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Driver Frees Self from Mangled Mustang


A Ford Mustang is mangled after hitting a tree in Colchester last night, but the driver was able to get out of the vehicle and only suffered a cut to the forehead. 

The driver hit a car pulling out of a driveway on Route 354, at Maclyn Drive, went off the road and hit a pine tree, fire officials said. 

The driver was able to get out and suffered a fairly significant cut on the forehead, but no other injuries.

Car Hits Tree in Colchester, No Driver Found

Facebook Live Attack 'Should Never Have Happened,' Victim's Family Says


The family of a suburban Chicago teenager with special needs who was bound, gagged and beaten in an attack that was broadcast on social media said the attack "should never have happened." 

"We’re so grateful for all the prayers and efforts that led to the safe return of our brother," said the victim's brother-in-law David Boyd, speaking on behalf of the family. "We’re fully aware of the charges being brought against the offenders. At this time we ask for continued prayers for all those involved and for our family’s privacy as we cope and heal."

Boyd said the family has seen the video of the Crystal Lake teen's brutal beating, but said they are simply "happy he's home."

"He's doing well, as well as he could be," Boyd said.  

The victim, who is not being identified, is an 18-year-old with "mental health challenges," police said. A GoFundMe page aimed at raising money for the teen and his family had more than $34,700 in donations by Friday morning. A spokesperson for GoFundMe confirmed the funds would be donated to the family. 

Hate crime and kidnapping charges were filed Thursday against four people Chicago police say were behind the attack. 

Thirty minutes of the torturous incident were streamed live on Facebook, but authorities said it was a six-hour ordeal that evolved out of a play fight, with the victim beaten, kicked, cut and forced to drink from a toilet.

The suspects are black and the victim is white, and one of the suspects suspects allegedly yelled profanities about white people and President-elect Donald Trump during the live video. Police had earlier said they do not "have anything concrete" to suggest the attack was politically motivated, however.

"The actions in that video are reprehensible. That along with racism have absolutely no place in the city of Chicago or anywhere else for that matter against anyone regardless of their race, gender, state of mental health or any other identifying factor," Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at a news conference Thursday. 

Jordan Hill, 18, of Carpentersville; Tesfaye Cooper, 18, of Chicago; Brittany Covington, 18, of Chicago and Tanishia Covington, 24, of Chicago, were each charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Hill, Cooper and Brittany Covington also face charges of residential burglary. Hill was also charged with robbery and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. 

They are expected to appear in court Friday afternoon; it is not clear if they have attorneys. 

“It’s just sickening, sickening,” Johnson said Wednesday in reaction to the video. "It makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that."

Authorities believe the teenager knew Hill from school and went with him willingly on New Year's Eve after meeting at a suburban McDonald's. They allege Hill stole a van and picked the victim up from the Streamwood restaurant, ultimately bringing him to the city, 50 miles from his home, police said.

The victim's parents knew the teen would be spending the night with a friend, but reported him missing the next day, police said. 

It wasn't until Tuesday police said the attack happened and the teen was able to escape before police found him in the 3400 block of West Lexington "bloodied," "battered," and "discombobulated."

He then led the police back to the nearby home where he was tortured.

"I just can't believe anybody would do that to someone, especially a special needs child," the victim's grandmother told NBC. 

Streamwood authorities also say the suspects had been sending the victim’s parents text messages while holding him hostage.

"This is going to affect him for probably the rest of his life," the teen's grandmother said. 

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Crews Respond to Fire on Route 202 in Torrington

Family Singing in Car After Night at the Movies Dodges Gunfire in Chicago


Edgar Ramos never thought a night at the movies would turn violent and put his family’s lives in danger—but that’s what he said happened New Year’s Day in Chicago.

The family had just left a movie in suburban Melrose Park and were driving near Pulaski Road and Palmer Street in Chicago’s Hermosa neighborhood about 8:30 p.m.

“We’re singing the soundtrack from the movie we just saw ‘Sing,’ we’re singing hallelujah in the car,” Ramos said.

A man waved the family down and asked them to help jumpstart his car, he said. Ramos agreed.

“Right as I finish saying that, the shots rang out from the vehicle alongside of us,” he said. “The passenger side window explodes with glass.”

Ramos said he quickly sped off and made sure his 8- and 10-year-old daughters and wife were unharmed.

“The look in their eyes—I’ve never seen that look on a kid’s face before,” he said of his children.

He said three shots hit his car.

Ramos believes the man he tried to help had been the shooter’s intended target.

A witness told him that the person went back to his broken-down car after the shooting, grabbed something then ran off. 

Chicago police responded to a report of a shooting in the area but it did not appear that anyone was in custody. 

Ramos said the incident has forever changed him.

“I do feel like it’s my fault, like I should’ve just said ‘no’ and drove off,” he said. “But, I guess the good person inside me decided this is my time to help this guy—and someone else decided it wasn’t my time to die.”

School Bus Rollover in Avon


Two students from the Reggio Magnet School in Avon and the driver were on a school bus when it overturned and landed on its side on Bayberry Hill Road, at Cider Brook Road, in Avon, on Friday morning.

No injuries are reported and the students' parents went to get them.

Bayberry Road is closed.

The road is snow-covered after a storm moved through this morning, but it's not yet clear if weather was a contributing factor to the crash.

In Manchester, a school bus crashed into a utility pole. No children were onboard that bus.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut,com

Trump Blasts Schwarzenegger for 'Apprentice' Ratings


Hours before meeting with the nation's top intelligence officials to discuss alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election, President-elect Donald Trump took aim at Arnold Schwarzenegger and "The New Celebrity Apprentice." 

"Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got 'swamped' (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT," Trump tweeted, referring to his initials in the third person. 

Schwarzenegger replaced Trump as host of the "Celebrity Apprentice" franchise this season, but the president-elect remains an executive producer of the show. 

The program saw a significant drop in ratings with Schwarzenegger at the helm, according to reports. The premiere notched a 1.3 rating in the prized 18 to 49 demographic, and 4.9 million viewers, down 35 percent from the last premiere with Trump as host in 2015. Trump's run on the show averaged a 2.4 rating among adults in the demo and 7.6 million viewers, according to The Hollywood Reporter

Trump knocked Schwarzenegger in another Tweet for supporting a rival in the Republican primary. He also asserted that Schwarzenegger supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election. While Schwarzenegger said that he would "not vote for the Republican candidate," he did not in the waning days of the race indicate who he was voting for. 

Schwarzenegger jabbed back at Trump on Twitter Friday, wishing him luck and saying he hopes he works for the American people "as aggressively as you worked for your ratings." 

In recent days, Trump has aimed his Twitter cannon at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who he called a "head clown," and the media, among others. 

Later Friday, Trump is expected to be briefed by intelligence agencies about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election through cyberattacks and other means. 

In recent weeks, Trump has also raised doubts about intelligence agencies and Russia's involvement in the cyberattacks on Twitter. 

"The New Celebrity Apprentice" is produced and owned by MGM and appears on the NBC Television Network.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, AP
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School Buses Crash in Manchester, Avon


Emergency crews are responding to crashes involving school buses in Manchester and Avon.

A school bus has been involved in a crash at Pitken and East Center streets in Manchester. Police said no children were on board when the bus hit a utility pole.

No information was immediately available on injuries.

The other crash involving a school bus was on Batberry Hill Road in Avon. Two people were on that bus when it rolled over and no injuries are reported. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut,com

Michelle Obama Gives Final Remarks as First Lady


Michelle Obama is set to speak at the 2017 School Counselor of the Year event at the White House on Friday in what will be her final remarks as first lady.

Photo Credit: AP
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Woman Charged in Killingworth Bank Robbery


A West Haven woman has been charged in a Killingworth bank robbery. 

Courtney Worthington, 28, of West Haven, is suspected of robbing the TD Bank at 184 Route 81 in Killingworth on Thursday evening. 

Police said she was wearing a hoodie, scarf and sunglasses to hide her face and handed a note demanding money to a teller just before 5 p.m. She didn’t show a weapon and got into a dark sedan after getting the money, according to police. 

No one was injured. 

State police responded to the bank, launched an investigation and found Worthington at the Quality Inn in East Haven, where they took her into custody. 

Worthington was charged with robbery in the second degree, conspiracy to commit robbery in the second degree and larceny in the sixth degree. 

Worthington was held on a $100,000 bond and is due in Superior Court to be arraigned. 

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

SoCal Cashier's Act of Kindness With Special Needs Teen Warms Hearts


A cashier's act of kindness is resonating with Southern California residents after she invited a teen with cerebral palsy to help check out groceries.

Jeanie Robinson said she and her 14-year-old son, Andrew, had gone to the store like any other day Dec. 30.

It was a little quieter due to the holidays as they headed out in the pouring rain to the WinCo on Winchester Road. But Robinson said every trip to the store is different.

"Some days he doesn't like the store, and some days he does. Not every day is the same as another," Robinson said in a phone interview with NBC4.

This day in particular for the teen with cerebral palsy was especially good.

His mother said his infectious smile got others in the store smiling back as he pushed the cart along.

"Throughout the store Andy had this contagious smile. There weren't lots of people so when I threw the salad mix across the aisle into the cart he about died laughing," she said in a Facebook post.

As mother and son went to check out, Andy asked to load them groceries onto the conveyor belt.

The cashier, who Robinson believes is named Shaylene, then did something very simple - but amazing.

She invited Andy to scan the groceries. At first, Andy didn't move - until his mom said to go for it.

"It was so kind of her because so many people get annoyed with special needs kids," Robinson said. "But she had all the patience in the world."

Robinson shot a video of the kind exchange and posted it to her Facebook where it's been viewed more than 10,000 times.

The family, which moved to Temecula from Germany 17 months ago, hadn't expected such a sweet gesture.

Robinson said Andy is one in a set of twins that were born prematurely in an emergency C-section.

From the beginning, his mother was told the prognosis "wasn't looking good."

Doctors even told her Andy wouldn't make it. After three days, they said he would never walk, talk or eat on his own.

"In my mind, I said, 'What can I do to fight that?'" she said.

Robinson took him to all kinds of physical therapy and pushed and pushed, fighting to help her boy.

Andy has a limited vocabulary and walks with a limp, but other than that, he's as healthy as can be, she said.

Robinson is hoping the video sends a message to people when interacting with people with special needs.

"Be kind. Be respectful. And smile - nothing in the world is so bad you can't smile," she said.

Photo Credit: Jeanie Robinson

Half Foot of Snow Possible in Parts of Connecticut Saturday


After a small amount of snow Friday morning, a second storm is fast approaching.

Initially, it looked like the Saturday storm would be a clean miss.

That's no longer the case.

Expect snow to begin across most of the state midday Saturday, and last through the evening.

As a result, the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for Windham and New London Counties.

The snow will be of the type that accumulates efficiently.

Temperatures several thousand feet up will be prime for "dendritic snow growth," which simply means bigger snow flakes.

One to three inches of snow are possible in central Connecticut, but eastern Connecticut could see three to six inches, or more.

NBC Connecticut meteorologists have issued a First Alert for areas east of Interstate 91, simply because that's the area the will see the most snow.

Obviously the storm has trended closer, so future forecasts need to be monitored carefully.

Public Report on Russian Hack to be Released Friday: Source


The public report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election will be released Friday, a senior congressional staffer told NBC News. 

The staffer, who has been briefed on the classified report, said the report will show Russian efforts to elect Donald Trump.

“What you will see is that there were evolving goals over time. At the end, they were trying to elect Trump,” the staffer said. 

The news comes as the nation's top intelligence officials prepare to make their most detailed and persuasive case yet to President-elect Donald Trump that Russia interfered in this year's U.S. political process.

The officials — Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director James Comey — are preparing to point to multiple motives for Moscow's alleged meddling as they brief Trump on their classified report Friday in New York. President Barack Obama received a briefing on Thursday, and a declassified version of the report will be released on Friday, perhaps as soon as by the conclusion of Trump's meeting, a senior congressional staffer told NBC News.

Trump, for his part, in an interview with The New York Times on Friday, called the attention given to Russian hacking a "political witch hunt."

"China, relatively recently, hacked 20 million government names," he said about a computer breach at the Office of Personnel Management in 2014 and 2015. "How come nobody even talks about that?"

He also signaled on Twitter that as president he would aggressively investigate leaks to the press from intelligence agencies. 

"I am asking the chairs of the House and Senate committees to investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it," Trump tweeted Friday afternoon. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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January 6 Snow Totals


This is the most recent data on snow totals from today's storm. Some of the totals might be low because of the time the measurements were recorded.

  • Barkhamsted: 1 inch
  • Berlin: 1.1 inches
  • Cheshire: 1.8 inches
  • Colebrook: .4 inch
  • Coventry: 2.3 inches
  • Darien: .5 inch
  • East Hartford: 1 inch
  • Enfield: .9 inch
  • Farmington: 1.3 inched
  • Glastonbury: 2.1 inches
  • Hadlyme: 4 inches
  • Hebron: 2.5 inches
  • Killingly: .6 inch
  • Ledyard: 3 inches
  • Madison: 2 inches
  • Manchester: 1.8 inches
  • Mansfield: 2.6 inches
  • Middletown: 2.5 inches
  • Moosup: 3 inches
  • Newtown: 2.1 inches
  • New Canaan: 1 inch
  • New Hartford: .8 inch
  • New London: 2.6 inches
  • North Canton: .3 inch
  • North Granby: .3 inch
  • Norwalk: .7 inch
  • Norwich: 3.2 inches
  • Pomfret: 2.2 inches
  • Portland: 2.5 inches
  • Prospect: 2 inches
  • Ridgefield: .8 inch
  • Southington: 2 inches
  • Staffordville: 1 inch
  • Stamford: .5 inch
  • Stonington: 2.5 inches
  • Stratford: .5 inch
  • Tolland: 2 inches
  • Waterbury: 2 inches
  • Waterford: 2 inches
  • Watertown: 2.5 inches
  • West Hartford: 1.5 inches
  • Westbrook: 1.5 inches
  • Winsted: 1 inch
  • Woodstock: 1.6 inches

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Union Issues Persist in Opening Days of Connecticut General Assembly


In the initial hours of the 2017 legislative session, it was made clear that there will be tensions between organized labor, the governor and both legislative Democrats and Republicans. 

First, Gov. Dannel Malloy, for the second straight year, used a statewide address to call on labor unions to renegotiate their contracts to garner concessions aimed at saving taxpayers money and closing a gaping deficit approaching $1.5 billion. 

Those unions, which have no legal obligation to reopen their contracts, responded by saying they want lawmakers and the governor to look elsewhere.

“There’s lots of other things we can do before we even think of getting to that point, so it’s just premature," Lori Pelletier, of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, said.

Pelletier argued that the state hasn't yet addressed the issue of tax fairness, saying there are Connecticut residents who are paying less in taxes based on percentage of income who make more than a half a million dollars a year who can stand to contribute more. She said she thinks their income comes from multiple sources and doesn't get taxed properly.

“Our revenue system needs to catch up to the way our wages are distributed, so we have to look at that,” she said.

Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said the number two Democrat in the divided Senate said it's easy to see what will happen if unions don't agree to consider and eventually approve concessions.

“It’s either going to be additional negotiations with state employees or there are going to be additional layoffs, so it’s probably going to be one or the other,” he said.

The Connecticut House of Representatives, in a win for organized labor, also voted down a proposal to mandate that all labor contracts be voted on by the entire chamber. While there is nothing in the rules that prevents that, and all contracts have a 30-day period where they can be voted on, Republicans want to see a mandate as a matter of policy. On a party line vote, Democrats prevailed.

“It’s our responsibility as legislators to look at these contracts," said Rep. Themis Klarides, R-Derby, the top Republican in the House.

She said the decision by Democrats comes down to them not wanting to be held accountable for such votes.

“I think they’re afraid to vote against a union contract for fear of retribution and I think they’re afraid to vote for a union contract for fear their constituents will think they’re not being responsible.”

Newly elected Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz said his caucus will consider a rule change in the future and said the decision had nothing to do with his role as an employee of AFSCME Council 4, a union that represents some state workers.

“I don’t benefit from any contract up here. My salary is not tied to it. I don’t get a bonus. I don’t lose money," Rep. Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said. "So, really it is not a conflict of interest. We are a part-time legislature. We all come here because we want to serve the public and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

Dow Comes Within a Fraction of a Point From 20,000


U.S. equities rose on Friday as the technology sector led, while investors parsed through key employment data, CNBC reported.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 90 points, with Goldman Sachs and Walt Disney contributing the most gains, lifting it to a new all-time high and within striking distance of 20,000. The S&P 500 gained 0.5 percent to reach a new intraday high, with information technology advancing 1 percent.

The Nasdaq composite outperformed, trading 0.8 percent higher, also hitting a new all-time high. Leading the tech-heavy index higher were the so-called FANG stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet), which all rose at least 1 percent.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

As Connecticut Weighs Marijuana Expansion, Public Safety Fears Persist


The warning coming from a Connecticut chapter of the Automobile Association of America is that the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana will be an unpredictable public safety hazard that law enforcement won't be able to regulate.

“You’re going to be calling some people impaired who are not and there will be others who are impaired who are being let off," Amy Parmenter, a spokeswoman for AAA, said.

The issue, Parmenter and the group said, is that there is not a test in existence that yields a similar result to the BAC, or blood alcohol content, for detecting THC, the active chemical in cannabis.

For that reason, Parmenter says the state needs to slow down any plans to legalize the wide use and availability of marijuana, even though Massachusetts will have the drug on dispensary shelves in the next 18 months.

“Connecticut is not prepared to and would not be able to successfully adjudicate a lot of these cases because you know, how do you measure impairment?” Parmenter said.

Supporters of expansion have said there is political writing on the wall and it's possible every state in New England might allow for its use in the coming years.

Connecticut Speaker of the House Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, who has not endorsed any proposal for legalization of recreational use, said the issue will go before a committee simply because of the way the issue has evolved in recent years.

“Given what’s happened in Massachusetts and in Maine, obviously it’s an issue that’s at our borders. We want to have the discussion here. I’ve told the legislators that have been pushing the issues for years that it will get a public hearing this year,” he said.

The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, which usually weighs in on law enforcement matters, hasn't yet decided on a policy position regarding the recreational use of marijuana.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington

How to Get Tickets to Trump's Inauguration


Anyone can go watch Donald Trump be sworn in as president on the National Mall, but a ticket is needed in order to get within about a half-mile of the action.

Nearly 250,000 free tickets for seats and standing room were issued Jan. 5 by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC).

The tickets are color-coded, and ticket holders are required to enter the Capitol grounds through the entry point designated for their color-coded section. 

Go here to see a larger version of this map. 

The JCCIC will release tickets to U.S. House members on Jan. 9 and to U.S. senators on Jan. 10. Trump also will receive tickets.

Every person headed to a ticketed area needs a ticket, children included.

How Do I Get a Ticket to Trump's Inauguration?
The recommended way to get a ticket to the inaugural ceremony is to contact your senators and U.S. House member.

Many members of Congress are accepting ticket requests online from their constituents.

The office of D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has an online request form. Tickets will be issued through a lottery. The office had received about 1,400 requests as of Jan. 6, a spokesman said. 

The office of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who ran for vice president on the Democratic ticket, also has an online request form and a lottery process.

The office of new Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen is receiving ticket requests by phone. They are recommending that Maryland residents, to increase their chances of getting a ticket, reach out to their House member, since members each represent fewer people.

The offices of Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner already had stopped accepting ticket requests as of Jan. 6.

Not sure who represents you in Congress? Go here to find your senators and go here to find your House member.

JCCIC would not discuss the number of tickets Trump and each member of Congress will receive.

Can I Buy a Ticket to Trump's Inauguration?
Inauguration tickets have popped up for sale on Craigslist and GreatSeats.com, but JCCIC says the sales violate the spirit of the event.

"Tickets to view the swearing-in of our next president are meant to be free, and it should remain that way," spokeswoman Laura Condeluci said in an email.

JCCIC is working with Craigslist, eBay and StubHub to prevent the sale of inauguration tickets, as the committee has done previously.

There is no federal law governing the sale of inaugural tickets, but buying or selling them may violate local and state laws on ticket scalping.

Tickets were advertised on GreatSeats.com on Jan. 6 for $449 to $14,900 each, and on Craigslist for $250 to $1,500 each. No inauguration tickets appeared on eBay or StubHub.

What If I Don't Have a Ticket?
If you cannot get a ticket, you can still watch Trump get sworn-in. Space on the National Mall west of 4th Street NW will be open to spectators. The presidential inaugural committee is expected to set up large television screens.

Photo Credit: Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies
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Ft. Lauderdale Shooter Identified as Esteban Santiago


Law enforcement sources identified the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooter as Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old man born in New Jersey who appears to have acted alone.

A U.S. intelligence official told NBC News it was too early to assess a motive. 

Santiago, born in March 1990, had military ID on him when he was arrested, multiple senior law enforcement sources told NBC. Sources added that he arrived on a flight from Canada, picked up his gun at baggage claim in the airport's Terminal 2 and then began firing.

He was taken into custody unharmed. 

Not much more was immediately known about Santiago, other than that he also appeared to have lived in Alaska for a time. Alaskan court records show an Esteban Santiago with the same date of birth was charged with two misdemeanors last year; one count was dismissed and Santiago was due back in court on the second this coming March.

The Broward Sheriff's Office said they received a call about the shooting around 12:55 p.m. Live video more than an hour after the attack showed people running across the tarmac between terminals while others took cover behind car.

President-elect Donald Trump tweeted, "Monitoring the terrible situation in Florida. Just spoke to Governor Scott. Thoughts and prayers for all. Stay safe!" Florida Gov. Rick Scott was traveling to Fort Lauderdale to be briefed by law enforcement, his office said. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

'Pops,' Then Chaos: Witness Describes Airport Shooting


John Schlicher had just pulled his first piece of luggage from the baggage carousel of Terminal 2  at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday when he started hearing "pops."

"The person right next to me fell to the ground," Schlicher, who had flown to Fort Lauderdale from Columbus, Ohio, told NBC News in a phone interview. "I turned around and a man with a black gun was right behind me and he started shooting randomly."

Schlicher survived the mid-day attack at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that officials said left five dead and eight wounded.

"My wife and mother in law were traveling with me. Luckily none of us were injured," Schlicher said. "The two people to my left and the two people to my right were shot. There was blood everywhere. The people who were shot were shot in the head."

Schlicher said there appeared to be only one gunman and he looked like he was in his 30s.

"It's tragic. Just a horrible, horrible tragic scene. He was just randomly shooting at people," he said.

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