влада, вибори, народ

Європейська федерація журналістів виступила на підтримку колег, яких переслідують у Криму

Генеральний секретар Європейської федерації журналістів Рікардо Ґутьєррес зазначив, що Крим «став зоною, де більше не поважають міжнародне право та верховенство права»

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By VilneSlovo | 04/12/2021 | Повідомлення, Свобода слова

White House Bedecked for Christmas

“Gifts from the heart” is the theme of Jill Biden’s first Christmas as first lady, and she has filled the historic home with tributes to those who have inspired her over the past year: front-line workers who soldiered through the pandemic, service members who gave their lives, and members of her family and those of previous presidents.

This year’s official Christmas tree is a 5.5-meter-tall Fraser fir covered with white doves and ribbons bearing the names of U.S. states and territories.

“For all of our differences, we are united by what really matters, like points on a star,” she said after the decorations were unveiled this week. “We come together at the heart. That is what I wanted to reflect in our White House this year. In each room, we tell a story of gifts from the heart in the East Wing. We see the gift of service with shooting stars representing the front-line workers who brought light to our lives in the darkest days of this pandemic.” 

This year’s decorations echo the theme of the last Christmas of previous first lady Melania Trump. Her final Christmas decorations as first lady paid tribute to first responders, such as police and health care workers, who were also featured in this year’s decorations.

But can you eat it?

As usual, the White House pastry team this year spent several weeks putting together a hefty gingerbread display.

This year, the 226-kilogram construction features the White House but also includes a school, police, fire and gas stations, a hospital, a post office, a grocery store and a warehouse.

Executive pastry chef Susan Morrison told VOA the display took 55 sheets of gingerbread; 55 kilograms of pastillage, a type of sugar-paste icing; another 15 kilograms of royal icing; and 13 kilograms of chocolate. Plus a large quantity of something called “gum paste,” which is a sugar dough used for decor. 

So VOA posed the obvious question, “I promise I’m not going to do this, but could you eat all of this?” 

“You could, technically, except it’s meant for display,” Morrison said with a laugh. “So the icing on the outside, when it is exposed to air, becomes very firm like concrete.” 

She laughed. VOA did not touch or attempt to eat the gingerbread display.

Love it or hate it, ‘we love you’ 

Christmas trees have been a White House fixture for more than a century, but it was first lady Jacqueline Kennedy who started decorating by theme, choosing “The Nutcracker Suite” for the first project.

The first ladies’ efforts haven’t always been warmly received, and this year’s theme was no exception, with some Americans taking to Twitter to pick apart the first lady’s style choices. Critics howled over former first lady Melania Trump’s 2018 decorations, which included red Christmas trees, with some calling them “more frightening than festive.”

But first lady Biden said that while the world may still be scary, the holidays shouldn’t be.

“There are still challenges ahead for our nation,” she said, speaking to the 100-plus volunteers festooned with the White House’s 41 Christmas trees with 80,000 lights, 1,800 meters of ribbon and more than 10,000 ornaments.

“There will be moments when the answers seem unclear. But we have a guiding light as well. Not a star in the sky, but a divine truth within us, the values that make us who we are, the threads that unite us all, the gifts from the heart. No matter how dark the night when we turn toward that light, we will never be lost. So thank you for helping us share those gifts from the heart. And happy holidays and Merry Christmas. From our family to all of yours:We love you.” 

 

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By Polityk | 04/12/2021 | Повідомлення, Політика

Суд у Криму відхилив апеляцію на арешт Нарімана Джеляла – адвокат

«Наріман нагадав суду про політичні мотиви його переслідування. Головуючий суддя, пробувши у нарадчій кімнаті 5 хвилин, вирішив залишити все в силі»

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By Gromada | 03/12/2021 | Повідомлення, Суспільство

СБУ заявляє про викриття ще однієї ботоферми, яка продавала акаунти «проросійським агітаторам»

Як заявили у відомстві, ботів використовували для дискредитації ЗСУ, «виправдання збройної агресії РФ та підбурювання «антивакцинаторських» настроїв»

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By Gromada | 03/12/2021 | Повідомлення, Суспільство

House Votes to Avert Shutdown, but Quick Senate OK in Doubt

The House passed a bill Thursday that funds the government through February 18 and avoids a short-term shutdown after midnight Friday, but quick Senate approval was in doubt because of a fight over President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

An agreement among congressional leaders announced earlier in the day would keep the government running for 11 more weeks, generally at current spending levels while adding $7 billion to aid Afghanistan evacuees. 

The Democratic-led House passed the measure by a 221-212 vote. The Republican leadership urged members to vote no; the lone GOP vote for the bill came from Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger. 

Lawmakers bemoaned the short-term fix and blamed the opposing party for the lack of progress on this year’s spending bills. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said the measure would, however, allow for negotiations on a package covering the remainder of the budget year through September. 

“Make no mistake, a vote against this continuing resolution is a vote to shut government down,” DeLauro said during the House debate. 

Before the House acted, Biden said he had spoken with Senate leaders and he played down fears of a shutdown. 

“There is a plan in place unless somebody decides to be totally erratic, and I don’t think that will happen,” Biden said. 

Conservative Republicans opposed to Biden’s vaccine rules want Congress to take a hard stand against the mandated shots for workers at larger businesses, even if that means shutting down federal offices over the weekend.

It was just the latest instance of the brinkmanship around government funding that has triggered several costly shutdowns and partial closures over the past two decades. The longest shutdown in history happened under President Donald Trump — 35 days stretching into January 2019, when Democrats refused to approve money for his U.S-Mexico border wall. Both parties agree the stoppages are irresponsible, yet few deadlines pass without a late scramble to avoid them. 

Democrats were able to use their majority to advance the spending bill. They have a more difficult task in the 50-50 Senate, where objections by just one senator can slow a final vote past Friday’s midnight deadline. That could mean a short-term shutdown into the weekend.

 

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By Polityk | 03/12/2021 | Повідомлення, Політика

Abrams to Run Again for Georgia Governorship

Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat and leading voting rights activist, said Wednesday that she would launch another campaign to become the nation’s first Black female governor.

If she receives her party’s nomination, Abrams could again face off against Republican Brian Kemp, the current governor. Their 2018 contest was one of the most narrowly decided races for governor that year and was dominated by allegations of voter suppression, which Kemp denied. 

Yet Abrams’ strong showing convinced national Democrats that Georgia should no longer be written off as a GOP stronghold. Her performance and subsequent organization persuaded Joe Biden to invest heavily in the state in 2020, and he became the first Democratic presidential candidate to capture it since 1992. The party later won a narrow Senate majority after victories in two special elections in the state. 

The 2022 governor’s race will test whether those gains were a one-time phenomenon driven by discomfort with then-President Donald Trump or marked the beginning of a more consequential political shift in a rapidly growing and diversifying South.

‘Fight for one Georgia’

In a video announcing her candidacy, Abrams said “opportunity and success in Georgia shouldn’t be determined by background or access to power.” 

Abrams said she would provide “leadership that knows how to do the job, leadership that doesn’t take credit without also taking responsibility, leadership that understands the true pain that folks are feeling and has real plans. That’s the job of governor, to fight for one Georgia, our Georgia.” 

‘Campaign for power’

Kemp said in a statement that Abrams was on a “never-ending campaign for power” in an attempt to become president, linking her to what he said was the “failed Biden agenda.” 

“Her far-left agenda of open borders, gun confiscation, high taxes and anti-law enforcement policies don’t reflect who we are as Georgians,” Kemp said. 

In a state where Democrats often sought — and failed — to win power by relying on Black voters and appealing to older white moderates, Abrams ran in 2018 as an unapologetic progressive. The 47-year-old Abrams embraced expanding Medicaid access, something a series of Republican governors have refused to do, and she supported abortion rights. 

Georgia remains narrowly divided, but in abandoning nods at centrism, Abrams insists Democrats can attract new voters, including recent transplants to the booming Atlanta area, Black voters who hadn’t participated in previous elections and younger, more liberal white voters.

Although Kemp defeated her by 1.4 percentage points, Abrams won 778,000 more votes than the previous Democrat to run for governor. 

Registering voters

After the election, Abrams started Fair Fight, an organizing group that has raised more than $100 million and built a statewide political operation that registered hundreds of thousands of new voters in Georgia. The state saw record-breaking turnout in the 2020 presidential race and January Senate runoff elections. 

Now, Abrams and Kemp look like they may face a rematch in a new political climate. For one, Kemp faces opposition from Trump and his most loyal GOP supporters for not supporting the former president’s baseless argument that he was cheated out of reelection through massive voter fraud, including in Georgia. Election officials conducted three recounts in the state, each of which affirmed Biden’s victory. 

Trump, who campaigned for Kemp in 2018, is now one of the governor’s most vocal critics, pointedly inviting former U.S. Senator David Perdue to run against Kemp. 

Kemp’s disavowal of problems in Georgia’s election results did not stop him from pushing through restrictive changes to voting laws in response to Trump’s 2020 national defeat. Many Democrats are worried that Georgia’s new law, which gives the GOP-controlled legislature more control over elections officials, will reverse Abrams’ years of fighting voter suppression. Still other Democrats hope the new voting law will invigorate supporters and make them even more determined to go to the polls. 

Abrams has used voting concerns to mobilize Democrats, telling The Associated Press in April that “Republicans are gaming the system because they’re afraid of losing an election.” 

Republicans, meanwhile, have tried to gain an upper hand by using the prospect of an Abrams candidacy to galvanize its voters. Earlier this year, Kemp allies preemptively formed a group called Stop Stacey, aimed specifically at stopping her from winning the governorship in 2022. 

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By Polityk | 02/12/2021 | Повідомлення, Політика

US Government Shutdown Looms as Lawmakers Squabble 

The threat of a U.S. federal government shutdown loomed larger Wednesday as lawmakers failed to reach a budget agreement with two days to go before the funding runs out.

Congress has until Friday night to come up with a new budget in order to avoid a sudden stoppage of most so-called non-essential federal government operations, putting hundreds of thousands of workers on furlough without pay.

Various administrative offices, national parks, museums and dozens of other services would see their congressional authorization to spend money stop at the end of Friday.

During the winter 2018-2019 shutdown, which was the longest in U.S. history, about five weeks, security lines at airports were even affected.

Despite deep partisan divisions, the majority of both Republican and Democratic lawmakers hope to avoid a repeat of that scenario, which could wreak havoc ahead of the holidays. 

But a handful of Republicans, many of whom are supporters of former president Donald Trump, are refusing to agree to the budget because they say it would contribute to the imposition of vaccine mandates ordered by President Joe Biden.

In a statement Wednesday, the House Freedom Caucus asked their Senate colleagues to “use all procedural tools at your disposal to deny timely passage” of any budget agreement that funds vaccine mandates or their enforcement. 

Several Democrats expressed their frustration at the partisan stalemate, especially as the first case of the omicron coronavirus variant was confirmed in the United States.

Congressional budget agreements have often been made at the last minute in recent years, but as concerns grow that lawmakers may miss the deadline, economists have warned of the potential consequences of a looming shutdown.

A week of shutdown would cost the U.S. economy about $6 billion, according to a report by the Oxford Economics group.

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By Polityk | 02/12/2021 | Повідомлення, Політика

Supreme Court Appears Poised to Roll Back Abortion Rights in US 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in what will likely become a landmark abortion rights case. The court’s conservative justices, who have a 6-3 majority, gave hints that they are considering weakening or even overturning a 48-year-old decision that held that women have a constitutional right to abort a pregnancy.

In the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the court is being asked to decide whether a Mississippi state law that bans most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy is constitutional. Two lower federal courts held it is not.

The law is in conflict with Roe v. Wade, the court’s ruling in 1973 that women have a right to an abortion based on an inferred constitutional right to privacy. It also conflicts with the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey case, in which the court upheld the central principle of Roe but clarified that abortion should generally be available up to the point at which a fetus is “viable,” or able to survive outside the womb.

The stakes are high. If the court overturns Roe, 21 states are poised to immediately restrict or ban abortion. Some have laws that were on the books before Roe passed and would come back into effect. Others have passed “trigger” laws that automatically will come into force if the precedent is overturned. Additionally, lawmakers in at least five other states have indicated interest in restricting abortion.

“It’s possible that they, in this decision, say Roe was decided incorrectly, therefore, Casey was decided incorrectly,” Laurie Sobel, associate director of women’s health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told VOA. If so, she said, “it’s up to the states. There’s no federal constitutional protection for abortion, and so states are allowed to do whatever they want with it.”

Vivid arguments

In the oral arguments, Mississippi was represented by state Solicitor General Scott Stewart, who told the justices that the court’s prior decisions in Roe and Casey “haunt the country.”

“They have no basis in the Constitution,” he said. “They have no home in our history or traditions. They’ve damaged the democratic process. They poison the law. They’ve choked off compromise. For 50 years, they’ve kept this court at the center of a political battle that it can never resolve, and 50 years on, they stand alone. Nowhere else does this court recognize a right to end human life.”

Julie Rikelman, a senior director at the Center for Reproductive Rights, represented Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the sole operating abortion provider in Mississippi. She said the law in question is “flatly unconstitutional under decades of precedent.”

She added, “For a state to take control of a woman’s body and demand that she go through pregnancy and childbirth, with all the physical risks and life-altering consequences that brings, is a fundamental deprivation of her liberty.”

Respect for precedent urged

The court’s three liberal justices argued that the court ought to observe the doctrine of stare decisis in the case, which favors allowing existing rulings to stand, except in extreme cases. This is considered important, because the public might lose faith in the court’s objectivity if rulings are overturned whenever the court’s conservative-liberal makeup changes, as it did in recent years when President Donald Trump nominated three conservative jurists to the bench.

Liberal justices pointed out that there has been little substantive change in the facts surrounding abortion in the years since the court decided Casey, even as state-led efforts to restrict the practice have multiplied.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor observed that Mississippi legislators have already introduced an even more severe abortion law, banning abortion after six weeks, and that the state senator who proposed it said the decision was driven specifically by the fact that the Supreme Court now has a conservative supermajority.

“Will this institution survive the stench that this creates, in the public perception, that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” she asked. “I don’t see how it is possible.”

Conservatives appear united

The court’s conservative members took various approaches to questioning the attorneys before them but seemed generally united behind the idea that the court’s existing abortion jurisprudence should be overhauled.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh pushed back against the liberals’ calls for restraint, citing a long litany of important decisions in which the Supreme Court overturned previous rulings. They included Brown v. Board of Education, which led to the racial integration of public schools, and Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned a previous ruling that upheld the criminalization of homosexual conduct.

Kavanaugh went on to argue that the court should take a position of “neutrality” with regard to abortion, effectively delegating authority to regulate it to the states.

Others, including Justice Samuel Alito, simply argued that Roe ought to be overturned because it was wrongly decided.

Possible middle ground

Of all the conservatives on the court, Chief Justice John Roberts seemed most amenable to a decision that would try to find some middle ground, allowing Mississippi’s 15-week ban to stand while preserving Roe’s finding that there is still a right to abortion.

“If you think that the issue is one of choice, that women should have a choice to terminate their pregnancy, that supposes that there is a point at which they’ve had the fair choice,” Roberts said. “Why would 15 weeks be an inappropriate line?”

However, some experts said drawing a seemingly arbitrary line at 15 weeks, rather than at the point of fetal viability, would open the door to ever more restrictive cutoffs.

Abortion opponents energized

Groups that support the Mississippi law were very pleased with the arguments made before the court on Wednesday.

“I think it was the most extraordinary oral argument on the abortion question I’ve heard in the Supreme Court,” Steven Aden, general counsel for Americans United for Life, told VOA. “It was the most honest, thoroughgoing vetting of serious issues related to abortion that I’ve ever heard. This is the argument that we should have had in the Supreme Court decades ago.”

Aden said that on balance, he believes there is majority support on the court for overturning Roe.

“A majority of the justices seem to treat this as a zero-sum game. It’s either Roe or not, and that there wasn’t, in their judgment, a workable midway point,” he said.

Abortion rights supporters dismayed

Groups that support abortion rights, in general, didn’t try to spin the hearing as favorable to their side, conceding that the Supreme Court appears ready to overturn or significantly scale back the right to an abortion afforded under Roe.

“There’s a reason why we’ve been so anxious about this case,” Heather Shumaker, director of state abortion access at the National Women’s Law Center, told VOA. “We’ve been watching closely, particularly as former President Trump nominated justices to the court that we knew were there to overturn our legal right to abortion. So, we’re not surprised that they are, in fact, ready to do so.”

She added, “To say that we’re just going to leave it to the states is a really indirect way of saying that we don’t care if the states ban abortion, because we know that more than half of the states are poised to ban abortion or severely restrict access to it.”

International groups concerned

International organizations that champion access to abortion, calling it essential health care, say they are troubled by the possibility of the United States’ restricting access to the procedure. A rollback of abortion rights in the U.S., they argue, could set a precedent for similar changes in other countries.

Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to health, filed a brief with the Supreme Court arguing that the United States is a signatory to multiple human rights treaties that demand that access to abortion be protected. These include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

“The United States would contradict international human rights law by overturning its established constitutional protections for abortion access — both by failing to recognize abortion access as necessary for women’s autonomy, equality and non-discrimination and by retrogressing on human rights contrary to international law,” Mofokeng’s brief said.

“If Roe and Casey are overturned, many U.S. states will implement bans or near-bans on abortion access that will make individual state laws irreconcilable with international human rights law. This would cause irreparable harm to women and girls in violation of the United States’ obligations under the human rights treaties it has signed and ratified,” Mofokeng noted.

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By Polityk | 02/12/2021 | Повідомлення, Політика

Метеорологи розповіли, коли в Києві у листопаді було найтепліше і найхолодніше

Найхолоднішим днем було 17 листопада, коли мінімальна температура знизилась під ранок до -7,1°С, а найтеплішим – 5 листопада, коли максимальна температура досягла +15,8°С

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By Gromada | 01/12/2021 | Повідомлення, Суспільство

30 років тому. Референдум 1991 року про незалежність України і розпад СРСР (архівні фото)

Український народ підтвердив прагнення жити в незалежній  державі – 90,32% учасників референдуму відповіло: «Так». А 8 грудня 1991 року Біловезька угода констатувала припинення існування СРСР

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By Gromada | 01/12/2021 | Повідомлення, Суспільство

Appeals Court Weighs Trump Arguments to Withhold Records

A panel of judges on Tuesday questioned whether they had the authority to grant former President Donald Trump’s demands and stop the White House from allowing the release of documents related to the January 6 insurrection led by Trump’s supporters.

But the judges also noted that there may be times when a former president would be justified in trying to stop the incumbent from disclosing records.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard arguments from lawyers for Trump and the House committee seeking the records as part of its investigation into the Capitol riot. Trump’s attorneys want the court to reverse a federal judge’s ruling allowing the National Archives and Records Administration to turn over the records after President Joe Biden waived executive privilege.

Trump supporters broke into the Capitol on January 6 after a rally near the White House where he made false claims of election fraud and challenged them to “fight like hell.” About 700 people have been federally charged. Nine people died during and after the rioting.

The National Archives has said that the records Trump wants to block include presidential diaries, visitor logs, speech drafts, handwritten notes “concerning the events of January 6” from the files of former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and “a draft Executive Order on the topic of election integrity.” 

Role of federal courts

Compared to U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, whose ruling Trump is contesting, the three judges on the appeals court spent relatively little time weighing the importance of the documents themselves. They instead focused most of the hearing Tuesday on what role federal courts should have when an incumbent president and former president are at odds over records from the former’s administration. 

The judges sharply questioned both sides and challenged them with hypothetical scenarios.

To Trump’s lawyers, Judge Patricia Millett suggested a situation where a current president negotiating with a foreign leader needed to know what promises a former president had made to that leader. The incumbent might seek to release a transcript of a phone call or other records from the previous administration for national security reasons, the judge said.

“To be clear, your position is a former president could come in and file a lawsuit?” Millett said. Trump lawyer Justin Clark responded, “That is our position.” 

To a lawyer for the House committee, Millett raised a scenario where a newly elected president might seek retribution against a disliked predecessor. The new president and a Congress led by the same party might declare that there was a national security interest in releasing all of the former president’s records, even at the risk of endangering people’s lives, she said. 

“Needless to say, the former president comes to court, (says), ‘Hang on,'” Millett said. “What happens?” 

She did not say she was referring to any president and rejected committee lawyer Douglas Letter’s response referencing a president who “fomented an insurrection.” 

“We’re not going to make it that easy,” she said.

Letter argued the determination of a current president should outweigh predecessors in almost all circumstances and noted that both Biden and Congress were in agreement that the January 6 records should be turned over.

“It would be astonishing for this court to override the current president and Congress,” Letter said.

Democratic presidents nominated all three judges who heard arguments Tuesday. Millett and Judge Robert Wilkins were nominated by former President Barack Obama. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a Biden appointee seen as a contender for a Supreme Court seat should one open during the current administration. 

‘Balancing act’

Jackson said Tuesday that she questioned whether judges should intervene in a dispute where the executive and legislative branches agree but a former president doesn’t.

“The court swooping in to do some sort of balancing test … actually raises its own separation of powers concerns in terms of the power of the court to resolve or to second-guess what this executive is saying,” she said. 

Given the stakes of the case, either side is likely to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Despite Trump’s false claims about a stolen election, the results were confirmed by state officials and upheld by courts. The last attorney general appointed by Trump, William Barr, has said the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud. 

In explaining why Biden has not shielded Trump’s records, White House counsel Dana Remus has written that they could “shed light on events within the White House on and about January 6 and bear on the Select Committee’s need to understand the facts underlying the most serious attack on the operations of the Federal Government since the Civil War.” 

Trump and his allies have fought the committee in court and in Congress by claiming that the former president can still exert executive privilege to prevent cooperation. Their efforts have delayed for months the production of key information to the committee.

Former chief of staff Meadows and former adviser Steve Bannon have resisted efforts by the House panel to obtain documents and question them about possible meetings with Trump before the riot. The Justice Department has indicted Bannon on a contempt of Congress charge. Meadows, seeking to avoid the same, is now cooperating on a limited basis, the committee’s chairman said Tuesday. 

In their appeal to the circuit court, Trump’s lawyers said they agreed with Chutkan that presidents were not kings who must not be challenged. “True, but in that same vein, Congress is not Parliament — a legislative body with supreme and unchecked constitutional power over the operations of government,” they wrote.

Trump has argued that records of his deliberations on January 6 must be withheld to protect executive privilege for future presidents and that the Democrat-led House is primarily driven by politics. The House committee’s lawyers rejected those arguments and called Trump’s attempts to assert executive privilege “unprecedented and deeply flawed.” 

“It is difficult to imagine a more critical subject for congressional investigation, and Mr. Trump’s arguments cannot overcome Congress’s pressing need,” the committee’s lawyers said. 

 

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By Polityk | 01/12/2021 | Повідомлення, Політика
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