This Week In The News

ALARMING—German Holocaust Victims’ Group Loses Charity Status

Deutsche Welle wrote on November 24:

“One of Germany’s oldest and biggest Holocaust victims’ organizations is facing the loss of its nonprofit status…

“The Union of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime/Federation of Antifascists (VVN-BdA) received a notice this month from the financial authorities of the [city] of Berlin that its nonprofit tax benefits would no longer be awarded…

“Several other nonprofit organizations and politicians condemned the decision… who described the letter from the financial authority as an ‘alarm signal for democratic civil society.’

“Nonprofit status exempts an organization from several taxes, and allows supporters to write their donations off against tax. In a statement posted on its website on Friday, the VVN-BdA said the decision could lead to five-digit back taxes that could endanger the group’s survival. But other German financial authorities, such as the one representing North Rhine-Westphalia, continue to recognize VVN-BdA’s nonprofit status

“According to [a 2016 report by] the Bavarian intelligence agency charged with tracking extremist groups, the VVN-BdA’s agenda goes beyond simply fighting far-right extremism… The report also cited an article by VVN-BdA spokesman Ulrich Schneider in support of direct blockades of Nazi demonstrations as evidence that the organization accepted left-wing extremist groups as allies.

“The VVN-BdA describes itself as a non-party-affiliated alliance of victims of the Nazi regime, resistance fighters, and anti-fascists of all generations. It was originally founded in 1947, having emerged from an alliance of Holocaust victims’ associations and former anti-Nazi resistance fighters… The group now has around 6,000 members in Germany.

German financial authorities appear to be cracking down on politically active nonprofit organizations… According to a report in Der Spiegel magazine, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is keen to cut tax benefits for groups that try to influence political debate.”

This is an extremely dangerous, biased and right-wing decision, which is based on ridiculous arguments and ludicrous conclusions [see some of our underlining in the article], and it may set in motion very troubling developments reminiscent of the rise of Adolf Hitler.

REVEALING—German New Nazis’ and Greens’ Anti-Israel’s Policy 

The Jerusalem Post wrote on November 24:

“The German neo-Nazi party The Third Way and the Green Party welcomed the EU top court ruling that mandates Israeli products from the disputed territories must be branded with a label to show consumers that they were not produced in Israel proper.

“The Third Way ‘has been calling for years to boycott all products from the terrorist state of Israel’… Third Way added a link to an article from 2014 titled: ‘Israel Boycott: What anyone can do against Zionist genocide.’ A graphic on the Third Way’s entry states: ‘Boycott products from Israel: 729=Made in Israel.’ The number 729 is used in bar codes to identify Israel-based products and companies.

“The intelligence agency for the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate wrote in its 2018 report: ‘The Third Way’s slogan “Boycott Products from Israel”… betrays significant parallels to the anti-Jewish agitation of the National Socialists.’

“German intelligence officials in the state of Baden Württemberg wrote in a 2018 report that propaganda from the Third Way calling to boycott Israeli products ‘roughly recalls similar measures against German Jews by the National Socialists, for example, on April 1, 1933 (the slogan: “Germans! Defend yourselves! Don’t buy from Jews!”).’

“MPs from the German Green Party have sought to label Jewish products from the West Bank, Golan Heights and east Jerusalem since 2013… Green Party MP Renate Künast… once invoked a contemporary antisemitic conspiracy theory to describe a German organization as a ‘Mossad front’ that seeks to advance Israel’s security and stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

“In 1983, the Green Party put out a ‘Green Calendar’ with the headline ‘Israel, the gang of murderers’ and urged a ‘boycott of goods from Israel.’ The German daily Die Welt published an article titled ‘The long tradition of Green Anti-Zionism,’ in which the Green Party’s history of blaming Israel for the Middle East’s problems was highlighted.”

Anti-Israeli positions and anti-Semitism have now gone far beyond the preposterous claims of certain controversial German parties and have reached the entirety of Europe, as the above-mentioned EU Court’s decision has proven. The next article shows the extent of such anti-Israeli positions in the EU which ultimately lead to a military intervention in the Middle East and Europe’s occupation of Israel.

Sad and Troubling —Anti-Semitism in Germany on the Rise

The Algemeiner wrote on November 26:

Antisemitic outrages have risen precipitously across Germany during the last year, together with a corresponding rise in antisemitic attitudes. Two studies on Tuesday from separate regions of Germany underlined that the problem exists on a national scale.

“First, the daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reported that antisemitic incidents in the state of Brandenburg [in East Germany] during the first nine months of this year equaled the entire record for 2018… Meanwhile, an academic… study, carried out by the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, showed that 16 percent of respondents in Thuringia [in East Germany] agreed with the statement that Jews were unwelcome aliens (‘They don’t belong here.’)… The university study also showed that 24 percent of Thuringia residents identified with right-wing extremist parties, such as the ‘Alternative for Germany’ (AfD).”

Have those Jew-hating Germans learned NOTHING from history?

SHOCKING—Europe to Stop Recognizing Israel as an Independent State?

Project Syndicate wrote on November 25:

With the United States standing firmly with Israel’s most hawkish elements, it is up to the rest of the international community to push back against Israel’s violations of international law in Palestinian territory. The European Union should lead the charge.

“The United States may have just obliterated any remaining hope for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration that Israeli settlements in the West Bank do not violate international law defies a longstanding global consensus. The rest of the world must push back…

“After the US reversal, the EU’s foreign-policy chief,  Federica Mogherini, confirmed that its position on Israeli settlement policy ‘remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law’ and ‘erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace.’

“But this is far from the first time the EU has criticized Israel’s behavior… If European leaders – or, indeed, any others around the world – want to advance a vision of an independent Palestinian state alongside an Israeli one, they have only two choices: officially recognize Palestine as an independent state or stop recognizing Israel as one until it proves it is serious about reaching a negotiated solution.

“Already, most European parliaments have voted in favor of recognizing Palestine as an independent state along the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. But only Sweden has followed through, with the EU advising others to wait for the perfect opportunity to arise – the moment when a unified decision to recognize Palestine could have a real impact. Now is that moment.”

Even though the article does not set forth the OFFICIAL policy of the EU, there is no denying that it describes quite accurately the underlying reasons for the EU’s conduct and actions. The anti-Israeli policy of the EU is in stark contrast to the current pro-Israeli policy of the USA… the differences could not be greater. This is bound to result in a military clash between those two power blocs in the very near future.

DANGEROUS—Israel and Jordan—Relations at an All-Time Low

Breaking Israel News wrote on November 24:

“Relations between Jordan and Israel are at an ‘all-time low’ King Abdullah [said]… Regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict, Abdullah added that ‘If we do not solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Israel cannot really be part of the Middle East’

“‘I think that no small amount of us in this room believe that the only way forward is the two-state solution – because the alternative is much worse,’ he added…  ‘But I am not ready for this to come at the expense of what my father and late Prime Minister Rabin fought so hard to achieve, as a symbol of hope and opportunity for Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians and others.’

“Despite the king’s sentiments, it should be noted that Prime Minister Rabin was against a Palestinian state.”

These are strong anti-Israeli words coming from Jordan… and they are also misleading.

INTERESTING—Israel’s Attorney General Breaks the Law in Indicting Netanyahu

Breaking Israel News wrote on November 24:

“According to Israeli law, Israel’s Attorney General, Avichai Mandleblit has no authority to indict the Prime Minister at this time… The law states that before the attorney general indicts a Member of Knesset such as Netanyahu, they must first submit a recommendation to the Knesset committee. The only problem is that during a transition government (as there is now), there is no Knesset committee which means that no indictment can be handed down.

“The law also states that after the Knesset Committee receives the letter to recommend an indictment, the committee then has to take the time to discuss whether or not the suspect should enjoy immunity. These sessions can take months. And as long as there is no government, as is the case currently, these discussions cannot even take place.

“As [Conservative pundit Caroline] Glick puts it: ‘When Mandleblit announced that he was indicting Netanyahu, he made a political decision, not a legal one. He behaved like a politician and not like an attorney general… everything a lie. There is no indictment, no law and no sentence. There is a coup whereby state prosecutors (with the help of opportunistic politicians and politically biased journalists) are trying to bring down a political leader without elections.’”

The parallels to the US Democrats’ strictly political attempts to concoct reasons for their indictment scheme against President Trump are only too obvious. In this regard, Bild Online wrote on November 24:

“Witnesses in the impeachment showdown accuse him severely. [But] Trump will be the winner in the end.” It should also be noted that none of the witnesses who accuse him have first-hand personal knowledge. It has all been hearsay in the impeachment circus. And as we said before, the alliance of Donald Trump (USA=Manasseh), Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel=Judah) and Boris Johnson (UK= Ephraim) would be an interesting triumvirate.

TELLING—Church of England Blames So-Called Christian Theology for the Holocaust

Breaking Israel News reported on November 24:

“Christian theology played a part in the stereotyping and persecution of Jewish people that ultimately led to the Holocaust, according to a new report released by the Church of England on Thursday.

“… the 121-page report said attitudes towards Judaism over centuries had provided a ‘fertile seed-bed for murderous anti-Semitism,’ and that Anglicans and other Christians must repent for the ‘sins of the past,’ as well as actively challenge anti-Semitic attitudes or stereotypes. ‘The attribution of collective guilt to the Jewish people for the death of Christ and the consequent interpretation of their suffering as collective punishment sent by God is one very clear example of that,’ the report said.”

The report is right in pointing out that the Bible condemns the concept of a “collective guilt” and a “collective punishment” approach against the Jews. Please note our Q&A on that issue, titled, “What is the significance of the saying of Jews at Jesus’ time that ‘His blood be on us and on our children’ (Matthew 27:25)?” 

CONFIRMED—Britain’s Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn Deeply Anti-Semitic 

Breitbart wrote on November 26:

“The Archbishop of Canterbury has backed an electoral intervention by Britain’s chief rabbi by saying the country should be alert to the profound unease felt by many Jews at the prospect of a left-wing Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn. Justin Welby tweeted Tuesday after Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis wrote in the Times of London that Britain’s Labour Party and its leader have been deeply tarnished by anti-Semitism

“It is without precedent for the chief rabbi to express his thoughts on party politics during an election campaign. He stopped short of advising voters to shun Labour but made his point about the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn gaining Number 10. ‘The way in which the (Labour) leadership has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud,’ he wrote…

“The Labour Party in general has been engulfed in claims of institutionalized anti-Semitism since Corbyn became leader. At a personal level, he has also been slammed after pictures emerged confirming he attended a 2014 wreath-laying ceremony for Palestinian terrorists. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly admonished Corbyn when the images became public last year: ‘The laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorist who perpetrated the Munich massacre and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone – left, right and everything in between.’

“Netanyahu’s rare public criticism of a foreign politician came after the Daily Mail newspaper published photos of Corbyn holding a wreath to honor the instigators of the Munich atrocity. He had previously denied being part of the service… Also last year Corbyn’s camp defended comments he made during a speech at a rally outside Israel’s London embassy in 2010 in which he compared Israel’s blockade of the Gaza strip to the Nazi sieges of Leningrad and Stalingrad during World War II.”

The Labour Party’s anti-Semitism under Corbyn is well- documented and undisputable. What is shocking and alarming is that so many Brits are willing to vote for them. Notice the next article as well.

Disgusting—Radical Proposals on Abortion

The Daily Mail wrote on November 25:

“Labour’s… radical proposals on abortion seem to have slipped through unnoticed.

“However, it is vital we examine the party’s declaration that ‘we will uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions’. Decriminalising abortion would mean you could have one for any reason; you wouldn’t even be asked why you wanted it.

“Right To Life campaigners say the plan has the potential to allow unlimited abortions right up to birth, well beyond the present 24-week limit, which is already around twice the average time limit on abortions in Europe… Legislatively, it would mean scrapping the existing 1967 Abortion Act, which says you have to give a reason for an abortion and that two doctors have to sign it off…

“Two years ago, a Daily Mail investigation revealed that Marie Stopes, which has 60 clinics across England, signed off abortions for women they had never even met. Undercover reporters were approved for abortions based on a brief phone conversation with a call centre worker and told there was no need to meet a doctor because they filled out the necessary forms ‘behind the scenes’, based on reasons given to staff over the phone. The discussions could be as short as 22 seconds…”

The liberal ungodly laws in England and elsewhere are already terrible enough. Left-wing Labour wants to make them even worse…

SHAMEFUL—China’s Concentration Camps, while the World Is Silent (Again)

The Associated Press wrote on November 24:

“President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser [Robert O’Brien] is criticizing what he says is silence from the rest of the world over China’s confinement of more than 1 million Muslims in reeducation camps, linking the lack of a global outcry to China’s economic clout…

“‘Where is the world? We have over a million people in concentration camps,’ O’Brien said. ‘I’ve been to the genocide museum in Rwanda. You hear “never again, never again is this going to happen,” and yet there are reeducation camps with over a million people in them.’”

The Associated Press wrote on November 25:

“[New] classified documents lay out the Chinese government’s deliberate strategy to lock up ethnic minorities even before they commit a crime, to rewire their thoughts and the language they speak… Drawing on data collected by mass surveillance technology, computers issued the names of tens of thousands of people for interrogation or detention in just one week… the documents give the most significant description yet of high-tech mass detention in the 21st century in the words of the Chinese government itself. Experts say they spell out a vast system that targets, surveils and grades entire ethnicities to forcibly assimilate and subdue them.”

The world was silent when the truth about concentration camps in Nazi Germany was known. The world has been silent ever since in light of unspeakable atrocities. There is a reason for that: This is Satan’s world, not God’s.

FRIGHTENING—Nuclear Weapons Not the Solution

Deutsche Welle wrote on November 24:

“Visiting Japan, Pope Francis has condemned atomic weapons, nuclear deterrence and the growing arms trade…

“In a highly symbolic visit to Nagasaki, one of the two Japanese cities devastated by nuclear strikes during the closing days of World War II in August 1945, Pope Francis said nuclear weapons were ‘not the answer’ for global security, peace and stability… ‘I ask political leaders not to forget that these weapons cannot protect us… Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation,’ Francis noted…

“The head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics also criticized governments for spending huge sums on the development and manufacture of destructive weapons, while millions of people worldwide remain destitute…”

The Associated Press added on November 26:

“Pope Francis is planning to change official Catholic Church teaching to declare the use and possession of atomic weapons as ‘immoral,’ a move that makes clear that his rejection of the Cold War-era doctrine of deterrence is to be official church policy… ‘This must go in the Catechism of the Catholic Church,’ he said, referring to the published compendium of official church teaching. ‘Not just the use, also the possession,’ he said…

“Francis first articulated his opposition to the doctrine of deterrence in 2017, during a Vatican conference, when he said the possession of nuclear weapons was ‘to be condemned.’ The shift upended three decades of the Vatican’s tacit acceptance of nuclear arsenals. Starting in 1982, St. John Paul II had held that deterrence could be morally acceptable in the interim as long as it was used as a step toward mutual, verifiable disarmament…”

No amounts of weapons—nuclear or otherwise—are the answer for our protection. But until man changes his way of thinking, finally realizing that “it must be of the spirit, if we are to save the flesh” (General Douglas MacArthur, Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945), we will slip and stumble from one catastrophe to the next, until the unthinkable will happen, as our comments to the next article show. 

TYPICAL—Germany Not Ready and Willing

Deutsche Welle wrote on November 22:

“Only a world without nuclear weapons can be a ‘safe world,’ the German foreign minister [Heiko Maas] said on a trip to Hiroshima. But that requires international consensus, and Germany won’t be taking the first step… [He] said he was against a unilateral German withdrawal of nuclear weapons… Germany currently stores around 20 US nuclear warheads. The armed forces have Tornado jets on standby to deploy them if necessary…

“The US nuclear attack on Hiroshima at the end of World War II almost completely destroyed the city and killed around 140,000 people, mostly civilians. Tens of thousands died subsequently as a result of the long-term effects of the radiation. Three days after the attack on Hiroshima, US forces dropped another nuclear bomb on the city of Nagasaki where a further 70,000 people died.”

Heiko Maas’s poor and faulty reasoning shows why there will be no solution to our problems. This world will not get rid of nuclear weapons; in fact, they will be used again and if it were not for the return of Christ to end man’s madness and bring peace, all life on this planet would be annihilated. 

STUNNING—Germany Economy Minister Attacks USA

Politico wrote on November 25:

“German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier on Monday defended describing the United States as ‘unreliable and untrustworthy’ in a debate over whether Chinese companies should be banned from providing equipment for Germany’s 5G telecoms network. The U.S. ambassador to Berlin, Richard Grenell, strongly condemned the remarks, branding them ‘an insult to the thousands of American troops who help ensure Germany’s security and the millions of Americans committed to a strong Western alliance.’

“Altmaier, Angela Merkel’s former chief of staff and a close ally of the chancellor, made the comments on live television… Merkel has advocated letting the Chinese in, despite deep reservations both within her own party and her governing coalition…

“Altmaier’s negative characterization of Germany’s longtime ally and protector illustrates the depth of the rift between the U.S. and Germany, which has worsened in recent months amid trade disputes and Washington’s persistent criticism of Berlin’s failure to meet NATO defense spending goals…

“Altmaier, however, wasn’t the only senior figure to draw comparisons between the U.S. and China on the talk show. Dieter Kempf, the president of the German Federation of Industries, a powerful business lobby, said he saw no reason to treat Chinese companies any different from American ones… ‘If you compare the Chinese intelligence act with the U.S. Patriot Act, which some of us appear to have forgotten, one can see that they have pretty much the same requirements.’”

That rift between the USA and Germany (as well as Europe) will continue to worsen until a MILITARY confrontation is no longer unthinkable. 

AFFIRMING—Donald Trump… the “Chosen One” Sent by God?

The Huffington Post wrote on November 25:

Departing Secretary of Energy Rick Perry [said] that the president was ‘the chosen one’ sent by God to rule over America. The former Texas governor and Republican presidential rival of Trump used Old Testament kings to make his point. ‘God’s used imperfect people all through history,’ Perry said. ‘King David wasn’t perfect, Saul wasn’t perfect, Solomon wasn’t perfect.’

“Perry said he shared his thoughts with Trump on paper recently. ‘I said, Mr. President, I know there are people that say you said you were the chosen one and I said, “You were.” I said, “If you’re a believing Christian, you understand God’s plan for the people who rule and judge over us on this planet and our government.”’…

“Perry… is not the first Trump acolyte to attribute the president’s ascent to religion. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said earlier this year that ‘only God could deliver such a savior to our nation.’ Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said God ‘wanted Trump to become president.’ And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo…  said in March that ‘it’s possible’ that Trump… had been sent ‘to help save the Jewish people.’”

Daily Mail added:

“The failed 2012 and 2016 presidential candidate continued: ‘None of us got here by accident. I’m a big believer that the God of our universe is still very active in the details of the day-to-day lives of government. You know, Barack Obama didn’t get to be the president [of the] United States without being ordained by God. Neither did Donald Trump

“Trump won the Republican nomination after turning aside a raft of rival Republicans – including Perry, who in 2016 denounced him as a ‘false prophet.’ ‘Let no one be mistaken – Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded,’ Perry warned in a speech at the National Press Club in July of 2015. ‘My fellow Republicans, beware of false prophets. Do not let itching ears be tickled by messengers who appeal to anger, division and resentment. Resentment is the poison we swallow that we hope harms another. My fellow Republicans, don’t take the poison.’…

“Trump described himself as the ‘chosen’ one when describing his role taking on China on trade practices. ‘Somebody had to do it,’ he told reporters at the White House at the end of August. ‘I am the chosen one,’ he said, looking upward [and stretching out his arms]. ‘Somebody had to do it. So I’m taking on China.”

It is not true that God ordains every president of the United States, or every ruler on this planet. As we explain in our Q&A on Romans 13:3,  the Bible tells us that sometimes, God has nothing to do with certain people coming to power. This is Satan’s world, not God’s, and Satan is the ruler of this world, which includes the USA, the UK, Israel and other nations. Sometimes, people come to power without any spiritual influence—neither from God nor from Satan. At other times, Satan gives power and authority to certain people (he will do so in respect to the beast and the false prophet or the man of sin). On the other hand, nothing happens against God’s Will. And sometimes, God intervenes directly and places people in power, strictly and solely for the purpose of fulfilling biblical prophecy. We believe that in regard to Donald Trump, and perhaps other current leaders, this is the case.

UNFOLDING—“Brexit—No Going Back Now”

Express wrote on November 25:

“EU BOSSES are set to press ahead with a new European Commission without Britain after Boris Johnson’s steadfast refusal to nominate a representative. The Prime Minister’s hardline stance threw Brussels into a tailspin as its own laws clearly state every member nation must have a commissioner. But EU legal teams have been working round the clock throughout the weekend to come up with a solution to make the new Commission legitimate without a British presence.

“… Officials are confident [that] the next European Commission [will be conducted] in December without a UK commissioner. [A document by the EU commissioners] says the UK’s failure to meet its obligation to nominate a commissioner ‘cannot undermine the regular functioning of the Union and its institutions and thus cannot constitute an obstacle to the appointment of the next Commission in order for it to start as soon as possible exercising the full range of its power under the Treaties’.

“The European Commission has wide-ranging powers that include proposing policies on everything from migration to climate change, policing member states’ budgets and negotiating global trade deals. It is normally comprised of one representative from each of the EU’s 28 member states. Britain was given until midnight last Friday to respond to the launch of legal action in which it is accused of violating EU law by refusing to put forward a nominee. But the Government did not respond and is not expected to do so.”

Brexit will happen soon. The “patience” of the EU with the UK is running out. While Angela Merkel has been trying so far to delay Brexit, the Bible says that ultimately, Germany will not be able to help the UK anymore. From a biblical perspective, Brexit will destroy the UK, but it is prophesied to happen. At the same time, Money Week reported on November 24 that Christine Lagarde “is pushing harder on the door that Draghi already opened – the ECB is here, it’s printing money, and it will continue to buy all the bonds you can issue in order to fund more government spending. Meanwhile, progress towards ‘ever closer union’ will continue… Draghi effected political change but cloaked it under economics. Lagarde is going to do more, and in plain sight…”

Sicknesses Because of Vaccinations 

The Associated Press reported on November 25:

Four African countries have reported new cases of polio linked to the oral vaccine, as global health numbers show there are now more children being paralyzed by viruses originating in vaccines than in the wild. In a report late last week, the World Health Organization and partners noted nine new polio cases caused by the vaccine in Nigeria, Congo, Central African Republic and Angola. Seven countries elsewhere in Africa have similar outbreaks and cases have been reported in Asia. Of the two countries where polio remains endemic, Afghanistan and Pakistan, vaccine-linked cases have been identified in Pakistan…

“The Independent Monitoring Board, a group set up by WHO to assess polio eradication, warned in a report this month that vaccine-derived polio virus is ‘spreading uncontrolled in West Africa, bursting geographical boundaries and raising fundamental questions and challenges for the whole eradication process.”

We need to understand that ALL vaccines are potentially dangerous, and that is especially true for people with a weak immune system.  In countries where it is mandatory for children to be immunized, it is important that parents are aware of the potential dangers so they can pray fervently to God for His protection of the children. An uninformed, casual and lackadaisical approach is most certainly not called for.  

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.

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