Posts tagged as: county

Why Nairobi County Budget Is in Limbo

By Lillian Mutavi

Nairobi County Assembly has ordered the republishing of the county’s Appropriation Bill, 2017 which could render the devolved unit’s 2017/18 budget null and void.

The assembly has also faulted the committee executive for finance Gregory Mwakanongo for the passing of Sh35.9 billion 2017/18 budget un-procedurally.

The budget could be rendered null and void since the executive published the Nairobi City County Appropriation Bill, 2017 before the passing of the 2017/18 budget estimates.

However through communication to the chair, speaker Alex Ole Magelo has ordered that the Bill be republished in accordance with Public Finance Management Act, 2012 section 129(7).

“Upon approval of the budget estimates by the county assembly, county executive committee member for the finance executive shall prepare and submit a County Appropriation Bill to the assembly of approved estimates,” reads Section 129(7) of the Act.

The County Government’s Sh35.9 billion 2017-2018 budget was un-procedurally passed after county treasury published the Appropriations Bill, which is meant to authorise expenditure, before MCAs approved the budget estimates.

It was published on April 4 before the assembly had even passed the budget estimates for the financial year 2017/18.

The assembly considered and passed the report of the select committee on finance, budget and appropriation on the submitted budget estimates for the 2017/18 budget on April 5 and passed the Nairobi City County Appropriation Bill, 2017 a day later.

“There was no authority from the County Assembly for the decision to publish the Appropriation Bill which as shown earlier should be entertained once estimates have been passed,” said Ole Magelo.

Mr Ole Magelo has blamed the finance department for contravening the Public Finance Management Act which requires the county executive member for finance to submit budget estimates and other documents to county executive committee for approval before publishing an Appropriation Bill.

Kenya

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MCA Aspirant’s 3 Children Go Missing in Uasin Gishu

By Wycliff Kipsang

Three children belonging to a candidate for MCA in Uasin Gishu County have gone missing for the fourth day running.

The three boys — Clifford Nyambane, six, Dan Nyamweya, five, and Glen Ongagi, three — went to Eldovil SDA Church in the company of their cousin on Saturday but failed to return.

DISTRAUGHT

Their father James Ratemo, a Kanu candidate for Kapsoya ward, was in agony on Wednesday after efforts to find them failed to bear fruit.

Their mother, with teary eyes, said the children had gone ahead of her to church but she did not find them when she arrived a few minutes later.

“I prepared very early for church as is the norm on Saturday,” she said.

“However, when I reached church, which is just 500 metres away, I could not find them. I assumed that they had gone to play with their friends but I was alarmed when they failed to come back home.”

PUPILS

She appealed for help to help find her children.

“These children are my only hope. Please, anybody with information, assist me to find my children,” she said.

An uncle of the children, who was last seen with them, has denied any knowledge of their whereabouts.

He has since been questioned at the Naiberi and Central police stations.

Clifford is a Standard One pupil at Highland Grace Academy while Dan is in Middle Class at Shalom Academy. The youngest, Glen, is yet to go to school.

Mr Ratemo said they had searched for the boys everywhere, including in children’s homes and relatives’ houses, but to no avail.

UNCLEAR

“I cannot rule out that the children’s disappearance is related to politics, but I cannot speculate. Let police do their own investigations,” he said.

He said he had not had any differences with his rivals or his neighbours.

“We call on well-wishers to assist us to find our children,” he added.

Cases of children disappearing in unclear circumstances in the North Rift have been on the rise recently.

Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Abdi Hassan said investigations into the latest disappearances had begun.

He called on parents in the region to keep an eye on their children.

“Parents should also vet people who take care of their children when they have gone to work,” he said.

Laikipia Governor Picks 35-Year-Old Running Mate

By Mwangi Ndirangu

Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu has settled on a 35-year-old as his running mate.

Mr Patrick Waigwa, the former chairman of Ward Development Fund at the County Government had initially declared his interest to contest the Laikipia East parliamentary seat on a Jubilee ticket but later opted out under unclear circumstances.

He had resigned from his position at the county government and told close friends and supporters that he would seek to be elected to the National Assembly.

But after the announcement, nothing much was heard from him until Wednesday afternoon.

The announcement by Governor Irungu caught many by surprise as speculations were rife that he would reward people from Laikipia North for supporting him during the recent Jubilee Party primaries.

REWARD SUPPORTERS

“I am indebted to you people from Laikipia North for the many votes you gave me during the Jubilee party nominations. But after wide consultations, I came to the conclusion that I will pick my running mate from Laikipia East Constituency but I can assure you of a big position after August 8,” Governor Irungu told tens of Jubilee supporters gathered at old County Assembly Hall to witness issuance of Jubilee nomination certificates.

Getting the certificate came as a big relief to Governor Irungu following a bitter contest with his main challenger Ndiritu Muriithi.

Mr Muriithi, a nephew to retired President Mwai Kibaki had contested Mr Irungu’s win and the party’s dispute tribunal and the matter eventually ended at the Court of Appeal where the incumbent triumphed.

After receiving the certificate, the Governor extended an olive branch to his political nemesis telling then to abandon plans to contest as independent candidates but come and assist in Jubilee campaigns with an assurance that they would be rewarded with positions at the County Government.

Kenya

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Ruling Party Confident of Winning Nairobi Governorship

Photo: Charles Kimani/DPPS

Mike Sonko, left, the Jubilee Party’s gubernatorial nominee for Nairobi , with deputy governor nominee Polycap Igathe in the county on May 17, 2017.

By Patrick Lang’at

The Jubilee Party on Wednesday exuded confidence of winning the Nairobi gubernatorial after pairing Mike Sonko with Polycarp Igathe.

Deputy President William Ruto backed the team, describing Senator Sonko, who is Jubilee Party’s nominee for the county’s top job, as the solution to the problems facing the capital.

At a press conference he personally managed, ushering speakers and arranging how they will sit, the DP said the Jubilee Party leadership fully supported Mr Sonko, who has picked Vivo Energy Kenya Managing Director Igathe to become his running mate.

“Under the leadership of these two gentlemen, we actually have a winning team. We can now do the things we have so much wanted to do as Jubilee administration in Nairobi,” said the DP at the Jubilee Party headquarters in a three-minute speech he made after unveiling the duo.

For the Jubilee Party in 2013 elections, having not won Nairobi, which controls up to 60 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product besides being the seat of power, has haunted them for the past four and a half years.

“This team understands the challenges of this city and are going to provide the solutions for the problems this city faces. And they have the right partnership with us to make sure that Nairobi truly becomes the City in the Sun, again,” Mr Ruto said.

PETER KENNETH

Mr Sonko, a streetwise politician and a ruthless mobiliser, has cut the image of a man who has related with the hoi polloi, the chunk of the 2.3 million voters in the city.

To clinch the Jubilee Party ticket, however, the senator had to fend off challenge from 2013 presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, who had painted himself as the manager that Nairobi needed.

Mr Kenneth’s team had hoped to win the primaries by painting Mr Sonko as an erratic leader hell-bent on violence and unqualified to lead the city.

But, like a man fresh from being baptised, the senator had taken Mr Kenneth’s advice, debuting a new image, one he hopes will catapult him to the helm of City Hall.

Gone are the heavy gold and diamond rings and chains, the multicoloured mohawk and dyed hair, the ripped jeans, and punching of walls or sleeping on the tarmac.

On Wednesday, he once again portrayed the new image, one donning a business suit, and choosing his words carefully.

“I have been like the de facto governor because all the complaints by the county residents have been brought to me for action and mainly issues regarding land grabbing which incumbency has never addressed,” Mr Sonko said in a five-minute prepared speech.

‘GOOD GOVERNANCE’

“As you will see from our manifesto, which we will be unveiling shortly, our agenda for this county is issue-based and will be anchored on good governance, transparency and I shall not entertain any form of corruption in whichever form.”

He promised to tackle corruption, address garbage collection, which he said had been taken over by cartels, restructure the City Inspectorate Department and address drainage and cleanliness, a job he said he will accomplish with Mr Igathe.

“You will appreciate my choice of running mate reflects the corporate governance image that the residents of Nairobi would like to serve them and his CV in corporate leadership speaks for itself,” he said of Mr Igathe, who he said will run policy, development and political affairs.

Mr Igathe, who said he went through a rigorous interview to win the seat with 11 others, said he will complement his boss, if they win. “I took a leap of faith and left a job at the private sector for politics because 60 per cent of our country’s GDP in Nairobi can no longer be left in the hands of clueless people,” he said.

Stellah – Love Hit Song of All Time

By Amos Ngaira

One of the most popular Kenyan songs of all time, “Stellah”, remains a favourite of many music lovers, thanks not only to its alluring lyrics, but also its danceable beat.

And interestingly, it’s just this one song that catapulted composer Freshley Mwamburi to national fame and recognition across East Africa.

JAPANESE

Of course, it was also helped by the fact that it was sung in the lingua franca of East Africa, Kiswahili.

The evergreen hit remains one of the most favourite Afro-reggae-rumba ballads about love and rejection.

The mellow-voiced Freshley is on record as having confirmed that the song was a real-life lament about losing his fiancée Stellah, whom he had sponsored to study in Japan only for her to return with a Japanese child and accompanied by her “futi-nne Mjapani” husband.

In the song, Freshley, a long-time ally of band leader Abdul Muyonga and the Everest Kings band, recalls how Stellah returned to Kenya on May 17 in a style that shocked him.

“I was shocked that after all I had done for Stellah, selling most of my property to support her, was in vain,” he says.

The catchy lyrics of the song have been blended by reggae beats.

DEVASTATED

In the song Freshley also depicts how he was devastated wishing he could vent his frustrations by singing in various languages, ranging from his Taita mother tongue and Luo to Hindi and Kiswahili.

Speaking to the Nation on Monday, Muyonga said the song has been more of an anthem during Everest Kings live shows.

Many other bands often do cover versions of “Stellah” during live performances.

The Everest Kings band is currently based in Machakos, featuring Freshley and Muyonga.

Notably, Stellah is from Kangundo, also in Machakos County.

Freshley, who is from Taita Taveta County, has admitted that he has never forgotten how he sacrificed himself to support Stellah in her further studies.

REMIX

To many music lovers, the song has gained popularity with people of all ages due to its human interest appeal.

It is widely believed that Freshley’s experience is what many others have also gone through.

Besides recording with the Everest Kings, Freshley also had stints with the legendary Les Wanyika band that was led by Tanzanian star John Ngereza, among others

A sample part of the lyrics of “Stellah” in Swahili.

“Nilivyo mpenda Stellah jamani kajitolea kwa roho moja,

Nikauza shamba langu, sababu yake yeye,

Nikauza gari langu, sababu yake yeye nikauza ng’ombe na mbuzi sababu yake yeye,

Ili apate nauli yake na pesa nyngine za matumizi kule Japani.

… Ilikua tarehe kumi na saba mwezi wa tano,

Ilikua tarehe kumi na saba mwezi wa tano,

Ndiyo lokua tarehe kamili ya Stellah kurudi Kenya,

Nilikwenda uwanja wa ndege kwenda kumlaki Stellah,

Nilikua na uncle Kilinda uwanja wa ndege”.

Freshley did a remix version of “Stellah” due to its popularity.

Kenya: CS Cleopa Mailu Says Counties Have Doctors’ Money

By Eunice Kilonzo

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu has asked county governments to pay doctors their salaries and allowances as they “have the money in their accounts”.

On Tuesday, Dr Mailu showed the Nation a payment schedule which indicates the Ministry of Health disbursed about Sh3.2 billion to county governments on May 12 to pay for the new allowances of the more than 27,000 nurses and doctors.

The allowances – part of the negotiated agreements that saw the nurses end their strike in December 2016 and doctors on March 14 – were drawn from a National Government Supplementary Budget and was to pay arrears for January to June.

“We needed a code from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission for the new allowances for the doctors so as to prepare the payroll. We got it and immediately released the money to the counties. It is in their accounts already,” Dr Mailu said on Tuesday at Afya House, Nairobi.

The Council of Governors (CoG) has, however, maintained that counties cannot pay the doctors allowances, which is part of the return-to-work formula agreed on in March, as they require Senate approval of about Sh1.5 billion.

The CoG said the ministry had not disbursed money to the county governments as the Senate is yet to resume its sessions to approve the allocations.

However, given that the supplementary budget of about Sh61 billion was approved in March, the ministry does not require Senate’s approval to disburse the cash as alleged by governors.

CASH OFFICE

The remittance schedule by Ministry of Health’s cash office shows that nearly Sh1.49 billion has been remitted to pay the 3,962 doctors’ emergency call and risk allowances for six months with effect from January.

The money was meant to cushion counties for six months before the end of the 2016-2017 financial year.

Nairobi County got the lion’s share of Sh99 million to pay allowances of its 262 doctors while Kiambu got Sh92 million for its 245 doctors.

Tana River County received the lowest allocation of Sh4 million for allowances of its 13 doctors.

At the same time, the Health Ministry allocated counties Sh1.73 billion to cater for allowances of the more than 24,000 nurses.

Kiambu received about Sh91 million followed by Nakuru County at Sh81 million.

On Tuesday, Makueni county health executive Andrew Mulwa confirmed receiving Sh72 million, which he said would reflect in the payslips of nurses and doctors this month.

However, the CoG told the Nation last evening: “No county has confirmed having received the money. Council of Governors will update once we get the confirmations”.

NOT RECEIVED

The council had earlier issued a statement that county governments had not received any funds and asked Dr Mailu to “make public the schedule of disbursements for each county government, dates and actual amounts disbursed as he has communicated to the media”.

“[The] Council of Governors seeks to know from the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health, under what provisions of the law did the ministry purport to disburse the monies to the county governments without the Senate’s approval,” the CoG said.

However, Dr Mailu was categorical that doctors should be paid all withheld salaries, from December 2016 when the 100-day strike started.

“All counties were given the money for personal emoluments and they should pay all pending salaries because you cannot use the money to buy anything else. It is for staff remuneration. Counties, please play your bit,” Dr Mailu said.

An audit conducted by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union shows that doctors in 43 counties are yet to get their salaries and allowances.

CoG chairman Peter Munya in March said county governments would not pay doctors their salaries and allowances for the three months they were on strike.

Mr Munya said the doctors’ accumulated salary of about Sh3.2 billion was used for “extra-ordinary measures during the strike to mitigate the effects of the doctors’ union [strike]”.

Buy Food From NCPB Depots, Fred Matiang’i Tells Schools

By Geoffrey Rono

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has directed schools to purchase their foodstuffs from National Cereals and Produce Board depots at cheaper prices in the wake of the skyrocketing prices in the country.

Dr Matiang’i said the government had already released the foodstuffs to the depots which, he added, is a different allocation to that being sold to the public.

“I am appealing to schools management to make requisitions to the board’s management and be sold the commodities with ease,” he said.

Dr Matiang’i made the remarks at Kaplong Girls’ National School in Sotik sub-county in Bomet County during an inspection of the school’s development activities.

He was accompanied by area MP Dr Joyce Laboso.

HIGHEST RATE

The CS presented the institution with a Sh25 million cheque for infrastructure development.

According to statistics from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), inflation has hit a 57-month high due to rising food prices.

Official data shows that inflation hit 10.28 per cent in March.

“This is the highest rate since May 2012. Between February and March, the food and non-alcoholic drinks index increased by 3.18 per cent.

RECENT DROUGHT

This was mainly attributed to increases in prices of several food items including spinach, maize flour, milk, potatoes and maize grain,” the bureau said in a statement.

The KNBS attributed the price rise to the recent drought that cut supplies.

The Education CS had earlier visited Lorna Laboso Memorial Girls’ Secondary School where he donated Sh5 million for infrastructure development.

He also toured Ngariet and Kaplong Boys secondary schools on a similar mission.

Kenya

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Kenya: Why Rising Debt On SGR Is of Concern

Photo: Kevin Odit/Nation Media group

China Road and Bridge Corporation workers proceed with the construction of an overpass for the standard gauge railway, on May 25, 2016, in Taru (file photo).

editorialBy Editorial

The first phase of the new Mombasa-Nairobi railway is coming to completion shortly.

By all standards, it stands out as one of the major infrastructure developments in recent times.

If everything goes according to plan, the standard gauge railway (SGR) will change long-distance transport in a remarkable way.

Based on the achievement realised so far, the government now seeks to extend the line to Kisumu and has submitted a Sh370 billion loan proposal to China for the project.

So far, the line from Mombasa to Kisumu has sunk in some 327 billion and an additional Sh150 billion will be required to extend it to Naivasha.

ECONOMIC GROWTH

Economic growth is predicated on infrastructure development.

The existing rail line has been in use since the turn of the last century.

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Kenyan President Pushes for Billions to Extend Railway Project


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Locomotives and wagons are old. Rail transport had more or less been grounded and only revitalised with the new project.A new line is a welcome development. And in the principle of equitable national development, it must serve all other regions.Even so, concerns are being raised about the cost of putting up the railway.DEBT BURDENWhen finally completed, the total cost will be Sh847 billion. In reality, however, the figure will rise substantially.The question is: What is the cost-benefit analysis of doing the railway?What is the economic viability of the railway? The country requires the best infrastructure, but how does that even out with other equally critical national needs. And at what cost?Underlying this discussion is the rising debt burden, which though the government tends to downplay, is becoming a matter of serious concern.Experts and even transnational agencies like the International Monetary Fund have expressed concern over the ballooning foreign debt.In principle, the plan to develop a modern railway that connects the Coast to the hinterland to replace the century-old line is perfectly justified.However, questions must be asked about the economic viability and also weighed against other priorities and the nation’s debt burden.More on ThisAngry Youth Protest SGR’s Employment of Foreigners

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Liberia: Epilepsy Alarm in Yarwinmesson

By Ishmael F. Menkor

According to Nimba County Health Officer Dr. Collins Bowah, there is an alarming rate of epilepsy in the lower Nimba County district of Yarwinmesson.

The condition, he said, is of such concern to Ministry of Health officials that they have started distributing four months of drugs to the victims.

Epilepsy, locally referred as a kind of ‘spell,’ is a condition that affects the brain and is characterized by unpredictable seizures that can result in physical injuries.

Dr. Bowah made the disclosure during an interview on what the government is doing about taking mentally ill people off the streets of Nimba.

He said the MoH is investigating the cause of the high rate of epilepsy in the southern part of the county, extending as far as Rivercess and Grand Bassa counties.

The county health team, he said, is not aware of ‘mad people’ roaming the streets, who sometimes attack people, to the chagrin of locals that prompted the visit with Dr. Bowah.

“The issue pertaining to the growing number of crazy people in Nimba is not the Ministry of Health’s business alone, but it requires the line ministries including Gender. But what is more important here is that Yarwinmesson and its environs is the epicenter of these cases of epilepsy. But the government is investigating it and in the meanwhile distributing drugs to the affected,” he said.

Meanwhile, locals have long raised the alarm of the high rate of epilepsy on local radio. Some youth blame the frequent occurrence of the illness on witchcraft and is calling for a traditional way of handling it.

Yarwinmesson is one of the remotest parts of Nimba County, connecting Grand Bassa, Rivercess and Bong counties. It is the home of Liberia’s future capital, “Zekepa.”

Liberia

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Kenya Prepares to Export Oil This Month

By Kennedy Senelwa

Tanktainers with a heating mechanism to keep the waxy crude viscous until it reaches refineries and trucks to transport the oil from the fields in Turkana, northern Kenya, are already on standby as the country prepares to send its first consignment to the export market this month.

The EastAfrican has learnt that UK explorer Tullow Oil signed contracts on May 5 with Oilfield Movers and Multiple Hauliers EA to carry the crude from Lokichar to the Mombasa port.

Tullow also signed a contract with Primefuels Kenya for providing tanktainers with heating facilities that help keep the waxy crude viscous until it reaches refineries. The three companies were tasked with delivering the first consignment to Mombasa before the end of this month.

“Multiple and Oilfield will each supply 25 trucks. Primefuels has been selected to supply tanktainers. These companies submitted bids that scored the highest on technical and commercial compliance,” said Tullow Kenya country manager Martin Mbogo.

The three firms were picked from a list of 45 local companies that expressed interest in moving the crude under the Early Oil Production Scheme (EOPS) when the tender was floated in October last year.

Industry sources said Oilfield and Multiple would start mobilising trucks to South Lokichar this week while Primefuels already boasts 30 tanktainers, 10 of which are being customised.

Each tanktainer will carry 130 barrels of crude oil and has to be secured on a flat-bed truck. About 60,000 barrels are said to be already stocked in Lokichar for transportation to the Kenya Petroleum Refineries at Changamwe in Mombasa, from where they will be exported through the Kipevu Oil Terminal jetty.

The first cargo

“Preparations for trucks to deliver the first cargo of crude oil to Mombasa are in high gear. The first fleet will depart from Lokichar before end of May but the actual date remains a guarded secret of the Ministry of Energy,” industry sources said.

The export scheme seeks to test the demand for Kenyan oil in the global market, pending full field development that includes the building of a pipeline connecting the Turkana oilfields to Lamu port.

“Evacuation of crude oil from storage tanks in Lokichar will allow Tullow to continue with well tests and set up production facilities. Results from EOPS will inform planning for future progress of oil and gas operations,” he said.

Simmons & Simmons, an international law firm based in London, is advising Kenya on aspects of commercialisation of the crude oil.

In February, the government said that samples of the oil delivered to Asian and European refiners had excited the market due to its low sulphur content, which made it easier to refine.

Kenya’s Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau said refiners in Asia and Europe had acknowledged the good quality of the fossil fuel after receiving samples of crude oil from Turkana County.

“European and Asian refineries are receptive to our crude oil, which is low on sulphur content, making it easier to refine. It is not appropriate to disclose the identity of the refiners because of ongoing discussions,” he said.

Kenya’s oil is almost in the same category as Bonny light crude from Nigeria, which fetches a premium price in the global market. Bonny light from Bonny Island fetched $52.20 per barrel in March unlike the Dar blend from South Sudan, which is discounted at about $10 to Brent crude the global price setter.

Tullow Oil Plc, African Oil Corporation and Maersk Oil have jointly discovered 750 million barrels of commercial crude in block 10BB and 13T since March 2012 when oil was discovered.

Well testing

Phase one of EOPS involves moving 60,000 barrels of crude stored at Lokichar to KPRL. The crude was produced in 2015 during extended well testing. It will take a week for a truck to travel from Lokichar to Mombasa and back.

“The emptying of our storage tanks in northern Kenya will take around 60 days, using convoys of up to seven trucks daily to transport a total of 1,000 barrels of oil,” said Mr Mbogo.

He said phase two, which is from July to the fourth quarter of 2017, involves installing and commissioning of an Early Production Facility (EPF) by Al Mansoori Petroleum Services LLC. EPF will process about 2,000 barrels of oil per day.

Phase three, which will be from the fourth quarter of 2017 until the fourth quarter of 2019, will see the EPF produce 2,000 barrels of oil per day, that will be transported to the Port of Mombasa for a period of about two years.

The 30 per cent local content requirement for crude transporters to buy goods and service from residents of Turkana County is expected to be progressively realised over the contract period starting November 2017.

The companies will sub-lease trucks from the local community to provide them with economic opportunities and build their capacity to meet the Energy Regulatory Commission rules for petroleum transportation.

The EOPS will be undertaken as Kenya progresses in building a $2.1 billion pipeline of about 855 kilometres from South Lokichar basin to Lamu port for crude oil exports.

In October 2016, Tullow floated a tender for trucks with a minimum capacity of 25,000 litres to transport crude oil over a distance of 1,089 kilometres. One barrel of oil is equivalent to 159 litres.

Tullow has made it mandatory that the trucks be less than five years old and licensed to transport crude by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

The transport companies will set up spill response equipment at strategic locations along the transport route from South Lokichar to Mombasa.

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