Canada Post work stoppage: What are the negotiations about anyway?

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an updated story to reflect Canada Post issuing a lockout notice to CUPW.

After months of tense negotiations, Canada Post has issued a 72-hour lockout notice to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), which could result in a work stoppage by Friday.

WATCH: Postal workers committed to collective bargaining negotiations

The Crown corporation said it plans to suspend the collective agreement as of Friday, blaming the ongoing negotiations, CUPW’s strike mandate and the financial cost of a rapid decline in mail volume.

Here is a look at what is holding up the contract talks.

Canada Post and union negotiating pensions 

Changes to employee pension plans have been at the heart of the negotiations.

The crown corporation wants to switch new employees to a defined contribution plan, instead of the defined benefit plan for current employees that guarantees a set level of retirement benefits.

READ MORE: What you need to know if service stops

Canada Post said it has tabled an offer which includes “modest and manageable wage increases for all employees and no changes to the pension for all employees in the plan,” but “required a new pension approach for new hires.”

WATCH: Postal workers union claims Canada Post profits to exceed $100M

Canada Post said in written statement released Monday they were “extremely disappointed” with CUPW’s response to the tabled offers which they say would add “at least $1 billion” in costs over the next three years.

WATCH: Small businesses fear higher costs as Canada Post work stoppage looms

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Jon Hamilton, a spokesman for the postal service, said Canada Post has felt the pinch from competing couriers and the growth of online payments and flyers.

“The amount of mail, the amount of advertising mail, the number of parcels are already declining,” Hamilton told the Canadian Press. “Many of our customers have already put contingency plans in place months ago and have been moving away from Canada Post.”

What does CUPW think?

The union has rejected changes to pensions but has also proposed wage hikes.

CUPW said in a statement Saturday the offer presented by Canada Post was “an insult.”

READ MORE: Some benefit cheques will still be delivered

The union is also fighting against what it describes as a two-tier pay scale for urban and rural mail carriers.

“Canada Post is asking us to sell out our future coworkers by agreeing to a two-tier system for doing the same work,” Union president Mike Palecek said last week. “That’s unacceptable to us.”

When was the last labour disruption?

The last time there was a work stoppage at Canada Post was in 2011. After eight months of collective bargaining negotiations, CUPW began a series of rotating strikes, which was followed by a nationwide lockout.

WATCH: ‘Canada Post needs to follow the law and pay women equally’

The former Conservative government introduced back-to-work legislation ending the labour disruption.

The union has said it does not expect the Liberal government to get involved this time around.

*With files from the Tania Kohut and

Fergie ‘M.I.L.F. $’ music video: Kim Kardashian and more cameo in bawdy showcase

WARNING: Foul language and potentially offensive content is featured below (and above). 

“Got MILF?”

That message seems to be omnipresent in Fergie’s latest music video for her song M.I.L.F. $, which features multiple Hollywood moms breastfeeding and drinking milk in revealing, low-cut tops. (Also, there is some milk being poured over bare skin.)

READ MORE: John Legend, Chrissy Teigen slam Piers Morgan for Muhammad Ali tweet

The all-star cast of the video includes Kim Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen, Alessandra Ambrosio and more.

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Of course, in popular culture, “MILF” stands for “Mother I’d Like to F**k.” Fergie claims, in her song, “MILF” stands for “Moms I’d Like to Follow.”

The video has a distinct 1950s vibe as the neighborhood “MILFman” drives around suburbia ogling at the moms along the way.

Fergie, who’s also the frontwoman for the group Black Eyed Peas, is shown serving milk at a malt shop (which suspiciously resembles a go-go bar), teaching a classroom full of raucous frat boys, and taking a bath in a milk-filled tub.

READ MORE: Goodbye song-lyrics websites, Google’s in charge now

The video ends with the celebrity moms shooting their own racy “Got MILF?” commercials.

It’s unclear whether the video is meant to be a commentary on breastfeeding or an empowerment display, but suffice it to say there is a lot of sexiness and partial nudity.

“Changing the acronym to ‘Moms I’d Like To Follow’ is about empowering women who do it all,” Fergie said to Entertainment Weekly. “They have a career, a family, and still find the time to take care of themselves and feel sexy. With a wink of course.”

Kardashian’s husband, Kanye West, certainly didn’t seem to mind his wife’s cameo in the video.

There was some backlash on 桑拿会所, with people claiming that there is little-to-no empowerment message being communicated in the music video.

M.I.L.F. $ is now available as a single on iTunes. Rumour has it that the song will be featured in Fergie’s upcoming album Double Duchess, her first solo release in 10 years.

(You can watch the video, above.)

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Fergie Timeline | PrettyFamous

Are Canadians suckers for US trends?

Trends often pop up and seem to take over practically overnight.

The Internet and social media have opened up the world, and trends from the United States are often at the forefront. But experts say Canadian consumers and innovators can benefit from the influence.

We are becoming global consumers

Not only can we see what people are eating, drinking and wearing in other parts of the world with a few clicks online, we can find (and buy) whatever it is just as easily.

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  • Objects in ‘skinny’ mirror may be bigger than they appear

  • Big U.S. department stores moving into Canada, but is the demand there?

    READ MORE: It’s official: Canadian shoppers are now identical to U.S. ones

    “The online landscape has removed the marketplace border that existed before,” Robert Burko, CEO of Elite Digital said.

    He says the “majority” of new trends originate in the U.S. but the Internet has opened up a host of new options for Canadian consumers.

    “I used to say, ‘U.S.A. trends, Canadian trends, American consumer, Canada consumer’ now…it’s just North American. The North American consumer, North American buying behaviour. It’s all blended to be the same.”

    Celebrities are a huge driver of trends, with social media providing a 24/7 window.

    “When you look at industries that are influenced by celebrity —; and a lot of them are —; I think you see most of that originating out of the U.S.”

    Kim Kardashian has been credited with changing the way ample curves are perceived; her little sister Kylie Jenner prompted a “lip challenge” (and doctors’ warnings) with her artificially enhanced lips.

    WATCH: Doctors warn teens of dangers from trying Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge

    The trends can influence how we act, what we wear, and even what we eat.

    “The cronut would be the perfect example,” said Dana McCauley, host of YouTube’s Food Trends TV. “A huge New York phenomenon that 15 years ago…probably would have stayed a New York thing.”

    The croissant-donut hybrid, invented by New York City pastry chef Dominique Ansel, set the Internet on fire —; and copycats popped up across North America.

    WATCH: Halifax’s answer to the Cronut 

    “It just went whoosh —; if we hadn’t had the digital world that wouldn’t have happened,” said McCauley.

    She says the gourmet burger trend and “fair foods” such as deep fried butter are other examples of food trends making their way north.

    Being a copycat can have its benefits

    Innovators can cut out a lot of the guess work by taking something that’s popular and bringing it to a new market, or adding a unique twist.

    “There’s a big opportunity there…What’s happening in America? What worked, what didn’t? What seems to be taking off? Use that information, use that research to be the one that jumps on it in Canada,” Burko said.

    Then entrepreneurs can say “here’s our Canadian-ized version, that’s local to our marketplace.”

    READ MORE: Dropping oil price, lower loonie not all bad for Canadian businesses

    While the U.S. influence is “such a massive force,” Burko says Canadians can’t sell themselves short.

    “Canadian small business owners are smart, passionate, motivated…we are a breeding ground for great ideas and great trends. The reality is, just due to size, the American ideas often just shout louder than ours.”

Skydivers flock to Great Canadian Freefall Festival in Vernon

There’s a non-stop show happening in the sky over Vernon this weekend.

About 120 skydivers are in the North Okanagan city for the Great Canadian Freefall Festival.

“They came from as far as California, Montreal, and there’s a couple from Arizona,” Bret Chalmers with Okanagan Skydive said. 聽“A lot from B.C. and Western Canada but quite a few from further out.”

The big draw this year is a big plane called a Skyvan, brought in for the event from California. 聽It carries 22 skydivers at a time, to an altitude of 13,000 feet.

“It’s a huge attraction because the whole back of the airplane opens up [and] we can all just run out of the back,” 聽Rocky Tyson, a flight instructor with Okanagan Skydive said. 聽“It’s a lot of fun that way.”

Most of the skydivers are experts with hundreds of jumps behind them, but some are new to the sport, jumping out of a plane for the first time.

“It’s terrifying, but exhilarating,” Erin Sigalet, who traveled to the Okanagan from Calgary said. 聽“It’s so much fun.”

The Skyvan takes off every 40 minutes during the festival, at full capacity for every run. 聽 With that many divers in the sky at once, they end up doing some pretty interesting formations.

“So if people want to look up over the fields over Vernon they’re going to be seeing something spectacular,” Chalmers said.

The Great Canadian Freefall Festival continues through Monday.

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Florida authorities say 5 dead, 25 injured in Florida crash

Five people were killed and 25 injured when an aged bus carrying farmworkers collided with a tractor-trailer and both vehicles burst into flames Saturday at a highway intersection in the Florida Panhandle, authorities said.

The Blue Bird bus from Georgia was carrying roughly 34 adults and children when it ran a flashing red light and a stop sign before hitting the tractor trailer, then spun around and hit the semi again, authorities said.

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“This is a very horrendous crash, I can tell you,” Wakulla County Sheriff Charlie Creel said, calling it one of the worst in several decades in law enforcement.

READ MORE: 1 killed, 19 injured after tour bus overturns near Mount Vernon estate

He told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that one of the bus passengers killed was a small child. The driver of the semi-truck, Gordon Sheets, 55 of Copiague, New York, also died, Creel said.

He said the bus, a retired school bus model built in 1979, hit just behind the driver’s door of the semi-truck on first impact and then spun around and hit it again as the vehicles went off the road and came to rest under a power line.

Deputies responded to a gruesome and chaotic scene as the front and the back of the bus was on fire when they arrived.

“Our deputies are heroes … our deputies got on the bus and started pulling people off, people that were not able to get off by themselves. They pulled out two deceased victims,” said Creel.

He said deputies continued to rescue victims until the bus was fully engulfed in flames and they were forced to stop.

READ MORE: 21 students hurt in 2-school bus crash in Washington state

“If these deputies had not done that, we would have had a lot more fatalities,” the sheriff said, adding they were eventually “driven back” by the flames that then fully engulfed the tractor-trailer.

Both vehicles were resting against a power pole with live wires so fire rescue officials had to wait for the power company to shut off the power before it was safe to spray the vehicles with water. Both vehicles eventually burned out, he said.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported the intersection was strewn with bloody medical gear, clothing, pillows and coolers packed with food littered the road. The accident happened on US-98, a highway that follows the Florida coast around the Gulf of Mexico.

No one on the bus spoke English and authorities brought in interpreters, Creel said. He said the bus had left Bainbridge in south Georgia not far from the Florida Panhandle area and was bound for Belle Glade, Florida.

He said the bus was headed south on a north-south state road when it collided with the tractor-trailer, which was westbound on U.S. 98 – a Florida coastal highway.

Florida Highway Patrol officials were also investigating the wreck and were in the processing of notifying victims’ family members.

The driver of the bus, 56-year-old Elie Dupiche of Belle Glade, was hospitalized in critical condition. A passenger in the semi-truck, 21-year-old Rafael Nieves of Sound Beach, New York, was not injured, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Bed bugs an ‘epidemic’ in Montreal, says housing group

MONTREAL – Piles of furniture often line Montreal’s streets after moving day on July 1 – some could call it the “original sidewalk sale.”

With tenants coming and going, unwelcome guests are also on the search for a new home: bed bugs.

“It’s an epidemic. It’s not just Montreal, it’s all over. It’s a big problem right now,” said François Saillant from housing group FRAPRU.

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  • These are the colours bedbugs are most drawn to, a new study suggests

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  • Bedbug battle: study suggests insects developed thicker skin to beat insecticides

    Picking up free furniture from the curb is common practice, and after moving day it’s basically a gold mine.

    READ MORE: Bedbug battle: study suggests insects developed thicker skin to beat insecticides

    However, it usually leads to a spike in bed bug infestations around this time of the year, and the problem isn’t going away.

    “It’s all year long – there’s a lot of bugs in almost every neighbourhood in Montreal,” warned Saillant.

    Kevin Lebeau with the Quebec Landlords Association explained this is a huge problem for building owners, because they often don’t know much about who is moving in or out.

    Bites can take up to a week to appear, so tenants don’t often know they have an infestation until it’s too late.

    When dealing with bed bugs, Lebeau explained speed is key.

    “The landlord really has to act quickly because he has the obligation to provide a dwelling that is clean and habitable,” said Lebeau.

    “So, he’s got to marshal all he can to get an exterminator to get the problem solved right then and there.”

    READ MORE: These are the colours bedbugs are most drawn to, a new study suggests

    Usually, it’s up to the landlords to foot the bill, but that doesn’t mean neglectful renters are off the hook.

    An infestation can land reckless tenants in front of the rental board.

    “The landlord would have a recourse, but he would have to prove the tenant is the actual source of the infestation,” he said.

    So, when the temptation to pick up that piece of abandoned furniture is strong, you may want to think twice, because you could be coming home with more than you bargained for.

Mississauga house explosion: Residents return, investigation shifts to mysterious notes

As the on-site investigation into a house explosion in Mississauga comes to a close, residents are being allowed to return to the site and investigators are shifting their focus to mysterious letters found at the scene in an attempt to determine the cause of the blast.

About 700 homes were evacuated after a house located at 4201 Hickory Dr. was levelled by an explosion around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday, leaving as many as 25 neighbouring residences damaged and nine people injured.

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Two bodies were recovered from the rubble, 55-year-old Dianne Page on Tuesday and 55-year-old Robert Nadler on Thursday. Police said Thursday that although the explosion is considered a criminal investigation, the homicide bureau is not yet involved.

READ MORE: Mississauga house explosion: Investigators identify second body pulled from rubble

Paul Camilleri, Page’s nephew, told Global News Saturday that Nadler had served 10 years in prison in connection with the killing of a friend after a dispute over money in 1982.

“We had a happy family until this all happened,” Camilleri said.

“We can’t get back our aunt, none of us personally said our goodbyes … I’m basically going to live my entire life in regret that this happened.”

WATCH: Nephew of house explosion victim says aunt was ‘wonderful person,’ deeply religious

Peel Regional Police Sgt. Josh Colley said Monday that police and the Ontario Fire Marshal had concluded their on-site portion of the investigation, which now shifts towards the letters found at the scene.

“They’ll be working extremely hard to analyze letters that were found, some of the documentation that was found … and it will continue behind the scenes,” he said.

“They’re still working on the cause of the explosion and that will take some time and we want to make sure that we analyze all the evidence and are certain with the cause.”

READ MORE: Mississauga house explosion: Investigators identify body of woman found in rubble

Colley said expert analysis of the evidence is required, which could take weeks, so he could not provide a time frame on the investigation.

“I spoke earlier about handwriting analysis, the biggest portion is making sure the letters are associated to the right addresses,” he said.

“Because there have been numerous houses that were destroyed, we just have to make sure that what we have recovered thus far we can put back to the specific addresses.”

WATCH: Police still working to determine cause of Mississauga house explosion

Colley said the cause of the explosion is the main focus of the investigation and that autopsies on both bodies had been completed, but the cause of death was not released.

“Unfortunately that’s part of the investigation and that’s why they’re analyzing every piece of evidence,” he said.

“They want to be certain when a determination is made whether deliberate, accidental so that’s what’s taking so much time with this investigation.”

READ MORE: Mysterious notes found at Mississauga house explosion scene may lead to cause: police

Colley said he could not confirm Nadler’s criminal background because it is something police will be focusing on as part of their investigation.

“When we’re able to provide more information and we’ve figured out a cause and moved forward from there, we’ll be able to provide a lot more information to the media and to the public just to give them a sense of why and how this happened,” he said.

Colley said Wednesday that notes found at the scene of the explosion could provide insight into the cause of the blast.

WATCH: Investigators looking at mysterious notes found in rubble of Mississauga home explosion

Global News obtained one of the notes found at the scene and turned it over to police Wednesday.

The notes appear to be written by a woman who complains of an inability to maintain her house due to persistent health issues.

“I am sorry the house is a mess. I stopped vacumming [sic] when the power went off in the upstairs bathrooms. I stopped ironing a few month ago; When I could not stand up for long periods of time. I stopped dusting when I had to deal with my vertigo (the last year it began and now I have it often),” the note stated.

“I just stopped caring as much because of my pain … I trust God to look after me and my husband to take us home. I sleep away my days cause I am in pain. Vertigo is the worst.”

A fire fighter sprays water on debris after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Mark Blinch

Debris litters a street after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Zeljko Zidaric

A firefighter walks on the scene of a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016.


A firefighter walks on the scene of a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016.


A fire fighter sprays water on debris after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion.


A fire fighter sprays water on debris after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Mark Blinch


Debris litters a street after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Nathan Denette

Debris litters a street after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Nathan Denette

Debris litters a street after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Nathan Denette


Debris litters a street after a house explosion in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Police are evacuating homes in an area on Mississauga, Ont., as they investigate reports of a house explosion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Nathan Denette

The notes also make several references to the Bible and the woman’s husband, who was also categorized as having health issues.

“Dear God, You know that my health and my husband’s health are in poor condition. We ask that you help us, we have trusted you with all of our lives and possessions because everything belongs to you; including us,” it reads.

“We have put all of our faith and trust in you. Only you can save us from man and his laws … Why are we still here God?”

WATCH: 700 addresses initially impacted by evacuation in Mississauga: fire chief

Mississauga Fire Chief Tim Beckett said Monday families in 69 residences remain under an evacuation order, but residents will continue to be allowed back to their homes this week.

“Over the period of the next couple of days we will start releasing that site, whether it be all at once or within sections, back to the residents, back to the insurance companies and in a very co-ordinated effort to ensure that the residents’ safety and the safety of any public coming into the area is addressed,” he said.

“On Tuesday, the night of the explosion, we had some 700 addresses that were impacted by the evacuation zone. Over time we have now been able to bring people back into the area and we’re now currently at 69 addresses that are unable to return to their homes.”

READ MORE: Explosion destroys home in Mississauga; at least 1 person dead, up to 25 houses damaged

Beckett added that of the 69 addresses, 32 units were in an apartment building located at 1360 Rathburn Road East in addition to 37 other homes.

He also said that some residents will be allowed into their homes on a 15-minute supervised visit to get their “personal needs,” before the homes are turned over to insurance companies and engineers are brought in to assess structural damage and whether they are safe to be occupied.

“Walking down the street was a little surreal just seeing where houses were and where it no longer is,” said neighbour Anna Wolanin.

“We eventually walked up the steps and they deemed that we could not go in to retrieve things. There’s a lot of glass everywhere, the ceiling is hanging.”

WATCH: Residents returning to site of Mississauga house explosion

Marco Mastrorilli said his grandparents live a few houses down from the blast, while his uncle lives across the street.

“It’s just devastating to see what happened. Never expected anything like this in my life,” he said. “I’ve been visiting them … for 17 years and never, never in my life expected this.”

Sandra Marasovic said emergency crews allowed her back into her house to retrieve some of her belongings and she’s grateful for the help they have provided.

WATCH: Displaced residents speak out after Mississauga house explosion

“That was the best phone call I’ve ever had in my life when they said, ‘You can go to your house for 10 minutes,’” she said.

“I was so ecstatic just to be in there for 10 minutes and see everything’s fine —; yeah there’s broken stuff but you know, it’s your life, your life is in there.”

Juno mission to Jupiter: What scientists hope to learn about solar system’s giant planet

Excitement was building Monday as NASA — as well as both professional and amateur astronomers — anxiously awaited the arrival of Juno, the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter since Galileo came to an end in 2003.

Overall, Juno’s mission is to better understand the evolution of Jupiter, a planet so large that more than 1,300 Earths could fit inside it. Jupiter, and its collection of more than 60 moons, has presented planetary scientists and astronomers with many mysteries yet to be uncovered.

WATCH LIVE: Juno mission to Jupiter

READ MORE: WATCH: Hubble captures brilliant aurora on Jupiter as Juno spacecraft nears

Scientists hope to explore Jupiter’s atmosphere in an effort to ascertain how much water it contains. This, in turn, will help planetary scientists to determine if theories on planet formation are correct.

Juno’s journey to Jupiter


Juno’s journey to Jupiter


Jupiter: Into the Unknown (NASA Juno Mission Trailer)


Hubble captures bright aurora in Jupiter’s north pole


NASA’s Juno spacecraft makes its way to Jupiter

Our solar system was created from a swirling cloud of dust and gases. When Jupiter — a giant gas planet — formed, it held on to much of that primordial material, acting like a giant history book. Juno will measure not only the water but other elements such as ammonia contained in the atmosphere, which will lead to a better understanding of our early solar system formation.

Then there is Jupiter’s rich and interesting cloud system, something that it is well known for, most notably, the largest and longest-lasting storm known in our solar system, the Great Red Spot.

Like the sun, different parts of Jupiter rotate at different speeds, depending on the latitude. This churns up gases and produces the colourful bands of clouds we see today. Juno will study their composition, temperature and motions and will also measure the clouds to unprecedented depths.

An illustration depicting Jupiter’s interior.


One of the most interesting things about Jupiter is its powerful magnetic field. It is the strongest of any other planet in our solar system.

WATCH: Astrophysicist Jesse Rogerson joined Global News to discuss the significance of Juno reaching Jupiter.

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Here on Earth, our magnetic field is created by a combination of a liquid layer of iron, nickel and other metals around our inner solid core where the flow of liquid iron becomes electrically charged.

READ MORE: Juno’s mission to Jupiter: 7 weird and wonderful facts about this giant planet

When it comes to Jupiter, scientists believe that the powerful magnetic field is created as hydrogen is squeezed into metallic hydrogen where it acts like an electrically conducting metal.

Jupiter’s intense magnetic field allows for bright, strong aurorae at its poles, just like our northern and southern lights here.

Juno will sample some the charged particles and magnetic fields near Jupiter’s poles while also observing the aurorae.

Scientists hope that studying this relationship will help better understand magnetic fields as well as aurorae.

Measuring the magnetic field will also help scientists determine if Jupiter has a solid core, something that remains unknown.

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