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Kelly Ripa Shares Her Family's Christmas Cards From Years Past


Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo(NEW YORK) -- Don't tell Kelly Ripa's children, but she's posting their holiday cards online.

The Live With Kelly and Michael host has been getting into the Christmas spirit by posting vintage photos of her family.

"Another holiday flashback! Christmas 2006 with da Mouse!" she wrote on one with her three children smiling with Mickey Mouse. "Shhhhhhhh.......the kids don't know I'm showing these."

Ripa, 44, also shared a photo of Joaquin, Lola and Michael from 2003, calling them, "Angels of Christmas past." Now they're 17, 13, and 11 respectively -- and her middle child, Lola, is giving her more attitude than ever.

"I don't think she likes me, but I don't care. I'm like, 'I'm not your friend, I'm your mom,'" Ripa told Wendy Williams last month. "I just feel an obligation as her mom to keep her living in the real world. I don't care who you are or what you do, if you're a mom, you're a mom."

Angels of Christmas past. #tbt Joaquin, Lola and Michael circa 2003.??????

A photo posted by Kelly Ripa (@kellyripa) on

One more Christmas Eve flashback. 2005 Peace on Earth.

A photo posted by Kelly Ripa (@kellyripa) on

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Movie Review: "The Interview" (Rated R)


Sony(NEW YORK) -- Let me put this in the appropriate parlance for a Seth Rogen/James Franco movie: Holy !@#$. The Interview is extremely mediocre, and this is coming from a fan of their past films, such as This Is the End! The opening scene, an interview between Franco’s goofy TV talk show host Dave Skylark and rap superstar Eminem -- playing a version of himself -- is the comic highlight of the film. Problem is, when that ends, we still have about an hour and 47 minutes to fill and there are more misses than hits.  

By now, you probably know the premise: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) is a big fan of Dave’s show, Skylark Tonight. So Rogen, who plays Dave’s producer, Aaron Rapaport, reaches out to North Korea and arranges, as Dave puts it, “the biggest interview since Frosty-Nixon:” a sit-down with the leader himself. But when Dave announces the upcoming interview on his show, the CIA comes calling in the form of Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan), who asks Aaron and Dave to assassinate Kim.

Here’s the thing; the people who would’ve gone to see this movie because they are fans of Rogen and Franco will not be offended by the misogynistic, homophobic and racist jokes, some of which are funny… some of which are not. But due to the publicity the movie has garnered, many people who don’t care for this sort of humor will see the movie and be offended.  And to that I say, “Good!” You should be offended, and while you’re busy being offended, be proud you are part of a society that gives filmmakers the freedom to execute this kind of artistic expression and humor.

One of the scenes in the movie concerns Rogen’s character trying to hide the container with the poison destined for Kim Jong-un so that North Korean soldiers won’t find the “payload.” So where does he hide it? He forces it up his, well, you know. Yes, that is an actual scene in the movie that so upset a foreign power that it perpetrated a cyber attack on our country.

My reality rating here is two-and-a-half out of five stars -- but The Interview has also earned my very first honorary five out five stars. Pay to see this film, even if you hate it -- because for the first time ever, watching a man (James Franco) pull his hands out of his pants and smell his fingers is, quite simply, the only patriotic thing to do.

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Sony to Distribute "The Interview" Online Through YouTube, Google Play


Sony/Columbia(LOS ANGELES) -- Sony announced on Wednesday that The Interview will be available online Wednesday via Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and www.seetheinterview.com for $5.99.

The streaming will start at 10 a.m. PT.

“It has always been Sony’s intention to have a national platform on which to release this film,” said Sony CEO Michael Lynton in a release to ABC News. “With that in mind, we reached out to Google, Microsoft and other partners last Wednesday, December 17th, when it became clear our initial release plans were not possible. We are pleased we can now join with our partners to offer the film nation-wide today."

Lynton said his company never stopped "pursuing as wide a release as possible" for the film that looked like it was dead as of last week when all the big move chains like AMC and Regal had backed out of showing the film due to hacker threats.

"Especially given the assault upon our business and our employees by those who wanted to stop free speech. We chose the path of digital distribution first so as to reach as many people as possible on opening day, and we continue to seek other partners and platforms to further expand the release,” he continued.

Lynton thanked Google and Microsoft for their commitment to "free speech."

"While we couldn't have predicted the road this movie traveled to get to this moment, I’m proud our fight was not for nothing and that cyber criminals were not able to silence us," he added.

The release closed by stating that in addition to online, "The Interview is also being released in more than 300 United States theaters on Dec. 25."

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Avril Lavigne Slams Rehab Rumors


Peter Kramer/NBC(LOS ANGELES) -- The rumors started to swirl almost immediately after Avril Lavigne revealed earlier this month she is struggling with some unspecified health problems.

Lavigne, 30, took to Twitter two weeks ago to tell fans she was "not feeling well. I'm having some health issues. So please keep me in your prayers."

The "Complicated" singer now wants people to know one rumor in particular is bogus.

"The rehab RUMORS are hilarious! The only thing I'm addicted to right now is Bing Crosby. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! and to all a goodnight!" she posted Tuesday night.

 

The rehab RUMORS are hilarious! The only thing I'm addicted to right now is Bing Crosby. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! and to all a goodnight!

— Avril Lavigne (@AvrilLavigne) December 24, 2014

 

She still did not specify what has been ailing her, and a rep for Lavigne had no comment about the illness.

Fans have reacted in support of Lavigne with the hashtags #PrayforAvril and #GetWellSoonAvril.

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"Unbroken," "Into the Woods," "The Gambler," "American Sniper," "Selma" Open Christmas Day


Universal(NEW YORK) -- After you're done unwrapping presents on Christmas Day, you can check out one of the new films opening on the holiday. Here's a closer look:

  • Unbroken -- Angelina Jolie directed the drama, which tells the story of Olympian Louis "Louie" Zamperini, who survived in a raft for 47 days following a plane crash during World War Two and then spent time in a Japanese POW camp. Jack O'Connell plays Zamperini, who died earlier this year. The film is based on the Laura Hillenbrand book of the same name. Rated PG-13.
  • Into the Woods -- Disney's adaptation of the hit musical brings together characters from classic fairy tales in a story about a baker and wife who are cursed by a witch. Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp and James Corden star in the Rob Marshall-directed film. Rated PG.
  • The Gambler -- Mark Wahlberg is a professor and gambler who lands in hot water with a group of gangsters. John Goodman, Jessica Lange and Brie Larson also star in the remake of the 1974 film of the same name. Rated R.

And opening in limited release:

  • American Sniper -- Bradley Cooper portrays the late Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. Sienna Miller and Jake McDorman also star in the drama, which was directed by Clint Eastwood. Rated R.
  • Selma -- David Oyelowo effortlessly portrays Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, the critically acclaimed film that recounts the history of the 1965 voting rights marches. Carmen Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey and Common also star in the drama, which was directed by Ava DuVernay, who became the first black woman to receive a Golden Globe nomination for best director. Rated PG-13.

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Hayden Panettiere on How Her Body's Changed After Giving Birth


ABC/Bob D'Amico(LOS ANGELES) -- Hayden Panettiere is over the moon after giving birth to her daughter, Kaya Evdokia, on Dec. 9.

But the Nashville star still says she is adjusting to how her body's changed after carrying a baby for nine months.

“I’m limping around. I’m still trying to figure out what [pregnancy] has done to my body, how it’s changed it," she told People magazine. "What’s temporary and what’s permanent. I feel like an 80-year-old woman trying to go down the stairs, you know, please tell me this is temporary."

She continued, "But I know some things will never be the same again."

The actress and her fiance Wladimir Klitschko have some help though. The boxer's mother has been relieving the new parents so they can get some rest.

Even so, Panettiere, 25, says her baby has an “insatiable appetite.”

"When they are putting you through the ringer you’re like, ‘You are so lucky you’re cute!'” she added.

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What Are the Top 20 Worst Christmas Movies?


Fox(NEW YORK) -- It's that most wonderful time of the year, right? But maybe not so for Christmas-themed movies.

Pastemagazine.com has done the hard work for viewers to compile what it says are the absolutely worst movies made with Christmas as the central plot line.

Fortunately, the films all avoid the actually religious meaning of Christmas and stick with more festive things like murder, mayhem, a Mexican Santa, the war on Christmas, Santa fighting Martians and an ill-advised remake of A Christmas Story. They star such silver-screen icons as Hulk Hogan, Grumpy Cat, Larry the Cable Guy and Shannon Doherty, to name but a few.

Here are the top 20 all-time worst Christmas movies:

  1. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, 1987
  2. Elves, 1989
  3. Santa Claus, 1959
  4. Last Ounce of Courage, 2012
  5. Jingle All the Way 2, 2014
  6. Santa With Muscles, 1996
  7. Santa Claws, 1996
  8. A Christmas Story 2, 2012
  9. Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman, 2000
  10. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, 1964
  11. Deck the Halls, 2006
  12. Surviving Christmas, 2004
  13. Christmas Evil, 1980
  14. The Nutcracker in 3D, 2009
  15. Black Christmas, 2006
  16. I’ll Be Home For Christmas, 1998
  17. Santa’s Slay, 2005
  18. Christmas Caper, 2007
  19. Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, 2014
  20. Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July, 1979

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Studios Deny Receiving George Clooney Petition Regarding Sony Hack


ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Were George Clooney and his agent Bryan Lourd really turned away by every studio in Hollywood when they attempted to get a petition signed in support of Sony Pictures?  The studios are saying they never even received the petition.

Clooney spoke about the petition in an interview last week.  He claimed that Hollywood had remained silent as Sony dealt with the hack attack that resulted in the cancellation of the wide release of The Interview.

On December 18, Clooney told Deadline.com that he and his agent sent a petition to the industry's top executives, but they refused to sign.

Clooney told Deadline.com, "The petition was sent to basically the heads of every place. They told Bryan Lourd, 'I can't sign this.' What? How can you not sign this? I'm not going to name anyone, that's not what I'm here to do, but nobody signed the letter...."

However, reps for 20th Century Fox, Universal, Disney, Warner Bros. and Lionsgate, as well as the talent agencies WME and UTA, tell The Hollywood Reporter that their top executives were never contacted by Clooney or Lourd.

Clooney clarifies to The Hollywood Reporter, "Bryan Lourd and I were sent a letter from the head of the MPAA Chris Dodd, which was to be circulated to the studios. It didn't ask for support for the release of the film in the face of threats, so we wrote a new letter and sent it to the MPAA. Over the next 24 hours, Bryan asked several people to sign on to the petition. One said he would if others did, and the rest said, flat-out, 'No.' Chris Dodd told Bryan that he had no takers either."

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Clint Eastwood Is Officially Divorced


ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Clint Eastwood is officially back on the market.

The 83-year-old Trouble with the Curve actor and his wife Dina Eastwood, 48, finalized their divorce, according to court papers filed in Monterey County Superior Court in California on Monday that were obtained by People magazine.

The pair tied the knot in 1996. They have a 16-year-old daughter together named Morgan.

Eastwood also has six other children from previous relationships.

News of their separation was reported in August of 2013.

Eastwood directed the new film American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper. It opens in select theaters Christmas Day.

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Lorraine Toussaint: "Selma" Centers on Little-Known Figures of Civil Rights Movement


Desiree Navarro/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Lorraine Toussaint stars as civil rights activist Amelia Boynton Robinson in Selma, the critically acclaimed film that recounts the history of the 1965 voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr.

The Orange is the New Black star tells ABC News Radio Robinson was "a real character. She was the one who invited Martin to Selma to create a staging there."

The film, she continues, is "about Martin Luther King's march from Selma to Montgomery and the historical characters that were involved in the planning of that, the staging of it and the execution of it -- culminating in Bloody Sunday. Those seminal photos that went across the AP that brought the focus of the Civil Rights Movement, brought the world's focus to what was going on in Alabama."

Toussaint says Selma highlights little-known figures in the Civil Rights Movement, as well as women's contributions.

"Many of the women who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement have not been recognized by history. It was still very much a man's world," she adds. "And Amelia Boynton, I didn't realize, [but] this woman was an activist since she was in her late teens. This is all she has ever done. She is a professional activist."

And although Toussaint is African-American, she said she still learned a lot from the period film.

"The thing that I learned in this film that I didn't realize before is how -- it's gonna sound weird -- how smart they were," she admits. "They consciously chose hot spots in this country of a community, and a sheriff and a governorship. They were looking for places where it would be volatile because something in Martin knew that he needed the press to bring about change. He needed to bring this to the world."

David Oyelowo, who effortlessly portrays King, was instrumental to bringing Selma to the big screen. Still, director Ava DuVernay was also vital to the process. And it paid off for DuVernay, who became the first black woman to receive a Golden Globe nomination for best director.

"Ava DuVernay...is a genius as far as I'm concerned, and a master filmmaker, and one very smart woman," Toussaint adds. 

Selma, which also stars Carmen Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey and Common, hits select theaters Christmas Day before opening wider January 9.

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Forbes Again Names Adam Sandler Most Overpaid Actor in Hollywood


Sony / Columbia(NEW YORK) -- Well, this may put a damper on Adam Sandler's holiday season.

Sandler tops Forbes magazine's list of the most overpaid actors in Hollywood. This is the second year in a row in which he's achieved this dubious distinction.

To compile its list, Forbes examined the last three movies of various big-name actors prior to June 2014 -- excluding cameos, animated flicks and small releases -- and compared their pay with what those films earned. The magazine estimates that Sandler's movies averaged $3.20 for every dollar he was paid.

Sandler's recent credits include Grown Ups 2, Jack and Jill and That's My Boy.

Johnny Depp was ranked second by Forbes, followed by Ben Stiller.

You can check out the full list on Forbes.com.

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Movie Review: "Unbroken" (Rated PG-13)


Universal Pictures(NEW YORK) -- Unbroken is an incredible story. It is not an incredible movie.

Angelina Jolie directs this film, based on Laura Hillenbrand’s book about World War II veteran Louis Zamperini, a former bombardier and POW who also represented the United States in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Zamperini (the younger version played by C.J. Valleroy, the older version by soon-to-be superstar Jack O’Connell) was the child of Italian immigrant parents. As a kid, he was a bit of troublemaker who seemed as if he was going nowhere fast.  In fact, he was actually a very fast runner, a gift that caught the attention of his older brother, Pete (Alex Russell), who convinces Louis to try out for the school track team. Before we know it, Louis is running the mile faster than anyone in the country. Little did he know he wasn’t just training to become an Olympian: he was training to survive.

Before long, we see Zamperini as a bombardier. During a rescue mission, his beat-up B-24 crashes into the Pacific, with only Zamperini; the confident pilot, Russell “Phil” Phillips (Domhnall Gleeson); and Francis “Mac” McNamara (Finn Wittrock) surviving. During over a month on a raft at sea, the three actors undergo a stunning transformation before our eyes, as Mac slowly starves to death and the other two struggle to stay alive.  They’re eventually rescued -- unfortunately, by the Japanese, and spend the next two years in a POW camp, where it will take everything Zamperini’s got to survive.

There’s plenty of evidence in Unbroken that Jolie has what it takes to become a great director, but she’s not there yet. The film employs flashbacks to Zamperini’s childhood throughout the story, giving us interstitial glimpses of the foundation of his fortitude. At first, the flashbacks seem organic and help move the story forward, but soon they begin to feel manipulative and superfluous. The movie may have been better served by instead telling the story in chronological order.

It’s in the tight quarters of the lifeboat, adrift at sea, that Jolie is at her best: putting us in that raft, capturing the struggle, feeling the starvation, desperation and helplessness. That journey alone would’ve made an excellent movie. But then, we wouldn’t have seen what happens in the POW camp. 

There are harrowing moments depicted there, mostly at the hands of the sadistic camp guard, Mutsuhiro Watanabe, a.k.a. “The Bird” (played Takamasa Ishihara, a.k.a. singer/songwriter Miyavi).  However, those moments are betrayed by Jolie’s desire to make this movie look beautiful, and I’m not just talking about setting up gorgeous shots of Jack O’Connell getting beaten. The other men in the POW camp look like they were captured during a raid on a Calvin Klein photo shoot. It detracts from the gritty realism so deftly created in the raft, and ultimately from what could’ve been a far better film.

Instead of making an incredible movie based on an incredible story, with Unbroken, Angelina Jolie has created a good movie based on an incredible story.

Three-and-a-half out of five stars. 

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Movie Review: "Into the Woods" (Rated PG)


Buena Vista Pictures(NEW YORK) -- Hollywood loves a good musical, especially one where Oscar and Tony bona fides meet -- like director Rob Marshall and Meryl Streep, for example.  That's what we have with Into The Woods, the Tony award-winning Broadway smash that has been reproduced by junior high and high school students hundreds, if not thousands of times, over the past 20 years. There's also been a national tour, a London production, anniversary celebrations and even a few Into The Woods-themed sweet sixteens. In other words, there is no shortage of love for one of the Stephen Sondheim’s more popular musicals.

Fans' sentimental and often passionate connection to the music is just one of many challenges facing anyone trying to adapt a popular show for the big screen. In many ways, though, the magic of cinema is the perfect vehicle to tell a story that aspires to turn several of our most popular fairytales inside out.

For the uninitiated, Into The Woods features beloved fairytale characters Little Red Riding Hood, Jack, of Beanstalk fame, Cinderella and Rapunzel. While the basics of their stories are familiar, here, they're all part of a bigger picture having to do with a witch (Meryl Streep) and the curse she puts on a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt).

To avenge the way she was treated by his father, the witch curses the baker and his wife, preventing them from ever having children. In order to reverse the curse, the couple is required to bring the witch -- in three days' time -- a cape as red as blood, a cow as white as milk, a slipper as pure as gold and hair as yellow as corn. In order to do so, they must travel -- you guessed it -- into the woods.  That's where, conveniently, Jack will be walking in order to sell his cow; where Cinderella will be running to after leaving the ball; where Little Red Riding Hood will be skipping to get to Grandma’s house and where Rapunzel’s tower happens to be. Get it?

Anna Kendrick, who got her start as a child actress on Broadway, plays Cinderella. Chris Pine, a.k.a. Captain Kirk in the rebooted Star Trek films, plays Cinderella’s prince and Christine Baranski plays her evil stepmother. Lila Crawford, who starred in Annie on Broadway, plays Little Red Riding Hood, while Johnny Depp is the Big Bad Wolf. Daniel Huttlestone is Jack and Tracey Ullman is his mother. As you can see, there is no shortage of talent here.

As I mentioned earlier, the story lends itself to the magic of cinema because I don’t care how gifted your set designer is: they’re not going to be able to craft a beanstalk that reaches to the sky or, for that matter, create a convincing giant. On the other hand, there’s nothing quite like hearing an amazing voice live in person, and a show that only contains one really catchy tune (“Into The Woods,”) and only one real show-stopping number (“Stay With Me,” -- superbly performed by Streep, who is great, of course) needs the excitement and emotional impact of a real live person. But that’s not to say Into The Woods doesn’t have its share of entertaining moments.

Pine is going to surprise a lot of people. Besides possessing a golden voice, he’s hilarious. Joining him is the relatively unknown Billy Magnussen, who plays Rapunzel’s prince. A Tony nominee, Magnussen is a scene stealer. In fact, the whole cast is fine, but if you have no sentimental connection to the original show or its music, chances are you’re going to be bored by a story that clocks in at two hours and five minutes.

Of course, this is the sort of thing that screams Oscar bait, and it's already been nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy; Blunt and Streep have also received nominations.

Me? Three out of Five stars.

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Check Out the First Trailer for the "Entourage" Movie


Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- It's time to hug it out on the big screen.

The first trailer for Entourage the movie just went live and it starts as a trailer within the trailer, with our boy Vincent Chase, played by Adrian Grenier, in his latest blockbuster film as some kind of cyborg DJ.

Then, about a minute in you hear Ari Gold screaming, "Lloyd!"

The cast is huge -- Haley Joel Osment, Billy Bob Thornton, Jeremy Piven, Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Connolly, Emily Ratajkowski, Dan Patrick, and many more.

This movie looks to be focused on Chase's first shot at directing a big-budget movie and he's $15 million over budget. The film is set to hit theaters June, 2015.

Check it out!

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Sony to Release "The Interview" on Christmas Day


Sony(NEW YORK) -- More than 200 movie theaters around the country will be screening the controversial film The Interview on the original air date of Christmas Day, Sony said Tuesday night.

A statement Sony Entertainment released early Tuesday afternoon declares, "Sony Pictures Entertainment today announced that The Interview will have a limited theatrical release in the United States on Christmas Day. 'We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day,' said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment. 'At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.'"

The statement goes on, “I want to thank our talent on The Interview and our employees, who have worked tirelessly through the many challenges we have all faced over the last month. While we hope this is only the first step of the film’s release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech.”

The Interview star Seth Rogen soon tweeted, "The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn't give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!"

Concerning those theaters, a source tells ABC News Radio that as of now, all the theaters that want to show the film are contacting Sony reps to book showings, and there’s no limit on the number of theaters that can book screenings.

Less than an hour before the announcement, Tim League, founder of the Austin, Texas-based theater chain Alamo Drafthouse, tweeted, "Breaking news: Sony has authorized screenings of THE INTERVIEW on Christmas Day. We are making shows available within the hour. #Victory."

You'll recall Sony pulled The Interview -- starring James Franco and Seth Rogen as two men recruited to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un -- after the hacking group calling itself Guardians of Peace threatened attacks against theaters that screened the movie. This is the same group that claimed responsibility for the massive hack of Sony Entertainment's computer system, releasing private emails and leaking movies.

After Sony yanked The Interview -- a move even President Obama called "a mistake" -- Alamo Drafthouse last week announced they'd instead screen the 2004 satire Team America: World Police. That movie, by the creators of South Park, in part satirizes Kim Jong-il, the late father of Kim Jong-un. But those plans were scrapped when Paramount wouldn't allow the movie to be shown.


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