Posts Tagged ‘African

30
Jul
14

‘My Story Is The Story Of The Impossible Getting Done’

First Lady Michelle Obama addresses the Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

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Remarks by the First Lady at the Summit of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

“…. no matter where you all work, no matter what issue you focus on – whether it’s health or microfinance, human rights or clean energy – women’s equality must be a central part of your work.  It must. Because make no mistake about it, the work of transforming attitudes about women, it now falls on your shoulders. And it’s up to you all to embrace the future, and then drag your parents and grandparents along with you.

And I know this won’t be easy. I know that you will face all kinds of obstacles and resistance – you already have.  But when you get tired or frustrated, when things seem hopeless and you start thinking about giving up, I want you to remember the words of the man whom your fellowship is now named – and I know these words have been spoken many times.

As Madiba once said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

And I, oh, I know the truth of those words from my own history and from the history of my country.

My ancestors came here in chains. My parents and grandparents knew the sting of segregation and discrimination. Yet I attended some of the best universities in this country. I had career opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. And today, I live in the White House, a building — (applause) — but we must remember, we live in a home that was constructed by slaves.

Today, I watch my daughters – two beautiful African American girls – walking our dogs in the shadow of the Oval Office. And today, I have the privilege of serving and representing the United States of America across the globe.

So my story and the story of my country is the story of the impossible getting done. And I know that can be your story and that can be Africa’s story too. But it will take new energy, it will take new ideas, new leadership from young people like you.

We’ve done this because we believe in Africa, and we believe in all of you.  And understand we are filled with so much hope and so many expectations for what you will achieve.  You hold the future of your continent in your hands, and I cannot wait to see everything you will continue to accomplish in the years ahead.

Full transcript here

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 @JosephineKulea: Sitting next to you #FLOTUS round circle and listening your inspirational speech was the best moment

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Text of Remarks by the First Lady Before a Roundtable with Young African Leaders here

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28
Jul
14

Rise and Shine

On This Day: President Obama greets Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in the Outer Oval Office, July 28, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today (all times Eastern)

11:10: President Obama participates in a town hall at the Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

(The First Lady was scheduled to deliver remarks and participate in a roundtable at the Summit, but I can’t find any time or link – will keep checking. Keep an eye on CBS)

1:0: Josh Earnest briefs the press

3:05: The President awards the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal (see here)

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The Week Ahead

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Trevor LaFauci (The People’s View): Looking Back: An American History Lesson from the year 2034

“Today’s topic:  The Obama Years.  First off, let’s generate some background information from you, the students.  What are some things that you’ve heard or that your parents might have experienced during Barack Obama’s presidency?  Call them out and we’ll make a list on the board.”

“He helped my Dad get home from Iraq!”

“He helped my grandparents regain their lost savings!”

“He helped my mom make more money from her job!”

“He helped give rights to my Dads!”

“He helped my parents save money with their health care!”…..

“Good, so the themes I have listed here on the board are jobs, rights, health care, money, and family.  Based on your own personal responses, how do you think the country as a whole felt about President Obama?  Call out some words that you think people used when they talked about our 44th President.”

More here

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AP: President Barack Obama to rename Young Africans program for Nelson Mandela

A program designed to foster a new generation of young African leaders will be renamed after former South African President Nelson Mandela.

President Barack Obama, who has said he was one of the untold millions of people around the world who were inspired by Mandela’s life, is set to announce the name change at a town hall-style event Monday in Washington with several hundred young leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa.

The youngsters are participating in the inaugural Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, part of the broader Young African Leaders Initiative that Obama launched in 2010 to support a new generation of leadership there.

More here

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“Africa’s future belongs to its young people… We need young Africans who are standing up and making things happen not only in their own countries but around the world… We want this to be the beginning of a new partnership and create networks that will promote opportunities for years to come.”

–President Barack Obama
South Africa, June 2013

The Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. Fellowships provide outstanding young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity to hone their skills at a U.S. university, and with support for professional development after they return home.

More here

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David Grossman (NYT): An Israel Without Illusions

Israelis and Palestinians are imprisoned in what seems increasingly like a hermetically sealed bubble. Over the years, inside this bubble, each side has evolved sophisticated justifications for every act it commits.

Israel can rightly claim that no country in the world would abstain from responding to incessant attacks like those of Hamas, or to the threat posed by the tunnels dug from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Hamas, conversely, justifies its attacks on Israel by arguing that the Palestinians are still under occupation and that residents of Gaza are withering away under the blockade enforced by Israel.

Inside the bubble, who can fault Israelis for expecting their government to do everything it can to save children on the Nahal Oz kibbutz, or any of the other communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, from a Hamas unit that might emerge from a hole in the ground? And what is the response to Gazans who say that the tunnels and rockets are their only remaining weapons against a powerful Israel? In this cruel and desperate bubble, both sides are right. They both obey the law of the bubble — the law of violence and war, revenge and hatred.

But the big question, as war rages on, is not about the horrors occurring every day inside the bubble, but rather it is this: How on earth can it be that we have been suffocating together inside this bubble for over a century? This question, for me, is the crux of the latest bloody cycle.

More here

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BBC: Gaza: Uneasy calm after UN ceasefire call

Sporadic attacks by both Israel and Palestinian militants have punctuated a lull in fighting after the quietest night in the 21-day conflict.

There were no Israeli air strikes overnight though they resumed in the morning after a rocket hit the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.

Earlier the UN Security Council urged a halt to hostilities to coincide with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Israel launched its offensive three weeks ago after a surge in rocket fire.

More than 1,030 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 43 Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians have been killed. A Thai national in Israel has also died.

The Security Council called on Sunday night for an “immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza over and beyond the holiday period.

More here

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Jon Snow of Britain’s Channel 4 News on the children of Gaza

(Warning: some distressing images of injured children):

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Great Headlines of our Time:

‘Florida Lawmaker Drafts Bill To Require Every Student To Watch Documentary Explaining Why Liberals Hate America’

ThinkProgress

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Steve Benen: Congress reaches preliminary deal on veterans’ aid

As of Thursday, a pending bill to expand veterans’ benefits appeared to be just about dead. What had been a bipartisan issue had turned into yet another partisan food fight, with House Republicans rejecting multiple compromise offers and walking away from the negotiating table. The Senate Democratic caucus, led in this fight by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was apoplectic, blasting House GOP lawmakers for killing legislation that should be approved easily.

If the goal of the Democratic outrage was to force House Republicans to reconsider, the apoplexy worked. GOP lawmakers, reluctant to get blamed for killing another veterans-aid package, were shamed into renewing talks, and last night, negotiators struck a deal.

More here

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On This Day

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, center, holds the autographed basketball given to him by President Obama following their Oval Office meeting Tuesday, July 28, 2009, to discuss the outcomes of the first U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Looking on at left is Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama bids farewell to Chinese Ministers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House after the first U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue on July 28, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama picks up his sub after meeting with five small business owners at Tastee Sub Shop in Edison, N.J., July 28, 2010. The President visited Edison to discuss the economy and urge Congress to pass support for small businesses (Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama records an episode of The View at ABC Studios in New York, N.Y., July 28, 2010. Pictured, from left, are Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck (Photo by Pete Souza)

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First Lady Michelle Obama watches the swimming finals and medal ceremonies at the Olympic Park Aquatics Center during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England, July 28, 2012 (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

First Lady Michelle Obama watches the women’s singles tennis match between Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic of Serbia at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the London 2012 Olympics Games, July 28, 2012

.. with Venus Williams and former gymnast Dominique Dawes

Serena Williams gives a thumbs up gesture toward her sister Venus and First Lady Michelle Obama after she defeated Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic

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MoooOOOooorning!

18
Mar
14

A Long Time Coming

President Obama applauds, from left, Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris, Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela, and Spc. Santiago J. Erevia after he awarded them with the Medal of Honor during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, March 18

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More on the recipients here

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President Obama stands with U.S. Army Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Melvin Morris as his family looks on in the Oval office before a ceremony presenting him with the Medal of Honor

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President Obama greets U.S. Army Specialist Four (Ret.) Santiago J. Erevia in the Oval office

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President Obama hugs Laurie Wegner who accepted the Medal of Honor on behalf of her uncle, Private First Class Leonard M. Kravitz

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President Obama presents Nancy Weinstein with a Medal of Honor for her late husband Army Sergeant Jack Weinstein

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President Obama comforts Lenora Alvarado as he awards a Medal of Honor to her late father Army Specialist Four Leonard Alvarado

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President Obama presents Dominga Perez with a Medal of Honor for her late father Army Private Pedro Cano

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U.S. Army Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Melvin Morris is saluted by U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Schneider, from U.S. Army Old Guard, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, after a ceremony presenting Morris with the Medal of Honor in the White House

17
Mar
14

Medal of Honor: A Wrong Put Right

Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris

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On March 18th, 2014, President Barack Obama will award 24 Army veterans the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.

These veterans will receive the Medal of Honor in recognition of their valor during major combat operations in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Each of these Soldiers’ bravery was previously recognized by award of the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military award; that award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor in recognition of their gallantry, intrepidity and heroism above and beyond the call of duty.

In 2002, Congress, through the Defense Authorization Act, called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran war records from WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, to ensure those deserving the Medal of Honor were not denied because of prejudice. During the review, records of several Soldiers of neither Jewish nor Hispanic descent were also found to display criteria worthy of the Medal of Honor. The 2002 Act was amended to allow these Soldiers to be honored with the upgrade – in addition to the Jewish and Hispanic American Soldiers.

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The President will award the Medal of Honor to:

Specialist Four Santiago J. Erevia: For his courageous actions while serving as radio telephone operator in Company C, 1st Battalion (Airmobile), 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) during search and clear mission near Tam Ky, Republic of Vietnam.

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Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris: For his courageous actions while serving as Commander of a Strike Force drawn from Company D, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, during combat operations against an armed enemy in the vicinity of Chi Lang, Republic of Vietnam on September 17, 1969.

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Sergeant First Class Jose Rodela: For his courageous actions while serving as the company commander, Detachment B-36, Company A, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces during combat operations against an armed enemy in Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam on September 1, 1969.

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The President will posthumously award the Medal of Honor to:

Sergeant Candelario Garcia: For his courageous actions while serving as an acting Team Leader for Company B, 1st Battalion, 2d Infantry, 1st Brigade,1st Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Lai Khe, Republic of Vietnam on December 8, 1968.

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Specialist Four Leonard L. Alvarado: For his courageous actions while serving as a Rifleman with Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam on August 12, 1969.

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Staff Sergeant Felix M. Conde-Falcon: For his courageous actions while serving as an acting Platoon Leader in Company D, 1st Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment, 3d Brigade, 82d Airborne Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Ap Tan Hoa, Republic of Vietnam on April 4, 1969.

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Continue reading ‘Medal of Honor: A Wrong Put Right’

01
May
13

Rise and Shine

White-House-Correspondents-Association-WHCA-Dinner-Event-in-DC

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Columbia Journalism Review: In Hollywood and the accounts of many of the nation’s leading journalists, events in Washington revolve around the president, who is thought to have virtually unlimited powers to cajole, charm, threaten, or bribe legislators into enacting his agenda. Within this framework, the success or failure of the president’s legislative agenda is typically attributed to his tactics, not contextual factors like party support in Congress.

In reality, the idea that the President can force an uncooperative Congress to do his bidding has been falsified over and over again—not just during President Obama’s administration on issues like gun control, but during previous presidencies. Even Lyndon Baines Johnson, the prototypical presidential wheeler-dealer, became far less persuasive when the national political climate changed after the 1966 midterm elections (one aide commented that by the end LBJ “couldn’t get Mother’s Day through” Congress). And yet journalists and commentators still try to defend their misguided notions of presidential power, suggesting instead that, for instance, Obama is being held back by a lack of personal charm or a failure to twist enough arms in Congress.

More here

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KRDO (Colorado Springs, CO): The first lady and Jill Biden pushed companies to continue hiring veterans and their spouses. According to the Associated Press, 1 million members of the military are expected to join the civilian workforce over the next five years. Michelle Obama said companies have hired or trained 290,000 veterans in less than two years. However, she said, there is still work to be done. Statistics show the unemployment rate among veterans is lower than non-veterans.

Jill Biden said there are initiatives in Washington working to help military spouses as well called Military Spouse Employment Partnership. “This effort has helped spouses build strong resumes, has sponsored hiring fairs and created strong resume programs. Since its launch, more than 160 Fortune 500 employers have signed on to the partnership,” said Biden. “More than 43,000 military spouses have been hired.”

Pikes Peak Workforce Center is hosting a job fair geared toward veterans May 15-17 at Pikes Peak Community College. Amthor said 100 local and national companies have already signed on. Here is a link for more information on the job fair: http://mvee.org/

More here

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Kevin Drum: President Obama said today that he believes there are some Republicans in Congress who’d like to compromise with him to enact “common sense” solutions to America’s problems. I’m sympathetic, because I agree. I don’t think that Republicans have declined to make a budget deal because Obama didn’t schmooze them enough, or because they didn’t understand what he was offering, or because Democrats haven’t framed their compromise proposals quite right. Republicans have declined to make a deal because they don’t like any of the deals Obama is willing to make. Full stop. Unfortunately, I think Ed falls into the same trap when he suggests that Obama’s dinners with senators have gone quite far enough, thankyouverymuch.

All of which gets us to the guts of the problem: most likely, nothing is going to work. But if you’re the president, you can’t say that. You can’t even act like it. You have to go out day after day after day insisting that progress is possible and deals can be made. This gets you lots of flak from fellow lefties who think it displays terminal naiveté, but what choice do you have? Obama pretty obviously understands everything that his lefty critics understand—he’s not an idiot, and this is hardly rocket science, after all—but he also understands one other thing: he can’t admit it. I imagine it’s frustrating as hell. But like it or not, presidents have to keep their chin up in public and keep trying to make things happen, even if they know perfectly well that success is unlikely. Welcome to hell.

More here

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Click here to see the rest of the post

22
Feb
12

the groundbreaking smithsonian

Children from the Brooklyn Montessori School

..   Rep. John Lewis and former First Lady Laura Bush

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Scheduled to open in 2015, the museum will be the only national museum to be entirely devoted to African American life, art, history and culture.

01
Feb
12

rise and shine

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10:45: VP Biden delivers remarks at American Seating Company’s factory in Grand Rapids, Mich.

11:00: PBO delivers remarks on the economy at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church, Va.

5:00: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a Democratic National Committee luncheon in Los Angeles.

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Gallup

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WSJ: The private sector added 170,000 jobs in January, in line with expectations, as small-business hiring fueled the increase …. The latest ADP report showed large businesses with 500 employees or more added just 3,000 employees in January, while medium-size businesses added 72,000 workers and small businesses, those that employ fewer than 50 workers, hired 95,000 new employees. Service-sector jobs increased by 152,000 last month, and factory jobs rose by 10,000.

More here

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The Week

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USA Today: The closer we get to the fall campaign, the more President Obama sharpens his stump speech. At a fundraiser last night in Washington ….Obama argued that the Republicans will take the economy back to where it was before the 2008 crisis, and have “the wrong vision for America.”

“Their basic argument is that if we strip out regulations, if we disregard environmental concerns, if we take away protections for consumers, if we lower taxes even further for the kind of folks who are in this room, that somehow growth and the American Dream will be restored,” Obama said.

That said, Obama warned supporters that this will be a tough election, and they can’t take anything for granted.

“We’re all going to have to be focused on making sure that every single day the American people understand not only where we want to take the country but also that we’re willing to fight for them,” Obama said.

More here

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Charles Pierce (Esquire): …. I’m not going to sit there and listen to (Willard Romney) …. the cosseted plutocrat son of a millionnaire auto dealer – one who is running on a platform that will make himself and everyone like him richer while warning the rest of us, as he did in his victory speech in Tampa, that “If you’re looking for cradle-to-grave help from the government, I’m not your candidate” – go and dragoon into that effort Tom Paine, who would have spat in Willard Romney’s face if he’d ever met him.

Mitt Romney is someone whose children have a trust fund totaling $100 million. His great-great-grandchildren are not ever going to have to worry about money from their cradles to their graves. Thomas Paine? I’m sorry, but there are levels of bullshit to which I will not agree to descend.

Romney won because he had the most money. And because he had the most money, enough of the Tea Party “base,” which was supposed to hate him like gum disease, decided thusly: What the hell? The important thing is to get the Muslim Kenyan Usurper Negro out of the White House, so this is the horse we have to ride…..

…. it was how Romney delivered the speech that was so revelatory. This is a rich kid who likes flogging The Help. There were just enough shit-eating, country-club grins as he delivered his rancid material to show you what the guy must have been like in those golden moments when he realized that there was more dough in wrecking a company than in investing in it.

Full article here

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David Firestone (NYT): ….. nearly half the nation now holds an unfavorable view of Mr. Romney, much higher than last year. The number is even higher among independents. If Mr. Gingrich can raise enough money to stay in the race, Mr. Romney will have to spend valuable time, resources and good will to keep countering him.

All of that subtracts from his ability to pivot to Mr. Obama, and makes his criticism of the president seem like more of the same endless negativity. Mr. Romney’s victory speech tonight was less than uplifting, suggesting the United States had sunk to “the worst of what Europe has become.” If he means the Euro crisis, it’s not even close, and he will not get very far persuading voters that Washington is turning into Athens.

He even made a crack about Mr. Obama and his “faculty lounge” colleagues who think they know better than everyone else. That sounds hollow, coming from one of the country’s best-educated elitists, and it’s precisely the wrong message for a country that knows it must improve education at all levels.

It was left to Rick Santorum, who barely competed in Florida, to express the real lesson of Florida’s knife fight, and the dangers of letting it continue. “What we’ve seen the last few weeks in Florida,” he said tonight, “is not something that is going to help us win this election.”

Full post here

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The Week

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CBS

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Morning everyone ;-)




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