MIA projects record travel, full parking garages this weekend


With passenger traffic at Miami International Airport up 17 percent over the last 30 days compared to the same period pre-pandemic, the airport is projecting its busiest Memorial Day weekend ever. MIA is currently averaging 150,000 passengers per day, compared to 126,000 per day during its record-setting year in 2019.

Because of this unprecedented growth, MIA is expecting its parking garages to fill to capacity this weekend, beginning on Thursday. Instead of parking at MIA, travelers should plan on being dropped off by friends or family, a ride-share service, taxi, or Miami-Dade Transit’s Orange Line.

MIA is also providing the following travel tips for Memorial Day weekend:

 ·         Arrive at MIA at least three hours before a domestic flight and three and a half hours before an international flight to give yourself enough time for the check-in and security checkpoint process.

·         Passengers are also encouraged to do their airline check-in online before arriving at MIA.

·         To expedite TSA checkpoint screening, wear easily removable shoes, follow the 3-1-1 rule for liquids or gels in your carry-on, and avoid accessories that resemble weapons. More TSA tips are available at the TSA website.  

 ·         Find the fastest TSA checkpoint for your flight online with MIA’s Queue Analyzer, for real-time updates on checkpoint wait times. 

 ·         Avoid waiting in line to order food and drinks with MIA2GO, MIA’s mobile ordering service that lets you quickly browse menus, order, and pay before making your contactless pick-up at restaurants throughout the airport.

·         On-site COVID-19 testing (Antigen, PCR, and Rapid PCR) is available at two convenient MIA locations. Costs vary depending on the type of test.

·         MIA’s cell phone waiting lot, which features 60 parking spaces for non-commercial users picking up travelers, is located just off LeJeune Road and N.W. 31st Street, accessible from LeJeune Road heading north or south.

·         If traveling internationally, eligible travelers can use the free, secure Mobile Passport Control app to submit their passport and customs declaration information on their smartphone or tablet and avoid completing a paper form or using an automated passport control kiosk. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there have been 1,375 unruly passenger incidents nationwide this year as of May 17. Travelers should be reminded of the following:

  • Unruly passengers face civil penalties up to $37,000, being banned from flying, and potential federal prosecution.
  • FAA regulations direct airlines to not allow anyone to board their aircraft if that person appears to be intoxicated.
  • FAA regulations also prohibit drinking alcohol aboard a plane that is not served by the airline.
  • Miami-Dade Police will arrest and remove intoxicated individuals from MIA.
  • At the first sign of any unruly behavior, call Miami-Dade Police at 9-1-1.





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Travel Industry Expected to Make Full Recovery by 2025


The global travel industry is expected to make a full recovery by 2025, according to new research from Global Data.

The study found that international departures will reach 68 percent of their pre-COVID-19 levels globally in 2022 and are expected to improve to 82 percent in 2023 and 97 percent in 2024. By 2025, travel is expected to reach 101 percent of 2019 levels with international departures projected to reach 1.5 billion.

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The outlook for North America follows these trends.

“International travel from North America had shown improvement in 2021 as international departures grew by 15 percent year-on-year. The U.S. rose to become the world’s largest outbound travel market in 2021,” said Hannah Free, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData. “In 2022, outbound departures from North America are projected to reach 69 percent of 2019 levels, before making a full recovery by 2024, at 102 percent of 2019 levels, ahead of other regions.”

Europe’s recovery matches that of North America.

“International departures from European countries are expected to reach 69 percent of 2019 figures in 2022,” said Free. “As travel confidence rebuilds, the intra-European market is expected to benefit, driven by preferences for short-haul travel.”


Busy airport terminal.
Busy airport terminal. (photo via iStock/Getty Images E+/Terraxplorer)

A travel industry recovery is not a guarantee, noted Free.

“Travel recovery must contend with inflation, rising costs of living, and the war in Ukraine,” she said. “By 2025, international departures are projected to be 98 percent of 2019 levels. Geographically, the war has not spread beyond Ukrainian borders. However, Russia was the world’s fifth largest outbound travel market in 2019, while Ukraine was the 12th. Going forward, limited outbound travel from these countries will hinder Europe’s overall tourism recovery.”

It is projected that the Asia-Pacific region will lag behind Europe and North America. It’s expected that outbound departures from the region will only reach 67 percent of 2019 levels in 2022 due to slower removal of travel restrictions in the region, especially in China, which was the region’s largest outbound travel market.

“While global international travel is set to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2025, tourism demand may look quite different,” said Free. “From two years of very limited travel, several long-term shifts and short-term trends have emerged. Consumers are now more likely to pursue authentic experiences, demand personalized travel offerings, blend business and leisure travel, and be more conscious of their overall environmental impact. There is still a long way to go to reach a normal situation. However, a potential full recovery by 2025 at the latest gives good reason for the travel and tourism industry to be optimistic for the future.”





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When will Crossrail open? Elizabeth Line route map in full | Travel News | Travel


will finally open this month after two decades since the railway plan was developed. The long-awaited rail expansion will provide a much-needed boost to the capital’s travel infrastructure, cutting some journey times considerably and opening a number of new stations.

Crossrail has been under development since 2002 and originally due to open in 2018.

But the rail link has been mired by setbacks and no shortage of controversies throughout its development, having cost £18.9 billion to date – £4.1 billion over the budget set in 2010.

Still, the scheme is the biggest boost to transport for London in decades, creating ten new stations and 26 miles of new tunnels.

Opening just ahead of the Platinum Jubilee weekend, the Queen is expected to attending the grand opening in the coming weeks.

READ MORE: London Crossrail opening date confirmed after delays

“We are using these final few weeks to continue to build up reliability on the railway and get the Elizabeth line ready to welcome customers.

“The opening day is set to be a truly historic moment for the capital and the UK, and we look forward to showcasing a simply stunning addition to our network.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “This is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades, and will revolutionise travel across the capital and the South East – as well as delivering a £42 billion boost to the whole UK economy and hundreds of thousands of new homes and jobs.

“Green public transport is the future, and the opening of the Elizabeth line is a landmark moment for our capital and our whole country, particularly in this special Platinum Jubilee year.”





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Hilton: Corp. Travel Revenue on Track for Full Recovery by Year-End


Hilton Worldwide on Tuesday cited substantial contributions from business travel and groups to its first-quarter performance as the segment showed signs of returning to form, after an overall “choppy start” to the year. The company reported net income of $211 million for the first quarter, compared to the $109 million net loss one year earlier. 

Hilton’s March business transient revenue per available room was 9 percent below March 2019, executives reported during the hotel company’s earnings call Tuesday. “Improving trends from large accounts, along with continued strength from [small and midsize enterprises], boosted results in March,” president and CEO Christopher Nassetta said. He cited March revenues from large accounts at just 12 percent below 2019. 

Currently, Nassetta pegged business travel at 45 percent of Hilton’s overall business mix, compared to 55 percent prior to the pandemic. He projected the gap would close by the end of 2022, citing rising corporate profits, rebounding demand from big businesses and loosening travel restrictions. 

Group RevPAR by the end of March had reached more than 75 percent of 2019 comparables, according to Nassetta, led by smaller events and social gatherings. “Additionally, group revenue booked in the first quarter for all future periods was down just 4 percent relative to 2019 levels, and total lead volume for all future periods was up 3.5 percent,” he said. Demand for larger corporate meetings and conventions was “accelerat[ing] into the back half of the year.” The company projected group RevPAR would recover to 90 percent of 2019 comparables by the close of 2022.

Business and meeting travel can expect higher rates at Hilton compared to 2019. Nassetta cited meeting rates in particular with “tentative booking revenue … up significantly with rate gains for company meetings up more than 13 percent” and “rates on new group bookings for in-year arrivals … up in the high single digits versus 2019.”

Q1 Highlights

Hilton’s first-quarter global occupancy was 58.1 percent, a 14.6 percentage-point year-over-year increase. Worldwide average daily rate was $139.17 for the quarter, a 35.2 percent increase. Systemwide RevPAR reached $80.84, up slightly more than 80 percent. In terms of regions, the Middle East led with the strongest numbers for every metric, followed by the United States. Systemwide comparable RevPAR for the first quarter was down 17 percent on a currency-neutral basis, compared to the first quarter of 2019.

Hilton added 13,200 rooms to its system in the first quarter, contributing to a net increase of 7,800 rooms during the period. The company also approved 22,200 new rooms for development, bringing Hilton’s development pipeline to more than 410,000 rooms, which is an increase from the first quarter of 2021 and accelerating from the fourth quarter of 2021. 



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The Real Impediment to Travel’s Full Recovery


Travel industry leaders are calling on the government to eliminate the need for U.S. citizens traveling abroad to test upon their return.

The unceremonious lifting of the mask mandate on April 19, 2022, renewed calls for another rule that has proven prohibitive to the travel industry recovery in the U.S.–the requirement for COVID-19 testing before coming entering the country.

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American Society of Travel Advisors president and CEO Zane Kerby issued a statement in support of lifting the requirement.

“The current back and forth on the mask mandate pertaining to various forms of transportation misses the mark and overshadows very real policies deterring international travel,” said Kerby. “Requiring Americans to test negative prior to returning home from abroad is the public policy that needs immediate reversal. Millions of Americans travel by air every day. Those traveling internationally risk quarantining abroad and navigating multiple foreign countries’ bureaucratic and ever-changing pandemic rules. As a result, Americans are delaying or simply canceling international trips, ensuring once again that travel will be the last industry to recover from the pandemic.”

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ASTA is in favor of completely eliminating the requirement but would also advocate for at least removing the policy of those who are vaccinated.

“We support lifting the inbound testing requirement for all travelers, regardless of their vaccination status and that remains ASTA’s ultimate policy objective. However, given the bipartisan support in Congress that already exists for it, exempting vaccinated travelers from the requirement represents a logical, and achievable, first step,” said Kerby.

He also noted that the policy does not seem to have much basis in reality.

“The current policy also creates the false impression that travel outside of the U.S. invariably poses a greater COVID risk than travel within the U.S.,” said Kerby in the statement. “How else would the typical traveler understand why a flight from London to New York requires testing while a flight from New York to Los Angeles does not? To the contrary, a number of countries have vaccination rates higher than the U.S. This fact alone makes it evident that the current testing regime is not defensible on any apparent rational or scientific basis. A multitude of these forward-thinking foreign governments have already removed their inbound testing requirement, and the U.S. should do the same.”

Kerby called on the government to drop the requirement for U.S. citizens.

“Exempting the more than 218 million Americans who are fully vaccinated from the order would reflect the scientific consensus that widespread vaccination is the single most essential element of the fight against COVID-19, while allowing the travel industry’s recovery to begin in earnest,” he said.

A recent survey from Global Rescue suggests that Americans would be on board with this policy shift.

One-third of travelers (32 percent) believe the U.S. government should abolish its current policy requiring inbound international travelers to supply a negative COVID-19 test in order to return to the U.S. from abroad, at least for the fully vaccinated. An almost identical amount (34 percent) of respondents said that it should eliminate the requirement for U.S. citizens, but not for non-citizens.





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Testing Kevin Costner’s HearHere app on a road trip full of history


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Kevin Costner says the best way to see America is on the back of a horse. But what if you’re not an Academy Award-winning actor and filmmaker who regularly saddles up to shoot westerns?

“You see it by car,” the “Yellowstone” star said in an interview with The Washington Post.

Despite his preference to travel like a cowboy, Costner reveres the humble road trip. That sentiment led him to partner with HearHere, an audio app designed to entertain drivers and their passengers with stories about the U.S. landscapes around them. Whether you’re driving down a freeway or backcountry road, the app promises to illuminate the trip with short bursts of information about the local history, culture, nature and mythology.

6 alternatives to America’s most popular national parks

HearHere uses geolocation technology to queue up 8,800 stories narrated by voice actors, including celebrities such as Costner, former Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, actor John Lithgow and Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell. The stories automatically start playing when travelers pass featured locations. If the app is closed, it sends you a notification when you have activated a story.

Throughout his life, Costner said, he has been compelled to pull over at landmarks to read about a place, no matter how interested his traveling companions were in an impromptu history lesson.

“There’s something terribly satisfying in the learning process when it’s not really shoved down your throat and to understand where you’re walking or you’re driving through,” Costner said. “Our intention is to go deeper and deeper into those stories.”

I told Costner about the short road trip I was taking with my dad near Sierra National Forest, a place not too far from the parts of California where the actor and I both grew up. He immediately regaled me with stories full of geological and cultural facts about the region full of geological and cultural facts.

I decided to try the app myself to see how storytelling could inform my own road trips. Here’s what I learned from the test drive.

How to ski like a local in a mountain resort town

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You can listen to five stories with a free account, but the stories aren’t very long — usually just a couple of minutes. You could easily run through those freebies before your road trip has really started.

In California, I downloaded the app for my iPhone and paid $35.99 for a one-year membership. There are weekly subscriptions, too, for $29.99. If paying for a “road trip app” seems like too much of a niche purchase, note that you don’t have to be in a car to use it. You can fire it up on trains or buses, open it up at home to learn more about your neighborhood or listen to stories while you’re visiting a new place on foot.

Listen to your dad: Get up early on vacation

My dad and I hopped into the van to drive into the mountains, and the first story we listened to was about my hometown, Fresno. Apparently the city’s name is the Spanish word for ash tree because the county is full of them. Somehow, in 18 years of living there and 13 years of visits, I had never learned that. About nine short stories later, I felt much more in touch with my home state.

To get the best use of the app, download stories offline before you start driving, or at least while you have cell service. I didn’t, and I regretted it once my dad and I began twisting up mountain roads. Not only did I get carsick, we couldn’t listen to many stories for the rest of the trip.

The app is part entertainment, part icebreaker

Beyond providing educational entertainment, Costner sees the app as a conversation starter for families.

“I’m having a hard time with my own kids getting their nose out of their computers and I don’t think I’m the only one,” said Costner, a father of seven. “I know it’s biblical that your kids don’t listen to you, but I find that they’ll listen to this a little bit.”

“Sometimes when you hear a story together, it kind of bonds you,” he added.

On my trip, the app did inspire conversations beyond the usual small talk catching up on family news. After listening to a story about Fresno’s Forestiere Underground Gardens — a national treasure built by a Sicilian immigrant in the 1900s — we reminisced over our own family visit to the site when I was a kid, as well as the loose connection that my parents now love traveling to Sicily.

The app doesn’t shy away from America’s ugly history

Before he agreed to get involved, Costner had one stipulation: HearHere had to tell stories about Native Americans, “because there is no HearHere without who was here first,” he says. The app needed to offer a robust account of American history, including the negative parts.

“It’s horrible in so many ways, but I’m not embarrassed to learn about it,” Costner said. “It allows for more empathy to understand how people were shoved out of here. … The depth of displacing people is not something we will ever overcome but if we choose to forget it then we’re really in a lot of trouble.”

One story got me and my father talking about the incarceration of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. My dad told me that he worked in a building that was once part of a detention camp for Japanese Americans in the 1940s. During my dad’s career, a Japanese firm purchased the company. I never would have learned this without HearHere sparking the conversation.

I survived a Japanese American internment camp. We cannot forget that history.

Listening will make you want to plan a road trip

My main takeaway from testing the app was that I’m not taking enough road trips.

Instead of seeing long drives as a painful form of transportation, I should be seeing them as a way to slow down, learn more and connect with my travel partners. Plus, Kevin Costner loves them, and apparently I am easily influenced by Kevin Costner.

“We’re used to taking everything for granted. Everything is at our fingertips now; there’s not anywhere you can’t go,” Costner said. “But to go across the country, you have to make an effort. Make the effort. Get a part of doing something that isn’t easy, and you’ll never forget it.”

Once he started dispensing advice, Costner got on a roll: “Get in the car. Take your kids. Take your friends. Stop. Find a campground. Find a museum and ask how the name of the town came to be. … Just try it. You’ll never — almost never — regret it.”



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Ethiopian Airlines to Add D.C. Service, Nears Full U.S. Capacity Recovery


Ethiopian Airlines on June 1 will add three weekly direct flights between Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport and Lomé, Togo, the carrier announced. The flights will begin and end in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The new route will supplement the carrier’s current Washington D.C. connection to Addis Ababa via Dublin.

“With the three flights starting in June, that will increase our weekly frequency from seven to 10 flights out of Dulles—seven direct to Addis, which will serve East and Central African cities, and the rest to Lomé” to serve West Africa, Ethiopian Airlines regional director for the U.S. Samson Arega told BTN. “We are excited about this new development.”

The carrier chose Lomé—which is the connection point for flights between both Newark and New York-JFK and Addis Ababa—because it is a key connector for West African cities via the regional carrier Asky Airlines. Ethiopian Airlines has about an 89 percent stake in the company, Arega said. In fact, Ethiopian Airlines’ new CEO, Mesfin Tasew Bekele, appointed effective March 23, was COO of Ethiopian from 2010 to 2021, after which he became CEO of Asky. 

“They have a dense make-up in covering the prime West African cities,” Arega said of Asky, noting that the added capacity will bring more flights to big hubs in West Africa, like Accra in Ghana, Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire and Lagos, Nigeria. The carrier in 2020 tried the route between Washington, D.C. and Abidjan, he added, but it was “not sustainable because of some connecting issues.”

The additional flights will restore Ethiopian Airlines’ U.S. capacity nearly to pre-pandemic levels, in terms of the number of weekly flights it will offer between the United States and Africa. The carrier also has restored service through Chicago, Newark and New York-JFK, added Arega, who assumed his position in January. The missing city is Houston, service to which was suspended in May 2020 because of the Covid-19 outbreak. “We still plan to resume it, but we don’t have a timeline for when it will be in the system,” Arega said.

In his new role, Arega said one of his key priorities will be to increase the carrier’s corporate clients, claiming that Ethiopian offers the shortest route compared to other airlines to Africa from North America and that the carrier flies to 60 cities in Africa. 

“We believe we haven’t fully tapped that market,” he said. “We were predominantly focused on ethnic travel. And now, as an aviation powerhouse in Africa, we are more focused on securing big corporate clients. … We will reach out aggressively to major companies in the United States with an interest in Africa to fulfill their air travel needs.”



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Mavs’ full playoff schedule vs. Jazz doesn’t do Luka Doncic many favors with calf injury recovery


The full schedule for the Mavericks’ first-round playoff series against the Jazz is out.

And it doesn’t do Luka Doncic many favors while rehabbing the left calf strain that’s a threat to keep him from playing from the start.

Here’s the slate, which the NBA announced in the early hours Wednesday morning:

  • Game 1 in Dallas at noon Saturday, April 16, on ESPN
  • Game 2 in Dallas at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 18, on NBATV
  • Game 3 in Utah at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 21, on NBATV
  • Game 4 in Utah at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23, on TNT

And as necessary:

  • Game 5 in Dallas, Time and TV TBD, Monday, April 25
  • Game 6 in Utah, Time and TV TBD, Thursday, April 28
  • Game 7 in Dallas, Time TBD, Saturday, April 30, on TNT

After practice Wednesday, the Mavericks didn’t have any more clarity on Doncic’s rehab progress.

“Same as yesterday,” Kidd said, still a left calf strain that’s receiving 24-7 treatment.

His status for Game 1 remains in question, but if Doncic is healthy enough to play early in the series, he won’t have much time to recover and receive treatment between outings.

Game 2 could’ve come as late as Tuesday night in Dallas, which would’ve provided the medical staff an additional three days after Game 1′s early tip to treat Doncic.

That would’ve also marked nine days out from when the 23-year-old superstar suffered the strain in the regular-season finale. The Mavericks haven’t revealed the grade of Doncic’s strain, but injury experts interviewed by The Dallas Morning News said minor, Grade 1 strains typically heal in seven to 10 days.

The experts also said the time commitment and inconvenience of travel can hinder a plan for round-the-clock treatment. The NBA built in a typical travel day between Games 2 and 3, but not between Games 4 and 5, when the series will move back to Dallas if neither team sweeps.

Most series across the league will complete the first round games in a Saturday-to-Saturday or Sunday-to-Sunday week cycle, depending on the Game 1 tip.

But not all.

The Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics, for example, will likely tip off their Game 3 on April 23 (TBD time) after the Mavericks and the Jazz have started — or completed — their Game 4 that afternoon.

If Doncic or the Mavericks were miffed with the timing, they didn’t show it Wednesday.

During the portion of practice open to the media, all players except Doncic and forward Maxi Kleber (right ankle soreness) split into four groups and competed in a series of 3-point shooting drills.

Plenty of hollering and playful trash-talking ensued.

As they moved on to individual shooting work, Doncic emerged from the locker room area and got on a stationary exercise bike. He pedaled with a blue wrap around his left calf while director of athletic performance Jeremy Holsopple and manual therapist Casey Spangler looked on.

“He’s staying positive,” Dorian Finney-Smith said of Doncic. “He’s definitely involved still, so [he’s] helping us, you know, with schemes and offense, what he sees. He’s still walking around with that smile on his face, so you’d never really know what’s going on.”



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Spain holidays: Marbella is Europe’s most exclusive destination – full list | Travel News | Travel


Despite the cost of living crisis, some Britons are eager to get away on a luxury holiday. Marbella in Spain has been named Europe’s most exclusive holiday destination but where else can Britons go for luxury?

Europe’s most exclusive destinations (European Best Destinations)

  1. Marbella, Spain
  2. Positano, Italy
  3. Madeira, Portugal
  4. Capri, Italy
  5. Gstaad, Switzerland
  6. St Barts, France
  7. Megeve, France
  8. Monte Carlo, Monaco
  9. Montreux, Switzerland
  10. Sveti Stefan, Montenegro

The rankings from European Best Destination rated holiday spots on their standards for luxury.

READ MORE: ‘Disaster’ Costa del Sol panics about storm damaged beaches

It’s no surprise to see Marbella take the top spot for exclusivity in Europe. Popular with superyacht owners, the Costa del Sol resort has a reputation for luxury.

Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie travelled to the exclusive Spanish spot for a luxury break in 2021.

The pair stayed in a holiday villa worth over £25,000 per week with two swimming pools and a tennis court.

Marbella is located around half an hour’s drive from Malaga airport and temperatures often reach well over 30 degrees in summer.

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Portugal’s stunning Madeira rounded off the top three most exclusive destinations in Europe.

The beautiful island is known for its namesake wine and fantastic weather. Hiking fans will enjoy exploring its expansive forest.

Despite its exclusive status, Britons will be able to find deals on Madeira and cheap flights to the capital Funchal are available from the UK’s major airports.

Capri in Italy’s Bay of Naples was the second most exclusive spot in Italy. A celebrity favourite, the island will stretch most holiday budgets.

Gstaad in Switzerland is one of Europe’s most exclusive ski resorts with a price tag to match.

Popular with royalty and celebrities, British tourists will find a better bargain at a French or Austrian resort.

Monte Carlo also made the top 10 of Europe’s most exclusive destinations. Its residents are well known for their extravagant lifestyle.

St Barts, Megeve, Montreux and Sveti Stefan rounded off the top 10 of Europe’s most exclusive destinations.





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