Madonna news - Feb. 2003


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15 February - Clear demo of Like A Flower
If you are one of those fans - like me - who fell in love with Like A Flower, and you've been waiting since then for a clear version of the song to surface, you might get lucky. Sp!n has released a clear part of the song, which you can download here. It's a 1'31 snippet, but let's hope the full version will make its way to the web some time soon too.

14 February - Calderone interview
Remixer Victor Calderone has spoken to DJ Times about how he became involved with Madonna. Calderone has mixed almost ever Madonna single since Frozen. In this article, he talks about how the first mix came about and his process for producing these versions. Read the complete interview at Madonna.com

14 February - Air collaboration on new album after all? *rumour*
The rumour of a collaboration between Madonna and Air is resurfacing. According to French music site MusicActu Air composed at least one track for the new album, possibly even two.

14 February - Statement from Madonna on American Life *official*
"I feel lucky to be an American citizen for many reasons - one of which is the right to express myself freely, especially in my work. I understand that there have been reports about my upcoming video "American Life" in the media - much of which is inaccurate. I am not Anti-Bush. I am not pro-Iraq. I am pro Peace. I have written a song and created a video which expresses my feelings about our culture and values and the illusions of what many people believe is the American dream - the perfect life. As an artist, I hope that this provokes thought and dialogue. I don't expect everyone to agree with my point of view. I am grateful to have the freedom to express these feelings and that's how I honor my country." (source: Madonna.com)

14 February - UK release dates
UK release date has been announced for the forthcoming single and album.
UK Single - 31 March
UK Album - 21 April (Easter Monday)
Madonna's UK representative today said that the video is at least 3 weeks away from being shown. (source: Madonnarama)

13 February - Warner France announces release dates
2003 will mark the 20th anniversary of Madonna's career, during which she sold 150 million albums. Her new album American Life will be released on April 22nd. The album, produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzai contains 11 tracks. Those who've heard it already, describe it as "sensual, energetic and sexy; a combination of the best of Ray Of Light and Music." The first single will be titled 'American Life' and is expected to be released for radio on March 24th (to be confirmed). Remixes for the song are in progress. The video for American Life was shot by Jonas Akerlund in LA on February 6th and 7th, and is also expected to premiere on TV on March 24th (to be confirmed). (source: Warner France, thanx to Madonna Electronica, translation by Mad-Eyes)

12 February - Madonna shows support to dying teenager
What began with Madonna granting a dying girl's wish blossomed into an unlikely friendship between the most successful female recording artist in history and Kerri Yascheshyn, an aspiring Windsor actor and ballerina who taught Sunday school. Kerri, 17, succumbed to liver cancer on Sunday with precious memories of a relationship few could have imagined: A daily phone call from Madonna in which the artist stashed away her Material Girl image for something more akin to big sister, chatting about everything from dancing to the afterlife. "Madonna was very positive and encouraged Kerri to pray," recalled Kerri's mother, Gail Yascheshyn. "She kept telling her not to be negative, and would call whenever she thought about Kerri, sometimes from her cellphone." The calls meant a great deal to the teenager, who was dying from a form of liver cancer that is rare in adults and almost unknown in children. It has only a three per cent survival rate, said her father, Danny Yascheshyn. [...]
Kerri was more mature than most 17-year-olds and an "old soul," according to her oldest sister, Jennifer, which probably was why a busy superstar would keep in touch after the obligatory first call arranged by the Children's Wish Foundation. Mrs. Yascheshyn said Kerri treated those calls privately, and, although she was a huge fan, spoke to Madonna like any other friend. "I think her maturity was part of the connection between them, and they shared a spirituality," Mrs. Yascheshyn said. "This all happened because of Jennifer." When Jennifer realized her sister was dying, she called the Wish Foundation to find out whether a special wish could be granted for Kerri. The foundation contacted her parents and within two days they were told she would get a wish. Kerri gave her parents a list of four names: Madonna, the most important, followed by Mariah Carey, Brad Pitt and Shania Twain. "The Wish Foundation said Madonna was not known for charities, but that the foundation was one she did support, so they called her," Mrs. Yascheshyn said. "They tracked her assistant down in Arizona and around 1 p.m. on Jan. 22, she called. After that, her assistant would connect the call, or Madonna would call herself." Kerri and Madonna would talk for about 15 minutes, unless Kerri was too tired or in pain. Another sister, Lisa, 22, was responsible for Kerri's love of Madonna and her music. "I was a big fan and she always wanted to be around me," said Lisa. "I can't believe Madonna called the way she did and supported Kerri and the whole family." Madonna sent Kerri books, a letter and a case of what she called "healing" water. (source: Canada.com)

11 February - No Oscar for DADay
Today the nominees for this years Oscar Awards were announced. Die Another Day - the film, nor the single - didn't receive any nominations. The song was long time rumoured as a possible nominee, but insiders said it was "too techno sounding and too experimental" for Hollywood. Click here for the nominees.

11 February - Madonna's anti-war message
Madonna, who cultivated her pop vixen image in the music video genre she helped popularize 20 years ago, is using her latest video performance to speak out against a possible U.S. war with Iraq. The Material Girl plays out her anti-war message, including a scene in which she lobs a grenade at a fashion show, in a video being produced for the title track and first single of her upcoming album, American Life, due for release in April. The elaborate video was shot last week in Los Angeles, and post-production work is under way, said Madonna's spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg, who denied that the 44-year-old singer was singling out President Bush for criticism. "This is not a Madonna statement against George Bush," Rosenberg told Reuters on Monday. "It's certainly an anti-war statement and a statement about the horrors of war," she said, adding that the singer was moved by the prospect of an impending U.S. war with Iraq. Madonna becomes the latest in a chorus of pop stars, from Dave Matthews to Sheryl Crow, to lend their voices to expressions of opposition to U.S. military action against Iraq. According to a description released by Rosenberg, the Madonna video opens as a fashion show of runway models wearing couture camouflage and combat fatigues, then "escalates into a mad frenzy depicting the catastrophic repercussions and horror of war." At one point, Madonna herself appears on the catwalk and throws a hand grenade toward the audience, Rosenberg said. The video, she said, "expresses a panoramic view of our culture and the looming war through the view of a female superhero portrayed by Madonna." Rosenberg said the video was expected to be released in March, about a month before the album, Madonna's first collection of new studio material since her 2000 LP Music. The video was directed by Jonas Akerlund, who also collaborated with the pop singer on her Ray Of Light video several years ago, the publicist said. (source: Reuters)

10 February - MTV on box set and new album
In addition to her new album, American Life, Madonna also plans to release a box set before the year is out, marking the 20th anniversary of her recording career. The 11-song American Life (April 22) was co-produced by Madonna and Mirwais Ahmadzai, who also co-produced her Music (2000) and the recent James Bond tune Die Another Day. The album's title track will be the first single, with a video by controversial director Jonas Akerlund (Smashing Pumpkins, the Prodigy). The clip features an anti-war theme and was completed in Los Angeles last week, the singer's spokesperson said.
"[The video] expresses a panoramic view of our culture and looming war through the view of a female superhero portrayed by Madonna," according to a statement. "Starting as a runway show of couture army fatigues, the fashion show escalates into a mad frenzy depicting the catastrophic repercussions and horrors of war."
Madonna co-wrote the songs on American Life with Guy Sigsworth, Gem Jones and Les Rhythmes Digitales' Jacques Lu Cont, who was the musical director and keyboardist on her Drowned World Tour. Among the tracks slated for inclusion are 'Hollywood', 'Nothing Fails' and 'Love Profusion'.
The box set, whose contents have not yet been announced, is timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Madonna's 1983 self-titled debut, which yielded the hits Lucky Star, Borderline and Holiday. A release date has not been set for the box, according to the spokesperson.
On Thursday, Madonna filed a grievance with the Press Complaints Commission, a British press watchdog organization, over a Heat magazine article that claimed the 44-year-old singer was pregnant with her third child. Madonna's spokesperson denied the report. (source: MTV)

10 February - Full album tracklisting *rumour*
Fansite Madonna's Ashram has posted following tracklisting and album info. While this is still not officially confirmed, it is backed up by different sources.
Produced by: Mirwais Ahmadzaï, Madonna.
Collaborators: Guy Sigsworth, Gem Jones, Monti Pittman, Stuart Price, Mark Stent.
Michel Colombier on: Die Another Day, Nothing Fails, Easy Ride.
  1. American Life (first single)
  2. Hollywood (rumoured second single)
  3. I'm So Stupid
  4. Love Profusion
  5. Nobody Knows Me
  6. Nothing Fails
  7. Intervention
  8. The Process (a.k.a. "X-tatic Process")
  9. Mother And Father
  10. Easy Ride
  11. Die Another Day
  12. Bonus Track (On Japanese release / rumoured)

~ Click here for a summary of all the facts and rumours so far

10 February - M is 4th biggest seller of past 5 years in UK
With the sales of 3 albums released over the last 5 years (Ray Of Light, Music, and GHV2) as well as sales of her back catalogue, Madonna lodged herself fourth place in UK album sales between 1998 and 2002. Here's the complete top 10 list: 1. Robbie Williams (9.7 million albums); 2. The Corrs (5.8 million albums); 3. Westlife; 4. Madonna; 5. The Beatles; 6. Steps; 7. Shania Twain; 8. U2; 9. Travis; 10. Stereophonics (source: Absolute Madonna)

10 February - American Life, the video and the album *official*
Official reports from Madonna's video shoot in LA last week for the first single from her new CD -both titled American Life- show the artist's vision in a stunning collaboration with director Jonas Akerland. It expresses a panoramic view of our culture, the fashion world, and looming war thru the view of a female super-hero portrayed by Madonna. Starting as a runway show of couture army fatigues by fashion designer Jeremy Scott, the show escalates into a mad frenzy depicting the catastrophic repercussions of war. The song American Life is a strong courageous statement on the state of America and much of the world. This will be a stirring and extremely controversial piece of work from the artist who created the medium of the 'small film' set to music. (source: Madonna.com)

10 February - Razzie nominations for Swept Away
It was to be expected that Swept Away would be a favourite for this years unprestigious Razzie Awards, which nominates last years worst movies. As announced today, it received nominations for 'Worst Picture', 'Worst Remake or Sequel', 'Worst Director' (Guy Ritchie), 'Worst Screenplay', 'Worst Actress' (Madonna), 'Worst Actor' (Adriano Giannini) and 'Worst Screen Couple' (Madonna & Adriano Giannini). For Die Another Day, Madonna received nominations for 'Worst Supporting Actress' and 'Worst Original Song'. With 7 nominations Swept Away is one of the 'leading' films at this years Razzies, together with 'Star Wars' (7 nominations) and Britney's 'Crossroads' (8 nominations).

08 February - Info on American Life song and video
Ok, here it is - what we've all been waiting for - inside info on Madonna's new single and video for 'American Life'.
THE SONG :
- Very "underground"
- Electronica
- Has some accoustic elements to it
- Madonna raps at the beginning (in a Madonna-style!).
- Madonna sings about how she has lived beyond "the American Dream" and that "Nothing is what it seems"

THE VIDEO
- The theme is "camouflage" through and through
- Madonna is seen (as a brunette) crashing her Mini Cooper into a catwalk. She then joins the models in a dance.
- Later in the video we see lots of blood and gore.
- Madonna is shown "hosing down" the paparazzi
- The theme is that if the US goes to war, there will be only carnage.

This info comes from Madonnarama visitor mjclikesit: "Ok, here it goes.. I auditioned for a featured extra role in the new Madonna video titled "American Life". I'm home now after a 16 hour day (my second and last) and am too tired to go into everything, but I will summarize. It was shot at LA Center Studios in downtown LA (the same studio was shooting the new Legally Blonde movie in the stage next door). It takes place at a fashion show with a VERY camouflage theme. VERY!!! Behind the catwalk are 3 vertical blue screens which when the video is put together will show Madonna in different costume changes (thats all I know about that) and the rest of the background are stripes of vertical greyish camouflage. Before I go on, I do want to say that I can not see how this video is going to be allowed on MTV more than once... you'll hear why in the following. Also, the song rocks! I love it, I didn't the first listen but then I LOVED it! Its hard to absorb a song in sections like I did, so once I heard it all together, I realized how brilliant it was. It is upbeat and has an underground feel to it. It is a mixture of electronica, a little acoustic and yes... RAP!!! But, the rap is not like eminems, its totally Madonnas. To sum it up, the song is about how she has lived way beyond what she believes is "The American Dream", but (and I quote) "nothing is what it seems". The first day of shooting had a really layed back funny feel to it. The video had a lot of humor and a lot of sexiness to it. The second day, however was bloody, gory and VERY CONTROVERSIAL!! She is in a tight camouflage outfit with an S & M flair, she is brunet and looks fantastic and in great shape. She talked to all of us and DANCED amazing!! In one scene she dances in and out of the sunroof of a very war like Mini Cooper and comes off the hood, does her rap and gives the camera the finger. She raps about "having a maid, assistant, chauffer, etc.". I know it might sound stupid, but its not. You'll get it when you hear it. She also proclaims in the song that she is neither jewish or christian. She, later in the day uses a contraption that is bolted to the top of the car to HOSE DOWN the paparazzi that are at the fashion show. Totally hysterical!! OK, I need to finish....Things that are controversial are rare in the first day of shooting except for the fact that one of the male models had an obviously huge hard on poking thru his barely there pants. The entire second day (today) was controversial and slightly nauseating. Picture parapolegics (spelling?), limbless (for real) men and women, bloody babies, bombs (one grenade she throws) and a lot of beatings all happening on the runway. I think it's all brilliant and have a feeling that this one will be a classic. But, I feel that this will be too much for MTV and wait till the politicians get a crack at it. The theme of the video is that if the US goes to war, there will be nothing but blood and misery. Madonna is back and she's still the same (thank god!)."

05 February - M denies leaving rainy Britain
Madonna has dramatically quashed rumours that she is leaving Britain, by pledging her undying love for old Blighty. "I adore England and when I'm not there I miss it terribly," she said. "My home in Marble Arch is my favourite house." Rumours that the singer had tired of England's grey skies swamped the British press recently when she flew back to Los Angeles. Some papers claimed she had withdrawn her children from English schools, sparking fears that her love affair with London was on the rocks. The iconic star has rejected the reports, however, insisting that her affection for all things British (including husband Guy Ritchie) is as strong as ever. "I put a lot of love and time into making a life for my family there," she said. "I prefer the schools in England and I love the English countryside." Her spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg also made a statement, promising that Madonna will return – she just needs a few months of California sun. "She'll be back in London in the spring," said Liz. "Madonna has homes in the States, she has homes in England, and she moves between the two." British fans may be feeling a little envious of the 44-year-old's continuing friendship with their neighbours across the pond, but Madonna is eager to assuage their insecurities: "How many times do I have to say it, I love living in England!" (source: Hello Magazine)

05 February - M to file complaint over pregnancy claim
Madonna is not amused that that a British gossip magazine says she is pregnant just because she has dyed her hair and taken to wearing baggy clothes. A spokeswoman for the pop diva says Madonna plans to file a complaint with Britain's press watchdog over inaccurate reports in Heat magazine that she is pregnant with her third child. Liz Rosenberg said Madonna, 44, was not pregnant and also denied a report in the magazine that the "Material Girl" had moved back to Los Angeles to consult her U.S. doctors. "It's not true ... it's not accurate. She dyed her hair brown instead of blond, that does not confirm somebody's pregnant. And she's been wearing baggy clothes for 20 years, so what else is new?," Rosenberg told Reuters. Heat magazine homed in on Madonna's hair color change and latest fashion style as the basis for its report, which follows weeks of rumors in the British press that Madonna was expecting again. Madonna has adopted London as a second home since her marriage to British film director Guy Ritchie two years ago. They have a 2-year-old son Rocco, and Madonna has a 6-year-old daughter Lourdes by her former personal trainer. Rosenberg said Madonna was in Los Angeles to shoot a video for her upcoming album "American Life", to be released in April, and "when people see that they'll see for themselves she's not pregnant." She said the singer and actress would file a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission. The Commission, a self-regulatory body set up and run by newspaper and magazines, can investigate and reprimand British newspapers on issues of accuracy, intrusion of privacy and harassment but has no legal powers. (source: Reuters)

05 February - Vasquez angers Madonna again
Legendary house-music DJ Junior Vasquez screwed up his friendship with Madonna six years ago when he used snippets of a message the singer left on his answering machine for his club anthem "If Madonna Calls … ." And he's once again feeling the wrath of Madge - this time for distributing his mix of her James Bond single, Die Another Day, reports New York magazine. Madonna hit the roof and had her suits fire off a cease-and-desist letter. Her camp says Vasquez did ask for his work to be sanctioned as an authorized remix but got rejected. Vasquez's rep insists that the DJ never distributed the mix and has played it only a handful of times. Vasquez doesn't appear to need the Material Mom all that much, however. He has recorded a track called "Crack Is Wack," which includes sound bites from Whitney Houston's interview with Diane Sawyer. "It's pretty sweet," says one fan. "It's mixed with 'Diane, let me tell you one thing … Crack is wack." Vasquez has also done a dance mix of the theme song of Anna Nicole Smith's reality show, titled "It's Me." (source: CentreDaily)

04 February - Akerlund on American Life video
In todays Aftonbladet Jonas says the following about American Life: "It's great that Madonna gives me the trust to do this video. The song is supercool and aimed for the dancefloors! I especially love that she gives me the trust to do the first single from the new album. There is a special feeling and ambition around the first single and a hell of lot of secrets. I had to sign a paper even before I got to listen to the song! The shooting will take 3 days." (source: MLVC mailing list / MadonnaMad)

04 February - American Life video casting / possible radio release date of February 20
This information was sent out to casting studios for the new Madonna music video. The video is just referred to as the Madonna music video and it will be shot in LA the week of February 3rd. The roles being sought for are as follows:

  • Eastern European Man (30 - 60 yrs. old, Real people, THIN, interesting looking, great face, worn out looking, craggy).
  • 4 Beautiful Models (drop dead gorgeous w. amazing legs and bodies).
  • 10 soldiers (must have long hair and be willing to shave it for the video... good looking, really good body).
  • Hairstylist (male or female, any ethnicity, must be real hairstylists, think editorial type.
  • Stylist (male or female, any ethnicity, 20's, cool and interesting looking, think N.Y.
  • 2 Babes (very voluptious and buxom, bimbo types, b pin-up girls).
  • Makeup Artists (m or f, any ethnicity, a REAL makeup artist).
  • 2 IRAQI kids (boys and girls, 4 - 7 yrs. old).
  • African American Male (35 - 50, THIN).
  • "AMERICAN LIFE" WILL BE RELEASED TO RADIO ON FEBRUARY 20TH.
(source: MadNews)

04 February - More on Oxygen ad / possible album release date of April 22
WhenMadonna shilled for Pepsi in 1989, the Catholic Church threatened a boycott of the soft-drink company. Fourteen years later, she's flogging a new product - the Oxygen cable channel for women - but practitioners of her adopted religion, Kabbalah mysticism, will probably think it's divine.
Certainly, the sight of Madonna crossing her obsessively toned arms in Oxygen Media’s new "Oh!" ad campaign has struck some fans as odd—if not a sign that the singer is running scared since the failure of her movie project, Swept Away, with her director husband, Guy Ritchie. But according to sources in both camps, Madonna's participation in the "Oh!" campaign was connected to Oxygen's commitment to produce a special on Kabbalah, the sect of Jewish mysticism to which she and Mr. Ritchie are devoted.
A spokeswoman for Oxygen confirmed that "we are doing a short on the Kabbalah, and it’s at Madonna’s request." The spokeswoman said, however, that she didn’t know whether the Kabbalah spots were a direct result of Madonna’s agreement to shoot an Oxygen ad. "I know that we are doing them because Madonna asked us if we would do them," she said, adding that "this is all part of a very nice relationship with Madonna that [the network] has had for a while. We’re very grateful for her interest and involvement."
Another Oxygen source said that the cable channel—which was founded by former Nickelodeon honcho Geraldine Laybourne, Oprah Winfrey, and television producers Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner and Caryn Mandabach—had been pursuing Madonna doggedly even before its 2000 launch.
Madonna’s publicist, Liz Rosenberg, said that it was Madonna's manager, Caresse Henry, who had a relationship with Oxygen executives and it would be a good idea for Madonna to shoot the ads.
"In the course of the conversations, we certainly spoke about Oxygen and the Kabbalah, and I said it would be great if they [produced the specials], but it’s not like that was the whole reason Madonna did Oxygen."
In the ad campaign, which ran for four weeks in November and began again in January, Madonna joins a passel of almost-recognizable faces, including Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Cheryl Hines, The Sopranos’ Jamie-Lynn Sigler, David Alan Grier, Duncan Sheik, and Oxygen players Isaac Mizrahi and Candice Bergen.
There are several versions of the spots, each featuring a different mix of faces. But they all feature Madonna, who crosses her buff arms and says "Oh!" in her trademark "I’m not bored, just nasal" voice.
The ad was shot in Los Angeles in the fall of 2002, and one source claimed that the network had to fork over $10,000 just to have the Material Girl’s makeup done.
Ms. Rosenberg said that that figure sounded "like the approximate amount," but noted that Madonna shot the Oxygen spots during her Swept Away press junket and so saved some costs on hair and makeup.
As for the nature of the Kabbalah program, the Oxygen spokeswoman said that it’s currently scheduled to be shot in five- and 10-minute versions thatwould run as interstitial programming between longer shows. She added, however, that the project was in its infancy and could change format at any time.
Ms. Rosenberg said that Madonna’s level of involvement with the project "is being discussed," but that the singer is currently focusing on her new record, set to be released on April 22.
The "Oh!" campaign, which sources said cost the network $10 million, was the work of Dale Pon, who created the "I Want My MTV" campaign in the 1980’s. Oxygen, which has struggled with its identity over its three-year life, has found recent success with the hidden-camera show Girls Behaving Badly and with Oprah After the Show, as well as a frank sex call-in show called The Sunday Night Sex Show. (source: NY Observer)

04 February - AOL nomination for DADay
Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey announced the nominees for the Eighth Annual AOL Moviegoer Awards & Madonna scored a nomination! Die Another Day is up for best song from a movie. She is up against U2, Eminem, Will Smith & Chad Kroeger. We can all vote for Madonna! Beginning today, people can cast their votes at AOL Keyword: AOL Moviegoer Awards or on the Web at Moviefone.com. (source: Madonnarama)

04 February - Up For Grabs named Best Stage Event
Madonna's West End debut has been named stage event of the year by theatregoers. The singer's appearance in Up For Grabs was a hot ticket during its run at the Comedy Theatre last year. US star Gillian Anderson was named best actress for What The Night Is For in the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards. She beat Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith to take the prize. Queen's musical We Will Rock You took five titles, including Best New Musical, chosen by the paying public. Sam West was named best actor for his performance in Hamlet in the poll of 16,000 regular theatre visitors. Current West End hit This Is Our Youth - which has seen a regular turnover of young Hollywood stars - won two awards for best new comedy and best newcomer Jake Gyllenhaal. Terri Paddock, director of Whatsonstage.com, said: "The people who actually pay to see all of London's wonderful stage productions have very strong opinions, and we hope that our awards give them a unique opportunity to voice those opinions." (source: Ananova)

04 February - M's agent denies persistent pregnancy rumours
Madonna's agent denied reports today that the pop superstar is expecting her third child. Celebrity magazine Heat said the 44-year-old singer visited a birth specialist in London at the end of last year. But Madonna's UK spokeswoman Barbara Charone denied the star was expecting in five months' time, saying: "It's not true". When the pop icon was pregnant with second child Rocco, her agents denied she was expecting until Madonna was in her third month. She kept the second pregnancy under wraps for as long as she could because she was conscious of the increased risks of having a child in her 40s. Today's report followed long-running rumours that Madonna was expecting another son to follow two-year-old Rocco. (source: IOL)

04 February - American Life's war theme shelved? *rumour*
Looks like Madonna is preparing to make an anti-war statement, too. Or at least she was. The Anglophile singer is working on her video for a song called 'American Life', and a casting sheet that has been circulating calls for, among others, actors to play soldiers (they have to have long hair that they're willing to have shaved off for the video) and two Iraqi children, between ages 4 and 7. "My understanding is that Madonna wants to remind people about the human costs of war," says one source. But Madonna's spokeswoman says that the 'American Life' video concept may have changed. "A casting director who is no longer the casting director was circulating that," she tells The Scoop, adding that she can't comment on any possible changes. (source: MSNBC)

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