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US tech giants take brave immigration stand that has nothing to do with profit whatsoever

That's a long article, let me condense it for you.

Trump's a cunt.

No thanks needed, I consider it a service.

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Re: That's a long article, let me condense it for you.

Not Trump this time: turn round and look at who's talking.

See them now?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That's a long article, let me condense it for you.

It wasn't a long article and it wasn't about Trump. But, you did remind me why Trump is in office.

As for the article, only 2 things talk in the world of politics, money and bullets. I think Sleazicon Valley will get what they want.

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Megaphone

Re: That's a long article, let me condense it for you.

However, now that the White House is planning to shake up the H-1B visa program that tech companies are heavily reliant on to get skilled cheap workers into the country...

Fixed it for ya.

Because I've seen how those on H-1B visas can and will get paid less than their U.S. counterparts. I see it today. Many of us have seen U.S. workers laid off, to be replaced by cheaper H-1B candidates. Sometimes they even have to endure the humiliation of training their replacements.

Compare that to Canada. Years ago when my company needed to temporarily transfer me to work in Canada, they had to first prove to CA that I had skills that could not be properly satisfied by existing Canadian labor. Many countries have the same, or similar, requirements.

So one of the things Trump is looking at is raising the H-1B minimum salary cap from it's current $60K, so H-1B visa employees must be paid the same as their U.S. counterparts. That makes sense, doesn't it?

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Re: That's a long article, let me condense it for you.

Yes, a shortage of cheap workers.

Google and Apple were caught with an illegal agreement not to compete for workers which would also drive up salaries.

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Re: That's a long article, let me condense it for you.

Compare that to Canada. Years ago when my company needed to temporarily transfer me to work in Canada, they had to first prove to CA that I had skills that could not be properly satisfied by existing Canadian labor. Many countries have the same, or similar, requirements.

Actually, the US also has that stipulation, and it's a felony to violate it. Unfortunately, that isn't enforced. I remember a former employer who decided to bring in a worker from Pakistan because the workplace was so horrible the workers kept quitting. The joke was, "OK, who wants to sign this and commit a felony?"

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Big Brother

Re: "money and bullets"

In a War Economy like America they're synonymous.

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@BillG Re: That's a long article, let me condense it for you.

Absolutely.

I have a friend who has a green card and passed on giving up UK citizenship. He can work in the US, as well as in the UK and EU. Moi? I have to show that I had skills that couldn't be found in the UK or the EU. So yeah its not about attracting the best and brightest but cheaper labor.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That's a long article, let me condense it for you.

Trump is NOT a cunt

Your dad did not have the lesson on the fine differences between a v and a c with you when you were young.

Cunts are things that bring pleasure

That's vaginas not cunts. There is a fine distinction. As my dad used to say: "Son, never mistake a vagina for a cunt. The former is an important part of female anatomy. The latter is a type of character, usually male and usually found in politicians and celebrities".

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Re: That's a long article, let me condense it for you.

That Donald Trump.

He's a bit of a Jeremy.

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Re: That's a long article, let me condense it for you.

No, Trump is a twat, Blair is an example of a cunt.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That's a long article, let me condense it for you.

True, H1-B is supposed to be for highly skilled workers with skills that cannot be found in the US.

It makes complete sense to raise the minimum salary for H1-Bs. The minimums should be very high as we are supposed to be talking about near geniuses with world class and very unique skills.

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Meh

Re: That's a long article, let me condense it for you.

"supposed to be talking about near geniuses with world class and very unique skills."

Why, thank you kind sir.

I am glad to know that my services rendered under an H1-B visa were of such esteemed value.

Mind you, that was the late 80's when there wasn't so much sub-continental immigration so I don;t think companies had really started forcing the issue of "cheap" replacement programmers. And I did have fairly specialist expertise at the time.

I did find out that the salary offered was slightly less than I felt I should be on, as I had nothing to compare to when first offered. It was done on a contract-to-hire basis, so after 12 months I negotiated a better salary to become permanent. It probably still wasn't what it should have been or what I could have achieved somewhere else, but I was happy, as I was only intending to stay long enough to see some more of the country.

Having lived in the DFW area I had no desire to lengthen my stay over about 2 - 3 years. An interesting experience all the same and we got to see quite a bit of the U.S. as well, which as far as I was concerned was my main objective.

Cheers!

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Holmes

Shock horror a company wants to make a profit....

In this global economy large companies are able to employ people anywhere in the world, the fact they bring them to the US to pay taxes there instead of just expanding their offices in other countries I'd think is a benefit/bonus to the US but looks like those regional offices will just get bigger and bigger.

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Anonymous Coward

"Shock horror a company wants to make a profit...."

And it can be quite horribly shocking how companies profit.

"... the fact they bring them to the US to pay taxes... " proves that companies want to pay less taxes, so if anything, they hurt the country.

This isn't a US exclusive affair. It's just that in the United States of Business, greed is very in your face.

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I thought these were tech companies?

Why does software development have to happen in any specific place? I've coded in hotel rooms, on boats and beaches, and had meetings with people on the other side of the world.

It's almost like these companise dont get the idea of the Internet...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I thought these were tech companies?

The US company I work for has offices in Europe, and we regularly get new people who wanted to work in the US, but couldn't get a visa. Sometimes they win the H1B lottery, sometimes they end up eligible for a different visa by working years for a US company, and sometimes they stay here. Most are earning well over the $100K minimum.

Dublin is full of US hi-tech companies. Google has offices all over Europe, and Facebook is starting. If Trump slashes the number of H1B visa, this is only going to grow faster.

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Re: I thought these were tech companies?

Especially for Apple, I understand that all their valuable (and taxable) IP is created in Ireland - I wonder why they need anyone in SF at all

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I thought these were tech companies?

Some companies are still firmly in the Stone age on this. They insist that you go to an office and relocate. Out of the big ones, the worst offenders are in this order:

1. Microsoft

2. Amazon

3. Yahoo

While Yahoo I sort'a understand, Microsoft and Amazon steadfast insistence mandatory H1B relocation to Seattle has always surprised me. Probably something in the water around there which rots specific nerve cells in the managerial frontal cortex.

Unfortunately, even if Trump's order prohibits all H1B that will not help with the first two - they already have buildings across the bay in Vancouver which they started long ago in the days of Bush Junior. They will just expand them and freeload on the more relaxed Canadian approach to immigration.

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Re: I thought these were tech companies?

Given that many companies such as Microsoft do actually have offices all over the world, if they wanted to hire people from particular countries to be coders then they could do, and have them working in teams in their own countries.

The reason they don't want to do clearly that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with keeping wages depressed to an artificially lower level. After all, it's not as if they were caught red handed doing exactly this with inter company agreements.

Oh, wait.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I thought these were tech companies?

Given that many companies such as Microsoft

You, sir, have no clue what you are talking about.

None of these offices is involved in: Azure, Networking, Core OS development for any of the platforms - all the high end stuff requiring qualified labor. That is all in Redmond. You either relocate or you do not apply for a job. It is either the Seattle way or the highway.

Similarly, Amazon Web service development is strictly Seattle only. Everywhere else is advocacy, a few of the showcase apps, front-ends, tools. Not a single bit of core development. That is 100% in Seattle. Similarly, it is either the Seattle way or the highway.

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Re: I thought these were tech companies?

Microsoft Research's biggest labs are Cambridge and Bejing

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Re: I thought these were tech companies?

"Especially for Apple, I understand that all their valuable (and taxable) IP is created in Ireland - I wonder why they need anyone in SF at all"

Well, someone has to man the doughnut spaceship, right?

Seriously though, I think this has something to do with C-suite types and ego - come on, what's the use of being a general when you can't have your troops parade in front of you?

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"welcome the changes your administration has made in recent days."

Well, there must be some mighty brown noses today.

And I love the mention of "American values". Funny they never mention those when it's time to actually make something.

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FAIL

Re: "welcome the changes your administration has made in recent days."

That is one dream that is NEVER coming back

The old 'mass employment in manufacturing' thing.. aint never going to happen

Why? Simple

In the bad old days, we made a widget, it took 2 lathes,, 3 milling machines ,2 machine setters and 5 operators

Today we make the self same widget... it takes 1 machine and 1 setter, and anyone walking past who notices the feed magazine is getting low.

Are we dumb enough to go back to 7 people to make that part... with the resulting prices rise?

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Re: "welcome the changes your administration has made in recent days."

No need, we can just ban freight containers and go back to the dynamic labor market of "On the Waterfront", then getting rid of back hoes should revitalize the rural ditch digging industry

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Facepalm

Re: "welcome the changes your administration has made in recent days."

Today we make the self same widget... it takes 1 machine and 1 setter,

That setter needs at least a technical college if not an engineering degree. Something Germany produces with the ruthless efficiency of a VW, BMW or Mercedes plant and in the quantities Bosch makes white good components. It is the way the government subsidizes manufacturing - it does it by setting up the education system to mass produce qualified labor. South Korea is similar too.

USA - nowhere near. UK - nowhere near either. In order to traverse the education system and end up with the education needed to work in modern manufacturing you have to spend more than the manufacturing job will pay back for decade(s).

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WTF?

"That setter needs at least a technical college if not an engineering degree. "

Wrong. You'd better be sitting down for the next part. It may be a bit shocking.

In Germany the operators are trained to set their own machines.

So instead of 1 person setting machines for a whole factory the whole factory resets their own. In hours, not days.

Saw this in an old documentary comparing the UK and German fitted kitchen industries. Both use CNC saws and routers for the bulk of their work.

So it seems German workers are naturally smarter. Or maybe their vocational training schools actually work.

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Re: "That setter needs at least a technical college if not an engineering degree. "

I don't think it's about being smarter or better educated. It's mostly about the cultural expectations instilled in the management. Most UK workers would probably be quite capable of setting up their own machine. It's just that their superiors then prevent them from actually doing so.

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Re: "That setter needs at least a technical college if not an engineering degree. "

I'll answer most of the above posts

In order to qualify for what I do, you need a decent educational level, 4 years worth of training, and then 5 years more experience..... that gets you about 25K a year. thats a right put off to anyone capable of putting up with 9 yrs worth of learning

Not all workers in this industry are capable of being setters, especially in the high value stuff we do.

Think of it as being a clerical worker vs a sys admin .... you wouldn't want one of the clerical staff loose on an important server...

As for 'superiors prevent people from setting the machines' that is because they think only of the money a setter costs vs a min wage operator, and then learn the hard way that you cant employ a min wage guy to do my job.

EG by spending 1.5 million pounds on CNC machinery, another 250K setting it up to produce lots of widgets, then firing all the skilled staff and hiring no skill staff to replace them.

Worked well until the unskilled guy loaded a 300mm long tool into the incorrect place in the magazine.

Made quite a bang and mess according to the service engineer who had to spend 6 days fixing the wreakage.... so they banned the unskilled from making any changes.. including changing blunt tools....... BANG ....... and the service engineer is back again, rolling his eyes and going 'tsk tsk'

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Re: "That setter needs at least a technical college if not an engineering degree. "

Education does have a large role in this and the US is failing at it. There's been more than a few articles about companies trying to hire (entry level and even will train those they hire) machinists. Sadly, most of the kids who apply can't pass the math part. Many can barely read the tests. But the lucky few who can pass and get hired are making pretty darn good money and as they acquire new skills will move the pay chain.

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Unhappy

"money a setter costs vs a min wage operator, "

Perhaps it's because in Germany running a CNC is viewed as a job worth having and they don't just put anyone in charge of one?

One of the worst legacies of the (formally) strong trades union environment in the UK seems to be the continuing preservation of "demarcation and differentials" between who does what and how much that job is paid.

Not surprising when you consider one of the first efforts at collective bargaining was met by deportation to Australia, under what was effectively an anti terror law of the time (I wonder if it's ever been repealed?).

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Re: "That setter needs at least a technical college if not an engineering degree. "

@Boris the Cockroach,

I'm not going to say every operator is capable of setting up his machine, but many if not most of them, with the proper training (And this wouldn't require 9 years) can certainly do it themselves. Tool setup and stocking the toolchanger magazine is a pretty basic job. You could probably teach a 12 year old to do it. Where things went wrong in your example is not that the operator did his own setup. Where it went wrong is that upper management in that company expected somebody to do the job with no training whatsoever. (And possibly that they didn't have an excess tool length sensor on their tool changer)

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Nonsense

The article says that the US tech companies need overseas H1-B workers to "remain Competitive" but I'm wondering who Apple, Facebook, Google or Microsoft need to remain competitive with?

Given the the billions in profits they all make, and the way those profits keep increasing, maybe we should be a bit more honest, and admit that the need these cheaper workers to keep increasing the flow of money to the shareholders.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nonsense

Yeah - they long terminated any out of USA competition. So the competitiveness argument is the biggest load of horseshit out of the whole thing.

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– and the United States' educational system simply does not provide enough of them to handle demand.

Bullshit... it's about how employee pay and the bottom line.

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Some is. Tata importing 1000s of "consultants" from India on company transfers or Disney replacing entire work forces with H1Bs

But there aren't 1000s of unemployed chip designers, physics lecturers, machine learning experts who would enter the labor force if only living wages were available.

Yes you CAN get those staff by paying more and outbidding somebody else and poaching their staff. But that doesn't work for the entire market - the US doesn't rely on foreign doctors because doctors are underpaid.

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"that tech companies are heavily reliant on to get skilled workers into the country"

As a programmer with a no IT degrees I tend to say the problem is that US companies do not want to pay an appropriate salary or look for skills beyond a narrow set. Uncle Bob Martin noted that for at least 20 years there were no formal IT majors. He also noted that many of the key concepts were developed by these professionals who migrated to IT in the early days. What they brought was a broader knowledge, a bit of wisdom, and a degree of professionalism that many claim is lacking in IT now. The reason for this was they were not PFYs but often older, middle aged professionals who had knocked about in industries.

Programming is not just coding in a given language but is mostly understanding the business issues and problem solving. Hiring an American or Indian PFY gives you coding skills, which are probably the least important and easiest to learn, but with a lack of understanding of business issues and problem solving. The latter two one gains with experience not from a book.

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@ Yank Re: "that tech companies are heavily reliant on to get skilled workers into the country"

As a software engineering professional, I will tell you that those who came early to computer science created the program and taught theory.

You need that book knowledge because without it, you're just a code monkey.

You learn the business needs on the job, sure. That's why they pay older, more experienced developers more money even though the code monkeys pound out more code.

I've got 30+ years in. I can tell you that we have a sad state of affairs when you have PhDs who don't understand the basics.

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Re: "that tech companies are heavily reliant on to get skilled workers into the country"

I, too, am a 'by her bootstraps' professional, becoming a web developer when we were sort of making it up as we went along. What I have is 30+ years in industry and therefore a long, tired history of working with managers and senior managers and staff that can't learn/won't learn/learned the wrong things. I get young keen coders who want to do the latest cool stuff and have to teach them, sometimes by their own mistakes, sometimes (I hope) by example, that business runs on more than widgets and that it's all the art of the possible. I keep hoping to retire, they keep upping my salary, because (so far) I am the only one standing with that worldly knowledge of How Things Really Work.

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Trollface

Re: "that tech companies are heavily reliant on to get skilled workers into the country"

" I get young keen coders who want to do the latest cool stuff and have to teach them, sometimes by their own mistakes, sometimes (I hope) by example, that business runs on more than widgets and that it's all the art of the possible. I keep hoping to retire, they keep upping my salary, because (so far) I am the only one standing with that worldly knowledge of How Things Really Work."

So what you're saying is you've taken passionate developers and blunted their enthusiasm to the point where they all moved on?

Sure, the boring stuff pays the bills. But there are plenty of boring jobs that pay bills -- many of them pay a lot better than IT. Doing the cool stuff is why we put up with the boring stuff. And there's a balance to be struck.

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Re: @ Yank "that tech companies are heavily reliant on to get skilled workers into the country"

@Ian Michael Gumby - Part of the problem is that companies do not value the problem solving and business knowledge but the book learning. Solving the problem in an intelligent manner is more important than the details of the implementation. A true code monkey does not care about intelligently solving problems only about writing (usually bad) code. A true professional cares about intelligently solving the problem first then worries about writing code second.

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Big Tech in favour... with a caveat

>'Responsible Known Travelers with Pressing Needs'

Let us keep our cheap labour but don't let anyone-else hire it.... pleeeease!

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Anonymous Coward

The proposal to increase minimum wages to $130K would help

But even then they excluded the US companies from having to comply (only the Indian outsourcers would meet the >10% of your workforce have H-1B visas criteria).

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The onward march of corporatism

Smith has even drafted language that would make it easier for Microsoft and similar tech companies to get their workers in the country – while leaving the hundreds of thousands of other likely affected individuals to their own devices.

It'll be interesting to see if Trump stands firm. If he doesn't, it'll be clear that money and influence is all that matters. Not that that hasn't been clear for decades, but still.

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O gracious and benevelont dictator! O wonderful and almighty tyrant!

Shouting down Trump doesn't seem to be working. So maybe there's mileage in playing on his ego: telling him they're on side and asking for a teensy exception. A few exceptions here, a few exceptions there, and pretty soon the vainglorious fool has undermined his own headline policy.

It's not pretty. But the only other option seems to be to hiring an assassin -- and I'm more morally opposed to that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: O gracious and benevelont dictator! O wonderful and almighty tyrant!

*sigh*

I'm British, and don't generally care much about American politics. However, we have a similar problem over here so I'm going to point out a few home truths.

1) Shouting down people is why you have Trump In the Whitehouse. Try talking to (and understanding) people with different options instead of trying to paint them as bigots, because the definition of a bigot is somebody intolerant of other opinions. Your not a bigot, are you? Good.

2) Shouting down Trump is not going to stop him, since both Trump and his supporters know full well that you hate him and them.

3) Shouting at him cements his position as an anti establishment figure with his anti establishment voters, despite the obvious fact that he's sitting at the top of the establishment.

4) Since his headline policy was IIRC "extreme vetting" and the 90 day absolute ban is by definition time limited, writing up a few exemptions for use in 80 something days underlines his authority, not undermines it. He'll point out that you ought to have come up with these things on your own years ago to safeguard the population, and if a terrorist happens to get through as a result of any exemptions that you demand then it's probably going to be electorally unpleasant.

5) He's campaigning for his second term, and at the moment he's winning. If you don't want him to get that second term, I'd suggest you buck your ideas up. "Know your enemy and know yourself, and you will be victorious" has been preached for a few thousand years. Consider why your enemy (generally people from a lower position on the hierarchy of needs) wants somebody else in the Whitehouse other than your preferred candidate, and in general why those people are actually your enemy. Then consider why you lost the last election.

When you can answer those questions with something other than logical fallacies like ad holmium's then you might stand a hope. When you take action on the result of that thought, you might win.

Imagine this. President Trump deliberately does nothing about systematically bad reporting until 6 months before the next election and then goes on a charm offensive pointing out that he's been portrayed as Hitler but has increased civil liberties, and has many success stories the media hasn't covered such as putting hard working Americans back in work, reduced tax rates but increased the tax take, reduced foreign workers coming into the USA etc, etc, etc. Meanwhile, the media continues with an attack strategy that after literally years people are going to be absurdly sick of. It fails to convince Trumps current supporters to vote against him, and annoys everybody else rather than convinces them to vote against him. Who's likely to win that election?

At the moment, despite it being about an unpopular opinion as it gets, my appraisal has to be that President Trump is likely to win a second term because the opposition is trying exactly what lost them the election without considering one definition of insanity being "trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."

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FAIL

Sorry all liberal snowflakes...

...but Trump is actually doing the right thing here for American workers and your caring (yet unaccountably rich) business leader heroes are the ones being shown up as shameless exploitative hypocrites.

Please go and get triggered and do your whining elsewhere. I recommend the Guardian as a suitable safe space, but please be ready with your donations to their offshore, opaque, tax-efficient trust.

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Mushroom

How low can he go.

Trump is an ankle which is 3 feet lower than a cunt.

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