Report says that almost all logging is illegal

| Act Now

PORT MORESBY - A new Timber Legality Risk Assessment published by civil society organisation Act Now concludes that there is a very high risk that almost all logging occurring in natural forest areas in Papua New Guinea is illegal.

The assessment is based on a comprehensive review of all the available literature, including reports of official government inquiries, court cases, international organisations and civil society groups.

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Premature death is the worst enemy

| Medscape
| Additional notes by Keith Jackson

LOS GATOS, CALIFORNIA - Death is not the enemy. Human death is normal; we all die. The real enemies are premature death, disability, pain, human suffering, and the prolongation of dying. All the rest is mostly noise.

At its core, the likelihood of an American experiencing premature death is all about availability and ease of access to beneficial and harmful products and services, determined by geography, driven by economics; diverse and often inequitable but with logical, even predictable, outcomes.

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Of brave men & colonial bastardry


SAMFORD VALLEY, QLD - In late July, the Brisbane branch of the Naval Association of Australia, in collaboration with the DVA, hosted a public event to recognise the Coastwatchers of WWII.

This was held at Jack Tar Place on Brisbane city's South Bank, immediately adjacent to the Queensland Maritime Museum. Jack Tar Place is dominated by a statue of a sailor and the whole area is dedicated to honour all who served in the RAN, including the Coastwatchers.

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10 ways to cut travel costs in PNG

| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY – Unfortunately, travel within Papua New Guinea is expensive. I write this following a visit to New Ireland, a destination which is unbelievably beautiful but does not attract as many local tourists as it should.

The return flight for just one traveller will easily run up to K2,000 ($AU850). Accommodation for three nights at a lodge may cost another K1,500 ($640), and breakfast and dinner about K150 ($64) a day (about K400 if you stay for three nights).

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Support a Coastwatchers memorial in Oz


FRANKSTON VIC – After World War I, the Royal Australian Navy established a Coastwatching service comprising civilian volunteers. As time went on, the service was extended to include the territories of Papua and New Guinea using civilian planters and missionaries. 

With the outbreak of World War II, former naval officer and kiap Eric Feldt rejoined the Navy and one of his tasks was to command of the Coastwatchers from bases in Port Moresby and later Brisbane.

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Bville govt & BCL now on the same path

| President, Autonomous Bougainville Government

PANGUNA - I am pleased to advise that good progress has been made in our ongoing discussions with Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) aimed at amicably ending long-running Judicial Review proceedings in the National Court of Papua New Guinea.

Back in January 2018, the ABG refused an extension of BCL’s EL01 exploration licence and three months later the company was granted leave by the court for a judicial review of the decision. The proceedings have remained ongoing ever since.

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Reject Japan’s lobbying over nuclear waste


Nuclear waste water from Japan is destroying the environment of the Pacific Islands, including the fisheries resources of the world’s largest tuna producer. Not only that, but the price Japan pays for Taiwanese and South Korean tuna is twice the price of Pacific Islands tuna, acknowledged as the highest quality tuna in the world.

In July, for example, Papua New Guinea exported tuna to Japan at below average market prices, both breaching the Nauru Agreement and leading to harmful competition between Pacific Islands countries.

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A statement for our people & our country


Australia is our country. We accept that the majority of non-Indigenous voting Australians have rejected recognition in the Australian Constitution. We do not for one moment accept that this country is not ours. Always was. Always will be. It is the legitimacy of the non-Indigenous occupation in this country that requires recognition, not the other way around. Our sovereignty has never been ceded - Uluru Statement from the Heart, Aboriginal Convention, Central Australia, May 2017

Statement of 22 October 2023

To the Prime Minister and every Member of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Commonwealth Parliament. This is an open letter which will be circulated to the Australian public and media.

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Hamas, Iran, Israel & war without end

| Academia Nomad

WAIGANI - Numerous articles and commentaries on social and mass media are focusing their attention on the issue of would the Middle East be at peace if Israel vanished.

In this short analysis, I want to discuss three related issues that I believe form the core of present conflict in the Middle East: the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran; the religious rift among Muslims; and the shared animosity of Arab countries against Israel.

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The three factors that gave us the No vote


TUMBY BAY - Making sense of the overwhelming No vote in last Saturday’s referendum on an Indigenous Voice is difficult because the water has been so terribly muddied.

On the face of it the failure of the referendum appears to have been caused by multiple factors. Among those factors three seem to stand out.

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Recent Notes 34: Trouble & strife


From ‘The Emergence of Secessionism’, a chapter in ‘Papua New Guinea - A Political History’ by James Griffin, Hank Nelson & Stewart Firth. With thanks to Martin Maden’s ‘Tok Piksa’

There was a lot of political strife and active protests against the Australian colonial administration in Rabaul in the 1960s and ‘70s which saw the formation and rise of the Mataungan Association and the popular movement for independence on Bougainville (Napidakoe Navitu), where there was a similar will of the people to secede.

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After day of shame, we must stand by yet

| Culture Heist

TWEED HEADS - Yesterday should have been a day when we all walked a little taller as Australians. When we took a step towards healing with First Nations peoples, and a reckoning with the colonial past. Instead we have a day of pain and shame that many will struggle to overcome. Instead, it was day of pain for all of us who voted Yes, but far more so for Indigenous Australians who generously offered the hand of reconciliation, only to have it rebuffed.

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Recent Notes 33: Most PNG logging is illegal


Civic action group, Act Now, has launched a timber legality risk assessment for Papua New Guinea. The report finds that almost all logging occurring in PNG’s natural forest areas is illegal. The assessment is based on a comprehensive review of all the available literature, including official government inquiries, court cases, international organisations such as the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the International Tropical Timber Association and civil society groups.

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Recent Notes 33: Terrible cost of colonialism


Eminent Australian journalist Rick Morton has uncovered that focus groups conducted late last year revealed ‘a shocking hurdle’ blocking the path of the Yes vote in the national referendum to be concluded next week. Almost one-third of all focus group participants believed Australia’s Indigenous people had been treated fairly since the English first occupied their lands at the end of the 18th Century

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If our heroes say ‘Yes’, so can we


Noel Pearson  Josh Apanui and a crowd of supporters at Tweed Heads
Noel Pearson Josh Apanui and a crowd of Yes supporters at Tweed Heads


TWEED HEADS - Joining the Yes campaign to offer greater inclusion for Australia’s Indigenous people campaign has been a revelation for me. I’ve met people of every background, united in wanting to give giving First Nations people a voice in federal parliament.

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Recent Notes 32: Pacific Forum backs Yes vote


The head of the Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna, believes Australia’s credibility will be boosted globally if the Yes vote on 14 October wins referendum, which ends tomorrow week. Puna said he respected Australia’s right to make its own democratic decision, but he wanted to see a Yes vote.

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Recent Notes 31: Japan’s oppressed minority


Japan has long portrayed itself as culturally and ethnically homogenous, something that some have even argued is a key to its success as a nation. More than 98% of Japanese people are descendants of the Yamato people. But the minority Ainu people, with their own distinct history, languages and culture have been victims of colonialism, assimilation, and discrimination, and much of that identity has been lost.

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Recent Notes 30: Some letters worth keeping


NOOSA – Search engines have improved out of sight, but still trouble penetrating through that first couple of layers of the internet into the rich lode of information that lies beneath. This includes Recent Comments, our popular feedback column, which contains among its near 52,000 items some of the most important, amusing and curious nuggets to be found on the blog.

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Uncomprehending elites put us in danger


NOOSA – We live at a time when It is difficult to find any outstanding political leadership in most of the world’s democracies. The professionalisation of politics, and associated political inbreeding, has reached its apogee. Winning and retaining power is now the main point of politics. Reform is a subsidiary issue. The will and capability to change and address difficult issues like global warming have been compromised.


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Recent Notes 29: China in the Pacific


PNG Facts reports on the four-day visit by the Chinese naval vessel ship Qi Jiguang to Papua New Guinea. The stay, which ends today, seems aimed at reinforcing relationships with the politicians and military of PNG. “The officers and soldiers of both countries will participate in visits, exchange programs and games,” said China’s ambassador to PNG, Zeng Fanhua.

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Recent Notes 28: Signs of political change


A formidable trio of academics have collaborated to write a new book, ‘Troubles and Puzzles: The 2022 General Elections in Papua New Guinea’, which was published online just on Sunday. The ANU’s Terence Wood and UPNG’s Maholopa Laveil and Michael Kabuni are names that regular PNG Attitude readers will recognise for their astute commentaries on PNG politics.

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Tech could enrich us all, but....


TUMBY BAY - Back in the 1980s I decided to add a major in Government to my 1970s double degree in Literature. One of the subjects concerned the impact of technology on paid employment. At the time there was a wide body of literature on the subject. The consensus was that new technologies would do away with the more arduous and soul destroying aspects of work and increase workers’ leisure time.

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A Yes Vote – you know it makes sense

| Come the Revolution

TWEED HEADS - On Saturday, 27 May, 1967, Australians voted by an overwhelming majority to alter the Constitution to give the Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders the right to be counted in all future censuses by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The vote was a huge victory for the ‘YES’ camp: it won 90.77% of votes cast in all six States.

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What to do if your country disappears


FUNAFUTI, TUVALU - In September 2023, Tuvalu enshrined a new definition of statehood in its constitution. A world-first, the constitution asserts the State of Tuvalu will continue to exist, even if its landmass disappears under rising sea levels. In this interview, Dr Bal Kama, who advised the constitutional committee, shares some insights on this significant development for Tuvalu and beyond. Bal specialises in Pacific legal systems with expertise in Papua New Guinea constitutional law.

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Is this really the Australia you want


NOOSA - Here in Noosa, just like the rest of Australia, we’re in the middle of referendum politics, where the vitriol has reached boiling point and exceeds even the hyper-toxicity that prevails around local government elections here in Australia’s premier seaside resort apart from Tumby Bay.

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The ABC & me: a story of respect & rebellion

Keith Boug News
In the Bougainville News, 1970, when the ABC was 38 and I was 25


I wrote this last year and, feeling it both unfinished and too personal, decided not to publish. It’s still unfinished … but life is too short, and long ago I learned not to waste content

NOOSA – The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, desperate for respect, in 2022 marked its 90th year of broadcasting.

There is nothing really special about 90 except it’s a big number. For we humans, as distinct from many of the organisations we temporarily occupy, 90 is the start of really old age but no telegram from the King. The ABC, however, after being pummelled by conservative governments for a decade, needed a celebration. It needed some better news, even if it had to provide its own.

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Recent Notes 27: Kevin Byrne dies at 74


Kevin Byrne, who died in Cairns on Thursday, was born in Lae in 1949, the scion of a family that first set foot in Papua in 1906 when his grandfather was sent to Port Moresby as Chief Collector of Customs. Kevin received his primary education on Manus and then, like many expatriate children, travelled to Brisbane and Nudgee College for secondary schooling.

I received the sad news of Kevin’s passing from his mate, Mark Mathews, who remarked that Kevin, former chief executive of the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority and Cairns mayor, was “a great leader with vision and drive; I was privileged to work with him.” As for me, I only met Kevin – a keen reader of ours - in emails and blog comments. He was a straight talker, a thinker and a bloke who would get things done.

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Recent Notes 26: On patrol in 1970s PNG

TAPINI PATROL No 9 1974-75

Village leaders line up to welcome a patrol. The headman salutes the kiap,
who is also a commissioned police officer


Robert Forster

On 4 December 1974 a routine administrative patrol left the Tapini Sub-District Office to update census records across the Pilitu area of Papua New Guinea’s mountainous Goilala region. Tapini Patrol No 9 1974-75 was to move through unusually difficult mountain country to contact 1,334 people who were extraordinarily isolated.

In pre-independence Papua New Guinea, bush patrols were fundamental to the Administration (colonial government). Thousands were conducted over the many decades before 1975 and many continued for several years after. Across PNG they were a constant expression of the presence of government.

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Psychopaths dooming us to catastrophe


TUMBY BAY - Many of the disasters that are currently pummelling the world with increasing intensity, from floods to heatwaves, are directly attributable to climate change.

Unexpected consequences from these events, like the deaths of thousands of emperor penguin chicks by drowning in Antarctica and starving polar bears in the Arctic Circle, are catching the world by surprise.

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I brave open sea to visit New Hanover

| Academia Nomad

KAVIENG - The first time I took a banana boat ride out to open sea - from Kavieng to New Hanover - was the scariest day of my life. There were six of us including the skipper with only one lifejacket on board.

The other passengers were from coastal provinces so naturally I assumed the lifejacket was intended for me as the only Highlander (and non-swimmer) on board.

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Who's really to blame for PNG mess

Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY – In June, the Constitutional Law Reform Commission completed a nationwide consultation gauging views on whether the prime minister should be elected directly by the people as in a presidential system. The directive to do this came from the national government.

Why the need to change the current system? Because the government thinks that the unicameral parliamentary system is “not working”? The obvious question therefore: ‘Is the current parliamentary system not working for PNG because it’s a bad system, or because PNG is not using the parliamentary system as it is supposed to be used?’

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Recent Notes 25: Racism drives Oz referendum


There are some splendid essays and articles being generated in the debate on Australia’s impending referendum on providing our Indigenous population with the ability to make recommendations to parliament and government – a goal known as The Voice. But in all the fine words from senior politicians, business leaders, trade unionists and other members of the national elite, there’s a major omission.

These pillars of society are able to take a shot at propagandist-in-chief Peter Dutton and his ignorant supporters without much mentioning the underpinning cultural force which is going to smother even the Voice’s minimal contribution to the place of Indigenous people in Australian society.

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Recent Notes 24: NZ ready to turn right


The New Zealand Aotearoa national election will be held on 14 October and the Labour Party, minus its charismatic former leader Jacinda Ardern, is in big trouble. In recent polls it has fallen 10 points behind the conservative Nationals, 27%-37%.

With the Greens included, the progressive vote is only 39%. With two right wing parties added to the Nationals, the conservative vote is a daunting 53%. The Te Pāti Māori Party, with only 3% of the vote, is seen as a probable kingmaker. But with 56% of Aotearoans saying that New Zealand is “going in the wrong direction”, the future of Labour leader Chris Hipkins looks bleak.

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Recent Notes 23: Support for Oz aid falls


Every year the Development Policy Centre commissions a survey question asking a representative sample of Australians whether they think their government gives too much aid, too little, or about the right amount. Terence Wood analysed the 2023 results and found that, after several years of growing support for aid, in 2023 support for aid fell.

Yet, as Terence also notes, “it still doesn’t mean most Australians want aid cut. In 2023, a clear majority of Australians still think their government gives too little aid or about the right amount – only just over a third thinks it gives too much.” Still, as Terence concludes, it is worrying news for aid advocates.

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48 years on we need to do a lot better


It's the 48th  anniversary of Papua New Guinea’s independence on Saturday and Eddie’s Kikibakik, a folk tale in the Binandere language of Oro Province, discusses the problems besieging the nation and how they might be best addressed - KJ

PORT MORESBY - We sit down in the forever blacked-out Port Moresby night and hear our neighbours playing the famous Saugas song, Sindaun Bagarap, which echoes around on this windy night. And we hear the buai (betel nut) buyers complaining about hikes in prices. And we think about Papua New Guinea turning 48 in a few days’ time.

The question I ask my small brother, Braigi, is how have we progressed so far in the last 48 years as a nation?

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Cellphone, notebook & a bottle of facial

Dr Hazel Kutkue
Dr Hazel Kutkue

| Sipikriva Girl

LAE - What are three objects you couldn't live without? I’m a doctor, and a blogger. I've moved towns three times, looking for greener pastures in work.

And each time I move, I have to decide what to bring with me, as moving heavy stuff in Papua New Guinea is quite costly. Very costly.

I try to prioritise what I would bring along for my move, but it doesn't always fall into my categories of most useful or not.

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Good morning, I'm back in the driver's seat....

Keith Jackson - bemused, bewildered but never beaten


NOOSA - After a week when I seemed to be the only person in the world who could not access PNG Attitude, between Typepad (the US company that's supplies this platform) and I a solution has been found. Our hope now is that it sticks.

When I first informed Typepad of the problem last week, this is how the technical team described what had happened:

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Typepad snafu locks me out



NOOSA -The Typepad platform has carried the burden of PNG Attitude for over 17 years.

A day ago, apparently seeking to strengthen its security in this era of internet slur, scam and theft, Typepad managed to place a block on my access to the site.

This means I cannot compose or edit PNG Attitude. But somehow I somehow engineered a cumbersome workaround, enabling me to write this explanation.

Don’t ask me how I did it.

I hope to be back with more Recent Notes before too long.

Meanwhile, you can still make comments (but I can’t edit them, so keep ‘em clean) and rummage around the thousands of pieces of writing on the site.


Recent Notes 22: One of aviation's greatest


Notes   The extensive damage caused to the Airco DH.9 during a forced landing at Moulmein  Burma in April 1920  (Australian War Memorial  p00281-012
The undercarriage was ripped off Ray Parer's Airco DH9 during a forced landing at Moulmein,  Burma, in April 1920. The two pilots flew from England to Australia in this single-engine, open cockpit aircraft (Australian War Memorial,  p00281-012

Members of the iconic Parer family are seeking to induct the intrepid ‘Battling’ Ray Parer (1894-1967) and his flying partner John McIntosh (1892-1921) in the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame. When you read about their exploits in making the first England to Australia flight in a single-engined aircraft, you wonder why their names aren’t there already.

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Recent Notes 21: My new pacemaker friend

Keith with pacemaker
Shoulda been dead!  Keith and scar, behind which is the pacemaker device that allows two chambers of the heart to connect to each other electrically

A week ago I was pretty much packed and ready to go on a short holiday with Ingrid, who had been working too hard in her  voluntary positions as Vice-President and Secretary of the Tewantin-Noosa Country Women’s Association and in the demanding role of Secretary of the Noosa Chamber of Commerce. Ingrid had earned a break and naturally I always prefer to be with her wherever she may roam.

Last Wednesday morning, a week before flying to Barcelona, I awoke as stunned as a mullet after a final sleep segment of 4½ hours. This duration was so unusual I immediately reached for my blood pressure monitor which showed I was cruising along at 130/60 with a heart rate a comfortable 68 beats a minute. Nothing wrong there. That the ME/CFS was giving me a bit of stick was not unusual and my cognition was good. So, despite the underlying discomfort, I was feeling buoyant. Some mornings the ME leaves me literally bewildered and speechless.

However, as the day progressed, I did begin to feel quite ill. The ME was still a 3, which I designate as moderate but at a level where I need to scale back activity to avoid the dreaded ‘crash’.  In the early afternoon the sick feeling worsened. My heart was palpitating and I was rather dizzy. It was only mid-afternoon - when I began to puff hard walking up stairs that normally don’t test me - that I realised something was not just amiss but badly amiss.

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Recent Notes 20: Our malignant future


Former Canberra Times editor Jack Waterford is getting on a bit in years (he’s 71) but remains one of the most acute commentators doing the rounds.

You can read his thoughts regularly on John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations – the irritations being that P & I too often goes so far left it falls over the precipice of pretension. But not Jack, who is a prince of proportion. [Enough alliteration - Ed]

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Recent Notes 19: Defence pact challenged


Dr Bal Kama writes that the Opposition in PNG has just formally announced its intention to initiate a Supreme Court challenge to the constitutionality of the Defence Agreement signed recently between the US and PNG.

“PNG has robust precedent bilateral agreements,” Bal says, and he also raises four key issues that he had signalled earlier in an Academia Nomad article, ‘Issues around the proposed PNG-US defence agreement’.

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Recent Notes 18: Big Pat, Adventureman


Big pat
'Big Pat' Levo - journalist, humourist, slayer of crocodiles....

If you’ve been missing your fix of entertaining Melanesian writing, let me direct you to Big Pat Levo’s ‘Adventures of Big Pat’ to be found here on Facebook. Big Pat has a keen eye for a story and a colourful turn of phrase in all of English, Tok Pisin and Pinglish. He seems to write with no regularity known to humankind, but his yarns are as timeless olsem man ilusim hanwas, so they can be enjoyed for the simple reason they continue to exist. Here’s a taste….

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Recent Notes 17: A story about a package


Notes Cover Mt KareIn February 2008, PNG Attitude ran a short piece (link to it here) motivated by a book review by Greg Roberts in The Australian newspaper, ‘How PNG Gold Lost its Lustre’ . The book by Dave Henton told Andi Flower’s inside story of the Mount Kare saga. It exposed the consequences of applying Western remedies to Melanesian problems, the destructive activities of outsiders and the greed, graft and corruption engendered by these matters.

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