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President Weah Receives Senior UN Envoy
Monrovia, Liberia - The President of the Republic, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah has reiterated the determination of his administration to ensure that the 2023 polls are conducted free, fair, and transparent, consistent with Liberian laws and international standards.
The Weah administration is conducting the 2023 general and presidential elections slated for October 10 without the usual direct security and logistical supports that the international community had provided for decades until 2018 when the President took over national leadership.
In a meeting with the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Leonardo Santos Simao, President Weah said he remains mindful of his moral and constitutional responsibility to maintain national peace and stability by, amongst other things, sustaining and consolidating Liberia’s budding democratic culture which also entails the conduct of free and fair elections.
He said his government is already on record not only for conducting a plethora of highly-contested by-elections, including senatorial midterm elections, which were widely declared free, transparent and fair, but has also provided ample funding for the works of the National Elections Commission (NEC) for the pending elections.
“My government remains unwavering to ensuring not just conducting credible elections but elections acceptable to the world,” he said. “I have signed the Farmington Declaration and living by every part of it. My messages since the period of campaign started have been about sustaining the country’s peace and stability.”
Dr. Weah, who is a former Liberia and United Nations’ Peace Ambassador, said his government would continue to empower the National Elections Commission (NEC) by providing the necessary funding and creating the enabling political environment for free and fair elections.
“Liberia is on the way to an inclusive and peaceful election. This is my commitment to Liberians and the world. I will ensure all within my powers that that happens under my watch,” he averred.
President Weah called on the international community and other political leaders to play their part for the betterment of the country.
For his part, the UN Senior Envoy thanked Dr. Weah for his decision and actions geared towards ensuring free, fair, transparent, and credible elections.
The Special UN Secretary General Representative said: “The signing of the Farmington Declaration is a testament of your commitment to ensure a peaceful and credible elections.”
He also hailed the president for promoting women's rights and empowerment in Liberia and ECOWAS.
“We are hopeful and poised to witness an election that is peaceful and will serve as an example to West Africa and the continent,” the UN Special Representative noted.
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Niger coup: Russia Threatens Protracted War for ECOWAS Over Plan Invasion, But….
It seems that tension between the West and Russia in ongoing Ukraine is now gradually directed towards West Africa over the recent military takeover in Niger.
Amidst speculations that Russian mercenaries were behind the military coup in Niger, the Russian government has officially sounded an unusual warning short to the West African regional bloc ECOWAS.
“Any Military action against coup leaders in Niger would lead to a “protracted confrontation”, Russia has warned.
On Friday, the West African bloc Ecowas approved a “standby force” in response to the military takeover in Niger, and Ivory Coast’s president said it could be deployed “as soon as possible”.
The US has backed efforts to restore Niger’s deposed leader Mohamed Bazoum.
Coup supporters, some waving Russian flags, protested at a French military base near the capital.
Moscow has not formally backed the coup but the collapse of Niger’s democracy risks pitting Russia against the West in a proxy stand-off.
Both France and the US operate military bases in Niger, which have been used to launch operations against jihadist groups present in the wider region. Supporters of the military junta have called on Western nations to leave the country and voiced support for Russia.
On Friday protesters were seen chanting “down with France, down with Ecowas” at a French base on the outskirts of the capital city Niamey.
Some were carrying Russian flags, and voiced support for Abdouahamane Tiani, the general now running the country.
In a statement issued on Friday, Russia’s foreign ministry warned other West African nations not to send troops into Niger.
It said: “We believe that a military solution to the crisis in Niger could lead to a protracted confrontation in that African country, and to a sharp destabilisation of the situation in the Sahara-Sahel region as a whole.”
Military officials from Ecowas countries are reportedly set to meet on Saturday to draft plans for a military intervention.
The bloc has said it remains open to finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis, but Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu said on Thursday: “No option is taken off the table, including the use of force as a last resort.”
The US has not explicitly backed military action but has called on the junta to step aside and allow the restoration of the country’s democratic constitution.
In a statement, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken said: “The United States appreciates the determination of Ecowas to explore all options for the peaceful resolution of the crisis.”
Separately. Blinken said earlier this week he believes the Russian mercenary group Wagner could seek to take advantage of instability in Niger.
Fears are growing for the health and safety of President Bazoum, who has been held captive since the military seized power on July 26.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said on Friday: “Credible reports I have received indicate that the conditions of detention could amount to inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of international human rights law.”
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he believes Mr. Bazoum and his family “have been deprived of food, electricity, and medical care for several days”.
Meanwhile, ECOWAS – the Economic Community of West African States – ordered the activation of a standby force on Thursday, two weeks after generals ousted President Mohamed Bazoum in the seventh coup in West and Central Africa in three years.
The proposed mission has raised the specter of deepening conflict in a strategically important region where Western powers have lost sway during the spate of coups and where Russian influence appears to be on the rise.
A lot of anger is being targeted at former colonial power France, whose forces have been kicked out of neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso following coups there, and whose presence in Niger is under threat. In the days after the coup, protesters attacked the French embassy.
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UP Turns Into Militia Paradise; As PYJ-EFF Vow To Provide Security For JNB
An unusual occurrence is now taking place within the former ruling Unity Party with the formation of new militia brigades after yesterday’s comments by former Liberian vice president Joseph Nyuma Boakai that ‘No individual has a monopoly over violence’.
Over the weekend, former rebel General, now Nimba county Senator, Prince Yormie Johnson vowed to provide 500-strong men to the Unity Party to serve as security guards to the party’s campaign teams.
Sen. Johnson, who is a former warlord, made the disclosure when he appeared on a local radio station in Monrovia, on Friday, August 11, 2023.
The leader of the former rebel faction, the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), said he has 500 men to help with the opposition protection.
Now, the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFF), has announced that it will provide security for the Unity Party and vowed to crush any force of violence against the Party.
The EFF is an outspring of the South Africa-style EFF of former ANC Youth leader Julius Malama whose movement is fast growing across Africa especially following the start of the Ukraine-Russian crisis.
The Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia was earlier this year officially certificated by the National Elections Commission.
The move by the EFF seems to be heightening tension amidst calls for a violence-free election.
The Party’s Commander in Chief, Emmanuel Gonquoi stated that their quest to support Unity Party’s candidates is derived from the alleged suffering of the Liberian people and the lack of Jobs opportunities for citizens across the Country.
“We must put an end to this bad governance structure; there is a need for government officials to work in the interest of the people”, Gonquoi emphasized.
The Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL), led by Emmanuel D Gonqoui, announced his resolute backing for the Unity Party’s ‘rescue mission despite facing off against a Unity Party candidate for the senatorial seat in Margibi County. However, his unwavering support for the rival party, UP in the Senatorial race within Margibi County has ignited a firestorm of controversies after announcing that the EFF will deploy ‘Defender of Revolutionaries’, to safeguard opposition leader Joseph N. Boakai.
He attributes their latest decision to a lack of trust in the State security apparatus of the country and accused them of being partial in the discharge of their duties -stressing that they have turned into sole protectors of President Weah instead of the entire citizenry.
Ture to this declaration, Standard Bearer of the Unity Party, Joseph N. Boakai warned the CDC to desist from engaging in alleged elections or political violence that has the propensity to cause conflict and violence.
Speaking Monday, August 14, 2023, at the UP “Rescue Campaign Mission” Headquarters in Sinkor, Monrovia, Amb. Boakai stated that going forward, the UP will not bow down for anybody to walk on it, cautioning that nobody has a monopoly over violence.
“I want to say to them that it’s not the nature of the Unity Party to go into violence. But we want to say to all of our people including the CDCians that UP is not going to sit for people to walk over them. We are not going to do that. Let me state this, Nobody has a monopoly over violence, “Amb. Boakai asserted.
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We Won’t Allow CDC Hooligans to Overrun Us”
Following last Thursday, August 10th altercation between partisans of the opposition Unity Party (UP) and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), UP’s standard bearer and former Vice President, Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai, has warned that his partisans and supporters will not sit supinely and allow people he referred to as hooligans of the CDC to override them during this campaign period.
On that Thursday, several persons were reportedly injured and the Unity Party claimed many of those injured were its partisans.
This newspaper’s reporter, who was at the campaign headquarters of the opposition party on the fateful day, said he saw one injured person who was brought there from the scene of the street battle that occurred near the VAMOMA House in the Sinkor suburb of the Capital, Monrovia.
The last Thursday’s commotion sparked off between partisans of the CDC and UP while former Vice President Boakai and party officials, who were heading to their campaign headquarters were reportedly denied passage by individuals believed to be Cdcians near the VAMOMA House.
Officials of the former ruling party had also complained that partisans of the CDC on the same day invaded their campaign headquarters and threw stones and other objects at its partisans, claims that the CDC has since rebuffed.
The former Vice President and officials were going to the newly dedicated campaign headquarters just days after he had returned from the United States where he was when the headquarters was officially opened.
Tension has been brewing between supporters of the former ruling Unity Party and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change since the start of campaign with a little over 54 days remaining for the October 10, 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections.
It all started on day one of the campaign when partisans of the CDC toted and paraded in Monrovia with a symbolic casket of their main political rival and the Unity Party’s standard bearer, Joseph Boakai, who many Liberians, including even supporters of the CDC believe poses a potential threat to the reelection of President George Weah.
Speaking Monday, August 14, at his campaign headquarters, Ambassador Boakai said while his supporters and partisans will remain peaceful and law abiding, they will defend themselves against any violent attacks from the CDC and others, adding that there is no one person or group that has monopoly over violence.
Regarding the casket that the CDC said was his, the UP presidential hopeful said he was not surprised because it was not the first time that Cdcians have toted caskets, an apparent reference to the one they said was the casket of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during her administration.
That casket they claimed was mine is their own casket,” the former Vice President and the UP standard bearer told his partisans and well-wishers amidst cheers at his campaign headquarters on Monday.
Meanwhile, many Liberians and others, including the country’s international partners have condemned the recent violence between partisans of the two rival parties and warned against electoral violence that they said if not shun would plunge the country into another round of the wanton destruction of lives and properties.
No arrest has been reported since last Thursday’s violence between partisans of the two main rival political parties, UP and CDC. While it also remains unclear as to whether the police have launched an investigation to determine the main perpetrators of the recent violence as claims and counterclaims continue unabated between the two parties.
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Unity Party campaign engagement in District #5 Grand Bassa County
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The Cummings-Brumskine Ticket Will Address Real Issues Affecting Liberians
It’s fascinating to observe how the CPP ticket of Cummings-Brumskine is strategically shifting its focus towards addressing the pressing “suffering” of Liberians through a range of practical policies.
Their emphasis on job creation is crucial, as Liberia has long grappled with unemployment.
By pledging to implement targeted programs and investments in sectors like infrastructure and agriculture, they aim to stimulate economic growth and create job opportunities.
The commitment to increase the budget to over 1 billion dollars reflects a recognition of the need for adequate funding to address various issues that have contributed to the suffering of the people.
This increased budget could potentially be channeled towards improving education, healthcare, and social services, which would greatly benefit the citizens.
Youth empowerment is another vital aspect of their agenda. The CPP ticket seems to understand that the youth constitute a significant portion of Liberia’s population, and by providing them with skills training, education, and opportunities for entrepreneurship, they can contribute positively to the nation’s development.
Tackling drug addiction and rehabilitation is a nuanced challenge that the CPP ticket is wisely addressing.
Drug addiction can contribute to crime, instability, and the overall decline of a society. Their approach to establish comprehensive rehabilitation programs demonstrates a commitment to not only addressing the consequences of addiction but also addressing its root causes.
Economic empowerment for Liberians aligns with the overarching goal of alleviating suffering.
The focus on promoting local businesses, investing in agriculture, and supporting small-scale industries could lead to increased self-reliance, job opportunities, and improved living standards for citizens.
Overall, the CPP ticket’s pivot towards these specific policies indicates a thoughtful understanding of Liberia’s challenges and a strategic approach to address the suffering of its people.
By tackling issues related to jobs, budget allocation, youth, drug addiction, and economic empowerment, they aim to create a more stable, prosperous, and resilient nation.
The Cummings-Brumskine ticket of the CPP is the only team which is consistently explaining to Liberians how it intends to be the which our people deserve.
This approach confirms the confidence of the Cummings-Brumskine ticket to do what is says it will do in its Administration.
Liberia will not change because we say so but takes individuals who are qualified to lead, have a prior record of performance and can lead Liberians to great things.
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Veep Howard-Taylor Urges Mothers to Breastfeed Their Babies for Atleast 6 Months
Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor is urging mothers to breastfeed their babies for at most six months before introducing them (babies) to another food while still breastfeeding their little ones as long as they (mothers) want.
Liberia’s observation of the World Breastfeeding Week begins from today, Monday, August 14 and runs to the 19th, 2023. And, this year’s celebration places more emphasis on the need for greater breastfeeding support across all workplaces to sustain and improve progress on breastfeeding rates globally.
Speaking from her Office over the weekend, the Vice President said, “Today, Liberia joins the global community to observe the breastfeeding week dedicated to promoting and supporting breast feeding as one of the most and cost-effective ways to save and improve the lives of children by yielding lifelong health benefits for infants and their mothers.”
This year’s breastfeeding week, which is being celebrated under the theme, “Let’s Make Breastfeeding at Work, Work” focuses on promoting the practices that can help to sustain and improve progress on breastfeeding.
“Evidence has shown that breast feeding is keyed for a child’s health development as well as the foundation of a country’s development because it is one of the smartest investments benefiting individuals, families and society at large including ending preventable child deaths, improving maternal and child health, boosting educational attainment, and increasing productivity,” the first-ever female Vice President of Liberia and biological mother of one, said.
The Liberian Vice President urged everyone to make breastfeeding at work to work by implementing family-friendly workplace policies that promote exclusive breastfeeding.
She added: “Considering the health and socioeconomic benefits of breast feeding, I call on all Liberians, partners, private sector and civil society organizations to:
Promote supportive breastfeeding environment for all working mothers.
Encourage all breastfeeding mothers to exclusively feed their babies as recommended by the Ministry of health.
Stop or mitigate the challenges faced by breastfeeding mothers, such as social barriers, inadequate support in workplaces, and limited family support to breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding is a right to the baby and the mother.”
She thanked the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF for providing the technical guidance and necessary tools to the Ministry of Health to promote breastfeeding in Liberia.
“I encourage all partners to support the government by investing and implementing the national policies and programs to promote breastfeeding in the country.”
Responding to what she could recommend for being a good mother, she stated, “breastfeeding is an important part of being a mother.” She admonished every mother to go beyond the ordinary to ensure that their babies are breastfed at least up to the six-month period that the babies need.
The Vice President said there are scientific reasons why the experts are asking mothers to breastfeed their babies for such a length of time.
“It is said that it boosts the brain during the development of the child for the first six months. It also provides immunity. The breast milk for the first six months is yellowish and not white because it contains all the nutrients that are needed for the baby,” he further stated.
She further informs that the breast milk also helps to protect the baby from life-threatening illnesses, including pneumonia, and diarrhea.
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“More Development Looms in 2nd Term,” President Weah Courts Citizens
Monrovia, Liberia - Coalition for Democratic Change Standard-Bearer, President Dr. George Manneh Weah, took day-two of campaign tour to Districts #16 and #14 Wednesday, August 9, where he mesmerized throngs of citizens about the unmatched development achievements of his first six-year term including more paved roads, hospitals, free public college education, hospitals, housing units for the poor, stable economy, amongst other things, amid huge challenges.
The President called on Liberians to reject his opponents, the very people who governed for twelve years and left the country bare and in tatters, promising to make sure that much is in store for Liberia and its people in terms of spiraled development and transformation if given a second term.
“Liberians, we can not afford to forego the promising future of Liberia under my second term; you can not afford to go back," the President said.
President Weah said it is highly inconceivable that failed leaders are clamoring for power again after they had plundered their opportunities to make a better country and improve the well-being of the citizens.
The CDC standard-bearer called on citizens of the two districts and Liberians in general not to be deceived by opposition folks, including those who claim public service life for sixty years but have no cherished legacy for the nation to celebrate.
He said: “People of District 16! People of Liberia! I want you to know that I am your real leader; I have proved my worth as your leader, and I want you to stand with me once again so that we can continue to reshape the country.”
In addition to the countless development strides made in the last five years of his incumbency, the Liberian Leader announced that there are more benefits envisaged in his second term.
The CDC standard-bearer also informed Liberians, mainly the young people, not to allow failed leaders who want to come to power to rob them of the better future he has laid before the country.
He called on young people to claim their future by taking advantage of the leverage he has created in the education sector, including the payment of WAEC fees and many others.
President Weah also used the time to re-echo his call for peaceful elections, challenging young people to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner.
He appealed to partisans and supporters not to instigate violence, warning, “desist from banging on vehicles and insulting leaders.”
In District 14, President Weah reminded citizens of the situation they and their community were facing when he came to power, and how much he did including the pavement of the Doe Community Road, refurbishment of the once Clara Town Young Survivors Field, the restoration of electricity and many more.
He pleaded with citizens not to take the country backward by voting the Unity Party to power but to ensure that progress goes into the future with more prosperity.
President Weah classified his opponents who call themselves as “fixers” and “rescuers” as "jokers," urging Liberians to reject them on October 10 because “these politicians are fake and deceptive”.
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COALITION FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE
Weah/Taylor 2023 National Campaign Committee
PLP Compound, Congo Town, Monrovia, Liberia
August 10, 2023
For Immediate Release
The attention of the Weah-Taylor 2023 National Campaign Committee has been drawn to false claims by the Unity Party (UP) which were contained in a press release published on Thursday, August 10, stating that partisans of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) disrupted activities of the Unity Party near the UP's Campaign office in Airfield Sinkor, Monrovia.
The Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Committee wishes to clarify that the CDC's ongoing district engagements of its standard bearer and Vice standard bearer, which were continuing on Thursday in Districts 9 and 10 of Montserrado County had been pre-announced a week ago on various national media platforms. The CDC also communicated its key campaign dates to the National Elections Commission.
Inspite of the prior announcement, the Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Committee, recognizing that the Unity Party was seeking to provoke violence by deliberately ignoring the CDC's prevailing Campaign Schedule snd going ahead to plan their own event on the same day, decided to postpone the prescheduled start of activities in District 9 for more than four hours to avoid any conflicts with UP Partisans who had announced a Press Conference for 10Am on Thursday.
As a result of the irresponsible and violent actions of the Unity Party, partisans of the Coalition for Democratic Change were brutalized by Unity Partisans during the activities today.
The Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Committee hereby calls the attention of the National Elections Commission, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, the office of the ECOWAS representative and other well meaning international partners to this flagrant provocation from the Unity Party and urges their timely intervention to avert future recurrence.
The Weah-Taylor 2023 Campaign Committee reassures its many partisans, well-wishers and ordinary Liberians that it will always remain peaceful and that it is committed to upholding the law and the tenets of the Farmington Declaration.
Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala
National Campaign Spokesman
The Weah-Taylor 2023 National Victory Campaign Committee
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Supporters of the Rescue Mission taking a walk across Monrovia!
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Men Carrying Guns & Machetes Attack, Vandalize ArcelorMittal’s Tokadeh Mine Operations, Leaving Employees Severely Injured
A group of unknown men said to be from Zolowee, a town in the proximity of ArcelorMittal’s concession area, attacked ArcelorMittal’s Tokadeh Mines in Yekepa, Nimba County, early Friday.
The gang was armed with single-barrel guns and pistols and was also seen carrying machetes.
An ArcelorMittal statement issued today confirmed that one employee was shot and wounded during the attack but is said to be in stable condition.
The gang also ransacked and damaged the Crusher Plant Control Room, a vehicle, and a large welding machine.
Our reporter who visited the scene said the attack on AML’s mine in Tokadeh mine has caused panic amongst workers and residents who are demanding the national government to provide security in the area.
The Liberia National Police ERU assigned in Yekepa, with support from the Gbarnga, B**g County, swiftly responded, apprehended 8 suspects, and restored calm to the Mines.
Report says the Tokadeh and Gangra Mines appear to be closed.
Unconfirmed reports say one police ERU was injured and lost the tips of three fingers during exchange of fire with the attackers.
The AML statement strongly condemned the attack and said it has contacted the Ministries of Justice and Mines and Energy for a full investigation into the attack on its operations and the prosecution of those involved.
Said the statement: “ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) can confirm that on 28 July 2023, its Tokadeh Mines were attacked by a group of unknown individuals bearing arms and machetes”.
“AML regrets to report that one of its employees was shot and wounded. Their condition remains stable, and they will continue to be closely monitored by the company’s doctors”.
It added “AML strongly condemns violence of any kind to its staff members and will continue to work to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its employees remain its top priority”.
Sources say that a well-established and organized gang of criminal syndicate, have been involved in regular theft of diesel fuel and spare parts from the AML mines.
The incident began shortly after police executed a search warrant and discovered a warehouse in Zolowee, stocked with fuel and caterpillar spare parts, apparently stolen from AML.
The company recently started adding coloring to its fuel to discourage theft.
A day earlier, several suspects were arrested, but opened fire on police officers in the town of Zolowee, one police officer was said to have sustained injuries.
Eyewitnesses say the criminals then severely beat up SEGAL security officers assigned to the area and damaged their vehicles.
The Ministry of Justice and the LNP have not commented on the incident up to press time.
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GOV’T, SOUTHEASTERN HEALTH WORKERS ASSO. SIGN MOU TO AVERT GO-SLOW
The Liberian Government through the Ministry of Health has struck a deal with the Southeastern Health Workers Association with the understanding that the Southeastern health workers call off weeks of a go-slow action that gravely disrupted the provision of health services to people in the region.
The health workers are aggrieved over salary disparities, and low salaries, and are also demanding inclusion on the government’s payroll of volunteer health workers and improved insurance services by the Saar Insurance Company among other concerns that triggered their go-slow.
Acting Health Minister, Norwu Howard and Civil Service Agency Director General, James Thompson, signed for the Government, while John Neuville, secretary general of the Southeastern Health Workers Association, signed for the aggrieved health workers.
As part of the terms of the MOU, the Ministry of Health has among other things, agreed to address all concerns of the aggrieved health workers, including the issue of salary disparities, review of the Sarr Insurance Policy at the end of the contractual period and ask each county health team to validate and submit the staff replacement list to the central office.
In the MOU signed between the parties on 27th July 2023, the Ministry of Health and the Civil Service Agency, CSA, have agreed not to take reprisal action against any health worker, including the leadership of the Association for their connection to the ongoing go-slow.
The MOU further states that all agreements contained in it shall bind and inure to the benefit of the respective successors, assigns, representatives, employees, transfers, directors, officers, attorneys, parent companies, subsidiaries, divisions, partners and joint ventures of the parties.
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