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Scarlet Lady: Inside Virgin Voyage’s new cruise ship



Scarlet Lady: Inside Virgin Voyage’s new cruise ship

(CNN) — Whenever you step into the Scarlet Girl cruise ship, you recognize instantly you are on Richard Branson’s ship.

There is a document retailer on the left promoting restricted version Intercourse Pistols and Girl Gaga on vinyl. The crew has cooler outfits than you. And there may be purple, purple, purple in every single place — lest you neglect this can be a Virgin-branded endeavor.

Then there may be Branson himself, again from area and becoming a member of his govt crew in New York Metropolis to indicate off Virgin Voyages first ship earlier than it begins crusing from Miami on October 6.

Without kids splashing about, the ship's pool area aims for well-being and tranquility.

With out children splashing about, the ship’s pool space goals for well-being and tranquility.

Channon Hodge/CNN

The 1,408-cabin ship is hip, alternating luxurious with an informal vibe that beckons friends to return as they’re in the event that they occur to be very cool sorts of individuals. The adults-only ship has luxurious gold fixtures and bannisters, ultrachic, boutique-sized eating places and double chaise loungers completely in every single place that appear destined for friends who wish to canoodle the day away.

Richard Branson, Paris Hilton and Tom McAlpin at the Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady Showcase in New York City.

Richard Branson, Paris Hilton and Tom McAlpin on the Virgin Voyages Scarlet Girl Showcase in New York Metropolis.

Courtesy Virgin Voyages

All the pieces on the cruise ship screams, “This isn’t a cruise ship!” And that is as a result of Branson mentioned he hated the concept of ever being on one.

“Earlier than I began Virgin Atlantic, I did not fancy flying on different individuals’s airways as a result of they have been stuffy, not enjoyable,” Branson instructed CNN Journey from one of many ship’s Rockstar suites. “That is the right time to enter enterprise and [ask] may we create the type of cruise firm that myself, my household and associates would like to go on?”

Floating nightclub

The ship's

The ship’s “Purple Room” is an immersive theater.

Channon Hodge/CNN

That apparently means having guitars and turntables at hand within the two premium “Huge” suites, peekaboo showers in lots of the cabins so that you by no means need to lose sight of your family members and Richard’s Rooftop — a non-public bar and cocktail space for friends (or “sailors” as they’re referred to as) who’ve sprung further for suites.

To create all this, Virgin Voyages pulled collectively a crew of designers who’re extra accustomed to engaged on land, akin to Roman and Williams, who’re identified for New York’s Ace Hotel.

Amongst different issues, they designed the Manor, a nightclub you enter it by means of a large tunnel drenched in stars. The Purple Room area, an immersive theater, has a stage that strikes round so audiences can work together and a shiny neon signal on the wall that claims, “If you wish to dance, dance! If you cannot see one thing, transfer! If you need a drink, seize a drink!”

The Scarlet Lady's

The Scarlet Girl’s “well-being pool.”

Courtesy Virgin Voyages

There isn’t any large eating corridor or buffet, no neon amusement rides and no cruise director right here. As an alternative, ship actions and “happenings” are run by workers who’re consultants at what they do; exercise with actual health gurus, play video games with actual avid gamers and dine with avowed foodies.

The Virgin crew did, nonetheless, embrace some main cruise business veterans akin to Frank Weber, senior vp of lodge operations. Weber could not assist however dance by the hallways whereas touring the ship for press. He’d had new concepts pent up for practically three a long time whereas working at corporations akin to Norwegian and Royal Caribbean.

“Each time I needed to vary one thing, you needed to soar by hoops as a result of your loyalty prospects say, ‘Oh, I can not consider you modified this!’ ” Weber tells CNN Journey. “That is my child, and I’ve put plenty of effort and work and fervour in.”

Scarlet Girl supplied Weber and the crew a possibility to do every little thing from scratch and that is totally obvious when consuming and consuming. For one, Weber thought drink packages have been “the satan,” so friends can buy prepaid bar tabs; a $300 tab comes with a $50 bonus.

‘Not your grandma’s cruise’

The Extra Virgin restaurant relies on a comfortable, trattoria-style Italian atmosphere.

The Additional Virgin restaurant depends on a cushty, trattoria-style Italian ambiance.

Courtesy Virgin Voyages

You aren’t getting set occasions for dinner, and you will not be caught at massive tables with friends you do not know (except you ask to be.)

The ship has greater than 20 eateries, together with a shiny, open meals corridor. It’s also possible to dine at one of many six specialty eating places any time you need; simply add your self to the wait record, and an app tells you when your desk is prepared.

Have an Unattainable burger whereas sipping an quaint topped with salty-sweet popcorn at Razzle Dazzle, house of the drag brunch. Play Korean consuming video games at Gunbae whereas grilling your meals proper in entrance of you. Or go high-end and order a seafood tower at The Wake.

It is all a part of your package deal, and there are not any upcharges to your eating decisions. Suggestions are included. Weber factors out that on a standard cruise ship, all of the meals usually comes from one central galley, however that is one in every of many ways in which cruising has misplaced its manner. However Scarlet Girl goes for authenticity.

“Every restaurant has their very own kitchen,” says Weber. “Every restaurant has their very own govt chef, which is dearer than doing it in different methods, however you enhance the standard.”

The ship's Pink Agave Mexican restaurant and serves a wide variety of mezcals.

The ship’s Pink Agave Mexican restaurant and serves all kinds of mezcals.

Courtesy Virgin Voyages

Virgin executives admit this sort of made-to-order particular person consideration goes opposite to regular cruise business considering the place meals are mass produced so a ship’s 1000’s of friends can all eat on time.

“It is harder on the workers …” Branson begins to say.

“However that is what makes us so totally different,” finishes Tom McAlpin, CEO of Virgin Voyages who sits beside Branson. “These are the kinds of issues that say — this isn’t your grandma’s cruise.”

However grandmas and grandpas are an enormous and constant chunk of the cruise market. Adults of their 60s are the biggest passenger group, based on the Cruise Strains Worldwide Affiliation, and so they’re much more highly effective when bringing alongside the grandkids. To continue to grow, the business wants these grandkids to show into prospects after they develop up. The business worries that is not been happening quite enough and Covid-19 simply made issues worse.

Tattoos at sea

Suits feature private sun loungers and an outdoor terrace couch.

Fits characteristic personal solar loungers and an out of doors terrace sofa.

Courtesy Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages appears to be doing all it could to attraction to that youthful, discerning crowd.

Like many new cruise ships, they’ve made Scarlet Girl environmentally pleasant. The engine converts warmth waste into electrical energy, and so they shun single-use plastics. Many substances come from sustainable or native Florida sources. The espresso is from Intelligentsia, an organization that depends on “direct commerce” over “truthful commerce,” which means it ensures farmers a minimal value for crops.

Leisure is “select your personal journey” and harking back to some sizzling new factor you could not snag tickets to in New York or London. There is a participatory evening present referred to as “By no means Sleep Alone” run by a intercourse therapist, a sequence of performs that pop up all through the ship referred to as Phantom Folktales and in 2022 a brand new manufacturing, “One other Rose” by Randy Weiner, who created “The Donkey Present” and “Sleep No Extra.”

There’s the same old on line casino and buying, however Weber mentioned the tattoo parlor was booked up through the ship’s UK run (should have been clean crusing.)

McAlpin says he would adore it if Scarlet Girl confirmed a bigger market that there’s a “new approach to cruise” however says Virgin Voyages will not be essentially centered on wooing youthful crowds. They are going after people who find themselves loads like Richard Branson.

The Net at the Athletic Club is a suspended, comfortable netting with a view of the ocean below.

The Web on the Athletic Membership is a suspended, snug netting with a view of the ocean under.

Courtesy Virgin Voyages

“We’re actually specializing in the young-at-heart, individuals who wish to come have a very good time,” says McAlpin. “They do not need all that formality however nonetheless need luxurious … and luxurious your manner.”

Scarlet Girl begins formally crusing on October 6 with journeys by the Caribbean, stopping at Virgin’s personal seaside membership in Bimini (within the Bahamas).

Cabins vary from $725 to $5,875 and have been nonetheless promoting as of September 18. Virgin Voyages plans on launching the second of its 4 deliberate ships, Valiant Girl, in 2022, which can sail all through the Mediterranean.

High picture credit score: Virgin Voyages

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Resort Evaluate: Palazzo Ripetta, Rome in Italy



Resort Evaluate: Palazzo Ripetta, Rome in Italy

Visiting the town of Rome is like getting into an unlimited open-air museum. Architectural wonders just like the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain may steal the present, however down each cobbled avenue or tree-lined boulevard, there are historic ruins, Baroque church buildings and Roman sculptures to find.

Plainly each constructing, restaurant and lodge has a narrative to inform and the five-star Palazzo Ripetta isn’t any exception. We checked in on a sunny spring weekend to find the lodge’s historical past, pattern its fashionable Italian delicacies and peruse its distinctive artwork assortment.


palazzo ripetta lobby
The lodge is stuffed with a incredible assortment of paintings

Palazzo Ripetta is an impartial family-owned lodge which, in a world dominated by massive manufacturers like Marriott and Hilton, is a uncommon gem. The identical household have owned the constructing for the reason that Nineteen Sixties they usually employed famend Italian architect Luigi Moretti to go up its meticulous renovation.

The constructing itself dates again to 1642 when it was a shelter and college for ladies and women. The outside courtyard, the place college students would spend their free time, is now a calming patio dwelling to one of many lodge’s eating places, Piazzetta Ripetta. The courtyard additionally has a uncommon third century AD Roman sarcophagus which has been reimagined as a fountain.

palazzo ripetta fountain
Visitors can admire a uncommon third century AD Roman sarcophagus within the courtyard

The lodge is stuffed with a incredible assortment of paintings and it’s the very first thing you’ll discover as you cross the marble foyer. Visitors are greeted by a bronze sculpture from the ‘Sphere Inside Sphere’, a group by famed Italian artist Arnaldo Pomodoro. Different sculptures from the gathering could be discovered within the central courtyard of the Vatican museums and at Trinity Faculty in Dublin.

Sustainability right here is taken severely and the lodge is an authorized Inexperienced Key member in recognition of its environmental accountability. From the visitor rooms to the kitchens, your complete lodge is run on renewable vitality. The lodge can be plastic free and key playing cards are comprised of sustainable wooden.

Palazzo Ripetta sits on By way of Ripetta, one in all Rome’s oldest streets thought up to now again to the primary century BC. The lodge’s apricot façade is modest and if it wasn’t for the pleasant doorman, you could possibly simply breeze proper previous. Observe that Google Maps doesn’t navigate to the lodge correctly, so it’s greatest to make use of what3words (


palazzo ripetta suite
Rooms and suites have fashionable vibrant décor

The lodge is perhaps steeped in historical past however its 78 rooms and suites are completely fashionable. Our status room was spacious and had a inexperienced upholstered king-sized mattress with cloud-soft sheets. All furnishings within the rooms is made in Italy, together with the colorful armchairs (ours was vibrant cobalt blue), and in addition the heavy material curtains.

Ask for a room which overlooks the courtyard, we beloved opening the home windows extensive and letting within the heat breeze. Piazzetta Ripetta performs comfortable jazz through the day and with the home windows open the sounds would drift into our room, it was the right soundtrack for a day snooze following a day of exploring.

Within the toilet, you’ll discover toiletries by Sicilian model Ortigia. I notably loved the Ortigia hand cream thoughtfully left through the night turn-down service.

Most rooms don’t have a shower so if a bubbly soak is a should, go for the romantic junior suite. Or totally splash out and verify into the wellness suite, which has an in-room sauna, Turkish tub and rest space.

Food and drinks

palazzo ripetta food 1
San Baylon is Palazzo Ripetta’s signature restaurant

Palazzo Ripetta is a member of the Relais and Chateaux assortment and choices throughout its two eating places and bars are, unsurprisingly, glorious. San Baylon is the lodge’s signature restaurant, offering refined Italian consolation meals, with elements sourced from native producers in and round Rome’s Lazio area.

We dined throughout a particular ‘four-hand’ dinner, which noticed govt chef Marco Ciccotelli working alongside visitor chef Silvia Baracchi, from one Michelin star Il Falconiere in Tuscany. The menu fused the very best of Roman and Tuscan flavours, together with asparagus with parmesan and the stand-out dish, a ravioli-style stuffed oxtail pasta topped with horseradish and celery foam.

San Baylon has its personal entrance from the road, created to encourage locals and non-guests to dine. On our go to, we have been seated subsequent to a bunch of colleagues having fun with post-work beers and a bunch of woman associates catching up over cocktails.

palazzo ripetta bar
The Etere rooftop bar is a well-liked spot through the summer season

Baylon, the cocktail bar subsequent to the restaurant, is the right spot for pre or post-dinner drinks. The cocktail checklist contains all of the classics, in addition to signature pours, just like the Zabaylon – a punchy mixture of rum, whiskey and eggnog topped with chocolate bitters.

There are alcohol-free cocktails however I used to be stunned to search out that the bar didn’t provide any non-alcoholic beer. All drinks are served with home made snacks, together with some ridiculously moreish sea salt and rosemary crackers which I couldn’t cease consuming.

The lodge’s extra informal restaurant is Piazzetta Ripetta, an al-fresco spot within the central patio which is ideal for a enterprise lunch or a fast afternoon chunk. The Etere rooftop bar, one in all Rome’s hottest, is open all through the summer season from Thursday to Sunday, 6pm till midnight.

Breakfast is included in room charges and is served buffet fashion in San Baylon. Any fashion of eggs and omelettes could be ordered contemporary and there’s additionally a freshly squeezed juice and prosecco station, excellent for those who fancy a facet of Mimosa along with your morning pastries.

To do

The lodge is inside strolling distance to a few of Rome’s most iconic sights, together with the Pantheon. Picture credit score: Pixabay/djedj

Palazzo Ripetta is positioned within the well-heeled Campo Marzio neighbourhood which is walkable to many high sights together with: the Pantheon, a former temple famed for its coffered Dome; the Trevi fountain, a baroque gem from the 18th century; and Piazza Del Popolo, a sq. which incorporates Rome’s oldest obelisk.

Rome is one in all Italy’s hottest locations and primary points of interest needs to be booked upfront. The reserving web sites could be clunky and complicated, so skip the trouble and lean on Palazzo Ripetta’s glorious concierge. They will help with excursions and reservations and have the town’s greatest eating places on velocity dial. Throughout our keep, the lodge sorted a last-minute reserving at Da Francesco a well-liked Roman fashion pizza joint which was seemingly totally booked till the lodge labored its magic.

In a nutshell

Palazzo Ripetta is an eco-focused luxurious lodge which seamlessly fuses its storied historical past with a recent design. For artwork lovers, to meals connoisseurs, this impartial lodge needs to be at high of your checklist in Rome.


Rooms begin from £500 per night time primarily based on two folks sharing.

Handle: By way of di Ripetta 231, 00186 – Roma
Cellphone: +39 06 3231144
Web site:

Resort pictures courtesy of Palazzo Ripetta.

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Passport to Portugal: Six methods to dive into its tradition



Passport to Portugal: Six methods to dive into its tradition

Few nations pack as a lot into one small area as Portugal. Neolithic carvings, Roman ruins and Moorish castles sit side-by-side with breathtaking mountain ranges, blue-flag seashores, canal-lined cities and enchanting villages.

Summer season festivals pop up in in any other case quiet countryside cities and journey sports activities alight on the coast and within the mountains, whereas artisan producers and makers fill outlets, markets and houses with farm-to-table meals and hand-crafted wares.

Music, artwork, historical past and tradition are interwoven into the material of the nation, making Portugal greater than only a good spot to go to – it’s a vacation spot that actually has one thing for everybody.

Listed below are a few of our favourite methods to take a deep dive into every little thing Portugalia.

Planning a visit to Portugal? Copy this weekend trip to Lisbon

Coimbra’s Fado music is supposed to be sung outdoor – the guitar is tuned decrease to higher match the out of doors acoustics © Getty Pictures

Catch a Fado present in Coimbra

One of many first issues that involves thoughts if you consider Portugal is inevitably Fado. This distinctive music was born within the taverns of Lisbon, adopted intently by a second style of Fado that’s native to the north-central metropolis of Coimbra.

Coimbra is house to the oldest Portuguese-language university on the planet (whose costume code helped to encourage the Harry Potter college uniforms), the place teams of scholars would collect within the streets to sing of affection, longing and their beloved college.

In contrast to Lisboa’s Fado, Coimbra’s Fado is supposed to be sung outdoor, not in taverns, and the guitar is tuned decrease to higher match the out of doors acoustics. The lyrics are poetic, well-rehearsed and usually extra hopeful than the Lisboete type, and performers (who’re all male) put on the requisite black college costume and cape to this present day.

Catch a present at one in every of Coimbra’s most iconic Fado homes, like à Capella or Café Santa Cruz.

Carnival costumes are an necessary a part of Portugal’s creative traditions © Getty Pictures

Delve into Portugal’s creative traditions

The Portuguese countryside oozes cultural heritage, and you’ll go to its distinctive choices in villages from the north to the south.

Cease by Podence or Lazarim throughout Carnival to see the Caretos dressed of their iconic colourful costumes or picket satan masks or head all the way down to Alentejo, the place artisan craftsmanship is alive and effectively. On the native markets – a few of which, just like the month-to-month Azeitão Market, are occasions unto themselves – you’ll see age-old basketweaving, ceramics, leather-based and tapestry methods on show (don’t overlook to take house some souvenirs).

Within the Portuguese artwork world, high quality trumps amount. It’s possible you’ll not discover large artwork establishments right here, however you will discover galleries showcasing distinctive works from the previous and current – together with homegrown Portuguese legends. Take a look at the Museu Coleção Berardo in Lisbon’s Centro Cultural de Belém for a few of the nation’s most daring reveals; in Cascais, a celebration of Paula Rego – one in every of Portugal’s best postwar painters; and in Porto, the cutting-edge reveals within the art-deco mansion of Sarralves.

From Globus | Art & Soul: Portugal By Design, Regardless of the way you awaken your spirit in Portugal, with complimentary YourChoice Excursions, you select the best way to be moved.

Grilled Sardines, Bolinhos de bacalhau (deep-fried salt cod fish croquettes) and Bacalhau a Bras (Salt Cod, Eggs and Potatoes) are conventional Portuguese dishes © Getty Pictures

Eat your Coronary heart Out

There’s one other type of artisanal manufacturing that makes Portugal well-known – and this one’s edible.

Make a journey by means of the flavors of the nation, munching on cheese from the Serra de Estrela; olive oil from Alentejo; or canned sardines from Pinhais in Matosinhos – the one cannery whose course of continues to be 100% artisanal (aka, they do every little thing by hand).

Small batch growers, native artisanal farmers and producers make wine, cheese, olive oil, honey, conserves, sweets and extra, all around the nation, with every product defining the area it got here from.

There’s additionally wine from the Douro to be savored (or port wine from Porto, do you have to favor), Nevadas from Pencova to munch on and the unmissable Pastel de Belém, bought simply outdoors of the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, the place the delectable candy was born.

Seashore lovers who come to Portugal flock to the Algarve, together with Lagos seaside © Getty Pictures

Get Open air

In spite of everything that consuming, you could be craving a while outdoor – and whether or not you’re seeking to lie down on an attractive, blue-flag seaside, take a scenic hike by means of the hills or paddle into the Atlantic’s waters, Portugal’s received you coated.

Surf fanatics ought to go to the World Surf Reserve in Ericeria, see the WSL occasion in Supertubos in Peniche or watch the world’s largest wave break from Nazaré’s clifftops.

For these into trekking, take a stroll on the breathtaking Rota Vicentina alongside Alentejo’s southern shoreline or hike by means of the Peneda-Gerês National Park – one of many nation’s best-kept secrets and techniques.

Seashore lovers will after all flock to the Algarve’s sunny shores, however it could be a mistake to miss the extra genuine choices alongside the shores of the Silver Coast – the less-crowed stretch of shoreline between Ericeira and Porto, the place Santa Cruz and Figueira da Foz are two all-time favorites.

From Globus | Taste of Portugal – From Porto to Lisbon, your senses are full of visions of pure marvel, great wines, tempting tastes and superb artistry on this escorted tour.

The Roman Temple of Évora is a part of the historic middle of town and a UNESCO World Heritage Website © Getty Pictures

Absorb Some Historical past

Now that you simply’re rested, it’s time to find a bit extra about Portugal’s previous – which incorporates each main participant from the Celtics to the Romans to the Moorish Empire. One of the best Roman ruins are present in Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage metropolis and the capital of Alentejo. Evora’s 2,000-year-old Temple of Diana is likely one of the most necessary and iconic ruins within the nation – though it’s dwarfed in dimension by the Roman ruins of Conímbriga, outdoors of Coimbra.

The Moors had their strongholds additional South, the place cities like Aljezur (whose identify comes from the Arabic phrase aljezeer, which means, ‘the island’) and Silves (house to probably the most full Moorish castles) nonetheless bear their mark. In Mertola, close to the coast of Spain, there may be even an annual celebration of Moorish historical past and Arabic tradition on the extremely animated annual Islamic Competition. 

Lisbon’s postcard-perfect panorama of cobbled alleyways, historic ruins and white-domed cathedrals is a fascinating scene © Getty Pictures

Soak within the Metropolis of Gentle

Then after all there may be the beginning and finish to just about any Portugal itinerary: Lisbon, the capital metropolis, aka a Cidade de Luz (the Metropolis of Gentle.) They weren’t kidding, both. Lisbon’s postcard-perfect panorama of cobbled alleyways, historic ruins and white-domed cathedrals is a fascinating scene crafted over centuries.

Whilst you’re wandering by means of Barrio Alto’s slender streets or strolling alongside the Tejo River, watch how the sunshine displays off the azulejo (ceramic tile) coated buildings and dances alongside the water. Take pleasure in a spectacular sundown from one in every of Lisbon’s twenty miradouros (look out factors), just like the Miradouro de Santa Luzia or the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.

From Globus | Portugal In Depth – From the granules of golden sand to the wealthy nuggets of historical past, this enlightening tour of Portugal introduces you to the brightest sights of the nation.

Biking by means of Alentejo © Getty Pictures

Globus Excursions join you to one of the best of Portugal

Attempting to suit all {that a} nation has to supply into one itinerary could be greater than difficult, which is why it pays get some assist. Regardless of your pursuits, Globus Excursions has a getaway for you, your loved ones or your group (or can simply personalize or create a bespoke one that fits all your needs).

Whether or not you’re on the lookout for a traditional Portuguese Escape, are hoping to search out the Art & Soul of the nation or want an “Escape” from the crowds, it’s straightforward to let Globus Excursions deal with the planning whereas nonetheless providing you with the pliability to decide on your personal actions.

You probably have the time, add on the Azores Islands to your trip. Residents of this tiny archipelago have a slower, extra pleasant, genuine way of life, which makes for an unforgettable finish to any Portuguese journey.

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Hilton debuts Conrad model in Bahrain – Enterprise Traveller



Hilton debuts Conrad model in Bahrain – Enterprise Traveller

Different F&B choices embody Café Tomo within the foyer space, and the mezzanine stage library-style bar Commerce Room.

The lodge includes a assortment of latest Bahraini artwork, and the property’s three assembly rooms have been named after Bahrain’s historical past and landmarks, together with the Bab Al Bahrain Room (after the constructing which was the primary gateway to Bahrain), the Harbour Room (a nod to Bahrain’s maritime heritage) and the 1920 room (named after the yr Bahrain’s first financial institution opened).

Conrad Bahrain Monetary Harbour is the third property below the model within the Gulf area, becoming a member of the established Conrad Dubai, and Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers – which opened in 2020 as a rebranding of the Jumeirah Etihad Towers.

Conrad set to make its Abu Dhabi debut this week

Commenting on the information Man Hutchinson, president, Center East and Africa, Hilton, mentioned:

“We’re delighted to begin welcoming visitors to Conrad Bahrain Monetary Harbour, our third Hilton property and a primary for the Conrad model within the nation.

“Every room within the lodge is a collection, offering visitors with the comforts of house alongside intuitive service and splendid leisure services.

“With its prime location and standout eating choices, together with SUSHISAMBA, the lodge is ready to turn into a vacation spot of selection in Bahrain’s capital metropolis.”

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