Tourism as a human right

Now that America is going the way of Europe in our economy, politics, and institutions, get ready for this one:

An overseas holiday used to be thought of as a reward for a year’s hard work. Now Brussels [the capital of the European Union] has declared that tourism is a human right and pensioners, youths and those too poor to afford it should have their travel subsidised by the taxpayer.

Under the scheme, British pensioners could be given cut-price trips to Spain, while Greek teenagers could be taken around disused mills in Manchester to experience the cultural diversity of Europe.

The idea for the subsidised tours is the brainchild of Antonio Tajani, the European Union commissioner for enterprise and industry, who was appointed by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister.

The scheme, which could cost hundreds of millions of pounds a year, is intended to promote a sense of pride in European culture, bridge the north-south divide in the continent and prop up resorts in their off-season.

Tajani, who unveiled his plan last week at a ministerial conference in Madrid, believes the days when holidays were a luxury have gone. “Travelling for tourism today is a right. The way we spend our holidays is a formidable indicator of our quality of life,” he said.

Tajani, who used to be transport commissioner, said he had been able to “affirm the rights of passengers” in his previous office and the next step was to ensure people’s “right to be tourists”.

via Get packing: Brussels decrees holidays are a human right – Times Online.

HT: Joe Carter

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Orianna Laun

    Tell that one to our forebears, especially the ones who never left the farm. I’m sure they’d get a kick out of it.

  • Orianna Laun

    Tell that one to our forebears, especially the ones who never left the farm. I’m sure they’d get a kick out of it.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Oh my… This is the reason why I consistently vote for politicians trying to diminish EU’s power over the nations that form it. The multi-billion-euros-eating-bureaucracy is so vast and complicated that any kind of crazy ideas can get through if you have the right contacts.

    Don’t get me wrong. EU could be a great thing, if it would concentrate on very limited issues: common military and markets.

  • http://snafman.blogspot.com Snafu

    Oh my… This is the reason why I consistently vote for politicians trying to diminish EU’s power over the nations that form it. The multi-billion-euros-eating-bureaucracy is so vast and complicated that any kind of crazy ideas can get through if you have the right contacts.

    Don’t get me wrong. EU could be a great thing, if it would concentrate on very limited issues: common military and markets.

  • Kirk

    That’s just… silly. I don’t think there’s any other word for it. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling to places and I think it’s something that people should make an effort to do, but a human right?

  • Kirk

    That’s just… silly. I don’t think there’s any other word for it. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling to places and I think it’s something that people should make an effort to do, but a human right?

  • Steven

    Tourism is a right, or at least the free movement of persons may be, but the expectation that the freedom of movement requires subsidization by the state is farcical. If it requires government subsidy then it is not a right.

  • Steven

    Tourism is a right, or at least the free movement of persons may be, but the expectation that the freedom of movement requires subsidization by the state is farcical. If it requires government subsidy then it is not a right.

  • Tom Hering

    I suppose rights-talk gets things done in the EU. But it can never be successfully argued that government-subsidized travel is a “human right.” It will just be a perk for EU citizens – which might help to tempt talent from elsewhere in the world to move to the EU (think of how U.S. companies compete for talent).

  • Tom Hering

    I suppose rights-talk gets things done in the EU. But it can never be successfully argued that government-subsidized travel is a “human right.” It will just be a perk for EU citizens – which might help to tempt talent from elsewhere in the world to move to the EU (think of how U.S. companies compete for talent).

  • sg

    More bread and circus is not going to strengthen Europe. Are they going to increase sovereign debt to pay for ever more hangin’ out and entertainment? Sounds like a road paved with good intentions that leads to a wretched state. Anyway, Europeans like to vacation outside of Europe, so it is like foreign aid, but the folks in the foreign countries will have to work for it. More European resort operators will expand in those locales where they will attract Euro visitors. It would be an investment opportunity if there were actually going to be many Euros in the future. The low birthrate in Europe doesn’t bode well for any endeavor.

  • sg

    More bread and circus is not going to strengthen Europe. Are they going to increase sovereign debt to pay for ever more hangin’ out and entertainment? Sounds like a road paved with good intentions that leads to a wretched state. Anyway, Europeans like to vacation outside of Europe, so it is like foreign aid, but the folks in the foreign countries will have to work for it. More European resort operators will expand in those locales where they will attract Euro visitors. It would be an investment opportunity if there were actually going to be many Euros in the future. The low birthrate in Europe doesn’t bode well for any endeavor.

  • Kandyce

    And here I was thinking that the U.S. was getting ridiculous as to what it defines as human rights.

  • Kandyce

    And here I was thinking that the U.S. was getting ridiculous as to what it defines as human rights.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    What a total load of crap. Its ideas like this that ensure the EU will be a catastrophic failure. The Germans and other pillars of the EU aren’t going to put off retirement indefinitely and take on unlimited loads of debt so that Greek youths can take sudsidized vacations at their expense

    When the government gets people hooked on subsidies and perks they face certain civil unrest and violence when they eventually are unable to continue the largesse.

    Sometimes it seems like sanity has fled the scene in modern politics, both in the US and in Europe.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    What a total load of crap. Its ideas like this that ensure the EU will be a catastrophic failure. The Germans and other pillars of the EU aren’t going to put off retirement indefinitely and take on unlimited loads of debt so that Greek youths can take sudsidized vacations at their expense

    When the government gets people hooked on subsidies and perks they face certain civil unrest and violence when they eventually are unable to continue the largesse.

    Sometimes it seems like sanity has fled the scene in modern politics, both in the US and in Europe.

  • DonS

    This kind of thinking stems from a philosophy that a truly just society enables equal outcomes, not merely equal opportunity. If “rich” people can travel, then why should not poor people also be able to travel. After all, if certain people are “rich”, then they probably got there by climbing over the backs of poor people.

    Of course, such thinking does not account for HOW people attain sufficient wealth to be able to travel — usually through hard work and faithful saving. And a government which enables this kind of envy politics is killing the motivation for productivity, and thus ultimately substantially lowering the standard of living of all of its citizens. This won’t hurt the truly wealthy, though, because they will simply move away.

  • DonS

    This kind of thinking stems from a philosophy that a truly just society enables equal outcomes, not merely equal opportunity. If “rich” people can travel, then why should not poor people also be able to travel. After all, if certain people are “rich”, then they probably got there by climbing over the backs of poor people.

    Of course, such thinking does not account for HOW people attain sufficient wealth to be able to travel — usually through hard work and faithful saving. And a government which enables this kind of envy politics is killing the motivation for productivity, and thus ultimately substantially lowering the standard of living of all of its citizens. This won’t hurt the truly wealthy, though, because they will simply move away.

  • Tom Hering

    We need to distinguish between natural rights and legal rights. A right to government-subsidized travel would fall into the latter category – legal fictions – which can grant just about anything. The absurdity is the language that echoes arguments for natural rights.

  • Tom Hering

    We need to distinguish between natural rights and legal rights. A right to government-subsidized travel would fall into the latter category – legal fictions – which can grant just about anything. The absurdity is the language that echoes arguments for natural rights.

  • –helen

    “After all, if certain people are “rich”, then they probably got there by climbing over the backs of poor people.
    Of course, such thinking does not account for HOW people attain sufficient wealth to be able to travel — usually through hard work and faithful saving. “–DonS

    Think about the hundreds of millions that the top dogs on Wall Street have collected, even while their companies are bailed out by the taxpayers.
    Then consider that those hundreds of millions in bank profits are available because banks are currently paying near 0% interest on the (mostly small) savings accounts. [Those hundreds of millions are hiding from the IRS as well, while the small savers' accounts pay taxes.]
    Don’t take my word for it: Bernanke, no less, said that the burden of the bailout would fall on those who “worked hard and faithfully saved.”

    The benefit goes to those who cheated (Wall Street which bet against its own products and made money both ways); who bought what they couldn’t afford (housing market) and who maxed out multiple credit cards (anyone who expects their cc debt to be “cancelled” so they can do it again!)

  • –helen

    “After all, if certain people are “rich”, then they probably got there by climbing over the backs of poor people.
    Of course, such thinking does not account for HOW people attain sufficient wealth to be able to travel — usually through hard work and faithful saving. “–DonS

    Think about the hundreds of millions that the top dogs on Wall Street have collected, even while their companies are bailed out by the taxpayers.
    Then consider that those hundreds of millions in bank profits are available because banks are currently paying near 0% interest on the (mostly small) savings accounts. [Those hundreds of millions are hiding from the IRS as well, while the small savers' accounts pay taxes.]
    Don’t take my word for it: Bernanke, no less, said that the burden of the bailout would fall on those who “worked hard and faithfully saved.”

    The benefit goes to those who cheated (Wall Street which bet against its own products and made money both ways); who bought what they couldn’t afford (housing market) and who maxed out multiple credit cards (anyone who expects their cc debt to be “cancelled” so they can do it again!)

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    “What a total load of crap.”

    That sums it up for me as well.

    Thanks, Patrick Kyle!

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    “What a total load of crap.”

    That sums it up for me as well.

    Thanks, Patrick Kyle!

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Helen,

    I talked to a man that spent years as a stockbroker. He confirmed what I already suspected; that stocks and the stock market are largely scams in which the small guy mom and pop investors and independent day traders are fleeced by the brokers and institutional investors. He did have good things to say about Schwab brokerage services and one or two lesser known brokerage houses, but the things he told me about the other well known brokerages (for which he had worked) were disappointing.

    Between the crooked bankers and brokerages, I am considering opting out. Keep some gold and silver as a hedge against inflation and the rest of my cash will be coming to a mattress near me soon.

    I always thought this course of action was foolish, but recent events have given me pause….

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    Helen,

    I talked to a man that spent years as a stockbroker. He confirmed what I already suspected; that stocks and the stock market are largely scams in which the small guy mom and pop investors and independent day traders are fleeced by the brokers and institutional investors. He did have good things to say about Schwab brokerage services and one or two lesser known brokerage houses, but the things he told me about the other well known brokerages (for which he had worked) were disappointing.

    Between the crooked bankers and brokerages, I am considering opting out. Keep some gold and silver as a hedge against inflation and the rest of my cash will be coming to a mattress near me soon.

    I always thought this course of action was foolish, but recent events have given me pause….

  • sg

    David Merkel has a great blog post entitled “You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man”. In it he explains how investors who believe something that is too good to be true, get something that is not true.

    http://alephblog.com/2010/02/27/you-cant-cheat-an-honest-man/

  • sg

    David Merkel has a great blog post entitled “You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man”. In it he explains how investors who believe something that is too good to be true, get something that is not true.

    http://alephblog.com/2010/02/27/you-cant-cheat-an-honest-man/

  • sg

    “Between the crooked bankers and brokerages, I am considering opting out. Keep some gold and silver as a hedge against inflation and the rest of my cash will be coming to a mattress near me soon.”

    It isn’t outright crookedness. There is no real way the economic trend can continue when the last economically productive generation didn’t reproduce at the same rate, nor sacrifice and save at the same rate as their parents. Would we have had such a great economy if half of the baby boomers had never been born? Well, half of the next generation wasn’t. When the trend reverses, then the trends that depend upon it do also. It is not mysterious. Plenty of secular atheists studying demographics fear what may follow.

  • sg

    “Between the crooked bankers and brokerages, I am considering opting out. Keep some gold and silver as a hedge against inflation and the rest of my cash will be coming to a mattress near me soon.”

    It isn’t outright crookedness. There is no real way the economic trend can continue when the last economically productive generation didn’t reproduce at the same rate, nor sacrifice and save at the same rate as their parents. Would we have had such a great economy if half of the baby boomers had never been born? Well, half of the next generation wasn’t. When the trend reverses, then the trends that depend upon it do also. It is not mysterious. Plenty of secular atheists studying demographics fear what may follow.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    sg,
    No doubt demographics may make the situation worse, but they have nothing to do with Goldman Sachs creating an investment that they know is going to fail, misrepresenting that investment to a group of clients in order to sell it to them, then placing bets for themselves or another group of clients that those investments will fail. I also doubt that demographics had much to do with stated income mortgage loans, or ‘liar’s loans’ as they have been called.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    sg,
    No doubt demographics may make the situation worse, but they have nothing to do with Goldman Sachs creating an investment that they know is going to fail, misrepresenting that investment to a group of clients in order to sell it to them, then placing bets for themselves or another group of clients that those investments will fail. I also doubt that demographics had much to do with stated income mortgage loans, or ‘liar’s loans’ as they have been called.

  • –helen

    In it he explains how investors who believe something that is too good to be true, get something that is not true. –sg

    Yes, I trusted my reputable “Fortune 500″ [Lutheran] investment firm to be smart about that. They weren’t.
    (I’m inclined to think though, that the profits going up were a little more concentrated than the “pain” coming down.)

  • –helen

    In it he explains how investors who believe something that is too good to be true, get something that is not true. –sg

    Yes, I trusted my reputable “Fortune 500″ [Lutheran] investment firm to be smart about that. They weren’t.
    (I’m inclined to think though, that the profits going up were a little more concentrated than the “pain” coming down.)

  • sg

    “I also doubt that demographics had much to do with stated income mortgage loans, or ‘liar’s loans’ as they have been called.”

    Yes, they do. They could not maintain growth in housing sales so they decided to lower standards and interest rates to keep selling. There was a dearth of qualified borrowers. They were complicit in the government’s plan to make the unqualified into homeowners by regulatory fiat. Obviously that isn’t possible. The finance guys knew that which is why they had never made these sure-to-default loans until the gov’t cut a deal with them. Royal Bank of Canada bought no CDO’s because it was obvious they would fail.

  • sg

    “I also doubt that demographics had much to do with stated income mortgage loans, or ‘liar’s loans’ as they have been called.”

    Yes, they do. They could not maintain growth in housing sales so they decided to lower standards and interest rates to keep selling. There was a dearth of qualified borrowers. They were complicit in the government’s plan to make the unqualified into homeowners by regulatory fiat. Obviously that isn’t possible. The finance guys knew that which is why they had never made these sure-to-default loans until the gov’t cut a deal with them. Royal Bank of Canada bought no CDO’s because it was obvious they would fail.

  • Louis

    Well, I invest directly, myself, in stocks I have some understanding about (Mining and exploration, mostly). It is not difficult if you grasp the essentials. furthermore, mob behaviour is the thing NOT to follow – Rockefeller was famous for saying that he does the opposite of what the market does – when everybody buys, he sells, when everybody sells, he buys. Which means that we all should have bought about 15 months ago…..

  • Louis

    Well, I invest directly, myself, in stocks I have some understanding about (Mining and exploration, mostly). It is not difficult if you grasp the essentials. furthermore, mob behaviour is the thing NOT to follow – Rockefeller was famous for saying that he does the opposite of what the market does – when everybody buys, he sells, when everybody sells, he buys. Which means that we all should have bought about 15 months ago…..

  • –helen

    Just as a reader, it strikes me that “outsourcing” jobs to whatever foreign country may increase profits for some, but we all pay, one way or another. The overseas worker is not paying U.S. taxes or social security; he’s not buying a house and car, shopping, eating, or traveling here. We lose not only that job, but all the “support jobs” that would serve him/her and the family.
    Destroying our manufacturing base has made us a third world, raw materials producing country.

    [The kids who were aborted aren't building the economy either.]

  • –helen

    Just as a reader, it strikes me that “outsourcing” jobs to whatever foreign country may increase profits for some, but we all pay, one way or another. The overseas worker is not paying U.S. taxes or social security; he’s not buying a house and car, shopping, eating, or traveling here. We lose not only that job, but all the “support jobs” that would serve him/her and the family.
    Destroying our manufacturing base has made us a third world, raw materials producing country.

    [The kids who were aborted aren't building the economy either.]

  • Louis

    Helen, I gather you haven’t been to the Third World – I grew up in a developing country, and the US ain’t. By saying this I don’t support the policy, but one shouldn’t be melodramatic either.

  • Louis

    Helen, I gather you haven’t been to the Third World – I grew up in a developing country, and the US ain’t. By saying this I don’t support the policy, but one shouldn’t be melodramatic either.

  • –helen

    In my history/geography books, (I had them, instead of “social studies” :) developing countries contributed raw materials and developed countries used them to make manufactured goods, which they sold back to the developing countries.

    Go into Walmart and try to buy something that isn’t “Made in China”…. :(

    But I know what you are talking about.
    (I haven’t been to Africa but I’ve spent some time in S. E. Asia.)

  • –helen

    In my history/geography books, (I had them, instead of “social studies” :) developing countries contributed raw materials and developed countries used them to make manufactured goods, which they sold back to the developing countries.

    Go into Walmart and try to buy something that isn’t “Made in China”…. :(

    But I know what you are talking about.
    (I haven’t been to Africa but I’ve spent some time in S. E. Asia.)

  • Louis

    Mistake no.1: Go into Wallmart… :)

  • Louis

    Mistake no.1: Go into Wallmart… :)

  • sg

    “Destroying our manufacturing base has made us a third world, raw materials producing country.”

    More like a value transferring economy. A few productive. The rest at the top and bottom transferring wealth.

  • sg

    “Destroying our manufacturing base has made us a third world, raw materials producing country.”

    More like a value transferring economy. A few productive. The rest at the top and bottom transferring wealth.

  • fws

    hey pat and sg.

    there is something that has happened to us that is so under cover that there is not even a word to describe it:

    our society is becoming “creditized”. meaning that every asset and transaction is tied up in fees and interest. pulling YOUR money outta the bank….. fee….. clothes on back…. rented through credit card debt…… roof over head….. yours in 30 years …… if you did not do a non-interest-with-balloon-in-10-years. there will soon be nothing that escapes someone getting something out of every transaction and asset without actually working or producing something in exchange for those fees and interest they are getting.

    question pat: would it really be wrong for the government to limit this sort of activity? maybe some usury laws? limits on transaction fees? full disclosure on credit card statements for those who don´t read well or need glasses for 6pt print such as “if you make the minimum payments on your current balance of $XXX you will pay off you debt just prior to the return of jesus and will pay $XXX in total interest and fees (that second $XXX being about 30 times what the original debt was….)?

    covetousness is a sin. it´s wrong for the government to try to regulate that? free market capitalism is an inalienable right?

  • fws

    hey pat and sg.

    there is something that has happened to us that is so under cover that there is not even a word to describe it:

    our society is becoming “creditized”. meaning that every asset and transaction is tied up in fees and interest. pulling YOUR money outta the bank….. fee….. clothes on back…. rented through credit card debt…… roof over head….. yours in 30 years …… if you did not do a non-interest-with-balloon-in-10-years. there will soon be nothing that escapes someone getting something out of every transaction and asset without actually working or producing something in exchange for those fees and interest they are getting.

    question pat: would it really be wrong for the government to limit this sort of activity? maybe some usury laws? limits on transaction fees? full disclosure on credit card statements for those who don´t read well or need glasses for 6pt print such as “if you make the minimum payments on your current balance of $XXX you will pay off you debt just prior to the return of jesus and will pay $XXX in total interest and fees (that second $XXX being about 30 times what the original debt was….)?

    covetousness is a sin. it´s wrong for the government to try to regulate that? free market capitalism is an inalienable right?

  • DonS

    FWS @ 25: The government has led the way to “creditizing” our economy with its own debtor mentality, and its encouragement that we use our tax refunds and “stimulus” payments to buy things, rather than pay down debt or save, in order to stimulate the economy. With respect to debt and covetousness of taxpayer dollars, the government is the problem, not the solution. So it should just steer clear of the private debt markets and clean up its own house.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 25: The government has led the way to “creditizing” our economy with its own debtor mentality, and its encouragement that we use our tax refunds and “stimulus” payments to buy things, rather than pay down debt or save, in order to stimulate the economy. With respect to debt and covetousness of taxpayer dollars, the government is the problem, not the solution. So it should just steer clear of the private debt markets and clean up its own house.

  • –helen

    A kid (or adult) who gets caught stealing minor items three times goes to jail for a long stretch in Calif.
    Stealing is against the law in most states.

    Why should the bankers get away with stealing multimillions because they off load some of it on our Congresspersons (via campaign funds or otherwise)?
    When we see that going on in other countries we call it bribery and corruption

  • –helen

    A kid (or adult) who gets caught stealing minor items three times goes to jail for a long stretch in Calif.
    Stealing is against the law in most states.

    Why should the bankers get away with stealing multimillions because they off load some of it on our Congresspersons (via campaign funds or otherwise)?
    When we see that going on in other countries we call it bribery and corruption

  • fws

    don @ 26

    “the government is the problem, not the solution”

    Yeah I know reagan said this and to my shame I too used to say it. but it is a deeply flawed statement that a christian should not repeat.

    God provides government. Paul says God is the provider of even “bad” government. we give thanks for government. we do not say it is THE problem.

    and Don, as a christian you know exactly how I mean that. I am not blindly saying that government has no problems or that big government is a good thing. But we need to praise the vocation of those in government and encourage our children to consider a vocation as a politician or other government official. this is not what gets communicated with “government is the problem”. not even if it feels good to say it.

  • fws

    don @ 26

    “the government is the problem, not the solution”

    Yeah I know reagan said this and to my shame I too used to say it. but it is a deeply flawed statement that a christian should not repeat.

    God provides government. Paul says God is the provider of even “bad” government. we give thanks for government. we do not say it is THE problem.

    and Don, as a christian you know exactly how I mean that. I am not blindly saying that government has no problems or that big government is a good thing. But we need to praise the vocation of those in government and encourage our children to consider a vocation as a politician or other government official. this is not what gets communicated with “government is the problem”. not even if it feels good to say it.

  • DonS

    Frank @ 28: Did you not read what I said? “With respect to debt and covetousness of taxpayer dollars, the government is the problem, not the solution.” I qualified the statement to the very issue of debt management and regulation. You were advocating the government’s intrusion into private credit markets on the basis that private citizens have a debt problem. I merely pointed out that with respect to debt, the government has no credibility, because it is the w0rst offender. I don’t feel “good” about saying it, but is is Truth. The government absolutely refuses to address its own debt issues, and, in fact, is piling on more as we speak. Where am I wrong on this point?

  • DonS

    Frank @ 28: Did you not read what I said? “With respect to debt and covetousness of taxpayer dollars, the government is the problem, not the solution.” I qualified the statement to the very issue of debt management and regulation. You were advocating the government’s intrusion into private credit markets on the basis that private citizens have a debt problem. I merely pointed out that with respect to debt, the government has no credibility, because it is the w0rst offender. I don’t feel “good” about saying it, but is is Truth. The government absolutely refuses to address its own debt issues, and, in fact, is piling on more as we speak. Where am I wrong on this point?

  • –helen

    DonS
    ITC, you are quite right. The gov’t “maxes out its credit cards” and finds a new sucker from whom to borrow!
    But that doesn’t excuse the private citizen who does the same thing and looks for “government” i.e., the rest of us taxpayers to bail him out.
    Nor does it excuse those who evade their share of taxes.
    (No “Christian” alibi for that.)

  • –helen

    DonS
    ITC, you are quite right. The gov’t “maxes out its credit cards” and finds a new sucker from whom to borrow!
    But that doesn’t excuse the private citizen who does the same thing and looks for “government” i.e., the rest of us taxpayers to bail him out.
    Nor does it excuse those who evade their share of taxes.
    (No “Christian” alibi for that.)

  • DonS

    helen @ 30: I agree with your point. I just was not going to let Frank’s statement, that we need to be thankful for and celebrate “bad government”, stand without rebuttal. When the government is leading the way in this “have it now, no matter what the cost to future generations” mentality they have in running up the national debt, they are in no position to be addressing private debt or to be making moralistic statements about how bad debt is. Lead by example, government, not by fiat.

  • DonS

    helen @ 30: I agree with your point. I just was not going to let Frank’s statement, that we need to be thankful for and celebrate “bad government”, stand without rebuttal. When the government is leading the way in this “have it now, no matter what the cost to future generations” mentality they have in running up the national debt, they are in no position to be addressing private debt or to be making moralistic statements about how bad debt is. Lead by example, government, not by fiat.


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