Botticelli to Van Gogh exhibition opens at National Gallery of Australia




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NRL rule changes opens door to ‘mad signing frenzy’


NRL players will be able to switch teams as late as August 1 in a rule change that opens the door to a late-season recruitment frenzy.

It was reported Tuesday, the NRL has scrapped the June 30 transfer deadline, pushing it back towards the finals series.

The switch would allow off-contract stars to move to new clubs as late as Round 20 this season.

NRL commentators said on Tuesday the new rule allows star players to find new clubs just 10 weeks before the grand final – giving high-flying clubs an upper-hand at convincing players to move to the teams heading for the finals.

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The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield explained the drastic changes in Fox League’s Showcase season launch.

“The NRL have pushed the signing deadline back from June 30 to August 1,” Rothfield said.

“What this is going to do is start a mad signing frenzy at the back end of the season. So clubs can keep their salary cap and don’t have to fill their roster until Round 20.

“We’ll be arguing about Cameron Smith until August. It’s a move by the RLPA. Souths, Warriors, Cowboys, Raiders are the only teams with 30-man rosters at this stage.

“A lot of clubs are holding back. I spoke to Frank Ponissi at the Storm. Say something happens to Jahrome Hughes, he’s got $200,000 left in his cap that he can actually sign a $600,000 halfback from a club that’s out of business because it’s only paying him for the last five rounds.”

NRL 360 host Paul Kent responded to the rule change by describing it as “So open to corruption”.

The change means teams can sign star players late by only needing to pay a fraction of their salaries. The later the signing, the higher the amount players can earn per game with a move to a new club.

The NRL’s off-contract players in 2021 include: Cameron Smith, Shaun Johnson, Kotoni Staggs and Anthony Milford.

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Matildas star Katrina Gorry opens up about her eating disorder and using pregnancy to heal


Katrina Gorry doesn’t quite know how or when it started.

There wasn’t a single moment — a passing comment from someone she trusted, a photo of herself she didn’t like — that flipped a switch in her head, making her care more about numbers on the bathroom scale or the nutrition panels on food containers than how she felt within herself.

Instead, like many people who develop eating disorders, it crept up on her slowly.

So quiet and cumulative were the various pressures she had to navigate as a woman and an athlete that the Matildas midfielder didn’t realise she had an eating disorder until she was caught right in the middle of one.

“I’ve never really had issues with the way I look or my body or nutrition or anything like that, but as I got older, it became more prominent,” Gorry says.

“We now get density scans, we get body fat testing all the time, and it really does play in your mind when you know that you have to weigh in and weigh out.

“You start reading into the numbers on the scale instead of your performance on the field.

“As I got older, I started to realise that maybe I did have issues around all of that. And when you try and change so many things, your body starts to change in different ways. I found that a lot. It really hit me for about two years.

“Being an athlete, you feel like you can get through it by yourself, that you’re strong enough. I felt like that for the first nine months or so, I was like, ‘No, I’m okay, I’m going to get through it, it’s fine’.

“And then the months tick on and you’re still in a pretty bad place — or you’re even worse than what you were a couple months before.

Eating disorders are one of the most common yet misunderstood issues affecting high-performance athletes in Australia.

Research has found that there is a higher rate of disordered eating and clinically-diagnosed eating disorders among athletes compared with non-athletes, particularly athletes who compete in what’s called “aesthetic, gravitational or weight-class sports” such as gymnastics, swimming, endurance running and boxing.

Last year, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) partnered with the National Eating Disorders Collaboration network to develop a position statement and free toolkit that sports across the country can use to prevent, identify, and help treat athletes who are at risk of developing or have developed unhealthy or disordered eating habits.

“Sport attracts people who have some personality traits around perfectionism and obsessive behaviours,” AIS’s chief medical officer David Hughes told the ABC last year.

“Almost certainly in high-performance sport, there are some environments which increase a risk for those who are already vulnerable.

“The aim is that we have a healthier, more robust high-performance system, and that’s good for athletes, it’s good for their health, it’s good for their mental well-being, and in the long run, it’ll be good for performance as well.”

Even though football is not a weight-based sport, Gorry believes eating disorders — and the unhealthy culture around food and physical appearance — affect more of its athletes than studies have so far accounted for.

Other Australian footballers who have spoken publicly about developing eating disorders within the environment of high-performance sport include Sally Shipard and Dianne Alagich.

“It’s getting more commonplace,” Gorry, who also plays for W-League team Brisbane Roar, says.

“When we weigh in and weigh out, even on national team camps or at our clubs, you hear people talking about their weight: ‘I probably shouldn’t eat this this morning’ or ‘Why was I heavier on the scales?’

“Football is not even a weight sport, so you can only imagine what athletes who depend on their weight and the impact it’d have on their life and mental state in and around food.”

Gorry credits speaking to a psychologist alongside a dietician with helping her recognise the disordered habits she had formed, not just in her eating but also in the way she thought about food generally.

“When I look back now, I really don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t started speaking about it,” she says.

“I started talking to a psychologist who was really helpful at the time; that was through the Matildas.

“Then I started speaking to my family about it, which I think was really important. Knowing that you have that support and knowing that other people have gone through it, I think it makes you feel more comfortable, knowing that you can get through it and you have that support around you.

“Working closely with a dietician, not counting your calories or having a food plan, and being really flexible around it helped.

“I stopped labelling foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. When you stop doing that and start realising the energy that foods give you, you know more about nutrition and what it’s actually doing to your body.

“Humans are going to fluctuate. Women are going to fluctuate if they have their period or not. I don’t think we know enough about why we fluctuate but now we’re getting the support and knowledge.

“Knowing that so many athletes do go through things like this — we have so much pressure on us to live a certain way and for our bodies to be a certain way, to be in peak condition all the time.

“If you’re in and around that kind of sport for 10-plus years, it does eventually take its toll.”

The players’ union, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), and Football Australia have resources and protocols in place if a player is suspected of having or reveals they have an eating disorder.

The PFA, which is currently researching eating disorders among W-League and A-League players, offers a nationwide confidential mental health referral network through The Mindroom as well as nutrition resource partner Compeat Nutrition, which provides one-on-one counselling and education sessions.

Football Australia, meanwhile, told the ABC it is well-resourced in its women’s national teams to deal with eating disorders and disordered eating.

It also says it has identified and prioritised the wellbeing of players and worked to provide services to support, assist and improve their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

“FA follows best practice with a multidisciplinary approach that involves the team doctor, dietician, performance psychologist and wellbeing manager,” a spokesperson says.

“We are proactive with screening protocols and, once identified, the multidisciplinary team are the case managers that collaborate to provide the best avenue of support for the player.”

In addition to professional services, another — slightly less expected — process that Gorry believes will help her reshape her relationship with food and her body is pregnancy.

In February, the 28-year old announced on social media that she is expecting her first child, having successfully conceived through IVF.

While she’s just starting on her pregnancy journey, Gorry is already feeling the psychological benefits of the process, particularly in helping rebuild trust and appreciation of her body after years of restriction, monitoring and guilt.

“I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts around pregnancy and it’s all about being kind to your body,” Gorry says.

“At the end of the day, you’re growing a human, so you need to give it what it wants. And as an athlete, not exercising as much as you were is something that’s hard as well.

“In the first 12 weeks, you’re so tired so it’s really hard to keep the same exercise up. I got reminded a lot to just take my rest when I needed it and look after my body because growing a human does suck a lot out of you.

“I guess pregnancy is going to throw a curve ball at me again. It’s been hard with the cravings; as an athlete, you have a pretty strict diet the whole time and you know what you ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ eat, but when you become pregnant, you crave the most random foods.

“I was vegan before I fell pregnant but all I craved was meat. I called my mum straight away and was like, ‘Mum, why? Why am I craving meat? What’s happening?’ and she said, ‘You’ve just got to eat it.’

“And then just really carby foods: hot chips, bread and Jatz [crackers] were pretty much all I lived off in that first trimester. Really strange to start eating those foods when they were the ‘bad’ foods when you’re in and around sport.”

For now, Gorry’s aim is to enjoy the transformational process of pregnancy, to get back in touch with the ebbs and flows of her body, to treat herself with patience and gentleness, and if she craves a certain food, to eat it without fear or regret.

“I’m so happy to have so many people supporting me because it’s going to be an exciting journey,” she says.

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Germany Coach Joachim Loew Opens Door To Return For Exiled Trio





Germany coach Joachim Loew opened the door Sunday to a surprise summer return for Thomas Mueller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, the trio of veteran World Cup winners he controversially exiled two years ago. “If you begin a transition, you should not reverse it and go back in the opposite direction,” Loew told public broadcaster ARD Sunday.

“But the pandemic has stolen almost a year from us, so we can think about maybe pausing the transition if it is absolutely necessary,” he added, suggesting that the trio could return for this summer’s European Championships.

A return for Mueller, Hummels or Boateng could be possible “if I am of the opinion that we need an extra percent or someone who brings a bit of energy,” said Loew. 

It is the first time that Loew has shown signs of relenting from his controversial decision to drop the three experienced stars back in 2019.

Though under pressure to give younger players a chance at the time, criticism of Loew has mounted in the two years since as Germany have struggled and the three exiled players have returned to their best form.

Recent results have been poor for Loew’s team, with a 6-0 away defeat to Spain in November a low point for the beleaguered, long-serving Germany boss.

With the rebuilding process not going as planned, Loew suggested Sunday that players like Mueller, Hummels and Boateng could be useful short-term solutions for Euro 2020.

They would be “quick to integrate because they already know exactly how things work with the national team,” he said.

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They are scheduled to meet France in their opening EURO 2020 group game on June 15.

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Broadhseet: Local & Aesthetic Opens in Mount Lawley


The blueprint for Local & Aesthetic started years ago. Partners, musicians and hospitality professionals Liam Young and Dominique Rae wanted to open a WA-centric shop stocking local art and products. As the concept developed, it became clear they needed more space and people to bring it to life, so they recruited friends and fellow musos Mitch Strickland (head chef) and Caitie MacDonald (head barista).

The result – a community-focused cafe, retail space and gallery – opened on Beaufort Street at the end of January. It takes over the space left behind by eclectic antique and mirror gallery Scurr’s, which was the tenant for around 20 years.

The cafe, at the front of the venue, is light-filled, spacious and welcoming. Between the timber tables inside and the dog-friendly deck, there’s plenty of room. Young’s intention is for customers to stay; he’s adamant that Local & Aesthetic is not a takeaway venue. “I want to bring people in to sit and look and buy,” he says.

The menu is made up of nostalgic Aussie favourites with a modern spin. There’s a hefty damper roll filled with bacon and a parmesan omelette; Vegemite and cheddar on toast; and a take on the polony-and-sauce sanga (that’s fritz or devon, for those outside WA) with layers of mortadella and house-made bush chutney on white bread. Native ingredients such as lemon myrtle (in Bircher muesli) and saltbush (on roast pumpkin) also appear.

On the counter there’s a small selection of pastries from Mary Street Bakery, which also supplies the sourdough (used for the sandwiches and crumbs for a chicken schnitzel). Bacon and salmon come from Manjimup’s Holy Smoke, and native ingredients are supplied by Freshcorp Farms. To drink, there’s coffee by Wangara-based roaster Kaltiva, cold-pressed juices from Refresh and Kirks Kole Beer (a WA-only classic).

The retail and gallery area behind the cafe stocks new and second-hand vinyl from Vic Park’s Rhubarb Records. There’s strong support for local acts, including those on Rhubarb’s independent record label. “There aren’t any record stores in Maylands anymore,” says Young. “Rhubarb is an established name, and this means people don’t have to go to Vic Park or Mount Hawthorn to buy records.”

The gallery will display a rotating range of works, all for sale, by emerging and established WA artists. The first exhibition (on until March), curated by the Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health, features works by Bardi and Goonyandi artists (from the Kimberley); Martu artists from the Pilbara; Noongar (Wadandi) artists from south-west WA; and Guringai and Kamilaroi artists from NSW. The team plans to offer more products, artworks and collaborations in future. Young talks about commissioning a “classic Perth” mural of the Bayswater bridge with a truck stuck under it.

“We just love the state and have a lot of friends who are super creative,” he says. “Musicians bring artists, who bring writers, who bring photographers. We’re never short on creatives to help us fill the space.”

First published on Broadsheet.

(Images : Rebecca Mansell)



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I Care a Lot: Gone Girl star Rosamund Pike opens up on toughest two days of her acting career


Gone Girl star Rosamund Pike has opened up on The West Live about the toughest two days of her acting career, which came on the set of her latest film, I Care a Lot, a black comedy that dropped on Amazon yesterday.

In the film, the Academy Award-nominated British actor plays Marla Grayson, an unscrupulous woman who exploits a legal loophole in America that allows so-called “professional guardians” to assume power-of- attorney control over the assets of people deemed unfit by the courts, usually the elderly, often against the wishes of their families.

After years of successfully running her guardianship agency, Marla comes unstuck when one of the oldies she commandeers, Jennifer (Dianne Wiest), turns out to be the mother of a kingpin in the Russian mafia, who is played rather well by Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage.

Peter Dinklage in I Care A Lot.
Camera IconPeter Dinklage in I Care A Lot. Credit: Seacia Pavao/AP

Marla’s refusal to back down and release Jennifer from her “care” draws Marla into a dangerous game of “who will blink first”.

For the woman playing Marla, this turn of events results in a variety of scenes where Pike is set upon by gangsters, including, but not limited to, being asphyxiated by a plastic bag and sunk to the bottom of a lake in a car.

“You’ve gotta trust the people you’re working with, and it bloody well is about trust, I can tell you,” Pike laughs.

Even with an implicit trust of the director, crew and stunt co-ordinators, filming in a completely submerged car is, unsurprisingly, a harrowing experience.

“It was the most challenging two days of filming I’ve ever done,” she admits.

“Even though your brain knows you’re acting, your sympathetic nervous system does not know you’re acting when you’re struggling and you’re against the clock and you’re trying to get the head rest out of a car, and you’re completely underwater.

“There would be times after about three or four takes, when I called for my oxygen, I needed to hold the hand of my diving buddy, like I needed her to kind of regulate my panic.”

Read the full interview in the Today section on Monday in The West Australian.



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Historic Salisbury Cathedral opens as Covid-19 vaccine centre – Channel 4 News


Reaching the target of 15 million people vaccinated by mid February has taken the hard work of NHS staff, the military, and thousands of volunteers. Football stadiums, GPs’ surgeries and gyms have all played their part.

Salisbury Cathedral can lay claim to being one of the world’s most beautiful vaccinations centres. To add to the experience, people queuing for the liberating shot in the arm there can have their nerves calmed with some rare live music too.

 

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Sia opens up about past relationship with alleged abuser Shia LaBeouf


Sia has opened up about her past relationship with actor Shia LaBeouf amid allegations of abuse against the star.

The Aussie singer, 45, revealed she had been in an “adulterous relationship” with LaBeouf while he was still with FKA Twigs, who has alleged he assaulted her during their one-year relationship.

Speaking to The Sunday Times over the weekend, Sia said she was “always gonna love” LaBeouf, after revealing she had been “hurt emotionally” by the actor.

RELATED: Star’s bizarre STD claim about LaBeouf

“It turns out he was using the same lines on me and Twigsy, and eventually we found out because we ended up talking to one another,” Sia told the outlet.

“Both of us thought we were singly dating him. But that wasn’t the case. And he was still married.”

LaBeouf married actress Mia Goth in 2016, but filed for divorce two years later. He struck up a romance with FKA Twigs in 2019 on the set of the film Honey Boy.

RELATED: Inside Shia LaBeouf’s turbulent love life

Twigs, 32, whose real name is Tahliah Debrett Barnett, took legal action against him in December, alleging that the Hollywood star was a danger to women.

She said LaBeouf once tried to strangle her, slammed her into a car and became angry when she spoke to other men. She is suing him for physical, mental and emotional abuse, claiming that their relationship turned into a “living nightmare”.

Last week, 34-year-old LaBeouf denied “each and every” assault allegation by Twigs.

The response stated that LaBeouf “denies, generally and specifically, each and every allegation contained in [Barnett]’s Complaint, denies that [Barnett] has sustained any injury or loss by reason of any act or omission on the part of [LaBeouf], and denies that [Barnett] is entitled to any relief or damages whatsoever”.

When Twigs’ lawsuit against LaBeouf was first made public, Sia tweeted her support, revealing her own experiences with the star.

“I too have been hurt emotionally by Shia, a pathological liar, who conned me into an adulterous relationship claiming to be single. I believe he’s very sick and have compassion for him AND his victims.”

She went on to reveal she had sacked him from a starring role in her controversial film Music.

“I was going to do a narrative film, and in fact, Shia LaBeouf was cast to play Kate (Hudson’s) character,” Sia told Studio 10.

“I asked for a meeting with her, and she said she was born to do it. She could sing, she could dance, she could do it all.”

Over the weekend, Sia told The Sunday Times that LaBeouf “wanted to marry me and live a sober life.”

She added: “I feel like I’m always gonna love him because he’s such a sick puppy.”

It was not known that Sia and LaBeouf had ever dated, or when exactly they were in a relationship.

LaBeouf appeared in her 2015 music video alongside dancer Maddie Ziegler. At the time, Sia was married to documentary filmmaker Erik Anders Lang. The couple revealed their separation in December 2016 following their nuptials in 2014.



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Novak Djokovic opens up after booking quarter-final ticket


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Post match, Djokovic said he would not have played if the tournament had not been a grand slam.

“There was no preparation for this match. I used every single hour I had after the match against Taylor to recover. To put myself in the position to compete,” Djokovic said.

“Look, I was definitely fitter in the past. That’s as much as I can say. I am taking each day at a time. For me, more [important] than training is recovery right now so I can put myself in a good position to play the next match.

“If it’s any other tournament than a grand slam I would retire. That’s for sure. Because it’s a grand slam, I want to give my best, to try and recover with my team. I didn’t know when I finished my warm up whether I would play or not.

“I cannot complain. I won a match against a great player and hopefully I will be even better in two days.”

The ease with which Djokovic appeared to get through the match may have something to do with his fourth-round match up.

There was no better match up remaining in the Australian Open draw for the eight-time champion – he has always had an edge over Raonic.

The pair had met 11 times in the past and Raonic had never beaten Djokovic. Prior to the Sunday night clash, he world No. 1 had a 26-3 set advantage.

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They’d met twice at Melbourne Park: both times, Raonic failed to win a set. He’d broken Djokovic’s serve just 10 times.

There were no early signs of discomfort for Djokovic and he claimed the first set in a tiebreak.

His demeanour changed in the second set.

Mentally, he started taking aim at his box and the photographers, who – in the absence of fans – have moved behind the court.

“Why are the photographers standing behind?” Djokovic asked the chair umpire early in the second set.

“It’s not their place – they’re supposed to be out there or on the side.”

He had other sprays in Serbian for his box.

The grimaces started after Raonic broke the world No. 1 for just the 11th time in their 12 matches.

Djokovic stopped chasing balls that may have been reachable if he was 100 per cent. The pain subsided as Djokovic took control of the match in the third and fourth sets.

Alexander Zverev awaits Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

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Man of steel: Brendan Thompson opens 4 Elements Blacksmithing, Rutherglen | The Border Mail


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Brendan Thompson remembers the day his fascination with fire was truly ignited. The young lad had been up riding in the High Country, came off his horse and was stuck at camp, a miserable fate when you’re 18, and full of vim and vigour. “I got a bit of steel and put in the fire and started playing around with it,” he recalls. And like that, he was hooked. There were other jobs in the ensuing years but the flame had been lit, so at 27 he started a course with a blacksmith. “For me it’s not a job,” the 50-year-old says. “Maybe it’s the little kid inside me that still likes playing with fire … “But no, it’s about being able to take a bit of raw material and make it into something so beautiful.” And now, Brendan has realised a long-held dream of opening his own blacksmith shop off Rutherglen’s Main Street. It wasn’t so much about hunting down the right location as the perfect space presenting itself, quite by chance. It was during a visit last year to his sister, Kerrie-Anne Thompson, that Brendan, an admirer of old buildings, stopped in for a beer at the historic Victoria Hotel. “I saw the old building out the back and started poking around, asking a few questions,” he explains. It turns out the huge, dusty space was the old horse stables built about 1868 – a fitting location for a blacksmith’s shop. “It’s been sitting there forever, just rotting away,” Brendan says. “”I think it was just some extra storage for the pub.” Brendan knew he’d found the right place and, after a few calls to the owner, the deal to lease the premises was sealed. On Friday night he officially opened 4 Elements Blacksmithing to the public, although word has already spread like wildfire through the town. He will make and sell items including wine-glass holders, fire poker sets, gates, locks, hinges, hooks and brackets; you name it. “Although I won’t be making horse shoes,” he laughingly points out and explains that’s a “running blacksmith joke”. Every piece is hand-made, crafted with care; a one-off. “I’m not a factory, I don’t mass produce stuff,” Brendan explains. And while items like wine holders are his “bread and butter”, Brendan finds artistic freedom in forging new creations from the fire. “I get lost in it,” he admits. “A piece of me goes into every item. “You’re not just buying a piece of art, you are buying a piece of me as well … that’s how much heart goes into it. It’s clear this venture in this particular building is more a labour of love than a hard-bitten commercial calling. The space itself is a huge part of the appeal, Brendan says. Nestled between the Victoria Hotel and Parker Pies, the blacksmith shop is accessed via the carriageway – “a bit like the Beechworth Brewery entrance”. He is fascinated by the history of the stables and surrounding buildings, which include a morgue, built in 1836, still with its original window. “Apparently the publican got sick of the autopsies being done in the rooms at the pub so he built a morgue out the back,” Brendan recounts. He’s avidly tracking down townsfolk with any connections or stories associated with the stable building. One of the locals reports that bushranger Ned Kelly rested his horses in the stables and had a couple of pints in the pub on his way to robbing the bank at Jerilderie. “It wouldn’t surprise me – it’s a long ride from Glenrowan,” Brendan remarks cheerfully. Whatever stories these walls hold, Brendan believes the space will appeal to tourists. “It’s all about the location and there’s a resurgence of interest in lost trades,” he says. He’s already fielding enquiries from car clubs and other groups keen to take a day trip out to the blacksmith’s shop. Further down the track he intends to organise events with other blacksmiths and even a yearly lost trades fair. There’s potential for school groups to visit and enjoy a working history lesson. “Back in the old days blacksmiths were honoured; they often had a seat at the king’s table,” Brendan says. “The world wouldn’t be what it is without the blacksmith: the ships that got people here were held together by their work. “In the early days of settlement, the first building was usually the blacksmith and then the church. “Because most early towns didn’t have bells, the blacksmith would use his anvil to call people for worship. “The anvil was also used at funerals, calling for Saint Peter to open the gates of heaven for the dearly departed.” These long-held traditions form an important part of our history, according to Brendan, who says he intends to keep the flame alive by passing on this knowledge to future generations. He’s recently become a grandfather, which had further fuelled his desire to return to the region where he grew up. “It’s time for me to stop working away and come home,” he reflects. “All my life I thought this would be my retirement; I’m looking forward to curling up next to the open fire in the tack room come winter.”

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