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September 23, 2014 - No. 76

Annul the Canada-Europe Free Trade Agreement!

All Out to Oppose Neo-Liberal
Free Trade and Monopoly Right!
Demand a Self-Reliant Human-Centred Economy for Canada


Together We Can Stop CETA!
Friday, September 26 -- 11:30 am-1:00 pm

Assemble outside Transport Canada, 330 Sparks St. at 11:30 am;
march to Parliament Hill for a noon-time rally.
Buses to Ottawa from Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City:
contact Verena at vgarofalo[at]seafarers.ca
For information: Facebook
Organized by: Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition with support from the Trade Justice Network, the Quebec Network on Continental Integration (RQIC), and Campact Germany.

Rally on the Eve of the CETA Ceremony
Thursday, September 25 -- 4:30 pm

City Hall
Organized by: Council of Canadians London Chapter

Annul the Canada-Europe Free Trade Agreement!
All Out to Oppose Neo-Liberal Free Trade and Monopoly Right! Demand a Self-Reliant Human-Centred Economy for Canada
Together We Can Stop CETA! - Canadian Maritime and Supply Chain Coalition

Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements
Undermining Public Authority in the Name of High Ideals - Jim Nugent

Privatization of Atomic Energy Canada Limited
Harper Government Completes the Destruction of Public Control of Nuclear Energy and Science - Louis Lang

Annul the Canada-Europe Free Trade Agreement!

All Out to Oppose Neo-Liberal
Free Trade and Monopoly Right!
Demand a Self-Reliant Human-Centred
Economy for Canada

On September 26, the Harper government will receive a visit from Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. The two will travel to Ottawa and Toronto on September 26 to take part in a Canada-European Union (EU) Summit. The visit will include a ceremony in Ottawa to officially announce that the negotiations have concluded and the text has been finalized for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU.

Canadians do not support neo-liberal trade that wreaks destruction on the social and natural environment. Actions to oppose CETA are being held in Ottawa, on Friday, September 26 with a march beginning at Transport Canada Building, 330 Sparks St. and a noon hour rally on Parliament Hill (the main event), and in London on Thursday, September 25 at 4:30 at City Hall. Activists in Canada and Europe point out that the deal still must be ratified by individual provinces and EU member states before it can come into effect. A European Day of Action to oppose CETA will take place on Saturday, October 11.

The Harper government's attempts to cover up its sellout of the nation and defence of monopoly right over public right have not succeeded. Across the country there is widespread and ongoing opposition to CETA and how it permits monopolies to usurp public authority and decision-making power. As the organizers of the London action point out, "Together we will mark the historic resistance to the CETA trade pact by city councils from Victoria to Thunder Bay to Toronto. These municipal governments, along with dozens of others, including London, represent the first ever cross-country resistance to a corporate trade pact. The CETA gives corporations the right to directly sue governments if new laws or regulations impact their profits. It also removes the right of municipalities to govern local assets publicly, in favour of privatization and foreign corporate management." Amongst other things, these monopolies will seek to make a fortune by replacing unionized municipal jobs with low-paying jobs with lower working conditions, that will result in lower quality and/or reduced services to the public. Already such European monopolies are operating in health care, in housekeeping and food services, with dire consequences for the workers and patients.

This summit between Canada and the EU comes amidst municipal election campaigns across Ontario, with election day on October 27. Candidates should be elected who take a stand against CETA and monopoly right, and who fight to defend the public interest.

Farmers are another sector that is opposed to CETA for how it will undermine their ability to control the sale of their goods and protect their livelihoods and the important role farming plays in Canada's economy. In its leaflet entitled, "Why We Don't Want CETA," the National Farmers Union (NFU) writes, "CETA adds precautionary seizure provisions to intellectual property rights' enforcement. This means that farmers accused of having a patented gene in their crops or seed could lose their farms, crops, equipment and cash -- simply for alleged infringement. The Agreement would extend precautionary seizure provisions to third parties. For example, the owner of a seed cleaning operation whose customer is accused of patent infringement could also have his/her property seized. These expanded intellectual property rights enforcement tools would increase corporate control of our farms, increase seed costs, and destroy farmers' autonomy." The NFU also explains how CETA will undermine farmers' cooperative marketing boards/supply management systems that provide them with a stable income: "CETA signatories would agree to co-operate at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to reduce agriculture safety net measures. These negotiations also lay the groundwork and justification for dismantling our supply management system in the future."

Even some corporations oppose CETA because it does not serve their particular interests. Amongst those expressing opposition to CETA are members of the Canadian Shipowners Association (CSA) who are concerned that CETA may hurt Canada's short sea shipping industry, its workers and suppliers and shippers. A press statement says:

"The CSA is concerned about the lack of transparency in the CETA negotiations and the fact that access to trades between Canadian ports may be given to EU carriers who employ international labour at much lower rates, do not pay Canadian taxes or employ Canadian workers and are not regulated to rigorous Transport Canada safety and operating standards for Canadian flag vessels. Canadian flag short sea shipping vessels are specially designed for Canada's inland and coastal waters and to meet Canadian requirements. Unable to leave Canada and compete against cheaper international competition, the Canadian crewed, Canadian owned and regulated Canadian flagged domestic fleet will be hurt if Canadian cabotage rules are reduced to allow any international vessels access to Canadian markets."

"Our mariners possess unique local knowledge that ensures that Canadian waters are safely transited, respected and protected," said CSA President Robert Lewis-Manning. "We need to ensure that these jobs remain in Canada," he said. The CSA expressed these views before the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade in February 2014, the press release says.

TML calls on everyone to go all out to participate in the actions to oppose CETA and spread the word about its dangers and the need to oppose it. It is by organizing with one's peers to participate in such actions and inform others that people gain confidence and can negate the disempowering attacks of the ruling elite and defeat sellout trade deals like CETA and their traitorous proponents like the Harper government. Canadians must demand and work out how to set a new direction for the economy that upholds rights and sovereignty and restricts monopoly right.


See also these recent articles from TML Weekly, September 6, 2014 - No. 31:

More Secrecy, Sellout and Lies
Leaked CETA Agreement Thoroughly Upholds Monopoly Right to Smash Public Right - Dougal MacDonald

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Together We Can Stop CETA!

On September 26, officials from Canada and the European Union will meet at a ceremony in Ottawa to officially announce that negotiations for the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are finished and the text has been finalized.

While CETA negotiations have been ongoing since 2009, no official texts of the agreement have ever been released to the public, and there has been no opportunity for public scrutiny of CETA.

But after September 26, there will be no way to make changes to the agreement.

While the Harper government and the European Union have ignored calls for transparency and democracy by finalizing the deal behind closed doors, the fight to stop CETA is far from over. Come hear from activists from Canada and Europe about the CETA threat, and how we can make sure CETA is never ratified.

Leaks of the text have revealed that CETA will have far-reaching impacts on both sides of the Atlantic, including:

- Giving corporations the right to directly sue governments in unaccountable international tribunals for compensation if new laws or regulations impact their profits

- Increasing the cost of pharmaceuticals in our health care system by a $1 billion or more per year

- Putting thousands of Canadian jobs at risk by opening up key parts of maritime shipping to European corporations

- Putting our public services at risk and making it harder to reverse failed privatizations or expand public services in the future

- Removing the rights of provinces, municipalities, schools and hospitals to get the most out of their procurement dollars by favouring local goods and services

Getting to Ottawa: The Seafarers International Union is organizing buses to Ottawa to participate in the rally, leaving from Montreal, Quebec City, Thorold, and Toronto the morning of September 26. To reserve a seat on the bus, email Verena at vgarofalo[at]seafarers.ca.

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Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements

Undermining Public Authority in the
Name of High Ideals

On September 12, the Harper government issued a press release announcing that it has ratified the Canada-China Foreign Investment and Promotion Agreement. The agreement was signed by Stephen Harper during his 2012 visit to China and has been waiting ratification by the Harper cabinet since then. This is the latest in a series of neo-liberal trade agreements the Harper Conservatives have been aggressively pushing through since coming to office. Their aim is to destroy public authority both at home and abroad to facilitate the free flow of finance capital both into and out of Canada.

There are currently foreign investment protection agreements (FIPAs) in effect between Canada and 21 other countries. FIPAs with several other countries have been negotiated and are awaiting ratification by the parties. Investor protection clauses are also included in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union which has been signed but not yet ratified.

Each FIPA is negotiated separately but the investor protection agreements Canada has signed typically involve reciprocal arrangements for establishing dispute arbitration tribunals. These tribunals can be used by a foreign investor to claim financial compensation if environmental, social or economic laws in the host country have a negative impact on the investor's profit or other interests. These arbitration tribunals operate outside and above the judicial system of the host countries. The tribunals are private commercial entities but their decisions are given the force of law through the international treaties that create them.

The effect of empowering investor protection tribunals is to weaken the ability of the public authority at any level to impose restrictions on the activities of investors within its jurisdiction. Investor protection agreements have been a key element in the neo-liberal globalization of trade since the 1980s. They are part of the neo-liberal offensive aimed at depriving people of having any say about important issues so international monopolies can operate freely throughout the world as they see fit. In Canada and globally, working people, indigenous peoples and others have been struggling to block this offensive.

Opening China to Canadian Banks

While many FIPAs have been negotiated by the current and previous governments with complete unanimity among the ruling elite and without any regard to the widespread opposition of people to neo-liberal trade measures, the case of the Canada-China FIPA is unfolding differently. It has been riddled with controversy as rival monopoly groups have worked to gain advantage by lining people up behind their particular interests with respect to China.

The source of this controversy is the incoherence of the hegemonic U.S. strategy on China, in which the entire ruling elite of Canada and the monopolies based here are totally entangled. This is a strategy of trying to contain China economically, diplomatically and militarily, while at the same time seeking to penetrate Chinese markets and access Chinese investment funds.

Among the monopolies that have important interests at stake in China and hope to benefit from the Canada-China FIPA are the Canadian-based banking and insurance monopolies. It was these investors that Harper and Canadian trade officials were negotiating on behalf of when they sat down to work out an agreement for undermining public authority in order to protect investor interests.

Companies in the financial services and insurance sector account for 40 per cent of all foreign direct investment originating in Canada. Most of this investment until now has flowed into the U.S. as part of the trend of consolidation of North American monopolies. But foreign investment by the Canadian financial services and insurance sector has been growing by an average of seven per cent per year for the last 10 years and new growing markets are needed to keep the bonanza going. Canadian banks and insurance companies are eager to expand into China where the financial, business and professional services are the fastest growing economic sector.

This is why the first to applaud the Harper government's ratification of the FIPA was the Toronto Financial Services Alliance (TFSA), a political organization of banks and insurance companies with head offices in Toronto. On the same day as the ratification was announced, the TFSA issued a press release saying, "With Canada's financial industry growing its global footprint, the federal government's focus on expanding international trade and investment agreements, such as FIPA and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are welcome."

The press release quotes TFSA President Janet Ecker as saying, "Canada and China have a strong and growing economic relationship which includes the financial services sector. Some of our financial companies have been involved with China for literally decades and these business relationships are growing.... This agreement will help support the growth of these business opportunities between our two countries by providing stronger protection and a more predictable, transparent investment environment for Canadian companies."

One of the main beneficiaries of investor protection agreements is clearly the banks and insurance companies. This is the case not only with the Canada-China FIPA but also with the FIPAs signed with 21 other countries and investor protection clauses in free trade agreements. These are the monopolies based in Canada with the sale of resources and the ambition for "growing their global footprint." But there is nothing of benefit for Canadian working people in these agreements and the further weakening public authority over international investors through these agreements leaves important public interests unprotected. The Harper Conservatives are out of step with working people. People are demanding more restrictions on international finance capital, not less.

For Your Information
Chinese Foreign Direct Investment

U.S. imperialism is gripped in crisis and compelled to resort to the most incoherent strategies to save itself. One of these incoherent strategies concerns China. The U.S. is simultaneously attempting to contain China economically, diplomatically and militarily while increasing its penetration of Chinese markets and access to Chinese investment funds. The ruling elite in Canada and the monopolies based here are totally entangled in this strategy.

One of the tactics of the publicists serving this U.S.-led project is to grossly distort the role of China in the direct foreign investment market. Chinese companies, especially state-owned enterprises, are presented as behemoths flooding investments into every corner of the world, including Canada. This narrative serves as a justification for countries imposing limits on Chinese investments while at the same time hiding the reality of U.S. hegemonism.

In fact, while Chinese foreign investment has been increasing since the 2008 financial crisis, its role in direct foreign investment markets is primarily as a destination, not a source, of investment. China's foreign investment is still dwarfed by global investments of monopolies based in the U.S. and in the EU countries, both in terms of annual flows and accumulated investment stock.

The U.S. dominates global direct investment with 24 per cent of the total investment stock. EU countries, taken as a group, account for 40 per cent of outward direct investment stock. Accumulated foreign direct investment stock by China accounts for 2.3 per cent of the global total.

China's total stock of foreign direct investment globally stands at $613 billion compared to $6,349 billion for the U.S. In 2013, the foreign investment flow from China to other countries was $101 billion, seven per cent of the global total. U.S. companies that year invested $338 billion in other countries, 24 per cent of all foreign investment.

Even compared to Canada, foreign direct investment flow from China is relatively small. Canadian-based companies have $732 billion in accumulated foreign investment stock globally, $119 billion more than China. Annual foreign direct investment flows from Canada were more than double Chinese foreign investment until the 2008 crisis when the flow of investment from China surpassed the flow from Canada.

With respect to Canada, both the direction of investment flows and the accumulation of investment stock reflect the total integration of North American monopolies. In 2013, U.S. investment into Canada increased by $32 billion to a total of $352 billion and investments of Canadian-based monopolies into the U.S. increased by $28 billion to total investment of $312 billion.

Accumulated Chinese investment stock in Canada amounts to $16.7 billion, most of which flowed into Canada in response to the 2008 financial crisis. Between 2008 and 2012, Chinese direct investment to Canada averaged $2.4 billion a year. But even in this period of higher Chinese flow into Canada, Chinese investment still represented only seven per cent of foreign investment in Canada. Chinese investment in Canada fell off during 2012 and 2013 following measures by the Canadian government to contain China. Chinese investment flow to Canada was $1 billion in 2012 and $300 million in 2013.

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Privatization of Atomic Energy Canada Limited

Harper Government Completes the Destruction of Public Control of Nuclear Energy and Science

Nuclear scientists hold information picket at Chalk River September 9, 2014.

Members of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) and the Chalk River Professional Employees Group (CRPEG) held an information picket outside Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) facilities in Chalk River, Ontario on September 9, to draw attention to the threatened loss of nuclear workers' defined benefit government pensions.

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the department responsible for AECL, is currently attempting to semi-privatize the laboratories under a new government-owned, contractor-operated (GoCo) management model, which threatens to remove scientists,' engineers,' and other employees' promises of a secure retirement and will endanger staff recruitment and retention.

A press release from PIPS and CRPEG pointed out, "Nuclear energy continues to supply an enormous part of Canada's overall energy needs as well as our medical, industrial and innovation requirements. Canada needs this expertise and it should continue to be fairly compensated and secured by the continued promise of a decent pension."[1]

CPREG members are currently in contract negotiations. On September 17, the CPREG executive reported that, "We received overwhelming support from the membership [on September 16], giving the Negotiations Team the strike mandate."

This latest attack on the scientists, engineers and technicians working in the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories of AECL is one of the final acts of the Harper Conservatives in their drive to destroy public control of the assets and technology developed for more than 60 years by AECL.

Privatization of AECL and Government Interference at the Chalk River Labs

Earlier this year, TML reported on "The Privatization of Atomic Energy Canada," a Crown corporation, by the Harper government.[2]

That article pointed out, "The privatization of AECL is a clear example of the role of the Harper government in the service of monopoly corporations. The outright gift to SNC Lavalin of one of the most valuable assets in Canada is another massive transfer of public assets to the private sector."

AECL was sold to SNC Lavalin in 2011. Within months of the sale, SNC Lavalin was able to acquire more than $1 billion worth of contracts in Canada and internationally. SNC Lavalin is now guaranteed many more billions of dollars in profits refurbishing CANDU reactors or building new reactors in Ontario and all over the world.

The sale did not include the Chalk River Labs and the National Research Universal Reactor (NRU) which is located there. The Chalk River Labs, besides conducting important research in nuclear energy and science, also manufactures medical radioisotopes. It is the world's largest supplier of Molybdenum-99 for diagnostic tests and Cobalt-60 for cancer therapy.

Through AECL, the Crown corporation, the government continued its ownership of the Chalk River Labs but even at the time of the sale Harper declared that he intended to take the Canadian government "out of the business of medical isotope production."

All along the intention of the Harper government was to turn a much needed and important medical procedure into a business opportunity for its friends in the private sector. It was only a matter of time before the Chalk River facility, which was the last remaining part of AECL, would also be privatized and its important role in producing medical isotopes would be removed from public control and ultimately shut down.

In November 2013, Babcock & Wilcox Company of Charlotte, North Carolina made the following announcement, "The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) (NYSE:BWC) is pleased to announce a teaming arrangement with Cavendish Nuclear Ltd. (Cavendish Nuclear) and Battelle in pursuit of the Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated (GOCO) contract for managing Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.'s (AECL) Nuclear Laboratories."

It is this "GOCO" model which has been implemented for the management of the Chalk River Labs which is detrimentally affecting the working conditions and pension benefits of scientists, engineers and technicians. At their information picket in Chalk River, AECL personnel denounced the GOCO management model which they said would "deprive current and future AECL scientists and engineers of a secure retirement and is not the way to ensure Canada's nuclear labs attract and retain the best and the brightest."

Future Medical Isotope Shortage a Government-Created Crisis

The Harper dictatorship's attack on the people working at the Chalk River Labs is one of the final steps of its plans to complete the privatization of AECL and take this important scientific institution out of public control. The Harper government has made it clear that its goal is to completely shut down isotope production at Chalk River by 2016. Scientists and doctors in the fields of diagnostics and nuclear medicine have warned that the consequences of this decision will be a government created isotope shortage with severe consequences for people who need cancer therapy and diagnostic tests. Closing Chalk River's isotope production means that up to 40 per cent of the world's isotope supply will vanish with no new supplier capable of filling the void.

Dr. Normand Laurin, President of the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine addressed this issue and said, "I don't want to sound alarmist but it's going to have medical consequences. There are people who are going to be denied care, or have a different kind of care that might not be the best for them."

Across Canada, 20,000 patients undergo nuclear imaging procedures every week and the field of nuclear medicine is growing around the world. Supported by the work of AECL, Canada has been an international leader and the world's largest single supplier of medical isotopes used in nuclear imaging for more than 50 years. The Harper government wants to end all that!

One such change concerns MDS Nordion, which has been in existence since 1991 when AECL decided to spin off its medical isotope production business under the name Nordion International Inc. The unit was later sold to MDS Health Group and has operated in Ottawa since then under the name MDS Nordion.

The omnibus budget bill (Bill C-31) which the Conservatives rammed through the House of Commons this past spring, using closure to limit debate, contains a section called, "Nordion and Theratronics Divestiture Authorization Act." The amendments introduced through the budget legislation permits ownership and control of Nordion Canada Inc. to be held by non-residents of Canada. This paved the way for the former Crown corporation to be sold to a U.S. corporation and is another direct attack on the production and supply of medical isotopes from Chalk River.[3]

Within days of the passing of Harper's omnibus budget bill, the sale of Nordion to American conglomerate Sterigenics was completed. Nordion, which is a crucial link in the chain of medical isotope production is now under the control of this giant U.S. corporation that has its tentacles in health care, financial capital investment and many other holdings in different sectors of the economy.

Dr. Laurin pointed out that, "The sale of Nordion represents the end of the road for the Canadian nuclear medicine file."

In a recent news release Nordion bluntly warned that, "if the company is unable to secure a long-term supply of medical isotopes it may exit the reactor-based medical isotope segment of its business."

The Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD also issued a report which warns about the impending crisis if Nordion's isotope processing capacity was to disappear. The report says, "The loss of Canada's processing capacity in the second half of 2016 reduces current global processing capacity by approximately 25 per cent in that period." It also warns that there is "an increased risk" of supply shortages beginning as soon as next year.

Dr. Laurin also commented:

"Getting out of it, I think is a mistake. It will mean a loss of Canadian know-how and expertise. Very good science will be lost, business and jobs are going to go elsewhere or be lost altogether, so I personally think it's a mistake. I may be biased because I am a physician and I need what's being made at Chalk River for patient care. But if you look at it from a Canadian point of view, I think it's a loss for the entire community, not just Ontario, but all of Canada."[4]

Behind the looming crisis in medical isotope supply, which is of such great concern to medical experts, is the sinister hand of the Harper Conservatives who are more than eager to sacrifice this important part of public health care for Canadians. Through the destruction of public control over the field of nuclear medicine, the Harper government intends to enrich its friends in the private sector with a huge business opportunity. The obsession of the Harper government to rely on the "market" to solve the problem of the long-term isotope supply will result in putting Canadians at the mercy of private corporations for this important medical procedure. There is no doubt that this will result in higher prices and greater delays in treatment because alternative processes like PET scans (positron emission topography) are more expensive and because private isotope suppliers are primarily motivated by increasing their private profits, not serving the public interest.

Nuclear Science Must Remain Under Public Control

This concerted attack on nuclear science has been waged at the expense of the people working in this field. Thousands of jobs at all levels have been lost due to privatization and cutbacks and now the remaining scientists, engineers, technicians and maintenance workers are facing attacks on their working conditions and benefits, including pension benefits, in an effort to drive them out of the industry.

It is impossible to calculate the potential growth of jobs and revenues that has been squandered by the greed of the Harper Conservatives. If AECL was not destroyed, the development of new reactors, the refurbishing of CANDU reactors in Ontario and all over the world and the advancement in nuclear science could have been directed to benefit the public good. Instead the most profitable parts have been handed to SNC Lavalin and the research labs have been turned over to the private nuclear industry. In addition, the intentional wrecking of medical isotope production will have a devastating effect for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians as well as people the world over whose lives depend on these technologies. The effect will be felt for many years not just by the physicians who will be unable to provide proper care for their patients, but also in terms of the increased cost to the health care system which will certainly be imposed by monopoly corporations who will be in control of medical isotopes.

We are dealing with a government for which the needs of society mean nothing. It has done everything in its power to ensure that, whether in nuclear science or other sectors of the economy, private interests are given the opportunity to make super profits at the expense of all Canadians. This cannot be allowed to continue!

The Harper Conservatives must be deprived of the political and economic power to deprive the people of their rights.


1. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents approximately 55,000 professionals and scientists across Canada's public sector, including some 750 engineers and scientists at AECL's Chalk River site. They are responsible for supporting the safe operation of CANDU nuclear reactors, managing radioactive waste from across Canada, providing expert opinion and advice to the government on national and international nuclear issues and operating nuclear reactors which produce medical isotopes used for diagnostic purposes world-wide.

2. See TML Daily, January 24, 2914 - No.3.

3. Bill C-31 -- Economic Action Plan 2014 Act.

No 1 Part 6 Division 12 -- Overview: Nordion and Theratronics Divestiture Authorization Act

The amendments to the Nordion and Theratronics Divestiture Authorization Act will permit ownership and control of Nordion (Canada) Inc. to be held by non-residents of Canada, subject to the requirements of the Investment Canada Act including to ensure that such ownership or control is of net benefit to Canada and does not raise national security concerns.

4. Quotes from Dr. Normand Laurin, President of the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine come from an interview on CBC Radio on May 24, 2014.

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