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World leaders urge co-operation on COVID-19 while chastising each other at UN General Assembly

World leaders urge co-operation on COVID-19 while chastising each other at UN General Assembly

The subject: coronavirus.

The status: urgent.

The solutions: as diverse as the nations gathered virtually for the 75th UN General Assembly.

With the event reduced to recorded speeches this year because of COVID-19, leaders are using the General Assembly as an opportunity to depict the pandemic from the vantage points of their nations and themselves, and present their visions of efforts to fight the virus.

Some of the ideas that emerged from the speeches Tuesday, the first day of the general debate were:

  • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called for a suspension of interest payments on African nations’ debt and renewed focus on eradicating global poverty.
  • Chilean President Sebastian Pinera called on powerful nations to work together and stop showing “a worrisome lack of leadership.”
  • Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte echoed a call from many leaders when he said once an effective vaccine is developed, it must be made available to all nations. 

Not surprisingly in such speeches, aimed at both domestic audiences and the international community, heads of state presented their own efforts in favourable light while sometimes harshly criticizing other countries or taking jabs at the United Nations. 

Leaders vow to work together as world approaches 1 million deaths

This year’s theme — “reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism” — comes during a period of extreme physical isolation between citizens in respective countries and between nations, a period when international travel has declined sharply. It also comes as the world approaches one million deaths from the virus since December, adding urgency to the search for solutions. 

“The leaders of our nations are not personally present. They will not be able to interact with each other,” General Assembly president Volkan Bozkir, a Turkish diplomat, said in opening Tuesday’s session. “But our need for deliberation is higher than ever.”

Despite this year’s theme, speeches by leaders of some of the world’s most powerful nations were peppered with initiatives that sounded more go-it-alone than collaborative, though all gave nods to working together. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin went so far as to offer UN personnel a coronavirus vaccine his country is developing. Chinese President Xi Jinping said a handful of vaccines were in Phase 3 of clinical trials and that Beijing would give millions to a UN fund to combat the virus.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly in a pre-recorded message Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said no solutions could be found by burying ‘one’s head in the sand like an ostrich,’ an apparent criticism of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (UNTV/The Associated Press)

“1.4 billion Chinese, undaunted by COVID-19, have made all efforts to control the virus,” Xi said, underscoring how China had drastically slowed the spread after the virus was discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while lauding his own nation’s co-operation and calling for nations to work together, took a swipe at how the UN functions. Earlier this year, Erdogan said, it took months for the Security Council to even discuss the pandemic.

Saeed Khan, director of global studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., said the coronavirus has “become a metaphor for globalism versus nationalism.”

“The greatest resistance is coming from regimes that are hyper-nationalistic,” he said. 

Presidents of China and Cuba swipe at the U.S.

To be sure, the pandemic has brought out simmering divisions between nations, providing new things over which to argue. 

U.S. President Donald Trump told the assembly that the U.S. had “waged a fight against a great enemy, the China virus,” and called on the UN to hold China accountable for the virus and other things.

Trump, campaigning for re-election ahead of November’s election, did not mention that on Tuesday the U.S. reached an unwanted milestone — 200,000 coronavirus deaths, by far the largest number of any country in the world — or that polls show a majority of Americans disapprove of his handling of the pandemic.

Xi said any “politicizing or stigmatizing” should be avoided, that “major countries should act like major countries” and no solutions could be found by burying “one’s head in the sand like an ostrich,” not-so-subtle criticisms of America’s response.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez lamented how much COVID-19 had altered daily life, then argued that U.S. policies, unchecked capitalism and military spending were the roots of many problems worldwide.

Namibian President Hage Geingob speaks in a pre-recorded message, which was played at UN headquarters in New York Wednesday. (UNTV/The Associated Press)

Middle East co-operation raises hope

Richard Caplan, a professor of international relations at Oxford University in Britain, said that although there were “assaults” on multilateralism around the pandemic, particularly in the form of “vaccine nationalism,” there were also indications that COVID-19 could lead to more co-operation, even among longtime foes. 

Caplan noted that earlier this year, Israel and the Palestinian Authority co-ordinated efforts between health ministries. Thousands of Palestinian workers were able to remain in Israel for longer periods so as to slow the spread of the virus.

“Unfortunately, this unprecedented practical co-operation broke down, in part because of political tensions associated with the Trump (Middle East) peace plan and Israel’s moves toward annexation” of Palestinian territories, Caplan said.

There is also the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or COVAX, a grouping of more than 150 countries pooling resources around combating the disease and distribution of a future vaccine. The U.S. is not participating in the effort, led by the World Health Organization. Trump says WHO is influenced heavily by China and that joining the effort could constrain U.S. efforts to develop a vaccine. 

Some leaders identified other virus-related problems that needed tackling.

Vaccine will benefit all countries

South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed concern about possible second and third waves of the coronavirus. Like many others, he also noted the damage to economies worldwide.

“Like a tsunami that follows an earthquake, economic aftershocks are sweeping us,” he said. 

On the question of reviving the world economy, few concrete suggestions surfaced. Most leaders seemed to argue that a vaccine was the only viable long-term solution, though many did cite concern for local economies as a way to defend their handling of the pandemic at home. 

At a time when heads of state can’t meet in person, and several don’t appear interested in deepening ties, it is unclear how much progress the UN may make during this year’s assembly, which continues through Sept. 29.

When it comes to a vaccine, however, it probably doesn’t matter in the long run how much progress is made toward multilateralism at the assembly, said Naim Salem, professional of international relations at Notre Dame University in Beirut, Lebanon. 

“Multilateral co-operation is optimal,” Salem said. “But if a vaccine proves to be effective in one country, it will spread or be taken up by other countries.”

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Shopify fires 2 employees for stealing customer data from up to 200 merchants

Shopify fires 2 employees for stealing customer data from up to 200 merchants

Shopify says it has terminated two “rogue” employees who were involved in a scheme to steal customer information from some of the company’s merchants.

The Ottawa-based technology company says fewer than 200 merchants were included in the breach, but that an unknown number of customers of those merchants may have had their information stolen.

The information stolen includes basic things such as names and email addresses, as well as data about what products they purchased, but did not include financial information such as credit card or banking details.

“We immediately terminated these individuals’ access to our Shopify network and referred the incident to law enforcement,” the company said.

“We are currently working with the FBI and other international agencies in their investigation of these criminal acts. While we do not have evidence of the data being utilized, we are in the early stages of the investigation and will be updating affected merchants as relevant.”

The company stressed that the breach was not the result of some sort of technical vulnerability, and that the vast majority of the company’s one million merchants and the customers who shop from them online were not affected. Any affected merchants have been notified.

“We don’t take these events lightly at Shopify,” the company said. “We have zero tolerance for platform abuse and will take action to preserve the confidence of our community and the integrity of our product.”

Shares in the company fell 1.6 per cent on Tuesday in extended trading on a down day for markets overall.

The company’s shares have more than doubled in value this year, as the company is one of numerous tech names whose business has boomed during the pandemic because of higher demand for online services.

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boris johnson: Boris Johnson tells UK to work from home for 6 months to stop virus

boris johnson: Boris Johnson tells UK to work from home for 6 months to stop virus

London: Boris Johnson appealed to Britons to obey new restrictions and work from home where possible to prevent the spread of coronavirus, warning there are “unquestionably difficult months to come.”

The UK risks “many more deaths, many more families losing loved ones before their time” if people fail to do their part, the prime minister said in a televised address on Tuesday evening. “The tragic reality of having Covid is that your mild cough can be someone else’s death knell.”

The call for the country to work together to get through winter came after Johnson ordered restaurants and bars to close earlier each night from Sept. 24 and scrapped plans to allow live audiences back into sporting events next month as his government tries to halt a surge of infections.

There will be tougher enforcement, Johnson said, with higher fines for people failing to wear face coverings where they are required by the rules. And the rules could be tightened further if the virus continues to run out of control.

“If we were forced into a new national lockdown, that would threaten not just jobs and livelihoods but the loving human contact on which we all depend,” he said.

The measures mark a reversal of government efforts to reopen the economy after the first national lockdown shuttered social and commercial activity in March, sparking the country’s deepest recession in more than 100 years.

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MoS Railways Suresh Angadi dies of Covid-19; first union minister to succumb to virus | India News

MoS Railways Suresh Angadi dies of Covid-19; first union minister to succumb to virus | India News

NEW DELHI: Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi died of Covid-19 on Wednesday, becoming the first union minister to succumb to the deadly virus.
The 65-year-old BJP MP passed away around 8 pm at the AIIMS trauma centre which has been converted into a dedicated Covid-19 facility, sources at the hospital said.
He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
A fourth-term parliamentarian from Belagavi in Karnataka, Angadi had on September 11 announced on Twitter that he had contracted the disease and had requested all those who came in close contact with him in the previous days to monitor their health and get tested in case of any symptoms. He is the first Union minister to have died of coronavirus. At least six MLAs and three MPs have earlier succumbed to it. Former president Pranab Mukherjee, who died on August 31, was also diagnosed as Covid-19 positive.
India’s Covid-19 count on Wednesday stood at 45,62,415, including 9,43,480 active cases, 35,42,664 recoveries and 76,271 deaths.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several Union ministers and BJP leaders condoled the death of Angadi. The national flag will be flown at half mast on Thursday in all government offices in Delhi, the home ministry said.
Born on June 1, 1955 in a Lingayat family to Somawwa and Channabasappa Angadi in Koppa village in Belagavi, Angadi graduated from SSS Samiti College of Commerce in the same district. He did his law graduation from Raja Lakhamgouda Law College in Belagavi.
A businessman by profession, Angadi got a major break in his political career when he was appointed as BJP vice president in Belagavi in 1996, and worked his way up in the party.
He was elected MP in the Lok Sabha election in 2004, and again in 2009. He was elected for a third term in 2014, when the BJP came to power at the Centre, and for a fourth term in the general election last year, after which he was made Union Minister of State for Railways.
As the junior Railway Minister, Angadi was soft spoken but stern while responding to media queries on various aspects of the national transporters performance. He was always armed with facts and figures of projects that were underway while addressing the media.
Angadi was instrumental in pushing through the long pending Bengaluru suburban rail service. The Rs 15,990 crore project aims to connect 148.17km of the city through four corridors and has a 2025 deadline.
“Shocked to know the passing away of Shri Suresh Angadi, Union Minister of State of Railways. An amiable leader Shri Angadi worked tirelessly for the people of his constituency, Belagavi and Karnataka,” tweeted Kovind.
“Shri Suresh Angadi was an exceptional Karyakarta, who worked hard to make the Party strong in Karnataka. He was a dedicated MP and effective Minister, admired across the spectrum. His demise is saddening. My thoughts are with his family and friends in this sad hour. Om Shanti,” Modi said on Twitter.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressed grief over the demise of Angadi and said he will always be remembered for his selfless service to the nation and the BJP.
BJP president JP Nadda described him as a leader who dedicated his life to the organisation.
“Extremely saddened by the passing away of Central Minister Shri Suresh Angadi Ji. He was a remarkable leader who dedicated all his life for organisation and went on to serve society with utmost diligence and compassion. My thoughts and Prayers are with his family and followers,” he tweeted.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said on the micro-blogging website, “Deeply anguished at the unfortunate demise of Suresh Angadi ji. He was like my brother. Words fall short to describe his commitment & dedication towards the people. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of need. Om Shanti”.
Former prime minister and JDS chief HD Deve Gowda expressed his sadness over the demise and tweeted that Angadi was like a “younger brother”.
Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar also termed the death as a “tragic, terrible, and sad news”.
“Shocked & Saddened by news of my MoS colleague, Shri Suresh Angadi ji’s passing away. It is an unfathomable loss to the Government, people of Karnataka & the Party. His selfless service during Covid19 is still vivid before our eyes. My condolences to his family,” tweeted Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said he was shocked to learn about Angadi’s demise. He remembered Angadi as a “polite, gentle and popular leader” and said his death is a “great loss not only to the party, the state but also to the entire country”.

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In the process of finalising trade pact with Mauritius: Piyush Goyal

In the process of finalising trade pact with Mauritius: Piyush Goyal

New Delhi: Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said India is in the process of finalising the proposed free trade pact with Mauritius.

The proposed India-Mauritius Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) seeks to mutually benefit both the countries in the area of trade in goods and services, he said.

“At present, we have a number of different comprehensive partnership arrangements with countries around the world and we are in the process of finalising a CECPA with Mauritius,” Goyal said at CII-EXIM Bank Digital Conclave on India Africa project partnership.

He also said that recently India and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) have decided for early resumption of negotiations for a preferential trading agreement.

The SACU consists of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland.

Goyal said that India will continue to support Africa through lines of credit in priority sectors such as agriculture, irrigation, health, digital technology, power plants, transmission lines, and rail infrastructure.

As of June 2020, India has committed $12.7 billion for 40 countries in Africa on highly favourable terms, he added.

The bilateral trade, he said, grew from about $7 billion to nearly $67 billion in the last 20 years and “it has the tremendous potential for further growth in the years to come”.

India so far is the fifth largest investor in African continent with cumulative investment of over $54 billion in the last few years in areas like oil and gas, mining, banking, and textiles.

“There is a huge scope for manifold increase in Indian investments in the wake of the African Continental free trade agreement (AFCTA),” he said highlighting mutual benefit that can be gained through establishment of India-Africa value chains in areas such as textiles, pharma, auto, agro processing and information and communication technology.

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“The stars shine brightest when the night is darkest”; BTS delivers a heartfelt message at the UN General Assembly 2020 | English Movie News

“The stars shine brightest when the night is darkest”; BTS delivers a heartfelt message at the UN General Assembly 2020 | English Movie News

The Korean pop band BTS made an appearance at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly to deliver an inspiring message to the youth struggling to cope during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Right from feeling alone to battling the dark thoughts, the boy band members shared instances from their lives and their personal challenges which they experienced since the pandemic started. The video of the same was shared on the official Youtube channel of the UNICEF.

The band’s leader RM shared, “I looked up and couldn’t see the stars at night. I felt hopeless, everything felt apart,” while band member Jungkook added, “If our voices can give strength to people, then that’s what we want and that’s what we’ll keep on doing.”

Another band member also shared, “We embraced all these emotions and seven of us began to make music together. Our lives are unpredictable. We don’t know all our answers.”

Ever since their emergence in 2013, the BTS made sure that they would play by new rules. The boys eventually became a youth sensation and have won millions of hearts all over the globe.

The BTS returned to the UN General Assembly after two years. They had earlier delivered a speech to their fans and world leaders in support of their LOVE MYSELF campaign.

RM concluded the speech with a heartfelt verse, “Love Yourself. Speak yourself. Our tomorrow may be dark, painful, difficult. We might stumble or fall down. But the stars shine brightest when the night is darkest. And if the stars are hidden, we’ll let moonlight guide us….Let’s reimagine our world. We’re huddled together tired, but let’s dream again… Life goes on. Let’s live on.”

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Senators part ways with longtime goalie Craig Anderson

Senators part ways with longtime goalie Craig Anderson

Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion says longtime Senators goaltender Craig Anderson will not be offered a new contract by the NHL club.

In an availability with reporters Wednesday, Dorion thanked Anderson for his contributions to the Senators over the years but said the club would be moving in a different direction.

Anderson is an unrestricted free agent after completing a two-year, $9.5-million US contract this season.

The 39-year-old Anderson joined the Senators in a goaltender swap with Colorado on Feb. 18, 2011, that sent Brian Elliott to the Avalanche.

WATCH | Anderson makes crazy, no-look save against Sabres

Craig Anderson somehow was able to make a no-look backwards facing blocker save on the Sabres’ Evan Rodrigues. 1:02

Anderson has a 202-168-46 record over 435 appearances (422 starts) with a 2.84 goals-against average and ,914 save percentage over nine-plus seasons with the Senators. He helped the Senators reach the Eastern Conference final in 2016-17, though the team has struggled the last free seasons.

Dorion also said he expects defenceman Mark Borowiecki to test the free-agent market.

WATCH | Frustration building in the bubble?

In his daily recap, Rob Pizzo talks about the bubble, gambling, and previews Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. 2:47

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Prajnesh crashes out in second round of French Open qualifiers – tennis

Prajnesh crashes out in second round of French Open qualifiers – tennis

India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran crashed out in the second round of the men’s singles qualifiers of the French Open after losing in straight sets to Aleksandar Vukic of Australia here on Wednesday.

Prajnesh, India’s second-highest ranked singles player who got the better of Turkey’s Cem Ilkel in the opening round, lost 4-6 6-7(4) against Vukic to bow out of the event.

The other two Indians in the fray — the country’s top singles player Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan — bowed out in the first round of the qualifying event.

While the 16th seed Nagal, who became the first Indian in seven years to win a singles match at a Grand Slam with his opening round victory at the US Open, lost 6-7 (4) 5-7 to Germany’s seasoned player Dustin Brown, Ramanathan was shown the door by local wildcard Tristan Lamasine 5-7 2-6.

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Russia’s Navalny released from German hospital after 32 days – world news

Russia’s Navalny released from German hospital after 32 days – world news

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been released from a Berlin hospital after more than a month’s treatment for poisoning, with doctors now believing that a “complete recovery” from the Soviet-era nerve agent is possible for him, the hospital said Wednesday.

Navalny spent 32 days at Berlin’s Charite hospital, 24 of them in intensive care, before doctors deemed his “condition had improved sufficiently for him to be discharged from acute inpatient care.”

As he was released Tuesday, the 44-year-old displayed his characteristic sarcastic sense of humor. In an Instagram post, he took swipe at Russian President Vladimir Putin, scoffing at reported comments by the Russian leader suggesting that Navalny might have intentionally poisoned himself.

Navalny, a politician and corruption investigator who is Putin’s most visible opponent, was flown to Germany two days after falling ill on Aug. 20 on a domestic flight in Russia. He spent those two days in a coma in a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk, where Russian doctors said they found no trace of any poisoning.

German chemical weapons experts have determined that he was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok — findings corroborated by labs in France and Sweden.

The hospital said based on Navalny’s progress, physicians believe that a “complete recovery is possible,” but added it ”remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning.”

In recent days, Navalny has been posting regular photos of his convalescence from the hospital on Instagram, first showing him sitting up in his bed surrounded by his family, then up and about in the building.

In his post Tuesday night, he laughed off a report in the French newspaper Le Monde saying that Putin suggested to French President Emmanuel Macron in a call that he “could have taken the poison himself.”

“Good theory, I believe it deserves the most careful attention,” Navalny wrote in Russian. “Cooked Novichok in the kitchen. Took a sip from a flask on the plane. Fell into a coma.”

He wryly wrote that the “ultimate aim of my cunning plan” must have been to die in Siberia, where the cause of death would be “lived long enough.”

“But Putin outmaneuvered me. You can’t fool him,” Navalny wrote. “As a result, I lay in coma for 18 days like a fool, but didn’t get my way. The provocation failed!”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday said the report about Putin’s conversation with Macron was “inaccurate in its reported wording,” but refused to elaborate as to which part was inaccurate. Macron’s office refused to comment on the report.

The nerve agent used in the attack was the same class of Soviet-era poison that Britain said was used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, in 2018. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the poisoning attempted murder and she and other world leaders have demanded that Russia fully investigate the case.

Navalny was kept in an induced coma for more than two weeks as he was treated with an antidote. Members of his team accused the Kremlin of involvement in the poisoning, charges that Russian officials have vehemently denied.

Russia has bristled at the demands for an investigation, saying that Germany needs to share medical data in the case or compare notes with Russian doctors.

Germany has noted that Navalny was in Russian treatment for 48 hours and that Russia has its own samples from Navalny. Peskov said Wednesday that Moscow needs data from Germany “to compare” tests results.

Germany has also enlisted the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons for technical assistance in the case. The agency has collected independent samples from Navalny for testing but results have not yet been announced.

The Charite statement was released in consultation with Navalny and his wife, and the hospital would not comment further on any outpatient care for him.

Navalny’s team has said he eventually plans to return to Russia, but had no immediate statement after his release from the hospital.

Peskov said Wednesday that Navalny, “as any other Russian citizen,” is free to come back to Russia “at any moment.” He reiterated that what happened to the him remains “a big question” for the Kremlin, as Russian investigators “don’t have any facts pointing to” poisonous substances in Navalny’s body.

Peskov once again called for Germany, France and Sweden to share their data with Moscow.

“We’re still expecting it and are convinced that it can help us make significant progress in this case,” he said.

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Kangana Ranaut responds as Deepika, Shraddha, Sara summoned by NCB: ‘For the first time Bullywood is regretting their cruelty’ – bollywood

Kangana Ranaut responds as Deepika, Shraddha, Sara summoned by NCB: ‘For the first time Bullywood is regretting their cruelty’ – bollywood

Actor Kangana Ranaut, who has been vocally suggesting that there exists a ‘drug mafia’ in Bollywood, has tweeted, presumably, in response to the summons served to actors Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan and Rakul Preet Singh, in connection to an escalating investigation by the Narcotics Control Bureau. The NCB, while investigating actor Rhea Chakraborty’s alleged involvement in procuring drugs for Sushant Singh Rajput, discovered a larger connection to the film industry.

Kangana in her tweet wrote, “Finally for the first time Bullywood mafia wishing that Sushant wasn’t killed and Kangana wasn’t pushed against the wall, for the first time they are regretting their cruelty, sadism and silence. For the first time they are wishing they could turn back time and bring us back.” She added a smiley face emoji.


Previously, when Times Now flashed portions of a drugs-related WhatsApp conversation that it claimed was between actor Deepika Padukone and her manager, Kangana had tweeted, “Repeat after me, depression is a consequence of drug abuse. So called high society rich star children who claim to be classy and have a good upbringing ask their manager ,” MAAL HAI KYA?”

This was seen as a dig at tweets posted by Deepika immediately after Sushant’s death in June, in which she had attempted to bust myths around mental health by using the refrain, “repeat after me.” Deepika has been vocal about her own struggles with depression.

Also read: Sushant Singh Rajput doubted sisters’ motives, felt they were only after his money: Rhea Chakraborty in bail plea

Deepika has been summoned on September 25, Shraddha Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan have been asked to appear on September 26, news agency ANI reported. The actors were named by Rhea Chakraborty while she was being interrogated between September 6 and September 8 before being arrested, according to NCB.

Follow @htshowbiz for more

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