The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 5, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Saigon that a 4,000-man "National Political Congress" had given thunderous approval this date to a demand for removal of South Vietnam's Chief of State Bao Dai, while in another political assembly, rebellion had arisen over a move to provide Premier Ngo Dinh Diem sole power to arrange for national elections. There was no indication of the manner in which the legal responsibilities of the two congressional groups were distributed. But it was clear that Bao Dai, the former Emperor, was finished, not appearing to be acceptable even in the role of a constitutional monarch, as reportedly envisaged by the U.S. The Congress which had voted to oust him had been summoned by the National Revolutionary Committee, which originated the demand for his removal the previous week. It consisted of 4,000 political leaders, revolutionaries, representatives of religious sects, local and provincial officials. The meeting which was reluctant to provide sole power to the Premier for determining national elections was a 700-member congress, dubbed a "States General", summoned by the Premier, consisting of elected local and provincial counselors and tribal chiefs, convening at the presidential palace the previous day. During the morning, 22 southern members of the executive committee of the States General had walked out angrily protesting a proposal to give the Premier the sole power over elections to the National Assembly, wanting instead the arrangements left to the Provincial Assembly of municipal and provincial counselors. Conciliatory efforts had resulted in the return of four of the southerners, and deliberations were resumed on a resolution calling on Bao Dai to yield his full authority to the prospective Assembly when elected, and in the meantime, to confer full military and civilian powers on the Premier. The entire executive committee of the States General had agreed on a preamble which vigorously attacked Bao Dai, but did not demand that he be deposed. The elected counselors, generally more conservative, would give the projected National Assembly the power to depose the former Emperor, who now resided on the French Riviera. He had become Chief of State in 1949, but had not been in Vietnam for more than a year. Some bitterness had arisen over the U.S. support for a constitutional monarchy as the best bet for making the transformation to a democratic government, one highly placed Vietnamese having asked whether the U.S. thought it was the only nation privileged to enjoy a democratic republic, and whether it had forgotten its own revolutionary past so quickly.

In Washington, the 50-member House Appropriations Committee this date approved the Administration's planned military manpower cuts and voted 31.5 billion dollars in new defense funds, promising additional funds quickly in the event of "drastically worsened world conditions." The recommended new appropriations, plus the unobligated funds from previous appropriations, would provide the Defense Department with over 43 billion dollars to spend during the coming fiscal year, provided the full House and the Senate would agree to the new appropriation. According to a report written by the Committee, the appropriation would emphasize "continental air defense and the increasing potential for massive retaliation in the event of enemy attack." The bill approved 744.6 million dollars less new money than requested by the President, but much of that cut had been more technical than real. The approval of the President's proposed plan to cut Army strength by about 75,000 men during the coming year was expected to touch off a battle in the House at large. The Committee had said that a large standing army and the stockpiling of large quantities of weapons, especially those subject to rapid obsolescence, had been determined to be less economical in the present age of rapid technological development. The report held out little hope for big defense appropriation cuts in the near future. The piece provides a breakdown of the proposed new funding, to be shared across the services, with the largest part, 14.4 billion, devoted to the Air Force, followed by 9 billion for the Navy and 7.3 billion for the Army.

In Bonn, West Germany became a sovereign nation in alliance with the free world this date, as the ten-year Allied occupation ended at noon, with two short ceremonies formally ending the supreme powers wielded by the U.S., Britain and France over the 50 million West Germans for the prior decade. The Allied High Commission repealed all of its laws and abolished itself by proclamation, and the British and French high commissioners completed the formality of depositing the sovereignty treaty at Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's office, an act undertaken by the U.S. on April 20—whether by design to coincide with Hitler's birthday being left to conjecture. Perhaps, it would have been more appropriate to have done so on April 30, his death day and Walpurgis Night. Sixty Allied laws and 130 ordinances were repealed by the declaration, signed by the high commissioners of each of the three countries, who would now become ambassadors to West Germany for their respective nations, including Dr. James B. Conant for the U.S. Within five years, it was anticipated that West Germany would produce an Army, Navy and Air Force comprised of 500,000 men, to be the largest Western armed force on the Iron Curtain frontier, consisting of 400,000 men trained in atomic warfare, a jet air force of 80,000 men and 1,300 planes, and a coastal navy of 20,000 men. That force would outnumber the Soviet Union's present armed strength in East Germany and Allied strategists believed it would tip the balance in favor of the West in the event of a third world war. During the occupation, diplomatic relations with the Soviet bloc had been banned, but now the Bonn Government could establish relations with any country, East or West, which it chose, as the treaty gave West Germany the full authority of a sovereign state over its internal and external affairs. It would, however, continue to be dependent on the U.S., Britain and France for its defense against Communist domination.

At the nuclear test site in Yucca Flat, Nev., an atomic bomb was detonated, at least one and a half times more powerful than the blast which had leveled Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, knocking out the 250-watt mock radio station located less than a mile from ground zero and probably causing extensive damage to the four specially built homes located on "Doomsday Drive", only 4,700 feet from the tower from which the bomb was detonated. The fireball had lasted 25 seconds and had a power of between 30 and 35 kilotons, whereas the bombs which had been dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been 20 kilotons, the equivalent of 20,000 tons of TNT. The full extent of the damage would be determined on a tour of "Survival City", the test town, the following day. Depending on weather, the 14th and final shot of the 1955 series of nuclear detonations, also to occur from a 500-foot tower at Yucca Flat, might be detonated the following day, with that tower located about 7 miles east of the blast this date, not expected to have any effect on Survival City, set to occur prior to the tour of the latter area. The white flash from this date's detonation had been observed throughout the Southwest and 500 miles northwest, at Klamath Falls, Ore., lighting the sky also across the Mexican border from San Diego, and sighted in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Phoenix. Although it had illuminated the sky in Las Vegas, 75 miles distant, brighter than the sun for an instant, no concussion was felt there, although jarring was felt in Henderson, near Las Vegas. Survival City had lain completely enveloped in dust, some of which was radioactive, a few minutes after the detonation, and an hour later, remained completely obscured from the view of observers on News Nob, observation point for the press, eight miles from ground zero. The test had included about 2,000 women observers, some WAC's and some civilian volunteers, the first time females had been used in the tests.

Alton Blakeslee, Associated Press science reporter, reports from the trench at Survival City, the community specially constructed for testing the effects of an atomic bomb on residential and commercial structures, and the inhabitants thereof, tells of the sight, feel and smell of the atomic bomb having come "flashing, thundering and rocking at six women braving war's newest weapon in a trench only two miles from the blast center", resulting in those female observers being awed, excited and some few frightened. Typical reactions among the women observers in the forward trench were: "Oh, that burst" and "Gee, what a beautiful thing!" Mr. Blakeslee recounts that at the point of detonation, the earth had shaken "as if rocked by a giant's tread", followed by a tinge of warmth from the atomic heat, and then a "roaring boom of the burst and the blast hurling dirt and stones and sand and dust and bringing landslides of dirt spilling into the trench." Everywhere there had been dust, with the taste and smell of the bomb. A steel tower had vaporized and the bomb had scorched and ripped at typical homes only a mile from ground zero, including the food, furnishings and mannequins inside those homes. All of that had to be good for the live observers two miles away, as radioactivity is good for eliminating all of the earthly corruption of the body.

In Raleigh, Governor Luther Hodges told the General Assembly this date that revised revenue estimates had lowered the amount of new tax money needed to balance the state's budget for the ensuing two years to between 19.5 and 20 million dollars. He provided no advice, however, on specific taxes to be levied to fill that gap between spending and revenue. Speaking at a special joint session of the Legislature, he said that it was the job of the legislators to levy the specific taxes which they thought best, in their judgment, for the present times, and cautioned that it would be "unthinkable" to adjourn without providing for that revenue, as some legislators had suggested. He further said that an improved tax outlook was in prospect, resulting from individual income tax returns and a promise by the state revenue commissioner to increase sales and income tax collections by seven million dollars during the ensuing two years, provided he would be given an additional appropriation of $640,000 for new personnel. He reminded that the original estimates prepared the previous fall by his advisory budget commission, estimating that 52 million dollars in new tax money would be needed, had been based on early fall business conditions, which had improved in the interim, making it possible to reduce that figure to 37 million dollars in March, and could be reduced further based on the April 15 individual income tax revenue, once that had been further evaluated, likely to reduce the gap to between 19.5 and 20 million.

Meanwhile, a State Senate Judiciary Committee heard widely differing views expressed on a bill to exempt farm products in interstate commerce, while stored in warehouses, from ad valorem taxation, with one State Representative stating that the bill would benefit the state, while another, representing the League of Municipalities, called it a dangerous proposition. No action had been taken on the measure this date and another public hearing and vote would be scheduled for the following Tuesday. We look forward to that with bated breath.

In New York, New York Post columnist Earl Wilson had reported that the wedding arrangements between singer Eddie Fisher and actress-singer Debbie Reynolds had become so vague this date that friends were wondering when, if ever, they would be married. Mr. Wilson said that associates of the couple had hinted that there were serious problems in the courtship of Mr. Fisher of Ms. Reynolds. The latter had apparently given up on being married in June and it was a significant turn of events to the ladies that no new date had been set for the nuptials. Mr. Fisher's television program, already blamed for forcing a postponement from the original June 17 wedding date, was being cast as the villain of the piece should there be a cancellation of the wedding plans, as Mr. Fisher could not start living in Hollywood the following September because of his television schedule in New York. Mr. Wilson had reported that a couple of gossips had said that Ms. Reynolds had not worn Mr. Fisher's huge engagement ring during her most recent trip to the studio. The couple had last seen one another a week earlier in Detroit, and Mr. Fisher, in Chicago, was returning to New York the following weekend to appear on Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town" program, while Ms. Reynolds, in Hollywood, was planning a movie and a Las Vegas act. What will happen? Tune in tomorrow for another exciting episode of "The Edge of Night".

A report states that the special date, 5-5-55, which would not recur sequentially again until June 6, 1966, which would be the 22nd anniversary of D-Day, and which had last occurred on April 4, 1944—both of which latter days of the year, incidentally, would be freighted with ominous darkness for the country in 1968—, was producing longer than normal coffee breaks around Charlotte because of its redundant nature on the typewriters.

On the editorial page, "Annual Sessions: An Economic Must" tells of the General Assembly having resisted the movement toward annual sessions instead of the current biennial sessions, but finds that there was a chance that the opposition was weakening because of some adroit backstage politicking by State Representative Dave Clark of Lincoln County. He had proposed a bill which would permit North Carolinians to vote on the plan as a constitutional amendment, and the bill had passed the State House by a large margin during the week, after failing by two votes to pass the previous week. The State Senate would now take up the measure.

It observes that there was always the possibility that annual sessions would add nothing but more thunder and lightning to the political climate of the state and perhaps make it more difficult to get able persons to serve. But despite those potential problems, annual sessions, it asserts, would be worth trying for purely economic reasons. The steady growth of the state's budget had made it increasingly difficult for legislators to handle fiscal affairs with any degree of skill in biennial sessions. The current session was a good illustration of those difficulties, as the estimates of revenues and expenditures made two years earlier, had been quite inaccurate, and looking ahead two years to 1957 was also fraught with problems.

The Legislature had met annually prior to the late 19th Century, but since, with a few notable exceptions, biennial sessions had been the rule. A representative of Guilford County had defended Mr. Clark's proposal, making the point that the budget in 1869 had only been 9 million dollars, whereas now it was more than 200 million per year. An appropriations bill authorizing state spending of about 640 million for the ensuing two fiscal years had been passed in the State House the previous day. It adds that some legislative sessions of the 1860's had passed as few as 20 bills, while recent sessions had produced over 1,000 measures.

Mr. Clark's bill provided that members would be paid $15 per day for a 75-day first session in the year following their election, and $15 per day for 60 days in the second year's session, and the same amount for any 30-day special sessions, whereas now legislators were paid $15 per day for 90 days biennially. Considering the expense of having to stay in a Raleigh hotel room during the session, travel between Raleigh and home, meals and lost time from regular work, the proposed salaries were not sufficient and an upward adjustment should be made. But, it urges, the principle of an annual session was sound and represented good business practice for planning and preparing budgets on a yearly basis, preventing serious miscalculations bound to occur in trying to plan more than 12 months in advance. It concludes that government was big business and should be operated with businesslike skill and efficiency.

"Waste Law: No Faint Hearts, Please" tells of there having been a hint of faint heartedness in the air when the City Council had, the previous day, discussed plans to proceed with the industrial waste ordinance set to go into effect June 1. One member of the Council had cautioned that if they were not careful they would run a lot of industries from Charlotte with the ordinance, and with the county increasing taxable values, would be losing millions of dollars in payrolls.

It indicates that fears regarding the waste ordinance would not likely be realized, as it was unlikely that any industry would leave the city simply because it was asked to do its part in keeping the streams of the community reasonably sanitary and free from harmful materials. Industrialists had been aware of the implications of the ordinance for the prior five years, and as pointed out by City Manager Henry Yancey, the provision for an extra charge for disposal of industrial waste had been suggested by the industrialists, themselves.

It observes that North Carolina industry as a whole had become increasingly interested in stream sanitation and the many problems it involved, especially as pollution was as costly to industry as to individuals. A Chapel Hill conservationist had explained the previous year that industrial refuse, municipal sewage and silt resulting from poor watershed management, had not only made the water in most of the streams unfit for human consumption but also unfit for industrial use.

It concludes that responsible industries of the state recognized their duties and responsibilities in that vital field and the ones worth having around did not shirk those responsibilities.

"Parking Woes: An Off-Street Cure" indicates that after a decade of talk about what ought be done about the parking problem in the city, it still persisted and was getting worse rather than better. It suggests that it was probably easier during daylight hours to find a four-leaf clover in midtown than a parking space. (Perhaps not coincidentally, in due course, the solution, in part, would be the cloverleaf exchange, bringing, however, headaches of its own—with the atomic bomb left as the only final solution to the problem.)

Other cities in the country with the same woes were planning worthwhile remedies and the time had come for Charlotte to get in step with those other cities. More than half of the cities with more than 10,000 population operated at least one municipal off-street parking lot, with the average of three to the city, whereas Charlotte had none. According to information to be published in the International City Managers Association's forthcoming 1955 Municipal Year Book, the number of cities owning their own parking facilities had increased by 24 percent over 1954 figures, that during the latter year, 97 cities had established off-street parking lots for the first time, 25 more than in 1953, and a total of 218 cities, 26 more than in 1953, had added lots to those already in service.

It indicates that it was not a new remedy and had been proposed in Charlotte previously, and as conditions worsened each day, it was worth new consideration.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "St. George", finds it a "parlous time", with Senator William Knowland, a supporter of Formosa, "he of the massy chins and sonorous tongue, imperiously bidding the White Prince make immediate and most terrible war upon the Great Khan of Cathay."

On the other side was Secretary of State Dulles, "bidding the White Prince be cautious in the morning and as the raging lion in the evening, or sometimes vice versa."

"Yet did the White Prince seek to maintain his realm at peace, but more and more it became plain to see that he was ill-served by his advisers; that his liegemen grumbled among themselves and might, in very truth, force their leader to their wishes. The kingdom trembled as before a dragon breathing flame and bringing disaster."

Then came an "ancient knight, full of years and honors", Senator Walter George of Georgia. "'Thou art old, Knight,' they told him when he entered the gates of Camelot-by-the-Potomac, 'and thy faction is long since in deep disgrace, and Harry is in exile in the midlands. Wherefore come you?'" Senator George, "Sir Walter", told them that he had come to slay the dragon of dissension and apathy and thus to save their precious "White Prince" from his own supporters.

The latter had given the White Prince sage counsel and guidance instead of warlike cries and shouts, or soft, meaningless words which meant one thing in the morning and another in the afternoon, and, "for a time at least, the peace of the kingdom was preserved."

"The moral of this tale is simple and oft repeated in the humble cottages up and down the land: 'Save your Confederate money, boys. The South will rise again.'"

Drew Pearson indicates that it had been four months since the Democratic Senate had convened, with a lot of publicity attendant a probe of monopoly, which had not yet materialized. He provides the inside story on what had occurred when the Senate Anti-Monopoly Committee, chaired by Harley Kilgore of West Virginia, had finally gotten down to work on April 26. Someone had anonymously handed the Committee members a speech made at the University of Michigan Law School by Joseph W. Burns, picked by Senator Kilgore to be counsel for the Committee. The members took a look at the speech and were flabbergasted, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee finding that Mr. Burns was even to the right of Attorney General Herbert Brownell. Senators Tom Hennings of Missouri and Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming agreed, while Republican Senator William Langer of North Dakota rubbed his eyes in amazement. Mr. Burns had, in his speech, viciously attacked the antitrust laws supposed to protect against monopoly, stating that lawyers owed it to their clients to secure favorable revisions of those laws, recommending virtual repeal of the Robinson-Patman Act, ending of the treble damage and criminal provisions of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and stating that the Supreme Court had "no authority to upset the entire economy of the country … in declaring invalid the freight equalization or basing-point price system." Senator Kilgore had said that he was terribly upset after reading the speech, having picked Mr. Burns as a favor to two old friends, Hugh Fulton and Rudolph Halley, each former counsel of the old Truman investigating committee, both presently Wall Street lawyers. Several of the Senator's colleagues had opposed the selection of Mr. Burns, but the Senator had insisted on the appointment. Even after the speech had come to their attention, Senator Kilgore still insisted on keeping Mr. Burns. The meeting was abruptly canceled after that, and the next day's meeting was also canceled, with the third day resulting in like fate. Yet, the champion of big business assigned to a committee to investigate monopoly in favor of small business, remained as the committee counsel.

He next relates of wire-pulling in the current Administration. A New York real estate promoter had come forward with some ideas on cleaning up the southwest development, one of Washington's worst slums, right under the nose of Congress and close to the dignified Army War College on the banks of the Potomac. The promoter wanted a large fee for his advice, Mr. Pearson noting that Major L'Enfant had only received $1,394 for laying out the entire city of Washington, and the promoter wanted it under a negotiated contract rather than as low bidder, required by law for a Government contract. The promoter had retained General "Wild" Bill Donovan, former O.S.S. head during the war, as his counsel, though the latter was not such an expert on real estate. The promoter had been trying to get the CIA to locate its new building in the southwest development to replace the slums. But current CIA director, Allen Dulles, wanted the headquarters located in either Maryland or Virginia. General Donovan was not only a friend of Allen Dulles, but was also the father of the forerunner of the CIA, and Mr. Dulles had let it be known that he would have no objection to locating the new headquarters in the southwest development.

Jeter L. Williamson, Greensboro chief of police, who had won the silver cup at the 1955 Guilford County Fine Arts Festival, regards the issue of juvenile delinquency, having made essentially the same points in testimony before the Senate subcommittee investigating the subject the previous year. He asks rhetorically who had any better reason to lose faith in humanity than a cop, but says that, strangely enough, cops were the last to condemn the mass of humanity, especially the young. During the 18 years he had been a cop, he had witnessed many sights and incidents which could have shaken his faith, but had learned that conclusions concerning the many could not be justified on the actions of a few. Thus, he became upset with the uninformed alarmists who held the view that all of the young people were headed straight for the penitentiary, the electric chair or the gates of hell. To that, he says, "Bunk!"

While the crime reports and statistics did not paint a pretty picture, that, alone, was not a sufficient basis to believe that all youth were doomed. He looks back a few years to the childhoods of the current parents and asks who could truthfully say that they had never committed any act, which if detected, would not have led to an arrest, such as stealing a watermelon or committing Halloween pranks, or the like. Such behavior, by present standards, would have labeled the individual a juvenile delinquent. And yet, despite that "sordid, criminal childhood", they had become successful and respected citizens of their communities.

Thus, he indicates that the statistics being collected could not be accepted at face value as showing the present teenager "as a sallow-faced punk with peg-bottom trousers, a drake style hair-do, a reefer clenched tightly between his teeth, draped against a store front waiting to stick a knife into the first passerby whose looks don't suit him." Attention had been focused on that small minority of young people so much that the normal, clean-cut and intelligent youth, who made up the vast majority, were being overlooked. To a great many adults at present, the words "teenager" and "delinquent" were synonymous.

There were rapidly growing numbers of children's courts and police juvenile bureaus, keeping comprehensive records to measure workloads and for other administrative purposes, with the unintentional consequence that the children had, to a degree, been victimized by specialization and efficiency. In earlier times, a report would be made to the father regarding a youthful stray from the ordinary course, and woodshed justice would result, without any official police record or report or statistic. But now, previously unrecorded incidents received the full treatment under the law, such that adults would report virtually any trivial activity to the police, resulting in an entry in the complaint log, a juvenile division officer dispatched, and a statistic created. Such, multiplied by hundreds, resulted in an entire picture out of focus. A stumbling block was thereby placed in the pathway to a boy's future, forever branded a thief or what have you.

He tells of a letter from a man in California who was now 38, who had just been fired from a construction job because a routine criminal history check by his employer had revealed that 22 years earlier, when he was 16, he had been convicted of larceny. In 1933, during the depths of the Depression, he had been arrested for stealing a pair of shoes, which in all probability had been taken for his own use as the only means of obtaining them. But that did not show on the record, just the conviction. Mr. Williamson says that, while not condoning such an action, the mistake of an immature boy should not dog the trail of an honest man. He had no legal right to remove the man's juvenile record from the file and destroy it, but he had written a letter to the employer calling attention to the fact that for 22 years, his record had been clean, expressing the thought that it should be of greater consideration than one such mistake when he was 16.

Also, when youthful offenders were caught, they would often admit to other offenses, and the matter would be recorded as perhaps as many as 20 offenses against only one offender. Police records were maintained largely for administrative use and served a definite purpose in that regard, and the purpose for which they were maintained limited the basis on which such records should be judged, that they had to be approached with extreme caution. But despite that warning, there were many who appeared to derive a fiendish delight in twisting them to fortify their position that the nation's youth were out of control.

He suggests that when viewed in the light of the influencing factors, perhaps the statistics were not so alarming as appeared at first glance, that the word "problem" was being somewhat overworked. He urges realization that the world in which youth lived was one which the adults had helped to build and that the things which influenced their behavior were also the work of the adults. "For every delinquent child, there is usually one, often two, delinquent parents."

He concludes that the future of the community, the nation and the world depended upon the children of the present, and if faith were lost in them, there was little hope for the future. He indicates that he still had faith in the youth of the present and asks whether or not his reader did.

Robert C. Ruark, in Lisbon, Portugal, indicates that he was afraid that the piece would be "purest Pollyanna" and invites his readers to stone him if they must. He had been reading all about the Salk polio vaccine, and thought of the fact that it had not been so long since Arthur Fleming, discoverer of penicillin, had died. Dr. Albert Schweitzer from the Congo had won a Nobel prize for his work as a graduate professor of humanitarianism, and Walt Disney was taking some of the curse off TV. And there was the "great and good man named Eisenhower" in the White House, and another "great and good man", Mr. Churchill, still around, painting better than Mr. Eisenhower. So he concludes that it was not all bad at present, no matter what the Russians, the Chinese, the Mau Mau and other malefactors across the world did and regardless of the low quality of human relations on a global scale, the pending threat of the hydrogen bomb and the incidence of juvenile delinquency in America.

If there were nothing else on which to brag, there was always Willie Mays and Marilyn Monroe.

He finds that people whined too much, that maybe there was some cause for the whining, but there were still some good people around and the whole world had not blown up yet. He says he intended to live to be older than Bernard Baruch, who was 85, but not by much.

In addition to all the pains and troubles of the time, the legal end of segregation in America had occurred in the public schools, and possibly in other areas as well. Tuberculosis, polio and syphilis, and nearly every other disease, other than heart disease and cancer, had been nearly eliminated. The nylon stocking was now reluctant to run and he believed there was a plastic liver which could be provided the person whose natural liver had given out—not sufficiently soon enough, however, to prevent Mr. Ruark's own demise in 1965. Perhaps, he should not have relied so thoroughly on the technological fix for everything.

He goes on further regarding the blessings of the day, including a mounting revulsion against war and cowardice about starting a new and silly one, at least except among the very few.

"All I'm trying to say is that man has ever been a doomful crier, especially when he has a hangover, and the invention of the bow and arrow must have been met with horrendous predictions. But man persists, and maybe, if just a little intelligence is exercised, he might continue to exist, despite the awful presence of the Big Boom. At least, employment is at its peak, the dogs seem happy, and the garden is full of the smell of orange blossoms. I told you, purest Pollyanna. And I'm glad to be glad."

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