22 Feb 2018

Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Slated to Hit Theaters November 2019

Image via Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Sega of America

More than 28 years after Sonic the Hedgehog gave Sega a temporary rivalry against Nintendo (which did not end well for them) the ’90s mainstay is slated to hit the big screen. The new release date is much closer than it was in 2014, which is when the cinematic adaption was originally announced.

According to Deadline, Paramount has scheduled a film for the titular blue blur to drop on November 15, 2019. The flick will be produced by Neal H. Moritz, whose enormous resume is highlighted by: I Am Legend, both 21 and 22 Jump Street, and also all the Fast & Furious movies. In addition to that, Sonic will be executive produced by Deadpool director Tim Miller, and directed by relative newbie Jeff Fowler. Deadline also adds that the video game inspired title will be a combination of CGI characters and live action.

This will not be nearly the first time that someone has tried to translate Sonic into some sort of scripted entertainment property, as he’s previously been the star of five different TV series’, including a ’90s one where he was voiced by Jaleel White. He’s also been in his own long-running comic book series and has been turned into anime. Since he’s known by most everyone as a video game character, it’s worth noting that he’s been the lead in 90+ games on a number of platforms. As of 2016 he had helped Sega sell 80+ million physical copies. That number actually sounds kind of low to me, but he’s also helped move 350+ million units when you add those sales to mobile downloads.

Of course, Sonic does his best work when he’s going left to right on your TV in 2D. Now how exactly they plan to translate that to a big screen narrative? Well, I don’t really know. But that’s what they get paid for.

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11 Feb 2018

Kim Jong Un’s sister ends her trip to the Olympics

Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, returns to Pyongyang Sunday at the close of her visit to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

While in South Korea, Kim was subject to intense scrutiny, her pleasant personal manner presenting a marked contrast to her family’s brutally dictatorial regime. Kim is the director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of her brother’s government, and some Western media outlets came under fire for what critics deemed too-favorable coverage of the "political princess":

Guys, be more like BuzzFeed here. pic.twitter.com/rmS5er9hR4

— Rory Cooper (@rorycooper) February 11, 2018

Kim Yo Jong is the first member of the Kim family to visit South Korea since her grandfather took power in North Korea. She was accompanied by North Korean officials and invited the South Korean president to visit Pyongyang for direct talks. Bonnie Kristian

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31 Jan 2018

Residents worried they’ll be forced out after San Pedro Creek renovation

San Pedro Creek construction (Alma E. Hernandez, Folo Media).
In October, the Soapworks apartments were purchased by the Barvin Group of Houston (Lynda M. Gonzalez, Folo Media).
The Soapworks and Towne Center apartments are located in west downtown (Lynda M. Gonzalez, Folo Media).

SAN ANTONIO – Donnie Dawson, 70, is grateful he’s able to afford a three-bedroom downtown apartment on a caregiver’s salary. He can afford such spacious digs because he lives at the Soapworks apartments on North Santa Rosa Street, one of a handful of affordable communities left in San Antonio’s urban core.

But it may not be affordable for long.

The $175 million transformation of San Pedro Creek, the channel that winds through the western half of downtown, is beginning to threaten the affordability of the two Soapworks properties and the neighboring Towne Center complex — all of which abut the creek. Led by Bexar County, the massive public project will revive what has been a decades-long dried-up ditch into something like the next River Walk.

About a year into construction, which began late 2016, Dawson wasn’t too worried. But in October, when a Houston-based investment group bought Soapworks and Towne Center, and immediately began renovating them, he became frightened.

The apartments “needed a fixup, but what they are trying to do is not that,” Dawson said over the incessant cacophony of downtown traffic and nearby construction vehicles. “We all think that they are trying to push us out.”

Dawson feels the renovations, the likes of which he hasn’t seen in the 38 years he’s lived there, are less for him and his current neighbors, and more for attracting higher-paying tenants, improvements for others to enjoy. Dawson’s rent has not yet increased, but empty units that are renovated are being offered at much higher rates than current residents pay.

Dawson, for example, pays 76 cents per square foot, but some of the renovated units are being advertised as high as $1.63 per square foot on the properties’ website.

Many of the residents of Soapworks and Towne Center — which combine for 381 units — are low-income, elderly or disabled, and some walk to their service industry jobs downtown. They believe the owners, the Barvin Group, are trying to capitalize on the San Pedro Creek project, which is expected to draw major investment from housing developers and other private sector players, just as the Museum Reach, another urban ditch turned linear park funded by public dollars, helped catalyze the Pearl.

Even if the Barvin Group doesn’t push out current residents for more immediate profits, residents worry that increasing property values in the area will leave them no choice. (The Barvin Group did not respond to requests for comment.) Some residents have already left on their own.

Some don’t expect to be around for San Pedro Creek’s grand opening, currently scheduled for May 5.

While San Antonio is already strapped for affordable housing — 153,000 units are needed, by last estimate — and while Mayor Ron Nirenberg has recently expressed his desire for affordable housing to be included in downtown development henceforth, what happens when some of the last existing affordable stock in a community is endangered by continued efforts to revitalize that very community?

A familiar cycle

Soapworks and Towne Center occupy three corners of the West Martin and South Santa Rosa intersection and offer some of the last affordable housing units left in a fast-gentrifying downtown.

The way some residents see it: because city and county policies are the driving force behind all of downtown’s recent and potential growth, shouldn’t it be the city and county’s responsibility to offset potential damage to long-term and vulnerable residents?

As San Antonio’s center continues to grow with the help of public money, this dilemma plays on repeat. Specifically, major transformations of segments of the San Antonio River — the Museum Reach to the north, the Mission Reach to the south — have had an impact on communities built along the waterway.

During the late 2000s, when the Museum Reach was completed, a handful of residents and organizations along that portion of the San Antonio River were displaced as development moved in and property values rose. In 2014, 300 residents were uprooted from the Mission Trails mobile home park along the Mission Reach to the south to make room for a luxury complex.

Recently, to help curb this trend while simultaneously addressing downtown’s lack of affordability, Mayor Ron Nirenberg placed a moratorium on a downtown incentives program known as the Center City Housing Incentives Policy. Also, Nirenberg’s housing task force is currently meeting to solve dilemmas like Soapworks and Towne Center.

“We created the Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force to address issues just like this one,” Nirenberg said in a statement to Folo Media. “Understanding that the challenges of growth and development are complex, we expect the Task Force to deliver a set of compassionate policy recommendations that would help us ensure that affordable housing stock exists throughout our city and that our residents can age in place.”

A 2013 economic impact report predicted that in its first 10 years, the San Pedro Creek project would bring in new 7,300 residents to the area, increase property values by 150 percent and draw in $227 million in ad valorem tax revenue.

Though Dawson and other residents like where they are living, most just want to move — if they can afford to.

A handful of tenants have approached District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño to request financial help with a move.

Treviño met with the San Antonio Housing Authority and the Department of Human Services on Friday, Jan. 13, to discuss the situation. Treviño said he will find a way to get moving assistance for any resident that is priced out.

“My goal is to help them however they want me to,” Treviño said. “I want to help them if they want to stay or if they want to leave … that is their choice.”

Treviño said he is still analyzing how he can help residents stay if their rent increases dramatically, but so far no one who has approached him has wanted to stay.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said county officials have not discussed the situation at Soapworks and Towne Center, nor has he heard complaints from its residents. However, he said the county will not allow a scenario like Mission Trails to happen again.

“It is one thing when residents are being displaced, but that is not what is happening here,” Wolff said.

Most residents describe their relationship with the new owners as shaky. At best, they feel management isn’t worrying about them because they’re so focused on the upgrades. At worst, they feel management is intentionally being difficult and uncommunicative in an attempt to drive them out.

Several residents, Dawson included, say management has not explained to them how the price increase will occur. They see their floor plans listed online for significantly more than they are currently paying, and thus they worry. Dawson currently pays $746 a month for his three-bedroom, 972-square-foot apartment, but on the Soapworks website, it’s listed at $1,350.

Michelle McMillan, a representative of Capstone Real Estate Services, Inc., said they intend to create “middle-income housing” at Soapworks and Towne Center. Residents will not be forced out by management or intentionally priced out, she said.

Instead, rent will only be raised on units once they are rehabbed, she said. They will not begin the renovations while someone is living in a unit, nor will they ask residents to leave so they can renovate, she said. McMillan said Capstone will work with an apartment locator service to identify affordable properties in the area for residents who want to leave.

In two or three years, McMillan expects all of the apartments at Soapworks and Towne Center will have been renovated, meaning they will all be rented at the higher rates quoted on the website.

The residents Folo Media interviewed — seven, in all — had not heard these terms.

The current lease terms offered at the properties range from four to nine months, exacerbating fears among the residents that they will be kicked out around the time renovations along the San Pedro Creek are finished in May.

Maureen Galindo, 30, a single mother of three children — ages 1, 5 and 7 — has been offered a four month lease. She worries Capstone will push her and her kids out after the four months are up, or raise her rent in retaliation for her vocal opposition. Others fear retaliation for speaking out as well.

“Not having housing security is literally debilitating on the brain and on the mind,” Galindo said.

“I’m going through that once again, as well as all of our neighbors. It’s bad from a moral viewpoint and also from an economic (viewpoint). You can’t just kick people out on the streets.”

McMillan said Capstone does not consider these leases to be short-term because they offer the same terms at other properties they manage. She also said residents will be able to extend their contract for the same price when the current lease expires.

All of the residents Folo Media interviewed complained about how management has treated them, from expired fire extinguishers, to missing rent statements, to faulty water heaters. Residents say Capstone won’t accept $1 bills for washing machines tokens, only $5. And when the machines eat the tokens, the management won’t refund the lost coins, the residents say.

“I feel like they are hitting us with a wooden knife,” said a Soapworks resident who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s enough to hurt, but not make us bleed.”

McMillan denies that management is trying to force out residents under the table. She claims most of the residents have not voiced their concerns to the staff, and insists the staff would assist them if they did so.

She also added that management has not looked at the incomes of any of the current residents, but that many of them will possibly be able to afford updated units. According to the website, the new prices for Soapworks and Towne Center range from $1.35 to $1.63 per square foot, which is nowhere near the $2 per square foot offered at complexes in and near the Pearl or even higher luxury apartment rates cropping up elsewhere, such as the $3.14 per square foot at the Cellars in the Pearl.

Even if some of the rumors floating among the residents are false, their fear represents a very real concern about the availability of affordable housing along the San Pedro Creek as the renovations go forward.

The residents are planning to meet soon to discuss what is happening and what needs to be done. For now, they say, all they can do is wait.

“Everybody sort of just feels clueless in that realm,” Galindo said. “I just bring it up to people, outside, walking around, ‘How do you feel about everything?’ They say, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know what’s going on.’”

This story was originally published by Folo Media. Folo Media is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization focused on the challenges and opportunities for vulnerable communities in San Antonio, Texas.

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20 Jan 2018

USAA Real Estate Sells Buckhead Doubletree for $41.3 Million

A Rhode Island investor is the new owner of the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Atlanta’s landmark Tower Place development.

MHF Buckhead, an affiliate of Magna Hospitality Group of Warwick, RI, paid $41.3 million for the hotel with 230 keys and 7,323 square feet of meeting space. The seller was USAA Real Estate of San Antonio, TX.

The transaction, which closed last month, was announced Tuesday by Hodges Ward Elliott, a hotel brokerage and investment banking firm. The HWE team of Mark Elliott, Michael DiPrima and Jeff Berkman represented USAA in the transaction.

The Doubletree Buckhead at 3342 Peachtree Rd. sits in the middle of the Tower Place mixed-use development that is within easy walking distance to several trophy office towers, restaurants and MARTA. Tower Place, the first true mixed-use development in Buckhead, recently got some new cache when WeWork opened a large co-working operation there.

The Doubletree’s new owner, Magna, has more than $1 billion in hotel real estate under management and development. A majority of its holdings are located along the Atlantic Seaboard, from Washington to Boston.

Robert A. Indeglia Jr. founded Magna in 1998. It now owns and/or operates 20 hotels with 4,500 rooms.

For more information on this transaction, please see CoStar COMP #4108774.

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04 Jan 2018

San Antonio leads U.S. cities for minority homeownership

San Antonio ranks No. 1 for minority homeowners. iStock

It’s very difficult to argue with the statistics: inequality in the U.S. is on the rise. The ‘American Dream’ — the one with the nice suburban house with the white picket fence, a couple of kids, and an easily payable mortgage — appears to be sliding further away from minorities, according to a new report by rental search firm Abodo Apartments.

Looking at the country as a whole, 71.3 percent of white Americans own homes, while only 41 percent of black Americans own a home, according to the latest U.S. Census numbers analyzed by Abodo. The study also looked at other minority groups including Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans and found similar, albeit smaller, disparities.

But what about Texas? Good news — San Antonio ranks No.1 among the largest U.S. cities for minority homeownership. In San Antonio, 55.2 percent of minorities own homes while 44.8 percent of minorities are renters.

When it comes to saving for a down payment, it would take minorities in San Antonio – based on a formula compiled by ABODO – eight years to save for a down payment. And surprisingly, when compared to other large cities in the U.S., this is not a long time. For example, in San Jose, California it would take a minority 56.7 years (yes, years) to save for a down payment. Home prices in that city are among the highest in the nation right now, but either way, that’s a long time to wait to own a home.

Interestingly, many minorities are seeking alternative home financing methods. One example is a contract for deed method, widely popular in the Midwest. Other methods for creative home financing include two-step mortgages, family loans, securities-back loans, and more.

Outside of San Antonio, Houston ranks fifth among large cities for minority homeowners with 50.2 percent, Austin ranks 11th among the largest cities for minority homeownership rates, with 48 percent owning homes, and Dallas ranks 15th with 47.4 percent minority homeowners.

That’s all good news, seeing as many major cities like New York City, Boston, Cleveland, San Diego, and Los Angeles ranked far lower, according to the report. In Texas, equal opportunity is on the rise in the housing department, a trend we hope continues throughout 2018.

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19 Jul 2017

The Benefits Of Using An Apartment Finder San Antonio

Moving to San Antonio is exciting and the city is a great place to live. There are plenty of activities to enjoy there and the cost of living is low, so you can really enjoy yourself when you live there without having to worry about money so much. One of the best ways to find your ideal apartment is to use an apartment finder San Antonio.

Apartment finders make the apartment search easier because you don’t have to visit so many sites looking for the right apartment. You can use the apartment finder and enter in all the things that are important to you and you will be able to easily find an amazing apartment that is in your price range.

You can find apartment finders online and you don’t have to enter in any personal information. You just need to check off boxes for the things that you want and the apartment finder will do all the hard work and find you a great apartment. You want to make your apartment hunt as easy as possible and you don’t want to spend a ton of time looking for listings on all the different apartment sites.

The great thing about using an apartment finder is that the software goes through all the listings for you and pulls the ones that meet your requirements so you don’t have to do all that work yourself. If you had to look for every apartment by hand it would take forever.

You do need to do your homework and look for the neighborhood you want to look for. Some San Antonio neighborhoods are better than others and you don’t want to get stuck in an unsafe neighborhood. Take the time to scout out the neighborhoods you might want to live in so you don’t get stuck in a bad one.

Try to find a apartment that is near your job and also near shopping and restaurants if you can. Ideally, you would be able to walk to restaurants and stores. If you are going to be taking public transportation, look for an apartment that is near a bus line.

Using an apartment finder San Antonio makes looking for apartments so much easier and you can quickly find the apartment you want. San Antonio is an affordable place to live and it has plenty of entertainment options to keep you happy.

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09 Jan 2015

What You Should Know For Finding Rental Apartments?

When you are looking for one of the best apartments in San Antonio, you should have to be quite savvy with certain information that is necessary for finding the right apartment. Though these essentials aren’t difficult but it is significant that you ensure to take care of all these things and if you fail to do so then your apartment search can end up nowhere.

Whether you search apartments through apartment locator San Antonio or do it on your own, keep yourself following business mindset. You will be spending some of your hard earned cash; therefore, the matter should be treated professional not only in conduct but also in appearance as well.

You should be very well prepared and must have clear idea in your mind about what you actually want. Do all the homework by listing all necessary requirements that you are looking for in the rental apartment as well as the extra amenities that will be taken in to account if possible.

When searching for San Antonio apartments, take a realistic approach and make sure that your desires don’t take over and you must remain within the price range set by you. It may be possible for you to have all those extra amenities when the life allows you and you can afford them all.

Prior to starting your search, you should first determine where you want to have your next apartment. Consider everything that you want the location to have like schools, shops, nightlife, parks, churches or anything that suits your culture and lifestyle. Keep it in mind that if a wrong location is chosen by you then you can end up losing your money as well as your time.

Figure out the arrangements that will have to be made about other tenants and the pets. It should be clear in your mind that who is solely your responsibility and that whether you’re allowed to get some help in covering the costs by taking in some boarders.

Once you are able to find your desired rental apartment San Antonio, you should be decisive, prepared and quick. If you do not act promptly, it is quite possible that the apartment becomes unavailable in the mean time. If you cannot make quick decisions that you should better have some of your family members or friends to help you out in finding the right apartment. In case if you aren’t prepared, it’s quite possible that you end up running around getting required papers or something else and the opportunity is lost in that entire tussle.

You should also be ready for negotiating the price of the apartment or some other necessary arrangements. Depending on economy’s strength as well as apartments’ availability it may be possible for you to negotiate better deal that proves to be in your favor financially. So, you should act accordingly.

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09 Jan 2015

What Can Be The Expected Rent For 2 Bedroom Apartments?

When you are looking to rent apartments with 2 bedrooms in the city of San Antonio, you find yourself wondering what can be your expected monthly rent. Your monthly rent for apartments in San Antonio depends on quite a few factors like the area in which you want to live as well as how upscale apartment complex is chosen by you. But it is quite possible for you to determine the average rental amount. However, you should keep it in mind that it’s not an exact price necessarily to be paid.

You will be quite happy when you will know that average living costs in this city is comfortably 24% less than national average. It means, regardless of what is being paid by you in terms of your monthly rent, you’ll still be able to live quite cheaply compared to any other place in the USA. Another good thing about San Antonio Apartments is that average rent here is almost 30% less than national average, making it a really great deal for you to locate an apartment here and start a living. So, if you are looking for 2 bedroom apartments here, you’ll typically get one for around $525-$1200. Definitely, that is a big discrepancy. There are many factors that will determine that whether you’ll be paying at the spectrum’s higher end or the lower one.

In case if you want to live deep in downtown’s heart or even some major source of the busy nightlife, you’ll have to forget about having to pay on lower end. Even though your apartment locator San Antonio may find you some cheap single bedroom apartments or studios, it really gets pricier when it comes to 2 bedroom apartments.

The best bet here for you would be to find an apartment as away from city as it is possible for you. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to take yourself into the woods but you cannot expect any cultural center or shopping mall right next to your apartment building. You should consider the amount that you’re ready to pay for the location alone, as that is exactly what you will be paying for as you choose living in such areas.

You should also think about renting from some small complex or independent landlord when you have to deal with a tighter budget. So many big and fancy complexes are there in the city of San Antonio where you can find 2 bedroom apartments accompanied by lots of different amenities. Most of them will feature swimming pools, clubhouses and gyms while some can even have golf courses too. Besides the location, the amenities you want to have are also a major determinant of the rent that you can expect yourself to pay in this part of the world when getting apartments of your choice.

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09 Jan 2015

Apartment Locator San Antonio – How To Find The Best Apartments For Rent

Getting the services of apartment locator san antonio can prove to be quite helpful for you in finding the best apartments out there. However, there are quite a few factors that should be taken into account including costs, amenities, moving fees, etc.

There are two main factors that determine the apartment’s cost i.e. the location of the apartment that you want to rent as well as the quality and apartment size. Start moving closer to population center and you will find drastic increase in the apartment costs that you may have to bear.

You can find rental apartments San Antonio in almost all the communities. The communities having large populations can have apartments which are designated specifically to some groups in the population. You can even find the specialized apartments for the people having disabilities and even for the elderly people. All these apartments have their own specially trained staff for assisting with particular needs of apartment owners or renters.

There are quite a few apartments where you are charged a fee when you move in, along with a deposit amount. Your security deposit is expected to refund when the contract ends, depending on condition in which you leave the unit. You might have to lose part of the security deposit if something in the unit has been broken by you or if it was left dirty by you forcing the owner to pay for cleaning the unit prior to letting the unit to somebody else.

Most of the San Antonio apartments that you will be able to locate feature almost all the amenities that one can name. They have their own swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, aerobic and weight rooms, tennis courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, horseshoes and many others along the list. In certain apartment complexes, you may have to pay extra amounts in terms of rent just because of the availability of all these amenities, even though these amenities may not worth that extra cost to you. There are apartments where you can have your own pet while there are others as well which do not allow you to have your own pet. Age restrictions are also applied in some of the apartments and some may also prohibit smoking as well.

There are so many varieties of the San Antonio rental apartments and you should read the contract carefully prior to signing it. It is quite possible that your new contract may have lots of clauses different from the ones that were the part of your previous rental contract.

Regardless of whether you will moving into some newly built unit or the one which is few years old, it is necessary for you to not down any electrical, heating & cooling, or plumbing problems. It should be ensured that all these problems are fixed before you make your move.

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07 Jan 2015

Apartment search in San Antonio – What You Can Get

If you are planning a visit to San Antonio, then you must be wondering where to stay during your visit. Is it better to stay in an Antonio hotel or you should rent an apartment? This brief article will help you in making a right choice by considering few factors.

Hotels in Antonio are splendidly built, and they vary in rent and facilities. The rent of an average hotel room located inside the city varies from 100 USD to 500 USD per night. These hotels provide you major amenities that you would would require while your stay in the city. There are few hotels that cost less rent per night as well, but these are located outside Antonio downtown with 80’s lifestyle. While apartment locator San Antonio can help in finding suitable vacant apartment at very low rent price as compared to hotel room, the rent of these hotel rooms primarily depends on the facilities they offer; for example, telephone line, cable connection with LCD and attached bathroom. More luxurious and expensive hotels will also provide amenities like swimming pool, gym, and high-speed internet. Some of the hotels in Antonio also include the breakfast charges to give you a healthy way to start the day.

Advantages of staying in Antonio hotel include the room service, every day cleaning and in-house restaurants, gym and swimming pool. The major advantage of the hotel over an apartment is the ability to extend your booking as long as you require and the freedom of checking-out any day you wish. Besides these advantages, these hotels have disadvantages as well. Disadvantages include high rent price, small space and privacy issues. These disadvantages necessitate vacant apartment search in San Antonio. In these hotel rooms you never know your neighbor might be fond of hearing very loud music and no availability of the personalized atmosphere is also one of the disadvantages. In most of the hotel rooms, you are not allowed to cook, which compels the occupant to rely on the hotel cooked a meal.

Business of renting out apartments in San Antonio is becoming more and more popular among the tourists and foreigners. These apartments provide lots of space, starting from one bedroom, two bedrooms and three bedroom apartments. Western standard renovation and variety of facilities have upgraded the lifestyle in these apartments. Almost all the apartments in Antonio have cable TV, Oven, Telephone line, and kitchen. Availability of kitchen helps the visitors to avoid expensive Antonio restaurants. Best apartments in San Antonio are equipped with all of the above facilities that make your stay more comfortable and pleasant. Prices of these apartments depend upon space inside and the location within the city. Renting an apartment in the center of the city will cost much more as compare to the one locating on the city’s fringes.

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