Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras gestures before his speech during a parliament session in Athens yesterday. Photograph: Reuters

EU Commission says constructive talks still under way in bid to break deadlock

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström: has inherited one of the trickiest portfolios in Jean-Claude Juncker’s commission. PHOTOGRAPH: THIERRY CHARLIER/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Cecilia Malmström has her work cut out trying to conclude the controversial TTIP deal

Demonstrators from Friends of the Earth Europe protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Pact in Brussels. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is in difficulties two years after discussions began

Candles at the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium high school in Haltern am See on Wednesday. Students and teachers at a small-town German high school broke out in ears when they realised that 16 class-mates and two teachers were on board an ill-fated Germanwings aircraft. Photograph: Reuters

Aircraft appears to have been intact on impact with mountains after steep decent

The loss of 72 German nationals, including 16 schoolchildren, on Germanwings flight 4U 9525 was one of the largest losses of life in a single incident in recent German history. Photograph: Getty Images

Europe letter: As Angela Merkel grappled with with Greece, attention turned to the Alps air disaster

Ulrich Wessel, principal of the Joseph-Koenig Gymnasium in Haltern, Germany, emerges from the school as mourners arrive to lay flowers and candles at a makeshift memorial to 16 students and two teachers from the school who were on a Germanwings flight that crashed in southern France. Photograph: Getty Images

Air crash deaths of 16 students shakes tranquil town to its core

Ulrich Wessel (centre), principal of the Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium high school, and city mayor Bodo Klimpel speak at a press conference the day after 16 students and two teachers from Joseph-Koenig-Gymnasium high school were among passengers on Germanwings flight 4U9525 that crashed on Tuesday in southern France. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Schools minister describes seeing faces of ‘enormous grief’ at Joseph-Koenig school

 Students leave candles in front of the Joseph-Koenig college in Haltern am See, Germany. Photograph: Rolf Vennenbernd/EPA

School which lost 16 students has become a focal point for a country’s collective grief

ECB president Mario Draghi arrives at a meeting of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, where he said the financial situation of Greece under the last government “was not the fault of the troika, not the fault of the ECB”. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Bank is exposed to equivalent of 65% of Greek GDP, says ECB president

Taoiseach Enda Kenny talks of tax cuts on the back of successful negotiations with the commission. Photograph: Thierry Charlier/AFP/Getty Images

Taoiseach raises prospect of tax cuts in October after negotiations with Europe

Angela Merkel: made a specific reference to Ireland

Analysis: Irish approach allows ownership of bailout reforms, says German chancellor

Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras addressing a news conference during the EU summit in Brussels yesterday. Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Taoiseach pushes for further flexibility on fiscal rules at EU summit in Brussels

The EU’s high representative for foreign affairs Federica Mogherini speaking to  journalists as she arrives for the summit in Brussels yesterday. Photograph: AFP Photo/Thierry Charlier

EU leaders stop far short of endorsing civilian or military mission to Libya

Taoiseach  Enda Kenny arrives for the second day of the European Summit of Heads of States and governments at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Stephanie LeCocq/EPA.

Enda Kenny says fiscal rules should reflect ‘growing economic strength of the country’

(From left to right)  European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras, president of the European Council, Polish, Donald Tusk, secretary general of the  EU council Uwe Corsepius, ECB president Mario Draghi, French president Francois Hollande, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch finance minister and president of Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem sit at the start of a special roundtable meeting on the Greek financial crisis, on the sideline of an EU summit in Brussels,  on Thursday. Photograph: EPA

Analysis: constructive summit tone fails to mask growing frustration of European leaders

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras aid on Friday he was more optimistic after three hours of talks with leaders of Germany, France and European Union institutions on how Greece can secure further financing in exchange for reforms.  Photograph:  John Thysjohn/AFP/Getty Images

German chancellor says Greece must meet commitments before accessing EU money

Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Brussels yesterday: ‘If the [European] Commission comes forward with a new set of proposals we will engage with that constructively.’ Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP Photo

State prepared to engage constructively with European Commission, says Taoiseach

Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, in Brussels yesterday after meeting European Council president Donald Tusk, who led calls for EU member states to commit to extending sanctions against Russia. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Merkel says Russian sanctions to be lifted only if Minsk deal implemented

Taoiseach Enda Kenny arrives for a meeting of the European People’s Party (EPP) in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: EPA

Taoiseach warns ‘time is running out’ for Greece, who must face ‘political responsibilities’

In  opinion published on Thursday  Luxembourg Court states workers are entitled to a minimum rest periods, and Ireland’s decision to exclude training time from the calculation of doctors’ working time “encroaches on that minimum rest period”.

Court of Justice says Ireland failed to meet obligations under Working Time Directive

Greece prime minister Alexis Tsipras who will hold a meeting on the margins of the summit  with German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Francois Hollande, and the heads of the European Commission, European Council and European Central Bank. Photograph: EPA

Juncker is concerned at slow pace of progress on Greek crisis: ‘I’m still worried.’

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has tax avoidance as a policy priority. Photograph: Bloomberg.

Corporation tax battle set to flare after European Commission targets avoidance

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: Has vowed to put corporate tax avoidance at the heart of his five-year tenure.  Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Devil in the detail when it comes to persuading states to share data on tax rulings

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis during a parliamentary session in Athens on Wednesday  during which prime minister Alexis Tsipras criticised EU lenders. Photograph: Yannis Kolesidis/EPA

Before two-day Brussels summit Alexis Tsipras demands lenders ‘stop unilateral actions’

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras speaking during a parliamentary session in Athens yesterday. Photograph: EPA/Yannis Kolesidis

Despite reprieve Athens must find new measures to satisfy creditors

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the European summit of heads of states and governments  in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Enda Kenny says ‘time is running out’ as bank outflows accelerate in Greece

Under the proposal announced on Wednesday, national tax authorities will be required to furnish a detailed description of the tax rulings, including the criteria used to determine advanced pricing arrangement. Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Countries would be obliged to share details of tax rulings

In the spirit of St Patrick’s Day: Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. Photograph: Gareth Easton/PA

From Brussels to Melbourne, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in style across the globe

True colours: A man  cheers on parade participants as they make their way up Fifth Avenue during New York City’s St Patrick’s Day parade. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Festivities around the globe from New York and Sydney to Brussels and Hong Kong

Minister of State Dara Murphy has strongly defended Ireland’s record on data protection, pointing out that the IDPC has undertaken a number of “tough audits” of Facebook. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

‘One-stop shop’ to allow EU citizens file privacy complaints in country of residence

Speaking alongside Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras in Brussels, European President Jean-Claude Juncker saod: “This is not a time for division. This is the time for coming together.” Photograph: AFP/Getty

Varoufakis hints government might consider suspending campaign promises

Minister for Data Protection Dara Murphy has defended the State’s record on data protection ahead of an EU meeting on new regulation.  File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Minister for Data Protection speaks ahead of Brussels meeting on new EU legislation

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has always been in favour of  more integration of defence resources in the EU. Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

The idea of a European common defence is likely to gain short shrift

Dutch dairy farmer Nils den Besten at his farm in Brandwijk

A big milk producer, and one of Ireland’s biggest rivals, the Netherlands is looking to increase its output by 20%

Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s finance minister (centre) at  a news conference following a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels, Belgium on Monday.  Greece will resume talks with its creditors this week. Photograph: Bloomberg

Minister for Finance wants scope for expansionary budget as EU finance ministers grant France, Italy and Belgium more time to meet(...)

Minister for Finance  Michael Noonan (left) and EU Commissioner in charge of Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Union, Pierre Moscovici  at the start of the Eurogroup meeting of Finance ministers at the EU council headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Minister raises issue with Commission, citing the flexibility granted to France

Eurogroup president and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem speaks to journalists as he arrives for a Eurogroup finance ministers meeting at the European Council in Brussels. Photograph: Getty

Frustration over pace of negotiations between Athens and international lenders

Michael Noonan: Expected to intervene on the contentious issue of EU budget rules during the discussion. Photograph: The Irish Times

Frustration mounting about perceived leniency towards France over deficit

Eurogroup President and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem (R) speaks with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi during a meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers at EU headquarters in Brussels. European finance ministers urged Greece to stop wasting time in talks on its crucial bailout as debt-stricken Athens warned of a possible referendum if its reform plans are rejected.  (Photograph: AFP/Getty Images)

Tsipras urged to “stop wasting time” ahead of meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Brussels

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan at the start of the Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers at the EU council headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

'I think what the figures show is the banks using the courts to get people to engage with them'

Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has ratcheted up the pressure on Greece’s lenders to accept Athens’s latest reform proposals. Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters

Athens signals referendum intention if international lenders reject reform plan

Yanis Varoufakis: Proposed new measures to unlock remaining bailout funds. Photograph: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg

Yanis Varoufakis submits plan to euro group with measures including online gambling

Data mining: It’s hard to think of anything you can do these days – online or off – that doesn’t leave a trail of data crumbs

European institutions are in the process of replacing existing data rules from 1995 to ensure citizens are better protected

Across Europe citizens and governments are less enraptured with tech giants such as Google and Facebook. Photograph: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Revelations about phone-tapping and surveillance caused waves between EU and US

European Parliament president Martin Schulz has denounced the “repeated and arbitrary” denial of admission into Russia of Latvian MEP Sandra Kalniete. Photograph: Emanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

A single energy market for Europe is still decades away

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini arrives to attend a conference on Ebola on Tuesday in  Brussels. Leaders of Ebola-hit countries in west Africa attend an international conference in Brussels  to mobilise a final push to end the outbreak and ensure the delivery of nearly $5 billion in aid pledges. Photograph: AFP

Presidents of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea attending conference on Ebola

The European Commission has warned that Ireland must take “decisive policy action” to address macroeconomic imbalances in the economy. File photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Ireland must take ‘decisive policy action’ to address imbalances

Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras: one of his major challenges will be maintaining political cohesion within his government over the next few months. Photograph: Kostas Tsipras/Bloomberg

PM Alexis Tsipras must keep party and public on side over next four months

European Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis: confirmed Italy and Belgium would not be placed into ‘excessive deficit procedure’. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

More effort needed to bring deficit down, European Commission warns France

Athens’s proposals deemed ‘valid starting point’ for vote on loan extension

Inquiry chairman Ciarán Lynch welcomed the ECB’s offer of assistance but said it still wants to hear directly from Jean-Claude Trichet. Photograph: The Irish Times

Move follows intervention by Taoiseach over bank’s refusal to participate in investigation

The unknown soldier monument in Athens. Whether Syriza’s radically different approach of taking a more vocal stance against the troika will deliver more or less benefits for Greece than was achieved in Ireland remains to be seen in the coming months.

In essence, the country is being asked by its lenders to do what Ireland quietly did

List of reform measures Greece sent “is sufficiently comprehensive”

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said Europe and Greece had “turned a page” with the agreement. Photograph: Yves Herman

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said Europe and Greece had “turned a page” with the agreement

People line up to receive olives and bread distributed for free on Pnyx Hill, opposite the Acropolis in Athens yesterday. Photograph: EPA/Yannis Kolesidis

Greece to submit proposals on Tuesday as officials report progress in informal talks

Greek presidential guards in Athens. At issue again is the cohesion of the euro zone, and whether Germany, and a majority of the 19-member Eurogroup, are willing to countenance a Greek exit. Photograph: Reuters

Letter from Germany’s ‘five wise men’ says euro zone would be stronger without Greece

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis: the agreement averts a potential cash crunch in March that could have forced the country out of the currency area. Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters

Euro zone finance ministers back four-month extension of bailout

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has dismissed allegations by Fianna Fáil that Taoiseach Enda Kenny was economical with the truth when he claimed the Irish state had benefitted from €50 billion in savings from various debt agreements.

FF’s Michael McGrath says alleged €50bn savings largely due to longer loan maturities

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (R) shakes hand with his Spanish counterpart  Luis De Guindos   during an extraordinary euro zone finance ministers meeting (Eurogroup) to discuss Athens’  bailout. Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters.

Athens must submit letter listing planned policy measures to Brussels for approval by Monday

A European Union  flag alongside a Greek national flag beneath Acropolis Hill in Athens, Greece. The troubled state’s bailout is due to expire at the end of next week.  Photographer: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg

Mounting uncertainty after Berlin rejects Athens’s request for loan extension

The Greek parliament’s president, Zoi Kostantopoulou, informs Prokopis Pavlopoulos that he has been elected president. Photograph: Pantelis Saitas/AFP/Getty Images

Athens expected to seek extension today of ‘loan agreement’ with international lenders

Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and prime minister Alexis Tsipras:  the expectation they will request a loan extension on the basis of the so-called Moscovici plan means the eurogroup,  not the European Commission, will be blamed if the plan is rejected. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Crisis between Greece and the EU has brought out worst in both sides

 Greek prime minister   Alexis Tsipras: “We are working hard for an honest and mutually beneficial deal, a deal without austerity, without the bailout which has destroyed Greece in recent years.”  Photograph: Simela Pantzartzi/EPA

Request for fourth loan extension likely as breakthrough follows day of acrimony

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras: the potential breakthrough – still  to be endorsed by euro zone finance ministers – follows days of acrimony between the Greek government and its European creditors. Photograph: Alexandros Vlachos/EPA

Request expected following EU pressure to negotiate before its bailout expires in 10 days

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis insinuated on Monday that the European Commission was prepared to back Greece’s demands, but was scuppered by the euro group, led by Germany.

Bad cop, not-so-bad cop routine giving little comfort to embattled Greeks

German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble at the meeting of euro zone finance ministers yesterday. Photograph:Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Greek officials indicate they would not support document ahead of meeting

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis addresses a news conference after an Eurogroup finance ministers meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters.

Varoufakis expects a deal with Europe on bailout to come together in next 48 hours

Princeton University economics professor and former IMF head of mission to Ireland Ashoka Mody. Mr Mody today said the Irish government blew an opportunity to get a debt write-down deal.

Former IMF mission chief to Ireland says Irish government missed an opportunity to get debt deal

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan at a Eurogroup meeting of Finance ministers at EU council headquarters in Brussels on Monday. Mr Noonan underwent treatment for an eye condition at the weekend but is fine, a Department of Finance spokeswoman said. Photograph: Thierry Monasse/EPA.

Eurogroup starts two-day meeting to seek solution to bailout impasse as deadline looms

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis: he refused to countenance a draft communiqué proposed by the European Commission and the eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Programme is ‘part of the problem’, says Greek finance minister as talks collapse

EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the decline in oil price, depreciating euro and recently-launched quantitative easing programme by the ECB would provide ‘a welcome shot in the arm for the EU economy’. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Bloc’s economy grows 0.3% between third and fourth quarters of 2014, data shows

Germany chancellor  Angela Merkel arrives for a European Union leaders’ summit in Brussels yesterday. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Deal offers ‘glimmer of hope – no more, no less’, says Angela Merkel

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with  Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi (left) and his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras  during a European Union leaders summit in Brussels. Photograph: Reuters

Greek move, seen as political climbdown, follows standoff with EU finance ministers

(left to right) Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras and Taoiseach Enda Kenny pose for a “family photo” during an European Union leaders summit in Brussels. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Taoiseach declines to comment on whether Tsipras over-promised during election

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel welcomes Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ahead of a meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Euro zone talks end with no agreement with Greece as the impasse deepens

Michael Noonan: in Brussels attending the meeting of euro zone finance ministers. Photograph: The Irish Times

Greek finance minister Varoufakis pulls plug after joint statement agreed in Brussels

International Monetary Fund  managing director Christine Lagarde with Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis at an extraordinary euro zone finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels last night. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Ahead of EU summit German official says certain alterations may be acceptable

Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem arrives for a euro zone finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels yesterday to discuss Athens’ plans to reverse austerity measures. Photograph: Reuters/Yves Herman

European leaders need an effective strategy for dealing with Moscow

Frances Fitzgerald: says  Ireland views the passenger name records (PNR) proposal as a “priority” for the EU

Sinn Féin and some Independents oppose directive on passenger name records in its current form

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said he looked forward to hearing directly from the Greek finance minister.

Minister for Finance says Greece must apply for bailout extension or negotiate new programme

Michael Noonan: Sympathetic to the Greek people’s humanitarian difficulties, but he said sovereign governments were responsible for their own affairs. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Coalition undecided on seeking similar measures if Athens secures concessions

A Ukrainian serviceman jumps off a tank damaged during fighting with pro-Russian separatist forces outside Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, on Tuesday. Photograph: Reuters/Alexei Chernyshev

Proximity to Russia breeds fear as focus on sanctions fails to inspire confidence

Belgium’s Didier Reynders (centre) with Finland’s Erkki Tuomioja  and Ireland’s  Charlie Flanagan during an EU foreign affairs council in Brussel. Photograph: Emmanuel  Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Foreign ministers postpone move pending Franco-German Minsk initiative

Simon Coveney: suggested Ireland should get similar treatment to Greece in terms of debt concessions. Photograph: The Irish Times

Euro-zone finance ministers reject Republic’s appeal for further debt concessions

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras expresses confidence  a deal could be negotiated with Greece’s EU partners. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Greek bond yields rise sharply as standoff with international lenders intensifies

Ireland will insist that any new or better deal secured by Greece will also apply to Ireland, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.

Coveney says same rules must apply to Greece as to all other European Union countries

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras  struck a defiant note when indicating he would not ask the EU for a bailout extension. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Prime minister still confident agreement can be reached with key international lenders

 Greece’s new finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and prime minister Alexis Tsipras:   the two embarked on a tour of European capitals to drum up support for their plan to renegotiate the Greek bailout. Photograph: Petros Giannakouris/AP Photo

The Greek bailout is due to expire at the end of the month

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is expected to be requested to appear before a special European Parliament committee on corporate tax avoidance, according to parliament sources. Photograph: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

MEPs agree to set up committee to examine tax rulings in wake of ‘Lux Leaks’

Protests in Greece: Time is not on Greece’s side as it continues to negotiate a compromise agreement with euro zone partners. Photograph: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Analysis: The next few weeks will see if troika and EU are willing to bend in the name of European solidarity

Referring to Ireland’s economic performance, EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the Commission forsees “a really strong growth both in 2015 and 2016”.

European Commission predicts GDP growth of 3.5 per cent for Ireland in 2015

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble address a news conference following talks at the finance ministry on Thursday. Photograph: Reuters

Yanis Varoufakis requests bridging loan while he develops reform plan for country

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis at the  European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt. The bank has lifted a waiver that allowed it to accept junk-rated Greek government bonds.  Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Move represents significant escalation of tensions between Frankfurt and Athens

Portugal’s prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho. He said Greece must “respect its commitments” and comply with European rules like everyone else. Photograph:  Reuters/Rafael Marchante

Taoiseach to meet European heads amid Athens’s campaign for loan renegotiation

Officials stressed that today’s meetings are an opportunity for Enda Kenny  to set out Ireland’s priorities to the figures who will lead the EU until 2019

Any deal struck by Athens will be watched like a hawk by the Government

German chancellor hints EU states remain resistant to renegotiated deal on debt

Greek PM Alexis Tsiparis is greeted by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker  prior to a meeting at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, as part of his tour of European capitals.      Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras arrives in Brussels for talks with head of the European Commission and European Council

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said she was launching the investigation into so-called “excess profit” tax rulings, which allow companies to reduce their corporate tax liability due to “excess profits” they claim are the result of being part of a multinational group.

Investigation to focus on ‘excess profit’ tax rulings

  Chancellor George Osborne  is understood to have told Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis that London  will not be sympathetic to Athens’s debt demands. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Greece accepts it has ‘obligations’ to European partners and its creditors

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini chairing the meeting of EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels. She said Greece’s attitude had been “extremely constructive”. Photograph: François Lenoir/Reuters

Charlie Flanagan says decision to intensify measures against Russia sends strong signal of unity from European Union

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