Strange Quarks,
Callisto Revealed,
Ambassador Jolie
and Jack Kerouac
Brookhaven Scientists Create Strange Quarks

By Helen Briggs
BBC Online

UPTON NY August 22, 2001 (BBC) - International scientists have made a batch of "strange" particles, in experiments that could further our understanding of the Universe.

Physicists created atomic nuclei containing two strange quarks at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in the United States. Since the 1960s, only a handful of such particles have been detected and then only in small quantities.

"This is the first experiment to produce large numbers of these doubly strange nuclei," said Brookhaven physicist Adam Rusek. "That's enough events to begin a study using statistical techniques."

The experiment took place within a particle accelerator, where atoms were smashed into their constituent particles, the building blocks of matter. The collisions produced a "significant number" of nuclei containing two strange quarks. Out of 100 million collisions, the team found 30-40 examples of the doubly-strange object.

The 50 physicists - from the US, Canada, Japan, Korea, Russia and Germany - hope to make further studies of the particles. They aim to explore the forces between nuclear particles, particularly within "strange matter". The research may also contribute to a better understanding of collapsed stars called neutron stars, which could contain large numbers of strange quarks.

"We know that the physical Universe has more to it than makes the ordinary matter of the world around us."  Dr Christine Sutton of Oxford University, a spokesperson for the UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, told BBC News Online. "This gives us a window into how this more peculiar matter might operate within more exotic locations of the Universe such as in neutron stars."

Quarks are elementary particles - pieces of matter that cannot be divided into anything smaller. The protons and neutrons of normal matter in the everyday world are made of two types of quark - called up and down. Strange matter, however, is composed of up, down, and strange quarks. Some theorists have suggested that strange matter may have been formed in the early Universe, and that remnants of this matter may still exist.

Scientists Detect Clue to Material's Unusual Electrical Properties

UPTON, NY July 26, 2001 (Brookhaven Press Release) - Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory are studying a mysterious material that may lead to significant advances in the miniaturization of electronics. In the July 27, 2001 issue of Science magazine, the scientists describe findings that offer the first clues to explain the material's newly discovered, unusual electrical properties. This work may lead to applications using the material to store electrical charge in high-performance capacitors, and offer insight into how charges behave on the nanoscale - on the order of billionths of a meter.

The material - a perovskite-related oxide containing calcium (Ca), copper (Cu), titanium (Ti), and oxygen (O) in the formula CaCu3Ti4O12 - is unusual in that it has an extremely high dielectric constant, a property that determines its ability to become electrically polarized (i.e., separate positive and negative electrical charges). The higher the dielectric constant, the more charge you can store, and the smaller you can make electronic circuits.

In addition, unlike most dielectric materials, this one retains its enormously high dielectric constant over a wide range of temperatures, from 100 to 600 Kelvins (K), or -173 to 327°C, making it ideal for a wide range of applications. Yet the material's dielectric constant drops precipitously - 1,000-fold - below 100K, with no evidence of structural or phase changes in the atoms. Therein lies the mystery.

"Such a large change in the way charge is distributed within the material implies that the atomic structure should change as well," said Christopher Homes, the lead physicist on the Brookhaven study. "It's difficult to imagine how one property can undergo such a large change while the other remains unaffected."

Previously, scientists have looked for hints of changes using x-rays, neutron beams, and other methods - to no avail. But Homes' technique, measuring optical conductivity, or the material's ability to reflect and absorb varying frequencies of infrared light, revealed a number of unusual changes in the way the atomic structure vibrates.

The scientists detected the vibrations by illuminating samples of the substance with varying wavelengths of infrared light at Brookhaven's National Synchrotron Light Source, and measuring which wavelengths were reflected and which were absorbed. The absorbed wavelengths are those that match the atoms' natural vibration frequencies. As the temperature of the substance was cooled below the 100K mark, the absorbed frequencies - and therefore the vibrations - changed.

"Since the vibrations in a solid depend a great deal on how the charges are distributed, the changes in vibrations suggest that the charges can be rearranged without causing a structural distortion," Homes said. "The fact that we see these changes offers the first real glimpse of why this material has such a large dielectric constant, and the mechanism by which it decreases so dramatically below 100K."

The scientists speculate that at temperatures above 100K, pairings of positive and negative electric charges, called dipoles, can flip around quickly, independent of one another. This property and the high concentration, or density, of dipoles within the solid both contribute to the large dielectric constant. If you put the material in an electric field, all the individual dipoles flip into alignment to separate the charges.

But as the material cools, the dipoles "freeze out" in random positions, losing their ability to flip quickly into alignment. This "electronic phase transition" happens in the absence of a structural change. "Additional research will help us understand this effect and the range of ways this material might be used in microelectronics and other fields," Homes said.

Astronomer Fred Hoyle Dies - Named the Big Bang

LONDON August 23, 2001 (AP) - Fred Hoyle, 86, the astronomer who coined the name of the "big-bang theory" but never accepted it for the origin of the universe, died Aug. 20 in Bournemouth, England, of complications after a stroke.

He became Britain's best-known astronomer in 1950 with his broadcast lectures on the nature of the universe, and he recalled using "big bang" for the first time in the last of those talks. But over time, his belief in a "steady state" universe was shared by fewer and fewer scientists because of new discoveries.

Mr. Hoyle continued to robustly defend his view and last year published "A Different Approach to Cosmology," co-authored by Geoffrey Burbidge and Jayant V. Narlikar.

Working with Hermann Bondi and Thomas Gold, Mr. Hoyle proposed the steady state theory in the 1940s, arguing that the universe developed in a process of continuous growth. "Every cluster of galaxies, every star, every atom had a beginning, but the universe itself did not," said Mr. Hoyle, who graduated from Cambridge University and was a professor of astronomy there from 1958 to 1972.

Radio astronomy observations in the 1950s demonstrated that the universe was expanding faster than Mr. Hoyle's theory predicted, giving credence to the view that the universe began in an explosion of incredibly dense matter -- the theory Mr. Hoyle called the big bang.

"He coined that phrase in fact as a denigration for the conventional wisdom," said Mr. Hoyle's associate, Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe of University College, Wales.

"And it was his belief -- and it is also my belief -- that the standard big-bang theory, which says that everything began at a definite moment in time and that there was nothing before that, this has to be essentially wrong, and that the universe has an infinite age and an infinite extent in space," Wickramasinghe said on British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

In the 1950s, Mr. Hoyle worked with Fulbright scholar William Fowler and Geoffrey and Margaret Burbidge to demonstrate that chemical elements heavier than helium were the product of nuclear reactions inside stars. They published "Synthesis of the Elements in Stars" in 1957.

Fowler, then at the California Institute of Technology, shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 1983 with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar of the University of Chicago for their work on the creation of chemical elements. Fowler, in his autobiography for the prize, credited Mr. Hoyle as one of his great influences.

With Wickramasinghe, Mr. Hoyle promoted the theory that life -- and some diseases including AIDS -- reached Earth from space. Their publications included "Diseases From Space" (1979) and "Space Travelers: The Origins of Life" (1980).

Mr. Hoyle also wrote science fiction, including "The Black Cloud" (1957), about an intelligent cloud around the sun that caused an ice age, and "A for Andromeda" (1962), about aliens instructing humans on building a destructive machine.

Mr. Hoyle was a staff member of the Mount Wilson and Palomar observatories from 1957 to 1962, visiting professor at the California Institute of Technology in 1953 and 1954, and professor of astronomy at Cornell University from 1972 to 1978.

He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.

West Nile Virus Confirmed By Canada

WINDSOR Ontario August 22, 2001 (CP) - The first positive case of the West Nile virus in Canada was confirmed Wednesday by a Health Canada laboratory in Winnipeg. A dead crow found in a neighborhood in this southwestern Ontario city two weeks ago was analysed by Dr. Harvey Artsob, chief of Zoonotic diseases at Health Canada.

It was found to be positive following three different sets of tests which examine the bird's genetic makeup and isolate the virus in its tissue.

"We were confident even after the first test that we had a clear, solid positive," Artsob said from Winnipeg. "The follow-up tests were done to definitively confirm the positive result."

A blue jay that was found in Oakville, Ont., on Sunday that is currently undergoing tests for the virus in the same Winnipeg lab has not yet received a final positive confirmation.

Artsob said he isn't surprised that the first positive bird turned up in Windsor. He tested a crow from the area last year which was positive on a first test, but because of its decayed condition could not be confirmed on follow-up tests.

"Windsor is a perfect location to expect the virus to show up because of its warm climate and proximity to the positive sites in the U.S.," he said.

Finding the virus in Ontario now puts scientists, medical officials and the public on alert, said Dr. Ian Barker, co-ordinator of the Ontario Region Canadian Co-op Wildlife Health Centre in Guelph, Ont.

"The measures to be taken now are preventative, with people having to protect themselves from mosquitoes by using various repellents," said Barker.

People bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus will experience flu-like symptoms to varying degrees. Most will have a mild reaction, a rare few will develop an inflammation of the brain which can lead to death.

Hospitals across the province have received information on the virus from local health departments, and receive constant updates on new discoveries of positive birds.

The virus was first isolated in 1937 in Uganda's West Nile district.

It was first identified in North America in the New York City borough of Queens, when an infectious diseases physician observed a cluster of patients with a similar group of symptoms.

Over a five-week period in August 1999, five patients were admitted to ICU with fever, confusion and weakness. The Centres for Disease Control in Atlanta eventually confirmed the presence of West Nile virus.

That year, 61 cases were confirmed, with seven deaths reported. The following year there were 21 cases in New York and New Jersey, and two deaths.

To date, the virus has been found in 18 species of North American birds, including crows, hawks, blue jays, mallards, robins and bald eagles.

Man With Longest Hair Dies
BANGKOK Thailand August 22, 2001 (AP) - A Thai man who reportedly had the world's longest hair has died, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Hu Sengla, whose hair was 19 feet 1 inch long, died Tuesday of complications from a stroke, said Thai Rath, Thailand's largest newspaper.

It said Hu, a member of the Hmong hill tribe minority, was 77 years old, but other accounts indicated he was at least 87 and give his name as Hoo Sateow. Authorities in Mon Nga village in the northern province of Chiang Mai could not be reached for comment.

Hu was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest hair. When a Guinness judge came to measure his mane in 1997, Hu said he had cut it when he was 18 and fell ill, so he decided never to cut it again.

"Since then, I've been able to call up ghosts to help heal the sick," said Hu, who was regarded as a shaman by fellow villagers.

Hu's hair attracted large, curious crowds when he washed it once a year, the newspaper said.

Hu's older brother, Yi, has hair that is 16 feet 6 inches long.
J. Edgar Hoover Gunned For Albert Gore Sr.

By Joe Stephens
Washington Post Staff Writer

Washington August 23, 2001 (Washington Post) - Now it can be told, the sordid details pounded out in stark FBI typewriter fonts: J. Edgar Hoover waged a decade-long war of enmity against the late Sen. Albert Gore Sr.

For years, the former FBI director and his underlings stalked the seven-term congressman and three-term senator. Flannel-suited agents monitored his speeches, issued vicious critiques of his activities, blacklisted him, called him stupid, spewed memos and bile about him. Hated him. It was a fury that raged from cocktail receptions to civic club dinners to private Capitol Hill standoffs. And it has all just been made public by the release of an FBI dossier that reveals why Hoover put the word out on Gore Sr.

Gore's great transgression was this: Once, in 1954, he groused to a colleague on the Senate floor that the FBI was spreading loose gossip about a friend. Gore believed the G-men had unfairly maligned her by tattling to her bosses at the White House that she, just maybe, had sex with a former boyfriend.

This complaint was enough to launch the Hoover rockets against Gore, who spent more than30 years on Capitol Hill championing civil rights, opposing the Vietnam War and rearing a future vice president of the United States. A rare liberal among Southern Democrats, Gore twice narrowly missed becoming his party's nominee for vice president. He died in December 1998 at age 90. Federal law makes FBI files public after a public figure's death, but the bureau did not get around to releasing Gore's until this month.

When Hoover got wind of Gore's complaint, he dispatched his number-three man, Cartha "Deke" DeLoach, to Gore's Capitol Hill office. The meeting stirred Hoover up even more.

"Without showing any decency or courtesy, the Senator promptly began casting aspersions at the FBI and our activities," a six-page memo in the FBI dossier reports. "He stated he felt it ridiculous that 'a snooping police agency' would furnish raw information on poor, innocent people without first evaluating the information.

"The Senator stated he was disturbed over the lack of intelligence shown in writing FBI reports; our investigations were not thorough and that we often smear innocent people. He said he was disgusted with 'guilt by association.' "

The memo calls Gore's criticisms "wild," but then acknowledges -- without embarrassment -- that the FBI had snitched to the White House that a "close acquaintance" of Gore's friend claimed that she had "engaged in sexual relations while dating." And it stresses that, 17 years earlier, the woman's father had been arrested for -- but apparently not convicted of -- disorderly conduct. Confronted with these startling facts, the dossier reports, Gore replied "weakly" that he had been unaware of the arrest.

Hoover himself scribbled in the margins of the memo: "Gore's name should be placed on (a) list not to be approached at any time" by FBI personnel. And he directed that FBI field offices in Gore's home state of Tennessee "be briefed on Gore's attitude."

Five days later, the bureau shipped confidential letters to field offices, lamenting Gore's "self-chosen hostility" and directing that if the senator made "derogatory comments" while visiting their cities, "you should, of course, immediately advise the Bureau."

FBI administrators then added Gore's name to the bureau's official -- and catchily named -- "List of Persons Not to Be Contacted."

After this, it was a litany of quarrels and name-calling through the years that ultimately reveal less about Gore than Hoover's FBI. The files depict the nation's leading law enforcement agency as rife with paranoia, driven to snooping on speeches before small civic groups and breathlessly shipping Gore's stray comments about the bureau back to the director's office.

Once, a Hoover deputy launched a confidential communiqué asserting that Gore was "regarded by many from his own state as being stupid and completely no good." Other secret memos, crafted by G-men renowned for their just-the-facts prose, sprouted a garden of critical adjectives about Gore and his views: absurd, ridiculous, outrageous, hostile, vague, unfounded, uncooperative, disreputable, irrational, baseless, wild.

Further creative insults -- and additional evidence of Al Sr.'s reputed no-goodness -- undoubtedly remain hidden in the agency's musty files. In releasing 209 pages of sporadically redacted reports, the bureau declined to release 56 other pages.

The FBI's animus endured through March 1967, when a couple of agents bumped into Gore at an American Legion dinner at Washington's Sheraton Park Hotel, creating what they described as the evening's only "disharmonious note." One agent deadpanned, in a memo he pounded out the next day, that Gore "was not, of course, one of the honored guests."

The senator "launched into a tirade" of "irrational views" about the FBI's failure to contain the Mafia, and the agents noted with satisfaction that their "firm response caused Gore to shut up."

The bureau was more reserved in its treatment of Al Jr. An FBI special agent abandoned his usual duties in 1957 to play guide for the future vice president and four friends touring FBI headquarters.

"This group appeared to be very interested in the exhibits . . . and at the conclusion of the tour remarked that they appreciated the courtesies," an administrator duly recorded. "There was no request to visit the director." The memo gave the future vice president's age as 11, although he was 9 years old at the time. There is no indication how the bureau planned to use the information it so carefully noted and filed on Al Jr.

On his way out, young Al mentioned that he would like a couple of firing range targets as mementos.

"The targets were mailed to Sen. Gore's office June 19, 1957, without cover letter," the files disclose -- raising the question of how the senator's staff was expected to distinguish the souvenirs from a threat.

FBI Draws Blanks on Mystery Sex-In-Sky Couple
MIAMI August 15, 2001 (Reuters) - The FBI is appealing to the public for help in identifying "Juan" and "Rosa" -- the mystery couple a pilot says died while trying to hijack his plane to Cuba during a sex-in-the-sky flight over the Florida Keys.

The agency also released Tuesday sketches of the couple, based on information from the pilot, Thomas Hayashi.

Hayashi, who runs a company which advertises "Mile High Club" tours for people who want to have sex in a plane, has told the police the couple hired his aircraft for an amorous excursion last Thursday.

Once airborne they tried to hijack the plane at knifepoint to Cuba, he said. The Piper Cherokee plunged into the Florida Straits about 40 miles south of Key West on Thursday.

He managed to scramble out of the sinking plane and was rescued by the Coast Guard. The couple were presumed to have died in the wreckage that may lie beneath 3,600 feet of water.

Investigators were still puzzling over the identity of the couple five days after the incident. They say it is odd that no one has come to forward to report friends or relatives missing. No one other than Hayashi has said they saw them at the airport.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the FBI called the couple "Juan" and Rosa" Both were described as stocky and aged around 60. Rosa was dressed for the trip in a pink and yellow flower sun dress, Juan in shorts, a polo shirt and a fishing cap, it said.

Hayashi has told investigators that passengers who booked the flights often flew anonymously and the couple in question gave only their first names.
Galileo's Flyby Reveals Callisto's Bizarre Landscape

PASADENA CA August 22, 2001 (AP) — NASA released new images Wednesday of Jupiter's moon Callisto, including a full-color portrait and the closest look ever at the planet-sized body's ancient, cratered surface.

The images, acquired May 25 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Galileo spacecraft, were taken as close as 86 miles from the moon. The images show objects as small as 10 feet across.

Scientists said the terrain in the close-up images is unlike anything seen before on Jupiter's moons.

Knobby spires of ice more than 300 feet tall lie surrounded by darker material. The spires were likely formed from material thrown outward after the moon was struck by another object billions of years ago.

The full-color portrait, the first made by the robotic Galileo spacecraft, shows the heavily cratered, ice-and-rock covered face of Callisto, which is almost as large as the planet Mercury.

Galileo, launched in 1989, has orbited Jupiter since December 1995. Its mission will end with a fiery plunge into Jupiter's atmosphere in September 2003, on its 35th orbit of the giant planet.

Full JPL Callisto Press Release

A spiky landscape of bright ice and dark dust shows signs of slow but active erosion on the surface of Jupiter's moon Callisto in new images from NASA's Galileo spacecraft.

The pictures taken by Galileo's camera on May 25 from a distance of less than 138 kilometers, or about 86 miles, above Callisto's surface give the highest resolution view ever seen of any of Jupiter's moons.

"We haven't seen terrain like this before. It looks like erosion is still going on, which is pretty surprising," said James Klemaszewski of Academic Research Lab, Phoenix, Ariz. Klemaszewski is processing and analyzing the Galileo Callisto imagery with Dr. David A. Williams and Dr. Ronald Greeley of Arizona State University, Tempe.

Callisto, about the same size as the planet Mercury, is the most distant of Jupiter's four large moons. Callisto's surface of ice and rock is the most heavily cratered of any moon in the solar system, signifying that it is geologically "dead." There is no clear evidence that Callisto has experienced the volcanic activity or tectonic shifting that have erased some or all of the impact craters on Jupiter's other three large moons.

The jagged hills in the new images may be icy material thrown outward from a large impact billions of years ago, or the highly eroded remains of a large impact structure, Williams said. Each bright peak is surrounded by darker dust that appears to be slumping off the peak.

"They are continuing to erode and will eventually disappear," Klemaszewski said. One theory for an erosion process is that, as some of the ice sublimes away into vapor, it leaves behind dust that was bound in the ice. The accumulating dark material may also absorb enough heat from the Sun to warm the ice adjacent to it and keep the process going. The new images show portions of the surface where the sharp knobs have apparently eroded away, leaving a plain blanketed with dark material.

The close-up images show craters as small as about 3 meters (10 feet) across, though not as many as some predictions anticipated. One scientific goal from the high-resolution images is to see how many small craters are crowded onto the surface. Crater counts are one way to estimate the age of a moon's surface, and since Callisto has been so undisturbed by other geological processes, its cratering density is useful in calibrating the estimates for Jupiter's other moons.

The full-size Callisto global color picture from Galileo are available on the Internet at: . [They are very big downloads! Ed.]

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages Galileo for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Additional information about the mission is available online at:

Mr. Lucky and Polka Dots Face Unemployment

By Ian Driscoll

NEW YORK August 22, 2001 (Reuters) - It looks like few clowns will be smiling in New York this Christmas.

Corporate America has got so preoccupied with issuing pink slips and taking other cost-cutting measures to ride out the economic downturn that it has been putting plans for year-end parties on ice.

That's bad news for clowns and other entertainers.

"Most regular accounts are saying 'We haven't even started thinking about that yet,"' said Stan Wiest of A. Wiest Entertainment, an entertainment-booking agency whose repertoire includes clowns, a performing dog and ventriloquists.

Wiest, who has been in the business more than 20 years, said he has never seen such a sudden or steep shortfall in holiday season bookings. "Companies are saying it's not appropriate to do these things when they are giving out pink slips," he said.

By now, Wiest would normally expect to have had a diary crammed full of bookings for Christmas parties and other seasonal bashes, but he has plenty of performers still prepared to sing for their supper.

Mr. Lucky, the performing dog whose credits include Saturday Night Live and The Letterman Show and who is usually charged out a $900 per hour, has suffered a 30 percent decline in his pre-Christmas bookings.

Polka-Dots, a New York-based clown with a once lucrative sideline in singing-telegrams, traces the decline back to the technology sector crash that started last year.

She used to do singing telegrams about eight times a week, dressed as either a French Maid, Playboy Bunny, Chicken or Gorilla. "Now I'm down to just two a week," she said.

Daisy Doodle, a children's clown whose adult alter-ego is Delilah, the belly, hula and sometime flamenco dancer, said her summer bookings are down 40 percent on earlier years. Nor is she optimistic about the holiday season. "This is the slowest year since I've been keeping records, and I haven't received any Christmas bookings yet."

Still, it is not bleak across the board. Several large companies, perhaps keen to secure a clearer view of the future -- many have been complaining about lack of visibility for everything from the economy to new orders and profits -- have been booking those who say they can see into the future.

Psychic and tarot card reader Sebastian Black said his bookings are higher than a year ago.

Judge Won't Touch Swordfish Ruling
BOSTON August 21, 2001 (AP) – A federal judge on Tuesday refused to overturn the government's closure of a swordfishing area, which was imposed to protect endangered turtles.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner wrote that while she was sympathetic to the plight of fishermen affected by the closure, federal law prevented her from granting a preliminary injunction.

The swordfishing industry sued after the mid-July closure of the Grand Banks area of the North Atlantic, off the southeastern coast of Newfoundland. Members of the industry asked for the preliminary injunction to reopen the fishery during the prime fishing season while the litigation moved forward.

The closure aims to protect the endangered leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles from fishing lines and hooks.

Attorneys for the industry argued that closure was based on flawed science, and that they were being asked to bear an unfair share of the costs to save the turtle.
Frozen Corpses of 80 Animals Found in Brazil Zoo

By Andrei Khalip

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil August 17, 2001 (Reuters) - Environmental authorities have found more than 80 frozen corpses of animals, including rare species, which had apparently died of starvation in a zoo near Rio de Janeiro, officials said on Thursday.

Environmental police investigator Arthur Cabral said in televised comments the Bwana Park Zoo had recently tried to convert itself into a sex club, which could have led its owners to abandon the animals.

The government's environmental agency, Ibama, said that about 100 live animals in the zoo, at the town of Guaratiba west of Rio, bore signs of malnutrition and ill-treatment. The zoo had recently been sold to new owners.

"We found the dead animals during a checkup on the zoo and sealed the park yesterday. Live animals were clearly kept in inadequate conditions. Criminal charges will be made," an Ibama spokesman told Reuters.

Among the dead animals found in the freezers of a local veterinary clinic were an African lynx, an Asian otter, a jaguar, a yellow-tongued alligator, monkeys and macaws.

Local media showed blood-chilling pictures of an environmental official holding up the frozen corpse of a small monkey by its crooked tail and a whole table covered with lifeless furry and feathery animal bodies.

Most of the animals had died in the past two months, according to Ibama's preliminary conclusions.

Apart from a $21,000 fine, the park's former owners and the local veterinarian may face criminal charges for ill-treatment and destruction of rare animals.

Under Brazilian environmental laws, which are seldom enforced, the maximum sentence for killing a rare animal is one year and three months in jail.

The authorities also suspect illegal animal trafficking, a widespread criminal business in Brazil, home to around 20 percent of fauna and flora species found on the planet. Over 200 animal species in Latin America's largest country run the risk of total extinction.

After its opening in the early 1990s, the Bwana park drew scores of children from Rio de Janeiro and other cities, but its financial health has deteriorated recently, especially after its founder died earlier this year.

That was when the plan to create a sex club cropped up, according to local media.

Mr. Potato Head Rejected By Brits

LONDON August 20, 2001 (Reuters) - A giant "Mr. Potato Head" statue given by a U.S. town to its twin town in central England had to be removed because local people said they didn't like it.

Pawtucket in Rhode Island, where the "Mr. Potato Head" character featured in the "Toy Story" movies was invented, sent the seven-foot-tall plastic effigy to the town of Belper where it was put up outside the local McDonald's.

But townsfolk launched a campaign demanding that tourism officer Reg Whitworth get rid of it.

"We started getting letters saying 'Why has this horrible thing appeared stuck in the middle of town? We don't want it here'," Wayne Bontoft of local newspaper the Belper News told Reuters on Monday.

The $8,700 statue, based on the simple toy which involves sticking plastic arms, feet and facial parts into a potato, has now been banished to a children's playground and will later be put in a nearby "Wild West" theme park.

Bob Billington, head of tourism in Pawtucket, which twinned with Belper in 1993, said the reaction had upset people in the New England town.

"Potato Heads here in Rhode Island attract quite a lot of positive attention. We thought it was a nice gesture," he told Britain's Sun newspaper.

Would-Be Millionaires Tried To Get Ahead
LAGOS August 22, 2001 (Reuters) - Three men hoping to be millionaires were arrested in southwestern Nigeria for possessing a human skull that they planned to use in money-making rituals, police said Tuesday.

"We arrested the three suspects last week at Ota," a police spokesman told Reuters. "One of them was in possession of a fresh human skull, which he said he bought for 500 naira ($4.50)."

The skull was to be used in witchcraft which the suspects believed would make them instant millionaires, the police said.

"The ritualist who allegedly sold the human skull is now at large," the spokesman said.

Ritual killing is common in some parts of Africa's most populous country, where people believe witchcraft involving the use of vital human organs such as genitals, eyes, tongues and skulls can make their fortunes.

In July, a teenage girl confessed to taking part in the ritual killing of 48 people in the last seven years after being initiated into a secret cult.

The 13-year-old told police in the northeastern city of Maiduguri that the body parts of victims, who included a two-year-old boy, were usually removed and sent to the cult headquarters in Nigeria's commercial center of Lagos.
'Dracula's Castle' Center Of Legal Fight

Associated Press

BUCHAREST, Romania August 21 2001 (AP) - A former Romanian princess' descendants are suing the government for the return of an ancient fortress popularly known as "Dracula's Castle" - or $25 million in compensation.

Culture Minister Razvan Theodorescu confirmed receipt of a letter from lawyers representing the family of the former Princess Ileana, the state news agency Rompres reported Tuesday.

"We will treat this matter calmly," said Theodorescu, suggesting the claim was out of line since the state had already invested money for repairs of the 14th-century fortress in the Transylvanian town of Bran.

Vlad the Impaler - the Romanian warrior prince who gave rise to the Dracula legend - never lived in the turreted gothic edifice. Nonetheless, it has been nicknamed "Dracula's castle," a favorite attraction of tourists and foreign filmmakers alike. Vlad, whose legendary reputation for cruelty was founded on his love of impaling his victims and watching them die while he ate dinner, turned into the blood-drinking Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel.

Princess Ileana was a daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England and Czar Alexander II of Russia. Ileana's mother left her the castle when she died in 1938.

Ileana emigrated to the United States in 1950 and founded a convent 17 years later in western Pennsylvania. Before becoming a nun, she was married and had five children. She died in 1991.

Her nephew, King Michael, was forced to abdicate the Romanian throne in 1947 and the royal family left Bucharest in 1948 as the Communists consolidated their power.

Earlier this month, Michael, 79, sued the government for the return of a separate home, the Peles Castle, built by his great grandfather Carol I as the royal palace in 1873.

Michael's lawyers argue that the castle should be returned under existing laws. The government has said it would like to negotiate with Michael.

Buffy News:

Gellar Calls Emmy Voters 'Stodgy'

August 14, 2001 (SciFi Wire) - Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar accepted an extraordinary achievement award at this weekend's Teen Choice Awards and took a swipe at Emmy voters for snubbing her acclaimed drama this year, TV Guide Online reported.

"This is better than the Emmys," Gellar told reporters backstage. "And people can say that's a load of phooey or whatever words you can use here."

Gellar added, "The people here - the teens - this is why we make the show. We don't make it for stodgy old Emmy voters. That won't keep our show alive. The fans keep our show alive."

Ripper - Not Watcher

Cinescape News Editor

August 13, 2001 (Cinescape) - Yes, Joss Whedon is working on a spin-off of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER that will focus on Anthony Stewart Head's Giles character. There's just one thing wrong with all those stories about the potential series: the title.

While talking to CINESCAPE's own Anthony C. Ferrante, Whedon revealed his title for the series, saying, "It's RIPPER because it's Giles old nickname."

When asked why everyone has been calling it "THE WATCHER," Whedon answers, "I don't know what happened there. I did say at one point if they have a problem with RIPPER we'll call it the WATCHER because that's a good title and it describes what Tony is doing. I think RIPPER is a bit sexier and better.

"RIPPER is what I call it, but I'm not offended by anyone calling it the WATCHER."

While appearing at the San Diego Comic-Con International, Joss Whedon spoke of his BBC produced BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER spin-off series which would star Anthony Stewart Head. Whedon told the assemblage of fans that the program would be in the vein of "classic English ghost stories."

It will also focus on the theme of loneliness, as Whedon explains:

 "I think of it as, the people who live there, it's all very isolated, and the demons that they've brought upon themselves ... that are most important in their lives. [Giles] himself has been gone for many years. He was surrounded by a ... de facto family that he no longer has. And [he is] sort of picking up his life all alone, and then getting involved in sort of the underbelly of other people's lives, and sort of finding out about them. Loneliness is what I think of. It may not be the theme so much as the emotional intent of the series, but that's what really attracts me to it the most."

Topless Dancers Win Freedom to Fondle

LOS ANGELES August 23, 2001 (Reuters) - Topless dancers in California bars can now fondle themselves in the line of duty -- and that's official.

A state appeals board has decided that a rule prohibiting topless dancers from touching, caressing and fondling their own bodies is an infringement of the U.S. constitutional right to freedom of expression.

The decision, made public this week, came from California's Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board in a case brought by the Angels Sports Bar in Corona, southern California.

The bar's license to sell alcohol had been suspended last year because its dancers were reported to have violated conduct deemed under detailed alcohol beverage control rules to be "contrary to public welfare and morals."

The appeals board, however, said the dancer's actions were part of the "expressive nature of the dance." It means that topless dancers in any California bar can now fondle and caress themselves without fear of having the bar's alcohol license revoked.

"I am so excited. It is wonderful news," Angels Sports bar owner Renee Vicary said on Wednesday. Physical contact between dancers and patrons is still prohibited along with simulated sexual acts or dancing that is lewd or obscene.

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has 30 days to decide whether to appeal the ruling or let it stand. "We are reviewing our options," said spokesman Carl DeWing.

Vetoed Leaks Law Revived
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON August 23, 2001 (AP) — Supporters say a revived proposal to clamp down on leaks of secrets to the press will protect national security and potentially save lives. But the news media and other critics blast the idea, charging it will only serve to silence whistleblowers and stifle communication between the government and the public.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., is resurrecting his anti-leak proposal that was vetoed by President Clinton last year. The provision would have expanded current secrecy law to allow the government to prosecute people who leak "properly classified'' information on matters beyond those related to national defense. Violators would face a felony charge and up to three years in prison.

A Bush administration official was noncommittal about the new proposal on Wednesday. The administration is reviewing whether a new law is necessary, or if existing law is sufficient, the official said.

A spokeswoman for Shelby, who is traveling outside the country, said this year's proposal will initially be similar to the provision Clinton vetoed.

Supporters of Shelby's proposal say press leaks by government officials have compromised intelligence operations. They point to news reports that revealed that the United States had tapped satellite telephones used by suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Not long after, bin Laden stopped using those phones, depriving the United States the ability to monitor some of his communications — including the planning of future attacks on U.S. citizens, government officials said.

Prosecutions are rare, but government personnel caught leaking non-defense information may lose their security clearance, or their job.

Opponents, including news media advocates, provide a laundry list of reporting on government corruption and problems — such as the Iran-Contra scandal and the "Pentagon Papers'' that detailed U.S. involvement in Vietnam — that began with a government official leaking secret information.

Opponents worry those people could be scared into silence should this measure pass.

"It's going to have a chilling effect on any former or existing government employee talking to the press, writing a book, or providing testimony to Congress,'' said John Sturm, president of the Newspaper Association of America.

Last year, CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post joined Sturm's group in opposition to the bill.

Critics also worry that journalists, as the only witnesses to the new crime, would be subpoenaed to reveal their sources, and face jail for protecting them.

It's unlikely Shelby's measure will receive the same treatment this year as it did in 2000, when it flew through the intelligence committees as an amendment to the annual bill that funds the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies.

There was little public debate until it reached the floor in the House and Senate, where it passed over some objections.

It had received initial support from the Clinton administration, notably from Attorney General Janet Reno, who said it would close a "narrow'' gap in existing law.

Justice officials said at the time the intention of was to include some foreign policy and intelligence information that doesn't fall under the scope of the current law, which criminalizes revealing specific "national defense'' information like troop readiness. But opponents said that, as written, the provision could be used much more widely.

Clinton, however, vetoed the intelligence bill because of the measure, which he said might "chill legitimate activities that are at the heart of a democracy.'' He signed a revised version without the anti-leak provision.

The intelligence committees were also criticized for failing to hold public hearings on the matter. This year, an open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled for Sept. 5. CIA Director George Tenet, a top-level Justice Department official, and representatives of the news media have been invited to testify.

Tenet will describe "to the extent that he can in an open session the damage that can be caused by leaks of highly classified information,'' CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said Wednesday. But he won't take a position on the legislation.

Since the Senate became Democratic, Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., has assumed the chairman's role, leaving former Chairman Shelby as the ranking minority member. A spokesman for Graham, who supported the measure last year, said the senator won't state a position on this year's proposal until the hearing.
Vietnam Memorial Faces Controversy

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON August 23, 2001 (AP) — It is Washington's most visited memorial, honoring the dead of the 20th century's most divisive war. Now the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, created two decades ago amid bitter acrimony, is becoming the subject of dissension and controversy yet again.

The veterans who helped build the memorial want to add a structure nearby to educate visitors, not about the war but about the memorial itself. Critics, not least among them the National Park Service, are appalled.

The black granite wedge is engraved with the names of the 58,226 men and women killed in or still missing from the war. Its designer, architect Maya Lin, intended it to be "a quiet place, meant for personal reflection and reckoning.''

The proposed 1,200-square-foot education center would change that intent, says the park service, which manages the memorial in addition to those within its sight honoring George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

"We believe we risk diminishing the original work by adding adjunct structures to this site,'' John Parsons, a regional park service official, told a congressional committee last month.

Lin's simple concept for the memorial, chosen from a national design contest, roused a furor among many Americans who felt it cheapened and demeaned the memory of those who died. Inclusion of a statue of three combat-weary servicemen overlooking the wall was a key part of the compromise that had the Wall built. Many now consider the monument the most poignant of all the sites on the National Mall.

The memorial's purpose, the park service says, is "to separate the issue of the sacrifices of the veterans from the U.S. policy in the war.'' A quarter-century after the last American GIs left Vietnam, scholars agree that passions still run so strong as to defy an objective assessment.

"Objective, non-controversial history that everyone can agree on doesn't exist with the Vietnam War,'' said Ronald Spector, chairman of the history department at George Washington University.

The National Capital Planning Commission, the government agency that reviews federal land development proposals, also opposes the proposed center. Lin is remaining mum for the time being, according to her spokeswoman.

Nonetheless, plans for the education center are speeding ahead, and legislation authorizing it is before committees in both the House and Senate, where support is overwhelming.

Among the backers are Sens. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Max Cleland, D-Ga., and John Kerry, D-Mass., all Vietnam veterans. Kerry, who earned three purple hearts in the war but led demonstrations against it after he returned home, said focusing on the veterans makes Vietnam easier to understand.

"Despite the war's confusing moral backdrop, we tried to make sense of our mission,'' Kerry said. "The faults in Vietnam were those of the war, not the warriors.''

Veterans groups also support the idea, saying the project would elaborate on the lives of the men and women whose names are on the wall and provide basic information about the war without interpreting it.

"The purpose is not to teach the long and difficult and confusing history of the Vietnam War,'' said Jan Scruggs, originator of the memorial and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. "The purpose is to understand why the memorial is such a significant place.''

The education center, with space to accommodate about 50 people at a time, would replace a Park Service kiosk now at the site. Financed by private and corporate donations, its construction would take about a year once approved by the government.

Scruggs said it would house some of more than 62,000 items such as dog tags, photographs, bracelets and toys that have been left at the memorial since its construction. It would also have computers where students and visitors could read and view remembrances about the veterans whose names are on the Wall.

Ten years after completion, the center would be evaluated, and Congress would decide if it should stay or come down.

The Vietnam War inflames American passions. It is nearly impossible to keep controversy at bay when talking about it, scholars say.

"You can't do anything about Vietnam today without aggravating someone,'' said Texas Tech University history professor James Reckner. "As long as two people are alive from the Vietnam generation, there will be an argument.''

The Vietnam Memorial, which attracts 3.7 million visitors each year, now includes the Wall, two statues and a commemorative flagpole. In the works is a memorial plaque honoring veterans who died after the war but as a direct result of their service in Vietnam.


The bills are H.R. 510 and S. 281

On the Net: 

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund: 

National Park Service:

Jolie To Become UN Goodwill Ambassador

GENEVA August 21, 2001 (AP) - Angelina Jolie will become the United Nations' latest celebrity ambassador during a ceremony next week, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday.

Kris Janowski, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said Jolie would be appointed a goodwill ambassador Monday during an event at the agency's Geneva headquarters.

"She is the kind of person who can get our message across to young people," Janowski told reporters.

Jolie stars in the action film "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," which included several scenes shot in Cambodia at Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world and the best known of the scores of old Buddhist and Hindu temples around Cambodia.

Last month, the 26-year-old actress visited Cambodia as a guest of the UNHCR, which is working with displaced people and returned refugees in the country. Jolie also has visited UNHCR work sites in Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Tanzania.

Since 1954, when the late comedian Danny Kaye became the first goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Children's Fund, leading personalities in the arts, sports and public life have traveled around the world advertising the work of the United Nations.

Current ambassadors include Muhammad Ali, Michael Douglas, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and French soccer star Zinedine Zidane.

Angelina Jolie visits Afghan refugees in Pakistan

PESHAWAR Pakistan August 22, 2001 (AP) - It was a long way from the glitter of Hollywood for Angelina Jolie, who Wednesday slogged through the choking dust of the Jalozai Refugee Camp, home to tens of thousands of Afghans who have fled their war-devastated homeland.

Jolie, who will be named the latest United Nations celebrity goodwill ambassador next week at a ceremony in Geneva, declined interviews and photographs.

At Jalozai Camp, a squalid tent village occupied by about 60,000 exiled Afghans, Jolie shook hands with refugees and knelt before their dusty tents to see their plight, said a UN official who didn't want to be quoted.

Pakistan houses an estimated two million Afghans in camps and cities throughout the country.

Jolie was also to visit Afghan refugees in southwestern Baluchistan province.

In recent months, the 26-year-old actress has visited Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Tanzania as a guest of the UN high commissioner for refugees.

UN Urges U.S. and Others To Forest Conservation
NAIROBI, Kenya August 21 2001 (AP) - Efforts to save the world's forests should be concentrated in just 15 countries that contain some of the most important woodlands on the planet, the U.N. Environment Program says.

More than 80 percent of the remaining closed forests, which includes virgin, old growth and naturally regenerated woodlands, are located in the United States and 14 other countries, according to a satellite based-survey that included research by UNEP, NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Governments and international organizations should focus their efforts in these areas because it "it is unlikely that all forests can be protected," UNEP executive director Klaus Toepfer said.

"Short of a miraculous transformation in the attitude of people and governments, the Earth's remaining closed canopy forests and their associated biodiversity are destined to disappear in the coming decades," Toepfer said in a statement. "It would be better to focus conservation priorities on those target areas that have the best prospects for continued existence."

The survey estimates that the 15 countries - Russia, Canada, Brazil, the United States, Congo, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, India, Australia and Papua New Guinea - are home to 5.6 billion acres of closed forest.

The majority of these forests are sparsely populated, which improves the chances of conservation efforts succeeding, the statement said.

Toepfer said the forests play a vital role in reducing the impact of climate change by absorbing harmful carbon gases, adding that they are also home to some of the world's most endangered species.
Census Shows Nearly 600,000 Same-Sex Households

Associated Press

WASHINGTON August 22, 2001 (AP) - Same-sex partners head households in nearly every county in the country, according to census figures from one of the most comprehensive counts yet of homosexuals in the United States. Gay or lesbian couple-led homes totaled close to 600,000 nationwide.

Among states, California and New York have the biggest shares of the country's 594,391 same sex couple-led homes, according to results from the 2000 census. And more than 99 percent of all counties had at least one household headed by unmarried partners of the same sex, including places in the rural Midwest and Deep South.

Overall, such living arrangement still make up a tiny share of American households - just over one-half of 1 percent of the 105.5 million homes.

Yet many gay rights groups said the count alone offered proof of changing societal views over homosexuality. The data would be used in battles over issues such as discrimination and legal recognition of same-sex couples, said Paula Ettelbrick of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

"The next step is to get federal, state and local government to begin responding to these communities," Ettelbrick said. The results also dispel stereotypes that homosexuality is limited to large urban centers and college towns, she said.

Unsurprisingly, the three most populous states also had the highest proportions of same-sex couple households:

-No. 1 California, with 10.9 percent of U.S. households, had almost 16 percent of same-sex homes.

-No. 3 New York, with 6.7 percent of U.S. households, had 8 percent of same-sex homes.

-No. 2 Texas, with 7 percent of U.S. households, had 7.2 percent of the same-sex homes.

Among cities, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and New York had some of the largest numbers of same-sex homes.

And an analysis by demographer Gary Gates of the Urban Institute, a think tank, found same-sex couple homes in 97 percent of the country's "census tracts," which are far smaller than counties, reflecting how widely dispersed that population is.

Brenda Henson said life has improved a bit since she and her partner moved eight years ago to rural Ovett, Miss., to open a feminist retreat center. The census found 109 of the 24,275 households in Jones County, where they live, were headed by same-sex couples.

Once the target of constant threats, Henson said they are now on good terms with neighbors and have a charge account at a grocery store that once turned them away.

"This is where we belong, much to the chagrin of many around us," Henson said. "But things are changing."

National figures on households led by homosexual couples come as the Census Bureau finished releasing the first wave of data from the 2000 count for all 50 states. Results for Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas were released Wednesday.

The figures were derived by counting the number of people who checked off "unmarried partner" on their form who also said they lived with someone of the same sex.

Advocacy groups for gays and lesbians consider that to be a same sex couple since other options such as "roommate," "boarder" or "other non-relative" were available.

The census count is not an official or complete tally of homosexuals since the form does not ask about sexuality. So a gay person living alone could not be identified on a form as gay.

In addition, concerns over confidentiality and discrimination likely caused an undercount, analysts said, despite campaigns by advocacy groups for same-sex unmarried partners to disclose their relationships on the census.

The 1990 census form was the first to offer an "unmarried partner" check-off. That census found 145,130 same sex couple homes in the country, with such homes in 52 percent of all counties, Gates found.

However, the bureau warned that data cannot be directly compared with 2000 because of differences in their collection and analysis.

New York Public Library Acquires Jack Kerouac Archives
Associated Press

NEW YORK August 21, 2001 (AP) - It sounds like a surreal, old Bob Dylan song: Pancho Villa playing center field for a 1930s team called the Boston Fords, taking on such rivals as the Pittsburgh Plymouths and the St. Louis Cadillacs.

But the history books and the record books will lead you nowhere. Villa never bothered with the big leagues and the Fords and their fellow franchises were only legends, roaming the mythic ballparks of a young Jack Kerouac.

The New York Public Library announced Tuesday that it has acquired the literary and personal archives of Kerouac, who died in 1969. The archives, available to scholars within the next few years, contain thousands of items, including diaries, letters, stories, notebooks and manuscripts for "On the Road" and other novels.

Most unusual is a labyrinthine fantasy baseball game Kerouac created as a kid growing up in Lowell, Mass., and referred to in his private papers and the novel "Dr. Sax." Kerouac fans have long wanted to know more about the author's so-called "Summer League."

"This should give you an idea of the breadth, and the richness, of his imaginary life," said Isaac Gewirtz, curator of the library's Berg Collection of English and American Literature, which includes manuscripts by Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot and many others.

If "On the Road" wasn't the Great American Novel, then Kerouac can make a fair claim to the Great American Fantasy Baseball League. Using blue, orange and plain-colored paper, index cards and the backs of business cards, Kerouac invented a six-team league more complicated than Strat-O-Matic and other popular games.

He recruited historic figures such as Villa and Lou Gehrig, and imaginary heroes such as Homer Landry, Charley Custer and Luis Tercerero. Kerouac hired himself as manager of the Plymouths.

There are few specific instructions, but the game apparently called for marbles, toothpicks and white-rubber erasers to be thrown against a target some 40 feet away. So detailed was Kerouac's league that he played each game in virtual real time, not just batter by batter, but pitch by pitch, down to a foul tip off home plate.

He also published the newsletter "Jack Lewis's Baseball Chatter," and produced a broadsheet called the "The Daily Ball," in which he compiled standings and league leaders and offered summaries of the day's games.

"Writers create vast kingdoms for themselves to control and to let their imagination run loose," said Ann Douglas, a professor of American studies at Columbia University who has written often about the Beats.

"Think of William Faulkner and his Yoknapatawpha County. Think of Thomas De Quincey and his brother making up whole worlds of imaginary inhabitants who were at war with each other. Writers like to be gods of worlds where great dramas are played out."

The son of French Canadians, Kerouac was born in Lowell in 1922. He played baseball and football as a child and was a star athlete in high school. In the 1940s, he helped found the "Beat" movement with Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs, whom he met in New York City.

The Berg collection includes a tombstone-shaped Valentine Kerouac gave his mother in 1933 and a journal from 1939 in which the self-pitying teen announces: "My name is John L. Kerouac, regardless of how little that may matter to the casual reader."

His fantasy league dates back at least to the mid-1930s. Kerouac not only kept records of each player's performance, but compiled scorecards and box scores and even individual salaries and team fiscal data.

"Only the Pontiacs, Nashes and cellar-dwelling La Salles are in financial condition to buy any minor league players to improve their clubs at this time," Kerouac reports midway through one season.

Douglas said that Kerouac didn't speak English fluently until his teens and considers his fantasy league a classic immigrant experience, using baseball to access American culture.

But Kerouac kept the games going long after he had mastered the language. In one entry, written during his 30s, Kerouac refers in pencil to a season that was to be continued in the next notebook.

Alas, in a parenthetical aside recorded later in blue ink, he relates that the sequel is no more. It was lost on a trip to Mexico City, with the Cincinnati Blacks in first and Villa leading the league in stolen bases.

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