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A Hackney youth publication

Make your own news! Contrast is a FREE magazine written by and for young people in Hackney. If you’re aged 13 to 19 and you’re interested in writing, editing, design or illustration, come and join our editorial team. If you’re a young person in Hackney with something to say, we want to hear from you.

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Sky Partnership Day: Tuesday Time: 4.30pm – 6.30pm Venue: Unit 2, 222 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8AX

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Joining the Contrast team gives you the opportunity to see your name in print and get some accredited media training. We have a weekly editorial team meeting at Sky Partnership and regular workshops at other community venues in Hackney.

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If you would like us to run a workshop session in your School/Youth Club/Organisation please get in touch. For more information and directions to venues call Vicky on 020 7359 2053, email or

Credit where credit’s due Contrast is published by Social Spider. Social Spider is a Community Interest Company registered in England no. 4846529 The views expressed in Contrast do not necessarily reflect those of Social Spider or Hackney Council © 2008 Social Spider Community Interest Company ISSN 1754-0623 Contrast is printed on paper that comes from sustainable sources and is monitored by the Forest Stewardship Council, an international organisation that promotes the responsible management of the world’s forest Advertising: If your organisation is interested in advertising in Contrast, call Stephen on 020 7354 9129 or email: Download our media pack from for information on rates and specifications. Printing managed by: Ten Alps Publishing, 9 Savoy Street, London WC2E 7HR Tel: 020 7878 2300. Contrast Editorial team: Selin Kavlak, Bana Mhaldien, Cheryl O’Garro, Steve Liburd, Karess Laidley, Lara Akinnawo, Bisi Fashesin, Jasmine O’Garro, Stephan O’Garro, Fatima Ahmed, Rhasan Brunner, Tobi Meadows, Lisa Hamaz, Kimberly Wilson & Niki D. Contrast Staff team: Mustafa Kurtuldu, David Floyd, Mark Brown, Stephen Gardiner & Vicky Hughes. The Contrast team would like to thank: Sky Partnership, CityZEN, Hackney Libraries, HCVS, CityZEN, Linda Salmon, Lorna Robbins & Feryat Demirci

Contrast is funded by the Hackney Youth Opportunity Fund, which is managed by young people in Hackney Youth Service.

Contrast is supported by: Sky Partnership, Hackney Libraries, Hackney Youth Parliament and Exposure Organisation Limited.


Issue Six - Editorial Welcome back guys and welcome to our new edition! We've got exciting reports for you on Hackney's most popular reading group, and a star-studded peace concert. We have top tips on dealing with exam stress and a feature on the adventures of young people who get involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards scheme. There’s a big election for the Mayor of London next month, so we’ve got useful info on how you can vote (if you’re over 18) and

Volunteer for the Olympics in 2012 Are you not in work or education? Would like to be part of the Olympic dream? If so, there are going to be some volunteer training sessions for the 2012 Olympics held every week on Wednesdays from 1.00 – 3.00pm, Thursdays from 5.00pm – 7.00pm and Fridays 1.00pm – 3.00pm at Navarino Mansions, Dalston Lane, London. E8 1LB. To book your place contact Bianca Foster on 020 8533 7053 or email:

Make your mark (on some clothes) The Hackney Youth Print Project is a professional screen-printing business that trains young people in designing and printing clothing. They run a free course open to young people aged between 16 and 25 who will eventually be offered the opportunity to be paid to train other young people. The course takes place on Wednesday afternoons. For more information call Joel on 020 7241 7480 or email

Interested in film and fashion?

Mayor for a day

Are you aged between 13 and 19 years? You can learn skills in directing, camera work, sound, acting, editing and scripting. The sessions are held on Mondays at 5pm at MTR Studio, 23 Charlotte Rd, EC2A. If you are interested please call 020 7729 2323 or email

an interview with a young local councillor who tells us why she thinks it’s worth giving up her time to go to lots of boring meetings. Got an idea about what should go in the next issue? Fancy getting involved?! Come along to our Tuesday sessions and become a reporter yourself! Rhasan, on behalf of the Contrast team

Can you kick it? April 22nd marks the start of a new girls six-a-side football league in Regents Park, Central London, for U10, U12 and U14 teams. The league will run on Tuesday evenings for 10 weeks in total with a one-week break midway through and is a great way for girls to enjoy the beautiful game. Cost of entry is £100 (50% of which will be refunded on completion of all fixtures) per team and this will include all affiliation fees, pitch hire and referees. For more information please contact Natalie on 07715050374 or email:

Hackney students slam poverty Students at BSix Brooke House Sixth Form College in Clapton took their campaign against child poverty to parliament in Februrary. The team of sixth form students has been working on the project with the help of Envision – a youth empowerment charity, since September last year. On Tuesday February 26th the group joined charity Save the Children in Parliament Square where they met with Jane Kennedy, MP and Financial Secretary to the Treasury. The group challenged the Government to keep its promise of halving child poverty by 2010 and ending it completely by 2020. The students also had the chance to meet David Blunkett MP and question him about how the Government was working to reduce poverty. Student Aisha Mohamed said: “It was amazing meeting with an MP who really wants to bring about change in this area. The Government has done a lot but there is a lot more to do.” The BSix team are currently working on a documentary which looks into how poverty affects people in their local area and hope to screen this in their college later this year. For further information please visit or contact: Debbie Jackson-Hill on 0207 974 8440 or email:

Bana “I would stop all written exams because it stresses me out :(“ Contrast 03

Yusuf Islam

Global Peace and Unity

Contrast reporter Fatima Ahmed attended a peaceful musical extravaganza and gives us the lowdown on the day ‘The GPU’ was a concert sponsored by leading Muslim charities that was held at Excel London. GPU stands for Global Peace and Unity, and the event was exactly that. When I heard about it, I was a little sceptical. I assumed it was a boring event that was a waste of time and money but (I don’t know why) I still ended up going anyway!

expressed how proud she was to be there on behalf of her father.

and jumping around every time the camera zoomed in on us.

The concert finally started and the screaming and shouting commenced. I had no idea who most of the acts that performed were, apart from a group called Seven8Six that I only heard of from my overexcited cousin that was sitting next to

People of different religions from all around the world came to the event to learn about each other’s cultures together. The money made from the proceedings was given to Children in Need. Just goes to show that Muslims are not what is portrayed in the

“Malcolm X’s daughter expressed how proud she was to be there on behalf of her father”

30,000 people attended the event. Everywhere I looked there were kids running around laughing and playing, and the adults genuinely looked like they were having a good time.

me. But the music was great and the atmosphere electric!

Several famous individuals attended the event. Jermaine Jackson was present as well as Malcolm X’s daughter, who both spoke about peace. Malcolm X’s daughter

I was lucky enough to sit in the VIP section because my cousin got me a ticket. It was actually quite cool to be up that close. What wasn’t cool was my brother waving


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media but are people of peace. Overall I had a great day out and as the event progressed I realised that I was wrong to be sceptical; I had a fantastic time.

Muhammad Abdul Aziz (Jermaine Jackson)

Human writes

Contrast’s Rhasan Brummer meets Lorna Robins who runs the Impetus Awards Scheme helping young people organise human rights projects across Britain

Performers at the Impetus Awards ceremony

What is the Impetus Awards Scheme and why was it set up? It’s an awards scheme designed to help young people organise human rights projects in their school or local area. The project was started to encourage young people to think about human rights because sometimes young people don’t know that they have these rights, for example: you have the right for people not to bully you, make you feel small or to take away your freedom and you have the right to express yourself. We have projects running already about sexual health, drugs, and international problems. There’s lots going on all the time and the actual awards ceremony takes place in May.

Mayor for a day

Why aren’t lot of young people already interested in human rights? A lot of young people feel that human rights have nothing to do with them, it’s something that goes on miles away but in fact it’s the total opposite. Human rights are about when you are talking to your friends and whether they are respecting

you, whether your teachers are treating you fairly, whether you are getting access to everything you need to work and grow into an adult. These are everyday things! What are the big human rights problems that young people face in London? There are lots of problems to do with how young people are perceived, for example: getting the respect that you deserve and access is a big issue, too. For example, disabled people have problems getting

young people like – “you can do that, don’t do that, stop it and change” when what young people should be feeling is that they are empowered and they have the right to choose things in their life. Impetus projects are aimed at helping young people to realise that they have rights like: care from a member of the family or carer to look after them and that they should have things like the right to pray and participate in their culture and religion. All these things are very important.

“Human rights are about when you are talking to your friends and whether they are respecting you, ” access to youth clubs. Bullying is a big human rights issue – young people have the right to a happy life free from these types of stresses. Why is the Impetus project important? It’s really important that young people know that they have human rights, Lots of the time people focus on the negative with

If you would like to start your own human rights project or would like more information on the award scheme contact Lorna on 020 7405 5709 or email local award accreditation officer

Rhasan “I would build more football stadiums” Contrast 05

Read all about it Tobi Meadows writes about Hackney Teen Reads

"You get to know people and the books are really good." Rosie, 14 Hackney’s Teen Reads Book Club is celebrating its two-year anniversary this month. The group meets at the beginning of every month at Mare Street Library. The group members turn up with suggestions for books to read the following month and, of course, their reviews and

comments on the previous month’s book. I’ve been a member of the book club since the very beginning. Initially I wasn’t too keen on the idea but my mum, who works for Hackney Libraries, practically forced me into it. Little did I know that I’d soon be finding myself looking forward to these meetings! Every month the regular old faces turn up (along with a few new ones) and here are some reasons why: "Reading a book and coming together as a group is a good way to share how you feel about a book." – Angela, 15 "I like it because you can trust that the books will be good." – Alecia, 13 "It’s interesting and lively." – Omolabake, 14 "Everyone expresses their different points of view, so I find out what they think about the book." – Elizabeth, 15 "It's nice to be part of a group." – Lisa, 15 "It's different from school." – Clarisse, 14 My main reason for turning up is simply that I love reading and it’s nice to spend time with other people who share my hobby! We don’t just read books; we often go on group trips together as well. Over the summer holidays we went to see a show called The Family at the Hackney Empire and we’ll be going there again soon to see Noughts & Crosses - an adaptation of a book by Malorie Blackman we have read at Teen Reads. All in all, joining a book club has really been different to what I expected. I certainly didn’t see myself ever belonging to one but now that I do I hope to be part of Teen Reads for a very long time! Hackney Teen Reading Group meets on the first Wednesday of every month from 6pm until 7.30pm at Hackney Central Library.

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For more info Late Night Football call Marlon on 020 7729 6970 or For more information on the Hackney Empire go to

For more info on Psychotic Dance Classes call 020 8533 0227 or email For more info on the Hackney Reading Group see page 7

Words by Kimberly Wilson, Cheryl O' Garro and Steve Liburd

What’s On

A breath of fresh air

Picture courtesy of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Tobi Meadows goes hiking with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme

When we eventually reached our checkpoint for lunch I was close to tears because of the agony I was in. We’d been hiking through the countryside on the way to earning a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a voluntary, non-competitive and flexible programme of cultural and adventurous activities for all young people, whatever their background or ability. I cannot lie; doing the Award has certainly not been all fun and games! I initially joined the scheme because I wanted to get the accreditation to use for college and university applications - it is widely recognised by employers universities - but doing the Award has really helped me to develop my self-reliance and leadership abilities, whilst I also discovered a new skills.

Mayor for a day

The most challenging part for me was the expedition. It was the most difficult bit but also the most character-building! I am very lazy so the idea of a 16-mile hike was terrifying! Not only was I worried about how I was going to look even remotely decent but worse than this was the idea of camping!

I’m very girly; I only own one pair of tracksuit bottoms and as for trainers, well they’re completely out of the question! So I turned up wearing my favourite skinny jeans, a tank top with a little cardigan and some really cute pumps… big mistake!

cooked dinner for us, which I must admit was very tasty despite being cooked on a mini-stove. I had a really great sleep and woke up with a smile on my face; perhaps the feel-good feeling of the countryside is infectious!

Although many people appreciate the countryside, I’ve always tended to disagree. To start off with the walk was pretty easy but it got harder and harder with steeper slopes and more annoying gates to climb over. By the time we stopped for lunch it was a major relief to

The second day of hiking was similarly hard work and on the last stretch of our walk my legs were wobbling, however my vigour was renewed this time by the promise of ice cream if we completed the last little bit!

“Not only was I worried about how I was going to manage to look even remotely decent; worse than this was the idea of camping!” be able to sit on the hill and admire the view. However, I was soon jolted back to reality with the announcement that we were to continue on to the next checkpoint. On our way we met lots of friendly people who’d smile and ask us what we were doing and I felt proud to tell them about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the looks of admiration we got back renewed our determination to keep on hiking!! In the evening we reached our campsite and set up our tents. Surprisingly the boys

After walking 16 miles we all slept on the journey back. Even though it was hard work, I don’t think I’d ever trade that experience! One of the girls in the group was someone I hadn’t spoken to much before and now we are extremely close and perhaps it also made me like the countryside a little bit too… but you’ll still never catch me in trainers! For more info on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme go to

Karess “I would speed up the time that the London Eye takes to spin round... 30 minutes is too long” Contrast 09


marks the spot Want to know how to vote in May’s elections for London’s Mayor, Cheryl O’Garro ticks all the boxes

Question:Today's youth are tomorrow's future or so we are told but how can we as young adults living in Hackney make sure that we help shape the future so that we, and society, can be the best they can possibly be? Answer: By voting in local and general elections. Yes, you can have the same voice as your next-door neighbour, the guy across the road, or the couple who work in your local chip shop. Registering and voting is not as hard as

many people think it is and to prove it, here’s some simple steps for you to follow help make your voice heard. Step 1: Find out whether you are eligible to vote: Are you aged 18 years or over? Are you a British, Commonwealth, Irish or other European Union citizen*? If you can answer yes to both these questions, you are eligible to vote. Step 2: So you're eligible to vote. Great! But don't forget, you have to be registered. But how do you do that? Well, the council often sends letters to people encouraging or if a member of your family is registered already, they can add your name to the electoral register

on your behalf. The other way to get registered is to go to This website provides you with a registration form which you can fill in and post to get yourself on the register. When you’ve registered to vote, you will be sent a vote form that tells you where to go to vote or how to vote by post if you’re too busy to go to the polling station. Why is voting so important? The London Mayoral elections are on May 1st and all the candidates will be talking about changing things that affect YOUR life. So why not take the opportunity to make sure that you help make that decision. Nobody will know who you vote for and everyone gets a say, so what are you waiting for? *Citizens of other European Union countries can vote in local and European elections but can only vote in General Elections in their home country.

Stressed? Read this…. Although exams can be stressful, there are ways to cope, Karess and Bana give you some tips: 1) Ask older students about the exam to see if they can give you some tips. 2) Do past papers under thorough exam conditions as often as possible to familiarise yourself with the format and the pressure. 3) Plan your time to include study, revision and social commitments. Taking breaks is very important as your brain cannot remember a load of information at once but make sure you put your plan somewhere visible. Go to this website and print out your very own timetable and start planning:

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4) Find a way to revise that will suit you best so that you will learn and memorise notes better.

they come to you.

5) Test what you know about each topic with a spidergram. Write a topic name in the middle of a sheet of blank paper and build a spidergram around it by adding ideas as

7) Make sure you are fully equipped with stationery for the exam.

6) Have a good meal before the exam.

8) Find a quiet place to study and make sure you are sitting comfortably. Avoid studying in an area where there will be distractions. 9) Stick bright notes around your house to read every time you walk past. 10) After your exam don’t stress about it. Concentrate on the next one that is coming up.

Young Hackney Councillor Feryat Demirci tells Lara Akinnawo what it’s like in the political world Contrast: What do you do as a councillor? I would say my main role is looking after and promoting the interests of the residents in Brownswood Ward ward - the area of Hackney that I represent. I sit on committees which look at the decisionmaking and the performance of services the Council provides and make recommendations on how to improve things. I serve on a regulatory committee, the licensing committee, which makes decision on whether a pub, club, restaurant etc can serve alcohol or open late. I am a school governor and also sit on the board of Hackney Homes (the organisation responsible for council housing in Hackney).

Contrast: What difficulties do you face and how do you overcome them? My big difficulty is that I have a full-time job, as well as my councillor role. Being a councillor takes up a lot of my evenings and sometimes there are daytime meetings too. This can get very tiring and I also end up using my annual leave from work to do my daytime meetings! I've been very lucky with my job in that I have changed my work hours and now get a lot more time off during the day so with a bit of good planning and time management I can concentrate on my normal job as well as making it to my meetings.

Contrast: What have you learnt from being a councillor? Where do I start! One big thing I've learnt is that no matter how hard you try, you can't please everyone but you still try!

Contrast: Do you think young people are interested in politics? There are many young people in Hackney who are engaged in democratic life in Hackney, like the youth parliament, but I do find that young people often feel disengaged from democratic life.

Contrast: What do you enjoy about it? I guess seeing that the work I do makes a difference to people's lives, even if it's only a small difference and being be able to play a part in shaping Hackney. I've lived in Hackney for 19 years, went to school here and love living here.

Contrast: How could you get teenagers more interested? I believe in getting young people involved in democratic processes from a young age. Groups like the youth parliament and school councils can give young people an interest in politics but also young people

should have the opportunity to have an influence on the big decisions that affect their lives and communities. I think we should have a young person sitting on every important decision-making committee. Feryat Demirci is the Labour Councillor for Brownswood Ward. If you want to contact your local councillor, you can find their contact details at

We’re Hyped, are you? The North East Neighbourhood Area Youth Forum tell us what they’re all about We run election campaigns for members to be part of the Hackney Youth Parliament and work with young people to find out their views and make sure young people are aware of their rights. We also meet local councillors to make sure they know what young people are thinking.

We are a group of young people from North East Hackney who come together to talk about what we like and dislike about our area and what needs changing. We act as a voice for young people. There are four area youth forums in Hackney – North East, Homerton, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington.

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We take part in training sessions, go on residential trips and go to conferences. We travel to young people’s events all around the country, helping to challenge the negative stereotypes surrounding young people. Here is what some of the members think of the experience of being involved: “This has given me the opportunity to speak out confidently” – Ifra

“It has motivated me to think more about issues surrounding us young people” – Alfred “It has given me the opportunity to express myself and the freedom to talk about issues and to speak up for the rest of the young people” – Bona “It has enabled me to make new friends” – Alfred “We learn about different issues surrounding youth” – Alecia If you would like to get involved please contact Hackney’s Youth Participation Team on 020 8986 0285 or check out the website

Reviews Listen: Music review Watch: Film review Lets be positive 4

Horton Hears A Who

This is an album written, sung and produced by young people in Haringey. I loved this album so much! The tracks were passionate, emotional and inspirational. They transported me to a very happy place. The artists have got amazing voices and talent. The track 'You and Me' has catchy R’n’B beats and romantic lyrics. The track "Hold your head up high" has a very inspirational message and the voices are strong. When I heard these amazing, romantic tracks I wanted to play them again and again. I recommend this CD to anyone who likes rap, soulful beats and meaningful lyrics. For information on how to get a copy of Let’s Be Positive 4 email

The film is geared towards children of all ages. It includes references to other films such as Pokémon. Bruce Almighty co-stars Jim Carrey and Steve Carell bring good chemistry to the film as Horton and the Mayor of Whoville. We enjoyed it when they ripped off Pokémon and Jim Carrey's singing, as well as when the animals laid traps for Horton. It was great to see that the film's dialogue remained faithful to the original Dr Seuss' book. I would recommend this film to families who want an afternoon out or to spend some quality time together.

Rhasan Brunner

Cheryl and Stephan O’Garro

Read: Book review Bog Child

Split by a kiss

Siobhan Dowd If you like mysterious, extraordinary and dreamy novels, this book is for you! As Fergus digs for peat with his uncle in the mountains, he discovers a curled up body deep in the bog and his heart suddenly stops. After that, Fergus starts hearing a little voice in his dreams and the story behind the ‘Bog Child’ slowly begins to unravel to reveal its secrets. At the beginning of the book, I found it a bit difficult to understand what was going on because you need to know a bit about Irish history and the chaos and conflict in the 1980s. Nevertheless, I loved the looming mystery which hung around throughout the novel and the fact that the plot is original and unique. Overall, it’s an interesting read however it is not really my cup of tea because I enjoy more realistic, less surreal novels.

Lusia Plaja The story is about a girl who moves to the US with her mum. A kiss splits Josie’s personality into two parts; one being Josie the cool girl who is in the popular gang who is going out with the coolest, buffest boy in the school & Josie the “geek” who hangs around with a Goth “loser” group. Split by a kiss is a very interesting story, which I really enjoyed. I think it will do really well in the teenage book world. My favourite aspect of the plot is the way it is split into two, telling both sides of the story.

Lisa Hamaz

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Jasmine O’garro

What’s your problem? Contrast's agony aunts, Fatima and Selin and new agony, Rhasan join qualified psychotherapist and counsellor Niki D to give us advice from their different perspectives on two of our readers' problems There's a girl at school who I really like but she takes drugs, what do I do as I'd really like to go out with her, but not when she's a druggie. Heartbroken, 15 A person who takes drugs isn't really thinking about their own safety. Maybe if you chatted to her about drugs and their dangers she may change her mind. You could also talk to her friends about it and see if they can help her to stop. Rhasan

Firstly, do you know for sure that this girl uses drugs, or could it just be gossip? You are obviously clear that you will not get involved with someone who does use drugs, so before anything else happens you need to find out for sure. It also might be useful for you to contact a drug service like FRANK or SUB19 for advice as it is easy to judge people who use drugs without understanding much about drugs and drug users. If this girl is using drugs and you want to help her, then be sensitive in how you go about this and suggest she checks out the youth drug services I’ve mentioned. Niki D

Well, does she like you the way you like her? If you let her know as a friend that taking drugs is not good for her health then, if she likes you, she'll probably agree with you and attempt to stop it. If she refuses to change, there's not much you can do but get friendly with another girl who appreciates your care and thoughts. Selin

FRANK: (National on-line drug advice for young people) Tel: 0800 776600 - SUB19: (Hackney Young People’s Substance Misuse Service) Tel: 0800 0582860 -

Me and my boyfriend have been together for two years now and I really love him but recently he has been acting kind of cold and sometimes ignoring my calls. What should I do because I really love him? Worried, 16, Hackney

Mayor for a day

Don’t worry about it. Your boyfriend is probably just going through something and doesn’t want to burden you with anything or he probably doesn’t even realise that he is doing it. However this doesn’t justify his behaviour so it is important that you express your concern to him. If he still doesn’t respond to you, just give him some space and go about your own business. Both of you shouldn’t have to suffer. If he does eventually approach you, make sure you don’t make a fuss about whatever it is that is going on because that will only push him away. Fatima

Rather than imagining worst case scenarios about why your boyfriend has become distant, talk to him about it instead. It seems like you have been avoiding this conversation but situations can get worse the longer things are left unspoken. Arrange to meet him somewhere private, don’t let him put you off either, tell him you need to talk about your relationship and stick to it when you meet up. No matter how much you love your boyfriend, still balance loving him with loving yourself, make sure that you don’t allow your boyfriend to treat you badly ‘in the name of love.’ Niki D

Personally, I think he’s trying to brush you off. If he seems to be acting cold, ignoring your calls, he’s either upset at something you might have done without realising or he’s trying to give the signal of ‘Leave me alone’. The best thing to do in this situation is to confront him face-to-face and ask him why he’s acting like he is. If he refuses to talk it through it’s best to move on and find someone who will treat you better rather than torturing yourself with “whys” all the time. Selin

Bisi “I would fine people for breaching dress code violations, such as wearing shorts in the winter. Or, on a more serious note, I would make it so that community support officers were on watch nightly for the supervision of people coming home during the night across areas in London.”

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