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[00:00:00]

This is the global news podcast from the BBC World Service. I'm Jackie Leonard and at 13 hours GMT on Wednesday, the 26th of August, these are our main stories. Two people have been killed during a third night of unrest in the U.S. over the police shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake. Melania Trump has urged unity in a speech to the Republican National Convention. And Afghan officials say flash floods have killed more than 70 people in the city of Charikar.

[00:00:30]

Also in this podcast, a rare public appearance by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong un, after months of speculation about his health, and we're able to spread the word back to you, bacteria into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and stop those mosquitoes from being able to transmit dengue.

[00:00:47]

Some promising news in the battle to control dengue fever. On Sunday, a black man, Jacob Blake, was shot seven times in the back by police officers in the U.S. city of Kenosha. He remains in hospital now. A third night of protests has ended in more shooting and at least two deaths. The gunfire erupted after demonstrators had clashed with police and heavily armed civilians had surrounded businesses, saying they were there to protect them. The police weren't directly involved in the shooting.

[00:01:20]

Earlier in the night, Mr. Blake's mother, Julia Jackson, had appealed for unity.

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Let's use our hearts, our love and our intelligence to work together to show the rest of the world how humans are supposed to treat each other. America is great when we behave greatly.

[00:01:47]

Mr. Blake's father said he'd been paralyzed. One of his sisters, La Tatro Widman, also spoke to the media.

[00:01:54]

This is nothing new. I'm not sad. I'm not sorry. I'm angry and I'm tired. I haven't cried one time. I stopped crying years ago. I am numb. I have been watching police murder people that look like me for years.

[00:02:12]

The officers involved in Mr. Blake's shooting are on administrative leave pending an investigation. Shortly before we came in to record this podcast, we asked our U.S. correspondent, Barbara Platania, what more do we know about this latest shooting?

[00:02:27]

We know that it happened in an area where protests have been taking place. The police put out a news release and said they responded to reports of multiple gunshot victims around 11, 45 in the evening. They said, as you mentioned, that two people were shot and killed and one was injured, taken to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. But all those details, you'd like to know who it was, the names and ages of the victims they have not released in terms of the circumstances.

[00:02:55]

The county sheriff has told us media that his office is checking whether the shooting took place out of a conflict between demonstrators and a group of people who were armed, people who had weapons, who were protecting businesses.

[00:03:08]

Now, there had been peaceful protests, and Mr. Blake's mother has called for an end to the violence. But there's so much anger, isn't there?

[00:03:17]

There is, yes. I mean, the graphic video of Mr. Blake's shooting has has fueled that anger. But there's a history to at least 18 police involved shootings in the past 20 years in this area. And people want accountability. And we saw that with the governor. He was empathetic. He said we can't allow a cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue. But he also said you can't continue going down this path of damage and destruction. So he's declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard.

[00:03:43]

And you saw that in the family yesterday to his mother, as you said. So overcome with emotion, actually, that she struggled to speak. At first, she still like urged against violence. She called for national healing. But then you had these angry statements from other members of the family. You heard the sister, the father. He said they shot him like he didn't matter. My son matters. At one point, he said I wouldn't trust any white man to investigate the death of a black man.

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So, you know, that comes out of a place of deep distrust and despair.

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And, of course, this all feeds into the protests that have been going on all summer after the death of George Floyd, another black man who who died after being knelt on by a police officer. This incident sort of feeding into a broader ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.

[00:04:25]

Yeah, it is. And that's definitely part of the context here in terms of how people are responding to this shooting. It hasn't led to a national uprising like we saw after the killing of George Floyd. But we are seeing demonstrations in four and a handful of other cities taking place alongside the ones that are happening in Kenosha. And more broadly, activists are seizing on the moment to try to push for lasting change. There's this march on Washington planned for later this week, modeled on the one led by Martin Luther King fifty seven years ago.

[00:04:54]

And they're asking for specific things like police reform legislation and voting legislation, voting rights legislation. So they're trying to get some concrete change out of this summer of discontent.

[00:05:05]

Barbara Platania. In the U.S., Republicans continue to make the case for four more years of Donald Trump as president as the Republican National Convention continued on Tuesday night. Speaking from the White House, the first lady, Melania Trump, promised that she and her husband would continue to fight for American families in a second term. But she also addressed the deep problems the country is currently facing at a time of racial unrest and pandemic. It was a night that featured several members of the Trump family, as Nick Bryant reports.

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We hold these truths to be self-evident. But all men are created equal. There's a big difference in the look of the Republican convention from the Democrats virtual gathering this time last week with no blue resume calls and more perfect teeth.

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Tonight, we explore together. America, the latest prime time offering, felt like the night of a thousand trumps the continued rollout of this new American political dynasty, Camelot meets the Kardashians.

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Good evening. I'm Tiffany Trump. First up came the president's youngest daughter.

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A vote for my father, Donald J. Trump is a vote to uphold our American ideals. Good evening, America.

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And next was Eric Trump with an emotional message for his father. I'm proud of what you were doing for this country. I'm proud to show my children what their grandfather is fighting for. The evening borrowed from the grama and gimmicks of reality TV, Donald Trump delivered a surprise presidential pardon to a bank robber turned prison reformer and then staged a naturalization ceremony granting citizenship to five new Americans.

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You've earned the most prized, treasured, cherished and priceless possession anywhere in the world. It's called American citizenship.

[00:07:02]

Both these segments were recorded at the White House, breaking the long held tradition that this American mansion should not be used as a party political prop and possibly breaking the law.

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Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the first lady of the United States, Mrs. Melania Trump, then into a White House Rose Garden she recently re landscaped. Melania Trump made her intricately choreographed entrance, the former model walking alone down what was made to look like a columned catwalk.

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I want to acknowledge the fact that since March, our lives have changed drastically throughout the evening.

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The coronaviruses hardly got a mention, but the first lady started her speech by acknowledging the misery that caused.

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I know many people are anxious and some feel helpless. I want you to know you're not alone.

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She also addressed the racial turbulence of the Black Lives Matter Summer.

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I like to call on the citizens of this country to take a moment, pause and look at things from all perspectives. I urge people to come together in a civil manner so we can work and live up to our standard American ideals.

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The polls suggest that Donald Trump has a major problem with suburban women, and much of the evening was spent softening his image. Melania Trump may be his most effective surrogate. And what was perhaps most striking about the tone and content of her speech was that the first lady sounded like a conventional president.

[00:08:39]

God bless you all your families and God bless the United States of America.

[00:08:45]

The US first lady Melania Trump ending that report by Nick Bryant Jackson. Families are struggling to find missing relatives in the Afghan city of Charikar, where flash floods caused devastation overnight. More than 70 bodies have been recovered so far. Some reports say the death toll could be as high as 100. We heard more from our correspondent, Secunda Kamani.

[00:09:06]

Well, these flash floods caused by heavy rain have really resulted in a huge amount of devastation in the province of Padawan, which is just north of the Afghan capital, Kabul. They began in the early hours of the morning, around three o'clock in the morning local time, when most people, of course, were asleep and that were taken by surprise. And footage filmed in the capital of Parwan Province in the city of Charikar shows real rivers of this thick mud flowing through the streets, carrying large rocks and other debris with its sweeping over cars, overturning those cars at times badly damaging homes.

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Hundreds of homes are said to have been destroyed. And as you said, rescue efforts are under way. Both local residents and security forces helping search for survivors, people who might still be trapped and alive. And obviously, they're also, sadly, trying to recover the bodies of those who are likely to have died and been trapped underneath the rubble. The latest death toll we have from officials is 72, but that could well rise throughout the day. And this is, of course, adding to the difficulties of a country that's struggling already with both a Taliban insurgency and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The pictures of the floods were pretty dramatic. Tell us a little bit more about the conditions of the rescue operation. Is more rain expected? What are the conditions like?

[00:10:29]

It's not raining there at the moment, from what we can see. This is a period of the year in which rains do occur in Afghanistan. There have been other smaller flash floods in other parts of the country that have led to two casualties and destroyed homes there as well. You know, rescue efforts had been under way with, for example, excavators and cranes being used to dig through the mud and try and get to people or to recover bodies. But access, of course, to these sites has been made more difficult by the fact that some of the main roads to the city have been affected by these flash floods as well.

[00:11:07]

That was Secunda Kamani. North Korea's leader, Kim Jong un, has made few public appearances since the start of the pandemic. But now footage has been shown on state television of him warning the authorities to prepare for the dangers of coronavirus and an impending typhoon. He even admitted that there had been some shortcomings in the state's efforts to keep out what he called the malignant virus. Our correspondent in Seoul, or Rebecca, told us Mr. Kim's appearance at a. Party meeting followed repeated rumors about his health within the last week, there were a number of headlines in Western tabloids claiming that Kim Jong un was in a coma.

[00:11:44]

And here he is appearing on both television and in state media. He presided over quite a hefty Workers Party meeting. Now, the reason for this is because of the impending typhoon we're beginning to feel the effects of here in Seoul. It's due to pass overnight. And within tomorrow morning, we're Typhoon Bhabhi will be heading North Korea, which is concerning a number of people. And he also talked about covid-19 measures and admits that more had to be done to prevent the virus.

[00:12:15]

This is one thing that's just happened over the last couple of months. Remember, for it, right from the beginning of the pandemic, since North Korea closed the border on January the 30th and they've claimed that the state has had absolutely no cases, will quietly know we're still talking about measures to prevent the virus. So it would presume that the state is dealing with a number of outbreaks. How many? We're not sure.

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And you mentioned the typhoon that is expected to arrive soon, even without covid-19 and a typhoon. Mr. Kim needs a new economic plan for his country, doesn't he?

[00:12:50]

Well, he had an economic plan that was due to end 2020 and quietly that seems to have been shelved. And now last week, he announced that there's going to be a new plan in January. Why does all this matter? Well, it matters because the signs that we're seeing coming out of North Korea are not good. And although the tabloids are obsessing over Kim Jong un's health, he is clearly fine that the 25 million people that he presides over are not.

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You've got a number of things clashing this year. And I know it's been a bad year for many countries, but you've got a monsoon season that was the worst and longest on record. You have 10 million people who suffer from food insecurity. Now, that means they live from harvest to harvest. They cannot afford to have more crops damaged. And now we're looking at quite a dangerous typhoon, even though it's a category one. But for North Korean crops, this is a dangerous typhoon heading their way.

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All foreign embassies, certainly a number of them from Europe, have left. There are very few foreign workers left, very few kind of aid organizations. So if things do get bad in North Korea, we may not hear about it.

[00:13:58]

That was Laura Becker, our correspondent in Seoul.

[00:14:03]

Still to come in this broadcast, the strength of a bond is directly linked to the amount of time you spend together in a friendship can deteriorate beyond repair in just three months. Why lock down might be having a lasting and damaging effect on the relationships.

[00:14:21]

Use one pathogen to fight another, that's what Australian scientists have done in an attempt to fight dengue fever. The disease is caused by a virus which is spread by mosquitoes, by injecting those mosquitoes with bacteria. Researchers managed to achieve an impressive drop in the number of infections. Professor Cameron Simmons from the World Mosquito Program was the lead researcher on the project.

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Wolbachia is a very common insect bacteria. You can find it in up to 50 per cent of insect species, but it didn't naturally exist in the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads dengue. What our program a decade ago was established stable infections of the Wolbachia bacteria in Aedes aegypti and were able to spread the word back to the bacteria into Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in disease affected communities and stop those mosquitoes from being able to transmit dengue.

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So how do you inject mosquitoes? A question for our global health correspondent, Naomi Grimly.

[00:15:21]

Well, actually, what they do is inject the eggs of the mosquitoes. They micro inject them. Then, of course, the mosquitoes hatch and they are carrying this bacterium Wolbachia. And then when they breed, this is the interesting bit when they breed with other mosquitoes, that Wolbachia goes to their offspring. So it is a self-sustaining solution, if you like. And it also means that once they've done this, it means that while Wolbachia is in the environment and these mosquitoes then can't spread the virus.

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How does the bacteria stop them from doing that? So the bacterium actually basically starves the virus. So the virus and the bacterium are competing for resources and that means that eventually the mosquito can't pass it by sucking the blood of a human so it can't help transmit the virus from human to human.

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So this is an ingenious new discovery. What are the practical implications?

[00:16:17]

Well, the good news is it's very cheap. It's also environmentally friendly because, of course, the other solution is to use insecticides. So now the World Mosquito Program is going to look at doing it in other cities. They're looking at 11:00 around the world, including Rio. The other big question is, can it work in rural settings? And that's a bit more complicated. Basically, in this case, they divided a city in Indonesia up into 24 sections.

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They gave 12 of the sections, the mosquitoes with the Wolbachia and didn't have it. And they realized that a few people were falling ill in the areas with the mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia that was named grimly.

[00:16:59]

Our global health correspondent, Jason, more than 180 countries around the world are struggling to deal with a disease that just seven months ago few of us had even heard of. The coronavirus pandemic has changed daily life for billions, from government leaders to ordinary citizens, all are impatiently awaiting a vaccine. Imagine, folks, reports from Geneva on the intense global race to create one covid-19 case, a spike in some countries.

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It's clear that the pandemic isn't slowing down 20 million cases, three quarters of a million deaths, months of locked down and covid-19 is still spreading. A vaccine may be the key out of this trap, but who's likely to get a successful vaccine first? Seth Barclay of the Global Vaccine Alliance GAVI wants a fair multilateral approach.

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When you think about governments, the first instinct is how do we get vaccines for our citizens? What this virus has taught us, though, nobody is safe unless everybody is safe in a pandemic within about three months, it was in one hundred and eighty countries around the world. So even if you could get vaccine just for your country, as long as the virus is circulating, you are still at risk.

[00:18:15]

The Kovács pillar is founded on the principle of equitable access. Together with the World Health Organization, GAVI has set up Kovács, a project in which countries pool science and money to get a vaccine. They all have access to one of the first on board with Switzerland, a wealthy country with a world leading pharmaceutical industry. Naura crooning of the Swiss Federal Health Office.

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We are truly engaged in vaccine multilateralism now because we do know that we will not find a quick solution if we do it alone.

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If I look at an example like Switzerland, if we just follow one candidate from one company that might not work.

[00:18:59]

Such enlightened self-interest sounds promising. Kovács aims to have two billion doses of vaccine by the end of next year. Participating countries will get enough for 20 percent of their populations. But governments, of course, want more during the 2009 swine flu. Pandemic Thomas Cooney of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries remembers, he and his colleagues faced a bidding war from anxious world leaders.

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There is a risk that the pharma companies are caught in the middle and we will be exposed to political pressure. I've heard some politicians who committed to global public goods, to global solidarity, saying, of course, the citizens of my country will get the vaccine first. And that's why proof of the pudding is in eating. And then it's up to the politicians.

[00:19:56]

90 million doses of potential coronavirus vaccines have been secured by the government.

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Pfizer and the government have struck an agreement to produce millions of doses of its vaccine.

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Already, richer countries like the United States and the United Kingdom have signed contracts, giving them the right to buy the first batches of vaccines they think will work. And despite that promise of vaccine multilateralism, Switzerland is the latest. It has agreed a multi-million dollar deal with US company Moderna to buy four million doses immagine folks in Geneva.

[00:20:32]

For millions of people around the world, the coronavirus pandemic has meant lockdown. Now there are concerns that months of isolation could have a lasting impact on friendships. Researchers from Oxford University say many social connections are in danger of just fizzling out because of a lack of contact. Our science correspondent Victoria Gill reports.

[00:20:53]

Maintaining a strong social bond takes time and effort. That's according to evolutionary psychologists who study the social lives of our closest primate relatives, whether you're a monkey or a human. The strength of a bond is directly linked to the amount of time you spend together, and a friendship can deteriorate beyond repair in just three months. This, scientists say, is likely to be bad news for what they call a more marginal friendships. Without the reinforcement of a shared workplace or a chat at the school gates, some less valued relationships could be irreparably damaged by lockdown.

[00:21:26]

Many people have swapped face to face contact for video chats, but the researchers say that this and social distancing has left us deprived of human touch. Just like the grooming that chimpanzees spend hours doing. A welcome squeeze on the arm or a cuddle from a friend causes our brains to release pleasure boosting chemicals. And that helps explain why many of us might feel we're fighting a pretty fundamental need for a hug.

[00:21:50]

That was Victoria Gill, our science correspondent. I sent her a hug gift, but it's really not the same.

[00:21:56]

Japanese scientists say they have new evidence to suggest bacteria could survive a journey from Earth to Mars. The view is based on research carried out at the International Space Station. A molecular has more details.

[00:22:09]

The diner cockers microbe is extremely resistant to radiation, freezing cold temperatures, dehydration and ultraviolet light because it can repair its DNA when it gets damaged. So scientists took clumps of the bacteria and attach them to the outside of the International Space Station. After three years, they found that whilst the outer layers of the clusters were destroyed, they had shielded the inner layers from the ravages of space. The researchers believe this finding helped support the theory that life on earth began with microbes that arrived from outer space on comets and meteorites.

[00:22:44]

Emily Haller, the first blockbuster film to be released since the start of the pandemic. Christopher Nolan's thriller Tennet is making its debut in 70 countries today. The release has already been pushed back several times as a result of coronavirus, which has cost the cinema industry an enormous amount of money.

[00:23:02]

As our entertainment correspondent Zoe in the cinema industry has lost hundreds of millions because of covid-19, many screens have been opened but reduced capacity because of social distancing. Public concerns about safety and a shortage of big new film releases have all meant that box office revenue has still been relatively low.

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As I understand it. We're trying to prevent World War three. It is the first big blockbuster to be released into cinemas since the pandemic began. Its release has been pushed back several times. Many in the industry are hoping that the attraction of a big budget sci fi thriller from The Dark Knight trilogy director Christopher Nolan will begin a trend of large numbers returning to the cinema Lizzo member.

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Our entertainment correspondent. And still on the subject of films because they don't just throw this thing together. Have a listen to this.

[00:24:01]

We have a lot of drugs and money to stay alert. Sounds dramatic, doesn't it? That's the trailer for Santana, which is one of a new wave of African films making their debut on Netflix, Santtana explores the rivalry between two brothers who are police officers engaged in the fight against organized crime. It's a co-production between Angola and South Africa and the first film from Angola to be included in the Netflix catalogue. Santana's co-director, Chris Roland, told Laurence Poulard how the platform became involved.

[00:24:39]

We were actually scheduled to be in cinemas on May 15. Guess what stopped that? Yeah, of course. Coronavirus, obviously. So Netflix came to the party. We had already had a deal with Netflix to be on the channel prior to where we were going to have the world premiere on our cinema. And when that wasn't able to happen, Netflix came to the party and said, listen, we understand. We still want it on our channel. We'll give it the world premiere.

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And we renegotiated the deal. And we're extremely happy that Netflix came to the party for that.

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So and give us the film to give us an idea how important distribution is, because if, for example, we talk about African music, there's a lot of great African music stars who travel the world. This stuff can be bought, it can be streamed and so on. Of course, it's a different medium. It's a different thing.

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So how important is streaming in, getting African content out there and what sort of African content gets out there?

[00:25:33]

Well, streaming is really important, especially for not just for African content, but any kind of independent films from around the world, because pretty much cinema is the realm of large, big blockbuster films and smaller films or independent films from around the world generally either get released in their own countries and and sometimes through a limited release, but very rarely will make a big splash cinematically around the world. So the only way that we can move our films that are stories around the world is through screaming.

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That's it.

[00:26:05]

Does the streaming make the calculations on raising money, which of course is crucial because it's an expensive business to streaming make the raising of the money easier.

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I mean, Netflix in investing on this or they're picking up on something that you're already make the answer.

[00:26:19]

That question is how long is a piece of string? Yes, it is extremely difficult to raise money, as you know, for movies when it comes to streaming of film around the world. That's a whole different kind of ball of wax. The industry has changed dramatically in the last sort of five, six, seven years. The way that we finance films and release films today is so much different than it was before. But having platforms like, you know, like Netflix, like Hulu and the rest of them, it does make it easier for filmmakers to raise financing because generally those platforms will will fund 100 percent of the film.

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They end up owning it 100 percent, meaning the producers is no longer own the film, but at least we get our films out there.

[00:26:59]

That was Chris Rowland, one of the co-director of Santtana, speaking to Laurence Pollard.

[00:27:06]

And that's it from us for now. But there will be an updated version of the Global News podcast later. If you'd like to comment on this edition or any of the topics we've covered in it, do please send us an email. The address is Global Podcast and BBC don't code onto UK. And if you want to send a Twitter huncke to Victoria girl, she's at Vich Underscore Gayle and I'm sure she'd be delighted to know that I've mentioned it. I'm Jackie Leonard and until next time, goodbye.