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Hundreds of thousands of people turned out on an overcast, cool day for the March for Women's Lives, an abortion rights rally whose message had been broadened to include other women's concerns about reproductive and child-bearing and nurturing rights.

By 10 a.m. today, police said 800 buses had arrived at RFK Stadium; another 300 were parked at suburban lots and crowds on the Metro packed both usual trains and extra runs to bring crowds to the Mall. Sponsors had received a permit for a crowd of up to 750,000 people.

At the Metro stops, which were jammed at some points, such as the RFK Stadium/Armory and Metro Center stations, NARAL workers directed the pedestrians and sold T-shirts to a crowd that seemed buoyant, mostly women of all ages, but also with men and children. They stood shoulder-to-shoulder in some places on the Mall...

The rally on the Mall will be followed by a march through downtown, beginning at noon. Marchers plan to return to the Mall for a rally at Third Street N.W. from about 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Apparently our friend Trapper John has a Blackberry, because we just recieved this email:

I'm at the March right now, and it's pretty fantastic.  I gotta believe that we're at near a million...remind people that we're on C-Span.

A million women, men, and kids standing up for basic freedom on the Mall.  Pretty cool.

Finally, we need to remember that the policies of our government don't only affect the reproductive choices of women in this country, and the our foreign aid policies regarding women's reproductive health and choices have far ranging effects.  This point is made persuasively by Kavita Ramdas of the Global Fund For Women:

[NOW with Bill Moyers Host David]BRANCACCIO: Sometimes one worries that the focus of abortion in these issues of women's health and about the status of women abroad sometimes obscures the real issue. In other words taking more holistic approach to where women are in society. And really their economic well being.

RAMDAS: Absolutely. I think the... I think what we've learned is that there's no way you can separate the multitude of factors.

An example Ethiopian statistics today. 13.2 million Ethiopians live below the starvation point. When you have five to six children on average as a young Ethiopian mother before the age of 20 one of the reasons abortions happen is because mothers cannot bear to watch their grown children, their living children dying of starvation. Because they cannot possibly feed another mouth.

And this is what we have firsthand information from women on the ground. So do you work on economic opportunity for those poor women? Do you work on food aid? Do you also make sure that if they are having abortions using wires and needles and herbs and poison that they can do so in a way that doesn't jeopardize their health. Otherwise you have a situation of six orphaned children who don't have anybody to take care of them.

And I think that's where it's very important to look at these things together and holistically.

BRANCACCIO: Well, I was trying to crunch the numbers. And I... you see $34 million that the US is not sending to the UN Population Fund. And then I see that you, your fund, can give out, what, about a million dollars a year for this particular type of thing. There seems to be a gap.

RAMDAS: There's a huge gap. And I think it's a gap that we couldn't possibly hope to replace only with private philanthropy. Which is why I think advocacy to raise awareness about this issue, both in the United States and in other parts of the world is so desperately needed. The march that you referred to a few minutes ago is one example...

BRANCACCIO: In Washington...

RAMDAS: ...of that kind in Washington, is one example of that kind of advocacy. What's striking about this march is that women from many other countries are coming to join US women in this effort. Because as a woman in Afghanistan said to me a few months ago, and I was traveling in Kabul, nothing can change for us over here, despite our best efforts, if we don't have a policy in the United States that also supports women's rights.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 09:54 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  numbers (none)
    Ha:  the Reuters story and its Yahoo headline read: "thousands protest" !
    •  Well... (none)
      ...I don't think we want to get into a tiff about whether it was 650,000 or 800,000 or a million, because then the message gets obscured and you end up with a case like the Million Man March that may not have had a million men, and we all heard more about aerial crowd estimates than we ever really cared to know.  But "thousands," if used to marginalize the event, that would be unacceptable.  
      All that matters RE: crowd size, at least for the media and it's consumers, is that the visuals make it clear there are a heck of a lot of people there and the Mall is packed.
      •  Crowd size has been a political football ... (none)
        ...since the antiwar protests of the 1960s. I agree that we don't want the argument to be over whether there were x thousand or x+y thousand because that obscures the message. On the other hand, it's worth pointing out to people that "official" counts so often seem to be lower - often ridiculously lower - than those of journalists or participants.

        After years of watching this phenomenon, three of my colleagues and I actually counted the participants at a 1969 antiwar demonstration in Denver. We were aided in this because marchers in the protest actually had to walk 10-12 abreast down a street toward the rally point. Thus, we could easily take in the whole crowd little bits at a time.

        We counted 34,500. The police report, which most newspapers and TV media parroted, was 10,000.

        This was during an era when police routinely beat or roughed up peaceful protesters, so their doing the bidding of the pro-war establishment in crowd censuses was no surprise.

        The only time when I saw cops and demonstration organizers come to the same conclusion was the 1982 anti-nuke demonstration in New York. Both sides said at least one million protesters.

        Something you don't have to worry about: mad carrot disease

        by Meteor Blades on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 10:16:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cops and Crowds (none)
          The cops have a huge influence over how crowd sizes are reported.  (Although events on the Mall are one notable exception, since the Park Service has a methodology for estimating crowd sizes for rallies there.)  I was involved in several rallies a few years back, and in one very important case, the cops--who we had cultivated, and were generally in agreement with our cause--were incredibly pliant in giving us crowd estimates that were to our advantage (and probably 40% higher than the actual figure).  It was great, but it made it clear that if they were pliant in our favor this time, when they're opposed to a cause the next time the crowd estimates might be 40% lower than the actual size.  

          I also love hearing about crowd estimates for sports rallies--whenever a team wins a championship, we hear that a crowd equal to the entire population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area where they're located came out to cheer for them at a mid-afternoon parade on a workday.  

        •  crowd estimates (none)
          After the Million Man March, didn't the park police stop giving official estimates?  If I recall, their method involved calculating one person per some amount of space on the ground, but it was a ridiculous amount of space, like if you were taking up that much space you were housebound due to morbid obesity.

          But at last year's anti-war rally, I don't think any of the police agencies in the DC area were willing to give any kind of official estimate.  One of the chiefs was just like "yeah, there were a lot of people there..."

          I remember at the 1982 nuclear freeze march, my dad running around trying to count the crowd and practically crying when he realized how big it was.  I was more concerned with the sparkly headband I wanted from the street vendors.

          Today, watching this on C-SPAN, wishing I could be there.  Even Whoopi Goldberg doesn't seem as annoying as usual.

  •  Great (none)
    Hopefully this will help motivate and energize the base.  I know the big Febuary anti-war protest last year got me pretty motivated.
  •  Mass transit of protesters ... (none)
    ...crowds on the Metro packed both usual trains and extra runs to bring crowds to the Mall.

    Well, now, you know what this means. Bush will be demanding that Congress cut off subsidies to the DC mass transit system as a means of taking the abortion "gag" order to another level.

    Do you also make sure that if they are having abortions using wires and needles and herbs and poison that they can do so in a way that doesn't jeopardize their health.

    Last week, PBS's NOVA had a three-hour edition on population called "World in the Balance" that discussed this very problem in Africa. The program also discussed population issues (abortion as an adjunct) in India, China, Europe and Japan. A great show whose transcript should be up on the PBS site in another week or so.

    Something you don't have to worry about: mad carrot disease

    by Meteor Blades on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 10:05:45 AM PDT

  •  Aha! (none)
    So you're not really "inMI" at all right now, are ya?

    Liar.

    •  On The Scene (none)
      Actually I am in MI right now.  (Although I was at the huge choice rally on the Mall in 1989.)  It's Trapper John who's at the rally.  I'm in the equivalent of the Daily Kos broadcast studio, and he's the equivalent of the on-the-spot reporter.  
      •  ok (none)
        you know i was just joshin' ya anyway.

        But I'm curious now. Are you guys actually thinking of yourselves as a "media outlet" now?

        That's very interesting to me.

        •  Outlet (none)
          I knew you were joking, and even considered mentioning it before you got a troll rating.  

          Media outlet?  If so, I need to negotiate a contract or organize a union, because I'm not making any money off the endeavor.  I just liked the idea of doing a post which derived some of the "on-the-spot" reporting directly from one of our regular bloggers, and not something filtered through one of the established media outlets.  But you raise an interesting question; I just haven't thought about it enough to give you an answer.

          •  more thoughts (none)
            Thanks for helping me out. I have been troll-rated before for my frivolities.

            Anyway, often there is a silly discussion of blogs as somehow "competition" for Big Media. Most blogs do zero reporting, some do some analytical work with think tank studies and government data and so forth, but generally speaking blog posts are the equivalent of Op-Eds.

            Now, if you guys are starting to get coordinated and going to events (I recall there was some of this with Iowa, and some of it was, um, not exactly reliable) and describing your observations, suddenly that's a different role, no?

            I personally really enjoy this aspect of dailyKos, but I also think it might be worth y'all's whiles to put your heads together and think about what it all means, in case there are any possible risks of any sort to what you're doing. I'm not saying there are, or that my advice is worth listening to, but it's something to consider.

            •  Done in a certain manner ... (none)
              ...Op-Eds (and blogs) often include original reporting.

              Something you don't have to worry about: mad carrot disease

              by Meteor Blades on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 12:15:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes (none)
                But it makes me nervous when that happens on the Op-Ed page.

                Do I really trust that Tom Friedman actually talked to that T-shirt manufacturer?

                Why did Bill Safire suddenly come across that leaded memo?

                Why is the WSJ editorial board talking about Teresa Heinz and the Tides Center?

                Why is Robert Novak on the board of that company?

                Etc.

                •  Well, OK, but some people are ... (none)
                  ...made more nervous when the news pages sound like the reporter is writing an Op-Ed.

                  Blogs get to have it both ways without having to make that separation - a fairly recent invention, by the way - between "objective reporting" and opinion-mongering.

                  It would, obviously, be of the greatest service to us news//opinion junkies if reporters, columnists and blogsters would all strive for factual accuracy no matter what they're writing.

                  Something you don't have to worry about: mad carrot disease

                  by Meteor Blades on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 01:18:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  The credible solutions... (4.00)
    when they pop up here and there by those who understand complexity, always expound that there will be no workable solutions to the world's problem until we address the education and empowerment of women.  Reproductive control is not (IMHO) a religious question.  It is about control, about power and who gets to make decisions. Until all women are given the basic right to control their reproductive choices, we cannot have a rational and productive discussion to workable solutions.  As those in power here continue to cloud the issue with religion, we will not raise the real question and we will never reach a real solution, which is that every child on this planet, irregardless of any external factor is given all the basics needed to promote and sustain life, ie. clean water and clean air, enough food, a place to live, access to medical care, and protection from exploitation and physical harm.  If we could pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor to this fundamental proposition, imagine what we could achieve for our children, the children of the world and for ourselves.

    Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it only changes form.

    by SME in Seattle on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 10:28:41 AM PDT

    •  The positive consequences of empowering .... (none)
      ...and educating women was a major and ocntinuing point of last week's PBS NOVA "World in the Balance" population program that I mentioned elsewhere on this thread. In Kenya, for instance, once women got birth control information AND ways to obtain pills and devices, the average number of children per woman went from 8 to 4 in less than 20 years. And women's lives vastly improved.

      Something you don't have to worry about: mad carrot disease

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 10:40:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Glad you're there (none)
    Trapper. I wamt a full entry on what you saw there by tomorrow afternoon at the latest.

    We're going to Baghdad, Tehran, Damascus, Mecca, Cairo, Pyongyang and Paris. Then we're going to take over the world. Yaaarrrrgg! ___ George Bush 2002

    by Mike S on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 10:50:49 AM PDT

  •  Pelosi (none)
    is actually kind of kicking ass right now.
    •  She certainly did (none)
      I wonder how many of the speakers will follow her lead..."as a devout Catholic"....

      With the ways that the Right is trying to pry Kerry from his Catholicism, it'll be nice to see more Catholics coming out like this.

      There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. *J.W. von Goethe

      by MAJeff on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 11:28:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  aoeu (none)
    Albright is short!

    Bonzo's boys are back.

    by TealVeal on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 11:24:57 AM PDT

  •  But September 11 Has Changed Everything (none)
    Check out this incredible comment from Bush's #1 advisor Karen Hughes:
    "I think that after September 11, the American people are valuing life more and we need policies to value the dignity and worth of every life,"

    Meh? September 11 has changed America's mind about abortion? Is there nothing in their agenda they won't pin onto the tragedy of September 11?

    •  aoeu (none)
      I'm glad Karen likes universal health care now!

      Bonzo's boys are back.

      by TealVeal on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 11:30:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I knew (none)
      I changed the channel for a reason.

      I can't look at that flack ... or listen to a word she says.

      The world is on its elbows and knees, It's forgotten the message and worships the creeds. Armageddon days are here again Matt Johnson

      by Madman in the marketplace on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 12:03:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  uh-huh ... (none)
      ...let's reduce the number of abortions, let's increase adoptions ...

      Legal abortions, that is. And adoptions unless gays are doing the adopting. These people are shameless.

      Something you don't have to worry about: mad carrot disease

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 12:12:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You left out the best part (none)
      "I think that after September 11, the American people are valuing life more and we need policies to value the dignity and worth of every life," she said. "President Bush has worked to say, let's be reasonable, let's work to value life, let's reduce the number of abortions, let's increase adoptions. And I think those are the kinds of policies the American people can support, particularly at a time when we're facing an enemy and, really, the fundamental issue between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life."

      Get it? People who support abortion rights on the wrong side of the fundamental issue between us and the terrorists!

      Cute, Karen.

  •  If women (none)
    If women were allowed to run last year's anti-war protests, they might have actually been effective...

    11% of Rwanda's population is living with HIV/AIDS. | 100 Days of Rwanda

    by NYCO on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 11:31:58 AM PDT

    •  What Does This Mean? (none)
      Accepting your claim that women didn't run the rallies, what's that got to do with anything?  Is being anti-war a particularly feminine position?  Are women inherently more effective rally organizers?  Was there a feminine perspective that men kept out of the rallies and that women would have inserted, and would that have been determininative to making the rallies "effective?"  What does it mean to say that "they might have actually been effective?"  How weren't they effective, and what would have changed to make them effective, and in what way?  By preventing the war?  By getting better media coverage?  By marginalizing the marginalizing forces like ANSWER?  

      Sorry, but this smacks of the arguments that women are far less likely to lead their countries into war and are more effective at keeping their countries peaceful.  There's an appalingly small sample from which to judge this claim, but the examples of Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir and Indira Gandhi aren't very promising.  

      Besides, I thought one of the fundamental underlying issues of this rally belief in the equal rights of both sexes, not the superiority of one over the other.

      •  Please (none)
        Please, calm down.  I just think this rally seems better organized and more to the point, with better and more articulate speakers touching on most of the things that the anti-war groups were trying to protest last year.

        I should have clarified that I meant women's organizations, not "women."

        11% of Rwanda's population is living with HIV/AIDS. | 100 Days of Rwanda

        by NYCO on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 11:49:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why Does Gender Matter? (none)
          Besides, maybe the issue isn't who wasn't organizing the rallies, maybe it was who was organizing the anti-war rallies.  

          And why just women's groups?  I've been to very well-organized rallies put on by labor, community groups, and enviros.  And finally, these aren't women's organizations in the narrow sense of being run by women, they're organizations concerned with issues that affect women and advocating on behalf of women.  I'm not a woman but I've been a member of NOW (which, BTW, is the Nat'l Org FOR Women, not of Women).  Broadly defined, they're women's rights organizations, just like the NAACP--whose founders were mostly white people--isn't an African-American organization, but an organization dedicated to advancing civil rights and the interests of African-Americans.  

        •  I don't blame him (none)
          That kind of talk ticks me off, too. The point of feminism is to elevate women to equals with men, not to turn the tables and treat men as inherently inferior.
  •  Dean (none)
    I saw Gov. Dean on Blitzer's show a few minutes ago.  Man, I love that guy.
  •  Ashley Judd (none)
    is not the greatest public speaker, is she?  However, since I think she recently had the same ankle surgery I just had, it's nice to see her on her feet.  

    Not sure what I think of Gloria Steinem at this moment.

    •  aoeu (none)
      Did she just talk about the right to be nude?

      Bonzo's boys are back.

      by TealVeal on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 11:41:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah, she did (none)
        Moving right along, Eleanor Smeal has the speaking style of a female Rich Trumka.
        •  I Can't Even Imagine... (none)
          ...what that means, but it made me chuckle.  I've heard Trumka speak plenty of times, and he comes across like a high school coach giving a half-time locker-room speech to his football team.  

          Does she have spittle on her bottom lip?  If so, she's really speaking like Trumka.

          •  Exactly (none)
            You couldn't see the spittle on my parents tv, but I bet if you had a plasma screen you could've.  It was all jerky, short, bellowed sentences.  Both me and my mom thought of the Trumka thing simultaneously.

            Meanwhile, can I just say "ugh" at the obligatory Sojourner Truth-ain't I a woman reference by a speaker whose name I've already forgotten (they're coming fast and furious)?  Because 1) hello, cliche, and 2) it's almost for certain she would have said "aren't" and that the "ain't" is a subsequent translation into appropriate slave dialect.

  •  Just got a call (none)
    from a friend on the march saying that she and her companion were marching for me and letting me hear the loud chanting in the background. Her voice was filled with excitement and optimism; she will be singing a bit later at the rally (I wish I could get the streaming video to work; I don't have cable but would love to be watching when she performs).

    Even though I'm on the other side of the country, I feel thrilled to feel the power of hundreds of thousands of people supporting women's right to reproductive freedom.

    I hope everyone will return home filled with new energy and determination to do everything possible to defeat Bush and elect Kerry. While we progressives may have serious disagreements with the Democratic party as well as the Republican party when it comes to foreign policy, on the issue of reproductive freedom there's no question that the choice is crystal clear.

    •  Energizing (none)
      I hope everyone will return home filled with new energy and determination to do everything possible to defeat Bush and elect Kerry.

      I think it's important to emphasize this.  Let's be honest, the immediate impact of such events on policy is probably fairly negligible, historically.  It's said, but true.

      However, the secondary effects that can arise from such events are quite important.  One of the things that people often say about the queer marches on Washington in 1987 and 1992 was that people went back to their hometowns with a newfound pride, energy, enthusiasm and drive to engage in political work.  Such events as this can provide an amazing sense of power.

      I, like you, hope this is what happens.  Right now, as I watch Susan Sarandon and wait for a friend to come over and watch (she doesn't have cable), I'm just so upset I'm not there.

      Si Se Puede!

      There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action. *J.W. von Goethe

      by MAJeff on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 11:50:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fox news: Over a million (none)
    New York Times: Tens of thousands.
    Go figure

    <"Do not seek the treasure!" >

    by moon in the house of moe on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 11:51:57 AM PDT

  •  Pacifica Radio Simulcast (none)
    Pacifica Radio is currently simulcasting the march. If you don't have a Pacifica station in your area, KPFK in Los Angeles streams online at www.kpfk.org

    "I'm a scientist, I don't beleive in anything" -- Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

    by Elmer McJimsey on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 11:55:40 AM PDT

  •  Camryn Mannheim (none)
    talking straight to libertarian Republicans.

    Good move, good points ... remind them what they stand for.

    At the very least, they should stay home out of shame if they can't pull the lever next to the D.

    The world is on its elbows and knees, It's forgotten the message and worships the creeds. Armageddon days are here again Matt Johnson

    by Madman in the marketplace on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 12:28:41 PM PDT

    •  mannheim (none)
      She also was great in thanking all of the men who showed up in support of the march.  That's been pretty much missed in all of this.

      All of these women are falling to the Dean syndrome, though---yes, the rally is loud but yelling into the mic makes you look a little odd to the viewers at home.

      Sarah Weddington was 26 when she argued Roe v. Wade?  Criminy.  Don't I feel useless!

  •  Oh NO! (none)
    C-span just switched to the House of Commons.

    Noooooooo!

    From the overhead shots, you could see that there was a massive crowd.  It looks much bigger than the march in '89 (which I was at).  I couldn't go today, so I was enjoying the live coverage.

    Give 'em hell!

    •  C-span (none)
      just announced that they're having technical difficulties and will switch back as soon as they can.

      Good.

      •  Audio on Pacifica (none)
        See my post above for the link, but the audio is still on Pacifica. They've got their own feed and people walking around between speeches interviewing people in the crowd.

        OT, but as for the House of Commons, I've always liked the questions thing. Wouldn't it be great if once a week, GW would have to get up in front of the senate and answer questions asked by Ted Kennedy (without Dick holding his hand, of course)?

        "I'm a scientist, I don't beleive in anything" -- Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

        by Elmer McJimsey on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 12:45:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  C-Span (none)
          worked out their technical glitches.  I like watching it on tv.

          Louise Slaughter just introduced pro-choice members of the house and representatives of about 80 countries who came to protest the gag rule.

          Very good rally.

          •  Just got back (none)
            It was way cool.  Last count I heard was 200-300 thousand.  These folks were on the ball though, they did a manual count of people by having us sign in for the march.  I figure that they would miss at least 25% of us, but they did an amazing job. By giving you little stickers that says "I've been counted", they can sort out who they need to approach with the sign in sheet.  I combed the crowd a few times to ask people if they had been counted, and almost every person said yes!

            Karen Hughes is supposed to be a nice person, but she makes me barf.  Sounds like she's got some hero worship going on with Dubya.

            Kerry for President 2004; Clark for President 2008; Bush for Human Being... ?

            by ABB on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 02:06:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Sound is better than nothing (none)
            I'm watching in on C-Span, too, but it's nice to have backup during the technical difficulties.

            Ani DiFranco kicks ass.

            "I'm a scientist, I don't beleive in anything" -- Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

            by Elmer McJimsey on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 02:07:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Ok, Ani DiFranco (none)
    needs a new schtick.  This one was not exactly new when I was in college.  And even then at my most irony-free, earnest folk-punk moment (admittedly a brief, halfhearted moment) I was not clear on how exactly she became such a big deal.

    Also a haircut.  She needs a haircut.

    •  I seriously love ani DiFranco. (none)
       Her political rants at her concerts are alone worth the price of admission.

      She's a poet and a great spirit.   She can wear her hair any way she wants.

      "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

      by colleen on Sun Apr 25, 2004 at 06:36:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  1,150,000 Marchers (none)
    According to Janeane Garofalo. AP is reporting "thousands".
  •  yikes (none)
    What the fuck is this Kay Weaver crap?  They're running out of time and they're wasting what they've got on this incredibly lame song???  This is pathetic.

    Do I remember the words to this song from women's studies?  Ummm, no. In fact, I never heard of it, let alone remember the words.  Moreover, my mother, a member of a women's studies program, has never heard of it.  I'd say it wasn't such a damn essential part of this.  Whose girlfriend is Kay Weaver that they had her performing?

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