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The members of the MLA Executive Council are deeply concerned for the welfare of the more

than five hundred MLA members who are affected by Hurricane Katrina, and we have been looking

for ways to help. We hope that if you are in touch with fellow members who do not have

access to e-mail or the Web, you will share any of this information that may help them.



New Orleans Flood Relief

Bulletin Board 



Monday, September 5, 2005 

Missing Persons & Found

Rudy, we need to encourage people who have relocated to post their new info on one of the data sites such as MSNBC's Reconnect After Katrina  which seems easier to use than some of the others.  We have a group coming into D. C. and I'm going to see what I can do about getting their names and data to post of the site.Miriam

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Dear CAAWC Family,I'm glad to report that I've received a message from Jerry W. Ward, Jr. informing me that he's  safe.  Please see his message at the bottom of this email.  Have a good night and take care--Brotherly, Lenard

Am in Vicksburg and safe.Jerry

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I am writing to inform you that I have evacuated New Orleans to GA with my family from Hurricane Katrina. As a member of the Orleans Parish School Board, I am an available resource for thousands of students, parents, employees and retirees of the New Orleans Public School System who have relocated to GA.

Here is my contact number:  (770) 328-1128. Please share my contact information with any citizens of New Orleans who have questions about local schooling accommodations for children. Employment and payroll questions related to the Orleans Parish School Board may be directed to the current external fiscal agent of the New Orleans Public School System - Alvarez & Marsal, Mr. Bill Roberti Managing Director 1-877-771-5800. My public outreach strategy is to spread a message of care for all New Orleanians. We care about our children and their families. Our children and their families have not been forgotten. We will rebuild and restore New Orleans one day at a time which includes rebuilding a superior New Orleans Public Schools. Take care & God bless,Heidi Lovett Daniels, Orleans Parish School Board Member

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Many of us are looking for Robert King Wilkerson, freed member of the Angola 3, former Black Panther, and organizer extraordinaire. He was in his house on South Scott with the water rising right after the storm. Please call me in Natchez 601 442-0532 if you know anything.Orissa Arend

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My name is Lisa Green-Derry. My parents, Herbert and Queen Green are safe with me. I am trying to locate my uncle, Dave Bartholomew. If anyone knows his whereabouts, please contact us at 972-932-4688, 832-651-9421 or at My dad is worried sick about his brother.

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My name is Claudia and I'm inquiring about my cousin Robert (Poochie) Holmes please email me at He was rescued and seen a couple of days ago, but he stayed in New Orleans to help with rescuing others that were still stranded. This is what a family member has been told, but we have not actually heard from him. If anyone knows anything please call me or email. I can be reached at (323) 292-1218.

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MLA Reaches Out to Katrina Victims

This is truly welcome information.  Will you spread the info to others:  academics looking for work, friends who may be in touch with evacuees, and colleagues at your institutions.  Many of us know Rosemary from her work in Afro-Hispanic literature & criticism;  she is a committed worker.  Thanks. Miriam

Dear Colleague,

The members of the MLA Executive Council are deeply concerned for the welfare of the more than five hundred MLA members who are affected by Hurricane Katrina, and we have been looking for ways to help. We hope that if you are in touch with fellow members who do not have access to e-mail or the Web, you will share any of this information that may help them.

Efforts are under way to help accommodate faculty members and graduate students whose institutions are affected. We are working to set up a link on the MLA Web site ( to a page where members can post offers of available positions, library privileges, and other emergency employment -- and accommodation -- related notices. Members are also invited to post needs for such assistance. Members who do not have e-mail or Web access can phone the MLA with the information. We hope to have this service live by the end of next week. 

The United States Postal Service has asked us to hold all mailings to areas affected by the hurricane, and so we will be sending PMLA, the Newsletter, and other association materials (including the convention announcement and the ballot) only when it becomes feasible to do so.

We hope that members in affected areas will call the headquarters office if we can help with any membership service. The general number of the association is 646 576-5000, and the switchboard is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 5:00 eastern time, excluding holidays. Members with e-mail access can write to

Finally, we would like to express our sadness at this catastrophic event. Like many of you, we have friends and colleagues who work in New Orleans and other areas affected by the storm. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do. Most cordially yours, Rosemary G. Feal MLA Executive Director Domna C. Stanton MLA President

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These communications remind me of the days during the Civil War, and after emancipation. Same words. "I am concerned about ..." and "I am looking for..." or "I am trying to locate." There is a book here. A big book. Yictove

I do not have family in Louisiana. I just know a few people, and don't really know them, like Kalamu, whom I have met once in my life, if that. I have a friend who I haven't seen in years, Yictove, (Eugene Turk) who is from Louisiana and now lives in New Jersey, but I don't know where anymore because I have been gone from this area for 12 years, have been back barely two, and just haven't found him yet. Yictove was interviewed on the radio in Louisiana, on one of his trips home after his first book came out, and I think  he was interviewed by Kalamu. That was around 1990-1991, right before I left New York/New Jersey for Savannah, Georgia.

Speaking of Yictove, I was cleaning out some old journals and I came across one that I had not seen in years ... CRICKET: Poems and Other Jazz. Edited by you, Rudolph. Fancy that. Kalamu has Haiku No. 30 published in this particular edition, and Mona Lisa Saloy -- mentioned in your communication as someone who may be missing in action -- who was introduced to me by Yictove, is featured also. I am sending a copy of this email to DOROTHEA MOORE, head of the Frances E.W. Harper Literary Society at Newark Public Library. She may know where Yictove is.


What is very interesting in your email to me personally is your mention of a Foy family. I am part of a Foy family, from North Carolina. Emelda Foy may be a relative of mine. So, I will be sending your email to my cousins Moses Foy, Jr. in Englewood, New Jersey and to Bruce Foy Perry in Harlem. Maybe this will jog their memories.

Most of the Foy's in my neck of the woods have passed on. I am a Nobles-Jackson, from the Nobles-Jackson's of Falling Creek/Kinston, North Carolina. My aunt, Helen Jackson, who is now 96 years old and living in Harlem, married Moses Foy, Sr. and moved to Harlem in 1927. Israel Foy, brother of Moses, stayed in Falling Creek because he was a farmer. He had two wives. Osceola and Nancy Bell. I knew Nancy Bell. Uncle Israel also had a sister, Vera, who migrated to Mount Vernon, New York. Now dead. And, Uncle Harry Foy, who migrated to Philadelphia and married Phoebe. All gone now.

Israel's daughter, Gloria "Bootsie" Foy Perry, just passed away recently -- her mother was Osceola --  and Bootsie's only son is Bruce, now married to Felicia Murray. Bootsie has several sisters still living in Kinston, an area that was also flooded, by the way, in 1999. The Jackson side of the family lost their 100-year-old homestead in that flood. Hurricane Floyd. Peg is one is one of Bootsie's sisters. Janie Mae is another. There are a few other Foy's up here. And Barnett's. Another branch of the Foy family. Maybe someone on my side will know of Emelda.

Pass on Information Re: College Admissions

A family came to our church on Sunday, from Louisiana. They looked shell shocked, I must tell you. I came to service late and only shook their hands, did not get their names. But, I will. They are being adopted by our church. Housing, food, clothing, jobs, school. Any students who come this way, Rev. Howard announced, will be given open door admission to Rutgers University-Newark. They need only contact Dean Darryl Hollomon, Student Life and Leadership, Rutgers University-Newark, Paul Robeson Campus Center, 350 Dr. King Blvd., Newark, NJ 07102 or Dean Carey Booker, Educational Opportunity Fund, Academic Foundations Center, Rutgers University-Newark, Bradley Hall, Warren Street & Dr. King Blvd, Newark, NJ 07102 or Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Jr. Bethany Baptist Church 275 West Market Street
Newark, NJ 07102

Or, you can even email me because I have signed up to tutor the young people who need it, via Bethany Baptist Church, as I do teach one Developmental Writing course at Rutgers, in the Academic Foundations Center program, in addition to my American Literature classes.

Voting Rights for the Displaced: For Tavis, Tom J. and Rev. Calvin Butts:

I think it necessary that, while we are trying to locate people and are getting people settled, even if they are living with someone, that the "refugees" register to vote. There should be legislation passed, and quickly passed, that will allow them to vote in their new states. There will be much opposition to this, but there would be no opposition if the people were predominately white and middle class. If these black folk lose their voting rights, our lawyers will squabble about it for decades. If they maintain voting rights, we can have a  new president in a matter of minutes, an answer to many prayers. This should be a topic of conversation on Tavis Smiley's PBS show, and also Tom Joyner. Maybe Rev. Calvin Butts would like to help, or would have some words on this subject ?


All of those people ... homeless and disfranched too ??!! Something has to be done. Sandra L. West


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Sandra, I just spoke to Yictove this morning. Here's his number973-674-4285. His family got out and is in Houstonemail His mother is in her eighties.  Yes, I still have a few of those Crickets around. Ain't it odd how we meet these days, so many in cyberspace? There might be more community there than elsewhere. You have given good advice. I will post it in the Bulletin Board. Rudy

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Suggestions about relief supplies

Some suggestions from an anthropologist who has been involved with international relief agencies.Miriam

Please don't send used clothing, they won't have the logistic support on the other end to ensure it is  clean, in good repair, sorted by size, etc. There are several agencies, notably Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Catholic Relief Services that will take used clothing donations and prepare them for distribution. They will deliver bundles of shrink wrapped clothes all sorted by size which is much easier for the local service delivery folks given the scale of this disaster.

Please don't send water, all the shelters are in locations with secure water supplies and local bottling companies have shifted to concentrating on water production. It is heavy and bulky and given the cost of gas an expensive thing to move over 1,000 miles. Please buy in bulk, while it is natural to browse the market thinking of all the items you'd need to replace and buying just one of each, it is easier to pack a truck and deliver supplies if they receive cartons and crates of the same item at one time.

While our heart goes out to the little children involved in this tragedy, and a crate of beanie babies is a wonderful thing to send, remember there are many elderly in the group and their needs may not be as easily met as the youngsters.

So my advice of things that would be most useful:

Consumable toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, emery boards, vaseline, skin cream). Over the counter medicines (aspirin, tylenol, cough syrup).

Consumable, pre-packaged food treats (single serving packages of apple sauce, pudding, jello, individually wrapped hard candies [as much as they might love Hershey's kisses, they won't travel well, send Tootsie Rolls instead}, cookies, crackers, dried fruit, nuts, dry cereal, teabags, instant coffee).

NEW packages of clothing, especially socks, underwear, tshirts (a case of IUP shirts?) sweatsuits, rubber flip-flops, slippers. Things to keep people entertained, boredom and depression will be a big issuelight reading magazines and books (think mystery novels vs. Anna Karenina), puzzles, games, cards, coloring books and crayons

Things that they will need to start putting their lives back together - stationary, envelopes, stamps, pre-paid phone cards, disposable cameras to document their situation, pens, flashlights and batteries. Cash donations to agencies providing humanitarian relief are also very important. The American Red Cross deserves our donations, but please think also about America's Second Harvest, this agency will be helping combat hunger in the LONG-term and they will need our support, too.

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Purple Ribbon Crosses 

Hello all,

What do you all think about  PURPLE RIBBON CROSSES? A purple ribbon CROSS should inform most folks that this is not a pagan design, but a symbol of suffering and crucifixion. (since a lot of churches drape crosses in purple during lent, etc.)

Can't we just start it by going out, buying the ribbon, making the crosses and asking family, friends and associates to wear them. If enough persons do this, it might catch on (provided they don't have any hang-ups about the color purple.)   The point is to

Keep the issue before everyone for as long as necessary.   If anyone thinks this is a good idea, let me know and I'll go to Walmart buy some ribbon and get the first batch of purple crosses out.  Peace and blessings, Jeannette

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Jeannette, peace and blessings, I have no objection to PURPLE CROSSES being used as a symbol of solidarity with the displaced citizens of the Gulf Coast. Or any other symbols that are intended as a means of remembrance of this catastrophic event and as a means of inspiring a movement against the type of thinking that produced this displacement of a million people. If you have a community of people who want to do that, do it.

Of course, there are many who are anti-Christian or of other religions and other persuasions. So do not have expectations that it can be something that will be adopted universally or will be received with the same innocence and good will you intend them to be. Let a thousand symbols bloom, if they will.  And tee-shorts too, if people desire them. Whatever people decide individually or by groups will receive my support. I will pass your suggestion along.Rudy

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Your words are wise.   Learn a lesson from the symbolism of the Red Cross, which is not accepted as a universal symbol.  It has to be replaced in some countries by a red crescent.   Obviously, a purple cross would inevitably be divisive, rather than unifying.  

I have followed your commentary on the tragedy in New Orleans.  This tragedy is the product of many years of government deregulation and denial of the need for environmental planning.    It is interesting to note that the tourist center, the French Quarter received little damage.  Why?  Because the 18th century French were smart enough to build on high ground.  It was really pathetic to listen to the Coast Guard officer last week, who when questioned as to whether he had sufficient resources to meet the emergency, responded with the usual braggadocio and "can-do" clichés.   After all, that is the universal military mentality.   Never make excuses.   Always express confidence.  Never admit that the person above you has made a horrendous mistake.Wilson

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Blue ribbons are probably better or even orange. I am a Christian, but to include everyone, a ribbon would be the best suggestion.  Blue or orange maybe, a different color, or even white. Latorial

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Thanks Rudy, As a non religious person, but one who believes in the African spirit, why not use a symbol of life – like the ankh.Chuck


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Sandra, Thank you for starting in New Jersey by tying ribbons on all the trees in your block.  We will have to figure out how to get the press conference(s)?  Today, I am going to write a letter to Ray Boone at Richmond Free Press re: CALL BY BLACK WRITERS FOR SHOW OF SOLIDARITY WITH KATRINA GULF COAST VICTIMS.  Maybe at some point I can get Sabrina Squire to publicize (just thinking aloud.) Once, she came out and taped my work with students at Short Pump Middle school and aired it on the 6 p.m news.


Will you start the ribbons in your community in New York? Purple crosses or ties around trees, mailboxes, wherever?


Let me know if you want me to send crosses to Tenn.


Let me know if you want me to send crosses to Baltimore.


Will you start the ribbons in Georgia?  


Great to hear from you. I'll be in touch re: interview. Appreciate your asking. Will your husband support with his congregation?  I know you are swamped with work. I can tell from your webpage. Will you tie a ribbon around a tree in your yard in North Carolina?


Will you do crosses and or ribbons in North Carolina?


Will you start the ribbons around trees, mailboxes in Mass.?


How are you? Will you tie a purple ribbon around your tree in Maryland?


Will you tie a purple ribbon around a tree in your yard in Hampton?


Will you tie a purple ribbon around a tree in your yard in Minnesota?    


Will you make purple crosses and or tie a purple ribbon on your tree/mailbox/wherever in Philadelphia?


Will you make purple crosses and or tie a purple ribbon on your tree/mailbox/wherever in D.C?


Will you tie a ribbon around a tree in Florida? I'll be in touch more later. Thanks for the recent catching up note and the art work.

Thank you everyone. Peace, Jeannette

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Political Commitment

I am also concerned that we outside of the region don't get too weary too soon to return to life as it was. We have peeped around the corner and we are frightened by the life we have made or allowed to come into existence. We have heard already Morial and Nagin and Jackson and other traditional leaders afraid to say openly and publicly that race had anything to do with this devastation, that it is rather a class issue.

People will be running back to safe positions looking out out for their corporate futures and ties.

In Washington most efforts will focus on how all this can be swept under the rug, how media attention can be diverted, how congressional attention can be refocused on less unpleasant matters than the cries of the blacks and the poor. Even if tens of thousands of dead bodies are discovered, the cameras will not be there as they are loaded on trucks. They will be reduced to numbers. The plan is to take the emotional wind out of this fiasco.

So the corporate media will also be back pedaling. They will not be sensationalizing the conditions these million people are left in. That glamour is over. It will be Christian sentimentality that will be left. They will not be promoting the kinds of societal changes that will be necessary to get these people and the black and poor all over the nation back on their feet in places of dignity and integrity.

Our focus daily must be to challenge the thinking that produced this enormity. Things cannot return as they were. We have to endure with these displaced people, assure that their lives as well as the lives of the black and poor all over this nation are improved. This cannot be just left to relief agencies. This will require serious political soul searching and a willingness to reorganize American society and American thinking. The internet will become more important in these efforts.

And, yes, American racial attitudes and racial distance must be front and center.Rudy

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Oh, Rudy, you are so right.  I've been listening recently to the Black politicians and anchorpersons backing off on calling this debacle an example of racism and classism at its worst.  Nagin was punished for his passionate outburst;  he was silenced and rendered invisible.  He was virtually whipped into line.  Emotional people are considered crude and uncivilized at best or crazy and dangerous at worst.  This afternoon I saw a powerful film by the director of "City of God," in which the female character was punished for her passion and outrage over the exploitation of the Black and poor; at first, she was shunned (people walked out on her) and finally she was killed.  What do we admire in this country?  The "control" of a Jacqueline Kennedy as opposed to the screams of a Black widow.

In this situation we have to be long distance runners, as John Oliver Killens reminded us.  Kalamu wrote a powerful statement, especially the section on dialogue & community.  We cannot forget.Miriam

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This is very useful advice.  Obviously, the ultimate answer is to have institutional structures that can respond to catastrophes.  It would also be good if Louisiana had a national guard up to strength to respond to the demands of martial law.  I always thought the first thing a state did in cases of this sort was to call out the national guard.  By the way, according to a report chaired by Gwen Iffyl this evening's PBS News, Mississippi did a lot better, simply in terms of common sense.Wilson

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Out of the comfort zone

Thank you for all the news you are sending on Katrina reported from the streets not the news studios.  I am not much into apocalyptic scenarios, blaming hurricanes on casino gamblers or Bourbon Street saloons.  But, maybe something like this will  finally make some people realize that our amoral materialistic values are literally “drowning” the poor, inner-city dispossessed people of more than one American city.  Of course, most will not see that as the problem. The disturbance to the victims of Katrina will be permanent and disastrous in health and other ways. But most of the rest of the country will not be disturbed enough to change life style. We have been taught that consumption leads to prosperity. To question that equation is to be unpatriotic, or at least irrelevant to the modern era.

Religious Sisters I know n Chalmette fled their convent for higher ground.  I read yesterday that that is also the location where a large number of nursing home patients died in the flood.  We are being reminded of the great number of people who are weak and must enter into our purview and planning for such emergencies. But survival of the fittest has a way of asserting itself in such cases where there is no such mindful planning.Peace, Fr Paul

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yes, I think you have the right estimation of our present situation. Such habits of those are not easily changed. I think none of us of good conscience has no alternative choice than to renew our energies and struggle against this kind of coldness of heart and spirit. The next several weeks I think will be significant which way we shall turn, go. Overall, you hit the nail on the head, few will be born again as a result of these deaths of the elderly, of the weak, of the poor.

Yet our struggle to make the needed changes ("mindful planning") must go on, however long it will take. However much our questions are characterized as "unpatriotic," foolish, and idealistic. However much we deserve our comfort. As ever and always, Rudy

posted 5 September 2005

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Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered

the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

By H. W. Brands

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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Debt: The First 5,000 Years

By David Graeber

Before there was money, there was debt. Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems—to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods—that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors.  Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like “guilt,” “sin,” and “redemption”) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong. We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it. Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known history—as well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.   Economist Glenn Loury  /Criminalizing a Race

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 20 January 2012




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