History of morals and fashion

Page last modified 4/5/2021


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See also Abortion and Birth Control

For Animal Protection and Welfare see Environmant

See also Child Welfare

See also Clothing and Cosmetics

See also Crime and Punishment (see here for auicide)

See also Homosexuality

See also Tobacco and Smoking

See also Race Equality

See also Women�s Rights (Divorce here)


See graphic here (The Economist 2/11/2019) as to how social mores change over generations.


Beauty contests � see Appendix 3 below

Drugs � see Appendix 4 below

Euthanasia � see Appendix 5 below

Family relations � see Appendix 7 below

Gambling � see Appendix 8 below

Pornography and intimacy � see Appendix 10 below

Religion � see Appendix 11 below. See also Christianity.

Temperance & Prohibition (of alcohol) � see Appendix 12 below


2/10/2000, The Human Rights Act came into force in the UK. It incorporated into English law the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.

1/3/1993. Funeral of two-year-old James Bulger, abducted from Bootle shopping centre on 12/2/1993 and later murdered by two youths on a Liverpool railway line; his body was found by the tracks on 16/2/1993. Two boys aged ten from Walton, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, were charged with the murder on 20/2/1993. The case provoked a moral panic about social breakdown in society and �loss of values�.

4/2/1987. Death of US pianist Liberace, unofficially of AIDS. The official cause of death was a brain tumour.

8/4/1977, The Dammed played in New York, the first punk band to play in the USA.

5/3/1977. The first Punk Rock LP, Dammed, Dammed, Dammed, was released.

6/1/1977. EMI dismissed the Sex Pistols due to their outrageous behaviour and foul language, with a �40,000 payoff. The resultant publicity boosted sales of the Sex Pistol�s album Anarchy in the UK; sales reached 50,000.

1/12/1976, The Sex Pistols, a punk rock group, were interviewed by Bill Grundy on Thames TV Today.

6/11/1975. The punk rock band Sex Pistols played their first gig at St Martin�s College of Art in London.

6/9/1974. Mary Whitehouse described as �completely irresponsible� a sketch on the BBC children�s programme Jackanory in which actors walked away unharmed after blowing up a car.

4/1/1974. Teachers requested that 16 year old �bovver boys� (�they don�t even speak English, they just grunt�) should be allowed to leave school as soon as exams were over rather than having to stay on till the end of term.

12/10/1973. Students jostled the Queen when she visited Stirling University.

8/2/1972, Fans demonstrated outside the Albert Hall, London, after Frank Zappa and the Mother of Invention concert was cancelled due to obscenities in one of their songs.

2/7/1970. The London Tourist Board spoke out against young tourists roughing it in London, sleeping out around the Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park, causing �squalor and moral problems�. 250 seal pups were shot in The Wash in the last cull of the open season, before the Conservation of Seals Act finally outlawed the seal killing on 29/8/1970.

1/1/1970. In the UK the age of majority was reduced from 21 to 18.

26/5/1969. John Lennon and Yoko Ono began a �bed � in� at a Montreal hotel in aid of world peace. See 8/12/1980.

26/8/1968, In the UK, the Theatres Act was passed, ended the role of Lord Chancellor as censor of plays, giving theatres much more freedom in what they could put on.

15/6/1967. In Britain the Latey Commission reported that the voting age should be lowered to 18.

29/11/1965. Mary Whitehouse began her clean up campaign concerning TV broadcasts, by setting up the National Viewers and Listeners Association to tackle �bad taste and irresponsibility�.

5/9/1965, The word �hippie� first appeared in print, in an article in the San Francisco Examiner by reporter Michael Fallon, who was writing a series about the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood. "Five untroubled young 'hippies'," Fallon began, "sprawled on floor mattresses and slouched in an armchair retrieved from a debris box, flipped cigarette ashes at a seatbelt in their Waller Street flat and pondered their next move."

15/1/1963. The BBC ended its ban on mentioning politics, royalty, religion, and sex in comedy shows.

11/1/1963, The world�s first disco, called Whisky a Go Go, opened in Los Angeles.

9/3/1959, A doll named Barbara Millicent Roberts, or Barbie for short, was exhibited at the New York Toy Fair, wearing a black and white swimming costume.

13/2/1959, The first Barbie Doll went on sale, priced at US$3 (�2), in a zebra-stripe swimsuit. She was created by Ruth Handler, whose daughter was called Barbara.

18/10/1958, Two Americans, Shirley Sanders and Robert Kardell, married in a church in Hollywood, the first couple to be matched by computer.

3/9/1956, After riots in several towns at cinemas involving Teddy Boys following the film Rock Around The Clock, the film was banned.

14/2/1933, Oxford students declared that �they would not fight for King and Country�.

1925, Coco Chanel, fashion designer, appeared with a suntan, challenging previous notions that a lily-white skin was the height of sophistication. This created a demand for suntan oils, and in 1936 L�Oreal began marketing the first mass-market sun lotion, called Ambre Solaire.

1921, John William Gott, Bradford trouser salesman, became the last person jailed in Britain for blasphemy. He was sentenced to 9 months hard labour for calling Jesus a �circus clown. He died soon after his release.

13/4/1914, George Bernard Shaw�s play Pygmalion caused a stir with its use of the word �bloody�.

1/1/1913, Film censorship began in Britain.

5/11/1912, The British Board of Film Censors was appointed.

13/6/1910, Mary Whitehouse, General Secretary of the National Viewers and Listeners Association, was born.

23/5/1909, US police broke up a lecture given by the anarchist Emma Goldman.

22/4/1909, In Westminster a Bill was introduced to abolish censorship in plays.

See also Education for improvements in Child Education during the 19th and 20th Centuries

29/4/1874, In Britain, the Cremation Society was formed.

1851, Census figures in Britain showed that only half the population regularly attended church on a Sunday.

12/10/1845, The social worker and prison reformer Elizabeth Fry died.

1840, In Britain, the Select Committee on the Health of Towns exposed slum conditions in many industrial cities.

16/6/1835, Social reformer Mr William Lovett founded the London Working Men�s Association, to tackle poverty amongst low paid labourers.

1824, In the UK, the Vagrancy Act made it an offence to sleep rough,out of doors. This was modified in 1935. See also price and economics.

18/12/1792, Thomas Paine was tried in absentia for publishing The Rights of Man.

1/11/1781. Austria abolished serfdom, and gave all citizens the right of marriage, free movement, and instruction in any handicraft.This initially applied to Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia; to Galicia soon after, and to Hungary in 1785.Landowners had certain rights remaining, such as corvee, but these were reduced by later laws.

19/7/1695, The first dating advertisement appeared, in Britain. A gentleman of about 30 years of age of some wealth sought a woman with an estate of around �3,000 to match with.

1623, Patent laws introduced in England, to protect inventions.

1233, The practice of staining the teeth black (ohaguro) began to be adopted as a sign of beauty in Japan after it was taken up by one of the aristocratic families.

150 BCE, The Romans closed all schools of dancing because they viewed it as effeminate. However dancing was still appreciated as public entertainment, although dancers then had a low social status. In the Bible, Saul�s daughter also look down witrh scorn when King David �danced before Jehovah with all his might� when the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Jerusalem. The early Christian Church similarly looked down on dancing, but again, like the Ro,mans, dancers were used as entertainment yet denied social standing in the Christian Mediaeval world. A similar attitude prevailed in the Islamic world. Dancing rose up the social scale in Europe as the Renaissance got underway.


Appendix 3 � Beauty contests

13/6/1988, The first beauty contest was held in the USSR.

17/11/1970. The Sun published its first �page three girl�, Stephanie Rahn.

7/9/1968, Protests by the New York Radical Women (NYRW) Group disrupted the Miss World competition in New York.

11/9/1954, The �Miss America� beauty contest, held in Atlanta City, New Jersey, was televised across the USA.

19/4/1951. Eric Morley, publicity officer for Mecca, devised the first Miss World beauty contest as part of the Festival of Britain. The contest was held at the Lyceum ballroom off The Strand, London. The Swedish entrant, Miss Kiki Haakonson, won.

10/9/1938. Death of the dog show founder Charles Cruft.

7/9/1921. The first Miss America beauty contest was held in Atlantic City.The winner was 15 year old, blonde, Margaret Goorman, of Washington DC.

14/8/1908, The first international beauty contest was held at the Pier Hippodrome, Folkestone, Kent. Contestants included six English, three French, one Irish, and one Austrian.

23/12/1905, The final of the earliest known beauty contest in Britain was held at Newcastle on Tyne.

19/9/1888. The world�s first beauty contest took place at Spa, Belgium. The winner was 18-year-old Bertha Soucaret from Guadeloupe, who won a5,000 Franc prize.

10/3/1886, The first Cruft�s dog show in London took place, in Islington; the first ever Cruft�s was in 1859 in Newcastle on Tyne. The show is named after its founder, Charles Cruft. In 1948 the show moved to Olympia, and from 1979 was held at Earls Court. Since 1991 it has been held at the National Exhibition Cenyre, Birmingham.

1873, The Kennel Club was established in London, as the number of dog shows grew. They have published the Kennel Club Stud Book annually since 1874. They have organised the Crufts Dog Show since 1948.

13/7/1871, The first cat show took place.It was held at Crystal Palace, London, organised by Harrison Weir.

1859, The first dog show was held at Newcastle onTyne, for pointers and setters.

14/10/1854, The first baby show was held, at Springfield, Ohio. There were127 exhibits.


Appendix 4 � Drugs

17/10/2018, Canada became the second country (after Uruguay in 2013) to legalise the sale of cannabis.

1/1/2018, The US State of California legalised the sale and consumption of cannabis for personal use. The substance was already legal in five other US States; Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

1/1/2014, The US State of Colorado legalised the sale and consumption of cannabis for personal use.

1996, US President Clinton increased the obstacles to drugs convicts of accessing the US welfare system.

1986, The Anti-Drug Abuse Act opened up a racial divide in the punishment for drugs possession. Possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine (used mainly by Black people) attracted a sentence of 5 years without parole � as did possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine (used mainly by White people).

1985, US President Reagan hired a team of staff to raise a moral alarm about the emergence of crack cocaine.

1982, US President Reagan restated a commitment to the �war on drugs�.

22/4/1979, Keith Richard of the Rolling Stones escaped a drugs conviction in return for performing a benefit concert for the Canadian National institute for the Blind.

2/2/1979, Sid Vicious (born as John Ritchie), former band member of the Sex Pistols, died of a heroin overdose at a party in New York, aged 21.

1973, The Governor of New York, Nelson Rockerfeller, passed draconian drugs laws, making possession of even small amounts of drugs punishable by 15 years to life imprisonment.

31/8/1973. The growing drugs menace in Britain was investigated by the TV programme Midweek on Drugs.

1/3/1972, A 14-year-old boy, Timothy Davey, from London was convicted of conspiring to sell cannabis in Turkey.

1971, The UK�s Misuse of Drugs Act tightened the law on drug taking and drug dealing.

1971, US President Nixon declared a �war on drugs�.

25/1/1970. Mick Jagger was fined �200 plus 50 guineas costs for possessing cannabis resin.

23/1/1969, The British Government rejected proposals to cut penalties for smoking cannabis.

31/12/1967, Hippies embraced love, flower power, LSD and the Rolling Stones as a cure for the world�s ills.

30/10/1967. Statistics showed that the number of Britain�s drug addicts under 20 rose from 145 in 1965 to 329 in 1966.

24/7/1967, Graham Greene, Francis Crick, and The Beatles were among those who signed a full-page advertisement in The Times, saying the law against marijuana was �immoral in principle and unworkable in practice�.

6/10/1966, California made possession of LSD illegal.

16/7/1966. The Home Secretary Roy Jenkins decided that the drug LSD-25 should be controlled under the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act, following a rise in use of the drug by young people.

1/2/1964. The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain called for unauthorised possession of amphetamines to be made an offence.

26/1/1956. The UK banned the import and export of heroin.

28/8/1928, In Britain the Dangerous Drugs Act (1925) was amended to make the use of cannabis illegal.

1914, In the USA, Congress passed the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, restricting the sale of opiates and cocaine; the country�s first �war on drugs�.


Appendix 5 � Euthanasia

1/4/2002, The Netherlands legalised euthanasia for the �seriously ill, not just the �terminally ill�.

2002, Belgium legalised assisted suicide.

26/9/1996. The first death under legalised euthanasia in Australia.

1993, The Netherlands decriminalised voluntary physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

1977, California became the first US state to allow mentally-competent patgients to make a �living will�, specifying their eish to be allowed to die without medical intervention.

1937, Switzerland legalised euthanasia. Suicide was decriminalised therefore assisting it was not a crime. However if te assistant stood to gain financially, it was still an unlawful act.


Appendix 7 �Family relations. See also Women�s Rights for Divorce (dates of legalisation of)

14/7/1997. In California a Bill was signed allowing women to breast feed in public.

12/1/1993. London�s first refuge for battered husbands opened.

14/4/1992, In Florida, an 11-year old boy successfully �divorced� his parents in court.

10/12/1991, The marriage rate in England and Wales was less than half what it was 20 years ago, as nearly a third of couples in their 20s chose to cohabit, not marry. At least 10% of marriages ended in divorce within 5 years.

1975, A survey in the USA found that 30% of women thought extramarital sex was wrong; in 1963 80% of women thought it was wrong.

1960, In the US, the percentage of married women who were employed had risen to 32%, up from 25% in 1950.

19/11/1959, The Archbishop of Canterbury said adultery should be a criminal offence.

16/3/1958. Mothers who worked full-time were condemned as enemies of family life by the Bishop of Woolwich.

27/3/1947, To stem the rising tide of divorce, the |British Government pledged more funding for the Marriage Guidance Council.

28/11/1946, In Britain the House of Lords was told of a �tidal wave of divorce sweeping Britain�.

445 BCE, In Rome the Lex Canuleia permitted intermarriage between patricians and plebeians in Rome.


Appendix 8 � Gambling

7/5/1995. UK betting shops opened on Sundays for the first time.

1/5/1961. Off-course betting shops became legal in Britain. They were legalised under the Betting and Gaming Act, 1960. 10,000 of them opened within the first 6 months thereafter.

1/6/1957. The Church condemned the �1 Premium Bonds as a �squalid raffle�.

25/4/1938, Postal workers, tradesmen and Baptists joined forces against the growing popularity of football pools. Baptists disapproved of them on moral grounds, as a form of gambling. Post offices wanted extra payments for handling the rapidly growing volume of pools traffic. Meanwhile a butcher in Worthing claimed his customers were buying cheaper cuts of meat to save up for the pools.

3/7/1902. In Britain, a House of Lords ruling restricted betting to the sites of sporting events.


Appendix 10 � Pornography and intimacy

9/8/1979. Brighton established Britain�s first nudist beach.

17/7/1970, The sex comedy Oh! Calcutta! opened in London.

27/9/1968, The Rock musical Hair with 13 naked actors opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, the day after the Theatres Act lifted censorship of it.

10/11/1960,The initial print run of Lady Chatterley�s Lover, 200,000 copies at 3s 6d each, sold out on the first day.

2/11/1960, The publisher of Lady Chatterley�s :Lover was found not guilty on 2/11/1960. On 10/11/1960, the first day of publication, 200,000 copies were sold in Britain.

20/10/1960. D H Lawrence�s book Lady Chatterley�s Lover put Penguin Books in the dock at the Old Bailey, under the Obscene Publications Act.

19/8/1960, In London, Penguin Books was prosecuted for obscenity over its plans to publish Lady Chatterley�s Lover.

29/2/1960, Hugh Hefner opened the first Playboy Club in Chicago. Brought up in a strict Methodist home, Hefner started the Playboy Magazine with US$ 10,000 in 1953.

27/2/1960. The magazine �Playboy� was banned in Connecticut.

16/6/1930. Mixed bathing allowed for the first time in the Serpentine, Hyde Park.

19/4/1927, The US actress Mae West was convicted of obscenity for writing, producing and directing a Broadway musical called Sex.

9/1/1927. Greta Garbo and John Gilbert- real life lovers � shocked cinemagoers in New York by their uninhibited kissing in the silent film Flesh and the Devil.

1920, At Motzener Zee, Germany, the first official nudist camp opened at Frei Sonnenland.

25/12/1913, In New York, a couple were arrested for kissing in the street.

5/4/1910. France banned kissing on its railways, because it caused delays.

1/11/1905. Police closed George Bernard Shaw�s play, Mrs Warren�s Profession, because of its portrayal of prostitution.

9/1/1902. New York State introduced a bill to outlaw flirting in public.

13/3/1894. The world�s first professional striptease performance took place at the Divan Fayanou Music Hall, Paris. It consisted of a woman getting ready for bed.

9/2/1893. The world�s first public striptease took place at the Moulin Rouge, Paris.

6/10/1889, The Moulin Rouge cabaret opened in Paris.

1883, Repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts of 1862-70. These had forced women suspected of prostitution who lived in garrison towns to undergo examinations for venereal disease; refusal meant imprisonment. The Acts were repealed after campaigning by Josephine Elizabeth Butler (1828-1906), a proponent of women�s education and married women�s property rights.

9/3/1562. Kissing in public was banned in Naples, contravention being punishable by death. This was an attempt to halt the spread of the plague.

801, Emperor Charlemagne banned prostitution.


Appendix 11 � Religion, See also Christianity

25/9/1976. A Danish film director was planning a film on Jesus� sex life.

20/1/1974. Football League games were played on a Sunday for the first time.

8/1/1974. In Rome, youths protested against the film Jesus Christ Superstar. The film�s makers protested that this film should not be confused with the Danish film Jesus Christ Superstud.

4/8/1966, John Lennon suggested that The Beatles were �more popular than Jesus�. Within days US radio stations had banned their music and there were public bonfires of their records.

9/2/1958, A play by Irish-born Samuel Beckett was banned from London stages due to blasphemy.

25/2/1930, In the UK, a Bill to abolish blasphemy as a criminal offence was dropped.

14/8/1870. John Galsworthy, English author, was born in Combe, Surrey. When his Forsyte Saga was dramatised on BBC TV on Sundays in the 1960s, clergymen had to change times of their evening service to get a congregation.

1851, In Britain, mainly in the new industrial urban areas, 2,438 churches were built or restored between 1851 and 1875, a process given momentum by the Victorian �Oxford High Church� Movement. In 1800 the Church was deficient in buildings in the newly emerging industrial towns and suburba, partly because creating new parishes was difficult; until 1843 that required an Act of parliament. In 1818 the UK Parliament began to remedy this deficiency, voting for �1 million to be spent building new churches, followed by a further �0.5 million for this purpose in 1824.

1/7/1559, Missing Church in Britain incurred a fine of one shilling (5p). However by 1581 this penalty had been raised to a swingeing �20 a month.


Appendix 12 - Temperance & Prohibition (of alcohol), See also Food

"I can't think of anything worse after a night of drinking than waking up next to someone and not being able to remember their name, or how you met, or why they're dead." - Laura Kightlinger, US actress

1/6/2008, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, introduced a ban on drinking alcohol on the London Underground.

21/8/1988, British licencing laws were relaxed to allow pubs to open for 12 hours a day.

1/4/1985, The UK Government imposed an alcohol ban on selected football grounds.

15/7/1948. Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in London, having been in existence in America since 1935.

12/5/1935, A chance meeting between two alcoholics, Dr Robert Smith and William Wilson, which led to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous.

5/12/1933. Prohibition Laws repealed in the USA, by the 21st Amendment, after over 13 dry years, leaving individual States free to determine their known drinks laws. See 16/1/1920. Utah was the last state to ratify the 21st Amendment, which nullified the 18th Amendment of 1919 prohibiting the manufacture sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors. Prohibition had not stopped alcohol consumption, but merely driven it underground into the criminal world. America celebrated so much that 1.5 million barrels of beer were drunk the first night. Towns ran dry, and were drunk dry again the next night too. Prohibition had simply created enormous opportunities for organised crime.

11/8/1932, US President Hoover said it was time to scrap Prohibition.

30/1/1932. Finland in a referendum vote chose to end prohibition of alcohol.

12/6/1931. Al Capone and 68 henchmen were charged with 5,000 offences regarding breaching the USA Prohibition laws.

31/10/1929, Nova Scotia voted to repeal Prohibition. This left Prince Edward Island as the only �dry� region in Canada.

1928. Under Prohibition, over 1,500 Americans went blind each year through drinking bad liquor, and bootlegger wars killed hundreds more. Enforcing Prohibition was costly, and had by no means halted alcohol consumption.

13/7/1923, Britain made sales of alcohol to under-18s illegal.

30/4/1923. The US only permitted alcohol consumption on ships 3 miles or more out at sea.

6/10/1922. Alcohol was banned on all US ships in port.

23/11/1921, In the US, President Harding banned doctors from prescribing beer.

4/12/1920. An attempt to introduce Prohibition to Scotland failed.

16/1/1920. Prohibition began in the USA (18th Amendment), and the sale, manufacture, or involvement with alcohol was banned.

See also USA for more dates.

6/10/1919. Norway adopted alcohol Prohibition.

11/4/1919, In a referendum, New Zealand rejected Prohibition.

16/1/1919, The US ratified the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors after one year. See 16/1/1920.

18/12/1917, The United States Congress submitted Prohibition legislation to the states. The 18th Amendment was known as the Volstead Act, after its chief sponsor, Andrew Volstead of Minnesota. It took a further 13 months for the necessary three quarters of US states to ratify the Act for it to become law, see 16/1/1919.

2/7/1916. The US States of Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, and South Dakota brought in Prohibition, bringing the number of states banning alcohol to 24.

6/4/1915, In Britain, the King ordered a Prohibition on alcohol in all the Royal Households.

9/6/1911, Carry Amelia Nation, US campaigner for abstention from alcohol, died aged 64.

21/1/1909. Tennessee adopted alcohol prohibition.

18/1/1909. New Zealand brewers abolished barmaids and banned women from buying alcohol in bars.

26/5/1908. The US State of North Carolina introduced Prohibition, banning alcohol.

1/1/1908. The US state of Georgia introduced prohibition, banning alcohol.

12/5/1902, The Court of Appeal reversed the legal decision of 22/4/1902, and allowed barmaids to work in pubs, following protests by pub landlords, barmaids and the public.

22/4/1902, Magistrates in Glasgow ruled that female barmaids must be replaced by men, because of the moral hazards of pubs. Pubs employing female staff would not have their licences renewed. See 12/5/1902.

24/10/1900, In London, the National Union of Women Workers held a meeting about drunkenness and illness.

2/10/1897, Neal Dow, US Temperance campaigner, died (born 20/3/1804).

1893, The Anti-Saloon Leauge was established in the USA, to promote the end of alcohol use through legislation. The Leauge continued to exist during and after Prohibition, and became part of the National Temperance League in 1950.

30/12/1887, A petition signed by over one million women was presented to Queen Victoria, asking for pubs to be closed on Sundays. The petition failed.

18/11/1874. In the USA, the National Women�s Christian Temperance Union was founded. Women would invade saloons and sing hymns and pray; the point being that drunkenness and ill-treatment of women often went together.

8/12/1856, Theobald Mathew, Irish Temperance preacher, died (born 10/10/1790).

4/7/1855. New York became the 13th state to ban the production or sale of alcoholic beverages.

1854, In Britain the 1854 Sale of Beer Act limited pub Sunday opening hours. There were riots, and the UK never attempted the level of Prohibition that was enacted in the USA.

1852, The US States of Massachusetts, Vermont and Louisiana brought in Prohibition.

1851, Maine became the first US State to ban the sale of alcohol.

2/2/1830, The first Temperance Society in Britain was formed, in Bradford, Yorkshire, by Mr Henry Forbes.

13/2/1826, The American Temperance Society was formed.

10/10/1790, Theobald Mathew, Irish Temperance preacher, was born (died 8/12/1856).

1735, In England, distillers were producing 5.4 million gallons of gin annually � 1 gallon per man, woman and child.

1400 BC, An Egyptian papyrus of this date warns �Do not get drunk in the taverns in which they drink ale, for fear that people repeat words that may have gone out of your mouth without you being aware of having uttered them�.


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