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WIB EXTENDS MORATORIUM TO THE END OF AUGUST

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Windward Islands Bank (WIB) continues to support clients in difficult times and has opted to automatically extend the moratorium with 3 months (June, July and August 2020) to provide immediate financial relief to our customers, with no additional charges and or interest.

During the months of June, July and August 2020 WIB will extend the moratorium on Personal Loans, Commercial Loans, Mortgage Loans & Credit Cards. This entails that the client’s monthly payment (on principal and interest) will be deferred for 3 more months (June, July & August) whereby the initial loan term will be extended with the same number of months as the additional grace period. The monthly payments (principal and interest) remain the same.

For Sint Maarten clients including commercial clients on Statia and Saba, the adjustment will be done automatically while Statia and Saba clients with personal loans, personal mortgages and personal credit cards, need to Opt-In if they want to make use of this moratorium (loans and mortgages in arrears for more than 90 consecutive days are not eligible for the moratorium).

OPT-OUT SINT MAARTEN

Clients who do not wish to make use of this moratorium offer and who would like to maintain their current payment agreement, have the option to opt-out. This can be done by filling in an opt-out form via our website: www.wib-bank.net, or by submitting an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling us at 546-2942.

OPT-IN STATIA & SABA (Personal Loans, Personal Mortgages and Personal Credit Cards)

Clients who wish to make use of this moratorium offer, have the option to opt-in. This can be done by filling in an opt-in form via our website or by submitting an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling us at 546-2942.

Important note: The opt-in requests for Statia and Saba is applicable for personal loans, personal mortgages and personal credit cards only and will be evaluated as per the stipulated lending guidelines of the Bank. The clients will be duly informed of the decision.  

When submitting your request, please indicate your full first name, last name, address and phone number (fixed and/or mobile) and provide the loan number of each respective loan and/or mortgage and/ or credit card number to which the opt-in is applicable to. The correct information is required for your request to be processed accordingly.

Corporate Clients for Sint Maarten, Statia and Saba that are wishing to Opt-out are requested to email

Mr. Vasco Daal at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

At Windward Islands Bank, we continue doing our utmost to assist you with your financial needs in these difficult times.

For further assistance:

For additional information please contact the Bank through our contact center: +1(721)-5462942 and/or e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For bank updates and information on our services follow us on Facebook: WIB Windward Islands Bank or visit our website www.wib-bank.net

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NAGICO Insurances urges the population to be vigilant this Hurricane Season

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - NAGICO Insurances is encouraging the public to be vigilant this Hurricane Season and to implement precautionary measures as experts have warned that this year will be ‘an extremely active’ season, with at least eight hurricanes predicted and 17 named storms.

An average hurricane season usually has six hurricanes and 12 named storms. Research Scientist Phil Klotzbach, from the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University said, "In general, the consensus between seasonal hurricane forecasts this year is greater than it has been the past few years. The current Atlantic sea surface temperature setup is consistent with an active Atlantic hurricane season.”

The sea surface temperature is one of the ingredients that fuels hurricanes. The warmer the ocean, the more fuel available for the storms to tap into. “We are fully aware of the power of hurricanes and the devastation that can be caused by these severe weather systems. It is with this in mind that we would like to remind everyone of the value of preparation and the need to make sufficient time for it.”

“We are urging home and business owners to contact us if they want to check the status and revisit the adequacy of their policies, or if they require insurance or additional coverage for their assets. Remember, disasters do not prepare but you can.”

Hurricane season begins on June 1st and continues officially to November 30th. Covid-19 has already caused financial hardship, please do not take any chances. Be prepared. Follow NAGICO on Facebook and Instagram or visit us at www.nagico.com.

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8.2 MILLION GUILDERS PAID IN STIMULUS SUPPORT TO 352 COMPANIES

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Payments for the stimulus relief began on May 19th, thus far 352 companies have received support. SZV is contacting companies with missing documents and they ask that you expect their correspondence, they are allowing applicants to complete their applications.

All requests for COVID-19 Unemployment Support is being handled by the SMDF, they will have the applications for April and May reviewed and processed by June 5th. Eligible applicants would receive support in the amount of NAƒ 1150. Those that are unable to apply for COVID-19 Unemployment Support online, can apply at Social Services:

    • Mon-Friday 1-4 P.M.
    • Max 20 people a day.
    • Numbers will be distributed from 12:30 PM.
    • All persons must adhere to public health protocols, including social distancing.
    • Must have all documents on hand.

The application for Business Payroll Support has been extended to May 31st. The deadline for April payment for COVID-19 Unemployment and Income Support ended May 10th, 2020.

Existing businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 are also able to apply for bridge loans at Qredits.

Bridge loans have a grace period of six months and an interest rate of 2% for those six months. For all official information regarding the Sint Maarten Stimulus Support and Relief Program (SSRP), please visit the official website at www.ssrp.sx

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K1 Britannia volunteers organize fundraiser to make needed food-packages for vulnerable families

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - This coming Saturday, on May 30th, dozens of local and international artists are coming together to raise funds for K1 Britannia Foundation’s Disaster Relief and Crisis Team, K1 DIRECT through its online event, “Mobilize Sint Maarten Through Music.”

K1 DIRECT has been instrumental in providing much-needed food and hygiene packages for vulnerable families on Sint Maarten since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. To continue to do their work, more funds are needed.

To generate these funds, K1 DIRECT’s volunteers decided to organize an online show featuring popular artists and other surprises. Musicians, volunteers and companies are uniting to help our community. This online fundraiser will offer an evening of extraordinary music and introduce you to K1’s efforts. We are going to celebrate the beauty, variety and kindness that we have to offer as a destination,” explains Roy Van Zutphen, K1 DIRECT volunteer who is one of the leaders of the fundraiser.

K1 DIRECT, with the help of around 50 volunteers, has been making and delivering food and hygiene packages to vulnerable families in response to the corona crisis. “With the collaboration of government and donations, we have been able to deliver over 4500 food and hygiene packages so far. The need remains great, as a growing number of persons continue to struggle financially,” expresses Alan Schet, Co-Manager of K1 DIRECT.

The online show and fundraiser will premiere on K1 Britannia Foundation’s Facebook page (@K1SXM) on May 30 at 7pm. Persons can make donations by surfing to www.k1britanniafoundation.org and clicking on “donate now” to donate via online bank transfer, credit card or PayPal. Donations are also possible via TelEm text message.

Roy: “Many companies are showing their support by providing amazing prizes to encourage contributions. Any contributor will be eligible to win a variety of great prizes, including: a 7-night stay at Holland House Beach Hotel or the Belair Beach Hotel, a weekend-stay at Simpson Bay Resort & Marina, a luxury catamaran trip, a zipline experience at Loterie Farm, and more.” The prize winners will be chosen and announced live on Thursday June 4th at 8:30 am on Island 92 (91.9fm, or online at www.Island92.com).

Scheduled to perform on Saturday night’s “Mobilize Sint Maarten Through Music” are Orange Grove, Guilda, Mister T, King James, DJ Outkast, Funky Horny Horns, DJ EM, DJ BigBoss, Shady Brothers, JonnyGuy, Percy Rankin, Avocado Pie, Kainos, Gianfranco & Lee, Ebony Empress, Malaika Maxwell, and many more - promising a wide variety of music and entertainment for the evening. Some artists will be releasing new music, and you will be able to see them perform in the intimate setting of their home or studio.

“We are so appreciative of all volunteers, artists and companies that are making this fundraiser happen and we hope that the show will generate a lot of positivity and donations. Every dollar will go towards K1’s efforts to ensure that every person in our community has enough to eat,” says Co-Manager of K1 DIRECT Priya Thirumur.

For more information, head to: www.facebook.com/k1sxm. Those interested in donating, providing prizes, or performing during the fundraiser are encouraged to send a message to K1 Britannia Foundation or call +1-721-553-8186.

K1 DIRECT COVID 19 Food Hygiene Packages INS1

K1 DIRECT COVID 19 Food Hygiene Packages Senior Distribution INS2

K1 Volunteers INS3

 

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COM to deliberate Dutch proposal for financial assistance with Parliament

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Council of Minister (COM) of St. Maarten has received a proposal from the Kingdom Council of Ministers on the liquidity support for St. Maarten to be able to carry out the Sint Maarten Stimulus and Relief Plan (SSRP).

On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra and State Secretary Raymond Knops, in a hastily called meeting with the Prime Ministers of the Dutch Caribbean via video conference, verbally outlined the intentions of the Netherlands to assist the countries in this time of crisis and beyond.

This discussion was held without documentation or specifics pertaining to the content of what would be proposed. While the Prime Ministers were given an opportunity to give feedback, it was without clear knowledge or understanding of what was on the table. We were informed that the proposal would be added to the agenda for the Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting on May 15, 2020.

Finally, on Thursday May 14, the official documentation was received by the Council of Ministers. In less than 24 hours, the Council of Ministers had to finalise its response in an instruction to the Minister Plenipotentiary Rene Violenus so that it could be presented in the Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting of May 15, 2020.

This was less than sufficient time to prepare St. Maarten’s position, considering the grave and far reaching consequences for Parliament, civil servants, all government subsidized entities, government owned companies, unions and the people of St. Maarten in general.

“Some of the proposed conditions can be attained within the time frame and were already included in our proposal to the unions. However, a number of these conditions set out by the Dutch government are unattainable in this timeframe and do not consider our economic position, especially as we are still in the recovery stages after Hurricane Irma.

“Moreover, legislative amendments are required in order to comply with a number of these conditions which will affect a large number of the population and stakeholders whom we have not had a chance to meet and will not be able to meet before an answer is expected on Wednesday,” concluded Prime Minister Jacobs.

Prime Minister Jacobs is scheduled to be in a Plenary Public session of Parliament today at 3:00 PM in order to bring Parliament up to speed on the proposal made by the Netherlands. This meeting will also serve as an oppotunity for the government to garner the support of Parliament on the way forward.

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Economic Recovery Group Formed. Minister de Weever Calls on All Stakeholders to Come Together

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Telecommunications and Transport (Ministry TEATT) Ludmila de Weever, reached out to various stakeholders in the past several weeks to create an Economic Recovery Group with the aim of achieving a sustainable economic recovery as St. Maarten and the world begin to ease shutdown measures amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a statement from the cabinet of the minister on Sunday.

The diverse group comprises both up-and-coming and established professionals from the private and public sectors. They have offered to volunteer their expertise and collaborate with the common national goal of restoring economic activity and safeguarding the quality of life.

The intention is to maintain this group throughout the minister’s term and work closely with our partners in the hospitality, wholesale, retail, marine, and financial services sectors for the economic well-being and benefit of all St. Maarteners.

A revived economy means the return of jobs and income for the country’s workers and much needed revenue for the country’s government.

Minister De Weever emphasized that during a crisis of this magnitude, cooperation toward a common goal is necessary to achieve the best possible level of recovery.

She added that although the pandemic is an unprecedented public health and economic challenge, it can also present an opportunity to enhance St. Maarten’s tourism industry and improve the business and investment climate.

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No agreement reached on reopening border. Public transportation inspection continues

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Prime Minister and Chair of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Silveria Jacobs provided an update to the general public on Thursday, May 14, 2020, as part of the process to keep the community of St. Maarten informed about the latest developments and the Government’s COVID-19 containment, mitigation and response measures.  

COVID-19 Stats

Based on the latest available data provided by Collective Prevention Services (CPS) Epidemiologist Eva Lista-de Weever, for today, May 14, 2020, as of 4:00 PM, there have been no new reported COVID-19 confirmed cases. The data does, however, show an increase of one more person in self-quarantine and two more persons in self-isolation. 

The number of persons with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 currently hospitalized at the Mobile Medical Pavilion has decreased to two patients. Furthermore, CPS updates that its community outreach testing campaign continues in the community on Saturdays and Sundays as businesses are closed on these days. Contact tracing as needed to ensure that the virus is contained will also continue.  

No agreement reached on reopening border

A meeting between the governments of St. Maarten and St. Martin to synchronize the de-escalation measures took place this afternoon, May 14. During the meeting, both governments were able to give a presentation on their phased de-escalation plans with a special focus on educational institutions and public transportation in regard to school busses.

Also, discussed in the meeting was the synchronization of border control measures for each phase of the economic re-opening plans as well as proposals for border re-opening after community testing has taken place.

The governments of St. Maarten and St. Martin were not able to agree moving forward on the re-opening of the internal borders until further assessments are done regarding the medical and health aspects of the COVID-19 virus and its effect on the population in terms of community spread. Once this information has been gathered, both governments will meet next week, to further ascertain the date that the border controls will be lifted. The government of St. Martin shared that they are currently evaluating their school opening to see how many students will be returning.

However, this is being done before any further discussions take place at an executive level in regard to their students who reside on St. Maarten attending school on St. Martin. Despite St. Maarten’s government’s concern for these students, there was no agreement made for such. As per the schools on St. Maarten, only schools that have indicated that they will be re-opening will open. Therefore, parents are asked to stay updated and in contact with their child’s school.

Public transportation inspection continues

Public transportation busses continue to be inspected by the Ministry of TEATT and will be given the green light to commence working on the public roads as long as they meet the safety guidelines. However, they must remain within our Dutch borders until the government has finalized discussions with their French counterparts.

“As we are re-opening our economy in phases, things may seem to be reverting to normal. However, we cannot afford to become complacent, where our safety and the safety of our loved ones are concerned. Rather, we must maintain the personal protection guidelines always. I encourage you to educate your children about the new norm and ensure that they too understand and follow the safety guidelines. Most importantly, be an example to them in demonstrating this.

“Let us remember that mitigating the spread of COVID-19 depends on us all. I commend your efforts thus far as we continue to fight the COVID-19 virus, and encourage each of you to ensure that these practices are habitual for you and your family,” concluded Prime Minister Jacobs. The mitigation of the spread of the virus depends on the behaviour of the St. Maarten people. Let’s stop the spread of this virus together. Together we can! Stay blessed St. Maarten.

Corona Virus Daily Stats May 14

May 14

 

 

 

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Ijahnya Christian, culture bearer, compiler of Anguillian dictionary, dies at 63

SAINT-MARTIN (RAMBAUD – By Lasana Sekou) - The Anguillian educator, writer, and social activist Ijahnya Christian passed away on April 27, 2020, in St. Kitts, where she was laid to rest at Springfield Cemetery on May 5, 2020. She was 63.

Ijahnya is survived by her mother, Amy Rey, and children, Psyche Young, Terek, Joanne Liburd, Wolde Christian, and Judah Christian. She also leaves to mourn her passing her siblings, other family, friends, and colleagues in St. Kitts-Nevis, Anguilla, throughout the Caribbean, and in Ethiopia, according to her cousin, Imani Nia.

Ijahnya, née Carol Patricia Rey, was born on January 31, 1957, in St. Kitts. Her early childhood was spent in St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla. She graduated from Basseterre High School in 1976 and became a RasTafarian in 1980—changing her name that year to Ijahnya (her surname Christian by way of marriage).

Ijahnya Christian obtained her bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, in 1984. She returned to Anguilla and worked as a high school teacher and guidance councilor.

Within a short time of arriving on the island, Ijahnya began mentoring Lottis Hodge on writing Hodge’s traffic life story. Ijahnya edited the narrative, which was published as Ning Troubles in 1988. In the mid-1980s, Ijahnya began compiling the material for The Dictionary of Anguillian Language (1993). This was the first ethnographic project of its kind for the island, wrote Don E. Walicek in Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro–Latin American Biography (2016).

Ijahnya collaborated “on other publications for persons within the community; and worked passionately on the positive development of Rastafarianism in Anguilla and the region,” said Anguilla Premier Victor Banks in an April 29 statement in Times Caribbean.

Ijahnya earned her master’s degree in education at the University of Southampton in 1991. By the mid-1990s, she had “established the Triple Crown Culture Yard as a venue for social and cultural expressions and development,” said Banks.

In 1994, Triple Crown Culture Yard collaborated with House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) from the neighboring island of St. Martin to realize on both islands a literary reading and workshop by visiting Caribbean author and thinker George Lamming.

In 2017, Ijahnya would contact HNP about publishing the Dictionary of Anguillian Language—Second Edition. “The initial publication has been out of print for perhaps 20 years, but I continue to get queries from individuals and institutions,” said the indomitable culture bearer. At the time of her passing, communication on the book project was ongoing with HNP.

According to The Anguillian, Ijahnya’s column, “Heartically Yours,” which discussed cultural and political matters of the island, appeared in the newspaper between 1998 and 2009.

Following Ijahnya Christian’s social activism in the 1990s, and “To further her aim of increasing both popular and scholarly attention on Anguillian identity and history, she served as Director of the Department of Youth and Culture from 2004 to 2006.” (Wikipedia).

Ijahnya Christian, the RasTafari advocate and pan-Africanist, founded the Athlyi Rogers Study Centre, a pan-African cultural space, in 2010. In his book Rastafari: A Very Short Introduction (2012), Ennis B. Edmonds wrote that Ijahnya became one of the principal organizers of global RasTafari gatherings—certainly in context as a founding member of the Caribbean Rastafari Organization.

In Wikipedia’s reference to Island Songs: A Global Repertoire (2011), edited by Godfrey Baldacchino, “Christian was a representative for the Caribbean Pan-African Network, speaking on the preservation of language, Caribbean music and heritage.”  

The titles of affection and respect, Sistren and Empress, were widely used for Ijahnya. And her embrace of social, cultural, political, and human rights activism was wide. “Ijahnya truly embodied the meaning of sisterhood,” said the Anguillian politician Pam Webster at the burial ceremony.

“She was a strong supporter of women in leadership and women on the frontline of real transformation to improve the lives of our people here, in Anguilla, in the region, and in the world,” said Webster.

A definitive high point in the work and faith of Ijahnya Christian was her move “to Shashemene, Ethiopia in 2010, to further her work in repatriating the African diaspora to the mother country, from where she continued her writing and social activism.” (Wikipedia)

In Erin C. MacLeod’s book, Visions of Zion: Ethiopians and Rastafari in the search for the promised land (2014), Ijahnya links Repatriation to the principal and laws governing the right of return of the United Nations.

Imani Nia posted on Facebook a few minutes of video of the May 5 burial ceremony for Ijahnya Christian. A COVID-19 distancing protocol was observed. The banner of ites gold and green was seen; elders from the mansions were in appearance; family, friends, and idren of the faithful spoke; Nyabingi drumming sounded; gentle voices followed the recorded song “By the Rivers of Babylon.” Rites of homegoing for an empress who had labored dutifully in the vineyards of her people.

Good journey into Zion, Ijahnya.

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AGING WITH GRACE VIRTUAL MOTHER’S DAY SONG FESTIVAL A HUGE SUCCESS

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Virtual Mother’s Day Songfestival that was held last Sunday, May 10, 2020 to celebrate Mother’s Day was a success.

The Virtual Mother’s Day Song Festival was almost cancelled last Sunday, as a result of many technical difficulties, including internet connectivity issues due to an interruption on the sea cable between Puerto Rico and Miami over the weekend. The Mother’s Day Song Festival kicked off almost an hour later than scheduled thanks to the enormous efforts of the production team.

The Festival opened with the beautiful song “A mother’s love” by Jonesia Martimbor, better known as Sunshine, who had entered the Junior Calypso Competition at the age of 9 with this song. Although at times the show was slightly affected with freezing in connection with the internet issues, the performers did an excellent job. They all performed virtually using Zoom technology and it was streamed on Facebook.

The Virtual Mother’s Day Song Festival captured the attention of over 130 viewers who streamed live for almost two hours. During the Virtual Mother’s Day Song Festival, viewers shared it and held watch parties. Much appreciation and love were expressed in the many comments and compliments for the organizers and the performers as they sang.

Many of the singers paid tribute to the frontline workers, who are mothers, for their sacrifice and honoured the residents in the St. Martin Home. The St. Martin Home had made arrangements for its residents to view the Virtual Mother’s Day Song Festival since 3.30 pm. The Song Festival was much appreciated and there will be a replay of the Mother’s Day Song festival during the week for their residents. The St. Martin Home also received a Mother’s Day gift in the form of 10 fruits and vegetable packages from the Aging with Grace Program and the singers of the Virtual Mother’s Day Song Festival.

The Mother’s Day Song Festival, hosted by drs. Linda Richardson of the program Aging with Grace, and co-hosted by Ife Badejo, at the time of this press release attracted more than 900 views and over 600 comments.

The organizers and singers are pleased that the objectives of this First Virtual Mothers’ Day Song Festival were met. Viewers enjoyed themselves, many sang along, and spirits were lifted during the quarantine.

The organisers wish to thank the singers and the viewers for making this Mother’s Day event a great success.

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Panneflek: Nursing the world to health

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Honorable Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Richard Panneflek announces that today is International Nurses Day (IND), a day that celebrates the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale. Ms. Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820, and was the founder of modern nursing. She is famous for changing the way nurses were viewed, raising the standards for nurses and educating them. COVID-19 has reiterated the need to continue to invest in our nurses and health care in general.

On the occasion of the International Day of the Nurse and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the World Health Organization (WHO) joins hundreds of partners worldwide to highlight the importance of nurses in the healthcare continuum and thank nurses for what they do. The theme for this year is” Nursing the World to Health”.

Let us take this time to celebrate and recognize our nurses who have been working tirelessly on the frontlines. Every day you provide essential care and save lives of many. We understand that you have been risking your lives and the lives of those closest to you while working to save others during this global pandemic. The incredible job that you are doing can never go unnoticed, as you have been working with the most vulnerable during this time.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the vital role nurses play. Without nurses and other healthcare workers, we will not win the battle against this pandemic and possible future outbreaks. As Minister of VSA you have my commitment to:

1.Continue to ensure nurses have the necessary resources to help respond to and control COVID-19 and future outbreaks including unhindered access to personal protective equipment.

2 Continue to have access to mental health support during these difficult times.

3 Have the right to get tested when and if needed.

Minister Panneflek would like to extend heartfelt thanks to all nurses today on International Nurses Day. A special thank you goes out to the nurses at the St. Maarten Medical Center, the nurses at the White and Yellow Cross, the nurses aboard the Ambulance, the nurses at CPS and the nurses volunteering at CPS with the current COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for your compassion, commitment and care to all patients you come into contact with. Please know that your selfless dedication to your craft is greatly appreciated.

I would like to leave you with an inspiring quote often spoken by nurses “" I am a nurse; I don’t stop when I am tired. I stop when I am done!"

I pray for all nurses and express words of thanks for the healing and light they bring to many.

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