Items filtered by date: Friday, 09 March 2018
Friday, 09 March 2018 16:53

Investing in artificial intelligence

This is an era where artificial intelligence is almost dominating the technological sphere of our planet. Nations with better technological innovations are registering progress through using artificial intelligence. It is obvious that developed nations are the pioneers in this regard. 

Countries with less economic performance are always far behind such technological advancement. Ethiopia is not different from this. There might be several reasons that hold back developing countries from applying artificial intelligence. Their economic problem and failure to invest in children at the early stage could be one reason.
Rekab Melkamu is 7th grader. This journalist met him at one of Robotics developing firm where children were assembling and programming robots. For him, assembling and programming of robots at the early period have a great role in shaping his the future. He believes that in addition to the theoretical knowledge a student acquires in school, he/she has to be supported by practical knowledge.
He said this is a technological era where robots are performing the most sophisticated things. Physics, mathematics, science programming and designing are behind this artificial intelligence. Therefore, having more training centers where children can learn while playing ignites their soul and inspire them to create something new, he added.
Kedus Tesemma is the other student who is developing his software skills. He believes that in addition to the theoretical knowledge he obtains from his teachers, spending time in the robotic center have significant role to know more about engineering and science. He said that artificial intelligence and technological issues seem as if they are only left to developed nations. However, if there is good access, commitment and willing, developing countries have the same potential and skills.
Senakriem Mekonnen,iken Ethiopia Robotics Director, builds on the views the students have reflected. He said, investing in the mind of children at early stage have positive impacts on acquainting themselves on artificial technology.
Ethiopia is a country which is growing very fast. In this regard, developing artificial intelligence and nurturing children under this path is not optional, it rather is a must.
According to him, “Luckily, Ethiopia has such kind of children with a potential to program and design robots. This is witnessed in robotic competition that held outside Ethiopia. For instance, in a competition that held at Canada, Ethiopian children have demonstrated their astounding skills. For this year, there is also another competition that U.S. and Ethiopian children will represent their country at VEX global Robotic competition.”
Senakrem also said: “whenever there is a chance, Ethiopian children are competent. This is a good indication that if we keep investing in children, we will have a better future in the area of artificial intelligence. ”
Robotics education and competition, in this regard, enables students, mentors, and schools to have tangible technology-based knowledge. It will provide them with an option to be solution maker and foster their technical and interpersonal skills.
If children are nurtured at early stage in areas of engineering and designing, they can develop good skills in their later years, he said, adding that if children are trained to practice programming artificial intelligence at the early age their problem solving capacity will be better.
“When we talk about robotic technology, we are also talking about Maths, Science, engineering and technology education. These fields of studies have a significant role to nurture students in technology.”
Acquiring practical understanding to these subjects have practical effect on their future carrier, he stressed.
“Through practicing and programming robots, children will come to understand the basic concept of designing and engineering. If we spend on our children today, we are sure to expand our economy tomorrow use this new sector.”
Kejela Waktola, physics teacher at Bole Preparatory school in Addis Ababa, believes that students may have theoretical knowledge on physics or mathematics, but if it becomes realistic when compounded with practice.
To him, pertinent private and public entities ought to attach increased attention with the issue, and expand centers that the young generation can have access to the technology.



Published in Society
Friday, 09 March 2018 16:51

Women in arts

Women’s are art by themselves. They are created by the mighty creator in a way to attract male counterparts, and to care children more than fathers do—researches on the latter state that women have biologically evolved over human history to be alluring to babies. 

Women are not only art. They are also artists. This is witnessed worldwide. Be it in the form of visual arts or in other spheres of arts, women have showed their competitiveness. The old thoughts of considering them as inferior to men have been reversed—tribute to their hard work and talent.
With multiple responsibilities, such as taking care of the welfare of their babies, many of them have proven their talent in the art area as well. Thus, it is safe to say that they have also been evolving as glamorous artists.

Artist Senafekesh Zeleke, is one of these Ethiopian women artists, who has been demonstrating her awe-inspiring artistic works.
She has also been going through a continuous storm of artistic changes. And this wave is not still stabilized.

She is pursuing her interest by using straight and curved lines together with circular shapes to express her deep internal feelings and perspectives.
This take painting style may longer time. “How long?” It depends on her commitment. She has already started the journey.

Formerly, she used to paint three dimensional realistic painting styles. Her paint “To the market” is good example in this regard.
She used to paint in a semi-realistic representative and processional style. “Doka” and “Sunset” for instance. Since recent time, she has totally engaged in painting style by using linear and expressional shapes. “Attraction” and “Loneliness” could be mentioned here.

“Art is a visual language and lines are its primary manifestations,” says Artist Eshetu Tiruneh. Straight and curved lines are not only basic, they are also complimentary and relatively opposite to each other. When they are marked on the canvas at different directions they will give different expressions in the mind of viewers. For this reason, they have a power to influence viewers` perception.
As a visual language, lines are predisposed to different interpretations. When they are drawn jointly or independently, either they have representational or expressional meanings. In other words, they will express the feeling of the artist in the form of abstract or realistic styles.
Several Ethiopian artists have applied this style. They are still using it. However, none has achieved the climax like that of Artist and Poet Gebrekerstos Desta. As an icon, he was a topnotch artist in the area.

Senafekesh seems to have been on the path to create her own style too.
Well, there was times where Ethiopian women were discouraged to express themselves in art—due to cultural constraints.
However, it does not mean that Ethiopian women were sitting idle. Despite all cultural constraints, they were always contributing their share to their land, and struggled to alter the status quo.

Women artists are likely to inspire societal transformation. Their influence starts home and spreads to all segments of the society. The growing number of art galleries and promotional works, observed in Addis Ababa and other state towns, would further enhance the power of their art works.




Published in Society
Friday, 09 March 2018 16:49

Rural poverty reduction endeavors

About 85 percent of Ethiopian population lives in rural areas. Most rural livelihoods depend on subsistence farming which is highly backward. Realizing this, the government has been striving to lift citizens out abject poverty over the last two decades.
As a result, per capita income has transformed to 794 USD in 2016 from 377 USD in 2010. This helps the nation to cop up with the severe drought broke out back in 2016 with own capacity. Thus, rural people, particularly pastoralists and semi-pastoralists, have built resilience.
Though many improvements have been noticed in the life of rural livelihoods over the last two decades, there are still many problems which pertinent stakeholders are toiling to address.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources 2017 report, unemployment rate in Ethiopia was an all-time high of 26.40 percent in 1999. But it has seen a record low of 16.80 percent in 2015.
From this, one can understand that there tough challenges ahead which the government and development partners need to overcome.
Land allocation seems to be one of the important areas that the government has to work hard. Many youths have not owned land to create job and change their life.
Meanwhile, the government has been working to reduce absolute poverty. In the First Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-I) (2010/11-2014/15), great range of development endeavors have been accomplished in the rural areas. Infrastructure and social-service providing institutions such as roads, bridges, hospitals, schools and universities have been built. These institutions have hugely benefited the rural society.
The Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTPII) (2015/16-2019/20) has aimed at sustaining and transforming the fast economic growth to higher level. Besides, it has planned to empower the rural livelihoods. A number of youths who were graduated from public and private universities are landless and lacking job opportunity. As a result, they were vulnerable to migration to urban areas and other countries. What makes the situation more tragic is that the youths have been affected by illegal human traffickers. They have been facing such challenges due to their weak economic muscle.
Taking this into consideration, the government has been implementing various programs which could solve the economic problem of the rural youth.
As part of the economic empowerment scheme, rural youth have been supported by the government and development partners to engage in animal husbandry, beekeeping, poultry and other activities. The Federal government has established 10 billion Birr revolving fund in 2017 to empower the unemployed youth in rural and urban areas of the country.
Ethiopia has immense natural resources, favorable climate and sustainable peace and stability. More than anything else, the 70 percent young demographic base would be huge driving force for the overall development.
The government should step up its efforts in creating job and social service opportunities to the youth and other low income societies. In this regard, the rural youth and poor livelihoods should be supported to engage in various agricultural activities. Modern agricultural technologies are highly needed to change the rural life. Thus, the government is diligently working to scale up the success stories being gained in the rural areas in GTPI. If so, the nation would set itself to middle income status by 2025.



Published in Development

Ethiopia, with its outstanding airlines, Ethiopian, Ethio-Djibouti railroad and other trans-boundary roads, is becoming transport hub of Africa.

Being home to various international and regional organizations, the country has positioned itself as a strategic destination [point] in the map of world transportation service.
And the Ethiopian is also aspiring to be the leading airlines in the world through interconnecting Africa with the rest of the world. The country is mentioned in the top list with credible and preferable air transportation services as well.
Currently, Ethiopian’s worldwide destinations have grown to over 100 strategic countries to all the five continents on the globe, and more than 50 destinations locally. Apart from this, the airline builds credibility through winning glorious awards.
The government has also been investing vastly in the sector, the transport sector has been growing to the extent it can efficiently support the growing economy of the nation.
The contribution of the transport sector in supporting the intended developmental endeavor of the nation is irreplaceable. This is witnessed as the sector has played considerable roles for the double digit economic growth of the country that has been registered in the last two decades.
Cognizant of its significance, the Ethiopian government has been working tirelessly to transform the sector into a new position. Thus, road, railways and airlines transportation service is facilitating country’s economic growth keeping safety and sustainability of the sector.
Only in 2016/17, 17 new asphalt roads projects [20,633.6 kms] has been constructed at a cost of 14 billion Birr, Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) Communications Director Samson Wondimu told The Ethiopian Herald.
According to him, by the end of GTP II [2019/2020], 16,747 Kms roads are expected to be paved.
Connecting the country in all directions, with modern road infrastructure, is part of the country’s aspiration to enhance smooth trade system and motivate domestic and foreign investors.
“1,206.4 Kms main [interconnecting] roads upgrading, 1,163.2 new main [interconnecting] roads as well as 31.3 Km highways’ construction and 2,189.3 Kms roads renovation have been accomplished over the last two years and six months period,” he added.
Due to this, the country’s import-export business has become more effective, he said.
In addition to the air and road transport, the Ethio-Djibouti railway which is now operational and other national railways projects, under construction, would cut the time and cost of import export activities. “it will further improve the current national transportation networks as well.”
Furthermore, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway has been playing considerable in the improvement of the country’s economic relations with neighboring countries like Djibouti in addition to facilitating the import-export trade. As a result, the nation continues to be the destination of the rising Foreign Direct Investment.
Railways transport sector is already contributing its part in catalyzing swift economic transaction among the city residents and assisting to speed up the national economy.
The sector has also been playing a promising role in boosting the product and productivity of farmers as well as pastoralists through fostering their access to the market.
Addressing farmers' demand of market is unthinkable without improving transportation service. Road accessibility is greatly advancing farmers' and pastoralists' productivity. Hence, the sector is playing a dominant role in benefiting not only the urban community but also in easing the life of rural population.
With the Ethiopian modern fleet, and the increased investment in air, rail and road infrastructure, the country is sure to continue being one of the major destinations of tourists, conference tourism and foreign direct investment.



Published in Development

By and large African refugees have until recently been rural to rural migrant covering short distance and settling in the closest neighboring countries. This phenomenon has now changed mainly due to better means of transportation and also due to the availability of more information about different counters of asylum.
As a result, African refugees are covering long distances and settling in places that provide them with better opportunities.
Further factor is that African refugees are not only peasant and uneducated farmers from the country side. There are also many skilled and highly educated African refugees. Their number is also increasing. These refugees of urban backgrounder do not want to settle in rural areas and be unproductive.
They want to move to urban areas where they can look for better and suitable jobs. Consequently, countries like Ethiopia have found their towns swollen by in- migrating refugees. While many of them are urban migrants and hence posses much higher level of education and skill than the traditional African rural to rural refugees, the effect of such types of refugees on host African countries like Ethiopia is simply enormous.
Why do Africans leave their country?
There are varieties of socio economic and political factors responsible for the departure of Africans from their country of origin. Some of them leave purely for economic reasons i.e. in order to look for a better paying job elsewhere thereby improve their economic situation.
Majority of Africans on the other hand are forced to leave their countries purely for political reasons. This can be due to ethnic, tribal and religious inequalities that lead to conflict and civil wars. In such a case, Africans who opposed their government are considered hostile and in most cases are persecuted or imprisoned. Thus, to escape, they flee for safety and look for safe heaven elsewhere. Most African refugees that reside outside their countries are therefore in this category.
Generally, within the continent of Africa, there has been conflict after conflicts, war, revolution, coups and counter coups since political independence. Thus, different factors have forced millions of Africans left their homes in order to either stay safe elsewhere until conditions get better to return home or establish military bases within nearby places in order to conduct armed struggle against the system they opposed or against the government that forced them to leave their country. The following are some of the example of refugee’s movements in Africa.
1. Ewe refugees from Ghana have entered Togo following their effort to re-unite ‘’ewe land ‘’ which has been split between the state of Ghana and Togo since colonial days.
2. The civil war between Tutsi and Hutu of Rwanda thus, refugees were settled in Burundi ,Uganda, Zaire , and Tanzania
3. In the year directly following independence, Zaire suffered prolonged civil war which disrupted civilian life and forced thousands leave their villages and fly to safety in all nine neighboring countries, most notably the central part of African republic, The Sudan, Uganda ,Burundi and Tanzania.
4. The history of The Sudan resulted in a separate economic, cultural religious and heritages from the Northern Sudan. The government was unable to integrate in satisfactory political terms. The ensuing civil war caused successive waves of refugees from the southern in large number to Uganda, Zaire, and Central Africa and to Ethiopia.
5. Armed conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea resulted in a refugees flow in to the Sudan.
6. Members of the lumpa sect left Zambia to become refugee in Zaire after armed assertion of their religious separation culminated in violent clashes with Zambian authorities.
7. Nigerian nationalists living in number in West African countries especially in Equatorial Guinea became refugees’ sur-place when they were unwilling or unable to return to Nigeria after the civil war. Other Nigerian refugees enter to nearby countries: The Ivory Coast and Gabon, as a result of war.
8. A refugee’s situation of a somewhat different nature occurred when the government of Uganda forced Asians of undetermined nationality to migrate to Asia.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the number of refugees and displaced people worldwide has topped 65 million; most refugees are from Syria and of the 80 percent are women and children in life saving camps in more than 125 countries.
Among them nearly 22.5million refugees over half of whom are under the age of 18. Nearly twenty people are forcefully displaced every minute as a result of conflict or persecution.
One in every113 people on the planet is now a refugee. Generally, according to UNHCR, Africa has 4.413 million Refugees, Europe 4.391 million, Asia and Pacific 3.830 million, Middle East and North 2.239 million, and Americas 746,800, Sub Saharan Africa hosts more than 26 percent of the world’s refugee population. Ethiopia is a host to the second largest refugees in Africa; [900,000] from nineteen countries mainly from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Yemen. Ethiopia hosts 382,322 refugees from South Sudan alone. Majority of those refugees are located in Tigray, Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella and Somali Regional States.
What are the effects of African refugees on most Host African Countries? Please see tomorrow’s edition …


Published in Editorial-View-Point
Friday, 09 March 2018 16:45

Peace, development: Siamese twins

Peace and security are essential components of a healthy society. No sane mind would stand against this assertion. Every citizen and peace-loving individual should contribute its share to avoid elements that compromise peace in the society, but people who are at the top of societal pyramid, particularly faith leaders, are duty bound in ushering the faithful through the path of peace, love and respect.
More than any time before, our country has been caught between two stools. On one leg, the ongoing economic growth and the ensuing tasks of sustaining the growth has made the decision making body to work beyond the call of duty. The lingering unrest in some parts of Oromia and Amhara States has put the country through tough times, on the other. Faith fathers' intermediary role between the government and the youth, who present legitimate demands, become so crucial at this critical time.
The unrest has two faces. One is that the majority of youths have been presenting their legitimate concerns peacefully. The other is, individuals who always opts for fishing out of troubled waters manipulate the youths' concerns and steer them through destructive and wrong turns. Hence, hard-won investment pillars have been attacked: Citizens' constitutional rights to work and prosper has been put at risk, to say the least.
To add fuel on the fire, targeted attacks on civilians have also been observed.
Doomsayers, through social-media, toil round the clock to disseminate wrong information to the youths with a view to spoiling the culture of peace, love and respect among the people.
These unscrupulous individuals, who consider the youth no less than their destructive agents, load their cynical message on the innocent young people, encourage them to bulldoze public and private properties and do all kinds of evil actions.
On one hand, the youths are building the country's economic muscles copping up beating temperature at major projects' sites—in Benishangul Gumuz State at Guba where the Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) construction is being carried out, for instance. And few youths are trapped by the ill-fated propaganda of anti-peace elements, one the other. The question, therefore, should be: What roles can the faith leaders play to encourage the exemplary youths and help the rest get into the right track?
No doubt, faith leaders have been playing encouraging roles so far. Still, they can expand their roles by intensifying tasks on moral and ethical educations. They should equip the youth with the ideals of peace, love and culture of work. Peace is central to all faiths, and the golden rule of 'Treat others the way you would want to be treated,' is a shared value among all the faiths. Thus, the leaders should help the youths’ grasp such ideals properly.
Not only this, the youths’ demands should be addressed properly. But, with all due respect to the separation of state and religion in Ethiopia, the leaders have also ample platforms to exchange ideas with government officials. Hence, they can contribute positively by making studies as to the demands of the youth and presenting their findings to the government.
Above all, at the core of grievances, there are mal-administration, corruption, regionalism, disrespect, and contempt, among others. These fatal societal diseases, unless treated with the right medicine, would cripple the ongoing development. Thus, faith leaders should strengthen their layered activities-in shaping the youths and public servants' moral and ethics.
Religious leaders should, therefore, use track two diplomacy to create better understanding among parties that held opposing views. They can have roles in deconstructing factors that bring rift among the various parties and serve as bridge.
Both state and religion have sides that coincide one on another. Both parties aim at improving the lives of the people. But this noble goal cannot materialize, unless durable peace prevails. To this end, the faith leaders ought to devise more mechanisms to nurture the culture of dialogue among the youths.

Published in Editorial-View-Point

ADDIS ABABA - “Faith leaders are very close to communities in many countries; the leaders earn good respect even from political figures. Hence, they have more responsibilities in creating virtuous citizens.”
So says Sheik Imam Umar, vice president of Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme council as The Ethiopian Herald approach faith fathers in connection to their roles in finding middle ground to settle the unrest in few places of Oromia and Amhara States.
In one way or another, every Ethiopian is said to be under the umbrella of a certain religious institution, he says, claiming that this will lead to argue as they have someone whom they give better respect.
To him, faith fathers have a responsibility in directing their followers to a peaceful path, adding some believers even take lesson from their religious leaders’ personality. “They consider all actions and behaviors of leaders are always right and perfect.”
Sheik Umar goes to say that correct teaching and aligning topics with present context is fundamental to equip the young people’s with the wisdom of love, respect and peaceful coexistence.
Side by side with the efforts of the county, religious institutions should devise better mechanisms to address the needs and interests of the youths and build industrious and patriotic citizens.
“This is not the only role fathers play, he stress, in times of unrest, we have more tasks in finding middle ground where differences could be settled. In this regard, we have lots of tasks ahead.”
Unrest is normal in many countries, he says, commenting that everyone has to handle it carefully. “Religious fathers have to discharge their responsibilities wisely and in a way it could bring lasting solution.”
Nebure Ed, Elias Abrha, Inter-religious Council of Ethiopia Board Member, seconds Sheik Umar’s views. He also indicates that every action, be it constructive or destructive starts in the mind. The more positive thoughts people have means the more enjoyable life they get. “In this regard, religious leaders must be exemplary.”
To him, the Council has been doing various efforts in triggering tolerance and respect among the society. And this will continue with more fervor, he adds.
Dr. Wakseyoum Idosa, who served as president for two terms at Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Eyesus, believes that besides teaching and, religious leaders have to be exemplary to the faithful. “They should demonstrate tolerance and patience.”
He has not also shied away from mentioning that the leaders are duty bound in seeking solutions to perceived and real threats.
In a society like Ethiopia where religious institutions and their leaders have a special attachment, no one denies their key role in stabilizing peace, nurturing tolerance and educating the concept of harmony, says Dr. Mesele Mengesteab (Ph.D), Addis Ababa University Social Works Assistant Professor.
“Our social and cultural values are based up on religious perspectives. Our spiritual and religious activities have an attachment with our daily activities. Thus, it is high time for faith fathers to settle any form of discord,” he adds.
This is especially true in areas of moral values, tolerance, peace, love and mutual interdependence which are the core values of religious institutions, according to Mesele.
Faith fathers, hand-in-glove with pertinent stakeholders, including the government, ought to set the way ahead straight, he concludes.


Published in National-News

 •  Confers with Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn

ADDIS ABABABA-US State Secretary Rex Tillerson said his country would scale up its cooperation with Ethiopia in trade and investment while pledging to continue working together to bring lasting peace in South Sudan and Somalia.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu and his US counterpart Tillerson held discussion in various issues of bilateral, regional and international concerns followed by a joint press briefing with local and foreign journalists.
Tillerson said the US acknowledges Ethiopia’s critical leadership role in the region and the world contributing the largest peacekeeping force.
“We would like to engage in supporting Ethiopia’s economic growth and unlocking its huge potential for more development. Washington will look forward to strengthen the all round ties with Addis Ababa as well.”
Ethiopia is hosting nearly one million refugees, he said, adding that his government would strengthen assistaning in the humanitarian areas as well.
He also indicated that the US recognizes concerns expressed by the Ethiopian government about incidents of violence and the US firmly believes that the solution is peaceful means.
Tillerosn also notes that the US believes that democracy and economic growth are best to achieve inclusive political process. “We encourage the Ethiopian people maintain patience and support for the government through this change and the journey to democracy.”
“Democracy is not an easy journey; it takes time and effort, he said, adding the people should not resort to violence as it never is a solution.”
The US is confident that Ethiopia would succeed and prosper providing benefits not just for Ethiopian people, but also for African nations and US business as well, he stressed.
For his part, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu said that the State Secretary’s visit is a strong symbol of century old relations and testament to the boosting ties between the two countries.
Both countries are desirous of making sure that their ties grow more particularly in terms of trade and investment, he added.
“Ethiopia and the US will continue to work closely in the issue of South Sudan and Somalia and other regional security concerns,” Dr. Workheh reaffirmed.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn received and held talks with the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at his office later in the day.
The two sides discussed bilateral and regional issues, and agreed to strengthen their cooperation in development, security, peace and counter terrorism.
Tillerson also hailed PM Hailemariam’s decision to resign as Prime Minister and Chairman of EPRDF saying as it could be a model for leaders of other countries.
He also urged American investors to tap Ethiopia’s investment opportunities.
Tillerson is in a first visit to five African nations with Addis Ababa being his first stop since taking office.






Published in National-News

ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia is the best candidate to host the 12th International Chamber of Commerce Congress, said Dr. Mulatu Teshome as the country is competing with Kenya, United Arab Emirates and Iran bidding to host the Congress. 

Dr. Mulatu conferred with International Chamber of Commerce, World Chambers Federation Director Anthony Parkes who arrived yesterday to evaluate Ethiopia’s preparation and readiness.
During the talks, Anthony said Ethiopia has the best chance of winning the bid for it has good facilities and greater government support and determination.
The Director said he learnt that the Ethiopian Government is ready to work jointly with the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA) to host the Congress.
ECCSA President, Engineer Melaku Ezezew who attended the talks said Ethiopia will have the opportunity to win the bid in which the Director has appreciated all the facilities.
Engineer Melaku said that visa ensuing process, the government’s commitment and peace and security of the country will make Ethiopia in a position to win the bid.
Engineer Melaku added that Ethiopian Airlines signed Memorandum of Understanding with ECCSA to offer price discount for participants if Ethiopia wins the bid.
According to Engineer Melaku, the Congress would serve Ethiopia to promote investment opportunities and facilitate technology transfer.
Over 3,000 participants from 130 countries would take part in the 12th International Chamber of Commerce Congress to be held by 2021.  

BY Darge Kahessay


Published in National-News
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