Composting talk to be held at Goulburn Mulwaree Library | Goulburn Post



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The Goulburn Mulwaree Library will be host a free talk on composting. As winter approaches many people start thinking about tidying up the garden and preparing their garden beds for spring. Compost is a great way to improve soil structure and moisture absorption, as well as introduce quality carbon and essential nutrients into the soil for healthy plant growth. READ ALSO: Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s composting officer Sam Morris will speak about the benefits of compost and will help you learn everything you need to know about this black gold. The talk will include information on how to get started creating your own compost, what to include (and not include) in your compost heap or green bin, how to test when your compost is ready to use, and how to fix common compost problems. Sam will also talk about the highlights of creating the council’s own compost using your household green waste. The council recently launched organic compost for sale to the community, which has been a huge success. This product is also being used by staff at the council’s parks and gardens, and in CBD gardens. The talk will begin at 12.30pm on May 7, at the Goulburn Mulwaree Library. The session is free, but bookings are essential and can be made online at www.trybooking.com/BOXPI, in person at the library, or by calling 4823 4435. We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

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Natural Selection Tour Winners Mikkel Bang And Robin Van Gyn Talk Winning Runs, Snowboarding’s Future


The inaugural Natural Selection Tour, the snowboarding competition brainchild of snowboarders Travis Rice and Liam Griffin, officially wrapped this week with the third of the tour’s three stops in the books. And with that, snowboarding’s male and female champions have been crowned.

Norway’s Mikkel Bang and Canada’s Robin Van Gyn emerged victorious in the men’s and women’s competitions, respectively, both of which went down at Alaska’s Tordrillo Mountain Lodge a couple weeks ago, with the finale airing Friday at 3 p.m. EDT. It can be replayed in its entirety on Red Bull TV, along with the first stop at Jackson Hole in February and the second stop at Baldface Valhalla in British Columbia in March.

On the men’s side, the United States’ Ben Ferguson and Canada’s Mark McMorris came in second and third, respectively, and on the women’s side New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott was the runner-up to Gyn.

After getting his start in the contest scene in slopestyle, winning the 2010 Burton U.S. Open, Bang, 31, shifted his focus to filming and riding powder. The Natural Selection Tour marked his first competition in eight years.

“Just being invited to this contest was an honor, and ending up in first place is just unreal,” Bang said. In Jackson Hole, Bang also stomped what has become one of the most-watched highlights from the entire Tour: a stylish frontside 360 rock tap.

“Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined myself here,” said Van Gyn, 38, a prolific filmer and backcountry veteran who doesn’t have much competition experience under her belt.

“I was really excited to try to compete in a backcountry arena, knowing I had experience there, but not really in competition. Like every athlete, we keep challenging ourselves and this was part of that personal evolution for me: learning to film, learning to do tricks in the backcountry, learning to ride in Alaska. I had been building on that for a long time.”

The third and final Tordrillo Mountain Lodge stop was a two-day event featuring four men and three women competing in a head-to-head format. Each rider took three total runs, and the highest-scored run won the heat. In real time, judges evaluated the difficulty of a rider’s chosen line, the size of the features they hit and the variety and execution of tricks in the line.

Van Gyn, who is from the Vancouver area and works as a backcountry tail guide outside Baldface Nelson, won the second event on her home turf at Baldface Valhalla, impressing the judges with her straight airs off cliffs and a frontside 360 in her second run.

In Alaska, Van Gyn upped the ante yet again in the final against Sadowski-Synnott. Using her first run to find the good snow and feel out where the best hits were going to be, she looked to ride her line with confidence and flow in her second run.

“I ended up doing more of a safety run at the top,” Van Gyn said of her second (and winning) run, which she opened with a half-Cab cornice drop in.

“I pulled the backflip I was doing in my run out and just started fresh. I hit I think four airs, and at the very end I did a bigger cliff I was hoping to do in my final, which I did in my safety run, which makes it not that safe at all,” she said, laughing. “That’s the run I ended up winning with.”

Bang beat out Mark McMorris in the semifinals and went up against Ben Ferguson in the final.

The judges were impressed by both the technical and the stylish nature of Bang’s riding, as well as his fearlessness in taking risks. He anchored his boned out frontside 360 and backside 540 off a blind takeoff with precise landings and smooth transitions.

“My dream growing up watching snowboarding was to film video parts and ride big mountain and powder, so I competed in the first part of my career to be able to do so,” Bang said.

“And then it came to a point where I transitioned to and dedicated all my time for filming, and I think both having competed and having spent so much time in the backcountry really helped me for this event.”

The Natural Selection Tour is not Rice’s first foray into backcountry competition, but it is arguably already his most successful, with a new sensibility.

The idea is that the Tour is a perfect combination of big-mountain riding and park riding, forcing riders to be skilled not only at executing those spins and flips off natural and man-made features, but also in reading the snow, selecting their lines and managing their landings in heavy powder.

When he announced the Natural Selection Tour, Rice said the event would crown the world’s best all-around snowboarders, given the myriad skills required to succeed.

“The beauty of this event is riders will inevitably face a multitude of riding conditions where a lifetime of skill sets and experience is the basis for one’s decision on when to go for it and when to play it safe,” Rice said.

While the competitors came from every type of snowboarding background—halfpipe and slopestyle, filming, and urban and backcountry riding—Bang’s and Van Gyn’s skill and experience in the backcountry ultimately helped them claim the throne.

“It takes years to learn how to read the mountain and pick lines and be creative. It has taken all my life to figure it out,” Bang said.

“Robin and Mikkel both proved today that there is indisputable reason they both were crowned champions of the Natural Selection Tour,” Rice said. “Battling it out against the world’s best with over 14 head-to-head competition runs throughout the season and they came out victorious on the runs that mattered the most.”

So do Bang and Van Gyn accept the titles of world’s best all-around snowboarders, then? 

“It is pretty cool how this event brings together so many different riders; you have people with halfpipe backgrounds, slopestyle, freestyle world tour background, filming background, and we all get matched into this event,” Bang said. “I mean, I’ll take it for now,” he added with a laugh.

Back home in Norway now, Bang is quarantining after his travels and beginning to think about planning his annual Bang Slalom event, which was canceled in both 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19. He founded the event, which is open to everyone, “ just to give something back to the snowboard community.” He hopes to have the chance to defend his title at next year’s Natural Selection Tour.

So does Van Gyn—and she knows the competition will be fierce.

“In action sports and snowboarding we tend to be incredibly humble to the point it takes away from our achievements, and I want to sit somewhere in the middle where I still get to own my value and accomplishments but still realize there are so many good snowboarders out there,” Van Gyn said. “I may have had my day this year, but that doesn’t mean I’m the best snowboarder on the planet, and next year I’m gonna have to work extra hard.”

Both Bang and Van Gyn applauded Rice’s vision for the event and expressed excitement about what it means for the future of snowboarding.

The prize purse is equal for men and women, which, coupled with the exposure, can help progress the sport overall but especially for women. And it’s a venue for snowboarders who don’t want to go the traditional contest route (slopestyle, halfpipe, big air) to show off their skills, earn some new sponsors and make some money to boot.

The Tour attracted big-name sponsors and partners, including Quiksilver, BOA, Union Binding Company, Mervin Manufacturing, Oakley, VANS, Salomon, K2, The North Face, Jones Snowboards, Picture Organic Clothing, Salomon and Spot Insurance. Van Gyn’s own sister, Jill, founded a healthy peanut butter brand called Fatso Peanut Butter, which fueled Robin’s performance during the Tour.

YETI entitled the Jackson Hole event and leads the Tour’s sustainability strategy alongside Conservation International. Ford Bronco entitled the Baldface Valhalla stop, and HempFusion entitled the final at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge.

“I know Travis shares a really deep desire to have equity and equality for women and men in snowboarding. Women aren’t snowboarding for men to watch and judge us; we’re snowboarding for other women to be inspired and go their own route,” Van Gyn said. “Having wins in this event—if you weren’t already known, people are gonna know, which is amazing, and it can increase your ability to have partnerships.”

“I got to give Travis a shoutout for having the vision. I know he’s been wanting to do this for years, and he pulled it off—during Covid, which is amazing,” Bang said. “It’s so nice to show this side of snowboarding versus what people are used to seeing, and then also women being equal, same prize money…it’s a really good look for the sport.”

Ultimately, Rice’s dream was to gather the world’s top snowboarders to showcase the most advanced and creative riding on the planet. The overwhelming consensus is that in its first year, the Tour did that.

“The application of freestyle and creativity on the canvas of natural terrain provides some of the most dynamic snowboarding we will see,” Rice said. “This is why the Natural Selection Tour, with mother nature as the main character, has no ceiling. This is only the beginning.”

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Ukraine says Putin won’t talk to Zelenskiy about Russian troop build-up despite request


FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Zelenskiy meets European Council President Michel in Kyiv
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during a joint news conference with European Council President Charles Michel in Kyiv, Ukraine March 3, 2021. Sergey Dolzhenko/Pool/File Photo

April 12, 2021

By Ilya Zhegulev

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has not yet been able to speak to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss the escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine despite lodging a request to do so, Zelenskiy’s spokeswoman said on Monday.

Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame over the worsening situation in the eastern Donbass region, where Ukrainian troops have battled Russian-backed forces in a conflict Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people since 2014.

Iuliia Mendel, Zelenskiy’s spokeswoman, told Reuters on Monday the Ukrainian leader had so far tried and failed to speak to Putin about the matter.

“The president’s office, of course, made a request to speak with Vladimir Putin. We have not received an answer yet and we very much hope that this is not a refusal of dialogue,” said Mendel.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he had not seen such a request for talks “in recent days” and was unaware one had been recently made.

When asked if Putin had anything to say to Zelenskiy, Peskov said he hoped that what he called “political wisdom” would prevail in Kyiv when it came to de-escalating and avoiding a potential war.

Mendel said Russia had massed more than 40,000 troops on Ukraine’s eastern border and more than 40,000 troops in Crimea.

Those figures are higher than those previously disclosed by the head of Ukraine’s armed forces to parliament in March.

Zelenskiy is due to head to Paris for talks on Russia’s troop build-up and the escalating conflict in Donbass, she added.

A meeting between Zelenskiy and French President Emmanuel Macron is expected by the end of this week.

Ukraine fears the Kremlin is engineering a crisis to rally Russians around a foreign enemy ahead of parliamentary elections in September and shift the narrative away from domestic irritants such as jailed opposition figure Alexei Navalny, its security chief told Reuters last week.

Putin on Friday accused Ukraine of “dangerous provocative actions” in the Donbass region. The Kremlin says Russia is free to move forces around its own territory as it sees fit for defensive purposes.

The standoff has sparked concern from Ukraine’s Western backers. Washington and the NATO alliance have accused Russia of a “provocative” build-up.

Zelenskiy has spoken of the need for NATO to admit Ukraine, a step Russia, citing its own security concerns, opposes.

“On the one hand, you cannot panic, on the other hand, you need to understand that Russia has shown more than once that it can invade different countries,” Mendel said.

(Reporting by Ilya Zhegulev; writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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Ready To Talk If Centre Invites, No Change In Demands: Farmer Leader Rakesh Tikait


“All three black farm laws should be repealed,” Rakesh Tikait said. (File)

Ghaziabad:

Farmers protesting the contentious new farm laws are ready to talk if the centre invites them, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said on Sunday, maintaining that the dialogue would resume where it had ended on January 22 and the demands remain unchanged.

He said for the talks to resume, the government should invite the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body representing the protestors who are camping at the three border points of Delhi at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur since November 2020.

“The talks with the government would resume from the same point where it had ended on January 22. The demands are also the same — all three ”black” farm laws should be repealed, a new law made to ensure MSP (minimum support price) for crops,” Mr Tikait was quoted as saying in a statement issued by BKU media in-charge Dharmendra Malik.

The BKU national spokesperson’s remarks came in response to Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij urging Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to resume talks with protesting farmers amid the coronavirus scare looming large.

Maintaining that a surge in the coronavirus cases is being seen across the country and the situation is turning bad in Haryana too, Mr Vij said he is worried about the farmers protesting on the state borders with Delhi.

The protestors and the government last had a formal dialogue over the contentious issue on January 22 but the impasse continued. On January 26, the protestors had carried out a ”tractor parade” in Delhi which had escalated into a violence involving farmers and the police in the national capital.

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The public health scourge we don’t talk about nearly enough



Racism is a public health emergency. It always was. Read More

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NRL 2021 Round 4 Teams: KFC SuperCoach trade talk


It’s Team List Tuesday (again) and for many of us that means we are hammering the trade/reverse button in a bid to dump our bums and find some guns.

If you missed it you can read all of Wacko’s Early Mail here.

Fire in your questions in the Slido window below, give your thoughts on those posted by your fellow SuperCoaches and let’s talk trades until teams drop at 4pm (AEDT)!

Watch The 2021 NRL Telstra Premiership Live & On-Demand with No Ad-Breaks During Play. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >

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No Discrimination Talk Allowed – WSJ


Normally anyone who raises an instance of race discrimination will find a sympathetic ear in California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu. But not Peter Kirsanow, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. During a House Judiciary hearing Thursday about diversity on the federal bench, Mr. Kirsanow dared to mention Harvard’s treatment of Asian-American applicants—and an angry Rep. Lieu quickly moved to silence him.

“Stop bringing in irrelevant issues, there are more Asian Americans at these Ivy Leagues than in the federal judiciary—they’re unrepresented. These are different issues happening,” he snapped at Mr. Kirsanow, and we mean snapped.

Mr. Kirsanow had brought up Harvard’s admissions in the course of agreeing that Asian-Americans are underrepresented in the judiciary. His point is that a disproportionate number of federal judges come from elite schools such as Harvard, so the more Asian-Americans who are kept out of that pipeline, the fewer will end up on the federal bench. Mr. Lieu also claimed that Mr. Kirsanow mentioned Harvard to distract from the issue of discrimination. But the Congressman’s overheated reaction suggests the truth is the opposite.

Amid all the concerns about rising anti-Asian bias, Mr. Lieu and progressives are desperate to squelch any debate about discrimination against well-qualified Asian-Americans by leading universities. They don’t want Americans to know that the left favors discrimination by race when it suits their political purposes.

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How to talk to friends and family feeling unsure about COVID-19 vaccines



Research shows that Australia’s COVID-19 vaccines are, overall, safe and effective.

But it’s normal for people to have questions about any new vaccine.

Here’s how to approach these conversations with empathy — and tackle misconceptions along the way.

(Read this comic’s transcript.)

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, including Australia’s rollout plan, safety and side effects, and what you need to know if you have a pre-existing health condition, check out ABC Health’s comprehensive vaccine guide.

Transcript

Scene 1:

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has begun, and soon most of us will roll up our sleeves.

Picture shows a woman after she has received a vaccine.

Scene 2:

Vaccination is an important public health measure and helps provide us with a path out of COVID-19.

Picture shows a nurse wearing a mask and wheeling a patient in a wheelchair.

Scene 3:

The vast majority of Australians support immunisation, but research suggests some people are feeling hesitant about coronavirus vaccines.

Picture shows a crowd of people.

Scene 4:

While it’s important to tackle misinformation and misplaced concerns, lecturing people — or putting them down — usually doesn’t change their mind.

Scene 5:

So what’s the best way to approach these tricky conversations? We asked three experts: Dr Katie Attwell, Dr Jessica Kaufman, and Professor Julie Leask.

Picture shows three smiling women with their names: Katie Attwell, Jessica Kaufman, and Julie Leask.

Scene 6:

Step 1: Don’t jump to conclusions. It’s normal to feel frustrated when you think someone is misinformed.

Picture shows a woman sitting in an armchair looking dejected.

Scene 7:

But try not to make assumptions about their beliefs. Just because someone has questions about vaccines, doesn’t necessarily mean they reject immunisation altogether.

Scene 8:

Before jumping into your answers and trying to convince someone, take a deep breath and be prepared to listen.

Picture shows two people sitting opposite each other at a table, having a conversation.

Scene 9:

Step 2: Ask yourself, is it worth engaging? Is this person open to different viewpoints?

Picture shows a man with his arms crossed, looking inquisitive.

Scene 10:

If a person feels strongly against vaccination, you probably won’t get far. (These people represent a very small minority.)

Scene 11:

It’s better to focus your energy on conversations with people who might be unsure, have unanswered questions, or don’t feel strongly either way.

Scene 12:

Step 3: Acknowledge people’s concerns (without necessarily validating them). Establish some rapport and show empathy.

Picture shows two people sitting together, engaging in conversation.

Scene 13:

It’s important people feel respected, even when you disagree with them. Try to listen to what they’re saying and be curious. Avoid judgemental language and patronising them.

Scene 14:

Potential entry points for conversation include: “You are obviously being careful with your health”, “It can be hard to find the information we need”, and “Where did you hear that?”

Scene 15:

Step 4: Address misinformation when it pops up. Trying to argue every point can be counterproductive. But there are easy ways to address common misconceptions.

Picture shows a laptop screen with different article pages open.

Scene 16:

“The vaccines arrived so fast. How do we know they’re safe?”

Picture shows a woman with an accompanying speech bubble.

Scene 17:

COVID-19 vaccines went through the same safety checks as other vaccines. Rather than the science being sped up, the administrative and funding processes have been fast-tracked.

Picture shows a man with an accompanying speech bubble.

Scene 18:

“Most people don’t even get that sick, so why do we need a vaccine?”

Picture shows a woman with an accompanying speech bubble.

Scene 19:

Getting vaccinated protects you against the serious side effects of COVID-19 and means you are less likely to pass it on to others. Vaccination isn’t just about protecting ourselves.

Picture shows a man with an accompanying speech bubble.

Scene 20:

“I’m worried about the side effects…”

Picture shows a woman with an accompanying speech bubble.

Scene 21:

It’s normal to experience mild side effects, but severe reactions to vaccines are very rare. Health experts are closely monitoring this, and so far, research shows COVID vaccines are safe.

Picture shows a man with an accompanying speech bubble.

Scene 22:

Step 5: Act as a role model. Research shows we listen to our peers and people we trust.

Picture shows two women holding coffee cups, having a conversation.

Scene 23:

If you plan to get vaccinated, tell your loved ones why.  Reasons could be: “My doctor recommended I get the vaccine and I trust her opinion” or “I want to get the vaccine to protect my family”.

Picture shows a woman with her hand on her chest, with an accompanying speech bubble, and a man with his hands in his pockets, with an accompanying speech bubble.

Scene 24:

Step 6: You don’t need to have all the answers. Open up a dialogue, but keep the conversation going.

Scene 25:

Encourage people to look for trusted sources of information, including the Australian Department of Health, World Health Organisztion, and their local GP or health clinic.

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St George Illawarra Dragons coach Anthony Griffin denies talk with Andrew Fifita


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“I see it as a pretty good addition for the club if that’s the route they want to take,” Hunt said. “I think he adds something a bit different to us. He’s big, mobile and has a great offload that can create second phase play. With how fast the game is at the moment I think that’s something that could help us.”

The Dragons still have two spots left on their roster and will be monitoring Fifita when he turns up for Newtown in their NSW Cup clash against Parramatta on Saturday.

Griffin insisted he hasn’t been satisfied with his team’s performance in their opening two matches despite a wave of optimism sweeping over the club following a gutsy win against the Cowboys.

The Dragons defended resolutely in the final quarter to seal a 25-18 win and can make it back-to-back wins for the first time since August last year if they beat the winless Sea Eagles at WIN Stadium on Friday night.

Having worn his fair share of criticism since arriving at the Dragons, Hunt has now watched his Queensland teammate and Manly No.7 Daly Cherry-Evans in the gun for his slow start to the season. And he was quick to leap to the defence of his school football rival.

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“I don’t think you can throw him under the bus because of those two losses,” Hunt said. “He’s a very hungry player and I think he leads their team really well.

“We’ve known each other for a long time and there’s always been a bit of a rivalry there, but away from footy I’m good mates with ‘Chez’. We catch up a fair bit and I enjoy playing against him.”

Said Griffin: “They’ve got the Australian halfback who has had some questions asked about him this week, he’ll be at his best.

“Knowing Manly and the way they’re coached, they’re at their best when their backs are against the wall, so to speak. I’m not happy with what we’ve done the last two weeks regardless of the win, we’ve got an enormous amount of improvement in us.”

Cherry-Evans was on Thursday named as Cameron Smith’s replacement as the general president of the Rugby League Players Association.

“I’m looking to help out the team at the RLPA and voice any matters that the players feel they need to get across,” Cherry-Evans said. “The RLPA has certainly grown a lot in recent times but I still think the best work is ahead for us.”

Manly have lost their last seven clashes against the Dragons at WIN Stadium stretching back to 2005.

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Carlton Blues coach David Teague won’t buy in to early talk of pressure


But Teague said it was far too early to be talking about September.

“It’s our second game of the year, so you won’t catch me buying into that sort of thing,” Teague said.

“We want to go out and win, don’t get me wrong, but you can play really well and get better and not win at this time of the year. I think a couple of years ago Collingwood lost their first few and played in the grand final.

“We want to win every game. We believe in ourselves, we believe we’ve got the players and the game style to win every game and that’s what we are going to do. We expect to win.”

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The return of Martin and Williams spelt trouble for young wingman O’Brien, who has struggled to cement a place in the senior team since being drafted in 2017.

Carlton’s match committee decided not to drop a tall, but that seems unlikely given how well Levi Casboult and Oscar McDonald played together in the second half against the Tigers.

McDonald started as the injury substitute but Teague admitted he could be promoted to the starting 22 after a strong debut performance.

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Teague has also joined Western Bulldogs counterpart Luke Beveridge in hitting out at the new VFL/East Coast competition rules, which some clubs think could stunt the development of players trying to make their way into the seniors.

The VFL is this season trialling zones for all stoppages, meaning each team needs to have a minimum of three players stationed inside 50, including a pair in the goalsquare.

“Watching the [VFL] game the other day wasn’t enjoyable,” Teague said.

“Sitting there waiting 14, 15 seconds for each stoppage and for players to get back, it wasn’t an enjoyable experience. I think it’s as much around the fans as the players. The fans didn’t enjoy it, the players didn’t enjoy it.

“If you’re looking for a rule to be able to see if this will this help the game going forward, whilst also having the guarding the mark rule, well which one is it?

“I’ve heard a couple of other coaches and I’m probably aligned with them. Watching it, it didn’t sit well with me, it didn’t feel like it was in the tradition of the game and the way the game should be played.”

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