Singapore Breaking News
As we are all adapting to the new normal in this post-pandemic world, our desire to wander, experience and discover is stronger than ever. It's time to get excited about travelling again and welcome 2022 in high spirits. Exciting travel treats are awaiting us both here and overseas, as you'll learn from this special must experience list we have curated for your readers across a broad range of interests.
From new attractions to flagship hotel openings and fresh international experiences, some or all of these unique experiences are sure to deliver excitement in 2022.
Experiences and Attractions:
Come along with us and immerse yourself in new conscious travel experiences and breathtaking attractions like no other. Limited edition itineraries with andBeyond.
Conservation-led luxury travel company andBeyond marked its 30th anniversary by launching a series of limited-edition itineraries designed to highlight its commitment not only to the preservation of wildlife and the environment, but also to educating travellers on the role of sustainable travel in conservation.
The collection of experiences launched includes a glimpse of South Africa’s magnificent marine phenomenon, the Sardine Run, as well as an insider’s view of some of the most significant conservation projects in Argentina, the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of a lion translocation that reversed a local extinction in Rwanda, getting to know about tiger conservation in India to discovering the origins of Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta and learning the art of guiding andBeyond-style while exploring the Serengeti on foot. Led by andBeyond’s top conservation experts, all journeys are once-off bucket adventures scheduled to take place in 2022. For information on andBeyond’s 30-year limited edition experiences, log on to andBeyond.com.
New and unparalleled views right here in Singapore
Those who want to enjoy a great experience somewhere local can take 2022 to new heights right here in Singapore on Mount Faber Leisure Group’s newest attraction, SkyHelix Sentosa, slated to open on 15 December 2021.
On Singapore’s highest open-air panoramic ride, guests will ascend 79 meters above sea level in a gentle spiral motion and soak in 360° views of Sentosa and the upcoming Great Southern Waterfront, while enjoying a cool drink. The attraction will also be the first on Sentosa to achieve carbon neutrality. SkyHelix Sentosa is also a beauty to behold, boasting a stunning helix-like vertical structure and energy-efficient LED lights that illuminate throughout the night.
Tickets are priced at $18 per adult and $15 per child – a reasonable price for a unique experience you cannot find anywhere else in the country. To book, visit here.
Experience the glamour of Monaco
Making a trip from Singapore to France on a Vaccinated Travel Lane? Consider adding Monaco to your itinerary. Welcome 2022 in style, by experiencing the European coast on Lanéva, a 100% sustainable luxury boat. Glide in style, sustainability, and silence as you take in the picturesque scenes of Monaco.
Lanéva sells and rents its boats for half-day or full-day long experiences in and around Monaco, along the French Rivierato Cannes or San Remo, Italy being amongst the possibilities.
Here is a sneak peak of what is to be expected. Discover more about opportunities on Lanéva here.
New Hotel Openings:
The flagship-branded Hilton Singapore Orchard opens on 1 March 2022
Singapore will soon be home to Hilton’s largest property in the Asia Pacific region. Opening 1 March 2022 after a major refurbishment of the current Mandarin Orchard Singapore, Hilton Singapore Orchard will be an inspiring landmark hotel with a core focus on sustainability. From the guest rooms to the dining the hotel aims to implement sustainable materials and practices in as many ways possible. The 1,080-room hotel will bring guests a suite of modern accommodation options and boast a compelling collection of award-winning world-class dining experiences, including the highly anticipated return of Osteria Mozza by celebrated chef Nancy Silverton.
Hilton Singapore Orchard will also be the ideal destination for extraordinary events and milestone celebrations, offering one of the largest venue spaces in the area with 16 inspiring events spaces,
including two ballrooms.
andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge
andBeyond’s all-time favourites in Tanzania’s Western Corridor, andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp, is undergoing an extensive rebuild to emerge as andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge. With interior design by Fox Browne Creative and architectural design by Jack Alexander, the rebuild will utilise the existing footprint of the former structure to redefine the classical tented camp look in a form that will least impact the natural landscape. Reinventing the traditional safari tent, the new lodge will be even more luxurious and contemporary, while retaining the rustic and tactile nature of the original camp.
As with all andBeyond projects, sustainability will be key in the rebuild and the new lodge will include a 130kWh solar system, which will allow it to run on 80% renewable energy. An extended selection of new guest experiences is being developed in time for its launch on 6 June 2022. These will combine with the rich resident wildlife of this remote corner of the Serengeti, as well as the lodge’s ideal location for experiencing the thrilling river crossing and vast herds of the Great Migration.
Make the most of your travel experience
Sightsee and save with Go City
Go City offers sightseeing passes for destinations around the globe, giving you the freedom to do what you want, when you want, while making great savings as you go. With Go City passes, you can say goodbye to multiple entry fees and paper tickets. One price, one pass, and everything you need, right there on your phone.
Visit bucket-list attractions, explore the city on a top tour, and discover plenty of hidden gems, all handpicked by Go City’s local experts.
Go City covers 25 cities across four continents, with international travel opening soon, book your Go City passes and enjoy a fuss free trip at a great value. Visit Go City website for more information. Work from anywhere.
Hospitality-led coworking space operator, The Great Room, opened their fifth Singapore location in November at Afro-Asia, an LEED-certified sustainable building. Designed by award-winning designer Joyce Wang, the coworking space integrates human-centric design, workplace wellness and sustainability into an urban setting for the modern worker.
Travellers visiting Singapore or any of The Great Room locations can enjoy day or week passes so they
can mix business and pleasure. The Great Room also has spaces in prime locations in Bangkok and
Hong Kong and can be an immediate purchase online via https://thegreatroom.co/store/.
With all the hard work and many challenges of the past two years, the greatest gift to ourselves is that of vibrant new experiences next year.
SINGAPORE - The Basic Healthcare Sum will be raised from $63,000 to $66,000 for Central Provident Fund (CPF) members under 65.
This will take effect from Jan 1 next year, the CPF Board said in a joint statement with the Ministry of Health and the Housing Board on Friday (Nov 26).
The Basic Healthcare Sum is the estimated savings required for basic subsidised healthcare needs in one's old age.
It is adjusted yearly for members below 65 years of age to keep pace with the growth in MediSave use. Once members reach the age of 65, the sum will be fixed for the rest of their lives.
Those who turn 65 next year will have the sum fixed at $66,000 and it will not be changed.
Those who are 66 and above next year will see no changes to their cohort's Basic Healthcare Sum.
The CPF Board announced in September that the minimum 4 per cent interest rate for Special, MediSave and Retirement account monies had been extended until Dec 31 next year.
On Friday, it said that in the first quarter of next year, CPF members below 55 years of age will continue to earn up to 5 per cent interest on the first $60,000 of their combined balances, with up to $20,000 from the Ordinary Account.
They will earn interest rates of up to 3.5 per cent a year on their Ordinary Account monies and up to 5 per cent a year on their Special and MediSave account monies.
CPF members aged 55 and above will be paid 6 per cent interest a year on the first $30,000 of their combined balances, with up to $20,000 from the Ordinary Account. They will also be paid 5 per cent on the next $30,000.
The extra interest on a member's Ordinary Account will go into their Special Account or Retirement Account to enhance their retirement savings.
If a member is above 55 and participates in the CPF Life scheme, the extra interest will still be earned on their combined balances, including savings used for CPF Life.
CPF Life is an annuity scheme that provides a lifelong monthly payout that kicks off when the member becomes 65 years old.
The interest rate for Ordinary Accounts will be maintained at 2.5 per cent a year from Jan 1 to March 31 next year.
The concessionary interest rate for HDB housing loans, which is pegged at 0.1 percentage point above the Ordinary Account interest rate, will remain unchanged at 2.6 per cent a year during the same period.
For Special and MediSave accounts, interest rates will be maintained at 4 per cent a year until March 31 next year.
The Retirement Account interest rate will also be maintained at 4 per cent a year until Dec 31 next year.
SINGAPORE - Countries that have been agile and able to scale up their responses to national level, as well as react quickly to the shifting circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, have likely fared well thus far.
The measure of a nation's pandemic preparedness can no longer be defined by static benchmarks - such as the number of hospital beds or labs available - but by the dynamism and agility of the system to react and adapt to what the latest data shows, said Dr Michael Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organisation's Health Emergencies Programme, on Thursday (Nov 25).
"It's like measuring how well someone is going to do on the sports field. By just measuring how much they can bench, lift, or how fast they can run on a treadmill, you can say that they're very strong, fast and fit. But that doesn't measure how well they're going to do in a game," added Dr Ryan, who was a special guest in the final episode of the webinar series: Covid-19: Updates From Singapore.
Jointly organised by the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS Medicine International Council (NIC), National University Health System (NUHS), and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) at the WHO, this webinar series brings together local and international experts to discuss the latest medical and scientific findings concerning Covid-19.
The series was co-hosted by Associate Professor David Allen, an infectious diseases clinician, Professor Dale Fisher from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and chair of the WHO's GOARN team, and Dr Louisa Sun, Associate Consultant with the Infectious Disease team at NUH and Alexandra Hospital. In each episode, special guests have been invited to speak on a variety of topics.
Since the first episode on April 9, 2020, a total of 38 episodes have aired.
Reflecting on Singapore's response to the coronavirus outbreak, special guest Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, the chief health scientist from the Ministry of Health, said that despite the best laid plans and experience gained from the Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak in 2002,Covid-19 caught the Republic by surprise.
Prof Tan said that Singapore had some "advance notice" as the health authorities here saw what was happening in Wuhan, China, in the early days of the outbreak.
"The Sars paradigm takes us maybe halfway, but now we have to shift to a paradigm that is maybe Sars plus flu plus a bit more... we never really had a situation of sustained community transmission where we had to do social distancing... and many people have not really read very much about flattening the curve," Prof Tan said.
"Along the way, we learned that due to the prolonged nature of this epidemic, we also had to deal with very extensive social issues, such as health care capacity issues and so on.
"So I will say we had some early warning for Covid-19. We were prepared, but it also showed that our preparation was incomplete. And for the next one, we would have to now bring on the lessons learned in this pandemic and prepare a more comprehensive response to much more contagious agents," Prof Tan added.
Associate Professor Sophia Archuleta, head and senior consultant at the division of infectious diseases in NUH, was asked what was prioritised when the healthcare system was under pressure, given the competing demands of manpower, training, and balancing patient care in both Covid-19 and non Covid-19 areas.
The team's health takes priority, Prof Archuleta said.
"If we don't take care of ourselves as a group, we can't effectively take care of patients," she stressed.
An effective workflow was called for, she added, one where patients could be taken to the right places in the hospital, with this system being dynamically adaptivedepending on the amount of pressure the virus placed on the healthcare system.
SINGAPORE - Another hawker centre and 10 more coffee shops have opened to groups of up to five vaccinated people to dine in.
Another 20 hawker centres are slated to do so by next Monday (Nov 29), with entry and vaccination checks in place.
The expansion comes as the National Environment Agency (NEA) and Singapore Food Agency (SFA) progressively roll out measures at food establishments to facilitate vaccination-differentiated rules.
On Thursday, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor said on Facebook that 17 coffee shops can now accommodate groups of up to five vaccinated people.
The hawker centre at Block 137 Tampines Street 11 was also added on NEA's website to the list of such places that open to groups of five.
This was up from an initial batch of 11 hawker centres and seven coffee shops that started to allow dining in for groups of up to five people on Tuesday.
Dr Khor said: "We are actively consulting the hawkers' associations and working with the town councils and NEA-appointed operators to help the remaining hawker centres come on board progressively by the end of November.
"I also hope to see more coffee shop operators put in place the required measures, so that groups of up to five fully vaccinated persons can dine in at their premises."
She said vaccination checks were generally smooth at two premises that she visited this week - Bedok Food Centre and Qi Xiang coffee shop in Upper Serangoon Road - with diners proactively showing their vaccination status at the point of entry.
The relaxed dining rules come after almost two months of stabilisation measures that limited eating at hawker centres and coffee shops to pairs.
Fully vaccinated people or those who are eligible for dining at hawker centres will be given a sticker for identification, while those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated can only buy food for takeaway.
Those eligible include children aged 12 and below and individuals who have recovered from Covid-19.
To qualify, operators of coffee shops and hawker centres must control access to their premises by cordoning off areas and having dedicated entry points.
At the entry points, they must check the vaccination status of all patrons, and differentiate those who are fully vaccinated and dining in.
According to the SFA website, the new coffee shops and canteens are: Chuan Kee F&B at 1091A Lower Delta Road; Hunger House at 9 Tagore Lane; Koufu at 662D Punggol Central; Brunners Coffeeshop at 228 East Coast Road; Tong Kian Eating House at 37 Teban Gardens Road; Saffrons at 201D Tampines Street 21; Hoki 150 at Block 150 Bishan Street 11; Kian Seng Seafood Restaurant at 4013 Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 1; Bangkok Street Mookata at Block 421 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10; and Chilli Padi Nonya Catering at 2 Changi Business Park Crescent.
[Audio House Black Friday Sale] Up to 70% OFF + 11% cash discount with every $1,500 spent + 20% ecashback with every $100 spent!
Shop for the craziest Black Friday Sale at Audio House with up to 70% OFF + 11% cash discount with every $1,500 spent + 20% ecashback with every $100 spent! The promotion is happening from 26 to 30 November 2021 only! It's the best time of the year to shop and save as much as possible! Offers are on a first-come, first-served basis only. While stocks last!
Customers simply need follow the steps below to redeem the discount:
1. Visit Audio House website @ https://audiohouse.com.sg
2. Shop and select their favourite items.
3. Enter promo code [BFAH21] before cart out.
4. Enjoy their shopping!
Here are the exciting deals!
Audio House Black Friday Sale
Date: 26 November to 30 November 2021
Time: 1230pm to 9pm
Shop Offline: Audio House Showroom
Address: 23 Ubi Road 4, Audio House Building, Singapore 408620, Ubi MRT Station (Exit A)
Shop Online: www.audiohouse.com.sg
Join Audio House Telegram chat here to receive the latest updates!
Remember to apply promo code [BFAH21] before checking out to enjoy the promotion!
On top of that, Audio House will be giving away FREE $5 eCashback for every new referral of Audio House member.
Follow the steps here to find out more!
Nanoleaf, smart decor and lighting industry leader, announces Nanoleaf Lines, their newest generation of mood lighting for the home, entertainment, and hybrid workspaces. Nanoleaf Lines are smart backlit colour-changing LED light bars featuring a stunning RGB illumination in a never-before-seen modular linear form. The ultramodern design coupled with smart technology creates unique and personalized experiences for a variety of living spaces.
Nanoleaf Lines reinvents the idea of modular mood lighting with their ultra-lightweight light bars that connect at 60-degree angle increments, creating sleek linear layouts, grand geometric shapes, and even ceiling setups. Each light bar can be painted with two different colours at once, blending seamlessly for dynamic animations, while the backlit glow casts an immersive design on walls or ceilings.
Paint spaces with mesmerizing lighting Scenes like vibrant ‘Neon Dreams’ or hypnotic ‘Kaleidoscope,’ whether it is for a movie session, gaming, or listening to a playlist. Lines come with 19 pre-set dynamic Scenes, including 7 Rhythm Scenes that intuitively react to music. Users can also explore thousands of new Scenes in the Nanoleaf App or create and upload their own using the Scene Creator which includes over 16 million colour options, and a variety of motions like ‘Highlight’ which highlights the first colour in their custom colour palette and smoothly fades in the other colours periodically as well.
Experience music in a fun new way with Nanoleaf’s signature Rhythm Music Visualizer which is built into Lines. Watch as Lines syncs with a variety of tunes in real-time to create dynamic colour animations, with colours dancing and pulsing along to beats and melodies. Each Rhythm Motion (with 22 to choose from) is uniquely made for a different genre of music, complementing everything from bass-heavy beats for parties and get-togethers to soft melodic instrumentals ideal for unwinding or casual dinners.
Transform movie and gaming nights with immersive Screen Mirror, which syncs Lines to the screens for the ultimate entertainment experience. On-screen colours and animations are mirrored onto the lighting layout as the colours move beyond the screen and onto the designs, making viewers feel as if they have stepped right into the scene. With four different modes available, users can fully customize the experience whether it’s Match mode’s ultra-immersion to feel like they are part of the action or Palette mode for a more subtle transition of colours.
Lines will seamlessly fit into smart home and entertainment spaces. Setup is simple and requires no drilling or rewiring; users can easily secure Lines to any smooth surface with the included adhesive on the back of each Mounting Plate.
Lines act as a Thread Border Router for the Nanoleaf Essential line of Bulbs & Lightstrips to provide a faster and more reliable connection for both iOS and Android users. All essential devices will automatically connect to a Thread network as soon as Lines are paired with the Nanoleaf app.
Lines can be controlled in many ways, with the Nanoleaf App via Wi-Fi, voice commands, or manually with the physical Controller. Lines are also compatible with several other smart services like Apple Home Kit, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT integrations.
Accessorize Lines for even more design customizations. Lines Skins will allow users to instantly change the style of their layout with ultra-lightweight Snap-on faceplates; no tape or further installation is required. Skins will come in Black and Pink and will be available in December.
Nanoleaf Lines is now available at both online and physical stores below. Smarter Kits (9 Lines) retail at SGD339 and Expansion Packs (3 Lines) at SGD109.
Online: Lazada & Shopee
Physical Stores: Brex International @ Oxley Bizhub, Synced by District @ Plaza Singapura, HipVan Experience Store @ Suntec, BHG @ Bugis Junction (from 1 December 2021), Takashimaya Level 3 & Omnidesk Experience Studio
SINGAPORE - Five people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in a second-storey flat in Hougang on Wednesday (Nov 24).
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a Facebook post on Wednesday night that it was alerted to the fire at Block 537 Hougang Street 52 at about 5.45pm.
The fire involved the contents of a kitchen.
SCDF said that when its firefighters arrived, the Housing Board unit was still ablaze.
Donning breathing apparatus sets, they proceeded into the smoke-logged unit and extinguished the fire with a water jet.
About 20 residents from upper-floor units evacuated their homes because of the fire before SCDF's arrival.
"Five of them were overcome by the smoke while evacuating via the staircase near the burning unit," SCDF said.
They were taken to Singapore General Hospital and National University Hospital for smoke inhalation.
SCDF is investigating the cause of the fire.
Woman who suffered 80% burns trying to save fiance in Tanjong Pagar crash in positive spirits since discharge
SINGAPORE - After about four months in hospital, Ms Raybe Oh Siew Huey, the 26-year-old who suffered serious burns attempting to save her fiance from a burning car, was discharged in June.
Ms Oh, a former air stewardess and getai performer, suffered severe burns to about 80 per cent of her body while trying to rescue Mr Jonathan Long, 29, and four friends, after the car crashed into a shophouse in Tanjong Pagar at around 5.40am on Feb 13.
In response to queries from reporters on Thursday (Nov 25), the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) confirmed that Ms Oh was discharged in June.
She recently posted a picture of herself and Mr Long with a heart shape on her Instagram stories.
She had been inactive on social media until March, when she posted a picture of Mr Long on her Instagram stories to wish him a happy birthday and say she missed him.
In September, she posted several pictures of dishes from different eateries on Instagram.
Mr Long, the driver, and four others in the car - Mr Eugene Yap, 29; Mr Elvin Tan Yong Hao, 28; Mr Wilson Teo Qi Xiang, 26; and Mr Gary Wong Hong Chieh, 29 - died in the crash.
Ms Oh was taken to SGH and was warded in the intensive care unit. She was stabilised after a little over a week and moved to a high dependency ward.
Reporters reported on Wednesday that she has been in contact with some of her friends through social media.
Those who spoke to reporters, including getai performer Komei Foong, said Ms Oh has remained in positive spirits, but needs the time and space to heal.
"She has been very positive, and people who don't know her might not even know what she has gone through," said Ms Foong.
"I hope to be able to meet and chat with her in person but at this stage, I think she still needs space."
Mr Long's father told reporters that Ms Oh is still undergoing rehabilitation, skin grafting and physical therapy.
He added that he still treats her as his daughter and cares about her.
SINGAPORE - A youth caught on video doing a backflip inside the white rhinoceros enclosure at the Singapore Zoo pleaded guilty to eight charges for offences including mischief and criminal trespass in a district court on Thursday (Nov 25).
Ralph Wee Yi Kai, 19, who appeared in court via video-link, had performed the stunt on Dec 17 last year.
The police, who were alerted to the case at around 5.40pm that day, said: "Preliminary investigations revealed that the man's companion, an 18-year-old woman, allegedly filmed him before the man posted the video on his TikTok account, using the moniker @ralphwee_.
"Through investigations, officers from Woodlands Police Division established the identities of the man and woman on the same evening."
The police later issued the woman a stern warning for abetting criminal trespass.
Wee was first charged in July with two counts of mischief and one count each of vandalism and criminal trespass.
He was out on bail of $15,000 when he reoffended.
He had the bail revoked and was remanded.
On Oct 13, he appeared in court via video link and was charged with one count of drug consumption.
He was later released on bail of $20,000.
Instead of keeping out of trouble, he committed other offences, including cutting off his electronic tag on Oct 26.
Wee was placed back in remand soon after he failed to turn up in court on Nov 5 and had a warrant of arrest issued against him.
SINGAPORE - A woman who repeatedly hindered a health officer from carrying out her duties amid the Covid-19 outbreak by withholding information and giving false information was sentenced to six months' jail on Wednesday (Nov 24).
Shi Sha, 38, had earlier been convicted of four charges under the Infectious Diseases Act.
On Wednesday, her husband, Hu Jun, 40, was sentenced to five months' jail after being convicted of a charge under the Act. He had deliberately withheld information from another health officer.
Following a joint trial, District Judge Ng Peng Hong convicted the Chinese nationals on Oct 26.
They were the first two people to be charged under the Act in relation to the current pandemic.
Shi was living in Singapore when her husband flew here from Wuhan, which was the epicentre of Covid-19 at the time.
In an earlier statement, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said Hu arrived in Singapore on Jan 22 last year, and was confirmed to be infected with Covid-19 nine days later. He recovered and was discharged from hospital on Feb 19.
Shi was identified as his close contact and issued a quarantine order on Feb 1 after MOH initiated contact tracing to identify those who may have been exposed to him.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh said in his submissions the couple had lied to contact tracers about their whereabouts and activities in Singapore between Jan 22 and 29 last year to protect their privacy.
He added: "It was imperative that the MOH obtain accurate information about their movements in Singapore to identify and isolate the persons who had come into close contact with them to stem the spread of Covid-19 here.
"By lying about their movements in Singapore, the accused persons hindered this critical exercise by MOH."
Between Jan 22 and 28, Hu had travelled to Long Beach @ Stevens restaurant in Stevens Road and Ngee Ann City shopping centre in Orchard Road, among other places.
Senior public health officer Georgina Lim testified in court Shi had told her she was in isolation at home with her husband.
But Land Transport Authority records showed Shi had booked rides from private-hire car service Grab to several locations - including Ngee Ann City - in late January, said Ms Lim.
The records also showed she had booked a Grab ride from Studio M Hotel in Robertson Quay to go to the Singapore General Hospital on Jan 29.
Ms Lim testified this was contrary to what Shi had told her - that she had flagged down a blue taxi outside their home to take her husband to the hospital that day.
In his submissions, DPP Koh said the couple had claimed they did not lie to the contact tracers.
"According to them, they knew that they had to cooperate with MOH's contact tracing efforts and, indeed, were doing their level best to provide complete and accurate information to MOH," he added.
They had also claimed the charges against them arose from misunderstandings due to a language barrier and the contact tracers rushing through the process or asking questions that were too specific or not open-ended.
The couple were represented by lawyers Steven John Lam and Fiona Oon.
Taking the stand in July this year, Shi told the court she had difficulty communicating with the contact tracer, and that their conversation in Mandarin was like a chicken talking to a duck.
For each charge under the Act, a first-time offender can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.
A repeat offender can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $20,000.
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