Archive for January 7, 2012

Members of South Sudan’s Constitutional Review Commission.

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During the consultative meeting that was convened in Home and Away Hotel in Juba in the evening of 6th January 2012 chaired by Dr. Riek Machar, Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan in presence of South Sudan Political Parties Leaders (representatives), Mr. John Luk Jok, Minister of Justice of the Republic of South Sudan presented a memo of FRAMEWORK FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMISSION (CRC) dated 05/1/2012 with Ref. MOJ/J/RSS/2011.

1. The memo outlined the legal framework that required the President of the Republic of South Sudan constitutionally to establish the National Constitutional Review Commission (setting out mandate, powers, function, legal status, provisions for staffing, etc) and appoint Commissioners (including their terms of service) by decree after completion of consultation.

2. Also the memo outlined Membership and Criteria of appointment, citing that the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan requires the President of the Republic to consider: competence, experience, technical expertise, representativeness, integrity and independence of appointees.

3. Further, the memo highlighted that the Transitional Constitution does not stipulate the number of Commissioners and thus, it is proposed that the number be around 15 – 25 so that the group is small as it is meant to be based on expertise with effective coordination.

4. Further more, the memo outlined that those who are required constitutionally to be consulted by the President of the Republic are: Political Parties, Relevant Professional Bodies ( e.g., Bar Association, Law Society, Academia, etc), Women, Civil Society Organizations, and Persons with Disabilities.

5. The memo set out the criteria for identifying legitimate Stakeholders Groups and Civil Society Organizations to be: formal registration of the organization, substantial membership, length of period of existence of the organization and participation in national issues.

6. Also the memo indicated the 9th January 2012 to be the deadline timing of consultation for the establishment of the formation of the CRC as requires by the transitional constitution, and urged that the consultation be completed quickly within the remaining three days so that the President of the Republic could make formal appointment of the Commission members.

7. Finally the memo mentioned that the consultation meeting was convened by the Office of the President and the Ministry of Justice in order to reach an agreement on the composition and nomination of the Members of the CRC.

During the consultation meeting, many leader (representatives) of political parties seemed not to be happy with the short notice and hurrying of consultation meeting within a very short time. Most of them seemed to have agreed that the President may go ahead to appoint the Chairperson of the CRC and his Deputy as well as other permanent members of the Commission the total of which is 9 members.

But the SPLM said that it will have the lion share by taking up 4 permanent members with the rest of political parties given 3 to share amongst themselves and non-participant groups given the remaining 1 member to share among themselves. Also the SPLM-DC requested that it be allocated 1 permanent member because it is the officially recognized Opposition Political Party in the new country.

Regarding the non-permanent members of the CRC, it was reluctantly resolved that they be appointed later with SPLM taking up 21 members, other political parties dividing 10 amongst themselves and the non-partisan groups sharing 5 members among themselves. Regarding this, the SPLM-DC demanded that it be allocated 1 non-permanent member.

It has been noticed that Civil Society and other non-partisans stakeholders were not invited to the consultation meeting and this seems to be a violation to article 202(2) of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011. It is not clear whether they will be consulted somewhere else within the remaining two days before the deadline of the constitutional appointment of the Chairperson of the CRC and his Deputy.

The same discontent about SPLM hegemony that surfaced during the drafting of the Transitional Constitution could repeat itself sooner in days ahead. Let’s watch the constitutional review process in South Sudan and speak out without any fear or favor.

Dr. James Okuk

By Mona Al-Bashir, 5 hours 21 minutes ago

Khartoum – Sudanese government revealed a new diplomatic strategy in dealing with the Republic of South Sudan, affirming its keenness to improve and develop bilateral relations with the new-born state.

Foreign Ministry Undersecretary, Ambassador Rahamatallah Osman said that the new strategy will be based on the historical relations between the two countries considering that South Sudan was part of the Sudan, besides benefiting from the tribal intermingling on the borders between the two countries.

He added that the diplomatic work nature all over the world endevours to create relations with countries and people, stressing that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that there is an already relation between Sudan and South Sudan which could be the foundation of that relation.

Osman affirmed that the Sudanese foreign policy towards South Sudan is based on economical and social advantages which could be achieved through close cooperation between the two countries.

He pointed out that Sudan wants to establish a good neighbourly relations with South Sudan, adding to Sudan Vision that there is no permanent hostilities between any two countries and that the Foreign Ministry will use all the methods to preserve the mutual interests.
On the relations between ROSS and Israel, Osman said that ROSS is an independent state and has the right to establish relations with whomever it desires, pointing out that that relation will not affect the Sudanese relations with the ROSS considering that the mutual interest is governing that relations.

He affirmed that lifting Sudan from the states sponsoring terrorism will not be implemented now despite the US recognition that Sudan is not more sponsoring terrorism and is due to the presence of the American civil society organization hostile to Sudan and other pressing groups in America.

South Sudan Government and the Use of Market Logic In Negotiations

Weeks after the Secretary General of the SPLM in South Sudan Pagan Amum offer to buy the North-South disputed area of Abyei from the Sudan, Amum presented another offer to a solution to the pending issues through buying and selling.
According to news reports last week, Amum announced readiness to pay any price for settling the pending issues, saying that Juba is ready to offer billions of dollars to settle these issues.
The statements of Amum came in the context of commencement of a dialogue to discuss means for solving the Sudan-Southern Sudan pending issues of the dispute over Abyei, oil exportation, foreign debts and demarcation of common borders.

The remarkable thing in the statements of Amum is his belief that everything has a price and that there is no need for political talks and arguments.
Unfortunately, this belief itself reflects the ignorance about the party the government of South Sudan is negotiating with and of the nature of the issues of negotiations.
The South Sudan is negotiating with Sudan which will accept the selling and buying principle in politics. Sudan has given the SPLM the right to vote for the self-determination referendum without any price. Sudan was only hoping that the South will stop supporting armed rebels in Sudan after the conduct of referendum.
It is strange for Amum to ignore this simple logic to try to offer money for land and other important security and essential issues.
And even if we accept this logic, the question is; from where will the Southern Sudan get these huge amounts of money? And if the South owns this money, why do Southern citizens live in miserable situations?
By SS, 23/11/2011

Deng in SudanAdam Andre, director of the The Luol Deng Foundation, stands with Luol Deng in July 2011 on a trail through the Jebel Rock mountain range over Juba, South Sudan. (Luol Deng Foundation HANDOUT / January 6, 2012)

Independence of native land has allowed forward’s family to return and has granted him serenity

By K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune reporter3:23 p.m. CST, January 7, 2012
The words appeared on Luol Deng‘s Twitter feed at 4:05 p.m. on Nov. 16.Eating outside by the Nile River is so peaceful.

Deng sat there, on the outskirts of Juba, South Sudan, dining with his father, brother and best friend. The sun warmed. The wind calmed. Eventually, his friend, Adam Andre, even jumped in the river. Deng teased him about getting eaten by alligators.

But no. On this day, four months into South Sudan’s remarkable independence, with four of Deng’s eight siblings and his parents having returned home for good, only peaceful moments prevailed.

It’s not unlike the contentment Deng has found in his professional life. Once maligned by Bulls fans for being overpaid and physically and mentally brittle, Deng has become coach Tom Thibodeau‘s indispensable part, as reliable and relentless as the mighty Nile’s current.”He’s relaxed because he knows that everything is cool now,” says Andre, who has known Deng since they attended a New Jersey boarding school together 12 years ago. “There’s peace in South Sudan.”

Deng’s father, Aldo, served as Sudan’s minister of transportation as civil war raged. The family left for Egypt when Luol was 5, eventually landing outsideLondon when England granted Aldo political asylum in 1993.

Deng spent six years in England, left for New Jersey’s Blair Academy at 14 and earned a basketball scholarship at Duke. After one sparkling season, the Bulls acquired his draft rights in a trade with the Sunson June 24, 2004.

For Zain Sudan: New Country, New Challenges

Posted: January 7, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Economy

Telecom service providers in Sudan have had to overcome more than the usual operational challenges in a market, and earlier this year an additional one was placed in their path by the separation of what had previously been the Republic of Sudan into two countries. Comm. speaks to the CEO leading operator Zain Sudan about the state of play in both countries – the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan – and the impact the separation is set to have on the telecom business
South Sudan officially came into existence as an independent country in July 2011, and with that the responsibility of building new government institutions from the ground up commenced in earnest. This extends to the establishment of an independent telecom regulator, and the extension of the permission of the Republic of Sudan’s three telecom operators – Zain Sudan, MTN Sudan and Sudatel’s Sudani – to continue offering commercial services in what is now South Sudan.
“Our activities in Sudan and South Sudan are now two separate companies, operating two separate networks,” said Elfatih M. Erwa, managing director of Zain Sudan. “Since the beginning of the year we have been operating off two budgets, and the challenge remains how to keep customers on the network, and reduce the impact of the separation on the main network,” he added.
Apart from the logical issues related to dividing a single network into two, Zain Sudan along with its peers has had to consider the impact of separating the two markets from both an operational as well as a penetration level. As a single country, Sudan had a mobile penetration rate of around 42 per cent, but as two separate countries, now registers a penetration rate of around 60 per cent in Sudan and 20 per cent in South Sudan.
The lower penetration level in South Sudan reflects the socio-economic reality in the country, where the total addressable market is much lower, with an overall population split that now reflects around 31 million in Sudan and nine million in South Sudan.
“If I were a greenfield operator, would I look to invest in South Sudan? Probably not. However, as an incumbent operator that has already invested heavily in the country it is important to keep on investing and grow the business,” Erwa said. He believes the operator already enjoys distinct advantages in the South, having established a strong brand and built out the most extensive network.
Erwa said Zain Sudan has so far spent US$60 million in separating its operations into two, and while the licensing regime in South Sudan currently reflects the situation in the Republic of Sudan, there is an expectation that at some point in the near future South Sudan shall establish its own regime and likely require a licence fee payment from the incumbent operators to continue offering services in the country.
Earlier this year it was reported that representatives from Zain Sudan were engaged in talks with the government in South Sudan regarding the payment of a fee to extend its licence in Sudan to the newly independent country. No agreement was made, and for the meantime the mobile operators in South Sudan continue to operate as usual without any interruption to their services, but also without an explicit position on licensing from the government.
In October 2011 the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announced that South Sudan had joined the ITU to become the union’s 193rd member state, effective from October 3.
The country had already been allocated the international dialling code +211 by the ITU, following the country’s recognition by the UN General Assembly and the dialling code became active on September 28.
A high-level ITU delegation led by Brahima Sanou, director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau has met with government ministers in South Sudan with the aim of acquiring first-hand information on the country’s needs and challenges in the area of ICT development. The first such visit by ITU, the mission paved the way for the delivery of focused assistance to the country as it embarks on its development path.
“No additional licence fee has been levied against any of the mobile operators, and Zain Sudan is looking to continue with its intention to invest heavily in South Sudan in 2012 and beyond,” Erwa said.
Aside from the succession of South Sudan and the logistical, commercial, regulatory and technological issues it raises, Zain Sudan is facing a dramatic period of time competitively within Sudan itself. The operator currently counts around 12.7 million subscribers, up from 10.7 at the end of March, though Erwa acknowledged that the operator suffered from a reduction in market share earlier this year due to more aggressive competition.
“There is a large amount of churn on competitors’ networks, but they are also aggressive with their subscriber acquisition efforts,” Erwa revealed. “At present we are five per cent above target with respect to customers and revenues are on target.”
Erwa forecasted that 2012 would be a difficult year in Sudan with the country’s economic situation placing pressure on industry revenues. Despite this outlook Zain Sudan is still looking to invest up to US$280 million improving its infrastructure in the Republic of Sudan in 2012, with the operator’s CAPEX in South Sudan set to reach between US$60 and $80 million in the same year.
Zain Sudan launched 3G services in 2010, with Erwa stating that today approximately nine per cent of service revenues are generated from data. The capital Khartoum has fully-fledged 3G HSPA running, with coverage having been successfully extended to the country’s larger cities, while many other areas remain uncovered. Capacity in South Sudan also remains a challenge.
“At this stage we are not concentrating on selling 3G phones,” Erwa said. “Rather we are focussing more on usage patterns and 3G connect cards, with two million unique phone users, and over 60,000 of them on 3G cards,” he added.
As a single country, Sudan had a mobile penetration rate of around 42 per cent, but as two separate countries, now registers a penetration rate of around 60 per cent in Sudan and 20 per cent in South Sudan
Looking ahead Erwa said Zain Sudan will be focusing on a number of strategic efforts aimed at balancing out the mobile penetration levels between the two countries in which it now operates, while also looking to develop new revenue streams. He said the CAPEX guidance the operator has given for the future is a serious estimate and that the company intends to invest further in its transmission network and develop more backhaul.
“We are ready to entertain the idea of network sharing if it can be approached in the right way,” Erwa said. “Through our efforts”.

By Press Release, 5 hours 25 minutes ago

Updated January 08, 2012 11:17:00

The UN’s top official in South Sudan says “no evidence” had been found of reported mass killings, but warned that 60,000 people were in urgent need of aid.

Hilde Johnson, UN Special Representative for South Sudan, said reports that over 3,000 people were killed last week when thousands of armed youths attacked the Pibor region of Jonglei state appeared to be a false alarm.

“Importantly, we found no evidence that support those numbers,” she said following a visit to affected areas where up to 8,000 rampaging armed youths set homes on fire and forced thousands to flee.

In a dramatic escalation of bitter tit-for-tat attacks, a militia army from the Lou Nuer tribe last week marched on Pibor, home to the rival Murle people, whom they blame for abductions and cattle raiding.

It was still not clear how many people had died.

But Ms Johnson said that with as many as a third of all thatch huts set on fire in targeted areas, about 60,000 people were in desperate need of help.

“People are left without shelter, their homes have been torched, and with their cattle taken their livelihoods are dismantled,” she said.

“It is critical that this cycle of violence stop… and providing timely humanitarian assistance can help end retaliatory attacks.”

The UN humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, Lise Grande, said last week that “tens, perhaps hundreds” could have died in the latest outbreak of violence in the world’s newest nation, which only declared independence six months ago.

Ms Johnson stressed that UN peacekeepers had, however, protected civilians from the county’s two largest settlements of, Pibor town and Lekongele.

“Our mandate is to protect civilians, and we did that,” she added.

South Sudan has declared Jonglei a national “disaster area” while the United Nations has said it will launch a “massive” emergency operation to help those uprooted by the violence.

“This emergency operation is going to be one of the most complex and expensive in South Sudan,” since the Sudan’s civil war ended in 2005, the UN said earlier.


UN says no evidence of South Sudan killings
ABC Online
The UN’s top official in South Sudan says “no evidence” had been found of reported mass killings, but warned that 60000 people were in urgent need of aid. Hilde Johnson, UN Special Representative for South Sudan, said reports that over 3000 people were 

Sudan’s Bashir offers to help form new Libyan army
South Bend Tribune
Relations between Khartoum and Tripoli were strained during Gaddafi’s rule because of his support for rebels inSudan’s western Darfur region and in South Sudan, which gained independence in July under a 2005 peace deal. Bashir said that the ousting of 

Sudan Government Reveals New Diplomatic Strategy in Dealing with South Sudan
Sudan Vision
Khartoum – Sudanese government revealed a new diplomatic strategy in dealing with the Republic of South Sudan, affirming its keenness to improve and develop bilateral relations with the new-born state. Foreign Ministry Undersecretary, Ambassador 

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Makes First Official Visit to Israel
The Weekly Standard (blog)
Israel was one of the first nations to recognize and welcome as a new nation the Republic of South Sudan on July 9, 2011. It was not surprising then, that South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayaardit recently chose Israel for one of his first 

Sudan’s al-Bashir meets top Libyan officials in Tripoli
In this file photo, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, right, speaks at a joint news conference with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, left, at the airport in Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf) The Associated Press TRIPOLI,

Uganda, South Sudan to meet over trade
New Vision
By Norman Katende Uganda and South Sudan government trade officials are to meet on January 19 to discuss ways in which to better trade relations. Addressing the ministry of Trade and Industry staff at the Management Training and Advisory Centre (MTAC) 
Deng a changed man
Chicago Tribune
Deng sat there, on the outskirts of Juba, South Sudan, dining with his father, brother and best friend. The sun warmed. The wind calmed. Eventually, his friend, Adam Andre, even jumped in the river. Deng teased him about getting eaten by alligators. 
New Country, New Challenges
Sudan Vision
Comm. speaks to the CEO leading operator Zain Sudan about the state of play in both countries – the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan – and the impact the separation is set to have on the telecom business South Sudan officially came into existence as

Pakistan ties with Israel? Why not, asks ex-President Pervez Musharraf

Posted: January 7, 2012 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in World

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf speaks during an interview with Reuters in Dubai, May 2, 2011. REUTERS/Jumana El-Heloueh

By Qasim Nauman

ISLAMABAD | Sat Jan 7, 2012 5:46am EST

(Reuters) – Pakistan should consider establishing ties with Israel, said exiled former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, remarks likely to anger many in the Muslim-majority country where he hopes to make a political comeback.

Musharraf, who resigned in 2008 in disgrace, has said he plans to return to Pakistan this month, despite possible arrest, in order to participate in a parliamentary election due by 2013.

On Sunday, he is scheduled to address a rally via video in Pakistan’s biggest city and commercial hub, Karachi, sources in his recently formed All Pakistan Muslim League said.

Speaking in favour of relations with Israel could make Musharraf more unpopular, especially among militants who made several attempts on his life with bombings because of his support for the U.S. “war on terror” following the 9/11 attacks.

Those same groups want the destruction of Israel.

“There is nothing to lose by trying to get on Israel’s good side,” Musharraf, a former army chief, told the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz in an interview carried on its website.

“Pakistan also needs to keep readjusting its diplomatic stand toward Israel based on the mere fact that it exists and is not going away.”

That kind of talk could comfort Israel, which is increasingly nervous because Islamist groups opposed to the Jewish state have been making political gains in Arab states following revolts that brought down autocrats in the region.

Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment on Musharraf’s remarks.


Pakistan has been a staunch supporter of demands for a Palestinian state. Pakistan and Israel, however, have maintained covert contacts for decades, officials have said.

According to an October 2009 U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks, the head of Pakistan’s main spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), said he had contacted Israel officials to head off potential attacks on Israeli targets in India.

A senior ISI official said the agency has never established any contacts not authorized by the government and which were not in the interests of Pakistan.

Many Pakistanis think Israel and the United States are constantly plotting against Pakistan — a belief that inspires abundant conspiracy theories. Pakistani media routinely rail against Jews and Israeli plots.

Musharraf, who came to power in a 1999 coup, said Israel’s influence in the United States and its relations with Pakistan’s main rival, India, can help Pakistan gain influence abroad.

The first public talks between Israel and Pakistan were held in 2005.

They were described as a “huge breakthrough” by then Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, but sparked fury in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed South Asian nation that is home to some of the world’s most feared militant groups.

“I felt I needed to test the waters in Pakistan when it comes to Israel,” Musharraf said.

“We have been anti-Israel in Pakistan because of Palestine … But I believe in realism and in assessing ground realities.”

Musharraf left office, and Pakistan, after his allies lost a 2008 general election and he faced an impeachment motion by the new coalition government for invoking emergency rule and suspending the constitution.

A Pakistani court issued an arrest warrant for Musharraf in February 2011 over accusations that he failed to provide adequate security to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in December 2007.

Musharraf was declared a fugitive of law after he failed to respond to a court summons.

He has denied suggestions that he, his security agencies, or the military were involved in Bhutto’s murder.

(Additional reporting by Faisal Aziz in KARACHI; Editing by Michael Georgy and Robert Birsel

South Sudan: Governor – Forces Loyal to Late Athor Defect to SPLA
He urges all rebels to take seriously the calling for peace in South Sudan as well as the President’s general amnesty declared to them to put down their arms and join fellow South Sudanese in nation building…

South Sudan aid effort under way, UN says
CNN International
(CNN) — A huge aid effort is under way in a remote area of South Sudan to help an estimated 60000 people who fled their homes to escape roaming fighters, the United Nations said. Some 6000 armed men from the Lou Nuer tribe marched on an area of 

Sudan’s Bashir skips South African’s ANC centenary celebrations
Sudan Tribune
January 6, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government announced that president Omer al-Bashir will be unable to attend the celebrations in South Africa of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) 100th anniversary. Bashir’s adviser Mustafa Osman 

Obama adds South Sudan to list of countries eligible to receive US weapons
Sudan Tribune
But US officials said this move did not mean that Washington has imminent plans to sell arms toSouth Sudan. “We have from the beginning, and even before we got to statehood, been open to conversations that they wanted to have with us about how they 

South Sudan: Warrap Government Dismisses Over Hundred Civil Servants
He added that some of them had served long, long time ago in the government of Sudan by then. The purpose of laying off these civil servants by the State government is to give chance to the young graduates, who could deliver services to the citizens of 

South Sudan: LRA Kills Two Persons in WBG, Fetches Supplies From Sudan
The governor was speaking about security concerns in his state which he linked to South Darfur as a cause. .Hassan further said that the LRA rebels always access his state as a passage where they can get food items to facilitate their journey to 

Six months on, South Sudan struggles
Al Jazeera
It has been almost exactly a year since 99 per cent of people in southern Sudan voted in favour of breaking away from the north and forming their own country. South Sudan was declared the world’s newest country on July 9 last year 2011, but six months 

Facebook should have done more to prevent scammers from taking advantage of people desperate to leave Timeline.
By KEITH WAGSTAFF | @kwagstaff | January 6, 2012 |
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images


Don’t like Facebook Timeline? Too bad, because you’re stuck with it.

Hence the arrival of scammers, cynically taking advantage of those nostalgic for the old profile design by creating at least 16 pages promising a way to undo Timeline.

According to Inside Facebook, the pages have collectively accumulated around 71,000 “Likes,” prompting users to “invite friends, watch YouTube videos and download files.” They’re also pretty easy to find; search for “timeline” on Facebook and you’ll find pages titled “Deactivate Your FB Timeline” and “Here You Can Remove Facebook Timeline.”

This is bad news for Facebook for several reasons. One, of course, is that its users are being scammed. The other is that it’s not exactly great PR for Timeline.

Back when I initially reviewed it, I praised the decision to make Timeline opt-in. While browsing through people’s profiles is a lot more fun, it’s a bit of a privacy nightmare, especially if you don’t take the hour or so required to spot clean your virtual past.

What I failed to mention was that, much like the mafia, once you’re in, you’re in. Facebook is determined to make Timeline the de facto Facebook profile. In the future, every user will be transitioned over to the new format whether they like it or not.

Which brings us back to the scams. They are proof that thousands of people have no idea that you can’t switch back to the old profile. I don’t blame them; I tried searching throughout Facebook’s Timeline Help Center (where, presumably, such information would live) and found nothing that would warn someone that you can’t leave Timeline once you join.

Facebook has very little incentive to delay you from joining Timeline. After all, soon everyone will have it, so why give people the option to switch back to a profile that won’t exist?

That makes a lot of sense. So why not just make that clear from the get-go? Did Facebook really have so much faith in its design that it didn’t anticipate that thousands and thousands of people would hate it and want out?

This is the aftermath of that little bit of hubris. Frustrated users, with no information provided to them by Facebook, are taking things into their own hands and ending up at pages created to profit off of their confusion.

Yes, if people knew that opting in to Timeline was a one-way street, fewer of them would have signed up. That’s still no excuse to not give users fair warning before they make that decision.

Facebook has a nasty habit of releasing products people don’t like and assuming that one day they’ll see the light and realize Zuckerberg was right all along. It might have worked with the News Feed redesign (although I still can’t stand the ticker) but after this debacle, who knows; it might be different.

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