Ticket ATMs

Yesterday Wells Fargo began offering discounted entertainment park and aquarium vouchers at more than 500 Northern California ATMs. The new ticket program will run until Oct. 22. Consumers can purchase discounted admission vouchers to Six Flags Marine World, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Monterey Bay Aquarium at participating Wells Fargo ATMs through the Wells Fargo ‘Ticket Express’ program. Wells said it will not charge a fee, regardless of where the consumer banks, for purchasing vouchers from a Wells Fargo ‘Ticket Express’ ATM.

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Cross Border Affinity

Royal Bank of Canada unveiled a new affinity program yesterday that will be available to residents in both the U.S. and Canada. This is the first time a Canadian bank has structured a cross-border affinity credit card. The new program involves an affinity VISA card for more than 100,000 McGill University alumni, including 12,000 who reside in the U.S.. The ‘McGill VISA’ will be available to Canadians through Royal Bank, while the U.S. version will be issued through Security First Network Bank. Atlanta-based Security First National Bank is a member of the Royal Bank Financial Group. The card will be available in both ‘Classic” and ‘Gold’. Royal typically charges a 17.5% APR for its cards while SFNB offers a 12.9% standard rate and a 9.9% gold rate.

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BITS Lab to Open

1999BITS, the technology group for The Financial Services Roundtable, announced today the establishment of the BITS Financial Services Security Laboratory located in Reston, VA. The new facility will open on July 28th and will enable financial services companies and technology vendors to work cooperatively to further strengthen the security of electronic banking systems and related technologies.

Global Integrity Corporation, a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) will operate the BITS Laboratory, with funding from participating vendors. The major objectives of the facility are early product influence, risk reduction, cost reduction, and security functionality.

The Security Lab ultimately will rest security features and capabilities of products in both stand alone and distributed environments for select PC operating systems, browsers, servers, and applications software used for PC banking; anti-virus software firewalls; and end-to-end security systems. Products will be tested for their ability to meet specific criteria pertaining to security attributes such as authentication, integrity, confidentiality, privacy, auditability and authorization.

‘The BITS Security Lab will help to sustain public confidence in the financial services industry’s ability to prevent and respond to security-related incidents in electronic banking,’ said Edward E. Crutchfield, Chairman and CEO of First Union Corporation and Chairman of the BITS Board of Directors. ‘The capabilities provided by the new facility will save time and money in the process of evaluating the safety and validity of financial products and will allow us to better serve the customer,’ stated Crutchfield.

A BITS-Tested Process, including a BITS-Tested Mark, will be implemented to certify testing of security-related technology against established criteria. For banks and vendors alike, the BITS-Tested Process and the Laboratory will provide and unbiased third-party evaluation, with product testing on meet common criteria. The BITS-Tested Mark will be given upon successful completion of the testing cycle, indicating the overall security level for the product. Mark issuance will be posted on the BITS Web site.

‘The financial services industry takes security issues very seriously,’ said Robert W. Gillespie, Chairman and CEO, KeyCorp, and Chairman of The Financial Services Roundtable Board. ‘Traditionally, security is the key to consumer confidence,’ he continued, adding, ‘The new BITS Financial Services Security Lab is a bold and important step to ensure comprehensive security in banking systems.’

‘Sun strongly supports testing against open standards,’ said Scott McNealy, Chairman and CEO, Sun Microsystems, Inc. ‘The BITS Lab process will provide for cooperation among vendors and banks while protecting what each considers to be the proprietary aspects of their technology.’

‘Microsoft supports the BITS Security Lab because we are committed to developing, testing and applying technology that further straightens the safety and security of the electronic banking experience for consumers,’ said Mike Dushe, Product Manager, Smart Card for Windows, Microsoft Corporations. ‘Working in concert with the financial services industry and alongside other vendors, we believe the Lab provides the kind of technical cooperation that breeds confidence while continuing the marketplace competition that delivers excellence for our customers.’

‘We are delighted with BITS’ leadership in this area,’ said Richard Kovacevich, President and CEO of Wells Fargo and Company, and Immediate Past Chairman of The Financial Services Roundtable. ‘This BITS Security Lab provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate to legislators and regulators the proactive steps the financial services industry is taking to assure security in all working components of the banking systems,’ he stated.

William M. Randle, Executive Vice President, Huntington National Bank, and Co-Chair of the BITS Security and Risk Assessment Steering Committee said, ‘The establishment of the Security Lab is one of the most specific ways to industry can move toward meeting the requirements of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) Bulletin (98-38) on technology risk management in PC Banking.’ He added that, ‘this effort will promote and facilitate a more sound, secure channel for electronic commerce that will accelerate the growth and acceptance of doing business on the Internet.’

Peter Browne, Senior Vice President, First Union Corporation, and the order Co-Chair of the BITS Security and Risk Assessment Steering Committee, explained that, ‘ Creating a BITS Tested Mark of certification establishes a process providing every vendor and financial institution with a baseline for evaluating all products, both existing and planned. In addition, the process will help eliminate much of the redundancy in vendor product-testing with individual financial institutions.’

‘The BITS Laboratory initiative is good for the consumer, the banking industry and those of us who endeavor to build trust in electronic commerce applications and infrastructure,’ said Harvey L. Weiss, President and CEO of Global Integrity. ‘BITS and the banks have taken a proactive step towards raising the bar for the industry, and Global Integrity is delighted to be working with BITS in this pioneering efforts.’

Rhonda MacLean, Senior Vice President, Bank of America noted, ‘The BITS Financial Services Security Lab initiative offers information technology professionals within the financial services sector and the vendor community an outstanding opportunity to collaborate. This will support a secure emerging online electronic commerce environment and promote security and privacy initiatives to meet the needs of our customers.’

BITS CEO Catherine A. Allen said that various steps are in place to allow the security facility to begin accepting product test applications in July 1999. A Working Group has been formed, chaired by Dan Nealis, Senior Vice President, Chase Manhattan Bank, to meet these objectives. ‘We are currently defining product prioritization and testing criteria. Our goal is to provide financial institutions and product vendors with a consistent and meaningful set of security tests. We will be asking for input from the vendor community, and ultimately from the brokerage and insurance industries, to help in this process,’ said Nealis. ‘Software companies are eager to have their products tested,’ he noted, adding that, ‘We plan to start with commercially available products and will move into earlier stages of product development as we gain experience and increase capacity.’

The BITS Security and Risk Assessment Steering Committee has responsibility for setting policy and directing the new technology facility, with the day-to-day management of the facility to be conducted by Global Integrity.

About BITS

BITS, the technology group for The Financial Services Roundtable, was created in 1996 to foster the growth and development of electronic banking and e-commerce in an open environment that will encourage greater choice and efficiency in financial software, access devices, networks and processing capabilities for the benefit of financial institutions and their customers. BITS promotes safety and soundness in payment systems and in electronic banking products. BITS is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of the Chairman and CEOs of the 14 largest U.S. Bank holding companies as well as representatives of the American Banker Association (ABA) and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). For more information, visit the BITS Web site at [www.bitsinfo.org][1].

About Global Integrity

Global Integrity is a wholly owned subsidiary of Science Application International Corporation (SAIC). It focuses on the rapidly growing worldwide business of enabling e-commerce through the information protection market. Headquarters in Reston, VA., Global Integrity provides a full complement of information protection, electronic commerce security, consulting and engineering services to global financial institutions and major corporations with electronic operation worldwide. More information can be found at Global’s Web site at [www.globalintegrity.com][2]

[1]: http://www.bitsinfo.org
[2]: http://www.globalintegrity.com

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IRS Amendment

The Internal Revenue Service corrected its temporary regulations for the payment of taxes by credit and debit card. The IRS yesterday corrected Par.2 in Section 301.6311-2T to read: “(2) Liability of financial institutions. If a taxpayer has tendered a payment of internal revenue taxes by credit card or debit card, and the credit card or debit card transaction has been guaranteed expressly by a financial institution, and the United States is not duly paid, the United States shall have a lien for the guaranteed amount of the transaction upon all the assets of the institution making such guarantee.” The amendment is retroactive to Jan.1, 1999.

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TransXpress Released

Transaction Network Services, Inc. the leading provider of fast, reliable data communications services for transaction-oriented applications, and PaylinX Corporation, the leader in Enterprise Payment Solutions, Wednesday announced the release of the TransXpress. Net Gateway transport solution.

The integration of both companies core technologies has created an innovative Internet payment gateway enabling processors to gain higher transaction volumes from Web-centric merchants and save processors the cost of developing and integrating interfaces with a seemingly endless variety of payment engines.

“The open architecture of TransXpress.Net Gateway is a first for the industry and will serve as a great catalyst for e-commerce payments over the Internet. Processors no longer need to devote any IT resources toward modifying their existing host applications or reconciling interface issues as new and more complex e-commerce software applications are brought to market,” said Brian Bates, senior vice president and general manager of TNS’ POS division.

The TransXpress.Net Gateway, residing on the TNS private network, which is linked to virtually all U.S. payment processors, provides message reformatting, protocol conversion, and data transport. The design enables merchants to leverage Internet connectivity for secure, scalable, and rapid payment processing and settlement, without requiring an understanding of disparate payment message formats used by processors and banks. The TransXpress.Net Gateway allows processors and banks to receive transactions from virtually all electronic commerce vendors without individually certifying and testing each merchant’s payment module.

“Most of today’s Internet payment gateways require a proprietary merchant payment interface. The PaylinX engine will provide processors an off-the-shelf solution for accommodating payment from a wide variety of e-commerce software application vendors. To begin transport via the Gateway, vendors need only acquire certification through TNS. We currently have commitments from GO Software, Inc. and the ICVERIFY unit of CyberCash, and we are working with Trintech and VeriFone to certify their virtual payment products on our new Gateway. Combine that caliber of e-commerce expertise with TNS network functionality and it becomes clear how compelling our offering is for the payment industry,” said Jack McDonnell, president and CEO of TNS.

“We are very pleased to announce our combined offering with TNS,” said Bob Lozano, President and CEO of PaylinX. “Continuing with our merchant-centric legacy, the TransXpress.Net Gateway empowers Internet merchants to do business with the processor of their choice regardless of their e-commerce software. The Gateway also opens new markets to processors by enabling an easy-to-install, scalable and high speed Internet payment solution.”

Ronald R. Nation, president of First Tennessee Merchant Services, Inc., a TNS customer said, “We are pleased to add TNS to our suite of Internet products. We commend TNS for their foresight in providing Internet transport of credit card transactions through the same back-end mechanism of dial transport. This provides a very efficient and cost-effective method for processing Internet transactions.”

About TNS

Transaction Network Services, Inc. (TNS), headquartered in Reston, Virginia, provides data communications and e-commerce services for transaction-oriented applications. TNS is recognized as the preferred worldwide network for the credit card processing industry and the rapidly growing dial ATM industry. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TNI.

Additional company information is available on the TNS website at .

About PaylinX

PaylinX Corporation is the leader in the Enterprise Payment Solution market and provides payment authorization, settlement and reporting across an entire enterprise. Only PaylinX provides a comprehensive payment solution that spans across an organization, from a web store-front to the point-of-sale to interactive voice response systems and call centers. PaylinX is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, and can be reached at (314) 692-0929 or http://www.paylinx.com.

The TNS statements and information contained in this news release that are not descriptions of historical fact may be deemed to be “forward looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act that involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated. These statements are based on assumptions and assessments made by TNS’ management in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors it believes to be appropriate. The risks and uncertainties to which these statements are subject include, but are not limited to, customer demand, competition, technological factors including issues involving either TNS’, PaylinX’s or their customers’ technology, the risk of slowing or reversing growth in use of e-Commerce, ability to develop e-Commerce relationships with new or existing customers and changes in government regulation. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the e-Commerce market for transaction services will continue to expand and develop, that TNS will be successful in its efforts to further penetrate this market or that the anticipated increase in transaction volumes and cost savings will be realized. See TNS’ reports filed with the SEC for additional discussion of these risks and other factors which may effect TNS’ services, operations, revenues and costs.

PaylinX(R) is a registered trademark and Enterprise Commerce, PaylinX for Site Server, Payment Pipes, Payment Router, PaylinX Internet Payment Server, PaylinX Enterprise Payment Server, Processor Cartridges, FraudSentry, the PaylinX logo and the phrase “Electronic Commerce Today” are trademarks of PaylinX Corporation in the United States and other countries. Other trademarks, service marks, and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

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Sub-Prime Pump

SD-based First Premier Bank continues to be the fastest growing sub-prime specialist, in terms of accounts and cards. During the second quarter, First Premier added nearly 100,000 net accounts. According to CardData’s ‘2Q/99 Portfolio Survey’ , now underway, FPB’s accountbase has grown 73% over the past year, from 337,000 accounts for 2Q/98 to nearly 584,000 accounts for 2Q/99. The driving factor for First Premier’s portfolio has been its high fee/low credit limit, unsecured VISA and MasterCards. For example FPB offers a VISA card through FL-based Future Card, Inc. The card, widely marketed on the Internet, offers a minimum $250 credit limit in exchange for first year fees of $228. The first year fees include a $5 monthly fee, $98 processing fee and a $70 set-up fee. First Premier also markets sub-prime cards under the Centennial name which carry first year fees of $276 ($119 acceptance fee; $35 processing fee; $50 annual fee; and a $6 monthly fee). FPB derives little interest income in comparison to fee income as balances per active account now average $262.60, according to CardData’s 2Q/99 survey. The annual volume per active account now averages $354. Over the past twelve months FPB’s card receivables have increased about 72% while quarterly volume has surged by 63%. For current and historical data on more than 300 of the nation’s top card issuers visit CardData ([www.carddata.com][1]).

FIRST PREMIER BANK STATS

2Q/99 2Q/98
Receivables $118,579,998 $69,395,959
Q Volume $ 49,417,048 $29,710,340
Accounts 583,764 337,134
Actives 451,564 268,553
Cards 521,513 307,074

Source: CardData (www.carddata.com) 2Q/99
Portfolio Survey

[1]: http://www.carddata.com/

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First of Omaha Enters Health-Care Proc

First of Omaha Merchant Processing announced the expansion of processing services to encompass the health-care industry and its unique needs.

Health-care industry providers will access online, real-time insurance eligibility verification services through Imperial Technology Solutions’ Receivables Payment Manager. With RPM, health-care providers will instantly verify a patient’s insurance eligibility and payment responsibilities, while collecting co-payments at the point of care with a credit, debit, or ATM card.

RPM has been proven to improve workflow associated with patient payment, collection, posting, reconciliation, billing and outstanding patient accounts receivable, while speeding income to the provider. RPM turns every point of care into a patient payment verification and collection station.

“Joining with Imperial Technology Solutions bridges the credit card processing and health-care industries,” stated Michael Phelan, senior vice president of business development, First of Omaha. “This alliance opens the doors for alternative methods of payment, thus alleviating the cumbersome billing process.”

“Currently, health-care administrators send an invoice three times before it is paid, sometimes costing more than the amount due. With RPM, First of Omaha Merchant Processing can offer a tool that has proven to help health-care providers collect more patient payments at the time of care,” said Raymond Pedden, senior vice president of ITS.

First of Omaha Merchant Processing is a premier processor in the direct marketing industry, and also processes bank card transactions for large and small retailers, restaurants, lodging merchants, petroleum marketers, associations/franchise groups and banks. Known for its superior customer service, First of Omaha specializes in providing clients the latest in card processing technologies.

Through development of a diversified product line, First of Omaha has become a leader in the merchant processing industry, assisting clients in the reduction of chargebacks and fraud. First of Omaha is a wholly owned subsidiary of First National Bank of Omaha and is one of the few remaining in-house bank processors. First National Bank of Omaha, founded in 1863, is the 32nd oldest nationally chartered bank in existence.

First of Omaha’s Internet address is [www.foomp.com][1].

With a team of health-care, technology and marketing specialists, ITS has developed an exclusive line of financial transaction software, the Receivables Payment Manager, that is operational today in single doctor practices to large provider organizations throughout the United States. For more information, contact Imperial Technology Solutions at 800/716-9777, or visit ITS’ World Wide Web site at [www.itsrpm.com][2].

ITS is a division of Imperial Bank, one of the leading independent business banks in the West. With more than $6 billion in assets, Imperial offers a wide range of financial services tailored to corporate customers, entrepreneurs and professionals. Based in Los Angeles, Imperial Bank is the principal subsidiary of Imperial Bancorp (NYSE:IMP) and can be found on the Web at [www.imperialbank.com][3].

[1]: http://www.foomp.com
[2]: http://www.itsrpm.com
[3]: http://www.imperialbank.com

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Gemplus RFID

In a move destined to reinforce its leadership in RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) based Smart Tracking, Gemplus announced a conditional acquisition of shares and strategic alliance with Integrated Silicon Design Pty Limited an innovative Australian designer of RFID technology and solutions.

Gemplus, the world’s leading provider of plastic and smart card solutions recognized that its chip packaging and testing expertise, together with its manufacturing capability, could be directly applied in Smart Asset Tracking. As a result, Gemplus established a dedicated business unit in 1994 to address this growing market. Since the inception of this business unit, Gemplus has introduced a number of innovative products including the first 13.56 MHz low cost smart label and together with its unique worldwide network of partners, Gemplus is able to deliver tailored and proven Smart Tracking solutions.

Gemplus offers the largest product portfolio for low frequency and high frequency, passive Smart Tracking solutions. The Gemplus portfolio includes a family of ICs, numerous smart labels and application related readers to be used either as stand alone units, or integrated in networked configurations.

Gemplus has today a number of Smart Tracking references in various industrial applications, where Gemplus smart labels offer unique features at a highly competitive price.

ISD, an Australian based RFID design company founded in 1984, designs ICs, readers and antennas in both UHF and more recently high frequencies. The company is currently majority owned by the Australian Technology Group Limited, whose investment is managed by Technology Venture Partners Pty Limited. ISD is known for its innovations in RFID and has successfully implemented numerous niche solutions predominantly in the Asia Pacific region. In mid 1998, ISD introduced a new high performance 13.56 MHz IC with no equivalent on the marketplace. This new IC has fast reading capabilities associated to a powerful anticollision (reading several smart labels at the same time) and as a result is ideally suited to mass volume Smart Tracking logistics applications. It is able to be integrated with existing bar code solutions while overcoming some of the limitations such as line of sight, and degradation due to physical wear and tear suffered by bar code labels. The IC incorporates EAS (electronic article surveillance) enabling integrated theft detection applications to be delivered in conjunction with Smart Tracking. The IC is capable of storing vital information, and is re-programmable by the end user enabling the stored information to be updated as required.

Similar to many emerging technologies, RFID Smart Tracking has been extensively piloted, however its deployment has been restricted by the sheer cost of tags.

Thanks to its manufacturing capability and its visionary decision to focus on high frequency based systems, Gemplus was the first company to provide low cost smart labels to the marketplace, and is now beginning to realize significant commercial success. In a continuous effort to offer low cost high performance smart labels, Gemplus was extremely interested by the recently designed ISD chip and system. “Gemplus is currently finalizing the terms of the acquisition of shares in ISD. Once certain conditions are met, and the acquisition is completed, our strategic alliance with ISD will allow us to reinforce the R&D team of Gemplus Tag. Gemplus’ strengths and expertise will allow us to rapidly complement our existing product range by integrating components designed by ISD. It will enable Gemplus to offer its partners a new and unmatched Smart Tracking system for all applications requiring evolutionary RF Identification of goods,” said Frederic Coustere, Gemplus Tag Managing Director.

Through the new relationship with ISD it is planned that the ISD 13.56MHz IC known as Tag Right will become the GemWave¤ C220 chip which will be enhanced over time by the two organizations. The GemWave¤ C220 will be incorporated into a new family of flexible logistic smart labels to be known as the GemWave Folio family. Folio smart labels are designed to be laminated in any paper label which is either printed industrially on a press, or locally on demand.

The Folio¤ family complements existing GemWave Ario industrial smart labels which present unique operational characteristics, already well proven in various applications.

Announced in November 1998, Folio smart labels are now in production and will be available in volume in July as a 5 x 5cm large smart label.

In an effort to support the RFID Smart Tracking industry, Gemplus is cooperatively working with other major industry participants and standards organizations to promote open industry standards for Smart Tracking. Gemplus is delivering Smart Tracking solutions to selected vertical markets through its worldwide network of partners , which provides support and integration services to meet local market requirements.

About Gemplus

Gemplus S.C.A. (http://www.gemplus.com) is the world’s leading provider of plastic and smart card-based solutions. Gemplus sells magnetic stripe cards, memory and microprocessor-based smart cards, smart contactless cards, electronic tags and smart objects. The company designs and markets software, development tools and readers. Gemplus also provides consulting, training and personalization services to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive and flexible card-based solutions to its developers, distributors, partners, and customers.

With sales of over $US648 million in 1998, Gemplus employs more than 4,300 people in 10 manufacturing facilities, 5 R&D centers and 41 sales and marketing offices located in 27 countries around the world.

Founded in 1988, Gemplus has successfully implemented portable and secure smart card-based solutions to simplify applications such as public and wireless communications, financial transactions, loyalty, transportation, education, healthcare, identity, physical access control, pay TV, electronic commerce, Internet security, logical access control and information technology.

The Gemplus Tag is the division dedicated to radio frequency identification (RFID) and smart tracking technologies and applications. Backed by all the smart card experience and expertise of the group, Gemplus Tag offers a full range of tags, smart labels, couplers, readers, antennas and software. Gemplus Tag has developed partnerships with many companies to create complete turn key solutions for different end-users. Today the network is world-wide and composed of more than hundred VARs (Value Added Reseller).

Since its creation, Gemplus Tag has gained a leadership in the gas cylinders tracking market place, as being a supplier of the major gas companies. In 1996, Gemplus Tag invented the concept of the smart labels, thin and flexible chip based labels; breaking through the prices, uses of the RFID market place. This gives Gemplus a privileged leading position in several smart tracking businesses, such as plastic containers tracking, cattle management, linen identification on laundry process,” etc.

Information about Gemplus products and services can be found on the World Wide Web at:

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Wal-Mart ATM

Bank of America yesterday renewed its contract with Wal-Mart Stores to provide ATM services for an additional three years. The network combines 700 existing ATMs with 200 additional ATMs in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and North Carolina. The BofA/Wal-Mart ATM network will reach a total of 19 states after the additional deployments are completed later this month. Bank of America’s North Carolina ATM network will increase by 23% with the new Wal-Mart ATM installations. BofA is Wal-Mart’s largest ATM provider, with locations in more than 30% of the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Clubs nationwide.Wal-Mart also awarded Bank of America the “Best ATM Service Provider for 1998” out of approximately 165 providers at Wal-Mart’s annual stockholders meeting in June.

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Accutrak

NY-based USAlliance FCU yesterday became the first financial institution in the country to install ‘AccuTrack’ digital video servers from Diebold to monitor security at off-site ATMs. The ‘AccuTrack’ server, which replaces VCR surveillance systems, is a full-color digital video system that can be programmed remotely and can transmit images and data to any authorized PC in the organization with a standard Web browser. ‘AccuTrack’ captures digitally signed images and transaction data in real time from one to 12 cameras and will be upgradable to 24 cameras in the future. The digital information is stored on a multi-gigabyte hard drive, with a removable drive that allows for archival of important investigative information.

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