First Read

ICE Futures U.S. Announces Launch of Five New Forex Contracts
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE), the leading global network of exchanges and clearing houses, announced today it has added five new currency pairs to its line-up of forex contracts. The new contracts are expected to begin trading January 12, 2015 on ICE Futures U.S.

***** Since it is so cold in Chicago today, we are featuring ICE at the top of the newsletter.


Intercontinental Exchange Adds Israeli Shekel, Turkish Lira and Polish Zloty Contracts
Forex Magnates
With emerging-market currencies being some of the most rapidly growing FX products last year, ICE is delving deeper by delivering an increased set of currency pairs to choose from in volatile market conditions. Amid increasing demand for additional products on the foreign exchange market, the InterContinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE) has announced that it has added new tradable contracts, including US dollar crosses with the Israeli shekel, the Turkish lira and the Polish zloty.

***** You can never have enough ICE on a day with 30 below wind chills.


James Koutoulas response to NFA Chairman’s Email Dated 12/30/2014
Dear NFA Members,
You may have read the Chairman of NFA’s letter denying the accusations I raised about improprieties committed by NFA’s Management and Executive Committee. I respect the Chairman, and have no doubt he felt he had no choice but to support Management.

***** James Koutoulas does not get it. There is a difference between what you claim is true and what you can prove. He has no sources publicly corroborating his version of events. He throws another attorney under the bus. He thinks he can accuse staff members of “heinous” activities and still remain on the board. Board members can be removed by a 2/3rds vote of the board. “Upon recommendation of the Executive Committee, any Director may be removed by two-thirds of the Directors present and voting at a duly convened meeting of the Board whenever, in their judgment, the best interests of NFA will be served thereby.”


***** Here is a relevant NFA bylaw for Mr. Koutoulas to consider that was not passed in August of 2014, but in 1988 and 2000.


[Adopted effective June 15, 1988. Effective dates of amendments: December 4, 2000.]
No Director or functional equivalent thereof shall use or disclose material, non-public information, obtained as a result of participation on the Board of Directors or any subcommittee of the Board of Directors, for any purpose other than the performance of official duties as a Director or subcommittee member.

***** Is what he has shared “material?”


Tellefsen and Exactpro Systems Team Up to Help Clients with REG SCI
PR Newswire, via CNBC
Meeting the demanding new requirements imposed upon firms by SEC Regulation SCI is a key issue for many firms, especially in the areas of independent systems testing and certification. Tellefsen and Company, L.L.C. (Tellefsen) and Exactpro Systems (Exactpro) have today announced a marketing partnership in which both firms will collaborate to provide key industry constituents with market structure consulting, financial technology infrastructure testing and software quality assurance testing services.

***DA: Reg SCI, like Dodd-Frank, is placing burdens on financial participants. But one firm’s burden is another firm’s opportunity.


Elimination of Market IOC Orders
NYSE AMEX Options, Arca Options
Summary:NYSE Amex Options and NYSE Arca Options will be eliminating support for Market IOC Orders in early 2015, at a date to be announced. An additional notice will be sent to indicate the date on which the Exchanges will no longer accept Market IOC Orders.

***** IOC gots the filled and killed treatment.


Sub-zero winds grip central, eastern U.S., schools close
Schools in Chicago, Boston and other large cities closed on Thursday as sub-zero temperatures and bitter winds gripped central and eastern United States for a third day and meteorologists warned there was little relief in sight.

****** Only some of us are at work today. The stupid ones.


Gross Adviser’s Brokerage Invested in Janus, WSJ Reports
By Mary Childs, Bloomberg
About $700 million of the assets in Bill Gross’s new fund at Janus Capital Group Inc. came from the same brokerage where his personal financial adviser works, according to the Wall Street Journal.

***** That is one way to get your fund off the ground.


Renowned Trader Hall Sees $40 Oil ‘Absolute Price Floor’
By Bradley Olson and Simone Foxman, Bloomberg
Oil prices have almost bottomed out and “some recovery” is likely by the second half of the year as demand picks up, commodity hedge fund manager Andrew J. Hall told investors.

***** A Hall of a prediction.


Analysts Say There’s No Telling How Low Oil Prices Could Go
By Grant Smith and Mark Shenk, Bloomberg
Oil’s drop has been so rapid and so driven by sentiment that forecasters from Bank of America Corp. to UBS AG say there are no clear signs for when the rout will end.

****** After the fact, there is.


Buffalo Horns Worth Millions Lure South African Billionaires
By Christopher Spillane and Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg
Jacques Malan weaves his Toyota Land Cruiser through thorn trees in South Africa’s dusty bushveld, stops and points at an asset he says could be worth $5 million. It’s a buffalo calf named Manyara.

****** This is truly taking the bull by the horns.


Europe Newspapers Defy Paris Attacks to Publish Muhammad Cartoon
By Kristen Schweizer and Alex Barinka, Bloomberg
European news organizations challenged attempts to intimidate the press by publishing controversial cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad across front pages today, following the deadly attack at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

****** Don’t ever underestimate the courage of a bunch of journalism geeks.


Why the Daleks and Vogons were right about financial markets
by Steve Grob, Fidessa
An interesting debate broke out here at Fidessa Towers this morning concerning the infamous Sci-Fi phrase “resistance is useless”. Should it be attributed to Dr Who’s nemesis, those metallic, warbly-voiced Daleks, or to the slug-like, green-skinned Vogons that appear in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Anyhow, whilst folks furiously searched Google for the answer it got me thinking about the contrast between resistance and true resilience. The difference is more than just semantics. Resistance is all about hardwiring pre-programmed responses to known threats, whereas resilience is something more subtle altogether. Resistance assumes that you can deconstruct a system into its component parts, see how they fit together and so understand how it all works. This works well in simple systems, but global financial markets are now so complex and interconnected that this just won’t work; if anything, it makes the probability of some non-linear calamity actually more likely. Despite this, regulators around the world obsess on resistance by setting hard limits on some activities, banning others altogether and trying to impose blanket taxes.

***DA: For all of you Americans who are saying “What about the Borg,” the Borg did not appear until Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987. Besides, the Borg said “Resistance is futile.”



MarketsWiki Page of the Day
BATS Global Markets

MarketsWiki Recent Updates


Robert Luke; Michael D. Robbins; Mary Ann Burns

Companies, Organizations and Groups

MF Global Holdings Ltd


Hedge fund; Managed futures


56,957,840 pages viewed, 8,129 articles, 188,300 edits
MarketsWiki Statistics

Lead Stories

US still the dominant superpower in derivatives trade
Philip Stafford, FT
Like two cold war superpowers, US derivatives exchanges CME Group and Intercontinental Exchange are turning asset classes and geographies in the world’s markets into their own private duel.

BGC seeks to block GFI sale to CME
Philip Stafford, FT
BGC Partners is to seek a strengthened mandate from shareholders of GFI Group to block the sale of the rival US interdealer broker to CME Group at a forthcoming meeting.

Gross Helps Fuel New Fund With His Own Cash; Brokerage Tied to ‘Bond King’ Routed More Than $700 Million to Gross’s New Fund in October and November
By Kirsten Grind and Gregory Zuckerman, WSJ
After Bill Gross abruptly quit Pacific Investment Management Co., the bond-fund giant he co-founded, in September to join a much smaller rival, the big question was how much money would follow him.

Commodity price falls trigger big drop in assets
Neil Hume, FT
Last year will go down as one of the most difficult years ever for commodity investments, according to Barclays, which says steep price falls and liquidations triggered a $50bn decline in assets under management.

Oil Plunge Seen Eroding Emissions Ambition: Carbon & Climate
By Mathew Carr, Bloomberg
While the falling price of crude oil is giving consumers cheaper energy, it’s threatening long-term global pollution-control efforts.

House Republican Push to Roll Back Wall Street Regulations Fails; Legislation Included Delay to Volcker Rule, Easing of Other 2010 Dodd-Frank Requirements
By Andrew Ackerman and Siobhan Hughes, WSJ
A push by House Republicans to roll back a series of Wall Street regulations failed to advance Wednesday amid resistance from Democrats, an unexpected setback for the GOP’s efforts to use its increased majority to ease financial rules.

Risks lurk in failure to simplify finance
Satyajit Das, FT
Regulators have not solved the problem of complex products
In Broadway Danny Rose, Woody Allen cannot have his brother, who thinks he is a chicken, treated by a psychiatrist because the family needs eggs. Attempts to control financial engineering have been defeated by a similar logic.

Founders Fund puts its money in cannabis pot
Shannon Bond in New York, FT
Just a year after Colorado legalised sales of recreational marijuana, the fledgling US cannabis industry has secured its first big institutional investor.


Japan’s Financial Services Agency: The Ninth Meeting Of The Study Group On Payments And Transaction Banking Of The Financial System Council
Japan FSA

U.S. regulator wants faster speeds for Internet broadband
The head of the U.S. FCC on Wednesday proposed raising the definition of the high-speed Internet to downloads at 25 megabits per second (Mbps), a more than a six-fold increase from the current standard.

Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) Rulemaking and National Market System (NMS) Plans
ISE: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Regarding Complex Orders (Release No. 34-74004; File No. SR-ISE-2014-56; January 6, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
ISE: Order Granting Approval of Proposed Rule Change Regarding the Short Term Option Series Program (Release No. 34-73999; File No. SR-ISE-2014-52; January 6, 2015)
MIAX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change to Amend Its Fee Schedule (Release No. 34-74008; File No. SR-MIAX-2014-70; January 6, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
MIAX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change by to Amend Its Fee Schedule (Release No. 34-74007; File No. SR-MIAX-2014-69; January 6, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
NASDAQ OMX BX: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change to Modify BX’s Rule Governing Modification of Orders in the Event of an Issuer Corporate Action Related to a Dividend, Payment or Distribution (Release No. 34-74002; File No. SR-BX-2014-061; January 6, 2015); see also Exhibit 5
NYSE: Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending Rule 123C to Specify that Exchange Systems May Close One or More Securities Electronically (Release No. 34-74006; File No. SR-NYSE-2014-73; January 6, 2015); see also Exhibit 5

Exchanges & Trading Facilities

Euronext And EnterNext Are Sponsors Of 18th ODDO Forum – Event Brings Together 380 Investors And 200 Listed Companies From Across Europe
Event brings together 380 investors and 200 listed companies from across Europe
Euronext and EnterNext, the Euronext subsidiary designed to promote and grow the market for SMEs[1], will be sponsors of the 18th Oddo Forum on 8-9 January at the Centre de Congrès in Lyon, France. This year’s event is shaping up to be another outstanding success, with over 850 delegates including 200 listed companies and 380 investors.

Direct Edge Trading Notice #14-68: OATS Impacts Of EDGA/EDGX Migration To BATS Technology
FINRA has updated the OATS Report entitled “FINRA Guidance on OATS Exchange Route Matching” to reflect changes related to the migration of the EDGA and EDGX Exchanges to BATS Technology which is currently scheduled for January 12, 2015. This updated OATS Report can be found at the following link:

BGC’s Lutnick Offers Cash to GFI Brokers as Takeover Vote Looms
By Zeke Faux, Bloomberg
Howard Lutnick, chief executive officer of BGC Partners Inc. (BGCP), said he’ll give GFI Group Inc. (GFIG)’s brokers cash for their restricted stock if his takeover bid is approved instead of CME Group Inc.’s.

MIAX Options Exchange: New Equity Rights Program For 2015
The Exchange filed for immediate effectiveness to implement an equity rights program pursuant to which units representing the right to acquire equity in the Exchange’s parent holding company, Miami International Holdings (“MIH”) would be issued to a participating Member in exchange for payment of an initial purchase price or the prepayment of certain transaction fees and the achievement of certain volume thresholds on the Exchange over a 29 month period.

Hedge Funds & Managed Futures

Markets prophesy secular stagnation; Low growth should worry governments more than incipient inflation
FT View
The legendary investor Benjamin Graham liked to imagine trading shares with a character called Mr Market, whose daily mood swung from exuberant to depressed. He said the secret of investing is to time entry into the market with a pessimistic phase.

Ten things to watch in commodities in 2015
By FT reporters
Commodities as an asset class
Making long-only investments in commodity futures came into vogue about a decade ago, based on the premise that they offered inflation protection and equity-like returns without being correlated to stock markets. On that score, this premise has certainly held true: with inflation modest, the Bloomberg Commodity Index has dropped 27 per cent in the past five years in an unflattering lack of correlation with soaring equities. Watch for more portfolio managers throwing in the towel on commodity indices and virtual silence in world capitals about problems caused by speculators.

Currency swings pose challenges for Asian groups
Simon Mundy in Seoul, Jeremy Grant in Singapore and Kana Inagaki in Tokyo, Ft
Viewed from the South Korean port of Ulsan, home to the world’s largest shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries, it is jackpot time on the international currency markets.

Glencore’s Head of Copper Pays $70 Million for London Apartment
By Jesse Riseborough and Neil Callanan, Bloomberg
The head of copper mining and trading at Glencore Plc has paid 46 million pounds ($70 million) for an apartment in London’s upscale Belgravia district.
Telis Mistakidis, whose 3 percent stake in the Swiss commodities trader is valued at about 1.2 billion pounds, bought the property in October last year, according to a filing to the Land Registry. Mistakidis is Glencore’s fifth-largest shareholder according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and received a $70 million dividend payment last year.

Oil Investors Pour Most Money Into Funds in 4 Years
By Moming Zhou, Bloomberg
Investors betting oil will rebound from the lowest prices in 5 1/2-years poured the most money in more than four years into funds that track crude.

Financial Disaster for Some Job Changers’ 401(k)s
By Anne Tergesen
Every year, millions of people leave their jobs—and fail to tell their former employers what to do with their 401(k) retirement savings accounts. Enter the forced rollover, also known as a “forced transfer.” The tax code allows employer-sponsored 401(k) plans to weed out accounts belonging to former employees with balances of $5,000 or less, and transfer the money into an individual retirement account. Once there, the logic goes, the money can continue to grow tax-free for retirement—and everyone will be happy.

Banks & Brokers

StanChart exits global equities business
Jennifer Hughes, Hong Kong and Martin Arnold, London, FT
Standard Chartered is pulling out of institutional equities globally in an abrupt move that underscores the bank’s efforts to cut costs and refocus its business, and is also axing another 2,000 jobs in its retail division.

Morgan Stanley Data Leak Not the First Headache for Pastebin
By Robin Sidel, WSJ
The flap over stolen Morgan Stanley MS +1.41% account data is not the first headache for Pastebin, a website created a decade ago for software developers that has more recently evolved into a repository for hacked documents.

Swatch Loses $24.3 Million Fight With UBS Over Losses
By Jeffrey Vögeli, Bloomberg
Swatch Group AG (UHR), Switzerland’s biggest watchmaker, lost its court bid to recoup 24.8 million Swiss francs ($24.3 million) of losses from investments with UBS Group AG (UBSG) that turned sour.

Credit Suisse says Milan offices searched by Italian tax police
Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) said its offices in Milan were searched by Italian tax police last month, following media reports of an investigation into whether a Bermuda subsidiary of the bank helped wealthy Italians hide undeclared funds.

Morgan Stanley Insider Data Theft Spotlights ‘Profiling Analytics’
By Clint Boulton, WSJ
Chief information officers establish firewalls and other layers of defense to keep hackers from stealing their corporate data. But what if the danger exists inside the moat? Analytics that profile employees’ digital work activities may be the best bet in preventing data theft by internal employees gone rogue, says one expert, but at the moment relatively few companies employ the technology.

Clearing & Settlement

New year, same old warehouse problems for London Metal Exchange
By Andy Home, Reuters
A new year it may be but the London Metal Exchange (LME) will spend a large part of it grappling with the same old problems afflicting its global warehousing system.

DTCC readies next step of corporate actions changes
Waters Technology
Industry utility progresses on transition to corporate actions web service, with more steps to cover in next two years Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) is nearing another step within a multi-stage process for retiring proprietary legacy corporate actions systems that have operated without graphic interfaces, and transitioning to its new Corporate Actions Web service, which began providing announcements to users in October, according to officials of the industry utility.

Payments Business Will Bypass Banks, Says Adyen Boss
While tech giants such as Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Inc. jostle to dominate the digital payments market, a Dutch tech company expects to benefit no matter who wins. In the largest deal of its kind last, fast-growing payments startup Adyen BV secured $250 million from investors who valued the Amsterdam-based startup at $1.5 billion.

Indexes & Products

NASDAQ OMX Adds To Indexing Business With $225 Million Acquisition
NASDAQ OMX Group, one of the most well-diversified global stock market operators, recently announced the acquisition of American index and analytics provider Dorsey Wright & Associates for $225 million with an intent to expand its exchange-traded fund trading and indexing business. According to NASDAQ management, the acquisition will contribute to the upcoming earnings in late January, and should not impact capital return plans.

Alternative Funds and Indexes Make Finra’s Short List of Concerns
Chris Dieterich – Barron’s
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a top regulator for brokers, outlined concerns with some of the fund industry’s hottest products in its annual examination priorities framework for 2015.
Alternative funds and indexes both made the list, a heads-up to the industry that Finra is watching specific products and/or sales and distribution practices. The Wall Street Journal’s Karen Damato reported on the list Monday.


Those Slow to Adopt New Technology, Often Benefit Most from It
Andre Bourque, Huffington Post
It’s a long-standing belief by entrepreneurs that the industry first to adopt, is the one most likely to succeed. In a time-tested CIO article, Stephanie Overby wrote, “When the first wheel was rolled out in 3000 B.C., just a handful of Mesopotamians had enough insight and risk tolerance to give it a whirl while others looked on from a safe distance.” And today, the same phenomenon exists.
“It’s funny — typically the trading industry has been a leader in technological advancement,” says Rick Lane, CEO of Chicago-based Trading Technologies (TT), a provider of professional trading software. “The sheer amount of money at stake has driven innovation, as firms develop new technology to find an edge. But with regards to the cloud, that same money has held the industry back in this case.”


First trader to face jury trial in Libor case parts with barrister
Caroline Binham, Legal Correspondent, FT
A former trader at UBS and Citigroup, who is the first person set to face a jury trial on Libor-related offences, has parted with his lead barrister in a second shake-up in his legal team.

Lawsky Said to Probe Medley Hedge Fund Over Payday Loans
By Zeke Faux and Greg Farrell, Bloomberg
New York’s financial regulator sent a subpoena to Medley Opportunity Fund II last week as he investigates the hedge fund’s ties to payday lending, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

National Bank of Canada Financial Hit With $20K FINRA Fine
by Margarida Correia, Bank Investment Consultant
FINRA slapped a subsidiary of National Bank of Canada with a $20,000 fine for failing to review the incoming and outgoing email correspondence of its registered reps.

Why did RBC abruptly change its strategy and settle CFTC’s ‘wash trading’ suit?
Barbara Shecter, Financial Post
Without much fanfare, Royal Bank of Canada settled a lawsuit with U.S. regulators just before Christmas, one that the bank had been vigorously defending for more than two years.

Environmental & Energy

For States That Don’t File Carbon-Cutting Plans, E.P.A. Will Impose ‘Model Rule’
The Environmental Protection Agency will force states to comply with a federal “model rule” to cut their carbon emissions if the states do not submit customized plans under the Obama administration’s new climate change regulations, a senior official said Wednesday.

KRX Opens Emissions Trading Market On January 12, 2015
The Ministry of Environment and the Korea Exchange (KRX) announced that they will hold an opening ceremony of the emissions trading market at the KRX’s main office located in Busan and kick off trading on January 12, 2015.

Cape Wind in ‘Cardiac Arrest’ as Utilities Seek to End Contracts
By Ehren Goossens, Bloomberg
Cape Wind, the $2.6 billion offshore wind farm that’s been under development in Massachusetts for 13 years, is facing a significant threat as two utilities seek to terminate contracts to buy electricity.

Economics supports immediate action on global warming
By Dana Nuccitelli – The Guardian
Lately there seems to have been a shift away from climate science denial, toward arguments downplaying the costs of human-caused climate change.

EPA delays landmark climate rule
By Timothy Cama – The Hill
The Environmental Protection Agency is delaying its landmark climate regulations for power plants in what it said is an effort to better consider input on them and better align the major pieces of the regulations.

Renewables take top spot in Germany power supply stakes
By Jeevan Vasagar – Financial Times
Nearly 26 per cent of Germany’s power generation came from renewable sources in 2014, according to figures compiled by Agora Energiewende, a Berlin think-tank, up from just over 24 per cent in 2013.


HKEx Group publishes market statistics 2014
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) Group published a set of market statistics for the full year of 2014 on its website today (Thursday).

Thai futures’ volumes double in 2014
The Trade
Thailand Futures Exchange (TFEX) has said that in 2014 total trading volumes increased by 116% to a total of 36 million contracts, or 147,025 contracts per day.

HKEx publishes a Listing Decision (LD85-2015) to provide guidance on the lock-up requirement on an applicant’s controlling shareholder under Listing Rule 10.07(1)

Latest Derivatives Market Research Reports for December 2014

Korean trading reforms judged successful
The Trade
The Korea Exchange (KRX) has evaluated the effects of market reforms implemented in 2014 that were intended to revitalise the stock market.

Dalian Commodity Exchange Warns Of Risks For Delivery Month Contracts
It was the first trading day of the delivery month for the 1501 contracts on January 5, when Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE) sent a “Risk Reminder” to the member units, requiring the member units to raise the investors’ awareness of risks and remind them to base the trading on rationality and compliance so as to prevent risks.

Frontier Markets

Investors turn more cautious on ‘Frontier’ debt
By Karin Strohecker, Reuters
Investors are turning more cautious about dollar bonds from “frontier” markets – a fast growing but less developed and higher risk sub-set of emerging economies – due to sliding oil prices, low trading volumes and expectations of smaller returns.

Borsa Istanbul: Equities Have Been The Best Performing Investment Instrument Of 2014
Borsa Istanbul investors gained a yield of 26.43 % in 2014. Registering a historic high session closing, Borsa Istanbul ranked among the top 5 performers of the world.

Securities and Exchange Board of India Notices
Adjudication Order against Focus Shares & Securities Pvt. Ltd
PR – Order in the matter of M/s Silicon Projects India Limited
Revisiting the capital raising process
State Bank of Travancore

UAE favours bourse merger but up to exchanges -minister
The United Arab Emirates government would favour a merger of the main Abu Dhabi and Dubai bourses, but the decision is up to the exchanges themselves, economy minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri said on Wednesday.

Rise in proprietary trading hints at limited FII interest
Live Mint
As per latest Sebi data, proprietary trading made up 52% of the total derivatives turnover on NSE and 84% on BSE in June-September 2014

BSE gets Sebi nod to launch commodity exchange
Suresh P Iyengar
Must get commodity market regulator permission to start trading

Commodity bourse ICEX plans rights issue as part of revival plan
By Ram Sahgal, ET
Commodity bourse Indian Commodity Exchange (Icex), promoted by Reliance CapitalBSE 1.61 % and MMTC, is considering a rights issue as part of a plan to revive the exchange which suspended operations in April last year after sustained losses, two people with knowledge of the plan told ET. The size of the issue and whether the promoters would underwrite it are not known. The boards of the shareholding companies of ICEX would have to approve their participation in the proposed rights issue, the pe ..

Exchanges want sweeping changes in proposed liquidity enhancement scheme; Want it for only new schemes, for limited periods and with checks on anti-competitive effects
Dilip Kumar Jha, Busines Standard
The liquidity enhancement scheme (LES) proposed by the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) on commodity futures exchanges require a change in format to make it successful, feel the latter.


Add Natural Gas Prices to Putin’s Long List of Problems
By Isis Almeida, Bloombwerg
After last year’s plunges in oil and the ruble, Russian President Vladimir Putin now has another thing to worry about: the price of natural gas.

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