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Tech, health care spur stocks

  • Trader Gregory Rowe works at the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) Photo: Mark Lennihan / Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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U.S. stocks couldn’t hang on to a big gain Wednesday, but they still finished broadly higher as technology and health care companies rose. That helped reverse some of the market’s big losses from the week before.

Stocks initially rallied after the Wall Street Journal reported that China’s government could make changes to its “Made in China 2025″ economic development plan. That could be one step toward easing dispute between the world’s two largest economies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged as much as 458 points in morning trading, but gave later back much of that gain.

“Any time you get some semblance of good news on trade, you’ve had this tendency to see a pretty sharp rally,” said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist for Charles Schwab.

After taking steep losses at the end of last week, stocks have gyrated this week: on Monday they rallied to erase a big early loss, while on Tuesday a big morning gain turned into a small decline.

On Wednesday, most of the day’s gains evaporated in the afternoon. The hour-to-hour changes reflect investors’ nervousness about the health of the global economy: economic growth is expected to slow in 2019 and the U.S.-China trade dispute and rising interest rates could both make that slowdown more painful. Sonders said investors overlooked those threats for a time, but can’t ignore them anymore.

“Some of these intraday reversals have been quite extraordinary,” Sonders said. “You have to go back to the financial crisis era to see … such a big swing on consecutive days.”

The SP 500 index rose 14.29 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,651.07. The Dow gained 157.03 points, or 0.6 percent, to 24,527.27. The Nasdaq composite jumped 66.48 points, or 0.9 percent, to 7,098.31. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 15.19 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,455.32.

Among technology companies, chipmaker Broadcom gained 3.3 percent to $254.98. Amazon gained 1.2 percent to $1,663.54 to lead retailers, and Netflix jumped 3.6 percent to $274.88 as internet and media companies joined in the gains.

Among industrials, machinery maker Caterpillar climbed 1.7 percent to $125.37 and equipment rental company United Rentals surged 6.3 percent to $108.30 after it gave strong forecasts for 2019 and said it will start buying back stock this month.

Through the “Made in China 2025″ initiative, Beijing aims to create leading companies in fields like artificial intelligence, electric cars and robotics. The Trump administration says the government is unfairly subsidizing Chinese companies and discriminating against foreign rivals. Along with disputes over China’s handling of intellectual property, it’s a significant piece of the trade tensions between the countries.

Despite Wednesday’s gains, almost half of the 500 stocks that make up the SP 500 have fallen into a “bear market,” meaning they have dropped at least 20 percent from their most recent peaks. The SP 500 itself is down 9.5 percent from its record high in late September. The last bear market for the index ended in March 2009.

British legislators forced a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Theresa May, threatening an end to her tenure. She won the vote, which was revealed after the close of U.S. trading. Lawmakers within May’s Conservative Party have expressed frustrations over her negotiations of Britain’s departure from the European Union, and many of them want a cleaner break from the trading bloc. Opposition lawmakers don’t want Britain to leave the EU.

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Report Highlights Fentanyl’s Deadly Role In The Overdose Crisis : Shots – Health News

A highly potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl is often mixed in to other drugs sold on the street, including pills, heroin and even cocaine.

Towfiqu Photography/Getty Images

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Towfiqu Photography/Getty Images

A highly potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl is often mixed in to other drugs sold on the street, including pills, heroin and even cocaine.

Towfiqu Photography/Getty Images

Fentanyl is now the drug most frequently involved in overdose deaths in the U.S., according to a National Vital Statistics System report published Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report sheds a bright light on the changing nature of America’s drug landscape – and the devastating number of overdose deaths that have occurred in the U.S. in recent years.

Back in 2011, oxycodone was the drug most commonly linked to overdose deaths. Starting in 2012 and lasting until 2015, heroin surpassed painkillers to become the drug most often involved. But then fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain reliever 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, infiltrated the American drug supply — what the CDC calls “the third wave” of the opioid epidemic. By 2016, overdose deaths involving fentanyl had become more common than any other.


The authors of the report identified drug overdose deaths by looking at the text on death certificates for the years 2011 to 2016. In cases where a death involved more than one drug (e.g., both heroin and cocaine), they counted the death in all relevant drug categories. Alcohol, nicotine, and other non-drug substances were not part of the analysis.

Researchers found that the rate of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl (or one of its analogs) doubled each year from 2013 to 2016. Deaths involving heroin have also continued to rise, increasing threefold from 2011 to 2016.

These numbers have only continued to rise in 2017, according to a separate CDC data brief issued in November. It states that the rate of overdose deaths involving fentanyl had risen to 9 per 100,000 people, compared to 6.2 per 100,000 in 2016.

Jump In Overdoses Shows Opioid Epidemic Has Worsened

The numbers in the National Vital Statistics System report show how fentanyl took a lethal hold quickly after the drug widely entered the American drug market. In 2011 and again 2012, fentanyl was mentioned in about 1,600 drug overdose deaths. By 2016, fentanyl was connected to 18,335 such deaths: it was linked to 29 percent of all drug overdose deaths that year.

In more than two-thirds of the overdose deaths involving fentanyl, one or more other drugs were present. That’s not surprising, because drugs including heroin and cocaine are now often sold with fentanyl mixed in. Sometimes people believe they are taking pure heroin or cocaine, but the drug is laced with fentanyl. Such situations can easily lead to overdose.

The report also highlights the importance for accurate reporting in the text of death certificates. A study published earlier this year found that the U.S. has been undercounting opioid-related deaths by 20 to 35 percent, due to varying standards between states and counties for investigating and reporting overdose deaths. Coroners and medical examiners often don’t state exactly which drugs contributed to a death on a death certificate.

Omissions On Death Certificates Lead To Undercounting Of Opioid Overdoses

But those practices have been getting better in recent years: The researchers note that their results may have been affected by the improvements in reporting the specific drugs involved in overdose deaths. Accordingly, they applied an adjustment factor taking into account better reporting of specific drugs involved.

These recent trends are part of a larger epidemic of fatal drug overdoses, which more than tripled between 1999 and 2017.

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Apple now has up to 50 doctors on staff for health tech work, report says


Apple may now have as many as 50 medical doctors spread through the company as it continues to build on the health technologies found in the iPhone, Apple Watch, and HealthKit.

The recruits are “not just for show,” CNBC said on Wednesday, citing multiple sources. With the help of those sources and LinkedIn searches, CNBC said it was able to identify at least 20 physicians — some sources indicated however that as many as 50 may be in Apple’s services.

Part of the difficulty in getting a solid number is Apple’s infamous secrecy. Many doctors have reportedly avoided revealing their jobs at Apple.

The specialities of Apple’s hires are said to be diverse, including people like cardiologist Alexis Beatty, pediatrician Rajiv Kumar, and orthopedic surgeon Sharat Kusuma, the latter of whom is handling a partnership with medical gear maker Zimmer Biomet to determine whether Apple technology can speed recovery from knee and hip replacements.

The company’s Apple Watch division is believed to have doctors embedded in several teams. Other people are working on things such as a health records project, or the internal “AC Wellness” primary care group for workers.

Signaling greater plans, doctors like family medicine specialist Michael Evans and anesthesiologist Mike O’Reilly have been assigned to Apple’s “special projects” group — a label for people developing secret next-generation products.

Apple just recently launched its promised electrocardiogram feature for the Apple Watch Series 4, and hired the CEO of prescription-tracking startup Mango Health.

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Patient health data will be easier to access under new rules

National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Dr. Don Rucker told lawmakers on Tuesday that patients, providers and payers will soon be able to access health data easier thanks to his agency’s work.

But Rucker didn’t provide details on how these open application programming interfaces will come to fruition, since the rules addressing those APIs—including a rule on patient access and another on information-blocking—are still forthcoming.

Several members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee asked Rucker when the information-blocking rule, which will define exceptions to the prohibition on information-blocking, will come out. The Office of the National Coordinator has already written the rule, and it is currently with the Office of Management and Budget—a point Rucker clarified many times.

“I am optimistic that it will be soon, but these are folks that are not under my control,” he said.



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Morrison government promises $1.25 billion for health care

With health perennially a challenging election issue for the
Coalition, Scott Morrison has announced $1.25 billion extra funding he
says will provide more doctors, nurses and services.

Under a new Community Health and Hospitals Program, the federal
government will partner with communities, states and territories,
health and hospital services and research institutions to supply
funding in four areas. They are:

  • specialist hospital services such as cancer treatment, rural health
    and hospital infrastructure

  • drug and alcohol treatment

  • preventive, primary and chronic disease management

  • mental health

The funding is over the forward estimates period. The government has
not announced offsetting savings, but Monday’s budget update will show
strong revenue flows, enabling substantial money for a range of initiatives between now and the election as well as a healthy surplus next financial year.

The health program was unveiled as the federal, state and territories
meet in Adelaide on Wednesday for the Council of Australian
Governments with health one of the items on the agenda. Morrison dined
with first ministers on Tuesday night.

Morrison linked the extra funding to a strong economy, which “gives us
the ability to continue our record investment in Medicare, hospitals,
new medicines and new treatments.”

The new program would complement the government’s record investment in
public hospitals, he said.

“Our funding for public hospitals will more than double from $13.3
billion in 2012-13 to $28.7 billion in 2024-25”, he said.

“Our new five year National Health Reform Agreement will deliver more
than $30 billion in additional public hospital funding from 2020-21 to
2024-25, taking overall funding during this period to $130.2 billion”.

Three Liberal states and three Labor jurisdictions have signed on to
the new agreement.

But the Labor states of Victoria and Queensland are in dispute with
the federal government over money for hospitals. At issue is more than $600 million that has been withheld by the Commonwealth for services said not to have been delivered.

These two states have also not signed the national school reform agreement.

COAG will also discuss drought and security issues. The Commonwealth
will urge that state governments pay their bills to small business
within 20 days – they are expected to agree.

One key issue at COAG will be population. Ahead of setting next year’s
immigration cap – which Morrison earlier flagged will be lower than the previous 190,000 cap, that hasn’t been reached – the federal government is asking the states and territories for input.

Morrison has asked states and territories to provide by January 31 details about:

  • population carrying capacity with regional breakdowns, based on
    infrastructure and services provision

  • projected population growth

  • the contribution of the Commonwealth’s migration programme to
    population growth, broken down into temporary and permanent migration,
    and by visa class – skilled, family and humanitarian

  • skills that businesses will need over the next 15 years, broken
    down by region

  • plans for employment, housing, services, infrastructure and social
    cohesion, over the next five, 10 and 15 years

Business groups have warned against cutting immigration.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian, who faces an election in March, has advocated a big cut in the number of immigrants to NSW, saying recently “It’s time to tap the brakes and take a breather on immigration levels to this state. We should return to Howard-era immigration levels in NSW”.

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Associations between sex work laws and sex workers’ health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of quantitative and qualitative studies


49,97,99,104,106,111,112,118,119,122,125,127,128]. This took the form of arbitrary arrest and detention, verbal harassment, intimidation, humiliating and derogatory treatment, extortion, forcible displacement, physical violence, gang rape, and other forms of sexual violence during raids and in police custody [49,97,99,103,104,106,111,112,118,122,127,128]. In Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Serbia, Sri Lanka, and the US, sex workers experienced extortion (unofficial ‘fines’, payments, or bribes) or provided sexual services enforced through physical or sexual violence or under threat of detention, arrest, transfer to rehabilitation centres, or forced registration (Quotes 10 and 11) [49,101,103,110,119,122,128–130], with limited or no opportunity to negotiate condom use [128]. Similar extortion and/or arbitrary fines were reported in China, India, Thailand, and Turkey (Quote 12) [99,107,110,125]. In Nepal, cis female sex workers, including those hired as peer educators, reported being arrested, beaten, and robbed by police upon being found in possession of condoms [106].

Reporting violence could result in sex workers’ being further criminalised [49,97,120–122,127,128]. Sex workers were reluctant to report violence and theft to the police [98,125] for fear of the following: arrest for prostitution-related activities, unrelated petty offences, or non-payment of previous fines [97,98,116,120,124,131]; being accused of crimes they had not committed [49,103]; harsh treatment or moral judgement [97,120]; further extortion or violence [35,101,112]; disclosure in court [97]; prohibitive costs [112]; or because no action would be taken to address the crime [97,111,112,114,116]. Long-standing discrimination, and the sense that police viewed them as criminals, made sex workers doubt the police would take complaints seriously [114,115,128]. When reports were submitted to police, sex workers’ accounts were dismissed as implausible, with police simultaneously blaming sex workers for the violence they had experienced [49,120,125], discrediting them as victims (Quote 13) [97,103,121,127,128], and sometimes further attacking or extorting them [49]. Cis and trans women in Canada and the US reported police questioning whether it is possible for a sex worker to be raped [97,128]. (Quote 14). Similarly, in Kenya, one cis woman reported being asked by an officer ‘how a prostitute like me could be raped as I was used to all sizes’, discouraging her from going to the police in future: ‘Never will I again go to report a case’ [127]. This produces an environment of impunity, where further violence, extortion, and theft from police and others operate unchecked [98,103,120,121,125,127], perceived to be a major contributor in normalising violence against sex workers [26,125].

34,114]. While some cis and trans women in Canada felt that police were now more concerned for their safety [26,114], others felt that officers continued to view them as ‘trash’, blame them for the violence they experienced, and deprioritise their safety [97], despite laws and police guidelines constructing them as victims [26]. In contexts of regulation, registered sex workers in Guatemala viewed their health cards (recording compliance with mandatory testing) as protective against police and immigration harassment [126,132], and registered sex workers in Mexico had better access to police protection but rarely reported violence [35]. In Senegal, registered workers still experienced being disbelieved when reporting physical or economic violence to police and so were reluctant to report it as a result (Quote 16) [105]. Concerns about being exposed to family and friends were paramount [35,105] and deterred some from registering [126]. Relationships with police were precarious, conditional on maintaining registered status, which can vary each month depending on compliance with mandatory screening requirements—with those whose registration has (temporarily) lapsed facing arrest, detention, and/or fines (Quote 17) [35,126]. Those who were not registered were afraid they would be sent to jail or fined for working illegally, or for active drug use [35], and were more heavily targeted by police for fines, arrest, detention, extortion, and sometimes sexual violence [35,101,124]. In India, marked reductions in police raids and violence were achieved through a peer-based intervention that facilitated access to justice and challenged power relations between sex workers and police, although some officers cited lengthy procedures to dissuade reporting [99]. In Canada, Mexico, Thailand, and the US, some sex workers described certain officers’ concern for their safety and support, but such concern was the exception [35,97,103,125].

36,95,96] and more deserving of respect (Quote 18) [36]. The removal of threat of arrest—which reduced police power and afforded sex workers rights—gave sex workers, and particularly young people [95], greater confidence to report violent incidents, exploitation by managers, and disputes with clients [36,96]. However, some officers treated disputes with clients as breaches of contract rather than crimes [96]. While there were still some reports of abuses of police power, there were also examples of offending officers being prosecuted as a result, helping to challenge environments of impunity [36,94,96].

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Sarah Hyland Reveals She Had a Second Kidney Transplant and ‘Was Contemplating Suicide’

Sarah Hyland revealed that she had a second kidney transplant after her first one failed, leading to mental health struggles that had her “contemplating suicide.”

The Modern Family star, 28, has kidney dysplasia — which means her kidneys did not develop properly when she was in the womb and frequently form painful cysts — and the condition required a kidney transplant in 2012. Her father donated his kidney, but in Oct. 2016, her body started to reject it.

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“We did all of these tests and all of these treatments to try and save the kidney,” Hyland told SELF for their latest digital cover. “Christmas break, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, my birthday, all of that spent in the hospital.”

But none of the treatments worked, and Hyland’s doctor said the kidney was like a burning house — it was already too far gone. “You can’t un-burn a house,” she said.

Hyland started regularly undergoing dialysis — a temporary treatment where a machine filters blood in and out, which is typically the kidney’s job — that required putting a tube on her chest and led her to severely drop weight. On top of the health problems, she started dealing with criticism over her appearance on social media.

Sarah Hyland

Doctors removed the transplanted kidney in May 2017, and her younger brother Ian, 23, offered his kidney, which was thankfully a match. But Hyland felt conflicted.

“I was very depressed,” she said. “When a family member gives you a second chance at life, and it fails, it almost feels like it’s your fault. It’s not. But it does. For a long time, I was contemplating suicide, because I didn’t want to fail my little brother like I failed my dad.”

Hyland started reaching out and talked someone close to her about her suicidal thoughts, which helped, she said.

“It’s not shameful,” she says. “For anybody that wants to reach out to somebody but doesn’t really know how because they’re too proud or they think that they’ll be looked upon as weak, it’s not a shameful thing to say. It’s not a shameful thing to share.”

And in Sept. 2017, she underwent the second kidney transplant. But her health problems didn’t end there — Hyland also has endometriosis, and the pain was becoming unbearable. Plus, she had a previously undiagnosed abdominal hernia.

“I was still in severe pain after the transplant, and that was due to the endo and the hernia,” she said.

That led to more surgeries — she’s had six in the last 16 months, and 16 total over the course of her life — a laparoscopic surgery for the endometrosis and a hernia repair surgery.

“Laparoscopic [surgery is] one of the most painful things I’ve ever been through in my life,” she said. And the endometriosis pain doesn’t really go away. “[This week] I’ve had a flare-up with my endo. It has been hard to stand up straight, let alone work. The fetal position helps a lot.”

Sarah Hyland

But the support of her family, (most) of her followers on social media and her boyfriend, Wells Adams, help Hyland manage her health. She and Adams first met three days before her transplant surgery, and they fell in love as she underwent treatment.

“He was texting me in the morning before I went into surgery, and we were FaceTiming the entire time I was in the hospital. He’s seen me at my worst. He was there through all of that,” she said. “I think that’s why I feel the most beautiful in his eyes, because he still finds me beautiful after seeing all that.”

RELATED VIDEO: Sarah Hyland Gets Candid About Her Health

And with the lengthy recovery, Hyland and Adams grew close before they could sleep together.

“It was a really intimate start to a relationship to have to go through those hurdles at the very, very, very beginning when you’re just even getting to know a person,” Hyland says. “Also, falling in love with someone before you can really be intimate. I did not believe that that was a thing, but it is.”

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4,000 Kaiser mental health clinic workers launch 5-day strike in California

Four thousand California mental health clinicians began a five-day strike Dec. 10 to protest what they call understaffing issues that lead to long wait times for therapy appointments.

The strike affects more than 100 Kaiser Permanente clinics and medical facilities, according to the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents psychologists, therapists, social workers, addiction medicine specialists and other mental health clinicians.

Workers are striking at Los Angeles Medical Center, Anaheim Medical Center, Fontana Medical Center, San Diego Medical Center, Fresno Medical Center, Sacramento Medical Center, San Francisco Medical Center and San Jose Medical Center.

“The situation inside Kaiser clinics has become untenable,” said Kenneth Rogers, a psychologist for Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser. “We don’t have enough hours in the day to see patients and do all the preparation and follow-up work that goes into every appointment. Patients are suffering and unable to access clinically appropriate care.”

Union president Sal Rosselli told The Mercury News mental health workers also seek benefits and pensions that are equal to what about 100,000 other Kaiser employees receive.

John Nelson, vice president of communications at Kaiser Permanente, expressed disappointment about the strike.

“We are disappointed the leadership of the National Union of Healthcare Workers would ask our highly valued mental health staff to go out on strike, when we’ve been in active negotiations since the summer, having met in 16 bargaining sessions over five months, and with two more bargaining sessions scheduled for next week,” he told Becker’s last month.

“There are no takeaways in our contract proposal,” Mr. Nelson said. “We are offering guaranteed wage increases which would keep our expert therapists among the best compensated in their profession and continue to ensure that we attract and retain the most highly skilled professionals.”  

Kaiser told The Mercury News its medical centers and medical offices are scheduled to remain open during the walkout, although “some nonurgent mental health and other appointments may need to be rescheduled.”


More articles on human capital and risk:

Nurses at St. Luke’s Hospital in Massachusetts vote to unionize
Amid unionization push, some Johns Hopkins nurses say poor working conditions jeopardize patient safety
Kaiser mental health clinicians to walk off job Dec. 10


Kaiser told The Mercury News its medical centers and medical offices are scheduled to remain open during the walkout, although “some nonurgent mental health and other appointments may need to be rescheduled.”

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70 years of human rights in global health: drawing on a contentious past to secure a hopeful future

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New research on curcumin’s health benefits

The big question about turmeric and curcumin asks how long its explosive growth will last. Will this superstar spice ingredient sustain its popularity and reach omega-3 status or fade into the background as a once-hot natural product trend? Thanks to the wide body of data generated in recent years, curcumin’s benefits categories have broadened substantially.

Sports nutrition is an up-and-coming benefit sector for curcumin, especially in light of its potential to reduce inflammation and soreness caused by strenuous exercise. The antioxidant benefits of curcumin and its ability to modulate inflammatory pathways underscores its potential as an adjunct to recovery.1

In a recent randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, curcumin was shown to be an effective supplement for recovery after strenuous exercise.2 An additional study also reported a reduction in 24-hour pain scores as well as increased muscle performance after a muscle-damaging exercise.3

Curcumin is also finding potential in heart health, where the effects of its anti-inflammatory properties are being researched. Recently, a highly bioavailable form of curcumin was studied in a healthy population to examine its role in endothelial function, which plays a critical role in cardiovascular health.4 Curcumin’s direct impact on healthy circulation was measured using flow mediated dilation (FMD).

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed supplementing with 200 mg of curcumin had a clinically meaningful impact on potentially reducing cardiovascular disease by up to 50 percent in healthy individuals.

As the buzz around turmeric and its active component, curcumin, continues to spread, market opportunities for these popular ingredients are expanding.

New research on curcumin’s role in sports nutrition and heart health proves companies are continuing to use a variety of innovative approaches to enhance curcumin’s bioavailability and differentiate their products.

This is an excerpt from the article, “Curcumin craze fueled by real science.” Download INSIDER’s Curcumin digital magazine to read the complete article.

Brian Appell is marketing manager at OmniActive Health Technologies.


1. Shen L et al. “Curcumin-supplemented diets increase superoxide dismutase activity and mean lifespan in Drosophila.” Age (Dordr). 2013;35:1133-42.

2. Jäger R et al. “Curcumin Reduces Muscle Damage and Soreness Following Muscle-Damaging Exercise.” The FASEB Journal. 2017;31:lb766.

3. Oliver J et al. “Novel Form of Curcumin Attenuates Performance Decrements Following Muscle Damaging Exercise.” The FASEB Journal. 2017;31:lb415.

4. Oliver J et al. “Novel form of curcumin improves endothelial function in young, healthy individuals: a double-blind placebo-controlled study.” J Nutr Met. 2016:1-6.

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