Hardas, who said he was around 20, used to work as a traveling mason, often in cities such as Kathmandu and Nepalgunj. But after he was laid off in April, at the beginning of the pandemic, he came back to his native Rapti Sonari, a small town of about 10,000 people, 300 miles west of Kathmandu.

The houses are spread out in a maze of dirt roads beneath the hills. Most are made from mud and stone. Sapana’s father, Ram Dayal, bought an auto rickshaw right before the lockdown hit. Now he has monthly payments of 30,000 rupees, around $250, and almost no customers.

Mr. Dayal was not happy that his daughter married so young, but he conceded that her leaving the house helped ease his financial burden. He has five other mouths to feed.

“She would have had a better life if she completed 10th grade,” Mr. Dayal said.

Ghumni, his wife and Sapana’s mother, agreed. She, too, was a child bride and ended up with four children and zero education.

Activists who fight child marriage say they are working in the most difficult conditions they have ever faced, even as the problem worsens. Nepal has imposed harsh restrictions on vehicular movement. When infections surged, activists were confined indoors like everybody else. Several said that the number of child marriages in their areas had doubled or nearly doubled during the pandemic.

“We are at back to square one,” said Hira Khatri, an anti-child-marriage activist in the district that includes Rapti Sonari.

Two years ago, Ms. Khatri said, she intervened and stopped seven child marriages in her village. It did not make her popular. Many families in Nepal are eager to marry off their young daughters. Some villagers threatened to kill her, Ms. Khatri said, and they threw used condoms outside her house to humiliate her.

The police have not been much help. The officers based in villages have been much more focused on enforcing quarantine rules and keeping an eye on virus cases. Some police officials expressed a reluctance to get involved.

“These are serious criminal charges,” said Om Bahadur Rana, a police official in Nepalgunj. “If we file a case because of a child marriage, it could hurt the young people’s chance of ever getting a government job.”

Across central Nepal, many families shared stories of watching their daughters disappear into early marriages.

Mayawati, 17, who also lives in Rapti Sonari, dreamed of studying agriculture. But her family’s struggles during the pandemic made her feel guilty about being a burden to her parents. She dropped out of school, then married a man who worked as a menial laborer. Her dreams, too, have quietly slipped away.

“We have no money,” said Mayawati, whose last name was also withheld. “How was I supposed to continue my studies?”

Mayawati said that most of her friends who had married during the lockdown were now pregnant.

Some people in Nepal feel strongly about what they see as the benefits of child marriage. Several elders in the Madhesi community, based on the southern plains near the border of India, said they had falsified their daughters’ birth certificates to avoid getting in trouble.

“Marrying daughters in their young age has made me happier. It’s our practice,” said Mina Kondu, who said she recently doctored her 16-year-old daughter’s birth certificate, making her appear to be 19, which was still below the legal age but close enough, the family believed.

“The police cannot stop us,” she said.

Ms. Kondu, who lives in a village about three hours’ drive from Sapana’s, said that if the families didn’t arrange for their daughters to marry young, the daughters would do it anyway, without permission, and dishonor the family.

Sapana’s family has accepted her recent marriage. In the span of a couple months, Sapana has shifted from studying for school to taking care of her baby and her new husband.

She collects grass to feed the family’s four buffaloes.

She washes clothes.

She cooks rice and flat bread.

“I couldn’t complete my studies, that’s true,” she said. “My son will do that.”

And then she added, after a moment, “Hopefully, he will marry when he’s fully grown.”

Bhadra Sharma reported from Rapti Sonari, Nepal, and Jeffrey Gettleman from New Delhi.

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After Pandemic, Film Industry’s Hollywood Ending May Have to Wait

LOS ANGELES — What awaits Hollywood on the other side of the pandemic?

As vaccines have rolled out around the world, many film executives and theater operators have been predicting — hoping, praying — that a huge surge of ticket buying awaits. They hope the masses, desperate to get out of their homes (and tired of watching television), will begin to pour into cinemas as soon as they feel safe from the coronavirus and big movies begin to repopulate the marquees.

It could happen.

But early box office results indicate a messier recovery, with moviegoer tastes potentially shifting — particularly in China, now the No. 1 cinema market in the world — and behind-the-scenes spats between studios and theaters crimping film availability. Some traditional studios have started to prioritize streaming, to pushback from multiplex operators. “It’s going to take some time for things to settle out,” said David A. Gross, who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a movie consultancy.

Over the weekend, for instance, the Walt Disney Company released “Raya and the Last Dragon,” a rapturously reviewed animated adventure that cost an estimated $150 million to make. Featuring the vocal talents of Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina, “Raya and the Last Dragon” played in 2,045 theaters in North America, including some in New York City, where state officials allowed chains like AMC to resume operations (at 25 percent capacity) for the first time in a year.

refused to book it. Cinemark and Disney sparred over licensing terms, with Cinemark, citing the simultaneous streaming debut, insisting on a discount, and Disney giving little. “We are making near-term booking decisions on a discrete, film-by-film basis, focusing on the long-term benefit of exhibitors, studios and moviegoers,” Cinemark said in a statement.

Cinemark and other theater chains struck a deal with Warner to play “Tom & Jerry,” even though it was simultaneously available — with no upcharge — to HBO Max subscribers.

Disney declined to comment.

Muddying the situation further, it is possible that “Raya and the Last Dragon” did blockbuster business on Disney+. Only Disney knows. The company does not disclose financial figures for its premium access releases.

Jonathan Cohen, director of content and communications for ListenFirst, a social media analytics company, said there was “a high level of interest” in the PG film, which generated 84,897 posts on Twitter on Friday and Saturday. (But not as high as the PG-13 “Coming 2 America,” which became available to anyone with an Amazon Prime subscription on Friday and generated 243,769 tweets.)

100 million subscribers worldwide. “I think the consumer is probably more impatient than they’ve ever been before,” Mr. Chapek said at a Morgan Stanley conference last week. “They’ve had the luxury of an entire year of getting titles at home, pretty much when they want them. And so I’m not sure there’s going back.”

box office records, even with capacity limits, an encouraging sign for a strong global rebound.

But “Raya” collected just $8.4 million in China over its first three days, or roughly half of what non-franchise Disney films like “Zootopia” and “Moana” managed before the pandemic. Even “Tom & Jerry” took in $12.2 million last month.

What happened? It was unclear to box office analysts on Sunday, with some guessing that the film’s subject matter could have been a hindrance (dragons can be surprisingly tricky) and others pointing to a possible hangover from “Mulan,” which bombed in China in September after a filming location created problems. For others, the chilly reception added to fears that the Chinese market has shifted radically, with moviegoers now preferring local films like “Detective Chinatown 3” and “Hi, Mom” over American imports. “Wonder Woman 1984” (Warner Bros.) has taken in $25.5 million in China since its release on Dec. 18, about 70 percent less than its series predecessor collected in summer 2017.

Disney’s standard Sunday box office statement noted that “Raya and the Last Dragon” performed better in China than two recent Pixar films: “Onward” arrived to about $2.8 million in ticket sales in August, and “Soul” collected $5.5 million in December.

Over the past year, as the pandemic has dragged on, Hollywood has pushed back the releases of dozens of films and rerouted others to streaming services. Studios have cited one primary reason: The No. 1 box office market in North America — New York City and its immediate suburbs — has remained closed. The gradual reopening of cinemas in the area, which began on Friday, immediately emboldened studios, with Sony speeding up the release of “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” and Paramount giving “A Quiet Place Part II” similar treatment.

Boogie,” another specialty release from Focus, found 20 percent of its audience in the area, with the AMC Empire in Times Square as its top location.

Cinemas in San Francisco also reopened on Friday, leaving the Los Angeles area as the only major United States market where theaters remain closed. About 80 percent of the theaters in North America are now able to operate.

Amy Chang Chien contributed research.

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Spit Swapping, Hard Pants and Hope: New Ads Envision Post-Pandemic Life

If the tightly interlocked, orgiastic mass of bodies wasn’t enough to make the point, the trail of spit probably did the trick.

As envisioned by a batch of new ads from a variety of companies, people should be prepared to mingle — really mingle — once millions of vaccine shots have been delivered to millions of arms.

The men’s fashion brand Suitsupply released a new campaign on Thursday that might be called suggestive, if it left anything to suggestion. It shows writhing barely clothed bodies and models making out under slogans like, “The New Normal Is Coming.”

The ads may come as something of a shock for anyone who has grown accustomed to a world of face masks and social distancing. Not so very long ago, the notion of saliva was considered so triggering that the chicken chain KFC dropped its “finger-lickin’ good” catchphrase, calling it “the most inappropriate slogan for 2020.”

booty-baring pajamas. But PJs were just the thing for the homebound culture of the quarantine, meaning they fit in with the many commercials featuring melancholy shots of people separated by windows and glass doors.

With the latest crop of ads, companies are betting that people are eager for human contact.

“It’s pretty obvious that post-pandemic life is on the horizon,” the Suitsupply founder Fokke de Jong said in an interview. “We’ve done social distancing for long periods of time, and that’s conditioned people to be fearful of social interactions, which is totally understandable. But we wanted to show a positive outlook on a future where people can get back together and get close again.”

The campaign, which will run largely online, was filmed in Europe with existing couples and following pandemic production protocols. Mr. de Jong hopes the ads will drum up interest in Suitsupply clothes, which he said are not meant for the work-from-home life.

“That time is coming again,” he said. “We’re going to get rid of the sweatpants pretty quickly.”

Other companies are also betting that people will soon be more focused on how they look. Urban Outfitters is seeing more demand for dresses and other “going out-type apparel.” Gym memberships and body waxing appointments are on the rise.

Now ad makers are reacquainting customers with the idea of a world where hugs and crowded parties are not out of place — though not without some wariness. Neal Arthur, the chief operating officer of the ad agency Wieden + Kennedy, said that “every single one” of the company’s clients is seriously considering what is appropriate to show and when, now that an end to the pandemic seems to be in sight.

Remember Dressed?” One shows a woman lounging in sweats on her couch who is persuaded by a snazzier version of herself to wear something other than soft pants. And Diesel has a steamy new campaign, “When Together,” that features couples who are reunited after a long time apart.

In a recent ad timed to St. Patrick’s Day, the beer brand Guinness had football great Joe Montana offering a “toast to our future.” “Here’s to the comeback kid in all of us,” he says.

But even as the pace of vaccinations increases and employers solidify return-to-office plans, coronavirus variants are spreading, funeral homes remain overwhelmed and scientists continue to urge caution.

Almost exactly a year ago, Delta Air Lines pulled its national advertising. It has remained quiet as it tries to be “really calculated and deliberate about when is the right time to come back responsibly and how to do that,” said Emmakate Young, the company’s director of brand strategy and marketing communications.

A new Delta campaign is slated for the end of May or early June, when more people have been vaccinated and are considering traveling, Ms. Young said. The company intends to continue showing masked employees for the foreseeable future, but is “leaning away from the loner shots, the empty airports and empty stadiums and the black-and-white,” she said.

“We’re looking for optimism and the hope of being able to get back and return to some normalcy,” she said. “But it is incredibly complex; we know that people are at very different points in their comfort level, and we want to reiterate that everything we did in 2020 is not going away.”

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Podcasts That Can Help You Manage Your Money

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of financial podcasts out there offering a way to start your own business — such as, invest like a hedge fund manager or start flipping houses. But what if you don’t even know where to start when it comes to acquiring savings or balancing a budget? These podcasts are for people who know that they should be thinking more about their personal finances but aren’t even sure what the right questions are.

You may have heard of the FIRE movement (which stands for “financial independence, retire early”) and thought, “that sounds like a cult.” And while there are many podcasts by people in the movement, the certified financial education instructor Jamila Souffrant’s approach somehow appeals to all but feels as if it’s aimed directly at you. The Jamaican-born Souffrant was raised by a single mother who taught her the value of money at a young age. After experiencing a breakdown at a demanding job, Souffrant quit to spend time regaining control over her life, and in one year she and her husband had saved and invested over $85,000, using strategies geared toward financial independence. This is what she urges her listeners to seek: a life free of debt, allowing them to “launch” into a new life driven by their passions. Souffrant is an expert guide on the path to finding financial independence.

Nonmillennials, do not be discouraged by the title. This show is packed with understandable and empathetic financial advice that is useful for all generations. Shannah Compton Game, a certified financial planner and entrepreneur, noticed that her generation was woefully unprepared for the compounding financial catastrophes around them: multiple recessions, a student-loan crisis, stagnant wages and the rise of the nonbenefits gig economy. For the past six years, in over 200 episodes, Game has been on the hunt to find money tips that can change the way listeners of any age think, act and talk about money. With expert guests and creative angles, Game defangs the taboos around money and untangles confusion around any financial subject you might find yourself in, like talking about money with your partner, L.G.B.T.Q. financial planning, foolproofing your 401(k) or picking the right health insurance plan. Ultimately, “Millennial Money” makes a passionate case for finding your own individual path toward “money wellness” and the life you wish you could live.

By day, Chris Browning is a financial analyst. By night, he’s breaking down everyday money questions in roughly the time it takes to make a bag of popcorn (perhaps with an older microwave model). In 200 roughly 10-minute episodes stretching back to 2017, Browning answers quandaries on topics such as credit scores, student-loan repayment strategies, ethical investing, asking for a raise, or even tiny-house living. His jargon-free, calm and comforting delivery simultaneously gives the sense that any issue you have can be tackled and that everything is going to be OK. And if you want to hear him explain why you’re going to be OK, listen to his other podcast, “This Is Awkward,” with the subtitle, “But money doesn’t have to be,” in which listeners call in with cringeworthy money stories, and Browning and his co-host, Allison Baggerly, help them navigate the most embarrassing of situations without burning bridges.

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A Year Without Our Work Friends

My office at home is pretty well equipped. I have a desktop computer and a printer and whiteboards I installed with the ambitious idea that I would use them to map out projects. There are shelves holding various editions of my books, some of which I can’t read because I don’t speak Hebrew or Farsi or Turkish or Polish. There are shelves with reference books and galleys and other books related to various projects. I have a home studio for recording “Hear to Slay,” the podcast I host with Tressie McMillan Cottom.

Most days are spent staring at people in little squares on my computer monitor because now that everyone is at home, people have found all kinds of excuses to have meetings. I have ring lights for events and television appearances because there isn’t much going to studios anymore. Also, vanity. Once in a while, a hard case of audiovisual equipment is shipped to my house with a laminated instruction card providing the necessary direction for using the equipment. Once in a while a camera crew comes to the house wearing their protective gear. They stand six feet away and I peer into a video monitor, talking to a producer somewhere else.

Almost every day I marvel at how the world has adapted to the pandemic. I thought I was done doing public events, but at some point during the summer of 2020, events moved online and now I am back to doing several events a week, sometimes in places that would not otherwise be able to bring me to their school or town. I enjoy live events, but doing them virtually is not the same. When I walk out onstage and see a thousand people cheering, the energy is absolutely electric and unexpected. It’s surreal because I’m just a writer. It’s magical because I know that we will have an experience that can’t be replicated.

And I miss the signing line, where I could spend a few minutes with readers, hearing about their lives, seeing that my work mattered maybe a little. Now, I make myself presentable from the waist up, and sit at my desk in basketball shorts, and when the event is over, that’s that.

Most of my friends with more traditional jobs are working from home, too. They’ve created office spaces in their houses. They hang out with their pets, their children, their partners. They get their work done, just as well as they did before. And a surprising number of these friends don’t seem to want to return to the office. For those without school age children, there is time to handle the business of running a home while handling the business of doing a job. They can bake and run errands and garden between work tasks. There is no dressing up in work drag. Bras and pants with buttons and ties and high heels and a full face of makeup have been abandoned. There is no more commuting — all that time in a car, clenching the steering wheel, inching along. There is no more trying to get work done while being interrupted every 10 minutes or listening to a co-worker yammering endlessly.

But a lot has been lost, too. For all the faults of the workplace, there is a certain camaraderie that comes with life in an office. A good meeting can be energizing in a way that is hard to replicate over Zoom. We can’t head over to our favorite work friend’s office for some coffee and gossip when we need a break. It’s all Slack chats and emails and phone calls and then, whatever happens at home after work, without any distance. The work-life balance has imploded for better and worse. In many of the Work Friend letters I receive, I can see how that implosion has changed how people feel about their work.

There is a lot of unfulfillment — people who are bored in their jobs or who simply hate what they do or they hate the people they work with but cannot see a way out. A lot of women deal with condescending bosses, pay disparities and a lack of accommodations for motherhood. A lot of men are trying to figure out how to navigate the workplace as cultural norms change. People from all walks of life want to know how they can make their companies more inclusive and how to address institutional racism, or they resent these efforts because they feel wrongly implicated.

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Why the Canadian Housing Market Is Soaring in the Pandemic

This week began with an unusual apology. Evan Siddall, the president and chief executive of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, took to Twitter to acknowledge that the federal agency had erred last year when it forecast that the pandemic-induced economic collapse might cause house prices to fall by as much as 18 percent.

reaching 1.6 million Canadian dollars. In the Toronto area, the average selling price for detached homes rose by 23.1 percent over the same time period, and a composite price that includes all kinds of housing topped 1 million dollars.

A sellers’ market prevails in many parts of the country, even at a time of economic distress for many. After my mother died earlier this year, I was surprised to learn that bidding wars, something I associated with Toronto and Vancouver, were now common in my hometown, Windsor, Ontario, for sales of even relatively modest houses like hers. In my neighborhood in Ottawa, a city that posted a record number of house sales last month, little time elapses before “for sale” signs are plastered with “sold” stickers.

the market soared instead of floundering.

save all 32 crew members aboard a scallop trawler from Nova Scotia that ultimately sank after a fire.

  • Defense lawyers failed in their bid to have a man declared not criminally responsible, because of his autism spectrum disorder, for using a rented van to kill 10 people in Toronto and injure 16 others. The legal move angered many in the autism community and was largely dismissed by a judge as she convicted the man of murder and attempted murder.

  • A noted hockey author and journalist, Roy MacGregor, looks back on the life of Walter Gretzky, Canada’s most famous hockey dad, who died this week.

  • The icy winter shoreline of Lake Huron in Ontario’s Bruce County doesn’t seem like an obvious place to take up surfing. But for some, its shortcomings are more than offset by the strong wind and the large waves it offers.

  • Last weekend, 35 top players in women’s hockey from Canada, the United States and Europe finally hit the ice for their first competitive games against women since February 2020.

  • Times critic Natalia Winkelman reviews “The Walrus and the Whistleblower,” a documentary about a former trainer’s efforts to free a walrus named Smooshi from an aquatic park in Niagara Falls, Ontario.


  • A native of Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has reported about Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrausten.


    How are we doing?
    We’re eager to have your thoughts about this newsletter and events in Canada in general. Please send them to nytcanada@nytimes.com.

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    Your Friday Briefing

    The hundreds of thousands of women at the forefront of Myanmar’s protest movement are sending a powerful rebuke to the country’s military junta.

    The protesters represent striking unions of teachers, garment workers and medical workers — all sectors dominated by women. The youngest are often on the front lines, where the security forces appear to have singled them out. Three young women were among the at least 38 people killed on Wednesday, the biggest one-day toll since the Feb. 1 coup.

    There are no women in the military’s senior ranks, and soldiers have systematically raped women from ethnic minorities, according to Human Rights Watch. More broadly, though, women’s roles in politics, business and manufacturing in Myanmar are growing. In elections in November, about 20 percent of candidates for the National League for Democracy, the party of the ousted civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, were women.

    Lives lost: Ma Kyal Sin, 18, was one of the protesters killed on Wednesday. “She is a hero for our country,” said a close friend.

    Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to every adult in the Austrian district of Schwaz, which has been battered by a surge in infections, to determine how effective the inoculation is against the variant first found in South Africa.

    The study in Austria is part of a much broader global effort to answer a crucial question as new variants emerge: Do vaccinations designed last year work against more recent mutations? If not, scientists will have to keep developing new versions of the inoculations.

    Laboratory studies have shown that some vaccines that work well against earlier variants are less effective — though they still offer significant protection — against the variant known as B.1.351. It was found in South Africa in December and has become the dominant one there.

    a three-day visit to Iraq today despite worries that the trip could become a superspreader event in a country where the coronavirus still rages.

    The Vatican insists the trip will be safe, and the pope is planning a large Mass in a soccer stadium in the Kurdish town of Erbil. He will also very likely draw crowds to watch him pray in Qaraqosh, a town of Syriac Catholics, in the northern Nineveh Plains. Francis, 84, was vaccinated against Covid-19 in mid-January.

    Such a visit has been the goal of many popes before him, who had to cancel plans because of security concerns in a nation ravaged by war. Francis accepted an invitation extended in July 2019.

    Explainer: The Vatican believes the risks are outweighed by the chance to support one of the world’s oldest Christian communities. The ranks of Iraq’s Christians have dwindled to roughly a third of the 1.5 million who lived there during the final years of Saddam Hussein’s rule.

    a sensational royal rupture to Oprah Winfrey, the British royal family and the self-exiled couple are maneuvering furiously before the interview is broadcast on television to try to shape the narrative.

    Was Meghan the victim of a cold, unwelcoming family that cruelly isolated her after she married Harry? Or was she a Hollywood diva who mistreated her staff and triggered a breach between the family and one of its most beloved young princes?

    Algeria-France relations: President Emmanuel Macron of France has taken a further step toward reconciliation by declaring that Ali Boumendjel, a leading Algerian lawyer and nationalist, did not die by suicide in 1957, as France had long claimed, but was tortured and killed by French soldiers.

    Iceland: More than 18,000 earthquakes have shaken Iceland in just over a week, leading scientists to believe that a volcanic eruption could be imminent.

    Tsunami warning: Thousands of people were evacuated in New Zealand on Friday after an 8.1-magnitude earthquake struck in the South Pacific, prompting officials to issue tsunami warnings for coastal areas.

    Hong Kong: A senior Communist Party official announced that China’s national legislature planned to rewrite election rules in Hong Kong to ensure that the territory was run by patriots — people loyal to Beijing and the Communist Party. The congress will discuss a draft plan when it gathers for a weeklong session starting today.

    A new report suggests that the bigger the meteor that hits the moon, the brighter the trail.

    Gender gap: Under a proposed E.U. law, companies in Europe could be sanctioned if they fail to pay men and women the same salaries for doing the same work. Separately, a new report suggests mothers in the U.S. are going back to work — and still doing most of the parenting.

    Drag kings: Once an underappreciated part of the drag world, drag kings have found more exposure during the pandemic, with pageants moving online, and amid the popularization of drag for wider audiences.

    What we’re reading: This deep-dive New Yorker article on the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. It’s a chilling report on the near-future of the war-torn country.

    gets the eggplant Parmesan treatment — baked with marinara sauce, mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese until bubbling and browned.

    Watch: The thoughtful documentary “Stray” uses the stray dogs of Istanbul to comment on the human condition.

    Here are five tutorials for varying styles — each is a good workout.

    Start your weekend with aplomb. At Home has our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch and do while staying safe at home.

    Melissa Kirsch spends her days thinking up activities for us to do at home in The Times’s At Home newsletter. She shared some of her own strategies for living well during an uncertain time.

    Think about how I want to look back on this time. I find myself consciously trying to do things that will make me feel better about this experience in the future. That may mean reading more or cooking more or trying to be creative about the ways that I connect with other people — like writing letters or meeting people for walks in the cold. I don’t want this year to turn into a blur of Zoom chats and Netflix.

    briefing@nytimes.com.

    P.S.
    • We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about how close the end of the pandemic might be.
    • Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Fitting name for a hirsute guy (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
    • Our travel writer Tariro Mzezewa joined the “Travel With Hawkeye” podcast to discuss plans for a vaccine passport.

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