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REDD in the news: 1-7 August 2016

REDD in the newsREDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, visit REDD-Monitor’s “REDD in the news” page, or follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.

The REDD+ Resource
UN-REDD programme, August-September 2016
Our goal is to support developing countries to establish the capacities necessary to design and deliver REDD+. This is supported through the convening capacity and technical expertise of our collaborating UN agencies: FAO, UNDP and UNEP.
This bi-monthly, multi-lingual news and information resource provides REDD+ practitioners with access to the tools needed to develop and share REDD+ capacities.

1 August 2016

Global Forest Watch and the Forest Resources Assessment explained in 5 graphics
By Nancy Harris, Rachael Petersen, Crystal Davis and Octavia Payne, Global Forest Watch, 1 August 2016
Today, we have more data about forests than ever before, but we still can’t seem to agree on where, when and why forests are changing around the world.
Even two prominent global data sources appear to disagree, at least on the surface. “World deforestation slows down” was the headline of the 2015 Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In the same year, Global Forest Watch reported that “global annual tree cover loss remains high.” What gives?

[Fiji] 64 villages to be relocated due to climate change
By Ana Ravulo,, 1 August 2016
64 villages will be relocated to high grounds in the next few years due to climate change.
This has been revealed by Acting Prime Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the Green Climate Fund 2nd High-Level Regional Workshop.
Sayed-Khaiyum says that 3 to 4 villages have already been relocated.
He says Pacific Island countries have to focus on adaptation rather than mitigation.

[Indonesia] Deforestation: Loggers Not To Blame
By Hans Rooseboom, Indonesia Expat, 1 August 2016
Loggers, the big logging companies that is, are no longer contributing to deforestation in Indonesia. The reason: the Decree of the Minister of Commerce No. 25 of 2016, which stipulates that all timber must meet the standards of the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS), or in Indonesian Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu (SVLK). And the decree is being followed.
Before a tree can be cut and the log moved out of the concession area and onto the market, a number of stringent conditions have to be fulfilled. The most exacting of these is the logging plan. This plan needs to be submitted to the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry before logging can start. It contains a map (Peta Sebaran Pohon) of the blocks to be logged during a certain year, showing the location of the trees to be felled, coded with their lat-long coordinates.

2 August 2016

Anthrax-Spewing Zombie Deer Are the Least of Your Warming Planet Worries
By Eric Roston, Bloomberg, 2 August 2016
Climate change is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. In northern Russia, you get anthrax.
Conditions that are melting Arctic permafrost there recently thawed the carcasses of deer felled by anthrax some 75 years ago, when World War II raged. Warmer temperatures then reactivated the infectious disease, which can survive in hibernation for decades. Dozens of people have been hospitalized, half of them children, with eight confirmed cases and one death. Making matters worse, a heatwave combined with the anthrax outbreak may have killed more than 2,300 deer—new ones.

UN aviation emissions pact may be voluntary at first -sources
By Allison Lampert, Reuters, 2 August 2016
A deal to limit carbon emissions from global civil aviation could be voluntary for the first five years instead of mandatory for certain countries under the current proposal, four sources familiar with the matter said.
Facing an October deadline, countries have been unable so far to agree on the metrics that would oblige participants to be included, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are involved in the talks and the idea of a voluntary first phase has not been made public.
The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) meets Sept. 27 to Oct. 7 and it will be under pressure to finalize a deal that would cap the carbon pollution of all international flights at 2020 levels. Aviation was excluded from last December’s climate accord in Paris when countries agreed to limit the rise in global temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

First Partners Meeting of the Global Peatlands Initiative
UN-REDD, 2 August 2016
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), will host the first partners meeting for the Global Peatlands Initiative. The meeting will be held the 1st to 2nd September, 2016 at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy.
The Initiative will work at the global level to provide an updated overall assessment of the status of peatlands and their importance in the global carbon cycle and for national economies, with emphasis on their role in enabling the achievement of global commitments to mitigate climate change, as outlined in the Paris Agreement.
At the national level the Initiative will identify and begin to respond to the needs of pilot countries with substantial peat coverage through building the knowledge base and developing options to reduce degradation and improve the sustainability of peatland management including through restoration and the development and adoption of sustainable peat strategies and action plans.

Fires threaten Brazil’s forests and emissions reductions plans
By Nadia Pontes, Dialogo Chino, 2 August 2016
Fires raging across Amazonia could reach unprecedented levels by October if authorities do not clamp down on the practice of starting them in order to clear and maintain pastureland, according to Alberto Setzer, coordinator of fire monitoring at Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
The number of fire outbreaks nationwide is already 57% higher than at the same time last year, Setzer said, adding that numbers would probably increase since the fire season intensifies from July through to October.
However, figures from other Latin American countries are even more concerning. In Bolivia, fires are up 355% and Peru has experienced a 110% increase.

[Fiji] $2.5b climate funds
By Losalini Bolatagici, The Fiji Times, 2 August 2016
Pacific Island countries reeling from the impact of climate change are encouraged to apply for the Green Climate Fund which has set a target of $2.5 billion for projects.
The fund’s co-chair, Zaheer Fakir, said regional leaders needed to know about the needs of their countries and developing proposals and projects that their countries needed.
Mr Fakir was at the Green Climate Fund 2nd High-Level Regional Workshop in Suva, which continues today.

[Indonesia] Hundreds leave home in palm oil conflict
By Severianus Endi, The Jakarta Post, 2 August 2016
Hundreds of residents from several hamlets in West Kalimantan have fled their homes to avoid arrest over their alleged involvement in a conflict with an oil palm company operating plantations in the area.
The residents from the area around the village of Olak-Olak in Kubu district, Kubu Raya regency, have reportedly escaped to regions in and around Pontianak City.
In search of support, around 50 of them approached the West Kalimantan chapter of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) in Pontianak on Monday to report the case. Some women were crying while carrying their children, who have not attended school for nearly a week.

[Indonesia] Industrious thinking
By Deanna Ramsay, CIFOR Forest News Blog, 2 August 2016
Forests provide both environmental benefits and economic opportunities. Striking a balance between the two – especially in developing countries where forests are being depleted and livelihoods can be precarious – is critical.
For pulp and paper, plywood and furniture producers in Indonesia, billions of dollars in investment is flowing into the country, together with increasing pressures for sustainability assurances in exports.
Herry Purnomo, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) scientist and Bogor Agricultural University professor, said the entire region was struggling with how to turn forest extractive industries green.

In the Mekong Region, climate change poses real threat to food security
By Rajesh Daniel, Stockholm Environment Institute, 2 August 2016
Over the last decade, more intense and frequent storms, floods and droughts have damaged many key food production areas in the Mekong Region, such as the rice growing plains of central Thailand and southern Laos, and the fertile deltas of the Mekong and Red Rivers. One estimate by the FAO for the Asia-Pacific region shows that at least an additional 50 million people would soon be facing serious hunger due to climate change and the number will climb to almost 130 million by 2050. In the Mekong Region, the damage to infrastructure and farms from the increasing frequency of natural disasters has further worsened food insecurity.

[New Zealand] Wood and carbon values boost forest interest
Bayleys, 2 August 2016
Significant rises in New Zealand carbon prices and positive prospects for exported timber may signal a renaissance for forest plantings, with new opportunities for landowners and investors alike in coming years.
Since April the value of carbon prices in New Zealand have almost doubled to $18/tonne after languishing as low as $2.50 a tonne only two years ago.
Meantime log prices have remained relatively firm, sitting $15 a tonne above their five year average with some strong price signals over the past year coming from traditional markets including China and increasing market share to India and South Korea. As of May export values were up 6% in value on a year to year basis.

The Norwegian paradox: it reaps huge oil income, but is eliminating petrol cars and plans carbon neutrality
AP, 2 August 2016
Norway wants to get rid of petrol-fuelled cars, plans to become carbon neutral by 2030 and spends billions on helping poor countries reduce their carbon footprints. Meanwhile, it’s pushing ever farther into the Arctic Ocean in search of more oil and gas.
“We know there is a paradox,” admits Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s climate and energy minister. “We have been living well from oil and gas. But there is no country in the world that has done more to undermine the oil and gas industry than Norway.”
The mountainous Scandinavian country of 5 million people is torn between its ambition to be a global leader on climate change and the awareness that its wealth is linked to the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.

[USA] California’s cap-and-trade program – the crisis that wasn’t
By Chris Busch (Energy Innovation), Carbon Pulse, 2 August 2016
Recent reports on California’s cap-and-trade program could mislead observers to conclude the system is “collapsing” and undergoing a “meltdown.” But hyperbole isn’t reality, and quite the contrary, the state’s climate policy is succeeding – the most recent data show California is just three percent above its 2020 goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels as required by AB 32. Meeting California’s 2020 greenhouse gas emissions goal is turning out to be easier and cheaper than expected.

[USA] The Northeast Is Considering A Major Extension To Its Emissions Program
By Samantha Page, Climate Progress, 2 August 2016
When the EPA released the Clean Power Plan last year, a lot of people freaked out. In fact, more than half of U.S. states joined a lawsuit challenging the plan, which seeks to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector.
Opponents have argued that the plan is draconian, heavy-handed regulation that will kill jobs and drive up electricity bills.
In fact, nine northeastern states are already using a framework to lower electricity emissions — and it has been a massive success.

3 August 2016

The climate crisis is already here – but no one’s telling us
By George Monbiot, The Guardian, 3 August 2016
What is salient is not important. What is important is not salient. The media turns us away from the issues that will determine the course of our lives, and towards topics of brain-melting irrelevance.
This, on current trends, will be the hottest year ever measured. The previous record was set in 2015; the one before in 2014. Fifteen of the 16 warmest years have occurred in the 21st century. Each of the past 14 months has beaten the global monthly temperature record. But you can still hear people repeating the old claim, first proposed by fossil fuel lobbyists, that global warming stopped in 1998.

After Brexit, Climate Science Denialists Form New Group to Call for a Clexit
By Grahma Readfearn, DeSmogUK, 3 August 2016
In the wake of the political tsunami caused by the UK’s decision to leave the EU, a group of climate science denialists has formed to jump enthusiastically onto the Brexit bandwagon.
Backed by a blitzkrieg of conspiracy theories and pseudo-science, a rapidly convened new group called Clexit has been formed.
The group claims to have “60 well-informed science, business and economic leaders from 16 countries” signing on to a founding statement that is chock-full of long-debunked climate change myths, together with attacks on renewable energy and the United Nations.
In a not unambitious founding statement, Clexit says: “The world must abandon this suicidal Global Warming crusade. Man does not and cannot control the climate.”

[Pakistan] Ministry seeks explanation from Indus commission on UN credits to India
The Nation, 3 August 2016
The Water and Power Ministry yesterday sought explanation from the Indus Water Commission as to why it could not know that India had managed to get carbon credits on Ratle Hydropower Project from the United Nations, The Nation has learnt reliably.
In his reply, the commission stated the issue did not fall under its domain and that it was the responsibility of the Ministry of Climate Change or Foreign Affairs to look into the matter.
Islamabad has already announced to challenge in International Court of Arbitration the designs of 850MW-Ratle Project on the River Chenab and 330MW-Kishanganga Hydropower Project on the River Jhelum in Held Kashmir.

4 August 2016

For Climate Scientists, the Siberian Anthrax Outbreak Is a Sign of What’s to Come
By Eric Holthaus, Pacific Standard, 4 August 2016
If you’re a climate scientist, what happens when your dire predictions start coming true? The ongoing anthrax outbreak in Siberia is offering us a preview: What was once considered a future theoretical possibility — a re-animated deadly bacterium emerging from the permafrost — is now a reality.
Throughout July, temperatures in northern Siberia have soared as high as 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) during what’s typically the warmest part of the year. It’s unknown exactly how the disease emerged — possibly via a thawed reindeer carcass or human remains at a crumbling, above-ground cemetery that’s typical of the region. Russia has sent troops trained for biological warfare to help establish a quarantine in what’s become the first anthrax outbreak in the region since 1941.

Finance crucial for rainforest conservation, say businesses
By Jocelyn Timperley, Business Green, 4 August 2016
Better access to finance and the creation of a more supportive legal and regulatory environment is critical to boosting rainforest conservation across the Asia Pacific region, a group of businesses have said.
The message was delivered yesterday on behalf of a roundtable of high profile firms, including Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP), BP and Cargill at the Asia Pacific Rainforest Summit taking place this week in Brunei.

UN agency urges airports to prepare for climate change
The Straits Times, 4 August 2016
The United Nations agency responsible for air travel standards has urged airports to start preparing now for severe impacts related to global warming on operations.
The Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on Tuesday warned in its 2016 environmental report of increased cloud cover at airports in the Middle East and Latin America affecting visibility, as a result of rising temperatures and humidity.
It also pointed to a need to protect coastal airstrips around the world from rising sea levels.
The report warned of increased flight turbulence caused by changes in atmospheric jet streams, more sand and dust storms clogging engines, and more occurrences of ice on wings.

Meeting Sustainable Development Goals and achieving stronger public, private and people partnerships
CIFOR press release, 4 August 2016
Smaller nations are already feeling the effects of climate change and are working towards more sustainable development policies by encouraging closer collaborations between government, private sector, NGOs and development partners. This was the message from leaders in the Pacific Islands as they began the second day of the 2016 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam.
Speaking at the summit Mr Osea Naiqamu, Minister for Fisheries and Forestry for Fiji, called for the integration of policies in working towards stronger policies for sustainable forest and land management. “We are moving in a time where forestry can no longer be separate from agriculture and fisheries.” The island nation is among several vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the worst cyclone on record hit his country in March this year, leaving widespread damage and 44 dead.

Green economy can protect biodiversity and support industries
By Lina Mohamad, Borneo Bulletin, 4 August 2016
Following the opening ceremony of the 2nd Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit yesterday at the International Convention Centre in Berakas, several parallel sessions took place in the afternoon with each session presenting on related topics.
Among the sessions was a topic on inclusive forest industries for a green economy, where a panel of speakers discussed the huge challenge of balancing the value of biodiversity with the needs of a developing economy.
With session moderator Dr Herry Purnomo, a scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), speakers also discussed on green economies and how forests can retain its natural capital while supporting industries and livelihoods.

[Brazil] Olympics: Tribe facing “genocide” defies ranchers after baby’s death
Survival International, 4 August 2016
On the eve of the Olympics, a tribe in Brazil has made a powerful statement to the ranchers who are destroying their land and subjecting them to genocidal violence and racism.
This follows a recent wave of violence and evictions, and the death of a seven-month-old baby in Apy Ka’y community in July.
Aty Guasu, the organization of Brazil’s Guarani tribe, said: “You are killers and you continue to attack our tekohá [ancestral lands]. But we won’t retreat from the fight for our lands which were stolen from us. Every time you kill one of us, we will be stronger in our struggle. Every time you shoot at us, we will take a step forward. And for every grave, we will reoccupy more land. We guarantee this.”

China’s carbon market: Shaping climate policy cooperation for the next decade
By Jeff Swartz (IETA), International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, 4 August 2016
China is acting on climate change. The Asian giant is moving quickly, seriously, and big. Faced with spiralling air pollution, which has created “Airpocalypses” in major Chinese cities, the country is wheeling out various policies to tackle its emissions.
China is no stranger to the concept of cap-and-trade. It helped pioneer the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol and set up carbon market ”pilots” in Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenzhen, Chongqing, and Beijing, as well as in the two provinces of Guangdong and Hubei. These cities and provinces already have experience in dealing with the problem of soaring pollution.

[Fiji] Push for sustainable development
Fiji Times, 4 August 2016
Development work in the country must be sustainable in order to limit the negative effects on the environment, says permanent secretary for the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Meleti Bainimarama.
Speaking at the opening of the awareness workshop on climate change and the REDD+ program, Mr Bainimarama said the success of development projects depended on its sustainability.
“The programs that you are now doing in the field are very different from 20 years ago; there was no talk about climate change then,” he said.

NGO sues Aceh official over cement factory permit in Leuser Ecosystem
By Junaidi Hanafiah,, 4 August 2016
An NGO is suing an Indonesian district head for permitting a cement factory to operate in the nationally protected Leuser Ecosystem, one of Southeast Asia’s last great swaths of intact rainforest.
The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) filed the lawsuit against Aceh Tamiang district head Hamdan Sati at the Banda Aceh Administrative Court on Thursday.
The company in question is PT Tripa Semen Aceh. It holds a license to establish a factory and a mine on 2,549 hectares of land in Kaloy village, in Aceh Tamiang’s Tamiang Hulu subdistrict.
Walhi alleges that the license violates a number of laws and ministerial decrees. These include the 2015 Aceh Government Law, which states that the management of the Leuser Ecosystem must adhere to certain principles of sustainable use, and a 2014 energy ministry decree on mining.

[USA] Climate Retreat? Legislature May Ditch Plan to Radically Reduce Emissions
By Laurel Rosenhall, CALmatters, 4 August 2016
Gov. Jerry Brown has taken the national stage to tout California’s fight against global warming, telling cheering throngs at the Democratic National Convention that the state has “the toughest climate laws in the country.”
Yet inside the state Capitol, the fate of the policy’s centerpiece — legislation to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions — is in peril.
One ominous sign: The Democratic leader of the Assembly has not thrown his weight behind the bill.
“For us, it’s not imperative that it get done this year,” said Anthony Rendon, who has a background as an environmentalist but rose to speaker this year with support from a powerful bloc of business-friendly Democrats. “It’s a program that has had its success, but at the same time there are some corrections that could be made. We just want to make sure that if we’re going to set something up for the long term, that we get it right.”

[USA] Big Oil Renewing Effort To Kill California’s Landmark Climate Law
By Larry Buhl, DeSmogBlog, 4 August 2016
As California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB-32, approaches its 10th birthday, Big Oil is renewing efforts to roll it back and the governor and pro-environmental lawmakers in Sacramento are racing against the clock to counter the onslaught.
AB-32 set a 2020 target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels. But a key part of it, the cap-and-trade program, will sunset in 2020 unless legislators and Governor Jerry Brown can come up with a new law to let it continue.
Cap-and-trade uses a cap to gradually lower limits on emissions and a “trade” to raise money through the auction sale of carbon credits. Funds from these credits are earmarked for projects like the state’s bullet train, which many California lawmakers, including some Democrats, are skeptical of.

[USA] Boiler Room Alert: If You Get a Call Like This, Don’t Bite—and Don’t Buy
NASDAQ, 4 August 2016
Boiler room-style calls are characterized by high pressure sales pitches from people who call you out of the blue, working from a list or simply dialing from a phone book. FINRA is issuing this alert because we have seen an increase in aggressive calls touting the next hot stock. Callers tend to target seniors, and have been all-too successful in conning people of all ages into buying penny stocks and other speculative investments.

5 August 2016

A new strategic partnership announced for CIFOR with SNV
CIFOR press release, 5 August 2016
The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) today announced a new partnership to collaborate on knowledge, sharing, technical expertise and engagement on some key areas such as sustainable supply of agricultural commodities, business models and services provision to smallholders, innovations in financing mechanisms to provide affordable credit to smallholders, investment models that help build alternative livelihoods for smallholders, and forest management and restoration that account for the needs of smallholders.

[Bangladesh] UN-REDD launches Nat’l Programme
Financial Express, 5 August 2016
The inception workshop of UN-REDD Bangladesh National Programme was held on Wednesday calling for sustainability of forest resources to meet the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The government of Bangladesh (GoB) has set a target on the global efforts of Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) through the workshop of the United Nations Collaborative programme on REDD+ in developing countries.

[Fiji] Land use strategies
By Charlene Lanyon, The Fiji Times, 5 August 2016
Having a clear understanding of development programs and issues faced in various communities was important when formulating land use strategies.
Fiji’s Conservator of Forests Eliki Senivasa made this statement whilst addressing participants at the awareness workshop on climate change and the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) program in Suva on Wednesday.
“It is about the people and their livelihood, about good land management and so it is very important that this platform be used to raise awareness on our operations,” Mr Senivasa said.

[Guyana] GFC Board votes to end BaiShanLin’s “illegal” joint ventures
Kaieteur News, 5 August 2016
The new Board of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) yesterday voted against the continuation of BaiShanLin Forest Development’s operations through its joint ventures. The Board has found these ventures to be illegal.
At present, the joint ventures are the only known logging operations of BaiShanLin, as all other lands previously under the company’s control have been reverted to the State. An end to the company’s joint ventures would mean an end to its present operations in Guyana.
The issue of BaiShanLin’s joint ventures has been boldly highlighted in the report of the forensic audit that Anand Goolsarran conducted into the operations of the GFC.
Goolsarran had noted that BaiShanLin gained control of five major companies in the forestry sector – Sherwood Forrest Inc, Haimorakabra Logging Co., Wood Associated Industries Co. Ltd., Puruni Woods Inc. and Kwebanna Wood Products Inc.

[India] Forest fires: NGT asks U’khand to submit management plan
The Indian Express, 5 August 2016
The National Green Tribunal has directed Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments to submit crisis management plan for prevention and control of forest fires to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) within two weeks.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took exception to the fact that that the issue of management plan was pending since 2010 and directed the MoEF to file the details of states which have not submitted the management plan on forest fires.

Malaysia continues to practise sustainable forest management, says Wan Junaidi
The Borneo Post, 5 August 2016
Malaysia practises sustainable forest management on both production and protection of forests and promotes independent third party certification to ensure sustainability.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said Malaysia had also identified strategic areas for gazettement as permanent forests under the Central Forest Spine and the Heart of Borneo Initiatives.
Malaysia also hopes to enhance forest conservation and strengthen connectivity between forest types.

[New Zealand] Farmers failing to take advantage of carbon credits
By Pat Deavoll, NZFarmer, 5 August 2016
Carbon credits for forestry are too complicated for most farmers to take advantage of, according to former NZ Farm Forestry Association president and South Canterbury farmer Ian Jackson.
He was commenting on big rises in New Zealand carbon prices, which have almost doubled to $18 a tonne after languishing as low as $2.50 only two years ago.
“We are yet to see an increase in interest in farm forestry because most people wouldn’t have a clue about carbon credits,” he said.
“But there is a real market and a real opportunity for people in carbon trading if they get expert advice.”

6 August 2016

[UK] Company Misled Investors In £1.1m Carbon Credits Scam
By Steven Wilson, Money International, 6 August 2016
A salesman who conned customers out of more than £1 million by making false claims about investing in carbon credits has been banned from running a company for 15 years.
Anthony Allen, 31, denied he sold the carbon credits as an investment, but investigators from the government’s Insolvency Agency’s public interest unit found scripts for sales staff that referred to high returns they could earn.
The investigators concluded that Allen misled customers into handing over £1.1 million for worthless voluntary emission reduction carbon credits.

7 August 2016

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