The day France’s second city ripped apart

The deadly collapse of two houses in Marseille has traumatised France’s second city in a way that eerily echoes London’s Grenfell Tower disaster.

The full horror emerged only gradually, as firefighters painstakingly searched the rubble, while government ministers visited the scene and national TV and radio channels covered the disaster exhaustively. Day after day, bodies were recovered and by Friday an eight victim was found.

Fewer people may have lost their lives than the 72 who died at Grenfell, but the disaster exposed a long-standing housing problem that affects some 100,000 people in private accommodation in Marseille, according to a 2015 government report.

And there is heartbreak over lives cut short, and fear, and fury.

“Clearly there is anger,” says Jean-Marie Forestier, a reporter for local news site Marsactu. “Residents and associations have been condemning substandard housing for years. People feel overlooked and the efforts being made in response to this awful event look very late.”

Where did the buildings collapse?

Rue d’Aubagne is a long, busy, ascending street in the old city that leads off the Canebière, the great avenue which forms an axis between the cramped northern quarters with all their economic and social problems, and the prosperity and elegance of southern Marseille.

The street winds through the traditionally working-class quarter of Noailles, where much of the population are immigrants or their descendants from France’s former colonies in North Africa. Other residents are drawn to the quarter by low rents.

But some Marseille people may know the Rue d’Aubagne best as a street to take from the Canebière to reach the clubs and cafes of the popular Cours Julien quarter nearby.

A silent march was due to take place in Noailles on Saturday.

Who died at No. 65?

The victims have been recovered from the rubble of No. 65, a privately owned building. Of those identified, only the first names are being reported officially.

The building collapsed around 09:00 (08:00 GMT) on Monday along with No. 63, which had been bought by the city and was officially uninhabited.

Rachid, who lived on the first floor of No. 65, had nipped out to buy cigarettes when he saw his building vanish in a cloud of dust, according to local newspaper La Provence.

Inside were two friends he had invited to stay over, one a Tunisian named Taher who was 58, and the other an Algerian called Chérif, who was 36.

Taher’s body has been identified while investigators are trying to establish whether that of another man is Chérif’s.

The fourth and top floor of the building had been inhabited by a woman of 55 called Marie-Emmanuelle.

On the second floor lived an Italian woman named Simona, who was 30.

Simona Carpignano, to give her her full name, had recently completed a course in economics at Aix-Marseille University.

Family and friends attended a Mass for her at a church around the corner from Rue d’Aubagne, her friends remembering her joie de vivre.

An Italian national of Senegalese origin, 26-year-old Niasse, had spent the night in her flat and was also killed.

Sharing the same floor of the building was Fabien, 54, a painter who was a popular figure in La Plaine, another centre of Marseille night life further to the south.

One of Marseille’s most famous rock bands, Moussu T e lei Jovents, paid tribute to its “friend” and “comrade” on Facebook.

Triste nouvelle nous apprenons la disparition de notre ami Fausto Fabien il est une des victimes de l'effondrement de l'immeuble où il habitait à Marseille.
Aioli camarade, tu restes dans nos coeurs

End of Facebook post by Moussu T e lei Jovents

A 30-year-old worker named Julien, who lived on the first floor, was also killed.

The body of an unnamed eighth victim, a woman, was recovered on Friday.

The day after the disaster, a man could be seen playing Brazilian music in mourning for a friend killed in the building, journalist Margaïd Quioc tweeted.

How safe are Marseille’s old houses?

According to the 2015 government report, 13% of Marseille’s private housing, accounting for 40,400 homes for some 100,000 people, was potentially sub-standard. The average for France was 6%, Le Monde newspaper reports.

In the centre of Marseille the number of such dwellings rose to more than a third (35%), and nearly 70% of the homes deemed potentially sub-standard were in co-owned properties such as No. 65 Rue d’Aubagne.

Fabien Cadenel, who has worked as an architect for 20 years in Marseille, believes a disaster such as that on Rue d’Aubagne was inevitable in a city centre with so many buildings between 200 and 300 years old, built of rubble stone and mortar.

He posted photos this week of structural problems in buildings, while offering advice and reassurance to anxious tenants and landlords.

“Maintenance costs money but if you wait, you expose yourself to major works or a tragedy that will cost you infinitely more,” he says.

“A disaster like that on Rue d’Aubagne is exceptional. It’s the result of negligence over many years. Fortunately a building does not collapse so easily. Occupants should worry about any element which arises suddenly, or over a few days, and/or has evolved such as a crack, a shifting floor, water intrusion, subsidence etc.”

He said anyone with serious concerns should report faults to the mayor’s office or other professionals who had an obligation to investigate.

And on Wednesday alone Marseille’s city authorities reportedly received 51 alerts about buildings at risk and responded 37 times, ordering four evacuations.

What action is being taken?

The 2015 report recommended designing a formal strategy to address the problem, involving the city and French state, but the report’s author, Christian Nicol, told Marsactu this week that “the state and the city are not doing their work”.

“They’re still at the studies phase of knowing who does what,” he believes.

Some 100 protesters gathered near the disaster site this week, hurling insults at Marseille Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin and the city’s top housing official.

Mr Gaudin defended his administration on Thursday and called for laws to make it easier to force landlords to carry out necessary maintenance or make improvements.

But critics counter that other French cities spend more and fare better, while Marseille prioritises urban renewal aimed at attracting tourists and business.

Fabien Cadenel believes landlords cannot be left to solve the problem of substandard housing alone.

“The poorest quarters are the most dilapidated but by definition they also have the landlords with the least means to renovate,” the architect says.

The exact cause of the Marseille collapse has not yet been confirmed. But Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has promised that the state will make an audit of “substandard housing” in Marseille, “building by building”.

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Trump slaps down journalist for 'stupid' question

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Donald Trump instructed journalists on Friday (Nov 9) to show more respect in the “sacred” White House and moments later angrily refused to answer a reporter’s question because it was “stupid.”

The latest clash between the president and the press corps assigned to cover him followed a meltdown on Wednesday when Trump lashed out at a star CNN reporter as a “terrible person” and had him barred from the White House.

In Friday’s incident, Abby Phillip, also from CNN, asked Trump whether he wanted his new attorney-general to hold back an explosive probe into allegations that the president’s 2016 election campaign colluded with Russian agents.

The topic has been one of the main headlines in Washington since Wednesday when Trump abruptly fired Jeff Sessions as attorney-general and named Matthew Whitaker, who has strongly criticised the Russia probe, to replace him.

Critics have accused Trump of placing an ally who will try to muzzle special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Trump, speaking just before leaving for an international gathering in Paris to commemorate World War I, refused to answer Phillip.

“What a stupid question that is, what a stupid question. But I watch you a lot. You ask a lot of stupid questions,” he said, shaking a finger at the journalist, then walking away.

Moments earlier he had defended his decision to bar CNN reporter Jim Acosta following their exchange at Wednesday’s press conference, saying that Acosta “is a very unprofessional guy.”

Asked how long Acosta will be denied the credential allowing him to work inside the White House, Trump said he had not decided and seemed to indicate that the extremely unusual sanction could be applied to more journalists.

“It could be others also,” he said.

Trump went on to refer to another reporter, April Ryan, who works for American Urban Radio Networks and CNN, as “a loser” and “very nasty.”

The president said that the bad blood between him and the media was the fault of journalists showing insufficient deference.

“When you’re in the White House, this is a very sacred place to me. It’s a very special place. You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect,” he said.

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Dogs perish in house fire in Port Hope

Two dogs died following a house fire in Port Hope, Ont., on Friday morning.

Just after 11 a.m., firefighters were called to a fire at a house on Smith Street in the town’s south end.

Firefighters say the homeowner arrived at the house during a lunch break and was met by a wall of smoke when he opened the door. He immediately called 911.

Firefighters say two dogs – a Husky and a mix – were found deceased in a bedroom.

The fire appears to have started in the basement of the home. Firefighters are still investigating the cause but believe the fire may have been burning for a considerable time given the flames burned through the main floor of the home.

Damage is pegged at $150,000.

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‘Her care is intense and 24 hours a day’: N.S. mother worried about lack of long-term care options

A mother in Halifax is expressing her concern over a lack of suitable options for her adult daughter, who lives with an intellectual disability and severe epilepsy.

Helen McTague has been providing her daughter Robin with around-the-clock care ever since the 27-year-old was born.

Although Robin is non-verbal, the two share an incredibly strong connection, which makes conversing and understanding one another just as possible as any other mother-daughter duo.

But the decades she’s spent learning how to provide the best possible care for Robin isn’t something someone can pick up overnight, nor is it something long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia are suited for.

That is beginning to worry the 63-year-old caregiver, who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS). She knows what is working for them now, won’t always be an option.

“She always has to have one-on-one care,” McTague said.

Robin’s room contains only a few items, like a dresser and a bench.

She used to sleep in a bed that was low to the ground but over time, began to prefer sleeping on the floor.

It’s the ideal situation for her at the moment, but not likely one that can be feasibly replicated in a long-term care facility.

“I’m getting concerned about if something happens to me, long-term care for my daughter, what would be available?” McTague questions. “Right now, as far as I know, there is no facility where she would be able to be cared for properly.”

“I’m starting to get more and more concerned about it because age is inevitable but also there’s an added factor in there that I have MS. Although my MS is not debilitating, if I get sick, if I get the flu or get sick, then hands and feet don’t always work.”

As her primary caregiver, she gets regular respite help from a worker she calls “second to none” and “a godsend.”

Ensuring that level of care is kept up and maintained when the time comes for Robin to enter long-term care is never far from her thoughts these days.

“There’s no such thing as being able to say, ‘You know what Robin, Mom doesn’t feel well right now, we’ll do this tomorrow,’” she said. “That’s not the case. Her care is intense and 24 hours a day.”

“If I could think, ‘Okay if something happens to me this is where Robin will go, she’ll be cared for here, they’ll know what to do and it’ll be a good space for her,’” she said. “The peace of mind I would have would be priceless, unbelievable.”

Although Nova Scotia is ill-equipped for specialized long-term care focused on people with disabilities, it’s a situation all three of the province’s political party leaders agree needs to be addressed.

“As we continue down the road of long-term care and assessment of that, we do need to look at are there the right places and should we put in places for those younger people who are coming into care in the province?” said Premier Stephen McNeil.

“My hope is that the government is constantly looking at how things can be done better,” said new PC Leader Tim Houston. “To make sure that people are being properly cared for physically, emotionally, socially.”

“This is one in a long list of investments that the government hasn’t met up,” NDP Leader Gary Burrill said of the long-term care situation.

While there are no immediate plans to create such facilities, that talk could be seen as a good sign of things to come.

But for those who find themselves in such a situation currently, or will in the near future, it might not be enough to calm their fears.

“She needs to have the very best quality of life as possible,” McTague said of her daughter.

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Opinion | Where to Cry in an Open Office

Your company designed an open office space to break barriers and encourage interaction, but that makes it much harder to sob over a spreadsheet. Here are the best places to cry without your co-workers interrupting you.

At your desk with your headphones on: The trick is to release your tears one at a time. Tears are a dead giveaway that you’re doing crying stuff and not work stuff.

At Ravi’s standing desk: The dry cleaning he’s always hanging on it will provide partial coverage. Plus, crying at a sit/stand desk is so much better for your posture.

By the water cooler: Boost collaboration with your co-workers by taking turns to openly weep. They might hesitate at first, but remind them it’s easier to cry in person than via email.

Behind your succulent: Sure, the company removed all the walls but at least it added Instagram-worthy décor. The company will be thrilled that you’re getting so choked up over its long-term investment in plants.

Behind Gary, the college intern: Your crying will be obscured by Gary’s long lectures on the egalitarian benefits of an open office and how he took a class on labor and productivity, so he gets it.

At the printer: The hum of the printer will muffle any sobs as well as your co-worker’s loud and explicit conversation about her cosmetic skin graft.

In front of the whiteboard: Brainstorm ideas for your company’s product launch while also doing a mind map of the emotions you plan to release in Q4.

Into your poke bowl: Pretend you’re crying about the appropriation of Hawaiian food culture and not the disintegration of autonomy in the workplace.

At the team meeting: This is fine as long as you don’t do that crying-spasm thing. Feel a spasm coming on? Just hold your breath like you’d hold in a hiccup. Do this for as long as you can. Your team won’t know you’re crying because you’ll be unconscious.

In the elevator: A temporary refuge before the company halts elevator service to encourage employees to take the stairs and/or never leave the office.

By the snack wall: All the low-cal yet high-energy snacks will fuel you for the next eight hours of crying.

By your C.E.O.’s work station: Flatten hierarchies by sobbing in front of your company leader. Open offices were made to foster communication, so introduce yourself and say, “Hi, I'll never make as much money as you!”

The center of the office: The company doesn’t believe in walls, so why build one around your emotions? Let it go and play the “Frozen” soundtrack while you’re at it. Do a cartwheel that turns into a split and then cry onto Colleen’s emotional support dog. You have the space for it! After all, the company wanted to increase productivity and you’ve never been more efficient with your crying in your life.

The restroom: This is where everyone goes to cry. Anticipate long lines.

JiJi Lee is a comedian and writer in New York.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.

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Leicester City owner to get statue outside King Power Stadium after fatal helicopter crash

The tribute is confirmed in the programme for the Foxes’ first home game since the tragedy.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s son, known to fans as “Top”, writes: “I plan to commission a statue of my father, for outside King Power Stadium, as a permanent and fitting tribute to the man that made it all possible.

“He will forever be in our hearts. He will never be forgotten.”

The Thai billionaire helped propel the club to one of sport’s most unlikely triumphs when they won the Premier League against massive odds.

“We will never be able to repay what he did for us – for me as his son, us as his family, everyone connected to Leicester City and beyond – but we are committed to honouring his memory and upholding his legacy,” writes Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha.

“Our continued growth as a club, our state-of-the-art new training ground and our planned stadium expansion will help realise his vision for Leicester City.

“He will forever be in our hearts. He will never be forgotten.”

Fans at Saturday’s sold-out game against Burnley will get free commemorative scarves, badges, clap banners and the souvenir programme.

A tribute to the Thai owner, beloved by fans of the East Midlands club, will be shown on big screens before the match.

There will also be a two-minute silence to honour the five victims of the crash and those who died in the First World War.

Mr Srivaddhanaprabha was killed after the helicopter took off from the pitch and span out of control, crashing just outside the ground and starting a fire.

The other victims were pilot Eric Swaffer, his partner Izabela Lechowicz, and ex-Thai beauty queen Nursara Suknamai and Kaveporn Punpare, who worked for the Leicester City owner.

The tragedy led to an outpouring of grief and tributes from fans and players of the club, with a sea of scarves, flowers and shirts building up outside the ground.

After recording an emotional away win at Cardiff last weekend, players flew out to Thailand for the funeral.

Further details on the commissioning and position of the statue will be confirmed at a later date.

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Jo Johnson's resignation could signal real trouble for Theresa May

As the prospect of a Brexit deal looms larger, we had thought that a minister or two, might throw in the towel.

We just didn’t think the resignation would come from the side it did.

Instead of a livid Liam Fox, or pugnacious Penny Mordaunt, or one of the other senior Brexiteers, it was Jo Johnson, mid-ranking transport minister, younger brother of Boris, and ardent Remainer who has quit.

With it, he’s calling for another referendum, or so-called “People’s Vote”, on Brexit.

Indeed, he went further than that.

In an excoriating online piece, Mr Johnson denounced the prime minister’s handling of Brexit as “a failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since the Suez crisis”.

He also said that he could no longer accept the prime minister’s ultimatum – that it is her deal or no deal at all, saying that is a false choice which will doom Britain to “vassalage”.

Mr Johnson’s resignation will not rock the government as violently as did that of his brother’s, only a few month ago.

But it is, for the prime minister, a menacing portent.

When it comes to the final showdown, getting her deal through parliament Theresa May already faced a huge problem with the Brexiteer wing of her party.

On my assessment, whatever the PM brings back from Brussels, it is virtually certain that there are around 30 of her own most die-hard MPs who will resist her come what may.

:: Five key points from his resignation blog post

The parliamentary arithmetic, for her deal then, was tortuous.

If Mr Johnson is symptomatic of a wider shift amongst Remainer Conservative MPs, that they too reject May’s dichotomy that it is her deal or bust, then the PM is in real trouble.

She might – just – have been able to corral the support of enough Labour MPs, frightened of the economic consequences of “no-deal”, to compensate for the shortfall of a few Tory Leavers.

There is no way she can plug a second gap. She could just about afford one splinter cell. Not two.

Mr Johnson’s behaviour does echo a shift that’s taken place among more moderate, centrist figures in the Tory parliamentary party in recent months.

Hitherto the complaints about the PM’s conduct were largely limited to the Brexiteers.

That sense of unease, of lack of trust in the PM’s judgement, has spread to new quarters.

Indeed, one People’s Vote source told me that Mr Johnson is not alone, that they are wooing another handful of Tory Remainers who might resign in the coming days.

The source said: “We think there are a handful of ministers who do not think that differently from Jo. We’re working on them.

“Everyone has to make up their own mind. It’s their choice about how best to represent the interests of their constituents and their country. Do I expect Johnson to be the last ministerial resignation? I don’t.”

An upsurge of support on the Tory benches for another referendum doesn’t just pose problems for Downing Street.

Jeremy Corbyn too, already under pressure from his overwhelmingly Remainer grassroots, might just start to look ever so slightly awkward if he continues to resist calls to voice his support, as Tory after Tory does so.

Especially as the realisation grows that it is entirely possible, if he were to shift position, that there would possibly be a parliamentary majority for a new plebiscite.

But it is not Mr Corbyn’s job to ram a deal through parliament.

The PM’s problems are of a different order of magnitude.

It might be that an exodus of Remainers makes Brexiteers think twice before signing their resignation letters, fearful of her fall without foresight of the consequences.

Once again, Mrs May’s weakness might prove her strength. But even if she survives the coming weeks, she can’t run forever. Time has run out.

Stanley Johnson said that his son’s decision reminded him of Tennyson’s famous poem The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Of course, its most celebrated line: “Cannon to the left of them, cannon to the right” reminds me far more, of Theresa May, than of either Johnson.

If more Remainer resignations come and Mrs May continues to charge down the same course, it is now my belief that she will meet her political demise on the floor of the House of Commons, as a result of cannon from both sides of her own party.

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Edmonton antique shop owner shares profits after homeless man finds rare ‘Bambi’ art in dumpster

The owner of an Edmonton antique shop is helping out a homeless man who found a valuable Bambi animation drawing in a dumpster.

Alexander Archbold of Curiosity Inc. says the man he knew only as Adam had been turned away by a few stores before he showed up in Archbold’s shop with the artwork in September.

The man asked for $20 for the find and Archbold agreed.

After he took the drawing out of its dirty frame, Archbold discovered it was an authentic 1937 animation cel from the classic movie and sold it on eBay for $3,700.

A framed animation drawing from the movie “Bambi” is seen in this undated handout photo. The owner of an Edmonton antique shop is helping out a homeless man who found a valuable Bambi animation drawing in a dumpster. Alexander Archbold of Curiosity Inc. says the man he knew only as Adam had been turned away by a few stores before he showed up in his shop with the artwork in September.

A framed animation drawing from the movie “Bambi” is seen in this undated handout photo. The owner of an Edmonton antique shop is helping out a homeless man who found a valuable Bambi animation drawing in a dumpster. Alexander Archbold of Curiosity Inc. says the man he knew only as Adam had been turned away by a few stores before he showed up in his shop with the artwork in September.

Archbold says he spent several days trying to track down Adam and, when the man walked into his store earlier this week, he handed him half the profits.

Archbold says Adam’s $1,600 share won’t be enough to get him back on his feet, so he has also set up a GoFundMe page that has so far raised $5,000.

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Sri Lanka to hold snap election on Jan 5

COLOMBO (AFP) – Sri Lanka will hold a snap election in January, the country’s president announced on Friday (Nov 9), hours after dissolving parliament when it became clear his prime minister nominee did not have a majority.

Maithripala Sirisena said in a proclamation that a new parliament will be convened on Jan 17 after conducting the nation-wide vote on Jan 5.

The election timetable was accompanied by an official notice dismissing the nation’s 225-member assembly with effect from midnight.

(This story is developing)

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Tinder user jailed after posing as woman to trick men into blindfolded sex

Duarte Xavier, 33, used dating websites and apps including Tinder to masquerade as a female called Ana and tempt men into meeting him.

He engaged in sultry conversations and sent provocative pictures to fool at least four victims into agreeing to meet him for sex over the course of more than two years.

Xavier insisted that his victims wear a blindfold in a bid to conceal his identity.

The incidents took place between February 2016 and April 2018, with the first involving a 45-year-old man who agreed to meet “Ana” at her flat in Wandsworth, southwest London.

Upon arrival he was directed to a bedroom, where he found a blindfold and was told to put it on.

He did not suspect something was wrong until the pair began to have sex, at which point he removed the blindfold and left the flat in a fit of rage upon seeing Xavier.

The man later received a number of text messages from Xavier, who said he had a “mental health problem” and insisted he would delete their conversations.

Another incident happened on 5 December 2016, when a 29-year-old man began to message “Ana” on a dating website and set up an evening meeting in a secluded area of King George’s Park in Wandsworth.

The pair had sex and the victim left the venue entirely unaware that “Ana” was actually Xavier – and so he agreed to meet again at the same place a few days later.

But this time he held off putting on the blindfold and caught sight of the real “Ana”, which led to Xavier claiming to have believed that the victim was bisexual and approved of the arrangement.

The man left distraught and too ashamed to tell anyone until he was identified by police, with officers able to contact him after seizing phones belonging to Xavier, who was reported to police by a third victim following an incident last October.

Xavier again posed as “Ana” on a dating app and received a message from a 29-year-old man, which led to the pair speaking on WhatsApp and sharing photos.

They set up a meeting at a flat on 15 October 2017 and Xavier was able to persuade his victim to put a blindfold on.

After the man heard what he thought was a female voice telling him to stay still and not move the mask, Xavier approached from behind, tightened the blindfold, and led him into another room to perform a sexual act.

The victim took off the blindfold and left in disgust, but received further messages from an apologetic Xavier who claimed there must have been a misunderstanding.

Xavier was arrested the following day after the victim reported the incident, and a number of phones and masks were seized, but Xavier was released under investigation and would go on to offend again.

On 4 April this year, a 26-year-old man looking for sex online received a message from “Ana”, who was advertising herself as a 35-year-old woman.

The pair took part in a WhatsApp video call and “Ana” claimed to be concealing her identity because she was married, which the man believed and so agreed to set up a meeting.

Upon arrival at the address, he was told to go upstairs, where he was grabbed, had his trousers pulled down and a pillow case put over his head.

Once “Ana” began performing a sexual act, the now suspicious man used the light from his mobile phone and discovered that she was actually Xavier.

The victim left the flat and called police, which saw Xavier arrested on suspicion of sexual assault.

He was later charged with two counts of causing a male aged 13 or over to engage in a penetrative sexual activity and sexual assault – but was remanded and later bailed at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court.

Further investigation eventually saw him charged with six counts of causing a male aged 13 or over to engage in penetrative sexual activity.

He denied them all, but was convicted and sentenced to jail at Kingston Crown Court on Friday.

Detective Constable Lucy Marsh said police were pleased to see him receive a “significant sentence”, but acknowledged that there may be more victims who have not yet come forward.

“We remain entirely aware that there may be other potential victims of Xavier who, so far, have also felt too ashamed to speak to police,” she said.

“I would ask those people to come forward, to tell us, and we will treat you with the utmost sensitivity and in the strictest of confidence.”

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