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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 154371 times)
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« Reply #4380 on: Jun 24th, 2011, 5:23pm »

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« Reply #4381 on: Jun 24th, 2011, 6:51pm »

A real wipeout.
L E V I A T H A N 9
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« Reply #4382 on: Jun 24th, 2011, 9:55pm »

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You want a revolution?
You've got to make a difference on your own
You want a revolution?
Stand up, stand out and make it known
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« Reply #4383 on: Jun 25th, 2011, 07:43am »

on Jun 24th, 2011, 6:51pm, LEVIATHAN wrote:
A real wipeout.
L E V I A T H A N 9


Good morning Leviathan.

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« Reply #4384 on: Jun 25th, 2011, 07:44am »

on Jun 24th, 2011, 9:55pm, murnut wrote:


MUR! Hi!!! cheesy

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« Reply #4385 on: Jun 25th, 2011, 07:46am »

The Hill

S&P: Investors could lose $100 billion if US credit is downgraded

By Peter Schroeder
06/25/11 06:40 AM ET

Investors with holdings in U.S. debt could lose $100 billion if the country’s credit rating is downgraded, a leading Wall Street forecaster says.

Standard & Poor’s predicts losses of that magnitude if the U.S. government’s perfect AAA credit rating is taken away over concerns about the federal deficit.

In a research report that is making the rounds at financial institutions, S&P attempts to tease out the dollar implications of a downgrade.

Michael Thompson, the managing director of S&P’s valuation and risk strategies — a wholly separate unit from its ratings shop — said the report tackles what was long thought to be unthinkable.

“What we’re really trying to do is give people in the marketplace a prism … to what the effect [is] of something they’ve never really bent their minds to,” he said. “People never really went down this analysis because they just thought it was an impossibility.

“That’s starting to erode a little bit,” he added.

A downgrade is not imminent from any credit rating agency, but the 'Big Three' ratings firms have not shied away from expressing their concerns about the nation’s financial situation.

In April, Standard & Poor’s lowered its outlook on U.S. debt from “stable” to “negative,” citing growing pessimism about lawmakers’ ability to rein in the deficit.

Moody’s Investors Services chided lawmakers in June for political gamesmanship, warning that its rating on U.S. debt could be put on negative watch if “credible agreement” to tackle the deficit is not reached in the coming weeks.

Fitch Ratings followed suit a few days later, announcing the U.S. rating would be put on negative watch if a deal to increase the debt limit is not reached by August.

To figure out what might happen if any of those threats were to become a reality, Standard & Poor’s looked to the cost of insuring a nation’s debt against default through the use of a credit default swap (CDS). A CDS effectively is an insurance policy that protects an investor if a borrower defaults; the safer the borrower is perceived to be, the cheaper it is to buy insurance.

By effectively comparing the costs of a CDS for American debt with the cost for insuring against the debt of other nations of varying creditworthiness, Standard & Poor’s painted a rough picture of what a lower-rated America would mean for investors — and it’s not pretty.

Standard & Poor’s said in its report that investors could suffer losses that “could easily range from $50 to $100 billion” as prices for existing Treasury bonds could fall by up to 6 percent.

And they point out that it’s not just investors in American debt that would suffer from a downgrade. A consequence would be increased borrowing costs for the government, as it would have to boost interest rates to attract investors for a now-riskier security.

If Standard & Poor’s lowered the nation’s credit rating to double-A, the interest rate on Treasury bonds would increase by roughly 23.2 basis points, or 0.232 percent. If it were to fall all the way to single-A, the cost of borrowing would climb by about 37.5 basis points.

That change might seem paltry, but when dealing with a deficit of over $1 trillion, those small boosts can add up. By the firm’s math, that shift would mean an additional $2.32 to $3.75 billion a year just in additional interest.

Thompson pointed out that there is a snowball effect as well. If the nation’s credit rating is downgraded due to the inability to deal with the deficit, the added interest costs will make it that much harder to rein it in going forward.

“You think the deficit’s bad now? Wait until you actually have to pay real interest on your debt,” he said.

However, the S&P report is not all bad news for the U.S. The firm points out in its report that if Washington can put together a plan to tackle the deficit that convinces Standard & Poor’s to return to its stable outlook, the interest rate on Treasury bonds could fall by 11.4 basis points.


http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/801-economy/168461-sap-investors-could-lose-100-billion-if-us-credit-is-downgraded

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« Reply #4386 on: Jun 25th, 2011, 07:49am »

LA Times

Coming soon to a theater near Yuri

U.S. movie studios increasingly rely on Russia and other emerging foreign markets that once were of little consequence to them.

By Richard Verrier, Ben Fritz and Sergei Loiko, Los Angeles Times
June 25, 2011
Reporting from Los Angeles and Moscow

On a hot summer night this week in a historic Moscow square, a delegation of Hollywood celebrities headed by director Michael Bay and actor Shia LaBeouf marched past the 33-foot tall Alexander Pushkin monument and up the green carpeted stairs to the movie theater, a drab Soviet-era cube of concrete and glass.

In a poorly air-conditioned auditorium filled well beyond its 2,000-seat capacity, the Hollywood contingent went on stage to introduce the opening film of the 33rd Moscow International Film Festival: Paramount Pictures' "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," the latest in the series of critically pummeled but wildly popular extravaganzas featuring giant battling robots, fiery explosions and scantily clad young actresses.

If the festival, conceived as a showcase for films extolling the Soviet Union, seemed an unlikely marketing venue for Hollywood's quintessential summer event movie, it actually reflects how emerging markets that were a backwater for the American film industry only a decade ago have become its primary growth engine.

"Ten years ago Russia had only a few dozen screens, and now it is enjoying such enormous growth that we think it's fitting to have the opening of one of the biggest franchises in the industry there," Paramount Chairman Brad Grey said in an interview. "Russia is just one of several new markets opening up that are driving most of the increase in demand for our movies."

Box-office growth in countries such as Russia, Brazil and China (Europe and Japan have long been fertile ground for American movies) comes as theater attendance in the U.S. and Canada has flattened and once-lucrative DVD sales have plummeted.

Overseas ticket buyers now account for nearly 70% of Hollywood's box-office revenue, and it's quite possible for a movie to flop in the U.S. yet still be a hit because of its international appeal. For example, the Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie thriller "The Tourist" earned only $68 million domestically after its December debut. But the movie, directed by a German, filmed in Venice and Paris, featuring a largely British supporting cast and remade from a popular French film, did a healthy $211 million overseas.

"We have to make up for the shortfall in DVD spending somehow, and the principal way we are doing it now is international," said Michael Lynton, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The trend has changed how Hollywood does business, including deciding which movies get made, where they are filmed, who gets cast and how they are marketed.

In the expanding global marketplace, the sensibilities of moviegoers in Shanghai and St. Petersburg count as much as — if not more than — those in St. Louis and Studio City.

In Sony Pictures' "The Green Hornet," for example, executives tapped Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou to play the Hornet's sidekick despite his lack of Hollywood experience and limited English. He and co-star Cameron Diaz, who is popular in Europe, provided balance to star Seth Rogen, who didn't have a strong track record overseas.

"When it comes to casting decisions … we certainly take into account how well the character will play in international markets," said Neal Moritz, a producer of "Green Hornet."

Another movie Moritz produced, "Fast Five," takes place in Brazil, "not only because it was right for the movie, but because it was right for the international marketplace," he said.

The film had its world premiere in Rio de Janeiro and has grossed $21 million in the country, twice as much as 2009's "Fast & Furious."

In some cases, it's just a matter of branding. The film sold to Americans last fall as "Battle: Los Angeles" was called "World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles" in most of the world. This summer's "Captain America: The First Avenger" will be known simply as "The First Avenger" in Russia and South Korea.

In Disney-Pixar's just-released animated feature "Cars 2," which is set in several international locations, "there was originally a Russian villain, but there was concern about that," said Nathan Stanton, story supervisor on the film. The bad-guy car character was changed to a monocle-wearing German.

Animated family films like "Cars 2" and "Rio," as well as 3D, special-effects-laden spectacles with easy-to-follow stories like the "Transformers" sequel, are typical of the kind of movies that play well overseas, particularly in emerging markets. Live-action comedies and dramas, meanwhile, tend not to translate well, a key reason studios are making fewer of them.

"The movies that work overseas tend to be big action films, the type that don't require viewers to necessarily pick up on the nuances of the language or culture," said Lynton.

Kirill Razlogov, the Moscow film festival's program director, said he scheduled the "Transformers" premiere to boost the festival's international profile and doesn't really consider it an American film. "There is nothing American in 'Transformers,' and it is far more like a Japanese video game than a U.S. movie," he said.

Bay said Moscow was the ideal stage for the launch of his latest movie.

"I grew up with the Cold War and I think it is wonderful that we are here in Moscow," said Bay, whose grandfather was Russian. "It is a very important place in the film market today."

France, Germany, Britain and Japan remain the most lucrative foreign markets, but are fast losing ground to countries where rising middle classes with more disposable income have fueled a multiplex building boom.

In China, where box-office receipts hit a record $1.5 billion in 2010, according to research firm Screen Digest, the number of screens doubled to more than 6,200 in the last four years and is projected to double again by 2015. In the last decade, China has gone from the world's 23rd-largest movie market to No. 6.

Russia crossed the $1-billion box-office mark for the first time in 2010, a more than fifteenfold increase since 2001. The former Soviet Union now has about 3,000 commercial movie screens, with 1,000 equipped for 3D, which remains more popular overseas than in North America.

"People now flock to movie houses on weekends to watch U.S. blockbusters not only to get entertainment but to get some encouragement and hope," said Daniil Dondurei, editor in chief of the Art of Cinema magazine. "American movies teach people to be honest, kind, patriotic, brave, to work hard, be good friends, respect family values and be tolerant — something a Russian series or movie no longer aims at."

One of the early players in Russia was Shari Redstone, president of Norwood, Mass.-based National Amusements, who launched a chain of luxury multiplex theaters in Russia in 2002 that was recently sold to a local circuit.

"When we first went in, there were very few opportunities for people to have a high-quality moviegoing experience," Redstone said. "I felt like we could be pioneers in building a transparent exhibition industry in the country."

National Amusements is expanding rapidly in Latin America, which saw the world's fastest growth in box-office revenue last year, according to the Motion Picture Assn. of America.

"The purchasing power of the population has really grown over the last four or five years," said Alejandro Ramirez Magana, director general of Mexican-based Cinepolis, the world's fourth-largest theater chain. "There aren't enough theaters in these countries to meet demand."

To be sure, there are drawbacks in many emerging markets, including currency fluctuations, limited television licensing revenues and rampant piracy, which severely limits the ancillary revenues studios fetch from DVD sales. In China, the government limits the number of foreign theatrical releases each year to about 20.

But even as they count on at least several more years of rapid growth in Brazil, China and Russia, studio executives are eyeing other potential markets, especially India, which has a population of about 1.1 billion. It was the world's seventh-largest movie market in 2010, with $1.4 billion in box-office grosses. However, most of the ticket sales are currently for locally made Bollywood pictures.

"India could be a fantastic market for us," said Patrick Wachsberger, co-chairman of Summit Entertainment and a veteran of foreign movie distribution.


http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ct-0625-foreign-box-office-20110625,0,7044484.story

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« Reply #4387 on: Jun 25th, 2011, 07:56am »

Wired

New Uncontacted Group Confirmed in Brazil
By Brandon Keim
June 24, 2011 | 3:19 pm
Categories: Anthropology


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The Brazilian government has confirmed the existence of a previously unknown group of so-called uncontacted people who have remained isolated from industrial society.

In April, the Brazilian government agency charged with protecting the country's indigenous tribes took aerial photographs of the group's Amazon dwellings. The photos were released June 22 by Survival International, an advocacy group for indigenous people.

Survival International research director Fiona Watson talked to Wired.com about the photos.

House

The structure of the dwelling is very different from those seen in photographs of another uncontacted Amazon group that were released in February. Unlike those small, open dwellings, these are large and enclosed.

"Probably 20 or 30 people could fit in there," said Watson. "You can see smaller structures toward the back of the house. These could be areas for cooking, or storing things. I've been to indigenous villages where they have separate structures for keeping the large birds from which they pluck feathers to make arrows."

more after the jump
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/06/new-uncontacted-photos/

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« Reply #4388 on: Jun 25th, 2011, 07:58am »

Reuters

China to remain long-term investor in Europe's debt
By James Pomfret and Marton Dunai
BUDAPEST | Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:52am EDT

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Saturday he was "still confident" that Europe can overcome the debt crisis and said China would remain a long-term investor in Europe's debt market.

The Chinese Premier spoke at a press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a visit to Hungary.

"I have confidence in European economic development," he said. "China is a long-term investor in Europe's sovereign debt market. In recent years we have increased by a quite big margin holdings of euro bonds."

"In the future, as we have done in the past, we will support Europe and the euro," Wen added.

He said China stood willing to help Europe "work for expeditious recovery and stable growth," but did not give exact figures on how much euro zone sovereign debt China might buy.

Wen also said China was willing to buy a "certain amount" of Hungarian government bonds and aims to boost bilateral trade to $20 billion by 2015. He did not specify the amount of Hungarian bonds China would be willing to purchase either.

He said China's state development bank would provide 1 billion euros for development projects between Hungary and China.

The Chinese premier is visiting Europe as the euro zone grapples to contain Greece's worsening debt crisis and possible default which analysts fear could roil global markets and trigger another financial crisis.

China has large holdings of euro-denominated assets in its vast $3.05 trillion foreign reserves and is desperate to do what it can to preserve the value of its holdings, though analysts say the extent to which China may commit fresh funds toward purchasing distressed European debt as a market-calming gesture, will likely be limited.

Wen Jiabao, the first Chinese head of government to visit Hungary for 24 years, is also seeking to explore greater trade ties with the country given its strategic location and increasing role as a logistics and trade processing hub in Eastern Europe for Chinese goods.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said China's buying of Hungarian government bonds would increase the security of debt financing for Hungary in the medium term.

"The purchase of government bonds is also important for Hungary as Hungary is able to finance itself from markets but the fact that China will buy further will bring huge security," Orban said.

While Wen is expected to face a barrage of protests and criticism from governments in Britain and Germany over China's human rights record and its recent clampdown on dissent, the release of prominent activist and artist Ai Weiwei on the eve of Wen's visit could ease some pressure on this front.

The 54-year-old artist Ai was freed on bail on Wednesday, while a batch of Ai's associates and other activists have also been freed since then, marking a climbdown of sorts by Chinese authorities, who have rarely flinched in prosecuting critics of Party rule.

The 27-member EU bloc is now China's largest trading partner with bilateral trade worth nearly 400 billion euros ($573 billion).

(Writing by Krisztina Than and James Pomfret; Editing by Toby Chopra)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/25/us-hungary-china-idUSTRE75O0UD20110625

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« Reply #4389 on: Jun 25th, 2011, 08:01am »

Hollywood Reporter

New Sarah Palin Documentary Emerges (Video)
1:17 AM 6/25/2011 by THR Staff

British director Nick Broomfield will screen the film for buyers next week in Los Angeles.

As the Sarah Palin documentary Undefeated heads toward its world premiere on Tuesday, another documentary is making the rounds looking for distributors.

British filmmaker Nick Broomfield has made a much more critical look at Palin's life and rise to prominence, featuring interviews with her parents, friends, colleagues such as ex-legislative director John Bitney, ex brother-in-law Mike Wooten and many others.

The film is screening for buyers next week in Los Angeles and might even get a premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Broomfield has made a number of documentaries notable for their unconventional takes on high profile subjects, including 1998's Kurt & Courtney, which questioned whether Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain's 1994 suicide was really a murder; Biggie & Tupac; and the British TV movie His Big White Self, about South African white supremacist Eugene Terre'blanche.

The Palin doc Undefeated, directed by Stephen Bannon, chronicles the former Alaska Governor's rise to national prominence as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate in 2008. Bannon, who first gained the support of Palin after his Tea Party documentary Generation Zero was broadcast on Fox News, intended to call the film Take a Stand, which was Palin's campaign slogan when she ran for governor in 2006. Instead, it became The Undefeated to make it sound more triumphant.

video after the jump
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/new-sarah-palin-documentary-emerges-205557

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« Reply #4390 on: Jun 25th, 2011, 08:51am »

Interesting. The Presidential race will be one to watch.
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« Reply #4391 on: Jun 25th, 2011, 08:57am »

Power-grid experiment could confuse electric clocks

Traffic lights, security systems and computers may be affected by frequency change as well


By Seth Borenstein
msnbc/AP Associated Press
updated 6/24/2011 9:23:39 PM ET

WASHINGTON — A yearlong experiment with America's electric grid could mess up traffic lights, security systems and some computers — and make plug-in clocks and appliances like programmable coffeemakers run up to 20 minutes fast.
"A lot of people are going to have things break and they're not going to know why," said Demetrios Matsakis, head of the time service department at the U.S. Naval Observatory, one of two official timekeeping agencies in the federal government.

Since 1930, electric clocks have kept time based on the rate of the electrical current that powers them. If the current slips off its usual rate, clocks run a little fast or slow. Power companies now take steps to correct it and keep the frequency of the current — and the time — as precise as possible.

The group that oversees the U.S. power grid is proposing an experiment that would allow more frequency variation than it does now without corrections, according to a company presentation obtained by The Associated Press.

Officials say they want to try this to make the power supply more reliable, save money and reduce what may be needless efforts. The test is tentatively set to start in mid-July, but that could change.

Tweaking the power grid's frequency is expensive and takes a lot of effort, said Joe McClelland, head of electric reliability for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

"Is anyone using the grid to keep track of time?" McClelland said. "Let's see if anyone complains if we eliminate it."

Won't affect GPS or Internet

No one is quite sure what will be affected. This won't change the clocks in cellphones, GPS or even on computers, and it won't have anything to do with official U.S. time or Internet time.

But wall clocks and those on ovens and coffeemakers — anything that flashes "12:00" when it loses power — may be just a bit off every second, and that error can grow with time.
A June 14 company presentation spelled out the potential effects of the change: East Coast clocks may run as much as 20 minutes fast over a year, but West Coast clocks are only likely to be off by 8 minutes. In Texas, it's only an expected speedup of 2 minutes.

Some parts of the grid, like in the East, tend to run faster than others. Errors add up. If the grid averages just over 60 cycles a second, clocks that rely on the grid will gain 14 seconds per day, according to the company's presentation.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43532031/ns/technology_and_science-innovation/
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« Reply #4392 on: Jun 25th, 2011, 12:19pm »

on Jun 25th, 2011, 08:51am, LEVIATHAN wrote:
Interesting. The Presidential race will be one to watch.


Hi Leviathan,

It seems as if it will be a lulu of an election!

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« Reply #4393 on: Jun 25th, 2011, 12:20pm »

on Jun 25th, 2011, 08:57am, Swamprat wrote:
Power-grid experiment could confuse electric clocks

Traffic lights, security systems and computers may be affected by frequency change as well


By Seth Borenstein
msnbc/AP Associated Press
updated 6/24/2011 9:23:39 PM ET

WASHINGTON — A yearlong experiment with America's electric grid could mess up traffic lights, security systems and some computers — and make plug-in clocks and appliances like programmable coffeemakers run up to 20 minutes fast.
"A lot of people are going to have things break and they're not going to know why," said Demetrios Matsakis, head of the time service department at the U.S. Naval Observatory, one of two official timekeeping agencies in the federal government.

Since 1930, electric clocks have kept time based on the rate of the electrical current that powers them. If the current slips off its usual rate, clocks run a little fast or slow. Power companies now take steps to correct it and keep the frequency of the current — and the time — as precise as possible.

The group that oversees the U.S. power grid is proposing an experiment that would allow more frequency variation than it does now without corrections, according to a company presentation obtained by The Associated Press.

Officials say they want to try this to make the power supply more reliable, save money and reduce what may be needless efforts. The test is tentatively set to start in mid-July, but that could change.

Tweaking the power grid's frequency is expensive and takes a lot of effort, said Joe McClelland, head of electric reliability for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

"Is anyone using the grid to keep track of time?" McClelland said. "Let's see if anyone complains if we eliminate it."

Won't affect GPS or Internet

No one is quite sure what will be affected. This won't change the clocks in cellphones, GPS or even on computers, and it won't have anything to do with official U.S. time or Internet time.

But wall clocks and those on ovens and coffeemakers — anything that flashes "12:00" when it loses power — may be just a bit off every second, and that error can grow with time.
A June 14 company presentation spelled out the potential effects of the change: East Coast clocks may run as much as 20 minutes fast over a year, but West Coast clocks are only likely to be off by 8 minutes. In Texas, it's only an expected speedup of 2 minutes.

Some parts of the grid, like in the East, tend to run faster than others. Errors add up. If the grid averages just over 60 cycles a second, clocks that rely on the grid will gain 14 seconds per day, according to the company's presentation.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43532031/ns/technology_and_science-innovation/


Hi Swamprat! cheesy

Great! I've had to re-boot this computer twice this year, LEAVE MY COMPUTER ALONE!

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #4394 on: Jun 25th, 2011, 12:29pm »

OMG, I just threw up all over my shoes.....


Horse Semen Shots a Hit With Kiwi Connoisseurs

Published June 24, 2011
| FoxNews.com

Shots of horse-semen have reportedly become a hit in New Zealand this month as the country celebrates its 14th annual Monteith's Beer and Wild Food Challenge.

Chef Jason Varley of Wellington's Green Man Pub is topping his dish of seared Asian duck and paua spring rolls with a shot of Hoihoi tatea, better known in laymen's terms as horse semen. The drink was unveiled on June 3, and will only be served for a month during the festival, according to the pub's Facebook page.

Varley told The Dominion Post that the concoction was most popular amongst his lady customers and admits to having tried some himself, describing the taste as "like custard."

And he's not the first to serve it up, the newspaper reports that it previously appeared at the Hokitika Wild Foods Festival, and chef's pay around $15 per shot of the ingredient, which is legal to be sold for consumption as far as the New Zealand Food Standards Authority is concerned.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/06/23/horse-semen-shots-hit-with-kiwi-connoisseurs/#ixzz1QJEPsF1O
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