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The ALCC's mission, according to their Website, is to "preserve, promote and protect the legal rights of men, women and children in the metropolitan Chicago area impacted by HIV. The Council provides direct legal services to people in need, educates the public about HIV-related legal issues, and advocates for social policies that ensure fair treatment for all people affected by HIV/AIDS."
The future of the federal Affordable Care Act ( ACA ) has become a very important discussion among AIDS service agencies. The U.S. Supreme Court has finished hearing oral arguments on a case seeking to overturn the law, and the American public could hear the fate of the ACA by the beginning of this summer.
"The ALCC did not file an amicus brief but we did join another group who did," said Ann Hilton Fisher, the group's executive director. "There is no crystal ball but the consensus is that the ACA will be validated—at least most of it. If the Supreme Court undoes the ACA, then they'll have to do the entire New Deal packet of legislation," added Fisher.
The ALCC like other HIV and AIDS advocacy groups have been working on the ACA and its impact on their ability to both find and provide care for their clients as well as the legal repercussions the ACA will ultimately have.
"We are moving full steam ahead on this," Fisher said. "We cannot act as if the ACA will be struck down. Our policies just have to be in line with the language of the Act. There is also the possibility of Ryan White [ funding bill ] reauthorization. In any event, it could get pretty ugly."
For the state of Illinois, Fisher felt that the administrative hurdles that must be confronted would be the biggest challenges locally. "Illinois has some great plans," she said. "The possibility of a complete online registration for insurance coverage is in the works. Also, management of what category an individual falls under will be addressed. Are they Medicaid? Insurance with a subsidy or insurance without a subsidy?"
But the ALCC has been in operation for decades prior to the ACA and they have stayed true to their mission. "We're still primarily providing legal services to those with HIV and AIDS," said ALCC case manager Justin Hayford. We just had an employment discrimination suit involving a woman who worked at O'Hare [ airport ] pushing people around in wheelchairs. When it was discovered that she was HIV-positive she was actually terminated from her position. Can you believe that in 2012?"
The ALCC handled more than 1,500 cases in 2011 and that is no small feat considering the staff is comprised of three attorneys, an attorney intern and five paralegals.
"Our vast majority of cases involve Social Security Disability claims and Medicare/Medicaid," said Fisher. "Still, we also deal with the direct client contact for estate planning, insurance issues and HIV confidentiality consultation."
The ALCC provides immediate access to phone counseling when the issues of HIV confidentiality and state and federal law are dealt with by the public-at-large.
"Oftentimes we get calls from individuals filling out applications for insurance and they want to know whether they should list particular medications they may be taking for HIV management. We make sure they're counseled on that issue," said Fisher. "We also get calls from other organizations asking for advice on when it is appropriate to ask about HIV and when it is not. In other words, when is disclosure legal."
Another large portion of the ALCC's workload is comprised of immigration and the issues stemming from it. The ALCC does more than 100 consultations a year on this issue. They provide a bilingual center for Spanish-speakers. "Until fairly recently, there was a ban on immigration of those with HIV. That's really how we started tackling the issue," said Fisher. The group also handles the more routine immigration problems such as lost Green Cards.
"We're here on the ground doing the grunt work. We are always looking at the big picture but the day-to-day representation of our clients must be kept in focus," added Hayford. "This is a combination—individualized and systemic. Our legal services must be to the person with the other in mind."
For more information on the mission and history of the ALCC or to inquire further about their services, please visit the group's website at www.aidslegal.com or call them at ( 312 ) 427-8990.--
Posted: Apr 25, 2012 2:05 AM CDT
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday over a tough Arizona law that requires police to check the immigration status of people they stop for any reason - a hot button issue in the U.S. that will likely impact on this year's presidential race.
Civil rights groups say the Arizona law and similar ones in a number of other states encourage racial profiling and ethnic stereotyping, while supporters argue the states are doing the job of a federal government that has failed to adequately deal with the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the U.S.
The court is expected to issue its decision in late June, but regardless of the outcome the debate will likely have an impact on the Nov. 6 presidential elections.
Across the U.S. Republicans have far outpaced Democrats in pushing tough anti-immigration laws, posing potential political problems for the party and its presumed candidate Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
In the primary contests, Romney took the harshest anti-illegal immigration stance among the top contenders, but he has had little to say lately on the issue.
That aggressive stand has alienated many Hispanic voters, one of the electorate's fastest-growing segments.
President Barack Obama won two-thirds of the Hispanic vote in 2008, and hopes to do better this fall.
Even though the Obama administration has deported nearly 400,000 people a year, far more than previous administrations, a recent poll of Hispanic voters by the Pew Research Center found that 67 percent supported Obama, and 27 percent Romney.
Hispanic voters are especially important in a few battleground states that will help determine the election.
Arguing for the government, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. tried to convince the justices that they should view the law as inconsistent with federal immigration policy. He said the records check would allow the state to "engage effectively in mass incarceration" of immigrants lacking documentation.
Arguing for Arizona, Paul Clement said the state law mirrored federal immigration law and that the state it took action because, with its 370-mile (600 kilometer) border with Mexico, Arizona "bears a disproportionate share of the costs of illegal immigration."
Both liberal and conservative justices reacted skeptically to the administration's argument that the state exceeded its authority when it made the records check, and another provision allowing suspected illegal immigrants to be arrested without warrants, part of the Arizona law aimed at driving illegal immigrants elsewhere.
Chief Justice John Roberts took issue with Verrilli's characterization of the check of immigration status, saying the state merely wants to notify federal authorities it has someone in custody who may be in the U.S. illegally. "It seems to me that the federal government just doesn't want to know who's here illegally and who's not," Roberts said.
However, Roberts made clear at the outset of the administration's argument Wednesday that the court was looking only at state-versus-federal power, not the civil rights concerns that already are the subject of other lawsuits.
Outside the courthouse, more than 200 protesters gathered. The law's opponents made up a clear majority of the crowd, chanting and carrying signs such as "Do I Look Illegal To You?"
Arizona's Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the law two years ago, was at the court Wednesday.
Brewer told reporters she was "very, very encouraged" by the justices' questions.
Justice Elena Kagan, who was Obama's first solicitor general, is not taking part in the case, presumably because she worked on it while in the Justice Department.
Associated Press writers Mark Sherman, Charles Babington and Jesse J. Holland in Washington and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report.
Details of immigration case: http://tinyurl.com/7ekg6ha
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.--
Released on Tuesday to coincide with the United Nations Commission on Population Development meeting this week, the report looks for the first time at the major challenges facing the world's 1.2 billion adolescents -- which it defined as those between ages 10 and 19 -- as they make the transition into adulthood.
Here are some key findings of the report, called: Progress for Children: A report card on adolescents.
*RAW NUMBERS: Adolescents make up 18 per cent of the world's population, and more than half live in Asia. India is home to the highest number of adolescents, at 243 million, followed by China, with around 200 million adolescents. In sub-Saharan Africa, adolescents make up the biggest slice of the population, with 23 per cent of those aged 10 and 19. The same is true of many of the least-developed countries, where adolescents make up 23 per cent of the population, compared with 19 per cent in developing countries and 12 in industrialized countries, according to the report.
*VIOLENT DEATHS: Although they have managed to avoid many of the infections that are the chief killers of young children, adolescents are not out of the woods. According to the report, 1.4 million adolescents die from injuries related to traffic accidents, childbirth complications, suicide, AIDS, gang-related violence and other causes. In some countries in Latin America, including El Salvador, Venezuela, Guatemala, Brazil and Colombia, more boys die from homicide than car accidents or suicide. And in Africa, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the chief killers for girls aged 15 to 19.
*EARLY MARRIAGE, CHILDBIRTH: In many developing countries, adolescent girls leap from childhood to adulthood, marrying and bearing children before they are ready, cutting short their opportunities for education. Globally, some 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth each year, accounting for around 11 per cent of all births. About 90 per cent of births to adolescents occur within marriage. Countries of Latin America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa have the highest proportion of babies born to an adolescent mother. In Niger, half of young women aged 20 to 24 gave birth before the age of 18.
*HIV, AIDS: Some 2.2 million adolescents are living with the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, and most of them do not know they are infected. Adolescent girls make up the lion's share of this number, with 1.3 million infected with HIV. Many were infected through transmission of the virus from their mothers at birth, but many others become infected through unprotected sex or dirty needles.
*EDUCATION: Some 90 per cent of children globally are enrolled in primary schools, but enrollment in secondary school still lags, especially in developing nations in Africa and Asia. According to the report, 71 million adolescents worldwide are not in secondary school, and as many as 127 million young people aged 15 to 24 are illiterate, with most of these clustered in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
AIDS and the woman .
Thursday, 26 April 2012 00:47 pioneer
Females in our society are at a greater risk of falling victim to this scourge. SANA RIYAZ reports
What is more important than a healthy life? Life is a blessing bestowed by the Almighty to each individual. Even the nature is bestowed with unseen life. However, there are some hurdles in its course and these often come in the form of incurable diseases such as AIDS.
Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus. The illness interferes with the immune system, making people with AIDS much more likely to get infections, including opportunistic infections and tumours that do not affect people with working immune systems. This susceptibility gets worse as the disease continues.
HIV is transmitted through sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral and anal), contaminated blood transfusions and hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It can be transmitted by contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid that has the virus in it, such as the blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-seminal fluid or breast milk from an infected person.
Although treatments for HIV/AIDS can slow down the course of the disease, there is no known cure or HIV vaccine. Antiretroviral treatment (ART) reduces both the deaths and new infections from HIV/AIDS, but these drugs are expensive and the medications are not available in all countries. Due to the difficulty in treating HIV infection, preventing infection is a key aim in controlling the AIDS pandemic, with health organisations promoting safe sex and needle-exchange programmes in attempts to slow the spread of the virus.
AIDS among Women
Women are generally at a greater risk of heterosexual transmission of HIV. Biologically women are twice more likely to become infected with HIV through unprotected heterosexual intercourse than men. In many countries women are less likely to be able to negotiate condom use and are more likely to be subjected to non-consensual sex.
At the end of 2010 it was estimated by a Government survey that out of the 34 million adults worldwide living with HIV and AIDS, half are women. The AIDS epidemic has a unique impact on women, which has make worse their role within society and their biological vulnerability to HIV infection. The responsibility of caring for AIDS patients is also an issue that has a greater effect on women.
Additionally, millions of women have been indirectly affected by the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Women's childbearing role means that they have to contend with issues such as mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Furthermore, marriage does not always protect a woman from becoming infected with HIV. Many new infections occur within marriage or long-term relationships as a result of intercourse with unfaithful partners.
"It was detected 16 years ago, when my husband seemed to have similar symptoms of HIV positive. He quickly visited a doctor for blood test. He was detected with HIV positive cells in his body. The counselor advised him to get my blood cells tested. I went for the test, as advised. My blood cells were also detected with HIV positive. Further we were asked to get our daughter checked for the same. Fortunately she was detected HIV negative. It was becoming hard for us to live. Both of us had a psychological breakdown. But the counselors did a great job. Today both of us are under going ART and we are leading a happy and a prosperous life," said Sudha Tiwari (name changed) a home maker, Bhopal.
Consultant sexologist Dr Syed Kausar Hussain while talking about HIV AIDS told Viva City, "In our society people are not much aware about this deadly disease. People believe that sexual intercourse is the only factor of the occurrence of this disease. But there many other factors like injecting the same injection, in taking the HIV positive blood or getting addicted to drugs." He further said that women are usually counseled when they get a fear of having unprotected sex. But this is not the only reason for AIDS occurrence, he added.
All women in society are put in two categories: Females adopting 'sex work' (FSW) and females adopting other work (FOW). Females who become the target of the unsocial activity of 'rape' may also suffer from this fatal disease. Women who are victims of sexual violence are at a higher risk of being exposed to HIV, and the lack of condom use and forced nature of rape means that the women are immediately more vulnerable to HIV infection.
A study of 20,425 couples in India by NACO found not only that HIV transmission was much greater in abusive relationships, but also that abusive husbands were more likely to be infected with HIV than non-abusive husbands.
Shaukat Alam, Research Officer at Integrated Counseling and Testing Centre, which is sponsored by the MP State AIDS Control Society, Hamidia Hospital, said, "Most probably it become difficult to detect AIDS among women at a very early stage. They usually do not prefer to get a check-up done."
He further said that in Bhopal the figures do not differ much between HIV positive women and HIV positive men. The ratio would be 60-40 per cent. Talking about the treatments, he said that at ICT centres, there are two kinds of treatments:
Treatment for Opportunist Infections
This treatment takes place at the very early stage of HIV positive and AIDS detection. Patient usually suffers from viral fever or TB. Medication for such infections is given to the patients.
When the virus starts to multiply in the blood cells, ART breaks down the intensity of the virus.
Knowing your HIV status is important with early detention, even an HIV positive person can also lead a normal life. It can only be done by adopting a healthy lifestyle by taking Antiretroviral Treatment.
There many steps taken for spreading awareness among the women regarding the HIV AIDS syndrome. Many governmental and non- governmental organisations are stepping forward for the same.
Increasing of education among women is the greatest factor, with which they are aware of this syndrome. It is the most effective tools in preventing HIV infection.
There are a number of things that can be done in order to reduce the effect of the dreaded disease among women. These include promoting and protecting women's human rights, increasing education and awareness among women and encouraging the development of new preventative technologies such as post-exposure prophylaxis and microbicide.
Women should be made aware of HIV/AIDS at an early stage. With such a step we can reduce the increasing rate of this phenomenon in society.
Moral Support from Society
Other than these few steps, the society should not spread discrimination for HIV positive patients. They are equally entitled for the same love and affection which is given to normal people, in the society.
One should fear of an HIV positive detection and should feel free to lead a normal life ahead.
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|April 2012|| |
Message from the Program Manager
The SSATP has reached a turning point. The year 2011 has seen a complete renewal of the governance of the Program with a new Board and a new Management Team. On the one hand, these changes have resulted momentarily in fewer activities and less visibility for the Program. On the other hand, they have provided the opportunity to initiate a new phase in the Second Development Plan of SSATP in tune with the developments in Africa and its transport sector (i) sustained economic growth; (ii) a new dynamic of development cooperation and financing; (iii) the strengthening of leadership in Regional Economic Communities; and (iv) the introduction of new initiatives, such as the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa, the Africa Infrastructure Knowledge Partnership, and the Decade of Action for Road Safety.
A new transport strategy for Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso has undertaken to update its transport sector strategy. This has been conceived to allow the sector to respond to institutional changes and to give a space for a coherent planning of the sector actions.... The objective is to put in place an integrated system of efficient transport infrastructures and services, taking into account accessibility and mobility needs of the population.more....
Developing a rural transport policy and strategy for growth & poverty reduction
SSATP and partners' initiatives for the development of rural transport policies and strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa started way back in the early 1990s under what was then the Rural Travel and Transport Policy Program (RTTP) ... In 2010, the SSATP and the World Bank did some analytical work which resulted in a framework paper on how rural transport can contribute to rural growth and poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa.more....
Regional integration: Corridor monitoring for policy decision
Regional integration in Africa is constrained by high trading costs, resulting from a combination of challenges mixing hard (infrastructure related) and soft (trade and transport facilitation related) issues, aggravated by a complex political economy environment. To address these challenges, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and countries have embarked on a comprehensive program laying the foundation for efficient transport...more....
Climate change: Building regional cooperation and strengthening institutions
Global climate change, resulting from higher greenhouse gas concentrations, is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, melting of glaciers, and rising sea levels. Africa will be the most vulnerable to the impact of cliamte change on ecosystems, water resources, desertification, floods and heat waves, due to lack of financial resources and capacity to mitigate and adapt. Consequently, climate change has the potential to reverse the hard earned sustainable development gains of the past decades, and the progress that has been made toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.more....
Scaling-up efforts to address the road safety challenge
Stabilization and reduction of Africa's acute road safety problems can be achieved through development and implementation of focused, pragmatic, bold and cost-effective mitigation strategies. According to the World Health Organization data for 2009, the number of people killed in road traffic crashes is estimated each year at almost 1.3 million and the number injured could be as high as 50 million...more....
Benchmarking governance in the transport sector
Good governanceor its absence has concerned transport sector policymakers and stakeholders for decades. The sector has a major contribution to make to poverty reduction and economic growthand with this purpose billions of dollars have been spent on improving and rehabilitating transport infrastructure. Despite this considerable investment and much associated effort to build supportive technical, financial and management capability, sector performance continue to lag behind expectation. "Poor governance" is often cited as an underlying reasonthe concept encompassing a range of shortcomings, from weak leadership to outright corruption.more....
Improving railway performance in Sub-Sahara Africa
The SSATP is reconnecting with rail transport by launching a study on railway performance in Sub-Saharan Africa, in order to prepare the framework for making further decision and implementing relevant policies. The study is intented to help in the design of policies for the railway sector as part of SSATP' s next development plan.more....
Removal of fuel subsidy in Nigeria
SSATP Main Events
Meeting of the Regional Economic Communities Transport Coordination Committee (REC-TCC)
The REC-TCC meeting was held in Mombasa, on March 26-29, with an attendance of over 80 participants representing RECs, corridor authorities, regional industry organizations and associations, and development partners from all parts of Sub-Sahara Africa. The meeting reviewed the latest developments in tools for performance monitoring, and their importance in the policy dialogue for the formulation of effective trade and transport facilitation strategies. The workshop covered permanent monitoring mechanisms, particularly the corridor transport observatories, in their dual role for monitoring and diagnosis, as well as more focused tools, to analyze specific bottlenecks, such as inland border crossing, road transport industry surveys, and time release studies.
Taking advantage of the participation of the main stakeholders involved in regional facilitation programs, a special session was organized to discuss the outline of a medium to long term regional facilitation action plan. The meeting agreed to continue exchanges on an agreed outline that will constitute an input in the definition of the future development plan of SSATP.
On the last day, additional representatives from East Africa joined the meeting to review the results of the monitoring of the border crossing delays on the main Northern Corridor land borders.
The related documentation will soon be available on the SSATP website.
Meeting of SSATP National Coordinators
The National Coordinators' meeting was held in Mombasa, Kenya, on March 28 and 29, 2012 on the sideline of the Regional Economic Communities Transport Coordination Committee (REC-TCC) meeting. This arrangement made it possible for the National Coordinators to participate in the initial sessions of the REC-TCC discussions. The meeting was organised with the assistance of the Permanent Secretariat of the Transit Transport Co-ordination Authority of the Northern Corridor and attended by 15 participants from the member countries. The main objective of the meeting was to reexamine the SSATP and its coordination function and to identify possible areas of focus in its future operations. To facilitate discussions, a number of presentations were made followed by break-out and plenary sessions. The presentations included: a review of SSATP's strategic framework; an overview and highlights of SSATP's Second Development Plan (DP2); country reports from Zambia, Uganda and Gabon; current status of Africa Transport and the opportunities for future developments; and the ongoing activities on Road Safety.
The National Coordinators were unanimous that SSATP's current thematic content and approach were highly relevant but observed that perhaps too much emphasis had been placed on roads. There was therefore a need to consider addressing transport in its entirety with special emphasis on inter-modalism. They observed that SSATP's engagement with governments at policy level needed up-scaling. It was suggested that a customized peer review process along the same principles as the Africa Peer Review Mechanism could be developed and adopted. Country coordination required rethinking with a view to addressing the well known deficiencies. In this regard, lessons could be learned from good practice examples of functional National Transport Policy Coordination Offices that are found in some countries such as Tanzania and Lesotho. It was further observed that SSATP needed to fully exploit its capacity building mandate in order to facilitate the uptake and management of policy reforms by member countries.
SSATP Mid-Term Review - Retreat in Addis Ababa
The mid-term review of SSATP was initiated in September 2011 with the objective of identifying actions to improve its performance and provide a framework for SSATP after completion of the on-going Second Development Plan. A retreat of the SSATP Constituent Assembly took place in Addis Ababa on March 31-April 1, 2012 to review the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the mid-term review consultants.
The participants confirmed the relevance of SSATP as an instrument to facilitate policy development and capacity building in the transport sector in Africa. Three main strategic orientations were agreed: (a) increase ownership of SSATP and anchoring of the Program in Africa; (b) align SSATP with the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and other recent initiatives; and (c) make SSATP more demand driven.
A plan of action is being designed with the following key milestones: (a) acceptance of the African Union Commission to become part of the SSATP Board (April 2012); (b) decision on the physical and institutional location of SSATP (June 2012); (c) decision on the new governance framework (December 2012); and (d) approval of the business plan for the third Development Plan(December 2013).
SSATP Annual Report 2011
A turning point for SSATP
This annual report departs from the format adopted in the previous years. It was decided instead to use the new changes which happened in the SSATP, a new Program Manager, the renewal of the members of SSATP Board and of the Management Team, as an opportunity for reflection and projection in its future development.
Available in: English
Progress on commercialized road management in SSA
Until this wide-ranging study to assess progress on road management practices, no in-depth review of the performance of Road Authorities and Road Agencies has been carried out. Important lessons can be learnt from this work and notably that progress in commercialization of road management practices can only be described as "a road partially travelled".
Available in: English
Gazing into the mirror II, performance contracts in Cameroon Customs
This second volume of Gazing into the Mirror presents the results of the bold and original reform process initiated in 2009 to modernize the Cameroon Customs Administration and to instill a radically new culture within it. The objective is to facilitate trade and fight against fraud and bad practices. At the heart of this process are performance contracts signed between the Director General of Custom (co-author of the book) and Customs officers.
Available in: French/English
Emerging Good Practice in Overload Control in Eastern and Southern Africa
This third volume on overload control presents the case studies carried out in Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana. They all offer a different but complementary approach to tackle the problem of overload, ranging from cooperation in designing overload control system to private operation of weighbridges or decriminalization of overload control program. The other first two volumes are published on the SSATP website.
Available in: English
The SSATP is an international partnership to facilitate policy development and related capacity building in the transport sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sound policies lead to safe, reliable and cost-effective transport, freeing people to lift themselves out of poverty, and helping countries to compete internationally.
To learn more, visit SSATP website: www./ssatp.org
Message from the Program Manager
New transport strategy for Burkina Faso
Rural transport for growth & poverty reduction
Corridor monitoring for policy decision
The road safety challenge
Governance in the transport sector
Rail performance in SSA
Removal of fuel subsidy in Nigeria
SSATP main events
News in brief
News in Brief
New Chairman of the SSATP Board
Mr. Stephen N. Karingi, Director for the Regional Integration, Infrastructure & Trade Division in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has been appointed Chairman of the SSATP Board. He replaces Mr. Joseph Atta-Mensah from UNECA who has been promoted to a new position.
Sierra Leone updates its Transport Sector Strategy
The Transport Sector Strategy for Sierra Leone is being updated under the umbrella and methodology of the Pro-Growth, Pro-Poor Transport Strategies developed by SSATP. Resources from the Islamic Development Bank for Poverty Reduction Transport Strategy Reviews, together with IDA resources, will fund the preparation of the update.
A full-scale BRT scheme in Johannesburg
The latest SUTP (Sustainable Urban Transport Project) case study produced by GIZ which deals with the transition process from informal transit services to a full-scale BRT scheme in Johannesburg, South Africa, provides a rare and detailed insight in the complicated but successful negociations between the City and representatives of more than 300 individual minibus- taxi owners.
To access or download the documents go to the SUTP website.
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