Sat-na January 10 1997
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 05:57:04 -0500
From email@example.com Tue Jan 14 05: 59:31 1997
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LATE NEWS EXTRA
IRIDIUM Launch Rescheduled
The launch of the first three IRIDIUM satellites by a
McDonnell Douglas Delta II rocket has been rescheduled due
to a problem with the initiation of the water suppression
system. The system is used to protect the launch pad and
dampen the acoustics encountered during lift-off. All other
functions on the vehicle, the spacecraft and their
associated ground systems were operating correctly and
remain ready for launch. The launch has been rescheduled
for Saturday, Jan. 11, 1997 at 5:35 a.m. Pacific Standard
Time from Space Launch Complex-2 (SLC-2) at Vandenberg Air
Force Base, Calif., USA.
The IRIDIUM system is a world-wide wireless
telecommunications network being designed to provide
telephone, paging, facsimile and data services to registered
subscribers using handheld telephones and pagers. The 66-
satellite network will revolve around the Earth in low-earth
orbit, providing continuous world-wide coverage. Ground-
based IRIDIUM gateways will interconnect the orbiting
constellation of satellites to the public switched telephone
network, enabling subscribers to call, or be called, by
virtually any other telephone in the world. World-wide
commercial service availability is planned for late 1998
when the entire 66 satellite network is scheduled to be
These first three satellites are operational and will
be a part of the 66-satellite network. During this initial
launch, these satellites will be used to test satellite
command and control capabilities and basic hardware and
software functionality. Capabilities including
communication with subscriber telephones and pagers and
other advanced systems features will be demonstrated in late
1997 as the system buildout progresses.
G.l. Announces Restructuring Plan
General Instrument Corporation plans a strategic
restructuring plan to divide GI into three separate public
The restructuring, expected to be completed this summer
through a tax-free spin-off to shareholders, will create
three independent companies:
* NextLevel Systems, Inc. comprised of GI's cable,
satellite and telephony businesses, with 1996 sales in
excess of $1.7 billion.
* CommScope, Inc. manufacturer of coaxial cable and a
supplier of high-performance electronic cables, with 1996
sales of more than $560 million.
* General Semiconductor, Inc., now GI's Power
Semiconductor division, a leading supplier of low-to-medium
power rectifiers and transient voltage suppressors, with
1996 sales of over $360 million.
"Now is the time to make this comprehensive move," said
Richard S. Friedland, Chairman and CEO of General
Instrument, who will be Chairman and CEO of NextLevel
Systems. "During the last 12 months, we began volume
shipment of our digital set top boxes, next-generation
satellite systems and SURFboard cable modems, and won our
first contract to provide telephony services to a regional
Bell operating company, NYNEX. NextLevel Systems will be a
powerful $1.7 billion sales company that is 100-percent
focused on the high-growth opportunities in the world-wide
market for high-performance communications networks_a market
being transformed by accelerating consumer and business
"At the same time, CommScope is expanding its position
in the world-wide cable and satellite TV industries and has
great opportunities with its high-performance electronic
cables, while world-wide demand for General Semiconductor's
power conditioning products is starting to resume its
historical growth trends," he said.
NextLevel to Focus on High-Performance Video, Voice and
NextLevel Systems, Inc. will be formed by combining
GI's Communications divisions in Hatboro, Pennsylvania and
San Diego, California, and its Rohnert Park, California-
based NextLevel Communications subsidiary. Historically, the
operations that will make up NextLevel Systems have focused
on the cable and satellite television markets, but the
company expects to expand aggressively beyond these markets,
seeking to build a major presence in the new growth markets
for high-speed modems, which provide Internet and multimedia
services, and switched-digital local access systems, which
provide advanced voice, plus video and high-speed data
services over telephone networks.
This expansion will leverage NextLevel Systems' broad
expertise in providing systems and components for the full
spectrum of video, voice and data networks regardless of
their technology or architecture_including satellite,
broadcast, wireless and wired networks using coaxial, fibre
optic or copper twisted-pair cable. NextLevel's systems and
components permit high- performance video, voice and data
services to be transmitted over any of these networks. As a
result of its expansion plans, NextLevel Systems expects its
revenues to be more evenly distributed across the cable,
satellite, high-speed data and telephony network markets by
the year 2000.
"The transition to GI's next-generation of digital and
analogue systems for cable and satellite networks is nearly
completed," said Friedland. "Sales of these products, which
are the core of NextLevel Systems, are growing rapidly with
improving profit margins. We are also on the threshold of
significant deployment of our NLevel3 switched-digital local
access telephone system and high-speed SURFboard modems."
General Instrument's current corporate management team
and the management teams of the GI Communications and Next
Level Communications businesses will lead NextLevel Systems
after the spin-offs. Reflecting the high-growth potential of
its businesses, NextLevel is expected to have sufficient
cash and borrowing capacity to provide the company with the
financial flexibility to invest for growth in its high-
technology markets. NextLevel Systems will be based in
Chicago, Illinois with approximately 8,300 employees world-
CommScope to Focus on Expanding its Broadband Cable Sales
CommScope, with 1996 sales exceeding $560 million, is
the leading manufacturer of coaxial cables for cable
television systems, with more than a 50 percent market
share. It also supplies fibre optic and other high-
performance electronic cables. CommScope cables are used in
cable and satellite television networks, telephone networks,
local area networks, wireless transmission systems,
residential wiring and airplanes. In 1996, approximately 35
percent of CommScope's sales were outside the U.S. Based in
Hickory, North Carolina, CommScope has approximately 2,500
"CommScope has been focusing its business on broadband
cables for over 30 years," said Frank Drendel, who has
managed CommScope since 1972 and will be the Chairman and
CEO of the company following its spin-off. "We are expanding
as well in other related electronic cable markets, such as
local area networks, where we have the capability for
continued significant growth."
CommScope is well-positioned to service the $2.4
billion world-wide broadband cable market. CommScope's sales
have grown at a compound annual rate of approximately 18
percent since 1993 by increasing market share and focusing
on new, high-growth markets, such as international cable
systems, local area networks and residential wiring.
Additional future growth opportunities at CommScope are
expected to come from new markets for wireless transmission
systems and airplanes.
General Semiconductor to Focus on Global Growth in
Power Semiconductor, which will become General
Semiconductor, is the leading supplier of low-to-medium
power rectifiers and voltage suppressors for use in diverse
applications by automotive, computer, consumer, industrial
and telecommunications manufacturers. General Semiconductor,
with 1996 sales exceeding $360 million, will be based in
Melville, New York, with approximately 3,000 employees world-
"With a singular focus on power rectifier and transient
voltage suppressor products and services, we believe General
Semiconductor will be better positioned to leverage its
market leadership and competitive strengths of distribution
and high quality manufacturing," said Ron Ostertag, who has
managed the business since 1990 and will be the CEO of
General Semiconductor. "This will allow us to enhance our
global service and increase customer satisfaction."
General Semiconductor is a global competitor serving
the $1.6 billion world-wide power rectifier and transient
voltage suppressor markets. Since 1993, its sales have grown
at a three-year compound annual rate of approximately 10
percent. Management expects General Semiconductor's future
growth to be driven by world-wide demand for increased
electronic functions and the company's strong position as a
global supplier of high quality, reliable components. In
1996, approximately 70 percent of the business' sales were
outside the U.S.
Reasons For Restructuring
"After considerable study and detailed analysis, we
concluded that our three diverse businesses would be best
positioned as independent, public companies," said
Friedland. "The businesses have different dynamics and
business cycles, serve different markets and customers, are
subject to different competitive forces and must be managed
with different short- and long-term goals."
"The restructuring will give the management of each
business the ability to focus on its own business, markets,
customer requirements and growth opportunities," he
continued. "Specifically, each business will be able to
organise its capital structure, allocate its resources and
design corporate strategies based wholly on the benefits to
its own operations. Moreover, management will be able to
design equity-based compensation programs that are targeted
to its specific business and performance, and therefore be
better positioned to attract and retain key personnel."
"Over the long term, the spin-offs will allow each
business to more efficiently leverage its world leadership
position to increase shareholder value," said Friedland.
"Investors will be able to value each of the three companies
on its own merits and growth fundamentals."
New generation of DISH Network receivers
EchoStar Communications Corporation has unveiled its
new high-end EchoStar 5000 set-top digital receiver, the
third model in the DISH Network family of receivers.
The new boxes are built with the same MPEG-2/DVB
compliant technology as the earlier models and include
several consumer-friendly advancements. The new units will
be available in February with a suggested retail price of
EchoStar 5000 features a on-screen Program Guide that
lists local programming information as well as satellite
channels, giving viewers a TV schedule through a seamless
guide. To access their local programming using this
feature, consumers select one of those channels from the on-
screen Program Guide and the local channel will appear on
their TV. The receiver must be connected to an off-air
antenna or to life-line cable service to receive local
signals. Also new, is the EchoStar 5000's ability to
display Caller ID messages on-screen, to consumers who
purchase Caller ID service from their local telephone
In addition, the EchoStar 5000 receivers now include
RCA-type video input jacks, giving viewers access to another
signal in addition to DISH Network programming. These could
include VCR, camcorder, digital versatile disc player, or
other home entertainment device. The new boxes are the
first to include video input jacks, thus offering DISH
Network customers easy switching of audio/visual components
via the electronic Program Guide along with more video
entertainment and information options than previously
The EchoStar 5000 also includes a VCR event timers and
the IR Blaster for wireless control of the VCR. Event Timer
features include: VCR Record Event Timers that tune to the
specified channel at the specified time and also send a
command to the user's VCR via the IR Blaster to start and
stop recording; Auto-Tune Event Timers that tune to the
specified channel at the specified time and Event Reminders
which displays a small on-screen reminder menu prior to the
Other key features of the EchoStar 5000 are its digital
video and audio CD-quality channels, easy-to-operate front
panel controls, high quality (S-Video) output, a high-speed
data port for future data communications networks and
information superhighway access and easily upgradable
software that uses "Flash Memory" technology via satellite
Gilat Satellite Networks acquires Skydata
Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. reported that it has
acquired West Melbourne, Florida-based Skydata, Inc. through
an exchange of all outstanding equity of Skydata for
approximately 8 percent of Gilat ordinary shares. Skydata
is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gilat, and the
acquisition will be accounted for as a "pooling of
interest." The anticipated merger and restructuring costs
to Gilat are US$2 million and US$4 million respectively.
These figures will be included in the Company's results for
the fourth quarter of 1996.
Skydata was formed in 1989 when former executives of
the Harris Corporation's Satellite Communication Division
joined to purchase the division's assets and product lines.
The major investors and marketing partners of Skydata -
Korea's Samsung Corporation and Europe's Matra Marconi Space
France S.A. - which, as a result of the acquisition, have
become shareholders of Gilat, and have committed to
continuing their marketing efforts in the future.
Globalstar Awards GSI Contract
In a ceremony at Globalstar's San Jose, California,
headquarters, Government System's Inc. signed a five year
contract to provide Globalstar's Wide Area Network (WAN).
Called the Globalstar Data Network (GDN), this global
network is a central component of the Globalstar command and
control infrastructure, and will tie in Globalstar's world-
wide system of gateways with the Globalstar Control Centres
in San Jose, and El Dorado Hills, California.
More Programs from China
The Chinese government has given the go ahead to a
Guangxi TV station and radio station to broadcast programs
to foreign countries via satellite this year.
The People's Radio Station and the TV Station of the
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region will rent the Asiasat-2 to
air their shows, which will reach more than 30 countries and
regions in south and south-east Asia as well as Australia.
Details on Nahuel satellite
Nahuelsat is preparing to launch by January 28 its
Nahuel I satellite to cover from the Tierra del Fuego to the
US. It will be the first Argentinean satellite to be
monitored from a land station at Benavidez, Buenos Aires
province. Nahuel I will have a life span of 12 years
operating 18 transponders in Ku Band (54 Mhz) and amplifiers
(55 watts). It will be positioned in a geostationary orbit
71,8 degrees West longitude, and become operational in March
1997, as it will receive the transmission of the provisory
satellites Nahuel C1 and C2. These provisory satellites have
a captive market of 900 signals of cable televisions, and 20
television broadcasting, and one for direct to home TV.
Nahuelsat won a tender issued in 1993, and will have license
to operate for 24 years from 1997 onwards.
Tee-Comm Receives R&D Grant
Tee-Comm Electronics Inc. has been awarded a $250,000
matching grant from the National Research Council of
Canada's (NRC) Industrial Research Assistance Program. The
grant will match Tee-Comm's investment in the development of
a second-generation software platform for the made-in-Canada
ST-1000 home satellite receiver_ commonly referred to as the
"set-top box" component of a digital direct-to-home (DTH)
satellite television system.
The new ST-1000 product will be designed to be a
"universal" platform capable of supporting both Tee-Comm's
technology, and the technologies of other distribution
services, including digital cable, digital local multipoint
communications systems (LMCS), and digital multipoint
microwave distribution systems (MMDS). This will accelerate
Tee-Comm's growth in the digital DTH market by providing it
with the option of establishing new strategic relationships
in other, dynamic markets (i.e. outside of North America).
Orbital Wins Korean Contract
Orbital Sciences Corporation has signed a contract with
the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the country's
national space agency, to launch the Korean Multipurpose
Satellite (KOMPSAT) aboard the company's Taurus rocket. The
launch will originate from Vandenberg Air Force Base in
California and is scheduled to take place in mid-1999.
Orbital and KARI did not disclose the terms of the contract,
which was effective Dec. 23, 1996.
Earlier this week, Orbital announced that its Pegasus
rocket was selected by the Brazilian Space Agency to launch
that country's SCD-2 satellite into space in 1997. The
company's next scheduled space launch is a Pegasus XL
mission for the Government of Spain in February.
The Taurus rocket is a four-stage, ground launched,
solid propellant vehicle capable of placing payloads
weighing over 3,000 pounds into low-Earth orbit, or, with
additional upper stages, payloads weighing up to 800 pounds
into a higher altitude, geo-synchronous orbit. Taurus made
a completely successful launch debut in March 1994, and is
scheduled to carry out two missions later this year.
For the KOMPSAT mission, the commercial Taurus'
configuration features the advanced Castor 120 motor as the
rocket's bottom stage and a 63 inch payload fairing. The
Castor 120, supplied to Orbital by Thiokol Corporation, is a
commercially developed rocket motor derived from the first
stage of the U.S. Air Force's Peacekeeper missile. In
addition, while not required for the KOMPSAT mission,
Orbital has also developed a larger 92 inch payload fairing
(the casing that shields the satellite payloads from
atmospheric damage or contamination during launch), which
provides over 2 « times the payload volume of the its
original design. Both the Castor 120 and the new fairing
design will be introduced on the next Taurus mission in
The KOMPSAT satellite is a technology demonstration
spacecraft designed to carry out several scientific
missions, including high-resolution thematic mapping and low-
resolution ocean colour monitoring. The satellite will also
carry three other instruments that will gather environmental
measurements. Taurus will place the 420 kilogram spacecraft
into a sun synchronous orbit at an altitude of 685
COMARK and NBC sign strategic agreement
COMARK Communications Inc. and The National
Broadcasting Company Inc. jointly announced a strategic
agreement for Digital Television (DTV) transmitters and
NBC has reconfirmed its commitment to providing DTV
services and High Definition Television (HDTV) programming
through its agreement to purchase COMARK equipment and
services for its current and future Owned and Operated
COMARK and NBC have had a long relationship with the
broadcast community in the field of DTV. COMARK provided
transmitter and project management services in 1992 to the
Advanced Television Research Consortium's (ATRC) AD-HDTV
Digital HDTV simulcast demonstrations.
These full power UHF demonstrations were done at the
NBC4 facilities at WRC-TV (NBC4) in Washington, D.C. using a
COMARK IOT transmitter. The ATRC membership included NBC,
Thomson, the David Sarnoff Research Centre (DSRC/Sarnoff)
It was the AD-HDTV system which demonstrated the
world's first DTV system with MPEG compression and
packetised data transport, key to the multi-program flexible
use of today's ATSC 8-VSB standard
Orbital's Pegasus Selected
Orbital Sciences Corporation announced that the
Brazilian Space Agency (Agencia Espacial Brasileira, or
"AEB") has selected the company's Pegasus rocket to launch
its Satellite de Coleta de Dados-2 (SCD-2) spacecraft into
low-Earth orbit. The mission is scheduled to take place in
1997, although an exact date on the Pegasus launch manifest
has not been determined. Orbital and AEB did not disclose
the contract value.
This is the second time Orbital's Pegasus launch
vehicle has been selected to carry out a space mission for
Brazil. In February 1993, a Pegasus rocket successfully
launched Brazil's first satellite, SCD-1, into a precise,
The 253-pound SCD-2 satellite is being built in Brazil
by the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espacial (INPE) of
the Ministry of Space and Technology.
Like its predecessor satellite, SCD-2 is designed to
collect and relay information gathered from around sensors
located in Brazil and other countries of the tropical belt
within the Amazon River basin. The data collected by the
ground sensors will assist environmentalists in the study of
the rain forests.
Wink ITV Content Increases
Three months after Japanese TV viewers got their first
look at enhanced broadcasting, TV executives here have
broadly expanded the number of programs made interactive
with Wink ITV. Now viewers can use their remote controls to
appraise antiques belonging to celebrities, learn about rock
stars, or take quizzes on current events.
Wink ITV is a world-wide standard for enhanced
broadcasting that allows TV networks, producers and
advertisers to add interactive overlays to regular
broadcasts. The technology is dramatically different from
the current trend towards Internet-over-TV, because it works
with existing shows and commercials.
"The strong ratings of the first Wink ITV enhanced
broadcasts have encouraged us to offer our viewers many new
options," said Mr. Muneo Wakabayashi, an executive with TV-
Tokyo, Channel 12.
TV-Tokyo's new line-up of enhanced broadcasting includes:
" "Nandemo Kanteidan," Tuesdays, 9 p.m., one of TV-
Tokyo's most popular programs, in which professional
appraisers are brought in to evaluate the heirlooms of
celebrities and other guests. By enhancing the show with
Wink ITV, TV-Tokyo allows viewers to use their remote
controls to guess the correct prices. Voters who come
closest are awarded with prizes sent directly to their
" "Ganbaru" or "Let's Hustle," Mondays, late night. Wink
ITV is used in this music talk show to provide updates on
the latest music releases.
" "Afternoon Roadshow," daily, 1 p.m. During this weekday
movie program, Wink ITV offers viewers background on the
films, including actors and plot descriptions.
" "Yu-waku-sei," daily, 9:30 a.m. Wink ITV is used to
give more information about events promoted during the
program, along with instructions for purchasing tickets.
" The original Wink ITV show, "IT's Access," Saturdays,
6:30 p.m., continues with strong ratings.
The producers of all of these shows use enhanced
broadcasting technology to add interactive overlays to their
existing broadcasts. In addition, TV-Tokyo uses the
technology to create special new Wink ITV channels that
allow the station to deliver much more information at very
little cost. Channels include: weather forecasts, ski
reports, a general trivia quiz, a current events quiz, stock
updates, TV program details, and travel information.
Japanese consumers can view Wink ITV enhanced
broadcasts on one of two TV set models sold by Toshiba Corp.
and on a TV set sold by the Victor Corp. of Japan (JVC).
Toshiba also manufactures a Wink ITV set-top box for
customers who do not wish to purchase a new TV immediately,
and a special VCR that allows viewers to experience enhanced
programming at any time.
NextLevel Systems (formerly General Instrument Corp.)
has just launched Wink ITV commercially in North America and
Europe. NextLevel's CFT-2200 is the first analogue cable set-
top to support Wink and the company's DCT-1000 will be the
first digital set-top. Scientific-Atlanta Inc., and Pioneer
are also offering products for Wink's open standard.
INTELSAT Signs Contract With Matra Marconi
INTELSAT this week signed a contract with Matra Marconi
Space for the purchase of one K-TV satellite for use in the
Asia-Pacific region at 95 degrees E longitude.
The new, high-power spacecraft is specifically designed
to meet growing regional demand for direct-to-home video
(DTH) and multimedia applications. It will have 30 Ku-band
transponders and will be able to carry up to 210 TV
programs. INTELSAT K-TV will provide fixed beams over India
and China and switchable beams covering Indonesia, Malaysia
and other areas in the Asia-Pacific region.
The K-TV contract is valued at approximately US$100
million. The spacecraft will be delivered in late 1998. A
decision on a launch services provider is expected in March
ExpressVu picks EchoStar's DISH Network
EchoStar Communications Corporation announced that
ExpressVu Inc. has agreed to acquire EchoStar's direct-to-
home (DTH) satellite technology and will begin offering
television service to all regions of Canada in the summer of
EchoStar will initially be the exclusive provider of
MPEG-2/DVB digital set-tops to ExpressVu making its
technology platform the preferred standard for North
In addition to acquiring the rights to EchoStar's end-
to-end DTH technology, ExpressVu has the exclusive use of
EchoStar's DISH Network brand in Canada. As part of its
compensation, EchoStar has the option to become an equity
partner in ExpressVu.
ExpressVu plans to offer both Canadian and U.S.
programming using a 24-inch (60 cm) satellite dish and
EchoStar's digital satellite receiver. Using the Canadian
Anik E2 satellite, ExpressVu plans to carry at least 70
channels of video, audio and pay-per-view movies and events.
As part of the agreement, EchoStar will act as the
prime contractor to plan, construct and integrate
ExpressVu's satellite uplink facility near Toronto.
EchoStar complets merger with DBSC
EchoStar Communications Corporation announced the
completion of the merger between privately held Direct
Broadcast Satellite Corporation (DBSC) and an EchoStar
subsidiary. The two companies first announced their
agreement to merge on December 22, 1995.
The merger is intended to strengthen EchoStar's
position in the direct-to-home satellite industry. Both
EchoStar and DBSC, which will become a wholly-owned
subsidiary of EchoStar as a result of the merger, each hold
one of the nine direct broadcast satellite (DBS) permits
issued by the FCC. As previously announced, the Federal
Communications Commission approved the merger in August
DBSC has been constructing a "next generation" DBS
satellite while awaiting the completion of the merger. That
satellite, a Lockheed Martin AX2100, is equipped with 32
transponders operating at 120 watts of power per channel.
The satellite, which will now be known as EchoStar III, can
also be switched to operate with up to 16 transponders
operating at 240 watts per channel, which would allow for
dishes as small as 12-inches. EchoStar III is scheduled to
operate at the 61.5 degree West Longitude location where
DBSC holds a license for eleven frequencies.
EchoStar III will launch atop an Atlas IIAS
from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the fall of 1997. The
satellite will include programming complimentary to that
offered by the DISH Network on EchoStar I and EchoStar II.
The programming lineup on the satellite could also include
Internet delivery applications, and in light of recent
pronouncements from the U.S. Copyright Office, it may also
be possible to include local programming to select large
" U.S. Satellite Broadcasting is offering free movie
previews for The Movie Channel. The Movie Channel four-day
preview airs Friday, January 10 through Monday, January 13.
" India is to launch its new communication satellite,
INSAT-2D, in April this year. Similar to INSAT-2C, which was
launched in 1995 from Kourou in French Guyana, INSAT-2D is a
3-axis body stabilised geo-stationary satellite providing
telecommunication and broadcast services
" Thailand has offered to allow a U.S. satellite in orbit
over its territory in exchange for the use by the Thai
military of the satellite's transponders for communications.
The offer is being considered by Washington and a reply is
expected by the middle of the month
" U.S. Satellite Broadcasting reported subscriber
statistics for the second fiscal quarter ended December 31,
1996. During the quarter, estimated Digital Satellite
Systems households rose to 2.3 million, while the company's
paying subscribers grew to 1.22 million. U.S. Satellite
Broadcasting will report financial results for the period
during the week of January 27.
" National Media Corporation has begun transactional
television programming on Polonia 1 in Poland, reaching
approximately five million households, or 45 percent of the
Polish television audience.
" Keystone Communications Corp. announced the addition of
three Galaxy 4 C-band transponders to its occasional-use
inventory. These three transponders, together with existing
transponders on Galaxy 4, Telstar 401 and Galaxy 6, bring
the Keystone domestic occasional-use transponder inventory
to 10. These new transponders (formally PT 24 transponders)
will support syndication, sports and other broadcast
" Bloomberg Information Television will join the program
line-up on the AlphaStar Television Network early in
February. Produced by Bloomberg L.P., the new channel will
initially be available to AlphaStar subscribers from 6:00
a.m. - 6:00 p.m. daily.
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Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 1997
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