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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for January 26, 2000

Aired January 26, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: NEWSROOM continues on a Wednesday. I'm Tom Haynes.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Thanks for joining us.

Today, we're back on the campaign trail with the U.S. presidential candidates.

HAYNES: In today's news, presidential contenders waste little time putting the Iowa caucuses behind them as they gear up for the next big battle in New Hampshire.

BAKHTIAR: In "Business Desk," planning on going to college? Well, you better start saving.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELDA DI RE, ERNST & YOUNG: Qualified state tuition programs are programs set up by each individual state to allow you to set up a savings fund to be used for tuition and room and board.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAKHTIAR: The high price of a college education in the U.S.

HAYNES: We're in Indonesia for "Worldview" where women are shedding the cloak of centuries of tradition.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAIRUS HUSAINI, INDONESIAN JOURNALIST (through translator): They don't respect me, they don't give me a chance. They'll stay away from me. They treat me badly because I'm Muslim with this kind of appearance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAKHTIAR: And in "Chronicle," she slams, she jams, so why is this volleyball phenomenon sitting this one out?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE SULLIVAN, U.S. DISABLED VOLLEYBALL TEAM CAPTAIN: She's got the skills. She's as good as any player in the world, and should be out there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAKHTIAR: They're off and running, candidates hoping to be the life of the party -- political party, that is. From Iowa to New Hampshire, we shift our focus in the quest for the White House. It's January and that puts the American democratic process in party mode. With Iowa caucuses a done deal, the political party winners are on the road, shaking hands to secure their place in next week's New Hampshire primary, the first in the United States for the 2000 presidential election.

Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush both came out on top in each of their party's Iowa caucuses. Iowa held the first caucuses of this year's election. New Hampshire stages the first primary. And at this point in the campaigning, no candidate can afford to be a wallflower. We tap into the CNN political reporting files to see how candidates are spending their time.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Let's get ready to rumble.

JOHN KING, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iowa's winner hopes New Hampshire delivers a knockout in round two of the Democratic race for president.

VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to fight for you. I want you to fight for me. Let's fight together.

KING: The vice president was up early looking to build on his victory, campaigning the old-fashioned way at Connie's Country Kitchen.

GORE: We are not taking a single vote for granted.

KING: That means campaigning here virtually non-stop through next Tuesday's primary.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not only did George Bush win in Iowa, but he beat the snow here in New Hampshire. As for New Hampshire, what the Bush campaign really fears is that Forbes will do an ad blitz, similar to what he did to Bob Dole in the '96 campaign. Bush maintains that that sort of negative advertising hurt Dole all the way into the general campaign.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would hope that he would hear the voices of many responsible Republicans that this kind of campaigning will hurt either me or, if he were to turn his sights on John McCain, would hurt John McCain.

CROWLEY: On a second New Hampshire battle front, there is of course John McCain, who has spent virtually all his campaign time here in New Hampshire. And McCain could win. But Bush, as he talked about the McCain challenge, seemed to indicate that while it is a possibility McCain could win here in New Hampshire, neither McCain nor Forbes could match the Bush organization or his poll power in the states ahead.

BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John McCain's straight talk express pulling out into the biggest snowstorm of the season so far, cocooning a candidate not overly impressed by the performance of his main rival, George W. Bush, in Iowa. As for McCain's electability:

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You win in New Hampshire or in the perception of a win, which is the view of the observers, and you move on to South Carolina and you have a, quote, "win" there, that's a bounce that's enormous.

DELANEY: And that's John McCain's unwavering strategy for many months now, in a nutshell.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You called your 30 percent showing in Iowa a "triumph," but you've really got your work cut out for you here in New Hampshire, don't you?

STEVE FORBES (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, going against the establishment, your work is always cut out for you when you're an independent outsider. And I think our very strong showing in Iowa shows that the American people want true conservative principles, they want an authentic conservative, they want an independent outsider. I can unite conservatives, I can unite this party, and I think the American people want real action.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here in snowy New Hampshire, Bill Bradley is trying to dig himself out from under his loss in Iowa and get some traction for his campaign.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you are tired of politics as usual, then you can send a message in this campaign. And you can send a message in this campaign by supporting my candidacy for president of the United States.

MESERVE: The changes are not dramatic, and the inescapable question is: Will they be enough to power up this campaign and propel Bill Bradley past Al Gore in what is a potentially pivotal New Hampshire contest.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: With our attention turning to New Hampshire, you may be asking, what's the big deal, and why New Hampshire? Well, the Granite State has been holding the nation's earliest presidential primary elections since 1920, so it's one part tradition. The state is not one of the bigger states. In fact, it's only the 44th largest state in the U.S., but it's considered by some to be a microcosm of American society.

New Hampshire is the 41st largest state in terms of population. And while the numbers may give it political pull, history tells the story of political push.

Wolf Blitzer has more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The candidates for president come to a state at the peak of its economic boom. Unemployment is under 3 percent; per capita income is 33 percent higher than 1990. The contrast to a decade ago could not be greater. The news then, bank failures, sinking property values, more than 7 percent unemployment.

DICK BENNETT, AMERICAN RESEARCH GROUP: People really learned that they lived paycheck to paycheck, and they were very concerned about what would happen if they lost their paycheck because they'd lose everything.

BLITZER (on camera): The skilled labor jobs of New Hampshire's mills have disappeared for the most part, a thing of the past. It's now become a high-tech capital.

BENNETT: New Hampshire's more upscale, better educated than it was in the past.

BLITZER (voice-over): But the voters are just as involved as they ever were. Former Governor John Sununu helped orchestrate George Bush's big Republican primary win in 1988.

JOHN SUNUNU (R), FMR. NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR: This is the state where either -- in any household, either the husband or wife has run for office, or one of the neighbors has run for office. So they know what politics is all about. It is very, very different. It is grass roots politics at its best.

BLITZER: And a place where voters like to be courted.

AMB. GEORGE BRUNO, FMR. N.H. DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN: New Hampshire voters continue to want to see their candidate several times before they make their choice. They want to go to the rallies, they want to meet them in the coffee shops. And so there's still that romance that goes on between the candidates and the voters.

BLITZER: One issue constantly on the mind of New Hampshire voters: taxes.

SUNUNU: Taxes is always a big issue in New Hampshire. We have no sales tax, we have no income tax. We know that the best place to put money is in the pockets of the people rather than in the pockets of government, and anybody who understands that general theme does well in this state.

BLITZER: And one other thing: Folks here in New Hampshire are proud of their primary and its independence from the results in Iowa.

SUNUNU: Iowa's never right. Remember, Iowa picks corn, New Hampshire picks presidents.

BLITZER: That may be said in jest, but here's a fact: No president, with the exception of Bill Clinton, has ever been elected without first winning the New Hampshire primary.

Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: People along much of the U.S. Eastern seaboard were treated to a ferocious winter storm yesterday. Up to two feet of snow fell in some areas, shutting down federal agencies, airports, schools and offices. The massive storm was a surprise to many. Forecasters predicted it would arrive a day later, and that caused havoc for roadways and mass transit systems.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For these Manhattan high school students, the surprise nor'easter was a perfect way to celebrate after mid-term exams.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't take it for granted, man. Every time it comes, we take it.

FEYERICK: Snowplows across the city were at work by the crack of dawn, 1,200 in all scraping and salting, trying to find somewhere for the snow to go. Airline commuters weren't so lucky. At Boston's Logan Airport, planes stayed on the ground, hundreds of flights in the Northeast canceled. Pedestrians were hit with everything from blinding snow to freezing rain and pelting hail, cold yet optimistic.

The heaviest-hit areas in the Northeast got as much 20 inches of snow; not bad if you were on the inside looking out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Many of you have your sights set on college. And with that in mind, today's "Business Desk focuses on the cost of going to college. These days, a four-year public education in the United States is nearing $45,000, and it's more than double that for a private education.

Now, if numbers don't mean much to you, we'll put it this way: If you're 16-years-old now and you haven't saved anything for college, you'd need to put away more than $400 a month for the next two years just to have enough to pay for your first year of college. That's figuring on an interest rate of 4 percent, which is a modest rate. But saving for college has become a little easier thanks to some tax advantages and savings accounts for your parents.

Allan Dodds Frank looks at that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALLAN DODDS FRANK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Saving for college is becoming increasingly daunting. Costs are expected to more than double in the next 15 years. But before launching a college savings plan, understand your child's chances of obtaining financial aid, and balance those with tax-planning considerations. KALMAN A. CHANY, AUTHOR, "SAVING FOR COLLEGE": Funds that are put into the child's name are generally assessed far more heavily in the aid formulas than assets in the parents' name.

DODDS FRANK: And one of the most popular plans can be established through your home state.

DI RE: Qualified state tuition programs are programs set up by each individual state to allow you to set up a savings fund to be used for tuition and room and board at any qualified secondary school in the country; so any college or graduate school.

DODDS FRANK: In addition to contribution limits as high as $10,000 per year, state plans also offer considerable tax breaks. Savings alternatives include tapping a parent's Roth IRA, or creating an education IRA in a child's name. But unlike qualified state tuition plans, education IRA contributions are limited to just $500 per year.

Another option is an account under the Uniform Gift to Minors Act.

DI RE: That's just a bank account or a brokerage account that you could set up for a child, and you could be the custodian.

DODDS FRANK: But there's a control issue with these accounts as well. When the child reaches legal adulthood, the money can be used for whatever purposes he or she wishes.

Allan Dodds Franks, CNN Financial News, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: Merger mania is on. First it was the multi-billion dollar merger between Time Warner, the parent company of this network, and America Online; then, Time Warner with EMI. And now Ben & Jerry's? The ice cream company says it's been approached but hasn't accepted any offers.

But as Maria Hinojosa tells us, die-hard Ben & Jerry's fans are taking to the streets to protest the mere idea of a deal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It wasn't your typical demonstration. There were cows and sharks and ice cream cones. But then again, Ben & Jerry's ice cream isn't your typical company.

JUDY WICKS, RALLY ORGANIZER: It's very important that they maintain their independence and can continue to develop the concept of "caring capitalism" that Ben & Jerry's coined.

HINOJOSA: Ben & Jerry fans -- socially conscious ice cream junkies -- took to the streets from New York to San Francisco....

PROTESTER: Free the ice cream.

HINOJOSA: ... angered that the board of directors may be considering offers from larger corporations to buy their home-grown company.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not interested in establishing more multinationals in this country or around the world.

HINOJOSA: Ben & Jerry's confirmed that they have been approached, but so far there are only rumors about a possible deal. Nevertheless, the bottom line would add up.

JAMES BARRETT, JOSEPHTHAL & CO., INC.: What's in it for the stockholders is the fact that they will ultimately realize a good return on this investment.

HINOJOSA: With a sale, analysts say, Ben & Jerry's could see its undervalued stock immediately increase, international markets open up, and its domestic distribution improve.

BARRETT: Convenience stores, sports stadiums, college cafeterias. A Hagen-Daz or a Nestles would facilitate Ben & Jerry's penetration of that marketplace.

HINOJOSA: But not all companies donate 7.5 percent of pre-tax profits to nonprofit organizations. So would a new owner accept Ben & Jerry's philosophy of "caring capitalism"? An organization called Common Ground owns this store that employs formerly homeless people.

ROSEANNE HAGARTY, COMMON GROUND: It's incomprehensible to imagine that they'd be able to retain that freedom and behave in that kind of really visionary way if they're part of a large and, you know, less maverick company.

HINOJOSA (on camera): Ben & Jerry's so-called "caring capitalism" might be an anomaly for corporate culture. But whether or not supporters can stop another aspect of corporate culture -- takeovers -- remains to be seen.

Maria Hinojosa, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.

BAKHTIAR: In the United States this week, President Bill Clinton unveiled a plan to help women get the same pay as men for the same work. On average, American women make 75 cents for every dollar American men make. The story is similar around the world, and in "Worldview" today, we travel to Indonesia to examine discrimination in the workplace. We'll trace the troubles and triumphs of women there. And from the workplace to the marketplace, we'll check out a new trend in shopping where the news is flooz.

HAYNES: With the arrival of the new millennium and all eyes on the future, ask yourself this: When was the last time you paid for something with money -- the real stuff, not plastic or a check? If you're scratching your head, you're not alone. The use of good old- fashioned money is fast becoming a thing of the past in nations around the globe. With the popularity of credit cards, debit cards and on- line commerce, the future of money is, well, up in the air.

Here's Perri Peltz.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flooz?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Flooz, what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You mean like the illness?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FLOOZ ADVERTISEMENT)

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, ACTRESS: Hey, who you buying that for?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Mother.

GOLDBERG: Your mother who carried you for nine months in her womb, now you're going to make her carry this? No. Give her flooz.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What's flooz?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT LEVITAN, FLOOZ.COM: Flooz is actually a slang term for cash around the Mediterranean. So in France, in Greece, in Morocco, people use the word flooz as money.

We've got some momentum. This is where we want to go.

PERRI PELTZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Back in 1998, Robert Levitan was coming off a huge success...

LEVITAN: Let's go get them and have another big week.

PELTZ: ... having built the number-one women's site on the Web, iVillage. But Levitan wanted to do something different. So when his friend Spencer Waxman approached him about forming an e-commerce company, Levitan agreed, but he wanted pure e-commerce -- e-commerce with a capital "E."

LEVITAN: I don't want to own any product, I don't want to pick, pack and ship anything. The next wave is coming up with electronic services and products that really solve problems for people. So we talked about ideas and we both agreed -- gift giving; it should be easier in a network society to give and receive a gift, and that it -- the recipient should have a choice.

PELTZ: This is how it works: You log onto Flooz.com, you buy some flooz, say $75 worth, you send it by e-mail to your friend, your friend now has a flooz account and can spend that $75 at one of more than 50 online stores. That friend can buy chocolates at Godiva, a CD at Tower Records and toys at Red Rocket.

Flooz.com takes a 15 percent to 20 percent cut out of every one of those transactions.

PELTZ (on camera): How many flooz customers are there right now? What do you call them, floozies?

LEVITAN: No, we definitely don't call them that. We call them "floozers." There are no floozies.

PELTZ: An important distinction.

LEVITAN: Absolutely. None at all.

PELTZ: How many floozers are there?

LEVITAN: We currently have opened over 125,000 accounts.

PELTZ (voice-over): One of those accounts belongs to Seth Price. Price is an Internet consultant with a frenetic work schedule. He says giving gifts is not his strong suit. When it comes to remembering a friend's birthday or a wedding present, Seth's record is well, kind of spotty.

SETH PRICE, FLOOZ.COM CUSTOMER: I am not a real big fan of shopping. Stores and sales people seem to get in the way and I always seem to forget to send gifts. I sort of take full advantage of Emily Post's one year to send wedding gifts.

PELTZ: So far, Seth Price has sent flooz to about a dozen people. He says his gifts average between $25 and $100. He even managed to send a wedding gift using flooz to friends in Australia.

So if people are spending flooz money all over the world, is flooz a gift certificate or something bigger, a pure form of e- currency? Others have tried to come up with on-line cash. So far, no one has succeeded. Digicash filed for Chapter 11 in 1988, and Cybercash has tried for nearly five years to convince consumers to use e-cash.

American Express is trying with its Blue Card. Consumers can now swipe their card at their desktops. Smart cards have had some popularity in Europe but have not taken off in the United States.

PELTZ (on camera): Why do you think that so many of the e- currency efforts have failed -- Digicash, Cybercash, a lot of them?

LEVITAN: Consumers don't care about currency for the sake of currency. They didn't have an application that meant something. We have an application. It's gift giving. There's a problem. We all have lots of gifts to give. We don't have enough time. We don't know what the recipient wants. We have a solution.

PELTZ (voice-over): Ken Cassar, an analyst with Jupiter Communications, thinks flooz may be an indicator for where e-currency is headed. (on camera): Flooz.com says they're not gift certificates, they are a gift e-currency, so to speak. What do you make of flooz?

KEN CASSAR, JUPITER COMMUNICATIONS: I would argue that flooz could well become another form of currency. Right now, it really is being positioned as a networked gift certificate, as a gift certificate they can use an at a number of different stores, and that's an intelligent way to start.

PELTZ (voice-over): And there's opportunity for Flooz.com to grow. According to Jupiter Communications, on-line currency is a growth market. Right now, 95 percent of all dollars spent on-line are transacted through credit cards. By 2003, that figure is expected to drop down to 80 percent. So analysts are watching companies like Flooz very closely. And so are other companies.

JOY MARCUS, BN.COM: I think there's going to be a lot of development in the online payment area over the next year or so, I really do. I think we're just seeing the very, very, very beginnings of this. I think that, notwithstanding anything any of our competitors are doing, we have to stay at the very, very edge of offering any type of payment that's available for consumers on our site. We just need to make it easy for people to pay. If not, they'll leave.

PELTZ: Perri Peltz, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: As we plunge into the next century, women in almost every corner of the globe are taking up front-line positions in the sexual revolution sweeping the workplace. Many walk a fine line along centuries of social and religious tradition. Indonesia embodies that balancing act like perhaps no other nation. We head now to that Asian archipelago.

Maria Ressa has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARIA RESSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After decades of authoritarian rule, women in Indonesia are pushing for greater freedom not just for themselves, but for their society. They do it not just on the streets, but in their everyday jobs; like 31-year-old Fairus Husaini, one of more than 35 million women who make up 40 percent of her country's work force. Her father died when she was a child; 14 years ago, she became the breadwinner of her family. She says, during that time, she's had to live with discrimination.

HUSAINI (through translator): They don't respect me; they don't give me a chance; they'll stay away from me; they treat me badly because I'm Muslim with this kind of appearance.

RESSA: In this society, Fairus is battling two stereotypes: one against her gender, the other her religion. She fights discrimination in her own way. HUSAINI (through translator): I just leave. I look for other opportunities. If one door closes, you have to look for a second door to open.

RESSA: Although Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, less than 20 percent of its women wear the jilbab, or the Muslim traditional headdress.

HUSAINI (through translator): People are afraid of us; they're scared. They think we're religious fanatics. That's why we have to change these stereotypes.

RESSA: And there are certainly many Indonesian women out to do that; in many cases, taking the lead and demanding social and political change. Like these women, among the first to demand an end to the 32-year rule of former President Suharto, many of them went to jail.

As a journalist, Fairus has had a front-row seat to the dramatic changes since the fall of Suharto nearly two years ago. His resignation unleashed a Pandora's Box of decades-old conflicts, separatist violence in East Timor and Aceh, brutal beheadings and ethnic violence in Kalimantan, and religious violence in Ambon.

Fairus says she works harder than her male colleagues to prove she can do the job, but admits her reporting has sometimes been hampered by conflicting feelings because of her nationality, religion and sex.

HUSAINI (through translator): Like in East Timor, as an Indonesian, I was ashamed of the report from there. In Aceh, being Muslim became a factor, while the rape in East Timor and Aceh made me angry and shamed me.

RESSA: Often, she says, she finds clarity in prayer. Islam ask its followers to pray five times a day.

HUSAINI (through translator): It's difficult to do sometimes, but Islam is flexible. If I can't do it at the specified times, I pray later.

RESSA (on camera): Women like Fairus, as well as million of Indonesian men, are both charting their way through unfamiliar territory. As Indonesia convulses through dramatic political and social change, its people are living increasingly nontraditional lives while fighting to redefine the spirit of their traditional beliefs.

Maria Ressa, CNN, Jakarta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: All right, today in "Chronicle," Jennifer Auther profiles a special athlete who's pushing ahead despite the odds.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JENNIFER AUTHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-two- year-old Allison Ahlfeldt is the first woman to play for the United States men's disabled volleyball team. The team recruited her 2 1/2 years ago. It has qualified for the 2000 Paralympic games in Sydney, Australia. But because Ahlfeldt is a woman, this 5'11" back-row specialist isn't allowed to compete in Sydney.

ALLISON AHLFELDT, U.S. DISABLED VOLLEYBALL TEAM: There is not a comparable women's team that I can play for. Unless I play in the Olympics, people aren't going to realize or see, oh, look, there's a woman. I can do that, too.

AUTHER: The USA team has petitioned the World Organization of Volleyball for the Disabled, or WOVD, on Ahlfeldt's behalf.

SULLIVAN: She's got the skills. She's as good as any player in the world and should be out there.

AUTHER: The WOVD has denied the petition.

JOE CAMPBELL, WOVD REFEREE AND COMMISSIONER: It's a definite no. At least at the international level, women will not be allowed to participate with a men's team.

AUTHER: Born with an underdeveloped femur, Ahlfeldt has spent her life proving herself alongside able-bodied players.

AHLFELDT: In the United States, we only play other able-bodied teams. And then when we go internationally, we play other disabled teams.

AUTHER: This English major at the University of California- Irvine encountered her first obstacle to playing in 1998.

(on camera): It was in Poland when Allison Ahlfeldt first learned her gender would keep her out of international volleyball competition. She was in uniform on the court when she was asked to go sit in the stands.

AHLFELDT: For an organization based on the inclusion of all people, disabled especially, that they would exclude you because of your sex, you know, because if you're a male or female, I think that's just absurd.

AUTHER (voice-over): Now, her fight is to sit in uniform on the bench in Sydney.

(on camera): Is that a compromise you're willing to make?

AHLFELDT: Yes, I have to. I'm going to take whatever I can get at this point.

AUTHER (voice-over): Jennifer Auther, CNN, Irvine, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BAKHTIAR: Good for you, Allison. You stand strong.

HAYNES: Indeed.

BAKHTIAR: And that does it for us today. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

HAYNES: Take care, guys.

BAKHTIAR: Bye.

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