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Drones Patrol US Skies, Family Net Worth Plummets 40% in 3 Years, Military Sexual Trauma
Revealing News Articles
June 19, 2012

Dear friends,

Below are key excerpts of important news articles on a major expansion of aerial drones which patrol US skies, a 40% decline of family net worth in the US, the Pentagon's cover-up of military sexual trauma, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. The most important sentences are highlighted. And don't miss the "What you can do" box below the summaries. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

With best wishes,
Tod Fletcher and Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info

Special note: To learn about the movement spearheaded by Ben Cohen (of Ben & Jerry's ice cream) to occupy dollar bills, click here. For a fun, three-minute video on the strange world of quantum mechanics, click here. For some useful information on how to avoid the dangers of cell phones by Dr. Mercola, click here. For an excellent and revealing article by Matt Taibbi on the recent U.S. Senate hearing with Jamie Diamond, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, click here. For a powerful 24-minute TED Talk about weaknesses in the U.S. justice system, click here.

Please help: Your donations help to keep this high-quality news service going. Please click here to donate.


Drones over America. Are they spying on you?
June 16, 2012, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2012/0616/Drones-over-America.-Are-they-spying-on-you

Most Americans have gotten used to regular news reports about military and CIA drones attacking terrorist suspects – including US citizens – in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere abroad. But picture thousands of drone aircraft buzzing around the United States. By some government estimates, as many as 30,000 drones could be part of intelligence gathering and law enforcement here in the United States within the next ten years. Operated by agencies down to the local level, this would be in addition to the 110 current and planned drone activity sites run by the military services in 39 states, reported this week by the Federation of American Scientists, a non-government research project. Civil libertarians warn that "unmanned aircraft carrying cameras raise the prospect of a significant new avenue for the surveillance of American life," as the American Civil Liberties Union put it in a report last December. "The technology is quickly becoming cheaper and more powerful, interest in deploying drones among police departments is increasing, and our privacy laws are not strong enough to ensure that the new technology will be used responsibly and consistently with democratic values," reported the ACLU. "In short, all the pieces appear to be lining up for the eventual introduction of routine aerial surveillance in American life."

Note: For deeper analysis of the threats posed to American citizens by military and police drones in the skies, click here. For information on a federal recent law compelling the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to fly in US skies, click here. For more information on the use of drones by police in the US, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on surveillance in the US, click here.


War Evolves With Drones, Some Tiny as Bugs
June 20, 2011, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/20/world/20drones.html

Military researchers are at work on another revolution in the air: shrinking unmanned drones ... to the size of insects and birds. The drones in development ... are designed to replicate the flight mechanics of moths, hawks and other inhabitants of the natural world. "We're looking at how you hide in plain sight," said Greg Parker, an aerospace engineer, as he held up a prototype of a mechanical hawk that in the future might carry out espionage or kill. An explosion in aerial drones is transforming the way America fights and thinks about its wars. Predator drones ... are by now a brand name, known and feared around the world. But far less known is the sheer size, variety and audaciousness of a rapidly expanding drone universe, along with the dilemmas that come with it. The Pentagon now has some 7,000 aerial drones, compared with fewer than 50 a decade ago. Within the next decade the Air Force anticipates a decrease in manned aircraft but expects its number of "multirole" aerial drones like the Reaper – the ones that spy as well as strike – to nearly quadruple, to 536. Already the Air Force is training more remote pilots, 350 this year alone, than fighter and bomber pilots combined. "It's a growth market," said Ashton B. Carter, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer. The Pentagon has asked Congress for nearly $5 billion for drones next year, and by 2030 envisions ever more stuff of science fiction: "spy flies" equipped with sensors and microcameras to detect enemies

Note: Ashton B. Carter, CIA director John Deutch, and executive director of the 9/11 Commission Philip Zelikow co-authored a 1998 article in the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs, titled "Catastrophic Terrorism". It predicted, years in advance, a massive attack on the World Trade Center that would result in loss of civil liberties, detention without charge, torture, and endless wars abroad. The Pentagon's weapons-buying spree, now including billions of dollars for drones to be used over US soil, and for which Carter is the "chief weapons buyer," would have been impossible without the 9/11 attacks.


Drones, computers new weapons of US shadow wars
June 16, 2012, MSNBC/Associated Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47842756/ns/technology_and_science-security/t/drones-computers-new...

Drone aircraft spy on and attack terrorists with no pilot in harm's way. Small teams of special operations troops quietly train and advise foreign forces. Viruses sent from computers to foreign networks strike silently, with no American fingerprint. It's war in the shadows, with the U.S. public largely in the dark. The high-tech warfare allows Obama to target what the administration sees as the greatest threats to U.S. security, without the cost and liabilities of sending a swarm of ground troops to capture territory; some of them almost certainly would come home maimed or dead. But it also raises questions about accountability and the implications for international norms regarding the use of force outside of traditional armed conflict. "Congressional oversight of these operations appears to be cursory and insufficient," said Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy issues for the Federation of American Scientists, a private group. "It is Congress' responsibility to declare war under the Constitution, but instead it appears to have adopted a largely passive role while the executive takes the initiative in war fighting," Aftergood said in an interview. That's partly because lawmakers relinquished their authority by passing a law just after the Sept. 11 [attacks]. In this shroud of secrecy, leaks to the news media of classified details about certain covert operations have led to charges that the White House orchestrated the revelations to bolster Obama's national security credentials and thereby improve his re-election chances.

Note: For deeper analysis of the threats posed to American citizens by military and police drones in the skies, click here. For information on a federal recent law compelling the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to fly in US skies, click here. For more information on the use of drones by police in the US, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on surveillance in the US, click here.


Family net worth plummets nearly 40%
June 11, 2012, CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2012/06/11/news/economy/fed-family-net-worth/

The average American family's net worth dropped almost 40% between 2007 and 2010, according to a triennial study released [on June 11] by the Federal Reserve. The stunning drop in median net worth -- from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010 -- indicates that the recession wiped away 18 years of savings and investment by families. The results ... highlight the marked deterioration in household finances brought on by the financial crisis and ensuing recession. Much of the drop off in net worth -- to levels not seen since 1992 -- was attributable to a sharp decline in housing values, the Fed said. In 2007, the median homeowner had a net worth of $246,000. Three years later that number had fallen to $174,500, a loss of more than $70,000 on average. Making matters worse, income levels also fell during the tumultuous three-year period, with median pre-tax income falling 7.7% as earnings from capital gains all but disappeared. The loss of income and net worth appears to have impacted savings rates, as the number of Americans who said they saved in the prior year fell from 56.4% in 2007 to 52.0% in 2010 -- the lowest level recorded since the early 1990s. Families in the top 10% of income actually saw their net worth increase over the period, rising from a median of $1.17 million in 2007 to $1.19 million in 2010. Middle-class families who ranked in the 40th to 60th percentile of income earners reported that their median net worth fell from $92,300 to $65,900 over the same time period.

Note: What this article fails to emphasize sufficiently is that while most people have lost vast amounts of wealth, the wealthiest 1% has grown incredibly richer even through the recession. Is something wrong here? For key reports from reliable sources on wealth inequality, click here.


A culture of coverup: rape in the ranks of the US military
June 14, 2012, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/14/culture-coverup-rape-ranks-us-military

A new documentary by director Kirby Dick, "The Invisible War," about systemic rape of women in the military and the retaliations and coverups victims face, has won awards in many film festivals, and recently even triggered congressional response. The examples of what happens to women soldiers who are raped in the military are stunning, both in the violence that these often young women face, and in the viciousness they encounter after attacks. The level of sex assault in the military [is] staggering. There is so much of this going on in the US military that women soldiers' advocacy groups have created a new term for it: military sexual trauma or MST. Last year, there were 3,158 cases of sexual assault reported within the military. The Service Women's Action Network notes that rape is always under-reported, and that a military context offers additional hurdles to rape victims: the Department of Defense, they point out, estimates that these numbers are misleading because fewer than 14% of survivors report an assault. The DoD estimates that in 2010 alone, over 19,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military. "Prosecution rates for sexual predators are astoundingly low," they note. In 2011, "officials received 3,192 sexual assault reports. But only 1,518 of those reports led to referrals for possible disciplinary action, and only 191 military members were convicted at courts martial."

Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on the prevalence of rape in the US military and other institutional settings, click here.


Former Penn State president could face charges in Sandusky case
June 11, 2012, MSNBC
http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/11/12169577-nbc-former-penn-state-president...

Pennsylvania prosecutors are considering criminal charges against former top Penn State University officials for allegedly concealing what they knew about the conduct of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. As Sandusky's trial began [on June 11] on 52 counts alleging that he abused 10 boys over 15 years, the sources said investigators had obtained new evidence, including internal university email messages and other documents. Prosecutors [said] they included a file on Sandusky that was "created, maintained and possessed" by former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz. In addition, prosecutors said, the recently discovered emails "contradict" the testimony of Schultz, former athletic director Tim Curley "and others" before a grand jury about what they knew about an allegation of possible sexual misconduct by Sandusky. Both men were charged with perjury for their testimony regarding Sandusky last November. The documents, the sources say, show that former university President Graham Spanier and others discussed whether they were obligated to tell authorities about a 2001 allegation involving a late-night encounter in a Penn State shower room between Sandusky and a young boy, both of whom were naked. The documents allegedly show that university officials even did legal research on whether such conduct might be a crime. But in one email exchange, Spanier and Schultz agreed that it would be "humane" -- to Sandusky -- not to inform social services agencies.

Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on the prevalence of sexual abuse scandals in institutional settings, click here.


Prep-School Predators: Report Alleges Sex Abuse at Elite New York City School
June 9, 2012, TIME Magazine
http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/06/09/prep-school-predators-report-alleges-sex-abuse-at-elite...

For decades, a handful of teachers at the Horace Mann school, an elite prep school in the Bronx [in New York City], sexually abused both their male and female students with various levels of impunity, according to the exposé [in the New York Times Magazine] by screenwriter Amos Kamil. In the article, Kamil, a Horace Mann alumnus, recalls his friends and classmates privately confiding in him the abuse that they endured at the hands of their teachers. Very few of the victims ever reported the abuse, instead resorting to silence, apathy, therapy, alcohol and even suicide. On the two occasions when complaints were made, the offenders were swiftly relieved of their duties; but as Kamil alleges, the school took no action to investigate other similar crimes or to address the mental or other needs of the victims. The case is the latest in a series of New York-area school sex abuse scandals that have come to light lately. At Poly Prep, a prestigious Brooklyn private school, a former football coach was accused of preying on boys in his charge while the school administration turned a blind eye. In April, a former math teacher at Riverdale County School in the Bronx was arrested on charges of sexually abusing a teenaged student. Meanwhile, several New York City public school teachers have been arrested for sexually assaulting students, sparking a district-wide investigation.

Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on the prevalence of sexual abuse scandals in institutional settings, click here. For powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government, click here.


FBI says violent crime fell 4 percent last year; but has long downward trend hit bottom?
June 11, 2012, Washington Post/Associated Press
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/fbi-says-violent-crimes-reported-to-police-fell...

The number of crimes reported to police dropped again last year compared with 2010. Last year marked the fifth straight year of year-to-year improvement for the number of violent crimes reported to authorities. It was the ninth consecutive year of declines for property crimes, according to preliminary FBI data for 2011. The FBI says murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault all went down in 2011. Violent crime decreased in all four regions: 4.9 percent in the Midwest; 4.7 percent in the West; 4.5 percent in the South and 0.8 percent in the Northeast. There was, however, an increase in murder in the Midwest – 0.6 percent – and an 18.3 percent jump in murder in cities with populations of less than 10,000. In the property crime category, motor vehicle theft dropped 3.3 percent, and larceny-theft decreased 0.9 percent. However, burglary offenses increased 0.3 percent, rising 3.2 percent in the Northeast, 1.3 percent in the Midwest and 0.7 percent in the West. The preliminary data is based on information the FBI gathered from 14,009 law enforcement agencies around the United States.

Note: This article is a great example of how the media consistently downplay any good news about the massive drop in crimes over the past 20 years. The entire article fails to mention the inspiring news that violent crime rates are now less than 1/3 what they were in 1994. That's awesome! For lots more on this inspiring news and the media's penchant for playing it down, click here.


Obama punishes leakers only when embarrassed
June 12, 2012, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/11/EDPG1P04MB.DTL

The Obama administration is the most forceful, vigilant and merciless in cracking down on whistle-blowers and leakers in nearly a century. The liberal law professor in the White House is no softie when it comes to punishing voices who undercut his pronouncements and policies. Since 1917, when the Espionage Act was passed to safeguard national secrets, prior presidents have brought three cases. Since taking office, Obama has used the law six times. In most of these cases, the White House went after whistle-blowers and leakers whose claims embarrassed the Obama administration. Examples of such prosecutions include the massive WikiLeaks disclosure of some 250,000 diplomatic cables along with lesser-known instances such as information about rough interrogations and botched computer operations. The common thread: The White House looked bad. Similar prosecution could happen again with the drone and cyber-war stories, but don't count on it. In these two cases, the results enhanced Obama's image, a result that won't draw presidential ire. Also, the news accounts that showed the president in charge of drone targets and approving a computer-jamming worm didn't disclose direct intelligence details or names. But there's a disturbing pattern, especially as the November election draws closer. This White House is bothered by the ever-present suggestion that it's weak on terrorism or hesitant to look tough against looming enemies - and it's willing to go to extraordinary means to pursue leaks of unflattering stories.

Note: For lots more on government secrecy and corruption from reliable sources, click here and here.


Air Force's secret X-37B space plane lands in Calif. after mystery mission
June 16, 2012, MSNBC
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47842589/ns/technology_and_science-space#.T94_HVLDuSo

The U.S. Air Force's robotic X-37B space plane finally returned to Earth Saturday (June 16), wrapping up a mysterious mission that lasted more than year in orbit. The unmanned X-37B spacecraft, also known as Orbital Test Vehicle-2 (OTV-2), glided back to Earth on autopilot, touching down at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:48 a.m. PDT. The landing brought to an end the X-37B program's second-ever spaceflight, a mission that lasted more than 15 months with objectives that remain shrouded in secrecy. The X-37B stayed in orbit for 469 days this time, more than doubling the 225 days its sister ship, OTV-1, spent in space last year on the program's maiden flight. Officials at Vandenberg said the spacecraft conducted "on-orbit experiments" during its mission. The space plane was designed to stay aloft for 270 days, but the Air Force kept it flying well beyond that milestone. Exactly what the spacecraft, which is built by Boeing's Phantom Works division, was doing up there for so long is a secret. The details of the X-37B's mission ... are classified, as is its payload. This secrecy has led to some speculation, especially online and abroad, that the X-37B could be a space weapon of some sort – perhaps a sophisticated satellite-killer. Some experts also suspect that the vehicle may be an orbital spy platform.

Note: For lots more on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.


Teen girl from Egypt has just reinvented space travel
May 30, 2012, MSN
http://now.msn.com/now/0530-egyptian-physics-fuel.aspx

Egyptian Aisha Mustafa, 19, has dazzled the physics world with a new invention that could launch spacecraft off the Earth's surface and soaring through space without any fuel. Space is filled with a billowing sea of quantum particles that jump in and out of existence, and Aisha Mustafa proposes using thin silicon panels, spaced closely together, to trap these particles and then move against them, creating a propelling force. This innovation would make space exploration lighter, safer and cheaper. Mustafa still has some design work to do, but unfortunately her research is currently limited by lack of state funding for space science departments at the university level, though her school's science club did help fund her application for a patent.

Note: For more on this intriguing innovation, click here.


When Nothing Works
December 5, 2011, Harvard Business Review
http://blogs.hbr.org/bregman/2011/12/when-nothing-works.html

Sometimes, not trying to fix something is precisely what's needed to fix it. It's a hard strategy to follow because we have penchant for being proactive. If there's a problem, we feel better when we attack it aggressively. But consider the idea that we might spend a lot of time, effort, and money solving problems that can't, in fact, be solved with time, effort, and money. In 2009, Americans spent about $3.6 billion on over-the-counter cold, cough, and throat remedies, according to the New York Times. And yet, the article concluded, there's very little evidence that any of those medicines do anything to cure, or even shorten the duration of, a cold. And some remedies, like taking antibiotics, bring along side effects that risk making some people worse. In other words, the best strategy for coping with the common cold is to do nothing. So how do we know whether to do something or nothing? "When many cures are offered for a disease," wrote Chekhov, "it means the disease is not curable." If past experience or data suggests that multiple solutions are possible but none are reliably successful, nothing may be the best strategy. Also, if you've tried two or three solutions and none of them have worked, perhaps it's time to try nothing.

Note: The article at the New York Times link in the summary above is well worth reading to understand the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of many treatments for the common cold.


Champion Gymnast's Hidden Life: Dominique Moceanu on Secret Sister
June 8, 2012, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/US/champion-gymnast-dominque-moceanus-secret-sister/...

Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the celebrated "Magnificent 7" gymnasts who won team gold at the 1996 Olympic Games. But behind the broad smile and shining medals she hid heartache and pain inflicted by some of the people she trusted the most. Moceanu would ultimately file for emancipation from her parents when she was 17, and got a restraining order against her father. After an injury quashed her bid for the 2000 Olympics, she went to college and was married in 2006 to a fellow gymnast named Mike Canales. She became pregnant with her first child soon after her marriage to Canales. But two weeks before giving birth, Moceanu learned some shocking news. She received a package containing a letter and photos of a young woman who looked surprisingly similar to her younger sister Christina. Reading the letter, she learned that the 20-year-old woman, named Jen Bricker, had been adopted and had recently learned that her birth name was Moceanu. "It was the biggest bombshell of my life," Dominique Moceanu remembered. "I had this sister that was born who was given up for adoption, and I never knew it." When Moceanu reached out to her new sister, Bricker [told her] "Oh by the way. I have no legs. But people forget that within minutes of meeting me." Five years later, they have met many times and have developed a friendship and bond that only sisters could have. They're athletic, do gymnastics -- Bricker even competed in the Junior Olympics -- and have discovered other striking similarities.

Note: For a touching video on this showing the amazing gymnastic abilities and inspiring can-do attitude of this woman with no legs, click here.


Key Articles From Years Past


We expand their village to include the entire world
January 20, 2011, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/01/18/cnnheroes.stokes.extra/index.html

Amy Stokes uses the internet to connect South African teens affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty with volunteer mentors from around the world. Stokes is the founder of Infinite Family and spoke with CNN about the importance of her group's efforts in South Africa -- where nearly two million children have been orphaned by AIDS. CNN: How does HIV/AIDS affect a South African child? Amy Stokes: They will talk about being very happy as children and growing up with two parents until they were grade school level. And then they'll lose one of their parents. They will move where they can be in a community that helps support them and then they'll lose the other parent. Then they're moved into a home where it's an auntie running the house -- and they'll lose that aunt. And then they go to live with the gogo -- or a grandmother -- and before long, they're living with 10 other children in the same 20 square foot space. That gogo is spending all of her time just trying to feed everybody, much less being able to help them prepare for their future. CNN: How widespread is the problem? Stokes: Many of these communities have lost up to 40 percent of the young adults [from HIV/AIDS]. So the children ... are losing, not only love and nurturing, but ... the education of having a parent attend to them. They lack access to everything that would teach them what is needed to be successful. However, they are the most hopeful children you will ever meet. They are resilient, resourceful; they are joyful; they are very ambitious.

Note: Want to get involved in this life-changing program? Check out the Infinite Family website at http://www.infinitefamily.org and see how to help.


F.B.I. to Pay Whistle-Blower $1.1 Million in a Settlement
February 27, 1998, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/27/us/fbi-to-pay-whistle-blower-1.1-million-in-a-settlement.html

The F.B.I. agreed today to pay a settlement of more than $1.16 million to the agent who brought about an overhaul of its crime laboratory. The agent, Frederic Whitehurst, who is a chemist, returned to work from a yearlong suspension today and then voluntarily resigned as required by the deal to settle part of his lawsuit against the bureau. In the 16-page settlement, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, the Federal Bureau of Investigation agreed to pay $1.166 million now to buy annuities that would pay the 50-year-old agent annual amounts equal to the salary and pension he would have earned had he kept working until the normal F.B.I. retirement age of 57. Under terms of the settlement, the bureau will also pay $258,580 in legal fees to Dr. Whitehurst's lawyers, and the Justice Department will drop all consideration of disciplinary action against him. For 10 years as the laboratory supervisor and once the bureau's top bomb residue expert, Dr. Whitehurst complained mostly in vain about laboratory practices. But his efforts finally led last April to a scathing 500-page study of the laboratory by the Justice Department's inspector general, Michael Bromwich. Mr. Bromwich sharply criticized the laboratory for flawed scientific work and inaccurate, pro-prosecution testimony in major cases, including the Oklahoma City and World Trade Center bombings. Mr. Bromwich recommended major changes and discipline for five agents.

Note: Yahoo! News posted a great article with advice to whistleblowers at this link.


The BCCI whitewash
November 6, 1991, Baltimore Sun
http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1991-11-06/news/1991310167_1_bcci-sununu-white-house

Relax, everybody -- the White House counsel has "investigated" the case of the departing Sununu aide with no legal experience who was hired for $600,000 by a BCCI figure, and rendered this verdict: Nobody did anything wrong. Influence peddling? An attempt by intermediaries to obstruct justice? Forget it. Sununu's man agrees to give back the money; case closed. Much relieved, the Republican Justice Department hastily announces it accepts the predetermined result of the White House "inquiry" and will not investigate. To date, nobody has been asked a single question under oath. Let's see what Sheik Kamal Adham, the ex-Saudi spymaster at the center of the BCCI conspiracy, thought he would get by hiring the person closest to Bush's chief of staff. Since late spring, Plato Cacheris, Kamal's legitimate criminal defense lawyer, has been trying to get various prosecutors to ... come to a place of the sheik's choosing, where he cannot be arrested and extradited, to listen to an unsworn proffer of evidence that will deflect prosecution from him. Nothing doing, said Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, the only lawman getting real results in the BCCI swindle; bring him in -- we'll get his story in front of a grand jury. Then Sununu's right-hand man departs the White House and is immediately retained, reportedly paid $136,000 in advance. Justice suddenly has a change of heart; though Ed Rogers' hand doesn't show, David Eisenberg, an assistant U.S. attorney, is dispatched from Washington to Cairo to meet Kamal on the sheik's terms.

Note: For more on the huge scandals of the powerful BCCI, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on government corruption, click here.


Please note that most of the summarizing of the revealing news articles in the above summary was done by Tod Fletcher of WantToKnow.info. Many thanks to Tod for all the time and skill he puts into this. The box below provides several ideas on what you can do to spread the news.

What you can do:
  • Inform your media and political representatives of any or all of important news articles above. For information on how to contact those close to you, click here.
  • See an index of the most revealing media articles ever sorted by topic at this link.
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