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HARDtalk

HARDtalk

In-depth, hard-hitting interviews with newsworthy personalities.

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Rachel Clarke: Talking honestly about the end of life

Stephen Sackur speaks to the palliative care doctor and author Rachel Clarke. Her medical skills are matched by a talent for writing which has seen her write thought-provoking, moving accounts of what it's like to be junior doctor, and what it felt like to confront the covid pandemic. But perhaps Rachel Clarke?s most powerful book focuses on a subject that many doctors, and we the public, find it difficult to discuss: death. In ?Dear Life? she weaves together the personal story of a daughter facing the terminal cancer illness of her beloved father with that of a doctor who made a deliberate choice to focus her care on the dying. In the process of dying, which will of course be the fate of every one of us, Rachel Clarke finds life lessons which we would all do well to learn. She asks us to consider a tough question: can dying be life affirming?
2022-11-30
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Barbara Chase-Riboud: Monuments and controversy

Zeinab Badawi speaks to American artist and writer Barbara Chase-Riboud at the Serpentine Galleries in London. Over a career spanning seven decades, Chase-Riboud has explored public memory and commemorative forms, as well as shone a light on historical perspectives that have been overlooked or neglected. Her work raises fascinating questions about how society deals with public monuments of controversial figures from the past.
2022-11-28
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Getachew Reda: Have Tigray's rebels surrendered?

One of the most costly conflicts of the 21st century may be over. Representatives of the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan rebels signed a peace agreement earlier this month. After two years of war, and perhaps half a million civilian deaths, Tigrayan forces are to give up their weapons; the Ethiopian army will take control of Tigray; and aid should begin to reach millions of desperate people. Stephen Sackur speaks to Getachew Reda, who signed the deal on behalf of the Tigray People?s Liberation Front. Was this in effect the TPLF?s surrender?
2022-11-25
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Chelsea Manning: Does transparency justify leaking state secrets?

Stephen Sackur interviews former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who leaked a trove of military secrets and spent seven years behind bars. Did her actions undermine American security?
2022-11-23
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Salome Zourabichvili: How much does Georgia have to fear from Russia?

The war in Ukraine has triggered fears that Vladimir Putin may set his sights on other former Soviet republics. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Salome Zourabichvili, the President of Georgia, whose country shares a long border with Russia. How worried is she?
2022-11-21
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Ronald Lamola: Does the ANC have answers for South Africa's problems?

Next month, the ruling ANC in South Africa holds its five-yearly national conference. President Cyril Ramaphosa is seeking re-election as leader of the party, which would him in position to contest nationwide elections in 2024. But South Africa is currently in the midst of a severe economic meltdown, with mass unemployment and crippling power cuts, and many are warning its political culture could bring the state to the point of collapse. Zeinab Badawi speaks to South African justice minister Ronald Lamola, seen as one of the rising stars of the ANC?s younger generation. How does he account for the government?s failure to address the myriad challenges it faces?
2022-11-18
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Mark Wolf: Does the world need a new anti-corruption court?

Global leaders often come together to work for what they hope is the greater good, such as tackling climate change, conflict and the economic crisis. But does the world need a new body to put leaders on trial? Zeinab Badawi speaks to the American judge and academic Mark Wolf, who is trying to establish an international anti-corruption court to bring to justice leaders who abuse their power for private gain. Is this an idea whose time has come, or do we already have sufficient levers to bring the kleptocrats to court?
2022-11-16
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David Dimbleby: Are journalistic values under threat?

Where do you get your news from, and do you trust it to be true? For many of us, the answers to these questions are changing. Social media is an increasingly dominant source of information; long-established news sources, like the BBC, are in a fight for audiences and for trust too. Stephen Sackur speaks to David Dimbleby, who, in the course of a long broadcasting career, became the face and voice of the BBC on the biggest occasions, from elections to royal ceremonies. Can his journalistic values survive in a world where opinion so often trumps truth?
2022-11-11
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Gerard Lyons: Is Britain's economy up to scratch?

The UK economy is in a hole. Inflation is high, interest rates are rising, public debt is soaring and, according to the Bank of England, Britons face two years of recession. Stephen Sackur speaks to Gerard Lyons, an economist and sometime adviser to governing Conservative politicians. Can Britain?s economy bounce back, or is any optimism misplaced?
2022-11-09
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Sauli Niinistö: Finland's new strategic direction

Stephen Sackur is in Helsinki for an exclusive interview with Finland?s President Sauli Niinistö. After decades of pragmatic coexistence with Moscow, Finland has made a big strategic decision: to join Nato, back Ukraine with weapons and reinforce their border with Russia. Are Finns ready for potential tension with their giant neighbour to the east?
2022-11-07
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Ben Hodges: Is Ukrainian victory inevitable?

Stephen Sackur speaks to General Ben Hodges, former commander of the US army in Europe. He claims a Ukrainian victory in the war with Russia is inevitable, maybe within months. But given Putin?s pledge to use all means necessary to prevail, how does victory happen?
2022-11-04
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Rafael Grossi: Is nuclear power ever risk-free?

Stephen Sackur speaks to Rafael Grossi, director general of the world?s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. He?s been to Ukraine and has visited Putin in his continuing efforts to avert disaster at Europe?s biggest nuclear power plant. Is the Ukraine war a lesson that nuclear power is never risk-free?
2022-11-02
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Dimitar Kova?evski: Can North Macedonia finally join the EU?

In an exclusive interview, Stephen Sackur is in Skopje to speak to North Macedonia?s Prime Minister Dimitar Kova?evski. His nation emerged out of the former Yugoslavia and is now in the queue for EU membership. But progress is slow. Could Brussels?s reluctance to embrace the Balkan candidate nations see this region sink back into dangerous instability?
2022-10-31
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Matthew Collins: Taking on the far right

Stephen Sackur speaks to the writer and anti-racism campaigner Matthew Collins. In his youth he was himself a far-right thug, but he changed sides and became an informer. Now he?s a leading activist in the battle against violent extremism. He's written a book - The Walk In - about his experiences. What is the best antidote to today?s peddlers of race hate? This edition of Hardtalk contains references to racist language.
2022-10-26
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Audrey Tang: Can Taiwan forge its own path?

Zeinab Badawi is in Taiwan to speak to Audrey Tang, the country's digital minister. The Taipei government says it stands for democracy in the face of increasing belligerence from China, which claims the self-governed island as part of its territory. Can Taiwan really forge its own path?
2022-10-24
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Jan Lipavský: Will energy crisis break Europe's stand against Moscow?

Stephen Sackur speaks to Czech foreign minister, Jan Lipavský, an ardent supporter of Ukraine in a country facing an energy and economic crisis this winter. Vladimir Putin thinks Russia?s energy dominance can break Europe?s united stand against Moscow. Is he right?
2022-10-21
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German Galushchenko: How vulnerable is Ukraine?

Stephen Sackur speaks to Ukraine?s energy minister, German Galushchenko. His country?s energy and power infrastructure is being targeted by Russian rockets and kamikaze drones. As Putin doubles down on his escalation strategy, how vulnerable is Ukraine?
2022-10-19
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Dr Anthony Fauci: What did the US get wrong about Covid?

Stephen Sackur speaks to Dr Anthony Fauci, soon to retire as President Biden?s chief medical adviser. Under Trump, then Biden, Dr Fauci was at the forefront of America?s Covid response, which compares poorly with other rich world nations. What went wrong, and who?s to blame?
2022-10-14
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Amin Salam: Is Lebanon heading for meltdown?

Lebanon is experiencing one of the most disastrous economic collapses of the last 100 years. The national economy is less than half the size it was just three years ago, while people are holding up banks in a desperate attempt to get their money out amid rampant inflation and a currency crisis. Stephen Sackur interviews Amin Salam, Minister of Economy and Trade for Lebanon. Politicians have failed the country for decades - will that change before the meltdown is complete?
2022-10-12
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Maggie Haberman: Donald Trump and journalistic responsibility

Zeinab Badawi speaks to the award winning American journalist Maggie Haberman. She has published a book that chronicles the rise and fall of Donald Trump, and her revelations are creating sensational headlines in the US. What is the responsibility of a good journalist?
2022-10-07
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Boris Grebenshchikov: Culture and protest in Russia

Zeinab Badawi speaks to Russian rock musician Boris Grebenshchikov, who last played in Russia the day before Putin invaded Ukraine. Now living in exile in London, BG (as he is known to his fans) risks prosecution if he returns to Russia for his anti-war comments. The role cultural icons have to play in the politics of protest is a well-trodden one. But do their voices have any impact inside Russia?
2022-10-05
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Masih Alinejad: A revolution for Iranian women?

Stephen Sackur speaks to exiled Iranian women?s rights activist Masih Alinejad. The death in police custody of a young woman arrested for showing strands of her hair sparked protests across Iran, led by women, backed by many men. Could repression of women be the regime?s undoing?
2022-09-30
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Evgeny Popov: Russia's mobilisation

Stephen Sackur speaks to Russian MP, Putin loyalist and influential state media commentator Evgeny Popov. Amid military reverses, mass mobilisation, and signs of internal dissent in Russia, is Putin?s Ukraine strategy doomed to fail?
2022-09-28
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Reverend Richard Coles: Living with grief

For most of us, death and grief remain a private affair. An irreversible, life-altering shock when we lose someone close, for which there is no guide or preparation. Stephen Sackur interviews Reverend Richard Coles, a broadcaster and Church of England vicar, whose frank account of his own grief has struck a chord with many. Why did the death of his husband nearly break him?
2022-09-26
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Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze: Can Putin?s threats undermine support for Ukraine?

Stephen Sackur speaks to the Ukrainian MP, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, who currently chairs the Ukrainian parliament?s EU Integration Committee. Kyiv?s battlefield gains have prompted Vladimir Putin to announce a partial mobilisation and ramp up his nuclear threats. What does this mean for Ukraine and for the support it relies on in the west?
2022-09-23
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Maria Pevchikh: Where does Russia's anti-Putin movement go from here?

Stephen Sackur speaks to Maria Pevchikh, investigations chief for Alexei Navalny?s Anti-Corruption Foundation, which is now outlawed in Russia. With Vladimir Putin putting a tighter squeeze on Russian civil society and criticism of the war risking years in prison, where does Russia?s anti-Putin movement go from here?
2022-09-12
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Vadym Prystaiko: Can Ukraine count on its allies?

Stephen Sackur speaks to Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine's former foreign minister, who now serves as the country's ambassador to the UK. With the war in Russia becoming protracted and attritional, and with Putin putting an energy squeeze on Europe, can Kyiv count on the staying power of its allies?
2022-09-09
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Enrico Letta: Is Italy set to choose a far-right government?

Stephen Sackur speaks to Enrico Letta, leader of Italy?s centre-left Democratic Party. With a momentous General Election looming, can Italians be persuaded against embracing a coalition of the far right?
2022-09-07
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Lindsey Graham: Trump and the midterms

In a special edition of HARDtalk from the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy, Stephen Sackur speaks to long-time Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham. He is perhaps the most forceful and voluble defender of former President Donald Trump in Washington DC. The expectation is that Trump will run again for president and try to regain the White House in 2024. But with legal troubles piling up, Republicans must decide: Can they afford to remain the party of Trump?
2022-09-05
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Tova Friedman: Learning from history

Stephen Sackur speaks to Tova Friedman, one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz. Never has it felt more important to remember the lessons of one of history?s greatest crimes, the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Europe is again witnessing a war of aggression, anti-Semitism is on the rise in many countries, and surveys of young people reveal alarming ignorance of the Holocaust. Now in her eighties, Tova Friedman has written a memoir and taken to social media to tell her story. Is the world listening?
2022-09-02
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Gwen Adshead: Getting inside the minds of murderers

Zeinab Badawi speaks to Dr Gwen Adshead, a forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist who has spent more than three decades trying to treat some of the UK?s most violent offenders. Why does she urge compassion and understanding for those who many brand as simply evil?
2022-08-31
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Pinchas Goldschmidt: Is the Ukraine war deepening Jewish anxiety?

Stephen Sackur speaks to Pinchas Goldschmidt, who was chief rabbi of Moscow until he fled Russia after the Ukraine invasion and left his post. His fate has exposed the scale of wider Jewish flight from Russia, and divisions within the Jewish community. Why is this war deepening Jewish anxiety?
2022-08-29
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Olga Rudenko: Is there room for government critique in Ukraine's fight for survival?

Stephen Sackur speaks to Olga Rudenko, chief editor of the Kyiv Independent - set up by Ukrainian journalists to hold their government to account. Is there room for independent journalism when Ukraine is in a fight for survival against Russian aggression?
2022-08-26
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Sir Peter Blake: What keeps his creativity alive?

Stephen Sackur speaks to the artist Sir Peter Blake, whose work came to define the freshness and optimism of the 1960s. Now aged 90, he is still painting. What keeps his creativity alive?
2022-08-22
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Kri?j?nis Kari??: Is Latvia still vulnerable?

Stephen Sackur is in Riga to speak to the Prime Minister of Latvia, Kri?j?nis Kari??. Latvia is now an established member of the EU and NATO, but Putin?s Ukraine invasion has revived fears of Russian expansionism. Three decades on from the collapse of the Soviet Union, is Latvia still vulnerable?
2022-08-19
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George Monbiot: Surrounded by fear

Humans face a series of interlinked existential challenges. How do we feed a global population heading towards ten billion? Can it be done without degrading ecosystems and exacerbating climate change to a calamitous extent? Stephen Sackur interviews writer and environmental activist George Monbiot, who has spent decades addressing these questions and framing radical answers. Why are so many politicians and voters seemingly unwilling to listen?
2022-08-17
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Shon Faye: The transgender issue

According to research in the US and the UK, roughly one in 100 may be transgender. But the fact that the debate about transgender rights has become a political battleground isn?t driven so much by the numbers but more by conflicting ideologies. Stephen Sackur asks author and journalist Shon Faye if all the attention on issues of sex, gender and identity is making it easier to be trans or not. This programme is subject to clarifications. In the interview with the transgender activist and writer Shon Faye, the presenter said: ?There's quite a lot of data now on this, self-harm is a problem for people who are in this situation and suicide is also more common among trans young people than among the rest of the population?. In fact, the overall position is unclear as there is limited data on suicides among young trans people. On the point made by Shon Faye that puberty blockers are reversible, the NHS says little is known about their long term side effects in children with gender dysphoria, and that although the Gender and Identity Service (GIDS) advises this is a physically reversible treatment if stopped, it is not known what the psychological effects may be. Details here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/helpandfeedback/corrections_clarifications/
2022-08-15
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Amrullah Saleh: Is resistance in Afghanistan viable?

Stephen Sackur speaks to the former First Vice President of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh, now a leader of the resistance dedicated to overthrowing the Taliban. A year after the Islamists returned to power, Afghanistan is in the grip of repression and starvation. Is resistance a viable option?
2022-08-12
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Albert Woodfox: Freedom after a life inside

There are some human experiences which most of us find it very hard to get our heads around. In 2019, Stephen Sackur spoke to Albert Woodfox, who experienced the unimaginable torment of more than four decades in solitary confinement, in a tiny cell in one of America?s most notorious prisons. He was the victim of ingrained racism and brutality inside America?s system of criminal justice. He was released from prison in 2016 and reflected on the meaning of freedom after everything he?d been through. This is another chance to listen to the interview with Albert Woodfox after his recent death. (Photo: Albert Woodfox, a former member of the Black Panthers, who was put in solitary confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Credit: Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images)
2022-08-10
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Gregory Doran: Why does Shakespeare still captivate us?

Stephen Sackur is in Stratford-upon-Avon, interviewing Gregory Doran, artistic director emeritus of the Royal Shakespeare Company. More than 400 years after his death, Shakespeare?s words and stories live on, transcending languages and borders. Why do we continue to make much ado about Shakespeare?
2022-08-05
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The Singh Twins: Mixing art and politics

Zeinab Badawi is at the Firstsite gallery in Colchester to speak to acclaimed contemporary British artists the Singh Twins. Their work combines Eastern and Western traditions with sharp political comment. What inspires their artistic vision?
2022-08-03
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James Lovelock: The future of life on Earth

In an interview recorded in 2021, Stephen Sackur speaks to one of the past century's most influential environmentalists, James Lovelock. He introduced us to the Gaia hypothesis ? the idea that our planet and all the life on it are part of one dynamic, self-regulating system. At the age of 101, Lovelock still had big thoughts about the future of life on Earth. Have we humans sown the seeds of our own destruction? Audio for this episode updated on Monday 1st August 2022.
2022-08-01
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Julius Malema: Is South Africa on the brink of chaos?

Stephen Sackur speaks to South Africa?s controversial populist politician Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters. Allegations of political corruption, power cuts and mass unemployment are pushing South Africa to the brink of chaos. Could one of Africa?s richest nations be consumed by insurrectionist violence?
2022-07-29
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Fatih Birol: Could short-term panic derail the clean energy transition?

Stephen Sackur speaks to Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, and an influential advocate of the global transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. Has that green transition been hampered or hastened by the Ukraine war and Europe?s deepening energy crisis?
2022-07-27
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Sharan Burrow: Do workers have faith in collective action?

Stephen Sackur interviews the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, Sharan Burrow. There are signs of deepening worker discontent around the world; inflation is outstripping wages, and global corporations stand accused of putting profits before people, while many governments see organised labour as a threat. Have workers lost their faith in collective action?
2022-07-22
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Omah Lay: Is there a universal message in his music?

Sarah Montague speaks to Afrobeats musician Omah Lay. With its roots in the social activist Afrobeat music pioneered by Fela Kuti, is there a universal message in the music of this young Nigerian singer-songwriter? (Photo: Omah Lay talks to Sarah Montague)
2022-07-18
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Meaza Ashenafi: What are the prospects for peace in Ethiopia?

The conflict in Ethiopia between the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front and government forces is one of many challenges to the country?s stability. Now, there is a glimmer of hope, with both sides saying they are willing to start efforts to end the war. Zeinab Badawi speaks to Meaza Ashenafi, the Chief Justice of the Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia. What are the prospects for peace and justice in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands?
2022-07-15
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Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda: Does Christianity in Iraq have a future?

Twenty-five years ago, almost one and a half million Christians lived in Iraq. Now there are around a quarter of a million, and after years of war and communal violence many of them have been displaced from their ancestral homes. Can anything be done to reverse this trend toward extinction? Stephen Sackur speaks to Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil, home to the largest remaining Christian community. In a country and a region where Christianity has deep roots, does it have a future?
2022-07-13
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Nury Turkel: Will the world stand up for China's Uyghurs?

Stephen Sackur speaks to Nury Turkel, a prominent Uyghur activist in exile and chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. He is a key leader in the effort to pressure China to end the repression of the Uyghurs. But is his campaign doomed to fail? (Photo: Nury Turkel in the Hardtalk studio)
2022-07-08
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Ibram X. Kendi: America's unhealed racial wounds

The fractures in American society are widening, over guns, abortion, education and more. But the deepest, most traumatic fracture is surely over race. The US is post-slavery, post-segregation, but definitely not post-racism. Stephen Sackur speaks to Ibram X. Kendi, an influential writer and academic, who argues the only way to not be racist is to be actively anti-racist - a message he says children must hear. But does his approach risk intensifying America?s internal conflict?
2022-07-06
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