Canada: a general description of the country
The geographical location and natural conditions in Canada, particularly the state structure. General characteristics of the level of development of economy and industry. Population structure and religion, settlement types. Most major cities in Canada.
|Рубрика||География и экономическая география|
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Canada: a general description of the country
Canada is a country occupying most of northern North America, extending from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. It is the world's second largest country by total area and its common border with the United States to the south and northwest is the world's longest.
The land occupied by Canada was inhabited for millennia by various groups of Aboriginal people. Beginning in the late 15th century, British and French expeditions explored, and later settled along, the Atlantic coast. France ceded (уступать территорию) nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763 after the Seven Years' War. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces. This began an accretion (разрастание) of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges(след, остаток) of legal dependence on the British parliament.
A federation comprising ten provinces and three territories, Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. It is a bilingual and multicultural country, with both English and French as official languages both at the federal level and in the province of New Brunswick. One of the world's highly developed countries, Canada has a diversified economy that is reliant upon its abundant natural resources and upon trade--particularly with the United States, with which Canada has had a long and complex relationship. It is a member of the G8, G-20, NATO, OECD, WTO, Commonwealth of Nations, Francophonie, OAS, APEC, and United Nations.
The name Canada comes from a St. Lawrence Iroquoian word, kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement". In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier towards the village of Stadacona. Cartier later used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village, but also the entire area subject to Donnacona (the chief at Stadacona); by 1545, European books and maps had begun referring to this region as Canada.
From the early 17th century onwards, that part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River and the northern shores of the Great Lakes was named Canada, an area that was later split into two British colonies, Upper Canada and Lower Canada, until their re-unification as the Province of Canada in 1841. Upon Confederation in 1867, the name Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country, and Dominion was conferred as the country's title; combined, the term Dominion of Canada was in common usage until the 1950s. Thereafter, as Canada asserted its political autonomy from the United Kingdom, the federal government increasingly used simply Canada on state documents and treaties, a change that was reflected in the renaming of the national holiday from Dominion Day to Canada Day in 1982.
canada economy industry population
Political set up
Canada has a parliamentary government with strong democratic traditions. Parliament is made up of the Crown, an elected House of Commons, and an appointed Senate. Each Member of Parliament in the House of Commons is elected by simple plurality in an electoral district or riding. General elections must be called by the prime minister within five years of the previous election, or may be triggered by the government's losing a confidence vote in the House.
Members of the Senate, whose seats are apportioned on a regional basis, are chosen by the prime minister and formally appointed by the governor general and serve until age 75. Four parties had representatives elected to the federal parliament in the 2008 elections: the Conservative Party of Canada (governing party), the Liberal Party of Canada (Official Opposition), the New Democratic Party (NDP), and the Bloc Quйbйcois. The list of historical parties with elected representation is substantial.
Canada's federalist structure divides government responsibilities between the federal government and the ten provinces. Canada's three territories also have legislatures, but with fewer constitutional responsibilities than the provinces and with some structural. Canada is also a constitutional monarchy, with The Crown acting as a symbolic or ceremonial executive. The Crown consists of Queen Elizabeth II (legal head of state) and her appointed viceroys, the governor general (acting head of state), and provincial lieutenant-governors, who perform most of the monarch's ceremonial roles
Canada is a federation composed of ten provinces and three territories; in turn, these may be grouped into regions. Western Canada consists of British Columbia and the three Prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba). Central Canada consists of Quebec and Ontario. Atlantic Canada consists of the three Maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia), along with Newfoundland and Labrador. Eastern Canada refers to Central Canada and Atlantic Canada together. Three territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut) make up Northern Canada. Provinces have more autonomy than territories. Each has its own provincial or territorial symbols.
The provinces are responsible for most of Canada's social programs (such as health care, education, and welfare) and together collect more revenue than the federal government, an almost unique structure among federations in the world. Using its spending powers, the federal government can initiate national policies in provincial areas, such as the Canada Health Act; the provinces can opt out of these, but rarely do so in practice. Equalization payments are made by the federal government to ensure that reasonably uniform standards of services and taxation are kept between the richer and poorer provinces.
Geograhy and climate
Canada occupies a major northern portion of North America, sharing land borders with the contiguous(смежный) United States to the south and the U.S. state of Alaska to the northwest, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west; to the north lies the Arctic Ocean. By total area (including its waters), Canada is the second largest country in the world--after Russia--and largest on the continent. By land area, it ranks second.
The population density, 3.5 inhabitants per square kilometre (9.1/sq mi), is among the lowest in the world. The most densely populated part of the country is the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor, (Southern Quebec - Southern Ontario) along the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River in the southeast.
To the north of this region is the broad Canadian Shield, an area of rock scoured clean by the last ice age--thinly soiled, rich in minerals, and dotted with lakes and rivers. Canada by far has more lakes than any other country and has much of the world's fresh water.
In eastern Canada, most people live in large urban centres on the flat Saint Lawrence Lowlands. The Saint Lawrence River widens into the world's largest estuary before flowing into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The gulf is bounded by Newfoundland to the north and the Maritimes to the south. The Maritimes protrude eastward along the Appalachian Mountain range, from northern New England and the Gaspй Peninsula of Quebec. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are divided by the Bay of Fundy, which experiences the world's largest tidal variations. Ontario and Hudson Bay dominate central Canada. West of Ontario, the broad, flat Canadian Prairies spread toward the Rocky Mountains, which separate them from British Columbia.
In northwestern Canada, the Mackenzie River flows from the Great Slave Lake to the Arctic Ocean. A tributary of a tributary of the Mackenzie is the South Nahanni River, which is home to Virginia Falls, a waterfall about twice as high as Niagara Falls.Northern Canadian vegetation tapers from coniferous forests to tundra to the Arctic barrens in the far north. The northern Canadian mainland is ringed with a vast archipelago containing some of the world's largest islands.
Average winter and summer high temperatures across Canada vary depending on the location. Winters can be harsh in many regions of the country, particularly in the interior and Prairie provinces, which experience a continental climate, where daily average temperatures are near ?15 °C (5 °F) but can drop below ?40 °C (?40 °F) with severe wind chills. In noncoastal regions, snow can cover the ground almost six months of the year (more in the north). Coastal British Columbia is an exception; it enjoys a temperate climate, with a mild and rainy winter.
On the east and west coast, average high temperatures are generally in the low 20s °C (70s °F), while between the coasts, the average summer high temperature ranges from 25 to 30 °C (75 to 85 °F), with occasional extreme heat in some interior locations exceeding 40 °C (104 °F). For a more complete description of climate across Canada, see Environment Canada's Website.
Canada is also geologically active, having many earthquakes and potentially active volcanoes, notably Mount Meager, Mount Garibaldi, Mount Cayley, and the Mount Edziza volcanic complex. The volcanic eruption of Tseax Cone in 1775 caused a catastrophic disaster, killing 2,000 Nisga'a people and the destruction of their village in the Nass River valley of northern British Columbia; the eruption produced a 22.5-kilometre (14.0 mi) lava flow, and according to legend of the Nisga'a people, it blocked the flow of the Nass River.
Canada is one of the world's wealthiest nations, with a high per capita income, and is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the G8. It is one of the world's top ten trading nations. Canada is a mixed market, ranking lower than the U.S. but higher than most western European nations on the Heritage Foundation's index of economic freedom.
Canada's 2006 census counted a total population of 31,612,897, an increase of 5.4% since 2001. Population growth is from immigration and, to a lesser extent, natural growth. About three-quarters of Canada's population live within 150 kilometres (90 mi) of the United States border. A similar proportion live in urban areas concentrated in the Quebec City-Windsor Corridor (notably the Greater Golden Horseshoe, including Toronto and area, Montreal, and Ottawa), the BC Lower Mainland (consisting of the region surrounding Vancouver), and the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor in Alberta.
According to the 2006 census, there are 43 ethnic origins that at least 100,000 people in Canada claim in their background.
The largest ethnic group is English (21%), followed by French (15.8%), Scottish (15.2%), Irish (13.9%), German (10.2%), Italian (5%), Chinese (3.9%), Ukrainian (3.6%), and First Nations (3.5%). Approximately one third of respondents identified their ethnicity as "Canadian." Canada's aboriginal population is growing almost twice as fast as the Canadian average, and 3.8% of Canada's population claimed aboriginal identity in 2006. Also, 16.2% of the population belonged to non-aboriginal visible minorities. The largest visible minority groups in Canada are South Asian (4%), Chinese (3.9%) and Black (2.5%).
In 2006, 51.0% of Vancouver's population and 46.9% of Toronto's population were visible minorities. In March 2005, Statistics Canada projected that people of non-European origins will constitute a majority in both Toronto and Vancouver by 2012. According to Statistics Canada's forecasts, the number of visible minorities in Canada is expected to double by 2017. A survey released in 2007 reveals that virtually 1 in 5 Canadians (19.8%) are foreign born. Nearly 60% of new immigrants hail from Asia (including the Middle East).
National symbols are influenced by natural, historical, and First Nations sources. Particularly, the use of the maple leaf as a Canadian symbol dates back to the early 18th century and is depicted on its current and previous flags, the penny, and on the coat of arms. Other prominent symbols include the beaver, Canada Goose, Common Loon, the Crown, the RCMP, and more recently, the totem pole and Inukshuk.
Canada's official national sports are hockey in the winter and lacrosse (лакросс) in the summer. Hockey is a national pastime and the most popular spectator sport in the country. It is also the most popular sport Canadians play, with 1.65 million active participants in 2004. Canada's six largest metropolitan areas--Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton--have franchises in the National Hockey League (NHL), and there are more Canadian players in the league than from all other countries combined. After hockey, other popular spectator sports include curling and football; the latter is played professionally in the Canadian Football League (CFL). Golf, baseball, skiing, soccer, volleyball, and basketball are widely played at youth and amateur levels, but professional leagues and franchises are not as widespread.
Canada hosted several high-profile international sporting events, including the 1976 Summer Olympics, the 1988 Winter Olympics, and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Canada will be the host country for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia.
Ottawa is the capital of Canada and a municipality within the Province of Ontario. Located in the Ottawa Valley in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario, the city lies on the southern banks of the Ottawa River, a major waterway forming the local boundary between the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The 2006 Census recorded the population at over 812,000, making it the fourth largest municipality in the country and second largest in Ontario. Connected by several bridges to its Quebec neighbour, the City of Gatineau on the northern shores of the Ottawa River, the two cities had a combined 2006 population of over 1,130,000, making it the country's fourth largest metropolitan area.
There is no federal capital district in Canada. Although it does not constitute a separate administrative district, Ottawa is part of the federally designated National Capital Region (NCR), which encompasses Ottawa, Gatineau, and surroundings areas, having a population of over 1,451,000. The National Capital Commission is a federal crown corporation charged with the responsibility of planning and managing the federal government's interests in the NCR.
As with other national capitals, the word "Ottawa" is also used to refer by metonymy(метонимия) to the country's federal government, especially as opposed to provincial or municipal authorities.
Ottawa is situated on the south bank of the Ottawa River, and contains the mouths of the Rideau River and Rideau Canal. The oldest part of the city (including what remains of Bytown) is known as Lower Town, and occupies an area between the canal and the rivers. Across the canal to the west lies Centretown (often just called "downtown"), which is the city's financial and commercial hub. Situated between Centretown and the Ottawa River, the slight elevation of Parliament Hill is home to many of the capital's landmark government buildings, including the Peace Tower, and the Legislative seat of Canada. As of June 29, 2007, the Rideau Canal, which stretches 202 km (126 mi) to Kingston, Fort Henry and four Martello towers in the Kingston area was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ottawa is home to a wealth of national museums, official residences, government buildings, memorials and heritage structures. Federal buildings in the National Capital Region are managed by the Public Works Canada, while most of the federal lands in the Region are managed by the National Capital Commission or NCC; its control of much undeveloped land gives the NCC a great deal of influence over the city's development.
In 2006, the National Capital Commission completed work on the long-discussed Confederation Boulevard, a ceremonial route linking key attractions in National Capital Region, on both sides of the Ottawa River, in Ottawa as well as Gatineau, Quebec.
The Ottawa skyline has remained conservative in skyscraper height throughout the years due to a skyscraper height restriction. First installed to keep Parliament Hill visible from most parts of the City, that initial restriction was changed to a more realistic law many years later. The restriction allows no building to overwhelm the skyline, keeping almost all the downtown building around the same 25-30 story range. Other cities with building height restrictions like Ottawa's include Washington, D.C., Belfast, Northern Ireland, Saint Petersburg, Russia, amongst others.
Toronto is the most populous city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. With over 2.5 million residents, it is the fifth most populous municipality in North America. Toronto is at the heart of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and is part of a densely populated region in Southern Ontario known as the Golden Horseshoe, which is home to 8.1 million residents and has approximately 25% of Canada's population. The census metropolitan area (CMA) had a population of 5,113,149, and the Greater Toronto Area had a population of 5,555,912 in the 2006 Census.
As Canada's economic capital, Toronto is considered a global city and is one of the top financial centres in the world. Toronto's leading economic sectors include finance, business services, telecommunications, aerospace, transportation, media, arts, film, television production, publishing, software production, medical research, education, tourism and sports industries. The Toronto Stock Exchange, the world's seventh largest, is headquartered in the city, along with a majority of Canada's corporations.
Toronto's population is cosmopolitan and international, reflecting its role as an important destination for immigrants to Canada. Toronto is one of the world's most diverse cities by percentage of non-native-born residents, as about 49% of the population were born outside of Canada. Because of the city's low crime rates, clean environment, high standard of living, and friendlier attitudes to diversity, Toronto is consistently rated as one of the world's most livable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the Mercer Quality of Living Survey. In addition, Toronto was ranked as the most expensive Canadian city in which to live in 2006[update]. Residents of Toronto are called Torontonians.
The city is intersected by two rivers and numerous tributaries: the Humber River in the west end and the Don River east of downtown at opposite ends of the Toronto Harbour. The harbour was naturally created by sediment build-up from lake currents that created the Toronto Islands. The many creeks and rivers cutting from north toward the lake created large tracts of densely forested ravines, and provide ideal sites for parks and recreational trails.
Toronto's climate is moderate for Canada owing to its southerly location within the country. It has a humid continental climate with warm, humid summers and cold winters. The city experiences four distinct seasons, with considerable variance in day to day temperature, particularly during the colder weather season.
Toronto is a city of high-rises, having over 2,000 buildings over 90 metres (300 ft) in height, second only to New York City (which has over 5,000 such buildings) in North America. Most of these buildings are residential (either rental or condominium), whereas the Central business district contains the taller commercial office towers. There has been recent media attention given for the need to retrofit(усовершенствовать) many of these buildings, which were constructed beginning in the 1950s as residential apartment blocks to accommodate a quickly growing population.
In contrast, Toronto has also begun to experience an architectural overhaul within the past five years. The Royal Ontario Museum, the Gardiner Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Ontario College of Art and Design are just some of the many public art buildings that have undergone massive renovations. The historic Distillery District, located on the eastern edge of downtown, is North America's largest and best preserved collection of Victorian era industrial architecture. It has been redeveloped into a pedestrian-oriented arts, culture and entertainment neighbourhood. Modern glass and steel highrises have begun to transform the majority of the downtown area as the condominium market has exploded and triggered widespread construction throughout the city's centre. Trump International Hotel and Tower, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts are just some of the many high rise luxury condominium-hotel projects currently under construction in the downtown core.
There are many large downtown parks, which include Grange Park, Moss Park, Allan Gardens, Little Norway Park, Queen's Park, Riverdale Park, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Christie Pits, and the Leslie Street Spit, which is Tommy Thompson Park on weekends. The Toronto Islands have several acres of park space, accessible from downtown by ferry. Large parks in the outer areas include High Park, Humber Bay Park, Centennial Park, Downsview Park, Guildwood Park, and Rouge Park. An almost hidden park is the compact Cloud Gardens, which has both open areas and a glassed-in greenhouse in downtown Toronto.
Toronto's most prominent landmark is the CN Tower, which stood as the tallest free-standing land structure in the world at 553 metres (1,815 ft). To the surprise of its creators, the tower held the world record for over 30 years.
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is a major museum for world culture and natural history. The Toronto Zoo, one of the largest in the world, is home to over 5,000 animals representing over 460 distinct species. The Art Gallery of Ontario contains a large collection of Canadian, European, African and contemporary artwork. The Gardiner Museum of ceramic art is the only museum in Canada entirely devoted to ceramics, and the Museum's collection contains more than 2,900 ceramic works from Asia, the Americas, and Europe. The Ontario Science Centre always has new hands-on activities and science displays particularly appealing to children, and the Bata Shoe Museum features many unique exhibitions focussed on footwear. The centrally located Textile Museum possesses another niche collection of great quality and interest. The Don Valley Brick Works is a former industrial site, which opened in 1889, and has recently been restored as a park and heritage site. The Canadian National Exhibition is held annually at Exhibition Place, and it is the oldest annual fair in the world. It is Canada's largest annual fair and the fifth largest in North America, with an average attendance of 1.25 million.
The Yorkville neighbourhood is one of Toronto's most elegant shopping and dining areas. On many occasions, celebrities from all over North America can be spotted in the area, especially during the Toronto International Film Festival. The Toronto Eaton Centre is one of North America's top shopping destinations, and Toronto's most popular tourist attraction with over 52 million visitors annually.
Greektown on the Danforth, is another one of the major attractions of Toronto which boasts one of the highest concentrations of restaurants per kilometre in the world. It is also home to the annual "Taste of the Danforth" festival which attracts over one million people in 2 1/2 days. Toronto is also home to Canada's most famous "castle" - Casa Loma, the former estate of Sir Henry Pellatt, a prominent Toronto financier, industrialist and military man.
Montreal is the second-largest city in Canada and the largest city in the province of Quebec. Originally called Ville-Marie ('City of Mary'), the city takes its present name from Mont-Royal, the triple-peaked hill located in the heart of the city, whose name was also initially given to the island on which the city is located, or Mont Rйal as it was spelled in Middle French, (Mont Royal in present French).
As of the 2006 census, 1,620,693 people resided in the city, , ranking it as the sixth largest city overall across Canada and the United States. The population of the metropolitan area (known as Greater Montreal) was 3,635,571 at the same 2006 census.
The language most spoken at home in the city is French by 57% of the population, followed by English at 19% (as of 2006 census). The official language of Montreal is French as defined by the city's charter. Montreal is the second-largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris.
Montreal is located in the southwest of the province of Quebec, approximately 275 kilometres (168 miles) southwest of Quebec City, the provincial capital, and 167 kilometres (104 mi) east of Ottawa, the federal capital. It also lies 502 kilometres (312 mi) northeast of Toronto, 407 kilometres (253 mi) northwest of Boston and 530 kilometres (329 mi) directly north of New York City.
The city proper covers most of the Island of Montreal at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers. The port of Montreal lies at one end of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which is the river gateway that stretches from the Great Lakes into the Atlantic Ocean. Montreal is defined by its location in between the St. Lawrence river on its south, and by the Riviиre des Prairies on its north. The city is named after the most prominent geographical feature on the island, a three-head hill called Mount Royal, topped at 232 m above sea level.
The mountain is the site of Mount Royal Park (French: Parc du Mont-Royal), one of Montreal's largest greenspaces. The park, most of which is wooded, was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York's Central Park, and inaugurated in 1876.
Montreal's economy is the second largest of all cities in Canada based on GDP and the largest in Quebec. The city is today an important centre of commerce, finance, industry, technology, culture, world affairs and was once the headquarters for the Montreal Stock Exchange.
Nicknamed la ville aux cent clochers ("the city of a hundred belltowers"), Montreal is renowned for its churches. Indeed, as Mark Twain once noted, "This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn't throw a brick without breaking a church window." The city has four Roman Catholic basilicas: Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, the aforementioned Notre-Dame Basilica, St. Patrick's Basilica, and Saint Joseph's Oratory. The Oratory is the largest church in Canada, with the second largest copper dome in the world after that of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Quйbec (also Quebec, Quebec City or Quйbec City) is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in the province - after Montreal, about 233 kilometres (145 mi) to the southwest. As of the 2006 Canadian Census, the city has a population of 491,142, and the metropolitan area has a population of 715,515.
The narrowing of the Saint Lawrence River approximate to Quebec City and Lйvis, on the opposite bank, provided the name given to the city, Kйbec, an Algonquin word meaning "where the river narrows". Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. The ramparts surrounding Old Quebec (Vieux-Quйbec) are the only remaining fortified city walls that still exist in the Americas north of Mexico, and were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 as the 'Historic District of Old Quйbec'.
Quebec City is internationally known for its Summer Festival, Winter Carnival, and the Chвteau Frontenac, a hotel which dominates the city skyline. The National Assembly of Quebec (provincial parliament), the Musйe national des beaux-arts du Quйbec (National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec), and the Musйe de la civilisation (Museum of Civilization) are found within or near Vieux-Quйbec. Among the other attractions near the city are Montmorency Falls and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beauprй in the town of Sainte-Anne-de-Beauprй.
Quebec City's skyline is dominated by the massive Chвteau Frontenac Hotel, perched on top of Cap-Diamant. It was designed by architect Bruce Price, as one of a series of "chвteau" style hotels built for the Canadian Pacific Railway company. The railway company sought to encourage luxury tourism and bring wealthy travelers to its trains. The hotel is beside the Terrasse Dufferin (Dufferin Terrace), a walkway along the edge of the cliff, offering beautiful views of the Saint Lawrence River.
Quebec City is known for its Winter Carnival and for its Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day celebrations.
Tourist attractions located near Quebec City include Montmorency Falls, the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beauprй, the Mont-Sainte-Anne ski resort, and the Ice Hotel.
Natural science sites
Jardin zoologique du Quйbec, reopened in 2002 after two years of restorations but closed in 2006 after a political decision. It featured 750 specimens of 300 different species of animals. The zoo specialized in winged fauna and garden themes, but also presented several species of mammals. While it emphasizes the indigenous fauna of Quebec, one of its principal attractions was the Indo-Australian greenhouse, featuring fauna and flora from these areas.
Parc Aquarium du Quйbec, reopened in 2002 on a site overlooking the Saint Lawrence River, presents more than 10,000 specimens of mammals, reptiles, fish and other aquatic fauna of North America and the Arctic. Polar bears and various species of seals of the Arctic sector and the "Large Ocean", a large basin offering visitors a view from underneath, form part of the principal attractions.
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