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Lawsuit challenges new Louisiana law requiring classrooms to display the Ten Commandments

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Lawsuit challenges new Louisiana law requiring classrooms to display the Ten Commandments
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Lawsuit challenges new Louisiana law requiring classrooms to display the Ten Commandments

2024-06-25 06:58 Last Updated At:07:00

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit Monday to block Louisiana’s new law that requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom, a measure they contend is unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs in the suit include parents of Louisiana public school children with various religious backgrounds, who are represented by attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the New York City law firm Simpson, Thatcher & Bartlett.

“This display sends a message to my children and other students that people of some religious dominations are superior to others,” said the Rev. Jeff Simms, a Presbyterian pastor who is a plaintiff in the suit and father of three children in Louisiana public schools. “This is religious favoritism.”

Under the legislation signed into law by Republican Gov. Jeff Landry last week, all public K-12 classrooms and state-funded universities will be required to display a poster-sized version of the Ten Commandments in “large, easily readable font” next year.

Opponents argue that the law is a violation of separation of church and state and that the display will isolate students, especially those who are not Christian. Proponents say the measure is not solely religious, but that it has historical significance. In the language of the law, the Ten Commandments are “foundational documents of our state and national government.”

Plaintiff Joshua Herlands has two young children in New Orleans public schools who, like their father, are Jewish. There are multiple versions of the Ten Commandments, and Herlands said the specific version mandated for classroom walls does not align with the version from his faith. He worries the display will send a troubling message to his kids and others that “they may be lesser in the eyes of the government.”

“Politicians have absolutely no business forcing their religious beliefs on my kids or any kids, or attempting to indoctrinate them with what they think is the right version of a particular piece of religious text,” Herlands said.

The lawsuit filed Monday seeks a court declaration that the new law, referred to in the lawsuit as HB 71, violates First Amendment clauses forbidding government establishment of religion and guaranteeing religious liberty. It also seeks an order prohibiting the posting of the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms.

“The state’s main interest in passing H.B. 71 was to impose religious beliefs on public-school children, regardless of the harm to students and families,” the lawsuit says. "The law’s primary sponsor and author, Representative Dodie Horton, proclaimed during debate over the bill that it 'seeks to have a display of God’s law in the classroom for children to see what He says is right and what He says is wrong.'"

Defendants include state Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley, members of the state education board and some local school boards.

Landry and Louisiana Attorney General Elizabeth Murrill support the new law, and Murrill has said she is looking forward to defending it. She issued a statement saying she couldn’t comment directly on the lawsuit because she had not yet seen it.

“It seems the ACLU only selectively cares about the First Amendment — it doesn’t care when the Biden administration censors speech or arrests pro-life protesters, but apparently it will fight to prevent posters that discuss our own legal history,” Murrill said in the emailed statement.

The Ten Commandments have long been at the center of lawsuits across the nation.

In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a similar Kentucky law violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says Congress can “make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The high court found that the law had no secular purpose but rather served a plainly religious purpose.

In a more recent ruling, the Supreme Court held in 2005 that such displays in a pair of Kentucky courthouses violated the Constitution. At the same time, the court upheld a Ten Commandments marker on the grounds of the Texas state Capitol in Austin. Those were 5-4 decisions, but the court’s makeup has changed, with a 6-3 conservative majority now.

Although some people think this case may rise to the level of the U.S. Supreme Court and test the conservative members, lawyers for the plaintiffs say that they think this is a clear-cut case

“We think this is already covered by clear Supreme Court precedent,” said Patrick Elliott, the legal director for the Freedom From Religion Foundation. “We think under current law that we will prevail and it would not be necessary for the Supreme Court to review it.”

Other states, including Texas, Oklahoma and Utah, have attempted to pass requirements that the schools display the Ten Commandments. However, with threats of legal battles, none has the mandate in place except for Louisiana.

The posters in Louisiana, which will be paired with a four-paragraph “context statement” describing how the Ten Commandments “were a prominent part of public education for almost three centuries,” must be in place in classrooms by the start of 2025.

The controversial law comes during a new era of conservative leadership in Louisiana under Landry, who replaced two-term Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards in January. The GOP holds a supermajority in the Legislature, and Republicans hold every statewide elected position, paving the way for lawmakers to push through a conservative agenda.

The case was allotted to U.S. District Judge John deGravelles, nominated to the federal bench by former President Barack Obama.

McGill reported from New Orleans.

This story has been corrected to show that the plaintiffs are represented by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

FILE - Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry signs bills related to his education plan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024, at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Lafayette, La. Civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit Monday, June 24, challenging Louisiana’s new law that requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom. (Brad Bowie/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP, File)

FILE - Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry signs bills related to his education plan, Wednesday, June 19, 2024, at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Lafayette, La. Civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit Monday, June 24, challenging Louisiana’s new law that requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom. (Brad Bowie/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP, File)

FILE - A copy of the Ten Commandments is posted along with other historical documents in a hallway of the Georgia Capitol, Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Atlanta. Civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit Monday, June 24, challenging Louisiana’s new law that requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

FILE - A copy of the Ten Commandments is posted along with other historical documents in a hallway of the Georgia Capitol, Thursday, June 20, 2024, in Atlanta. Civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit Monday, June 24, challenging Louisiana’s new law that requires the Ten Commandments to be displayed in every public school classroom. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

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Internet outage latest | Airlines, businesses hit by global technology disruption

2024-07-19 22:49 Last Updated At:22:51

A major internet outage affecting Microsoft is disrupting flights, banks, media outlets and companies across the world, with problems continuing hours after the technology company said it was gradually fixing an issue affecting access to Microsoft 365 apps and services.

Airlines and airports in the United States, Europe, Australia, India and elsewhere were reporting problems, with some flights grounded. Retail outlets, banks, railway companies and hospitals in several parts of the world were also affected in what appeared to be an unprecedented internet disruption.

Here's the Latest:

SAO PAULO — Bradesco, one of the main banks in Brazil, notified its users via its app that digital services were unstable due to a global cyber outage, but its ATMs were working normally. Bradesco has over 100 million clients.

Azul Airlines, a Brazilian low-cost airline, said its check-in systems were affected, causing occasional flight delays. The company recommended that customers arrive at the airport earlier. The National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil said it is monitoring the impacts on airports, but so far there haven’t been major delays.

TOKYO — Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, western Japan, said the global system outage that started Friday will continue to affect ticket sales at the park over the weekend.

The park said its ticket booths sales will not be available Saturday and Sunday and asked visitors to purchase their tickets on the USJ official website or via designated ticket sales site Lawson Ticket. Park attractions aren't affected.

Officials in some U.S. states, including Alaska, Virginia and Iowa, warned of problems to 911 emergency call centers in their areas. Alaska State Troopers warned that many 911 and nonemergency call centers across the state weren't working correctly and shared alternate numbers.

In Virginia, the City of Fairfax Police Department said on social media that it was experiencing technical difficulties with its phone systems, including 911. The department shared a nonemergency number for callers and said 911 could still be used, but calls wouldn't go directly to the dispatch center.

The New Hampshire Emergency Services and Communications reported a temporary interruption to 911 calls early Friday, with the system fully restored several hours later, officials said. In Iowa, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office warned on social media that phone lines were down and 911 calls might be routed to neighboring counties, but emergency calls would be promptly redirected to the sheriff’s office.

In New England, the outage led some hospitals to cancel appointments.

A spokesman at Mass General Brigham, the largest health care system in Massachusetts, said the outage had resulted in all scheduled nonurgent surgeries, procedures and medical visits being canceled for Friday. Emergency departments remain open and care for patients in the hospital hasn't been impacted.

TORONTO — The outage grounded some flights, disrupted hospitals and backed up border crossings in Canada on Friday.

Porter Airlines said it was canceling its flights for several hours because of the outage. Meanwhile, Air Canada, Canada’s largest airline, said there is no major impact to its operations, adding that it's monitoring the situation closely. University Health Network, one of Canada’s largest hospital networks, said that some of its systems had been impacted by the outage. In a post to social media, it said clinical activity was continuing as scheduled, but some patients may experience delays. Windsor Police reported long delays at both the Canada-United States border crossings at the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor tunnel.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The National Center for Cyber Security in Sri Lanka says four information technology companies in Sri Lanka have been affected because of the global outage.

Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team, which is known as Sri Lanka CERT, says that so far only four companies have informed them of being affected and the center attributed them to a problem with the cybersecurity platform CrowdStrike.

Charuka Damunupola, lead information security engineer at Sri Lanka CERT, says those companies were using CrowdStrike software and their systems “are in failure mode.”

BERLIN — Landings at Switzerland's Zurich Airport were back to normal on Friday afternoon after being suspended earlier in the day, and the airport operator said takeoffs to the U.S. also resumed.

At least 100 flights to and from Zurich were canceled Friday.

BERLIN — A German regional grocery chain, Tegut, temporarily shut its 340 stores in the country Friday morning as the computer outage affected cash register systems.

By early afternoon, more than half of the stores were open again.

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — In South Africa, at least two major banks said they experienced service disruptions as customers complained they weren’t able to make payments using their bank cards at grocery stores and gas stations or use ATMs. Both said they were able to restore services hours later.

Southern African regional airline Airlink also reported that its IT network and telephone lines were down because of what it called a global network outage, but said flights weren't affected.

LONDON — The London Stock Exchange says it is experiencing disruptions from the technology outage that has created chaos around the globe.

The LSE says its regulatory news service was not working Friday morning, but the outage hadn't affected trading.

“We are currently experiencing a third party technical issue which is impacting some of our services,” a London Stock Exchange Group spokesperson said in a statement.

The exchange says it’s trying to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

Long queues have formed at many airports around the world as the global internet outage hit check-in procedures for flights — although in some locations systems were now back online.

Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport was gradually returning to normal operations, the airport said in a statement, though some airlines had been forced to cancel flights after being hit with the outage from 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT).

“Passenger handling continued with some restrictions. Departures took place with restrictions. There are still waiting times. Unfortunately, some flights had to be canceled by the airlines. The airport’s systems have been restarted and we are gradually returning to normal operations,” the airport said.

German-based airline Eurowings, a budget subsidiary of Lufthansa, says it had to cancel German domestic flights as well as services to and from the U.K. because of disruption to its check-in and boarding processes. It called on people traveling inside Germany to book train tickets and submit them for reimbursement.

In South Korea, several low-cost airlines reported problems, triggering delays in passenger boardings at Incheon international Airport, the country’s biggest airport, airport officials said.

Jeju Air Co. said it was experiencing problems with ticketing and other services on its website. Air Premia Inc. said key services on its website, such as ticket bookings, cancellations and online check-ins, weren't working. The website of Eastar Jet Co. wasn’t accessible as of early Friday evening. Incheon airport officials and the country’s Transport Ministry said they were checking details of damages.

AirAsia announced on its Thai Facebook page that its reservation and check-in system had been impacted and encouraged passengers to go to airports early as they might face slower check-in and longer lines.

In the U.S., United Airlines said that the outage was impacting its computer systems and warned customers of potential flight delays. The carrier said some flights are resuming and it is issuing waivers to make it easier to change travel plans within its website.

LONDON — The chief executive of the cybersecurity company at the heart of a worldwide Microsoft outage says it is working to fix a defect sent out in a Windows update.

“This is not a security incident or cyberattack,” CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz posted on X. “The issue has been identified, isolated and a fix has been deployed.”

Kurtz said there was a defect in a “single content update for Windows hosts.” Mac and Linux hosts weren't affected.

The company referred customers to its support portal for updates.

HELSINKI — Two pharmacy chains in Norway said they are having problems providing customers with their prescription medicine and are facing substantial connection delays because of the global network problems.

Several branches of the Apotek1 pharmacy have closed across Norway after being affected by IT issues, which also shut down the chain’s online sales, the Norwegian news agency NTB reported.

The Boots drugstore and pharmacy chain also ran into problems delivering products to clients in Norway. Boots said that “due to global network problems, you may experience challenges with ordering and possible delays in dispatches,” NTB reported.

PARIS — Paris Olympics organizers say some Olympic delegations’ arrivals, as well as the delivery of some uniforms and accreditations, have been delayed because of the outage.

The organizers said in a statement that ticketing and the torch relay haven't been affected.

“Our teams have been fully mobilized to ensure the continuity of operations at optimum levels,” organizers said.

LONDON — Britain’s National Health Service says a global internet outage is causing problems at most doctors’ offices across England.

NHS England said in a statement that the glitch was hitting the appointment and patient record system used across the health service. The state-funded NHS treats the vast majority of people in the U.K.

The NHS said the issue was affecting the majority of family doctors’ practices, but wasn't hitting the 999 number used to call for emergency ambulances.

Airlines across the world, from Thailand to Australia, India, the United States and several European countries, reported disruptions to check-in systems and other issues that caused flights to be grounded or delayed.

With athletes and spectators from around the world heading to France for the Paris Olympics, the Paris airport authority says its computer systems ″are not impacted″ by the global outage, but several airlines and airports elsewhere are.

As a result, ″this situation has an impact on the operations of airlines at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly airports: delays in check-in, delays and temporary suspension of some flights. Our teams are mobilized to orient and assist passengers,″ the airport authority said in a statement.

In the U.S., the FAA said the airlines United, American, Delta and Allegiant had all been grounded.

Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, a gateway to one of the world’s most visited cities, reported that some airlines were forced to check in passengers manually because of outages to their systems, while in the country's second largest airport of Don Mueang, Air Asia was also checking passengers in manually.

Director of Tourism of Thailand, the country’s tourism authority, told state broadcaster Thai PBS the issue was with Navitaire, an e-commerce platform for air travel, and up to six airports had been affected.

In Germany, flights at Berlin-Brandenburg Airport were halted for several hours from Friday morning because of check-in problems, while some flights were canceled. An airport spokeswoman said flights resumed after 10 a.m. Issues were also reported in the busy European hubs of Amsterdam, Zurich and Rome.

WARSAW — Baltic Hub, a major container hub in the Baltic port of Gdansk, Poland, says it's battling problems resulting from the global system outage.

Their entry gates are temporarily closed and they have suspended business, the Baltic Hub said in a statement.

Travelers wait in Terminal 1 for check-in at Hamburg Airport, in Hamburg, Germany, Friday July 19, 2024 as a widespread Microsoft outage disrupted flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world on Friday. (Bodo Marks/dpa via AP)

Travelers wait in Terminal 1 for check-in at Hamburg Airport, in Hamburg, Germany, Friday July 19, 2024 as a widespread Microsoft outage disrupted flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world on Friday. (Bodo Marks/dpa via AP)

Passengers crowd the International flights departure terminal of Rome's Fiumicino airport, Friday, July 19, 2024, as many flights have been delayed or cancelled due to the worldwide internet outage. Microsoft says users worldwide may be unable to access various Microsoft 365 apps and services in a widespread outage. The cause, exact nature and scale of the outage was unclear. Microsoft appeared to suggest in its X posts that the situation was improving, but hours later, widespread outages were being reported by airlines around the world. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Passengers crowd the International flights departure terminal of Rome's Fiumicino airport, Friday, July 19, 2024, as many flights have been delayed or cancelled due to the worldwide internet outage. Microsoft says users worldwide may be unable to access various Microsoft 365 apps and services in a widespread outage. The cause, exact nature and scale of the outage was unclear. Microsoft appeared to suggest in its X posts that the situation was improving, but hours later, widespread outages were being reported by airlines around the world. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

A plane takes off at the capital's Berlin Brandenburg Airport, in Schönefeld, Germany, Friday July 19, 2024. A widespread Microsoft outage disrupted flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world on Friday. (Christoph Soeder/dpa via AP)

A plane takes off at the capital's Berlin Brandenburg Airport, in Schönefeld, Germany, Friday July 19, 2024. A widespread Microsoft outage disrupted flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world on Friday. (Christoph Soeder/dpa via AP)

Commuter disembark a Great Northern railway train at Hunt's Cross station in Liverpool, England, amid reports of widespread IT outages affecting airlines, broadcasters and banks, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Commuter disembark a Great Northern railway train at Hunt's Cross station in Liverpool, England, amid reports of widespread IT outages affecting airlines, broadcasters and banks, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Passengers crowd the International flights departure terminal of Rome's Fiumicino airport, Friday, July 19, 2024, as many flights have been delayed or cancelled due to the worldwide internet outage. Microsoft says users worldwide may be unable to access various Microsoft 365 apps and services in a widespread outage. The cause, exact nature and scale of the outage was unclear. Microsoft appeared to suggest in its X posts that the situation was improving, but hours later, widespread outages were being reported by airlines around the world. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Passengers crowd the International flights departure terminal of Rome's Fiumicino airport, Friday, July 19, 2024, as many flights have been delayed or cancelled due to the worldwide internet outage. Microsoft says users worldwide may be unable to access various Microsoft 365 apps and services in a widespread outage. The cause, exact nature and scale of the outage was unclear. Microsoft appeared to suggest in its X posts that the situation was improving, but hours later, widespread outages were being reported by airlines around the world. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Travelers wait in Terminal 1 for check-in at Hamburg Airport, in Hamburg, Germany, Friday July 19, 2024 as a widespread Microsoft outage disrupted flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world on Friday. (Bodo Marks/dpa via AP)

Travelers wait in Terminal 1 for check-in at Hamburg Airport, in Hamburg, Germany, Friday July 19, 2024 as a widespread Microsoft outage disrupted flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world on Friday. (Bodo Marks/dpa via AP)

Travelers at Los Angeles International Airport sleep in a jetway for a delayed United Airlines flight to Dulles International Airport due to a widespread global outage early Friday, July 19, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Stefanie Dazio)

Travelers at Los Angeles International Airport sleep in a jetway for a delayed United Airlines flight to Dulles International Airport due to a widespread global outage early Friday, July 19, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Stefanie Dazio)

The logo of Microsoft is seen outside it's French headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, outside Paris, Monday May 13, 2024. Microsoft users worldwide, including banks and airlines, reported widespread outages on Friday, July 19, 2024 hours after the technology company said it was gradually fixing an issue affecting access to Microsoft 365 apps and services. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

The logo of Microsoft is seen outside it's French headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux, outside Paris, Monday May 13, 2024. Microsoft users worldwide, including banks and airlines, reported widespread outages on Friday, July 19, 2024 hours after the technology company said it was gradually fixing an issue affecting access to Microsoft 365 apps and services. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A traveler at Los Angeles International Airport sits in a jetway for a delayed United Airlines flight to Dulles International Airport due to a widespread global technology outage disrupting flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Stefanie Dazio)

A traveler at Los Angeles International Airport sits in a jetway for a delayed United Airlines flight to Dulles International Airport due to a widespread global technology outage disrupting flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world, Friday, July 19, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Stefanie Dazio)

Numerous passengers wait in front of a black display board at the capital's Berlin Brandenburg Airport, in Schönefeld, Germany, Friday July 19, 2024, after a widespread technology outage disrupted flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world. (Christoph Soeder/dpa via AP)

Numerous passengers wait in front of a black display board at the capital's Berlin Brandenburg Airport, in Schönefeld, Germany, Friday July 19, 2024, after a widespread technology outage disrupted flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world. (Christoph Soeder/dpa via AP)

Passengers crowd the International flights departure terminal of Rome's Fiumicino airport, Friday, July 19, 2024, as many flights have been delayed or cancelled due to the worldwide internet outage. Microsoft says users worldwide may be unable to access various Microsoft 365 apps and services in a widespread outage. The cause, exact nature and scale of the outage was unclear. Microsoft appeared to suggest in its X posts that the situation was improving, but hours later, widespread outages were being reported by airlines around the world. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Passengers crowd the International flights departure terminal of Rome's Fiumicino airport, Friday, July 19, 2024, as many flights have been delayed or cancelled due to the worldwide internet outage. Microsoft says users worldwide may be unable to access various Microsoft 365 apps and services in a widespread outage. The cause, exact nature and scale of the outage was unclear. Microsoft appeared to suggest in its X posts that the situation was improving, but hours later, widespread outages were being reported by airlines around the world. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Passengers crowd the International flights departure terminal of Rome's Fiumicino airport, Friday, July 19, 2024, as many flights have been delayed or cancelled due to the worldwide internet outage. Microsoft says users worldwide may be unable to access various Microsoft 365 apps and services in a widespread outage. The cause, exact nature and scale of the outage was unclear. Microsoft appeared to suggest in its X posts that the situation was improving, but hours later, widespread outages were being reported by airlines around the world. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Passengers crowd the International flights departure terminal of Rome's Fiumicino airport, Friday, July 19, 2024, as many flights have been delayed or cancelled due to the worldwide internet outage. Microsoft says users worldwide may be unable to access various Microsoft 365 apps and services in a widespread outage. The cause, exact nature and scale of the outage was unclear. Microsoft appeared to suggest in its X posts that the situation was improving, but hours later, widespread outages were being reported by airlines around the world. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Passengers gather near check-in counters at Narita International Airport in Narita, east of Tokyo Friday, July 19, 2024, after a technology outage. A widespread Microsoft outage disrupted flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world on Friday. (Kyodo News via AP)

Passengers gather near check-in counters at Narita International Airport in Narita, east of Tokyo Friday, July 19, 2024, after a technology outage. A widespread Microsoft outage disrupted flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world on Friday. (Kyodo News via AP)

Travelers wait in Terminal 1 for check-in at Hamburg Airport, in Hamburg, Germany, Friday July 19, 2024. A widespread Microsoft outage disrupted flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world on Friday. (Bodo Marks/dpa via AP)

Travelers wait in Terminal 1 for check-in at Hamburg Airport, in Hamburg, Germany, Friday July 19, 2024. A widespread Microsoft outage disrupted flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world on Friday. (Bodo Marks/dpa via AP)

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