Craig Bateman

Exclusive: Worcestershire Youth Cabinet

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Posted on 8:08pm Saturday 20th September 2014

When speaking about the next generation, we are told that more young people need to be politically aware. We agree with this. But we also agree that this generation is as engaged as any. By way of example, whereas the recent West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner elections has a turnout rate of 10.3%, and the Worcestershire Youth Cabinet turn out rate was 14%. Although both percentages indicate that much work needs to be invested, and that there is no room for complacency, it brings around a positive message for youth democracy in Worcestershire. The past year has been a really busy one for Worcestershire Youth Cabinet, and we are really pleased to announce that the Youth Cabinet elections will be finally held in the autumn of this year. Worcestershire Youth Cabinet is a democratically elected youth-led organisation with members aged 11 to 18. We aim to provide the young people of Worcestershire with a voice that is listened to by local, regional and national government, providers of services for young people, and any other agency who have a concern in the interests and opinions of young people.  We work cross party and with multiple agencies to advise and assist them with any relevant youth issues. This could be to carry out a consultation on their behalf, advise on accessibility of services and surrounding information, and to share good practice of effective youth involvement. Elected members are in office for a three-year term, and get to spend their time working on their election manifesto pledges as well as any other opportunities that they may wish to get involved with. In the Wyre Forest, we have 5 active members, of which two members serve as the Cabinet's Vice Chair elect and it's Secretary, respectively.  Individual members may also engage with other opportunities on a local, national and even international scale with partners such as the United Kingdom Youth Parliament, the British Youth Council, the ContinU Trust, Positive Activities Commissioning and many other agencies and services. Since my election in March 2013, I have been thoroughly delighted to have seen youth participation develop both in the Wyre Forest and in Worcestershire.  Over the last twelve months elected young people have been working with agencies such as the Local Economic Partnership to develop an online web-portal aimed at giving young people the opportunity to undergo a work experience placement with one of Worcestershire's strategic business such as Worcester Bosch or Malvern Instruments, of which over 100 placements have been secured since it's launch in March 2013. We are also currently working alongside Wyre Forest District Council to create a District Youth Council and Young Peoples' Mayor which would shadow the adult council on issues such as health, planning and environment and young peoples engagement, and be able to deliver their own project working alongside other agencies, whether it be a skate park or a youth cafe. One of the most important parts our work is holding our elections. This ensures that Worcestershire Youth Cabinet is sustainable in the long-term and makes sure that we have an active new intake of young people to take youth voice in the Wyre Forest and Worcestershire forward. Being a member of Worcestershire Youth Cabinet is a really exciting opportunity, and I encourage as many young people who are aged between 11 and 18 to think about standing for election. I can promise you that you will not regret it.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Households Cutting Spending!

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Posted on 11:53am Friday 19th September 2014

New research by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) shows that half of all households are cutting their spending this year........read on....

Kyle Pedley

JANE MCDONALD: THE SINGER OF YOUR SONG - UK TOUR REVIEW (Wolverhampton Grand Theatre)

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Posted on 11:20am Thursday 18th September 2014

To celebrate her latest album release, the first in 6 years, singer-songwriter Jane McDonald is touring the UK and bringing with her a show packed with old classics, fan favourites and plenty of new, original material. I headed to the Wolverhampton Grand to review the show as part of a Jane McDonald double feature...

Kyle Pedley

CATS - THEATRE REVIEW (Birmingham Hippodrome)

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Posted on 12:28am Thursday 11th September 2014

One of the most cherished and enduring musicals of all time, Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Cats' returns to the UK on it's latest tour, arriving in Birmingham for a three week tenure at the City's Hippodrome Theatre. I headed over to Press Night to see if the 'memory' is worth reliving...

Craig Bateman

A Curriculum for Life? Apprenticeships, Internships, and Work Experience

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Posted on 10:07pm Wednesday 10th September 2014

One of the techniques that are increasingly being used to attract young voters are the promises of apprenticeships and youth employment. Indeed, the House of Commons Library latest apprenticeship statistics update has reported that in the 2012/2013 academic year, there were 510,000 apprenticeship starts. This is a clear improvement on the 2009/2010 statistics when just 231,000 apprenticeship starts took place.

Craig Bateman

Exclusive: King Charles at the United Nations

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Posted on 10:01pm Wednesday 10th September 2014

In this exclusive, Craig Bateman reveals what he got up to on his recent Global Young Citizenship Conference to the United Nations Office in Geneva with the ContinU Trust Consortium of Wyre Forest and Hagley Schools

Bruce Sallan

To be or not to be fit- Observations from the 2014 Idea World Fitness and Nutrition Convention

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Posted on 11:00am Wednesday 10th September 2014

I recently attended perhaps the biggest fitness and nutrition convention around – The Idea World Fitness and Nutrition Convention. It’s not my usual bailiwick but it was still interesting and I enjoy meeting new people. As always, expectations can be a tricky thing and some of my expectations were most certainly not met.

Craig Bateman

Update: The Significance of Collaboration

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Posted on 6:42pm Thursday 4th September 2014

Reviewing his recent visit to the United Nations Office in Geneva, in this update, Craig Bateman who is a Member of Worcestershire Youth Cabinet for Wyre Forest highlights just how important collaborative work is in securing a better future for the next generation

Bruce Sallan

Sleepovers

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Posted on 10:00am Thursday 4th September 2014

When I was a kid, I did “sleepovers” at my friend’s houses. By the time I was double-digit age, it was no longer “cool” and it stopped. Today’s kids start sleepovers early and, apparently, they never end. Today, there are sleepovers of groups of high-schoolers, and sleepovers of boy/girl couples IN one of their parents’ homes. HELLO?

Bruce Sallan

The beginning of the end

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Posted on 11:05am Thursday 28th August 2014

No, this isn’t a doomsday column. In fact, it’s a very positive one as we are watching and waiting for that big day. That day every parent wonders when or if it will ever arrive. That day that seems further and further away in this generation. That day, when…the kids leave!

Citizens Advice Bureau

Cost of Telephoning the Government a Disgrace!

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Posted on 1:31pm Thursday 21st August 2014

Wyre Forest Citizens Advice is on the warpath about the high cost of telephoning government departments. Have you been affected?.....read on....

Citizens Advice Bureau

Low Wages A Threat To The Economy and Families!

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Posted on 12:28pm Thursday 21st August 2014

Wyre Forest Citizens Advice is concerned that although the Government has made good progress on the economy life is still a struggle for many families.....read on....

Kyle Pedley

Preview: Wolverhampton welcomes back World-renowned Medium Holbrook for One Night Only

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Posted on 5:33pm Wednesday 20th August 2014

Wolverhampton is set to welcome back one of the UK's most celebrated names in Spiritualism next month as acclaimed medium Stephen Holbrook returns to the Midlands and takes to Wombourne Civic Hall for a ticket only, one night event.

Bruce Sallan

Modern relationships stink

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Posted on 10:18am Thursday 14th August 2014

The other night my wife and I went on a date night to a very nice restaurant. We had a very nice waitress who was attractive, friendly, and declared almost immediately that she wasn’t going to have any children. Huh? I then asked her if she had a boyfriend. She instantly and disdainfully said, “No way.”

Craig Bateman

Update: Youth Engagement in Social Action and International Youth Day

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Posted on 5:43pm Tuesday 12th August 2014

In this update, Craig Bateman who is a Member of Worcestershire Youth Cabinet for Wyre Forest looks at youth engagement in social action and the significance of International Youth Day

Bruce Sallan

No one is more vicious than…

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Posted on 8:00am Tuesday 5th August 2014

Any parent of a teenager(s) knows the rest of this title…Our Kids. If there is karma in the world, I’m getting payback for the jerk I was (I’d use a stronger word if this were not a PG-rated column) to my parents for so many years. And, for all the incredible angst and sleepless nights I likely caused them. They only had me so I’m getting double since I have two boys, now 17 and 20. Payback is a b****.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Unfair Broadband Charges: Wyre Forest Citizens Advice Bureau on Warpath!

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Posted on 10:41am Monday 4th August 2014

People in Wyre Forest are being pressed by debt collectors when they stand up to costly broadband cancellation charges.......read on.....

Craig Bateman

Update: Craig Bateman

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Posted on 9:41pm Saturday 2nd August 2014

In this week's update, Craig Bateman who is a Member of Worcestershire Youth Cabinet reflects on his recent internship placement at Bewdley Development Trust, and looks at the social impact it is having on the local community

Kyle Pedley

MISS SAIGON - THEATRE REVIEW

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Posted on 4:41pm Friday 1st August 2014

Cameron Mackintosh has brought Claude Schönberg's 'Miss Saigon' back to the West End stage with a lavish new revival production that has already broken London Box Office records - but does it deserve to? I headed to London to review the show and find out for myself...

Rosemary Lobley

David Cameron: offensive on so many levels

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Posted on 12:09am Friday 1st August 2014

You know what's a really nifty idea? PR stunts involving other people's homes.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Why Volunteer with a Citizens Advice?

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Posted on 1:44pm Wednesday 30th July 2014

All types of people volunteer for many different reasons. There is a rewarding role for you at Citizens Advice.

Bruce Sallan

There’s no such thing as unconditional love!

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Posted on 1:00pm Tuesday 22nd July 2014

Some religions and some spiritual groups/thinkers like to use the idea of “Unconditional Love” in ways that are bunk. Most EVERY love we have for every other human being is absolutely conditional and should be.

Craig Bateman

Summer Update 2014 (Worcestershire Youth Cabinet)

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Posted on 7:16pm Saturday 19th July 2014

In this entry, Craig Bateman who is a Member of Worcestershire Youth Cabinet for Wyre Forest provides an insight into some of the activities that he has engaged in over the summer term 2014

Bruce Sallan

Men vs. Women: Food, Sex, and the Kitchen

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Posted on 2:00pm Thursday 17th July 2014

It’s often said that the biggest causes of divorce are sex, money, and “the kids.” I would argue that a bigger cause of dissention is food (and the kitchen). In continuing this blog series – and the pre-cursor to a book based on these columns – let’s tackle this divisive issue between men and women!

Kyle Pedley

WICKED - THEATRE REVIEW

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Posted on 5:20pm Friday 11th July 2014

One of the most celebrated and successful musicals of the 21st Century, Wicked flies into the Midlands this week as it begins it's summer tenure at the Birmingham Hippodrome. I headed to the show's fabulous press night to see if the musical is deserving of its acclaim and adoration, and whether it is worth taking a trip down the yellow brick road to Brum this summer...

Kyle Pedley

THEATRE INTERVIEW - Liam Doyle (Wicked)

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Posted on 6:17pm Wednesday 9th July 2014

Wicked opens at the Birmingham Hippodrome TONIGHT, and to celebrate, here is the second part of my interviews with the show's leading cast, this time with leading man Liam Doyle, who plays Fiyero in the show. I chat with Coventry born-and-raised Liam about returning to the Midlands with the show, his unconventional career path so far, and what it means to be playing his dream role at such an early stage in his career...

Citizens Advice Bureau

Scam Alert!

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Posted on 11:56am Monday 7th July 2014

Scams are part of our everyday life and we need to be watchful.....here is a current scam causing great distress to some people.....read on.....

Craig Bateman

Looking at the importance of the NHS in modern politics

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Posted on 3:27pm Friday 4th July 2014

In this article, Craig Bateman explores the narrative that the National Health Action Party and the Independent Community and Health Concern Party adds to the local political make up, and investigates into the importance of the NHS, ahead of it's 66th brithday on 5th July 2014.

Kyle Pedley

THEATRE INTERVIEW - Nikki Davis-Jones (Wicked)

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Posted on 5:59pm Thursday 3rd July 2014

Musical phenomenon 'Wicked' flies into Birmingham next week, beginning it's summer-long tenure at the Hippodrome. Ahead of the show's stay, I caught up with lead Nikki Davis-Jones to discuss the show, her role and career so far, and how Wicked is proving to be the gift that keeps on giving...

Kyle Pedley

SHOW BOAT - THEATRE REVIEW

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Posted on 1:59am Thursday 3rd July 2014

Birmingham continues to get into the 4th July spirit this week as another all-American musical classic rolls into town as Cape Town Opera bring their lavish production of 'Show Boat' to the city for one week only. I headed over to press night to review the production and see if Ol' Man River deserves to keep rollin' along...

Kyle Pedley

ANNIE GET YOUR GUN - THEATRE REVIEW

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Posted on 1:35am Wednesday 2nd July 2014

Jason Donovan once again takes to the stage in a musical capacity as he co-leads this brand new revival production of Irving Berlin's classic Western Musical. I headed over to the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, where the show is running until Saturday, to get first impressions...

Bruce Sallan

When I was your age, it was much easier

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Posted on 4:52pm Tuesday 1st July 2014

How extraordinary that these oh-so-familiar words – “When I was your age” - now have a completely opposite meaning! There was a time when parents often exhorted these words to induce guilt, motivation, and/or reason in their children to excel. Today’s generation of parents is the first perhaps in history that can’t realistically expect – across the entire generation – that their children will do better than they themselves did. That is a powerful statement, but I believe it to be true to the core of my being!

Kyle Pedley

DOLLY PARTON: BLUE SMOKE WORLD TOUR - REVIEW

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Posted on 3:04am Monday 23rd June 2014

The undisputed Queen of Country brought her latest world tour to Birmingham's LG arena with a blend of hits old and new, including some highlights from her latest album 'Blue Smoke'. I headed to the LG to review the show and see if Dolly still had a thing or two to teach the new generation of musical superstars on how it's done...

Kyle Pedley

DAWN FRENCH: THIRTY MILLION MINUTES - UK TOUR REVIEW

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Posted on 1:11am Thursday 19th June 2014

One of the Nation's leading comediennes has embarked on her first ever solo UK tour this month, and I headed to the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham to catch the loveable Dawn French and assess whether or not her debut outing into solo touring territory is a success...

Bruce Sallan

I’m mad as hell, but what can I do about it?

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Posted on 11:25am Wednesday 18th June 2014

I recently returned home after an extended “leave of absence” during which time I skied a bunch, attended a Dad conference in New Orleans, and spent 2 ½ weeks in Boston helping my son with his sophomore year and packing up to continue whatever is next, back in California (he’s not returning to school in Boston).

Kyle Pedley

DESIGN FOR MURDER - THEATRE REVIEW

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Posted on 12:13am Wednesday 18th June 2014

The Wolverhampton Grand's Summer Play Season continues this week with 'psychological drama' DESIGN FOR MURDER. After the mixed reaction to the seasons opener, LADIES IN RETIREMENT, I headed over to the Grand to see if this tale of intrigue, betrayal and murder could add some much needed fire to the season...

Kyle Pedley

THEATRE PREVIEW - ANNIE GET YOUR GUN

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Posted on 3:10pm Tuesday 17th June 2014

Birmingham gets set to welcome back star of TV, Stage and the pop charts, Jason Donovan, as he heads up the cast of a new major revival production of Irving Berlin's classic Western musical 'Annie Get Your Gun'. I preview the show, with some words from Donovan and his leading lady, ahead of it's run at the Alex next month...

Craig Bateman

CREATING SUSTAINABLE FUTURES FOR WORCESTERSHIRE’S NEXT GENERATION

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Posted on 4:20pm Sunday 15th June 2014

On 22nd November 2013, I took part in the Children Commissioner’s Take-Over Day where I had the opportunity of ‘taking over’ the role of Chief of Wyre Forest District Council for the day. Attending various meetings such as the Worcestershire Health and Wellbeing Board, Local Enterprise Partnership, and Chief Executive’s Panel, I found the day invaluable and was able to take some of the big decisions surrounding issues such as health and economic regeneration on behalf of my local community.

Bruce Sallan

How to Speak Chinese with Your iPhone

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Posted on 3:07pm Wednesday 11th June 2014

I’m sitting on a flight from Boston to Los Angeles. My older son and I are returning home together though we’re seated in different parts of the plane. Next to me, asleep, is the random passenger that happens to be my travel partner on this trip.

Citizens Advice Bureau

New Protection for Consumers......Online and Home Shopping!

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Posted on 2:02pm Wednesday 11th June 2014

From Thursday 13th June 2014 Online and Home shoppers will have more protection from unscrupulous traders........read on....

Kyle Pedley

GOOD PEOPLE - Theatre Review (London)

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Posted on 8:38pm Friday 6th June 2014

Part 2 of my West End foray this week comes in the form of David Linsey-Abaire's Boston-set drama 'Good People', starring the superb Imelda Staunton. A show ostensibly about class and social divide, as well as one woman's struggle against increasing hardship, Staunton leads this terrific, sharply written show with completely class and conviction. Read on for my full review of this must-see play before it closes next Saturday!

Kyle Pedley

THIS MAY HURT A BIT - Theatre Review (London)

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Posted on 5:09pm Friday 6th June 2014

Stella Feehily's latest play is a satirical take upon the NHS and the government changes being forced upon it. I headed down to London and was surprised by how accessible and entertaining this important piece of new theatre is, buoyed by a wonderful central performance by National Treasure Stephanie Cole...

Bruce Sallan

My fear and loathing of getting old

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Posted on 9:59am Wednesday 4th June 2014

Getting old is something most of us will face and most of us would choose to face. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fears along the way and I have many that date back to my childhood. In my lifetime, the whole idea of getting old has been somewhat re-defined by my generation – the baby boomers. Now, sixty is the new fifty, and seventy is the new sixty, and so on. Like most things we boomers do, it’s foolish and, in this case, just a form of denial.

Bruce Sallan

The real problem is.....(part two)

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Posted on 11:19am Thursday 29th May 2014

Do you know any young couple planning on having more than one or two children? I ask all young people I meet about their “family” plans and I rarely hear them say they plan on a big family. The social norms in Western Society have changed so radically in just a few decades that having children and building a family have become second thoughts after getting a new BMW.

Kyle Pedley

ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS - THEATRE REVIEW

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Posted on 5:20pm Tuesday 27th May 2014

One of the most critically acclaimed and successful comedies of the past decade, The National Theatre's 'One Man, Two Guvnors' arrives in the Midlands this week, visiting the Birmingham Hippodrome as part of it's biggest ever UK and Ireland tour. I headed to press night to review the show and see if it is worthy of all the praise...

Citizens Advice Bureau

VOLUNTEERS' WEEK.......a time to say thank you!

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Posted on 11:35am Saturday 24th May 2014

Volunteers Week (June 1st-7th) is an annual and national celebration of the great army of volunteers that serve our country in so many different ways......read on to find out how we at Wyre Forest Citizens Advice will be celebrating this event......

Citizens Advice Bureau

VOLUNTEERS' WEEK.......a time to say thank you!

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Posted on 11:34am Saturday 24th May 2014

Volunteers Week (June 1st-7th) is an annual and national celebration of the great army of volunteers that serve our country in so many different ways......read on to find out how we at Wyre Forest Citizens Advice will be celebrating this event......

Kyle Pedley

MILONGA - THEATRE REVIEW

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Posted on 11:44pm Friday 23rd May 2014

This year's International Dance Festival Birmimgham draws to a close this weekend, and is bowing out with acclaimed choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Milonga, a stunning exploration of Argentine Tango and Dance. I headed to press night at the Hippodrome to review this years' festival finale...

Alice McMahon

Find out what Bertie's been up to this week!

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Posted on 10:48am Friday 23rd May 2014

Hi everyone, Bertie here. Me and the fundraising team here at KEMP have had a very busy weekend.

Bruce Sallan

The real problem is.....(part one)

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Posted on 12:49pm Wednesday 21st May 2014

What is the biggest world problem? Some would have you believe it is Climate Change; others might say Iran, China, and/or North Korea, while others will cite Russia or corruption/dissention in our capital. Yes, those are all problems with the exception, in my opinion, of “climate change” which used to be labeled “global warming” but is simply – WEATHER.

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