Monthly Archives: March 2011




Quick Facts

World Water Day aims to increase people’s awareness of the water’s importance in all aspects of life.

Local names

Name Language
World Water Day English
Día Mundial del Agua Spanish

World Water Day 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

World Water Day 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012
See list of observations that follows below.

The United Nations’ (UN) World Water Day is held on March 22 each year. Events are organized on or around this day to increase people’s awareness of water’s importance in environment, agriculture, health and trade.
Water Waves
World Water Day aims to increase people’s awareness on water’s importance in life. © BAYRAM

What do people do?

Many events are held worldwide during World Water Day. These include:

  • Visual art, theatrical and musical celebrations of water.
  • Symposia for local, national and international leaders on water management and security.
  • Educational events on the importance of clean water and protecting water resources.
  • Campaigns and events to raise money for access to clean and affordable water.
  • Excursions to local rivers, lakes and reservoirs.
  • Special broadcasts on television and radio and the Internet.
  • Walks, runs and swimming other sports competitions.

Some events are held on actual World Water Day date, while others are held on convenient dates close to March 22.

Public life

World Water Day is not a public holiday in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.


Agenda 21 is a worldwide action plan for areas where human activities may affect the environment. It was adopted at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992. Agenda 21 recommended various measures, including creating World Water Day.

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on December 22, 1992, declaring March 22 to be the World Day for Water each year. Countries were encouraged to develop activities to highlight local needs for water. The first World Day for Water was observed in 1993.

The Water for Life Decade was launched on World Water Day in 2005. This decade will run from 2005 to 2015 and give a high profile to women’s participation and the UN’s water-related programs.


World Water Day’s main symbol is the shape of a water drop in the UN’s color blue. Photographs of water being used or in rivers, reservoirs, lakes or seas are widely displayed on this occasion.


Recent World Water Day themes include:

  • Shared Waters, Shared Opportunities (2009).
  • Sanitation (2008).
  • Coping with Water Scarcity (2007).
  • Water and Culture (2006).
  • Water for Life (2005).
  • Water and Disasters (2004).
  • Water for the Future (2003).
  • Water for Development (2002).
  • Water for Health (2001).
  • Water for the 21st Century (2000).
  • Everyone Lives Downstream (1999).
  • Groundwater: the Invisible Resource (1998).
  • The World’s Water: Is There Enough? (1997).
  • Water for Thirsty Cities (1996).
  • Women and Water (1995).

A new theme is allocated to each different year for World Water Day.


World Water Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Mon Mar 22 1993 World Water Day United Nation day  
Tue Mar 22 1994 World Water Day United Nation day  
Wed Mar 22 1995 World Water Day United Nation day  
Fri Mar 22 1996 World Water Day United Nation day  
Sat Mar 22 1997 World Water Day United Nation day  
Sun Mar 22 1998 World Water Day United Nation day  
Mon Mar 22 1999 World Water Day United Nation day  
Wed Mar 22 2000 World Water Day United Nation day  
Thu Mar 22 2001 World Water Day United Nation day  
Fri Mar 22 2002 World Water Day United Nation day  
Sat Mar 22 2003 World Water Day United Nation day  
Mon Mar 22 2004 World Water Day United Nation day  
Tue Mar 22 2005 World Water Day United Nation day  
Wed Mar 22 2006 World Water Day United Nation day  
Thu Mar 22 2007 World Water Day United Nation day  
Sat Mar 22 2008 World Water Day United Nation day  
Sun Mar 22 2009 World Water Day United Nation day  
Mon Mar 22 2010 World Water Day United Nation day  
Tue Mar 22 2011 World Water Day United Nation day  
Thu Mar 22 2012 World Water Day United Nation day  
Fri Mar 22 2013 World Water Day United Nation day  
Sat Mar 22 2014 World Water Day United Nation day  
Sun Mar 22 2015 World Water Day United Nation day  


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The following is a National Public Radio audio interview and transcript of Mrs. Recy Taylor discussing the brutal rape she suffered in 1944 at the hands of seven White men in Abbeville, AL.

In Tell Me More’s weekly “Behind Closed Doors” conversation, host Michel Martin speaks with Mrs. Taylor, as well as the author Danielle Lynn McGuire.

Ms. McGuire wrote the book At the Dark End of the Street, a book which brought national attention to the story of Mrs. Taylor, how the late Rosa Parks became interested in Mrs. Taylor’s ordeal, and how many Black women suffered the crime of interracial rape during the reign of terror under Jane Crow segregation.



Tell Me More

February 28, 2011




I’m Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

My weekly, Can I Just Tell You commentary is just ahead.

But, first, we go behind closed doors, as we often do on Mondays, to talk about issues people usually keep private. And, today, as we wind up Black History Month and look ahead to women’s history month, a story that in many ways was hiding in plain sight.

Now, many people know the story of Rosa Parks. It will have been told again this Black History Month. The meek and mild seamstress who was supposedly too tired to move to the back of the bus in segregated Montgomery, Alabama and thereby sparked a movement. It turns out that the story is a good deal more complicated than that.

Rosa Parks was in fact a seasoned activist and investigator for the NAACP. She worked on documenting an epidemic of sexual violence aimed at black women and those stories have largely been forgotten until now.

A new book called “At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape and Resistance – A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power” tells the story. The author of the book will join us in just a few minutes.

But before that, we are going to hear from Recy Taylor, whose story Rosa Parks first investigated back in 1944. She’s at her home in Winter Haven, Florida. Ms. Taylor, thank you so much for joining us. I know this is hard to talk about, but if you could, I’d like it if you could tell us what happened back in 1944 when you were walking home that day.

Ms. RECY TAYLOR: Yes. I was – went to my friends house. Then she decided she wanted to go to church that night. I told her, yes, I would go. We went on to church and came back. A car running around outside of us, six young men jumped out with a gun and said that – you’re the one that cut a white boy in Clarkton. And the police got us out looking for you. You get in the car and we will take you uptown to the police station.

And they got me in the car and carried me straight through the woods, but before they go where they was going, they blindfolded me. After they messed over and did what they were going to do me, say, we’re going to take you back. We’re going to put you out. But if you tell it, we’re going to kill you.

So, first person I met was my daddy. And he said, where in the world you been? And I said, some white boys took me out and messed with me. And then the next person I met was Mr. Louis(ph), was the high sheriff. And he asked me, he said, well, Recy, what in the world happened to you tonight? And I told him. So Mr. Louis said, let’s just go back to the store and said, when we get down to the store, I’m going to go and see if I can find them.

So we sat down at the store and when Mr. Louis got back, he had two boys. Mr. Louis asked me, say, do these look like two boys were with you tonight? I told him, yeah. Then he asked the boys, was y’all with this lady tonight? And the white boys said, yeah. Mr. Louis told them to get in the car and he left. We didn’t have no other conversation said about the boys. He just left. And so daddy told me, well, I want to see somebody about carry my daughter out like that and treating her like that. Said, I’m going to see about that tomorrow.

But I don’t know if my daddy talked to anybody about it the next day or not. He might’ve did, but I don’t know.

MARTIN: Did anything ever happen to them for what they did to you?

Ms. TAYLOR: No ma’am, nothing.

MARTIN: After that time – and that’s a terrible thing to happen to someone and I’m so sorry that that happened to you.

Ms. TAYLOR: It sure is.

MARTIN: How do you think that it affected your life? Were you afraid to go out after that and things like that?

Ms. TAYLOR: I didn’t go out at night. And then I got afraid of living right there after that happened too, ’cause I was afraid that maybe something else might happen.

MARTIN: Do you remember Rosa Parks?

Ms. TAYLOR: Yes, ma’am.

MARTIN: How did she find you?

Ms. TAYLOR: They said she come to the house, my daddy’s house. That’s how she got in touch with me ’cause he’s the one talked to her and then talked to me going to Montgomery ’cause he didn’t know what might happen later.

MARTIN: I assumed that you found out from Professor McGuire, from Danielle McGuire, that this happened to many, many ladies like you. Did you know that?

Ms. TAYLOR: I heard it happened to many ladies, but I didn’t know them, but I have heard.

MARTIN: You have heard.

Ms. TAYLOR: I have heard about many ladies got raped.

MARTIN: Do you feel better now that the world knows about this, or I guess you would feel better if you knew that those young men had been brought to justice for what they did. I assume that would make you feel better, but…

Ms. TAYLOR: Yes. That would make me feel better. I hated it happened to me like that, but it just happened to me and I couldn’t help myself, and didn’t the people’s there, it seemed like they wasn’t concerned about what happened to me. They didn’t try to do nothing about it. I just get upset because I do my best to be nice to people because I don’t want people to mistreat me and do me any kind of way and I have to live with it, ’cause I had to live with a lot with going through with this.

MARTIN: Yes, ma’am. I can imagine. I can only imagine.

TAYLOR: ‘Cause I don’t like to live like that. And I like to live happy, but I sometimes I don’t even think about it, I go along. And then again, I get to thinking – I said, Lord, they could’ve killed me anyway. They was talking about killing me, but they could’ve killed me with their gun. They could’ve taken their gun and bust my brains out, but the Lord is just with me that night.

MARTIN: Thank you so much for speaking with us.


MARTIN: Once again, that was Recy Taylor. Rosa Parks investigated her story back in 1944.

And now we’ll turn to Danielle McGuire, whose book “The Dark End of the Street” features Recy Taylor and many other women like her.

Danielle, how did you get started on this?

Professor DANIELLE MCGUIRE (Wayne State University): In 1998 I was listening to an NPR story about the Montgomery bus boycott, and Joe Azbell, the editor of the Montgomery Advertiser, said something like: Gertrude Perkins has never been mentioned in history books but she had as much to do with the Montgomery bus boycott as anyone on Earth. And I stopped and I thought, Who on Earth is Gertrude Perkins? So I went to the archive and searched through the books and I didn’t find Gertrude Perkins’ name, and I went to the newspaper and I had to go through decades. I got to 1949 and found the story of Gertrude Perkins.

In 1949 she was walking home from a party and two white Montgomery police officers kidnapped her and raped her. When they were finished, they dropped her off and she went to see her minister, who was Reverend Solomon Seay, Sr. He was one of the more outspoken ministers in Montgomery at the time, and he launched a protest, and that protest lasted for at least two months and got her story on the front pages of the Montgomery Advertiser, which was the white newspaper at the time.

So I thought that was a fascinating story. And over the course of about 12 years of doing this research, I found that in the decade leading up to the bus boycott there were a series of rape cases, a series of sexual assaults against black women, and black women’s testimonies helped launch little campaigns and sometimes big campaigns against what was happening. And the infrastructure that they built in protecting these black women who were victims was then used to launch the bus boycotts.

MARTIN: How does Rosa Parks connect to Recy Taylor?

Prof. MCGUIRE: Rosa Parks had family in Abbeville, Alabama, where Recy Taylor lived, and when she heard that story, the Montgomery NAACP dispatched her, because Rosa Parks was their best detective. And so she went to Abbeville and took notes on Taylor’s story and listened to her testimony and then took Taylor’s testimony back to Montgomery, where she and the city’s most militant activists launched a campaign that the Chicago defender called the strongest movement for justice to be seen in a decade.

MARTIN: We just heard from Recy Taylor, as you heard, and she uses certain euphemisms to talk about what happened to her. Now, she’s 91 years old now and we can certainly understand that. But for the sake of clarity, and I do apologize because this is hard to hear, but I’d like you to tell us exactly what happened to Recy Taylor.

Prof. MCGUIRE: Yeah. She was walking home from a church revival and a car full of white men kidnapped her off the street and drove her to the woods and they gang-raped her at gunpoint. She was raped at least six times, and when they were finished, they just dropped her off on the highway. Taylor managed to find the strength to walk home and she met her father and the local sheriff, who were out looking for her. She told them the details of the assault and told her husband and her family and then a few days later the Montgomery NAACP sent Rosa Parks. So Taylor struggled with this for years and years and in many ways is still struggling with it.

MARTIN: As she remembers it and as you recounted, the sheriff was already looking for her. But then he didn’t do anything.

Prof. MCGUIRE: Right. He went looking for them, I think out of respect for the family, but once he realized it was his friend’s son and his neighbor’s son and men in the community, they weren’t really going to pursue it any longer. I mean it might have been an attempt to make Recy Taylor and her family seem like they were doing something but they weren’t really going to press charges or go through the details of a trial. I mean most of it was a farce. And this is sort of what prompted this major campaign around the country, you know, that there was no indictment, that these assailants were not even put on trial.

MARTIN: And then, of course, you tell the story of Gertrude Perkins. This was five years later when she was raped by two white police officers at gunpoint. She then reported it to her minister (unintelligible) and there was a protest about that. What happened in that case?

Prof. MCGUIRE: Gertrude Perkins was able to have a grand jury hearing and the county solicitor swore at her and accused her of lying, basically accused her of being a prostitute, you know, the stereotypical black Jezebel, and the protest that African-Americans mounted in the wake of this attack did force the two men to leave town. But I think African-Americans would’ve preferred an indictment and a really lengthy jail sentence.

MARTIN: Well, the other point that you make in the book is you contrast that to the whole notion of black men being accused of even speaking to a white woman. For example, the Emmett Till case, a 15-year-old boy who was brutally murdered because he was accused of whistling at a white woman in 1955.

Prof. MCGUIRE: Right.

MARTIN: And then I think you further report in your book that unsubstantiated rumors of black men attacking white women sparked almost half of all the race riots in the United States before World War II.

Prof. MCGUIRE: It really sits at the volatile core of the modern civil rights struggle, and interracial sexual violence is really the point here. And so white men, I think, projected their own deviant behavior onto black men and accused black men of attacking white women when the truth was that white men were in the habit of attacking black women. So black men had to be very careful and they could be charged with eye rape. I mean there’s a case in the 1950s of a black man who looked at a white girl from a distance of 75 feet and was literally charged with eye rape. I mean it was preposterous.

MARTIN: If you’re just joining us, this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I’m speaking with Danielle McGuire; she’s author of “At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance.” It’s a new history of the civil rights movement from Rosa Parks to the rise of black power. And she’s talking about the role that sexual violence against black women played in the rise of the civil rights movement. And previously we heard from Recy Taylor, a woman whose story was told by Danielle McGuire in her book.

One of the powerful points that you make in the book is that part of the reason the Montgomery bus boycott was successful, part of the reason Rosa Parks was successful – she was already an organizer and there was a network in place supporting this. And I’m just wondering why you think we never heard these stories before.

Prof. MCGUIRE: I think that historians have always been focused on civil rights, voting rights, desegregation, access to public accommodations, and they’ve left out some of the larger things that people were worried about, particularly human rights. And they ignored some of these stories. I mean black women have been testifying about his crimes for years. They’re on the front pages of black newspaper throughout the 1940s and the early 1950s, but mainstream historians never really picked it up, because I think they were really just focused on major leaders, major campaigns, and the very simplistic idea of civil rights.

MARTIN: Now, you’re not African-American. You’re white. And I’m interested in how you reacted to these stories.

Prof. MCGUIRE: They’re heart-wrenching. And there were times when I was in the archive and I’d just go and do the stacks in the library and cry, because this isn’t just black women’s history, this is all of our history, this is American history. And our own silence about these continuing crimes and this crime of silence that we perpetuate by not talking about it, by not telling these stories I think makes us complicit. And I don’t think we can move forward as a nation until we’re honest about our history and honest about the kinds of things that happened, and that means we have to really embrace the brutal and the redemptive parts of our history, and this is certainly the brutal part of that history.

MARTIN: Danielle McGuire is the author of “At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance – A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power.” She now teaches history at Wayne State University and she joined us from NPR member station WDET in Detroit.

Previously we heard from Recy Taylor. She is a survivor of gang rape in 1944. Her case motivated the NAACP to send Rosa Parks to investigate. And Recy Taylor was kind enough to join us from her home in Florida.

Danielle McGuire, thank you so much for speaking with us.

Prof. MCGUIRE: You’re welcome. Thank you.



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An apology has been issued to Mrs. Recy Taylor on the brutal rape she suffered in 1944. The following article is an update following a petition by Mrs. Taylor’s 74-year-old brother, Robert Corbitt, to have the state of Alabama and the town of Abbeville, AL apologize for the miscarriage of justice committed by the law and justice authorities.


Ala. Leaders Apologize For Handling Of 1944 Rape

by The Associated Press

FILE - In this Oct. 7, 2010 file photo, Recy Taylor, now 91, is seen her home in Winter Haven, Fla. Black and white leaders from a rural southeast Alabama community apologized Monday, March 21, 2011 to relatives of Taylor, who was raped in 1944 by a gang of white men who escaped prosecution because of what officials described as police bungling and racism.

Associated PressFILE – In this Oct. 7, 2010 file photo, Recy Taylor, now 91, is seen her home in Winter Haven, Fla. Black and white leaders from a rural southeast Alabama community apologized Monday, March 21, 2011 to relatives of Taylor, who was raped in 1944 by a gang of white men who escaped prosecution because of what officials described as police bungling and racism.
ABBEVILLE, Ala. March 21, 2011, 05:08 pm ET

Nearly 70 years after Recy Taylor was raped by a gang of white men, leaders of the rural southeast Alabama community where it happened apologized Monday, acknowledging that her attackers escaped prosecution because of racism and an investigation bungled by police.

“It is apparent that the system failed you in 1944,” Henry County probate judge and commission chairwoman JoAnn Smith told several of Taylor’s relatives at a news conference at the county courthouse.

Taylor, 91, lives in Florida and did not attend the news conference. Family members said she was in poor health and was not up to traveling to Abbeville or speaking with reporters. But her 74-year-old brother Robert Corbitt, who still lives in town, was front and center and said he would relay the apology to his sister.

“What happened to my sister way back then … couldn’t happen today,” he said. “Boy, what a mess they made out of it. They tried to make her look like a whore and she was a Christian lady.”

Taylor, who is black, told The Associated Press in an interview last year that she believes the men who attacked her are dead, but she would still like an apology from the state. The AP does not typically identify victims of sexual assault but is using her name because she has publicly identified herself.

Taylor was 24, married and living in her native Henry County when she was gang-raped in Abbeville. She was walking home from church when she was abducted, assaulted and left on the side of the road in an isolated area.

Two all-white, all-male grand juries declined to bring charges. Democratic State Rep. Dexter Grimsley of Newville said police bungled the investigation and harassed Taylor.

“I would like to extend a deep, heartfelt apology for the error we made here in Alabama,” Grimsley said Monday, looking straight at Corbitt. “It was so unkind. We can’t stand around and say that it didn’t happen.”

He said the statements from the mayor and the probate judge help to assure area residents that “that era won’t return to us.” He also said he is working on a resolution asking the state to apologize to Taylor.

Taylor’s story, along with those of other black women attacked by white men during the civil rights era, is told in “At the Dark End of the Street,” a book by Danielle McGuire released last year.

McGuire said Monday she would eventually like to see more formal apologies from the state, city and county, but views the statements from officials, prompted by publicity about her book, as a good first step.

“The fact that they are acknowledging that this happened is important,” said McGuire, a history professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.

The case got the attention of NAACP activist Rosa Parks in the 1940s, a decade before she became an icon by refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus. Parks interviewed Taylor in 1944 and later recruited other activists to create the “Alabama Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor.” Those efforts were later overshadowed by other civil rights battles.

Corbitt said he felt like his sister’s case was forgotten until he started doing some research several years ago and found out about the work that McGuire was doing. Mayor Ryan Blalock, who was among those apologizing Monday, said he had not heard about the case until recently.

“It felt good that the mayor said he is sorry about it,” Corbitt said.

Blalock got emotional when he told Taylor’s family that Abbeville is now a good place to live and that white people and black people respect each other and work and play together.

“My 8-year-old son has as many black friends as he does white friends,” said Blalock, who is white. “They are welcome at our place and he is welcome in their homes.”


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International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination:  March 21-28, 2011)

Quick Facts

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is annually observed on March 21.

Local names

Name Language
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination English
Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Discriminación Racial Spanish

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012
List of dates for other years follows below.

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed with a series of events and activities worldwide on March 21 each year. The day aims to remind people of racial discrimination’s negative consequences. It also encourages people to remember their obligation and determination to combat racial discrimination.
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination promotes equality and ways to prevent or reduce racial discrimination. © and Varina Patel

What do people do?

Various activities and events are arranged in many countries worldwide on this day. Previous activities included a webcast from the UN headquarters on March 21 featuring special appearances of UN leaders. Such events aim to help young people voice their opinions, find ways to fight racism, and promote tolerance in their communities and in their lives.

Young people also have the option of posting their opinions regarding discussions on human rights and racial discrimination at Voices of Youth, which is UNICEF’s online bulletin board for young people. Contributors to Voices of Youth come from different parts of the world including Jamaica, Kazakhstan, and the Philippines. Other activities include essays, photo projects, and published articles that promote the fight against racial discrimination.

Public life

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is not a public holiday in countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.


The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was established six years after an event, known as the Sharpeville tragedy or Sharpeville massacre, which captured worldwide attention. This event involved police opening fire and killing 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against the apartheid “pass laws” in Sharpeville, South Africa, March 21, 1960.

The UN General Assembly called on the international community to increase its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination when it proclaimed the day as a UN Day of observance in 1966. It also called on all world states and organizations to participate in a program of action to combat racism and racial discrimination in 1983. It held the World Conference against Racism and Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in 2001. The UN continues its work to fight against all forms of racial intolerance.

Children don't know about racial discrimination
Children don’t know about racial discrimination.
1982, Cape Town, South Africa. UN Photo.


The UN logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, inscribed in a wreath consisting of crossed conventionalized branches of the olive tree. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map depicts the area of concern to the UN in achieving its main purpose, peace and security. The projection of the map extends to 60 degrees south latitude, and includes five concentric circles.

File:Flag of the United Nations.svg

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Fri Mar 21 1980 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Sat Mar 21 1981 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Sun Mar 21 1982 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Mon Mar 21 1983 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Wed Mar 21 1984 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Thu Mar 21 1985 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Fri Mar 21 1986 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Sat Mar 21 1987 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Mon Mar 21 1988 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Tue Mar 21 1989 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Wed Mar 21 1990 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Thu Mar 21 1991 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Sat Mar 21 1992 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Sun Mar 21 1993 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Mon Mar 21 1994 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Tue Mar 21 1995 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Thu Mar 21 1996 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Fri Mar 21 1997 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Sat Mar 21 1998 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Sun Mar 21 1999 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Tue Mar 21 2000 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Wed Mar 21 2001 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Thu Mar 21 2002 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Fri Mar 21 2003 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Sun Mar 21 2004 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Mon Mar 21 2005 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Tue Mar 21 2006 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Wed Mar 21 2007 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Fri Mar 21 2008 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Sat Mar 21 2009 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Sun Mar 21 2010 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Mon Mar 21 2011 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Wed Mar 21 2012 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Thu Mar 21 2013 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Fri Mar 21 2014 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day  
Sat Mar 21 2015 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination United Nation day


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Published: March 18, 2011

Michael Gough, the lithe, angular-faced British character actor best known for his role as Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s trusted butler, in four “Batman” movies, died on Thursday at his home in England. He was 94.

March 18, 2011

Warner Bros. Pictures, via Photofest

Michael Gough

His grandson Dickon Gough confirmed the death.

Mr. Gough played the long-suffering, ever-available Alfred alongside Michael Keaton in “Batman” (1989) and “Batman Returns” (1992), then reprised the role opposite Val Kilmer in “Batman Forever” (1995) and again in “Batman & Robin” (1997), with George Clooney as his caped boss.

But in an acting career that spanned seven decades, Mr. Gough also had roles in more than 150 movies, television shows and stage productions.

In 1979 he won a Tony Award for best featured actor in the comedy “Bedroom Farce,” in which he played one of the husbands in three couples who are too beset by doubts and self-complication to have time for anything as straightforward as sex. Last year he supplied the voice of the Dodo Bird in the Tim Burton movie “Alice in Wonderland.”

Mr. Gough could bring two essentially different acting styles to his range of roles. In productions like “Henry VIII and His Six Wives” (1972), his portrayal of the Duke of Norfolk was subtle and restrained. In horror movies like “Black Zoo” (1962), he was eye-bulgingly terrifying.

Mr. Gough played Dillwyn Knox in the 1987 Broadway production of “Breaking the Code,” based on the true story of Alan Turing, a mathematician recruited by the British government during World War II to help crack the Nazis’ Enigma code. After the war Mr. Turing, who was gay, was prosecuted for “gross indecency.” To avoid imprisonment, he accepted chemical castration. Mr. Gough played the part of Mr. Turing’s supervisor.

In a New York Times review of the play, Frank Rich wrote that Mr. Gough “is one of those remarkable English character actors who should be much better known to American audiences,” adding, “There is fine, supple Chekhovian detail to his every small gesture, from his slow-dawning owlish smiles to the buttoning of his ill-fitting tweed jacket to the revealing tentativeness with which he fingers through a personnel file.”

Mr. Gough was born on Nov. 23, 1916, in what is now Malaysia, to British parents. He attended an agricultural college in England, but not for long. “Probably the reason I’m an actor is that you don’t have to pass examinations,” he said in 1988. “I was hopeless in school, I never passed a single exam.”

Survivors include his fourth wife, Henrietta, a daughter Emma; and two sons, Simon and Jasper, the BBC reported.

Mr. Gough considered himself lucky to have always been a supporting actor.

“It’s the best way to be,” he said. “You don’t have the responsibility of a star, you’re not as expensive as a star, and you get lovely parts. And you don’t have to worry about status or pecking order.”


Michael Gough, one of my favourite character actors. Such style, such panache, such versatility that he brought to his many roles on the silver screen.

The article mentions Mr. Gough’s work in the Batman movies, but forgotten are his many roles in thrillers, suspense, and horror movies.

Movies like Konga (my no. 1 favourite Michael Gough movie that I first saw as a child):

Movies like Berserk!, where he played the manager of a circus that was beset with horrific murders, in which he starred with the late Joan Crawford, who owned the circus. Other films of note are Crucible of Horror (aka The Corpse), Venom,  and as the Celestial Toymaker in the  Dr. Who: The Celestial Toymaker episode.

Mr. Gough was part of an era of the Golden Age of B-movies.

He will be missed.

Rest in peace, Mr. Gough.

Rest in peace.




Published: March 19, 2011

Warren M. Christopher, the courtly and reserved secretary of state in President Bill Clinton’s first term and the chief negotiator for the 1981 release of American hostages in Iran, died on Friday night in Los Angeles. He was 85 and lived in Los Angeles.

March 20, 2011

Charles Dharapak/Associated Press

Former secretary of state Warren M. Christopher in Washington in 2008.



March 20, 2011

Denis Paquin/Associated Press

Former secretary of state Warren M. Christopher with President Clinton at the White House in 1996.

O’Melveny & Myers, the law firm where Mr. Christopher was a senior partner, announced his death, saying he had been ill with kidney and bladder cancer.

Methodical and self-effacing, Mr. Christopher alternated for nearly five decades between top echelons of both the federal government and legal and political life in California. He served as the Carter administration’s point man with Congress in winning ratification of the Panama Canal treaties, presided over the normalization of diplomatic relations with China and conducted repeated negotiations involving the Middle East and the Balkans.

At home, Mr. Christopher investigated racial unrest in Detroit and in the Watts district of Los Angeles and later headed a 1991 commission that proposed major reforms of the Los Angeles Police Department after riots prompted by the beating of a black driver, Rodney King.

As a political operative, he headed Mr. Clinton’s 1992 search committee for a vice-presidential running mate, settling on Al Gore, and subsequently directed the transition team of the president-elect, acting as an establishment counterweight on a team dominated by Arkansans new to the national scene. Eight years later, when Mr. Gore was running for president, he directed the search resulting in the selection of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman for the second spot on the Democratic ticket.

When the election became stalemated, Mr. Christopher supervised the recount of disputed votes in Florida before George W. Bush emerged the winner by decision of the Supreme Court.

Mr. Christopher was in overall charge of Mr. Gore’s Florida recount effort, although much of the legal strategy was devised by a team of lawyers led by David Boies, the prominent corporate lawyer, and Ronald A. Klain, Mr. Gore’s former chief of staff and a onetime partner of Mr. Christopher’s at O’Melveny & Myers.

Mr. Christopher came under criticism at the time, and later in “Recount,” the 2008 HBO dramatization of the Florida vote dispute, over his handling of the Florida episode. His detractors said he had showed a lack of legal and political aggressiveness against Mr. Bush’s legal team, led by James A. Baker III, another former secretary of state. The movie, in particular, portrayed Mr. Christopher as overly concerned with the niceties of the law while Mr. Baker was waging a bare-knuckled campaign on all fronts.

Mr. Klain called it an unfair characterization. “Like all dramatic portrayals, they sought dramatic tension by exaggerating people’s personalities,” he said on Saturday. “People often confused Chris’s reserved style and personal sense of propriety with a lack of fierceness on behalf of his client. That would be a mistake.”

He said it was Mr. Christopher’s decision to challenge the Florida result, even as most Republicans and some prominent Democrats were urging Mr. Gore to concede. “People don’t remember how controversial that effort was. Without Chris’s stature and credibility, I’m not sure we would have gotten as far as we did,” Mr. Klain said.

Mr. Bush’s ascension to the White House was decreed by five Supreme Court justices, Mr. Klain insisted, not by any flaw in Mr. Gore’s legal strategy or Mr. Christopher’s leadership. “In all the years since then,” he said, “no one has come up with any workable strategic advice on how we could have gotten one of those justices to switch.”

In a statement, Mr. Gore described Mr. Christopher as “one of the great statesmen of our era. His quiet, consistently thoughtful demeanor belied a fierce commitment to principle and a brilliant mind. Time and again, his wisdom and skillful diplomacy was invaluable in the conduct of America’s foreign policy.”

Though widely admired for his even-handedness and equanimity — he was once described as every husband’s ideal for a wife’s divorce lawyer — Mr. Christopher was also criticized as lacking passionate, big-picture diplomatic vision. Even friends and associates, to whom he was known as Chris or sometimes as “the Cardinal,” said they could not discern a guiding geopolitical philosophy, regarding him as more a consummate tactician than as a conceptualizer.

“If we were in a meeting on a crisis, no one would turn to Chris and say, ‘You put together the strategy memo,’ ” a onetime State Department official told The New York Times when Mr. Christopher was named secretary of state. “But everyone would want him to read it because he’d be very good at implementing it.”

Mr. Christopher appeared not to disagree. “My task had been to serve as steward, not proprietor, of an extraordinary public trust,” he wrote in “Chances of a Lifetime: A Memoir,” published in 2001. But he bristled at criticism that Mr. Clinton’s penchant for consultation and his own eagerness to listen had made for seminars, not decisions. “The president’s desire to consult and my Norwegian taciturnity didn’t prevent us from making the right judgments,” he said of one occasion.

Warren Minor Christopher was born on Oct. 27, 1925, in the farming hamlet of Scranton, N.D., one of five children. His father, a local banker, suffered a stroke that the family believed was the result of overwork from his unsuccessful efforts to keep the bank solvent during the Depression. The elder Mr. Christopher died four years later at 53, after the family moved to California.

The unabashed New Deal liberalism that young Warren embraced during this period remained with him throughout his career, even though he made his fortune representing I.B.M., the Lockheed Martin Corporation and other major companies for O’Melveny & Myers, the most traditional and prestigious of Los Angeles law firms, which he eventually led.

Always impeccably dressed and unfailingly polite, Mr. Christopher told an interviewer while secretary of state that “I always thought that I would do things in a conservative way to maximize the progressiveness of my policy positions.”

While attending Hollywood High School he delivered newspapers several hours each day and, he told friends, he felt discriminated against because of his family’s difficult financial circumstances. His entered the University of Redlands at 16, but with the outbreak of World War II he entered a Navy officer program at the University of Southern California and soon served as an ensign in the Navy Reserve on an oil tanker in the Pacific.

After earning degrees at U.S.C. and Stanford’s law school, Mr. Christopher won a clerkship with the libertarian Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas, during which he helped draft book chapters.

He joined O’Melveny & Myers in 1950, and later became an adviser and speech writer for California’s newly elected governor, Edmund G. Brown, and was credited with coining the term “responsible liberalism.”

Mr. Christopher, made a partner at just 33 in 1958, was named by Governor Brown to the commission investigating the 1965 Watts riots. This brought him to the attention of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who in 1967 brought him back to Washington, until January 1969, as deputy to Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

There, as he focused on racial unrest in Detroit and Washington, he formed a relationship with Cyrus R. Vance, who, on being installed as secretary of state seven years later, recommended that President Jimmy Carter ask Mr. Christopher again to take leave from O’Melveny & Myers and become No. 2 at state.

As deputy secretary, his first major task was to shepherd through the Senate the Panama Canal treaties that, in exchange for returning sovereignty over the canal territory to Panama, gave the United States the right to reopen it militarily.

But his tenure is most vividly remembered for the agonizing and prolonged negotiations for the release of 52 hostages held in the American Embassy in Tehran for more than a year after the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Late in 1980 Mr. Christopher shuttled between Algeria, which had become a mediator, and Washington and finally brokered a deal under which the hostages would be released in return for an unfreezing of Iranian assets and a lifting of sanctions.

Even after the agreement was signed on the last full day of the Carter presidency, Iran disavowed a vital element in it, and Mr. Christopher wrote in a 2006 article about lessons learned in dealing with what he called the souk-like “bazaar behavior” of Iranian negotiators.

“To bring them back in line, I directed the pilot of my plane, on a telephone line that I knew was tapped, to warm up the engines,” he wrote. “The Iranians quickly dropped their claim and a day later the hostages were released.” Mr. Christopher, usually reserved and unemotional, wept at the ultimate success.

During the captivity, an American military rescue operation failed, and when Mr. Vance, who had opposed the mission, resigned , Mr. Carter passed over Mr. Christopher, the logical successor, in favor of Senator Edmund S. Muskie.

But Mr. Christopher loyally remained, and a few months after the hostages were released he pointed to what he said was the value of patient negotiation.

“I am thankful to have served a nation so quietly strong that it could preserve its honor, not by retaliation or vengeance, but by preserving the lives of the hostages,” he said.

After giving way to Madeleine K. Albright after one term as secretary of state, Mr. Christopher again returned to O’Melveny & Myers and life in California. He served as president of Stanford’s board of trustees and was a longtime director of the Southern California Edison Company.

Mr. Christopher is survived by his wife of 54 years, the former Marie Wyllis, a teacher, and by their three children and five grandchildren. He had another child from an earlier marriage.

After leaving public service Mr. Christopher continued to speak out on international issues. In 2002, in an Op-Ed article in The Times, he urged that President George W. Bush rethink “his fixation on attacking Iraq” and focus on what he considered graver threats, like North Korea.

“Even if the optimistic predictions of quick victory prove to be accurate,” he wrote more than two months before the invasion, “we would then find ourselves absorbed with the occupation of Iraq and efforts to impose democracy on the fractious elements of that country.”

John Broder contributed reporting from Washington.





Published: March 17, 2011

Nate Dogg, a singer with a silky, burly voice who helped shape the sound of West Coast hip-hop, died on Tuesday in Long Beach, Calif., the city where he was born and that he helped memorialize in song. He was 41.

March 17, 2011

Adrees Latif/Reuters

Nate Dogg in 2002.

The cause was complications of a stroke, said his manager, Rod McGrew.

Nate Dogg was the first male singer whose fame was predicated almost completely on his appearances on the songs of rappers. At the beginning of his career such collaborations were rare, and often ham-handed. But he incorporated hip-hop posturing into his vocals, and his blend of cocksureness and haunted melancholy became a genre staple.

Born Nathaniel Dwayne Hale on Aug. 19, 1969, Nate Dogg spent much of his childhood in Clarksdale, Miss., where he sang in the choir of the church where his father was the pastor, before moving back to Long Beach. There, following a stint in the Marines, he formed the group 213, after the local area code, with his high school friends the rappers Snoop Doggy Dogg and Warren G.

The group’s demo was heard by the superstar producer Dr. Dre, who eventually got Nate Dogg signed to the emerging hip-hop powerhouse Death Row Records. He made his recording debut in 1992 on Dr. Dre’s multiplatinum album “The Chronic” (Death Row/Interscope), which became the foundational document of G-funk, the smooth, lethargic style pioneered by Dr. Dre that was a central element in hip-hop’s crossover to the pop mainstream.

Nate Dogg remained in the orbit of Death Row Records for a few years, appearing on Snoop Doggy Dogg’s “Doggystyle” and 2Pac’s “All Eyez on Me” among other albums. His 1994 duet with Warren G, the platinum single “Regulate” (Def Jam), was one of the most popular hip-hop songs of the era.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, as hip-hop began to experiment more with melody and as the lines between rap and R&B became more porous, Nate Dogg remained an in-demand collaborator, working with 50 Cent, Fabolous, E-40, Mos Def and dozens more. A chorus by Nate Dogg, in his signature voice that spanned tenor and baritone ranges, became an imprimatur of a certain brand of hip-hop: tough yet accessible, menacing yet alluring. He also served as a template for later generations of male singers who gained notice primarily as collaborators on rap songs — Akon, T-Pain and Bruno Mars, among others — though none had his stoic force.

Nate Dogg was never as in demand as a frontman as he was as a collaborator, but he released a handful of solo albums, including “G-Funk Classics, Vol. 1 & 2” (Dogg Foundation/Breakaway) in 1998, an underappreciated document of the G-funk era, and “Music & Me” (Elektra) in 2001, his most commercially successful release.

Over his career he was nominated for four Grammys: for “Regulate” and Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode,” as well as for collaborations with Ludacris and Eminem. Late in his career he founded a gospel choir, InNate Praise, and also played himself on an episode of the animated series “The Boondocks,” singing one of his trademark hooks. His group 213 eventually released an album in 2004, after its members had gone on to solo fame.

Nate Dogg suffered a stroke in 2007. He had almost completely recovered before being felled by another one the following year, which left him partly paralyzed and breathing through a tracheotomy tube, unable to speak.

He is survived by his parents, Daniel Lee Hale and Ruth Holmes; five siblings, Daniel Hale Jr., Samuel Hale, Manuel Hale, Pamela Hale-Burns and La Tonia Hale-Watkins; and six children, Debra, Whitney, Aundrane, Nathaniel Jr., Niajel and Milana.





Published: March 19, 2011

Carel Boshoff, who established Orania, the community in South Africa that remains the country’s last bastion of white separatism, died on Wednesday at his home there. He was 83.

March 20, 2011

Denis Farrell/Associated Press

Carel Boshoff in 2004.

The cause was cancer, The Associated Press reported.

Mr. Boshoff, who held a doctorate of divinity and for a time lectured in theology at the University of Pretoria, founded Orania, in South Africa’s sparsely populated Northern Cape province, in 1991, purchasing with private funds an abandoned village and 1,167 acres of scrubland along the Orange River.

The village, which had been created for workers building a dam, had 150 clapboard houses, a water recycling plant, a community center and a post office.

It was a time when apartheid was crumbling and white rule in South Africa was headed toward its final dismantling in the elections of 1994, and Mr. Boshoff, who saw himself as a separatist but not a racist, envisioned Orania as a haven for the preservation of the culture of Afrikaners, the descendants of the Dutch and the French who settled in South Africa in the 17th century.

Mr. Boshoff was married to the daughter of Hendrik F. Verwoerd, the separatist ideologue who created much of the legislation that established apartheid and who served as the South African prime minister from 1958 until his assassination in 1966.

Like his father-in-law, Mr. Boshoff espoused a policy of separate development, economically and culturally, for blacks and whites, and argued that apartheid was not immoral. Perhaps unlike Mr. Verwoerd, however, he recognized that its fall was inevitable. With the knowledge that the governing minority was not going to endure forever in South Africa, Mr. Boshoff had for years advocated that “white self-determination” could be perpetuated only in a well-defined homeland for whites.

Orania, which has fewer than 1,000 residents and is known for being largely self-sustaining, has maintained a wary peace with the rest of the nation. Other than delivery people or utility company workers, blacks rarely appear in Orania, though black national leaders have occasionally made their way there.

The current president, Jacob Zuma, visited Orania last fall and met with Mr. Boshoff and his son, also named Carel Boshoff, who is the town’s mayor. The president’s office issued a statement afterward saying he had been interested in the town’s “independent development” and referred to it as “the model of locally generated economy.”

A more well-publicized event took place in 1995, when Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, stopped in and had tea with Mr. Verwoerd’s widow. Mr. Boshoff said at the time that most residents of Orania welcomed the visit.

“I know him quite well,” Mr. Boshoff said of Mr. Mandela. “He is a gentleman.”

According to the South African newspaper The Citizen, Mr. Boshoff was born Nov. 9, 1927, in Nylstroom, north of Pretoria, in what was then the Transvaal region and is now the province of Limpopo. After earning a degree in theology, he worked as a missionary in black townships, including Soweto, for the Dutch Reformed Church before returning to school in Pretoria. He received his doctorate in 1968 and became a professor of missionary science.

In the 1970s and early 1980s he was chairman of the South African Bureau of Racial Affairs, a conservative organization that served as a government advisory board, and he was a leader of Broederbond, an influential society of Afrikaners whose aim was to further the cause of Afrikaner nationalism in South Africa.

The Citizen reported that in addition to his wife, Anna, and his son Carel, Mr. Boshoff is survived by five other children.


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Messenger reaches Mercury


Messenger: Mercury’s New Moon

March 18, 2011 | The fleet-footed planet of the ancients has a new companion — a NASA spacecraft that will now call it home after a convoluted, 6½-year-long, 5-billion-mile interplanetary cruise. > read more 

Sky & Telescope May 2011

March 18, 2011 | Sky & Telescope‘s May 2011 issue is now available to digital subscribers. > read more 

What Makes Iapetus So Weird?

March 15, 2011 | Now that scientists have puzzled out this moon’s yin-yang appearance, they’re tackling the cause of its out-of-round shape, slow spin, and bizarre equatorial ridge. > read more 



Mercury at Its Evening Highest for 2011


Mercury at Its Evening Highest

March 18, 2011 | This week, Mercury reaches its highest in the evening sky for observers in the Northern Hemisphere. > read more 

Tour March’s Sky by Eye and Ear!

February 24, 2011 | This will be a month of transition, celestially speaking: spring and daylight-saving time arrive for northern skywatchers, Jupiter makes an exit, and Saturn is waiting in the wings. > read more 

Saturn’s New Bright Storm

December 27, 2010 | A massive new storm in the ringed planet’s northern hemisphere is bright enough to see in small telescopes. > read more 

This Week’s Sky at a Glance



This Week’s Sky at a Glance

March 18, 2011 | Mercury is having a fine showing in the afterglow of sunset, while Orion tilts southwest to signal spring’s arrival. > read more 



Brian Kloppenborg and Tim Pearson


Another Photometry Chat Saturday, March 19th

March 3, 2011 | The AAVSO digital-camera photometry team will be holding another chat session at 11 a.m. EST Saturday, March 19th, to answer questions about their article in the April 2011 issue of Sky & Telescope. > read more


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March 17, 2011 Direct | Published by the Applied Research Center

Human Touch Pulls Curtain on Anti-Muslim Theater

Rinku Sen says showing our humanity is the best response to congressional Muslim bashing.

Watch: Rep. Keith Ellison’s Tearful Defense of Muslim American Patriots

The Gang Rape of a Latina 6th Grader, and a Horrific Community Response

Eighteen black boys and men are accused of gang-raping an 11-year-old Latina in a small Texas town. Akiba Solomon ponders where we go from here.

Recy Taylor May Finally See Alabama Acknowledge Her 1944 Rape

She was one of literally uncounted black women who were assaulted without justice in Jim Crow’s South. Benjamin Greenberg reports.


March Madness: Who Would Win if They Scored for Schooling? [INFOGRAPHIC]
Spoiler alert: The Butler Bulldogs are the academic champs. But nobody wins when it comes to the racial gap in achievement.

What’s With the Post-Earthquake Anti-Japanese Animus?
From politicos to two-bit comedians and anonymous racists on Twitter, it seems like everyone has lost their minds.

Why Does Charlie (Irwin Estevez) Sheen Get So Many Passes?
Does race have anything to do with Charlie Sheen getting a free pass in both the criminal justice system and the court of public opinion?

From ACORN to NPR: We Rate O’Keefe’s Fake, Sadly Effective Stings
No matter how badly he bungles it, his so-called journalism keeps getting the smear-job done.

Alexandra Wallace Says Sorry for “Asians in the Library” YouTube Rant
“I cannot explain what possessed me,” writes the student whose racist video went viral over the weekend.

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  “I Am…” Storytelling SeriesThe “I Am…” Storytelling Series, a project of the Drop the I-Word Campaign, brings you insights by immigrants directly affected by the i-word and by non-immigrants who reject using the dehumanizing and racialized slur “illegals” to describe human beings.  


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