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Poor mental health at work 'widespread'
United Kingdom Created: 12 Sep 2018
Poor mental health affects half of all employees, according to a survey of 44,000 people carried out by the mental health charity Mind.

Only half of those who had experienced problems with stress, anxiety or low mood had talked to their employer about it.

That's something that must change, says Mind.

Fear, shame and job insecurity are some of the reasons people may choose to hide their worries.

Natalie Hunt, 34, from Salford, got her first job at 18. That role was working in a department store, serving customers, but she found it extremely stressful.

"It was dealing with complaints and helping people with queries. I'd had anxiety and depression as a teenager and the full-time job made me really anxious. I began to get shy and withdrawn, going more and more into myself, and I was worried about having a panic attack at work.

"Colleagues started to notice and eventually my boss wanted a word."

Under pressure
Natalie says that at the time, her employer didn't really understand or know what to do. There was no support. She then left the workplace altogether and took up an art course at college.

She now teaches art classes to people with mental health problems, and at a homeless shelter. She also works part-time in an office, even though sometimes she can go through stages of poor mental health.

Natalie says it makes a huge difference when the workplace is supportive - they have flexible hours and regular catch-ups.

"I first started back in the workplace with a bit of voluntary work in a charity shop, which was great. Because it was voluntary and part-time, I didn't feel pressured and it helped me regain some confidence. That was when I was 20.

"Now I run my own art classes for people with mental health conditions. It's lovely to be making a difference."

Mind says around 300,000 people lose their job each year due to a mental health problem.

The charity - along with The Royal Foundation, Heads Together and 11 other organisations - has created an online resource for employers and employees with information, advice, resources and training that workplaces can use to improve wellbeing.

A recent poll by the Institute of Directors found less than one in five firms offered mental health training for managers.

Poor relationships with line managers, along with workload, have the biggest negative impact on employees' mental health, the survey found - closely followed by poor relationships with colleagues.
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Source: BBC News, 11 Sep 2018

Logged off: meet the teens who refuse to use social media
United Kingdom Created: 29 Aug 2018
Generation Z has grown up online – so why are a surprising number suddenly turning their backs on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat?.

For 17-year-old Mary Amanuel, from London, it happened in Tesco. “We were in year 7,” she remembers, “and my friend had made an Instagram account. As we were buying stuff, she was counting the amounts of likes she’d got on a post. ‘Oooh, 40 likes. 42 likes.’ I just thought: ‘This is ridiculous.’”

Isabelle, an 18-year-old student from Bedfordshire who doesn’t want to disclose her surname, turned against social media when her classmates became zombified. “Everyone switched off from conversation. It became: ‘Can I have your number to text you?’ Something got lost in terms of speaking face to face. And I thought: ‘I don’t really want to be swept up in that.’” For 15-year-old Emily Sharp, from Staines in Surrey, watching bullying online was the final straw. “It wasn’t nice. That deterred me from using it.”

It is widely believed that young people are hopelessly devoted to social media. Teenagers, according to this stereotype, tweet, gram, Snap and scroll. But for every young person hunched over a screen, there are others for whom social media no longer holds such an allure. These teens are turning their backs on the technology – and there are more of them than you might think.

*SNIP* read the entire article via the source link below...
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Source: Guardian, Sirin Kale, 29 Aug 2018

Isle Of Man: Phone mast for Ramsey hospital?
United Kingdom Created: 16 Aug 2018
Phone company Sure has applied for permission to build a phone mast in the grounds of Ramsey Cottage Hospital.

The application (18/00786/B) would see a 12m high structure and equipment cabin located to the rear of the building near to the existing boiler house.

The chimneys for the boiler house are higher than the proposed tower at 15m.

The area surrounding the hospital is predominantly residential, and other than the Grove Museum, where it would have to be 22m high, there is little scope for the development of a phone mast.

The application states: ’Although radio coverage at Ramsey Cottage Hospital is, just for voice calls, is about acceptable, reliable data usage is sporadic.

’With the development of mobile communications moving to a pure IP basis, reliable data coverage is essential.

’With Sure now being the mobile phones service provider to the government, there is now a concentration of mobile devices at the hospital.

’In addition, as the hospital has a high density of customers using their mobile devices while waiting, the network load in this area is particularly.’

The application continues that the mast would assist with the furthering of the government’s Digital Inclusion Strategy 2016-2021 to aid more people access the internet and move more services online.

Sure added: ’To summarise, we consider that this application suggests the optimum location and design for a proposed site.

’The current mobile network plots, combined with the number of customer complains received, demonstrate that there is a definite need for a site in this area to alleviate the extremely poor mobile network coverage in the estate.

’The location and appearance have been carefully considered to best utilise the existing infrastructure to minimise visual impact.

’As such, we believe the development as proposed is in accordance with planning guidance.’

To comment on the plans, visit and search 18/00786/B
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Source: Isle Of Man Today, 09 Aug 2018

Our phones and gadgets are now endangering the planet
United Kingdom Created: 31 Jul 2018
It was just another moment in this long, increasingly strange summer. I was on a train home from Paddington station, and the carriage’s air-conditioning was just about fighting off the heat outside. Most people seemed to be staring at their phones – in many cases, they were trying to stream a World Cup match, as the 4G signal came and went, and Great Western Railway’s onboard wifi proved to be maddeningly erratic. The trebly chatter of headphone leakage was constant. And thousands of miles and a few time zones away in Loudoun County, Virginia, one of the world’s largest concentrations of computing power was playing its part in keeping everything I saw ticking over, as data from around the world passed back and forth from its vast buildings.

Related news:
Dec 2009, Denmark: Mobile-phone technology is a Carbon-emissions Whopper!

Most of us communicate with this small and wealthy corner of the US every day. Thanks to a combination of factors – its proximity to Washington DC, competitive electricity prices, and its low susceptibility to natural disasters – the county is the home of data centres used by about 3,000 tech companies: huge agglomerations of circuitry, cables and cooling systems that sit in corners of the world most of us rarely see, but that are now at the core of how we live. About 70% of the world’s online traffic is reckoned to pass through Loudoun County.

But there is a big problem, centred on a power company called Dominion, which supplies the vast majority of Loudoun County’s electricity. According to a 2017 Greenpeace report, only 1% of Dominion’s total electricity comes from credibly renewable sources: 2% originates in hydroelectric plants, and the rest is split evenly between coal, gas and nuclear power. Dominion is also in the middle of a huge regional controversy about a proposed pipeline that will carry fracked gas to its power plants, which it says is partly driven by data centres’ insatiable appetite for electricity. Clearly, then, the video streams, digital photographs and messaging that pour out of all those servers come with a price.

I was reminded of all this by the recently published book New Dark Age, by the British writer James Bridle. He cites a study in Japan that suggests that by 2030, the power requirements of digital services will outstrip the nation’s entire current generation capacity. He quotes an American report from 2013 – ironically enough, commissioned by coal industry lobbyists – that pointed out that using either a tablet or smartphone to wirelessly watch an hour of video a week used roughly the same amount of electricity (largely consumed at the data-centre end of the process) as two new domestic fridges.

If you worry about climate change and a cause celebre such as the expansion of Heathrow airport, it is worth considering that data centres are set to soon have a bigger carbon footprint than the entire aviation industry. Yet as Bridle points out, even that statistic doesn’t quite do justice to some huge potential problems. He mentions the vast amounts of electricity consumed by the operations of the online currency Bitcoin – which, at the height of the speculative frenzies earlier this year, was set to produce an annual amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to 1m transatlantic flights. And he’s anxious about what will happen next: “In response to vast increases in data storage and computational capacity in the last decade, the amount of energy used by data centres has doubled every four years, and is expected to triple in the next 10 years.”

These changes are partly being driven by the so-called internet of things: the increasing array of everyday devices – from TVs, through domestic security devices, to lighting systems, and countless modes of transport – that constantly emit and receive data. If driverless cars ever arrive in our lives, those same flows will increase hugely. At the same time, the accelerating rollout of the internet and its associated technologies in the developing world will add to the load.

About a decade ago, we were being told to fight climate change by switching off our TVs and stereos. If the battle is now even more urgent, how does it fit with a world in which router lights constantly flicker, and all the devices we own will be in constant, energy-intensive communication with distant mega-computers?

But some good news. Whatever its other ethical contortions, Silicon Valley has an environmental conscience. Facebook has pledged to, sooner or later, power its operations using “100% clean and renewable energy”. Google says it has already achieved that goal. So does Apple. Yet even if you factor in efficiency improvements, beneath many of these claims lies a reality in which the vast and constant demand for power means such companies inevitably use energy generated by fossil fuels, and then atone for it using the often questionable practice of carbon offsetting.

And among the big tech corporations, there is one big focus of worry: Amazon, whose ever-expanding cloud computing wing, Amazon Web Services, offers “the on-demand delivery of computer power, database storage … and other IT resources” and provides most of the computing power behind Netflix. This sits at the heart of data centres’ relentless expansion. Green campaigners bemoan the fact that the details of AWS’s electricity consumption and its carbon footprint remain under wraps; on its corporate website, the story of its use of renewable energy suddenly stops in 2016.

Besides, for all their power, even the most enlightened US giants obviously command only part of a global industry. To quote from that Greenpeace report: “Among emerging Chinese internet giants such as Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba, the silence on energy performance still remains. Neither the public nor customers are able to obtain any information about their electricity use and CO2 target.” Irrespective of the good work carried out by some tech giants, and whether or not you take seriously projections that the entire communication technology industry could account for up to 14% of carbon emissions by 2040, one stark fact remains: the vast majority of electricity used in the world’s data centres comes from non-renewable sources, and as their numbers rapidly increase, there are no guarantees that this will change.

On the fringes of the industry, a few voices have been heard describing the kind of future at which most of us – expecting everything streamed as a right – would balk. They talk about eventually rationing internet use, insisting that people send black and white images, or forcibly pushing them away from binge-streaming videos. Their basic point, it seems, chimes with those occasions when the smartphone in your pocket starts to suddenly heat up: a metaphor for our warming planet, and the fact that even the most well-intentioned corporations may yet find that their supposedly unlimited digital delights are, in the dictionary definition of the term, unsustainable.

John Harris is a Guardian columnist
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Source: The Guardian, John Harris, 17 Jul 2018

Unluckiest school in Britain: Boycott amid fears of DANGEROUS radiation levels
United Kingdom Created: 9 Jul 2018
PARENTS have withdrawn their children from a new £7million school after it was rebuilt – amid fears it is still too dangerous. Dartington primary, dubbed Britain’s unluckiest school, was billed as “zero carbon” and “visionary” when it originally opened in 2010.

But it was soon closed after water started leaking into the buildings. Teachers and 300 pupils were forced to have lessons in temporary accommodation.

Then in 2016 diggers and dumper trucks turned the school into rubble – and started building again.

The school reopened a few months ago, but parents recently staged a one-day boycott over the siting of a new mobile phone mast 50 yards from the classrooms.

Parents at the school in Totnes, Devon, claim radiation levels are 40 percent above the safe level in the playground and entrance area. And they insist the 33-foot Vodafone mast be removed. Chloe de Sousa, who has two children at the school, pointed out that the mast was also only yards away from Bidwell Brook special school and a college.

“We want the mast taken down,” she said.

We want it moved to another site that is not near housing or a school.”

Vodafone had originally wanted to put a 50-foot mast on the site but it was refused and they scaled down the request.

Governors have declared their opposition to the mast being set so close to the school.

In their latest newsletter, they say: “Our school community continues to be very proactive about voicing objections to the phone mast which has been placed so near to our school.

“This is something that we are all joining together to oppose and we are very grateful to everyone who has lodged their objections.”

A protest group has also been formed that says for many parents and grandparents, the mast has “shattered our confidence in frequenting the heart of the village where we educate and play with our children”.

County councillor Jacqi Hodgson, who took part in the protest, said: “I absolutely support the parents in their protest. The fact that this mast is in such close proximity to these schools is outrageous. It is highly intrusive and presents a huge health risk.”

Vodafone said customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live, work and travel. A spokesman said the base stations are compliant and below the required radiation limits and there is “no evidence of adverse health effects”.
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Source: Express, Camilla Tominey, 08 Jul 2018

Devon primary school to walk-out over phone mast and fears of 'excessive radiation'
United Kingdom Created: 26 Jun 2018
Parents and students at a Devon primary school are planning a mass walk-out in protest of a controversial mobile phone mast.

The 10m high structure is located just 50 metres away from Dartington Primary School, Totnes, which has worried parents over suggested radiation readings at the school which apparently show the highest reading of ‘excessive radiation.’

Those involved in the protest want the mast located at least 1km away from the school, as well as the outdoor pool, a children’s playground and a school for children with additional needs that fall within a 100m radius of the Vodafone mast.

Some have claimed these masts emit levels of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) and radiation that can lead to significant health issues.

Dr David Carpenter, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Albany, USA said:

"Children are more vulnerable to RF/MW radiation because of the susceptibility of their developing nervous systems.

"Children are largely unable to remove themselves from exposures to harmful substances in their environments. Their exposure is involuntary.

"There is a major legal difference between an exposure that an individual chooses to accept and one that is forced upon a person, especially a dependent, who can do nothing about it."

Michelle McHale, Director of Attachment Parenting UK whose girls attended Dartington Primary said she is astonished at the lack of precaution or care in siting the mast.

Locals agree that young children’s health is absolutely paramount. Mum Natascha, whose son has additional needs and has been thriving at Dartington Primary commented:

"We love our school and we agree with technological development but the mast’s closeness casts a dark shadow over our newly built school and many parents are seriously considering de-registering which could create a real conundrum for the council who own the small roadside verge where the mast is erected."

Mum of one, Leela, feels strongly that the mast needs to be located at a distance to both amenities and housing and that extensive consultation was sorely missing. Leela commented;

"Why would we risk subjecting our children to consistent radiation while other European Countries adhere to the EU's 'precautionary principle' when it comes to EMFs?

"I can see how phone companies could shatter our confidence in the safety of where we live by placing a 10m mast with permitted planning rights alongside a home or school and we have zero rights to appeal our involuntary radiation exposure. What does that mean for our human rights?"

Vodafone originally applied to South Hams District Council for the erection of a 15m mast, but this planning application was rejected amidst local opposition to the mast.

Since then, Vodafone has appealed to the Secretary of State to have the local council’s decision revoked.

The 10m mast was erected during the May half-term break.

The parent-led walk-out will take place at 1.30pm on Tuesday, June 26. The school's head teacher, Mrs Mahon, objects to the mast's proximity and school governors are working on the school's behalf to oppose the current location.

More than 620 have signed a petition to have the mast moved.
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Source: DevonLive, Jamie Hawkins, 25 Jun 2018

Top mobile phone firms warning shareholders over devices' possible cancer risks - but fail to tell customers
United Kingdom Created: 4 Jun 2018
Companies including Blackberry, EE, Nokia and Vodafone have told investors they could face legal action from device users if research eventually finds links between their products and cancer.

Top mobile firms are warning ­shareholders about the potential health risks of phones but keeping the information from customers.

Companies including Blackberry, EE, Nokia and Vodafone have told investors they could face legal action from device users if research eventually finds links between their products and cancer.

Yet they fail to warn users of any potential risk in their ads and packaging.

British Telecom, which owns EE, tells investors starkly in its 2017 annual report: “We can’t provide absolute ­assurance that research in the future won’t establish links between radio frequency emissions and health risks.”

And Nokia says: “There have been some research results that indicated the possibility that electromagnetic waves emitted from mobile devices and base stations have adverse health effects, such as increasing the risk of cancer.”

The news comes after we revealed brain cancer patient Neil Whitfield, 60, is the first Briton to sue a phone maker and could win up to £1million from Nokia if successful.

Mr Whitfield said: “If companies are warning investors there is a possible risk they should be warning people who use their phones and networks.

"They are being selective with the truth and have decided those with money are more important than the general public.”

The firms involved say they have a duty to warn shareholders of any risk, however unlikely.

A court in Italy recently ruled a link between tumours and mobiles and the International Agency for Research into Cancer says they are a “possible carcinogenic.”

And in France, Orange has recalled around 90,000 Hapi 30 phones because of the device’s radiation level.

Devra Davis, president of the Environmental Health Trust, said: “Financial threats from litigation are growing in step with scientific evidence linking phones to health damages.

"Further still, the Italian court ­decision indicates any firm that requires mobile use as a ­condition of work faces major liability.”

Blackberry and Nokia warn shareholders of possible legal action in reports to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Nokia says despite adhering to regulations “concerns over the adverse effects on health... could make it difficult to acquire and retain customers”.

Vodafone says there is “no evidence” of harm but adds: “A change to this view could result in... impacts.” Blackberry says “perceived risks” could affects sales and lead to legal battles.

Most studies find no link with cancer but others claim they increase the risk of brain cancer.

Mr Whitfield blames Nokia phones for giving him an acoustic neuroma on a nerve between his inner ear and brain.

"His case could open the floodgates and he said: “Phone companies don’t give a jot about health.

"I’m in the autumn of my life but I worry about the next generation who spend hours each day glued to their phones.”

Nokia is fighting his claim and said safety “has always been a key consideration”, adding: “All products comply with exposure guidelines and limits set by public health ­authorities.”
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Source: Mirror, Grace Macaskill, 02 Jun 2018

Simon Cowell ditches phone for 10 months - and counting
United Kingdom Created: 3 Jun 2018
Simon Cowell has revealed he hasn't used his mobile phone for 10 months - saying the change was "so good" for his mental health.

The media mogul told the Mail on Sunday he became irritated with how often he was using his phone.

The 58-year-old said he has "become way more focused" and "aware of the people around me" since giving up his device.

He said being without his phone was a "strange experience" but "has absolutely made me happier".

"I literally have not been on my phone for 10 months," he said.

"The thing I get irritated with is when you have a meeting, everyone's on their phone - and I was probably in that place too. You can't concentrate.

"It has been so good for my mental health. It's a very strange experience but it really is good for you and it has absolutely made me happier."

A survey by Deloitte in 2017 found 55% of phone users check their device within 15 minutes of waking up - while 41% believed their partner used a mobile too much.

And in March, it was announced that an app that rewards students for time spent away from their phones is being released at 170 universities in the UK after proving popular in Scandinavia.

Other celebrities to have reportedly shunned mobiles include Elton John, Tyra Banks, Tom Cruise and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Have you ditched your mobile phone? Has it made you happier? Please share your experience with us by emailing

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

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Send an SMS or MMS to 61124 or +44 7624 800 100
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Source: BBC News, 03 Jun 2018

Cancer expert claims school wifi networks could put pupils at risk because they ‘absorb radiation’
United Kingdom Created: 27 May 2018
Dr Anthony Miller believes wireless internet should be considered as dangerous as tobacco and asbestos to schoolchildren.

A CANCER expert has claimed school wifi networks could put pupils at risk because they "absorb radiation".

Dr Anthony Miller, an adviser to the World Health Organisation, believes youngsters are at greater risk from radio waves because their smaller skulls can more easily be damaged by harmful rays.

He told Mirror Online: “Radiation from mobile phones and other wireless devices can cause changes in DNA and induce cancer in experimental animals.

“Children’s skulls are thinner and absorb much more of this radiation.

"We ignore this at our future peril.”

Dr Miller's warning comes as distraught mum Debra Fry says her daughter Jenny killed herself after developing the wifi "allergy".

The 15-year-old committed suicide after two years of horrendous tiredness, headaches and bladder problems.

Debra, 57, said: “I believe she just couldn’t take any more. She had overwhelming fatigue, headaches and ear pressure, difficulty finding words, itchy skin, dizziness and stiff joints.

“She was getting into trouble at school because she couldn’t concentrate and needed to urinate more than usual, so was always leaving class.

“She’d always been a very good student and a very healthy child.

“I made sure she got the right nutrients, the right influences, the right education. I had no idea we were exposing her to something so dangerous.”

Debra and her partner Charles Newman claim Jenny's health issues were directly related to the school installing wifi in 2012.

Debra maintains that her daughter's symptoms "eased or went away" when she was at home in Chadlington, Oxon, where they had taken out their home wifi router.

She added: "We wanted to take her to the GP but thought our fears would be dismissed.”

But Canadian Dr Miller believes WHO should increase the risk rating. Schools in France, Belgium and parts of America already ban or limit wifi use.

He said: “We know that when humans are exposed to cancer-causing agents, it’s usually quite a delay before you see the full effect. We’re concerned when those children become adults their risk of cancer will be much greater.

“We could be storing up higher cancer rates in the future. Since radio frequency radiation was graded 2B there have been more studies showing this increased risk.

“In my view it should be on the same level as tobacco and asbestos. It should not be allowed in school.”

Public Health England maintains that wifi is safe - and that their lower radio frequency is likely to be lower than those from mobile phones.

On their advisory page, they write: "On the basis of the published studies and those carried out in-house, PHE sees no reason why wifi should not continue to be used in schools and in other places."

But they do advise a "sensible precautionary approach" and to "keep the situation under review so that parents and others can have as much reassurance as possible."
Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Sun, Phoebe Cooke, 26 May 2018

I wish mum's phone was never invented
United Kingdom Created: 24 May 2018
Mobile phones are bad for us - We know because every day there is a news story telling us so, or at least it can feel like that.

But no-one ever actually puts their phone down after hearing these reports, right?

What if children told you exactly how your WhatsApping, Instagramming, emailing and news-reading makes them feel?

"I hate my mum's phone and I wish she never had one," is what one primary school child wrote in a class assignment.

American school teacher Jen Adams Beason posted the comment on Facebook, and revealed that four out of 21 of her students said they wished mobile phones had never been invented.

Ms Beason, who lives in Louisiana, also posted a picture of the second grade (ages seven to eight) pupil's class work after she asked them to describe something they wish had never been created.

"I had my 2nd graders write about an invention that they wish had never been created. Out of 21 students, 4 of them wrote about this topic 😥 #getoffyourphone #listentoyourkids
Posted by Jen Adams Beason on Friday, 18 May 2018"

"I would say that I don't like the phone," one child wrote.

"I don't like the phone because my parents are on their phone every day. A phone is sometimes a really bad habit."

The student completed the work with a drawing of a mobile phone with a cross through it and a large sad face saying "I hate it".
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The picture was posted last Friday and has been shared almost 170,000 times since, including by shocked parents who are stopping to think twice about their technology habits.

"Wow. Out of the mouths of babes! We are all guilty!" responded one user, Tracy Jenkins.

"Strong words for a second grader! Listen parents," added Sylvia Burton.

Another wrote, "That is so sad and convicting. Great reminder for us all to put those phones down and engage with our kids more."

Other teachers also joined the discussion to add their own experience of children's reaction to their parents' internet use.

"We had a class discussion about Facebook and every single one of the students said their parents spend more time on Facebook then they do talking to their child. It was very eye opening for me," commented Abbey Fauntleroy.

Some parents offered their personal experience of trying to address the problem.

Beau Stermer wrote that he has seen his two-year-old son reacting negatively to his use of his mobile phone: "I've noticed if he and I are playing and my phone rings for something at work, he has nothing to do with me after I get off the phone.

"It kills me. I have made an agreement with myself that if I am playing with him everything else can wait."

However, one mum pointed out that her teenagers were just as bad, often choosing their phone over family time.

A survey carried out in the US in 2017 reported that half of parents surveyed found that using technology disrupted interactions with their child three or more times a day, a phenomenon named "technoference".
Click here to view the source article.
Source: BBC News, Georgina Rannard, 23 May 2018

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