January 5, 2018

5 Yr. Anniversary of PrEp HIV Prevention and It's Easy,Safe as Eating a Kosher Hot Dog

 By Benjamin, RyanThis page was published at Poz but the way the information is presented by Benjamin Ryan is as easy for some to understand as eating a hot dog.We appreciate the rticle and wanted publish without editing.

The late aughts were a vexing time for HIV prevention in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that the virus’s overall annual transmission rate had remained stagnant for nearly two decades. Diagnosis rates were rising among men who have sex with men (MSM), who had become increasingly lax about condom use since the introduction of effective antiretroviral (ARV) treatment for HIV ended the crisis years of the epidemic in 1996.
It was high time for a game changer.
Along came what is known as biomedical prevention of HIV. During the 2010s, HIV prevention science has been dominated by the fact, proven with increasing clarity by a series of important studies, that the medications used to treat the virus have a powerful capacity to prevent its spread. To wit, HIV-positive individuals who maintain an undetectable viral load thanks to ARVs have an extremely low risk of passing the virus to others; the risk may, in fact, be zero.
And then there’s pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). In 2010, researchers published a landmark global study, known as iPrEx, detailing how HIV-negative MSM at high risk for the virus could greatly reduce their risk of infection with the virus by taking a powder-blue tablet called Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine). (Truvada, which contains a pair of ARVs, was approved in 2004 for use in combination with other ARVs to treat HIV.) Ultimately, researchers would determine that good adherence to the daily regimen among MSM lowered their chances of contracting HIV by an estimated 99 percent or more.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved PrEP for high-risk groups on July 16, 2012. But despite Truvada’s awesome potential to help send into retreat the scourge of HIV among MSM in particular—an estimated 70 percent of all new infections occur among this population—PrEP hit the scene with barely a whisper. Few sought out Truvada, and overall awareness remained minimal.
The tide began to turn in the fall of 2013 when a series of media outlets began asking why so few gay men were taking such a potentially transformative tool. The public attention helped open the floodgates, and the uptake of Truvada as prevention has been steadily rising ever since.

Gilead Sciences’ report on the estimated number of U.S. residents going on PrEP for the first time per quarter between 2012 and 2015. (FTC/TDF is shorthand for Truvada.) Note the steady increase launching in late 2013.Gilead Sciences
According to Gilead Sciences, which manufactures Truvada, an estimated 125,000 U.S. residents were on PrEP as of the first quarter of 2017. This is a remarkably robust figure given that a mere 22,000 were estimated to be on Truvada as prevention in early 2015.
Because of the long lag time in the CDC’s reporting about HIV diagnoses and estimated transmission rates—often the data are two to three years old by the time they’re made public—getting a firm handle on how PrEP has affected national HIV rates remains challenging.
A major question is whether PrEP is making it into the hands of those most at risk, where it can do the most good. Signs look promising. In 2015, the CDC estimated that 492,000 MSM (about a quarter of those 18 to 59 years old who don’t have HIV) are likely at high enough risk for HIV to be good candidates for PrEP. Meanwhile, data from Gilead suggest that the vast majority of PrEP users are MSM; and numerous other sources indicate that those who opt to go on PrEP do tend to be at higher risk for the virus. So it’s likely that an increasingly significant proportion of MSM at significant risk for HIV in the United States are indeed taking Truvada, positioning the drug to avert a considerable number of new infections.
PrEP use among MSM is particularly common in such cities as New York, San Franciscoand Seattle, all of which have benefited from highly coordinated, localized efforts to promote PrEP among MSM.
San Francisco in particular has experienced a plummeting HIV diagnosis rate since 2012, a decline certainly tied to increasing treatment rates among the local HIV population, but also likely to PrEP as well. The Kaiser Permanente Northern California PrEP program, one of the largest in the nation, has data on a cumulative 5,000 years of PrEP use among its members. Thus far, there have been only a small handful of HIV transmissions among these individuals—cases limited to those whose PrEP use was interrupted because they experienced a lapse in insurance or temporarily dropped out of medical care with Kaiser. So despite initial signs in trials of PrEP that MSM would likely not adhere well to the daily drug regimen, this trove of real-world evidence strongly suggests otherwise.

San Francisco’s HIV epidemic stats between 2006 and 2015. Note the considerable drop in HIV diagnosis rates beginning in 2012.San Francisco Department of Health, HIV Epidemiology Report, Published Sept. 2016
In February, the CDC released an exciting estimate that overall U.S. HIV infection rates finally dropped 18 percent between 2008 and 2014. Researchers at the federal agency pointed to the effects of HIV treatment as prevention (TasP) as a likely major driver of the drop and speculated that PrEP may have affected the decline seen in 2014.
On the less promising side, the predominant users of PrEP appear to be white men over the age of 25. This means that Truvada use among those with the highest HIV risk—Black MSM, especially those under 25, maintain staggering rates of infection—remains particularly disappointing. These racial differences in PrEP uptake indicate that a tragic downside of the prevention pill is that it stands poised to widen existing racial disparitiesin HIV transmission rates among MSM.
Addressing such disparities, C. Bradley Hare, MD, the director of HIV care and prevention at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco, says “Clearly, we’re still missing very high-risk populations. We’re not penetrating into all the at-risk communities at the same levels we need to really drive down the epidemic across all the different risk groups.”
To follow is an overview of some of the most important scientific findings about PrEP, including details about its effectiveness, the three known cases of PrEP failure, and safety and side effects. There’s also the thorny, controversial question of how starting Truvada affects individuals’ level of sexual risk taking. And finally, we take a sneak peek at future forms of PrEP. Click on the hyperlinks for more about any of the research.

C. Bradley Hare addressing the 2016 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in BostonCourtesy of Benjamin Ryan
How Effective Is PrEP? 
There are two ways of examining how well PrEP works: on an individual level and on a population level. The placebo-controlled iPrEx trial found that the group of MSM who received PrEP had a 44 percent lower risk of HIV than those in the group that got the placebo. In 2015, researchers in the PROUD study in the United Kingdom—designed to better reflect real-world use of PrEP—announced that the group of MSM who received Truvada had an 86 percent lower HIV rate than those in the group assigned to wait and receive Truvada on a deferred basis.
Evidence reported in January 2017 suggested that the recent widespread practice among HIV-negative London MSM of purchasing a generic version of Truvada online—PrEP is not yet covered by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS)—was likely a key driver of a 40 percent one-year drop in HIV diagnosis rates at four London sexual health clinics that diagnose one third of the nation’s new cases of the virus.
As for how well PrEP works among individuals, its effectiveness is tied to how well people adhere to the daily regimen. For MSM, researchers have relied on mathematical modeling to estimate that taking Truvada daily is associated with a 99 percent HIV risk reduction, four to six pills weekly reduces risk by 96 percent, and two to three tablets weekly cuts risk by 76 percent.
Importantly, researchers have found that PrEP is not associated with any serious side effects, specifically known as grade 3 or 4 adverse events. Truvada use can give rise to two milder side effects in HIV-negative individuals, including small reductions in kidney function and bone mineral density.
Two decades of scientific research and clinical use inform clinicians’ knowledge of Truvada’s risks when used as treatment for HIV. But the research community still lacks long-term safety data for the tablet’s use among HIV-negative individuals because PrEP is relatively new on the scientific scene and the follow-up time of clinical trials is limited. In the meantime, one scientific paper reassuringly stated that short- or medium-term use of PrEP (up to five years) is as safe as aspirin.
Research indicates that PrEP-prompted changes in kidney function are generally reversible after an individual goes off Truvada. Additionally, Truvada has not apparently been responsible for any permanent kidney injury in HIV-negative individuals. And thanks to the recommended minimum of twice-yearly kidney function tests that go along with a PrEP prescription, clinicians can track any shifts that may be a cause for worry, in particular among older individuals and those with health conditions such as diabetes that may affect kidney health. (In two major PrEP studies, nearly all cases of creatinine clearance decline—an indication of reduced kidney function—occurred among those older than 40.)
PrEP may cause a modest decline in kidney function that is generally reversible after individuals stop taking Truvada.Istock
Thus far, Truvada use among HIV-negative individuals has not been linked to any bone fractures. And as with kidney function reduction, people who experience bone loss on PrEP will likely return to normal after stopping Truvada. Important questions do remain, however, about how Truvada may impede the natural bone growth that adolescents and young adults experience into their 20s and possibly lead to a lower bone density set point that could raise the risk of fractures later in life.
Research is currently under way to investigate ways to ward off bone problems among people on Truvada, such as through vitamin D or calcium supplements.
PrEP appears to pose a very low risk of promoting drug resistance to either of the drugs in Truvada. For such an effect to occur, an individual would need to contract the virus and then spend a period of time taking Truvada while HIV positive, allowing the virus to mutate in the presence of the medication. (The two drugs in Truvada are not sufficient to effectively treat an HIV infection; at least an additional third ARV is required.) In clinical trials of PrEP, only 0.5 percent of participants developed drug resistance, mostly because they contracted HIV shortly before starting PrEP (this group had a 37 percent chance of developing drug resistance), leading them to test false negative for the virus prior to going on Truvada.  
Cases of PrEP Failure
Out of thousands of MSM who received PrEP in clinical trials, there were no cases of anyone acquiring HIV when tests indicated they were taking at least four tablets of Truvada per week. But the trials were not necessarily large enough to allow for what turned out to be such a rare outcome as a PrEP failure.
“If you looked at 10 times the number of people, might you have had a few failures?” says Kenneth Mayer, MD, medical research director at Fenway Health in Boston, an important locus of PrEP research and clinical practice. “We just don’t know.”
Thus far, in real-world practice there have been three documented cases of gay men contracting HIV while apparently adhering well to the daily PrEP regimen. The first two reported cases are simpler to make sense of. Both involved MSM contracting rare, highly drug-resistant strains of HIV that apparently evaded Truvada’s protective effects. Multiple sources of evidence supported each of these men’s claims that they were adherent to the daily Truvada regimen.
The third case involved a gay man in Amsterdam who was also adherent to PrEP according to multiple sources of evidence and who did not apparently contract a drug-resistant HIV strain. The researchers behind the PrEP study in which the man was a participant speculate that his “remarkably high” level of sexual risk taking—during his first three months on PrEP he had 90 sexual partners and engaged in 100 acts of condomless anal sex—led him to beat the odds in some way.

Elske Hoornenborg of the Public Health Service Amsterdam with her poster presentation on the Amsterdam PrEP failure case at CROI 2017 in SeattleBen Ryan
News of these three cases—the first story broke in February 2016—has caused a firestorm of interest among MSM. But despite the voluminous (and often acrimonious) nature of online chatter about these cases, they remain quite rare in the grand scope of widespread PrEP use. And while new cases will likely crop up with some regularity, there is every reason to believe that proportionally such PrEP failures will remain very uncommon.
That said, there is also reason to presume that other cases of PrEP failure have fallen below the radar. Each of the three known cases were reported by decidedly savvy clinicians or researchers who knew what steps to take, including the urgent need to order time-sensitive blood tests to ensure that a substantial level of scientific proof supported their claim to have discovered a case of true PrEP failure and not just an instance of HIV acquisition in the context of poor adherence to PrEP.
In Mayer’s words, the PrEP failure cases “show us that PrEP is not 100 percent protective.” However, he says, “I don’t feel like people should reflexively say you have to use condoms when you take PrEP. But I think for an informed consumer, if zero risk is key, then a ‘belt and suspenders’ make sense. And if STIs [sexually transmitted infections] is a concern, then again, condoms make sense.
PrEP’s Role in Increased Sexual Risk Taking
PrEP remains most controversial because of how it may affect sexual risk taking among its users. Almost across the board, the trials of PrEP did not show that starting Truvada was associated with evidence of increased sexual risk taking—a phenomenon known as risk compensation—such as reported declines in condom use rates or increased STI diagnosis rates. However, a French trial of the non-daily-dosing regimen of PrEP reported in 2016 that when the participants switched from the placebo phase of the study to the open-label phase (when they all knew they were receiving Truvada), there was a significant drop in reported condom use. (For more information on what has sometimes known an intercourse-based PrEP protocol, click here.)

The French & Canadian IPERGAY study of an intercourse-based dosing protocol for PrEP saw a statistically significant rise in reported condomless sex rates after the double-blinded placebo phase ended and the open-label phase began.
As for real-world data on PrEP-associated risk compensation, such information is difficult to parse, given the multiple factors at play. Such moving parts include long declining rates of condom use among MSMalready-rising STI rates among MSM and the frequent STI testing that is a part of a PrEP prescription, which may play a role in driving up diagnosis rates.

STI rates have long been rising among MSM in particular.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/2015 STD Surveillance Report
Voluminous anecdotal evidence has suggested a connection between PrEP use and changes in sexual behavior in the MSM community; those with a hookup app account in cities where PrEP is popular have likely witnessed considerable recent changes in personal safer-sex policies among fellow users. However, the major players in the PrEP research and clinical community, buttressed by PrEP’s clinical trial data, have long resisted acknowledging any such link. Their resistance is finally starting to soften as experiences with and analyses of real-world use of PrEP grow more detailed and nuanced.
Kaiser Permanente North California has provided the richest data regarding risk compensation effects among PrEP users. Researchers from the integrated health care system recently published a report on nearly 1,000 people who started PrEP through 2014 and were followed for a cumulative 850 years through June 2015. They found that quarterly rates of rectal gonorrhea and urethral chlamydia increased steadily in the group and approximately doubled after one year.
survey of PrEP users at Kaiser’s San Francisco clinic, reported in late 2014, found that about four in 10 said they used condoms less after starting Truvada.

Fenway’s Kenneth MayerMarilyn Humphries
Mayer says he believes PrEP is contributing to increased sexual risk taking among MSM but does not believe Truvada use is the primary cause of such shifts.
“It’s safe to say that PrEP is definitely increasing [STI] screening rates, and it’s attracting a group of individuals who don’t want to use condoms,” Mayer says. “The question is, how much were they not using condoms in the past? That’s tricky. What I think is uncommon is somebody going into the clinic and saying, ‘I’ve used condoms every single day of my life up until now and today I’m ready to throw the condoms away.’”
“We’re certainly seeing increased high risk behavior, less condom use, and PrEP is one factor among others that is driving that, or contributing to that,” says Kaiser’s Hare.

A billboard promoting PrEP in West Hollywood points provocatively to Truvada’s capacity to lessen anxieties about sex.Courtesy of the Los Angeles LGBT Center
Whether or not PrEP causes a rise in STI rates, one thing is abundantly clear: PrEP use is associated with very high STI rates. (All the more reason those taking PrEP greatly benefit from the quarterly medical monitoring required to maintain a prescription and the recommended minimum of twice-yearly STI tests.) An analysis of MSM using PrEP in Seattle found they had chlamydia and gonorrhea rates more than 20 times that of the general MSM population. (The report also found men reported using condoms less for receptive anal intercourse during their first year on PrEP.) And a meta-analysis of numerous studies of MSM that reported on STIs found that the rates of new STI diagnoses among HIV-negative MSM on Truvada were 25 times greater for gonorrhea, 11 times greater for chlamydia and 45 times greater for syphilis, compared with the rates among MSM not on PrEP. Kaiser’s San Francisco clinic reported in September 2015 that half of all their patients on PrEP were diagnosed with at least one STI during their first year on Truvada.
New Forms of PrEP 
When it comes to concerns about Truvada’s safety, efficacy or the ability of at-risk populations to use PrEP successfully, it’s important to note that the pale blue tablet is unlikely to remain the only player in the PrEP game for long. Two major clinical trials already under way are comparing new forms of PrEP with Truvada.
“We know that Truvada is not going to be the answer for everybody,” says Hare. “So we’re all looking for safer and different options for PrEP.”
One Phase III trial will determine whether Gilead’s Descovy (emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide) is as effective as Truvada in preventing HIV and whether it is associated with fewer side effects. (Three clinical trial phases are required before a treatment can gain approval.) Descovy contains an updated version of the tenofovir disoproxil fumarate component of Truvada that research in HIV-positive individuals indicates is safer for the bones and kidneys.

The FDA recently approved Descovy for use as a component of HIV treatment.
second Phase III study is looking at a long-acting injectable form of PrEP: ViiV Healthcare’s ARV cabotegravir, given every eight weeks. Such a new PrEP modality could provide an excellent option to those who struggle with a daily drug regimen.
Additionally, a Phase II trial is investigating intravenous infusions of a broadly neutralizing antibody known as VRC01 for use as PrEP.
Results from the trials of Descovy, VRC01 and long-acting cabotegravir are expected in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively. Further down the road, we may see PrEP in the form of injectables requiring more widely spaced dosing, a subdermal implant and a microbicidal enema.
In the grand scope of the HIV epidemic, PrEP will ideally amount to a vital stopgap measure. For now, as the U.S. public health, advocacy and medical community strives to increase the proportion of the HIV population on successful ARVs, people at risk for the virus can greatly protect themselves by going on PrEP. Then, as the 2020s progress, the number of people who have untreated HIV and are therefore significantly infectious, will hopefully decline to such an extent that the need for PrEP will increasingly wane.
Benjamin Ryan is POZ’s editor at large, responsible for science coverage. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

X-Hasidic Mom Lost Her Kids When She Came Out but Now She's Recovered Custody

NEW YORK — Chavie Weisberger is braving a new world as a single mother in New York City after walking away from a failing marriage and her conservative religious roots.

“Growing up in the Hasidic community, that takes up every detail of your life,” Weisberger explained. “I was living under this threat of losing my children completely which ultimately happened.”

Like most teens in her Hasidic Jewish community, Weisberger recalls having little choice in who she could marry. At the age of 19, she met with her future husband, twice.

“My parents encouraged me and said as long as you respect him you’ll learn to like him,” she recalled.

After the wedding, three children quickly followed and so did the doubts. Weisberger sought professional help.

“I came home and told my mom the therapist said that I might be a lesbian and she said, ‘what’s that?’”

In 2009, she was granted a divorce.

“Eventually I discovered a Jewish LGBT community where there was support for people to live their truth.”

But her ex-husband moved to get full custody of the children claiming Weisberger violated the religious upbringing clause in their divorce.

He won custody in 2015, but the decision was reversed in 2017 and now Weisberger has primary custody of the children.

“Now we can go to the public library and we can go to the beach and we can read Harry Potter which it turns out my children are obsessed with," Weisberger said. "So it's an exciting new world.”

New York Very own Station

January 4, 2018

ISIS Gay Killer By Stoning and Throwing from Top of Buildings Caught in Iraq

A notorious ISIS executioner dubbed 'White Beard' has been captured by Iraqi security forces, according to reports.

Abu Omer, a jihadi kingpin who is known for his long white beard, has previously been caught on camera appearing to stone civilians to death under the militant group's rule in Mosul, Iraq.

Locals confirmed his arrest to the AhlulBayt News Agency on January 1 after residents revealed his hiding place to the city.

Omer was reportedly present when gay people were thrown from buildings and victims executed for offenses like blasphemy.

Members of the security forces took selfies with the captured terror suspect (Image: ABNA 24) 
ISIS claims St Petersburg supermarket blast that injured Christmas shoppers after bomb packed with shrapnel detonated.

In March 2015, chilling images emerged of three men being forced to their knees and publicly beheaded by a sword-wielding jihadi.

Photographs show an elderly man, purportedly Omer, using a microphone to read the blindfolded men's charges to the crowd before the executioner steps forward to deliver a deadly blow.

And now Abu 'White Beard' Omer may now face execution himself. 
A notorious ISIS executioner dubbed 'White Beard' has been captured by Iraqi security forces, according to reports.
Abu Omer, a jihadi kingpin who is known for his long white beard, has previously been caught on camera appearing to stone civilians to death under the militant group's rule in Mosul, Iraq.
Locals confirmed his arrest to the AhlulBayt News Agency on January 1 after residents revealed his hiding place to the city.
Omer was reportedly present when gay people were thrown from buildings and victims executed for offences like blasphemy.

Photographs show an elderly man, purportedly Omer, using a microphone to read the blindfolded men's charges to the crowd before the executioner steps forward to deliver a deadly blow. 
Last week, a British army commander said the fight against the militant group was far from over.
Major General Felix Gedney, a deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, said ISIS remains a threat to the region and "to our homelands as well".

This picture claims to show Abu Omer emerging from a police car after
 his capture 

"But the military operations here over the past years have hit them very hard," he said.
"We've taken an enormous amount of territory from them, we've killed large numbers of ISIS militants, and we continue to do so.
"So we have severely degraded their ability to conduct operations outside of Iraq and Syria, as well as degrading their capability in."
In 2014, ISIS blitzed across large swathes of Syria, seizing Raqqa before spreading into north and western Iraq, capturing Mosul and even advancing to the edges of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

 During 2017, Major General Gedney said more than 23,000 square miles have
 been liberated from ISIS across Syria and Iraq, as well as 4.5 million people 
from under their oppressive rule.
 Raqqa served as the capital of Islamic State's so-called "caliphate" and had been
 under the group's control for more than three-and-a-half years until it was 
recaptured in October.
 Abu Omer, a jihadi kingpin reposnsible for the crime you see perpetraed
 of trhowing a gay man to his death as well as others

In early December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formally announced ISIS had been driven out of Iraq.
But Major General Gedney said Iraqi security forces are continuing to hunt down remnants of the militant group "hiding throughout the country".
Mirror UK

H.S.Football StarJake Bain Came Out, Now Headed For All Star Indiana U

 High school football star Jake Bain is tackling homophobia head on. In October, he came out during an assembly at his high school in St. Louis, Missouri. Then in December, the athlete accepted a scholarship to Indiana State University after he came out as gay to the university's head coach.

“Most people don’t have to come out. Most people don’t have to worry that they will be judged based on who they are attracted to,” Bain said during his tear-filled speech at John Burroughs High School. The 18-year-old football captain said he came out publicly to send a positive message to other LGBTQ athletes.

“Playing football and being gay, those two things don’t really collide with each other usually, at least not in the public eye,” Bain told NBC News. “So, I thought it would be nice for people out there who might have insecurities about coming out, if they saw someone like me who is a successful football player and who can also be openly gay."

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer student athletes generally experience a more negative climate than their straight peers, with 85 percent saying they have been subjected to verbal slurs, according to advocacy group LGBTQ Sportsafe. The organization's CEO, Eric Lueshen, said homophobia manifests itself in sports largely due to stereotypes around masculinity and femininity. In masculine sports like football, he explained, gay players are seen as anomalies.

“As we see these athletes come out, that is really shattering these stereotypes that society has around LGBTQ athletes in sports, and these stereotypes are fueled by ignorance,” Lueshen told NBC News. “And just by being open about who they are, they educate other people, and that really normalizes LGBTQ athletes and their experience.”   

Bain, a running back, finished his high school football career with 50 touchdowns, 3,700 rushing yards and a stellar 255-yard game in a state championship victory. But after he came out, his reputation was no longer only about his skills on the field. His sexuality, he said, made him a target to some opposing players. When they tackled him, he recalled, they would often yell slurs at him.

“People would say things like ‘Stay down you f—g’ or ‘Gay people aren’t meant to play football,’ things of that nature,” he said.

"It definitely hurt a lot," he added. "The thing that hurt the most, was people were attacking me for something that I couldn’t change."

While opposing players could be cruel, Bain said his teammates had his back “no matter what.” He recalled one teammate who defended him after an opposing player stomped on him and called him a slur after he was tackled.

“One of my players actually got up and got in the kid’s face and started talking to him — like yelling at him — telling him to mind his own business and stuff like that,” Bain said. “Just seeing that, seeing my teammates who are really willing to go to battle for me, it was just really a great feeling for me.” Bain said his coach, John Merritt, who is African-American, was especially supportive.

“He shared stories with me about how when he was growing up playing football, a lot of people would make fun of him on the field because of his race,” Bain said. “So he definitely gave me some good insight on ways to kind of prepare for it and to be ready for it when it happens and how to respond.”

Bain said Merritt always encouraged him and his the teammates to take the high road when opposing players made insensitive or offensive comments.

“I think he knew we were going to hear those things throughout the season,” Bain said, “so he made a point to talk about how the best way to kind of react to those people on the field is to group together as a team and retaliate with our play instead of with our words.”

Bain said that receiving support from his community has made him a stronger person.

“It’s made me realize that I do have a lot of people behind me who are going to go to war with me no matter what, and I think it definitely, though it brought out a lot of evil in people, it also brought out a lot of great things in people,” he said.

 High school football running back Jake Bain Margaret Bahe
As more and more LGBTQ athletes like Bain come out, they create a more accepting environment for their peers, according to Lueshen. But while female athletes have many out role models, like WNBA player Brittney Griner and soccer star Megan Rapinoe, he said visibility remains a challenge for gay athletes in professional men’s sports.

"Having a role model to look up to, whether it’s in the NBA or NFL, especially for a young gay athlete — whether they’re closeted or open — that’s extremely important, because you really ultimately have to be seen in order to be understood, and so without being visible the only thing that people have to make judgments off of are those stereotypes," Lueshen said.

 Jake Bain(R) and boyfriend Hunter on jr. Prom
 Jake Bain, right  

When LGBTQ players come out, Lueshen added, their communities typically embrace them. “Most of the difficulties either closeted or openly LGBT athletes experience ... stem from a personal or internal struggle to accept themselves,” he explained.

After battling his internal struggles with coming out, Bain is now focused on helping others and breaking down external barriers. Before he committed to Indiana State University in December, for example, Bain sat down with the school's head football coach to tell him he's openly gay and has no intention of hiding his sexuality.

“They’ve said from the very beginning they’re going to embrace me 100 percent for who I am and that my sexuality isn’t going to be a factor at all on the team or within the community,” Bain said. “So just to know that I’m already going to have people who are going to support me, like my teammates now do, it’s definitely a good feeling.”

 In addition to receiving the full support of his football team, Bain said he has also received support from the wider high school community. Before he came out officially to the whole school in his October speech, he attended the junior prom with his boyfriend last May. The couple also plan to go to the senior prom together this year.

“I think people genuinely love to see that myself and him are able to be ourselves and be who we want to be and not have to worry about people around us making fun of us or passing judgment on us,” he said.

Since coming out, Bain said he has received thanks from youth around the country — including athletes from other high schools — who have lauded him for being an out role model.

“There’s been a lot of students, both out and who have yet to come out, who have approached me since I’ve come out,” he said, “and the message they’ve given me is that I’ve led the way for them to be whoever they want to be.”

by Julie Compton 

Interview with Bannon: "She's Dumb as a Brick" and He "Will Crack Like An Egg"

Steve Bannon gave an interview to author Michael Wolff that is jaw-dropping — even by Bannon's extreme standards.
Why this matters: Bannon's comments won't surprise anyone who's spoken to him, but as on the record statements, they are shocking sources close to the president. The White House was prepared for the Wolff book to be bad for them — and sources there have told me he spent a ton of time in the building visiting with Bannon — but they weren't prepared for Bannon doing this.
According to The Guardian, Bannon touched the third rail of Trumpworld — going after the president's blood family:
  • Attacking Don Junior: Bannon described the meeting in Trump Tower with the Russian lawyer — arranged by the president's eldest son — as "treasonous" and "unpatriotic." Bannon also predicted this of the Russia investigation: "They're going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV".'
  • Hinting there's a "there" there: Per the Guardian: “ 'You realize where this is going,' [Bannon] is quoted as saying. 'This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to f---ing Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr, and Jared Kushner … It's as plain as a hair on your face.' " 
  • Taking his war against Jared Kushner to new depths: Per The Guardian: "Last month it was reported that federal prosecutors had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, the German financial institution that has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kushner property empire. Bannon continues: 'It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit. The Kushner shit is greasy. They're going to go right through that. They're going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me.' "
  • The Guardian Posting below but first Trump goes After Bannon on Wed. (Axios):
  • The White House released a statement from President Trump slamming Steve Bannon, after it  emerged that Bannon had gone after Trump's family in interviews with Michael Wolff for his forthcoming book.
    The key quote: "Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind."
    Full statement from President Trump:
    Steve Bannon has nothing to do with me or my Presidency. When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind. Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination by defeating seventeen candidates, often described as the most talented field ever assembled in the Republican party.
    "Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn't as easy as I make it look. Steve had very little to do with our historic victory, which was delivered by the forgotten men and women of this country. Yet Steve had everything to do with the loss of a Senate seat in Alabama held for more than thirty years by Republicans. Steve doesn't represent my base—he's only in it for himself.
    "Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was. It is the only thing he does well. Steve was rarely in a one-on-one meeting with me and only pretends to have had influence to fool a few people with no access and no clue, whom he helped write phony books.
    "We have many great Republican members of Congress and candidates who are very supportive of the Make America Great Again agenda. Like me, they love the United States of America and are helping to finally take our country back and build it up, rather than simply seeking to burn it all down."
    Continued from The Guardian
  • Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has described the Trump Tower meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”, according to an explosive new book seen by the Guardian.
  • Trump-Russia investigation: the key questions answered 
  • Bannon, speaking to author Michael Wolff, warned that the investigation into alleged collusion with the Kremlin will focus on money laundering and predicted: “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”
  • Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, reportedly based on more than 200 interviews with the president, his inner circle and players in and around the administration, is one of the most eagerly awaited political books of the year. In it, Wolff lifts the lid on a White House lurching from crisis to crisis amid internecine warfare, with even some of Trump’s closest allies expressing contempt for him.
  • Bannon, who was chief executive of the Trump campaign in its final three months, then White House chief strategist for seven months before returning to the rightwing Breitbart News, is a central figure in the nasty, cutthroat drama, quoted extensively, often in salty language.
  • 'Idiot': Murdoch mocked Trump after phone call on immigration, book claims 
  • He is particularly scathing about a June 2016 meeting involving Trump’s son Donald Jr, son-in-law Jared Kushner, then campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in New York. A trusted intermediary had promised documents that would “incriminate” rival Hillary Clinton but instead of alerting the FBI to a potential assault on American democracy by a foreign power, Trump Jr replied in an email: “I love it.”
  • The meeting was revealed by the New York Times in July last year, prompting Trump Jr to say no consequential material was produced. Soon after, Wolff writes, Bannon remarked mockingly: “The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers.
  • “Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”
  • Bannon went on, Wolff writes, to say that if any such meeting had to take place, it should have been set up “in a Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire, with your lawyers who meet with these people”. Any information, he said, could then be “dump[ed] … down to Breitbart or something like that, or maybe some other more legitimate publication”.
  • Bannon added: “You never see it, you never know it, because you don’t need to … But that’s the brain trust that they had.”
  • Bannon also speculated that Trump Jr had involved his father in the meeting. “The chance that Don Jr did not walk these jumos up to his father’s office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero.”
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed last May, following Trump’s dismissal of FBI director James Comey, to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election. This has led to the indictments of four members of Trump’s inner circle, including Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Manafort has pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges; Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. In recent weeks Bannon’s Breitbart News and other conservative outlets have accused Mueller’s team of bias against the president. 
  • Trump predicted in an interview with the New York Times last week that the special counsel was “going to be fair”, though he also said the investigation “makes the country look very bad”. The president and his allies deny any collusion with Russia and the Kremlin has denied interfering.
  • Bannon has criticised Trump’s decision to fire Comey. In Wolff’s book, obtained by the Guardian ahead of publication from a bookseller in New England, he suggests White House hopes for a quick end to the Mueller investigation are gravely misplaced.
  • “You realise where this is going,” he is quoted as saying. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner … It’s as plain as a hair on your face.”
  • Last month it was reported that federal prosecutors had subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, the German financial institution that has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kushner property empire. Bannon continues: “It goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit. The Kushner shit is greasy. They’re going to go right through that. They’re going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me.”
  • Scorning apparent White House insouciance, Bannon reaches for a hurricane metaphor: “They’re sitting on a beach trying to stop a Category Five.” 
  •  in Washington

January 3, 2018

The Year of The RussianPersecution of Gays Defying Modern History

 At the beginning of the Chechen gay pesecution this gay man had the gall to wrap himself in the rainbow flag in protest of their treatment and jailings which latter will become dissapearences and the rainbow flag which latter would become a possible death sentence crime

I can think of only two times it’s happened to me: I read a news story, or even a series of stories, and thought that it contained such extreme exaggerations that it had to be, essentially, false. I could enumerate my reasons, which were similar both times: the stories came from the Russian media, which is unreliable (even in the independent media outlets, reporting standards are often lax); the stories described awful, nearly unthinkable violence that came so neatly, so horrifyingly packaged, that it defied belief. I have known violence to be insidious, messy, trivialized by all participants, even as it happens, and these stories seemed to paint the exact opposite picture. These stories were preposterous—the word Hannah Arendt used in explaining why the world was so slow to understand the murderous threats posed by Hitler and Stalin.

The first story emerged in Russia about four years ago. Reports claimed that organized groups of young men were entrapping gay men, torturing them on camera, and posting the videos. I had a hard time believing that the effort was as well organized and widespread as the reports claimed. I have since learned that it was much more widespread than initially reported. Vigilante groups continue to entrap gay men in several Russian cities.

This spring, I didn’t believe a story that claimed that authorities—no longer vigilantes but actual police—in Chechnya were rounding up and torturing gay men and that some of these men had apparently been killed, while others were released to their relatives, who were instructed to kill the men themselves. I tried to latch onto the things that weren’t true. There were rumors of special concentration camps for gay men—human-rights researchers said that this didn’t check out. The original article in the muckraking Novaya Gazeta blamed the wave of arrests on a Moscow activist’s effort to organize a Pride march somewhere in the North Caucasus. This was a classic case of blaming the victims, and also false. Yet the rest of the story was true.

I flew to Moscow in late May to report the story of the men who had been able to flee Chechnya, and at that time I still couldn’t quite imagine the scale of the purges. I dropped my bag at a hotel and immediately headed to one of the safe houses. It had been difficult to get people to agree to talk with me, and I feared to give them time to change their minds. I spent the rest of the evening and half of the night talking to victims of the Chechen attacks and went back again the next day, and the day after that. In my head, though, the stories began to run together after a couple of hours. This happens when you listen to accounts of extreme violence: bare suffering is a monotonous experience. I developed short-hand notations for the executioners’ repertoire: electrocution, solitary-confinement cells, beatings, dunking in a vat of cold water, starvation.

Back in New York, I sorted through my notes on the men’s personal tragedies. There was the guy whose name had been given up by someone he seemed to have loved—and who was now presumed dead. There was the man who had left his lover behind. And there were several men who were married to women and had children they adored, who were struggling to figure out how to save their own lives and keep their families. There were several very young men who desperately missed their mothers but also knew that their families would probably kill them if they made contact.

They were all men. This was not because lesbians faced less danger in Chechnya but because they faced more. The men, at least, were free to leave the region on their own; women’s lives were controlled entirely by their fathers, brothers, and husbands. The activists who were helping the men had sheltered one young woman, but, by the time I got to Moscow, she had disappeared. I learned bits of her story from recordings of two conversations with her on someone’s phone. A few days later, she was dead, apparently killed by her family.

For security reasons, I couldn’t write about the rescue effort in much detail, but I bet that, if I had read a story about it, I wouldn’t have believed it. I could not have imagined that in Russia, where civil society has been trampled by the authorities with such force, queer people, who have been the government’s scapegoat of choice for several years, would be able to pull off an effort as ingenious and sustained as the one I observed. By the end of the year, the Russian L.G.B.T. Network and the Moscow L.G.B.T. Community Center had succeeded in getting a hundred and six people out of Chechnya and then out of Russia altogether. A handful of people with no special training and very little funding at the start managed to save a hundred and six people from certain death.

Toward the end of the summer, my contacts in Moscow told me that they were wrapping up their effort. They thought that they were about to send the last of their charges out of the country. But then people kept coming. 

So far, most of the men they have helped have gone to Canada. A few have landed in Latin America and in Europe. Many of them fear to go to countries with large Chechen diasporas, where they are likely to be targeted again in exile. None of the men appear to have made it to the United States. In general, the U.S. has been one of the half-dozen countries that are reasonably likely to grant asylum to people persecuted on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity—a small subset of the very small number of countries that welcome asylum seekers at all. (Other countries in the select group that grant asylum to L.G.B.T. people include South Africa, Belgium, Argentina, the Netherlands, and Sweden). For now, L.G.B.T. asylum seekers are still faring well in the U.S., but the application process takes years, and, with the Trump Administration reshaping this country’s immigration landscape, it’s hard to imagine this country welcoming many Muslim gay men, even when they are fleeing mortal danger.

January 2, 2018

Homoerotic Vatican Crip With The Hottest Jesus Showing How The Body Should be kept?

A near-naked man, which is part of the crib at St Peter’s Square, caused a stir
A near-naked man, which is part of the crib at St Peter’s Square, caused a stirPINTOVINCENZO PINTO/AFP/GETTY
Conservative traditionalists have criticised this year’s Vatican Nativity scene as covert propaganda by the gay lobby, describing one almost naked figure as homoerotic.
The St Peter’s Square crib supposedly depicts the seven corporal works of mercy — Catholic acts of penance and charity that include clothing the naked. But traditionalists have suggested that it is a subversive diorama, with the muscular figure in need of clothing described on social media as languid and “vaguely homoerotic”.
A photo of the crib is understood to have been rejected by Facebook for breaching its policy on sexually provocative images. One observer remarked of the figure: “That guy’s been in the gym two hours a day, six days a week.” 

{Gay History-Vid} Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 -- August 6, 1931)

Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 -- August 6, 1931) was an American jazz cornetist, jazz pianist, and composer. Barnacle Bill the Sailor" (Roud 4704) is an American drinking song adapted from "Bollocky Bill the Sailor", a traditional folk song originally titled

“The idea of masculinity in Brazil is connected to soccer.” Now They Have a Gay League

 Douglas Braga left his home in rural southeastern Brazil when he was 12, moving to Rio de Janeiro to pursue the Brazilian dream and become a professional soccer player.
Training up to eight hours a day, he had to drop out of high school. He turned professional when he was 16, and at 18 was signed as a goalie by Botafogo, one of the main Rio teams in Brazil’s premier league.
Three years later, in between contracts, Braga spent some time away from the game. And he met someone — his first boyfriend.
“Playing soccer, I didn’t really know or accept that I was gay, even to myself,” he said.
When his agent contacted him to talk about new contract options, he decided that now that he was openly gay, he couldn’t return to professional soccer.
With the most World Cup titles in soccer history, Brazil is the self-labeled país do futbol, the country of soccer. And while the sport is by far Brazil’s most popular, it is traditionally associated here and throughout Latin America with a culture of machismo: a game of straight men, rife with homophobic slurs. Women are strongly discouraged from playing and often ridiculed when they do. For LGBT people, soccer has generally been considered out of the question. 
“It didn’t even cross my mind to play soccer professionally and be openly gay,” Braga said. “You really just can’t.”
Even rumors of homosexuality have caused trouble. In 2013, the pro player Emerson Sheik posted an Instagram photo of himself kissing a male friend, prompting protests in which men held signs that insulted gay people or read, “This is a place for men.” In 2007, Richarlyson, another pro player, filed a criminal complaint after his team’s director insinuated that he was gay in a television interview. The judge dismissed the case, saying that soccer is “virile, masculine and not homosexual.”
After coming out, Braga didn’t play soccer for 10 years.
Then he heard about LiGay, an LGBT soccer movement that has spread throughout Brazil since it started this year. He participated in the group’s first official tournament, the Champions LiGay, in November.
“I got on the field and was nearly in tears. It was like a time machine,” Braga said. “I was mixing two parts of my life I never, ever thought could mix.”

Members of the BeesCats, a Rio team, pose during the Champions LiGay tournament. (Pilar Olivares/Reuters)
Braga now plays for the BeesCats Soccer Boys, Rio’s first gay soccer team. The team was founded in May by André Machado, a Sao Paulo native who had played with a gay team in his hometown and had grown frustrated with the lack of playing options when he moved to Rio. He rented a pitch to test out the idea. At the first practice, 15 people came. By the fourth, there were 150. 
“There’s no law prohibiting it, but in Brazil, there’s a social barrier that de facto prohibits gays from playing,” Machado said. “Now many are rediscovering the sport after being bullied out of it as kids.”
Machado saw the opportunity to form a formal league. He reached out to gay communities in other cities and eventually got eight teams together for that first tournament in November. Since then, the LiGay has grown to 16 teams and counting from all corners of Brazil. The players are almost all gay men, along with several who are transgender.
“We’re disrupting Brazil’s crown jewel,” Machado said. “It’s one of the most machista, homophobic environments in this country, but we’re making our presence here known.”
The country has seen a wave of hate crimes against LGBT people in recent years.  
“In the context of soccer it’s even more aggravated,” said Luana Souza, a psychology professor at the University of Fortaleza who has studied homophobia in the game. “The idea of masculinity in Brazil is connected to soccer.” 
“If Brazil is 15 years behind the U.S. or Europe in terms of accepting homosexuality and LGBT rights, then Brazil’s soccer community is another 15 years behind that,” Machado said.
The BeesCats recently became the first gay team to join Rio’s amateur league. Organizers welcomed them, but when local media posted an article about their debut on Facebook, the reaction was not kind. “If it were a team from SP [Sao Paulo], I would kill them now,” wrote one Facebook user listed as being from Sao Paulo.
But Machado and the BeesCats hope their expanding movement will be a catalyst for change.
“Marta [Vieira da Silva] showed that women can play soccer, and thanks to her, there’s more acceptance of women playing. I want us to be like that for gays in soccer,” Machado said of Brazil’s star female player. “My hope is that in a few years, it’ll be considered really not okay to say homophobic slurs in soccer.”

BeesCats players during a championship match on Nov. 25. (Pilar Olivares/Reuters)
Hurling insults such as “pansy” or references to gay sex at opponents is widely accepted at professional games in Brazil. FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, has fined the Brazilian soccer federation, along with other Latin American organizations, over the issue several times in recent years. 
“It’s gives me a knot in the pit of my stomach when I hear that, en masse, at a stadium,” said Flávio Amaral, a BeesCats player.
There are several official LGBT fan clubs for professional teams, although they seldom go to the stadiums openly, fearing for their safety. High-stakes soccer games in Brazil are infamously violent — brawls are common and sometimes result in deaths. In January 2017, members of a fan club for a second-division team were violently assaulted after they brought out a rainbow flag in the stands. 
Nathalia Duarte, the founder of Galo Queer, a fan group for one of Brazil’s main clubs, said the group was bombarded with violent threats after it created its Facebook page. “We still don’t think it’s safe to go to stadiums as a queer fan club,” she said. “But prejudice is so ingrained in soccer, it wasn’t even discussed, so we feel we have to discuss it.”
Braga, the former professional player, says he can’t help but reflect on the opportunities he passed up.
“Seeing some of the guys from my time as a pro playing on TV, some of them in Europe even, it definitely makes me wonder about what would have happened if I could continue playing after coming out,” he said. “But now I’m so proud to be a part of this team and spreading this movement.”

January 1, 2018

Have a Healthy New Year

I chose to wish our readers a healthy new year than rather happy or wonderful one because of health incumbents every one of those wishes. However, not everyone sees that. Many times people with good health believe they are missing something, whether is money, relationships or overall happiness. 
The thing is if you don't have health you can't accomplish any of the other things you might have in mind. 

Good health makes it possible for you to achieve wishes and dreams. Good health makes it possible for us to try to achieve what we want. It does not guarantee that we will get any of the things we want but you know there are no guarantees in anything in life. We live from one day to the other hopping that when we are done here we would be in a form that our good memories and the people we love will stay be remembered. Those are our hopes and like everything else, nothing is guaranteed no matter how some people would like to paint it. We would all love to be in a magical place of eternal light an happiness and some of living their everyday lives dreaming and talking about such Nirvana.

We can only wish that whatever believes are used to get us thru the bad times work in our beings to help us see another day. Help us wok to stay healthy.

With gratitude and humbleness accompanied by the best wishes for you on this coming year,

Adamfoxie*blog International

December 31, 2017

Watch Celebrate 2018 New Year Celebrations Around The World


2017 Was a Good Year But Only if you are Republican

Was 2017 a good year for the world? Yes, if you’re a Republican

Two in three Republicans say 2017 was a good year compared to just a quarter in 2016 

2017 was a good year – at least for Republicans. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, 43% of Americans describe the past year as a good year for the world, up 14 points from what the public said at the end of 2016. However, that improvement is mostly the result of a GOP turn from negative to positive – today, two-thirds of Republicans say that 2017 was a good year. Last year, just 25% of Republicans believed 2016 was a good year for the world.

Independents also feel better about 2017 than they did about 2016; Democrats feel somewhat worse.

Last year, only 8% of Republicans said the United States had become more respected in the world in 2016. As for 2017, 48% of Republicans believe the country has become more respected. 80% of Democrats say it has become less respected.

Of course, much of the difference is due to the change in Administrations in Washington, and the replacement of Democratic President Barack Obama by Republican President Donald Trump. The partisan difference extends to the assessment of how 2017 has treated one’s own family. Last year, a majority of Republicans said that 2016 had been a bad year for themselves and for their families. This year, three-quarters of Republicans say the past year has been good for themselves and their loved ones.

As for Democrats, their assessment of how the past year has been for their families is about the same as the way they rated 2016 last December.
One area where Republicans and Democrats agree is how they view the state of American political discussion – it has become much more negative in the last few years. This year, 66% say political discussion had become more negative in 2017. Last year, 59% said that about 2016, and in 2015, 55% said the same.

That doesn’t mean that politics has become more interesting. Only 27% think that, which is a few points lower than the 32% who said so in 2016 and 2015.

As for the President himself, his approval rating during his first year in office has never risen above 43% in the Economist/YouGov Poll, and has not been above 40% in the last few months. This week, at the end of 2017, 38% approve, while 52% disapprove. Disapproval has increased since the beginning of the Trump Administration.

The President has generally met the public’s expectations for his first year in office, though just 23% say he has accomplished more than they expected of him. 29% say he has accomplished less than they expected. On specifics, many Americans are still waiting. Even though the tax cut bill just became law, only 49% say he has kept his promise to cut taxes. Even fewer, 31%, say his actions have succeeded in repealing Obamacare.

Looking ahead to how Americans expect history will judge Donald Trump as President, less than a third say he will be viewed as outstanding or above average, something two-thirds of Republicans believe will be the case. Half think the Trump Presidency will be seen as below average or even worse – 40% think he will be regarded as a “poor” president.

Assessment of President Obama near the end of his second term was slightly better, but like the public’s current judgment of President Trump, it was also partisan. At the end of 2016, 49% of Republicans thought President Obama’s performance would be regarded by history as poor. Now, 71% of Democrats say Donald Trump will be regarded as a poor President.

In fact, many think that President Trump will be a one-term President. Half the public, including 44% of Republicans, do not think he will be elected to a second term in 2020.

But despite GOP skepticism about what will happen in the 2020 election, two-thirds of Republicans still want the President to run for re-election then.

Image: Getty

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