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  • 02/09/17--10:07: I-95 Closed in Old Lyme

  • Both sides of Interstate 95 are closed in Old Lyme, where several vehicles are stuck on both sides of the highway.

    State police said I-95 North and South are closed in the area of exit 71.

    Heavy snow has been falling for hours and a blizzard warning has been issued for parts of the shoreline



    Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transporation

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    The Chick-fil-A in West Hartford was scheduled to open today, but it has been postponed the grand opening until tomorrow because of the heavy snow. 

    A Chick-fil-A restaurant will now open at 6:30 a.m. on Friday at 509 New Park Ave. 

    Daryl Jackson, who is originally from Naugatuck, owns the restaurant and this is his first Chick-fil-A.



    Photo Credit: Submitted

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    Waterbury schools will remain closed on Friday for snow removal.

    Mayor Neil O’Leary Tweeted that the city has 13 inches of snow and that the chief operating officer for schools in the city said the closure tomorrow is for snow removal and clean-up.

    You can check school closings and delays on our website here. 


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    The southbound side of the Merritt Parkway was closed in Fairfield because of a downed tree, but it has reopened.

    The closure was near exits 44 and 42 South.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Emergency crews have responded to a fire on West Street in New Britain.

    West Street is shut down in the area of Talcott Street, according to police.

    There were no other details immediately available.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    A Connecticut father who started an educational development foundation in memory of his three daughters following their death in a 2011 fire in Stamford has died.

    Matthew Badger, ex-husband of New York advertising executive Madonna Badger, died Thursday, the LilySarahGrace fund announced on its Facebook page. The cause of his death is unknown.

    "We are deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of Matthew Badger, LSG co-founder," the organization said in a statement. "While our hearts are broken, we are honored and committed to carrying on Matthew's legacy."

    [[413317303, C]]

    Inspired by the loss of his daughters Lily, Grace and Sarah, he co-founded the non-profit to create arts-infused learning programs at underfunded public schools for children with learning disabilities. Grace and Lily were dyslexic and needed special instruction during their academic lives.

    The three girls and their maternal grandparents were killed in a multi-story house fire in 2011 started by embers that were placed in a bag and improperly disposed of. Madonna Badger and then-boyfriend Michael Borcina were the only ones able to escape the fatal blaze.

    The inferno prompted a string of legal fights. For years, Borcina told investigators he had moved the bag of ashes into the mudroom before the deadly Christmas Day fire, but in a 2016 lawsuit deposition, Borcina reversed course and pointed the finger at Badger, saying she had moved the ashes and he had lied to protect her. 

    According to court paperwork obtained by the Courant, Borcina said he had taken responsibility to "spare [Badger] from carrying the burden that maybe she had done something to hurt her family."

    [[413273283, C]]

    Badger responded to Borcina's claims in a statement to the "Today" show last May, saying, "I feel sorry for him. I feel incredibly sad for him."

    [[378778731, C]]

    Both Madonna and Michael Badger had outstanding lawsuits against the city of Stamford. Borcina previously agreed to pay $5 million to settle a separate suit filed by the children's father.

    Badger told "Today" in 2012 she believed the fire was sparked by an electrical problem at the $1.7 million house, which was under renovation. She said she did not blame Borcina, a contractor working on the home.

    [[238427591, C]]



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut / Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Matthew Badger (left) died Thursday. The cause of his death is unknown. His three daughters and the parents of his ex-wife (right) were killed in a 2011 blaze in Stamford.Matthew Badger (left) died Thursday. The cause of his death is unknown. His three daughters and the parents of his ex-wife (right) were killed in a 2011 blaze in Stamford.

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    Immigration officials deported a mother who had been in the U.S. illegally since she was 14 years old on Thursday, in what some activists say is the first deportation under the new immigration policies of President Donald Trump.

    Guadalupe García de Rayos was removed from the country to Nogales, Mexico, after authorities attempted to deport her late Wednesday, NBC News reported. They were unable to move the van she was in because protesters were blocking it. One man wedged himself in the wheel well.

    [[238427591, C]]

    "I think this is a direct result of the new executive orders that are being put into action, President Trump calling them enhancing public safety which really appears only to be attacking immigrant communities and attacking people of color," her attorney Ray Ybarra Maldonado said.

    Ybarra said he and her family learned of her deportation through the Mexican consulate. García de Rayos, who has two U.S. citizen children, was convicted of criminal impersonation for using a fake Social Security number to work while illegally in the U.S. Ybarra added that, to his knowledge, there was not a victim in her case who claimed the number.



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) logo is seen at ICE headquarters in Washington, DC.The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) logo is seen at ICE headquarters in Washington, DC.

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    Hundreds of volunteers formed a human chain in the shallows of a remote beach in New Zealand as they tried desperately to save hundreds of pilot whales that have beached themselves there, NBC News reported.

    About three-quarters of the whales had already died by the time they were discovered Friday morning at a place called Farewell Spit on South Island. The incident is being called one of the worst whale beachings in New Zealand's history.

    An official from New Zealand's Department of Conservation said about 300 volunteers had joined conservation workers on the beach. She said rescuers had re-floated the whales at high tide and had formed the human chain to try to prevent them swimming back ashore.

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    The Department of Conservation official said whale strandings occur most years at Farewell Spit, but the scale of this stranding had come as a shock. She said farmers and other locals were helping out and people were also arriving from other parts of the country.



    Photo Credit: TVNZ VIA RTV

    Rescuers in New Zealand raced to save hundreds of pilot whales in one of the country’s largest recorded mass strandings.Rescuers in New Zealand raced to save hundreds of pilot whales in one of the country’s largest recorded mass strandings.

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    A Bridgeport, Connecticut man died in a gruesome accident in New York Thursday morning after slipping while shoveling snow, family members and law enforcement sources said.

    Miguel Gonzalez, 59, a doorman in Yorkville, New York, was shoveling the steps of the building at 333 E. 93rd St. -- where many Mount Sinai doctors and residents live -- when he slipped and fell through a plate glass window.

    "I went to go finish [cleaning] my buildings when I noticed, I seen the ambulance," said Jonathan, who works in a building nearby. "When I came back, they were doing CPR and he fell."

    The window caused what were described as "severe lacerations" to his neck, and he was ultimately pronounced dead at a local hospital.

    Denise Rich, a resident of the building, said people called the always smiling Gonzalez "Uncle Mickey."

    "He always had a big smile and a big hello," Rich said as she struggled to hold back tears. "Very positive, wonderful...just a happy soul. This was very tragic."

    At their modest Bridgeport home Thursday, Gonzalez's wife of more than 30 years and his stepson told NBC 4 New York that he was a kind, loyal man who had been with the same company for 33 years.

    "He was such a great man. Very humble. Hard worker," said wife Elena Gonzalez as she began crying. "Good with the family, he always was the supporter of the whole family in Puerto Rico."

    "He'd open his house to anyone," said his stepson Rogelio Aponte. "He'd take the shirt off his back, he'd offer you anything. If he had it, you got it."

    Gonzalez was planning to retire to his native Puerto Rico in the next two years.

    The doorman's union, Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, said he had worked at the building for many years.

    "Our thoughts and prayers also go out to all members working hard to keep us safe during this blizzard and every day," Hector Figueroa, president of the local, said in a statement.

    The doorman's death was one of the first related to the storm, which dropped nearly a foot of snow across much of the region.



    Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

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    Much of the state is still digging out from yesterdays nor'easter. Snowfall totals varied from 9.5 inches at the shore to nearly 20 inches in parts of Hartford and Tolland counties. We have even more snow in the forecast for tonight and Sunday night.

    NBC Connecticut Meteorologists have issued a First Alert for tonights snow which could lead to more issues on the roads.

    [FIRST ALERT]

    Today will feature mostly sunny skies with temperatures only reaching the low to middle 20s. Winds will make it feel even colder with wind chill values of 5 to 15 degrees. 

    Roads will become snow covered tonight with light snow developing between 8 and 10 p.m. .

    [RPM]

    The snow comes to and end tomorrow more by 8. Tomorrows weather will feature partly cloudy skies with high temperatures in the middle to upper 30s.

    We're forecasting one to three inches throughout the state. Some isolated areas could see up to four inches. 

    [SNOWFALL]

    We're also monitoring another storm system for Sunday night into Monday. Right now it looks like this will feature a mix of snow and sleet Sunday night transitioning to plain rain by Monday morning.


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    Three people were taken to the hospital after fire broke out at their single-family home in Roxbury early Friday morning. 

    Fire officials said the initial report was that four people were in the East Woods Road home when fire broke out around 12:15 a.m., but the parents and two daughters, who were upstairs, were able to get out of the house on their own. 

    Three residents were brought to New Milford Hospital to be treated for minor smoke inhalation, but no firefighters were injured. Officials said the snow cover did not pose any issues. 

    Mutual aid was called in and most trucks left the scene around 4:30 a.m., but one engine remained at the scene as of 7:30 a.m. to deal with hot spots.

    The state fire marshal is at the scene and investigating the cause of the fire.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    There are hundreds of school delays today, the day after a blizzard brought more than a foot of snow to several Connecticut towns, roads remain slick and more snow is on the way tonight.

    Between one and three inches of snow is likely tonight into Saturday morning. Then, a wintry mix is in the forecast for Sunday.

    Between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday, state police responded to 114 minor crashes and 652 spinouts and stuck vehicles. 

    AAA, Greater Hartford said they responded to about 100 calls an hour in the greater Hartford area on Thursday. 

    For issues on the road today, follow Hannah Mordoh on Twitter.

    Follow NBC Connecticut traffic reporter Hannah Mordoh for the latest on traffic issues.



    Photo Credit: Eric Sundman

    epic sunset over NYC, view from Pine Creek Beach Fairfield CTepic sunset over NYC, view from Pine Creek Beach Fairfield CT

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    President Donald Trump's national security adviser addressed U.S. sanctions against Russia in his conversations with the country's ambassador while President Barack Obama was still in office, a new report said, contradicting previous claims that the issue was not discussed.

    A Trump administration official told The Associated Press that Michael Flynn "can't be certain" that sanctions did not come up in his discussions with the Russian ambassador. The official said Flynn has "no recollection" of discussing the sanctions, but left open the possibility that the issue did come up when he spoke with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition.

    The Kremlin denied Friday that Flynn and Kislyak discussed the sanctions before Trump took office.

    But the Washington Post, citing several current and former U.S. officials, reported late Thursday that Flynn made explicit references to election-related sanctions imposed by the Obama administration in his conversations with Kislyak.

    Members of the Trump administration have maintained that Flynn had spoken to the ambassador during the transition period to wish him a Merry Christmas and offer condolences after a deadly Russian plane crash.

    One of the calls took place on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration hit Moscow with sanctions in response to a U.S. intelligence assessment that the Russian government had interfered in the U.S. presidential election with the goal of helping Trump.

    The Post report also raises questions about assertions made by Vice President Mike Pence staunchly denying that Flynn's contact with the Russian ambassador had anything to do with sanctions.

    "It was strictly coincidental that they had a conversation" as new sanctions were announced, Pence said in an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" last month. He insisted the discussion did not address the Obama administration's decision to impose sanctions on Russian intelligence services and expel Russian 35 diplomats it said were actually intelligence operatives.

    Pence also maintained that the Trump presidential campaign had no contacts with the Russians ahead of the election.

    A second administration official said Pence was relying on information from Flynn when he denied sanctions were raised during the calls with Kislyak.

    Both officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and insisted on anonymity.

    It's not unusual for incoming administrations to have discussions with foreign governments before taking office. But repeated contacts just as Obama was imposing sanctions raise questions about whether Trump's team discussed — or even helped shape — Russia's response.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly did not retaliate against the U.S. for the expulsions, a decision Trump quickly praised.

    After U.S. officials first revealed Flynn's calls last month, Trump aides originally denied that a telephone conversation even took place on Dec. 29. Hours later, an official acknowledged one such call.

    Flynn's contact with the Russian ambassador suggests the Trump administration has been laying the groundwork for its promised closer relationship with Moscow. That effort appears to be moving ahead, even as many in Washington, including Republicans, have expressed outrage over the assessment that Putin ordered a hacking operation aimed at meddling in the U.S. election.

    The sanctions targeted the GRU and FSB, leading Russian intelligence agencies that the U.S. said were involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and other groups.

    Democratic Sens. Ed Markey and Chris Murphy called for an investigation of Flynn.

    Other Democrats demanded his firing.

    "He lied - repeatedly and egregiously - about his actions," Reps. Ruben Gallego of Arizona and Ted Lieu of California said Friday.

    Questions about Trump's friendly posture toward Russia deepened after he dismissed the U.S. intelligence agencies' assertions about Russia's role in the hacking. In briefing Trump on their findings, intelligence officials also presented him with unsubstantiated claims that Russia had amassed compromising personal and financial allegations against him.

    Last week, House Democrats called for an investigation of Flynn to determine whether he violated the Constitution by accepting payments from a Kremlin-controlled TV station in Russia. Flynn traveled in 2015 to Moscow, where he joined Putin and other Russian officials in a celebration of the RT network.

    Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, later explained he had been paid for taking part in the event, but brushed aside concerns that he was aiding a Russian propaganda effort.

    The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution prohibits federal officeholders from accepting gifts from foreign governments. The Defense Department warns that the prohibition applies to both active-duty and retired military.



    Photo Credit: AP

    National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Flynn said the administration is putting Iran National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Flynn said the administration is putting Iran "on notice" after it tested a ballistic missile.

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    Route 15 South was closed in East Hartford because a tractor-trailer was stuck, but it has reopened.

    Police said the tractor-trailer was blocking all lanes near the Interstate 84 split.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation Cameras

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    Newly confirmed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos had to enter a middle school in Southwest Washington through the back door after protesters blocked the front entrance.

    The crowd, which included parents, union officials and teachers from other schools, stood outside Jefferson Middle School Academy Friday morning with signs that read, "Welcome to our public school. It's open to everyone!" and "Ms Devos: Our children are not props."

    One protester was arrested for blocking a driveway and refusing to move, police said.

    It was DeVos' first visit to a public secondary school since she was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday, with a historic 50-50 tie vote broken by Vice President Mike Pence. 

    DeVos met with D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson, Jefferson Academy Principal Greg Dohmann and other school leaders once she got inside the school.

    In a statement released after her visit, DeVos said she respected the protest, but "no school door in America will be blocked from those seeking to help our nation’s school children."

    "I respect peaceful protest, and I will not be deterred in executing the vital mission of the Department of Education," the statement read. 

    A D.C. Public Schools spokesperson called the meeting with DeVos "productive."

    D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also defended the group's right to protest peacefully, but spoke against violence toward anyone. 

    "DC has the fastest growing urban school district in America. We welcome @BetsyDeVos & anyone who wants to learn more about our schools," she wrote on Twitter. 

    White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway also weighed in on the protest on Twitter, writing, "Don't we want the Sec of Education to visit schools?"

    DeVos has been a strong advocate of charter schools. She faced criticism and ridicule for a perceived lack of experience and confusion during her confirmation hearing. At one point, she said schools should be allowed to have guns if their districts wanted, citing the threat of grizzly bears in Wyoming.

    Jefferson Academy teachers were to stay in their classrooms during the protests.

    Washington Teachers' Union President Elizabeth Davis said the protesters "love our public school system."



    Photo Credit: NBC4
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Protesters outside Washington, D.C.'s Jefferson Middle School Academy, where Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was making a visit, on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017Protesters outside Washington, D.C.'s Jefferson Middle School Academy, where Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was making a visit, on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017

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    A 28-year-old West Haven man has pleaded guilty to federal robbery and firearm charges that federal officials said are related to the murder of 27-year-old Joseph Zargo during a drug deal on Dec. 23, 2011.

    Zargo, of West Haven, was shot in the area of 50 Houston St. just before 1 a.m. that Friday morning and he was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said. Zargo had turned 27 just two days earlier.

    Trevor Murphy, 28, of West Haven, pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal robbery and firearm charges.

    Police said Murphy was a member of the Red Side Guerilla Brims, a sect of the Bloods street gang that operated in New Haven from 2011 through 2015.

    According to court documents and statements made in court, Murphy ordered ecstasy from Zargo and planned to steal drugs and cash. 

    Just after midnight on Dec. 23, 2011, Murphy met Zargo on Houston Street, took the ecstasy pills from him and pulled out a firearm, federal authorities said. When Zargo reached into his pocket, Murphy shot him once in the chest and Zargo died later that morning, according to federal authorities. 

    Murphy pleaded guilty to one count of interference with commerce by robbery and one count of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. 

    Murphy, who has been in prison since Sept. 30, 2015, made a plea agreement to 30 years in prison.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

    The shooting scene on Houston Street in New Haven.The shooting scene on Houston Street in New Haven.

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    One of the two men convicted in the slayings of a mother and her two daughters during a home invasion in Cheshire is seeking a new trial and a brief was filed with the appellate clerk, according to court officials.

    Thirty-six-year-old Joshua Komisarjevsky and 52-year-old Steven Hayes were sentenced to death for killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley and Michaela Petit, but their sentences were changed to life in prison without the possibility of parole after the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty violated the state constitution's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. 

    Komisarjevsky and Hayes were serving their sentences in Connecticut, but they were transferred to maximum security prisons run by the Pennsylvania Department of Correction.

    Both were sentenced to serve six consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of release and will be housed out of state for an indefinite period of time, according to state officials.



    Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Correction

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    White House lawyers are working on a rewrite of President Donald Trump's controversial executive order banning nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries that can pass legal muster, NBC News reports.

    The work began several days before a federal appeals court shot down the White House's bid to lift a temporary restraining order on Trump's first plan to bar nationals from Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days, a senior administration official told NBC.

    Trump's legal team still believes it will be eventually proven correct on the merits of the current executive order, the official said. And they are looking into several options, including continuing the court battle as well as signing a new immigration order "very soon."

    Trump on Friday said he still expected to win in court and aded that he would be taking action "very rapidly" to protect the U.S. and its citizens.

    [[413360263, C]]

    Several sources close to Trump told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough that White House lawyers are working on language for the executive order that would be able to find favor with the federal courts.



    Photo Credit: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images, File
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    President Donald Trump signs executive orders in the Hall of Heroes at the Department of Defense on January 27, 2017, in Arlington, Virginia. Trump signed two orders calling for the President Donald Trump signs executive orders in the Hall of Heroes at the Department of Defense on January 27, 2017, in Arlington, Virginia. Trump signed two orders calling for the "great rebuilding" of the nation's military and the "extreme vetting" of visa seekers from terror-plagued countries.

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    A Norwalk firefighter is accused of dealing cocaine and prescription drugs, including from the parking lot of the fire station while he was on duty, according to police.

    Police arrested 46-year-old Mark Monroe, of Norwalk, Thursday and said they had been investigating for months after allegations surfaced that he was selling cocaine in Norwalk.

    Police arrested Monroe after he met an undercover officer to sell cocaine, according to police.

    Authorities said Monroe sold cocaine to the undercover officer on four separate occasions and he was on duty as a Norwalk firefighter during two of those occasions.

    According to police, Monroe directed the undercover officer to the rear lot of the Volk Central Fire Station at 121 Connecticut Ave., where he conducted the transactions, according to police.

    Norwalk Fire Chief Laurence Reilly said Monroe has been placed on administrative leave.

    [[413322743,C]]

    The other two transactions were in at retail parking lots on New Canaan Avenue and West Avenue in Norwalk, according to a news release from police.

    A search of Monroe’s house turned up five additional bags of cocaine, weighing 12.35 grams; five Alprazolam pills, 152 Cialis pills; and 21 pills with no markings, according to police, who believe Monroe illegally obtained the pills.

    Police said officers also recovered 11 vials of suspected steroids and 300 hypodermic needles.

    Officers also found a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol on top of a dresser in his bedroom. Monroe has a valid permit for the gun, but police said it was stored in a negligent and unsafe manner because minor children in the house had access to the firearm.

    Police seized the gun.

    They also search Monroe’s car and said they found eight additional pills of Alprazolam, Oxycodone and Amphetamine, none of which were in their proper containers. They also seized another bag of cocaine.

    Police also searched Monroe’s personal locker located at Volk Central Fire House but found no contraband.

    Monroe was arrested and charged with several drug offenses, as well as risk of injury to children and other charges.

    He was held on $150,000 bond.



    Photo Credit: Norwalk Police

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    Two students were caught using cocaine in the Staples High School bathroom, police said. 

    Westport officers responded to the high school on 70 North Avenue at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday. 

    Cameron Cleary, 18, admitted to selling cocaine to the juvenile student and snorting it together in the bathroom, Westport Police said.

    Cleary was charged with possessing a controlled substance, possessing the drug on school grounds and for selling the substance. His bond was set at $1,000. 


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