Nepal is on Twitter's cyber space from Today." 

This is an official account of Nepal Prime Minister Office, and will be transferred to the next PM after Sushil Koirala. "It's the existing PM's official handle. We wish to institutionalize this handle, and assist all the PMs in the future to be transparent.", Prateek Pradhan said on a Tweet.

Currently, the account follows 2 profiles and has earned around 5K followers within 24 hours. Social media sites are getting popular among the political leaders. Former Prime Minister, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has joined Twitter in 2013.
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Answers for a Shaking Nation

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This post is written by Diwash Thapa. He is an undergraduate Physics and Chemistry Major at UNC Chapel Hill, aspiring to become a radiologist.
I gaze at the setting sun and the hills that embrace it on the horizon of the North Carolina landscape: how vast, how serene, how naturally peaceful. But as I pull out my phone and check my recently downloaded app QuakeFeed, my heart skips a beat in fear that another jolt might have hit an equally vast, serene, and naturally peaceful territory some 13000 kilometers away from here: Nepal. That territory is where my heart still calls home some 3 years after moving to the US.

It is heart wrenching to see images of the places you knew growing up turned into rubbles, and your family and friends having to endure a life of fear and uncertainty. But this pain is belittled by the sufferings of the people who actually experienced the 7+ magnitude earthquakes in Nepal; such is the scale of the calamity. The world has come together and chipped in to relieve and reconstruct Nepal and here I am making petty donations, otherwise helpless to this cause.


Helpless I may have felt but I quickly realized that I could help my countrymen in a way only someone in my position can, in one of the major universities in the world, amongst the best and brightest minds in the field of seismology. I am by no means an expert in the field, but I have dug deep into relevant journals and articles and spoken to experts in the field just to answer some of the prominent questions people back home are raising concerning the earthquake. In the aftermath of the earthquake there has been a flow of information on the web as large as the actual catastrophe, sparing physical damage but creating an intellectual tumult among Nepalese.

Here are the answers to three basic questions about the recent seismic activities based on my meeting with Dr. Jonathan Lees, chair of the department of geological sciences in the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Why are these earthquakes happening?
My conversation with Dr. Lees began with him playing a time-lapse video of the continental drift, now subsumed into the plate tectonics theory; perhaps he wanted to be sure that I first understood the root cause of seismicity before we progressed further. As I watched in awe how a chunk of land fragmented into continents and moved in random directions over time, scale millions of years, in the last one-sixth of the video one particular fragment rose up from the southern hemisphere and collided head on with another fragment located in the northern hemisphere. That was the Indian subcontinent playing tag with Eurasia, politely put.

With the two continental plates being of similar physical properties there is very little room for either to move. Hence, neither gives up, producing mountain ranges like the Himalayas and terrains like the Tibetan plateau. Dr. Lees stressed that the earthquakes are part of the readjustment of the continental crashing. These will continue until the readjustment is complete, which in geological timescales could be millions of years. The most recent earthquakes are because of the release of the pent-up strain in one of the faults created by this continental tussle. This fault is about 700 km long, about the length of Nepal.

Why are Earthquake Magnitudes reported with such inconsistency?
Earthquakes are measured in several different scales. The popular ones are the Richter scale, the moment magnitude scale, and the Mercalli scale. The Richter scale is the most widely know metric because it has been around for a longer time. Developed by Charles Richter in the 1930’s, the Richter scale is best applied to earthquakes in southern California. Although there have been corrections to this scale and methodology, its prime disadvantage that it fails to accurately reflect larger earthquakes near magnitude 8 is significant. The Richter scale measurement is expressed in units of M­L, also known as the local magnitude.

The more widely accepted modern scale is the moment magnitude scale. “The moment magnitude is based on the size of the event, how much slip occurred [in the fault] and the properties of the rock,” said Dr. Lees in trying to explain the difference between the various scales. He also pointed out that researchers abroad don’t quite know the properties of the rocks in Nepal although this is not merely why there are discrepancies in the values reported; “I have a different computer algorithm while the guy down at Duke University may have a different algorithm which results in different estimates, then we also make assumptions like in any scientific calculation that results in experimental error.” The moment magnitude is reported in units of M­W.

The third—by contrast a discrete metric—is the Mercalli scale, which reports earthquake events based on human experiences. “Did the coffee cup shake, or did the lights swing, did the cabinets fall over?” These are some of the subjective question witnesses are asked for categorizing an earthquake in Mercalli scale, according to Dr. Lees. The 7.8 MW earthquake was reported as very strong (VII) to severe (VIII) in the Mercalli index by IRIS, a network of seismology research universities in the US.

Hence, to answer the question of why earthquake reports have appeared inconsistent, it may either be due to differences in scale of measurement or the way of calculation, despite using a common scale.

Are there possibilities of larger earthquakes in Nepal?
This is the one question I believe every single Nepali is asking at the moment, including me. A more naively unrestrictive way of putting this question would be, “Is there a larger earthquake to come?” I will attempt to answer these questions in a way I believe everyone would like to hear —with a cautious tone but positive outlook.

It is needless to mention that Nepal lies in a very seismically active zone and the nature of the plate tectonics underneath makes it vulnerable to larger earthquakes. The pent-up strain in the particular fault may indeed require large magnitude earthquakes to dissipate all the energy. Couple this with the fact that Nepal hasn’t had a major earthquake, of magnitude 9 or so to release this strain, in its documented history and you have an argument to send the whole nation into panic!

I inferred through my talk with Dr. Lees that the aforementioned argument, while not entirely wrong, could be counter argued. For instance, the 8.0 MW Nepal-Bihar earthquake of 1934 occurred around the time when Richter scale was just invented while the moment magnitude scale was another 40 years away from development. Is it, then totally out of the question that the 1934 earthquake may have been a 9 MW earthquake? “ They are just guessing these historic events [in justifiable ways],” answered Dr. Lees. Likewise the western region of the fault hasn’t had a major seismic event since 1555 and seismologist have already speculated that the next big quake will be in the western region of Nepal. “[500 years] in geological timescales is nothing,” laughed off Dr. Lees. So, it is totally within the realm of reality that the fault goes on for another 500 years without any major seismic activity.

But Nepal hasn’t had a major earthquake in its documented history you may repeat. And to you I point out the operative word is “documented.” We are talking about a country that used to be so far removed from technology and literacy that even events of recent history are inferred from foreign records. Who then is to say that a 9.0 MW earthquake didn’t occur before 1555? The event, that such an earthquake had occurred is as likely as it will happen as you are reading this.

On the matter of probability, different research groups and organizations like the USGS make statistical forecasts of seismic events based on empirical data collected over time. But forecasts are not predictions and should be interpreted rather carefully. For instance, the statistical probability of getting heads on a coin toss is 50 percent, but that does not mean, if you tossed a coin ten times you would see 5 heads and 5 tails. You could see 10 heads, or 10 tails, or any other theoretically possible combination.

The 50 percent likelihood of heads or tails only tells us that for a sufficiently large number of trials, say a 1000 tosses, one might get 499 heads and 501 tails, pretty close to 50 percent apiece. Forecasts of earthquakes are very similar. If the USGS forecasts a 40 percent chance of 6-7 MW earthquakes in the next week, all that can be said is if there were about 1000 earthquakes next week there is a very good chance that 40 percent of those will fall in the advertised range. However, a thousand earthquakes a week is not very likely in the first place and any single earthquake can turn out to be of any magnitude.

What is a hundred percent likely event is that there is chaos in nature. One has to consider that science is only a human model to interpret nature and models fail at one point or another. In seismology most models fail to successfully predict events due to chaos. In order to explain this I will borrow an analogy from Dr. Lees. If you take a twig and bring its ends together, it comes under high extension in the middle and eventually the twig will snap. You may know the physical properties of the twig down to a molecule, but you will never be able to tell how these molecules interact to break at a certain point. Earthquakes are just like that. It is just how nature rolls!
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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

3 Super Cool Gadgets You Need Right Now

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This is a guest post by TechGuy. He loves writing about Gadgets and Technology.
It is difficult to settle upon some lofty smartphone and drag upon it for years or months for that matter. Either switching to a new smartphones become inevitable or some new features need to be added to keep them interesting. This is what gadgets and accessories are for. Simplifying a task that otherwise takes longer and is arduous to do. Performing a function that digital devices on their own are unable to perform. Mobile companies therefore come up with new and innovative accessories, which are not only astonishing in their unique performance but almost become unavoidable. For such gadgets, we have online shopping sites like Kaymu in Nepal -- that make things easier for you. Following are some of the gadgets that you need right now.

Google Chromecast


With the era of smart phones and tablets, come a lot of accompanying functions that need to be fulfilled. Moreover, smart TVs have further strengthened the connection of man with the internet world. However, how do you build a connection between the small screen (smartphone, tab etc) with the big screen? To this end, Motorola has come up with Google Chromecast that establishes a connection between the two. You can transfer pictures, videos and movies from internet to your TV without using any remote or cable. All you need is an internet connection. Just sit back and watch the videos play on your TVs.

Micro SD Card


Micro SD cards are the ultimate solution to your camera quality problems. It happens quite a lot when you don’t want to give up your smartphone just because of its bad picture quality. What if all the other features in that smartphone are perfect? At this critical juncture, you don’t need to change your phone and just add a Micro SD card into it. This San Disc Ultra Micro SD card will enhance the picture quality manifolds. It will also enable you to capture perfect images and shoot HD videos at the spur of the moment.

Play with the Music with Moto stream


This could be the ultimate thing for music lovers. Moto stream turns any sound device wireless. By connecting the home speakers with this device you can have a wireless connection, which means any Bluetooth device can be then connected to it and you can start listening to music anywhere you want. If you have your digital device with you, but you don’t want to tangle it with wires, then this is the panacea for all such irritants.

One thing is for sure that these gadgets have a mesmerizing effect on your everyday experience. So, instead selling off your products, you should be looking for such amazing gadgets around you.
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Friday, May 29, 2015

Google's Doodle Celebrates Nepal Republic Day

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Google has published a doodle on its home page to honor the strength and resilience of the people of Nepal on the occasion of Nepal Republic Day 2015. On doodle's page, Google says, "this country (Nepal) is an international symbol of splendor, peace, and tenacity".



Today's doodle features the candle, stupa and temple, that symbolize the celebration, prayer and a way forward. "The concept of light in this Doodle means three things for Nepal: celebration of this National day, prayers to Buddha, and a guiding light on the way home.", writes Google. Search engine giant, Google further adds, "We hope today's Doodle will remind the people of Nepal that they are an inspiration to the entire world, and that their burning perseverance lights the way for us all."

Google has launched Crisis Response map and the Person Finder in Nepal after the devastating earthquake. Google says, they will continue to help rebuild Nepal.

"In the aftermath of the recent devastating and tragic earthquakes our hearts and minds are with the people of Nepal and the aid workers there helping to heal and mend families as they regain their footing, standing again as their world shifts beneath their feet. Google is committed to supporting efforts to rebuild, and to help carry the load on the difficult climb to recovery.", writes Google.

"Nepal Republic Day, 2015" doodle is available on Google.com and Google.com.np's homepage in Nepal.

On Aakar Post: नेपालको गणतन्त्र दिवसमा गुगलको डुडल

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Monday, May 4, 2015

#GoHomeIndianMedia trends on Twitter on World Press Freedom Day

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"Go Home Indian Media" trends worldwide on Twitter on Sunday, after the insensitive reporting on Nepal Earthquake by Indian TV channels.


#GoHomeIndianMedia trend which was started in Nepal in the morning, was trending on India for a while before trending worldwide. It was the top trending trend on Twitter with more than 100K tweets yesterday (By the time of this write up, there are more than 150K tweets on the topic, according to Topsy). This trend sums up the sentiments of people from all around the world.


After this hashtag, few people from India went on creating #DontComeBackIndianMedia and #SorryNepal hashtag, which was beautiful.




























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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Stories of Everest with Apa Sherpa in San Francisco

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A Kathmandu-based Nepali startup, StoryCycle showcased the Khumbu Street View project in San Francisco, USA with 21-time legendary Everest summiteer Apa Sherpa.

Apa, who guided the Google and StoryCycle team to the Khumbu region last April, joined the launch event in San Francisco today and talked about his experiences.


“The next generation Sherpas need to have different options for the profession than climbing, so education is a must to the children of the region so that they can pursue other career choices and not necessarily have to make risky expeditions”, said Apa.


Raleigh Seamster, Program Manager of Google Earth Outreach stressed on the need for similar kinds of projects to be continued in the region to make a strong digital presence, and applauded the team’s effort in making the Khumbu Street View project successful. She also highlighted on how StoryCycle as a partner could extend the community mapping efforts.


Saurav Dhakal, founder and curator of StoryCycle said that this Everest Street View project could give the country new vibe to the world, as this launch has coincided right before beginning of this year’s expedition season, and said Everest project has given us energy and excitement to work on more interesting projects in the coming years.

Ankur Sharma of StoryCycle presented videos from the Khumbu region trip, along with 360º imageries and anecdotes of the Sherpa people in the event. The program felicitated the team members of the project from Google, Apa Sherpa Foundation and StoryCycle.


The event was hosted by the Global Nepalese Professional Network (GNPN) in Runway Incubator at the Twitter building in San Francisco. Enthusiasts, mountain climbers, entrepreneurs, regulars, techies, Nepal lovers, mountain lovers, sherpa community and members of the Nepalese communities living around the Bay Area attended the event, the event also witnessed Norbu, son of the Tenzing Norgay.



View the Everest Base Camp:


Images via StoryCycle
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

ICT for Agriculture Becomes the Grand Winner of Ncell App Camp 2014

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Ncell App Camp 2014

ICT For Agriculture, grabbed the first prize of Ncell App Camp 2014, securing the highest score in overall markings, leaving behind other 23 finalists, as the grand finale of the six month long competition concluded today in Kathmandu.

ICT For Agriculture - Grand Prize winner of Ncell App Camp 2014

Similarly, Opinio (SentiNep), Riti-Riwaj and Lipi (The Script) won the categorical first places under the themes agriculture, corporate solutions, education and tourism, respectively.

ICT For Agriculture, is an android based mobile application that aims to connect farmers, traders, experts and agricultural extension agencies at a single platform to help with farm management and simplify market chain value while also ensuring food security in Nepal. The app helps farmers pre-harvest and post harvest of crops by providing information about diseases related to their crops. It also provides a weather forecast linking farmers to the end consumers in the market.

ICT For Agriculture

Avinash Jha of ICT for Agriculture, explained that it was really hard for them, being IT graduates, to work on agriculture theme. "Most of their friends had suggested us not to go for it. But since this addresses a common problem that most Nepalese were facing, we decided to continue." The team already has 900 users of the app.

Thematic winner Opinio, under corporate solutions category, developed by a team called SentiNep, analyzes the sentiments and opinions of people and categorizes them into positive, negative and neutral comments. It gathers sentiment related to a product/service/business from around the web (social media, blogs and news portals).

Opinio

Chandan Gupta, team leader of SentiNep, said that the team will use the prize money in office set up and marketing their product. "Since we all are students, this cash prize makes it more convenient to take our business further." The team has expected to publish their app online within next three months.

Likewise, Riti-Riwaj, the thematic winner in the education category, is a platform to store Nepali culture, history and traditions, and thus preserve the traditions by educating people the importance of it in such level.


Manish Shrestha, team leader of RitiRiwaj said that their team is preparing to make their app available in the market within a month and formally go in the market through a registered company within a year. "Waning knowledge in the young generation about their own culture made us realize the need of coming with this app."

Lipi (The Script), the thematic winner in tourism category, is an application that tries to help tourist decipher Devnagari Signboards or text through simply taking a picture which the apps turns into text in a language of the users' choice.

Lipi (The Script)

Rupak Raj Ghimire, business developer for the team said, "Now we will work on making our app more matured. Ghimire said that the team faced more challenges in the technical aspects specially due to large file sizes of the images that the app needs to read.

The 24 finalists of the camp pitched their refined app ideas, including business models, as a part of their final presentation for the competition. During the program, each team was provided 10 minutes, including two minutes for answering the jury's questions and additional three minutes to demonstrate their apps.

A panel of eight independent judges, including Kunda Dixit, Narottam Aryal, Purna Bahadur Chhetri, Saurabh Jyoti, Suman Pandey, Tomi Ahonen and Tomas Martunas, assessed the teams based on five preset ground rules which incorporated the importance of the problem the application would solve, their business model, the completeness of the product, global scalability of their product and the team's presentation.

These finalists had been selected from among competing 150 teams which were filtered from a pool of 457 applicants. The selected teams had received several trainings, mentoring and had participated in different seminars to build up their knowledge on business modeling, marketing as well as the technical aspect of app development.

"Though the program has successfully concluded today, it does not end here. We are still thinking of some ways to encourage all the hardworking and creative teams to move ahead with their startups by providing proper guidance through some kind of new programs in the future," said Sanju Koirala, corporate communication director at Ncell. "This is a beginning of yet another journey."

"I feel extremely excited and extremely proud of being a tiny part of the gateway to a global approach that this beautiful country is not only about the Everest, trekking or Yeti. This country is about technology and creativity," said ErimTaylanlar, CEO of Ncell. "I just want to remind few things. The Ncell App market is ready to market these products into the global market."

Tomi Ahonen, one of the jury members in the grand finale said, "Nepal is generating world class mobile services that serve needs of education, agriculture, tourism and business to business needs."Ahonen suggested all the 24 teams to enter several international app competitions.

The winners of each category received a cash prize of Rs 250,000 and the overall winner received additional Rs 500,000 and won a chance to represent Nepal in the International Application Conference in 2015.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

24 teams selected for grand finale of Ncell App Camp #AppCamp14

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Ncell on Wednesday announced 24 teams, six each from four categories of Agriculture, Corporate Solution, Education and Tourism, as the finalists for Ncell App Camp 2014, the biggest mobile app competition of Nepal.

Ncell App Camp

There were 150 teams competing to find place in the top 24 under the four categories. Following the closure of submission of final ideas on December 1, independent panel of selectors, including representatives from institutions like International Financial Corporation of the World Bank Group, Nepal Tourism Board, Golchha Organization, NIMBUS and f1Soft, among others, evaluated and scored their final app ideas and business plan to decide on the finalists.

The teams were judged based on their scores on criteria such as importance of problem their ideas solved, global scalability potential, business model and articulation and presentation, among others.

Six teams that got the highest scores and found way into the finals under Agriculture are Care Crop, Creative Mind, Creatu Developer I, ICT for Agriculture, Saathi and The Revolution. AppsJhola, Cabby, Drupartment, Eagle School Bus, QOD and SentiNep have been selected as finalists under Corporate Solution.

Likewise, MeroAnswer, Group of Innovative Developer, Leazies, Riti-Riwaj, Special Forces and Team Xaverian have been selected as finalists under Education, while HireAGuide, Home Stay Nepal, Nepflights, Team Yellow Nepal, Tourist Talk and Lipi (Script) have their way to the finals under Tourism category.

The top 24 teams will compete in the final competition to be held through December 9-11, 2014. During the final stage of the competition, the teams will learn more about running an innovative business and get additional guidance from local and international mentors on their app ideas.

On the final day, teams will pitch their idea and present a demo of their app to a panel of jury, who will then decide the winners of the competition.

The winners of each category will receive Rs 250,000 and the overall winner will receive additional Rs 500,000 and an opportunity to participate in similar overseas app camp in 2015.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Yellow Nepal -- Nepali Startup on Google Business Stories Challenge Final

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If you're a foodie or a regular restaurant goer in Kathmandu, then you might have heard about "Yellow Nepal" - a Nepali startup behind the popular 'Yellow App'. Yellow app is the location based search app that lists nearby restaurants, discount offers and events of Restaurants in Kathmandu. Founded by Anish Shrestha and Manisha Karmacharya in 2014, Yellow Nepal is the mobile startup and aims to become a local search engine for foodies.


The Yellow Nepal, which had applied for the Google Business Group's (GBG) stories challenge earlier, has made to the finals of the GBG stories challenge out of more than hundreds of submissions from more than fifty countries.

"During the contest, we had hundreds of submissions from more than fifty countries from people who are doing extraordinary things with technology, changing lives and creating opportunities.", says Google.


Now Google has asked the general public to select the most inspiring startup among the nine global finalists. Watch this YouTube video of Yellow Nepal and vote for the Yellow Nepal. The three global winners with the highest number of public votes will be eligible to win $5,000 for their venture.

How to Vote for Yellow Nepal?
You can register your vote in two simple steps.
1. Sign-in to your Google account (If not signed in).
2. Watch this Video and Like it -- To register your vote, click on the thumbs of the video.
Yellow App is available for Android on the Play store. The iPhone users have to wait for a few months.
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