...Babies Galore...!!

ISSUE #465: June 23-29, 2013


Brian Timmons, Newsletter Author
Brian Timmons

Dear friends,

When I started Residencias Los Jardines, I started writing a weekly news letter -determined to tell all the good, bad, and the ugly. I knew some readers would be interested in the construction process. I expected others might be interested in the lifestyle of two people who had decided to live outside the box. For others, the adventures of Lita, the parrot and the cat took on an entertainment saga all its own.

Residencias Los Jardines is finished. We periodically have resales and rental availability. Some readers may be interested in this information.

Brian Timmons
Residencias Los Jardines / https://www.residenciaslosjardines.com info@residenciaslosjardines.com


Featured house this week

UNIT #123:
FOR RENT: $1,650 mo.
Available Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1516
Total area (Sq M): 140
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

This two story, detached 1,423 sf home + parking for one car has two bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms and a 2nd floor covered terrace. The open railed wrought iron cement stair case leads to the 2nd level where the master bedroom with en-suite master bathroom as well as 2nd bedroom and en-suite bathroom are located. Also accessed from the 2nd floor hallway is the covered terrace. This is a very nicely furnished home with a good floor plan for those wanting two floors.


Residencias Los Jardines
Property Management, Rentals, Re-Sales

Market Activity

Sales: one client.

Rentals: one viewing.



Unit #114: $235,000 / See Unit


Unit #112: $1,250 mo. / Available Immediately / See Unit

Unit #113: $1,350 mo. / Available Immediately / See Unit

Unit #123: $1,650 mo. / Available Immediately / See Unit

Unit #124: $1,000 mo. / Available Immediately / See Unit

Site Plan



UNIT #114
FOR SALE $235,000

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): Single Floor
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf. (plus covered parking for one car and two lockers 67 sf.) single story, semi detached house, with garden terrace, two bedrooms is a beautiful executive style home. This home consists of two large bedrooms one with six piece en-suite bathroom with additional access to separate full shower. Each bedroom has large closets with extensive built-ins for personal organization. The vaulted living room and bathroom ceilings provide a feeling of grandeur while allowing the warmer air to rise and exit through the ceiling ventilating system. There are four TVs (one in each bedroom, one in the living room and one in breakfast / dinning room.) This is a beautiful well appointed home.



UNIT #112
FOR RENT $1,250 mo.
Available Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1 Story
Type: Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. It is attached on two sides by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer.



UNIT #113
FOR RENT $1,350 mo.
Available Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1290
Total area (Sq M): 120
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2
Floor(s): 1
Type: Semi-Attached
Furnished: Yes

This 1,290 sf single floor home includes a 300 sf front terrace plus parking for one car. It is attached on one side by a 6 inch cement demising (common) wall, which prevents sound transfer. The three other sides allow light, ventilation and garden views.



UNIT #123
FOR RENT $1,650 mo.
Available Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 1516
Total area (Sq M): 140
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Floor(s): 2 Story
Type: Detached
Furnished: Yes

This two story, detached 1,423 sf home + parking for one car has two bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms and a 2nd floor covered terrace. The open railed wrought iron cement stair case leads to the 2nd level where the master bedroom with en-suite master bathroom as well as 2nd bedroom and en-suite bathroom are located. Also accessed from the 2nd floor hallway is the covered terrace. This is a very nicely furnished home with a good floor plan for those wanting two floors.



UNIT #124
FOR RENT $1,000 mo.
Available Immediately

Total Area (Sq Ft): 662
Total area (Sq M): 61
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Floor(s): 2nd Floor
Type: Semi-Detached
Furnished: Yes

This 662 sf, + covered parking for one car, is a one bedroom home on the 2nd floor overlooking the large pool. It is ideal for a single person or couple.



Our Lives

WEATHER: the rainy season continued with overcast skies and normal rains... the garden is happy.

All in a Week's Living in CR:

Babies Galore: over the past two weeks, we have two babies born to residents. In both cases, they were here from Guanacaste because of better medical facilities. Moms, dads, and babies are all doing fine.



News Items of the Week


  1. General Strike: it didn't amount to much perhaps because it rained hard that afternoon and didn't wring out any concessions or promises from the government. I've included two articles so readers can see the litany of complaints... some very petty and specialized, some nefarious, and some systemic.
  2. Property theft: again as the article states the government dropped the ball... probably because they are lawyers and this issue may affect many of their buddies.
  3. Suit re. defamation of character: I've read this a number of times and still can't find what the "defamation" is... maybe someone can help me out... but the article / action says a lot about the person and the system...
  4. Manufacturing is down, vacation reservations (disposable income) is down, wages and inflation are up. And the debate as to whether to dollarize or de-dollaraize the country seems to be basically on the back burner --which is normal... don't fix the system before the train wreck happens... In another article --whether by coincidence or by structure, the three dollarized economies --El Salvador, Ecuador, and Panama-- all had lower inflation rates. Minimum rates in the private sector will rise 6.05% and CR continues to price itself out of the mfg. market--unemployment is high, electricity is high, inflation is higher than export markets, and gas is going up to $5.35 gal for regular.
  5. A $50 million dollar feasibility study? Someone has to be kidding--right??? I think there may be a bit of padding going on.
  6. es, we now have a 4G network... kind of... but the 3G doesn't work very well and this one, like when CR first created a cell phone system, they adopted two systems which were incompatible... doesn't support iPhone 5s... perhaps they didn't get any chorizo... We had 4 power blips within a 45 min. period the other night and the power went off for 30 min. early Thursday morning... Internet speed varies considerably... reliability and quality might be goals to achieve before moving on to the next half assed thing...

Union workers and others gear up for a massive protest Tuesday

Tuesday is going to be one of those days when union employees take to the streets in what they say will be a massive demonstration.

There is no single complaint. One of the leading organizations, the Unión Nacional de Empleados de la Caja y la Seguridad Social, outlined a number of complaints, ranging from deteriorating infrastructure to concessions of public works, like the $1 billion container terminal in Moín.

The union cited the incapability of the government and the growing social inequality reflected in the deterioration of services, and institutions, the declining standard of living and corruption.

Specifically in the Caja the union cited that long wait lines for services and the number of employers who owe money.

The union called on the education sector, youth, the public sector, the employees of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, community members and pensioners to join in the protest. The response may equal some of the protests against the free trade treaty with the United States.

Strikers certainly are aware of the protests in Brazil that seem to center on the cost of living there and the expenses incurred by the central government for the coming international sports events. They are the World Cup, this month's Confederations Cup as well as the 2016 Olympic summer games.

Expats probably can expect blocked roads in the capital as strikers march to Casa Presidencial. There also may be smaller strikes in other communities.

Today the Consejo Nacional de Salarios is supposed to announce the mandatory increase in the minimum wages for private workers. The expectation is for an increase of from 2 to 3 percent. Although most of the strikers are public employees, the increase for private employees will suggest a trend.

Naturally there will be groups with their own agendas. Workers on the public docks in Moín and Limón most certainly will protest. In the past they have done so at home. But Tuesday may be different. They are trying to kill the concession that will allow the Dutch company APM Terminals, to erect a modern container handing facility.

They fear with plenty of justification that the new facility will make their jobs obsolete.

There also will be a contingent demanding quick action on a new highway to San Ramón. They successfully protested to force the central government to pull the concession given a private firm to build the road. The protesters mostly were mad about proposed tolls. Now they want the government to step in and build the project.

There also is a general uncertainty over the way the central government can toy with contracts. The firm contracted to build the San Ramón project, OAS, wants a big payoff for losing the contract.

Industrias Infinito S.A. wants more than $1 billion because the central government and the courts prevented the cooperation of the Las Crucitas gold mine. Mallon Oil Co. is considering its option because President Laura Chinchilla basically has rejected their 11-year-old contract to do exploratory drilling for petroleum in the northern zone. Strikers also are aware of the loans being acquired by the central government.

From: https://www.amcostarica.com

Sala IV ducks chance to clear up key question on property theft

The Sala IV has ducked the chance to resolve a key issue in property theft. The Sala IV, the constitutional court, rejected an appeal because it said the case still was open.

The issue centered on the traditional tendency of the Sala Tercera, the criminal branch of the Corte Surpema de Justicia, to protect the original victims in property fraud cases.

The Sala Primera, the civil appeals court, generally protects what are known as innocent third parties, that is those who purchase property from someone who is not really the owner.

The decision by the constitutional court case came as a brief memo from the Poder Judicial. The memo said that the court left open the possibility of continuing to study this legal question.

The question is important because many property thieves use fake documents to transfer real estate into their name or the name of a trusted accomplice. From there, the real estate is transferred to a third party who may not be so innocent.

In the civil court, the final recipient of the real estate would be protected, and the real owner who lost the property would only have the option of seeking redress from the persons who did the forgery. At the criminal court, the magistrates would return the property to the person who originally owned it.

One expat had to fight and eventually win a case when politically connected women said they purchased a million dollar property from a snow cone vendor on the Quepos beach. They were trying to characterize themselves as innocent third parties, but the story was so fantastic that even judges did not buy it. In most cases, the reverse is what happens.

Property theft is a continuing problem and a barrier to investment in Costa Rica. The property transfer system does not depend on the signature of an owner on a deed. What counts is a written statement from a notary that the property has changed hands. That tradition stems from a time when many citizens could not read or write.

So a motivated notary can simply transfer any piece of property in the country into the hands of fellow crooks. All it takes is one bad apple with a tendency for cocaine to totally muddle the property records.

Every few months judicial agents detain notaries and others as property thieves. Most of the cases end up in limbo in the judicial system, and frequently the case dies because the time to prosecute the case has expired. A bad situation is when a crook shows up with ownership documents from the Registro Nacional shortly after a property owner has died. Heirs are hard-pressed to dispute the claim.

An earlier article on this problem is HERE!

From: https://www.amcostarica.com

Laura Chinchilla says Businessman sues to distract discussion of OAS

The hotelier Alberto Rodriguez Baldi reacted this morning to demand that the President of the Republic, Laura Chinchilla, filed against him for defamation, and said it was an attempt to distract public opinion from the conflict between the government and the company OAS.

Baldi Rodriguez said that it is a maneuver to evade discussion of the conflict on the road to San Ramon that the government has with the Brazilian company OAS, and that he has denounced even before the Public Ministry.

President Laura Chinchilla yesterday filed a lawsuit for libel against businessman Alberto Rodriguez Baldi.

"Doña Laura is entirely free to sue anyone. I particularly feel like a huge disappointment," Baldi said in a reply to this medium circulated in their social network profile Facebook.

It was precisely in that network Baldi published a text that aims to Chinchilla would Nicoya purchased land worth millions of dollars and also the president owns a wind farm, as revealed today by The Nation.

In the publication, Baldi says Chinchilla became millionaire.

Given these statements, the president hired lawyer Alexander Rodríguez Campos and yesterday at 4 pmquedó case is filed before the Criminal Court of San Jose.

However, Baldi minimizes demand and evades discussing the case. Conversely says there substantive issues to be seeking to avoid.

"In any case if the president wants to discuss issues of corruption in a grievance process, so be it," said Baldi.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Communication, Carlos Roverssi said lawsuit was filed chelates the president in their personal capacity, and that the expenses are covered by their own resources.

"He presented it in the exercise of the right to have as a citizen to defend his honor".

From: https://www.nacion.com

Massive national general strike is on for tomorrow

June 24th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) The National Forum, the Caja Workers Union, teachers unions, dockworkers, healthcare workers, various public and private institutions, private transport drivers, motorcycle owners, community organizations, even Frente Amplio (Broad Front) will all participate in a massive general strike and protests tomorrow which will likely cripple the country.

The various groups said they are striking and protesting against a host of issues affecting the country, including corruption and impunity of public officials, controversial concessions, the killing of environmentalist, Jairo Mora, which Vice President Alfio Piva called an “accident,” the case of lawmaker Jorge Angulo (accused of extortion), the controversial Chinese-funded oil refinery planned for Moín, the case of the Crucitas open-put goldmine, President Laura Chinchilla’s use of a private jet linked to a Colombian businessman who was investigated for drug trafficking, the border road with Nicaragua known as “La Trocha,” privatization of ports, the closing of a health clinic in Montes de Oca, social inequality, deteriorating public services, and more.

The groups are also striking for what they see as government efforts to limit the “human right” of workers to strike.

In San José, the various groups plan to organize at the Fuente de la Hispanidad, and then march to the Legislative Assembly. Those groups will be accompanied by the National Civic Committee of Motorcyclists, who will begin a slow procession in La Sabana before meeting up with the other groups on their way to the Legislative Assembly.

In San Ramon, the National Forum and community organizations will meet in the central park, and will then march through the city’s major streets, ending at the highway, where they plan to block traffic for several hours. Residents in Naranjo and Palmares plan to do the same.

The newly founded East Forum will organize in the Central Park of Cartago, before marching through that city’s main streets.

In Guanacaste, protests are planned in Liberia and Nicoya, while in San Carlos educators, students, and farmers plan marches and protests of their own.

Groups from throughout the province of Puntarenas plan to gather in protest in the port city of Puntarenas as well.

Meanwhile, in the ports of Limón and Moín, the dockworkers unions will be on strike as of 9 a.m.

Protests are also planned in Heredia, Alajuela, Grecia, Turrialba, Quepos, Parrita, Jaco, Perez Zeledon, and Upala, amongst other locations.

From: https://insidecostarica.com

Economists qualify performance of manufacturing sector as “poor”

Full Article Published in crhoy.com on Jun 24, 2013

According to experts, the economic state of manufacturing in Costa Rica is poor after reports from the Central Bank show three consecutive months of decline. Trade groups cite weak international markets, increased production costs, high interest rates, and a slowdown in demand for the domestic market.

From: https://costaricareport.com

Hotels report little vacation reservations for half a year

Full Article Published in crhoy.com on Jun 24, 2013

Hotel reservations for mid-year student vacations in Costa Rica have fallen in comparison to 2012, according to the Costa Rican Association of Tourism Professionals (ACOPROT). Although trade groups in Guanacaste are still optimistic, the situation in La Fortuna de San Carlos is reported as difficult because of increased regional competition and lower flight loads.

From: https://costaricareport.com

ICE launches 4G network incompatible with iPhone 5

Full Article Published in La Nacion on Jun 24, 2013

Although the frequency selected by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) for its 4G network will not work with the iPhone 5, it will work with Nokia, LG, Samsung and Huawei Yes 4G. In Latin America, only Mexico and Puerto Rico currently have LTE networks that work with the iPhone, according to the Apple web site.

From: https://costaricareport.com

Economists ask Central Bank pay attention to economic slowdown and unemployment

Full Article Published in crhoy.com on Jun 24, 2013

Experts are asking the Central Bank to deviate from its traditional policy of controlling inflation, in order to deal with a slowing economy and increasing unemployment. One legislative proposal would tax the income of non-residents who earn interest from capital investments in Costa Rica.

From: https://costaricareport.com

Minimum wages will go up 2.4 percent July 1

Employees in the private sector will receive a 2.4 percent raise July 1 if they are receiving the minimum wage for their job category, as many Costa Ricans are.

The Consejo Nacional de Salarios approved that percentage Monday, the Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social reported.

The percentage reflects inflation for the last six months and anticipated inflation for the next half of the year, said the ministry. The percentage is based on a methodology set up by the Consejo, employers and workers in October 2011.

About 85 percent of the country's labor force work in the private sector. That is about 1,275,000 persons.

The Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado greeted the announcement with satisfaction. The chamber said that the members of the government and employers on the Consejo voted for it.

The chamber had proposed an increase of 1.84 percent.

The increase for the first six months of the year, established before Jan. 1, was 3.65 percent. So workers will receive a 6.05 percent increase for the year.

The Consejo adjusts minimum salaries every six months.

For a university graduate working for the minimum monthly wage, the decision represents a 10,983.53-colon increase, about $22.25. The mandatory salary for the first half of the year was 457,646.94 colons, and the new salary will be 468,630.47 colons, about $949.60.

This is one of the top salaries on the ministry list, which contains a mandatory wage for just about every job category.

A worker with no special skills will earn 257,219.78 colons a month for the next six months, according to the ministry. That is about $521.22.

The ministry will post the new salaries on its Web site.

The minimum wage per job category sometimes is a problem for university grads and others who are eligible for higher minimum salaries. If they insist on the legal salary, they might not be hired for lesser jobs, and employers will be vulnerable to a labor case if they pay them for less than the law stipulates.

From: https://www.amcostarica.com

Protesters today are all targeting President Chinchilla

The string of protests across the country today stem from many complaints, but all are aimed at the presidency of Laura Chinchilla.

Although the central government has promised to withdraw a legislative bill that would prohibit this kind of national strike that is planned for today, those affected are dubious.

For example, the Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza, the politically active organization of high school teachers, voted unanimously to stage the strike and march today. That's 700 affirmative votes, the organization said.

The organization will be joined by many others in what amounts to a repudiation of governmental policies for the last three years.

The more radical elements in the protests today are calling for the resignation of the president.

There is a long list of grievances, but the main reason for the protest today is that those with complaints see the president as weak. She bowed to group pressure when she suspended the concession for the San José-San Ramón highway. She said she would withdraw the bill against protests.

Protestors expect her to do likewise with their pet complaints. Casa Presidencial insiders say that Ms. Chinchilla is affected strongly by these public protests.

One major issue is the $1 billion concession for a container handling facility in Moín. Workers at the public docks there will be out in force today and probably will close down shipping.

The teachers will be gathering in front of Mall San Pedro this morning for the march to Casa Presidencial. That is conveniently located near the Universidad de Costa Rica where hundreds of students are expected to join the march. This is where much of the irresponsible radical elements can be found. In the last major protest, a student was found carrying firebombs and many others were detained for rowdy behavior.

Expats are best advised to remain at home today with their children. Public schools will be closed or nearly so, and private institutions might be hard to reach due to protests.

Marches and demonstrations are scheduled for nearly every major community n the country.

From: https://www.amcostarica.com

Comptroller asked to name those responsible for $50 million study

Full Article Published in crhoy.com on Jun 25, 2013

Congressman Walter Céspedes is calling on the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR) to make a detailed account of a $50 million feasibility study for a proposed oil refinery in Limon. Céspedes wants specific executives at the Costa Rican Oil Refinery (RECOPE) to be responsible for the study under the terms of a law governing public procurement.

From: https://costaricareport.com

New areas of growth in Latin America

Paraguay and Panama are expected to register the strongest growth in the region, according to the ECLAC and the IMF.

The most recent forecasts by international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) have identified new areas of growth in Latin America.

Countries such as Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru continue to register above-average rates of growth.

Peru is expected to maintain a growth rate of 6.3% in 2013, according to the IMF. ECLAC is forecasting a 6% increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) of Peru, which is ranked third among the region’s top growing countries.

Chile is expected to grow 4.9%, according to the IMF, and 5%, according to ECLAC, a slight drop from the 5.5% registered in 2012, but still above the regional average of 3.4%.

Ecuador also is expected to grow below the 5% rate it registered in 2012, though it is expected to continue to outperform the average, with a forecast rate of 4.4% for 2013, according to the IMF.

The projections also predict that Colombia will surpass Venezuela, with the IMF forecasting a 4.1% growth rate and the ECLAC forecasting 4.5%, up slightly from the 4% growth rate registered in 2012.

“If we were to look at the medium-sized economies, such as Peru, Colombia and Chile, and even some of the smaller ones, while leaving out large economies (Mexico, Brazil and Argentina), we would have an average growth rate for Latin America that was significantly higher than 3% or 4%,” said Paraguayan economic analyst Fernando Masi, the director of the Center for the Analysis and Promotion of the Paraguayan Economy (CADEP).

Paraguay is expected to make a considerable leap in 2013. After shrinking 1.2% in 2012, it’s expected to lead the regional ranking for 2013, with a 10% to 11% growth rate, according to the ECLAC and the IMF, respectively.

Masi said the performance of the Paraguayan economy is a repeat of the pattern in 2010, when the country’s GDP grew nearly 14%, after having decreased 4% in 2009.

Given its strong dependence on the agricultural sector, Paraguay’s economy is affected during the years in which there are climatic problems and instability in international prices, which was the case in 2009 and 2012. The following years, when these factors improved, the country resumed its growth pattern.

Another highlight is Panama, which grew 10.7% in 2012 and is expected to maintain its vigorous growth rate in 2013, with forecasts of 8% (ECLAC) and 9% (IMF).

Brazilian economist Silvio Campos Neto, of consulting firm Tendências Consultoria, said the growth map of Latin America shows “a clear differentiation” between two groups of economies.

The first, made up of countries such as Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile, follow transparent economic policies, with greater global insertion, which generates confidence among investors.

“On the other hand, there are countries such as Argentina and Venezuela, which continue to adopt policies that are unsustainable over the medium and long terms,” Campos Neto said.

The IMF is projecting growth of 2.8% for Argentina, up from 1.9% from last year. ECLAC expects the Argentine economy to grow 3.5%. Despite the recovery in relation to 2012, the country is facing problems related to high inflation and monetary instability, which have driven away investors.

Brazil and Mexico

The resumption of growth in Latin America in 2013 – forecast to come in at 3.4% by the IMF and 3.5% by ECLAC – will be largely driven by Brazil.

In 2012, the weak performance of the Brazilian economy, which grew only 0.9%, impacted other countries in the region, which had an overall growth rate of 3% for the year. For 2013, the IMF and ECLAC expect Brazil to register a 3% growth rate.

But there is uncertainty in Brazil, particularly due to the high rate of inflation, which is expected to reach 6.1% in 2013, according to the IMF, well above the 4.5% target set by the Brazilian Central Bank and very close to its 6.5% ceiling.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that Brazil’s growth potential is much lower than what had been imaged until some time ago,” said Campos Neto, adding inflation has remained above the desirable level, even with the low growth.

The growth of another major economy in the region, Mexico, is expected to slow somewhat, to 3.4%, below the 3.9% registered in 2012, but above the expected performance of Brazil.

ECLAC pointed out that the growth in Latin America also is due to buoyant domestic demand and the prices for raw materials – the export base for many Latin American countries – which, despite the drop in relation to 2012, are still expected to remain high.

However, this strong performance is not entirely risk-free. The IMF warns that changes to the current favorable external financing conditions and commodity prices will have a negative impact on the region, as well as a more abrupt slowdown of the economies of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

To maintain high growth, the IMF is advising Latin American economies to invest more in infrastructure and human capital, improve their regulatory environments and diversify their exports.

From: https://infosurhoy.com

Gas station owners get their way – Fuel prices will increase as the result of an “error”

June 27th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Regulators announced on Wednesday that fuel prices would be increasing ¢9 per liter (¢34, or about $0.07 per gallon) as a result of an “error in calculation,” which involves an “erroneous” ¢4 reduction last Friday which had angered gas station owners, as well as a ¢5 increase which will last for a period of 22 months.

As a result, the price of super gasoline will increase to ¢ 747 per liter (about $5.66 per gallon), while regular gasoline will increase to ¢ 707 per liter (about $5.35 per gallon), and diesel will increase ¢ 624 per liter (about $4.72 per gallon).

Dollar prices based on ¢ 500 to $1 exchange rate.

From: https://insidecostarica.com


Brian, Lita, the Late Hugo IV, irreverent Vicka, the pigeon toed parrot, Chico II and Chica II

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