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An aerial photo shows the progress of property development in the Highland village

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An aerial photo shows the progress of property development in the Highland village






























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Teenager accused of racially abusing Aston Villa footballer

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A teenager has been accused of racially abusing Aston Villa footballer Tyreik Wright on social media.

West Midlands Police said the 17-year-old was accused of sending an offensive message to the Ireland Under-21 international on Instagram, while the player was on loan at Walsall in February.

Wright, 20, is currently on loan at Salford City.

Tyreik Wright in action against the Netherlands for the Republic of Ireland (Mike Egerton / PA)

The youngster was charged under section 127 of the 2003 Communications Act, to appear in Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, October 7.

The teenager, originally from the North East, cannot be identified because of his age.

West Midlands Police said their investigations were led by Constable Stuart Ward, who is the UK’s first dedicated hate crimes officer in a football unit.

Nathan Miebai, Crown Prosecution Service, said: “A 17-year-old has been accused of abusing footballer Tyreik Wright’s race online.

“The CPS made the decision to charge the youth after reviewing an evidence file from the West Midlands Police.”

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Lowering the student loan repayment threshold would be regressive

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Students are expected to start paying for their education when their income drops below the current £ 27,295 (Chris Ison / PA)

Reducing the income threshold at which graduates start repaying student loans would be “regressive” and place a “substantial burden” on young people, have warned education unions and economists.

The Financial Times reported that the government is planning to lower the salary level at which graduates start repaying their loans in an attempt to save treasury money on the student finance system.

Currently, graduates start repaying their loans when they earn £ 27,295 or more per year, but ministers are believed to be considering slashing that figure.

The Union of Universities and Colleges (UCU) warned against “increasing student debt” because it called the proposal “regressive.”

Meanwhile, an economist from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said lowering the repayment threshold would be a “substantial burden” on young graduates.

It would be a big burden, especially for young graduates, who can save for a deposit or start a family

Ben Waltmann, Senior Research Economist at IFS

The Augar Higher Education Review in 2019 recommended that the repayment threshold be lowered to £ 23,000 and that graduates should repay their student loans over 40 years rather than 30 years.

In January, the government said further reforms to the student funding system, including minimum university admission requirements, would be “considered” before the next comprehensive spending review.

But an IFS report last week warned that lowering the student loan repayment threshold would hit graduates with average incomes the hardest.

Ben Waltmann, senior research economist at IFS, told the PA news agency: “As a large majority of graduates will never repay their student loans, lowering the repayment threshold to £ 23,000 is actually a tax increase for middle-income graduates worth almost £ 2 billion a year.

“Under this policy, a graduate earning £ 30,000 per year would have to pay around £ 400 more per year – in addition to over £ 500 more in national insurance contributions under health and welfare plans. social protection announced earlier this month (counting both employee and employer contributions).

“It would be a substantial burden, especially for young graduates, who can save for a deposit or start a family.”

Mr Waltmann called on ministers to increase their revenues instead by extending the repayment period for student loans or through the tax system.

Jo Grady, UCU general secretary, told PA: “Putting more debt on students is not the way to deal with the failure of the commodification of higher education.

“This is a regressive measure that will hit low-income people the hardest, as they will see the largest relative increases in their payments.

“The government should consider progressive taxes to publicly fund higher education. “

Hepi research shows that reducing the number of places as the number of young people leaving school increases so rapidly would be catastrophic, while asking graduates to reimburse more of the costs would be manageable.

Nick Hillman, Director of Hepi

Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, vice president of higher education at the National Union of Students (NUS), said: The impending rise in energy prices which is expected to hit millions of the most vulnerable this winter, the injustice is simply astounding.

“They should prioritize well, end the commodification of the higher education sector and remove tuition fees.”

But Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), said asking graduates to reimburse more of the costs would be more “manageable” than other money-saving options considered.

He told PA: “My position is very clear. I don’t think we should cut spending on education in times of crisis.

“However, as the Treasury clearly has higher education spending in mind for the expenditure review, it is solely responsible for considering which cuts might be catastrophic and which might be manageable.

“Hepi’s research shows that reducing the number of places as the number of young people leaving school increases so rapidly would be catastrophic, while asking graduates to reimburse more of the costs would be manageable. Unacceptable perhaps, but manageable.

According to the Financial Times, Rishi Sunak would like to revisit student funding in his spending review ahead of next month’s budget.

Mr Hillman suggested that the government is “belatedly” realizing that the career options they want to lead people to tend to have lower incomes than degrees.

Mr Hillman said: “So they now realize that a lower income threshold is needed for their professional reforms to hold up. It’s a very strange reason to make the switch, but there you go.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education (DfE) said: “The student loan system is designed to ensure that everyone with the talent and desire to pursue higher education can do so, while ensuring that that the cost of higher education be equitably distributed between graduates and the taxpayer.

“We continue to carefully review the recommendations made by the Augar panel, while improving the quality of standards and excellence in education and ensuring a sustainable and flexible student funding system. “

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Loan rally: late drama for Hugill and West Brom

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The away team took the lead in the first minute thanks to Andre Gray, before Karlan Grant scored twice in the final 15 minutes to turn things around at The Hawthorns.

Norwich City Lender Jordan hugill came on in the 55th minute and, after the rest of the weekend’s action, West Brom is now second in the championship and two points behind AFC Bournemouth.

Elsewhere in the championship, Huddersfield Town was beaten 1-0 at Swansea City to place seventh in the championship, three points off play-off spots. Danel Sinani played the full 90 minutes for the Terriers.

In Iceland, Isak Thorvaldsson played all of IA Akranes’ 3-2 away win over Keflavik IF, the result placing the former eighth at Urvalsdeild.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle remained unbeaten at the top of the Scottish Championship with Saturday’s 2-1 victory at home against Queen of the South.

Reece McAlear came on in the 54th minute as Inverness scored 19 points in their opening seven matches.

Ultimately, Daniel Adshead played the last 20 minutes of Gillingham’s 1-1 draw at Oxford United on Saturday. The Gills are now 19th in League One.

Players who were unused substitutes: Daniel Barden (Livingston), Akin Famewo (Charlton Athletic), Josh Martin (Milton Keynes Dons), Tyrese Omotoye (Leyton Orient)

Players who were not included in the day’s roster: Sam McCallum (Queens Park Rangers), Josip Drmic (HNK Rijeka), Gassan Ahadme (Portsmouth), Onel Hernandez (Middlesbrough), Aston Oxborough (Barnet), Archie Mair (Lincoln City)

Players whose teams did not play last week: Sebastian Soto (FC Porto B), Sam Blair (Bury Town), Matthew Dennis (Southend United)

What the Newspaper Say – September 27

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What the Newspapers Say – September 27 (PA)

The panic gasoline purchase is the main story in the national newspapers, with the government considering sending the military to help.

The Daily Mirror presents the fuel situation as a “mess” in its headline, adding that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “warned in June of the lack of drivers and did nothing”.

The independent said at least half of off-highway gas stations would be “dry after a weekend of panic shopping by anxious drivers.”

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps, meanwhile, insisted there was “no shortage of fuel” and blamed carriers for the panic at gas pumps, according to Metro.

Senior ministers will meet on Monday to discuss the deployment of the military to drive tankers, reports the I, The daily telegraph and The Guardian.

The temperature was informed that the soldiers would likely be put on notice to implement the plan to transport gasoline “within days”.

The “fuel-hungry chefs” are decried by the Star of the day, the newspaper reporting that some gas stations raised fuel prices as drivers lined up outside.

Meanwhile, a Daily mail A reporter spent six weeks undercover in a motorway control room and discovered that 10% of “vital” security cameras “were not working.”

And Downing Street plans to lower the graduate salary threshold for paying off student loans, according to the Financial Time.

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Thirty-six years since Her Majesty the Queen opened the £ 30million Raigmore Hospital in Inverness

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Raigmore Hospital Locator … Photo: Gary Anthony. Image no ..

It may be hard to credit for many, but it is now 36 years since Her Majesty The Queen opened the new £ 30million Raigmore Hospital with its iconic eight-story tower. He completed a suggested foreground a quarter of a century earlier, writes Bill McAllister.

It was the former North Regional Hospital Council that in 1960 devised the plan for a central general hospital for Inverness to replace emergency facilities which deteriorated in wartime. Two years later, this proposal was included in the Scottish Department of Health’s National Hospital Plan, which confirmed Raigmore as the natural location.

The first phase began in 1966 with a low-rise complex offering outpatient services opened four years later. The project also included radiotherapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy facilities as well as an archive service and a pharmacy.

An Inverness Central School of Nursing with accommodation was another innovation as well as the Post-Graduate Medical Center, which developed medical education in the Highlands.

In 1977, financial approval was given for the second phase, the culmination of which was to be the service tower comprising nine operating theaters, a new accident and emergency unit, a renal unit, offices, a kitchen and dining rooms and a chapel.

Work began in 1978 with the last buildings of the original Raigmore House estate – a car shed and gardener’s house – demolished in 1983. Part of the garden wall remains across the parking lot, the last legacy of the premedical role of the region.

The soaring tower was a major topic of discussion at the time.

In March 1985, some fifty orthopedic patients received flowers from the guides because they became the first to trade the old war rooms for the new spacious facilities. The following month, Pediatric Surgery, Gynecology and General Service patients followed and in May Her Majesty proceeded with the grand opening while the Royal Northern Infirmary patients were also transferred.

From an era of paraffin stoves in the wards, no food and laundry choices changed once a week, Raigmore had made steady progress to meet changing demands and expectations.

A separate construction contract began providing staff quarters, with 32 three-apartment houses, one two-apartment block and three 32-bedroom blocks. This was a huge leap from the thinking of 1965, when pen shooters felt it was too expensive to provide sinks in nurses’ rooms!

A new maternity hospital opened in January 1988, and two years later a new isolation room was added, just as the last hospital buildings from 1941 were demolished.

Construction continued as medicine progressed and today Raigmore Hospital has 452 beds and employs 2,800 people, making it a major employer for the area.

The old war facility and even the Raigmore of the 1970s and early 1980s could never have faced the enormous challenges posed by Covid-19. Indeed, in July of this year, the hospital was placed on “code black” status after reaching capacity, as large numbers of staff were forced to self-isolate.

They may well be tested again this winter, but residents of the Highlands see Raigmore as their main defense against the pandemic.

Eighty years since its first opening, supported by the skills and commitment of its staff, our hospital has continued to evolve to reach the position where it is of such great value to the communities it serves. .

Sponsored by Ness Castle Lodges.


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Lewis Mayo reaping rewards from Under-21 summons ahead of Raith Rovers clash

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WHEN Lewis Mayo first arrived at Partick Thistle in January 2020, he could never have known what the coming months had in store for him. He would only make three appearances for the Jags before the pandemic took hold in March, shutting down all football as the nation grappled with the crisis.

At that time, Thistle’s fortune was very different. Ian McCall had replaced Gary Caldwell as manager a few months earlier and the club were embroiled in relegation, fighting tooth and nail for every point as they tried to beat down.

Of course, this opportunity would never materialize. Thistle’s fate was ultimately decided in a virtual boardroom after the season ended, and the Jags found themselves relegated to level three.

Now, however, the background music around Firhill is quite different. Thistle’s surge to the League One title last season is still fresh in fans’ memories, while an encouraging start to the new season – though it has seen a few hiccups in recent weeks – gives way to cautious optimism.

“When I first came here it was a relegation fight,” Mayo recalls. “The circumstances were unfortunate that we never got a chance to see the season because I think we felt we had started to gain some momentum.

“But this time it’s much more positive. We’re looking to try to push the top of the league.

“We’ve had a good start to the campaign this year – the last two results have been disappointing, but we know that these days we can beat anyone if we show up. So that must be our goal in every game. ”

A win over Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park this afternoon would certainly boost morale after recent losses to Arbroath, Inverness and Kilmarnock. But after being called in by the Scot Gemmill Scottish Under-21s earlier this month, Mayo says he feels confident.

“It’s a different kind of challenge – playing international football has its own style,” he said of the experience. “Teams do different things and try to hurt you in different ways and I think the two things go hand in hand: international experience helps you at club level, and playing competitive football at club level definitely helps you. to play for the 21.

“There are different requirements to play in different games and playing in the championship is very physically demanding; it’s very intense. The game is very fast and you get a lot of duels.

READ MORE: Stats Behind Partick Thistle’s Championship Campaign Start

“With international football the game can sometimes be a little slower. The game can be dictated by the form and build of the teams, which is sometimes more about patience and mental focus when trying to play forward and injure you. Like I said, they’re different styles and it’s a great learning experience for a young player.

“I think the other thing you get out of it is confidence. If you go and are successful internationally, you can bring that here, but there is also the confidence of being selected. There is a recognition there that what you do, you do it well and there are parts of the game that coaches love when they watch you.

However, it’s not just McCall and Gemmill who are keeping a close eye on the 21-year-old. Mayo’s parent club, the Rangers, are also on hand to offer advice and commentary after every performance.

“Billy Kirkwood is the loan manager,” he explained. “He was very good to me last year and that has continued this season.

“He’ll try to watch the games when he can and if he’s not at a game he’ll watch it midweek and then come back to me – which I do well, what I can work on. He tells me what is expected of me but also how to play in the environment in which I am.

Today’s opponents are a familiar enemy for Mayo, who spent last season on loan with rivals Fife Dunfermline. There are few in the Championship better prepared for the threats John McGlynn’s men pose and Mayo is well aware of the harsh scrutiny they will provide the Jags with.

“I played against Raith when I was on loan at Dunfermline last year and it was really tough games,” he added. “It’s a team that likes to try to play; they will be open and expansive. This means that they can sometimes open.

“We won one at East End 4-1, then they won the next one at Stark’s Park 5-1. These two games were very open, fast paced, lots of chances for both teams. Whichever team showed up that day, the other one has changed, so it sure won’t be easy.

“I think with the Inverness game and the Kilmarnock game, in both cases we got out of the flying traps, started at a high pace and looked dangerous. What’s disappointing is that in both games we lost that in the second half.

“We lost that intensity and that’s when we started to open up and concede chances. I think the learning curve has to be more clinical in both boxes, but the rebound from these games is that the training has been intense. It has been a high standard and we are all looking forward to it now. ”

Does it really matter that a church is converted into a pub or a carpet store?

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Old High Church, Inverness

There have been concerns about recent proposals from Inverness Rectory to bring the Old High Church to market. The background is a nationwide decision to reduce the number of Church of Scotland ministers by a third in light of Kirk’s declining membership, and to get rid of redundant buildings, allowing the Church to experience new ways to connect with the Scottish people.

What do I think about the eventual sale of the Old High? What matters fundamentally is to meet the God who loves us, and it can take place anywhere. Such encounters occur wherever people meet and share their faith in Jesus. A special building is not essential. A “church” is simply a gathering of people who joyfully realize that regardless of their nationality, they are members of the tribe of God and choose to live as disciples of Jesus.

But religious, including Christians, speak of “thin places” where God is tangible, where light and peace burst, where the Author of the great tribal history makes his presence known.

Iona Abbey: a
Iona Abbey: A “thin place” for many religious people. Image: Wikimedia Commons

There are a lot of these “thin places”. Take Iona, where many, many people over the centuries have felt God particularly close. Many Christians have their own “thin place” – perhaps the corner of the room where we pray. And every line in the Bible becomes a holy place as God speaks to us through it. But also important are the buildings where through the centuries God has been worshiped, the bread broken, the wine shared, the prayers pronounced.

There are arguably too many church buildings in Scotland, and some will have to disappear. Each closure brings regret to those who have encountered God within its walls. And for many Christians, buildings with deep roots in the past, physical reminders of our tribal history, housing works of art that reflect the creativity and beauty of God, are just too precious to be lost.

There was worship on this mound next to the Ness where the old tall church stands for centuries, probably before Columba came. It is probable that the saint preached there, it is perhaps at this very place that the picte king Brude converted to the Christian faith. With varying degrees of sincerity, people have knelt and prayed in the buildings of this site throughout the colorful history of the Highland Faith.

For the Old High, a Grade A listed building, becoming a pub or carpet warehouse would be (although God is no stranger to bars and business premises) to ceding something precious for lay use.

Yes, the people who meet Jesus today, wherever they are, is far more important than preserving the old buildings as such. But could treasures like the Old High be portals through which we find our way into the Great History?

More from a Christian point of view


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Visa plan for foreign heavy truck drivers ‘insufficient’ to solve Christmas supply chain problems

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Plans to offer 5,000 three-month visas to foreign truck drivers are “insufficient” to solve supply problems in the run-up to Christmas, according to business groups.

The government has announced a temporary visa program that will allow 5,000 truck drivers and 5,500 poultry workers to take jobs in the UK until Christmas Eve, in a bid to keep supermarket shelves filled with turkeys and solve delivery problems at gas stations.

The intervention came amid long lines at gas stations after a shortage of tanker drivers forced some retailers to shut down their pumps and ration sales.

But the British Retail Consortium and the British Chamber of Commerce criticized the scope of the package of measures revealed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Saturday, which were seen by some as a step backwards from the Prime Minister’s ambitions to create an economy post-Brexit qualified.

Mr Shapps said the changes, with short-term visas available starting next month, “would ensure that preparations remain on track” for the holiday season.

House Speaker Baroness McGregor-Smith, however, said consumers and businesses faced “another less than happy Christmas” because of the “insufficient” visa supply.

Retailers had previously warned the government that it had only 10 days to avoid a “significant disruption” over Christmas due to a shortage of around 90,000 drivers in the freight sector.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the temporary visa offer would help keep Christmas “on track” (Victoria Jones / PA)

The conservative peer said: “Even if these short-term opportunities attract the maximum number of people allowed under the program, it will not be enough to solve the scale of the problem that has now developed in our supply chains.

“This announcement is equivalent to throwing a dice of water on a bonfire.”

Andrew Opie, director of the British Retail Consortium, said the limit of 5,000 HGV visas would do “little to address the current shortfall” and called for the extension of visas to “all sectors. of the retail industry “.

He added: “Supermarkets alone have estimated that they need at least 15,000 truck drivers to keep their businesses running at full capacity before Christmas and avoid disruption or uptime issues. “

The easing of immigration rules has been hailed by other industry groups, however, with Food and Drink Federation chief Ian Wright calling the measures “pragmatic,” while Logistics UK said it showed that the government had listened to the concerns of the carriers.

Richard Walker, managing director of the Iceland supermarket, called the announcement “critical” and insisted that store staff and other key workers be rushed past the lines at the gas station.

The supermarket boss said: “Until this subsides, key workers, including food retail workers, need to be given priority at pumps so that we can keep hospitals running and the food stores open, and the nation safe and nourished. “

In addition to the visa changes, the Department for Transport (DfT) said it plans to train an additional 4,000 truck drivers through a £ 10million investment in skills camps and budgets set for the adult education, with some of those studying for heavy truck licenses being eligible to have their courses paid for by the state.

Meanwhile, the Department of Defense (MoD) will step in to provide examiners for truck driving tests as ministers seek to steadily increase the size of the workforce.

Officials said the loan of Department of Defense examiners to work alongside Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) employees would help organize “thousands more tests” over the next 12 weeks.

The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated a global shortage of truck drivers, although there have been long-term problems in the UK with the number of vacancies amid an aging, low workforce wages and poor truck stopping conditions.

In an effort to encourage people to return to the industry, nearly a million letters will land on the doormats of people with heavy vehicle licenses in the coming days, prompting them to give work another chance.

The letter will outline measures taken by the road transport sector to improve conditions in the industry, including increasing wages, flexible working and fixed hours, according to the DfT.

Officials said the government was focusing on increasing wages and improving working conditions and workforce diversity, rather than relying on cheap foreign workers to fill vacancies. long-term.

The DfT said it recognized that importing foreign labor “would not be the long-term solution” to the problem and that it wanted investments to be invested in building a workforce. strong national work.

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36 years since Her Majesty the Queen opened the £ 30million Raigmore Hospital in Inverness

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Raigmore Hospital Locator … Photo: Gary Anthony. Image no ..

It may be hard to credit for many, but it has now been 36 years since Her Majesty The Queen opened the new £ 30million Raigmore Hospital with its iconic eight-story tower. He completed a suggested foreground a quarter of a century earlier, writes Bill McAllister.

It was the former North Regional Hospital Council that in 1960 drew up the plan for a central general hospital in Inverness to replace emergency facilities which deteriorated in wartime. Two years later, this proposal was included in the Scottish Department of Health’s National Hospital Plan, which confirmed Raigmore as the natural location.

The first phase began in 1966 with a low-rise complex offering outpatient services opened four years later. The project also included radiotherapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy facilities as well as an archives service and a pharmacy.

An Inverness Central School of Nursing with accommodation was another innovation, as was the Post-Graduate Medical Center, which developed medical education in the Highlands.

In 1977, financial approval was given for the second phase, the culmination of which was to be the service tower comprising nine operating theaters, a new accident and emergency unit, a nephrology unit, offices , a kitchen and dining rooms and a chapel.

Work began in 1978 with the last buildings of the original Raigmore House estate – a car shed and gardener’s house – demolished in 1983. Part of the garden wall remains across the parking lot, the last legacy of the premedical role of the region.

The soaring tower was a major topic of discussion at the time.

In March 1985, some fifty orthopedic patients received flowers from the guides because they became the first to trade the old war rooms for the new spacious facilities. The following month, pediatric surgery, gynecology and general service patients followed and in May Her Majesty proceeded to the grand opening as patients from the Royal Northern Infirmary were also transferred.

From an era of paraffin stoves in the wards, no food and laundry choices changed just once a week, Raigmore had made steady progress to meet changing demands and expectations.

A separate construction contract has started to provide staff quarters, with 32 three-apartment houses, one two-unit apartment block and three 32-bedroom blocks. This was a huge leap forward from the thinking of 1965, when pen shooters felt it was too expensive to provide sinks in nurses’ rooms!

A new maternity hospital opened in January 1988, and two years later a new isolation room was added, just as the last hospital buildings from 1941 were demolished.

Construction continued as medicine progressed and today Raigmore Hospital has 452 beds and employs 2,800 people, making it a major employer for the area.

The old war facility and even the Raigmore of the 1970s and early 1980s could never have faced the enormous challenges posed by Covid-19. Indeed, in July of this year, the hospital was placed on “code black” status after reaching capacity, as large numbers of staff were forced to self-isolate.

They may well be tested again this winter, but residents of the Highlands see Raigmore as their main defense against the pandemic.

Eighty years since its first opening, supported by the skills and commitment of its staff, our hospital has continued to evolve to reach the position where it is of such great value to the communities it serves. .

Sponsored by Ness Castle Lodges.

READ: GET THE GOLD: Inverness company Anderson Clark receives Investors in People Gold accreditation


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