02/08/2017 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines. With Evan Davis.

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Violence is reaching a crisis in our prisons,


to the point where we need to think about deploying the army


Problems at two prisons in recent days,


in Wiltshire and Hertfordshire, suggest violence is a new normal.


You need extra resources sent into prisons to stabilise them short-term


and you could consider using the army for that.


We'll ask how bad it is inside, and how we let


Turmoil and protest in Venezuela continues.


Is it time for the left here, which enthusiastically


backed the Venezuelan model, to recant?


And it's been a long innings by any measure


Well, for instance, we had a small yacht which we had to sell.


I shall probably have to give up polo fairly


On the day he retires, we look back at the career


All that and Andrew Scott, too, from Moriaty to Hamlet.


If you were in government and thinking about how


to cut public spending, prisons would perhaps


Prison cuts don't affect many people, and prisoners


It is that logic that perhaps explains why there are now


only 42,000 staff in the National Offender Management


Service in England and Wales, while there were 49,000


But the logic of cutting prisons has perhaps reached a limit.


The pressure of fewer staff in overcrowded jails has


seen violence rise - towards staff, other prisoners


Bad things are happening in our jails, and it's no


surprise the president of the Prison Governors Association


has written an open letter attacking the government's


Violence and rioting, volatility has gripped prisons in England and


Wales. Run. The pressure in our prison service building for staff


and inmates. Get down. A breakdown indoor and order caused by a


shortage of staff and a growing prison population -- in law and


order. A toxic mix according to the Prison Governors Association.


Attacks on prison staff and drugs academic increasing concern around


mental health and overcrowding, resources and rehabilitation, major


issues for the prison service, and many are warning the system is at


breaking point. Earlier this week specialist teams known as Tornado


units were called into prisons in Hertfordshire following a riot, and


it did not stop there, in Wiltshire there was also disturbances which


resulted in violence against staff. But I would suggest the Secretary of


State does is very sinister consider an appeal to staff who have left


recently, experienced staff, through voluntary exit schemes, to create a


task force to go back into those prisons causing most concern and get


back control and create a regime and create stability. If that is


insufficient armour I would suggest that you need extra resources sent


into prison, simply to stabilise them short-term and you could


consider using the army for that for example. It is a very radical


measure, controversial and it carries risk, but the risks of doing


nothing are simply too high in my view, to not at least consider


exceptionally and for initial period time getting resources onto the


landing is to restore control. There has been a sharp rise in prison


violence the latest figures show nearly 27,000 assaults in prisons in


the year to March, 20% more than last year. This includes more than


7000 attacks on staff equating to 20 each day. There has to be some


humility frankly from government to say that we made a catastrophic


mistake in reducing staff so far so fast, and there is a widespread


instability in prisons or stop unless it is tackled, I really do


fear that we are going to see a member of staff killed on duty.


Recruitment and retaining prison staff is a major problem. Over the


last 12 months there has been a net increase of just 25 officers,


meanwhile the prison population in England and Wales is growing. You


have worked with prisoners and ex-offenders for more than 20 years,


how bad is the situation? Possibly the worst it has been, I think, for


probably 30 years, also. But Blake is pushing for urgent reform,


something he has been calling for since the Strangeways riots in the


90s and he believes too many are being put behind bars. The violence


is a symptom of the reductions we have had in prison staff and the


amount of time people are being blocked in their cells and the


deterioration in terms of mental health that has contributed, we need


to address the issue of groups of people who are in the system who we


can divert elsewhere. We would highlight women, the women's prison


population is at an all-time high, for the last 20 years, and people


with mental health problems, we need to do much more. How long will


prison reform take? From prison staff to the inmates locked away, be


problems are clear to see but those caught in a system that leads urgent


rehabilitation. -- needs. I'm joined now by Paula Harriot,


who spent four years in jail for supplying drugs -


and she now works hands on with people in prison for


the organisation Revolving Doors. How have you seen it change, in the


last 5-10 years? We have seen the impact of having less staff and more


people in prison is Billy impacting on the ability to deliver any


rehabilitation in prisons, and it has become about warehousing people


and warehousing people who come into that prison unwell. Mental health


problems, substance misuse problems. All sorts of challenges for the less


rehabilitation, what does that mean, more hours in a cell? It means


locked in a cell. How long? We have seen cases of people being locked up


the entire weekend because of staff shortages, from Friday until Monday.


That is simply traumatising for people. Imagine not being able to


get out at all and how that plays on your ability to cope with the stress


of the sentence, you can't access the phone to phone anybody. You are


isolated and how that impacts on your mental health. Some people


would say, you are in prison what do you expect, that is what you get


when you go to prison. I agree, but the punishment is being pride of


your liberty and I don't think it is being placed in a degrading


situation -- being deprived of your liberty. How does the violence,


round? A rather stupid question, but people locked in cells are not going


to be getting up to any violence because there's nothing for them to


do. The frustration builds and builds and escalate and so when you


get out the anger and frustration is absolutely at the tipping point, the


boiling point, and then people flare up over things that generally could


be managed. In a more, in a different way. Have you witnessed


any violence in prisons? I have been working since my own release in


prison, I've been working constantly in prisons and directly with people


who have been recently released from prison, having lots of contact, and


I can see that the breakdown in communication, the breakdown in


access to mental health services and substance misuse services, and


psychological interventions, how staffing levels mean people can't


get to health care. The one substance people are allowed to


misuse is tobacco, the smoking ban is causing a worry. I think that is


misjudged. In my information that I've had recently around the smoking


ban, it is that people are then using spice. Which is much worse.


And they are smoking it with tobacco, that is unadulterated and


the impact of that is that it has escalated people's mental health and


violence levels. Very briefly, the public want people to be punished.


Supplying drugs, they want you to be punished but you got four years.


What could we have done to signal disapproval in the way that we have


done? I recently spoke to a magistrate about how we can minimise


the amount of people that are being sent to prison and her answer was


that we need a menu of options for magistrates, that sometimes they


bail out of options. They run out of options to support people in the


community to look at their funding behaviour and they don't have the


ability to sentence people to mental health treatment and they don't


utilise that as much as they could. They don't have the option to direct


people to substance misuse treatment orders, and I think we need to have


a much more coherent approach to using community sentencing to divert


people out of the criminal justice system. Thanks for joining us.


I'm joined now by Philip Wheatley - formerly Director-General


of the National Offender Management Service and also a former


Director-General of HM Prison Service.


And the Conservative MP Dominic Grieve,


who was Attorney General under the Coalition government.


Good evening. Would you say it is crisis level in terms of violence


and inability to looked after prisons the way you meant? I think


it is a crisis in the way that you have seen a tripling in the level of


assaults on staff since I left in 2010, it is difficult for staff to


do their job safely on properly and that makes them likely to back off


in the face of that aggression and it makes it difficult to run prisons


safely. The level of assaults between prisoners and the extent to


which spice has become the drug of choice, and is difficult to deal


with, and now a series of incidents, master sword, that genuinely should


be caught a crisis -- mass disorder. And we also have suicide which has


doubled since I left and that means prisons are not safe for prisoners


and staff and by not doing the job they should be doing in terms of


reducing reoffending. We have heard that the state of things, do you


recognise that is the state of jails in England and Wales? Yes, I do, the


evidence is overwhelming and the problem is we have an overcrowded


prison system and we have failed consistently to face up to that and


to accept we have either got to reduce the prison population or


provide more prisons and more prison officers, and while leadership in


good prisons can do a great deal to reduce some of those issues, even if


you have a shortage of staff, there comes a point where you can't go on


doing that. And the message I think the government has got to take,


either there has to be more investment and money being spent or


we have got to find alternatives to prison is to reduce the prison


population. We have failed to face up to this, and I get bombarded by


people asking for prison sentences to be increased or for new offences


to be created, which will lead to people being sent to prison, we have


a knack in this country of seeing prison as the final destination for


criminals and insisting that is where they should go, we have one of


the highest prison populations in Europe per head. And we don't have


the resources invested in order to do that. This is quite an indictment


of your party in government, they have been there seven years and they


have been talking the talk. Michael Gove said this is appalling, no


point trying to minimise attention from the problems, but it hasn't


been dealt with, why not? It is an indictment of every single


government that has been in office was long as I have been in


Parliament. This is a long-standing problem and in fairness, the present


Justice Secretary who is a wise and sensible person has understood some


of these issues and in the decisions that have been taken in getting more


prison officers back, that is a step in the right direction, but it can


only be a step, and we put people into prison and unless we have


proper training and education programmes, what we're actually


doing is putting a group of people with serious problems and a tendency


towards criminality all together in one place. Should we be surprised in


those circumstances if we can't deliver the programmes, but in fact


they end up misbehaving within the prison system itself? We heard


Philip Aitchison basically saying if you can't get the resources, you


need to have the army ready whenever there is disruption, and he thinks


there will be quite a bit, are the ready to step in, have we reached


that point? -- are the army. That would make the situation worse, in


my view, and the prison's ability to handle disorder and two ended


without injury is quite considerable, they are skilled in


doing it and they have succeeded in doing that, but the army are not


trained for that. To deploy them in that role would be folly and to


deploy them to supervise wings, when they have had no training, that


would be folly, there training is in using lethal force, not in


persuading people to do things, and that would make the situation was,


but there is a crisis and we do have to deal with it. They have announced


there will be more prison officers, 3000 extra prison officers in


England and Wales. Will that make the difference that is required?


It will help if they can recruit them. Part of the problem is that


the pay for police officers has been forced down. They earn less than


they used to when I was there. That is making the job unattractive in


the south-east, where the economy is running hot and we have full


employment. It is getting difficult to recruit. It is running just short


of 10% of staff a year of turnover, so you have to recruit hard to stand


still. We have to do something about both the attraction and the


retention strategy, and talking doggedly about the government pay


strategy looks like it's getting in the way of that, particularly in the


south-east. What happens if we don't put in the extra resources and


recruit more prison officers? What happens if we do nothing? It will


continue to be a chaotic situation. The rehabilitation we want from the


prison system, that the vast majority of inmates will be coming


out after reasonably short periods of time, is going to be lost. It is


in our interests to get this right. Coming back to my original point.


The greatest driver is overcrowding. As long as we cannot get a grip on


this as a society, we will constantly be behind the curve. We


are not going to be able to address this issue. I have taken an interest


in this subject for 20 years, as long as I've been in Parliament, and


in that time, these problems have been in the background continuously.


And the prison population has gone up by a third. Thank you both very


much. More news breaking tonight


on the tests into building cladding and insulation in the wake


of the fire at Grenfell. Chris Cook has been


following this whole issue Chris, just bring us up to speed


with the tests. We heard a lot about test failures in the last few weeks.


What the government was doing when they had all these failures was


auditing the building, trying to work out what combustible materials


were on buildings across England. They didn't know which combination


of materials could be used together safely, because a lot of it will be


OK because it will be installed in such a way to ensure that fire can't


get to it. They are doing six tests to work out what combinations of


materials can safely be used. So these are the big six. Forget


everything else. What are these tests showing? We have a grid


showing what these tests are. Down the left-hand side are the types of


cladding they are testing. Limited combustibility cladding is the most


fireproof stuff. Fire retardant cladding is slightly less. The last


one is quite combustible. They are doing big tests with those installed


alongside plastic foam, for one test, and mineral ball, the


insulation. We had the Grenfell Tower combination last week, and


that was a complete failure. What we learned tonight is polyethylene core


cladding and mineral ball also failed the test. That polyethylene


core cladding is gone, basically. The 193 tall buildings across


England that have some kind of polyethylene core cladding on them


will have to be taken down, realistically, because even when you


have the safest type of installation, it cannot withstand


the fire tests. We have four other boxes to look forward to. In


exactly, and we don't know what they are going to say. They might say


that's just a little bit has to be changed. Thank you very much.


The constituent assembly elected - controversially - over the weekend,


However, the company that provided the electronic voting


system used in the vote said it thinks the government's


claims on the huge turnout were exaggerated.


Given the opposition were boycotting the vote,


it was upon turnout that the legitimacy


You'll have seen last night that opposition leaders have been


arrested and detained, the EU is thinking


about its response - probably not sanctions


But protests in the country continue as it slides into disorder.


We can speak to BBC correspondent Will Grant in Caracas.


What is the latest, particularly on the swearing in of this constituent


assembly, which I believe has been a bit late? That's right. It has been


another one of these chaotic, ad hoc days in Venezuela, when you wake up


and the news moves faster than ordinary people can keep up with.


The announcement you mentioned in London by the company that runs the


electronic voting system will have had real shock waves here, because


of course the opposition will say that the numbers were inflated, but


to have those claims are supported by the very people who are operating


those systems gives credibility to them and not to the government. Mr


Maduro is carrying on regardless, both with swearing in, and also with


the socialist project more generally, everything that is


happening in terms of sanctions against him personally and against


his top leadership, he is wearing that as a badge of honour if


anything, saying that it shows he's taking the right response to


Washington, puffing out his chest at Donald Trump. This has a long way to


go. There are more demonstrations, more conflict, and most ordinary


Venezuelans caught in the middle and hoping it doesn't turn bloody. Thank


you very much. At one time, Venezuela looked to be


a country that could cock a snook at the global establishment


and neo-liberalism. A left populist country,


it attracted the attention of left-leaning politicians


in this country. Veneuzuela was pioneering


an alternative path. "Showing another way is possible",


as Diane Abbott said five years ago. So as it falls into disrepair,


what is the left's Jeremy Corbyn is under pressure


from some of his own MPs to condemn Joining me now from Derby


is the Shadow Home Office Minister, And from Glasgow, the Telegraph


commentator and former Chris Williamson, you either have to


face it that Maduro is in the right now, or you were in the wrong to


support him earlier. What is the position of the left now? That is an


unfair characterisation, if I might say so, because the circumstances


have changed substantially in Venezuela in recent years. The


collapse in the oil price and these violent protests, which have been


aided and abetted by the USA, who have been funding opposition groups


and have a very shady record going back many decades of interfering in


Latin America, right back to Chile where President Nixon said he was


going to make the opposition scream. We have had factory owners stopping


production of products to cause shortages in the shops, the same


tactics used in 1973 in Chile. So your response to seeing opposition


leaders bundled out in the night and taken away and arrested is to


condemn the United States? Is that your response? Not at all. That is


unfair. Human rights are inalienable and universal. I am not an apologist


for the Venezuelan government. Clearly, they made mistakes and


didn't do enough to diversify the economy. They are under incredible


pressure, and there is a very one-sided view of the situation


there very often in the British media. I have yet to criticise any


-- I had yet to hear any criticism of the opposition or of the United


States. There is a reluctance to impose sanctions on the country. It


would be better to bring the sides together in talks, and to encourage


the right-wing opposition to stop these protests on the street. Just


imagine if this was happening in this country, or in the USA. Many


people involved in those protests would be facing long prison terms.


Tom Harris, do you think that Jeremy Corbyn should recant his own views


and saying he should condemn what Maduro is doing? I think he should.


There are two very different positions in the Labour Party. Since


the Second World War, Labour Party has been the party of Watson and


Blair. They have managed to distance themselves effectively from some of


these Marxist outfits. Jeremy Corbyn and the hard left have never met a


banana republic they didn't like. When Jeremy Corbyn started talking


about Venezuelan being an example that Britain should follow, nobody


really paid attention, because he was an anonymous backbencher who


often said strange things. Now he is the leader of the party, we have an


absolute right to know whether he regrets or recants what he said. It


would be a sign of political maturity to come out of hiding and


say that he got it wrong. Do you think he will do that? There are


things that the Venezuelan government has got wrong, but I'm


not sure what Tom is saying here. He is a free marketeer. What was the


situation like in Venezuelan before Hugo Chavez came to power? Chaotic,


great inequality, grow test poverty... Do you think you are


closer to Chappers and Maduro in your political philosophy, or Tony


Blair? -- to Hugo Chavez and Maduro? That is quite a question! Can you


not answer it? When a government is doing good things, as they certainly


were under Hugo Chavez, a huge reduction in poverty and investment


in health care, that is surely a thing we should celebrate. Putting


up a false dichotomy of asking who I am closer to is an irrelevant


question. I have to give five seconds, the last word. I'm sorry.


Tom, I'm sorry. We have given far too little time. In a few words,


would you not say there is hypocrisy all over the place? The important


point is that nobody in the Labour Party, or no Saudi -- has looked at


Saudi Arabia and said it is an example to follow. It has been said


that using the example of Venezuelan is something for Great Britain to


follow. This is an opposition -- government that is killing people


and locking them up. The CIA are not forcing Maduro's government to


torture and imprison people, and they should be outraged. I'm so


sorry. We are out of time. Thank you.


It seems as though we get a new Hamlet on the West End stage


almost as often as a new head of media in the White House.


Benedict Cumberbatch has played the Prince of Denmark,


Tom Hiddleston will take on the role later this year - but currently


winning golden opinions in the part is the Irish actor Andrew Scott,


who you may know as Moriarty in the hit series Sherlock.


His Hamlet has deliberately been pitched to younger audiences,


with 300 seats a night on sale to the Under-30s.


Stephen Smith has been to the Harold Pinter Theatre to meet him.


Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet.


To give these morning duties to your father.


Andrew Scott's Hamlet wears his fencing gear almost


He says the production he leads looks at Hamlet's plight


The thing that feels the most timely is the relationship


It's a story about a young man whose father has just died and everybody


in his family is saying, move on, move on, you're the Prince,


And so because he is at the centre of the state, something rotten


I don't think you can play Hamlet in the sense,


you can't just put on this antic position and make it is apparent


to everybody that your lunatic in inverted commas because that's


not the way mental health presents itself.


People can relate to what grieving is.


I think we're on a very exciting time in the world


about what we understand in mental health and our attitude


towards being ashamed of sometimes being a little bit ill.


Do you draw on anything particular for that?


I think grief can manifest itself in a lot of different ways,


You have to bring an awful lot of yourself to the park.


Tis an unweeded garden grown to seed.


So excellent, a king, it was, was, to this.


One of the things I really wanted to do was to be able to speak


Not to kind of pretend that they're not there.


But actually you're live and and you're going,


So if someone does sneeze or laugh too loud or sometimes the rain comes


You can't pretend that that's not happening.


And that is what I think keeps it live and present, people say,


Robert Icke's production of Hamlet has consciously appealed to younger


audiences with discounts for the under 30s.


It's this fear mongering that goes on, that young people that watch


Sherlock aren't going to be able to watch Hamlet without snapchatting


If they are going to be watching Shakespeare for the first time,


it's our job to make it as interesting as a box set.


Rob, our director, he says it shouldn't be


You know, do your Shakespeare, like kind of chore.


They say that about Newsnight, by the way.


I can still prove that you created an entirely false identity.


Oh just kill yourself, it's a lot less effort.


Scott is probably best known as the suave but


dastardly Moriarty in the hugely successful Sherlock.


What prospect of more cases for the sleuth of Baker Street?


I'm afraid to say, don't expect much.


I don't think the door is ever fully closed.


I think it definitely could do with a bit of


Mark Gatiss says it is the Fawlty Towers thing.


I think everybody is busy doing their thing.


I don't have much to report on that front.


You're not going to pop up in a Christmas special?


007, I'd like you to meet Max Denby, the head of the joint


It's a pleasure to finally meet you, 007.


Congratulations on your new appointment.


Scott almost did for another great British hero, James Bond, as a


We are going to bring British intelligence out of


A gay James Bond, female Doctor Who,


It's almost impossible to speak of those things


Because two straight people and two black people


and two gay people can be completely distinct


from each other, given the attributes, and those


are the things that you play, you play those attributes and not


Andrew Scott, talking to Steven Smith.


It has been Prince Phillip's day - the day of his last


He greeted Royal Marines involved in a 1,600 mile charity race -


And it has been quite a marathon for the Duke in his 65 years


22,219 solo engagements, including 5,490 speeches.


I've not been counting, but that's the reported totals.


And of course there are many, many more occasions at which


The solo engagement count comes in at 340 per year, which is quite


reasonably regarded as a good strike rate, getting on for one a day,


Just before we came on air, I spoke to Martin Palmer.


Spiritual adviser and long time friend of Prince Phillip.


And to Arthur Edwards - the Sun's veteran Royal photographer.


First I asked Martin if he found the Duke easy to get along with.


Yes, very, as long as you don't catch him on a bad


Mornings are not his best time, especially early morning.


I remember, we were on Mount Athos and I had to get him up at three


to go to a service and then we had to leave to take the


We actually cleared the deck of an entire ship, leaving


from Mount Athos back to the mainland of Greece


because we had a flaming row about something.


When I went downstairs, they said, are you going to be executed?


You could have a row with him, could you?


I would just talk to him like I'm talking to you.


You would say Philip? No, not usually.


He would always say, if I went, now, Sir, he would go, OK,


what am I being asked to do that I should not do.


If I didn't bother to say that, we would just have a conversation.


Because otherwise it gets in the way, I have to say.


Arthur, similarly informal and pleasant?


No, he treated the media like telegraph poles.


They were there and he walked round them.


I never had one conversation, except when I met him


And after photographing him for ten years, there was a press reception


in Washington and I was introduced, Arthur Edwards from The Sun.


And he said, is that the Baltimore Sun?


I thought, God, I'd been there ten years.


We've got some of your pictures. Let's have a look at this first one.


Arthur, tell us what we're looking at.


This is a picture where Prince Charles has just


And Lord Mountbatten and Prince Philip,


And they are just congratulating him.


What I love about that picture, Lord Mountbatten was hugely close


to the Prince of Wales and just having his arm on his shoulder


And a year later, of course, he was killed in Ireland.


We went back there a couple of years ago with the Prince


There was a time when I think he saw himself as the patriarchy


of the family and the Queen would be the matriarch of the


I think putting it simply, he wore the trousers


within the household, in order that she could wear


And that really was important to him.


He was there to support her, he ran the family, the family


business side of things and that was the first priority,


Let's look at the next picture, Arthur.


They have just been looking at the terracotta warriors and that,


you thought, would have been the picture of the day,


Because the Prince was speaking to some students and he said,


The kids were saying they were bored.


He said, you will end up with slitty eyes.


A very intrepid reporter called Harry Arnold from The Sun got that,


and before you know it, it was the splash.


And we splashed on that story two days running.


I remember the headline, "Philip gets it all wong".


And the next day was, "Queen velly velly angry".


We've never splashed on the Queen two days running


on a royal tour ever, but that story...


I was asked for some advice on this because China is my area.


I have to say, we've brought a lot of Chinese


to see him because we work with all the major religions.


He has a great affection for the Taoists of China.


And they're always bemused that The Sun would think


this was a great story, because they just thought


They didn't know how insulting it is?


No, because, remember, the Chinese refer to us


People who haven't been properly reincarnated.


despite the good efforts of your make-up people.


For them, that kind of humour, almost slapstick humour, it's fine.


It was the uptight Brits who had a problem with it, not the Chinese.


Some in the diplomatic service were absolutely...


I think just the idea that he has these gaffes every now and then.


I think that's when it became a thing, really.


Yes, and also, you know, I'm delighted he did have the gaffes.


He was only playing jokes with people, that was the thing.


In fact, he castigated us once for reporting them,


and he did admit to the slitty eyes, and he did admit that he said


to aboriginals, "You're chucking spears at each other."


But, he said, "You were not supposed to hear that.


It's also this problem - if it's the 1000th person


you've met this week, and I've seen the most


incredibly intelligent, bright, active people


OK, sometimes fairly heavily, but he is Navy, to sort of just


This is bringing us much closer to the present.


I mean, I have to tell people - it's the Duke of Edinburgh.


It's at Windsor Horse Show, and it's pouring with rain.


It's really a miserable day, but he brought carriage driving


to prominence in Britain when he took part in it, and I think


And when he's retired, he'll carry on doing it


and when he goes for it, when he's in competition,


So, I didn't like him for years, but ended up loving him, because...


I thought he was very rude to the press.


But, slowly over the years, I've got to love him.


Now, when we go on an engagement, we won't be saying, "What colour do


you reckon the Queen will be wearing today?".


We'll be saying, "Do you think the Duke will come today?".


We have a 92nd retrospective of his career on Twitter which we did not


have time to run in the programme -- 90 seconds.


That is just about it for tonight but we're not leaving yet -


because we have another of our Proms Playouts now -


tomorrow at the Albert Hall is a Brahms and Mozart night


and on the programme is the hugely acclaimed young Norwegian


Tomorrow she'll be playing Mozart, but tonight, for us,


she is playing a piece from her new album.


It is Estrellita by the Mexican composer, Manuel Ponce.


Vilde is accompanied on the piano by Gamal Khamis.


Southern areas bore the brunt of the wet weather today, tomorrow the


wettest conditions will


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