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Trump to Order Meat Plants to Stay Open in Move Slammed by Union – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Trump  Orders Meat Plants to Stay Open in Move Slammed by Union

(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that compels slaughterhouses to remain open, setting up a showdown between the giant companies that produce America’s meat and the unions and activists who want to protect workers in a pandemic.

Meat processing plants around the U.S. have shut down because of the coronavirus, but Trump said in the order that “such closures threaten the continued functioning of the national meat and poultry supply chain, undermining critical infrastructure during the national emergency.”

Using the Defense Production Act, Trump is ordering plants to stay open as part of the critical infrastructure needed to keep people fed amid growing supply disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak. The government will provide additional protective gear for employees as well as guidance.

The move came just days after Tyson Foods Inc., the biggest U.S. meat processor, ran paid ads in national newspapers stating that the food supply chain was “broken.”

A handful of companies account for the majority of the nation’s meat, and as workers fell sick in March, plants initially continued to run. But pressure from local health officials and unions led to voluntary closures.

Companies have been pressing to reopen. The president himself has long agitated for Americans to return to work and restore an economy crippled by social distancing measures.

Environmental Working Group called the order a potential death sentence. The United Food and Commercial Workers union said in a statement that if workers aren’t safe, the food supply won’t be either. At least 20 workers in meat and food processing have died, and 5,000 meatpacking workers have either tested positive for the virus or were forced to self-quarantine, according to UFCW.

While unions have been speaking out against unsafe plant conditions and working for boosts in pay, collective bargaining agreements often restrict them from organizing or endorsing strikes. Still, lives are stake, unions say.

“People should never be expected to put their lives at risk by going to work,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “If they can’t be assured of their safety, they have every right to make their concerns heard by their employers.”

Trump signaled the executive action at the White House on Tuesday, saying he planned to sign an order aimed at Tyson’s liability, which had become “a road block” for the company. He didn’t elaborate.

The order, though, is not be limited to Tyson, an administration official said. It will affect many processing plants supplying beef, chicken, eggs and pork.

Shares in Tyson and poultry producer Sanderson Farms Inc. extended gains after the news, while JBS SA, the world’s top meat producer, was little changed.

JBS’s local unit and Smithfield Foods Inc. didn’t immediately respond to calls and emails, while Tyson and Cargill Inc. said they couldn’t comment because they don’t have the executive order. Tyson did say safety remains its top priority “while we work to continue fulfilling our role of feeding families across the country.”

The White House decided to make the move amid estimates that as much as 80% of U.S. meat production capacity could shut down. But a union representing plant workers accused the administration of failing to develop meaningful safety requirements that would have helped contain the disruptions.

‘Breaking’ Chain

On Sunday, Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson said in a blog post and paid advertisements in several newspapers that the U.S. food supply chain “is breaking,” with millions of pounds of meat set to “disappear” as plants close.

Illnesses in the meat-processing industry and shifts in demand after restaurants closed have disrupted the supply chain. Dairy farmers are dumping milk that can’t be sold to processors, broiler operations have been breaking eggs to reduce supplies and some fruit and vegetables are rotting in fields amid labor and distribution disruptions.

Many low-income Americans, at the same time, have been waiting in long lines at food banks, which have reported shortages. Asked about the country’s food supply, Trump said: “There’s plenty of supply.”

The Defense Production Act allows the government broad power to direct industrial production in crises. Trump has previously invoked the law — or threatened to invoke it — in order to increase the supply of medical gear including ventilators, masks and swabs to test for coronavirus infection.

The White House has been discussing the order with meatpacking executives to determine what they need to operate safely and stay open, in order to prevent shortages, an administration official said.

White House General Counsel Pat Cipollone worked with private companies to design a federal mandate to keep the plants open and to provide them additional virus testing capacity as well as protective gear.

Trump acted one day after Iowa’s two U.S. senators and its governor urged the administration to invoke the DPA to keep meatpackers open and reopen closed facilities “as soon as it is possible to do so safely.” Iowa produces one-third of the nation’s pork supply, according to the state officials.

The officials also asked for federal assistance in euthanizing pigs and reimbursing hog farmers for their losses due to closures of processing facilities.

At least 22 meat plants have closed within the past two months, reducing pork processing capacity by 25% and beef processing capacity by 10%, according to UFCW. Farmers have animals with nowhere to go as a result, and the situation is so dire that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is setting up a center to help growers with “depopulation and disposal methods” for animals.

Experts have warned the U.S. could be just weeks away from fresh meat shortages. While inventories can provide some cushion, stockpiles are limited.

Total American meat supplies in cold-storage facilities are equal to roughly two weeks of production. With most plant shutdowns lasting about 14 days for safety reasons, that further underscores the potential for deficits.

And the shutdowns are happening at a time when global meat supplies were already tight. China, the world’s top hog producer, has been battling an outbreak of African swine fever, which destroyed millions of the country’s pigs.

“On Workers’ Memorial Day of all days, the Trump Administration shouldn’t decide which workers will be safe and which workers will be in mortal danger,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams, a North Carolina Democrat who chairs the Workplace Protections Subcommittee. “Instead, we must reopen safely in a way that centers workers and protects the long-term viability of our food supply chain by keeping employees healthy now, and in the future.”

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Stock market news live updates: Stock futures steady amid unrest, US-China tensions – Yahoo Style

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Stocks were slightly positive Monday, steadying against a backdrop of protracted protests in some of the nation’s largest cities, many of which had already been struggling to reopen amid the coronavirus outbreak.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="[Click here to read what’s moving markets heading into Tuesday, June 2]” data-reactid=”17″>[Click here to read what’s moving markets heading into Tuesday, June 2]

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Market participants also eyed tensions between the U.S. and China, after Bloomberg and Reuters reported China had ordered some state-run agricultural companies to halt purchases of American farm goods.” data-reactid=”18″>Market participants also eyed tensions between the U.S. and China, after Bloomberg and Reuters reported China had ordered some state-run agricultural companies to halt purchases of American farm goods.

This came after President Donald Trump on Friday said his administration would take action to respond to China’s crackdown on Hong Kong, including removing Hong Kong’s preferential trade status with the U.S. and requesting a working group study Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges for potential unfair financial practices.

The protests over the past several days centered on constituents’ outrage over the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis last week in one of the latest public instances of police brutality against an unarmed black man.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Demonstrations since erupted in dozens of cities across the nation, accompanied by looting and destruction of some retail stores and other large and small businesses. The escalation of these protests led governors in two dozen states including Minnesota, California, Illinois and Washington to activate the National Guard, along with mayors in some cities to impose curfews.” data-reactid=”21″>Demonstrations since erupted in dozens of cities across the nation, accompanied by looting and destruction of some retail stores and other large and small businesses. The escalation of these protests led governors in two dozen states including Minnesota, California, Illinois and Washington to activate the National Guard, along with mayors in some cities to impose curfews.

“Mass gatherings could spark concerns about a second wave of the virus. We’ll let the medical experts handle this debate, but will weigh in on why this matters for stocks,” Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy for RBC Capital Markets, said in a note Monday. “It bears on how quickly the US economy can get back to something resembling normal. Second wave fears could halt reopening or keep behavior cautious.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="A number of major companies temporarily changed operations as they assessed the violence that ensued in recent days. Target (TGT) which is headquartered in Minneapolis and has 73 stores in Minnesota, closed or adjusted hours at 200 stores this weekend. Meanwhile, tech giant Amazon (AMZN) shifted delivery routes in some cities due to the protests, Amazon confirmed in an email to Yahoo Finance after a Bloomberg report, and Apple (AAPL) reportedly extended store closures of some of its outlets.” data-reactid=”23″>A number of major companies temporarily changed operations as they assessed the violence that ensued in recent days. Target (TGT) which is headquartered in Minneapolis and has 73 stores in Minnesota, closed or adjusted hours at 200 stores this weekend. Meanwhile, tech giant Amazon (AMZN) shifted delivery routes in some cities due to the protests, Amazon confirmed in an email to Yahoo Finance after a Bloomberg report, and Apple (AAPL) reportedly extended store closures of some of its outlets.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="A number of other corporate executives – including BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, Citi CFO Mark Mason and Apple CEO Tim Cook – also issued public remarks on the protests and the events that spurred them.” data-reactid=”24″>A number of other corporate executives – including BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, Citi CFO Mark Mason and Apple CEO Tim Cook – also issued public remarks on the protests and the events that spurred them.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="These developments coincided with a historic downturn in the U.S. economy, rendering tens of millions of Americans jobless as the coronavirus pandemic and measures to contain it swept the country and world. Though many states and cities across the U.S. have begun to undergo a phased reopening process, many economists expect domestic data to hold at very low levels for now. The Labor Department’s May jobs report set for release later this week is expected to show the unemployment rate jump to a record high of 19.6%,&nbsp;the highest based on monthly&nbsp;Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data spanning back to 1948.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”25″>These developments coincided with a historic downturn in the U.S. economy, rendering tens of millions of Americans jobless as the coronavirus pandemic and measures to contain it swept the country and world. Though many states and cities across the U.S. have begun to undergo a phased reopening process, many economists expect domestic data to hold at very low levels for now. The Labor Department’s May jobs report set for release later this week is expected to show the unemployment rate jump to a record high of 19.6%, the highest based on monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data spanning back to 1948

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="4:04 p.m. ET: Stocks rise in first session of June, stabilizing amid protests and US-China tensions” data-reactid=”27″>4:04 p.m. ET: Stocks rise in first session of June, stabilizing amid protests and US-China tensions

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:04 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +11.42 (+0.38%) to 3,055.73

  • Dow (^DJI): +91.91 (+0.36%) to 25,475.02

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +62.18 (+0.66%) to 9,552.05

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.06 (+0.17%) to $35.55 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$1.20 (-0.07%) to $1,750.50 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.4 bps to yield 0.6620%

2:44 p.m. ET: US crude oil prices tick down 0.1%, or 5 cents, to $35.44 per barrel

Futures for U.S. West Texas intermediate edged down 0.1%, or 5 cents, to $35.44 per barrel Monday. The commodity held onto May’s gains, which sent prices up more than 80% for the month as states’ reopenings stoked hopes of a rebound in energy demand.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Earlier in the session Monday, multiple media outlets reported that OPEC and Russia were weighing extensions of oil output cuts, which would help ease months-long concerns of a global supply glut.” data-reactid=”39″>Earlier in the session Monday, multiple media outlets reported that OPEC and Russia were weighing extensions of oil output cuts, which would help ease months-long concerns of a global supply glut.

12:45 p.m. ET: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo considers curfew for NYC amid unrest

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said during his daily coronavirus briefing Monday he is weighing a possible curfew in New York City following unrest, lootings and vandalism of stores over the weekend.

“Something has to get done because last night was not acceptable,” he said during the briefing.

Separately, New York state reported a daily death toll of 54 on May 31 from the coronavirus, or the lowest level so far in the period after the virus’s peak. Overall, new cases of the coronavirus in New York state fell below 1,000 for the first time in 11 weeks.

10:13 a.m. ET: Stocks turn positive, led by Financials

The three major indices turned positive Monday morning after opening slightly lower. The Financials and Consumer Discretionary sectors led gains in the S&P 500, while Boeing, American Express and Goldman Sachs led advances in the Dow.

Here’s where the three major indices were trading as of 10:13 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +5.23 points (+0.17%) to 3,049.54

  • Dow (^DJI): +57.14 points (+0.23%) to 25,440.25

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +26.33 points (+0.28%) to 9,518.12

10:03 a.m. ET: Construction spending falls 2.9% April, or less than expected

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Construction spending in the U.S. declined by 2.9% in April over the prior month, the Census Bureau said in its monthly report. This was a less drastic decline than expected, with consensus economists bracing for a 7.0% drop in construction spending for the month.” data-reactid=”59″>Construction spending in the U.S. declined by 2.9% in April over the prior month, the Census Bureau said in its monthly report. This was a less drastic decline than expected, with consensus economists bracing for a 7.0% drop in construction spending for the month.

March’s construction spending was revised to unchanged from a 0.9% gain previously reported.

By category, private construction spending declined 3.0% in April, comprising a 4.5% drop in residential construction spending and a 1.3% drop in nonresidential spending. Government construction spending fell 2.5% in April.

10:00 a.m. ET: ISM Manufacturing PMI ticks up less than expected in May

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 43.1 in May, but missed consensus estimates for 43.8. However, the reading stabilized slightly from April’s 11-year low of 41.5.” data-reactid=”64″>The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rose to 43.1 in May, but missed consensus estimates for 43.8. However, the reading stabilized slightly from April’s 11-year low of 41.5.

Subindices tracking new orders, prices paid and employment each rose marginally from April’s low levels. All of these were still in contractionary territory, or below the neutral level of 50.0.

“The coronavirus pandemic impacted all manufacturing sectors for the third straight month. May appears to be a transition month, as many panelists and their suppliers returned to work late in the month,” Timothy Fiore, Chair of the Institue for Supply Management, said in a statement. “However, demand remains uncertain, likely impacting inventories, customer inventories, employment, imports and backlog of orders.”

9:45 a.m. ET: Decline in U.S. manufacturing activity suggests ‘any recovery will be frustratingly slow’: IHS Markit

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="U.S. manufacturing activity held in deeply contractionary territory in May, according to IHS Markit’s final monthly purchasing managers’ index. The manufacturing PMI registered at 39.8 in the final print, matching the advance print. This followed a reading of 36.1 in April.” data-reactid=”69″>U.S. manufacturing activity held in deeply contractionary territory in May, according to IHS Markit’s final monthly purchasing managers’ index. The manufacturing PMI registered at 39.8 in the final print, matching the advance print. This followed a reading of 36.1 in April.

Readings below the neutral level of 50.0 indicate contraction in a sector.

“Manufacturing remained in a deep downturn in May, as measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 continued to cause production losses, disrupt supply chains and hit demand,” Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said in a statement. “Job losses meanwhile continued to run at one of the highest rates in over a decade, and pricing power has collapsed.”

“There remains a high risk that any recovery will be frustratingly slow as ongoing social distancing measures, high unemployment, job insecurity and damaged balance sheets constrain consumer and business spending,” he added. “The recovery will of course also fade quickly if virus infections start to rise again. For now, however, we focus on the good news that we may be past the worst in terms of the economic decline.”

9:31 a.m. ET: Stocks open mostly lower

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 9:31 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -9.27 points (-0.3%) to 3,035.04

  • Dow (^DJI): -98.94 points (-0.39%) to 25,284.17

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -4.89 points (-0.03%) to 9,485.95

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.92 (-2.59%) to $34.57 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$5.90 (-0.43%) to $1,745.80 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +3.5 bps to yield 0.679%

7:23 a.m. ET Monday: Stock futures mixed

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:23 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,044.00, up 2 points (+0.07%)

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 25,422.00, up 44 points (+0.17%)

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 9,540.5, down 19.75 points (-0.21%)

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.99 (-2.94%) to $32.72 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$8.20 (-0.47%) to $1,743.50 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +2 bps to yield 0.664%

6:04 p.m. ET Sunday: Stock futures open lower

Here were the main moves at the start of the overnight session for U.S. equity futures, as of 6:04 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,017.75, down 24.25 points (-0.8%)

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 25,378.00, down 79 points (-0.31%)

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 9,476.00, down 84.25 points (-0.88%)

Protesters completely surround a line of police officers during nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. May 30, 2020. Picture taken May 30, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
Protesters completely surround a line of police officers during nationwide unrest following the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S. May 30, 2020. Picture taken May 30, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

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North American markets gain ground to start the week – BNNBloomberg.ca

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North American equity markets clawed back ground into the close of Monday’s trade, with the S&P/TSX Composite Index up 0.29 per cent, the S&P 500 gaining 0.38 per cent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 0.36 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite Index up 0.66 per cent.

Equity markets had been mixed in earlier trading, as investors weighed the competing factors of economic reopenings and the rising tensions between the United States and China.

In Toronto, four of the 11 TSX subgroups closed in positive territory, with consumer discretionary, financials and materials leading the way. Consumer staples, information technology and health care were the lead laggards.

A big part of the weakness in health care stocks was the underperformance of Canopy Growth Corp., which finished the day as the worst performer on the index after a string of analyst downgrades. The analyst community has expressed concerns over the company’s lack of a clear path to sustained profitability after it withdrew its forecast last week.

Oil prices fluctuated throughout the day, with U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate up 0.1 per cent to US$35.53 per barrel. Alberta’s Western Canadian Select was up 3.16 per cent to US$29.08 per barrel.

The Canadian dollar gained more than a full cent against its U.S. counterpart to trade at 73.68 cents U.S., though the greenback was weaker against all of its major-market peers.

1:00 p.m. ET: North American equity markets rebound, oil pares losses

North American equity markets rebounded into the midday trade, with the S&P/TSX Composite Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.3 per cent each, the S&P 500 gaining 0.4 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite Index up 0.66 per cent.

In Toronto, only four of the 11 TSX subgroups were in positive territory, led by consumer discretionary, financials and materials stocks. Information technology, consumer staples and health care were the lead laggards.

120 of the index’s 230 members were higher with a pair of cannabis stocks bookending the composite. HEXO Corp. was the lead gainer on the TSX, up 10 per cent after Health Canada approved its facility in Bellville, Ontario. On the flip side, Canopy Growth Corp., was the biggest percentage loser, down nine per cent, after a slew of analyst downgrades after the company shelved its forecast for a path to profitability late last week.

Oil pared some of its earlier losses, with U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate down a little more than one-and-a-half per cent to trade at US$34.90 per barrel. Alberta’s Western Canadian Select was essentially unchanged at US$28.16 per barrel.

10 a.m. ET – North American stocks slip, oil falls as U.S.-China tensions escalate

North American equity markets kicked off the week in modestly negative territory, with the S&P/TSX Composite Index down a tenth of a per cent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both falling 0.4 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite Index down 0.2 per cent.

Markets were under that modest pressure amid signs of a re-escalation of tensions between the United States and China, with Bloomberg News reporting Beijing has ordered a halt to imports of some American farm goods. Meanwhile, the U.S. is also facing a wave of civil unrest as demonstrators take to the streets to protest the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, which has prompted some American cities to implement curfews.

Oil prices fell in the wake of those tensions, outweighing the impact of speculation the OPEC+ group of producers could be poised to implement a short extension of its output cuts in order to put some upward pressure on crude prices. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell 2.5 per cent to US$34.60 per barrel, while Alberta’s Western Canadian Select dropped three per cent to US$27.34.

In Toronto, that weakness in crude weighed on the energy sector in early trading.

Another point of weakness was Canopy Growth Corp. The company’s shares fell about seven per cent after the firm was downgraded by four analysts following the cannabis producer’s disappointing quarterly results late last week.

The Canadian dollar rose a third of a cent against its American counterpart to 72.93 cents U.S., though the U.S. dollar was broadly weaker against its major global peers.

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B.C. protects small businesses from evictions – CityNews Vancouver

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VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) —  The B.C. government is banning commercial landlords who refuse to apply for federal assistance from evicting small businesses that can’t pay rent due to the pandemic.

The order is meant to support the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program and restricts the termination of lease agreements and the repossession of goods and property, says a government release.

“The federal launch of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program has been a welcome step in B.C., but we heard from small businesses that they need us to help fill a gap that has left some of them unable to get the support they need,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance.

“We’re listening to small businesses and have their backs. Preventing landlords who are eligible for CECRA from evicting tenants can encourage landlords to apply for the program and give some temporary relief to businesses who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.”

The emergency order restricting evictions is effective immediately and will continue for as long as the federal program is in place, which is currently until the end of June.

B.C. could extend the order if the federal program is, as well, James added.

The federal program is offering forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to reduce the rent for small business experiencing severe financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75 per cent reduction for the months of April, May, and June. The federal and B.C. governments will cover 50 per cent of the rent payments, while the tenants are responsible for 25 per cent of the rent, and landlords cover the remaining 25 per cent.

The federal program loans to landlords will be forgiven if they comply with program terms and conditions, including an agreement to not recover forgiven rent amounts when the program is over.

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