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Coelacanth genome surfaces

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first_imgAn international team of researchers has decoded the genome of a creature whose evolutionary history is both enigmatic and illuminating: the African coelacanth. A sea-cave dwelling, 5-foot-long fish with limblike fins, the coelacanth was once thought to be extinct. A living coelacanth was discovered off the African coast in 1938, and since then, questions about these ancient-looking fish have loomed large.Coelacanths today closely resemble the fossilized skeletons of their ancestors of more than 300 million years ago. Their genome confirms what many researchers had long suspected: Genes in coelacanths are evolving more slowly than in other organisms.“We found that the genes overall are evolving significantly slower than in every other fish and land vertebrate that we looked at,” said Jessica Alföldi, a research scientist at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and co-first author of a paper on the coelacanth genome, which appears in Nature this week. “This is the first time that we’ve had a big enough gene set to really see that.”Researchers hypothesize that this slow rate of evolution may be because coelacanths simply have not needed to change: They live primarily off the Eastern African coast (a second coelacanth species lives off the coast of Indonesia), at ocean depths where relatively little has changed over the millennia.“We often talk about how species have changed over time,” said Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, scientific director of the Broad Institute’s vertebrate genome biology group and senior author. “But there are still a few places on earth where organisms don’t have to change, and this is one of them. Coelacanths are likely very specialized to such a specific, non-changing, extreme environment — it is ideally suited to the deep sea just the way it is.”Because of their resemblance to fossils dating back millions of years, coelacanths today are often referred to as “living fossils” — a term coined by Charles Darwin. But the coelacanth is not a relic of the past brought back to life: It is a species that has survived, reproduced, but changed very little in appearance for millions of years. “It’s not a living fossil; it’s a living organism,” said Alföldi. “It doesn’t live in a time bubble; it lives in our world, which is why it’s so fascinating to find out that its genes are evolving more slowly than ours.”The coelacanth genome has also allowed scientists to test other long-debated questions. For example, coelacanths possess some features that look oddly similar to those seen only in animals that dwell on land, including “lobed” fins, which resemble the limbs of four-legged land animals (known as tetrapods). Another odd-looking group of fish known as lungfish possesses lobed fins, too. It is probable that one of the ancestral lobed-finned fish species gave rise to the first four-legged amphibious creatures to climb out of the water and up onto land, but until now, researchers could not determine which of the two was the likelier candidate.In addition to sequencing the full genome — nearly 3 billion “letters” of DNA — from the coelacanth, the researchers also looked at RNA content from the coelacanth (both the African and Indonesian species) and from the lungfish. This information allowed them to compare genes in use in the brain, kidneys, liver, spleen, and gut of lungfish with gene sets from coelacanths and 20 other vertebrate species. Their results suggested that tetrapods are more closely related to lungfish than to the coelacanth.However, the coelacanth is still a critical organism to study to understand what is often called the water-to-land transition. The lungfish may be more closely related to land animals, but its genome remains inscrutable: At 100 billion letters in length, the lungfish genome is simply too unwieldy for scientists to sequence, assemble, and analyze. The coelacanth’s more modest genome (comparable in length to our own) is yielding valuable clues about the genetic changes that may have allowed tetrapods to flourish on land.By looking at what genes were lost when vertebrates came on land as well as what regulatory elements — parts of the genome that govern where, when, and to what degree genes are active — were gained, the researchers made several unusual discoveries:Sense of smell. The team found that many regulatory changes influenced genes involved in smell perception and detecting airborne odors. They hypothesize that as creatures moved from sea to land, they needed new means of detecting chemicals in the environment around them.Immunity. The researchers found a significant number of immune-related regulatory changes when they compared the coelacanth genome to the genomes of land animals. They hypothesized that these changes may have been part of a response to new pathogens encountered on land.Evolutionary development. Researchers found several key genetic regions that may have been “evolutionarily recruited” to form tetrapod innovations such as limbs, fingers and toes, and the mammalian placenta. One of these regions, known as HoxD, harbors a particular sequence that is shared across coelacanths and tetrapods. It is likely that this sequence from the coelacanth was co-opted by tetrapods to help form hands and feet.Urea cycle. Fish get rid of nitrogen by excreting ammonia into the water, but humans and other land animals quickly convert ammonia into less-toxic urea using the urea cycle. Researchers found that the most important gene involved in this cycle has been modified in tetrapods.The coelacanth genome may hold other clues for researchers investigating the evolution of tetrapods. “This is just the beginning of many analyses on what the coelacanth can teach us about the emergence of land vertebrates, including humans, and, combined with modern empirical approaches, can lend insights into the mechanisms that have contributed to major evolutionary innovations,” said Chris Amemiya, a member of the Benaroya Research Institute and co-first author of the Nature paper. Amemiya is also a professor at the University of Washington.Sequencing the full coelacanth genome was uniquely challenging for many reasons. Coelacanths are an endangered species, so samples available for research are almost nonexistent. This meant that each sample obtained was precious: Researchers would have “one shot” at sequencing the collected genetic material, according to Alföldi. But the difficulties of obtaining a sample and the challenges of sequencing it also knit the community together.Although the coelacanth genome offers some tantalizing answers, the research team anticipates that further study of the fish’s immunity, respiration, physiology, and more will lead to deep insights into how some vertebrates adapted to life on land, while others remained creatures of the sea.last_img read more

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Chemistry professors receive multimillion dollar grants

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first_img Read Full Story The Department of Defense recently announced the winners of their 2020 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program. The agency received 365 proposals and awarded 26 grants. In a rare feat, they selected two professors from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology — Daniel Nocera and Kang-Kuen Ni — to lead multi-disciplinary teams in designing the next generation of military and commercial technology.“Modern science and engineering problems often intersect more than one scientific discipline,” said Bindu Nair, the deputy director for basic research at the Department of Defense, in a press release. Multidisciplinary effort “accelerates research progress to enable more rapid R&D breakthroughs by cross-fertilization of ideas, and can hasten the transition of basic research findings to practical applications.”Daniel Nocera, the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy, will use his MURI to work on oxygen harvesting and storage in the ocean. For example, if a diver descends into the deep sea with a limited amount of oxygen, could a tool let them extract oxygen from the surrounding waters and stay down there longer?Nocera and his multidisciplinary, cross-institution team of experts, which includes Jarad Mason, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology will design technology to harvest pure oxygen from undersea environments of different temperatures and depths. Ultimately, their work could help create the next generation of diving suits capable of extracting and storing oxygen mid-dive.Kang-Kuen Ni, the Morris Kahn Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and of Physics, will work on a problem of precision. A pioneer of ultracold chemistry, Ni has used colder and colder temperatures to forge molecules from atoms that would otherwise never react. Cooled to such extremes, atoms and molecules slow to a quantum crawl, their lowest possible energy state. There, she can manipulate molecular interactions with utmost precision. Recently, her lab performed the coldest chemical reaction and saw, for the first time, a slowed-down version of two molecules breaking and forming bonds.With her MURI, Ni has formed a team of experts from chemistry, quantum information, precision measurement and physics to take this work further and achieve the same level of control over molecules as she has over individual atoms. With that power, she will investigate how specific molecules behave in the quantum realm, which could lead to far more sensitive sensors, processors and transducers, as well as advanced material science and drug design. Her team’s work will also add more rungs on the ladder to quantum computers.Previously, the MURI helped launch technologies like laser frequency combs — now the gold standard in frequency control for precision in navigation and targeting — atomic and molecular self-assembly projects, which advanced nano-manufacturing, and the entire field of spintronics.This year’s 26 winning teams earned an average of $7 million for their five-year research projects. Nocera and Ni’s teams include collaborators from nine different institutions including Harvard.last_img read more

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Students sell Nicaraguan goods in bookstore

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first_imgThe Nicaraguan-based Custom Elevation, a company founded by three Notre Dame students in 2012, continues to expand its sale of handicrafts to improve the lives of artisans.Co-founder and senior Christian Estrada, who is from Nicaragua, said Custom Elevation bases itself on the principle of fairness.“It is about giving the artisans a chance,” he said. “It is about letting them do what they love and getting paid fairly.”Estrada said the company has developed new handmade products since it began selling its goods at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore in April 2013.“We expanded our product line to fit the likes of our various customers,” Estrada said. “In the collegiate market, we have added the Salbeke Hand-woven Bag. We introduced this product in early December and have received quite a bit of attention.”The company introduced the new products after assessing the marketability of the Amaka Hammocks featured in the company’s first product launch.“The hammock has proven to be a very tough product to sell because of the lack of summertime activities around Notre Dame and the high price point due to royalty expenses, transportation and packaging,” Estrada said. “This is why we introduced the Salbeke.”Estrada said the artisans employed by Custom Elevation work out of a renovated building in the Nicaraguan city of Masaya, where the production of handicrafts stretches back many generations.“The conditions in Masaya in general are still very bad. Given that the artisan community is extensive, it will be hard to fix this problem right away, but our vision is to help change the lives of as many artisans as possible,” Estrada said. “By eventually expanding to more and more universities and institutions, we will be able to increase the size of our facility and the number of workers we employ.”Between business classes and collaboration with recent Notre Dame alumnus Roberto Pellas, Estrada said he has met with officials from Texas Christian University (TCU) and the University of Texas at Austin to market Custom Elevation’s products bearing the logos of each institution.“I just met with TCU’s licensing director and it went very well,” Estrada said. “We have basically secured a license with them and will most probably start selling at their bookstore around June.”In addition, Estrada said Custom Elevation has set its sights on the corporate logo market.“This will be pretty much like the collegiate market in that we will personalize our products with institutional logos,” he said. “We are also selling our generic products [without logos] at different boutiques in Nicaragua and here in the states.”Tags: Custom Elevationlast_img read more

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Kelsey Grammer & Kelli O’Hara May Headline Julie Andrews’ My Fair Lady

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first_img View Comments Wouldn’t it be loverly?! Kelsey Grammer and Kelli O’Hara are the latest names in the mix to lead a revival of My Fair Lady as Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle, respectively. Previous names attached to a potential return of the classic tuner include Colin Firth, Ralph Fiennes, Anne Hathaway and Carey Mulligan. A production directed by Tony winner Bartlett Sher had been aiming for a 2014 Broadway opening; the Wrap reports that Julie Andrews’ previously reported Australian incarnation will go on the road before landing in New York in 2017, where both Grammer and O’Hara would star.Grammer and O’Hara previously appeared in the roles back in 2007 at a Lincoln Center fundraiser. Grammer will return to the Broadway.com Audience Choice Award-winning musical Finding Neverland in the New Year; his additional Great White Way credits include La Cage Aux Folles, Macbeth and Othello. He won four Emmy Awards for his performance as the titular radio psychiatrist in the long-running hit series Frasier. O’Hara is the current headliner of The King and I, for which she won a 2015 Tony Award. She has also received Tony nods for her performances in The Bridges of Madison County, Nice Work If You Can Get It, South Pacific, The Pajama Game and The Light in the Piazza.Featuring music by Frederick Loewe and a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, My Fair Lady premiered on Broadway on March 15, 1956, starring Andrews and Rex Harrison. The production won the Tony Award for Best Musical, and Harrison snagged a Best Actor trophy. My Fair Lady was last seen on Broadway in 1993, starring Melissa Errico and Richard Chamberlain.last_img read more

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Blue Ridge Outdoors Top Towns Nominee: Prestonsburg, Kentucky

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first_imgDeep in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, the small town of Prestonsburg is home to a diverse array of outdoor opportunities. For starters, there is the Dewey Lake Recreation Area, where locals and visitors enjoy scenic views of Appalachia’s western end in a serene, wildlife-rich setting.Also on the shores of Dewey Lake is the Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. This unique state park offers boater access, fully furnished campsites, and luxury lodge accommodations. The Prestonsburg area is also home to the Levisa Fork River, know to hold abundant populations of trophy smallmouth, and the 18-mile Dawkins Line Rail Trail.Cudas_IB_0814_2DID YOU KNOW: This part of Eastern Kentucky is one of the rare places east of the Rocky Mountains where elk populations flourish.Vote now at blueridgeoutdoors.com!last_img read more

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True confidence = success

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first_imgTruly confident people do things differently. They can motivate others without words and have an amazing ability to get things done.“[T]ruly confident people always have the upper hand over the doubtful and the skittish, because they inspire others and they make things happen,” writes Travis Bradberry, a contributor to Forbes who focuses on emotional intelligence and leadership performance.Bradberry shares 12 “cardinal habits of truly confident people,” including:– Their happiness comes from within. “People who brim with confidence derive their sense of pleasure and satisfaction from their own accomplishments, as opposed to what other people think of their accomplishments,” he writes.– They listen more than they speak. Truly confident people have nothing to prove, so they listen rather than talk.– They don’t seek attention. This goes back to where truly confident people find their happiness: within. They don’t need the approval (or attention) of others.– They stick their necks out. Truly confident people aren’t constrained by fear and are always open and willing to try new things. continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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7 surprising ways you could be putting yourself in debt

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first_img 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Americans have $12.25 trillion in debt. That amount is actually 3.3 percent lower than the all-time high set in 2008, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Even so, it’s worth considering how we got to the point of owing trillions of dollars.Mortgages make up the bulk of household debt — nearly 70 percent, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Student loan balances account for another 10 percent. But that still leaves more than $2 trillion that Americans have borrowed to cover the cost of things other than homes and education.If you’re in debt, you might be wondering how you ended up owing so much. It might not be obvious. In fact, you might have money habits that you don’t even realize are contributing to your debt. Or, you might be borrowing for what seems like a good reason, but really you’re just hurting your finances. Here are seven surprising ways you might be putting yourself into debt — and tips on how to avoid this financial burden. continue reading »last_img read more

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Horoscopes by PsychicDeb for June 2016

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first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Aries – Saturn in your 9th house – the escapist urge predominates. Stay away from money schemes that promise something for nothing. If you have a choice, stay away from mundane routine and enjoy the beauties of nature. Read a book or see a film that provides an uplift. Your lucky number is 7.Taurus – Saturn in your 8th house – a universal outlook is emphasized – a celebration takes on a special significance because of situations around you in the world. You’ll be particularly concerned about children and young people. A humanitarian gesture adds to your stature. Your lucky number is 9.Gemini – Saturn in your 7th house – emphasize originality, new directions, and a bold approach. A loved one plays a key role in adding to satisfaction with life. You’ll take on a special task together that contains meaning for both. Leo and Aquarius figure prominently. Be creative! Cancer – Saturn in your 6th house – the accent is on chores, pets, dependents and health matters. Be patient with those close to you – don’t insist on precise behavior. You’ll have an intuitive understanding of human nature that will help you be of greater service to others. An older woman makes life easier.Leo – Saturn in your 5th house – a romantic affair of the heart takes on a new, deeper meaning. You’ll express loyalty, commitment and serious intent. If you’re single, you’ll talk about marriage; if already married, you are concerned about an addition to the family or other new responsibility. Watch a Capricorn.Virgo – Saturn in your 4th house – welcome input from partners and associates. This routine month will allow you to catch up with many details but a cooperative manner will be required. You’ll be tested by the outside world; the way you react could have a long-range effect.Libra – Saturn in your 3rd house – the emphasis is on marital status, legalities and public relations. Open lines of communication with one close to you but let the other person do most of the talking. This high-spirited month could bring a proposal, invitation or other exciting event. The lucky number is 5.Scorpio – Saturn in your 2nd house – you have a glimpse of new possibilities this month. You’ll see how to bring inspiring ideas down to earth in a practical way. Don’t be reluctant to throw your weight around. Others will realize how far you have advanced. A Capricorn is in the picture. Sagittarius – Saturn in your 1st house – your creative urge is strong. Your personal magnetism rating is higher than expected; now is the time to charm an authority figure. Innovative ideas will help you rise to the top. Throw off your dependence on others; prove your own worth. The lucky number is 1.Capricorn – Saturn in your 12th house – ask questions and obtain answers. You’ll get to the bottom of a mystery that has bothered you. The romantic feelings of someone else are involved. There could be more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye. Check with a Virgo. Your lucky number is 5. Aquarius – Saturn in your 11th house – focus on group goals. You’ll help others overcome obstacles by setting a good example. Self-discipline and shrewd thinking are needed. A pal who is merely out for a good time will get in the way, don’t be led astray. Solid citizens are ready to back you.Pisces – Saturn in your 10th house – your social life accelerates. You’ll enjoy a whirl of activities with people from all walks of life. The accent is on foreign affairs, expansion, intellectual curiosity. Bright, witty dialogue helps establish rapport. Sagittarius and Gemini are involved. IF YOU KNOW YOUR RISING SIGN, CONSULT THE HOROSCOPE FOR THAT SIGN AS WELL.Psychicdeb has been a professional astrologer for over 25 yrs. Self-taught, she began her studies in astrology when she was 8 yrs. old learning what she could from her mother’s astrology magazines. As she got older and learned geometry, she searched for books on Astrology and taught herself how to construct a chart. She teaches Astrology for a nominal fee. Psychicdeb also uses the tarot to do psychic readings channeling her spirit guide Helen. Reiki is one of her obsessions. She is a Reiki Master and loves to teach others the benefits of Reiki. Namaste. You can find her at the Original Psychic Fairs on Sundays. A listing of the Fair dates can be found on her website at: http://www.astro-mate.org/last_img read more

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Merokeety Leopard Print Sweater Dress Wins Cozy Fall Fashion

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first_imgUs Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services.There’s a fashion myth that dresses can only be worn when it’s warm out. Well, we’re not afraid of breaking the rules — and just so happen to be completely obsessed with wearing dresses year-round. Why? They’re the foundation of the easiest outfits — all you have to do is choose which dress you want to wear! Once that’s out of the way, selecting complementary shoes and accessories is a piece of cake.- Advertisement – This sweater dress is made from a super soft knit that’s bound to keep you toasty. If it’s particularly cold outside, you can throw on a pair of tights or even leggings to keep your legs covered. This dress will look adorable with any pair of knee-high or thigh-high boots. We would choose a black pair, but brown boots would work just as well.This dress fits slightly on the loose side, which makes it incredibly relaxed. It essentially feels like wearing an oversized sweater — and what’s better than that? It has a large leopard-print design that’s totally trendy. Leopard is everywhere right now, so you’ll look like an Instagram influencer in this flirty frock!MEROKEETY Women's Leopard Knit Pullover Sweater DressMEROKEETY Women’s Leopard Knit Pullover Sweater Dress AmazonSee it!- Advertisement – Now that we’re in the thick of fall and quickly approaching winter, we’re shifting our focus to sweater dresses. They’re comfortable, cozy and keep Us warm all day long. When they’re as cute as this option from MEROKEETY, it’s only natural to click “Add to Cart” immediately!MEROKEETY Women's Leopard Knit Pullover Sweater DressMEROKEETY Women’s Leopard Knit Pullover Sweater Dress AmazonSee it!Get the MEROKEETY Women’s Leopard Knit Pullover Sweater Dress for prices starting at just $25, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, November 5, 2020, but are subject to change.- Advertisement – Get the MEROKEETY Women’s Leopard Knit Pullover Sweater Dress for prices starting at just $25, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, November 5, 2020, but are subject to change.There are currently four different colors available, all of which feature the leopard-print motif: beige, black, brown and grey. The size of the print may vary depending on the shade that you select, but they’re all just as adorable as the next! Every single version of this dress is a success, and we can’t wait to see it hanging in our closets.See it: Get the MEROKEETY Women’s Leopard Knit Pullover Sweater Dress for prices starting at just $25, available at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, November 5, 2020, but are subject to change.Not what you’re looking for? Check out more styles from MEROKEETY and shop all clothing, shoes and jewelry available at Amazon! Don’t forget to check out all of Amazon’s Daily Deals here!Check out more of our picks and deals here!This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful, such as face masks, self tanners, Lululemon-style leggings and all the best gifts for everyone in your life. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.The Shop With Us team may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. In addition, Us Weekly receives compensation from the manufacturer of the products we write about when you click on a link and then purchase the product featured in an article. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product or service is featured or recommended. Shop With Us operates independently from advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback at ShopWithUs@usmagazine.com. Happy shopping! – Advertisement –last_img read more

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Jiwasraya victims tour financial authorities’ offices demanding restitution

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first_imgIda was among around 50 people – some of whom lost billions of rupiah per person – that demonstrated inside the Finance Ministry building demanding their money back, indicating fresh efforts from victims to get a resolution to the insurance scandal.Read also: Jiwasraya in talks with foreign, domestic investors over selling Jiwasraya PutraThey continued to the Financial Services Authority (OJK) office in front of the ministry’s main building in Central Jakarta and were still meeting with the agency’s officials at the time of writing.Jiwasraya met with trouble when it was unable to pay holders of policies worth about Rp 16 trillion that fell due in December, prompting the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to launch a corruption investigation. At the Finance Ministry, protesters demanded to speak directly to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, Deputy Finance Minister Suahasil Nazara or the ministry’s director generals as they delivered an official letter to the minister.Finance Ministry program and administration head Darmawan said that it would forward the letter to the officials but said that neither the minister nor her deputy were available to meet the group.“Sorry sir,” he said to one of the protesters. “If you will allow me, we will make sure to convey the message.”Both parties agreed to meet again at Darmawan’s arrangement and continued to march to the OJK office. Topics :center_img Ida Tumota, 60, had only one goal when she walked in the Finance Ministry on Thursday: to get her money back.The single mother had lost about Rp 500 million (US$36,500) of money she had invested in the state-owned insurer Asuransi Jiwasraya for her pension fund and her children’s education.“The government has defrauded me. I feel abused — through my time, efforts, money and my future that I have invested,” Ida said in a quivering voice.last_img read more

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