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Politics and xenophobia cloud the race for a vaccine in Brazil – CNN

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But in the age of Covid-19 and under the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro, nothing is that simple.
As three joint-ventures begin testing a new vaccine in Brazil — and others wait in the wings — the provenance of the research has become a hugely divisive issue, complicated by xenophobia and conspiracy theories shared by anti-vaxxers and prominent politicians, including Bolsonaro allies.
The two big research players are the Swiss pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, working on a vaccine developed by the UK’s Oxford University, and Chinese biotech company Sinovac, working in collaboration with Brazil’s Butantan Institute. Both have begun the final Phase 3 testing of the virus. A third venture involving US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech is also conducting research in Brazil.
Coronavirus vaccines: 'Encouraging' early data for some, a trial delay for another and more research aheadCoronavirus vaccines: 'Encouraging' early data for some, a trial delay for another and more research ahead
Two other potential research efforts — one involving another Chinese firm Sinopharm and the other led by Russia’s Sputnik V — are being negotiated by the state government of Paraná.
All see Brazil as an ideal country for research because of its surging rate of Covid-19 transmission — as of Thursday there were more than 3 million cases and over 104,000 deaths — as well as its internationally respected research centers and a public health system experienced in creating and distributing vaccines.
Officially, Brazil claims to be neutral in the race to develop the coronavirus vaccine.
Secretary of Science, Technology, Innovating and Strategy Health Supplies Helio Agnotti said as much on Tuesday, declaring Brazil will welcome whatever vaccine is approved for use first. “The adoption preference will be to arrive with proven effectiveness first. There is no problem in having an agreement with a certain partner, so that we close with another,” Agnotti said.
But his boss Bolsonaro has expressed his clear preference, promising citizens in a recent Facebook Live broadcast that the pandemic “would be overcome” once the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is available.
Last week, he signed a law to allocate $355 million for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine — about $262 million for the purchase the technology and vaccine ingredients for 100 million doses, and $93 million for Fiocruz, the Brazilian partner, to adapt its manufacturing plant for the mass production of the vaccine.
At the signing event, interim health minister General Eduardo Pazuello said the government wouldn’t rule out agreements for other vaccines and that the Ministry continues to “seek all the technologies in the world” to combat the coronavirus.
Bolsonaro nevertheless took a swipe at the Sinovac trial, launched by São Paulo state governor João Dória, who has been a thorn in his side throughout the pandemic with outspoken criticism of the federal government’s handling of the crisis.
“What is more important about (the Oxford) vaccine that is different from the other one, which a governor decided to settle with another country, (is that) we can keep the technology,” falsely claimed Bolsonaro, referring to a part of the deal with AstraZeneca and Oxford that would transfer new technology to its research foundation Fiocruz.
However, the same is being done at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo, under the deal Dória signed with Sinovac.
“Our race is for life. It is a privilege for Brazil to have two vaccines for the immunization of Brazilians,” Doria told CNN Brasil on Tuesday.
Brazil's coronavirus chaos provides a global laboratory for the vaccine raceBrazil's coronavirus chaos provides a global laboratory for the vaccine race
The spat between Doria and Bolsonaro — who have both been diagnosed with the coronavirus — is playing out in a country that already has its fair share of skeptics, and where false and unproven news about the coronavirus vaccine, including claims that the Sinovac one will contain “5G microchips” to track patients’ bodies, have proliferated. The Butantan Institute dismissed the claims as “totally unreasonable,” noting that there is no “digital control” component to its vaccine.
When Agnotti’s remarks Tuesday were broadcast on Facebook Live, comments on the page reflected the xenophobia. They included “China vaccine no” and “I am not taking vaccines from Russia and China.” The hashtags used included #vacinacomunista and #doriacomunista, which translate as communist vaccine and communist Doria, a reference to the São Paulo governor.
CNN has asked his ministry for details on what the government will do to combat the misinformation and fake news about the vaccines, but has yet to receive a response.
Those spreading the fake information include elected officials, such as Santa Catarina congressman Jesse Lopes. In a lengthy Facebook post, the Bolsonaro supporter claimed the Sinovac vaccine was the work of the “Chinese Genocidal Party” using “aborted baby cells,” an allegation rejected by the Butantan Institute.
Another Bolsonaro supporter, federal deputy Bia Kicis, asked her 680,000 followers via an unscientific Twitter poll if they would volunteer for the ‘Chinese vaccine’ and more than 90% of the 48,000 respondents said no.
These aren’t the first accusations against Bolsonaro supporters over spreading false information. On July 8, Facebook removed dozens of what it said are fake social media accounts linked to the offices of Bolsonaro and his sons. The accounts were used to target journalists and political opponents of the president, and also discussed the coronavirus, the Facebook statement said.
Marcio Moretto, professor at Sao Paulo University who has been analyzing fake news, told CNN that the skepticism about vaccines isn’t new in Brazil. A survey by the Brazilian Association of Immunization in 2019 reported that 59% of the population believe vaccines are totally unsafe.
“People are first suspicious of all vaccines and now the question of the Chinese vaccine was added,” he said. “It was combined with the narrative that China has manufactured this virus and would be the main beneficiary of the pandemic.”
Moretto said the President and his sons are central to that misleading narrative. “They foster and reinforce prejudices and xenophobia against Chinese people,” he said, noting that Bolsonaro insists on using the term “Chinese virus.”
He added: “So you have Oxford versus Chinese vaccines, or moreover, against communism.”

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Diefenbaker left his mark on politics, Canada – The Kingston Whig-Standard

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John Diefenbaker. (National Archives Canada)

jpg, KI

You could like John Diefenbaker. You could dislike him. But what a generation of Canadians could never do was ignore the man from Prince Albert. One of the most complex politicians to ever lead us, he served as prime minister between 1957 and 1963 and then went on to become perhaps one of the foremost and fiercest Opposition leaders Canada has ever seen. And long before his death in 1979, the father of the Bill of Rights and champion of ordinary Canadians had become a living legend. On this, the 125th anniversary of Diefenbaker’s birth, a group of distinguished Canadians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and four of his predecessors, joined by the Conservative party’s new leader, Erin O’Toole, pause to look back on the life and legend that was John Diefenbaker.

“With nearly 40 years as a member of Parliament, including almost six as prime minister, John Diefenbaker dedicated his life to serving Canadians. Some of his decisions as PM still inspire us to this day and have shaped our country for the better. His government ushered in the Canadian Bill of Rights and granted the right to vote to First Nations, and he appointed the first female minister to cabinet and the first First Nations senator. Both my father and grandfather were in politics at the same time as he was, and I know they had mutual respect, despite political differences. They also had the same goal: make our great country even better.”

Justin Trudeau

23rd Prime Minister of Canada

“Mr. Diefenbaker was a true House of Commons man. He spent a commanding 39 years as an MP, and whether serving as prime minister, leader of the Opposition or, after 1967, as a regular Conservative MP, Parliament was in many ways his true home. In debate, his performances were riveting, and I learned a great deal about the House by watching Mr. Diefenbaker on his feet in the Commons. We always enjoyed excellent personal relations because he saw me as a fellow House of Commons man who also believed in the importance of Parliament and the crucial role each MP, of all parties, should play in our system of government. Mr. Diefenbaker’s faith in and vision for Canada was unshakeable, and on this, the 125th anniversary of his birth, I am proud to recall our friendship and the great debates of the day we both participated in.”

John Turner

17th Prime Minister of Canada

“One of Mr. Diefenbaker’s greatest legacies is the principled stand he took on behalf of Canada against South African apartheid. In 1961, at the London Commonwealth conference, he defied the British and others to spearhead, in a historic partnership with non-white Commonwealth leaders, the removal of South Africa from the Commonwealth because of that nation’s odious apartheid system. As a young Progressive Conservative, I had the privilege of being in the audience the very night Mr. Diefenbaker arrived back in Ottawa from this Commonwealth conference. His address to young Progressive Conservatives that evening was electrifying. We all took to our feet and cheered Prime Minister Diefenbaker, a leader who had made all of us so proud. Almost 30 years later, when I was prime minister, Nelson Mandela addressed our Parliament. During Nelson’s historic address, he made a special point of acknowledging Mr. Diefenbaker’s early role in fighting for South African freedom. There can be no higher tribute to Prime Minister Diefenbaker’s leadership than that.”

Brian Mulroney

18th Prime Minister of Canada

“My father was first elected to the House of Commons in 1935, and Mr. Diefenbaker became an MP in 1940. As a result, the two of them faced each other across the floor of the House for decades. While both were strong partisans supporting different parties, there was mutual respect between them, representing some of the finest traditions in Canadian parliamentary life. This is a commentary about politics back then, in comparison with too much of the politics of today. Sadly, we seem to have lost some of the camaraderie between MPs of all parties that existed during the era when my father, Tommy Douglas of the CCF (NDP) and John Diefenbaker took part in vigorous debates, taking opposing sides of many issues of the day, always doing so with mutual respect. I doubt Mr. Diefenbaker, who truly loved Parliament, would be happy with many aspects of the House of Commons in recent years.”

Paul Martin

21st Prime Minister of Canada

“The ancient injunction “let us now praise famous men” was coined for individuals like John Diefenbaker. Our 13th prime minister was a man of great passion, vision and extraordinary rhetorical power. He was also a Canadian patriot to his very core. Prime Minister Diefenbaker vigorously defended, throughout his long and storied career, the principles that are at the heart of Canada — the institutions of constitutional, democratic and limited government, and the equality of individuals before the law. Above all else, John Diefenbaker believed in freedom and that the essence of freedom was that law-abiding citizens should never suffer arbitrary intrusions into their lives from their government. These convictions inspired a generation of Canadians and continue to animate our national life today.”

Stephen Harper

22nd Prime Minister of Canada

“John Diefenbaker and I have a few things in common beyond being lawyers. First, our unwavering commitment to a strong Canada. And second, we both lost the leadership of the Conservative Party the first time that we sought it. We share something else. In his speech to the 1967 PC convention, Diefenbaker told convention-goers that he had been accused of being “too much concerned with the average Canadian.” He added that he couldn’t help it. After all, he was one of them. So am I. Dief was the first Conservative leader to turn his attention to the workers that were building Canada’s prosperity but not sharing in it. He appointed the first woman to cabinet and the first Indigenous person to the Senate. He also put our rights into law — the same ones that I defended every day in uniform. John Diefenbaker changed Canada. But it never changed him.”

Erin O’Toole

Leader of the Opposition

During a time of uncertainty and international tension, Diefenbaker believed in the strength of a united Canada. He was fearless in defending our interests as a country, while bringing it closer together with meaningful actions like granting voting rights to Indigenous peoples and promoting diversity in his Cabinet and in Parliament. Above all, Dief the Chief will always be honoured as the nationbuilder who enshrined our fundamental human rights and freedoms in the Canadian Bill of Rights.

Doug Ford

Ontario Premier

Compiled by Kingston’s Arthur Milnes, a veteran political speechwriter whose published books include studies of prime ministers Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Arthur Meighen, R.B. Bennett, Brian Mulroney and John Turner. Milnes has recently been appointed in-house historian at Kingston’s Frontenac Club Hotel.

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The New Politics of Race? – The New York Times

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Credit…Apu Gomes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Trump famously won the 2016 election thanks to a surge of support from white voters. This year, Trump is trailing Joe Biden largely because some of those voters have swung back to the Democrats. In several recent swing-state polls, Biden is even winning a narrow majority of white voters.

But Biden is not quite running away with the election. He leads by six percentage points in The Times’s national polling average, down from almost 10 points earlier this summer.

What’s going on? In large part, Biden continues to struggle with Hispanic voters. Trump, despite making repeated appeals to white nationalism and castigating immigrants, has a chance to do better among Hispanic voters than he did in 2016, and win more than a third of them, even as he does worse with white voters.

One possible explanation — a worrisome one for Democrats in the long run — is that Hispanics are following a path not so different from earlier European immigrant groups, like Italian and Irish Americans. As they assimilated, they became less reliably Democratic. To oversimplify, they voted for F.D.R. and then for Reagan.

Ross Douthat, a Times columnist, argues that Trump’s relative strength among Hispanic Americans is a sign that Democrats are misreading the politics of race. Liberals often draw a bright line between whites and people of color (as the acronym BIPOC — for Black, Indigenous and people of color — suggests). But this binary breakdown doesn’t reflect reality, Ross argues.

For starters, about 53 percent of Latinos identify as white, Andrea González-Ramírez of Medium notes. Others do not but are conservative — on abortion, taxes, Cuba or other issues. In some states, Hispanic men appear to be especially open to supporting Trump, Stephanie Valencia of Equis Research, a polling firm, told my colleague Ian Prasad Philbrick.

A recent Times poll of four battleground states captured some of these dynamics. Most Hispanic voters said Biden had not done enough to condemn rioting, said he supported cutting police funding (which is not true) and said they themselves opposed police funding cuts. For that matter, most Black voters also opposed such funding cuts.

Credit…Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of likely voters from Sept. 8 to Sept. 11

It’s a reminder that well-educated progressive activists and writers — of all races — are well to the left of most Black, Hispanic and Asian voters on major issues. These groups, in fact, are among the more moderate parts of the Democratic coalition in important respects. If Democrats don’t grapple with this reality, they risk losing some of those voters.

For more: Two recent podcasts — the FiveThirtyEight politics podcast and “The Argument,” from Times Opinion — delve into Trump’s relative strength among Hispanic voters.

Credit…Noah K. Murray/Associated Press

New Jersey is poised to become one of the first states to adopt a so-called millionaires tax, raising taxes on income over $1 million by nearly two percentage points. Phil Murphy, the state’s Democratic governor, and legislative leaders reached a deal on the tax as a way to alleviate a budget shortfall caused by the pandemic.

“We do not hold any grudge at all against those who have been successful in life,” Murphy, a former executive at Goldman Sachs, said. “But in this unprecedented time, when so many middle-class families and others have sacrificed so much, now is the time to ensure that the wealthiest among us are also called to sacrifice.”

Taxes on high incomes are likely to be central to the Democratic Party’s agenda if Biden wins the presidency. He has proposed raising tax rates on people who earn more than $400,000.

In other political news:


Credit…Go Nakamura for The New York Times

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outraged many public health experts last month by discouraging people without coronavirus symptoms from being tested. It’s now clear that Trump administration officials — and not C.D.C. scientists — wrote the recommendation, as a story by The Times’s Apoorva Mandavilli documents.

In other virus developments:


Credit…Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The writer Anand Giridharadas has written a fascinating response to my recent item on Biden’s vulnerability on so-called law and order issues. Giridharadas writes:

America does have a law-and-order problem, but it’s nothing new. And the nature of that law-and-order problem is being the most violent country in the rich world. And the genesis of that violence isn’t Black and brown communities rising up against friendly, overwhelmingly white suburbs of Minneapolis. It’s white America, from the founding days of the republic, committing to an economic and political model that made violence a daily, systemic necessity.

I’d add one point: It’s possible to agree with all of that and still think Biden is vulnerable. “Law and order” is indeed often a dog whistle for racism, but it can still be politically effective. And “law and order” issues aren’t only and always about racism. Just consider the views of Black and Hispanic voters about police funding (which are highlighted in the chart earlier in today’s newsletter).

Along with his response, Giridharadas includes an interview with Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. He’s the author of a new book, “The Violence Inside Us: A Brief History of an Ongoing American Tragedy,” which delves into the racist roots of America’s propensity toward violence.

Credit…Michael Kraus for The New York Times

In honor of the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, here’s a recipe for a delicious brisket. Coca-Cola, along with chunks of fresh ginger, are the ingredients behind the sweet-and-sour sauce. For more ideas, the Cooking team curated a collection of holiday recipes.


Our weekly suggestion from Gilbert Cruz, The Times’s Culture editor:

Less than two months before a presidential election, it might seem odd to recommend a series about politics, given that it’s everywhere. But I am locked into watching “Borgen,” now available on Netflix.

The three-season drama follows Birgitte Nyborg, a moderate Danish politician who becomes that nation’s first female prime minister. The tone falls somewhere between the often-too-idealistic “The West Wing” and the always-too-self-serious “House of Cards.” It’s a peek into a system in which compromise and deal-making between multiple political parties are often as necessary as pure power plays.

And, as our TV critic Margaret Lyons wrote recently in her Watching newsletter (subscribe!), “Alongside the political material, ‘Borgen’ is a grounded, rich domestic drama, and Birgitte’s seemingly #relationshipgoals marriage becomes something much messier and more fraught.”


Credit…Jill Frank for The New York Times

The nature of fame on TikTok is inherently different from other platforms like Instagram: It has an algorithm that propels kids to stardom overnight, and entire fandoms are often built around creators of relatively mundane videos.

In The Atlantic, the writer Kaitlyn Tiffany explains how fame on TikTok serves as a reflection of what modern girlhood looks like. Videos often spotlight activities girls have been doing for decades, from dancing in their bedrooms to fighting with parents.

“TikTok is a massive network of girls talking primarily to one another,” she writes. “Every major cultural trend that has come from TikTok is a girl-culture trend: VSCO girls, e-girls, the dances created by girls and copied by other girls.”



Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Birthplace of the Renaissance (five letters).

Or try this week’s news quiz.

You can find all of our puzzles here.


Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you on Monday. — David

P.S. The word “gympietides” — the minute, pain-causing molecules of Australia’s giant stinging trees — appeared for the first time in The Times this week, as noted by the Twitter bot @NYT_first_said.

You can see today’s print front page here.

Today’s episode of “The Daily” is about the reopening of schools in New York City. On “The Argument,” Opinion writers talk about Bob Woodward’s new book and QAnon.

Lalena Fisher, Ian Prasad Philbrick and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at themorning@nytimes.com.

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Playing Politics With a Vaccine – The New York Times

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Hi. Welcome to On Politics, your guide to the day in national politics. I’m Lisa Lerer, your host.

Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump have finally persuaded a lot of Democrats and Republicans to agree on something: that the idea of getting a coronavirus vaccine, at least right now, seems kind of scary.

Over the past four months, the number of Americans who say they’d be willing to get a coronavirus vaccine has dropped — significantly.

According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, Americans are now evenly divided over whether they would get a vaccine to prevent Covid-19, if it were available today.

And just 21 percent said they would “definitely” get a coronavirus vaccine today, half the share who said that in May.

The growing mistrust is bipartisan: The percentages of Republicans and Democrats who said they’d get the vaccine both fell by 21 points. (A majority of Democrats still said they would take it.)

The numbers are a vivid illustration of how political posturing can transform our beliefs.

The virus, of course, hasn’t changed. About 850 people in the United States have been dying of the coronavirus, on average, every day in mid-September. That’s down from a peak of near 3,000 in April but an increase from the death rate in the early summer.

What has changed is how Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden talk about a vaccine.

On Wednesday, Mr. Biden accused the president of playing politics with a potential vaccine, saying he did not trust Mr. Trump to determine when a vaccine was ready for Americans.

“Let me be clear: I trust vaccines,” Mr. Biden said. “I trust scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump, and at this moment, the American people can’t either.”

Shortly after Mr. Biden’s speech, Mr. Trump rebuked his own government scientists, publicly slapping down Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mr. Trump has focused for weeks on convincing the public that a vaccine will be available imminently — even before Election Day — and that the worst of the pandemic is over. Those statements have heightened fears that the approval process could be rushed for political purposes, prompting Mr. Biden’s attacks on the president.

Dr. Redfield told a Senate committee on Wednesday that a vaccine would not be widely available until the middle of next year. Mr. Trump said that his top public health official had “made a mistake” and that vaccines would go “to the general public immediately.”

The president is incorrect: Scientists, companies and federal officials all say that most people won’t get a vaccine until well into next year, even in a best-case scenario.

But with no coherent federal government response, voters are left to figure out their own public health guidance. The vaccine becomes political collateral.

The whole situation is a fun-house mirror version of both Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden.

Mr. Trump has expressed anti-vaccine views since 2007. He has met with anti-vaccine crusaders and, as president-elect, even floated appointing them to government committees, spreading alarm among medical experts that he could be giving credence to debunked conspiracy theories about immunizations.

Now, Mr. Trump is the country’s No. 1 cheerleader for vaccine development, and is misleadingly accusing Mr. Biden of spreading “anti-vaccine theories.”

Mr. Biden, who has consistently praised the virtues of science and pushed for more funding for research, now finds himself casting doubt — out of necessity, he would argue — on the government’s handling of a potential vaccine.

When asked whether he trusted the C.D.C. and the Food and Drug Administration, Mr. Biden said he did not trust “people like the fellow that just took a leave of absence.” The comment appeared to be a reference to Michael Caputo, the top spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, who had accused government scientists of “sedition.”

While it’s true that Mr. Trump’s misleading assertions about vaccine timetables have raised concerns about a hurried, politicized process, it’s also the case that Mr. Biden stands to benefit politically if voters distrust the president and the pandemic is still raging. (Still, Mr. Biden has said that if scientists agree a vaccine is safe, he would personally take it even if it was approved under Mr. Trump’s watch.)

All this political gamesmanship is a problem. Mistrust of vaccines is an urgent — and deadly — public health issue.

Once a safe and effective vaccine is available, if enough people refuse to get it, the country’s ability to reach widespread immunity will suffer. And all of this could exacerbate mistrust of other, well-established vaccines — a worrisome trend that was already underway before the pandemic.

Pharmaceutical companies have tried to restore public trust by pledging to thoroughly vet any coronavirus vaccine candidates.

But, I suppose, the public’s skepticism makes sense, in a depressing sort of way. Distrust of our institutions is at record highs. Why should anyone feel differently about a now highly politicized vaccine, until it’s proved safe?


Drop us a line!

We want to hear from our readers. Have a question? We’ll try to answer it. Have a comment? We’re all ears. Email us at onpolitics@nytimes.com.


A little over a month ago, the rough consensus among many Opinion editors like me, who were watching the congressional negotiations over a second pandemic relief package, was that some sort of follow-up bill, even if it wasn’t much, would pass and be signed into law.

After all, the labor market has been hobbling all summer; state and local governments are struggling to make ends meet, and so are millions of income-depressed families. Many of those families live in swing states, which gave Senate Republicans and President Trump a motive to provide an economic boost with Election Day nearing.

Instead, negotiations on Capitol Hill stalled. Now there is a decent chance that no further stimulus measures will be taken before November.

In an opinion essay published this morning, Jay C. Shambaugh, who was the chief economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2010 to 2011, urged congressional leaders to come to an agreement.

“It may be easier, politically, to give up and devolve into partisan blaming as Election Day nears,” he wrote. “However, it is imperative that a new deal is reached to avoid suffering and to keep the economy from further slowing.”

Mr. Shambaugh praised a bipartisan group in the House made up of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans for putting forth a proposal on Tuesday that, “while not perfect, may open prospects for a deal.” But top House Democrats have already said that the plan, which is worth as much as $2 trillion, does not go far enough.

Mr. Shambaugh argued that the compromise’s framework merited consideration for the sake of “the one in five families who report their children don’t have enough to eat this week and the panicked states already forced into firing workers.”

Those stakeholders, he argued, “cannot wait until after the election for a deal.”

— Talmon Joseph Smith


I, for one, welcome our new duck overlords.


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