British stars hope to shine at Baftas

Baftas 2016: British stars hope to shine

Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Dame Maggie Smith and Eddie RedmayneImage copyright
AFP/Getty/PA

Image caption

British hopefuls (l-r): Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Dame Maggie Smith and Eddie Redmayne

Idris Elba, Eddie Redmayne, Dame Maggie Smith and Kate Winslet are among the British stars hoping to win a Bafta later.

Other stars expected on the red carpet include Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio and Alicia Vikander.

Blanchett’s romance Carol and Steven Spielberg’s drama Bridge of Spies lead the nominations with nine each.

The ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House will be hosted by Stephen Fry.

Carol and Bridge of Spies are both nominated for best film, alongside financial crash comedy The Big Short, DiCaprio’s wilderness epic The Revenant and Spotlight, which tells the true story about a newspaper investigation into child abuse in the Catholic Church.

According to bookies, it is one of the closest contests in recent history with Spotlight the favourite, closely followed by The Revenant and The Big Short.

Image copyright
Lionsgate

Image caption

Saoirse Ronan is nominated for her role in Brooklyn, a love story based on a novel by Colm Toibin

Six films compete for the title of outstanding British film. They include The Danish Girl, in which Redmayne plays transgender pioneer Lili Elbe, and Brooklyn, in which Saoirse Ronan plays a young Irish woman who emigrates to New York.

Amy Winehouse documentary Amy is also on the shortlist, as are marital drama 45 Years, sci-fi thriller Ex Machina – in which Vikander plays a humanoid robot – and surreal comedy drama The Lobster.

Image copyright
Focus Features

Image caption

Eddie Redmayne is nominated for playing transgender pioneer Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

Image copyright
A24 Films

Image caption

Brie Larson is hotly tipped to win best actress for her role as a kidnapped mother in Room

Image copyright
Nicola Dove

Image caption

Dame Maggie Smith is also up for best actress for The Lady in the Van

Image copyright
AP

Image caption

Mark Rylance plays British-born Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in Bridge of Spies

Redmayne is aiming for a Bafta double with his leading actor nod for The Danish Girl, a year after winning the same award last year for his role as Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.

He faces competition from Bryan Cranston for Trumbo, Matt Damon for The Martian, DiCaprio for The Revenant and Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs.

Alongside Blanchett and Dame Maggie on the leading actress list are Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn, Brie Larson for Room and Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl.

Vikander has a second nomination in the supporting actress category for Ex Machina. In the same category are Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight, Rooney Mara for Carol, and British stars Julie Walters for Brooklyn and Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs.

Three Brits are in the best supporting actor category – Christian Bale for The Big Short, Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation and Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies.

Completing the field are Benicio del Toro for Sicario and Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight.

Most nominated films:

  • 9 – Bridge of Spies
  • 9 – Carol
  • 8 – The Revenant
  • 7 – Mad Max: Fury Road
  • 6 – Brooklyn
  • 6 – The Martian
  • 5 – The Big Short
  • 5 – The Danish Girl
  • 5 – Ex Machina
  • 4 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Bafta ceremony takes place two weeks before the Oscars which has faced a backlash over its all-white lists of nominees.

Several top industry figures – including Will Smith and Spike Lee – have said they will not attend the ceremony in Hollywood on 28 February after no black or minority actors were nominated in the four Oscars acting categories for the second year running.

The Baftas are often an indicator of Oscar success. Last year all of the Bafta acting winners – Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore, JK Simmons and Patricia Arquette – went on to win the equivalent Oscars.

But it was a different story in the best film category where the Bafta went to Boyhood, while Birdman took the Oscar for best picture.

Image copyright
PA

Image caption

Sir Sidney Poitier is unable to attend the ceremony to receive his Bafta Fellowship

As previously announced, Sir Sidney Poitier is to be honoured with the Bafta Fellowship for his outstanding contribution to film. However, Sir Sidney is unable to attend the ceremony in person due to health reasons.

Angels Costumes, the world’s longest-established costume house, now in its 175th year, is to receive the outstanding British contribution to cinema award.

The Bafta ceremony will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC One HD at 2100 GMT on Sunday. A special red carpet show will be broadcast on BBC Three, hosted by Angela Scanlon at 2030.

All of the Bafta action will be covered on a BBC News live page starting at 1700.

Find out more about the nominated films:

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British stars hope to shine at Baftas

Baftas 2016: British stars hope to shine

Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Dame Maggie Smith and Eddie RedmayneImage copyright
AFP/Getty/PA

Image caption

British hopefuls (l-r): Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Dame Maggie Smith and Eddie Redmayne

Idris Elba, Eddie Redmayne, Dame Maggie Smith and Kate Winslet are among the British stars hoping to win a Bafta later.

Other stars expected on the red carpet include Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio and Alicia Vikander.

Blanchett’s romance Carol and Steven Spielberg’s drama Bridge of Spies lead the nominations with nine each.

The ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House will be hosted by Stephen Fry.

Carol and Bridge of Spies are both nominated for best film, alongside financial crash comedy The Big Short, DiCaprio’s wilderness epic The Revenant and Spotlight, which tells the true story about a newspaper investigation into child abuse in the Catholic Church.

According to bookies, it is one of the closest contests in recent history with Spotlight the favourite, closely followed by The Revenant and The Big Short.

Image copyright
Lionsgate

Image caption

Saoirse Ronan is nominated for her role in Brooklyn, a love story based on a novel by Colm Toibin

Six films compete for the title of outstanding British film. They include The Danish Girl, in which Redmayne plays transgender pioneer Lili Elbe, and Brooklyn, in which Saoirse Ronan plays a young Irish woman who emigrates to New York.

Amy Winehouse documentary Amy is also on the shortlist, as are marital drama 45 Years, sci-fi thriller Ex Machina – in which Vikander plays a humanoid robot – and surreal comedy drama The Lobster.

Image copyright
Focus Features

Image caption

Eddie Redmayne is nominated for playing transgender pioneer Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

Image copyright
A24 Films

Image caption

Brie Larson is hotly tipped to win best actress for her role as a kidnapped mother in Room

Image copyright
Nicola Dove

Image caption

Dame Maggie Smith is also up for best actress for The Lady in the Van

Image copyright
AP

Image caption

Mark Rylance plays British-born Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in Bridge of Spies

Redmayne is aiming for a Bafta double with his leading actor nod for The Danish Girl, a year after winning the same award last year for his role as Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.

He faces competition from Bryan Cranston for Trumbo, Matt Damon for The Martian, DiCaprio for The Revenant and Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs.

Alongside Blanchett and Dame Maggie on the leading actress list are Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn, Brie Larson for Room and Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl.

Vikander has a second nomination in the supporting actress category for Ex Machina. In the same category are Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight, Rooney Mara for Carol, and British stars Julie Walters for Brooklyn and Kate Winslet for Steve Jobs.

Three Brits are in the best supporting actor category – Christian Bale for The Big Short, Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation and Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies.

Completing the field are Benicio del Toro for Sicario and Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight.

Most nominated films:

  • 9 – Bridge of Spies
  • 9 – Carol
  • 8 – The Revenant
  • 7 – Mad Max: Fury Road
  • 6 – Brooklyn
  • 6 – The Martian
  • 5 – The Big Short
  • 5 – The Danish Girl
  • 5 – Ex Machina
  • 4 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Bafta ceremony takes place two weeks before the Oscars which has faced a backlash over its all-white lists of nominees.

Several top industry figures – including Will Smith and Spike Lee – have said they will not attend the ceremony in Hollywood on 28 February after no black or minority actors were nominated in the four Oscars acting categories for the second year running.

The Baftas are often an indicator of Oscar success. Last year all of the Bafta acting winners – Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore, JK Simmons and Patricia Arquette – went on to win the equivalent Oscars.

But it was a different story in the best film category where the Bafta went to Boyhood, while Birdman took the Oscar for best picture.

Image copyright
PA

Image caption

Sir Sidney Poitier is unable to attend the ceremony to receive his Bafta Fellowship

As previously announced, Sir Sidney Poitier is to be honoured with the Bafta Fellowship for his outstanding contribution to film. However, Sir Sidney is unable to attend the ceremony in person due to health reasons.

Angels Costumes, the world’s longest-established costume house, now in its 175th year, is to receive the outstanding British contribution to cinema award.

The Bafta ceremony will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC One HD at 2100 GMT on Sunday. A special red carpet show will be broadcast on BBC Three, hosted by Angela Scanlon at 2030.

All of the Bafta action will be covered on a BBC News live page starting at 1700.

Find out more about the nominated films:

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Indy editor writes to 'treasured' readers

Independent editor writes to ‘treasured’ print readers

  • 13 February 2016
  • From the section UK

IndependentImage copyright
ADRIAN DENNIS

The decision to cease print editions of the Independent “must have come as a shock” to readers, its editor has said.

Writing a letter in the paper to its “treasured” print readers, Amol Rajan acknowledged it was “little comfort” to some the paper will continue online.

“Like me you love the rustle and whiff of the paper, the thud on the doormat when it arrives, and the serendipity of each edition,” he wrote.

On Friday, owners ESI Media announced the paper would stop printing in March.

Rajan wrote that to “treasured members of our special club the notion of us focusing on digital doesn’t appeal so much”. He added it was “very hard” to explain the decision but it was the “least you deserve”.

“The simple fact is, there just aren’t enough people who are prepared to pay for printed news,” he wrote.

Independent to cease as print edition

Image caption

Amol Rajan said the paper was now read by millions of people online

ESI announced on Friday it would be making “some editorial redundancies” and that the last print edition of the Independent would be published on Saturday 26 March, while the last Independent on Sunday would be on 20 March.

It also confirmed it would sell its sister title, i newspaper, to the Johnston Press publishing group, for an expected £24m, subject to approval from Johnston’s shareholders.

Rajan said money from this sale would be invested in the paper’s digital move, adding that many of the paper’s writers would continue to write “the same amount of journalism” for the publication’s website.

Image copyright
PA

Image caption

The first edition of the Independent was in October 1986

The Independent was set up in 1986, and at its peak in 1989 had a circulation of more than 400,000 copies, but December’s figures showed it was selling closer to 28,000.

Rajan said because circulation and advertising were “very substantially” down the future of the print edition “would inevitably be one of managing decline”.

He said the paper was read by “millions every day” but these people were doing so through mobile phones and digital networks.

Rajan added that the “multimillion pound investment” from the paper’s owners, the Lebedev family, would be used to launch a worldwide bureaux and a new subscription mobile app.

Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev took control of the loss-making newspapers in 2010 when he bought Independent News for Media for £1.

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BBC Three and Radio One 'merger plan'

‘Merger plan’ for BBC Three and Radio One

BBC Three logo and Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw

BBC Three and BBC Radio 1 could be merged under the same division in future, according to reports.

The TV channel is moving online-only on 16 February and consideration is now being given to moving it within a new “youth division”, Radio Times says.

A single controller may oversee all BBC platforms aimed at 16-34 year olds, including the popular radio station.

The BBC said it was looking at its “structure… for the digital age” but no changes had been confirmed.

BBC Three was launched as a digital TV channel in 2003. In November last year, the BBC Trust approved proposals to move it online as part of cost-cutting moves at the corporation.

‘Powerful brand’

BBC sources quoted by Radio Times said the plans are at the ideas stage but are being “seriously considered” by strategists.

But they are only likely to be implemented if the online BBC Three fails to get “sufficient traction”, they said.

Radio 1 includes video content on its website and some of its programming is available on the BBC’s iPlayer TV catch-up service.

Radio Times says the thinking of some senior figures is that bringing it together with BBC Three under a single controller would make “perfect sense”.

The magazine quotes BBC Three controller Damian Kavanagh as saying he is unaware of such a plan but “there are a lot of conversations going on”.

Mr Kavanagh said BBC Three and Radio 1 were “talking to the same audiences on different things” and already collaborate.

But he added BBC Three is “a really powerful youth brand with 13 years heritage and I wouldn’t see the logic in winding down something that has that audience, and has that badge of quality, and has that heritage”.

A BBC spokesman said: “Everyone knows we are looking at the BBC’s structure to make sure we are fit for the digital age.

“There has already been a lot of speculation about our future shape and there will no doubt be plenty more, but when we’ve got something to announce we’ll do so.”

Content on the online-only BBC Three includes the Daily Drop, a website index featuring short videos, blogs, social media, picture galleries, and news and sport updates. But about two hours of the channel’s long-form programmes will be shown on BBC One and Two every week.

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Bill Murray 'throws phones from bar'

Hollywood star Bill Murray in ‘mobile phone rage’ incident

Bill Murray in front of the press pack at the Cannes Film Festival (2012)Image copyright
AP

Image caption

Mr Murray has been the centre of media attention for much of his career

Hollywood actor Bill Murray has offered to pay for mobile phones he allegedly threw from a rooftop California bar after their owners tried to take photos of him.

Mr Murray was annoyed by camera flashes after “star struck” fans spotted him at the lounge in the seaside town of Carmel, the TMZ website reports.

He is alleged to have grabbed at least two phones before throwing them.

Police reportedly spoke to the star but have decided not to press charges.

The owners were happy to be compensated rather than press charges, TMZ quoted police as saying.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

The Chicago-born actor has won numerous awards since the beginning of his career in the 1970s

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

The actor and writer is best known for his comedy roles

The website said the actor was “hanging out” at the Vesuvio rooftop lounge, “a popular watering hole for celebs” playing in an annual golf tournament.

The owner of the restaurant told TMZ that Mr Murray had not been drinking at the bar but got angry when “a few patrons got star struck and took his picture”.

“The flashes were going off only 10 feet away from Bill,” the owner said, “and he got so angry he got up and chucked their phones off the second storey rooftop.”


Image copyright
Getty Images

Bill Murray

  • Actor, comedian, and writer best known for classic comedies including Stripes (1981), Tootsie (1982), Ghostbusters (1984) and Groundhog Day (1993)
  • Won plaudits for his role in Lost in Translation (2003) – Academy Award nomination for Best Actor
  • Found fame in the 1970s on Saturday Night Live
  • Took four years off from acting in the 1980s to study philosophy and history in Paris
  • Divorced twice, he has eight siblings – three of whom are actors
  • An avid sports fan, part-owner of numerous minor league baseball teams and is a keen golfer

Source: Hollywoodlife.com


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Coldplay sales surge after Super Bowl

Coldplay’s seventh album tops chart after Super Bowl

Coldplay perform at the Super BowlImage copyright
Christopher Polk

Image caption

An audience averaging 112 million saw Coldplay’s Super Bowl performance

Coldplay have leapt to the top of the UK album chart after their Super Bowl performance on Sunday

A Head Full Of Dreams had previously only peaked at number two – held off by Adele at the end of last year.

But their sales surged this week after the band’s widely praised performance at the Super Bowl.

They took the the stage alongside Beyonce, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, performing to a television audience of around 112 million.

Their chart position this week means every one of the band’s seven albums has now reached number one.

Adele’s 25 remains at number two whilst last week’s chart topper – the David Bowie hits collection Best Of Bowie – slides to third place.

Bowie also takes the number five slot with his most recently released album Blackstar.

Elton John is this week’s highest new entry with Wonderful Crazy Night – giving him the 31st top 10 album of his career.

Image copyright
Dominik Bindl

Image caption

Danish act Lukas Graham have sold more than 200,000 copies of their single 7 Years in total

Meanwhile, Danish quartet Lukas Graham have topped the official singles chart with 7 Years.

They’re the first Danish act to top the charts since Aqua in 1998.

The band have knocked last week’s no. 1 – Zayn Malik’s Pillowtalk – down to number two.

Lukas Graham’s debut UK release climbed five places to claim the top spot, racking up combined weekly sales of 105,000, including 3.65 million streams.

That means around a third of the band’s sales came from streaming – where 100 streams are equal to one physical or download purchase.

Rounding off this week’s Top 5 are Jonas Blue & Dakota’s Fast Car – a rework of the Tracy Chapman hit – Rihanna’s Work, and Shawn Mendes’ Stitches.

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Harris faces indecent assault charges

Rolf Harris faces seven indecent assault charges

  • 12 February 2016
  • From the section UK

Rolf HarrisImage copyright
Reuters

Rolf Harris is to be charged with seven counts of indecent assault, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.

The CPS said it had “carefully considered” evidence gathered and had authorised police to charge the 85-year-old former entertainer.

The alleged offences date from 1971 to 2004 and relate to seven complainants aged between 12 and 27 at the time of the alleged incidents, the CPS added.

Mr Harris is currently serving a prison sentence for sex-related offences.

He will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 17 March.

In a statement, the CPS said it had reviewed evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police as part of Operation Yewtree.

“We have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Harris to be charged with seven counts of indecent assault,” it added.

Operation Yewtree is investigating sexual abuse allegations and was launched in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

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Harry Potter: Cursed Child tops charts

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child tops bestseller chart

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child castImage copyright
PA

Image caption

The play, starring Noma Dumezweni, Jamie Parker and Paul Thornley, will officially open on 30 July

The script from the forthcoming Harry Potter play has leapt to the top of bestseller lists, a day after its July release was announced.

A hardback edition of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts I & II will be released on 31 July, the day after the play has debuted on stage in London.

Following Wednesday’s news, pre-orders have propelled it to number one on the Amazon and Waterstones book charts.

The play sees Harry as a father and an overworked Ministry of Magic employee.

The script is from an original new story by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will tell the “untold part” of the boy wizard’s story, including the story of the lives of his murdered parents, Rowling has said.

In a statement, Waterstones said it expected pre-orders to break all records and were already exceeding those for Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman over the comparable period.

Last year, Go Set a Watchman was the first title whose pre-orders reached the heights of those for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007.

James Daunt, chief executive of Waterstones, also told Radio 4’s Today the “prospect of an eighth volume is extraordinarily exciting”.

“I challenge the notion that plays aren’t a fabulous, an extraordinary, thing to read – that bloke Shakespeare wrote a few that were worth it, and indeed many of our modern playwrights do too.

“Because theatre is a very local phenomenon, play scripts do sell well, they just do so in the immediate locality of the theatre. They are wonderful entertainment, more people should do it.”

The special rehearsal edition of the script book will comprise the version of the play early in the production’s preview period and is therefore subject to being changed before the official opening.

Image caption

JK Rowling was asked multiple times by Harry Potter fans to turn the story into a play

The edition will, therefore, only be available for a limited time, said the publisher, “to be replaced by the definitive collector’s edition at a later date”.

David Shelley, chief executive of the publishers Little, Brown Book Group said on Wednesday: “We are so thrilled to be publishing the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

“JK Rowling and her team have received a huge number of appeals from fans who can’t be in London to see the play and who would like to read the play in book format – and so we are absolutely delighted to be able to make it available for them.”

The play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, has already proved to be a success with an initial round of 175,000 tickets sold in October within 24 hours of booking opening. Producers released a second batch, available to fans who had registered for priority booking.

A third set is still to go on sale but the date is yet to be announced.

Previews of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child begin in May at London’s Palace Theatre, with both plays set to open on 30 July.

Jamie Parker, currently starring in the West End show Guys and Dolls, will star as an adult Harry in the production.

Noma Dumezweni, known for her 2006 Olivier Award-winning role in A Raisin in the Sun and for stepping in at the last minute to replace Kim Cattrall in Linda at the Royal Court, will play Hermione Granger.

London Road star Paul Thornley will play Ron Weasley.

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Independent to cease as print edition

Independent to cease as print edition

  • 12 February 2016
  • From the section UK

Breaking News image

The Independent and Independent on Sunday newspapers are to cease print editions in March, the owner has said.

Announcing a move to a “digital-only future”, ESI Media said there would be “some redundancies among editorial employees”.

But it said there would also be 25 new “digital-content roles”.

ESI has also confirmed it will sell the i newspaper to Johnston Press, subject to approval from Johnston’s shareholders.

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Poor reviews for Matthew Perry play

Poor reviews for Matthew Perry play The End of Longing

Matthew Perry with co-star Jennifer MudgeImage copyright
Helen Maybanks

Image caption

Matthew Perry plays an alcoholic photographer who falls in love with a prostitute

A play written by and starring Matthew Perry has received a mixed response from critics on its opening night.

The End Of Longing is the former Friends actor’s playwriting debut, which is showing in London until May.

Perry received a standing ovation after its premiere on Thursday evening, but critics have not been so supportive.

The Guardian gave it two stars, calling it “flimsy” with characters that “never really develop”.

“It feels more like an extended sitcom in which there is little going on behind the lines,” the paper said. “What works in half-hour bites on television looks decidedly thin on the stage.”

Matthew Perry plays the lead character in the play – an alcoholic photographer who falls in love with a prostitute.

“There’s so little believable connection or tenderness between these friends and lovers, and their characters have about as much depth as a puddle in a heat wave,” wrote Holly Williams in her two-star review in The Independent.

According to Dominic Cavendish in The Telegraph, the play is “a curious waste of time, money and effort”.

Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail was kinder, saying: “[Director] Lindsay Posner’s production is coolly staged, well acted and thoroughly watchable.”

“I enjoyed it, though fully expect to forget much of it within a week or so.”

Theatre website WhatsOnStage gives the show four stars, commenting that Perry’s writing shows “great promise”.

Image copyright
Helen Maybanks

Image caption

Lloyd Owen plays the dim-witted best friend to Perry’s character

But there’s some good news for Perry. The Times gives it four stars, with Ann Treneman saying it is “funny” and “often laugh out loud”, noting that Perry “looks like a man with something to prove to himself and us – and he has certainly done that”.

Many reviewers were agreed the play would be most enjoyed by Friends devotees.

Indeed, several fans and celebrities took to Twitter after the show to express their enjoyment of it.

Actress Sadie Frost tweeted: “I really enjoyed such a wonderfully written play. All the performances were very strong – Perry was incredible.”

Busted member Charlie Simpson also said he had “really enjoyed watching Matthew Perry”, while EastEnders actress Bonnie Langford congratulated the cast on a “fabulous opening night”.

Last week, Perry spoke to arts correspondent Rebecca Jones about his interest in writing, dating back to when he was the only Friends actor in the show’s writers’ room.

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