Financial Basic – Amiya Sahu http://amiyasahu.com/ Tue, 22 Nov 2022 14:32:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://amiyasahu.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-150x150.png Financial Basic – Amiya Sahu http://amiyasahu.com/ 32 32 Here’s How Much Fintech Funding Has Dropped https://amiyasahu.com/heres-how-much-fintech-funding-has-dropped/ Tue, 22 Nov 2022 13:30:02 +0000 https://amiyasahu.com/heres-how-much-fintech-funding-has-dropped/ Last year, financial services were the leading sector for venture capital investment, with at least $131 billion worldwide for space startups. This year, the industry continues to rank among the top recipients of venture capital funding. However, investment in startups in the space has fallen every quarter this year, with the fourth quarter likely the […]]]>

Last year, financial services were the leading sector for venture capital investment, with at least $131 billion worldwide for space startups.

This year, the industry continues to rank among the top recipients of venture capital funding. However, investment in startups in the space has fallen every quarter this year, with the fourth quarter likely the lowest yet.

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To get a sense of the funding trajectory, we mapped global investments over the last five calendar quarters.

Even with the sharp year-over-year decline, funding for financial services is still high by historical standards. Currently, 2022 is on track to provide the second highest funding total in the past five years. For more perspective, below are the investment and rounding count totals:

Public procurement perspective

Changing public market sentiment appears to be a major driver of change in corporate appetite for fintech deals.

So far this year, virtually every venture-backed company that took advantage of last year’s wide-open IPO window is down sharply from its peak. This applies to at least 20 companies, listed herewhich debuted on US exchanges, including high-profile offerings of Coinbase, Robin Hood and SoFi.

In recent quarters, meanwhile, major fintech IPOs simply haven’t happened. This has multiple and sometimes different effects on venture capital funding. For one thing, without IPOs, we don’t see big pre-IPO rounds. On the other hand, companies that were considering public offerings might instead choose to seek more private funding.

Some of the biggest rounds this year, in fact, were companies that generated a lot of buzz as potential IPO contenders. This includes Klarnathe platform buy now, pay later, which raised $800 million in July after reducing its valuation by 85%.

Seed funding is also decreasing

Seed and start-up investments in fintech and financial services are also down sharply. For some sense, we’ve mapped the funding and deal count for the space over the past six quarters at Seed, Series A, and Series B:

At first, some of the recent declines can be attributed to fewer very large rounds and likely more constraints around valuations.

Last year, for example, FTX raised more than $1.4 billion in Series B funding at a peak valuation of $25 billion, according to data from Crunchbase. This year, we hope that venture capitalists will refrain from putting that kind of money to work in any company with clear red flags on compliance and corporate governance.

Methodology

The dataset for funding analysis includes companies categorized by Crunchbase as one of several fintech and financial services-related sectors. Companies included in the results may be entirely focused on financial services or include financial services as an important part of their business models. Funding rounds included in the results totaled at least $200,000 and included companies founded no more than 20 years before the funding.

Drawing: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

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COVID-19 Emergency Funding and California’s Higher Education Systems https://amiyasahu.com/covid-19-emergency-funding-and-californias-higher-education-systems/ Thu, 17 Nov 2022 03:17:29 +0000 https://amiyasahu.com/covid-19-emergency-funding-and-californias-higher-education-systems/ Additional student funding While half of federal funds were intended to flow directly to students for aid, institutions could also direct a portion of their share of institutional funds to students. Together, public institutions spent about $638 million (21% of total institutional spending) in additional funding for students (Figure 4). This additional student funding includes […]]]>

Additional student funding

While half of federal funds were intended to flow directly to students for aid, institutions could also direct a portion of their share of institutional funds to students. Together, public institutions spent about $638 million (21% of total institutional spending) in additional funding for students (Figure 4). This additional student funding includes additional emergency aid; reimbursements for accommodation, room and board; other expense reimbursements; and discounts on tuition fees. The bulk (59%) was for tuition reimbursement, followed by additional financial aid (36%). One campus we interviewed funded basic student needs by funding student pantry and providing gift cards for food. Several community colleges have also forgiven student debts for tuition and services, allowing students to re-enroll.

Replacement of auxiliary recipes

Many non-academic sources of campus revenue have been impacted by the pandemic. Public institutions spent about $552 million (20% of total spending) to replace them. Campuses mentioned many different sources of revenue loss in quarterly reports, but the most common were parking, restaurants, bookstores, sports and daycare. Some less common examples included rental use of campus space by outside organizations, police operations, and museums.

Registration Revenue Replacement

Many institutions have lost revenue due to declining enrollment, and while for some campuses it was brief, for others it persists. Public institutions spent a total of $370 million (17% of total spending) to replace revenue associated with reduced or delayed enrollment. These include loss of income from tuition, fees, institutional fees, room and board, declining enrollment, sustained research, summer terms, and summer camps. Many campuses have noted a loss of tuition revenue due to declining resident and non-resident student enrollment. The 2021 state budget cut campus funding by 3-5%, which some campuses later claimed in this category. This allowed them to mitigate the impact of the temporary reduction until funding was restored and increased the following year.

Social distancing and health

California institutions have spent approximately $370 million (15% of total spending) to keep their campuses and students safe during the pandemic. This included the costs of subsidizing off-campus housing or accommodation costs to isolate students or provide space to stop the spread of infections, adding classroom sections, and subsidizing meal service to accommodate distancing. social, general campus safety and operations, including cleaning and personal protective equipment, and the purchase of additional educational equipment to limit sharing and allow time for sanitization. Most of that money was spent on campus security, which included personal protective equipment; test; and upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. The campuses we surveyed mentioned using the funding to purchase supplies for lab classes and send them to students, or to provide PPE kits for in-person instruction. Many also mentioned incentives to encourage their students to get vaccinated; for example, one campus offered $100 gift cards that could be spent at their campus bookstore.

Online instruction

Most courses at most institutions have moved online. California’s public colleges and universities spent about $344 million (14% of total spending) on ​​the transition. This included providing additional technology equipment such as laptops or tablets to students, purchasing training for faculty and staff in online teaching or additional payment for staff trainers, and purchasing equipment or software to enable distance learning. Several campuses have found reliable, high-speed Internet connectivity to be the biggest barrier to participating in distance education. In quarterly reports, many campuses reported providing student and faculty Wi-Fi hotspots and purchasing monthly data plans on their behalf. Others noted the extension of wireless services to campus parking lots and other nearby outdoor spaces to provide faculty and students without reliable internet a place to teach and learn.

other costs

California public institutions also spent $352 million (13% of total costs) in other categories. Federal rules allowed institutions to use funds from the “Other” category to cover expenses such as lost revenue, reimbursement of expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff training and payroll. Not all campuses provided ratings for these costs, but those that did did mention indirect costs, lost state appropriations, student awareness, staff welfare, and shipping supplies to students and teachers. Additionally, many of the notes point to items that might fall into other categories—a point the state auditor made early in the pandemic (California State Auditor 2021). For example, some campuses claimed reimbursement of student parking fees, COVID tracking and tracing, lost state appropriations revenue, and books and supplies as “other” expenses, while others placed them in one of 14 basic expense categories. Moreover, most of the “other” expenses are not annotated, which makes the analysis more difficult.

Spending habits have varied over time

Interviews with campus officials revealed that under the CARES Act, institutional spending rules were initially unclear. They noted the use of online information from the U.S. Department of Education, federal webinars, conversations with other institutions, and guidance from system offices to determine appropriate uses of funding. The second (CRRSA) and third (ARP) cycles included much more funding and came with more flexible and clearer rules, which allowed campuses to meet a wider range of needs and claim much more foregone revenue. related to registrations and auxiliaries.

As a result of rule changes and likely shifts in requirements, campuses have spent initial funding differently than later cycles. While both periods saw significant investments in additional student funding, later spending was more evenly distributed across categories (Figure 5). From fall 2020 to spring 2021, campuses spent 52% of CARES Act dollars in the student funding category, while very little (10%) was spent on income replacement (Figure 5). Over the next four quarters, after the rule changes, a much smaller share went to student-related funding (15%), and a much higher proportion went to income replacement (45%), distancing social and campus security (14%).

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How much will social security increase in 2023? https://amiyasahu.com/how-much-will-social-security-increase-in-2023/ Sun, 13 Nov 2022 17:02:00 +0000 https://amiyasahu.com/how-much-will-social-security-increase-in-2023/ Millions of retirees live on the fixed income provided by social security. With little outside savings, having Social Security make annual cost-of-living adjustments is essential, as it allows the purchasing power of the checks program recipients receive to remain reasonably constant even in the face of inflation. high. In January, Social Security beneficiaries will see […]]]>

Millions of retirees live on the fixed income provided by social security. With little outside savings, having Social Security make annual cost-of-living adjustments is essential, as it allows the purchasing power of the checks program recipients receive to remain reasonably constant even in the face of inflation. high.

In January, Social Security beneficiaries will see an increase in the amount of their monthly payments, as the COLA for 2023 goes into effect. Below, we’ll see how much most retirees can expect to get Social Security and whether it will be able to cover the higher costs they faced for much of 2022.

Image source: Getty Images.

What the typical American gets from Social Security

When you look at the average Social Security benefits over the years, you will notice that they are gradually increasing. This is due to several factors, including not only the COLA, but also the fact that the benefit formula changes every year to incorporate changes in employment history and other factors.

The problem, however, is that these increases cannot be expected to be consistent from year to year. As you will see below, there have been a few years over the past decade where the monthly check hike has been minimal at best. Still, in 2023, program participants can expect relatively large gains, with the average amount increasing by $170 from the start of 2022.

Year

Average social security benefit for retired workers

2013

$1,261

2014

$1,294

2015

$1,328

2016

$1,341

2017

$1,360

2018

$1,404

2019

$1,461

2020

$1,503

2021

$1,544

2022

$1,657

2023

$1,827

Data source: Social Security Administration.

The reason is quite simple. Most of the 10.3% increase in average from 2022 to 2023 comes from the 8.7% COLA that is expected to come into effect early next year. The rest of the increase is the result of continued increases in average earnings over time, which have the effect of gradually increasing benefit amounts for typical Americans.

Why the challenges facing seniors are far from over

As nice as it may be to have extra cash in your pocket, no one is really happy about increased Social Security benefits. This is because people had to pay the higher prices that led to that big COLA all year round in 2022, so the increase only helps seniors catch up on spending in the future. which they had to cover themselves until now.

The numbers confirm exactly what older people are facing right now. Using an experimental measure that focuses on what older Americans have to pay for a typical combination of goods and services, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said earlier this month that its CPI-E index increased by 7, 6% over the last 12 months. This is the highest annual earnings rate since the government agency began measuring this research-based measure in 1982.

A silver lining, however, is that most seniors will receive good news on the health insurance front. A rare drop in monthly premiums for Medicare Part B medical coverage should add a few extra dollars to monthly checks.

More pain to come

Even with bigger checks to help older Americans, many expect inflation to remain high through 2023, which could put additional pressure on seniors’ wallets. Any additional inflation between now and next year will not be factored into Social Security checks until 2024.

The fact that Social Security benefits increase over time is vital to the financial health of retirees. But rather than being a waste of money for the nation’s seniors, any increases are just helping them try to keep up with the inexorable impact of inflation on purchasing power.

https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/fast_facts/2021/fast_facts21.html

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Lebanon’s failed state forces unplanned switch to solar power https://amiyasahu.com/lebanons-failed-state-forces-unplanned-switch-to-solar-power/ Thu, 10 Nov 2022 05:01:10 +0000 https://amiyasahu.com/lebanons-failed-state-forces-unplanned-switch-to-solar-power/ Customers buying dairy products made Lebanese shopkeeper Sabah Hashem nervous. By spring, the refrigerators in his mini-market were typically off for more than half the day: utility power had nearly shut down and his backup generator operator was rationing supplies as costs diesel increased. “I had to open the yogurt in front of customers before […]]]>

Customers buying dairy products made Lebanese shopkeeper Sabah Hashem nervous.

By spring, the refrigerators in his mini-market were typically off for more than half the day: utility power had nearly shut down and his backup generator operator was rationing supplies as costs diesel increased.

“I had to open the yogurt in front of customers before selling it to them to make sure it hadn’t soured,” Hashem, 39, said at his shop in Hasbaya al-Metn, a village 20 miles away. km east of Beirut. “I was up all night worried about making my customers sick – you can’t run a business like that.”

As another summer without electricity loomed, Hashem had had enough. He pooled his savings and borrowed money from a friend living abroad to install a 2kW solar power system on the roof of his shop – enough to power lights and two fridges 24 hours a day. out of 24. It cost $3,700, but the expense was well worth it: “Now I sleep easy. »

Lebanon is mired in an economic crisis that has seen the lebanese pound lose more than 95% of its value against the dollar since October 2019. Rising fuel import costs, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have contributed to the inability of Electricity du Liban , run by the state, to provide regular electricity.

Hashem is one of tens of thousands of Lebanese who have turned to solar power in the absence of a reliable electricity supply from EdL. Signs have sprouted everywhere, from urban rooftops to rural monasteries and on electric scooters, to take advantage of from Lebanon 300 days of sunshine a year.

“It’s sad to say, but a shift to cleaner energy is a benefit of complete state collapse,” said Wael Bitar, managing partner of EbCo Bitar, a contracting firm that has diversified. in the facility solar energy in 2020.

An employee of Rebirth Beirut, a Lebanese non-governmental organization, installs solar panels on traffic lights © Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

The solar boom is a by-product of Lebanon crisis. Private installations in businesses and homes since 2020 will have added 350 MW of renewable energy – about 5-7% of Lebanon’s annual energy needs – by the end of the year, said Pierre El Khoury, director of the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation, affiliated with the state. Small-scale projects, many by the UN and NGOs, added just 100 MW of solar power between 2010 and 2020, he added.

At the COP27 climate conference in Egypt, Lebanon reaffirmed its pledge to source 30% renewable energy by 2030. But industry experts say international funding for 11 solar projects approved in May depends on the finalization of a $3 billion bailout package from the IMF. The package is itself conditional on reforms, including to the EdL, which have yet to be passed by the caretaker government. Since 1992, electricity expenditure has accounted for 40% of the public debt, according to a 2021 study.

EdL announced a price hike last week, a step officials say will eventually help the state secure fuel to fire up power plants and increase supply.

Some 700 companies are now allowed to install solar power, up from 130 in 2020, according to the LCEC. Installs account for 20% of Bitar’s revenue. “When the state subsidized renewable energies before the crisis, most of my clients were not interested. Electricity was cheap and nobody cared,” he said. “But now everyone is doing solar.”

A basic home setup sufficient to run multiple appliances such as refrigerators costs between $2,000 and $3,500, down 15-20% since 2020 due to a glut of panels and increased competition, according to many. installers. Prices can reach $15,000 depending on the size of the property and the quality of the system, while commercial projects can cost up to $200,000.

Prices are still prohibitive for many, leading to an increase in unauthorized and unsafe installations. “Your vegetable seller, your taxi driver, your young unemployed man – they watch YouTube videos, buy signs and offer cheaper services,” Bitar said.

You see a snapshot of an interactive chart. This is probably because you are offline or JavaScript is disabled in your browser.


Meanwhile, generator operators, long Lebanon’s only alternative energy providers, are struggling. Jammal Amer, who runs neighborhood generators in the southern district of Zahrani, said he started the year with 1,000 customers, including municipalities, but lost more than 700 since the spring – “90% of them on solar” as fuel prices rise.

Amer charges £1 million (about $25 at current market rates) a month for four to five hours of electricity a day, half the monthly salary of most of its customers, who cannot afford the initial costs of solar energy.

The lack of a legal framework is hampering the wider adoption of renewables, experts say. Although small-scale use is permitted, solar power producers are prohibited from connecting to EdL’s grid or selling reserve electricity to neighbours. A bill to solve this problem is blocked in the Lebanese parliament.

“We need serious reforms for a good energy transition. It will take years to integrate all of these individual systems into the grid,” said Laury Haytayan, a Lebanese energy expert at the Natural Resource Governance Institute in New York.

Haytayan added that Lebanese citizens’ unplanned switch to solar “means that we are removing the pressure on our government to do its most basic job.”

The lack of state supplies exacerbates inequalities for those who cannot afford other energy sources. Mariam Hassan, a beautician living in a slum in southern Beirut, has been without power since May. Her monthly salary, equivalent to $150, can no longer cover her children’s tuition and generator fees.

Hassan’s siblings bought her a small solar battery this summer so she could charge her phone and keep her business afloat. But when it broke, she couldn’t afford the $100 to fix it. His neighbors took out interest-free loans from Hezbollah’s microfinance arm, al-Qard al-Hasan, to install solar systems, “but you have to back them with gold and I’ve already sold everything”, she said.

“All we’re talking about today is solar. But for those of us who cannot afford it, we live and die in darkness.

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The Board receives a briefing on the success of the first year of the Multnomah Mothers’ Trust project https://amiyasahu.com/the-board-receives-a-briefing-on-the-success-of-the-first-year-of-the-multnomah-mothers-trust-project/ Thu, 03 Nov 2022 22:08:36 +0000 https://amiyasahu.com/the-board-receives-a-briefing-on-the-success-of-the-first-year-of-the-multnomah-mothers-trust-project/ November 3, 2022 Nearly 100 black mothers are receiving a basic income through a new county program known as the Multnomah Mothers’ Trust Project. On Tuesday November 1, the project leaders briefed the Board of Commissioners on the impact of the first year of the program. The program serves approximately 100 Black female-headed households whose […]]]>

November 3, 2022

Nearly 100 black mothers are receiving a basic income through a new county program known as the Multnomah Mothers’ Trust Project. On Tuesday November 1, the project leaders briefed the Board of Commissioners on the impact of the first year of the program.

The program serves approximately 100 Black female-headed households whose children currently receive services through the Black Parents Initiative Where Women first programs. Families receive an unconditional basic income of approximately $500 per month.

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for programs like the Multnomah Mothers’ Trust Project. The disproportionate economic impact of the pandemic on black households has deepened already existing racial wealth gaps. The goal of the program, launched by the Multnomah Idea Lab, is to bring long-term stability to black mothers and their families. A second phase of the program is scheduled to begin on Monday, November 7.

“When I think of what the Multnomah Mothers’ Trust project is and can be, I think of the welfare of African Americans, especially African American women,” said Ebonee Bell, who coordinates the program.

National and international research shows that strategies such as unconditional cash transfers, basic income, debt reduction and asset building can be effective in closing the racial wealth gap. Program officials say that when anti-poverty programs trust low-income people to know what they need—and those programs provide direct, unconditional access to financial resources—program participants see improvements. in their quality of life, their economic stability and the academic success of their children.

An example is Baby’s first years, a randomized, controlled study measuring the benefits of poverty reduction on family life and on the cognitive, emotional and brain development of infants and toddlers. The expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, another substitute for unconditional cash transfers, has also resulted in a 30% decrease in child poverty nationally.

Multnomah County also has additional unconditional cash transfer programs, including through healthy birth initiatives. Seventy-two percent of participants reported an increase in their well-being, and all participants reported spending their money on basic necessities.

“By giving people unrestricted income, we are giving back power, sovereignty and autonomy so that people can make decisions that affect them, be treated as adults in a way that government and society as a whole took away”, Curator Jessica Vega Pederson said.

The Multnomah Mothers’ Trust project began by recruiting 100 participants from the Black Parent Initiative and WomenFirst programs. Earlier this year, the program began handing out monthly payments of $500 and kept records of how the money was spent. Participants who provided monthly information on their economic situation received an additional $50 per month.

“From our perspective, it’s investing a county resource and a public dollar that yields a dual benefit: both the immediate banning of basic needs and debt reduction, and the other collateral benefits that are the long-term benefits,” said Mary Li, who runs the Multnomah Idea Lab.

Bahia Overton, executive director of the Black Parent Initiative, said she was initially skeptical.

“I said, ‘This looks like a set-up,'” she said. “’Why do we receive unrestricted funds? And are they going to say that these poor black people can’t pull themselves together? How is this going to be?

After learning more about the program model, she chose to go ahead with the project. She let everyone in attendance know that the money was unlimited. She also made sure everyone was aware of the Black Parent Initiative’s financial literacy classes, which 90% of mothers chose to attend.

Program officials said participants used the funds to cover utilities, medical and other family emergencies, their children’s school fees, rent payments, overdue utilities, car repairs surprises and even organizing a birthday party for their child.

One participant used the funds to buy a house. Another bought her first washer and dryer. Not having to make special trips to the laundromat has created balance for her, Overton said, which has led to greater family stability.

“All the moms said how grateful they were to have this pillow, that it meant everything to them,” Overton said. “It made a huge difference.”

Shannon Olive, executive director of WomenFirst, also said she was skeptical at first. She wasn’t sure if the program was really unconditional, or if there would be a catch. But after learning more, she wants to see it replicated throughout Multnomah County.

Most WomenFirst participants are out of prison, recovering from addiction, or recovering from some other trauma. Olive believed they would benefit from unrestricted funds by finding some stability in their lives.

Throughout the program, WomenFirst asked participants about how they used the funds. All participants started or added emergency funds. Some have paid rent, utilities or other bills. Others have paid for child care, after-school programs and other important activities for their children.

“All of our participants have benefited greatly from this program,” Olive said. “At WomenFirst, we will continue to champion the well-being and success of our participants, and we hope that you will continue to listen and continue to meet the needs of our women.”

Phase two of the project begins on November 7. Program officials will add programs focused on home ownership and debt reduction. Over the next few weeks, a cohort of women will work to design a program to help people navigate the homeownership process.

“I just want to say how proud I am that Multnomah County is always on the cutting edge of doing things off the beaten path,” Curator Lori Stegmann said. “You are all perfect examples of that.”

Program officials selected participants for the next program. The Multnomah Mothers’ Trust project also hopes to enroll more Black families and create access for Indigenous and Pacific Islander participants.

In the long term, the program hopes to increase by at least 100 participants. Philanthropic organizations have also expressed interest in getting involved, particularly in asset building. Commissioners said they support work to find additional sources of funding.

“These strategies are central to Multnomah County’s strategies,” Commissioner Susheela Jayapal said. “Over time, integrating them into strategies supported by the General Fund is something I would be very supportive of.”

Commissioner Sharon Meieran echoes his support. “I absolutely agree that this is related to our main mission as a county and I want to see how we are able to support this work. because that predictability is really key,” she said.

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Longest serving Guantanamo Bay prisoner transferred to Pakistan after 17 years in detention, US says https://amiyasahu.com/longest-serving-guantanamo-bay-prisoner-transferred-to-pakistan-after-17-years-in-detention-us-says/ Sat, 29 Oct 2022 16:46:00 +0000 https://amiyasahu.com/longest-serving-guantanamo-bay-prisoner-transferred-to-pakistan-after-17-years-in-detention-us-says/ A 75-year-old Pakistani man who was the oldest prisoner in the Guantanamo Gulf The detention center was released and returned to Pakistan on Saturday, the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad and the US Department of Defense announced. Saifullah Parsha was reunited with his family after more than 17 years of detention at the US base in […]]]>

A 75-year-old Pakistani man who was the oldest prisoner in the Guantanamo Gulf The detention center was released and returned to Pakistan on Saturday, the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad and the US Department of Defense announced.

Saifullah Parsha was reunited with his family after more than 17 years of detention at the US base in Cuba, the ministry added.

Parasha had been detained on suspicion of al-Qaeda links since 2003, but was never charged with a crime. In May 2021, he was informed that he had been approved for release. He was cleared by the Prisoners’ Review Board, along with two other men in November 2020.

Saifullah Paracha, pictured posing for an International Committee of the Red Cross delegate at Guantanamo in an undated photo.

Miami Herald via Getty Images


As usual, the notification did not provide detailed reasons for the decision and only concluded that Parsha was “not a continuing threat” to the United States, according to Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, who represented him at his hearing in the time.

The DOD said in its Saturday statement that the United States appreciates “the willingness of Pakistan and other partners to support ongoing U.S. efforts focused on responsible reduction of the detainee population and ultimately the closure of the Guantanamo Bay facility”.

In Pakistan, the Foreign Ministry said it had completed an extensive inter-agency process to facilitate Paracha’s repatriation.

“We are happy that a Pakistani citizen detained overseas is finally reunited with his family,” the ministry said.

Parasha, who lived in the United States and owned property in New York, was a wealthy businessman in Pakistan. Authorities alleged he was an al-Qaeda “enabler” who aided two of the conspirators in the 9/11 plot with a financial transaction.

He maintained that he did not know they were al-Qaeda and denied any involvement in terrorism.

The United States captured Paracha in Thailand in 2003 and has held him at Guantanamo since September 2004. Washington has long asserted that it can hold detainees indefinitely without charge under international laws of war.

In November 2020, Parsha, who suffers from a number of illnesses including diabetes and heart disease, made his eighth appearance before the review board, which was created under President Barack Obama to try to prevent the release of prisoners who, according to the authorities, could enlist. in anti-American hostilities upon their release from Guantanamo.

At the time, his lawyer, Sullivan-Bennis, said she was more optimistic about his prospects due to the election of President Joe Biden, Parsha’s poor health and developments in a case. court case involving his son, Uzair Parsha.

The son was convicted in 2005 in federal court in New York of supporting terrorism, based in part on testimony from the same witnesses held at Guantanamo that the United States relied on to justify the father’s detention.

In March 2020, after a judge rejected these testimonies and the US government decided not to seek a new trial, the young Parsha was released and returned to Pakistan.

In its statement on the former Parsha’s repatriation, the DOD said 35 detainees remained at Guantanamo Bay as of Saturday, and 20 of them were eligible for transfer.

Five prisoners who have been indicted for their role in the 9/11 attacks are negotiating potential plea deals that could take the death penalty off the table and keep Cuba’s military base detention camp open for the foreseeable future, CBS News reported last month. The possible plea deals angered some families of victims, who said they wanted justice.

The number of prisoners at Guantanamo has, however, decreased in recent months, with many having been transferred elsewhere. In March, Mohammad Mani Ahmad al-QahtanI, who had been linked to 9/11, was sent to Saudi Arabia, and the following month, Sufyan Barhoumi, accused of being an extremist, was repatriated to Algeria after spending nearly 20 years in a detention center. In July, a review board determined that Khalid Ahmed Qassimknown as one of Guantanamo’s “forever prisoners”, is expected to be released in an undetermined country.

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How banks are leveraging next-era loyalty technology solutions to engage their entire customer base https://amiyasahu.com/how-banks-are-leveraging-next-era-loyalty-technology-solutions-to-engage-their-entire-customer-base/ Tue, 25 Oct 2022 21:45:59 +0000 https://amiyasahu.com/how-banks-are-leveraging-next-era-loyalty-technology-solutions-to-engage-their-entire-customer-base/ By Gaby Kool, President of Loylogic With average global inflation expected to hit 7.5% by the end of 2022, business and consumer confidence has fallen by the steepest margin in a decade. From the pandemic to the international cost of living crisis, there has been little respite in recent years and both businesses and individuals […]]]>

By Gaby Kool, President of Loylogic

With average global inflation expected to hit 7.5% by the end of 2022, business and consumer confidence has fallen by the steepest margin in a decade. From the pandemic to the international cost of living crisis, there has been little respite in recent years and both businesses and individuals are feeling the pressure.

For incumbent retail banks, these major economic events have taken place against a backdrop of increasing competition with the emergence of an unprecedented number of neobanks and investor-backed digital fintechs seeking to carve out market share. .

What does that mean? All banks, and in particular the incumbents, must fight harder to attract and retain their customers. But competition is not a bad thing. This pressure is forcing banks to innovate and adapt, and it’s exciting to see how financial service providers of all types are expanding their digital capabilities and focusing on a more holistic customer experience, going beyond the offering. traditional service.

And one of the ways they’re trying to win the battle for customers is through new-age, technology- and data-driven loyalty programs that break the mold.

Support and encourage financial well-being

Under current economic conditions, financial well-being has naturally become one of the top priorities for businesses and individuals seeking stability.

As a result, a range of new, innovative loyalty solutions have emerged that can enable banks to demonstrate a genuine understanding of their customers’ financial concerns and priorities, supporting and rewarding positive financial choices that suit their individual circumstances.

With data, banks can go beyond a one-size-fits-all approach and ensure that the rewards and incentives they offer will truly support and add value to the lives of their customers, regardless of their stage of development. life – whether they are studying, buying a home or planning for retirement.

This could involve offering accessible incentives to customers to encourage them to improve their credit score or pay their bills on time, for example. Or banks could allow members to earn rewards that support them with essential everyday purchases like groceries and mobile data.

Democratize rewards

Banks are also realizing the value of opening up loyalty programs to a wider audience. Where loyalty programs exist, they have often tended to cater only to the highest tier of customers, meaning many banks have missed a critical way to engage and support a wider customer base.

But some traditional programs have lost their impact, and banks need to create an offering that meets the needs and preferences of individual customers. This means moving away from a focus only on top-tier customers and instead focusing on rewarding unrewarded or under-rewarded people.

By democratizing rewards with customizable programs, banks can not only drive loyalty, but also drive new customer acquisition. In less mature markets like Africa – where 57% of the population does not have a traditional bank account – loyalty programs can be an effective way to attract the unbanked into the market.

African Bank, for example, recently launched a new loyalty program built around its ambition to provide sustainable, accessible and inclusive financial services to all South Africans. The bespoke program has been created to work for all bank customers and will allow members to earn and redeem loyalty points with a network of partners – covering such daily purchases, as well as exclusive aspirational rewards – as well as encourage positive financial behavior.

Secure the meeting room

Banks increasingly understand how loyalty programs can not only help with retention and acquisition, but also be a key tool to support a broader business strategy. And, using the latest loyalty technologies, banks are accurately measuring these programs, elevating loyalty from a marketing initiative to a vital tool that can be understood by the board of directors.

As the outlook for the global economy remains uncertain, banks still need to protect their customers against growing competition. To do this, banks’ service offerings must reflect the fact that all customers are valuable and can play an active role in supporting their financial well-being. By using loyalty technology to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and add value to their lives, banks can strengthen their relationships and stay ahead of the pack.

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Puerto Rico’s power grid is still expensive and unreliable after Hurricane Maria https://amiyasahu.com/puerto-ricos-power-grid-is-still-expensive-and-unreliable-after-hurricane-maria/ Sat, 22 Oct 2022 14:00:01 +0000 https://amiyasahu.com/puerto-ricos-power-grid-is-still-expensive-and-unreliable-after-hurricane-maria/ Police offer to stand guard near protesters blocking the entrance to a Luma Energy facility at the Puerto Rico Electric Authority (Prepa) Palo Seco power plant in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Friday, June 4, 2021. Xavier Garcia | Bloomberg | Getty Images When Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico in September, Felipe Pérez was ready. Pérez, […]]]>

Police offer to stand guard near protesters blocking the entrance to a Luma Energy facility at the Puerto Rico Electric Authority (Prepa) Palo Seco power plant in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Friday, June 4, 2021.

Xavier Garcia | Bloomberg | Getty Images

When Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico in September, Felipe Pérez was ready.

Pérez, the owner of local sandwich chain El Meson, has outfitted his self-contained locations with generators and water tanks in case of an extended outage like the one following Hurricane Maria, the devastating storm that tore through island in 2017.

His business was one of the luckiest. Many businesses were forced to close for weeks after Hurricane Fiona hit. And even for some businesses that quickly got power back, “the cost of operations was so high that they preferred to shut down,” Pérez said.

Lea este article in Spanish here.

Puerto Rico’s state power grid has been a sore point for many island businesses and residents, leading to backlash against Luma Energy, the company brought in to operate and improve the grid after the Hurricane Maria.

Luma takeover

Luma Energy officially took control of the island’s power grid in June 2021 for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA. The company, a joint venture between Houston-based Quanta Services and Calgary-based ATCO, was tasked with operating, maintaining and upgrading the island’s broken network.

It started badly.

A report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis found that during Luma’s first two months of operation on the island, Puerto Rico experienced “longer restore times, voltage fluctuations, and poor customer service.”

Since then, improvements appear to have been slow in coming, with power outages becoming the norm even before Hurricane Fiona, according to locals and media, which appears to be leading to growing discontent with Luma. In September, a Puerto Rican resident told local news channel WAPA TV:Here you blow out a birthday candle and the power goes out.”

“Since [Hurricane] Maria, they just reinstated the cables, they fixed some of the transfer stations, and the basic production system is still the same,” said Tom Sanzillo, director of financial analysis at IEEFA. “That means we’re sort of nowhere. , and nothing has really been fundamentally invested in the network.”

The islanders also protested due to Luma’s services. In July, about two months before Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico, hundreds of residents marched to the home of Governor Pedro Pierluisi in Old San Juan, demanding the cancellation of the Luma contract.

Pierluisi told the local newspaper El Nuevo Dia that he asked Luma to make some leadership changes so that the company could better handle the situation. Luma did not comment on the remarks but said the network – which serves more than 1.4 million customers – had been mismanaged for decades by its predecessor, PREPA, and that “the more than 3,000 men and women of LUMA are focused on restoring power to every customer impacted by Category 1 Hurricane Fiona and building and transforming the electrical system for the future.”

“When we took over about 16 months ago, the power grid was 60% worse than the worst fourth-quartile utility in the country,” said Shay Bahramirad, senior vice president of asset management. engineering and investment programs at Luma Energy.

Bahramirad said that during these 16 months, the frequency of power cuts dropped about 30% to 7.6 per year from about 10.6 per customer. The company also said on October 10 that power had been restored to 99% of guests affected by Hurricane Fiona. After Hurricane Maria, parts of the island were without power for about a year.

High electricity costs

But while most of the island may have power restored, customers still face crippling high energy costs.

The data of the US Energy Information Administration shows that commercial customers in Puerto Rico are paying an average of 29.4 cents per kilowatt-hour in June 2022. That’s more than double the US average of 12.9 cents per kWh. Residential customers, meanwhile, pay an average of 27.68 cents per kWh, while the US average is around 15 cents per kWh.

Bahramirad de Luma said the company had “nothing to do with rising electricity costs”, adding that it was mainly due to higher energy costs around the world. Energy prices have soared this year in part due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But IEEFA’s Sanzillo thinks that disparity could have been at least mitigated through improvements in network infrastructure.

“If you had changed massive amounts of the system, you would still have high prices — you can’t change everything overnight — but you would have at least been buffered a bit,” Sanzillo said.

Pérez d’El Meson said he had not yet received the electricity bill for September but would not pay for “electricity that has not been consumed”.

All of this comes as Puerto Rico’s economy struggles to recover. FactSet data shows Puerto Rico’s real GDP has fallen in nine of the past 10 years. On top of that, Puerto Rico’s population dropped by 11.8% from 2010 to 2020, while the overall US population grew by 7.4% during that time. according to Census Bureau data.

“The exodus has been huge, especially among the [young adults]”, said Pérez. “The island needs young people who can take on leadership roles on the island.

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Everything you need to know to apply for student loan forgiveness | Chicago News https://amiyasahu.com/everything-you-need-to-know-to-apply-for-student-loan-forgiveness-chicago-news/ Wed, 19 Oct 2022 20:30:45 +0000 https://amiyasahu.com/everything-you-need-to-know-to-apply-for-student-loan-forgiveness-chicago-news/ President Joe Biden speaks about the student debt relief portal beta test in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex in Washington, Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. announced in August, will cancel up to $20,000 of debt per borrower. The […]]]>

President Joe Biden speaks about the student debt relief portal beta test in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex in Washington, Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. announced in August, will cancel up to $20,000 of debt per borrower. The application process is now open and the administration says the forms should take five minutes to complete.

Borrowers who apply before mid-November should get a discount before Jan. 1, when loan payments are expected to resume after a pause during the pandemic. Some Republican-led states have filed lawsuits to try to prevent the cancellation, but the Biden administration says it’s confident the challenges won’t succeed.

Here’s how to apply and everything you need to know:

WHO QUALIFIES FOR STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS?

You are eligible for a rebate of up to $10,000 if your loan is held by the Department of Education and you earn less than $125,000 individually or $250,000 for a family. If you have been awarded Pell grants, which are reserved for undergraduate students with the greatest financial need, you can be forgiven for up to $20,000. If you are a current borrower and a student dependent, you will be eligible for relief based on your parents’ income, rather than your own.

A major lingering question is what will happen to students with FFEL loans held by companies that did not refinance by September 29. For the moment, these loans are not eligible (even if they were initially going to be eligible). The administration said it was looking for “additional legally available options to relieve” these borrowers, but nothing has been announced yet.

HOW TO REQUEST A LOAN FORGIVENESS?

Go to studentaid.gov and in the Student Debt Relief section, click “Apply Now”.

Be prepared to enter some basic personal information. The form asks for: name, social security number, date of birth, phone number and email address. It does not require documentation of your income or student loans.

Next, review the eligibility rules and confirm that you are compatible. For most people, this means certifying that they earn less than $125,000 per year or that their household earns less than $250,000 per year. If you meet the eligibility requirements, check the box confirming that everything you have provided is true.

Click “Submit”.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECEIVE FORGIVENESS?

Once the form is submitted, the Biden administration says processing should take four to six weeks. The Department of Education will use its existing records to ensure that your loans are eligible and to search for applicants who may exceed income limits. Some will be asked to provide additional documents to prove their income. The Ministry of Education estimates that the verification request will take approximately half an hour, including time to review and upload tax documents.

Most borrowers who apply before mid-November should expect to see their debt forgiven before Jan. 1, when federal student loan payments are expected to resume after a pause during the pandemic.

WILL THE FORGIVENESS OF STUDENT LOANS DEFINITELY HAPPEN?

Things could get more complicated, depending on the results of several legal challenges. The Biden administration faces a growing number of lawsuits trying to block the program, including one filed by six Republican-led states.

A federal judge in St. Louis is currently weighing the states’ request for an injunction to stop the plan. Biden said Monday he was confident the lawsuit would not upset the plan. “Our legal judgment is that it won’t,” he said, “but they’re trying to stop it.”

HAS THE STUDENT LOAN PAYMENT FREEZE BEEN EXTENDED?

The payment freeze has been extended one last time, until December 31. The freeze began in 2020 as a way to help people in financial difficulty during the COVID-19 pandemic and it has been extended several times since. It was due to expire on August 31.

Interest rates will remain at 0% until repayments begin. Under an earlier extension announced in April, people who were in arrears before the pandemic will be automatically brought into good standing.

IS GRADUATE STUDENT DEBT ALLOWABLE?

Yes, federal student loans taken out to cover advanced degrees are eligible for forgiveness.

WHAT IF THE BALANCE ON MY STUDENT LOAN INCLUDES A LOT OF INTEREST?

The interest itself is considered part of the balance for the purposes of this program. The pardon will remove $10,000 from the total balance you owe.

WILL I PAY TAX ON THE AMOUNT I GET REMITTED?

At least a few states have said they plan to tax forgiveness, including Indiana and Mississippi, and it’s unclear whether others will change their tax rules to exclude canceled student debt. Previously, Congress eliminated taxes on loan forgiveness through 2025.

ARE PARENT PLUS LOANS ELIGIBLE?

Parent Plus loans are included in the forgiveness plan, subject to the same $250,000 income cap for families that applies to the remainder of the cancellation.

Parent Plus loans differ from other federal education loans in that they can be used to cover non-tuition expenses, such as books and student board and lodging. As of March 2022, parents of 3.6 million students owed more than $107 billion in Parent Plus loans, according to the Department of Education. This represents about 6% of the total amount of federal student debt held by Americans.

If a parent received a Parent Plus loan on behalf of a student and the same student received a direct loan, both would receive relief, as cancellation is per borrower, not per student. This means that everyone who has federal student loans held by the Department of Education and meets the income requirements is eligible for cancellation.

WHAT IS A PELL GRANT AND HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE ONE?

About 27 million qualified Pell Grant borrowers will be eligible to receive up to $20,000 in rebate under the Biden plan.

Pell Grants are special government grants for low-income Americans, which can currently receive up to $6,895 per year for about six years.

According to the Department of Education, nearly all Pell Grant recipients came from a family that earned less than $60,000 a year, which said Pell Grant recipients typically have more difficulty repaying debt. than other borrowers.

Pell grants themselves usually don’t have to be repaid, but recipients usually take out additional student loans.

“This additional relief for Pell borrowers is also an important element of racial equity in the cancellation,” said Kat Welbeck, civil rights attorney for the Student Borrower Protection Center. “Because student debt exacerbates existing inequalities, the racial wealth gap means that students of color, especially those who are black and Latino, are more likely to come from low-income households, have student debt and borrow more.”

To find out if you have a Pell grant, check any emails you’ve received that describe your FAFSA award.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL THIS HELP?

About 43 million Americans have federal student debt, with an average balance of $37,667, according to federal data. A third of them owe less than $10,000. Half owe less than $20,000. The total amount of federal student debt is over $1.6 trillion.

WHAT IF I HAVE ALREADY PAID MY STUDENT LOANS? WILL I SEE A REPAIR?

If you have voluntarily made payments since March 2020, when payments were suspended, you can request a refund for these payments, according to the Federal Office for Student Aid. Contact your loan officer to request a refund.

WHAT REIMBURSEMENT PLAN DOES THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION OFFER?

The Ministry of Education has proposed a repayment plan that would cap monthly payments at a maximum of 5% of the borrower’s discretionary income, up from 10% currently. Borrowers will need to apply for the repayment plan if approved, which can take a year or more.

For example, under the proposal, a single borrower earning $38,000 a year would pay $31 a month, according to a government press release.

The amount considered non-discretionary income will also be increased, though the department did not say how much.

Discretionary income generally refers to what you have left over after covering necessities like food and rent, but for student loan repayment purposes it is calculated using a formula that takes into account the difference between the borrower’s annual income and the federal poverty level, as well as family size and geographic location.

“The difficult thing about income-based repayment is that it doesn’t take into account your other debts, such as paying your rent,” said Kristen Ahlenius, financial adviser at Your Money Line, which offers training in financial literacy. “If someone is living paycheck to paycheck and their rent takes half of their paycheck and their car payment takes the other half, they have to choose. Unfortunately, the income-contingent reimbursement does not take this into account, but it is an option.

Student Debt Relief Offers Calculator to help you determine your discretionary income.

WHAT IF I CANNOT AFFORD PAY EVEN WITH A LOAN FORGIVENESS?

Once payments resume, borrowers who cannot pay risk of delinquency and possibly default. This can hurt your credit rating and mean you don’t qualify for further help.

If you’re struggling to pay, check to see if you qualify for an income-tested repayment plan. You can find out more here.

The Biden plan also includes a proposal that would allow people with undergraduate loans to cap repayment at 5% of their monthly income. Proposals like this can take a year or more to implement, and it’s unclear what the fine print will be.

If you worked for a government agency or non-profit organization, you may also be eligible for the Civil Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which you can find out more about here.


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What is a VPN used for? 9 uses of VPN in 2022 – Forbes Advisor Australia https://amiyasahu.com/what-is-a-vpn-used-for-9-uses-of-vpn-in-2022-forbes-advisor-australia/ Mon, 17 Oct 2022 09:34:27 +0000 https://amiyasahu.com/what-is-a-vpn-used-for-9-uses-of-vpn-in-2022-forbes-advisor-australia/ Now that you know what a VPN is, here’s why you might need a VPN: 1. Security on public Wi-Fi Public Wi-Fi is convenient but comes at the expense of security. When you’re answering emails at a local coffee shop or casually browsing social media at the airport, someone can track your online activity. Using […]]]>

Now that you know what a VPN is, here’s why you might need a VPN:

1. Security on public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is convenient but comes at the expense of security. When you’re answering emails at a local coffee shop or casually browsing social media at the airport, someone can track your online activity.

Using a VPN protects your data when you’re on other networks, hiding your browsing history, banking information, account passwords, and more from malicious strangers on the Internet.

2. Privacy of Your Internet Service Provider Data

When you’re connected to your home Wi-Fi, you’re less likely to be attacked by strangers than on a public connection. However, your data is still vulnerable.

Your ISP or Internet Service Provider (Dodo, Optus, Telstra or another company where you pay for Wi-Fi every month) can access all your Internet data. Your ISP can see when, where and how you are browsing.

This data can be collected and sold to advertisers even if you use the “private” browsing feature, and it can be dangerous in the wrong hands in the event of a data breach, as mentioned above. A VPN can help hide your IP address from your own ISP.

3. Data privacy of applications and services you use

Your ISP isn’t the only potential liability you’ve brought into your own home. Unfortunately, many of our favorite internet apps and services, including Facebook, have come under fire for the way they have used their users’ data.

A VPN will prevent apps and websites from attributing your behavior to your computer’s IP address. It may also limit the collection of your location and browser history.

4. Privacy of your government data

While many ISPs, apps, and Internet data hubs suggest that they don’t sell your browsing data to governments, the information does end up in their hands nonetheless.

Take the example of the United States. Since 2013, when Edward Snowden first revealed that Verizon was selling users’ internet and phone data to the NSA, Americans have become more aware of the various ways the government monitors and collects their data. Following Snowden’s leaks and subsequent outrage, several laws were enacted to curb government surveillance.

However, as recently as January of this year, the Defense Intelligence Agency circumvented a law requiring government agencies to produce warrants before coercing phone companies for their user data by paying third-party data brokers for that same data, according to the New York Times.

In Australia, telecom operators assure consumers that the content of our online activity is not stored, nor is our web browsing history. They point out that ISPs are only required to log the time you’ve been connected to the internet with the bandwidth you’ve used. However, since 2017, telecom operators are also required to store our metadata for at least two years. This would be intended to help law enforcement agencies investigate crimes, and the metadata may include billing details; the time and duration of your communications; recipient of any communication; and how you communicated (phone, text, social media, etc.).

If you have any qualms about government overreach, a VPN is a good investment in protecting your data.

5. Access Any Content Anywhere

Although Hulu may frown upon your use of a VPN to stream the latest Criminal minds episode in a country where the content is not offered, this VPN use is not illegal (in the US and most countries), and it helps provide a useful workaround to content restrictions.

VPNs spoof your location, making it look like you’re browsing from another location. This means you can get your Criminal minds repair even if it is not available locally.

6. Safety when working remotely

One of the benefits of a VPN is its data encryption features. Encryption, or placing data in a coded format so that its meaning is obscured, allows you to protect confidential information.

If you’re an individual considering investing in a VPN for your business, one benefit is that employees can connect to your office network and view sensitive documents on their own devices when away from home. desk. As remote work seems a possibility even after the pandemic is over, a VPN is a worthwhile investment for protecting confidential documents offsite.

8. Adaptable to many smart devices

While many of us may first try out a VPN on a company-loaned laptop, many VPN services also protect other smart devices like your phones, tablets, and desktops. Each VPN company may offer slightly different protection plans and have different capabilities to protect different devices, but many providers offer plans that help you stay safe across multiple devices.

7. Smart Savings

If you’re willing to do some research, a VPN can help you save money with its location spoofing capabilities. Many types of businesses, such as subscription services and airlines, offer the same equipment or products at different prices. If you change the look of your location to one where services are offered cheaper, you can end up with big savings.

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