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AG Reyes Statement on Presidential Memorandum For Disabled Veteran Student Loan Forgiveness

August 22, 2019

Subsequent to President Donald J. Trump signing the presidential memorandum instituting student loan forgiveness for disabled veterans, Utah Attorney General Reyes released the following statement:

“I am thrilled by President Trump’s announcement instituting automatic student loan forgiveness for total and permanently disabled U.S. Veterans. I can’t think of a more deserving group than those who have served, risked their lives and sacrificed their health to protect our nation.

“In many cases, these veterans were injured so severely that it has  compromised their quality of life and ability to earn enough in order to pay off their debt quickly. Far too many of these wounded heroes were either unaware of the availability of loan forgiveness or didn’t know how to access it. President Trump has thankfully removed those hurdles.

“Earlier this year, I had the honor of co-authoring a letter in which I asked U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to take action toward automatic loan forgiveness. The letter was joined by a bipartisan coalition of 51 attorneys general (50 states and Guam).

“I thank Secretary DeVos for listening to us, for her leadership along with the work by the Department of Veterans Affairs on this issue. President Trump deserves great credit for decisively solving a problem he had inherited and that has only worsened over time.”

In Utah, veterans who have questions or need legal help may contact and may be covered by the Utah@EASE program, offering pro bono legal services under the Utah AG office.

Utah AG Reyes’ Call for Forgiveness of Disabled Veterans Student Loans is Granted

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2019

UTAH AG REYES’ CALL FOR AUTOMATIC DISCHARGE OF STUDENT LOANS FOR PERMANENTLY DISABLED VETERANS IS GRANTED
President Signs Executive Action at Kentucky AMVETS National Convention

SALT LAKE CITY—In direct response to Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes’ call to automatically forgive the student loans of veterans who became totally and permanently disabled because of their military service, President Donald J. Trump today signed an order to do so.  
 
AG Reyes led a bipartisan coalition of 51 Attorneys General (50 states and Guam) alongside New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and sent a letter to the Department of Education Secretary just prior to Memorial Day this year. 
 
Last year DOE identified more than 42,000 veterans nationwide as eligible for student loan relief due to a service-related total and permanent disability, the Attorneys General note in their letter to Secretary DeVos. Fewer than 9,000 of those veterans had applied to have their loans discharged by April 2018, however, and more than 25,000 had student loans in default.
 
The following is a statement from Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes:
 
“I am extremely pleased at today’s [executive] action to automatically forgive student loans for permanently disabled U.S. Veterans. I can’t think of a more deserving group of individuals than American heroes who have served, risked their lives and sacrificed their health to protect our nation.
 
“It is our obligation to do all we can to allow these veterans to have every opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families now that they are home and have completed their military service. In many cases, these veterans were injured so severely that they’ve greatly compromised their quality of life and ability to earn enough in order to pay off their debt quickly.
 
“I would like to thank New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the bipartisan coalition of 51 Attorneys General for their unanimous support as we presented this request to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
 
“It’s gratifying that the leaders of our nation agree with us that forgiving student loans for disabled veterans is the least we can do to honor their service and sacrifice.”
 

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NOTES:

  1. Read a copy of the attorneys general letter to Secretary DeVos here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/NAAG-Letter-to-Sec.-DeVos.pdf.
  2. Read a copy of the memorandum here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-memorandum-discharging-federal-student-loan-debt-totally-permanently-disabled-veterans/

AG Reyes Shares at Larkin Sunset Gardens Memorial Day Service

May 28, 2019

Yesterday, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes had the distinct privilege to share with the families who’ve lost loved ones and honor those who gave their lives in service at the Larkin Sunset Gardens Memorial Day service.

I am honored to address veterans and their families here at Larkin Sunset Gardens for this Memorial Day service. Especially now, as our country has men and women serving in harm’s way, we offer gratitude to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

Our nations’ freedoms mean everything to me and my entire family. We are all extremely grateful to those who sacrifice to keep our nation great.

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes

Utah AG Urges Congress to Hold Internet Service Providers Accountable

May 23, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined 47 attorneys general across the country this week to urge Congress, once again, to amend the Communications Decency Act in order to make sure state and local authorities are able to protect our citizens online and take appropriate action against online criminals.

The Communication Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) was designed to encourage the growth of the internet by promoting free expression, particularly on online message boards. The Act was intended to allow companies who sponsor message boards to remain immune to repercussions from inappropriate posts. However, a misinterpretation of Section 230 of the Act has led some federal court opinions to interpret the Act so broadly that individuals and services, which knowingly aid and profit from illegal activity, have evaded prosecution.

“Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act” and “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” (known as FOSTA-SESTA) was signed into law in 2018, making clear that the CDA’s immunity does not apply to enforcement of federal or state sex trafficking laws. Unfortunately, the abuse on these platforms does not stop at sex trafficking, but includes all sorts of harmful illegal activity such as online black market opioid sales, identity theft, and election meddling.

This is not the first time the attorneys general have addressed this issue with Congress. In 2013 and 2017, nearly every state and territory AG wrote to inform Congress of the damaging misinterpretation and misapplication of Section 230 of the CDA.

Section 230 expressly exempts prosecution of federal crimes from the safe harbor, but “addressing criminal activity cannot be relegated to federal enforcement alone simply because the activity occurs online,” the letter states. “Attorneys General must be allowed to address these crimes themselves and fulfill our primary mandate to protect our citizens and enforce their rights.”

In addition to Utah, the following states and territories joined in this letter: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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The Utah AG, Hexwave & High-tech, Crime-fighting Technology

The Utah Attorney General’s office researches, deploys, and shares cutting edge technology with law enforcement agencies here in Utah and around the world. We do this with careful attention to the crossroads where liberty, privacy, and public safety intersect.

Whether it’s using new technology to speed up DNA testing or capturing real-time intel to solve kidnappings, our office helps Utah live up to its reputation as an innovative, tech-friendly state that respects Constitutional freedoms. Hexwave technology (press release below) promises a faster, less-intrusive way for law enforcement to keep large crowds safe, and we are interested in exploring the possibilities. As long as new technologies respect Constitutional protections, the AG’s office will explore and deploy every tool available to keep people safe and bring criminals to justice.

Audio of AG Reyes addressing the use of Hexwave in Utah:

Media coverage:

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah will test hidden technology that tries to find weapons among crowds at schools, stadiums and churches

Deseret News: Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes says new scanner tech could elevate safety at public venues

Fox13: Utah to test new 3D imaging technology to detect potential threats

KSL.com: Utah attorney general signs on to beta test new AI tech that detects concealed weapons

The following press release was issued May 22, 2019 by Liberty Defense.

Liberty Defense Signs MOU with the Utah Attorney General for Testing of HEXWAVE

SALT LAKE CITY and VANCOUVER, May 22, 2019 /CNW/ – Liberty Defense Holdings Ltd. (“Liberty”), a leader in security and weapons detection solutions, is announcing that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Office of the Utah Attorney General to beta test HEXWAVE in the state.

The Utah Attorney General, Sean Reyes, is an elected constitutional officer in the executive branch of the state government of Utah. The attorney general is the chief legal officer and legal adviser in the state.

“HEXWAVE can be applied in a variety of settings to provide a means to identify possible threats before they advance into attacks. We are excited that the Attorney General of Utah recognizes the potential value of this technology and the opportunity it provides for enhanced security in the state,” said Bill Riker, CEO of Liberty Defense.

The proposed testing with and through the Office of the Attorney General may include, but is not be limited to:

  • Sporting and concert arenas, stadiums and Olympic venues
  • Primary, secondary and higher education facilities
  • Places of worship, facilities and property owned by or affiliated with faith entities
  • Government offices, buildings and facilities
  • Amusement parks
  • Entertainment events, conventions, shows and festivals

The Attorney General has committed to work in Partnership with Liberty to facilitate introductions and advise interested parties and venues on the potential for HEXWAVE technology. The goal of this initiative is to improve public safety for the citizens of Utah.

“We are pleased to be a part of this phase of testing this new product. Innovation in this space is essential as the type and frequency of threats also evolve. We look forward to evaluating the capabilities of the HEXWAVE product,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes.

This beta testing phase is a key part of the product development process for HEXWAVE. The incremental testing of the system in actual facilities can help to ensure that it is aligned to market requirements. Beta testing is expected to begin later in 2019 and progress into 2020.

About Liberty Defense
Liberty provides security solutions for weapons detection in high volume foot traffic areas and has secured an exclusive licence from MIT Lincoln Laboratory, as well as a technology transfer agreement, for patents related to active 3D imaging technology that are packaged into the HEXWAVE product. The system is designed to provide discrete, modular and scalable protection to provide layered, stand-off detection capability. This is intended to provide a means to proactively counter evolving urban threats. The sensors with active 3D imaging and AI-enhanced automatic detection are designed to detect metallic and non-metallic firearms, knives, explosives and other threats. Liberty is committed to protecting communities and preserving peace of mind through superior security detection solutions. Learn more: LibertyDefense.com 

About Utah Attorney General
Since the admission of Utah as a state on January 4, 1896, the Attorney General has been an independently elected constitutional officer of the executive department and serves four-year terms. The current Utah Attorney General is Sean Reyes.

About Utah
Utah is a state in the western United States. It became the 45th state admitted to the U.S. on January 4, 1896. Utah is the 13th-largest by area, 31st-most-populous, and 10th-least-densely populated of the 50 United States. Utah was the home of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and may yet host future Olympic games.

Utah Joins Lawsuit Against 20 Generic Drug Makers for Price Fixing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2019

UTAH JOINS LAWSUIT AGAINST TEVA PHARMACEUTICALS AND 18 GENERIC DRUG MAKERS IN CONSPIRACY TO FIX MARKET PRICING FOR DRUGS
AG Coalition Presents Hard Evidence Showing Multi-billion Dollar Fraud on Americans

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined 44 states announcing a lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceuticals and 19 of the nation’s largest generic drug manufacturers alleging a broad conspiracy to artificially inflate and manipulate prices as well as reduce competition for more than 100 different generic drugs.

“The price fixing case against these pharmaceutical companies has been building for years, and it’s time we hold them accountable for manipulating the market,” Attorney General Reyes said. “It’s outrageous that these companies colluded to inflate prices on generic drugs that should be affordable and increase quality of life for many people, like antibiotics and asthma medication.”

The complaint alleges that Teva, Sandoz, Mylan, Pfizer, and 16 other generic drug manufacturers engaged in a broad, coordinated and systematic campaign to conspire with each other to fix prices, allocate markets and rig bids for more than 100 different generic drugs.

The lawsuit lays out an interconnected web of industry executives meeting with each other to unlawfully discourage competition and includes emails, text messages, telephone records, and former company insiders reflecting a multi-year conspiracy to fix prices and divide the market share for huge numbers of generic drugs. In some instances, the coordinated price increases were over 1,000 percent.

The drugs span all types, including tablets, capsules, suspensions, creams, gels, ointments, and all classes, including statins, ace inhibitors, beta blockers, antibiotics, anti-depressants, contraceptives, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs are used to treat a range of diseases and conditions from basic infections to diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV, ADHD, and more. 

The complaint is the second to be filed in an ongoing, expanding investigation that has been referred to as possibly the largest cartel case in the history of the United States.

In addition to Utah, other joining states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico.

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NOTES:

  1. You can find a copy of the complaint here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019-GDMS-Complaint.pdf.
     
  2. The first complaint is still pending U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and includes 18 corporate defendants, two individual defendants, and 15 generic drugs. You can read that complaint here: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2016-Generic-Pharmaceuticals-Pricing-Antitrust-Litigation.pdf
     
  3. This case was featured on the Sunday, May 12 episode of 60 Minutes on CBS. You can view that here: https://www.cbs.com/shows/60_minutes/video/_SPbK7pa0HqLvYkr65pLG0cjLDGbZOoJ/the-price-of-generics-the-most-unlikely-meeting-mark-bradford/.
     
  4. The list of corporate defendants is as follows: 1. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; 2. Sandoz, Inc.; 3. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc.; 4. Actavis Holdco US, Inc.; 5. Actavis Pharma, Inc.; 6. Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; 7. Apotex Corp.; 8. Aurobindo Pharma U.S.A., Inc.; 9. Breckenridge Pharmaceutical, Inc.; 10. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Inc.; 11. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc. USA; 12. Greenstone LLC; 13. Lannett Company, Inc.; 14. Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; 15. Par Pharmaceutical Companies, Inc.; 16. Pfizer, Inc.; 17. Taro Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.; 18. Upsher-Smith Laboratories, LLC; 19. Wockhardt USA, LLC; and 20. Zydus Pharmaceuticals (USA), Inc.
     
  5. The list of individual defendants is as follows: 1. Ara Aprahamian, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A, Inc.; 2. David Berthold, Vice President of Sales at Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; 3. James Brown, Vice President of Sales at Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; 4. Maureen Cavanaugh, former Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, North America, for Teva; 5. Marc Falkin, former Vice President, Marketing, Pricing and Contracts at Actavis; 6. James Grauso, former Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations for Aurobindo from December 2011 through January 2014. Since February 2014, Grauso has been employed as the Executive Vice President, N.A. Commercial Operations at Glenmark; 7. Kevin Green, former Director of National Accounts at Teva from January 2006 through October 2013.  Since November 2013, Green has worked at Zydus Pharmaceuticals (USA) Inc. as the Vice President of Sales; 8. Armando Kellum, former Vice President, Contracting and Business Analytics at Sandoz; 9. Jill Nailor, Senior Director of Sales and National Accounts at Greenstone; 10. James Nesta, Vice President of Sales at Mylan; 11. Kon Ostaficiuk, the President of Camber Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; 12. Nisha Patel, former Director of Strategic Customer Marketing and later, Director of National Accounts at Teva.; 13. David Rekenthaler, former Vice President, Sales US Generics at Teva; 14. Richard Rogerson, former Executive Director of Pricing and Business Analytics at Actavis; and 15. Tracy Sullivan DiValerio, Director of National Accounts at Lannett.

Photo by Mika Baumeister

Keep safety in mind with taking an Uber or Lyft

Monday, April 22, 2019

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes is urging fellow Utahns to be alert when ordering and taking a rideshare like Uber and Lyft.  This safety reminder comes after the shocking news of a South Carolina college student who was killed after getting into a car she thought was an Uber.

“That case is simply horrifying,” Attorney General Reyes said. “But I believe the tragic death of Samantha Josephson is a reminder to all of us to be fully aware when we use Uber or Lyft.”

The Attorney General adds: “These safety guidelines are a good reminder to everyone. We all need to trust that the ride we’re getting is with a legitimate driver, not a potentially dangerous stranger.”

Law enforcement confirms that such cases are relatively rare, and there are thousands of Utahns who use ride share companies like Uber and Lyft every day without problems.  But individuals can be extremely vulnerable when riding in a strangers’ vehicle, and Attorney General Reyes believes it is wise to review the Uber and Lyft safety guidelines to ensure you arrive at your destination safely.   

  • Check for a matching license plate number: Match the license plate with the one that comes up in the app before you get in to ensure you are getting in the right vehicle.
  • Before you get in: Ask the driver who he or she is there to pick up. Since the app provides the driver with your name, they should be able to answer.
  • Use caution: Uber and Lyft rides can only be requested through the app, so never get in a car with a driver who claims to be with Uber and offers a ride.
  • Sit in the backseat: If you’re riding alone, this ensures you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle to avoid moving traffic, and it gives you and your driver some personal space.
  • Wear a seat belt: The Centers for Disease Control reports that seatbelt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries related to car accidents.
  • Keep your valuables close: Per the ride share’s terms of service, the companies are not responsible for personal belongings left in the car by drivers or riders, and there’s no reimbursement for those items.
  • Let a friend know: During your ride, tap “Share status” in the app to share your driver’s name, photo, license plate, and location with a friend or family member. They can track your trip and see your ETA without downloading the apps.

Don’t share too much info: There’s no need to share your phone number or other contact.

Photo by Victor Xok

Utah opioid overdose deaths are down, thanks to Utah Naloxone

Part of the Utah Opioid Task Force, co-chaired by Attorney General Sean D. Reyes along with U.S. Senator Mike Lee and DEA District Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser, Utah Naloxone is a game-changer in the fight against opioids in the State of Utah. The Utah Attorney General’s office is proud of the work Utah Naloxone co-founder, Dr. Jennifer Plumb, has accomplished and is privileged to partner with her and her organization as we address the opioid epidemic in our great state.

For Immediate Release

UTAH NALOXONE REACHES MAJOR MILESTONE

SALT LAKE CITY – More than 3,000 people in Utah have a second chance at life thanks to the efforts of Utah Naloxone. All of these individuals were given the medication naloxone (Narcan) during an opioid overdose by a non-medical layperson around them. Naloxone reverses an opioid overdose if given in time, causing the effects of the opioid to reverse and bringing them back. Opioids include pain pills, heroin, and fentanyl.

All of these life-saving doses were administered by non-medical members of our community who obtained rescue kits from Utah Naloxone or one of its Overdose Outreach Provider partners just for this purpose. The recent reports bringing us to this milestone came from our partners at One Voice
Recovery (OVR) who work across the state of Utah to educate on substance use disorder, work to decrease stigma, as well as to reduce infectious disease transmission and overdose deaths. These direct community partners are a major contributor to saving lives across Utah.

The number of lives saved by naloxone has been attributed as a large part of why Utah is seeing a decline in the number of opioid deaths. We were one of only seven states in 2017 where the death rate is going down. And as the number of people who are surviving an opioid overdose and making it to an emergency room for care is rising – almost doubling from 2015 to 2017 (1.5/10,000 in 2015 to 2.8/10,000 in 2017). People are saving lives and giving people a chance to survive to make it to an ER which alters outcomes for our state.

There is still work to be done. Overdose is still the leading cause of injury death in the state, and Utah still is among states with a high rate of overdose deaths. If you or someone you know is taking opioids you should have Naloxone on hand in case of an overdose. Naloxone kits are available through Utah Naloxone. It is legal to possess the drug, and legal to administer it if you suspect someone is overdosing on opioids. For more information go to UtahNaloxone.org.

CONTACTS:
Jennifer Plumb, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Utah Naloxone
801-232-5410 801-696-1139
UtahNaloxone@gmail.com

Patrick Rezac
Executive Director, One Voice Recovery
801-696-1139
OneVoiceRecovery@gmail.com


Yesterday, Utah Attorney General’s office Special Agents and staff were trained on how to administer Naloxone in the field by Dr. Jennifer Plumb. Check out the photos below:

Utah AG: Best of State 2018

The Utah Attorney General’s Office found itself the proud recipient of multiple Best of State awards this year. Those in the Utah AG’s office work hard to uphold the Constitution, enforce the law, and protect the interests of Utah and its people. Our sincere thanks to all those who give their time and energy to help make our office the Best of State.

The Best of State Awards recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and businesses in Utah. More than 100 judges review the nominations and determine the winners based on achievement in the field of endeavor, innovation or creativity in approaches, techniques, methods or processes, and contribution to the quality of life in Utah.

See below for a complete list of the AG’s Best of State 2018 awards.

Elected State Official: Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes

Military Personnel/Unit: Utah@EASE

Public Safety: Investigations Division, Utah AGO

Public Works: Utah Opioid Task Force

Public/Private Partnership: The Utah Children’s Justice Center Program

Publication: Utah AGO White Collar Crime Offender Registry

State Agency/Office: Utah Attorney General’s Office

Victim Advocacy: Attorney General Sean Reyes

Web-based Community Resource: The SafeUT App

The Utah AGO nominated DEA District-Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser for the following award due to his relentless work in combatting the opioid epidemic that has hit Utah both in the metro and rural areas. We are privileged to call him a partner, colleague, and friend.

Public Safety Officer: DEA District-Agent-in-Charge Brian Besser

National Vietnam War Veterans Day

Today, in honor of our Vietnam veterans, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes shared the following statement:

On this National Vietnam War Veterans Day, we at the Office of the Utah Attorney General want to publicly thank and honor those who sacrificed so much in the Vietnam conflict and the families that stood alongside them during their service. Some of our colleagues in the AG’s Office fought in Vietnam with valor and distinction.

Over three million Americans served in the Vietnam War– a long, costly, and divisive conflict – and we lost more than 58,000 men and women as a nation. Tragically, according to the Veterans Administration, some 500,000 who served suffer severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, rates of divorce, suicide, alcoholism, and drug addiction are markedly higher among Vietnam veterans. For their sacrifice, it is our responsibility to acknowledge their contributions and provide resources designed to support them in whatever way possible.

Through programs like Utah@EASE, Sounds of Freedom, and our partnerships with the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs and Life’s Worth Living Foundation, we affirm our commitment to do all we can so our Vietnam veterans and their families find healing and peace.



Today, Governor Gary R. Herbert joined Rep. Chris Stewart and Major General Jefferson S. Burton in honoring the men & women that served in the Vietnam War. The Wreath Ceremony took place on the western grounds of the Capitol at the Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos Memorial. They were joined by Utah veterans and their families.

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