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x0x Turkish news for week ending 29 March 2008

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  • Turkish Culture List
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    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 3, 2008
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      x0x Turkish news for week ending 29 March 2008

      [Best when viewed with the courier font.]


      A service of the TURKISH RADIO HOUR, producer of:

      Saturdays at 6:00 P.M.
      KUSF FM 90.3, San Francisco

      Also tune to

      Tuesdays at 10:00 P.M.

      Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your host is Murat Temeltas

      For a subscription to the Internet edition of this news,
      send a blank email to:



      Edited by Murat Temeltas

      * The private Turkish Channel NTV reports that over the past year, the
      battle between and democratically elected government government led by
      devout Muslims and its opposition, loosely defined as the secular elite,
      has shifted from Parliament, to the ballot box, to the courts. Turkey's
      military, an instigator of coups in past decades, has warned that secular
      ideals are in peril, though an armed intervention seems unlikely for now.
      As reported to you in the past two weeks in March Turkey's chief
      prosecutor of the high Court of Appeals filed a petition and asked for 71
      people, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President
      Abdullah Gul, should be banned from politics for five years.
      The latest on this is as follows:
      The court's rapporteur, Osman Can, sent his assessment of the 162-page
      document to the judges on Thursday night, a court official who has seen
      Can's report said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized
      to talk to the media.
      Mr. Can suggested that the court hear the case but ask the prosecutor's
      office to provide more evidence, the official said. Hurriyet newspaper
      reported in its Friday edition that the rapporteur also said "closing down
      parties is not compatible with democratic systems."
      The rapporteur's conclusion is not binding for the court, which needs a
      majority of at least 6-5 to accept the case. However, any decision to
      close the party requires a 7-4 vote. In 1998 and 2001, the court closed
      parties deemed to be anti-secular.
      The ruling party has a majority in the 550-member parliament, and its
      members could likely regroup in a new party in order to lead the
      government despite the disruption of any closure.
      The government says the case is a desperate act by opponents in the
      judiciary and other state sectors who resent the erosion of their
      traditional power, as well as a blow to Turkey's efforts to model its
      democratic institutions on Western standards as a condition of EU
      membership. Turkey's European campaign has already been damaged by French
      and German misgivings, a dispute over the divided island of Cyprus and
      divisions within the predominantly Muslim nation that have sapped domestic
      support for the project.
      The conflict in Turkey, a NATO member with more than 70 million people,
      intensified last year when the military-backed opposition in Parliament
      tried in vain to derail Gul's presidential candidacy. Also in 2007, the
      ruling party surged to re-election with 47 percent of the popular vote,
      and national attention shifted temporarily to an escalation in the fight
      against Kurdish Workers Party based in Iraq.
      The roots of the conflict lie in the era of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the
      national founder and early 20th century war hero who viewed Islam as an
      impediment to modern development and a symbol of the ills of the decrepit
      Ottoman Empire.
      Ataturk imposed a secular system with an authoritarian streak,
      restricting religious dress, education and practices. Today, his
      ideological heirs spar with a government led by an emboldened class of
      Muslims who don't view Ataturk with the same reverence, though they cite a
      reformist record as proof that they won't dismantle secularism.
      Leading business groups in Turkey have urged political parties to reduce
      tension and focus on economic development at a time when global markets
      have been shaken by the sharp economic slowdown in the United States. The
      Turkish stock market plunged on March 17, partly in response to the
      prosecutor's announcement of the case against the ruling party.

      * Speaking of groups urging for political parties to reduce tension,
      Meeting in Istanbul Wednesday, the heads of the Turkish Industrialists and
      Businessmen Association, Turkish Public Worker's Labor Union,
      Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions, Tradesmen's and Artisan's
      Confederation, Confederation of Employers Associations, and Turkish
      Agricultural Chambers' Union issued a joint call for "Common Sense in
      Turkey," reported the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.
      The statement was read out to the press by Turkish Industrialists and
      Businessmen Association head Rifat Hisarciklioglu as well as all across
      Turkey. "Today is a historic day," said the statement, one in which common
      sense and cool-headedness are needed.
      "Turkish democracy and law are undergoing a difficult test," it said.
      "We all hope we can get through this period without suffering any harm."
      The statement also stressed that Turkey should swiftly focus on
      addressing its economic and social problems.

      * NTV reports that Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party may table
      a bill with the parliament to change the constitution in order to make it
      more difficult to ban political parties, a senior party official said late
      The bill could make changes to Article 69 of the constitution, which
      sets out the principles to be observed by political parties and Article 83
      covering parliamentary immunity

      * The Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reports that speaking at his party's group
      meeting on Tuesday, opposition Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet
      Bahceli urged everyone to unite in democratic solidarity to end the
      tension currently rocking Turkey.
      Commenting on the closure case against the ruling Justice and
      Development Party, Mr. Bahceli said, "The most important task ahead of us
      is keeping the crisis from deepening. The place for a solution is

      * The Turkish daily Hurriyet reports that the Turkish President Abdullah
      Gul held separate talks with main opposition Republican People's Party
      leader Deniz Baykal, opposition Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet
      Bahceli, and Great Union Party Muhsin Yazicioglu.
      Afterwards, Mr. Baykal said that he and Gul had spoken about Turkey's
      recent cross-border operation into northern Iraq and visits to Ankara by
      Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Vice President Dick Cheney. Saying that
      neither had brought up the probe into a right-wing gang, the headscarf
      issue, or proposed constitutional changes on closing political parties, he
      added, 'We focused on subjects such as foreign policy and security
      Later, Mr. Gul met with Bahceli and Yazicioglu at the Cankaya Palace.
      Following the meeting, Mr. Yazicioglu said that the northern Iraq
      operation and foreign policy had dominated the discussion, along with
      recent domestic political tension.

      * Neither reports say that Turkish military announced that at least 15
      Kurdistan Workers Party members died in cross-border shelling on Thursday
      as they prepared to attack targets in Turkey. Air strikes were carried out
      on Friday, but it was unclear how many casualties had been caused by the
      In a week-long offensive last month, Turkey targeted bases it said were
      used by the Kurdistan Workers Party for cross-border attacks. Up to 3,000
      people attached to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, used the bases, it said.
      Both the U.S. and the European Union list Kurdistan Workers Party as a
      terrorist organization because of its indiscriminate attacks on civilian
      targets in addition to the military ones.

      * Turkey's prime minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan tour the Balkans last
      week. His first stop was Bosnia-Herzegovina. Later he was at Albania and
      The Turkish prime minister tried to drum up more trade between Turkey
      and these nations. Currently Turkey's trade with Bulgaria stands at $4
      billion, and Mr. Erdogan said that this will top $10 billion soon. The
      construction boom in Bulgaria accounted for the bulk of Turkish business
      in the country.
      Annual trade with Bosnia last year was $272 million and with Albania
      stood at $318 million.
      Apart from trade ties, Turkish military has been training the military
      officers of Albania and Bosnia.

      * On a trip to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Turkish armed
      forces chief of general staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit decried the suffering
      the Republican's international isolation causes Turkish Cypriots, adding
      that that isolation should be brought to a swift end and the Turkish
      Republic of Northern Cyprus should be integrated to the international
      community, reports the Turkish daily Milliyet.
      Underlining that Turkish Armed Forces troops on the island are not an
      occupying force but instead ensure the security of the Turkish Cypriots,
      Mr. Buyukanit said, "Turkish troops will stay on the island until a just
      and lasting settlement is reached."

      * Speaking of Cyprus, British Minister for European Affairs Jim Murphy
      said that his country favored not the division of Cyprus, but its unity.
      Mr. Murphy was staging and London before and impending visit to Turkey.

      * Two weeks ago Turkey shut down access to YouTube after a Turkish
      prosecutor deemed some videos insulting to the country's revered founding
      father Mr. Kemal Ataturk.
      YouTube removed the videos and announced this in a statement last week.
      YouTube said that the videos violate its content policy.

      * Turkey's Competition Board on Friday ratified the sale of state tobacco
      producer TEKEL cigarette to international cigarette corporation British
      American Tobacco.
      British American Tobacco won control of TEKEL Cigarette after offering
      1.7 billion dollars at a privatization auction held in February.
      British American Tobacco beat out three other bidders in the auction.

      * Although we reported to last week that the Turkish government and the
      labor unions have reached an agreement on certain aspects of a Social
      Security reform, the news coming to us this week indicates that Turkish
      wage earners still disagree with the government.
      Members of many of Turkey's leading trade union organizations will
      conduct a half day strike on April 1 to protest against planned government
      reforms to the country's social security system labour groups claim will
      undermine workers rights.


      * In Turkey there are more than 12 million people aged between 15 and 24,
      or 17.6 percent of the entire population, and this demographic window of
      opportunity can turn upside down if Turkey fails to invest in its youth,
      says the UN's 2008 development report.
      "If this opportunity is mismanaged, unemployment, poverty and social
      unrest may lie ahead", the report warns.
      The United Nations development program report offers guidance on how
      employment, education and health policies for youth need to be reshaped to
      ensure these policies are people-oriented and better prepare the country
      for the upcoming the demographic challenges.
      The report warns that the situation will change. By 2040 the only
      growing segment of the population will be the senior citizens above age
      See the UN Development Program for Turkey

      * According to the Dogan News Agency, the three-million-year-old Karagol
      Crater Lake, located in the Beyagac Township of the Aegean city of
      Denizli, is set to become a tourist spot.
      Authorities will start a new project to develop fishing and caravan
      tourism around the lake.
      Covering an area of 30 hectares, Karagol is nourished by melting snow
      flowing from the Cicekbaba and Armutcik mountains and the Tokatli plateau,
      said Beyagac Governor Omer Dagdeviren.
      "Karag?s like a natural laboratory. It receives interest due to its
      hundreds of types of birds, flora and natural life, " says the Governor.
      See more at:

      * The Anatolia News Agency reports that the ancient city of Zeugma will be
      protected from bad weather conditions with glass. The protection for the
      works of art will be like a glass bell. After the project is complete some
      works in the Gaziantep Museum will be moved to their original place.
      The ancient city of Zeugma is located near Turkey's southeastern city of
      Zeugma was founded in 300 B.C. by Alexander the Great under the name of
      Selevkaya Euphrates. In 64 B.C., Zeugma was conquered and ruled by the
      Roman Empire and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge-passage" or "bridge of
      During Roman rule, the city became one of the commercial hubs in the
      region, due to its strategic location on the Silk Road.
      King Shapur I of Sassanid invaded and totally destroyed Zeugma in A.D.
      256. In addition to the invasion, a violent earthquake later hit the city
      and buried it beneath rubble. The city never gained the prosperity once
      achieved during the Roman rule.
      The Gaziantep Archaeology Museum carried out the first excavations in
      1987 in Zeugma while the second excavations were conducted by the museum's
      director Rifat Ergec in 1992, when some mosaics and villas were unearthed.
      A number of Turkish and foreign scientists have been conducting
      excavation works at the site since 1993 before a major part of the ancient
      city gets inundated by the waters of the newly constructed Birecik Dam.
      The Zuegma mosaics, considered to be the most important finds, as well
      as the collection of seals and wall paintings uncovered during excavations
      in the ancient city are on display at the Gaziantep Archaeology Museum.
      See more at:

      * Renowned Italian - Tunisian born - actress Claudia Cardinale will come
      to Istanbul as a guest of the 27th International Istanbul Film Festival.
      Cardinale will be presented a "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the
      opening ceremony of the festival on April 4 in Lutfi Kirdar International
      Congress and Exhibition Center.
      The film "Leopar / Il Gattopardo," which stars Cardinale, Burt Lancaster
      and Alain Delon, will be screened during the film festival. It is a
      masterpiece of Luchino Visconti, who won the best director award in Palme
      d'Or, and was first screened in 1963. The film will be on screen at
      Beyoglu's Emek Theater Hall on April 5 and Ms. Cardinale will attend the
      screening with the audience.
      The web page is of the Istanbul Film Festival are at:

      * Speaking of films, the giant Indian film industry, Bollywood, with more
      than 1,000 films shot each year and 2 billion viewers around the world, is
      preparing to promote Turkey globally.
      Producers in Bollywood took their first step toward Turkey through the
      Indian movie 'Mission Istanbul', reports Ceyhun Kuburlu of the Turkish
      daily Hurriyet.
      The film is expected to hit the theaters in July in 50 countries around
      the world. The producer expects 500 million viewers.
      See more about the movie at:


      * The Turkish daily News reports that a Turkish film festival has started
      in Boston this week with the screening of director Fatih Ak?n's film "The
      Edge of Heaven".
      The 7th Boston Turkish Film and Music Festival will run through May 11.
      Director Ferzan Öºpetek's "Saturno Contro", Tayfun Pirselimoglu's
      "Riza," Dervis Zaim's "Waiting for Heaven", Baris Pirhasan's "Adam and the
      Devil" and Turgut Yasalar's "Fog and Night" will make their U.S. debuts,
      said a press release from the festival committee.
      Also, within the festival program, the theater play "The Cry of the
      Reed," written by Sinan Onel, will take the stage at Wimberley Theater
      from April 9 to May 3, and internationally known kanun virtuoso Tahir
      Aydogdu will have a concert.
      For more information go to:

      * The establishment of a cement plant in the ancient city of Kastabala in
      the Mediterranean Osmaniye province will damage the environment of the
      Experts say the plant should move to another place for the protection of
      the environment and people living in the region.
      The ancient city of Kastabala is home to Turkey's first open air museum,
      Karatepe, which the internationally renowned archaeologist Halet Ç¡mbel
      unearthed after a 62-year-long effort, and KIrmItlI Bird Paradise, home to
      131 bird species, most of which are on the verge of becoming extinct.
      However, the locals want the plant to be built, since it will bring 800
      jobs to the region. Experts counter and say the promotion of the region
      and bringing tourists would bring more jobs.
      The ancient city of Kastabala is situated within the borders of
      Kesmeburun and Bahce villages in Osmaniye's Kadirli district.
      The notable attractions of Kastabala include the remarkable avenue with
      pillars along with its amphitheater with a capacity to accommodate an
      audience of 5,000. The important ruins of the ancient city are two
      churches, the castle, the Roman bath, the stadium, the necropolis'
      surrounding all around the city and the ruins of the aqueduct constructed
      over the Ceyhan river located approximately five kilometers northeast of
      the city.
      You can photographs of the area at:

      * A new book is out on Hattusha. Hattusha was the capital of the Hittite
      Empire. Its remains are located in Turkey's Corum province in the
      northeastern part of Central Anatolia.
      It was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1986.
      Excavations there started at the beginning of the 1900s.
      Recent Hattusha excavation chairman, Dr. J?Seeher, has prepared a
      book called "Hattusha - Mud Brick City Wall".
      The book covers the reconstruction of the city wall. The Hittite wall,
      which used to be 4 miles long, was rebuilt between 2003-2005.
      Now there stands a 65-meter long wall, which consists of three walls and
      two towers.
      The Hittites were an ancient people who spoke an Indo-European language,
      and established a kingdom centered at Hattusha in north-central Anatolia,
      the Asiatic part of modern-day Turkey, from the 18th century BC. In the
      14th century BC, the Hittite empire was at its height, encompassing
      Anatolia, north-western Syria, and eastward into upper Mesopotamia.
      After 1180 BC, the empire disintegrated into several independent
      "Neo-Hittite" city-states, some surviving until as late as the 8th century
      Many of the modern city names in Turkey are derived from their original
      Hittite names, such as Sinop and Adana, showing the impact of Hittite
      culture in Anatolia.
      Learn more about the Hittite capital at:

      * The Anatolia news agency reports that Turkish Poet Naz?m Hikmet Ran, who
      put his feelings and longing on paper, will be remembered once again in
      Russia, where he spent his last years, with the "Naz?m Oratorio," composed
      by the renowned Turkish pianist Faz?l Say.
      This will be the first performance of the composition outside of Turkey.
      Turkey's culture and tourism ministry organize the concert. Maestro
      Ibrahim Yazici will conduct the Ministry National Polyphonic Chorus.
      Mr.Say will be playing the piano.
      Young Turkish musicians will be a part of the concert.
      Mr. Say's work was performed 15 times in Turkey.
      During the performance renowned Turkish actor Genco Erkal will read
      Mr.Hikmet's poems and the translation will run on an electronic billboard.
      The composition's DVD went on sale five month ago. "The sales are
      successful and many people watch the oratorio through 'youtube,'" said
      See more about Nazim Hikmet at:

      * Istanbul has started hosting a shiny and dazzling fair this week. The
      26th International Jewelry, Silver, Watch and Equipment Fair, that opened
      its doors to visitors at the Istanbul Expo Center, reports that Turkish
      Daily News.
      The fair, that has been organized for the past 22 years, created a
      unique business environment in one of the fastest developing regions of
      the world.
      The fair is attracting jewelers from all over the world to either
      purchase jewelery or exhibit their products, and provides opportunities to
      build business and sales contacts with Turkey, the European Union, the
      Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Mediterranean
      There are 642 local and 524 foreign companies attending the fair.
      Turkey is considered the third largest manufacturer of gold jewelry in
      the world.
      Turkey serves 55 neighboring countries in its region as a distribution
      hub and jewelry superstore. It is the second largest exporter of jewelry
      in the world.
      More about the fair is at:


      * Gaziantep's historic Gogush Mansion, which has been restored, will serve
      as a museum and promote traditional culinary culture. Gaziantep is located
      in southeastern Turkey.
      Gogush Mansion was built in 1905 and is located in the historical part
      of the city, to the south of Gaziantep Fort.
      The museum will be named the "Emine Gogus Culinary Museum." In addition
      to promoting Gaziantep's traditional cuisine, the exhibits will display
      the traditional kitchen utensils and appliances of the region.
      See the following article for more about Gaziantep and its cuisine:

      * The Anatolia News Agency reports that Mustafa Kemal University has
      launched a project dubbed "The River Asi Delta Archaeological Research
      The project aims at drawing a map of cultural heritage, both excavated
      and still underground in Asi delta, located within the borders of Turkey's
      Mediterranean province of Hatay--the Biblical Antioch.
      "Hatay, a city in southeastern Anatolia, has an outstandingly rich
      cultural heritage that has not been fully grasped and evaluated," said
      Assistant Professor Hatice Pamir of the Mustafa Kemal University
      Department of Archaeology at Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
      Within the project that Mustafa Kemal University lends its full support
      to, archaeological research was conducted on the surface of a mound in
      Sutashi town of Samandag district in 2002, she added.
      "We found the remains of three different ports that are situated on top
      of each other and that belonged to three different historical periods,"
      said Pamir.
      "We discovered that this place was among the most popular ports from the
      Bronze Age to the Islamic era.
      "Surface examination also revealed that the ports engaged in trade with
      Greece, Egypt and Cyprus.
      "In addition to these, a total of 55 different settlement spots were
      discovered on the delta.
      "We are now awaiting approval of Culture and Tourism Ministry to hold
      excavations to unveil Sabuniye, Al Mina and Seleukeia Pieria, famous ports
      of the time," said Pamir.
      Ms. Pamir noted Hatay is known solely for a small number of historic
      spots and tourists only visit those spots, but once the map is completed,
      a myriad of ancient spots, will attract a more diverse groups of visitors
      to Hatay.
      See the following paper for more on the project:

      * According to the Anatolia News Agency, Sakip Sabanci Museum will display
      its collection of Ottoman calligraphy art in the Spanish city of Seville
      after the exhibition in Madrid ends.
      The exhibition will take place in Real Alcazar Palace from April 4 -
      June 15. There will be 96 pieces of art from the museum's collection,
      which belongs to the period starting from the late 15th to the 20th
      Apart from displaying calligraphy art works by Sheyh Hamdullah, Shehzade
      Korkut, Ahmed Karahisari, Dervish Ali, Hafiz Osman, Yedikuleli Seyyid
      Abdullah, Mustafa Rakim, Kazasker Mustafa Izzet and Sami Efendi, the tools
      they used for calligraphy art will also be in the exhibit.
      See http://muze.sabanciuniv.edu

      * The International Ankara Music Festival, which is marking its 25th year,
      will treat Ankara music enthusiasts to a memorable month in April.
      Organized by the Sevda-Cenap and Music Foundation, the festival will be
      held from April 4-26 and will bring together a number of widely acclaimed
      singers, orchestras, and choirs from 18 countries and Turkey in the
      See more about the festival that:

      * As Istanbul prepares to be the European Capital of Culture in 2010,
      various historic quarters and buildings are being renovated, new art
      centers are opening every day, while some buildings are being redesigned.
      Garanti Bank, one of Turkey's largest, has begun redesigning art centers
      at three of their buildings as part of the changes.
      Renovations have recently begun at the Platform Garanti Contemporary Art
      Center and the Garanti Gallery, host to the International Istanbul
      Biennial and a myriad of art exhibitions throughout the year.
      Located on historic Voyvoda Street, the 116-year old building currently
      home to Garanti Bank's headquarters and the Ottoman Bank Museum will be
      converted into a multi-functional culture center.
      Garanti's headquarters will be transferred to another building in the
      See more about Istanbul as the European capital culture at:
      http://www.istanbul2010.org/?p=&lang=eng and


      EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 1.28


      High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather

      Ankara, in central Turkey----------: 55/45 Rainy
      Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 64/52 Heavy Showers
      Erzurum in eastern Turkey----------: 59/30 Rainy
      Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 52/45 Rainy
      Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 63/50 Mostly Cloudy
      Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 52/46 Rainy

      Snow depths at skiing locations:

      Erciyes, in Kayseri, Central Turkey 3 inches
      Ilgaz, in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey 28 inches
      Kartalkaya, in Bolu, Western Turkey 45 inches
      Palandoken, in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey 10 inches
      Sarikamis, in Kars, Eastern Turkey 31 inches
      Uludag, in Bursa, Western Turkey 53 inches


      Men's Basketball

      1. Be$ikta$ Cola Turka 45
      2. Efes Pilsen 44
      3. Fenerbahce Ulker 42
      4. Galatasaray Cafe Crown 41
      5. TURK Telekom 41
      6. Antalya B$b. 40
      7. Pinar Kar$iyaka 39
      8. Kepez Belediye 36
      9. Casa TED A. Kolejliler 36
      10. Mersin Buyuk$ehir Bld. 36
      11. Banvit 35
      12. Mutlu Aku Selcuk Univ. 34
      13. Oyak Renault 34
      14. Alpella 33
      15. Daru$$afaka 32
      16. TTNet Beykoz 32

      Lady's Basketball:

      1. Fenerbahce 40
      2. Galatasaray 38
      3. Be$ikta$ Cola Turka 37
      4. Pankup TED Kayseri Koleji 35
      5. Bota$ Spor Kulubu 35
      6. Mersin Buyuk$ehir Bld. 33
      7. Ceyhan Belediye 32
      8. Bahce$ehir Burhaniye Belediye 28
      9. Cankaya Universitesi 27
      10. Migros Spor Kulubu 27
      11. Istanbul Universitesi 25
      12. Edremit Basketbol 12


      *** Turkish American Association of California is a non-profit
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      International Cultural Program.

      San Francisco World TV Channel 29
      Sundays at 9-10 A.M.

      *** Stay tuned to our program for free tickets for a
      Mesut Öºgen
      performance in the coming weeks:

      The performance is on Wednesday, April 16, 2008
      folk-inspired Turkish classical guitarist
      Door 7:30 P.M., Music 8:00 P.M.

      Freight & Salvage Coffee House
      1111 Addison Street
      Berkeley, CA 94702
      Telephone: (510) 548-1761

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