GGDMA’s power-drunk election strategy

first_imgDear Editor,In his inaugural statement, newly-elected President of the Guyana Gold & Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) at the end of November, Andron Alphonso, openly challenged miners to use their electoral clout to determine the result of the next election. “We are the swing vote,” he announced, claiming over 100,000 people are directly or indirectly involved with mining. He pledged to fight “tooth and nail” to protect the future of the industry against policies that will be detrimental to, or result in the ‘desolation’ of the industry.Drawing attention to being the youngest GGDMA President in many years, he committed to recruiting more youth into the ranks of the GGDMA, stating: “We need the next generation to step up and … have meaningful participation in the direction in which this Association is going. That is something that we’re definitely going to be working on, to bring that younger element into the Association”.He maintained silence over the fact that the environmental ‘desolation’ generated by his industry puts him at odds with the majority of the generation he hopes to recruit.The inter-generational narrative focuses attention on the phenomenal cost of gold-mining to both the Guyanese population and the environment. According to ancient doctrines in many cultural traditions, natural resources, including rivers, fresh air, beaches, minerals and all manner of bio-diversity – known as ‘commons’ – belong to all the population communally. Not only do they belong to everyone, but the term ‘everyone’ includes future generations.The current generation is trustees for these natural assets to which future generations have the same ownership rights. The Constitution of Guyana recognises this principle as well the links between inheritance and the environment: “The right of inheritance is guaranteed” (Art 20) and “The state shall protect the environment for the benefit of present and future generations through reasonable legislative and other measures” (Art 149 J (2)).Over the past forty years, the current generation has transformed the perception of commons – ie publicly-shared inherited assets – into commodities to be bought and sold for private gain. The terminology we normally employ to discuss extractive assets, for example ‘windfall profits’, deflects us away from the more accurate term of ‘depletion of assets’. This encourages us to see the wealth generated from the sale of oil, gas or gold, as pure profit. We never count the losses. Nor do we ensure that the assets irrevocably lost are replaced by assets of equal value to the present and future generations.In the Guyanese context, gold-mining has been far and away the largest contributor to squandering the shared inheritance that mineral wealth ought to represent. According to official sources, a total of 11.1 million ounces of gold have been extracted from Guyana in the forty-year period from 1980-2019. Based on yearly average prices over this period, the total value of gold extracted was valued at US$7.4 billion or G$1.5 trillion dollars.Confronted with resources of this magnitude, the only morally relevant question is what tangible benefits do the current generation of Guyanese enjoys as a result of this enormous fire-sale of their assets? Is there a well-funded insurance or pension scheme for miners? Is there a well-appointed housing scheme built by the industry comparable to extra-nuclear housing scheme for sugar workers? Do children of gold-miners routinely receive bursaries to take them through college and university studies? To say nothing of what the industry has not given back to the larger society.As for the future generation, their bequest from mining is more readily counted in terms of decimated forests and polluted rivers. Was the cost of environmental restoration factored into the above statistics, the cost to the society would double. Would the GGDMA consider funding an institute to promote alternative technology to the use of mercury or to finance a restoration programme? The “truth and nail” pledge would suggest not.The President of the GGDMA’s reference to the ‘100,000 people associated with the industry’ also disguises accumulation of vast areas under mining licences by a mere handful of very large but misleadingly termed ‘medium-scale’ local miners, who hold thousands of acres under mining licences, land lorded out to others.The policies the GGDMA are committed to protecting are neither capitalist nor socialist economics, but more akin to looting. On one hand, there is a constant clamour for subsidies and privileges from the Government to insulate this privileged group from the real costs of extraction, and on the other, they denounce reasonable regulation of the industry that protect the assets of those same citizens. All the while engaging in widespread tax avoidance.The posture adopted by the GGDMA with respect to the upcoming elections viewed through the lens of the biblical parable of the prodigal son would have the son return home after squandering the assets bequeathed by his father, not to humbly beg forgiveness, but to bully the father into giving him the assets that belong to his brothers.Were the younger generation indeed ‘to step up’ and assert the “meaningful participation” that Mr Alphonso is looking for, the upsurge of climate-concerned youth we have witnessed this year suggest the GGDMA might be in for a surprise.Respectfully,Mike McCormackPolicy ForumGuyanalast_img read more

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Container Truck Victims to Be Buried Thursday

first_imgThe parties during the discussion at the Traffic CourtFamily members and the owner of the container truck involved in the April 8 Johnson Street Tragedy that killed four and left ten others injured, yesterday resolved to have the burial on Thursday, April 27.  It was earlier reported that three died on the spot, but a fourth person died later while undergoing treatment.Truck owner Dinga Dukuly and the victims’ families arrived at the decision after several hours of intense discussions that saw Dukuly agreeing to take care of all necessary expenses for the burial.Dukuly also agreed to pay for the medical treatment of the wounded and those whose properties were destroyed as a result of the accident.Yesterday’s agreement was as a result of a day of protest staged by the victims’ families in demand of the court’s intervention to have Dukuly arrested to take care of the burial and medication of the injured.The discussion, held at the Traffic Court at the Temple of Justice, was presided over by Judge Jomah Jallah, along with lawyers of both parties (Dukuly and the families of the victims).“Dukuly will buy caskets, pay for embalmment of the bodies at any funeral home, and build the tomb and make available transportation for the burial,” the parties agreed.Immediately after reaching the agreement, Judge Jallah advised the parties to come back to the court after the burial.The truck, loaded with two 20 foot containers, lost control on a slope due to brake failure, resulting in the deaths of the four persons, injuring eleven others and destroying properties on Johnson Street.The containers belonged to NICOM Distillery, a liquor factory at the center of an alleged “bad labor practices and production of fake CALAO products” case that caused the company to be shut down by the Commercial Court.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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EU Provides US$7M Budget Support to Gov’t

first_imgSigned in May 2018, the transaction was the first under the EU’s new budget support programme, called “Moving Liberia forward – Improving service delivery and public investment”. Flashback: Finance Minister (right) Tweah signs the financing agreements on behalf of the Government of Liberia, as the EU Ambassador Cavé looks on.The Government of Liberia (GoL) has received a little relief in the amount of EUR 6 million in budgetary support, provided by the the European Union, amidst the huge resource challenges that the country is faced with.The EU transferred a non-reimbursable grant amounting to EUR 6 million (around USD 7 million) to the Coalition for Democratic Change Administration at the end of August, a release from that continental body disclosed earlier today.This grant, however, arrived on 12 September 2018 in the GoL revenue account to support the budget of the Republic of Liberia.The transaction was the first under the EU’s new budget support programme called “Moving Liberia forward – Improving service delivery and public investment”, the release noted. The agreement was signed in May 2018, following the inauguration of President George Manneh Weah after a peaceful 2017 Liberian legislative and presidential elections that led to the first transition of power from one democratically elected leader to another since 1944.The program, which is part of the 2014-2020 National Indicative Program, was already adopted by the EU Member States in November 2017 and covers three years.Disbursement of this first payment comes after a positive decision of the Budget Support Steering Committee of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development in July 2018.The EU budget support offers a platform for dialogue with the partner country (Government, national oversight bodies, civil society, private sector, and other stakeholders) on policies and their financing, objectives and results, consistent with the principles of ownership, transparency and accountability.Ambassador Hélène Cavé, Head of the European Union Delegation to Liberia, said: “I am very happy that we managed to provide this EUR 6 million budget support to the Government. We hope it will help to move Liberia forward and put people first by providing essential services and investment to the benefit of Liberian citizens who are facing challenging times. Sound economic policies and the formulation of a realistic pro-poor agenda will be at the heart of our policy dialogue in the coming months.”She added “Budget Support is another instrument the EU uses to strengthen good governance, accountability and transparency in addition to our projects supporting external audit implemented by the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and access to information.”Meanwhile, the State-building Contract has a total value of EUR 27 million (approx. USD 31.5 million) over three years. The EU contribution is allocated as follows:EUR 24 million – General budget supportEUR 3 million – Support measures in the areas of Public Financial Management and statisticsIndicative timeline for disbursement:2018 – EUR 6m fixed tranche subject to meeting general conditions for EU budget support2019 – EUR 3m fixed tranche subject to general conditions, EUR 6m variable tranche linked to specific conditions2020 – EUR 3m fixed tranche subject to general conditions, EUR 6m variable tranche linked to specific conditionsThe general conditions of the Financing Agreement are:Formulation, approval and satisfactory progress in the implementation of a successor public policy  and continued credibility and relevance thereof;Implementation of a credible stability-oriented macroeconomic policy;Satisfactory progress in the implementation of PFM Reform Strategy and Action Plan;Satisfactory progress with regard to the public availability of timely, comprehensive and sound budgetary information.The six specific conditions are related to the following domains and indicator headings:Domestic Revenue MobilizationBusiness climate: Trading Across BordersBudget credibility for service delivery: Spending Entity PerformanceImprovement in access of de-concentrated services: De-concentrated service delivery through County Service CentersImproved controls, prevention and prosecution of corruption: State of procurement practices of Ministries and Agencies and management of public investmentTransparency: Asset declarations of public officialsIn both 2019 and 2020, EUR 1 million is linked to each specific condition.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Stable political environment is essential for business development – GMSA President

first_img…says there should not be a prolonging of current uneaseThe Guyana Marketing and Services Association (GMSA) has joined the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and other Private Sector bodies, calling for an end to the political turmoil since the passage of the No-confidence Motion, asserting that it has played a negative role in the business sector.GMSA President Shyam NoktaThese sentiments were shared by President of the GMSA, Shyam Nokta, during his address at the Association’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday at the Marriott Hotel.“In recent weeks, we have heard concerns expressed by leading Private Sector institutions – the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Private Sector Commission as the umbrella body – as it regards to investor confidence and a decline in commercial activity, while calling for adherence to the Constitution of Guyana. The GMSA’s wish is to align with these views and to also share the perspective that there should not be a prolonging of the current uncertainty and unease… What is most critical is a stable political environment and one which is conducive for doing business,” he asserted.The GGCI had recently stated that 64 per cent of respondents (or about two in every three businesses) experienced some form of decline due to uncertainty over the state of political affairs in Guyana.IDB representative to Guyana, Sophie MakonnenFor those businesses which registered a decline in activity, approximately 85 per cent experienced a 25 to 50 per cent drop in the level of commercial activity. The remaining 15 per cent experienced a 75 to 100 per cent decline.The passage of the December 21, 2018 motion saw the toppling of the coalition Government after receiving a 33 majority vote, as a result of former AFC MP Charrandas Persaud defecting in a vote of conscience in favour of the motion.It has been over 65 days since the resolution was carried and no move has been made by the Government to have elections held within the constitutionally mandated 90 days.ChallengesMeanwhile, Nokta was also at the time presenting on sections of his annual report which played a critical role in the manufacturing and services sector. It was noted that there has been a decline in the performance of traditional sectors, nothing that the tendency has not ceased nor declined. This trend, he says, is owing to the diminishing rice and sugar industry – which were once Guyana’s chief harvests.“The performance in many of our traditional sectors have been showing signs of decline. When we look at the midyear report from the Ministry of Finance, it alludes to this. At present, there are indications that this trend has neither slowed nor reversed. Some of this can also be held true for the manufacturing sector as well, which contracted during the first half of 2018 by about 2.4 per cent when compared to the 9.9 per cent growth that we had for the same period in 2017, much of this primarily to the decline in rice and sugar sector,” the GMSA President stated.Regardless of this, the manufacturing sector contributes between six to eight per cent of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP).As mentioned previously, one of the main challenges continued to be the high cost of energy, in addition to its reliability that has caused many manufacturers to self-generate their own power. It was mentioned that efforts were initiated to have a tax relief on fuel for these producers.“The high cost coupled with issues of stability and reliability had pushed many manufacturers off the grid and to self-generate. In fact, energy has been the principle limiting factor in adding value to primary production across many sectors of our economy. Tax measures introduced in Budget 2017, such as the VAT on electricity, further compounded this issue and continued to affect manufacturers in 2018. We have made a strong case for tax relief on fuel for manufacturers similar to what other sectors benefit from.”Meanwhile, adjustments to the Value Added Tax (VAT) regime has resulted in stakeholders being unable to reclaim this type of taxation on their exported goods.“While there has been a continued call for value adding the primary productive sectors and for more exports, adjustments to the VAT regime in 2018 resulted in some manufacturers unable to reclaim vat on inputs for exported items,” Nokta added.Economic diversificationDelivering her remarks, IDB representative Sophie Makonnen gave an insight of economic diversification ideas which Guyana can embark on, while embracing technology and innovation. According to her, these are some of the important factors in building a resilient economy.“Competitiveness and economic diversification are essential to building a resilient economy, capable of resisting price or production related shock. We have seen this in Guyana to some extent in 2017, when the mining sector fell by almost nine per cent,” Makonnen explained.She added, “Further development of more economic sectors can strengthen economic resilience and allow the country to face and adapt to changing global trends in price, technology and politics.”As customary, Guyana’s booming oil sectors was also discussed. But the IDB representative sought to point out that while this will impact the economy, provisions must be made for other sectors to be strengthened by enhancing policies, since oil is not a lifetime resource.“Productivity in enhancing policies will also be important to strengthen the non-oil economy. They are key in the diversification…There are multiple policy fronts to strengthen the Private Sector competitiveness,” the IDB representative ascertained.The IDB has been supporting Government recently through the electronic single window for trade, facilitating trade while reducing time and costs.Her advice to the Private Sector was, “Be innovative and embrace technology. Make sure you’re providing goods and services that meet international standards. In order to be competitive, you need to meet those standards and I do think the oil and gas economy is pushing and showing that if you’re not competitive and do not make those standards, you won’t make it.”She noted that the trend of non-traditional sectors making its mark in the economy is one which will continue to increase.last_img read more

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Giroud eyes Chelsea chance after bruising full debut

first_imgHe had been struggling with a calf injury, having already had five stitches for a cut when taking studs to the head, but his manager Antonio Conte expects him to be fit for Friday’s FA Cup fifth-round fixture with Hull.“It’s been a while since I played regularly and that’s why I needed to move,” said Giroud, who was replaced by Chelsea’s summer signing Alvaro Morata. “I needed a new challenge and Chelsea was the perfect club for me.“It’s the Premier League, a club which has won more titles in the past 10 years than any other. It’s a massive club and I am very proud to be here and to carry on my career.“I feel very good. It’s been maybe two months since I started a game so I felt good. I worked hard in training to be physically ready and to do what the coach asked me to do tactically. There is still room for improvement but I take a lot of pleasure from (my performance) and I’m happy to set the first goal for Eden.”The 31-year-old said he was focused on Chelsea after “five amazing years” at Arsenal.“I said at half-time when they put stitches in my head that I wanted to carry on, but the calf was very painful and I couldn’t play the whole game,” he added.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Chelsea’s French striker Olivier Giroud holds a head bandage after getting caught in a challenge during the English Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge in London on February 12, 2018 © AFP / Glyn KIRKLONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 13 – Olivier Giroud is focused on nailing down a first-team place at Chelsea after a dramatic full debut against West Brom, during which he was forced to have five stitches for a head wound.The France striker, who moved from Arsenal for £18 million ($25 million) last month, impressed during Monday’s 3-0 win against West Brom at Stamford Bridge, where he created the first of Eden Hazard’s two goals before being substituted in the second half.last_img read more

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PSG star Marquinhos reveals he could leave at end of the season – Chelsea and Man United on alert

first_imgParis Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos has put Chelsea and Manchester United on red alert by revealing he could be on the move this summer.The Brazilian is struggling to hold down a regular spot under Laurent Blanc at the Parc des Princes and has made just nine appearances this season.Both Chelsea and Manchester United are long-term admirers of the centre-back, who moved to PSG for £27m from Roma in July 2013.The 21-year-old is currently happy fighting for his place at the French champions – but he admits that may not be the case for much longer.“Like everybody, I am always thinking about getting into the starting XI,” Marquinhos said in an interview with Journal du Dimanche.“But you have to respect the coach’s decision and that of the board. I will continue to work in order to get my place.“But it is true that there will be a moment where I want more. We can not always be used to the bench.“Six months remain to win trophies and to try to become a starter. After that, we will see what happens.” 1 Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos last_img read more

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TRANSFER ALERT! Aston Villa make move for Bristol City ace

first_img1 Aston Villa have made an offer for Bristol City striker Jonathan Kodjia.The Ivory Coast international moved to the Championship club last summer after they managed to prise him away from Angers for around £2m.The 26-year-old enjoyed a brilliant debut season in England and finished the campaign with 20 goals in all competitions.Derby, Sunderland, Stoke City and Villarreal have since scouted Kodjia after being impressed by his performances.But, according to France Football, Aston Villa have made their move by making a formal offer for the striker.The bid is currently undisclosed but it is reported that Bristol City are holding out for around £5m. Jonathan Kodjia [left] in action for Bristol City last_img read more

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Pogba update to delight United fans and Mourinho to fight City for TWO players

first_img 5 5 Reece Oxford: Manchester rivals to fight for Oxford’s signature? Click the arrow above, right, to see more United transfer rumours – Apparently Oxford is valued at £15m by West Ham and Man City are the most recent club linked with West Ham whizz-kid Oxford. The 17-year-old is also being tracked by Man United as well as Bundesliga club Red Bull Leipzig. John Stones to spark another transfer fight between Manchester clubs – Man City manager Pep Guardiola has been linked with Everton stopper Stones, but now Man United are in the frame, report The Times. Old Trafford boss Jose Mourinho was linked with the 22-year-old during his time in charge of Chelsea and now it looks like he still wants him with a view to adding depth to a centre back department containing Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. 5 5 Man United set to snap up Brentford teenager Joshua Bohui – Man United are about to complete a deal for Brentford winger Bohui, according to the Manchester Everning News. The 17-year-old has recently represented England’s Under-17 side and as well as playing for the Bees’ youth team last season, he also impressed for the reserve squad. Paul Pogba happy to re-join United four years after leaving? – There is yet more news to bring you regarding Pogba. The Manchester Evening News note the absence of chief exec Ed Woodward from the pre-season tour to China amid rumours the Juve ace is happy to rejoin United. The club are reportedly willing to meet Juventus’ asking price and are said to have agreed personal terms with Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola. Further reading: Five key challenges Mourinho must tackle. United to say goodbye to Will Keane, James Wilson and Tyler Blackett – Man United’s trio of youngsters are set to be moved on in manager Jose Mourinho’s overhaul. Blackett, 22, was on loan at Celtic last season, while Wilson, 20, was at Brighton and is being courted by Fulham. Keane is on tour with the United first team right now and scored in the pre-season win against Wigan. However, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford there it will be hard to break through. Guillermo Varela is also likely to go. 5 Man United are taking control of things in the transfer window.Not content with already having signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly, new manager Jose Mourinho seems to want to add more to his squad in a huge overhaul.Here, talkSPORT has the latest on the current rumours coming out of Old Trafford.Man United’s season begins on 13 August and you can follow how rivals Man City get on against Sunderland live on talkSPORT, then tune in to follow Man United’s match at Bournemouth. last_img read more

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DDTV – DONEGALTV TAKES TO THE SKIES WITH LATEST SHOW

first_imgComing up on tonight’s DonegalTV show at 9:30pm on Sky266 Freesat157 we catch up with Irish county singing sensation Lee Matthews as he celebrates his first year in showbusiness.We hear about a new awareness campaign Fighting Fit for Ewings, while Minister for Transport launches the new Aer Lingus Regional service between Donegal and Dublin in Donegal Airport. And on top of al that Letterkenny people gather to discuss plans to set up the Cathedral Quarter.We will bring you the full video of this evening’s programme on Donegal Daily tonight.   Teh Doenagl TV show wil also be broadcast in America on teh 14th Feb at 1pm ET on Today’s Ireland on MHz Worldview DDTV – DONEGALTV TAKES TO THE SKIES WITH LATEST SHOW was last modified: February 12th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Firm can’t say no to feds

first_img EPA spokesman Francisco Aracute said the agency could issue an administrative order if necessary. Magnuson declined to discuss the agency’s strategy in the case, but said generally the agency keeps looking for a mutual agreement with property owners even after taking initial steps to compel cooperation. Mitguard, project manager for the EPA’s Superfund, said the agency also could obtain a search warrant, and company representatives have been told of this possibility. Like Magnuson, however, he said the regulators prefer to honor private property rights and obtain a good-faith agreement. Snyder said talks are ongoing and he expects an agreement will be reached. The EPA gained access to the site in 2004 but continued protracted negotiations with the company did not drill test wells. EPA representatives planned to visit the site Monday to begin drilling seven test wells to a depth of 80 to 100 feet to check for perchlorate. Perchlorate is a byproduct of rocket fuel that has been associated with thyroid disorders. Water agencies have said their test results show the chemicals have not contaminated local public water sources. Judy O’Rourke, (661) 257-5255 judy.orourke@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 The law that backs up the order is the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act passed by Congress in 1980, also called Superfund law. It empowers the federal government to intervene when the public health or environment could be harmed by potentially hazardous substances. National Technical Systems tests products and components for aerospace, telecommunications and military applications. “What the government is requesting is unfettered access to the site for three days,” Bob Snyder, an attorney for the company, said Monday. “We’ve offered ways for them to come on and not be as intrusive. The client’s as interested in finding out the results – perhaps more so – as the EPA, but there has to be some reason about how they reach this.” Snyder said the company performs confidential and sometimes classified work and needs what he called reasonable business control of its property. Snyder said the company’s requests for a list of the type of equipment that would be brought on site and for information on outside contractors had not been honored. It would be difficult for the company to halt operations for three consecutive days, not including a weekend, he said. After the testers leave, workers at the secured facility would need to recalibrate the sensitive equipment, he added. SANTA CLARITA – If a good-faith agreement cannot be worked out, the Environmental Protection Agency could rely on a legal smorgasbord of options to compel a local defense contractor to allow agency representatives on site to test for contaminants. Agency officials are looking at their options after saying that National Technical Systems or NTS reneged last week on a plan that would have allowed the EPA to gain access to the property Monday to begin drilling wells. The test wells would determine if perchlorate and other contaminants have leached from the site to the groundwater, said Matt Mitguard, project manager for the EPA’s Superfund. The agency’s first tack is to hammer out an agreement with the property owner allowing access to the site for testing. If that fails, the agency may issue an administrative order. “Usually, companies comply with an order,” said Janet Magnuson, an attorney for the EPA. “Sometimes we have to seek assistance from the Department of Justice to enforce the order in court.” last_img read more

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