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Globalization and World Cities Research Network

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Globalization and World Cities Research Network, commonly abbreviated to GaWC, is a think tank that studies the relationships between world cities in the context of globalization. It is based in the geography department of Loughborough University in Leicestershire, England, United Kingdom. GaWC was founded by Peter J. Taylor in 1998,[1] Together with Jon Beaverstock and Richard G. Smith, they create the GaWC's bi-annual categorization of world cities into "Alpha", "Beta" and "Gamma" tiers, based upon their international connectedness.[2]

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  • ✪ Global Cities: Full Documentary
  • ✪ Global Cities: Introduction
  • ✪ Top 5 Richest Cities in the Philippines in 2018/2019 ll FILIPINO HISTORY ll WORLD BEST FACTS.


Cities have been, for thousands of years, the centers of civilization, as they have watched empires, kingdoms, governments and corporations come and go. But in the space of just a few decades our urban fabric is undergoing a radical transformation. Today's wave of mass urbanization is historically unprecedented in speed and scale. Today over 1 million people are added to the global urban population every week. In the space of a few decades, we are in the process of doubling our urban capacity, adding an extra 2 to 3 billion more people to our urban environment. As a consequence, the world is currently going through its biggest build-out of technology infrastructure in history. We will build more ports, buildings, roads, bridges, rail lines, airports, power cables and telecommunication networks in the coming decades than we have since the beginning of civilization. Much of this urbanization will unfold in the emerging economies of Africa and Asia, bringing huge social and environmental transformations, but also the most significant shift in the earth's economic center of gravity ever seen. Our future is set to be urban, as the world's population is increasingly concentrated in urban settlements. This creates new opportunities and new challenges in a fast changing context. Rapid unplanned urban growth can lead to an expansion of urban slums, exacerbating poverty and inequality, hampering efforts to provide basic infrastructure, and accelerate environmental degradation. But urbanization also presents unprecedented opportunities for rapid economic development, as hubs of commerce, transportation, communication, and flows of finance. Cities drive economic and social development, offering us the unprecedented opportunity to bring the majority of the world's population into the global economy of exchange. Not only are people flocking into cities: at the same time, our urban centers are becoming integrated into ever larger and ever denser networks of exchange. The way cities are shaped, their scale, scope of influence, form and functionality is being transformed to support the rise of global networks. A myriad of overlapping and intersecting flows, of ideas, knowledge, people, money, goods and services, link not only major cities and city regions but an increasing number of diverse places and ecologies into expanding global networks of exchange. These networks of economic, social, political, and cultural organization pivot around global cities creating a new geography of connectivity, new rules for economic success, and new patterns of governance. The rise of urban networks is linked to a much broader set of social, economic, and technological transformations taking place in the global economy today. This documentary explores this changing landscape, and the development of urban networks, as the emerging geography of connectivity in an age of globalization. Urban networks are complex systems of people and technology that constitute our engineered environment. Over the course of thousands of years, we have gone from the first engineered environments composed of a few discreet hand tools and small shelters built around the individual and local community, to the complex urban networks of today that span around the planet, enabling global economic processes to support billions of people. Just 12,000 years ago, as few as four million people inhabited the earth: nomads that roamed the land following the seasons. The first humans, being nomadic, would have lived almost completely without fixed technology infrastructure, simply using hand tools and temporary shelters. From about 10,000 years ago, in response to the warming climates at the end of the last ice age, some groups adapted to the changing environment in new ways. These changes in organization would lead to the first major paradigm shift in our engineered environment: what we call the Neolithic Revolution. The Neolithic Revolution was the first major technology revolution. The critical turning point would have been the development of was the first major technology revolution the critical turning point would have been the development of fixed and permanent systems of fixed and permanent systems of agricultural production, and permanent settlements built around this. Permanent shelters like huts, storage areas, wells for water, agricultural systems for food, fixed pathways, distinct buildings for congregation and ceremony, with all of these being integrated around the community, creating the first urban infrastructure systems. The permanent settlement of humans within fixed communities led to prolonged and sustained technological and economic innovation giving rise to advanced civilization. Advances in agriculture, irrigation systems, the harnessing of animal muscle as an energy source, and population density would lead to the formation of large settlements in the form of hamlets, which evolved into towns and even cities as the first empires formed. With ever more complex economic and social organizations forming, we started to engineer our environments like never before, building the first human design landscapes in the form of urban centers like the ancient cities of Babylon or Damascus. Throughout history, the evolution of our engineered environment has been directly related to our knowledge of the natural environment around us. For much of human history, our scientific knowledge was very limited in scope and depth. The great expansion of this knowledge, that happened during the scientific revolution, laid the foundations for a massive explosion in technological change, one of the hallmarks of the modern era. The much deeper understanding of our physical environment that modern science brought enabled a new level in our capacities to engineer the natural environment, and gave rise to what has come to be called the industrial revolution. The industrial age was the age of machines. As we tapped into a new energy source, technology became alive, evolving into large mechanical systems. No longer dependent upon human and animal energy sources, we could develop larger and larger mechanical systems powered by artificial energy sources. Instead of technology being built around people, as with the hand tool, increasingly people based their work around machines, as they became operators of large industrial machinery that enabled mass production processes. Our technology infrastructure became increasingly defined by mechanized systems that automated physical activities by fueling them with artificial energy sources. This enabled a new scale to our engineered environment, as urban centers greatly expanded. Before 1802 there was less than 10% of people living in cities and there was no overall urbanization. However this started to change in a substantive way by the beginning of the 1900s, at which time 20% of the world population was urban. The development of industrial economies went hand-in-hand with the development of the nation-state as the social and economic organizational unit of the modern era. During the 19th and 20th centuries, centralized national governments worked to leverage these new industrial technologies towards building their own national infrastructure systems. The use of the combustion engine to bring artificial energy sources to mass transport began to integrate the infrastructure of whole national economies across broad geographical areas. Across Europe and the U.S. national infrastructure networks were developed during the 19th and early 20th centuries: national railways in Europe, national road systems like the interstate highways in the U.S., national water systems, telephone networks, centralized broadcast media.. By 1950 urbanization had reached 30% around the world, but it was not until the new millennium before we would reach the symbolic tipping point of half of humanity living in urban centers. By the latter half of the twentieth century major new technological and economic processes of change were underway, as national economies and infrastructure were becoming increasingly connected into global networks of exchange. The advent of low-cost computing and telecommunication networks would work to enable the development of ever larger, more complex systems of organization. In the 80s and 90s, financial markets became deregulated and expanded into a global network of exchange. We saw a huge rise in multinational corporations, as they expanded beyond their national economies, entering into new markets. Through outsourcing, enterprises became distributed out. With advances in transport and trade liberalization, integrated global supply chains started to take form, and the global economy expanded hugely within the space of just a few decades. With the development of globalization, the emergence of the services, economy, and information technology, the global economy is going through a deep structural transformation, moving from an industrial model of mass production organized around the nation-state and its territory, into a new form of services and information economy based around global networks of exchange. Urban networks are the physical means of connectivity: they are systems of technology that enable us to overcome physical borders and connect with ever larger networks. These networks of roads, of communications, of power lines, of logistics, air transport, shipping are the physical form of this global connectivity. There are now vastly more resources moving around in these global networks than in any national economy, and around the world people are flocking to cities as points of access into these emerging global networks and the opportunities they provide. As our economies and societies develop into some form of global organization so too our technology infrastructure is morphing into a new structure of urban networks that enables this physical connectivity. Just as the industrial technologies provided the physical means for enabling the national economy, so too our technology infrastructure today is being reconfigured to provide the connectivity for a global economy. It is only in very recent years the global economy has switched from being dominated by agriculture and industry to becoming predominantly based on services and information. As a consequence, societies and economies around the world are being transformed from being primarily organized around physical, agricultural, and industrial processes within the national territory, and instead moving to the delivery of services, the processing of information and knowledge, which is no longer defined by its physicality and the logic of territoriality, but instead is one based on the logic of access and connectivity. It is this connectivity that urban centers provide. As economies shift from being industrial to post-industrial services economies, a new strategic role is given to cities, as they become the locus of high-value added services of innovation and knowledge creation. With globalization and urbanization, we are in the process of creating a new geography, a geography based around functional connectivity instead of physical borders. Whereas the building of the nation-state and its borders was cultural and ideological in nature, these global networks are functional in nature. Connections are made horizontally to facilitate exchanges in a world where market logic and technology have combined to create a powerful engine driving the world forward for better or worse. The infrastructure networks that now stretch around the planet are held together by urban centers that form dense concentrations of connectivity. Urban centers function as the hubs within regional networks that reach into the territory of the locality, linking it into larger networks of e.xchange On the macro level, these urban centers become nodes within the global network of cities that provide the critical mas of advanced services required to operate the world economy at its current level of functionality. The leaders in providing this connectivity are what we call "global cities." These are urban centers that provide the services for integrating the whole network. A network of over 100 global cities is now understood as the landing point for worldwide networks of finance and the hubs for logistics networks. These cities constitute a myriad of overlapping and intersecting flows of ideas, knowledge, people, money, goods and have a direct and tangible effect on affairs around the planet. When the world is seen from this perspective of urban connectivity, a new image emerges, where each city is horizontally oriented to other cities of the same level of interconnectivity. As cities have become interconnected over the past decades, they have come to identify themselves increasingly in relation to their peer cities around the world, instead of so much with their national economy. As these major urban centers have risen, they have both come to take on more power and influence over their own operations and the operations of the global economy, but they have also come to differentiate themselves within these larger networks, and increasingly compete with other cities. Being a global city, though, is not about size or even economic scale. It is about performing a differentiated function within a global network of exchange, and thus making them strategic location within a worldwide value chain. Global cities play specific roles in specific networks: for example, cities like Taipei and Shenzhen are major nodes in the supply network for high-tech electronics, while cities like Geneva and Nairobi are important nodes in global civil society networks, Dubai and Hong Kong for air transport networks, Washington and Brussels for international political networks. But the absolute leaders in this global connectivity play a major role in almost all these networks: London, New York, Tokyo, and Paris. These urban networks are the most complex, multi-dimensional, and their influence is the farthest reaching. They regulate vast flows of financial capital, effectively coordinate millions of people and production processes, in a multiplicity of overlapping complex networks. Tourist attractions, research centers, shopping destinations, tech startups, engines of the knowledge economy, corporate headquarters, melting pots of people, ideas, culture, all concentrated in small areas of dense interaction and connected into information networks that shape the operations of the economy around the world. The urban transformation that is occurring to enable these global information and services networks is not just about cities getting bigger. It is a reconfiguration of territory and basic organizational principles, from cultural and territorial borders to functional connectivity. Globalization creates a new form of space based around networks of exchange, and the physical form of that space is urban networks. This new geometry of urban networks driven by a market logic, responsive primarily to global networks of exchange and operated by powerful private actors creates a huge disjunction with local territory and existing governance structures. Cities still exist and operate within the national regulatory framework, which is designed according to the logic of its fixed territorial space, when increasingly our economy and society operate based upon global networks anchored in cities. These networks of information and services are increasingly bypassing the national territory altogether, creating a new kind of global and local space that exists in urban centers, one that requires a new organizational paradigm to structure and enable. Nowhere is this disjunction seen more clearly than in the major financial centers that are seen as the most strategic nodes in these global networks. Global cities are the landing points for the world's flow of capital and goods. As these networks have grown, the power of the corporations that operate them has likewise expanded greatly. The global city is the space where that power becomes materialized a point, where highly abstract flows of capital and information become something material and visible to all. Throughout history, urban centers have been the home of the dominant sources of power within society, with the buildings used to exhibit the power of those dominant actors, whether this was the church, government buildings, or the monuments of empires. But, over the past decades, the centers of our iconic world cities have become the locus of corporate headquarters and financial centers. With the rise of economic globalization, the multinational corporations and financial institutions that manage and operate these networks become the dominant actors. This power is exhibited in the global city which has come to be shaped to a great extent by these powerful actors, according to their logic and to accommodate their needs. Financialization has changed the form of investment in urban development, with significant results for how urban networks have evolved over the past decades. The lines between private and public have blurred, while at the same time the logic of finance becomes more pervasive in the development of the urban space. Сities have become increasingly defined in terms of investment vehicles, instead of shared living spaces. Huge amounts of capital are now flowing into the development of the primary urban centers from the global financial system. This financialization of real estate and urban centers has created a huge disjunction between the local needs of communities and those of these private actors. Where once urban development was driven by local incentives in response to the local needs of the place, with financialization cities are becoming increasingly private spaces of investment that are primarily responsive to the logic of these flows of finance. The process of globalization engenders an evolving relationship between the local needs of people and the market logic of global networks. World cities are at the epicenter of this conflict. They are the frontier zone of globalization and the struggle for systems of organization that would be relevant for an age of networks. In a time when existing governance structures are paralyzed by the complexity of the issues at hand, cities take pragmatic action, because they have to: they are at the forefront of financialization and environmental changes. The effects of these changes impact them directly and they are pushed to take action in the absence of appropriate governance mechanisms. Cities are becoming a new locus of action. But this is a very different form of governance than the one we are used to It will be a governance structure that expresses the new forces at play, of finance and corporate supply chains, of technology, and increasingly internet platforms. The rise of urban networks and the movement of humanity into a predominantly engineered environment corresponds to a broader process of change brought about in the Anthropocene, the so-called "age of humans." After 1950, we can see for the first time that major earth system changes became directly linked to changes largely related to the global economic system, with this coinciding with the huge rise of major urban centers. Urban centers occupy only 3% of global land areas, but their physical impact is directly connected to very complex environmental transformations that take place far beyond the confines of the city. Large-scale planetary metabolic flows are mobilized in order to supply the largest urban centers. Whole regions, territories, and landscapes are operationalized in new ways, in order to provide food, energy, water, materials and other basic resources that result in massive transformations in ecosystems far away and often unseen by the population. Landscapes in Malaysia are transformed into palm plantations for biofuels that keep urban transport systems running. Cement and iron are pulled out of the ground in Russia, to lay concrete for the 20 million Chinese moving into cities every year. Water systems in the Himalayas are altered to provide for the urban centres of northern India. Rare earth metals [are] extracted from Africa for the millions of smartphones that keep Paris connected. The largest of these land and resource consumers are what we call "mega cities," which are urban centers of more than 10 million people. In 1950, New York was the first mega city on the planet. In 1985 there were nine of such kind. Today, there are 31 mega cities, and this is projected to rise to 41 within just over a decade. The largest of these mega cities is Tokyo. With over 30 million people, it is the tenth largest economy in the world, larger than Russia, Spain or Turkey. Jakarta is likewise one of the largest mega cities, its mass of concrete sprawling out to support a population greater than that of Australia. Environmentally, many of the factors relating to the sustainability of an urban center are closely connected to the density of the urban environment. The current model of urbanization in many parts of the world engenders low-density sub-urbanization. With the dependence on car ownership, it is energy-intensive and contributes substantively to climate change. For example, urban development in Mexico City has resulted in a sprawling urban environment, with air pollution and major traffic congestion; a city with an average daily commute time of two and a half hours. The physical space that these cities consume is projected to increase two to three times in the coming decades, and the material consumption of cities is likewise set to double over this time. Sprawling cities, where residents are dependent on cars to obtain basic provisions in far-off places of the city, are a critical vulnerability many populations around the world face today. As the impacts of climate change are set to only increase in the coming decades, large, monolithic, centralized urban systems are presenting increasing vulnerabilities. The rise of urban networks corresponds to a transformation in the traditional divide between countryside and city, which is giving way to a much more subtle combination. Cities are becoming distributed out into larger urban networks, merging natural and engineered environments within a new geography of the city region that may span hundreds of kilometres and cross national borders. interlinked ground transportation corridors such as high-speed rail and expressways have aided in the integration of urban centers into large, distributed networks like the Randstad area in Northern Europe, connecting Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague, or the Pearl Delta region in southern China, connecting Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, which is emerging as the largest urban area in the world in both size and population. In the age of the Anthropocene, when human impacts on the biosphere are all-pervasive, the challenge of sustainability is no longer one of confining urban centers, but is now one of developing engineered environments that manage to merge the natural and artificial in new ways to create synergies. In the challenge of city density is also the opportunity for creating multifunctional, compact, integrated, and ecologically connected urban environments. Ecologically efficient urban systems are strategically densified and distributed to create a network of high-density nodes interconnected with efficient and affordable mass transit. In these compact, well-designed urban environments, people consume less energy, less land and are more connected. With the rise of urban systems, we are increasingly recognizing that the battle for a sustainable future will be won or it will be lost in cities, and there is a race to build a functional, sustainable model of a city and to replicate that model around the world. Cities have been the world's economic engines for centuries, attracting skilled workers and benefiting from economies of scale to create productive enterprises. Historically, urbanization and per-capita GDP tend to move in close sync as countries develop. No country has ever reached middle-income status without urbanizing. By harnessing economies of scale, attracting firms, sharing knowledge and fostering pools of talent, cities have a special ability to achieve results that are more than the sum of their parts, adding value for both society and enterprises. With the rise of massive urban centers in developing economies, we are witnessing the most significant shift in the earth's economic center of gravity in history. The world economy is now truly becoming globally distributed out, less and less centered around the developed economies. The urban areas of Africa and Asia will absorb nearly all of the projected growth of the world population in the coming decades. Of the 2.5 billion new urban dwellers anticipated by 2050, 90 percent will live in Africa and Asia, China, India and Nigeria being the primary locus of a process of urbanization that now offers hope for raising billions out of poverty and creating a more balanced overall distribution of resources in the world. Around the world, people are flocking to cities as points of access into these emerging global networks and the opportunities they provide. For this process of urbanization to be successful, the city has to connect its population into global economic networks of exchange, but many are ill-prepared for the scale of the process that is underway. When managed effectively, urban centers can be systems for connecting people and providing them with opportunities, as we have seen with the development of urban Asia. In China, coalescence of urbanization and massive economic growth helped pull six hundred and eighty million people out of extreme poverty over the course of just 30 years, unprecedented in history. The success of many Asian nations has shown us the capacity of urban centers connected to global supply chains to transform people's standard of living and opportunities. But in other parts of the world, urbanization has been a force for exclusion. Until recently, urbanization largely happened within countries with relatively high GDP. what has changed in the past decades is that it is increasingly happening in nations with very low GDP. These nations are the least well equipped economically and socially to deal with the transformation. The huge migration into sub-Saharan African cities appears to overwhelm government planners and policy makers, with the outcome being that slum dwellers currently account for over 60% of urban population, While these African urban centers have had the highest inequality of wealth in the world. Cities that fail to meet the aspirations of the millions who are migrating in search of better opportunities run the risk of becoming failed projects, breeding new social and environmental challenges of an unprecedented scale and complexity. Lack of infrastructure creates congestion, pollution and insufficient public services. Instead of connecting people, these urban systems sprawl out into disconnected slums as informal urban networks fill the gap of overextended and underfunded governments. These slums are huge urban systems with illegal arrangements of land use, that generally lack infrastructure, public facilities, and basic services, such as improved drinking water, waste disposal, or transport. Much of the growth in urban networks over the coming decades will not be the formal planned infrastructure systems of the past, but instead informal settlements of this kind. The informal slums of developing nations are growing in a significant way. according to United Nations statistics, the number of people living in slum conditions has grown from 650 million in 1990 to 760 million in 2000, and as of 2017, nearly 1 billion people live in slums. This is set to double by 2030 under a business-as-usual scenario. As these slums are growing around the world, informal urban networks are becoming the new normal for urban development. Kabara on the outskirts of Nairobi, is considered one of the largest, with some 600,000 people. Dharavi, in Mumbai, is home to upwards of 700 thousand residents living in shacks. In Rio de Janeiro, the "favelas" started appearing in the 1950s, and now house a total of about 1 million people. Inclusive growth is a major challenge that we are far from achieving. Instead of connecting people, many of these emerging mega cities are becoming more economically unequal. They are becoming more fractured and compartmentalized. Over the decades, developing economies have been getting better at achieving growth, but have often seen the benefits of that growth concentrated in the upper levels of the income distribution. Socially, our current model of urbanization in many places around the world generates multiple forms of inequality and exclusion, which creates spatial divisions in cities, often characterized by slum areas or gated communities in places like Sao Paulo or Johannesburg. Inequality is now recognized as a major emerging urban issues, as the gap between the rich and the poor in most countries is at its highest levels in decades. Increasingly, environmental and social sustainability are becoming linked, and seen as no longer nice things to have but instead actual security issues. Environmental degradation is changing ecosystems around the world, ecosystems that hundreds of millions of small-scale subsistence farmers are dependent upon. When they change, and people can no longer continue with their traditional ways of life, this often leads to migration into cities, which are ill-prepared for them; the net result being that they end up in slums. As the environmental crisis unfolds going forward, this linkage will only become stronger and more critical. Environmental changes will feed through to reveal previously latent networks of vulnerability in our social systems and technology infrastructure, As global interconnectivity proliferates, these networks of vulnerability will spread farther and shocks will propagate faster. What happens in the slums of Mumbai and Lagos will increasingly affect everyone. Globalization is the building of global systems of economic, social and technological organization, This connectivity crosses borders, reduces old divides, and creates inter-dependencies that bind diverse people and places through shared interests, opportunities and threats. Global cities are physical super-connectors in this network, but they are also super-disconnectors. When urbanization is successful, people become integrated into a global economy and society. When it is unsuccessful, they become disconnected and divided in new ways, but the consequences of that are no longer local. With interconnectivity comes interdependencies and the benefits and losses become increasingly shared globally. In the space of just the past few decades, we have created a new economic system of organization in the form of global supply chains, and the urban networks that support them. Global cities are now the engines driving the world forward, and how the process of urbanization plays out in the coming decades will shape the structure of what happens this century and indeed the future of the relationship between human beings and the planet. The current process of urbanization is nothing less than a fundamental transformation in the human habitats. The indigenous environment of humanity is changing from the natural environment to the engineered environment at a breathtaking speed. In the space of just a few short decades, we will remake our environment and the patterns of organization that shape society and economy. In this process, we don't just rebuild the world around us, but urbanization changes us. It creates a new environment, new ways of thinking, new patterns of work, of governance, of production and exchange, of interaction between people through which we come to redefine ourselves and our relationship to the natural environment.


GaWC city classification

The GaWC examines cities worldwide to narrow them down to a roster of world cities, then ranks these based on their connectivity through four "advanced producer services": accountancy, advertising, banking/finance, and law.[3] The GaWC inventory ranks city economics more heavily than political or cultural factors. Beyond the categories of "Alpha" world cities (with four sub-categories), "Beta" world cities (three sub-categories) and "Gamma" world cities (three sub-categories), the GaWC cities include additional cities at "High sufficiency" and "Sufficiency" level.

The 2004 rankings added several new indicators while continuing to rank city economics more heavily than political or cultural factors. The 2008 roster, similar to the 1998 version, is sorted into categories of Alpha world cities (with four sub-categories), Beta world cities (three sub-categories), Gamma world cities (three sub-categories) and additional cities with High sufficiency or Sufficiency presence.

2018 city classification

The cities in the 2018 classification are as follows.[4]

Cities which did not appear in the 2016 edition of the classification are marked with *.


Alpha level cities are linked to major economic states and regions into the world economy, and are classified into four sections, Alpha ++, Alpha +, Alpha, and Alpha − cities.

Alpha ++

Alpha ++ cities are cities most integrated with the global economy:

Alpha +

Alpha + cities are highly integrated cities, filling advanced service needs:


Alpha −


Beta level cities are cities that link moderate economic regions to the world economy and are classified in three sections, Beta +, Beta, and Beta − cities.

Beta +


Beta –


Gamma level cities are cities that link smaller economic regions into the world economy, and are classified into three sections, Gamma +, Gamma, and Gamma − cities:

Gamma +


Gamma –


Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overtly dependent on world cities. This is sorted into High Sufficiency cities and Sufficiency cities.

High Sufficiency


No longer classified

The following cities were included in the 2016 edition, but not in the 2018 edition.


  1. ^ Taylor, Peter J. (2004). World city network: a global urban analysis. Routledge. p. ix. ISBN 0-415-30249-8. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
  2. ^ Donald, Stephanie; Gammack, John G. (2007). Tourism and the branded city. London: Ashgate Publishing. p. 23. ISBN 0-7546-4829-X. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
  3. ^ "GaWC – The World According to GaWC 2018". 13 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  4. ^ "The World According to GaWC 2018". GaWC. 14 Nov 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 1 February 2019, at 00:11
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