Tag Archives: Books in my collection

‘FALLEN’ written by investigative journalist Lucie Morris-Marr, follows the courtroom dramas of cardinal George Pell’s two closed court trials. The first trial was abandoned when the jury  could not reach a unanimous decision. Morris-Marr attended every court sitting over both trials. However,  only lawyers and barristers appearing for the Crown and for the Defence, along with the two juries, were permitted to hear the testimony of the surviving choir boy (‘Witness J’) in a closed court . He accused Pell of historical child sexual abuse offences committed when he and his friend were 13 years old.  The other choir boy involved in the sexual abuse offences at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, died in 2014 of a heroin overdose.
Pell’s second  five-week trial ended in December 2018, when a jury found Pell guilty of sexual penetration of a child under 16, as well as four counts of committing an indecent act with, or in the presence of, a child. The verdict relates to two different incidents that took place when Pell was the archbishop of Melbourne.  Evidence was presented that Pell abused the two choirboys at St Patrick’s Cathedral after celebrating one of his first Sunday masses as archbishop. He abused Witness J a second time, two months later.  Parts of Witness J’s  testimony were read out by the prosecutor and Pell’s defence barrister during their closing arguments to the jury.
In Witness J’s  statement read by his lawyer outside the court following  the guilty verdict,  he dedicated the guilty verdict to his deceased friend and asked journalists to respect his privacy and that of his family including his young children, by not revealing his identity.
The harrowing accounts Morris-Marr writes about in her book relating to her investigation of George Pell over many months leading up to his secret trials, the loss of the job she loved at a Murdoch Media newsroom, and the physical strain on her mind and body, bear witness to the power that Pell and his supporters, both within and outside  the Catholic Church, wielded in Australia and around the world. The fact that the compelling testimony of  Witness J  swayed the jury to convict  such a powerful man must cement our faith in Australia’s  judicial system.

George Pell had the best Defence team money could buy and the onus was on the prosecution to prove Pell’s guilt, so the stakes were extremely high. When the unanimous guilty verdict was read out by the jury foreman, there was an audible collective gasp around the courtroom. It was evident that none was more shocked by the guilty verdict than Pell’s highly paid and over confident QC Robert Richter.  A subsequent Appeal by George Pell in the Victoria Court of Appeal  failed by two to one.

This book is a valuable record of the weeks and months leading up to the closed court trials and subsequent conviction at the second trial, of Australia’s highest ranking Catholic cleric and the third highest ranked Vatican official at the time of his arrest.


Reviewer’s Note: I am surprised that the editor of the book  ‘FALLEN’   written by author/journalist Lucie Morris-Marr and published by Allen and Unwin,  did not pick up a significant error in the book before its publication. Another important book written by Chrissie Foster about her dealings with a callous George Pell when her two daughters had been repeatedly raped by a Catholic priest, is erroneously referred to in ‘FALLEN’ as  ‘Hell On The Way To Hell’  when in fact the correct book title is: 
Ms Foster also wrote the forward in Lucie Morris-Marr’s book.  Not a good look for either the author or the publisher of ‘FALLEN’. Hopefully this error can be corrected asap.
-Anne Frandi-Coory  3 November 2019


Rose Edmunds

Rose Edmunds



CONCEALMENT  by Rose Edmunds

Concealment 2

has everything I love in a psychological thriller, and more.

The author creates brilliant characterizations within the framework of high finance, taxation and corporate subterfuge. At the same time, she manages to convey to the reader, the emotions and background family dramas of individuals central to the plot, without over dramatization or sentimentality. She writes about the unraveling of a corporate high flier’s brilliant mind as though she had experienced a similar psychosis. Perhaps she herself has been there, but you will have to read the novel to find out!

This is a fast paced read, so much so that I couldn’t put the book down; one of those books that keep you reading into the wee small hours.

-Anne Frandi-Coory 7 November 2015


Never Say  Sorry

Another great book by Rose Edmunds here:






When The Roller Coaster Stops



Susan Tarr

Susan Tarr

I normally shy away from books with a storyline around terminal illness; the emotional trauma, the suffering the illness causes and the despair of friends and family.  However, Susan Tarr, with her exquisite writing skills, manages to make ‘When The Roller Coaster Stops’ into an adventure full of life, hope and quirkiness.

The two main characters, Bethany and Kate, although from very different backgrounds, manage to bring the very best out in each other. Well maybe not in the early stages of their relationship, but certainly towards the end. Frumpy Kate meets stylish, perfectly coiffured Bethany when she is employed by Bethany to clean her luxury apartment.  There are so many ‘truths’ here, about personal interactions, ulterior motives, and co-dependency that I marvelled at how expertly the author managed to stay on track to keep the reader transfixed right to the last few words written.

Weaving in and out of the two women’s lives, are gay friends, Bethany’s ex husband, and other friends who are not always welcome. There are plenty of tranquil days when the two friends can relax at a beachfront holiday house or lie together in bed talking and sleeping. Contrasted with these days, are the never ending bitchy tiffs between Bethany and Kate, and gay friends, Simon and George.  During the different stages of her illness Bethany suffers episodes of depression and self pity which she takes out on soft targets Kate and George. Bethany could be manipulative and positively cruel to those who genuinely cared about her.

Even allowing for the subject matter, I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end. It is essentially a book about the brutal honesty of shared intimacy, human failings, and the untimely interruption of fate. Then again it could very well be interpreted as a story of loyalties in which sacrifices are made for another’s well being, or not.   But you know, I think it’s more about a vibrant, once selfish young woman’s terminal illness slowly shrinking her privileged, dazzling world into the confines of her apartment with a handful of people who she finally realises mean everything to her. Like all Susan Tarr’s books, you never know what to expect from one chapter to the next.

Anne Frandi-Coory  8 October 2015




truth in the lie

I enjoyed every minute reading THE TRUTH IN THE LIE  15 captivating short stories by modern day nomad Mark Swain.

Mark is a world traveller of great repute and he weaves his incredible journeys into tales involving characters who are mostly larger than life. Most of all I love that he doesn’t confine his exploration of countries to tourist haunts. I would loved to have accompanied Mark on his quests to visit every corner of the globe!

  • Anne Frandi-Coory  21 August 2015

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Long Road Hard Lessons

One day Mark Swain left his slippers by the fire and set off with his 18yr old son on a cycle expedition from Ireland to Japan. We will train on the way, he said. Physical challenges, border bureaucracy, health scares and traffic hazards were all anticipated. What they underestimated was the conflict they faced, spending 24hrs a day together under such arduous conditions. On one level, a life-changing travel adventure, this book also takes time to look at the psychological journey made by parents and children. The accounts of the son’s attempts to break away from his father, to find his own individual place in the world are moving and insightful. Yet at every turn, these thoughts are lightened by humour and juxtaposed with vivid descriptions of the countries and people they encounter along their way. We witness how conflict teaches us things that we did not expect to learn, and how much the parent can learn from the child. The book includes 25 glossy colour prints and 7 maps. –  more here on AMAZON


Mark Swain

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Updated 12 June 2019

The Hospital By The River



THE HOSPITAL BY THE RIVER exceeded all my expectations. I have always admired Dr Catherine Hamlin as an Australian heroine. What she has achieved in her lifetime, is a superhuman feat.

In her book, Dr Catherine Hamlin begins by writing about the family histories and medical backgrounds of both her and her husband, Dr Reg Hamlin, in Australia, New Zealand, and later in the UK. Both came from privileged backgrounds. Intertwined with the Hamlins’ wonderful work saving the lives of hundreds of mothers and their babies in Ethiopia, are expressions of their deep Christian faith, and the comfort it brings them. Even though I am not a religious person, I can fully understand how their faith kept them going through some very difficult and challenging times, not least of all, a dangerous war. The couple sacrificed a great deal in order to build their hospital and bring healing to hundreds of poor Ethiopian mothers and their babies. However, I felt that in following their God’s mission, their only son Richard, also paid a heavy price.

Dr Hamlin goes on to detail the travelling and begging the couple had to engage in to bring in funds to keep their dream, and the hospital they had built, afloat. She documents the perfection of surgical techniques used in the repair of fistulae to restore quality of life to their frail, and sometimes, dying patients. Many babies were born dead, sometimes jammed in the birth canal for days, because of protracted labours. Cultural practices mean mothers are made to squat for days during labour causing terrible injuries to their bladders, bowels, and vaginas. Some mothers’ uteri burst with devastating consequences. These injuries leave afflicted mothers with a life lived in misery, unable to control their bladders or bowels. They are abandoned by their husbands and families, left to fend for themselves in filth, and near starvation.

The hospital the Hamlins built in Ethiopia, with the help of worldwide financial donations, and the support of powerful Ethiopians, has given hope to thousands of women; more than 90% are fully cured. Those who cannot be cured, perhaps left with minor wounds, are able to live in adjacent hostels within the hospital compound.  Some of those who are cured, stay on to be trained as nurses and midwives. Others progress to operating assistants and surgeons.

The compelling stories of the lives of long suffering patients are truly heart rending, and yet uplifting, due to the vibrant spirit of Ethiopian women. These brave, often under-nourished women, walk for days, months or years, to get to the Hamlin hospital of hope, where they can have life saving surgery.  Be that as it may, I could not but help see the great irony within the pages of this book: The Hamlins, as Anglican Missionaries, worked tirelessly, operating on these poor, rejected mothers with horrific rectovaginal fistulae, mostly caused by giving birth too young, or by being raped. The majority of women they performed surgery on, were of a Christian Orthodox religion which culturally supports child marriages, often girls as young as eight. As an Orthodox priest remarked: “otherwise they will fall into sin like Western women who don’t have children until they are 30”!!  So here we have Christian missionary surgeons repairing horrific injuries which another Christian sect, in essence, fully condones!  No blame whatsoever attached to husbands or rapists.

At the end of the book, I couldn’t help but wonder, in an ideal world, would it not have been wiser and more efficacious for the Christian World to unite, and spend those millions travelling around Ethiopia, educating the men and empowering the women? But then the hallmark of religion has always been more about tradition than visionary reform.


Dr Catherine Hamlin celebrates 60 years in

Ethiopia in 2019.



© To Anne Frandi-Coory All Rights Reserved 14 May 2015


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The Maronites in History

by Matti Moosa


The Maronites in History


I bought this very expensive book because I have always been interested in the Maronite religion of my Lebanese Grandparents, Jacob and Eva Coory. They were born and raised in the small village of Bcharre where the Maronite religion appears to have gained a strong footing around the 6th Century. There are very few books written about Lebanon’s  Maronites but I believe I have found a well written and well researched one in Moosa’s original Syracuse University Press publication The Maronites in History. Various essays on this subject can be found on many websites, but I found them to be emotive and with little basis in fact. Certainly no source documents were quoted, and most were based on hearsay passed down through generations. Still more were so badly written, it was difficult to follow the writer’s line of thought.

Matti Moosa opens the Preface of his book The Maronites in History with a question: Who are the Maronites and what is their importance to the existence of the Lebanese Republic?  This is a very good question, because so much folklore has been added to fact that it’s very difficult to know for certain. However, the author has embarked on a marathon investigation after being awarded a scholarship. He has extensively studied source documents housed in the Vatican Library as well as written testimonies from writers who lived in Lebanon from the 5th Century onwards.

The author states: In essence this book is a study and analysis of the origin of the Maronites , indeed of their whole historical heritage, an examination based on ancient and modern sources written in many languages, many of which are still in manuscript form.

Moosa goes on to explain in the preface: This book attempts to place the history of the Maronites in historical perspective. Maronites today suffer from a serious identity problem. They haven’t been able to decide whether or not they are descendants of an ancient people called the Marada  (Mardaites) or Arabs or of Syriac-Aramaic stock. Unless the Maronites solve this identity problem their conflicts with other minority religious groups in Lebanon will never be remedied. 

 Essentially, historical documents show that the Maronites originally professed the faith of Monophysitism, and later through edicts and threats of death or exile by various religious and state rulers, changed their beliefs to Monothelitism, both considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church. Monothelitism though, is close to Catholic doctrine, so it appears the Church in Rome turned a blind eye to this heresy by Maronites for various strategic reasons which Moosa discusses at length in The Maronites. [My emphasis]

There are even disputes among Maronites and scholars over the origin of the name Maronite. The Maronite’s beloved monk St Marun and a later patriarch John Marun, have question marks over their actual existence. There is nothing in available ancient sources to indicate the name and location of the place where the ascetic Marun lived. However, the author concedes, one might be tempted, upon reading Theodoret of Cyrus, to conclude that a certain Marun lived in the vicinity of Cyrus in what was then known as Syria Prima, many miles to the north-east of Antioch. The failure to positively identify this place has caused much speculation by Maronites  as to its whereabouts. The Maronite Bishop Pierre Dib states that Marun lived on top of a mountain near Apamea  in Syria Secunda, an area far distant from Cyrus. Others claim that Marun lived in a cave near the source of the river Orontes (al-Asi) close to the Hirmil in Lebanon; they cite as evidence the name of the cave known until this day as the cave of Marun.  Other Bishops and writers state with the same certainty various other places in which the cave of Marun may have been situated.  Maronites and others cannot even agree on where or when a monastery of Marun was built but we may conclude that in Syria toward the end of the 6th or early 7th Century there existed more than one monastery bearing the name of Marun. One of them was located in or near Hama and Shayzar. It gained some notoriety in the early 7th Century when it adopted Monothelitism. The abbot of this monastery was named Yuhanna (John) and he became a Monothelite with many followers in Syria leading to the slow spread of Monothelitism into Lebanon. Those who followed him were called Maronites. Whether this monastery had any connection with the fifth century ascetic Marun is doubtful.




Efforts to date the Monastery of Marun from the 5th Century are sheer speculation. However, we have three documents which refer to a Monastery of Marun in Syria Secunda and all three documents attest that the monastery of Marun related to the doctrine of Monothelitism.

Commemorated on July 31st each year by the Maronite Church is the mythical massacre of 350 monks, ‘martyrs and disciples’ of the ascetic Marun. They were believed to have been slaughtered but this atrocity lacks strong historical substantiation. In fact there is no evidence that these were monks from the monastery of Marun.  Indeed, there is no mention of this in any pope’s correspondence of the times, nor is it mentioned in any Vatican or Church official documents.

There is no evidence that the Maronite Church ever commemorated these ‘martyrs’ before the year 1744. Even the Maronite Council assembled in Lebanon in 1736, which among other matters instituted the festivals and commemoration days for Maronite saints, did not list a commemoration day for these ‘martyrs’.

It is the author’s judgment following extensive research that the Maronites were and are closely linked to Syrian Orthodoxy. Probably for largely political reasons and the Roman Catholic Church’s need to gain a foothold in the Middle East, it overlooked the Maronite’s heretical interpretation of the Council of Chalcedon’s strict canons. [My emphasis]

In the Vatican’s push to gain a foothold in the Middle East, it allowed the Maronites to maintain their traditional patriarchs as head of their Church in Lebanon as they had done since the middle of the 8th Century. But in reality Rome considered them less than a Catholic bishop in status. It appears that only in the 8th Century did ancient church writers refer to the Maronites as a distinct Christian sect. [My emphasis]

Fortified for many generations in their mountain of Lebanon, the Maronites could claim more independence in their ecclesiastical affairs and therefore were and still are in a much more favourable position to revive their Syriac tradition and language. But instead of encouraging the Maronites to retain and cherish their Syriac heritage and revive the Syriac language  in order to become once more the lingua franca of the Maronite people the Latin missionaries (sent by Rome) discouraged the use of this language and denigrated the Syriac heritage and added more woe to the state of the already Arabised Maronites by Latinisng their Church and eventually their prayer books. The Maronites thus almost completely lost their Syriac identity. Since the 16th Century instead of taking pride in their Syriac legacy, the Maronites,in their desperation to find a legitimate origin of their Church and people have claimed that they were the descendants of  Marada (Mardaites) which is historically groundless.

Like the Nestorians the Rum (Byzantine) Orthodox, and the Syrian Orthodox People, the Maronites are of Syriac-Aramaic origin. The Lebanese Council of 1736 emphasised the use of the Syriac language first and Arabic second in the Maronite Church services. But this emphasis was not intended nor did it contribute to the revival of the Syriac language as the national symbol of the Church. Perhaps if the Lebanese Council’s recommendations had been followed, Lebanon may not be suffering the loss of identity it’s suffering from today. The least one can say for certainty is that the names of the villages and towns of Lebanon, especially Bcharre and three neighbouring villages, used the Syriac-Aramaic language as their lingua franca.

At the end of the 16th Century Maronite Patriarchs have often interfered in Lebanon’s political affairs in the belief that they were more than just the head of their Church. This has often exacerbated sectarian rivalries.

Many Maronites maintain vigorously that they have always adhered to the faith of Chalcedon and that their Church has never deviated therefrom; they were always united with the Church of Rome.

Moosa’s  research uncovers documents that clearly refute this argument. It indicates that until the 16th century the Maronites did not separate clearly and decisively from the mother Syrian Orthodox church in its beliefs, rituals and traditions. In fact, according to the calendar of festivals of the Maronite Church, whether in manuscript form or published in Rome since the 16th Century, it shares certain commemorative dates with the Syrian Orthodox Church.

Monophysitism: One incarnate nature of the divine logos – a doctrine which the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch has maintained to the present day and which ancient Maronite Syriac-Aramaic ritual and prayer books prove was also the doctrine held by the early Maronites.

Monthelitism: The Incarnation of two natures of Christ, the divine and the human, were united in one will and one energy – Until the late 16th Century Maronite ritual books contained this doctrine, at which time they were ‘purged’ by missionaries from the Roman Catholic Church to restore the Maronites to its fold. 

Catholicism (Chalcedonian): The Incarnation of the two natures of  Christ, the divine and the human, were united in one person yet  remained distinct after the union

Orthodox liturgies, prayer books and prayers themselves also caused friction between the Church of Rome and the Syrian Orthodox Church, which Moosa writes about in detail.

 Moosa sums up:

Several conclusions may be deduced from the foregoing opinions and speculations. The evidence addressed by Maronites and those who support their claims that there existed in the 5th Century in Syria Secunda a Monastery of Marun whose monks were Chalcedonians [followers of Catholicism] is untenable. Maronites (and others) cannot even agree who built the monastery of Marun or its exact location. Most of the evidence they do produce has no historical foundation. Historical fact does indicate , however, that there were several monasteries named Marun in Syria, but not that they were named after the particular ascetic Marun. More important, available evidence does not support that there was a Maronite community in Syria before the 7th or even 8th Century. While historical evidence does support the thesis that the pious anchorite named Marun lived, died, and was buried in the district of Cyrus in northern Syria, there is nothing to indicate that this Marun ever founded a religious community or inspired the name Maronite. Further, there is no evidence that he or his followers ever built a monastery in his name. Those Maronites who describe their ascetic Marun as ‘the Father of the Maronite Nation’ do so from the totally sentimental predisposition rather than assert it as a claim derived from objective fact.

Doctrines found in ancient books reveal that Maronites were of the Syrian Orthodox faith who believed in the Monophysite doctrine before they became a distinct community:

From the time of the Council of the Chalcedon in 451 to the first half of the 7th Century the first Maronites –the monks of the Monastery of Marun – became Monothelites by imposition of Emperor Heraclius. The statement is clear and positive on the point that these Maronite monks had been Monophysites (Syrian Orthodox), and though the heated controversy over the mode of the union of the two natures of Christ was finally thought to have been resolved by the Council of Chalcedon, the monks of the Monastery of Marun were recalcitrant in accepting the Council’s transactions. This recalcitrance was exhibited in anger and defiance on the part of these Monophysite monks who, like the majority of the Church in Syria, renounced the Council of Chalcedon and the definition of the faith. They remained Monophysites until the beginning of the 7th Century when they became Monothelites under the Chalcedonian formula of faith imposed on them by Emperor Heraclius in the interests of religious harmony. Though appearing to accept this faith through coercion the monks remained faithful to their Monophysite faith, which they kept intact in their ritual books. Subsequently the new creed of Monothelitism did not separate them drastically from the bulk of the Syrian Orthodox Monophysites. The point of separation was their apparent acceptance of the Council of Chalcedon under imposition of imperial power. It is through this acceptance of Chalcedon and of Monothelitism  as a doctrine that they became a distinct religious group in the middle of the 8th Century and not before.

This is a mammoth scholarly work by Matti Moosa with full bibliography and notes.

Arab, Byzantine, Ottoman and French states all played their part in the formation and divisions of Lebanon as we know it today. You will have to read this impressive work to fully comprehend 21st Century Lebanon. I can assure you, it is riveting reading. Moosa separates Maronite historical fact from fiction in a format and style that is very easy to read and follow, even allowing for the few minor grammatical and typographical errors.

© To Anne Frandi-Coory All Rights Reserved 24 April 2015

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my story


Whatever your political leanings or agenda, you would have to concede that Julia Gillard was an accomplished Prime Minister of Australia. During the three years as Australia’s first female PM, in which she led a minority government, a record amount of legislation was passed.

Not only did she have to constantly negotiate with minor parties, she had to endure some of the worst public sexism ever directed at a female PM in any country, most of it instigated by the then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and the rest of his Liberal and National Coalition Party. As if that wasn’t enough to deal with,  Ms Gillard was vilified daily in the News Ltd Press, owned by ex-Australian, Rupert Murdoch, which was determined to see her government thrown out of office. Tony Abbott was Rupert Murdoch’s choice for Prime Minister, supported by the four Big Banks, and the huge Mining Corporations!  Once Tony Abbott moved into The Lodge, it was goodbye mining tax and carbon price! Don’t get me started on why his government can’t pass its ill-fated Budget, after more than one year in government!

So much has been written about Ms Gillard’s ‘deposing’ of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, so I don’t want to go into the details here. However, it has now become clear that this man was a failed Prime Minister, who then made it his sole purpose in life for the three years Ms Gillard was in office, to undermine her every move.  If you are interested in how he went about the destruction of his own party, read The Stalking Of Julia Gillard: How The Media And Team Rudd brought down the Prime Minister. It was written by Kerry-Anne Walsh, an astute parliamentary journalist. A very interesting look at behind the scenes revelations.




Julia Gillard is a 21st Century woman who made personal sacrifices in order to get to the top in politics. For her, a fairer system of funding for education in Australian public schools was a number one priority, with a more comprehensive disability insurance scheme a close second.  Time will tell how much of PM Gillard’s hard work on educational and disability reforms will be unraveled by this current government. The Carbon Price and Mining Taxes her government legislated for, were earmarked to pay for many of those reforms.

The Glass Ceiling  [dedicated to Julia Gillard]

By 2011, I was already a devoted fan of Julia Gillard’s. Not because she was a woman, but because she was by then, showing signs of becoming a great stateswoman. I presented Prime Minister Gillard with a copy of my book, ‘Whatever Happened To Ishtar?’ which had just been published. The reason I wanted her to have a copy, was to show that I agreed with her wholeheartedly that every child deserves to be given the chance of a good education, but even more especially, disadvantaged children.  My book is about the many generations of women in my family tree who never had the opportunity of a good education.  Marriage or the nunnery were their only choices.  I had a deprived and abusive childhood, but I did receive a good education which gave me so many more choices.

A few weeks after she received my book, the following letter arrived in my mail box:


Julia Gillard Letter



I was overjoyed, as I had never expected our Prime Minister to take time out of her enormous workload, to acknowledge my humble book. That was just one more of the many admirable attributes exhibited by this remarkable woman. In the last week or so I attended one of Ms Gillard’s book promotional talks which was attended by over 400 people. Afterwards, she autographed many, many copies of her book, ‘My Story’, including mine below:





This is a truly inspirational book by a woman who has reached the very top in Australian politics. It’s much more than a Prime Minister’s memoir of her time in office, though. It is also about her thoughts and feelings, and how she managed to keep her sense of self intact throughout those times of ruthless sexism and derogatory personal statements against her. As she herself stated during the talk she gave at the launching of My Story,  ‘politics can be bitter sweet, but my time as Prime Minister, was more sweet than bitter’. I thought she gave an impressive, spirited speech on the night I was present, and afterward answered many questions from the mixed gender audience. The whole enjoyable evening was interspersed with much clapping and laughter.

One thing I can assure readers of, is that Ms Gillard’s Story is much more riveting and enjoyable than any other political memoir I have ever read, and it is certainly never boring!


– Anne Frandi-Coory 13 October 2014

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