Charles Simmins

Charles Simmins

Charles Simmins is a native Western New Yorker with nearly thirty years of experience at senior level accounting positions in non-profit and for profit organizations. He was a volunteer firefighter, and a volunteer EMT for fourteen years.

Currently he is a freelance writer and publishes an on-line magazine, America's North Shore Journal. He is a long time participant in the Defense Department's bloggers' outreach program.

He is married and is presently owned by four cats.

Twitter: @CharlesSimmins
Facebook: /chuck.simmins
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  • Beef Bans After Mad Cow Scare are Political, Not Safety Issue
    The discovery of a dairy cow suffering from bovine spongiform encephalopathy, mad cow disease, prompted several nations to ban beef imports from the United States. Dairy cattle are not used for beef. The bans are more political than safety oriented.
  • Pacific Partnership 2012 Ready to Set Sail
    The hospital ship USNS Mercy will begin the seventh year of Pacific Partnership on May 1 when it sails from San Diego. Host nations this year for the annual humanitarian mission are Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
  • Fire Weather Warning for New York
    New York State had a very dry winter and spring. The lack of snow and spring rain combined with extreme drought conditions on Long Island is creating the potential for serious wildfires.
  • Drought Conditions Declared for Long Island
    The National Weather Service has declared parts of New York State to be in severe or moderate drought conditions. The worst of the drought is affecting Long Island, including Suffolk and Nassau counties.
  • Whooping Cough Cases Climb Nationally
    Whooping cough case counts continue to climb nationally and at least one state has declared an epidemic outbreak. Seven of the top nine states allow parents to refuse to immunize their children based on a personal belief.
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  • Airman Barry F. Crawford Jr. to Receive Air Force Cross
    Captain Barry F. Crawford Jr. will be presented with the Air Force Cross at a ceremony at the Pentagon today. Crawford earned his award by his valor in combat in a May 2010 battle in Afghanistan.
  • Grandpa was a Serial Bigamist
    My father had always known that his father had a first wife. He never learned the secret that his mother took to her grave. His father's first wife was alive and not divorced when he married my father's mother.
  • Two Mega Millions Tickets Turned In
    Two winning tickets for the record $656 million Mega Millions jackpot of March 30 have now been turned in. A pooled win in Maryland has made three people millionaires. An individual winner in Kansas is also a new millionaire.
  • New York Tops in Illness Outbreaks
    Two outbreaks of Salmonella and an outbreak of whooping cough have New Yorkers under the weather and near the top in case numbers. Four different strains of Salmonella have sickened dozens and nearly 600 have caught pertussis, or whooping cough.
  • Tsunami Ghost Ship Sunk by Naval Gunfire
    Late yesterday, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Anacapa sank the Ryou-Un Maru. The Japanese fishing vessel earned its notoriety by drifting unmanned across the Pacific following the March 2010 tsunami. Maritime officials deemed it a hazard to navigation.
  • Whooping Cough Epidemic in Washington State
    The State of Washington has declared that pertussis, or whooping cough, is now epidemic in the state. The last state epidemic of this illness was in California in 2010. 640 cases of whooping cough have been diagnosed.
  • Mega Millions Mystery -- Who Won?
    Three winning tickets were sold for last Friday's record setting Mega Millions lottery drawing. Only one person has come forward, claiming to have a winning ticket. Doubts surround that person's story, however.
  • Public Health Officials to Focus on Autism During April
    Autism spectrum disorders are the focus of a United Nations resolution and a sustained public education campaign this month. With increased numbers of patients being diagnosed, the causes and treatments are in the spotlight.
  • America in 1940 -- The View from the Census
    The Federal government took a nation census for the sixteenth time in 1940. Those records have been made public today. Historians and genealogists - take note!
  • Kentucky Legislature Passes Amish Buggy Bill
    Kentucky's legislature has agreed to allow buggies operated by Amish believers to be marked in a different manner than other highway vehicles. The Amish objected to the standard reflective triangle.
  • Mega Millions Jackpot Now Half a Billion Dollars
    Six numbers could make someone half a billion dollars on Friday. The Mega Millions lottery jackpot has reached a record level with no winner on Tuesday.
  • Operators Struggle at Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Site
    One year after the earthquake and tsunami that created the nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, operators are struggling with the result. A water leak and high radiation levels in one reactor were discovered yesterday.
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  • Mega Millions Lottery Jackpot Estimated at $363 Million
    The multi-state Mega Millions lottery jackpot is now an estimated $363 million. Tonight's drawing will be for the third highest payout in game history.
  • Huge Rats Menace Florida Keys
    Grassy Key, one of the Florida Keys, has become the home of an unwanted visitor to the U.S. The Gambian pouch rat has established a breeding population despite the best efforts to trap or poison the monster rats.
  • Pope Visits Communist Cuba
    Pope Benedict XVI has departed Mexico and has arrived in Cuba on the final leg of his apostolic visit to these two Latin American nations. In Mexico, he prayed for those suffering from violence.
  • Palace Renovations Offer Window on British Royals
    Twelve million pounds of renovations have refurbished the newly re-opened Kensington Palace in London. The Palace still houses a number of the British royal family and its historic residents include Queen Victoria and Lady Diana.
  • King of Tonga Dies Suddenly
    King George Tupou V of Tonga passed away March 18 during a visit to Hong Kong. His reign was marked by his surrender of absolute power to an elected government.
  • American Troops Besieged in Egypt Protest
    The main camp of the Multinational Force & Observers (MFO), which oversees the Sinai provisions of the Israeli/Egyptian peace treaty, has been besieged by armed Bedouin. About 80 Americans are believed to be in the camp.
  • 6-Year-Old Heads to National Spelling Bee
    A home schooled girl, Lori Anne Madison, won a regional competition in Prince William County, Virginia, to advance to the national level of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. At age 6, she is believed to be the youngest national competitor ever.
  • Tsunami Debris Still Coming, Researcher Warns
    The International Pacific Research Center's Nikolai Maximenko warned on Friday that the debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami is still moving towards the U.S. He predicts that Hawaii will see the greatest impact.
  • February Unemployment Rate Unchanged
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the February 2012 unemployment numbers today. Despite non-farm job gains of 227,000, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.3 percent.
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  • Royal Danish Navy Frees Pirate Captives
    The Royal Danish Navy ship Absalon has freed sixteen Iranian and Pakistani sailors being held captive aboard a pirated cargo ship off the coast of Somalia. Two captives were killed in the naval action.
  • Super Tuesday to Decide Republican Nominee -- or Not
    Ten states will vote on a Republican nominee for President tomorrow, 2012's Super Tuesday. One candidate could take a commanding lead. The voters may also continue to support several candidates, making a brokered convention possible.
  • Honduras Prison Fire Kills Hundreds
    Honduras is dealing with the aftereffects of a deadly prison blaze. Hundreds are believed to have died in the smokey fire in the Comayagua prison. Authorities are struggling to cope with family members who have gathered at the facility looking for news.
  • New Breeds Appear at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show
    Breed judging begins today with group and best in show judging set for tomorrow at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. This is the 136th annual show.
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  • Jerry Sandusky Cleared for Grandchildren Visits
    Accused child molester and former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky had the terms of his bail arrangement changed on Monday. A judge will permit him to visit with most of his grandchildren.
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  • Joplin Visitors Bureau Denies Tornado Tourism Claim
    Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau is denying press reports that they are promoting "tornado tourism". Citizens of the Missouri city are outraged that the idea was even discussed.
  • Don Cornelius, 'Soul Train' Creator, Dead at 75
    Don Cornelius, the creator of the long running dance show Soul Train, has died at the age of 75. The LA County coroner lists the cause of death as suicide by gunshot.
  • Kenyan Election Violence Determined to Be Crimes Against Humanity
    Four Kenyans, prominent in the political affairs of the African nation of Kenya, have been charged by the International Criminal Court. During a period of political violence in Kenya in 2008, the court found that crimes against humanity were committed.
  • Joe Paterno Dies, but the Legend Lives
    With the death of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno on Sunday, college sports has lost another of those men that created and defined their sport.
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  • Radioactive Gravel from Japanese Nuke Disaster Used in Buildings
    Gravel stockpiled near the Fukushima nuclear disaster site has been shipped throughout Japan. That gravel was contaminated by radioactive materials and should not have been used.
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  • Fuel Supplies Reach Nome
    As the crews of the US CGC Healy and TV Renda wait for the broken ice around their ships to refreeze, the people of Nome, Alaska, anticipate the delivery of need fuel. That process could begin as early as Sunday, January 15.
  • Piracy Crackdown Off Somalia
    The United States Navy and the other forces engaged in anti-piracy efforts off the coast of Somalia have had significant success in the last two weeks. Several vessels and their crews have been freed and at least 68 suspected pirates detained.
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  • Fuel Convoy Reaches Nome
    The Coast Guard polar icebreaker Healy and the Russian tanker Renda are 8 nautical miles off the Alaskan coast as they wait for daylight. Slow and careful maneuvering this afternoon will move the tanker as close to Nome's harbor as possible.
  • Relief Nears Nome as U.S. Icebreaker Opens Sea Lane
    The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy is clearing a path today for the MV Renda. The Russian tanker is bringing badly needed fuel to the ice bound community of Nome, Alaska.
  • Defense Cuts Are Based Upon Strategic Guidance
    Pentagon officials briefed reporters by telephone on Thursday about President Obama's newly announced defense strategy and its implementation over the next decade.
  • German Volcano Could Devastate Europe
    The inactive Laacher See volcano is making news since it has the potential to bury much of western Europe under feet of volcanic ash. It is not the only geological danger we face.
  • Russians Sail to Rescue of Ice Bound Alaska Community
    Braving 250 miles of ice pack, the Russian tanker Renda is slowly making its way toward the western Alaska town of Nome. Cut off by ice, the town will run out of fuel oil and gasoline without Renda's supplies.
  • Pope Embraces Anglicans in U.S. with New Ordinariate
    On New Year's Day 2012, Pope Benedict XVI established the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. This allows Episcopalians and Anglicans in the United States to rejoin the Catholic Church.
  • Santa's Gifts for (Mostly Naughty) Politicians
    Throughout 2011 American politicians demonstrated that they needed some help with their lives and their careers. Santa came early with some gifts for the naughty and nice.
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  • New York Condo Goes for $88 Million
    Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev has bought his 22 year old daughter a nice Christmas present. Ekaterina is reported to be the proud owner of a 6,700-sq-ft condo on Central Park West in New York City. Daddy's generosity? $88 million.
  • Tropical Storm Sendong Kills Over 600 in Philippines
    Tropical storm Sendong lingered over the southern Philippines for nearly three days last week. With rainfall rates of as much as two inches per hours, flash floods and river flooding brought death and destruction to the region.
  • Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight
    The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight but the nearly full moon will present a viewing challenge. While the best show is to be seen in regions north of the equator, the Southern Hemisphere will also see the annual shower of space debris.
  • U.S. Spy Drone Crashes in Seychelles
    An Air Force Reaper drone crashed on landing at the international airport in the Seychelles capital of Mahe Tuesday morning. The MQ-9 drone was part of operations in the Somalia region of Africa.
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  • Nebraska Nuke Plant Placed on Special Inspection Status
    Nebraska's Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant had been scheduled to resume operations in January. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has placed those plans on hold by placing the plant onto special inspection status.
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  • Police Officer Wounds Self Unloading Pistol at Hartsfield Airport
    TSA agents at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport discovered a .22 caliber pistol in a passenger's carry on bag this weekend. A police officer was wounded while unloading the gun.
  • Michelle Obama Helps Break World Record
    Guinness World Records announced today that First Lady Michelle Obama was part of a world record in October. She led a group of 400 joining the effort from the South Lawn of the White House on October 11.
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  • Obama Calls for New Nationalism in Heartland
    Speaking in Osawatomie, Kansas, President Barack Obama used the memory of Teddy Roosevelt to call for "fair play, a fair shot, and a fair share" for the American middle-class. It was a call for a "new nationalism".
  • Japan Crash Turns Luxury Cars into Scrap
    Bad weather may have been the cause of a chain reaction accident in Japan Sunday that injured ten. Nearly four million dollars worth of cars, 14 in all, were damaged or totaled.
  • Bishop Eddie Long to Take Sabbatical
    Bishop Eddie Long has announced that he will be taking a sabbatical from his duties at Atlanta's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. He is just the latest television evangelist caught in a sex scandal.
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  • Radioactive Water Leaks at Japanese Nuke Site
    The efforts to control the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant suffered another setback over the weekend as thousands of gallons of radioactive water flooded a treatment building. A small amount ran off into the nearby ocean.
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  • Japan Damaged Nuke Plants Still Not Under Control
    The fight to control the meltdowns in three of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors continues. Nearly 10 months after Japan suffered a historic earthquake and tsunami, the melted uranium continues to generate radiation and heat.
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  • Fewer Children Receiving Vaccines in U.S
    The Associated Press has released its study of exemptions to school vaccine schedules nationally. Exemptions for required immunizations to enter public school are up. The increase in illnesses like whooping cough are one result.
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  • Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on CBS Tonight
    CBS hosts the seventeenth annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show tonight at 10 pm EST. One of the highlights of the show will be model Miranda Kerr modeling a $2.5 million jeweled bra.
  • All U.S. Troops Out of Iraq by Christmas
    Brig. Gen. Bradley Becker, Deputy Commanding General (Support) for United States Division – Center, told reporters today that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by Christmas. Nearly all will be home for the holiday.
  • U.S. Marines Headed to Australia
    President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard have issued a joint announcement that U.S. Marines will be deploying to northern Australia for a continuing training mission.
  • Fire Island Resort Businesses Burn
    The heart of the Fire Island Pines business district was ravaged by fire overnight. The Pavilion and the LaFountaine Building were gutted. Multiple fire departments fought the blaze in the popular summer resort.
  • Va Nuke Plant Restarts After Quake
    On November 11, Dominion Virginia Power began the process of restarting the two nuclear reactors at the North Anna power plant. Both reactors had been shut down after the earthquake of August 23, 2011.
  • Alaska Being Pounded by Winter Super Storm
    A record storm is pounding the west coast of Alaska, bringing hurricane force winds, heavy snow and a massive storm surge. The many, small coastal communities are bracing for the worst.
  • Air Force Wraps Up Iraqi Deployment
    MG Russ Handy spoke with reporters today about the U.S. Air Force's role in the withdrawal from Iraq. He also talked about the structure and preparedness of the Iraqi Air Force.
  • U.S. Navy Fires Railgun for 1000th Time
    The railgun has been a staple of many of the stories written by science fiction writers because of its enormous potential. The U.S. Navy is turning that fiction into fact.
  • U.S. Tests Nationwide Alert System November 9
    At 2 pm on November 9 the Emergency Alert System, formerly the Emergency Broadcast System, will be tested nationwide in the U.S. While the system has regular tests at state and local levels, this is the first national test.
  • Manhattan Mosquitoes Are Biting
    The Upper West Side of Manhattan is beset by biting swarms of mosquitoes that are coming out of the sewers. Current control programs by New York City seem ineffective.
  • Suicide in America's Military and Veterans
    A survey of the data on suicide in America's veteran and military populations.
  • Serious Illness Outbreaks in New York
    New York residents have not escaped a number of illness outbreaks that public health authorities are monitoring. Both food borne illnesses and contagious diseases are being seen locally as well as nationally.
  • Andy Rooney Seriously Ill
    92 year old television icon Andy Rooney is hospitalized after serious complications from minor surgery. The Sixty Minutes fixture retired from his weekly commentary just three weeks ago.
  • 200 Years After the War of 1812
    Few nations survive the capture and burning of their capital. The United States did, during the War of 1812. The bicentennial anniversary of that war is just three months away.
  • Obama Sends US Troops to Central Africa
    President Obama has followed up on months of effort to support Central Africa in their fight against the cult-like Lord's Resistance Army. On Oct. 12, the first of 100 U.S. military were sent to Uganda to "provide information, advice, and assistance."
  • Moving Home from Iraq, by the Numbers
    MG Thomas Spoehr spoke with reporters on Thursday and discussed the on-going transition of bases and equipment to Iraqis from U.S. control. The December 31 deadline to leave is approaching.
  • How Will the United States Punish Iran for Murder Plot?
    With the discovery of a plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. by bombing his favorite Washington restaurant, the Obama administration has to decide what to do about Iran.
  • More Computer Virus Issues for U.S. Military
    The Air Force's computer systems that allow pilots to remotely fly drones all over the planet has become infected with a computer virus. Eradicating the virus is proving difficult.
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  • Air Force Returns to Attack Texas Wildfires
    The drought and related wildfires continue in Texas. A national shortage of civilian air tankers has resulted in the return of Air Force aircraft and crews to fly fire retardant drops.
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  • Veterans Treatment Courts Divert Troubled Vets from Path to Jail
    U.S. military veterans can become involved with the criminal justice system due to substance abuse or mental health issues. Veterans Treatment Courts offer a way for these vets to avoid imprisonment and turn their lives around.
  • New York Trembles when Kodak Stumbles
    Kodak, a former industrial giant, is based in Rochester, NY. As it struggles to transition from film making to a digital future, the company has experienced serious financial woes.
  • Afghan Police Blunting Taliban Efforts
    MG Walter Golden described recent high-profile Taliban attacks as failures, after not creating mass casualties as planned. Afghan National Police units contained and defeated the terrorists.
  • Dam Safety in Upstate New York Questioned
    Two key dams operated by the Army Corps of Engineers have been rated as unsafe and marginally safe in Western New York. The safe operation of these dams prevents increased flooding from Upstate New York to Chesapeake Bay.
  • Bahrain Votes as Protests Continue
    Bahrain held parliamentary elections on Saturday to fill 14 seats in the lower house left empty by the walkout of a Shia backed political party. The walkout protested security measures taken after "Arab Spring" demonstrations in February and March.
  • Air Force Cross to Be Awarded to Tech Sgt. Robert Gutierrez Jr.
    He thought about the daughter that he had never seen as he fought for his life. Badly wounded, then Staff Sgt. Robert Gutierrez, Jr. called in air strike after air strike as his Special Forces unit carried out their mission deep in the Afghan mountains.
  • Minot Sees Recovery After Record Flood
    When the water of the Mouse River overtopped the levees in Minot on June 22, ten thousand people were evacuated. As the water receded, thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. Now, the community sees some signs of recovery.
  • Travis Tritt Cancels Joplin Appearance Over Use of Recovery Funds
    Travis Tritt was scheduled to appear at a free concert in Joplin, Missouri this Sunday. He has canceled, citing the City's use of donated recovery funds to pay concert expenses. He does not feel it is appropriate.
  • Tropical Storms Land One-Two Punch on Upstate New York
    Upstate New York experienced rainfall from, not one, but two tropical storms in the last several days. Record flooding has occurred.
  • How Sub Base New London Coped with Hurricane Irene
    Naval Submarine Base New London met Hurricane Irene head on August 28. Pre-planning and preparation were the keys to the experience and the base survived.
  • Special Election to Fill Anthony Weiner's Congressional Seat
    With the special election to fill the Congressional seat of Anthony Weiner just a week away, Republican Bob Turner may have an edge. Recent polling shows him ahead of Democrat candidate David Weprin.
  • 18 Months After Earthquake, Haiti Still Struggles
    Haiti continues to struggle with recovery after the January 2010 earthquake. Many Haitians remain in refugee camps. Cholera is still epidemic. The continuing role of U.N. peacekeepers is being questioned.
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  • More Dead in Texas Wildfires
    The Bastrop County, Texas, fire has claimed two victims, according to media reports. This brings the death toll for the three days to four. Hundreds of homes have burned and tens of thousands of acres of land.
  • Central Texas Burns
    As the winds from former Hurricane Lee wrapped around its center and hit Texas, the fires began. Dozens of wildfires fanned by the high winds began Sunday and still burn today. Two deaths are reported.
  • Hurricane Irene Federal Aid for Vermont Slow in Coming
    Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin sent the state's application for a major disaster declaration to President Obama Thursday. FEMA funds will require action by Congress. The Federal Transportation Department has released $5 million for emergency road repairs.
  • Hurricane Irene's Rainfall a Weighty Matter
    For a time, the safety of the Gilboa Dam, on Schoharie Creek in the scenic Catskill Mountains of New York was in doubt as the rain from Hurricane Irene fell. The dam survived without damage. Just what did it have to deal with?
  • Upstate New York Flooding Recedes
    The flooding experienced by many upstate New York communities after the heavy rainfall from Hurricane Irene is receding. Road and bridge closures are widespread and some areas remain under water.
  • Hurricane Irene: Flood Threat in Upstate New York
    As Hurricane Irene moves out of the Northeast, heavy rains continue to fall in many parts of New York State. A number of lakes and streams are swollen and flooding is likely in most areas.
  • National Guard Responds to Hurricane Irene
    At least seven states have activated National Guard units in response to Hurricane Irene's approach. Vulnerable assets such as aircraft have been sent inland. Relief and rescue forces are being pre-positioned.
  • Hurricane Irene: Military, Coast Guard Prepare
    As Hurricane Irene moves closer to the U.S. mainland, the military, National Guard and the Coast Guard are ramping up their preparations. Relief assets are being pre-positioned and vulnerable ships and planes relocated.
  • Military Prepares for Hurricane Irene
    Hurricane Irene, the first hurricane of the 2011 season, is approaching the east coast of the United States. The U.S. military and the National Guard are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
  • Historic Earthquake in D.C. Results in Historic Senate Session
    Tuesday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked the East Coast was historic in nature. So too was the U.S. Senate session that was held that same afternoon.
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  • Biofuel a Navy Priority
    Navy Secretary Ray Mabus briefed reported Monday on the U.S. Navy's progress with alternative energy programs, including biofuel. He laid out the four principles the biofuel program is operating under.
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