Three men in a Rhineland boat – Germany’s next chancellor is likely to come from North Rhine-Westphalia | Europe


ON JANUARY 16TH 1,001 parliamentarians, party functionaries and small-town mayors will open their laptops, log into a virtual congress of Germany’s ruling centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and elect their party’s new leader. The winner will instantly become the favourite to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor once she steps down after an election in September. Yet on the face of it the delegates do not have much of a choice. The three candidates—Armin Laschet, Norbert Röttgen and Friedrich Merz—are all Catholic trained lawyers aged between 55 and 65. Each has struggled to find a distinct message during an interminable campaign drawn out over almost a year by the pandemic. And all three come from the same state: North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the most populous of Germany’s 16 Länder.

NRW’s 18m inhabitants—over one-fifth of Germany’s total—would make it the seventh-largest country in the European Union. Its 34,000 square km (13,000 square miles) span the urbanised Rhine-Ruhr region, rural Münsterland, the mountainous Eifel and much more. Walloped by deindustrialisation, its rustbelt cities have reinvented themselves as hubs for retail, logistics and other services. Farther east, the small and medium-sized firms of the Mittelstand in Westphalia rival anything in Bavaria or Baden-Württemberg for technical specialisation and export prowess. The traditional gulf between carnivalesque Rhinelanders and dour Westphalians has been complicated by high immigration that has turned NRW into one of Germany’s most cosmopolitan states. “NRW is a miniature Germany,” says Dennis Radtke, a CDU member of the European Parliament from the Ruhr. “If you can run the state, you can run the country.”

For decades NRW was a stronghold of the Social Democrats (SPD), thanks in part to the large coal-and-steel workforce in Ruhr conurbations like Dortmund. But it has mattered at least as much to the CDU. It was partly in what was to become this multi-denominational state that its founding fathers agreed that post-war Germany needed a big-tent Christian Volkspartei (people’s party) that could overcome the class and religious differences that had bedevilled Weimar-era politics.

Early meetings in Cologne and Bad Godesberg, near Bonn, set the party’s path and determined its name. The “Düsseldorf guidelines”, laid out in 1949, shaped the principles of West Germany’s “social market” economy. This blend of market capitalism, social protection and labour rights underpinned the Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) that followed—largely under the leadership of the CDU’s Konrad Adenauer, a former mayor of Cologne elected in 1949 as the country’s first post-war chancellor, and of Ludwig Erhard, his finance minister and successor as chancellor.

In the 2000s the SPD’s grip loosened and NRW started to swing. State elections took on an outsized importance. A crushing loss in 2012 shattered the CDU’s morale; a narrow win in 2017 restored it. These results resonate today among the NRW delegates—almost a third of the total—tasked with choosing their party’s new leader. For it was Mr Röttgen who led the CDU to that 2012 defeat, an ignominy that poisoned his reputation among party colleagues in NRW and saw Mrs Merkel fire him from her cabinet as environment minister. “These are emotions you don’t forget quickly,” says Florian Braun, a CDU member of the NRW state parliament.

After that loss Mr Laschet, a moderate in the Merkel vein, slowly revived the demoralised party and led it to victory five years later, building a national reputation in the process. Today he leads a broadly successful coalition in NRW with the Free Democrats, a small liberal party. Soon after the CDU leadership was vacated last February Mr Laschet recruited to his campaign Jens Spahn, Germany’s popular health minister, yet another North Rhine-Westphalian. As for Mr Merz, he is from the Sauerland, a largely rural part of Westphalia, but has no history in state politics. The most conservative of the three candidates, he draws much of his support from states like Hesse and Baden-Württemberg.

All this helps explain why Mr Laschet ends the CDU campaign as the narrow favourite, ahead of Mr Merz. After a wobbly performance during the covid crisis he polls poorly with voters, but the delegates are a different bunch, often elected officials who want a leader they think will help them keep their jobs. His is a pragmatic conservatism, shaped by the needs of a complex state, focused on bread-and-butter concerns, and with an ear—too acute, say some—for the concerns of industry.

Mr Laschet’s backers praise his ability to build bridges and meld opposing points of view, while rivals acknowledge his skill in working across party lines. His jocular, modest Rhenish bearing contrasts with the silky erudition of Mr Röttgen or the flinty arrogance of Mr Merz. If it is hard to spot any fundamental beliefs in Mr Laschet beyond a staunchly Catholic pro-life attitude, that may be no great sin. After all, Mrs Merkel has run Germany successfully for 15 years and no one is quite sure what she stands for either.

This article appeared in the Europe section of the print edition under the headline “Three men in a Rhineland boat”

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Family jumps into Murray River to escape boat fire near Blanchetown


A family of four have escaped a boat fire on the Murray River north-east of Adelaide last night.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) was called to Paisley, near Blanchetown, about 7:00pm with reports the family had jumped off the boat while it was still burning.

The father was airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital with minor burns.

Also in the state’s Riverland, fire investigators will travel to Renmark today to determine the cause of a house fire early this morning.

Crews were called to the blaze at the recently vacated house on Kurrajong Avenue about 4:00am.

The fire was brought under control within an hour, with the initial estimated cost of damage about $200,000.

And police have arrested one teenage boy and are looking for another after a grass fire at Flinders University about midnight.

Security spotted two people in the area and a police dog located house keys with a tag with an address on it.

A 17-year-old boy who police say matched the security guard’s description turned up and was arrested.

He was charged with causing a bushfire. Police are still looking for another boy.

The Murray River at Blanchetown.(Supplied: Bart Lengs)

Fire danger warnings

Total fire bans are in place in much of South Australia today with temperatures in some parts of the state forecast to reach the low 40s.

An extreme fire danger warning is forecast for the lower south-east, while severe fire danger warnings are in place for the rest of the state, excluding the northern pastoral districts.

While there are no catastrophic fire danger warnings, CFS state duty commander Brenton Hastie warned against complacency in the heat, strong winds and dry conditions.

“We had a slower start to the fire season this year, but we’re now into January.

“The fuel is now completely cured, which means fires have the potential to burn at their maximum.”

Pool chemical explosion

Also last night, the CFS responded to a small explosion in a pool shed at Humbug Scrub.

The service said it happened after a man added two different types of chlorine tablets to the system.

He was transported to hospital after having a reaction to the exposure.

Thank you for spending your time with us on My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed seeing this article on National and SA news and updates published as “Family jumps into Murray River to escape boat fire near Blanchetown”. This post was shared by My Local Pages Australia as part of our Australian news services.

#Family #jumps #Murray #River #escape #boat #fire #Blanchetown



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Queensland yachtie flung from boat clung to ocean beacon for three hours

Queensland yachtie flung from boat clung to ocean beacon for three hours

A man has described how he clung to a water beacon for three hours after his yacht ran aground off Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

David Simpson, 64, was found two-and-a-half kilometres from his vessel, which got into trouble off Caloundra towards the northern tip of Bribie Island.

The bost was found with the motor still running – and only a dog on board.

Yachtsman David Simpson was rescued from a marine beacon. (Nine)
Mr Simpson was rescued from a beacon in the ocean. (Nine)

Mr Simpson said he was flung into the water when a strong wave hit.

“The wave hit the side of the boat and I was trying to secure the dinghy which had come a little bit adrift and a rope broke holding the dinghy,” he told Today.

“The dinghy hit me, my ribs and I fell about 2.5, 3m, off the boat.”

Mr Simpson was found on a marine beacon by rescuers. (Nine)

He managed to make it to the beacon, and watched his boat- with his dog aboard- float away.

It was found by another boater, and a search was launched by sea and air.

He was found three hours later.

Ian Hunt, commander of the Mooloolaba Coast Guard said Mr Simpson was lucky he found the beacon.

The yacht was found with just a dog on board. (Nine)

He was spotted by one of the three helicopters involved in the search after climbing onto it via the ladder on the side.

“He’s a very lucky man to be able to get to that beacon,” he told Today.

“He’s a little stressed this morning anxious to get his boat off the beach.”

He has been reunited with his dog, which was rescued from the boat.

“My understanding is the dog is back with the master now, ” Mr Hunt, said.

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Man found clinging to marine beacon in ocean after boat runs aground on Sunshine Coast


A man has been found clinging to a marine beacon in waters off Caloundra on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast after his boat ran aground.

Emergency services were alerted to a 13-metre yacht that had run aground on a sand bar, between the northern tip of Bribie Island and Caloundra shortly after 4:00pm on Tuesday.

Lifeguards on a nearby beach also noticed the vessel washed up in shallow waters, sparking an extensive air and sea search in nearby waterways.

A dog was found on board the vessel, which had its motor still running, but no people were located inside.

The man, who had been reported missing earlier in the day, was later found some 2.5 kilometres off Bribie Island clinging to a marine beacon in the ocean at 7:00pm.

The Caloundra Coastguard said the man had fallen several metres from his vessel while trying to secure something on the boat.

He later swam just under 2 kilometres to a beacon, climbed up a ladder and waved to a nearby ship for help.

A Queensland police spokesperson said the man had gone “overboard and swam to a marine beacon before flagging down a boat”.

Man fell into ocean while adjusting rope

Senior Constable Murray Lyons from Sunshine Coast Water Police said a search began after the boat was found still running with a dog and a phone onboard.

“We called in volunteer marine rescue… [we were] running about six or seven boats and two helicopters… and advised all the shipping in the area,” he said.

Senior Constable Lyons said rescue teams spent some two and half hours scouring the ocean before before a ship spotted a man waving his arms on the top of a water beacon.

“He had fallen off the boat while trying to adjust a rope… the boat kept going,” he said.

“He’s fine, although he has had quite a swim… he’s a bit sore around the ribs where he hit the water.”

Senior Constable Lyons reminded anyone onboard a boat in open water to wear a life jacket.

Police say the man has not suffered any significant injuries.

Queensland Water Police will now work to remove the boat from the Bribie Island beachfront.



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Man found clinging for safety after boat washes up on Sunshine Coast


A man has been reportedly found clinging to a water beacon after a 13-metre boat ran aground on a Sunshine Coast beach on Tuesday afternoon, with only a dog onboard, sparking an air and sea search.

Emergency services were called to the vessel about 4.30pm after reports the vessel had run aground in waters off Caloundra, on the northern tip of Bribie Island.

Police were working to determine who was on board and how to track them down.

Police were working to determine who was on board and how to track them down.Credit:Nine

Sunshine Coast Lifeguard supervisor Rhys Drury said lifeguards at a nearby beach noticed the boat about 30 minutes earlier and immediately went to investigate.

“They conducted a search of the vessel and no one was located on board,” he said.



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Restrictions to ease on charter boat numbers


More people will be allowed on tourism charter boats after the Chief Health Officer approved relaxations to COVIDSafe requirements.

Private point to point ferry services under three hours travel time can operate 100 per cent of indoor seated capacity provided passengers are in ticketed and allocated seating.

Round trip day vessels can use up to 100 per cent of indoor seated capacity provided passengers are in ticketed and allocated seating.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the changes would mean more visitors could enjoy the Great Barrier Reef.

“Assistant Tourism Minister Michael Healy and I have been working closely with the Marine Tourism operators who wanted greater flexibility with COVID-19 requirements,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“The updated COVID Safe plan approved by the Chief Health Officer means Marine Tourism operators will be able accommodate more passengers onboard to improve business viability while meeting health obligations.”

The move comes after weeks of pressure from the LNP, led by Whitsunday MP Amanda Camm, for the State Government to scrap the restrictions.

Capacity limits have been in place on charter boats for months in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Under a Queensland public health order, tourism dive tours, fishing charters and boat operators have been forced to limit their capacity.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said this rule did not apply to aeroplane travel because contact tracers know where each person was seated compared to free movement on boats.

Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry Association president Tony Brown said these restrictions, on top of the NSW border closure, were impacting the viability of businesses in the Whitsundays during peak tourism season.

“We’re getting slammed twice in that regard,” he said.

Mr Brown said Whitsunday tourism operators were losing as much as $1.3 million per week.

One tourism operator told him they had received 250 email cancellations this week alone.

“The higher carrying vessels are wanting changes to help them lift their capacity and set up tracing systems so they can keep the information,” he said.

Whitsunday MP Amanda Camm. Picture: News Corp/Attila Csaszar

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COVID restrictions eased for marine tourism

Private point to point ferry services under three hours travel time –

· Can operate at 100 per cent of indoor seated capacity provided passengers are in ticketed and allocated seating

· Passengers on day trips must return in their allocated seat

· Mask wearing encouraged

· Outside of household and social groups, one person per two seats

Round trip day vessels –

· Can operate with a capacity of one person per two square metres based on accessible indoor and protected outdoor spaces instead of previous one person per four metres, or;

· Can use up to 100 per cent of indoor seated capacity provided passengers are in ticketed and allocated seating

· Passengers must maintain 1.5 metres physical distancing in food and drink kiosk areas

· Operators must also manage the outdoor space to maintain one person per two square metres in these areas.

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‘Free spirit’: Tributes flow for boat incident victim


TRIBUTES are flowing for a father of three who tragically died in a boating incident in Airlie Beach on Monday.

Anthony (Tony) Boegheim has been described as a “free spirit” who loved the ocean when remembered by those close to him.

A tribute Facebook page has been set up in Tony’s honour, allowing friends and family to share their treasured memories.

In a post on the page, father Henry described the 56-year-old Birkdale man as a “proud father” of three, “cherished son”, “adored brother” and “beloved uncle”.

“Claimed by his first love, the sea,” the post read.

“Free spirit. Still sailing.”

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Sister Michelle Bignell paid tribute to Tony’s “artistic gifts”, including seascapes created from memory and inspired by his love of the sea and skies.

“It was his way of sharing one with us, some of his loves,” she wrote.

“Love you forever lil bro. We miss you.”

Sharon Steiner wrote on the page she would miss Tony’s “enormous hugs”, saying he loved sitting on the bow of his boat and watching the sun set.

“I know you will be sitting there right beside me every walk on the beach, every breath of wind on my face, every wave in the sea and watching every star in the sky,” she wrote.

Emergency services at Coral Sea Marina after reports a tinny was spiralling. Picture: Elyse Wurm

Joanne Phelps extended her love to Tony’s family.

“Tony, absolutely heartbroken that you’re no longer here with us,” she wrote.

“You’ll always hold a very special place in my heart, may you be forever free, riding waves and watching sunsets wherever you are.”

For Dori Fletcher, Tony will live on in her memories.

“Keep sailing, my dear Tony. You will always be in my heart. Don’t ever lose that cheeky smile,” she wrote.

Tony tragically died at shore after being pulled from the water when a tinny was seen spiralling in Coral Sea Marina about 4.20pm on Monday.





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Marshall Islands cocaine: Ghost boat carrying 1,400 pounds of drugs washes up on remote Pacific island


The 18-foot (5.4-meter) fiberglass vessel was discovered on a beach at Ailuk Atoll in the Marshall Islands, a chain of coral atolls and volcanic islands between the Philippines and Hawaii.

The cocaine came sealed and wrapped in blocks, according to the Marshall Islands police, who then collected and destroyed most of the packages by burning them in an incinerator. Photos of the blocks show stained, yellowing plastic, stamped with a red logo that bears the letters “KW.”
One resident on Ailuk, which is home to around 400 people, discovered the boat last week, according to CNN affiliate Radio New Zealand. The vessel was too heavy for residents to lift onto the beach — so they investigated the inside, where a large compartment under the deck revealed the bricks of cocaine.

The residents notified the authorities, and police brought the drugs back to the capital of Majuro, on another island. This week, police brought the cocaine to the incinerator; only 4.4 pounds (2 kg) were saved for the US Drug Enforcement Agency to conduct laboratory analysis, authorities said.

In total, the haul is worth an estimated $80 million, according to RNZ — and is the largest amount of cocaine to ever wash onto the Marshall Islands.

Authorities said they believed the boat had drifted over from South or Central America, and could have been at sea for one or two years.

Marshall Islands Police Captain Eric Jorban (left) empties packages of cocaine into an incinerator in the capital Majuro, on December 15.

This may be one of the biggest drug hauls, but it’s certainly not the first; islands in the Pacific are on a major international drug trafficking route, and numerous drug packages have previously been seized or discovered in the Marshall Islands.

A resident found nearly 40 pounds (18 kg) of cocaine in 2016, and was arrested for not immediately handing it to police; a fisherman reeled in 105 pounds (48 kg) of suspected cocaine in 2018; just this year, police suspect a supply of cocaine may have washed up on Maloelap Atoll and contributed to an explosion in drug use and drug-related health complications.
Many of the packages that wash up are professionally wrapped; sometimes residents take the drugs instead of reporting them, fueling widespread drug availability and use. The problem has escalated so much this year that the Marshall Islands parliament established a drug task force in May as part of a larger crackdown effort.



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Cocaine-laden Ghost Boat Washes Up In Marshall Islands


Marshall Islands police have found the Pacific nation’s largest-ever haul of cocaine in an abandoned boat that washed up on a remote atoll after drifting on the high seas, potentially for years.

Attorney General Richard Hickson said the 5.5-metre (18-foot) fibreglass vessel was found at Ailuk atoll last week with 649 kilograms (1,430 pounds) of cocaine hidden in a compartment beneath the deck.





Marshall Islands Police Captain Eric Jorban, (L), empties one-kilo packages of cocaine into an incinerator in Majuro in the Marshall Islands
 AFP / Giff JOHNSON

Hickson said the vessel most likely drifted across the Pacific from Central or South America. “It could have been drifting for a year or two,” he said.

Police said the drugs, which were in one-kilogram packages marked with the letters “KW”, were incinerated on Tuesday, aside from two packs that will be given to the US Drug Enforcement Agency for analysis.



Blocks of cocaine from an 18-foot fiberglass boat washed up on Ailuk Atoll, a remote atoll with about 400 people, in the Marshall Islands last week


Blocks of cocaine from an 18-foot fiberglass boat washed up on Ailuk Atoll, a remote atoll with about 400 people, in the Marshall Islands last week
 MARSHALL ISLANDS POLICE DEPARTMENT / –

Debris from the Americas often washes up in the Marshalls after months or years at sea, driven by Pacific Ocean currents.

There have been numerous other stashes of drugs found along the Marshall Islands’ shoreline over the past two decades, including another one in Ailuk, but the latest haul was by far the largest.

Law enforcement officials have various theories about the origins of such drugs, including that they were abandoned when smugglers were in danger of being caught, or lost in storms.

In January 2014, Salvadoran fisherman Jose Alvarenga washed up in the Marshalls, more than 13 months after he set off from Mexico’s west coast with a companion, who died during the voyage.

After his discovery, University of Hawaii researchers conducted 16 computer simulations of drift patterns from the Mexico coast and found nearly all eventually arrived in the Marshall Islands.





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BUDGET SNUB: ‘The boat ramp’s a pie in the sky thing’


Midge Point residents are fed up over waiting for a new boat ramp and say the lack of action is hampering the region’s tourism potential.

Laminated design plans for a new ramp off Jimmys Rock Rd are posted on the door of the town’s Point Tavern.

Midge Point locals say they are using the makeshift boat ramp at the end of Jimmys Rock Rd. Picture: Heidi Petith

It has been there since the Mackay Regional Council’s visit to discuss the project earlier this year; residents said it was a sore reminder of no progress.

“The boat ramp’s a pie in the sky thing,” Midge Point resident Steve Summers said.

“A lot of people would love to have a (new) boat ramp.

“To use the beach (ramp), you’ve got to have a tractor.”

Midge Point residents Luciano Gardel, Steve Summers, Trevor Leo and Fuzzy O'Donnell want Mackay Regional Council to commit to building a proper boat ramp at Midge Point. Picture: Heidi Petith

Midge Point residents Luciano Gardel, Steve Summers, Trevor Leo and Fuzzy O’Donnell want Mackay Regional Council to commit to building a proper boat ramp at Midge Point. Picture: Heidi Petith

Mr Summers said this was useless to tourists, residents and the Volunteer Marine Rescue.

“It’s not only fishing, it’s the actual Whitsundays (islands) out there,” he said.

“The caravan park in the peak period is usually full.

“The lack of a boat ramp is holding back the economic development of Midge Point.”

Residents say you need a tractor to launch your boat on the beach at Bundensen Ave, Midge Point. Picture: Heidi Petith

Residents say you need a tractor to launch your boat on the beach at Bundensen Ave, Midge Point. Picture: Heidi Petith

Fellow resident and keen angler Trevor Leo said people had resorted to borrowing their mates’ tractors to launch their boats.

“We used to have the Laguna Quays boat ramp but they cut it off,” Mr Leo said.

He said the VMR could use the private ramp, but it was only practical at high tide.

The makeshift boat ramp at the end of bush track off Jimmys Rock Rd, Midge Point. Picture: Heidi Petith

The makeshift boat ramp at the end of bush track off Jimmys Rock Rd, Midge Point. Picture: Heidi Petith

As residents waited for the new Jimmys Rock Rd boat ramp, they were making do with what currently existed.

The makeshift boat ramp at the end of bush track off Jimmys Rock Rd, Midge Point. Picture: Heidi Petith

The makeshift boat ramp at the end of bush track off Jimmys Rock Rd, Midge Point. Picture: Heidi Petith

The unofficial makeshift ramp at the end of a dirt road is made of rough concrete and pocketed with holes.

The makeshift boat ramp at the end of bush track off Jimmys Rock Rd, Midge Point. Picture: Heidi Petith

The makeshift boat ramp at the end of bush track off Jimmys Rock Rd, Midge Point. Picture: Heidi Petith

The Queensland Government has committed $3 million for a new ramp to be built but the council remains responsible for building the needed onshore facilities

Mackay Regional Council CEO Michael Thomson said this was not allocated for in the current budget or in its future works priorities lists.

Midge Point is home to the Whitsunday Cabins tourism park. Picture: Heidi Petith

Midge Point is home to the Whitsunday Cabins tourism park. Picture: Heidi Petith

Mr Thomson said the boat ramp had not been raised with council before being announced by the State Government.

“We’ve done some concept design work on building a road and car park and it is estimated to be more than $2.3 million,’’ Mr Thomson said.

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“Council is continuing to have discussions with Transport and Main Roads.

“We’re seeking additional funding for the land-based assets, particularly road corridor funding, to enable the unbudgeted project to go ahead.”

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This story was thanks to the My Town series – a Daily Mercury and Mackay Regional Council initiative.

Next up, reporter Melanie Whiting will visit Sarina on Tuesday, December 15 alongside Deputy Mayor Karen May.

Let us tell the stories that matter to you and if you think we should come to your town, send us an email to mackay@news.com.au

In the meantime, why not check out the other My Town stories:

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Pioneer Valley pub up for sale, friendly ghosts included

Next steps in making Pioneer Valley bike trail a reality

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Cooking with gas: Zarby’s Cafe celebrates 2nd birthday

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‘Scary’ Bruce Highway turn-offs on course for collisions

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New owner at the helm of 154-year-old pub

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Marian:

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