HC relief for Mahim Church plot residents

HC relief for Mahim church plot residents
In a relief for residents of a building on St Michael Church property at Mahim, the Bombay high court has directed the trial court to decide afresh whether a builder should be restrained from carrying out construction of a multi-storeyed tower on plots reserved for three gardens.

HC relief for Mahim church plot residents

| Jul 22, 2016, 01.14 AM IST

Mumbai: In a relief for residents of a building on St Michael Church property at Mahim, the Bombay high court has directed the trial court to decide afresh whether a builder should be restrained from carrying out construction of a multi-storeyed tower on plots reserved for three gardens.

Justice R M Savant heard an appeal by members of Our Lady of Vailankanni and Perpetual Succour Housing Society against the dismissal of its application against Suraj Estate Developers by the City Civil Court. The high court disagreed with the trial court that the plot was a Mhada property and provisions of Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act did not apply to it.

The judge, said that in the instant case, it cannot be said that the property belongs to or is vested in the housing authority which is a pre-requisite for provisions of the Mhada Act to be applied.

“Merely because the redevelopment is in respect of structures which are amenable to cess which a private landlord is required to pay to the municipal corporation, it would not mean that the properties either vest in or belong to the Mhada,” said Justice Savant, while ruling that the trial court’s order that Mhada Act is applicable on the plot is unsustainable. The trial court is directed to decide the issue within six weeks and also look into what will be the effect on the redevelopment vis-a-vis the obligations under MOFA.

The residents had moved the trial court for directing the church, the owner of the land on which the building stands, to execute a deed of conveyance in favour of the Society. It was in this matter, the residents sought an interim restraint on the builder.

They argued that a clause in the agreement between Suraj and the flat purchasers provides that it shall be subject to the provisions of MOFA.

Also, that the developer cannot construct without the consent of the Society. But the trial court dismissed their plea saying development is being carried out in terms of the modified DCR 33/7 and Mhada’s no objection certificate has been obtained as 12 cessed structures and Quinny House are to be rehoused free of cost. Therefore provisions of MOFA will not be applicable, it had ruled.


Posted in Church in India, Church News in Mumbai/Thane/Navi Mumbai, Church Worldwide news | 1 Comment

The Mumbai Church Should stop its double standards

We, are reading in todays newspapers that the Mumbai Church and its yes men are opposing the DP plan.While there is nothing wrong in opposing the DP if there are genuine problems which I believe there may be , but what is totally wrong is the Churches double standards.

The Churches lose their lands to public amenties- The Church hierarchy opposes and uses the mass and parish councilors to tell people to oppose and collect signatures.

The land on which the churches stands is shown not as a church but as a school- The Church hierarchy opposes and uses the mass and parish councilors to tell people to oppose and collect signatures.

The churches land is being lost for a public road – The Church hierarchy opposes and uses the mass and parish councilors to tell people to oppose and collect signatures.

Now my question is St. Michaels Church which had to give 150 flat owners conveyance(99% of whom are Roman Catholics ) are themselves not giving conveyance which is a statutory obligation as per the provisions of the Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act are themselves guilty of contravention of the law of the land why are these organisations not agitating? Where have all their ethics gone? Do they really believe in Christ?

St. Micheals Church passes a plan which shows three gardens. Flat purchasers ( not tenants) purchase flats on the basis of these plans and pay for these amenities.Two of the said gardens are resold and plans have been passed to build multistoried buildings on them . The Church  declares the year of the environment. The Church states that open spaces, gardens etc are to be protected when it is not their property but the same rule does not apply to them when they sell my societies gardens.

On church property in Marinagar, 6 persons who have already been rehoused once are shown as yet to be rehoused . Quinny house which was demolished and on the same spot a seven storied building has been built and all tenants rehoused is shown fraudulently by all beneficiaries as yet to be built.The spot of Quinny House has been fraudulently shifted from its original spot to the place where Salus Infirmatory Stood.This unholy alliance benefits all ie the tenants get bigger flats , the builder gets over one lakh square feet additional fsi and more money. The Church benefits as more the fsi more the money. MHADA officials and BMC officials are all hand in glove. I dont need to say more. Bombay Catholic Sabha books an office in the same building which were sold to us as gardens.

The Church is clean then why is no police complaint being lodged till date?

We, should grow up. The Mumbai Church hierarchy should stop having double standards.Stop fooling people.

A wrong is a wrong irrespective of who the wrong doer is . The church authorities are custodians of the faith and should stop being capitalists.

Ezekiel Chapter 3 verses 16 to 21 states that if we are aware of a wrong it is our duty to point out the said wrong to the wrong doer other wise the said sin will be upon us. The sin of complicity.

Let one person contradict what I am saying .


Adv. A.M. Sodder

Posted in General Articles | 2 Comments

Kolkatta’s Retired Prelate Great Archbishop, Friend of New Leader Promoter gone to Heaven dr. james kottoor

Retired Archbishop Henry D’Souza of Kolkatta

Thanks to Matters India, Delhi, I came to know that Archbishop Henry D’Souza, a friend of Mother Teresa for more than 35 years and a founding member of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), died of age-related illness on June 27 in Kolkata.

He was equally a friend and promoter of the over hundred and twenty five years old New Leader(NL) of Chennai, in the 1970ies when dr. james kottoor was its editor and publisher. Aarchbishop Henry was 90 years old and his funeral will be held on June 30th according to report in Matters. Precious and manifold were his contributions to the Church in India as the secretary general of the CBCI and president of the CCBI (Conference of Catholic Bishops of India—Latin rite)

He headed the Archdiocese of Calcutta during 1986-2002, played a crucial role in fast-tracking Blessed Mother Teresa’s canonization process. Archbishop D’Souza often hailed Mother Teresa as “the face of Christ

in the world” for spending her life time helping people understand the nature of the divine.

He was first appointed the bishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar in 1974. In 1985, he was transferred to the Calcutta as the coadjutor Archbishop. He succeeded Cardinal Lawrence Picachy as the archbishop of Calcutta on April 5, 1986 according to Matters India. It was when Henry was the Vicar General to Cardinal Picachy that he had a lot of close contacts and interaction with the Editor of NL. He started Life Assenting, a newsletter for senior citizen, and edited it until the end. This shows his interest in editing and spreading the Good Word through press.

Here I describe just one incident, among many, to show the interest he took in promoting Catholic publications, especially NL from Chennai.

It was during the time of Cardinal Picachi who took a special interest in NL of Chennai, even when he had his own Archdiocesan weekly The Herald. NL was at its peak of popularity then since it was the most outspoken frankly speaking paper publishing controversial issues like Birth Conrol, in the wake Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI. NL was the daily recipient of bouquets and brickbats from readers __ Right, Left and central.

Just think of even Bishops joining in this fray. Cardinal Picachy sent 25 gift subscriptions as a token of his appreciation for the “High standard of Catholic Journalism” of the then New Leader. He wrote several letters in support, so did also Cardinal Gracias of Bombay. Once he even gave an unsolicited advise to other publications, may be he had also Examiner in mind, asking them to “take a que from the short and crisp editorial notes attached to most piercing letters to make them blunt,” or break their sharp edge. Sharp letters for and against Pope’s encyclical on birth control used to come fast at that time.

At that time the CBCI meeting was to be held in Kolkatta and New Leader was in the forefront giving publicity to the main theme of the meeting. Unlike what is happening today at that time the theme of such meetings used to be announced months in advance and discussed in public in the Catholic press specially.

As editor I did just that and before going to Kolkatta to report the CBCI deliberations, I prepared a special issue on the theme of the meet containing so many letters from all over India responding to our request to readers: “Speak to your pastors through your paper” It brought more than two full pages of Tabloid size of NL at that time.

The cartoon on the front page of NL was a Kite Baloon with the inscription “Oh Kolkatta” (name of a sexy movie I think), up in the Sky with all bishops dancing around and string from the floating balloon held by urchin(lay people) on ground shouting “Please Come Down). It was a message to bishops not to make their CBCI discussions something too airy and up in the clouds but make them all down to earth.

The editor of the NL used to be a regular invitee to all CBCI meets then. Only now it has become all closed door secret meets only for bishops. In Kolkatta Cardinal Picachy, in the midst of a crowd of participants, was speaking to me thanking for the publicity NL gave and he said: “New Leader is the best Family Paper which should be promoted. This is not just my personal view but of my Vicar General Henry D’Souza who is a very perceptive person.”

That was a personal boost, bordering on flattery. But I did’t know what more shocking things were to come. Before official start of the Meet there was the Mass and a sermon focussed on the meet. Msgr. Henry happened to be the celebrant and speaker. When he came to the podium for the sermon he didn’t have a bible in hand. Instead he opened one of the copies of the New Leader and read aloud the two-page sprawling banner head line: SPEAK TO YOUR PASTORS THROUGH YOUR PAPER, and showed the letters to the congregation.

I had brought some hundred copies of that Issue so that all bishops could get a copy and read all the letters from the laity. If there is a better way to get laity participation in CBCI meets, please write to our portal CCV(www.almayasbdam.com). Later I had to resign from the editorship, left priesthood, got dispensation, got married etc but none of these things made any change in our relationship and communication. Even last year I got a personal letter from the Retired Archbishop Henry. This was also the case with Archbishop Eugene Desouza of Bopal, who invited me to stay with him when I announced my decision to leave priesthood. And I did stay with him for few days.

A lot of changes in the Church is happening due to exemplary leaderships given by great Visionaries like Henry, cardinals, Picachy, Gracias and Parfekattil. May their race increase and multiply. May the Lord give eternal rest to the Soul of Archbishop Henry and we pray that he guide us from his heavenly abode. Contact at: jameskottoor@gmail.com



Posted in General Articles | 1 Comment

Archbishop of Calcutta indifferent to Kidnapping issue – Issac Gomes

On 8th June the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) sent off reminders to the State and Central Governments urging them to ensure speedy release of Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was abducted in March 2016 by a terror group in Yemen. KCBC must be complimented on their efforts of putting diplomatic pressures on the governments – both state and central.

Readers would recall that on 4th March 2016 gunmen stormed the Missionaries of Charity home for the elderly in Aden,

Yemen and mercilessly shot father-tom-story-fb_647_040316033304

dead 16 unarmed and helpless souls including four nuns viz. Sr. Anselm (Ranchi, 59 years), Sr. Reginette (Rwanda, 33 years), Sr. Judith (Kenya, 41 years) and Sr. Marguerite (Rwanda, 44 years). Along with them was Fr Tom Uzhunnalil who was reportedly kidnapped by the gunmen.

But how can one be so sure that the Salesian Priest Fr Tom was indeed abducted by a terror group?  There is no definite corroboration on this as the attackers took the home for elders by surprise and everything was at sixes and sevens after the cold-blooded firing. If the gunmen did not spare any thoughts before shooting the 16 innocent victims, then why would they spare Fr Tom and take the risk of carrying him as a captive?  Was it then the terrorists knew that the Salesian Community was very rich and they took the priest captive to extort a huge ransom? The other possibility is that Fr Tom might have miraculously slipped out before the gunmen caught up with him in his quarters and that he is unable to contact the Indian Embassy in Yemen as the Indian Government has closed it down due to the volatile political situation in Yemen.

This killing and alleged kidnap bring us to the question: Why do our church authorities send their priests and nuns to countries which are politically unstable and very hazardous to life? If Evangelisation is the motto, let our Bishops and Provincials take up these postings and encounter Christ!  Why are they sending our priests and nuns to be used as sacrificial lambs?

Anyway, KCBC must be complimented once again for sending reminders to the Modi Government, which has strengthened ties with the US and Gulf Countries including Iran.  Strategically, these are the countries which will help in the release of Fr Tom and also of Judith D’Souza who was kidnapped in Kabul on 9th June 2016.  She was working as Senior Technical Adviser of Aga Khan Foundation.

So with the reported kidnap of Fr Tom Uzhunnalil in Yemen and confirmed kidnap of Ms Judith D’Souza of Kolkata in Kabul, the Church cannot criticise the NAMO government anymore.  It has to recall that Fr Alexis Prem Kumar was released after nine months of captivity thanks to NAMO diplomacy.  “This is because our Prime Minister Narendra Modi (that) I am here. He saved me.”  Fr Kumar told reporters after arriving at Delhi airport on Sunday 22 February 2015 evening (NDTV 23 February 2015).

JUDITHNow we have to contend with the unconfirmed kidnap of Fr Tom and the confirmed kidnap of Ms Judith D’Souza in Kabul. It’s a real test of diplomatic and social communications skills of our Church hierarchy!

In the meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Calcutta, led by the Archbishop is busier than ever with the Celebration Committee for the Canonisation of Mother Teresa than making any concerted effort for the release of Judith D’Souza.  In spite of several requests, the Archbishop has chosen not to emulate the KCBC on raising the ante of diplomatic pressure.  He has gone in for the tokenism of taking out a candle-lit procession.  By not issuing any press release or appearing on national TV channels making a strong pitch for an early release of Judith, he has shied away from his responsibilities as the Shepherd of his flock.

Let Saint Mother Teresa show light of  reasoning to the Archdiocese of Calcutta that it is not appropriate to celebrate her Canonisation when her nuns have been massacred and a priest and a social worker kidnapped. Otherwise it might appear Nero fiddles while Rome is burning.




Isaac Gomes

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No apology for dropping nuc on Japan?Obama: First reigning president visits Hiroshima – dr.james kottoor

No apology for dropping nuc on Japan?

Obama: First reigning president visits Hiroshima  dr.james kottoor

                     Obama made history to become the first reigning US president to visit Hiroshima where the first nuclear bomb was dropped. It was also described as the triumph of brute Inhumanity over civilized humanity, brotherhood and fellow feeling which should bind and hold together nations and peoples by the bonds of brothers and sisters in a close knit family.                  


“Death fell from the sky and the world was changed,” Obama said, after laying a wreath at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park. He should rather have said, I think, death was dropped deliberately from the sky and 1400, 000 precious human lives were mercilessly extinguished on August 6, 1945. A second atomic bomb, dropped on Nagasaki three days later Hiroshima, killed 70,000 more. Were they not the facts? “Doctor heal yourself first” has no meaning for a sick doctor who does not admit he is sick.


                     Here I feel very sorry for Obama and at once feel very happy for Pope John Paul II, who apologized publically for so many failures on the part of the Catholic Church, and whom I criticized for several other things. Is it wrong or uncivilized to apologize for a wrong done by oneself or one’s predecessors? Cadinal Alancherry said in another context, on May 15 (see CCV): “Politicians don’t Apologize.” Do Churchmen apologize in India? Did the CBCI chairman Cardinal Cleemis, any other Indian cardinals including Alancherry or any of the 180 Indian bishops, apologize for the epoch making bizarre incident, the Caste-craze-driven crime and kidnap of Cuddappah bishop by three members of the priestly class? This is just an example of the axiom: “When you point an accusing finger at another four other fingers are pointed at you.”


                     That is not a reason that you should give up accusing or apologizing. To err is human, we all are humans, and so we all will err and so should apologize, repent of our past failures and correct ourselves, starting from Obama, Presidents and Popes down to this Mundasiromani (“Pearl among idiots”) the first penname this scribe took for his first article “Splendor of Darkness” ever published, some 50 years ago.


                    About the US it is said, it is the land of the free, home of the brave and a city seated on a mountain top attracting all from around the world. This is true in many respects. That is why people from all over the world try to get into US by hook or crook, even when they hurl the worst epithets against it. As for epithets, I myself did it describing former US president George Bush, Biggest Terrorist alive, during the Afghan war, although it was he who was most friendly to Manmohan Singh’s India who(Singh) told him “People in India Love you”. I also remember also Obama given Peace Price even while he was sending more US troops to Afghanistan.


                   History is full of contradictory words and deeds in conflict, hard to fathom. So are all humans — bright and brittle, sinners and saints almost at the same time? Think of a saintly Pope Francis calling himself a Sinner!


               Yes Obama the head of the “City seated on a mountain top” (Biblical image for a model nation” did not apologize. “Judge not and you shall not be judged.” So I don’t judge him either. US is also called the land of the free.   “Elimination of all nuclear weapons from the face of the earth is a must” says peace and freedom loving nations in the whole world starting with US presidents.   Yet that nation continues to possess the biggest arsenal of them. Is that the kind of freedom, not supported by action that the world needs?

                   That is one of the reasons why India always refused to sign the nuclear proliferation treaty, although she said she would never be the first one to use it. If US is to be believed, why is India’s words given not believed? Where then is equality between nations? Or are we to give more value and weight to the words of a nation which has more money power and military power? So tomorrow if the US says: “All are free to breathe the air, but we reserve the right to control its oxygen content,” would the whole world agree to that?


                     What dominates and rules the world today are not principles of truth, justice, freedom, equality and fair play but the brute force of money power and military power, which proves another philosophical truism: “Man is a rational animal, animal always, rational, sometimes” (Homo, animal ratrionale, animal semper, rationale aliquando.) One thing we can all take comfort in is that, in spite of all draw backs, the human race is far better than what it was when it lived in the jungles, in wild forest or bush (People used to make fun or pun on President Bush by referring to him simply as: “Bush or Bush-man) where “Might is right” rules roost. That rule still prevails to a great extend even today.


                       That could have been the reason which prompted Obama to say that he would not apologize, neither for Vietnam war nor for dropping the nuclear bomb on Japanese people. Just as Voltaire said, I will go to the extend of dying to defend Obama’s right to say his opinion as President of US even when I may not agree one bit with what he says. I hold and maintain, that dropping the nuclear bomb by a nation that claims to be most civilized, “City seated on a mountain top” was barbaric, detestable and therefore deserving an apology at least by the posterity of the perpetrators.


                       Equally so was the war on Vietnam and many other wars the US waged. No civilized nation will ever go for war to settle issues. It was precisely for that purpose that a UN (United Nations) was created: “ to shout at each other sitting round a table, not to shoot at each other.” Dialogue, Dialogue and Dialogue alone is the way forward for civilized nations. Against all odds, I for one wish to believe that US is or will eventually become, a “Civilized nation, a City seated on a mountain top.” May no other nation on earth become as civilized and as strong as to do another dare-devil act of dropping again a nuclear bomb on God’s children living here on earth.

Contact at: jameskottoor@gmail.com, Mob: 9446219203          





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Archbishop says Italy’s civil unions bill is a defeat for democracy and family life

Italian Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Archbishop Forte said the family was at risk of being taken over by a ‘new vision for society’

The Italian government’s approval of a bill that grants legal recognition to non-married heterosexual and homosexual couples is a defeat for democracy and family life, an Italian bishop has said.

Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto said that although civil unions had been debated for years, the passing of the bill through two confidence motions that circumvented a “free and open debate” was “unfair”, particularly regarding an issue that has “ethical weight and social and cultural repercussions”.

“It is certainly a defeat and also an impoverishment of democratic life on a question that can have an enormous impact on the future of society,” Archbishop Forte told the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera.

The legislation, known in Italy as the “Cirinna” bill, was passed by the Italian Senate in February after the bill’s sponsors removed a proposed clause that would allow for a non-biological parent in a homosexual union to adopt the biological children of his or her partner. The bill received final approval from the government.

Archbishop Forte, who served as special secretary of the Synod of Bishops on the family, said the choice to reduce the recognition of non-married heterosexual and homosexual couple to a simple yes or no vote without the “sacrosanct right to express oneself” through legislative debate only hurts society.

He also said that there is the risk of a “new vision for society,” one that can take over family life which is “the fundamental cell of society.”

“In the Church, we have lived through a synod on the family [and] we have received from Pope Francis an exhortation of great depth. In the words of Vatican II – in “Gaudium et Spes” – the family is truly the great school of humanity where one becomes a person. It is the place of that educational relationship that needs the fundamental reciprocity between man and woman,” he said.

The Italian archbishop said that beyond the respect owed to every person, there “can be no equivalence between homosexual unions and the family.”

“On the Church’s part, there will always remain the proclaiming of the Gospel of the family as a fundamental institute of human, social and Christian life,” Archbishop Forte said

Posted in Church Worldwide news | Leave a comment

Towards A Transparent Church BY Jacob Peenikaparambil

The bizarre incident of abducting and assaulting Bishop Prasad Gallela of Cuddapah diocese in Andhra Pradesh has shocked many people in the country. More shocking is the story unfolded through police investigation. The police have revealed that three priests of the diocese had masterminded the whole drama. Cuddapah town’s police superintendent Navin Gulati told that Father Raja Reddy engineered the kidnapping and attack on the bishop, motivated by “greed for money and power”.

What happened in Cuddapah could only be a symptom of a disease that is gripping many church-run institutions and points to the need for putting in place transparent and participatory financial management systems in the dioceses and religious congregations. The 32nd Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) held in Bangalore in the first half of March 2016 had identified a set of internal and external challenges. Unfortunately, the list did not include introducing professionalism in the financial management of the dioceses and the church-run institutions. Many priests who are appointed as the heads of institutions and organizations within the church do not have experience or professional training. As a result these institutions are not able to cope with the legal compliances and effective management.

Bishop Prasad Gallela of Cuddapah Diocese

The author had the opportunity to function as a consultant to CARITAS India for a few dioceses in India in view of introducing professionalism in the Diocesan Social Work organizations. The long term objective of CARITAS India’s experiment was to introduce professional management systems and processes in the administration of the dioceses through the Diocesan Social Work organizations. The project could achieve its objectives only to a limited extent. One of the achievements of the project was that many Diocesan Social Work organizations started publishing their audited statement of account along with their annual report.

At the same time it is very doubtful whether any diocese in India has started the practice of making pubic its audited statement of account. Similarly a good number of Diocesan Social Work organizations adopted

Financial Policy and Human Resource Management (HRM) policy. It is not yet known how many dioceses in India have made known to the public their Financial and HRM policies.

Financial accountability is an essential dimension of spirituality. The dioceses and religious congregations are dealing with public money. Hence they are accountable to the public and the government. They have to put in place systems and processes that make them accountable and transparent primarily to its members and to the general public. The following proposals are made to make the diocesan administration participatory, transparent and accountable.

A diocesan General Body, consisting of representatives of the laity, both women and men, Religious women and men and priests shall be formed to function as a policy-making body of the diocese. All the members of this body shall be elected by the constituents concerned. There could be a few members, not exceeding 10 %, to be appointed by the bishop. This body shall meet at least once a year to pass the annual budget, to approve annual report and the audited statement of account of the diocese and to elect 11 members of an Executive Committee (Governing Body) for a period of three years and to adopt policies needed from time to time. The external auditors shall be appointed by the General Body. The bishop shall be the exofficio President of the Executive Committee. The bishop along with the Executive Committee shall be accountable to the General Body. Special meeting of the General Body could be convened as per the requirement.

The diocese shall have various policies adopted by the General Body: 1) Finance Policy 2) Human Resource Management Policy 3) Gender Policy 4) Education Policy and 5) Environment Policy. It will be the responsibility of the Executive Committee to implement the policies and report to the General Body the status of implementation. All documents approved by the General Body like annual report, annual budget and audited statement of account shall be made available to the public on the website of the diocese. The annual report in local language and the audited statement shall be printed and copies made available to all parishes and institutions within the diocese.

All decisions concerning appointments, purchase of property, starting new institutions, major expansion of existing institutions, appointment of various committees and financial decisions shall be taken by the Executive Committee which will be meeting at least once in two months. Experts shall be invited to the meetings of the Executive Committee for eliciting their opinion as per the requirement. The commissions/departments at the diocesan level shall be rationalized and each department will have norms for functioning approved by the General Body. The departments will have autonomy of functioning with the required systems of accountability. All departments/ commissions will have annual budget, report and audited statement of account. The budgets, reports andaudited statement of accounts of the commissions or departments shall be integrated with the consolidated budget, report and audited statement of the diocese which is to be approved by the General Body.

The government of India has put in place an elaborate computerized system to collect data from the NGOs and charitable organizations within the country and analyse the data for the purpose of monitoring the finances of the voluntary sector. Hence it is urgent for the dioceses and religious congregations to adopt professional and transparent systems of financial management.

The very nature of the Church as People of God demands from the persons in authority accountability and transparency. Putting in place transparent and participatory systems and processes will prevent Cuddapah type of scandals.

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