Speech: County Councils Network conference 2018

first_imgIntroductionGood morning, everybody.Thank you – it’s a pleasure to be at my first CCN conference.I was reflecting back to January, when I was first appointed as Local Government Minister. It’s obviously my first ministerial job, so you make that transition from being a backbencher to joining the government. And it does make you think about who your boss now is going to be.As an MP, it was pretty clear my boss was the people of Richmond in my constituency, but now as a Minister and a member of the government, who was I answering to?Some would tell me ‘well, of course, it’s your Secretary of State’; some said to me ‘well no, no, it’s the Prime Minister’. But very quickly on the job I learned that my real boss was going to be this chap called Paul Carter.In all seriousness, it’s been a real pleasure getting to know Paul and the rest of you over the past several months – and I’m very grateful for everything you do to make the case for counties in Westminster. So, thank you to you, your team, and everyone else in the CCN for continuing with that fantastic and very valuable effort. It’s been a genuine pleasure working together over the past few months.I read an article recently making a powerful case for strong local government. The article compared national politicians and ministers like me to “generals in Tolstoy novels… moving pieces around the board, while the actual battle is nothing like they imagine”.That struck a chord with me. Even as a constituency MP, I have always been envious of the incredible, tangible and direct impact that you all have on people’s everyday lives.There are simply hundreds of services that you have to provide: from social care and children’s services to broadband and highways, from trading standards and weddings to blue badges and fostering.And you do all of this for 26 million people across 86% of England’s landmass and half of England’s economy.When you think about it, it really is an incredible responsibility.And I am the first to recognise that you have been delivering these services in what has been a very difficult financial climate.I think it’s fair to say that no other part of government has carried a greater share of the burden in improving the country’s finances.You are very much on the front-line, and you have shown unmatched leadership and creativity in delivering high quality services over the past several years. And I pay tribute to your work in this regard.I am genuinely honoured to be your champion in government, and today I thought I’d spend my time to touch on three themes about why I’m incredibly optimistic for what the future holds for County Councils:Firstly, I’m going to talk about the new fairer funding system.Secondly, I’ll touch on the crucial role you have in driving social mobility in our country.And finally, the vital role you play in helping our society’s most vulnerable.Fairer FundingIsaac Newton once said: “Nature is pleased with simplicity.”I think, then, we can safely assume that Nature wouldn’t be that pleased with the existing local government finance formula!I very much want our County Councils to be on a solid and fair financial footing for the future.We can’t do that without a new formula that is more accurate, simpler, and fairer.I can assure you that introducing this new formula is among my highest priorities.The opportunity for such a comprehensive, fresh look like this doesn’t come that often.So I am clear: we absolutely have to get this right.That’s why I’m extremely grateful for the thoughtful and detailed contributions that many of you and the CCN have already made to the department. I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the issues that you have been absolutely right to highlight to us.I just want to touch on a couple in particular:Deprivation. To suggest that vast areas of the country that you represent have no pockets of deprivation simply isn’t a reflection of reality. So it is right that any new formula recognises deprivation at a more local, individual level – it isn’t just something that happens in cities.And we are all too aware that our country’s demographics are changing. Far faster than the designers of the current formula may have even thought possible – particularly in county areas.The new formula must be smarter – keeping track of our rapidly changing population, giving a realistic, up-to-date picture of the pressures driving actual expenditure on the ground.Nor will the formula overlook how rurality creates challenges for service delivery. My own constituency in North Yorkshire has a county division with more sheep than people – and while the new formula isn’t likely to accurately capture the sheep population – it certainly should deal with the genuine cost of delivering services in more rural areas.I’m pleased to say that we will publish the latest round of our consultation shortly, ahead of implementation in 2020/21.And I am confident that a simpler formula, which recognises relative need and resources much more fairly than ever before, is a prize that is now finally within our reach.Social MobilityI am very passionate about ensuring that everybody, no matter what their background, has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.A fair chance to build a good life for themselves regardless of their family circumstances, or where they came from.Spreading opportunity and unlocking the enormous potential of our people – that’s why came into in politics and I am sure the same is true for many of you.But, like almost every area of public policy, without local government this ambition simply can’t be realised.So I’d like to thank you sincerely for all your work on the Social Mobility in Counties report.The report was absolutely right to highlight that social mobility is a particular issue for our counties.There is of course no one silver bullet but the work that you are doing every day is making strides towards a more socially mobile society:Providing the transport networks that a young apprentice might use to travel to their work placement, equipping them with the skills they need for a successful career.Rolling out the high-speed broadband that an entrepreneur will use to start a successful business and increase local employment.Investing in nursery provision to ensure high-take up of early years education – so crucial for a child’s development.At every step of the journey for a person to fulfil their potential, you all are there.I commend the CCN for using its powerful voice to show both your commitment to social mobility, and your willingness and capability to make it reality.As the Secretary of State rightly said at the report’s launch, the government will look closely at the recommendations you have made to see how best we can empower you to do more.It is clear that when it comes to spreading opportunity, you all have a vital role to play. I am delighted that you have made it such a priority and I look forward to backing all of your ambitions.Supporting the most vulnerableNow, of course it is exciting and inspiring to talk about how you are all helping to help people achieve success, but we should also remember that:Yours are the first hands that reach out to those who fall on hard times.You are the front line of how we treat the most vulnerable in our society.It is a really daunting responsibility that you shoulder, but you never let us down, and I thank you for all your work.But the important work that you do isn’t just about fixing the problems of today. I am more ambitious than that, and I know that you are too.At this very moment, your key workers are helping to bring stability to the lives of tens of thousands of families dealing with multiple complex issues through the Troubled Families Programme.My first visit as a Minister was spending time with some of the families that the programme has helped. It is an experience that I will never forget.This revolutionary way of working, this whole family support, has saved children from going into care.It has helped people find the dignity and security of employment.And it has ensured that families stay strong and stay together.It is a testament to how your intervention today prevents problems tomorrow.I want your councils to be free to innovate and tackle problems before they even arise. So as the spending review approaches, I think we, collectively, need to think about how best your councils can be resourced to invest in prevention.I am passionate about learning from all of you how central government can best support your aspirations in this area. Because your track record already shows us that you can make a major difference.If we can get this right in the future, working together, we can truly transform the lives of tens of thousands of the most vulnerable people in our society.And that really would be something to be enormously proud of.ConclusionSo, while the intense debate may continue to rage at Westminster and dominate the headlines, I know that you will go on delivering for your 26 million constituents.Ensuring that their communities are enriching places to call home.I have always seen my role as being your champion in government.Now, of course, my voice is one of many – so I can’t promise that we will win every argument.But I can promise you that I will keep making your case.And I genuinely believe that the concerns of local government are being listened to now more than ever.I hope that the recent announcements in the budget were a clear sign that this approach is working.If we can get this right in the future, I’m incredibly positive about all the good that we can do.So, in conclusion, I am very proud to be your champion.I’m humbled by seeing everything that you have achieved.And I’m enormously excited about what we can achieve working together in the future – ensuring that our communities and our constituents can look forward to a safer, brighter and more prosperous future.Thank you.last_img read more

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Press release: Social care to receive £269 million to boost staff levels and testing

first_imgVic Rayner, Chief Executive of the National Care Forum, said: Many local authorities across the country already have staffing initiatives in place to increase capacity and address staffing issues. These include care worker staff banks where new recruits are paid during training, re-deployment models where DBS checked staff are trained and moved into operational roles, and end-to-end training and recruitment services. The new £120 million fund will ensure such initiatives can continue, and help other local authorities implement similar schemes.The £120 million fund is in addition to the £149 million announced in December, which will be used to support rapid testing of staff testing and facilitate visits from family and friends where possible. The funding will help care home providers with the costs incurred, including setting up safe testing areas, providing staff training and will contribute towards staff time spent administering and receiving tests.This £149 million grant is ringfenced for lateral flow device testing in adult social care. Local authorities will be required to pass on 80% of the funding to care homes on a per beds basis, with 20% used at the local authorities discretion to support the care sector in delivering additional lateral flow device testing. All the funding will be available later this month, so local authorities can take action quickly to respond to the pandemic.Minister for Care Helen Whately said: The impact of the new variant is being felt across the country, with staff absence rates rising sharply both in care homes and among home care staff, due to testing positive or having to self-isolate.The funding announced today will protect and support the social care sector, including care homes and domiciliary care providers, by increasing workforce capacity and increasing testing.The vital infection prevention and control guidance on staff movement in care homes is also being reinforced, with a reminder to providers to continue following the rules and keep staff and residents safe.The new £120 million funding will help local authorities to boost staffing levels, a direct ask of the sector. The funding can: As the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, Care England, is pleased the government listened to the sector regarding their deep concerns about banning staff movement. We want to work with the department to ensure the staff capacity fund delivers to the front line and is suitably flexible to reflect the crisis whereby providers are struggling with staff illness and absenteeism in the same way as their colleagues in the NHS are. Staff are our most precious resource and we want to do all that we can to support them especially in these incredibly difficult times. Increased staff testing remains a critical part reducing transmission. Care homes currently have access to 3 tests per week for their staff, with daily testing for 7 days in the event of a positive case to protect staff and residents.Care homes will have additional lateral flow devices to test individuals working in more than one setting before the start of every shift.Restricting staff movement remains critical to minimising the risk of transmission. In response to the government’s consultation, the sector called for an increase in staffing capacity instead of regulation to achieve this goal.Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, said: Around 40% of people aged 80 and over and a quarter of older care home residents have now received their first vaccine dose. By the end of next week we aim to have offered a jab to all care home residents and staff.Indicative local authority grant allocationsSee a table of indicative grant allocations using the adult social care relative needs formula. New £120 million fund for local authorities to boost staffing levels £149 million grant system to support increased testing in care homescenter_img provide additional care staff where shortages arise support administrative tasks so experienced and skilled staff can focus on providing care help existing staff to take on additional hours if they wish with overtime payments or by covering childcare costs This additional funding gives a boost to the social care workforce during some of the most difficult days of this pandemic so far. Care workers have been doing the most amazing job throughout the pandemic. In challenging circumstances, they have been caring for some of the people most at risk from this virus with compassion and skill. This additional £120 million will support social care to cope where there are pressing staff shortages due to the pandemic and comes on top of the £149 million to support safer testing. We’re continuing to listen to care providers to make sure they have the help they need, from free PPE to extra testing, along with all the work to vaccinate care home residents, staff and the wider social care workforce. This funding will bolster staffing numbers in a controlled and safe way, whilst ensuring people continue to receive the highest quality of care. Since the start of the pandemic, we have taken steps to protect care homes, including increasing the testing available for staff and residents, providing free PPE and investing billions of pounds of additional funding for infection control. Help is on the way with the offer of a vaccine, with over 40% of elderly care home residents having already received their first dose. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: It is positive that the government has taken note of the extreme staffing pressure that care providers across the country are experiencing. The funding announced and confirmed today is welcome news, but must be subject to continuous review. Communities across the country desperately need care organisations to be properly supported now and in the future so that they are ready and able to face every twist and turn of this pandemic.last_img read more

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Listen To The Grateful Dead Captivate Madison Square Garden On This Day In 1981

first_imgPlaying Madison Square Garden can be a daunting task for any musician, but it can also bring out the best in them and elevate the performance. On this date, 37 years ago, the Grateful Dead played their first of a pair of nights at the Mecca, rising to the occasion to deliver an all-time memorable NYC performance.Setting the tone right away with “Feel Like A Stranger” and a glowing transition from “Althea” into the blues themes of “C.C. Rider,” the Dead were locked in early, opening up the flood gates for sweet jam concoctions all night. A funky “Deep Elem Blues” mid-set would not be outdone by a jazzy “Bird Song” and “New Minglewood Blues” set closer.Coming out with a classic “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider” combo to open the second set, it was all smooth sailing into swirling, sonic bliss from there. The centerpiece of the set arrived with a monster sequence of “Estimated Prophet”> “Uncle John’s Band” > “Drums” > “The Other One” > “Stella Blue” > “Good Lovin,’” with the band finally closing with “U.S. Blues.”Listen to the Grateful Dead’s entire March 9, 1981 performance from MSG below:Setlist: Grateful Dead at Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – 3/9/81:Set I: Feel Like A Stranger, Althea > CC Rider, Ramble On Rose > El Paso, Deep Elem Blues, Beat It On Down The Line, Bird Song, Minglewood BluesSet II: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider > Samson & Delilah, Ship of Fools, Estimated Prophet > Uncle John’s Band > Drums > The Other One > Stella Blue > Good Lovin’Encore: U.S. Blueslast_img read more

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Spain’s Iberdrola moves forward with 500MW solar farm, plans for much more

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Iberdrola SA signed a financing agreement with a pair of lenders for a 500-MW Spanish solar photovoltaic plant that is part of a growing fleet of subsidy-free renewables projects being lined up to sell their power to corporate buyers.The European Investment Bank will provide €145 million to fund the facility being built in Spain’s Extremadura region, while Instituto de Crédito Oficial, the Spanish state-owned bank, is pitching in with €140 million, according to a July 16 statement.The project, known as Núñez de Balboa, is expected to be commissioned in 2020 and carries a total investment of more than €290 million, the parties said. Once online, the project will boast a total installed capacity of 500 MW and a maximum grid connection capacity of 391 MW, according to Iberdrola’s website, making it one of the largest solar parks under development in Europe.It is one of a growing number of large-scale solar facilities in development across Iberia, many of which are now being realized without government subsidies and are instead lining up large energy users as power off-takers.Iberdrola had said it signed long-term power purchase agreements to sell part of Núñez de Balboa’s electricity output to three Spanish corporates: telecommunications operator Euskaltel SA, distribution company Uvesco SA and banking group Kutxabank SA. A spokesperson said the company is “open to other [off-take] agreements” for the project.In Extremadura alone, Iberdrola is aiming to install 2 GW of new solar and wind capacity in Spain by 2022. As it stands, the company has 1,268 MW of solar in various stages of development, including the €300 million Francisco Pizarro project, which will stand at 590 MW.More ($): Iberdrola raises finance for giant corporate-backed Spanish solar park Spain’s Iberdrola moves forward with 500MW solar farm, plans for much morelast_img read more

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Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attacks Fail to Silence Free Speech

first_imgBy Dialogo January 13, 2015 French security forces ended three days of terror and bloodshed on January 9 when they killed three terrorists who had killed 17 people in a series of attacks. Following a police chase, French security forces cornered the Kouachi brothers inside a printing plant in the town of Dammartin-en-Goële, northeast of Paris. Both were killed during a furious gun battle with French security forces. The two brothers fatally shot 12 people, including Editor Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier; four cartoonists; two columnists; a copy editor; a police officer; and a bodyguard who had been assigned to Charb after he had received death threats from radical Muslims for publishing cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad and ridiculing Islam. According to witnesses, the killers shouted “Allahu akbar!”, an Islamic phrase for “God is great,” as they carried out the attack. The two fled in a vehicle and later carjacked a motorist. The Mexican government reiterated its stance that it rejects all forms of terrorism and sent its condolences to the French people, their government and the victims’ families. The following day, January 8, a lone gunman fatally shot a female police officer south of Paris. That killing was allegedly committed by Amedy Coulibaly, 32, another Islamic extremist, according to French law enforcement authorities. The Kouachi brothers were born in France to Algerian parents. “I wish to extend my condolences to the families of the victims during this time of pain and suffering,” Rousseff’s said. “I also want extend our government’s solidarity to the French people on behalf of the entire Brazilian nation.” Meanwhile, leaders from throughout the world, including Latin America, spoke in support of the French people and against terrorism. And on January 11, as many as 1.6 million people gathered in Paris to march in solidarity in support of freedom of speech and against Islamic terrorism. A history of violence The Colombian government also denounced the terrorist attacks and called France “a partner and friend of Colombia.” “Mexico condemns the attack on the Charlie Hebdo weekly and expresses its condolences to society and the Government of France,” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted. “Mexico condemns the attack on the Charlie Hebdo weekly and expresses its condolences to society and the Government of France,” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted. Argentina’s Foreign Ministry expressed the country’s condolences and reiterated “its steadfast commitment to peace and the fight against terrorism in all its forms, and the political will and determination to continue strengthening international cooperation mechanisms, observing the laws and respecting human rights, as the only way of democratic societies to tackle this scourge.” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called the attack on Charlie Hebdo “intolerable.” The Colombian government also denounced the terrorist attacks and called France “a partner and friend of Colombia.” Meanwhile, Coulibaly took about 15 people hostage at a Jewish supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes neighborhood in Paris. Police stormed the Jewish supermarket, killing him and rescuing most of the hostages, who fled out of the supermarket as police stormed in. The mass killing sparked a huge manhunt, as 80,000 Soldiers and police officers launched a manhunt for the two brothers. The younger brother, Cherif, reportedly had links to the terrorist group al-Qaeda in Yemen. The Kouachi brothers were born in France to Algerian parents. Argentina’s Foreign Ministry expressed the country’s condolences and reiterated “its steadfast commitment to peace and the fight against terrorism in all its forms, and the political will and determination to continue strengthening international cooperation mechanisms, observing the laws and respecting human rights, as the only way of democratic societies to tackle this scourge.” Coulibaly, meanwhile, had told BFMTV in a phone interview that he was affiliated with the terrorist group ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He was close to Cherif Kouachi, according to a Western intelligence source, and had been previously arrested by French police in possession of 240 rounds of ammunition for a Kalashnikov rifle. “I wish to extend my condolences to the families of the victims during this time of pain and suffering,” Rousseff’s said. “I also want extend our government’s solidarity to the French people on behalf of the entire Brazilian nation.” France is one of the strongest allies of the United States, U.S. President Barack Obama said. He pledged to support France, a nation that has been at his country’s side “every moment” since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks killed about 3,000 people in New York City, Washington, D.C, and Pennsylvania. “The fact that this was an attack on journalists, attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” he told reporters. “But the one thing that I’m very confident about is that the values that we share with the French people, a belief — a universal belief in the freedom of expression, is something that can’t be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few.” The violence in Frances showed that terrorist attacks can occur anywhere in the world, the president said. In 2008, a French court sentenced the younger Kouachi to three years in prison for participating in a group which recruited jihadist fighters to go to war in Iraq. He had been arrested in 2005, when he was 22, just before he and another man were about to go to Syria and then Iraq to join the fighting. In 2008, a French court sentenced the younger Kouachi to three years in prison for participating in a group which recruited jihadist fighters to go to war in Iraq. He had been arrested in 2005, when he was 22, just before he and another man were about to go to Syria and then Iraq to join the fighting. The two brothers fatally shot 12 people, including Editor Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier; four cartoonists; two columnists; a copy editor; a police officer; and a bodyguard who had been assigned to Charb after he had received death threats from radical Muslims for publishing cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad and ridiculing Islam. According to witnesses, the killers shouted “Allahu akbar!”, an Islamic phrase for “God is great,” as they carried out the attack. The two fled in a vehicle and later carjacked a motorist. Meanwhile, Coulibaly took about 15 people hostage at a Jewish supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes neighborhood in Paris. Police stormed the Jewish supermarket, killing him and rescuing most of the hostages, who fled out of the supermarket as police stormed in. Coulibaly, meanwhile, had told BFMTV in a phone interview that he was affiliated with the terrorist group ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He was close to Cherif Kouachi, according to a Western intelligence source, and had been previously arrested by French police in possession of 240 rounds of ammunition for a Kalashnikov rifle. On January 9, the wave of violence came to a bloody and dramatic end. French security forces ended three days of terror and bloodshed on January 9 when they killed three terrorists who had killed 17 people in a series of attacks. Following a police chase, French security forces cornered the Kouachi brothers inside a printing plant in the town of Dammartin-en-Goële, northeast of Paris. Both were killed during a furious gun battle with French security forces. On January 9, the wave of violence came to a bloody and dramatic end. Before security forces killed him, Cherif told BFMTV that he had trained with al Qaeda in Yemen. In that country, he said, he had met Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Muslim who had been the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen until a U.S. drone strike killed him in 2011. France is one of the strongest allies of the United States, U.S. President Barack Obama said. He pledged to support France, a nation that has been at his country’s side “every moment” since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks killed about 3,000 people in New York City, Washington, D.C, and Pennsylvania. A dramatic and bloody ending “For us to see the kind of cowardly evil attacks that took place, I think reinforces once again why it’s so important for us to stand in solidarity with them, just as they stand in solidarity with us,” Obama told reporters. A dramatic and bloody ending A history of violence Meanwhile, leaders from throughout the world, including Latin America, spoke in support of the French people and against terrorism. And on January 11, as many as 1.6 million people gathered in Paris to march in solidarity in support of freedom of speech and against Islamic terrorism. Leaders offer condolences, support “The fact that this was an attack on journalists, attack on our free press, also underscores the degree to which these terrorists fear freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” he told reporters. “But the one thing that I’m very confident about is that the values that we share with the French people, a belief — a universal belief in the freedom of expression, is something that can’t be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few.” Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called the attack on Charlie Hebdo “intolerable.” The violence began on January, 7, when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, 34 and 32 respectively, used AK-47 assault rifles to storm the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Before security forces killed him, Cherif told BFMTV that he had trained with al Qaeda in Yemen. In that country, he said, he had met Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Muslim who had been the leader of al Qaeda in Yemen until a U.S. drone strike killed him in 2011. Leaders offer condolences, support The Mexican government reiterated its stance that it rejects all forms of terrorism and sent its condolences to the French people, their government and the victims’ families. The following day, January 8, a lone gunman fatally shot a female police officer south of Paris. That killing was allegedly committed by Amedy Coulibaly, 32, another Islamic extremist, according to French law enforcement authorities. The mass killing sparked a huge manhunt, as 80,000 Soldiers and police officers launched a manhunt for the two brothers. The younger brother, Cherif, reportedly had links to the terrorist group al-Qaeda in Yemen. The violence in Frances showed that terrorist attacks can occur anywhere in the world, the president said. “For us to see the kind of cowardly evil attacks that took place, I think reinforces once again why it’s so important for us to stand in solidarity with them, just as they stand in solidarity with us,” Obama told reporters. The violence began on January, 7, when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, 34 and 32 respectively, used AK-47 assault rifles to storm the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. last_img read more

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Here’s one thing you can do right now to succeed in 2020

first_imgWhat have you done this year? Was it different from what you did last year? Was it more of the same? Most importantly, did it help you achieve the results you wanted? If not, what are you going to change next year to make sure you don’t repeat that lack of success? Maybe you’ve spent the last few weeks—or the last few months—racking your brain and trying to figure out what needs to change.Some changes are easy. Others are more challenging. Fortunately, one of the easiest changes is also one of the most effective. You need to get a fresh perspective. I know that sounds simple, but I can tell you from personal experience, it works.Earlier this year, I realized I was stuck. I had been working with the same coach for more than five years. While he had helped my team and me achieve great things, I realized that we all needed a different point of view. I needed someone who could look at us with new eyes, someone who would ask new questions and encourage us to try different things. With that in mind, I started working with another coach over the summer. Just as I hoped, the creative floodgates opened. New questions and new ideas gave me the fresh perspective I was looking for. It did the same for our team. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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