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tv   CBS Overnight News  CBS  December 17, 2015 3:12am-4:01am PST

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raqqah, the headquarters of isis, but their fighters were just a few miles away and no one wanted to make a wrong turn. past deserted villages, we finally reached their line of
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defense. it wasn't much. one of the soldiers looked like he was barely into his teens. these are the syrian rebels the u.s. is training and equipping. until a few months ago, this whole area was controlled by isis. gloomy days like these are a nightmare for rebel forces guarding the front lines. isis militants use the fog as cover to launch sneak attacks. they can't see them coming until it's too late to stop them. the group leader told us u.s. warplanes can't see them, either. and while he said he was grateful for american support, he hadn't actually seen any of the u.s. special forces now on the ground. but commander lewland rojava had. we met him at his base camp deep inside syria. what types of things are you discussing? "mainly coordination on the ground," he told us, "weapons and ammunition and who gets them, and they also wanted to see how successful we are in
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fighting isis on the ground." we also asked villagers what they thought of u.s. troops inside syria. "if they bring peace and stability" he said," they're welcome." when you found out u.s. troops were coming here, what did you think? 16-year-old omar told us he was simply happy. the commander told us, scott, once u.s. forces see for themselves what they're up against, they'll realize they need things like armored vehicles and heavy weapons, in addition to guns and ammunition. he also said, depending on how things go, maybe america will send even more forces. >> charlie d'agata with a report from america's new battlefield in syria. charlie, thank you. now the u.s. has also sent hundreds of troops to west africa, where islamic militants linked to isis are terrorizing villages in a campaign of murder and kidnapping. the americans are there to
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support cameroon's army, and debora patta went along. >> reporter: cameroon's elite counterterrorism soldiers gear up for the day's patrol to the nigerian border. balaclavas provide scant relief against the choking dust. they're searching for boko haram, the extremist group that has aligned itself with isis and killed more than 20,000 in the past six years. border towns like kolofata have suffered a string of attacks by suicide bombers recently. boko haram fighters frequently hide weapons and ammunitions in villages. sniffer dogs look for explosives as soldiers go from hut to hut. the belief is boko haram could be in any of these homes and not even children are immune from security checks because in the past few months, the suicide bombs in this area have all been delivered by children. the new face of war.
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but today, they find nothing. major beltus kwene tells the village to be vigilant. the soldiers' base is just a few miles from the border. and you've been attacked here at this base. >> we underwent a massive attack at this base. >> reporter: kwene told us since boko haram has pledged allegiance to isis, their tactics have changed. their bombs are more sophisticated and deployed with deadly frequency. >> when i see how horrible they can be, i think i will never, ever feel tired to fight against them. >> reporter: now cameroon is getting help from the u.s. military that is setting up its first drone base in africa. here, cameroon soldiers are learning how to use their own
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drones for surveillance. the u.s. base won't be fully operational until next month. captain victor guzman-- >> the united states forces is providing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets to the cameroon forces to take the lead, fight the local threat, and not only is it local, but it's grown to a global threat. >> reporter: the u.s. will have as many as 300 troops on the ground in cameroon by the time it's fully operational. they're also training the soldiers to prevent suicide attacks. it's critically important, scott, just 12 hours after we left kolofata, it was hit by a suicide bomber killing nine people. >> debora patta, remarkable reporting from the heart of africa. debora, thank you. an attempt to save coral reefs creates an underwater wasteland. wasteland. and preserving movie classics oh no... (under his breath)
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an attempt to save florida coral is wrecking the reef instead. apparently they didn't think through what sea water does to metal. here's barry petersen. >> reporter: they're off before dawn. diver thomas pennypacker is on a rescue mission off the coast of ft. lauderdale, saving a piece of florida's natural coral reef,
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from this, as massive 35-acre graveyard of old tires. it started as a way to get rid of tires plugging up landfills back in 1970. up to two million tires bundled by metal clips were dumped here to create an artificial reef. the hope was that they would spur coral growth and attract fish, all good for the environment. really good idea? really bad outcome. the clips rusted away. the tires broke free. storms and constant ocean currents keep the tires moving, dragging across and damaging the fragile living reef nearby, says alex delgado, the dive coordinator. >> right now, it's just a wasteland. it's tires everywhere. and now we need to correct it before it does additional damage. >> reporter: down below here is the priority zone, where they had as many as 300,000 tires, but the tires have really spread
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throughout this area, all the way as far as the beaches of ft. lauderdale. >> how you doing down there? >> now, we're in a pretty good spot. >> reporter: surrounded by a seemingly endless mound of tires, pennypacker slings them onto lines to be hauled up by a crane. until he and his team fetch as many as 600 on a good day. it's a race against time. pat quinn is the natural resources specialist for broward county. >> they won't break apart in our lifetime. >> reporter: so if you don't get them out of there, they're just going to be there. >> forever. >> reporter: so far, florida state funding will bring the number of recovered tires to about 160,000. not enough, say experts, to protect a reef 7,000 years in the making. barry petersen, cbs news, off the coast of ft. lauderdale. still ahead, years after his death, michael jackson is still setting records.
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see you on the other side, ray. >> nice working with you, dr. venkman. >> bill murray and dan aykroyd in "ghostbusters," one of 20 classic movies added today at the film registry at the library of congress, films preserved due to their cultural importance. the list includes "top gun," "l.a. confidential," and "the shawshank redemption" with tim robbins and morgan freeman. >> i guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. get busy living...or get busy dying. >> fans of michael jackson got busy buying his 1982 masterpiece. ♪ today, "thriller" became the first album to go platinum 30 times over. 30 million sold in the u.s., more than a million since
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jackson died in 2009. next, the new star at the national zoo.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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the new baby at the national zoo, a baby pada, made its public debut today, so we sent cub reporter chip reid for a look. >> reporter: getting introduced to the media at four months old is something usually reserved for royalty. well, that's exactly what bei bei is, the prince of cute. millions of panda lovers have watched him grow up on the national zoo's panda-cam, from birth when he was completely helpless to where he is today, which is just mostly helpless. doctors say he's in perfect health and give much of the
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credit to mom, who endlessly plays with him, carries him over rocks, slides him across the floor, and nuzzles him to sleep. brandie smith is in charge of animal care at the zoo. >> right now, he is entirely dependent upon her, so he's not eating any solid food. she's nursing him. that's where he gets all of his nutrients. everything comes from mom right now. >> reporter: today mom, or may shong, spent much of her time outside, leaving bei bei in the media glare with his keeper, juan roddriguez, known to bei bei's adoring fans as the luckiest man in the world. do a lot of people tell you, "i want your job"? >> yeah, yeah. pretty much every day. being able to work with these guys, it just puts a smile on your face. i mean, you just can't get enough of it. >> reporter: the public will get to see bei bei in person starting next month. today, after most of the media throng left, may shong finally returned and those remaining were treated to this-- the soft embrace of a mother's love. chip reid, cbs news, washington.
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>> and that's the "overnight news" for this thursday. for some of you, the news continues. for others, check back with us just a little bit later for the morning news and, of course, "cbs this morning." from the broadcast center in new york city, i'm scott pelley. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
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this is the "cbs overnight news." is >> hi, everyone, and welcome to the "overnight news." public school students in los angeles are back in class after the entire school system was shut down for a day because of a fake terror threat. the high school kid also be wrapping up their finals with the holiday recess start thing weekend. and the threat of a terror strike took center stage in las vegas, and the gop presidential candidates squared off for their final debate of the year. major garrett has the story. >> reporter: the debate was an instant capsule. a primetime event which the specter of terrorism and the nation's fears about it overshadowed every other topic. in the end, offered an anxious nation a promise, one that could be distilled into one word, or
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phrase. >> we will keep america safe. >> safe. >> safe. >> safe. >> safe. >> we're talking about security. >> reporter: the competition to be tougher on national security never ended, and jeb bush, running in low single digits, forced his way back into the conversation by repeatedly challenging donald trump. >> this is a tough business -- >> you're a tough guy, jeb. >> and we need to have a leader -- you're never going to be president of the united states by insulting your way. >> let's see, i'm at 43%, you're at 3%. >> reporter: ted cruz and marco rubio clashed over national security and border control. cruz accused rubio for supporting a path to citizenship, branding it amnesty. >> does ted cruz rule out legalizing people in this country now? >> i've never supported legalization, and i do not intend to support legalization.
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>> reporter: calling the senator's fights irrelevant, chris christie said his experience as a post 9/11 u.s. attorney and new jersey governor makes him best prepared to be commander in chief. >> this is what it's like to be on the floor of the united states senate. i mean, endless debates about how many angels on the head of a pin for people that have never had to make a consequence shall decision. >> i think when people discover he wants to get rid of the first amendment to the constitution, they might say, oh, my god. >> reporter: we asked trump what he valued more, security or the bill of rights. >> i've always come down on the side of security. >> reporter: even if it means doing something to encroach on the bill of rights? >> i hate it, i hate the concept of it, but we are dealing with some very bad dudes.
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i'm committed to the republican party. i feel honored to be the front-runner. >> reporter: trump senior advisers said trump had always been clear he would run as a republican, not consider a third party race. trump made the announcement tonight that he now sees a clear path to the nomination. the city of flint, michigan is in a state of emergency. high levels of lead were found in the tap water. adriana diaz has a report on how this crisis unfolded. >> reporter: when officials tapped into the flint river here for the city's drinking water, the strong chemicals corroded the pipes, contaminating the water with lead. by the time the city switched back to the original water source, families said the damage was already done. >> when i hear my son give up at
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night and cry because his bones hurt, and there's nothing i can give him, there's nothing i can do for him to take away his pain, i feel completely helpless. >> reporter: for nearly five months, melissa and her family drank the water, unaware there was lead in it. maze says she noticed a change in her three children. convulsions, skin lesions, memory and hair loss. >> my heartbreaks, because i handed them the water. >> reporter: last month, maze and other residents filed a class action lawsuit, accusing officials of not proper sampling the flint river water and delaying and notifying the publish of serious safety and health risks. they called the city's false denials about the safety of the water deadly and arrogant. >> they continually said the water is safe to drink. >> reporter: the water problems started in the spring of 2014
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when flint moved its water supply to the flint river. it was supposed to save the city about $15 million a year. but the lead levels detected in flint's children under the age of 5 nearly doubled, according to a study by a local center. in october, officials declared unfiltered water unsafe to drink. shortly after, flint had to switch back to the detroit water supply. flint's new mayor, karen weaver, says the city needs to fix its decaying infrastructure. >> we made that switch to the flimt water, we damaged the flights. there was no corrosion control in place. >> reporter: the world health organization declares any lead in the body unsafe. and particularly toxic to young children. severe cases of exposure may cause mental disabilities and behavior difficulties. do you feel helpless in this situation? >> i can make nightmares go
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away. i can't fix this and i can't make this go away. >> reporter: the mayor says fixing the city's water system could cost $1 billion. she hopes declaring a state of emergency will unlock state and federal funding, but it's not her call. the cash strapped state and federal government have to approve her request. president obama has been telling people to enjoy the holidays and not to worry about a possible terror attack. experts say fear can have a real effect on your health, and our doctor, jon lapook, got the lowdown from justin sinclair. >> one of the things that is different about this, you know, this threat, is that, again, it's ongoing. people can't know when and where or how it's going to happen. it's this thing that never ends, it's everywhere. >> reporter: how does that affect their lives? >> they tend to avoid different aspects of their lives. they fly less, they ride on public transportation less.
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they go into public settings less. there's been research that's shown that they have a tendency to engage people from different cultural backgrounds less. they even consume media less, ironically. >> reporter: what have you learned over the last ten years of studying this that might surprise people? >> how potent fear can be in terms of altering people's lives. and the impact that it can have in different aspects of life, whether it's making decisions about a president, whether it's supporting different policies that are important socially, or even down to sort of how people live their everyday lives. >> reporter: is there a danger of people in society changing their behavior because of terrorism? >> yeah, it changes the structure of our country. it changes the structure of our government. fear can maybe even change things in ways that weren't consistent how the country was founded originally. >> reporter: as a psychologist, is there some insight into that? >> i think fear moves people to become much more polarized in their viewpoints, and i think
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well, the wait is nearly over for "star wars" fans. it's the first new "star wars" fill nm a decade and it's got a new director, j.j. abrams. as bill whitaker reports, abrams is under enormous pressure to make sure the movie hits all the right notes. ♪ >> reporter: six weeks before the premiere, we dropped in on a hollywood scoring session for "the force awakens." ♪ the composer, who won an academy award for the first film, was back. along with the iconic refrain he wrote 38 years ago. ♪
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take a look behind williams. that's not some awe-struck groupie. that's the director, j.j. abrams. i saw you up here with your video camera. >> this is momentous. john williams conducting his "star wars" music. as a fan, i can't believe i get to be here. ♪ >> reporter: abrams saw "star wars" when 4ehe was 11. on this day, he was racing around the sound stage. >> it's incredible. we may need to make the -- repeat those bars just because it might be a little longer
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before we get into the interior of the transport. >> reporter: i see you running around. >> really? i felt so confident. >> reporter: this is you calm? >> yeah. >> reporter: is it intimidating in any way? >> oh, yeah. oh, yeah. [ laughter ] it's moments of just abject terror as to what we're all taking on. >> reporter: what he's taking on is this, "the force awakens." disney is counting on him to expand the "star wars" fans while staying true to the original vision. and the die hard fans, their expectations are out of this world. >> the force, it's calling to you. >> reporter: when the official trailer was posted online, it was viewed 112 million times in just 24 hours. >> nothing can stand in our way. >> talk about the force.
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the fans are a force to be reckoned with. it's intense. >> it is. >> reporter: it's not just the fans here, it global. >> it's bigger than all of us. it's almost a religion for people. >> reporter: what grabbed you about "star wars?" >> the experience of it was so profound and so moving, and so funny and so sweet, that for me, as a kid, it blew my mind, and it was just -- it said anything is possible. >> reporter: abrams has been working on "the force awakens" nonstop for three years. he's managed to keep a tight lid on it. this is one of the few clips disney has released. he told us his movie is set about 30 years after "run of the jedi," the final fill nm the first trilogy. at the end of that movie, the good guys had vanquished the
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empire, or so it seemed. >> the walkoff to the sunset is always misleading, because then what? so one of the things you see in this movie is things didn't just end happily. and that the idea of the force, the dark and the light side, are at a classic "star wars" place, which is in a desperate moment. >> reporter: a moment which forces a new generation to step up. >> we can't outrun them. >> reporter: stepping into a new role, 23-year-old newcomer daisy. her character is rave, a desert scavenger. and john plays a disillusioned storm trooper. your universe seems to be a more diverse place, by gender, by race. what do you think the impact of
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that is going to be? >> when we started casting the movie, it felt incredibly important to me that the movie look like the world in which this movie is being released. >> reporter: abrams didn't just direct the movie, he wrote it with lawrence casden, who wrote two of the original "star wars" with lucas. he knew from the start he would blend the new with the old, shooting in familiar far flung locales like this desert in abu dhabi. the explosions were real. were there times when you stepped back from being the director and you were just the fan on the set? >> it was very hard to be in the 125 degree heat in abu dhabi with actual storm troopers running through this village we had built, and not have moments
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constantly of "holy, what the -- i can't believe i'm here." it was constantly happening. i had to suppress that and say okay, let's do it and put that away, because the job was not to be a wide-eyed fan boy. the job was to be director of the movie. and action. >> reporter: as the director, he managed to cast a crew of almost a thousand. he set limits on computer generated imagery. most of abrams' creatures, like the new droid, bb 8, were crafted by hand, including his own. >> we knew we had to have a hero droid that was not a familiar one. >> you came up with the concept by sketching it out? >> i drew the bumme esmes esmest little thing. >> reporter: the sketch department made a puppet. >> the puppeteer came out and i
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was like, oh, my god, it lives. [ robot noises ] >> maybe we could connect them so they're not so different. >> reporter: only a handful of people have seen the finished film. one of them is abrams' wife of 19 years, katie. they have three children, a charitable foundation she oversees, and a harry met sally rapport. >> i love the movie, i really love the movie. and i'm sort of picky and i'm a little, you know -- >> honest. >> i'm honest. at the end of the day, this is a movie. this is not curing cancer or eradicating poverty. this is making a movie, right?
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right? that's what you believe, right? >> i'm sorry, she lost me after "this is just a movie." >> reporter: jeffrey jacob abrams grew up not far from the big studios. but when he took a tour of a movie back lot at age 8, he knew he had found his calling. what in particular drew you to it? >> i think the thing that was so cool is it felt like a magic trip. it was every aspect of illusion, of creating something that seemed like it was actually happening and real. >> reporter: he picked up the family's home movie camera and tried his own slight of hand. he admits his earliest works weren't that good, but he got better. he won a teen film festival and got written up in "the los angeles times." that's him in the middle. the article caught the eye of steven spielberg. he reached out to the young filmmaker who reminded him of himself. plays throughout
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recruits. john blackstone has this report. >> reporter: lifting off in formation, my life was in the hands of the pilot. >> it's okay. i had my two coffees in the morning. perfect. >> reporter: flying at speeds up to 565 miles an hour. at times, just ten feet apart, the seven powerful l-39 albatros jets. marshond has flown with the team for years. air shows helped inspire you to fly? >> yeah. i began to attend air show when fs a kid. >> reporter: with their brand, the company is spreading the word. but the president of the company says there's another mission here. you also want them to discover aviation? >> that's actually probably our number one goal.
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and when you see these pilots flying those planes at air shows all over the country, you inspire people. >> reporter: and that inspiration could prove critical. some in the aviation industry are predicting a pilot shortage in america. so recruiting young people to the profession has been paramount. >> we would like aviation to flourish and be a little more popular. >> reporter: it's estimated some 21,000 pilot also be turning 65 and face mandatory retirement from the four major airlines. those jobs are often filled by military flyers or younger pilots moving up. but these case fewer people are pursuing careers in the cockpit. in part, because of the increasing cost of education and flight time. an investment of up to $200,000 to qualify to become a commercial pilot. cbs news aviation and safety expert captain sully sullenberg says what's really needed is raising pilot wages at regional
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airlines. >> it really doesn't make sense for entry level jobs in aviation to pay sometimes less than $20,000 a year or just over $20,000 a year when it requires a lot of training. the major airlines must bear some responsibility for this current situation. >> reporter: what's on display here is the joy of flight. thomas, 17, and his 14-year-old sister have their hearts set on becoming pilots. is this any part of what made you want to fly? >> yes. sooz >> seeing them, maybe that can be me one day up there. >> reporter: and for one show i am part of the jet team, surviving tight turns, discovering that pulling 4 or 5 gs causes the blood in your head to rush south. >> we are just ordinary people
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doing extraordinary things. >> reporter: hoping those extraord,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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the dream of visiting mars could soon become a reality. nasa is planning a manned mission to the red planet sometime in the 2030s, and the space agency has started recruiting youngsters who might want to take the trip. jan crawford reports from the national air and space museum in washington. >> reporter: we're inside a m model of the discovery shuttle. if students like it, may they be able to apply. start thing week, nasa is opening up the application process for the next generation of space travel. >> going to mars, the human journey to mars is a renaissance. i think we've captivated not just the u.s., but the world. >> reporter: david newman hopes
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a record breaking number of qualified americans apply to nasa's astronaut class of 2017. what does it take to be an astronaut? >> the back ground is really important. how are they as leaders? we have a rigorous applicant board. >> they must be a u.s. citizen with a bachelor's degree and three years of experience or 1,000 hours piloting a jet and the physical is another hurdle. is it a combination of highly intellectual but intensely physical? >> and also operational, and how you make decisions and work in teams. you're making critical decisions and you're making life and death decisions in space flight. >> reporter: there have been 338 nasa astronauts ranging in 26 to 46. of the 6300 who applied for the last class, only eight, four
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men, four women were chosen. that's about a 0.01% chance. pilot and nasa applicant melissa pemberton isn't discouraged. >> for a pilot and someone that has a passion for travel in aviation, i can't imagine a better job than being an astronaut. >> reporter: candidate also spend one year training for space walks, undergoing mission simulations, all with a possibility of one day going to mars. it will take us about eight months to get there. it's round trip, so just under a couple years round trip and we'll be on the surface of mars for about 500 days searching for evidence of life, of past life. >> reporter: newman says a lot of the applicants grew up dreaming about being an astronaut. they got advanced degrees, they flew jets in the military. if you think you've got the right stuff, nasa is taking applications till february 18th. >> that's the "overnight news" for this thursday. for some of you the news
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continues. for others, check back with us later for the it's thursday, december captioning funded by cbs it's thursday, december 17th, 2015. this is the "cbs morning news." peaceful outrage in baltimore. demonstrators gather after a jury fails to reach a verdict in the trial of a police officer charged in the death of freddie gray. a new e-mail controversy involving a member of president obama's cabinet. defense secretary ashton carter admits to using a personal e-mail address while doing pentagon business. the hunt is on for a texas teen who killed four people in a drunk driving crash two years ago. authorities believe the

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