22 May 2008, 12:11am
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Forest Service is seeking input on restoring Angora burn area

by Adam Jensen, Tahoe Daily Tribune, May 21, 2008 [here]

Amid banging hammers and the hum of construction equipment, Diana Freeman noticed a short, bright-green growth sticking up near some rocks and a small, slightly faded U.S. flag in her front yard.

“My tulips are coming back,” Freeman exclaimed gleefully. “I just noticed those.”

In April, Freeman and her husband, Stan, were among the first people who lost homes in last summer’s Angora fire to move back into the area.

While much of the forest surrounding the home on Pyramid Court still is an anemic patchwork of black, brown and green, Stan Freeman is persistently upbeat about the recovery of the neighborhoods burned by the Angora fire.

“It’s going to be phenomenal in a few years, and I hope everyone knows that,” Stan Freeman said.

Like many of the homes in the Angora burn area, U.S. Forest Service land runs behind the Freemans’ backyard.

How the thousands of acres of federal land burned by the Angora fire will experience a resurgence of life similar to the Freeman’s front yard is the topic of an open house this week.

“We want to hear from the community how they want the area affected by the Angora fire to look in the next 10 to 50 years,” U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Cheva Heck said in a statement. “We will be looking at options for replanting, reducing fuels, reconstructing stream channels, restoring meadow and streambank vegetation, and providing access for recreation through our roads and trails.”

Angora Fire Restoration Open House
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Lake Tahoe Community College Boardroom, 1 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe
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21 May 2008, 1:43am
Latest Climate News
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31,000 scientists reject ‘global warming’ agenda

By Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily

More than 31,000 scientists across the U.S. – including more than 9,000 Ph.D.s in fields such as atmospheric science, climatology, Earth science, environment and dozens of other specialties – have signed a petition rejecting “global warming,” the assumption that the human production of greenhouse gases is damaging Earth’s climate.

“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate,” the petition states. “Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”

The Petition Project actually was launched nearly 10 years ago, when the first few thousand signatures were assembled. Then, between 1999 and 2007, the list of signatures grew gradually without any special effort or campaign. …

The late Professor Frederick Seitz, the past president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and winner of the National Medal of Science, wrote in a letter promoting the petition, “The United States is very close to adopting an international agreement that would ration the use of energy and of technologies that depend upon coal, oil, and natural gas and some other organic compounds.”

“This treaty is, in our opinion, based upon flawed ideas. Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful,” he wrote. … [more]

20 May 2008, 8:07pm
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Eugene Groups Files Another Suit to Halt Use of Fire Retardant

By Jeff DeLong, Reno Gazette-Journal, May 19, 2008

It’s a scene repeated time and again during fire season: As flames crackle and smoke billows into the sky, an airplane dips low and releases a plume of bright orange.

Chemical fire retardant, or slurry, is one of the more important tools for fighting fire from the air.

It’s also the focus of an ongoing legal tussle between the U.S. Forest Service and a watchdog group that describes the substance as an unnecessary poison.

“It’s toxic,” said Andy Stahl, executive director of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics. “Don’t drop it into your neighborhood stream or on top of your threatened plant or animal species.”

Last month, the group alleged in a federal lawsuit that the use of slurry violates the Endangered Species Act and other laws.

It’s the second lawsuit over retardant filed by the Eugene, Ore.-based group. In the first case, a federal judge came close to finding Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey in contempt regarding delays on an environmental review of fire retardant.

Stahl’s group contends Forest Service policy runs counter to research from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal scientists that retardant poses serious risk to threatened and endangered species, particularly fish. [more]

20 May 2008, 8:06pm
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Rey: Better management lowers costs of firefighting

BY PAMELA J. PODGER of the Missoulian

In a broad-ranging address Saturday to the Montana Logging Association stretching from the farm bill to the next president, U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey said better forestry management is helping slow the escalating costs of suppressing wildfires.

He said firefighting accounted for about 14 percent of the U.S. Forest Service budget in the 1970s, and accelerated to about 50 percent today.

“We’re not going to stop fighting fires,” he said. “But the rate of the increase is slowing because we’re fighting fires that were treated with forest-reduction measures.”

He said the fuels reduction, thinning and other actions will continue to help as Congress also seeks alternatives for funding the costs of fighting fires in the nation and ways to alleviate the pressure on the U.S. Forest Service. … [more]

20 May 2008, 7:52pm
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Randal Edwards Endangers Public Retirement Funds in Oregon

Oregon Treasurer Flopping Like a Caged Seal in the Heat — Taking Public Retirement System With Him

$Billions Put At Risk By Heat-Stroked Politico — Wave Goodbye to Your PERS Pension

WASHINGTON (Reuters) [here] - Investors managing more than $2.3 trillion urged the government on Tuesday to enact strict laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions, saying lax regulation could hurt the competitiveness of U.S. companies.

The group of some 50 investors, including the world’s biggest listed hedge fund firm, Man Group Plc and influential venture capitalist John Doerr, want U.S. lawmakers to pass laws to reduce climate-warming emissions by at least 60 to 90 percent by 2050.

Legislation that promotes new and existing clean technologies on the scale needed to dramatically cut down pollution is needed, they said.

The same group of investors are also pushing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to force publicly-traded companies to disclose climate-related risks along with other factors that affect their business.

“Establishing a strong national climate policy for emissions reductions will help investors manage the enormous risks and opportunities posed by global warming,” Anne Stausboll, Calpers’ interim chief investment officer, said in a statement.

Calpers is the largest U.S. pension fund with about $250 billion in assets under management.

Investors said the lack of strong federal laws may hurt U.S. competitiveness because it is preventing companies from making large-scale capital investments in clean energy such as solar and wind power and other low-carbon technologies and practices.

Randall Edwards, Oregon’s treasurer, said Europe and individual U.S. states are tackling climate change and it was time for federal lawmakers to step up to the task.

“It’s a huge job opportunity,” said Edwards, who managed about $80 billion in assets as of March 31. “It will be a shifting economy. No economy is static.”

The European Union is aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and increase the share of wind, solar, hydro, wave power and biofuels in their energy mix by the same date.

The investors’ letter, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, comes ahead of Senate debate on legislation aimed at limiting the carbon emissions that spur climate change.

The bill, America’s Climate Security Act of 2007, also includes a provision that would require the SEC to craft a rule requiring companies to disclose material risks relating to climate change.

Treasurers and controllers for California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as the California State Teachers’ Retirement System are among those that signed the letter.

17 May 2008, 12:30am
Latest Wildlife News
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Sea lions likely died from the heat

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The deaths of six sea lions found in traps on the Columbia River earlier this month were likely caused by the heat, and not by gunshots as officials first suspected, the National Marine Fisheries Service said.

Oregon and Washington officials had been trapping the animals as part of a federally approved removal process because they feast on salmon at the Bonneville Dam.

Federal and state officials initially said the sea lions had been shot, but they did an about-face after necropsies by state and federal experts found no evidence of bullet wounds.

The fisheries service said Wednesday the results of necropsies on all six animals were consistent with death from heat stroke. Studies of tissue samples taken after the May 4 deaths are expected in about 10 days and might reveal more.

The Humane Society of the United States questioned whether the 60-degree weather would kill the animals. Marine mammal experts, however, said the blubbery animals are used to swimming in cold water and can rapidly overheat even when air temperatures are comfortable to humans.

Panic as the sea lions realized they were trapped in the cages could also have caused them to exert themselves, further elevating their body temperatures, Steven Brown, veterinarian for the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, told The Oregonian newspaper. At least one of the sea lions had lacerations believed to be inflicted by another animal.

17 May 2008, 12:27am
Latest Climate News
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Open Letter to Environmentalists from Weather Channel founder

by John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel.

Open Letter To Environmentalists [here]

Thank you for your dedication to protecting our environment. Clean air and clean water are essential to preserving life on planet Earth. Protecting all species and natural lands and forests are admirable priorities. Recycling and a green lifestyle are wonderful. Making the environment the most important thing in your life is a good thing, not a problem. I support you.

But we do have a problem. You have vigorously embraced the Global Warming predictions of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and are using the warning of uncontrollable warming and a resulting environmental calamity to campaign for elimination of fossil fuels. Your environmentally conscious friends in politics and in the media have united with you to create a barrage of news reports, documentaries, TV feature reports, movies, books, concerts and protest events to build support for your goals. The war against fossil fuels has become a massive scare campaign that is giving children nightmares.

Here’s what’s wrong with that: the science is not valid. There is no Global Warming underway and the science on which the computer projections of weather chaos are based is wrong. Dead wrong.
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17 May 2008, 12:24am
Latest Climate News
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2nd Opinion: Facing Fears and Global Warming

by John Christy, the Baptist Standard [here]

With all of the pending disasters blamed on global warming blasting their way through the media, I can understand why many might fear the future climate. We are told emissions of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), are destroying not only polar bears and petunias, but the planet as a whole. If we don’t “stop global warming,” The End will surely come.

I am a climate scientist. My research and that of many others does not lead me to be afraid for the climate’s future. However, I am fearful for other reasons:

- I fear for my science. The truth is, our climate system is so complex that we cannot predict its state even into next month. Nonetheless, I see high-profile individuals (usually untrained in science) making claims with unwavering confidence about the climate’s trajectory and a looming catastrophe.

I do not see the humility this science demands. In fact, I suspect an anthropologist, isolated from the media, would observe this global-warming fervor as a religion complete with anointed authority figures, sacred documents, creeds, sins requiring absolution, castigation of heretics and even an apocalypse.

But science doesn’t work by arguments-from-authority or depth-of-feeling. Lord Kelvin said, “All science is numbers.” Our scientific discoveries should be the same, whether one is a Baptist, Buddhist or Bahai.

However, if I’ve learned one thing in this business, it is that we scientists are mere mortals, and we succumb to pride as easily as anyone else. Claiming to know exactly how the climate works and what it will do decades from now has as much to do with belief as science.

- I fear for humanity. When people speak about “doing something about global warming,” please listen carefully. What they advocate are “solutions,” which lead to rationing of energy while having no climate impact. A hidden consequence of these “solutions” is to make energy more expensive—a regressive burden disproportionately inflicted upon the poorest among us.

Is this what we should promote?

Is this the message of Christ?
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16 May 2008, 11:59pm
Latest Climate News
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Climate Change Catastrophe

by Bob Webster, WebCommentary.com [here]

Gore is right. Climate change catastrophe is imminent!

I’ve been a long-time skeptic of global warming/climate change alarmism. I’ve written many times about the folly of the IPCC/Gore claim that human emissions of CO2 will bring about “catastrophic” change for human society. Well, I now freely admit I was wrong - but not for the reasons most often cited by alarmists.

I’ve been having an interesting exchange on a CO2 alarmists’ blog about the dangers human emissions of CO2 pose for future climate. While the exchange has generally been cordial and it has certainly been interesting while providing great insight into the rationale most alarmists subscribe to, I have yet to find the proverbial “smoking gun” that actually makes their case.

Nevertheless, I do have to agree with them about one thing. The danger and cost to human society from climate change will be catastrophic and is, apparently, unavoidable.

But ironically, while the catastrophe to which I refer is unquestionably human-caused, it is completely avoidable. Therein lies the rub.

The danger is not from a catastrophe arising from soaring temperatures and human misery that alarmists claim will follow (a highly debatable proposition). The catastrophe that seems unstoppable is the human misery that will unquestionably arise from the massive costs of soaring imprudent government regulation of CO2 emissions in the form of Gore-enriching “cap and trade” schemes that will, in the end, provide no discernable impact on global climate.
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Secretary Kempthorne Announces Decision to Protect Polar Bears under Endangered Species Act

U.S. Dept. of the Interior Press Release [here]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced that he is accepting the recommendation of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The listing is based on the best available science, which shows that loss of sea ice threatens and will likely continue to threaten polar bear habitat. This loss of habitat puts polar bears at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseeable future, the standard established by the ESA for designating a threatened species.

In making the announcement, Kempthorne said, “I am also announcing that this listing decision will be accompanied by administrative guidance and a rule that defines the scope of impact my decision will have, in order to protect the polar bear while limiting the unintended harm to the society and economy of the United States.”

Kempthorne further stated, “While the legal standards under the ESA compel me to list the polar bear as threatened, I want to make clear that this listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting. Any real solution requires action by all major economies for it to be effective. That is why I am taking administrative and regulatory action to make certain the ESA isn’t abused to make global warming policies.”

In January 2007, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the polar bear as threatened throughout its range based on receding sea ice. At that time, Secretary Kempthorne directed the Fish and Wildlife Service and the USGS to aggressively work with the public and the scientific community to broaden understanding of what is happening with the species. In September 2007, the USGS delivered to the Fish and Wildlife Service nine studies related to the future condition of the polar bear and its habitat.

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US lists polar bear as threatened species

The Interior Department declared the polar bear a threatened species Wednesday, saying it must be protected because of the decline in Arctic sea ice from global warming.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne cited dramatic declines in sea ice over the last three decades and projections of continued losses. These declines, he told a news conference, mean the polar bear is a species likely to be in danger of extinction in the near future.

Kempthorne also said, though, that it would be “inappropriate” to use the protection of the bear to reduce greenhouse gases, or to broadly address climate change.

Reflecting views recently expressed by President Bush, Kempthorne said the Endangered Species Act was “never meant to regulate global climate change.”

He said the decision to list the bear includes administrative actions aimed at limiting the impact of the decision on energy development and other climate related activities.

“This listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting,” said Kempthorne. He said he had consulted with the White House on the decision, but “at no time was there ever a suggestion that this was not my decision.”

AP - Kempthorne cited as support for his decision conclusions by the department’s scientists that sea ice loss will likely result in two-thirds of the polar bears disappearing by mid-century.

Notwithstanding the secretary’s disclaimers, this is the first time the Endangered Species Act has been used to protect a species threatened by the impacts of global warming. There has been concern within the business community that such an action could have far-reaching impact and could be used to regulate carbon dioxide.

14 May 2008, 11:36am
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Kempthorne to Make Major Announcement on Status of Polar Bear

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Wednesday, May 14, at 2:30 p.m. at the Department of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne will make a major announcement on the status of the polar bear.

A press release and other materials will be posted on line at that time [here]

13 May 2008, 4:25pm
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Montana Groups Join Wolf Lawsuit

MISSOULA - Several Montana agricultural and sportsman associations have moved to intervene in a federal lawsuit recently filed by environmental groups to block wolf delisting. Intervenors include the Montana Shooting Sports Association, the Montana Stockgrowers Association, the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd, the Western Montana Fish and Game Association, and the Montana Farm Bureau Federation and are seeking to insure wolf delisting continues. If delisting stalls it will cause irreparable harm to the Montana hunting and agricultural communities.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has long promised to take wolves off the endangered species list once the target population goals were met, Although those target goals were met years ago, the USFWS waited until 2008 to delist wolves. Eleven environmental groups have filed a lawsuit in federal court asserting that existing wolf populations in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are insufficient and that wolves should be returned to endangered status until wolves number five to ten times the current count. These organizations include the Sierra Club, Oregon Wild, and the Cascadia Wildlands Project.

MSSA president Gary Marbut commented, “Sportsmen spent a century fostering huntable big game populations that are now being fed to the wolves. Anyone who has hunted elk in southwestern Montana knows that our elk there are being ravaged by wolves. It’s high time the courts heard from Montana people about wolves.”

Natural Resource Director for the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Jay Bodner, commented, “Every wolf pack that has come into contact with livestock has resulted in depredations. These losses have had a dramatic impact on the bottom line for many livestock producers. We can’t afford to see our family ranches be put out of business and sold because of wolf recovery.”

Bob Fanning of the Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd said, “Wolves streaming out of Yellowstone Park have decimated the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd and are turning the landscape they invade into a biological desert. This is what Lewis and Clark and the Thompson party discovered about western Montana ruled by a ‘natural’ predator-prey balance. The Lewis and Clark expedition had to eat their horses and the Thompson party nearly starved to death.”

Jim Clawson of the Western Montana Fish and Game Association offered, “Wolves and hunters compete for the same hunting opportunity. Each wolf in Montana displaces about 50 Montana hunters, and there is no legal limit on the number of elk one wolf is allowed to kill, as there is with hunters.”

“Wolf numbers are in excess of the amount agreed on as a sustainable population”, said Jake Cummins, Executive Vice President of the Montana Farm Bureau. “Now it is time to let the Endangered Species Act work as it was intended and move forward with state management”, noted Cummins.

U.S. District Court Judge Don Molloy has already ruled in this case that defendants may not have a time extension to rally support for and craft arguments in favor of wolf delisting. Therefore, these intervening groups have only a few days to construct their briefs in support of delisting.

Attorneys John Bloomquist and Jim Brown of the Helena firm of Doney, Crowley, Bloomquist, Payne and Uda is handling the legal work for these intervenors.

11 May 2008, 1:36pm
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Is It Time to Invade Burma?

By ROMESH RATNESAR, Time Magazine, May 10, 2008 [here]

The disaster in Burma presents the world with perhaps its most serious humanitarian crisis since the 2004 Asian tsunami. By most reliable estimates, close to 100,000 people are dead. Delays in delivering relief to the victims, the inaccessibility of the stricken areas and the poor state of Burma’s infrastructure and health systems mean that number is sure to rise. With as many as 1 million people still at risk, it is conceivable that the death toll will, within days, approach that of the entire number of civilians killed in the genocide in Darfur.

So what is the world doing about it? Not much. The military regime that runs Burma initially signaled it would accept outside relief, but has imposed so many conditions on those who would actually deliver it that barely a trickle has made it through. Aid workers have been held at airports. U.N. food shipments have been seized. U.S. naval ships packed with food and medicine idle in the Gulf of Thailand, waiting for an all-clear that may never come.

Burma’s rulers have relented slightly, agreeing Friday to let in supplies and perhaps even some foreign relief workers. The government says it will allow a US C-130 transport plane to land inside Burma Monday. But it’s hard to imagine a regime this insular and paranoid accepting robust aid from the U.S. military, let alone agreeing to the presence of U.S. Marines on Burmese soil — as Thailand and Indonesia did after the tsunami. The trouble is that the Burmese haven’t shown the ability or willingness to deploy the kind of assets needed to deal with a calamity of this scale — and the longer Burma resists offers of help, the more likely it is that the disaster will devolve beyond anyone’s control. “We’re in 2008, not 1908,” says Jan Egeland, the former U.N. emergency relief coordinator. “A lot is at stake here. If we let them get away with murder we may set a very dangerous precedent.”

That’s why it’s time to consider a more serious option: invading Burma. Some observers, including former USAID director Andrew Natsios, have called on the U.S. to unilaterally begin air drops to the Burmese people regardless of what the junta says. The Bush Administration has so far rejected the idea — “I can’t imagine us going in without the permission of the Myanmar government,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday — but it’s not without precedent: as Natsios pointed out to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. has facilitated the delivery of humanitarian aid without the host government’s consent in places like Bosnia and Sudan. … [more]

11 May 2008, 1:33pm
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Burma killed by tyranny

by Andrew Bolt, Melbourne Herald Sun [here]

THE vultures are circling over Burma’s dead. Hey, isn’t that fat one Al Gore?

Sure is. And - flap, flap, plop - there he lands, the first to go picking over carcasses for scraps to feed his great global warming scare campaign.

What the world should be learning from this terrible loss of at least 60,000 people in the cyclone that hit Burma last week is that tyrannies kill more surely than any freak of weather.

But Al Gore, who won a Nobel “Peace” Prize for terrifying people with his error-riddled An Inconvenient Truth, wants you to blame instead his pet bogeyman. Tremble, sinners, before the wrath of a hot planet!

In an interview on America’s NPR on Tuesday, Gore claimed Cyclone Nargis was actually part of a pattern.

“Last year a catastrophic storm . . . hit Bangladesh. The year before, the strongest cyclone in more than 50 years hit China, and we’re seeing consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming.”

This cyclone that hit Burma is a “consequence” of global warming? Gore should die of shame to peddle such self-serving deceptions.

Fact: The world has not warmed in a decade, says the Hadley Centre and two of the three other institutions that measure its temperature.

Fact: Any link between hurricanes and warming is highly disputed by scientists, with “evidence both for and against”, says the American Meteorological Society.

Fact: The data is “insufficiently reliable to detect trends on the frequency of extreme cyclones”, says a recent paper in Science by world authority Chris Landsea.

Fact: The cyclone that hit Burma was just a category three storm - not a category five - and less deadly than worse cyclones that struck Bangladesh in 1970 and 1991. What’s more, Gore concedes the record breaker was 50 years ago, before the world got this gassy.

So there’s no recent warming, no agreed link with cyclones, no trend of worse cyclones, and nothing unusually strong about the one that hit Burma.

Yet there goes Gore - caw, caw, caw - flogging the warming scare that has made him so fantastically rich. The great Profit of Doom. …

Let us not be sidetracked. These are people killed not by Gore’s global warming, or even by Friday’s Cyclone Nargis - but by a filthy band of rapacious dictators who have left their people beggared and blinded, at the mercy of even the wind and waves. … [more]

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