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FireEye: Cyber Threats to the Nordic Region

The security company FireEye has released a report on Cyber Threats, stating the threat actors have targeted strategic industries and government and defense agencies Cyber threat actors are searching for valuable economic, political, and military intelligence. The goal is estimated being to capitalize on Nordic countries’ robust economies and gain an upper hand in the region’s distinct geopolitical concerns.

Erdogan "tames" Finland

Yesterday, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, met Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen and visited the Finnish Parliament in Helsinki.

The Prime Minister Erdoğan was accompanied by members of the Turkish government and a business delegation consisting of almost 190 representatives of key Turkish businesses.

The main focus of the visit was related to economic issues as well as Turkey’s EU membership negotiations.


Turkish PM Erdoğan to Finland

On 6 November, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will meet Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen in Helsinki. Prime Minister Erdoğan will be accompanied by members of the Turkish government and a business delegation consisting of almost 190 representatives of key Turkish businesses.

1.11.2013 More

United States: Finnish companies used for smuggling high-tech for Russian Navy

U.S. export control authorities have blacklisted seven Finnish companies and four individuals resident in Finland on suspicion of actions against U.S. security policy goals.

Companies and individuals were part of a larger list of spy scandal indictments announced on Wednesday .

Texas resident, born in Kazakhstan, millionaire Alexander Fishenko is accused of leading the smuggling network, which supplied high-tech so-called dual-use products to the Russian defense establishment - mainly to the Russian Navy.

7.10.2012 More

Finland tones up its security muscles

The Finns are expanding their already impressive military might, posing questions for their Nordic neighbours and Russia.

Finland takes its security seriously, which means Finns do not like talking about it much, especially to outsiders. Few realise that a Nordic country of just over 5.3 million people has the biggest artillery force in Europe, for example, and some of the most advanced airspace surveillance. It has top-notch special forces; its cyber-defences are in far better shape than those in most European countries. Finnish military intelligence is as formidable as it is discreet.

Nor does anyone like discussing why. Finnish diplomats like to point out that they have excellent relations with all their neighbours. Yet it is clear that Finnish military planners do not lose any sleep about possible aggression from Estonia, Sweden or Norway. Russia, however, is an uncomfortable neighbour, and has been taking an increasingly nasty tone with Finland this year. Russia's President Vladimir Putin threatened a “tough response” if Finland improved its co-operation with NATO or bought new weapons.

30.9.2012 More

Finland’s most secret military plane

New surveillance plane likely to be costliest aircraft in Finnish military history
Finnish Air Force CASA C-295

The Finnish Air Force is currently outfitting a top-secret surveillance aircraft with a capability of eavesdropping on communications by the armies of neighbouring countries. The new plane is being tested by the Finnish Intelligence Research Establishment, which is not commenting on anything related to the project. 30.9.2012

W&E Platt to supply platt MR550 shielded ring mount to Finland

Finland's Ministry of Defence has placed an order with the Australian weapon mount producer, W&E Platt, for supply of 39 Platt MR550 to equip its fleet of RG-32M mine hardened armoured patrol vehicles.

W&E Platt will supply Platt MR550 by the end of 2012. The MR550 Bi-Metal Ring Mount is the second order of the MR550 Bi-Metal ring mount by Finland, which is tailored for wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles with a gross vehicle mass under 10 tonnes, or larger vehicle designs sensitive to changes in centre-of-gravity. 23.08.12  More

Finland confirms Euro-exit scenarios

Finland has contingency plans for a possible breakup of the euro, Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said Friday in a rare disclosure from a euro-zone official about the extent of concern over that prospect.

Finland's European affairs minister Alexander Stubb quickly clarified Mr. Tuomioja's remarks, saying that "every government has various scenarios that they are working with. Our No. 1 scenario is that the euro zone will regain stability and we are working in a constructive way to achieve that goal." 20.08.12  More

Budget proposal of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland for 2013

The budget for 2013 proposes a total of 1,304 million euros for the administrative branch of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

A total of 201.8 million euros is proposed for the Foreign Ministry’s operating expenses. The Ministry is providing for the possibility that Finland will be a member of the UN Security Council in the years 2013–2014. Revision of the structure and workings of Finland’s external representation will continue and changes in the network of diplomatic missions will be implemented in 2013 as well. Resources will be directed in particular to countries and regions having an increasing political and economic importance for Finland. Cooperation with other key actors promoting exports and internationalisation will be strengthened on the basis of the Team Finland concept. Development of visa services will be continued by adopting visa processing independent of location at the visa service centre in Kouvola. The focus of communications for citizens will be on Web-based communications and social media. 08.08.12  More

Pentagon admits mistake - Finland expected to get missiles

Finland is expected to finally get the licence it has sought to buy tactical missiles from the United States.

The Pentagon has informed Helsingin Sanomat that a rejection of the authorisation for the deal by the US Congress is considered “extremely unlikely”. The Pentagon has also admitted that the exceptional problems that emerged in Congress in connection with the missile deal were of US origin. 01.08.12  More

Finland to buy ATACMS T2K unitary missiles in possible $132m deal

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on Friday that it notified U.S. Congress July 5 of a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Government of Finland for 70 M57 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) T2K Unitary Missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $132 million. This transmittal supersedes Transmittal No. 12-25 and replaces the M39 with the ATACMS M57 Block IA T2K Unitary Missile which accurately reflects the Finnish request and is consistent with U.S. export policy. 24.07.12  More

Finland's electricity company says nuclear reactor not ready in 2014

Finnish electricity company TVO revealed on Monday a new delay in the operation of an EPR nuclear reactor being built by Areva and Siemens which is already five years late.

TVO said that the reactor being built in southwestern Finland known as Olkiluoto 3 would not be ready to produce electricity normally in 2014 as previously expected and that a new timetable had not been set, blaming its partners for the delay. 17.07.12  More

Finnish Development Minister to attend the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan

Minister for International Development of Finland Heidi Hautala will attend the international conference on long-term support for the economy and the development of Afghanistan to take place in Tokyo on 8 July.

The conference in Tokyo is expected to agree on a development strategy for Afghanistan in the coming years and to confirm the commitment of the international community and the Government of Afghanistan in support of the strategy. The Government of Afghanistan is expected to present a more detailed plan for government reform and for work done in sectors central to the development of society. The international community is expected to confirm its support for Afghanistan during the post-2014 period, when responsibility for security has shifted from international forces to Afghanistan’s own security authorities. 04.07.12  More

Carl Haglund starts as Finnish Minister of Defence on 5 July

On Friday, 29 June, the President of the Republic appointed Carl Christoffer Haglund, Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration), a Member of the Government and Minister of Defence as of 5 July. Haglund is Party Leader and a Member of the European Parliament. 

29.06.12  More

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Finland, praises women's rights

Visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a general security of information agreement with her Finnish counterpart Erkki Tuomioja on Wednesday. She also praised Finland's role in the promotion of women's rights.

Speaking at a press conference, Clinton said it was wonderful to be back in Helsinki, noting the strong bilateral relationship with Finland on such issues as security, energy and women rights.

“Finland always wins hands down when it comes to my personal tally of the number of women actual participating in international conferences,” she noted. 27.06.12  More

Former military islands off Helsinki could conceivably be zoned for residential use

A new working group is seeking ways to pay for repairs of the islands of Vallisaari and Kuivasaari.

When it comes to the future use of the islands off the coast of Helsinki, now being released by the Finnish Defence Forces, things to be considered include the cultural history value of the islands, the natural diversity of wildlife there, as well as the small matter of money - or more pertinently the lack of it. Last week, the Ministry of Finance finally set up a working group to examine options for using the islands of Vallisaari, Kuninkaansaari, and Kuivasaari now that the Defence Forces no longer have any need for fixed coastal artillery. 19.06.12  More

Finland prepares to provide the EU ATALANTA operation with a vessel protection detachment

On Thursday 14 June, the President of the Republic and the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy discussed Finland's participation in the EU-led ATALANTA operation off the Somali coast. Finland prepares to deploy to the operation a vessel protection detachment with approximately 25 soldiers for twelve months in 2013. Independent vessel protection detachments will be placed on the vessels carrying the World Food Programme (WFP) shipments. 15.06.12  More

Will Finland be first to quit the euro?

Finland is most likely to be the first country to leave the eurozone, according to the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch. However there were no moves in this direction in Helsinki on Wednesday.

Columnist and author Matthew Lynn, head of the London-based Strategy Economics consultancy, argues that Finland has the most to gain by exiting the single currency.

In a column published on Wednesday, Lynn notes that as Finland is “a small nation with a strong economy” is would be easy for it to head for the door. 14.06.12  More

Finland wants clarification of Russian general’s comments

Finland plans to go through statements concerning Finnish national defence, which were made on Tuesday by General Nikolai Makarov, the commander of the Russian armed forces. Finland hopes to examine the comments together with Russia. Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja (SDP) said on Wednesday that Finland will present a direct question to Russia on the matter.

In a speech in Helsinki on Tuesday Makarov sharply criticised Finland for its close contacts with NATO and denounced the holding of military exercises in the east of Finland. Makarov also sees defence cooperation among the Nordic Countries as a military threat to Russia. 07.06.12  More

Finland seeks greater regional collaboration

Finland is considering increasing its military cooperation in the north, something it had been reluctant to do in the past because it did not want to damage its economic relationship with Moscow, writes Stratfor. 

“Finland is heavily exposed to Russia both economically and militarily because the countries share a 1,300-kilometer (807-mile) border. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Finland and Russia shared an understanding: Russia would not question Finland's independence, and in return Helsinki would stay out of NATO to avoid provoking Moscow. However, the current Finnish government is highlighting its right to conduct independent foreign policy maneuvers and is seeking closer collaboration with other Nordic countries. 04.06.12  More

Danish court sentences Finnish professor to five months for espionage

Timo Kivimäki, a Finnish political scientist working as a professor at the University of Copenhagen, has been sentenced by a Danish court to five months in prison for spying.

Kivimäki’s sentence was for illegal passing of information to the espionage organisation of a foreign power.

“This feels terrible. I was sentenced without evidence”, Kivimäki said after the verdict and sentence were handed down.

Kivimäki had met with Russian diplomats in Copenhagen over a period of several years and handed over information and documents to them. 01.06.12  More

UN Ambassadors to discuss challenges of UN peacekeeping operations in Helsinki

Ministry for Foreign Affairs will organise a seminar on challenges of the UN peace keeping operations on 31 May - 2 June in Helsinki for the New York-based UN Ambassadors of 28 countries. The seminar is organised in cooperation with the New York University Center of International Cooperation, CIC. CIC is a leading analyst of the UN peacekeeping activities.

The troops for UN peacekeeping operations increasingly come from developing countries, while financing is still largely a responsibility of traditional western countries. The above issue is one of the seminar themes including the changing nature of peacekeeping given the increasing complexity of operations and the growing importance of civilian crisis management. 30.05.12  More

Defence Forces acquiring Norwegian tracked vehicles

Nasu tracked vehicle
The Finnish Defence Forces are planning to exchange their existing tracked transport vehicles for newer ones.
30.5.2012 More

The Finnish Border Guard to introduce new uniforms

New Finnish Border Guard uniforms
The new official clothing is of more modern style and has darker color compared to the current uniform. The previous time the Border Guard official clothing was revised in 1992 - 95. Back then the move was from the after wartime grey and camouflage colored apparel to the currently used green uniforms. 30.5.2012 More

Finland against the introduction of eurobonds

On Wednesday 23 May, Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen attended the informal European Council in Brussels. Meeting for the first time after the parliamentary election of Greece and the presidential election of France, the EU Heads of State or Government focused on finding common ways to ensure Europe's economic development and growth. 

Prime Minister Katainen's clear message to his EU colleagues was that Finland does not support the introduction of eurobonds as an effort to stabilise the European economic situation. 24.05.12  More

Finland's powerhouse R&D effort is a model for Ireland to copy on the road to economic recovery- Sherlock

The Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr. Sean Sherlock TD, today (Thursday) concluded a two day visit to Helsinki, Finland where he met with a range of Finnish research and education policy makers, funding agencies and innovators.

Minister Sherlock said the visit gave him the opportunity to gain a valuable insight into Finland’s research, innovation and education systems. The Minister heard of reforms in the Finnish higher education system, efforts to increase exploitation of knowledge as well as the creation of new knowledge, measures to support entrepreneurship and start-up companies as well as the use of evaluation and foresight to inform decision making. 27.04.12  More

Finland plans to set up national cyber security centre

A working group on Finland’s cyber security strategy is coming to a conclusion that Finland will need a national cyber security centre. The chairman of the working group is Mikko Kosonen, the President of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra for the period of 2008-2013.
Kosonen reported at the Security and Defence 2012 exhibition in Lahti on Friday that he intended to propose setting up a cyber security centre in the country.

”We do not have the ability to respond to a large-scale cyber attack against several vitally important targets at the same time”, Kosonen noted. ”What we need is a cyber security centre that would improve our situation awareness”, Kosonen added.
A strong candidate to serve as the location for the planned cyber security centre would be the CERT-FI unit within the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA), which is regarded as a more neutral place than the Police or the Defence Forces.

1.10.2012 More

Finland ranks as most stable nation in the world

The Fund for Peace institution has released its Failed States Index (FSI) for 2012 and Finland again ranks in the best position, with Somalia ranked as the most troubled state for the fifth year running. Neighbours Sweden and Denmark take second and third best spots respectively.

The FSI ranks 178 countries using 12 social, economic, and political indicators of pressure on the state, along with over 100 sub-indicators. With the higher score in sections being an indication of a problem area, Finland ranks lowest overall, with an overall score of 20 compared with troubled Somalia’s score of 114.9. 22.08.12  More

Finland's PM proposes bank-funded EU crisis fund

Finland's prime minister has proposed a banking sector-funded European crisis fund to recapitalize troubled banks as part of Europe's plans for a banking union to tighten supervision.

The premier of triple-A rated Finland, one of only four remaining euro zone members to retain the top credit rating, also said the European Union should fully implement decisions made to establish closer fiscal union.

"We should be able to build a system where banks cannot shake up whole countries. One solution in addition to monitoring could be European banks' crisis fund," Jyrki Katainen was quoted as saying in an interview with economic magazine Talouselama published on Friday. 10.08.12  More

Google to invest $184.5m in Finland data centre‎

Google Inc. (GOOG), owner of the world’s most-popular search engine, plans to spend 150 million euros ($184 million) to expand its data center in Finland as demand rises for online access to video and data.

The construction work to expand the facility in Hamina, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Helsinki, will last about 18 months, Google said today in a statement distributed at a media event at the site. 03.08.12  More

How Finland keeps its head above eurozone crisis

Finland's economy is dominated by services but it is competitive in manufacturing – and its revenues are bigger than its debt.

Finland – home of reindeer, pickled fish and Nokia – is now the only eurozone country with a stable triple-A credit rating, according to Moody's.

On Monday night, the credit rating agency hit Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands with a stinging blow, cutting the outlook on their triple-A ratings from stable to negative. That pushes them into the same bracket, on Moody's measures, as France and Austria – leaving Finland the only European country with a triple-A rating and stable outlook. 25.07.12  More

Finnish Foreign Minister to attend the EU Foreign Affairs Council and the Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels

The EU Foreign Ministers will gather for a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on 23 July. The agenda includes the Union's common security and defence policy, the situation in the southern neighbourhood, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and South Sudan, the EU Eastern Partnership and China. The Foreign Ministers will also discuss energy policy from the foreign policy point of view. Finland will be represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja.

As for the Southern Neighbourhood, the agenda includes the current situation in Syria and the efforts for solving the crisis in the UN Security Council in particular. The agenda also includes expanding of the restrictive measures on the Syrian administration. For Libya, the Council will discuss the elections of the 7 July and the Union's support to Libya in building democratic institutions and the judicial system. Egypt is also on the agenda. 20.07.12  More

Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade visits Athens and Brussels

On Wednesday 11 July, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb will have meetings in Athens with the Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras, Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras. Discussions will focus on key EU and economic issues, especially the development of Economic and Monetary Union and the actions taken by the new Greek Government to improve the country’s economic situation and implement measures agreed in the international financing package. Representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission, i.e. the Troika, visited Athens during the week before. 11.07.12  More

UN calls for universal and legally binding Arms Trade Treaty to end the illicit flow of arms

The co-authors of the UN General Assembly Resolution on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) call for a universal, robust, legally binding and verifiable treaty that will help to put an end to the illicit and irresponsible transfer of arms around the world. The UN Diplomatic Conference on the ATT, meeting in New York 2-27 July 2012, seeks to negotiate the highest possible common international standards for the import, export and transfer of the complete range of conventional weapons and their technology.

In a ministerial meeting in New York, on the first day of discussions, the co-author countries of Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Kenya and the United Kingdom stressed the importance of this historical opportunity to achieve a wide-ranging treaty that could effectively address the illegal flow of arms throughout the world. 03.07.12  More

Finland remains most expensive EU country

Finland is the most expensive country in the EU, reports Eurostat. Only data communication service rates are below the EU average. Finland is also fifth most expeAccording to Eurostat, prices in Finland last year were 25 percent above the EU average.

For example, restaurant and hotel prices in Finland were 30 percent above the EU average with clothes some 20 percent higher in price than elsewhere in the EU. 28.06.12  More

Finnish President Niinistö meets Vladimir Putin in Russian Karelia

The right of Finns to purchase real estate and land in Russia featured in talks between President Sauli Niinistö and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday.

After the talks, Putin said at a press conference that recent comments against possible Finnish NATO membership made by General Makarov had the backing of the Kremlin leadership. In Putin's view, NATO membership would be harmful to Finland and its sovereignty. 22.06.12  More

International Contact Group for Afghanistan convened in Helsinki under direction of Finnish FM

A meeting of the International Contact Group focusing on Afghanistan was held in Helsinki on 17 June under the direction of Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja. The Contact Group acts as a high-level forum for political coordination and other international efforts for promotion of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the neighbouring areas. This Contact Group meeting was the first ever held in a Nordic country.

The meeting was attended by high-ranking official from more than 50 countries and international organisations, including Marc Grossman, the United States Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan’s representatives in the meeting were Minister of Finance Omar Zakhilwal and Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin. Finance Minister Zakhilwal is in charge of, for example, development funding allocated to Afghanistan. 18.06.12  More

Nokia to cut up to 10,000 jobs globally by end-2013

Finland's Nokia, one of the world's biggest mobile phone makers, announced Thursday that it planned to cut up to 10,000 jobs by the end of next year due to massive additional cost-savings measures.

"These planned reductions are a difficult consequence of the intended actions we believe we must take to ensure Nokia's long-term competitive strength," company chief executive Stephen Elop said in a statement.

Nokia was earlier this year bumped from the world's biggest mobile phone maker spot it had held for 14 years. 14.06.12  More

Finnish PM meets US Vice President

US Vice President Joe Biden praised Finland’s role in strengthening Nordic defense cooperation in a meeting with Finnish premier Jyrki Katainen in Washington DC on Thursday.

"During the discussion, Vice President Biden pointed out several times that, if judged merely by the country's size, Finland is punching above its weight in the international arena. The United States places great importance to the fact that Finland creates more security than it consumes. Vice President Biden also thanked Finland for its determination and commitment to the reconstruction process in Afghanistan," said Prime Minister Katainen. 08.06.12  More

Helsinki hosted military flag day parade

The Finnish Defence Forces’ annual parade is held each year on the birthday of Marshall Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, commander-in-chief of the Finnish military during the second world war.

This year’s parade was held in Helsinki. Around 1,100 soldiers and 60 military vehicles were involved in the procession.

The troops marched past President Sauli Niinistö, Commander of the Defence Forces Ari Puheloinen and representatives of veterans’ groups. 05.06.12  More

Finland acquiring Israeli soldier system

Combat radio and computer systems for dismounted troops are to be provided to the Finnish army by Elbit Systems of Israel.

Elbit Systems, in announcing the contract, didn't disclose the monetary value of the deal. Instead, it said the contract value was "not in an amount that is material" to the company.

Under the award, Elbit will provide a dismounted soldier system that includes enhanced observation soldier equipment, comprehensive situation awareness software, a wearable radio and computer systems. 31.05.12  More

Finland asks Russia to explain researcher's detention

The Finnish Foreign Ministry has filed a formal request with Russian authorities for information about the detention of a Finnish environmental researcher. President Sauli Niinistö called for a speedy resolution of the matter.

Seppo Knuuttila, a limnologist at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), was detained last Wednesday while on an official data-collection trip to north-west Russia. He was collecting water samples from the River Luga in Kingisepp, just east of the Estonian city of Narva. 16.04.12  More

Israel, Finland in talks over nuclear-free Mideast

Israel is holding talks with Finland about attending a conference on a creating a nuclear-free Middle East, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

The conference is expected to take place in Helsinki in December under the shadow of a growing international standoff over Iran's disputed nuclear programme, which much of the West believes is a cover for a weapons drive.

"The Finnish representative was in Israel recently but it was not a secret; it was a normal meeting," Yigal Palmor told AFP of last week's talks with Finland's undersecretary of state for foreign affairs, Jaakko Laajava, details of which were first published by Haaretz newspaper. 12.04.12  More

Finland to design advanced icebreaker for Canada

Aker Arctic Technology of Finland will be joining a team led by STX Canada Marine, to design the Canadian Coast Guard's future flagship, the CCGS John G. Diefenbaker.

Working with STX Canada Marine, Aker Arctic will be responsible for assessing ice loads, developing the hull form and structure of the ship, the conceptual design of the propulsion system, and providing the winterization principles to be used.The John G. Diefenbaker, named after a former prime minister, will be able to operate autonomously for 270 days in the Arctic, over a larger area and in more difficult conditions than any of Canada's current icebreakers. 02.03.12  More

Finland to contribute around 6 billion to Greek bailout

Finland’s total responsibilities in the second Greek bailout will run to about 6 billion euros. YLE reports that Finland’s share will rise to at least 5 billion euros, with interest on the bailout loan pushing it closer to 6 billion.

The Finance Ministry estimates that Finland’s contribution to the 130-billion-euro bailout package will be between 2.2 and 2.5 billion euros. The sum will depend how much the International Monetary Fund (IMF) contributes. The IMF will make its decision next week. 22.02.12 More

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Continues Preparations for Finland ESBWR Bid

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) continues to expand its presence in the Finland. Today the company announced it has signed a new project development memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Finnish software and systems engineering firm Space Systems Finland Ltd. (SSF), which specializes in the validation and verification of safety critical software for various industrial sectors, including the aerospace and utility industries.

Under the agreement, the companies will explore potential opportunities to collaborate on future nuclear power plant projects globally as well as in Finland as the utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) is looking to build a fourth reactor at its Olkiluoto nuclear power station. 27.01.12  More

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