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Global health leader honoured and new chancellor installed at spring convocation

Jun 05, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Royal Roads University (RRU) graduates will share the stage with one of the world’s leading scholars and scientists in global health, and the university’s fifth chancellor will be installed during spring convocation ceremonies at the Royal Theatre on June 18.

Celebrated physician, researcher, and global health and human rights leader James Orbinski will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his contribution to humanitarianism and medical science.

Orbinski accepted the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for its pioneering approach to medical humanitarianism in 1999. He served as president of MSF from 1998 to 2001, and received Canada’s highest civilian award, the Meritorious Service Cross, for his leadership in MSF’s mission in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. His many honours include membership in the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada.

“We are honoured to be able to recognize someone who applies his talents and skills as a physician to those who are most in need,” said Royal Roads president and vice-chancellor Allan Cahoon. “His service and compassion inspire us and our graduates as we continue to build a legacy of learning and leadership at Royal Roads.”

Prominent Victoria businessman and Royal Roads Board of Governors Chair Wayne Strandlund will be installed as chancellor at the start of the morning ceremony.

“Wayne is a successful local entrepreneur with a strong commitment to this community and someone who is passionate about Royal Roads University and his role as our fifth chancellor,” Cahoon said.

Strandlund is the founder and CEO of Fisgard Capital Corporation, a Victoria-based, family-run mortgage investment company he started in 1994. A director of the Real Estate Compensation Fund Corporation and a member of the Victoria Symphony Business Advisory Council, he has served as president of the Victoria Real Estate Board and the British Columbia Real Estate Association. Strandlund was appointed to the RRU board by the B.C. government in July 2011.

This spring’s convocation ceremonies recognize the achievements of more than 760 students who have earned degrees, certificates or diplomas in the Faculty of Management or in the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences.

In a milestone event for the university, the first graduates of the Doctor of Social Sciences (DSocSci) program will be conferred degrees at this convocation. Royal Roads’ applied research doctoral program is the first of its kind in Canada.

The public is invited to nominate outstanding individuals for honorary degrees. Learn more at http://www.royalroads.ca/news-events/convocation.

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Seaspan Signs MOA with Canadian Merchant Service Guild, Agrees to Federal Mediation/Arbitration

Jun 04, 2014

(News Release) VANCOUVER – Following extensive discussions with the Honourable Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, Seaspan announced this afternoon it has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Canadian Merchant Service Guild (the Guild), agreeing to enter Federal mediation/arbitration.

This announcement comes after more than eight months of collective agreement negotiations between Seaspan and the Guild, which began on October 21, 2013.

As part of the agreement, Seaspan will also defer implementation of its new collective agreement, which was scheduled to take effect on Monday, June 9. In addition, the Guild, whose members will be meeting tomorrow to discuss a strike vote, have agreed not to go on strike.

In the meantime, Minister Leitch remains thoroughly engaged in discussions with Seaspan’s other marine union, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), and we expect talks to continue throughout the remainder of her visit.

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Canadian Innovation To Change The World Of Design Visualisation And Manufacturing

Jun 03, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — cebas Visual Technology Inc - a leading software developer specialized in offering tools to the movie visual effects and design
visualisation industry - announces its new product release. Meet moskitoRenderTM: the next generation of robust rendering systems, which is a GPU-only (Graphics Processing Unit) renderer. The software is made available for the widely-used product line of Autodesk - a manufacturer of world leading Design and animation tools. It offers a true, continuous workflow with easy setup, less parameters and lightning fast results. It serves a wide array of industry professionals - from movie visual effects artists to architects of all skillsets and

“Our new renderer is not just another off-the-shelf implementation of existing GPU rendering technology. We are proud we did actually go the extra mile and took the time and engineering efforts to create a truly new and innovative product. moskitoRender creates images exactly based on the principles of mother nature; all colors are treated as real spectral wavelengths instead of plain old RGB values. This alone opens up a whole new world of possibilities”, says Edwin Braun, CEO of cebas Visual Technology Inc.

moskitoRender has been developed from the ground up incorporating the latest acceleration technology offered by the world leading manufacturer of graphics cards; NVIDIA (www.nvidia.com). This new piece of software technology is different in many ways: It is easy and simple to use - users do not need to worry about a learning curve or time wasted trying to understand the process behind creating photo-real images. In contrast to other GPU-Only implementations, moskitoRender allows the reuse of established workflow and existing scene setups instead of forcing the user to create new ones from scratch, with the added benefits of using less power to create more output and higher quality in significantly less time.

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Celebrate World Oceans Day at Fisherman’s Wharf

Jun 03, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – Fisherman’s Wharf will be a hub of activity on Sunday, June 8 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to celebrate the oceans that surround us, educate people on the diversity of marine life in the Salish Sea, and show how making small changes in our everyday lives can add up to big differences to the planet.  The World Oceans Day celebration at Fisherman’s Wharf is jointly organized by Eagle Wing Tours, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, merchants at Fisherman’s Wharf and the Float-home Owners Association.

“We believe that education is the first step towards conservation,” said Brett Soberg, co-owner of Eagle Wing Tours. “The primary goal for this event is to educate people about the diversity and importance of marine life in the Salish Sea, Victoria’s Inner Harbour, and Fisherman’s Wharf while at the same time raising funds to support local conservation efforts.”

The event will start with a blessing ceremony lead by elders from the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations followed by activities for young and old alike including divers showing you creatures that live under the wharf, booths of information about the Salish Sea, and a scavenger hunt. The grand prize for the scavenger hunt is filled with interesting activities and outings to keep a family busy for the whole summer. It includes a whale watching tour with Eagle Wing Tours, a two hour kayaking tour of the harbour provided by Kelp Reef Adventures, along with gift certificates from Barb’s Fish & Chips, Floating Fish Store, Jacksons Ice Cream and other Fisherman’s Wharf merchants.

Other businesses and organizations involved in this World Oceans Day celebration include:

  • Sea Change Marine Conservation Society
  • Seaquaria Watershed Model
  • Fish Eye Project
  • The Georgia Strait Alliance
  • Creatively United for the Planet
  • Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise
  • Gorge Waterway Initiative
  • Herring Restoration Project
  • Adopt a Whale Program

“The businesses at Fisherman’s Wharf know that the oceans help feed us, regulate our climate, provide us with 80% of our oxygen, and clean our drinking water,” said Soberg. “Healthy oceans really do make healthy communities and we need to do our part in ensuring our oceans are protected.” Businesses taking part at the World Oceans Day at Fisherman’s Wharf celebrations will donate a percentage of the day’s sales to raise money for local conservation efforts.

Fisherman’s wharf is located within walking distance from Victoria’s Inner Harbour with entrances off St. Lawrence Street and Dallas Road; however, parking is limited. Additional parking is available at Ogden Point near the heliport or plan to walk, bike, take transit or a Harbour Ferry from one of their many Inner Harbour pickup spots.

To learn more about the Fisherman’s Wharf Ocean Day Celebration head to Facebook.

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Spring Sales Continue to Rise in the Victoria Market

Jun 03, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – The Victoria Real Estate Board today released its monthly report on real estate activity in the Victoria area for May 2014.

714 properties sold in the region in the month of May 2014 compared to 659 in May 2013 – an increase of over 8% year over year. Compared to last month in April, there were 7.5% more sales.

“We are pleased to see sales numbers continue to rise,” Victoria Real Estate Board President Tim Ayres says. “The last time we saw this many sales in a month was in 2010, which was also the last time we saw a busy market. The increase may be attributed to the extended period of low mortgage rates we are seeing, and to the great diversity of properties currently available. We saw 19 single family homes sell for over one million dollars this month, and we saw 29 single family homes sell for under $350,000. The market has something for every home buyer right now.”

In May 2013 the MLS® Home Price Index benchmark price for a single family home in Greater Victoria was $493,600. This year in May the benchmark home value reached $498,500 – a modest 1% increase year over year. The Peninsula benchmark home value saw a 0.7% increase while the Westshore saw a very minor decrease of 0.1%.  Townhouses in Greater Victoria show the most noteworthy change with an increase of 4.2% year over year.

“We’re seeing a modest increase in property values overall in the Victoria area” adds President Ayres, “and the balanced conditions we talked about last month are still in place, which means a steady, predictable market.”

More information on the May 2014 report and the MLS® HPI is available from the Victoria Real Estate Board www.vreb.org

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Victoria Business Puts the Buzz in Food Wrap

May 30, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA —BDC announced today that the turning-point project, “Bee Wrapped,” submitted by local businesswoman Toni Desrosiers, will represent British Columbia in the finals of the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award (BDC YEA).

Toni’s project will see her company, Abeego Designs Inc., expand into the U.S. market to develop a solid, easy recognizable brand for her “beeswax wrap that keeps food fresh”. To claim the $100,000 Grand Prize and actively expand her brand into the U.S. market, Toni needs votes from Canadians coast-to-coast.

Abeego has people buzzing about food wrap. This all-natural product is a quality alternative to conventional plastic food wraps. Whereas plastic wrap has been around since the 60s, cultures around the world have been relying on beeswax, jojoba oil, tree resin, cotton and hemp for thousands of years to store food and preserve its freshness.

“We are inspired by nature, and we believe natural materials are ideal for keeping food fresh,” says Toni. “This is not a second-rate natural version of plastic. Abeego is versatile, flexible, reusable and biodegradable. Unlike plastic, it allows food to breathe, keeping it fresh and preserving natural flavours to create less food waste.”

Abeego is a natural solution to a natural problem. This message has resonated with consumers, particularly middle-class mothers in search of environmentally sustainable alternatives who have been early adopters of the brand. Demand for the product is constantly increasing—Abeego is now responding to three to five wholesale requests a week from independent stores and small retail chains.

Toni has plans to make Abeego part of our pop culture with the phrase “Abeego It” by actively pursuing distribution agreements with larger retail chains across North America. She has a four-part plan to make this expansion happen, including a marketing and promotion strategy and investments in new equipment and manufacturing processes that will see the company quadruple production and reduce product defects.

“Each of this year’s finalists has shared a compelling story about how their business stands at that crucial crossroads where the right mix of vision and action can secure future growth and success,” says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. “Toni has proven how an entrepreneurial vision supported by a passion for sustainability can carry a startup a long way. Her business is now ready to take its next big step.”

“I’ve never talked to a single person who’s happy about using plastic food wrap,” says Toni. “Whenever we can get in front of people and demonstrate Abeego, they realize they do have a better choice. Please vote for our project—a vote for Abeego is a vote for a sustainable Canadian invention that uses all natural materials to reduce our reliance on plastic.”

Voting for the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest runs from May 29 to June 12 at noon EST. To support your favourite project, log into the contest website and vote once a day. Follow the contest through updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Visit bdc.ca/awards to learn other ways in which BDC recognizes Canadian entrepreneurs. The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winner and runner-up will be announced on June 18. The runner-up will receive $25,000 in consulting services offered by BDC.

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UVic Appoints Respected Broadcaster Shelagh Rogers As Next Chancellor

May 30, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Shelagh Rogers, popular national radio host, witness and champion of reconciliation for Aboriginal people, long-time advocate for adult literacy and mental health awareness and an acknowledged “voice” of the country, has been named the University of Victoria’s 11th chancellor. She assumes office for a three-year term Jan. 1, 2015.

UVic President Jamie Cassels says, “Shelagh Rogers exemplifies the values that characterize our university. She is deeply connected with communities across Canada; her cultural contributions and ability to reach into people’s everyday lives as a well-known broadcaster and as an advocate for public awareness on important societal issues will make her an outstanding ambassador for the university. On campus, her trademark warmth, compassion and enthusiasm will help inspire our students and connect with them on a very authentic level.”

A veteran broadcast journalist, Rogers is currently the host and a producer of The Next Chapter, a CBC program about Canadian writers and songwriters. She moved to BC in 2003 after 23 years working on CBC news and current affairs radio programs. In 2011, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions as a promoter of Canadian culture, and for her volunteer work in the fields of mental health and literacy. She has committed herself to working toward reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people from coast to coast to coast, and was inducted as an Honorary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in June 2011.

“There is no real or metaphorical wall around the UVic campus,” says Rogers. “I sense a real openness to new ideas and fresh approaches to engagement of the university community and beyond. I really believe in the values of UVic. As a mental health activist and an advocate for adult literacy, I have worked towards civic engagement for many years. I’m deeply interested in how to excite the hearts and minds of young Canadians to create a better, stronger country and world. UVic’s commitment to Aboriginal students and communities was another compelling reason for me to take on this new role.”

“Being a witness to convocation, one of life’s benchmark days, and helping launch students into the world as bachelors, masters and doctors is an enormous honour,” adds Rogers.

Rogers will continue as host of The Next Chapter while serving as chancellor.

As the university’s titular head, the chancellor confers the university’s degrees and is a member of the university senate and board of governors.

Chancellor Murray Farmer, first elected in 2008, completes his second and, by law, final term at the end of 2014. “I’m delighted to welcome Ms. Rogers to the UVic community,” says Farmer.

The formal installation of UVic’s next chancellor will take place during Spring 2015 convocation.

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Seaterra Program will not proceed with Wastewater Treatment Facility at McLoughlin Point

May 27, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA – The Seaterra Program will not be proceeding with the implementation of a wastewater treatment facility at McLoughlin Point, following a decision today by Minister of Environment Mary Polak and Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Coralee Oakes. The treatment plant was to be part of the Seaterra Program, established to bring the region into compliance with the Federal and Provincial regulations for sewage treatment.

“It is regrettable that the province has made this decision,” said CRD Board Chair Alastair Bryson. “The Capital Regional District is now unable to implement the provincially approved Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan and our funding agreements with the federal and provincial governments are contingent on the implementation of this plan.”

The Capital Regional District (CRD) sought direction from Minister Polak and the Provincial Government in April, when the Township of Esquimalt Council rejected the CRD’s revised McLoughlin Point rezoning application.

In May 2011, the CRD adopted the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan, which identified McLoughlin Point as the location of the wastewater treatment plant. Under the direction of the Provincial Government, the CRD established an independent Commission to deliver the major components of the program and took significant steps to advance the program including developing a funding agreement outlining the methodology for the construction of a wastewater treatment facility, payment and terms.

The CRD believes that after extensive and exhaustive studies and analysis it developed a program that would have met the needs of the core area municipalities and residents for several decades to come at the least cost to the taxpayers, while meeting the Provincial and Federal regulations.

“Federal funding requires a satisfactory outcome that meets the regulation,” said Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee Chair Geoff Young. “It is unfortunate that the provincial government would order, agree to fund and then not assist us as they could in carrying out this program.”

The CRD is now faced with the challenge of determining how it can satisfy regional priorities and meet the Federal government deadline of having a wastewater treatment facility in place in the capital region by 2020. It is unclear at this time whether the Provincial government direction will put access to federal funding at risk.

In light of this significant decision, the CRD Board and committee will be meeting on June 4 to discuss next steps and the future of the Seaterra Program.

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Students, Institutions Asked for Input on Private Career Training Legislation

May 27, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Government is inviting written submissions from students, the private career training sector and the public to guide the development of legislation and supporting regulations needed to regulate the sector in British Columbia.

As a result of a core review, government announced its intention on April 17, 2014, to directly regulate the private career training sector. Before that can happen, legislation is required to dissolve the Private Career Training Institution Agency and transfer its functions to the Ministry of Advanced Education.

A two-phased consultation process is underway. The first phase is seeking input from students and sector representatives on legislation that could be introduced as early as this fall. Two days of in-person consultations have taken place in Vancouver with sector representatives. The second phase of the consultation, expected in fall 2014, will focus on the development of regulations with respect to fees, education standards and other process issues.

Written submissions will be accepted until Friday, June 20, 2014. Forms are available at: www.aved.gov.bc.ca/privatecareertraining/pctia-phase-one.htm

Completed forms can be sent to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or mailed to:

Ministry of Advanced Education
Sector Strategy & Quality Assurance - Core Review
Victoria, BC V8W 9H2

The private career training sector is an important and vital part of British Columbia’s post-secondary system. It provides training over a broad range of important skills for British Columbians as well as attracting international students to the province. Given its critical role, it is important that regulation of the private career training sector promotes and upholds high standards for students from Canada and from abroad.

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Public Invited to Experience Waterfront Activities

May 27, 2014

(News Releases) VICTORIA — Locals and visitors to Victoria are invited to get to know their harbour on Saturday May 31, 2014. Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), Point Hope Maritime and Dockside Green are joining forces to invite the public to GVHA’s annual spring open house showcasing the vibrancy and activity of Victoria’s harbour neighbourhoods.

The family-friendly events include:

  • GVHA Spring Open House: Ship Point, 11 am – 2 pm: Experience Victoria’s inner harbour at GVHA’s 5th annual spring open house. Activities include the opportunity to paddle a First Nations oceangoing canoe, live buskers performances, an artist market, and a kids zone. Over 14 events will be represented at the open house to celebrate all the activity that takes place in the harbour including Swiftsure, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Lighted Ship Parade.
  • Free Victoria Harbour Ferry Tours from the Belleville Dock to Point Hope Maritime and Dockside Green.
  • Shipyard Tours:  Point Hope Maritime, 10 am – 4 pm:  For the third consecutive year, the public is invited for a behind the scenes tour conducted by shipyard professions to experience this working harbour facility that is British Columbia’s first shipyard built in 1873.  Today’s Point Hope Maritime is a modern industrial shipyard that operates under the most recognized international health and safety standards in the world. Locally owned and operated by the Ralmax Group of Companies, the shipyard is set for expansion over the coming years – a $40-million investment that will double the workforce and ensure well-paying jobs in the community, and a vibrant, responsible industry for the next generation.  Please enter through the north gate and wear appropriate footwear (no heels or open-toed shoes). We kindly request that children be accompanied by an adult.
  • Dockside Green Neighbourhood Design Workshop: 543 Harbour Road, May 31, 10 am – 4 pm, and June 1, 11 am – 4 pm (across from Point Hope Maritime adjacent to the district energy facility.) As Dockside Green moves ahead with plans to complete the award-winning Harbour Road neighbourhood, the development team invites the community to participate in two Neighbourhood Design Workshops on Saturday May 31st and Sunday June 1st. This interactive event is part of a five month series of community meetings, briefings and feedback opportunities designed to re-engage the citizens of Vic West and surrounding communities in an important opportunity to refine and reinvigorate Victoria’s most sustainable development in the context of the emerging needs and wants of the neighbourhood in 2014 and beyond. People interested in participating may simply drop in or participate for the day.  www.docksidegreen.com

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Oversight of Product Stewardship Organizations and Regional Governance Lead Victoria Chamber Policy Wins

May 26, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — The Greater Victoria Chamber celebrated two policy wins at the BC Chamber AGM, held in Richmond, BC this past weekend. The policies address issues that are of significant importance to the business community and were endorsed by over 200 delegates from over 120 chambers as provincial policy.

The Chamber’s Ensuring Affordable Product Stewardship Programs policy addresses the need for regulatory oversight for product stewardship programs in BC. The Chamber’s policy on Regional Governance Models in Urban Areas calls for an independent study of urban and regional governance models to identify best practices and efficiencies to determine the feasibility of implementing those in BC.

“We are proud to get provincial support for our policies on product stewardship organizations and regional governance models,” said Frank Bourree, Chair of The Chamber. “The Chamber is actively involved in the policy process that ensures our local business views are heard and understood at the provincial level. It enables our community to actively shape business advocacy in BC.”

“Our membership has seen first-hand the costs that product stewardship organizations such as Multi Material BC put onto BC businesses. Our policy calls for better oversight of this type of organization to ensure that any costs put onto businesses are fair, clear, and manageable,” said John Winters, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce.

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, with over 1,500 members, is the voice of business for the Greater Victoria region and has received Accreditation with Distinction from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

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UVic Business Prof Wins National Award for Innovative Teaching

May 23, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — A pioneering teaching professor from UVic’s Gustavson School of Business, Dr. Brent Mainprize, has won the national 2014 Desire2Learn Innovation in Teaching and Learning award for his fresh ideas in curriculum development and delivery.

Mainprize’s creative approach for teaching entrepreneurship has been put into use as web-based software for evaluating business risk, called the Venture Intelligence Quotient, that is used in academia, innovation “hatcheries” and community economic development initiatives in Canada, Italy, Australia, Denmark and China.

“Brent brings a wealth of experience as an educational leader, dedicated scholar and successful entrepreneur,” says Dr. Saul Klein, dean of the business school. “The admiration and respect of his colleagues and students speaks to his accomplishments in promoting learning and successful businesses.”

Mainprize is deeply committed to using his creative skills and teaching talents in Aboriginal communities to design and deliver culturally appropriate entrepreneurship training, such as the Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs program, a partnership with First Nations financial service provider, TRICORP. Mainprize, one of five winners from across Canada, will receive his award from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and Desire2Learn Incorporated at a celebration June 18 in Kingston, Ontario. To view more about the award and its recipients visit http://stlhe.ca/awards/desire2learn-innovation-award/2014-recipients

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Victoria City Council Approves Rezoning of Fisherman’s Wharf

May 23, 2014

(News Release) VICTORIA — Over the last three years, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) has worked with clients, users, local community and the City of Victoria to determine the long term vision for Fisherman’s Wharf. The Fisherman’s Wharf plan preserves the eclectic nature of this unique marine facility. The associated rezoning submission aligns current and future potential uses with the City bylaws. Live-aboards and float homes have been recognized as permitted uses while the marine industrial activities, including commercial fishing vessels, fuel dock and fish offloading, continue to be an integral part of the facility.

With the approval of the rezoning, GVHA can now advance the Fisherman’s Wharf Plan. Next steps include identifying infrastructure needs, defining the commercial mix and going to market for new commercial activities.

The Fisherman’s Wharf plan aligns with the City’s vision for the harbour-wide pathway—the David Foster Way—which envisions a bridge over Heron Cove, joining Fisherman’s Wharf to the path in front of the Coast Harbourside Hotel.

View the Fisherman's Wharf Plan here.

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