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3.3. Current Internet access by DMC lawyers

The purpose of this part of the survey was to determine whether there are impediments to access to the proposed facilities by the project's primary audience and its secondary audiences.

3.3.1. Availability of Internet access world-wide

Access to the Internet is now available from most of the world. According to figures maintained for the Internet Society[68]http://www.isoc.org/infosvc/index.html#internet-history], of 237 defined geographical entities world-wide, 195 have access to some form of international network connectivity, and 42 do not (as at June 1997). Within the 195 connected entities, 171 have access to `the Internet' properly so called[69]http://www.isoc.org/internet-history/], whereas 24 only have international connectivity via lesser quality facilities such as UUCP or Fidonet which will support e-mail but not World-Wide-Web access.

As can be most easily seen from the annexed Map -International Connectivity - Version 16 6/15/97 (http://www.isoc.org/infosvc/map.gif) andTable - International Connectivity - Version 16 6/15/97 (http://www.isoc.org/infosvc/table.txt)70, there are only a handful of countries in the world that have no international connectivity at all (ignoring small island territories). These are concentrated in Africa and the Middle East.

3.3.2. Availability of Internet access in member countries of the Bank

Internet access is available in all developed member countries of the Bank. As shown in the Annexure Table - International connectivity of Member Countries of the Asian Development Bank, the only DMCs of the Bank that do not have Internet access are: Afghanistan; American Samoa; Bhutan; Cambodia; Cook Islands; Kiribati; Laos; Marshall Islands; Myanmar; Nauru; Papua New Guinea; and Tuvalu. Some of these may have obtained access since the Table was last updated six months ago (as is the case with Vietnam). Of these countries, most have non-Internet international connectivity allowing e-mail: Cambodia; Cook Islands; Kiribati; Laos; Marshall Islands; Nauru; Papua New Guinea; and Tuvalu.

Some level of international connectivity is therefore available in virtually all member countries of the Asian Development Bank, and in most other countries in the world. In most cases this is full Internet connectivity. The only large countries without Internet connectivity are Afghanistan, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea, which together make up a very small percentage of the total population of DMCs of the Bank.

However, the mere fact that a particular country is connected to the Internet only informs us that Internet access is in principle possible within the country, but nothing of the extent to which it is used generally within the country, or the extent to which it is used by the intended audiences for this project. One purpose of the survey of seven countries was to obtain information at this more detailed level about Internet access and usage.

3.3.3. Extent of Internet access in the countries surveyed

Access to the Internet, including access to the World-Wide-Web, is now available from each of the seven countries surveyed, although in the case of Vietnam this is as recent a development as 1 December 1997.

The number of Internet service providers (ISPs) differs considerably between countries.


Indonesia has at least 40 registered ISPs, of which 22 provide access to the public, most of the rest being run by universities or government agencies.


In the Philippines there are over 100 full service ISPs, plus some that offer e-mail only, and 19 that provide walk-in access. All are operated by the private sector.


In Pakistan there are 9 ISPs at present, but this is likely to grow to 20-25 in 1998 as other applications for approval are pending (with an annual licence fee of US $11,000 per year).


In Mongolia there is only one ISP at present, a private company, Datacom[71]http://mongoliaonline.mn/datacom/]. Two new ISPs will begin operations in early 1998, one privately owned and one government owned.


In India full Internet access is available at present only through the Department of Telecommunications' (DoT) overseas telecommunications service provider, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL). VSNL launched the Gateway Internet Access Service (GIAS) network. in August 1995 starting from the cities of Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Pune and Bangalore and now extending to 19 cities.

However, on 16 September 1997 the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs of the Government of India (GOI), approved a proposal which will allow private ISPs to provide Internet services in India. VSNL's Internet operations in the six metropolitan hubs will now be transferred to the DoT, which is to develop a much higher capacity backbone infrastructure for Internet services. To provide Internet services within India, ISPs would have to connect to DoT's Internet backbone. DoT will have authority to license all new ISPs, and proposes not to charge any license fee for the first five years.


China has over 200 registered ISPs, but only about 60 appear to be active. ISPs must be registered with China Telecom or the Department of Computer and IT Advancement, Ministry of Electronic Industry. There are four major ISPs in China: ChinaNet (managed by China Telecom); ChinaGBI (managed by JiTong Company); CSTNet (managed by China Academic Science); and CERnet (managed by the State educational commission). ChinaNet and ChinaCBI are commercial networks which provide public access, whereas CSTNet and CERnet are for educational users only. There are about 620,000 Internet users in China now, increasing at more than 25% per month, with their own accounts and able to access e-mail and the World-Wide-Web. An additional 600,000 students have access via University labs. There are 10 Internet cafes allowing casual Internet use in Beijing. Some post offices also provide e-mail services. Nevertheless, effective Internet access is still unavailable in most medium size towns and even in some provincial capitals, due to lack of telecommunications capacity and trained staff, and costs[72]http://www.dgsin.gd.edu.cn].


In Vietnam, the situation is more complex. There was no access to the World-Wide-Web prior until December 1997, and only two Internet-linked e-mail services (which have 4.500 users between them). The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment has recently approved four State-owned companies to provide full Internet services as ISPs, although more companies had applied for approval and further approvals may be pending. Laws and regulations governing the Internet have been passed[73], and ISPs are required to submit licence applications to the General Department of Post and Telecommunications (GDPT), which must be first approved by the Ministry of Interior before GDPT issues the licence.

Since 1 December 1997 individuals can apply to ISPs for full Internet services including World-Wide-Web access, and in theory such services are available to anyone who meets the ISP's requirements. However, our survey assistants note that `it remains to be seen how easy/difficult it will be to subscribe', and that press reports state that the government intends to impose some controls over the content of material coming into and out of Vietnam via the two Internet international gateways in Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City.

3.3.4. Constraints on access - local bandwidth and equipment availability

Within each country, inter-city links vary in capacity, but are generally adequate to at least the major cities (where the audiences for this project are most likely to be located).

China's internal data communications networks are extensive, with the two cable/fibre networks, ChinaPac and ChinaDDN, providing E1 speed (2.084 Mbps) links to 3,000 and 2,100 countries respectively. The satellite network ChinaGBN also provides E1 speed links, to a star structure (from Beijing) of 24 provincial capital cities. The inter-city networking in the Philippines is extensive. Indonesian links between major cities are quite good, and 31 cities have some access to at least 28.8 Kbps of reasonably reliable telephone system capacity (the minimum needed for a graphical browser for the World-Wide-Web). In Vietnam there is a 2 Mbps link from Hanoi to Ho Chi Min City. In Pakistan there is ample 64-128 Kbps capacity within the country, and Internet users have full Internet services, however those in small cities may be restricted to e-mail due to bandwidth considerations.

In Mongolia, full Internet services (including the World-Wide-Web) are only available in Ulaanbaatar, with e-mail available in other centres. Datacom is planning a low-cost VSAT wireless network for other centres, and a new ISP entrants is planning a mixed telephone line / satellite reception system for provincial centres which will provide 3 Mbps reception.

In India, access to VSNL's Gateway Internet Access Service (GIAS) network is via dial-up connections in the 19 cities where nodes are located, and access speeds are usually sufficient to allow access to the Internet with graphical browsers, but are sometimes as low as 14.4 Kbps. This network is to be extended by DoT to another 20 major cities, which will account for the bulk of Internet traffic. In 4,300 other towns and cities, access to GIAS is available via DoT's I-net service, which is generally limited to 2.4 Kbps connections and therefore only provides terminal dial-up services suitable for a text-based web browser such as Lynx (discussed in later chapters), but not suitable for graphical browsers. DoT has also installed a high capacity backbone network to link these various means of Internet access with the international Internet connections.

Electricity disruption is not seen as a major impediment to access, at least for the primary audience, but is still a factor making all telecommunications facilities less reliable in some countries surveyed. Brown-outs are frequent in Indonesia, but most major government offices in Jakarta and other major cities have backup generators. Power interruptions are still common in Vietnamese cities, and are very frequent in Pakistani major cities except Islamabad (and worse in smaller ones).

3.3.5. Constraints on access - international links

The route and capacity of each county's Internet access to the 'outside world' also has considerable variation. The countries surveyed connect to the `outside world' via a wide variety of routes, including the USA, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and even Europe. One implication of this is that there is no single `logical' location for any server which would host the Project DIAL system.

In Indonesia access is generally to the Internet in the USA or Japan via 44.7 Mbps links provided by Indosat (a semi-government international telecommunications provider).

Vietnam has two principal international gateways (points at which the domestic Internet structure of the country is linked internationally to the Internet), providing four connections. From both Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City there is a 256 Kbps link to Australia and 64 Kbps back-up link to the USA. There is also a 2 Mbps link to Hong Kong under construction.

China's various networks connect to the Internet in Japan, USA and Hong Kong at 19 Mbps (with an E3 line of 45 Mbps planned for 1998), the USA (various 2 Mbps + 128 Kbps), Germany, France and Japan (various 64 Kbps links). The situation in China is obviously complex, and involves rapidly expanding and extensive Internet connectivity. A map of Cernet's connectivity is available[74]http://www.cernet.net/cernet/structure/index.html#topo].

The numerous ISPs in the Philippines result in a complex network of international Internet connections, mainly to the USA. In 1996 15 ISPs had their own international gateways, but in October 1996 the five largest accepted a proposal by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) to join a consortium, the Philippine Internet Exchange (PhIX)[75] http://www.phix.net.ph].

In India, VSNL is, and will continue to be, the sole gateway for overseas linkage to the Internet. This monopoly will continue until 2004, a deadline for opening competition in provision of international long distance calls resulting from World Trade Organisation negotiations.

In Pakistan, the Pakistan Telecommunications Corporation (PTCL) has a monopoly over provision of international connectivity. PTCL's current international connection to the Internet is via Intersat (a satellite telecommunications provider), but cable links are also planned. PTCL then provides Internet connections on fibre networks at E1 speeds (2.o84 Mbps) to all major cities in Pakistan.

Mongolia has the most limited international connectivity of the countries surveyed, with one 128 Kbps connection to the USA, being upgraded to 256 Kbps.

3.3.6. Constraints on access - laws and regulations

Laws and regulations are not at this point a significant impediment to access in any of the countries surveyed. Few of the countries surveyed have laws penalising or attempting to restrict access to information concerning law or politics[76].

Although the situation in Vietnam under the new regulations is yet untested, subscribing to Internet accounts in the first month of operation is reported to have been uncomplicated and without delay. In the Philippines, Mongolia and in Pakistan there are no legal or licensing restrictions on Internet use at present.

In India there are no legal or licensing restrictions which will prevent access, but all GIAS subscribers must agree to conditions involving use of approved equipment and restrictions on sending objectionable material. Students are only provided with terminal access via I-net.

In Indonesia ISPs must register with the Department of Post, Telecommunications and Tourism, but this is said to be for purposes of allocation of telephone lines and consumer protection. Most ISPs block access to certain Internet news groups believed to contain pornography, but otherwise no attempt is made to control access to specific types of Internet content, although there has been public discussion on ways to achieve this.

In China, an individual wishing to obtain an Internet connection must register his or her name, identity number and IP address (or ISP account number) with the public security department. Access to news groups is not permitted, and some World-Wide-Web content is screened. However, there is general access to the World-Wide-Web, not merely to e-mail. New regulations took effect in December 1997 which attempt to place stricter controls on such matters as access to pornography, disclosure of State secrets and `defaming government agencies'[77].

3.3.7. Constraints on access - costs

Hardware and software

Hardware and software costs are no higher than one would expect. Local survey assistants were asked to provide a typical cost of a PC running Windows 95 (or Macintosh OS) with 16 MB RAM, minimum software (word processing, e-mail and web browser), and a 28.8 Kbps modem. The estimated prices were: Indonesia - US $1,150; Vietnam - US $650 - US $1,450; Pakistan US $1,300; Mongolia US $1,200-US $1,500; China US $600 - US $900; India US $1,000 - US $1,975; Philippines US $1,250 - US $1,570. Other than for the somewhat lower cost in China, these hardware/software prices do not show a great deal of variation, and were rarely mentioned by survey respondents as a major impediment to access.

Telephone installation and hire

Installation costs for telephones can be high. In Indonesia a new line costs US $250 installation and US $10 per month service fee. In Vietnam the installation cost is US $33 with a monthly fee of US $4. In Mongolia the installation cost is US $100, with US $5 per month fee. In India the standard installation cost is US $75, with installation taking at least six months (US $375 for expedited installation within a week).

Internet service provider (ISP) charges

ISP charges vary considerably. In Indonesia there is usually a registration fee of US $10-26, and hourly dial-up connection charges of 0.80cents - 1.60 per hour, plus telecommunications charges of 0.90cents - 2.60 per hour and a minimum US $6.82 monthly fee. In Vietnam the ISP charges are a connection charge of US $33, monthly fee of US $4, and connection time charge of US $1.75 per hour. In the Philippines there is a connection fee averaging US $37.50, and an hourly connection rate of 66cents - US $1.25 per hour depending on usage, plus a telecommunications charge of US $10 - 31 per month (which will increase if timed local calls are introduced). In Pakistan there is an ISP charge of 30cents - US $1 per hour, plus telecommunications costs in most cases of 40cents per hour (unless a local call can be used at 4cents). In Mongolia there is an ISP registration fee of US $75, and monthly charges are likely to amount to US $75. In China there is likely to be a registration fee of about US $120, ISP costs of 60cents per hour plus US $1.20 - US $2.40 per megabyte of data, and telecommunications costs of 60cents per hour. In India there is a registration fee of US $12.50, and an annual usage charge of US $375 ($125 for terminal access only) payable in advance allowing 500 hours of use[78].

It is these recurrent telecommunications and ISP charges which are most often mentioned by survey respondents as an impediment to access.

3.3.8. Conclusions concerning general availability of Internet access

The preceding discussion supports the general conclusion that there are few limitations which constitute 'across the board' constraints on access to the Internet in the seven countries surveyed. In general, Internet access is permitted by law, and is (or soon will be) provided by a range of ISPs over national and international telecommunications links of sufficient capacity and reliability to make Internet access (including World-Wide-Web access) realistic.

3.3.9. Access by legislative personnel (primary audience)

It seems clear that the most common and significant impediments to use of the proposed facilities is the limited level of access to the Internet available to the primary audience of 'legislative personnel'.


In Indonesia approximately half of the survey respondents had full Internet access, a high level of potential access which surprised our local survey assistants who had previous experience of whole government agencies sharing a small number of telephone lines. They estimated an access figure of 30% of relevant officials. The main impediment to more extensive use is telephone and ISP costs. In addition, there is a cultural factor inhibiting usage by the primary audience: a tendency to regard the computer as a typewriter, to be used by clerks and computer professionals only, and the Internet as only useful for e-mail. Computer literacy is quite low within the primary audience, often limited to basic system commands and use of older word processing programs, and resulting in a need for constant assistance in order to make use of the Internet. Most of the primary audience do have access to computers of at least 386 processor standard. The Departments where primary audience personnel work do not generally have computer training facilities or personnel. Private sector training facilities are abundant, but are not used by government. Training would be more useful if it showed the value of Internet use to the primary audience, not merely how to use the software.


Half of the respondents were connected to the Internet, with full access including e-mail. All respondents regarded the lack of training as the most significant impediment to greater Internet access, followed by the cost of Internet access and telecommunications. All respondents said that if Internet use training was available to them, it would definitely increase their use of the Internet. All respondents claimed that they were computer literate. When asked about the extent of general computer literacy, 67% of the respondents in this group replied that they had ample computer knowledge, and the rest (33%) said they had `some' computer knowledge.


In the Philippines, survey respondents stated that the major impediment to their increased Internet use was departmental budgetary constraints, as a result of which Internet connections had a low priority. In many agencies, only those in high positions and in MIS departments were allowed Internet access. Since 1997, the Supreme Court and officials in the Department of Justice have had full internet access, and some other courts and agencies are moving in that direction. Computer literacy is quite high, with 60-80% familiar with PC usage, but a much smaller percentage with Internet familiarity. However, availability of training facilities is high, often from the MIS departments or in-house training sections of agencies. If funding restrictions on Internet access were reduced, training would tend to follow.

A very recent development which may reduce this problem is that the Philippines Government has in December 1997 taken a significant step to ensure pervasive use of the Internet by government agencies, through a Presidential Order which requires all agencies to obtain Internet connections through private ISPs. The Order follows House Resolution No 890 of the House of Representatives, Tenth Congress. President Ramos' Administrative Order No. 332 Directing All Government Agencies And Instrumentalities Including Local Government Units To Undertake Electronic Interconnection Through The Internet To Be Known As The RPWEB is included in the Annexures: Philippines - Administrative Order 332, 9 December 1997. It requires all government agencies, down to the division level, to connect to the Internet `through any ISP' `as soon as possible'. Agencies are to pay for connection out of their normal budgets, and no longer need special approval to do so. Telecommunications carriers are required to give priority to Internet infrastructure. The National Information Technology Council is to monitor the process.


In Pakistan, word processing is the only common use made of computers in the government sector, and this is mainly done by lower level administrative staff. There is now some use of e-mail, but not in law-related agencies. A few agencies such as the commerce ministry are making use of Internet access. A major impediment is that there is no budget item for Internet use and related items, so that approval of even very small costs is very difficult. In addition, such computers as are available in ministries often have not been provided sufficient maintenance funds.

Despite these factors, our survey assistants estimate that around 30% of the primary audience access the Internet in their personal capacity. The other 70% generally have no computer literacy at all, let alone Internet skills. This is particularly so in relation to those involved with legislation, where traditional Labor-intensive methods of work are common. The provision of training in Internet use would be attractive to those already interested, and would also increase awareness generally among the primary audience - though unlikely in itself to bring change.

Our survey assistants are of the opinion that the key to usage of Project DIAL facilities by the primary audience would simply be a government policy decision to participate in the project, as otherwise no resources will be made available.


In Vietnam about 25% of the interviewees had e-mail access (but none had web access as yet). All interviewees had access to basic computer training, but none to Internet training. Lack of training was regarded as less important than access costs.


In Mongolia the Parliament, President's Office, Prime Minister's Office, and Ministry of Infrastructure has full access to the Internet. The Ministry of Justice and other Ministries have access to e-mail only. Other State bodies involved with law, including the Courts, have no access to e-mail or other Internet facilities. Costs are the principal factor in limitation of Internet access.


In India all Government of India ministries, departments and regulatory authorities have Internet access if they wish to utilise it, as this is one of the responsibilities of the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which has a cell in each agency. However, our survey assistants report a low level of information, awareness and education in most agencies, in relation to computing generally and the Internet in particular. There is some regular use of e-mail, but only limited use of the World-Wide-Web. A significant contributing factor is a culture in relation to legal work that still accepts as the norm handwritten files and record-keeping and labour-intensive use of clerks.

An important exception to this is the Ministry of Law and Justice, which has created numerous databases (in conjunction with NIC) of Supreme Court cases since 1950 and legislation since 1834[79]http://caselaw.delhi.nic.in/ ]. Most senior officers of the Ministry use the Internet regularly in their duties and at their homes. Other exceptional agencies include the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Power.

3.3.10. Conclusions concerning access by the project's primary audience

The most significant general impediment is the difficulty of obtaining from agency budgets the cost of ISP and telecommunications access. This problem was cited as a significant impediment by a large proportion of interviewees in Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Philippines. It is very difficult to assess whether this is because of objectively high costs in relation to departmental budgets, or simply a lack of familiarity and understanding of a new type of resource which does not fit into conventional budget categories and has a potential to result in unpredictable costs.

High level authorisation and encouragement of Internet use, such as by the Philippines Presidents' Administrative Order, seem clearly helpful in this regard. To the extent that the Bank is able to encourage member governments to adopt similar policies, this would further the aims of this Project.

The desirability of training in internet use, with a concentration on the law-related content available via the internet (in other words, the substance of Project DIAL) was also identified by survey respondents. The costs of acquiring the necessary hardware and software to allow internet access was not identified as a substantial problem.

The question of what assistance the Bank might provide to facilitate usage of Project DIAL by the primary audience and help overcome these impediments is considered in the recommendations at the end of this Chapter.

3.3.11. Access by other lawyers (secondary audience)

In Indonesia medium to large law firms, NGOs and law schools in major cities have full Internet access (although e-mail is still the primary form of use). Our survey assistants state that business organisations are already making use of Internet access to research resources such as NEXIS, but lawyers are not doing so, perhaps because of the lack of pertinent legal information. Costs are not seen as a significant impediment in larger law firms, more a lack of any compelling reason to use the Internet. In contrast to the primary audience, private sector lawyers with computers tend to be very computer-literate and need little Internet training.

In Vietnam Internet access (e-mail only) is above 25% for lawyers, and very high for foreign NGOs, but low otherwise. Computer literacy is much the same as with the primary audience.

In China, half of the respondents in this group (lawyers and those requiring law resources) use the Internet. Of these, about 21% have full Internet access but the majority (about 79%) only have e-mail. The majority (67%) regard the cost of Internet access and telecommunications as the most significant impediment that prevents greater Internet access, followed by the lack of Internet training. All respondents claimed that they were computer literate, 21% stating that they had ample computer knowledge, and the rest (79%) stating they had `some' computer knowledge. All respondents stated that if Internet use training was available to them, it would definitely increase their use of the Internet.

In Pakistan, the situation is quite different with the secondary audiences. About 30% of private lawyers are Internet users, and another 30% are generally computer literate. More than half of all law students are Internet users (privately, as their colleges do not have facilities), and the situation is similar with NGOs.

In India, access to full Internet services by larger law firms is increasing rapidly, and e-mail use is quite common. Since the full cost of obtaining Internet access (hardware included) amounts to nearly US $2,000, this is a significant impediment to many users, particularly students and academics and many small business and law firm users. In many firms the acceptance of handwritten records and labour-intensive practices are the same as in the government sector.

In Mongolia, law consulting companies are not connected to the Internet, but some private and State-owned companies with international business are so connected. Law schools have access to well-equipped computer training facilities. Computer training is available and most lawyers are familiar with word processing and other common programs.

In the Philippines, private sector lawyers, law association, law schools and students, banks, and NGO's generally make greater use of the Internet for research than government officials, including web access. Some law schools provide their own website for student use.

The question of what assistance the Bank might provide to facilitate usage of Project DIAL by the Project's secondary audiences and help overcome these impediments is considered in the recommendations at the end of this Chapter.

[68] Accessible in various formats at

[69] On October 24, 1995, the Federal Networking Council of the Internet Society unanimously passed a resolution defining the term Internet. This definition was developed in consultation with members of the internet and intellectual property rights communities. RESOLUTION: The Federal Networking Council (FNC) agrees that the following language reflects our definition of the term "Internet". "Internet" refers to the global information system that -- (i) is logically linked together by a globally unique address space based on the Internet Protocol (IP) or its subsequent extensions/follow-ons; (ii) is able to support communications using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite or its subsequent extensions/follow-ons, and/or other IP-compatible protocols; and (iii) provides, uses or makes accessible, either publicly or privately, high level services layered on the communications and related infrastructure described herein.

(Source: B Leiner et at `A Brief History of the Internet' - )

70 Copyright Larry Landweber, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the Internet Society


[72] There are notable exceptions such as Dongguan City (near Hong Kong) which has its own high capacity network: see

[73] (i) Interministerial Circular 08 of the General Department of Post (GDP), the Ministries of Interior, and Culture and Information dated 24 May 1997 guiding the issuance of permits for access, provision and use of the internet in Vietnam (Circular 08);

(ii) Decision No 683 of the GDP dated 14 November 1997 issuing the Regulations on the quality standards of the internet service;

(iii) Decision 682 of the GDP dated 14 November 1997 issuing temporary fee rates for access to the internet;

(iv) Decision 679 of the GDP dated 14 November 1997 issuing the Regulations on internet services; and

(v) Decision 848 of the Ministry of Interior dated 23 October 1997 promulgating Regulations on methods and equipment for the examination and control of internet activities in Vietnam in order to ensure the national security (Decision 848).



76] Such laws could in theory be relevant to the operation of Project DIAL because it is possible that the DIAL Index could provide links to sites deemed `objectionable' in a particular country because of its legal / political content.

[77] CNN Interactive, 30 December 1997

[78] A 250 hour package is also available at a higher rate. A 30% reduction of all charges is at present under consideration.


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