Mechanical failure caused coach fire

The fire that destroyed a Lodges Bus Service coach on the Hume Highway while carrying Xavier High School students on March 20 was due to unpreventable mechanical failure.
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The bus caught fire after the main oil supply line to the turbocharger worked loose, a report on the accident released last week said. That had allowed oil to escape under high pressure and spray the hot turbocharger and exhaust. Oil had leaked for several kilometres before the back of the bus exploded near Wodonga.

Students, teachers and the driver escaped unharmed, but the Volvo coach was written off.

The Office of Transport Safety report found Volvo had no procedures to recheck the turbocharger oil supply line. It said the turbocharger had never been serviced nor had its fixed bolts been rechecked for tension.

It said Lodges Bus Service did “most of the servicing on the coach, guided by the Volvo maintenance program”.

Lodges told the safety office that had Volvo had a retensioning program in its servicing regime, they would have carried out that procedure.

Owner of Culcairn-based Lodges Bus Service, Brad Lodge, said the report confirmed the fire was an accident. “As the report concluded, it was an unpreventable mechanical failure involving the turbo. We’ve got very high safety standards and we’ll continue to uphold those standards. The manufacturer’s specifications are all we can go off as operators and we’ll continue to take advice from manufacturer’s specifications.”

The coach had passed a NSW Roads and Maritime Services heavy vehicle check for re-registration eight days before the fire on March 20.

The report said a check on the integrity of the turbocharger and oil line during routine servicing, and the use of a thread-locking system, was appropriate to prevent a similar fire.

Volvo Bus Australia general manager Peter Duncan said the company took findings from investigations seriously and would look closely at the report’s findings. He said it was too soon to say whether Volvo would change its servicing procedure.

The report said no further investigation was required. Its findings have been passed to the Independent Transport Safety Regulator and Transport for NSW.

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Motoring history rolls into Forbes

Members of the Milton Ulladulla Classic Car Club at Forbes’ McFeeters Motor Museum.A small, but diverse part of Australia’s motoring history rolled into Forbes this week, as the town prepared to host another car club rally.
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While the Milton Ulladulla Vintage and Classic Car Club is probably not the biggest to bring their annual rally to Forbes, the members had assembled an impressive array of vehicles at McFeeters Motor Museum yesterday morning.

About 60 members of the South Coast-based car club are in Forbes for the rally, which started yesterday and will continue until Thursday.

The age of their vehicles varies, with cars manufactured in the 1920s right up to the late ‘80s. Vehicles that have been brought to Forbes range from a rare 1935 super-charged Auburn, made in the United States, to a Volkswagen Beetle, owned by the club’s events director, Tom Turner.

Mr Turner, who grew up in Forbes, said the car club members planned to spend Monday visiting Forbes attractions, before setting off for Orange today, via Eugowra, Canowindra.

Tomorrow the rally will head to Parkes Museum and the CSIRO Radio Telescope, north of Parkes, and also visit Ootha’s Utes in the Paddock.

Thursday has been set aside for the members’ own activities.

“Thursday is a free day in town and no doubt we will inject a bit of cash into the local economy,” said club president Garry Baker.

Mr Baker said the car club was 21 years old this year and had chosen Forbes as the destination for the milestone ‘annual run’.

Every two years the club hosts the ‘Harbour Classic’ where other car clubs from all around Australia are invited to celebrate.

“It’s all about the cars and the preservation of our Australian motoring history,” Mr Baker said.

“Our motto is ‘let’s have fun’ and at these rallies we get together and do that as a group,” he said.

The club were welcomed to Forbes yesterday by Forbes Shire Councillor, Michael Malloy, before setting off on a tour of town attractions, including the Forbes Museum. Last night members gathered for a dinner at Forbes Services Club.

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Success for Forbes dog

With $12,000 on offer for the winner, it was no wonder the 2012 Bathurst Cup was one of the closest greyhound finishes in recent history.
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Forbes dog Irinka Luca took out the prestigious 520 metre Bathurst Cup at Kennerson Park on Monday night and only a head separated first and third.

Irinka Luca didn’t have the best start jumping at number six, but he came home strong and won by half a head in front of Chenzhou Boy and Good Thing was another half a head behind.

Trainer Ray ‘Jack’ Smith said the win was one of the most valuable his dog had run.

“We were not expecting to win, he is a good dog and had a bit of luck, but we are very happy that he did,” he said.

Irinka Dennis x Sussudio is highly regarded at the Bathurst track and his father holds the Kennerson Park record for the 520m distance in a blistering time of 29.72 seconds.

Irinka Luca ran the Cup in a quick 30.16.

Kyl’s Me Girl ($13.10) jumped first from box four and held the lead into the first sectional with a time of 4.30 seconds.

Chenzhou Boy ($6.40) and Irinka Luca then made their moves and Chenzhou Boy lead the field and was just out run in the final 30 metres.

Mr Gazmick ($4.90) from box eight jumped well and got into fifth early, with 300 metres to go he found the next gear and powered home, only missing the win but a head.

Bathurst Greyhounds Operations Manager Craig Townsend said the final lived up to the hype they expected.

“Bathurst racing really is some of the best racing in the country, the race on Monday night was so close and exciting and it is great we have the calibre here in Bathurst,” he said.

“Irinka Luca is a champion dog and he proved that today in tight racing.

“He was one I picked early to take out the race, but with the quality of the fields it could have been anyone’s.”

Townsend said Irinka Luca looked good coming into the final, he lost the heat by a nose but ended up finding space on the outside.

“He did get a bit lost in the heat and in the final he was still trying to find where he wanted to go, but he did enough to win,” he said.

“I was worried when he drew box seven, but he showed that an inside box doesn’t always mean a win.”

The Forbes trainer said he was not too concerned by the wide box draw because he is still not sure which box suits him the best.

“He does get a little lost and is not sure where he wants to run, but I think the wider boxes may suit him a little better,” he said.

Spring Blueboy was favourite paying $2 and was running from box one, he jumped well and got into the middle of the pack, but just could not find a way through the speedy traffic and finished outside the placings in sixth.

If Spring Blueboy did get up and take the win, he would have been the first dog to win the Bathurst Cup back to back and take the two major wins of the season, the Soliders Saddle and the Bathurst Cup.

The richest greyhound race in the world on March 24 at Wentworth Park, the Macro Meats Golden Easter Egg, will have Irinka Luca, along with four other Bathurst Cup finalists vying for the $250,000 race.

“This is an outstanding result, we may have had a couple before, but to have five from the Bathurst Cup in the richest greyhound race in the world, is incredible and extremely exciting,” Townsend said.

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Rugby club raring to go

Floods have forced the cancellation of another trial match for the Forbes Platypi, but the rugby club will still play its first pre-season game this Saturday.
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The flooding of sporting grounds at Condobolin this week has forced the Rams to postpone the Brad Ridley Shield match until April 5, but the Platypi’s annual trial against the Temora Tuskers will go ahead as planned this Saturday.

Forbes will host the match at Grinsted Oval, which has been reopened after the flooding of Lake Forbes, kicking off at 4pm.

Forbes first grade coach Phil Prior said his squad is in good shape and were ready to play both matches, which had been planned for consecutive days.

He said the Platypi would be keen to get some match practice against Temora.

“Our schedule has been so disgruntled by the flood waters and so forth, we really need a couple of hit-outs,” Prior said this week.

The Platypi have been training under former co-coach Charlie Dwyer and Ash Hogan for more than a month and Prior said most of the players are in excellent shape.

“Ash and Charlie have been leading our pre-season training and we probably have one of the fittest squads we’ve had for as long as I can remember,” Prior said.

“The colts have plenty of numbers and the appointment of Jeff Stewart as colts coach is very positive for the club,” he said.

Stewart has played rugby in England in recent years and has returned to his home town to lead the Platypi under 19s side.

A recent knee reconstruction means he is unlikely to play much rugby this year, but Prior said his direction had already shown benefits.

Prior hopes the club can arrange a colts practice match before the Blowes Cup gets underway in mid April, but he said the wash-outs meant senior players would be given priority in any trials that do go ahead.

“The senior players will get priority simply because we haven’t actually had a run yet. The early season fitness is right up there with the last six or seven years, but we really need to get out there and hit the ground running,” he said.

The Platypi have retained most of their players from last year, apart from Murray Fraser and Chris Francis, and have gained Tim West and Jarrod Hall.

West has returned to his home town with his employment as a school teacher, while Jarrod Hall has switched to rugby after a couple of seasons with the local rugby league club.

Both would be “very handy acquisitions” Prior said.

Saturday’s game is expected to kick off about 4pm at Grinsted Oval.

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Henty on fire

NSW Firefighter MathewDavidson with his son Oliver. NSW Firefighter Dave Weston with Eliza Murphy .
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Jett Weston

Having fun at the Henty fire station open day on Sunday were back row left to right: Jedd Lieschke, David Damschke, Joe Wilson (NSW Fire Brigade), Kobie Skeers, and Elsa Meyer. Front row Shaun Ripps and Fergus Meyer (wearing his fire chief’s helmet). Photo: Phil Takle

A vintage fire truck manufactured in 1938 proved a hit with the 100-strong crowd attending Sunday’s open day at the Henty fire station.

As fire stations across the state opened their doors to the public at the weekend, the inclement weather failed to deter visitors from getting an insiders look into how the Henty station operates.

The Dennis Light-4 fire truck originally helped fight fires in Sydney and Newcastle before being used at Henty between 1965 and 1975.

After it was de-commissioned, it was purchased by the Henty fire station and is wheeled out at special occasions, including their annual open day.

The truck’s open cab design proved especially popular with the youngsters who enjoyed the opportunity to sit in – and climb all over – the vehicle.

Henty fire station commander Bob Kilo said he was happy with how the open day went, despite the weather, and the strong crowd which attended.

In addition to the truck display, there were also a range of free activities at the open day including firefighting demonstrations, station tours and fire safety advice and information about installing smoke alarms and preparing a home escape plan.

The Henty firefighters also put on a free sauzage sizzle for visitors.

The Open Day, which marked the end of Fire Prevention week, proved a great way for people to get to know their local firefighters and learn how to prevent a fire in the home, particularly important in the lead-up to


Fire and Rescue NSW used the event to remind residents that prevention is the key and it is imperative households have working smoke alarms and a practised home escape plan.

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High School win B-grade title

High School are Forbes cricket’s B-grade premiers for 2011/12, after defeating Bowling Club by six wickets in the consolation grand final last Saturday.
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Man-of-the-match was young High School batsman Jason Hoswell, who scored 59 of the 87 runs required for victory.

Hoswell’s innings at Botanical Gardens last Saturday featured two sixes and four more boundaries and he was unbeaten when High School hit the winning runs in the 25th over.

High School had won the toss before Saturday afternoon’s B-grade finale, and sent Bowling Club into bat.

Hindsight revealed it was the right choice with Bowling Club all out for 86 in 36 overs.

Jacob Allegri made 19, Brett Stirling hit a dozen and Jarrod Andrews 10, but High School’s youthful bowlers would have felt they had won the first innings.

Fast bowler Tim Prior saved his best for the last game of the summer, taking 5/15 from eight overs, including top order scalps of Mark Stirling, Andrew Quirk and Shane Bolam.

Not to be outdone, Jack Janetzki finished with 2/12 from 10 overs, four of which were maidens.

With Kyle Sharpe’s two wickets and the tidy opening bowling of James Rousell (1/16 from nine), Bowling Club were all out for 86 and needed to defend well to have a chance of victory.

High School’s innings didn’t start well, with Jye Skinner out on the fourth ball for one, but that brought Jason Hoswell to the crease to join Gus Coles.

The pair added 25 before Coles was bowled by Abel Bernardi for eight, but Hoswell and Jordan Coles produced what proved to be a match-winning partnership.

The younger Coles gave Hoswell much of the strike but he stayed out in the middle for another 12 overs, until he was caught off Jarrod Andrews’ second over for 11.

Jason Hoswell had passed his half century by this stage and shortly after, with new partner Jack Janetzki, scored the winning runs in the 25th over.

Bowling Club’s bowlers all tried hard and none were too expensive, but defending 86 was too difficult a task. Abel Bernardi gave another impressive performance with the ball (1/12 from seven overs), while Clint Hurford (1/22 from seven), Jamie Hoswell (1/20 from 3.4 overs) and Jarrod Andrews (1/8 from two) also picked up wickets.

Bowling Club would have had little hesitation in naming Jason Hoswell (59no) the man of the match.

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Footy Talk

Billabong Crows forward Nathan Finnen flies over Rand-Walbundrie Tigers defender Gerard Telford.HENTY THRASH CULCAIRN AND EYE FLAG
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Henty has shot into genuine premiership fancies, following a stunning win over old rivals Culcairn in another impressive performance at Culcairn.

The Swampies have taken on and defeated the top three teams from last year following a round one bye and are looking the real deal to break their premiership drought.

The game was all over at quarter time after Henty turned on an opening quarter of sustained pressure and superb ball use to kick seven unanswered goals.

They did not let up for the remaining three quarters and went on to win by

74 points 20-17-137 to Culcairn 9-9-63

to remain in second spot on the


A functional forward set up led by Ryan Hon (4), Jon Mercuri (4) and Shannon Terlich (3) complemented the dominant midfield led by Heath Ohlin and Simon Hillier.

James Paton was best for Culcairn, with excitement machine Jarrah Maksymow (3) goals, Luke Taylor and Shannon Gilson also good contributors.

Osborne burs ted the unbeaten run of Lockhart, inflicting a 45 point defeat at Osborne in a tough encounter before a large crowd.

The Cats are still unbeaten and have taken a hold on top position in a promising start to the season. Their real test will come this week, when they travel to Howlong.

Reliable forward Trent Perczyk kicked four goals in a low scoring game to be the dominant forward. Ben Davis, Stace Creasy, Daniel O’Connell and Jamie Parr were other good players.

Lockhart really struggled up forward in perfect conditions with only five goals being the result of a tough day out against a tight and committed Osborne backline.

Mitchell Pilon, Chris Cerato, Zach Sheather and Josh Maniscalco continued on their excellent form, but lacked enough support to threaten the pacey Cats on home turf.

Holbrook recorded its first win for the 2012 season, by belting Jindera, in a replay of last years premiership decider, winning at home by 135 points.

The feature of the game was one of the most dominant forward displays possible from Michael Lamb, who kicked an incredible 11 goals and 11 behinds in a master class.

Lamb tore the Bulldogs defence apart with his strong leading and marking and second efforts. James Breen was a good support with four goals.

Jarrod Twitt, Josh Jones, Brendan Hankel, Zach Fulford and Hayden Hibberson ran riot in the midfield and provided silver service to Lamb and co up forward.

Holbrook looked to have turned the corner after a sloppy start and with some good news on the recruiting front pending; they are looming as a sleeping giant.

RW Tigers overcame a determined Billabong Crows first half effort, to grind out a workman like 51 point win at Rand, to stay in fourth place.

Josh Jarvis and Josh Warren-Marmo kicked three goals each, as inaccuracy in front of goal cost the Tigers valuable percentage opportunity.

Former Barnawartha star Cameron McNeil starred in the centre, with great support from Ryan Kirkwood, Hayden Tyrell and Justin Dickson.

The Tigers face a crunch game this week, when they make the journey to Lockhart with a win to either side being critical to finals appearances.

Howlong led by a six goal haul from star forward Daniel Bradshaw and five goals from Troy price proved too good for

BB saints winning by 55 points at Howlong.

Kylin Morey also kicked six goals for the saints, but it was not enough to damage the Spiders winning run as they remain in third position.

Youngster Beau Walker maintained his sizzling form with a best on ground effort. Damian Russo, Josh Duffy and Steven Bradshaw controlled the clearances for Howlong.

The final round four match was played under lights at Lavington Panthers Oval, with CDHBU overcoming a first

quarter deficit to run out 45 point


Phil Dudley was the shining light for the combined Power, kicking seven goals, while Joel Rippingale was the star in the midfield. Shane Franz kicked four goals for Magpies.

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Students take skills to the world

Year 12 Red Bend Catholic College student Max ­Ridley with the gold medal he received for ­winning the state title during the World Skills Australia State ­Championships last week for his efforts in ­Agriculture and Primary Industries.Year 12 Red Bend Catholic College student Max Ridley can now add gold medallist to his list of accomplishments after taking out the World Skills Australia State Championships last week.
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Max and his fellow year 12 student Blake Osborne travelled to Sydney to compete against other vocational education students in the state championships last week after earning their places in the finals late last year.

The two students had between 1 ½ days and two days to show off their learned skills, taking out gold and sixth place respectively.

Agriculture and Primary Industries student Max completed five set tasks over two intensive days of competition to finally edge out his fellow rivals by less than one point.

The first task was to move livestock into a set of yards, draft them off, weigh them and work out how much drench they needed to be given.

Max was then required to drench them.

The second task involved farm machinery and saw Max conduct a pre-service check on a tractor and then attach an implement.

In task three Max had to construct a farm fence.

Task four required Max to give first aid in a mock scenario where a child had fallen from a silo.

Although Max performed well in each task it was the final stage which saw him edge out his rivals.

As part of the fifth task Max was required to put his maths skills to the test by working out the percentage of pasture in a paddock and calculate the cost of replacing the pasture.

Agriculture teacher Susan Earl said while it was good to be practical with agriculture, maths was still required.

“It is important to realise that all the skills taught at school can be useful in the outside world,” Mrs Earl said.

“The separating points in the end came down to the ability to do farm based maths calculations.”

Max said he was very pleased and surprised by the final result.

“There was a lot of competition there,” Max said.

“[The chief steward] said it was the hardest level of competition he had seen.”

According to Max one of the hardest aspects of the competition was performing under pressure – with all tasks set against a time limit.

Fellow student Blake competed in the Metals and Engineering section to achieve sixth place.

As part of the competition Blake was required to construct a transportable metal sheep feeder using sheet metal and square tubing.

Like Max, Blake’s skills were pitched against 11 other vocational students all vying for the top spot.

Blake admitted to experiencing some nerves before the competition but said he enjoyed the competition.

“It was good. It was a good experience,” he said.

Through the competition Blake said he gained some new skills and hopes the experience will help him gain employment in the metals or mines industries.

Red Bend Catholic College Technical and Applied Studies (TAS) teacher Col Hawthorn said both Max and Blake had won at the regional finals to reach state selection.

Mr Hawthorn said it has been six years since the college has had a student reach the National Titles.

Max is the second student of Mr Hawthorn’s to go to Nationals and looks like he may follow in the footsteps of former student Todd Grace, who won the state title before going on to win at Nationals.

Max will return to Sydney in August this year to compete in the National World Skills titles.

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Fire danger season ends early

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has ended the statutory Bush Fire Danger Period in the Mid Lachlan Valley Team area early due to continuing mild weather conditions.
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From Thursday, March 8, fire permits will no longer be required for the Forbes, Lachlan, Parkes and Weddin Local Government Areas.

“Although fire permits are no longer required, property owners must still adhere to the law regarding the use of fire,’’ Superintendent Ken Neville, Team Manager said.

“This requires people to notify neighbouring land owners and land management authorities 24 hours prior to burning, as well as taking appropriate action to ensure containment and control of fire so it doesn’t escape and cause damage.

“Penalties still apply for failing to notify neighbours that you are lighting a fire and for allowing fires to escape,” Supt Neville said.

“Even though the weather is cooling down, there is still the potential for fires to cause damage to life, property and the environment.

“We encourage people to get advice from their local RFS Fire Control Centre on how to safely conduct hazard reduction activities such as slashing, trittering and burning and how to prepare their homes for the next bushfire season,” Superintendent Neville said.

If residents do have to burn they should ask the RFS for advice, permits and approvals:

* Give fire authorities and neighbours 24 hours notice.

* Check weather conditions/Total Fire Bans.

* Delay the burn if concerning winds are forecast.

* Create proper fire breaks.

* Have adequate water resources on hand.

* Supervise the fire at all times.

* Call Triple Zero (000) immediately if fire escapes.

For more information contact Mid Lachlan Valley Team on 6851 1541 or visit

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Grateful for every stride

FOR those who haven’t seen the ABC documentary Running to America, it’s an inspirational uplifting story and, as this journo has no shame in admitting, brings a tear to the eye.
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The documentary follows Juan, Joseph, Caleb and Charlie from their homes in remote regions of the Kimberley and Arnham Land to the finish line of the world’s biggest marathon in New York.

The boys are mentored in the task by Australia’s greatest marathon runner Rob de Castella. The documentary was released in December last year to rave reviews, however the Indigenous Marathon Project did not end there. Rob took a second group of runners to complete last year’s New York Marathon and is currently training his third squad of runners for this year’s event, a squad that includes Pacific Palms Primary and Forster High School alumni Nat Heath.

“Like a lot of people I saw the documentary and through work and various people I knew I heard about the project and thought it was a great opportunity,” Nat said from his office at Newcastle University’s Wollotuka Institute.

Nat attended tryouts in Sydney in April which included a 5km time trial and a beep test. The selection process also included a range of interviews.

“They asked my reasons for wanting to participate, what things I already do in the community, what things I hoped to take back to my community and just things to test my suitability for the program.”

Nat was successful and has thrown himself into training, most recently completing the Gold Coast half marathon in a respectable 90 minutes. Nat is grateful for every stride after being struck down in his athletic prime by a neurological disorder which doctors said would put an end to his days as an athlete.

“It’s called Guillian-Baree Syndrome and I was diagnosed in 2010,” Nat explains.

“Basically your immune system attacks the nervous system. It started with pins and needles in my hands and led to paralysis in different parts in my body. I was hospitalized for two weeks and doctors said I would likely never get back to my previous level of endurance.”

It took a lot of hard work for Nat, a first grade rugby player and triathlete, to regain his strength including the indignation of being outrun by a tight-head prop in the early days. “I changed a few of my habits, really looked at my health and fitness and when doctors said it was really going to affect my endurance I took it as a bit of a challenge. I’m ultimately grateful for the experience.”

After completing his first camp at the AIS and the Gold Coast half marathon, Nat is currently pounding more than 80km of pavement per week in preparation for New York and hopes to compete in September’s Forster Running Festival where coach de Castella is the headline act.

“Of all the running events we do that’s the one I’d like to do the most,” Nat says.

“It’ll be up to my coaches but I’ll most likely be there either way. My dad still lives at Smiths Lake so it’s a good chance to get back home.”

Nat, who has a degree has social science, is also completing a Certificate IV in health and leisure as part of the project which he feels will equip him well to give back to the indigenous community. “My two biggest passions are Aboriginal education and Aboriginal health. When people think of Aboriginal communities they think of you know the Northern Territory and places like that, but communities here in NSW like the Cabarita community in Forster and communities and around here in Newcastle are facing the same issues. I want to highlight that by completing the project and taking its benefits back to those communities.”

Nat is hoping to break the three-hour mark in the New York Marathon on November 4.

INSPIRATIONAL PROGRAM: Former Forster High School student Nat Heath is pounding more than 80km of pavement per week as he prepare for November’s New York Marathon as part of Rob de Castella’s Indigenous Marathon Project.

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