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STR/Getty Images(PYONGYANG) -- North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un said President Donald Trump will "pay dearly" for his address to the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week.

In the statement released Thursday, Kim also said North Korea is considering the strongest possible response to what he called Trump's provocation.

On Tuesday, Trump threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea, referring to Kim as "Rocket Man."

"No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles," Trump said. "The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary."

Trump also called on all nations to isolate the Kim regime in light of its "reckless pursuit" of nuclear weapons and treatment of its citizens.

In his lengthy response, Kim slammed Trump as "mentally deranged" and said the American president had "made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history."

"I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the U.S. pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying" North Korea, Kim said.

Kim added: "Whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.

"I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U. S. dotard with fire."

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Sarairis Aguilar/AFP/Getty Images(MEXICO CITY) -- Rescuers continue to frantically dig through the rubble of a collapsed school in Mexico City two days after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck, killing hundreds.

Officials offered conflicting information on how many died and who was still trapped inside the building. On Thursday, Mexico's deputy minister of information told ABC News that one maintenance worker was still stuck inside the school. He added that 19 children and six teachers were killed in the collapse, while 11 were hospitalized for treatment.

On Wednesday, however, Mexico's Education Minister Aurelio Nuno said that multiple students -- including a 12-year-old girl -- were still trapped alive under the rubble.

Nuno also said the bodies of 21 children and four adults had been discovered at the site.

The deputy minister of information couldn't explain the discrepancy but said that after cross-referencing all of the names of students and talking to parents, it appeared that no children were trapped inside.

The Mexican military earlier delivered an on-camera appeal to parents of children who are still missing to come to the school. Perplexed officials told ABC News on Thursday morning that no parents had reported their children missing.

A pediatrician who is caring for those extricated told ABC News hypothermia is the biggest threat that faced those beneath the rubble.

Earlier, a rescuer, who was caked with dust after emerging from a pile of cinderblock and rebar that once made up a wing of the Enrique Rebsamen primary and secondary school, told ABC News that rescuers were just 3 to 4 feet away from a victim trapped beneath the rubble but were blocked by a chunk of concrete. He's heard knocks and multiple voices, but the noise has grown fainter over the past 12 hours, he said.

The rescuer said he was tunneling inside when the pile began to collapse, triggering panic to get out. The crawl space for rescuers is only about 16 inches high. Rescue work was then temporarily suspended.

Rescue workers were seen rolling in a crane in an attempt to gingerly raise the roof of the collapsed school, hopefully enabling them to reach those still trapped inside.

Neighbors, police, soldiers and firefighters alike could be seen forming an assembly line, tirelessly clawing through the wreckage all day Wednesday. Rescue dogs and harnessed workers wearing helmets were on site to search for survivors.

At one point, the rescue crews dropped listening devices into a hole amid the rubble of the collapsed structure and attempted to send in a rescue dog to sniff for survivors.

Every few minutes, the near silence was punctuated by whistles demanding silence, the call for dogs and screams for doctors. The Herculean effort was being performed before hundreds of people thronged a block away.

In between the pockets of quiet, a generator's drone can be heard under the repetitive clanking of shopping carts caused by strangers delivering bottles of water and tortillas to rescuers.

A 13-year-old boy named Rogelio Heredia managed to claw his way out of the debris. He told Televisa it felt "like a dream" and described scaling a wall that had collapsed to get to safety on the street.

Meanwhile, video posted to social media showed young students being pulled from the rubble.

The school was among dozens of buildings in central Mexico leveled by the pulverizing power of the quake, which struck Tuesday afternoon some 75 miles from the capital. Mexico City's foundations were built on a lake bed, making many structures especially unstable during an earthquake.

The region was engaging in earthquake drills just hours before the quake hit on the 32nd anniversary of a 1985 earthquake that claimed thousands of lives in Mexico.

LANDED: Elite @USAID #mexicoearthquake disaster team incl >60 @LACo_FD #USAR members 5 canines. Their job: rescue survivors assess damage pic.twitter.com/ul6rUtEZRi

— USAID/OFDA (@theOFDA) September 21, 2017

On Thursday, the United States Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance tweeted a photo of its Air Force plane arriving in Mexico. Onboard were more than 67 urban search-and-rescue members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department along with five canines and 62,000 pounds of specialized tools and medical equipment to conduct around-the-clock missions on the ground and assess damage, according to USAID Administrator Mark Green.

Green said the team from Los Angeles was sent because they have the heavy equipment needed in this natural disaster, particularly to deal with collapsed structures.

The United States and Mexico are closely coordinating to ensure crews and resources are deployed "in the right place at the right time applying their capacities," according to Green.

"America is and will remain the world's leading humanitarian donor," Green said. "Whether it's responding to an earthquake, drought or conflict, America is committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with people in their hour of need. It's who we are as Americans."

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ABC News (SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) -- At least 15 people have died in the Caribbean island of Dominica and many homes are destroyed beyond repair after Hurricane Maria devastated the country this week, Dominica's prime minister said Thursday.

In an emotional interview with ABS Television, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said the death toll is likely to rise and search and rescue missions are ongoing. At least 16 others are missing in some communities, he said.

“We have many deaths, but it is a miracle that we do not have hundreds of deaths in the country,” Skerrit told ABS Television.

The storm has led to at least 18 deaths thus far, including 15 in Dominica, two in Guadeloupe and one in Puerto Rico.

After pummeling through the Caribbean, Maria restrengthened to a major hurricane early Thursday.

It had regained major hurricane status after moving back over warm, open waters in the Atlantic Ocean.

As of 2 p.m. ET, Maria's maximum sustained wind had increased to 120 mph, making it a major Category 3 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm's massive eye was located about 85 miles east-northeast of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Maria was traveling northwest at 9 mph, with Turks and Caicos in its path.

Maria is forecast to strengthen even more as it moves north of the Dominican Republic and passes just east of Turks and Caicos by Friday morning.

From there, Maria will likely weaken over the weekend as it moves between Bermuda and the eastern coast of the United States. The diminishing storm should move further east of the U.S. and out to sea sometime next week.

The storm's path is expected to steer clear of the U.S. mainland.

Maria leaves Puerto Rico in the dark

Even as Maria moved away from Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory was still being hit with strong wind and heavy rain. Storm surge was receding Thursday morning, but Puerto Rico was hit with 20 to 30 inches of rain in 24 hours, with some areas seeing 35 inches locally. The hurricane came ashore there as a powerful Category 4 with 155 mph wind -- the first Category 4 storm to hit the island since 1932.

A spokesperson with the Puerto Rico governor's office confirmed one person has died in the storm. The person was killed in Bayamon, just southwest of San Juan, after being hit in the head by a wooden panel.

Puerto Rico's emergency management agency confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that 100 percent of the island had lost power, noting that anyone with electricity was using a generator.

Telecommunications throughout the island have "collapsed," Abner Gomez Cortes, executive director of Puerto Rico's emergency management agency, told ABC News.

More than 12,000 people are currently in shelters, and hospitals are now running on generators, Cortes said. Two hospitals -- one in Caguas and one in Bayamon -- have been damaged.

Cortes described Maria as an unprecedented storm, adding that Puerto Rico had not seen a hurricane of that strength since 1928.

Multiple transmission lines sustained damage from the storm, according Ricardo Ramos, director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Ramos said he hopes to begin launching helicopters by this weekend to begin inspecting the transmission lines.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello imposed a curfew on the island Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. ET through Saturday.

A spokesperson for Rossello said early Thursday he was with a National Guard unit in Levittown, a coastal suburb of San Juan, where as many as 80 percent of homes suffered damage and residents there had retreated to rooftops due to flooding.

Felix Delgado Montalvo, the mayor of Catano, some 7 miles southwest of San Juan, told ABC News on Wednesday there are hundreds of people in shelters and over 1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the communities of Juana Matos, La Puntilla and Puente Blanco. Most of the homes there are flooded and are missing roofs or have collapsed walls, he said.

About 80 percent of residences in the Juana Matos community were destroyed from storm surge and flooding. Homes there are filled with at least 3 to 4 feet of water, according to Montalvo.

Christy Caban of Nashville, Tennessee, rode out the storm with her husband and 13-month-old baby in their hotel room just east of San Juan.

"We don't have power, we don't have water," Caban told ABC News.

Meanwhile, ABC News correspondents observed widespread destruction in the town of Guaynabo, about 10 miles south of San Juan.

Trees and power lines were downed, and storefronts and building facades had crumbled. Neighborhoods in Guaynabo were filled with waist-deep floodwaters and destroyed homes that were clearly not built to any kind of code.

Guaynabo resident Ramon Caldero and his family hunkered down in their kitchen during the storm, which caused part of the ceiling to collapse in his sister's room.

"I was worried," Caldero told ABC News. "My sister was screaming."

Puerto Rico narrowly missed landfall by Hurricane Irma two weeks ago, with the Category 5 storm traveling just north of the U.S. territory. The island suffered heavy rain and wind, but nothing near the widespread damage incurred by Maria.

Governor @RicardoRossello-
We are with you and the people of Puerto Rico. Stay safe! #PRStrong

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2017

Thank you Mr. President @realDonaldTrump United, we stand! #USstrong #PRstrong https://t.co/csHEFx2B6j

— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) September 21, 2017

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Thursday, President Donald Trump said Hurricane Maria "absolutely obliterated" Puerto Rico and "totally destroyed" the U.S. territory's power grid, but that the recovery process will begin soon with "great gusto."

The island “got hit with winds, they say they’ve never seen winds like this anywhere," Trump added.

Trump also tweeted a message of support for Puerto Rico late Wednesday, which was reciprocated by the island's governor. Rossello also spoke to Vice President Mike Pence by phone Wednesday.

Other Caribbean islands devastated

Maria also did severe damage to multiple Caribbean islands, including Dominica, Guadeloupe and the Virgin Islands.

The U.S. Department of State sent a message of solidarity Wednesday to the people of Dominica and all across the Caribbean who were affected by Maria.

Hartley Henry, an adviser to Dominica's prime minister, told reporters via WhatsApp on Wednesday that his country has suffered a "tremendous loss of housing and public buildings" since the storm hit, ripping off roofs and tearing doors from hinges. Dominica's main general hospital "took a beating" and "patient care has been compromised," he said.

"The country is in a daze -- no electricity, no running water," Henry said via a WhatsApp message. "In summary, the island has been devastated."

In the interview with ABS Television on Thursday, Dominica's prime minister said the island has no electricity and only limited telecommunications have been restored since the storm. Some villages are now only accessible by sea or via helicopter, he said.

“It’s going to take us a very long time to get back,” Skerrit.

The prime minister told ABS Television that his home's roof was ripped off during the storm and he had to take cover under a bed to protect himself from falling debris.

While wiping away tears, Skerrit issued an urgent appeal for desperately needed relief aid, namely water, tarps and baby supplies.

The Ross University School of Medicine, based in Portsmouth, Dominica, announced Wednesday on Facebook that it is attempting to make contact with all of its students. More than 1,400 students and faculty have signed the registration sheet so far, and the school has reached out to the family members of more than 700 others, who informed them that they are safe.

In Guadeloupe, officials announced Wednesday two people were killed there and two others were missing due to the storm.

France's Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said some 80,000 people in Guadeloupe -- around 40 percent of the population -- were without electricity Wednesday. Many roads there are impassible due to flooding and French Navy planes have not been able to assess the damage on the island due to bad weather conditions.

In Martinique, about 70,000 homes were without electricity and 50,000 homes did not have access to safe drinking water Wednesday. Fallen trees and downed power poles have blocked many roads there, Collomb said.

Police and soldiers have been deployed in both Martinique and Guadeloupe to ensure security. More than 3,000 first responders are on the French Caribbean islands, according to Collomb.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump claimed Thursday that China has ordered its banks to stop doing business with North Korea -- the rogue regime's principal trading partner.

"I'm very proud to tell you that, as you may have just heard moments ago, China, their central bank has told their other banks  -- that's a massive banking system -- to immediately stop doing business with North Korea," Trump said at the United Nations alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"Again, I want to just say and thank President Xi of China for the very bold move he made today. That was a somewhat unexpected move, and we appreciate it."

The remarks came a short time after Trump signed an executive order aimed at companies and financial institutions that do business with North Korea.

The remarks came a short time after Trump signed an executive order aimed at companies and financial institutions that do business with North Korea.

“Foreign banks will face a clear choice to do business with the United States or facilitate trade with the lawless regime in North Korea,” Trump said.

Trump argued that the new presidential action taken will “cut off sources of revenue that fund North Korea's efforts to develop the deadliest weapons known to humankind.” Early this month, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date, and last week it fired a missile over Japanese airspace. Abe welcomed the new sanctions enforced by the United States.

According to Trump, the U.S. Treasury Department will also begin identifying new industries that it can target with strong sanctions, such as the manufacturing, fishing, and textiles industries.

“For much too long, North Korea has been allowed to abuse the international financial system to facilitate funding for nuclear weapons and missile programs,” Trump said.

Trump said the U.S. seeks a “complete denuclearization of North Korea."

The new sanctions from the Trump administration come two days after Trump told the United Nations that the U.S. would "totally destroy" North Korea if leader Kim Jong Un does harm to the U.S. or its allies.

"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," Trump said Tuesday in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly.

"Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime," Trump said, using an epithet he has recently adopted to refer to Kim Jong Un.

Trump had teased the announcement earlier in the day, during his bilateral meeting with President Moon, and told reporters to “stay tuned.”

During that meeting, Moon praised Trump's speech Thursday as "strong," and said he believes it will "help contain North Korea."

"North Korea has continued to make provocations, and this is extremely deplorable, and this has angered me and our people," President Moon said. "The United States has responded firmly and in a very good way."

“I'm happy you used the word deplorable,” Trump said, getting some laughs from the room. “I promise, I did not tell them to use that word.”

“That’s been a very lucky word for me and many millions of other people,” Trump said, referencing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s once characterizing some of Trump’s supporters as “deplorable” during the election.

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The White House(NEW YORK) -- President Trump is expected to announce new sanctions against North Korea on Thursday during his meeting with South Korea's president at the United Nations.

“We will be putting more sanctions on North Korea,” President Trump said Thursday morning.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters on Thursday that Trump will use his meeting with President Moon Jae-in to make an "important announcement" on North Korea.

A senior administration official confirmed to ABC News that the declaration is expected to relate to sanctions.

The president's expected announcement comes two days after he told the United Nations that the U.S. would "totally destroy" North Korea if leader Kim Jong Un does harm to the U.S. or its allies.

"The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," Trump said Tuesday in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly.

"Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime," Trump said, using an epithet he has recently adopted to refer to Kim Jong Un.

The president’s expected statement on North Korea also comes 10 days after the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved new sanctions against the country.

The Security Council voted on Sept. 11, a week after Pyongyang conducted its sixth nuclear test to date. The new sanctions ban 90 percent of North Korea's publicly reported exports and cap the amount of oil the country is allowed to import.

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Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images(MEXICO CITY) -- At least 230 people, including 21 schoolchildren, are dead after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked central Mexico on Tuesday afternoon, hitting on the 32nd anniversary of the biggest quake to strike the country's capital.

Yesterday's earthquake was centered about 75 miles southeast of Mexico City and caused extensive damage, leveling at least 44 buildings, including homes, schools and office buildings, according to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who did a flyover of the city Tuesday afternoon.

Among the dead are at least 22 people, including students and at least two adults, from a collapsed primary school in the south of the city. Peña Nieto visited the school late Tuesday. He said the 22 bodies have been recovered but that 30 children and eight adults are still missing.

Rescuers were clawing at the wreckage looking for survivors late Tuesday, pausing to listen for voices.

“Children are often the most vulnerable in emergencies such as this, and we are particularly concerned because schools across the region were in session and filled with students,” said Jorge Vidal, director of operations at Save the Children in Mexico.

Hanna Monsivais, programs coordinator at Save the Children in Mexico, said she has been out on the streets in Mexico City with hundreds of other people trying to help their neighbors. But entire street blocks have been cordoned off and numerous buildings are still too dangerous to enter because of the damage.

"Volunteers are bringing water, food, clothes and face masks so that they can help the official authorities move all the debris and rocks, because there are still people trapped under buildings,” Monsivais said. “Every once in a while, authorities ask for silence so they can hear the people who are still trapped. It’s amazing what people are doing for others, but some people are clearly still in complete shock.”

Many areas were still without power, and communications remained limited, Monsivais said.

“This night is going to be tough," she said. "For sure, tomorrow the death toll will rise.”

Mexico City's airport descended into chaos as the ground rippled and chunks of plaster fell from the walls when the earthquake hit, Dallas resident George Smallwood told ABC News.

“I felt the ground shaking, and I heard everyone screaming and starting to run,” he said, adding that he initially thought he was in the middle of a terror attack.

Smallwood had stopped in Mexico City for a long layover after a vacation in Medellin, Colombia, and had spent the day exploring the capital. He was getting ready to go through security at Mexico City International Airport for his 3:35 p.m. flight back to Dallas when the earthquake struck.

 Parts of the ceiling were "swinging back and forth," and the panicked crowd took off "running in every different direction," he said.

The tremors lasted for about six to seven minutes, he estimated. After the shaking subsided, first responders swooped in to help the injured, and a fleet of military and police helicopters buzzed overhead, he said.

Smallwood’s flight was rescheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, so he needed to find somewhere to stay for the night, he said.

Tuesday's earthquake -- which hit at about 2:14 p.m. ET near the town of Raboso in Puebla state, according to the United States Geological Survey -- comes 11 days after a magnitude-8.1 quake struck off Mexico's southern Pacific coast, killing dozens of people.

Thousands of people on the capital's main boulevard streamed out of buildings and into the street in panic after the quake struck.

"I was just paying at the supermarket, and suddenly the floor went ‘boom, boom,’" Mexico City resident Lara Rodriguez told ABC News on Tuesday. "People were obviously panicking."

Rodriguez added, "So I rushed out and I went to get my kid from school to make sure he was okay. Luckily, everything was fine, but on the way, there was a lot of debris. There were clouds of dust flowing up as if a bomb had hit or something."

Dramatic images and footage depicted the destruction in Mexico City.

Video filmed inside an office building showed the overhead lights swinging violently as the ground shook.

Así el #Sismo en #CDMX, piso 8 en Lomas de Chapultepec. pic.twitter.com/IHNj3EwU01

— Alfonso Ruiz (@alfonsorup) September 19, 2017


Meanwhile, chaos broke out in the newsroom of Milenio, a Mexican news site.

Así se sintió el sismo en la redacción de https://t.co/yZhRO4eZHB pic.twitter.com/V4694bCDJT

— Milenio.com (@Milenio) September 19, 2017


Several cars were damaged by falling debris.

Mexico City, built on a former lake bed, is one of the worst possible places for an earthquake to strike because of its soil, which can amplify shaking by factors of 100 or more, California-based seismologist Lucy Jones told ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV. By comparison, the worst condition seen in Los Angeles during an earthquake is shaking amplified by a factor of five, Jones said.

Earlier in the day, earthquake drills were held in Mexico City to mark the anniversary of the Michoacán earthquake of 1985, which caused widespread death and injuries as well as catastrophic damage in Mexico City.

Narciso Suarez of Mexico City said he was attending a meeting on the ninth floor of a high-rise building when he first felt the quake's tremble. He said authorities in the building ordered those inside to shelter in place "at least until the shaking passed."

Suarez, who was also in the area Sept. 7 when the last earthquake struck, said Tuesday's tremble was "a lot worse."

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon, "God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you."

God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2017

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence echoed the commander in chief's comments.

Our hearts are with the people of Mexico City. We're thinking of you and, as @POTUS said, we are with you. https://t.co/0Yt1YwbQAZ

— Vice President Pence (@VP) September 19, 2017

The U.S. State Department said in a statement, "We stand ready to provide assistance should our neighbors request our help. Our embassy in Mexico City has sent out public messages to U.S. citizens in Mexico, and the embassy stands ready to provide consular assistance to any U.S. citizens who may have been affected. We offer our condolences to any who were injured or lost loved ones."

.@statedeptspox: Our thoughts & prayers are with the people of #Mexico affected by today’s 7.1-magnitude earthquake. https://t.co/AFmJr9tB5O

— Department of State (@StateDept) September 20, 2017

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images(BERLIN)  -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears poised to coast to victory once again in Sunday’s national elections.

Her Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union parties have maintained double-digit leads over their main rival, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), in opinion polling, with Merkel enjoying broad support among German voters. When the votes are tallied on Sunday, the parties will likely snag some 37 percent of the vote to the SPD’s 20 percent, the latest polling from Infratest dimap suggests.

But with Germany's first female chancellor set to lock down a record fourth term at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy, observers say not to expect any major shifts in her policies or tone.

“Merkel didn’t run on a platform of change,” Karen Donfried, the president of the German Marshall Fund in Washington, told ABC News.

Donfried said Merkel touted herself as an experienced and reliable leader in an uncertain world during the campaign and didn’t promise voters radical shifts on important policy positions regarding trade, the economy or immigration. "Those areas will likely remain very similar to the way they are now, so we shouldn’t expect any major policy shifts when she starts her next term," Donfried added.

But a lot also depends on whom Merkel's party teams up with to form a government, Sudha David-Wilp, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund in Berlin, told ABC News.

“That is likely to have the biggest impact on Germany’s political direction for the next four years and shape what Merkel can or can’t do politically,” David-Wilp added.

David-Wilp believes that while Merkel is likely to try and solidify her legacy during her next term, she will also take on domestic issues such as education reform, security and immigration integration in addition to her ongoing work to unify Europe.

"Things are better now than they were a year ago, but we’re still in the post-Brexit era so a unified Europe is still paramount for Merkel," David-Wilp said.

One potential problem for Merkel: the rise of Germany's controversial, right-wing, populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The AfD is likely to receive enough votes to come in third in national elections, guaranteeing dozens of seats in parliament. Though the AfD is unlikely to be part of a coalition government with Merkel's party, it will almost certainly look to capitalize on its new position and seek to align itself with other conservative members of parliament.

“Merkel has moved to the right on a lot of AfD’s core issues during the campaign,” Gideon Botsch, a political scientist at the University of Potsdam, told ABC News. “But now that the AfD has gained some power in parliament, it will try to move the government even further to the right on issues like immigration and security, and that will be a challenge for Merkel and her party.”

When she announced last year that she would seek a fourth term, Merkel acknowledged that she would enter a race that would be tougher than any of her three previous campaigns.

“We will face opposition from all sides," Merkel said in a speech in Berlin when she announced her plans to run, citing both populist and left-wing opponents at home and abroad who “threaten our values and way of life in Germany.”

As for Merkel’s relationship with the U.S. and President Donald Trump, don’t expect any seismic shifts, Donfried said.

“Much like when President Trump was elected, Merkel will want to make clear that the U.S. has a partner in Germany,” she said. “So we shouldn’t expect any major changes in Germany’s relationship with the U.S.”

But the relationship with the U.S. has been strained at times with Merkel’s political opponents attacking her for what its leaders characterized as a failure to stand up to  Trump.

At a campaign event in May, Merkel made headlines when she said Europe can no longer completely rely on other countries. The remark underlined her frustrations with Trump following a meeting of world leaders at the annual G-7 Summit. Trump hinted then that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement and followed through on that promise just a few weeks later.

“The times in which we could rely on others completely, they are partly past,” Merkel said. “I experienced this in recent days. So I can only say: We Europeans must truly take our destiny in our own hands.”

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Sarairis Aguilar/AFP/Getty Images(MEXICO CITY) -- Students of the Mexico City school that collapsed after a powerful earthquake hit Tuesday afternoon were seen being pulled out of the rubble in dramatic video posted to social media.

When first responders and bystanders notice an opening in the building's structure, they rush to it and begin pulling the facade from the exterior in an effort to enlarge the hole, the video shows.

Rubble from the building litters the streets as the rescuers crouch down to retrieve the survivors. First responders are seen attempting to reassure crying children as they are picked up and out of the destroyed building. Yelling from inside the building informs the search team that there are more survivors.

Hermano eres un héroe, estoy orgullosa de ti, salvaste la vida de varios niños en Colegio Rebsamen 🙏 pic.twitter.com/9JnJw0PA8u

— Isabel Miranda W (@WallaceIsabel) September 20, 2017

Search and rescue teams continued to frantically search for victims trapped under the rubble of the Enrique Rebsamen primary and secondary schools on Wednesday, more than 24 hours after the earthquake struck.

The bodies of 21 children and four adults have been discovered at the school, according to Mexico's Education Minister Aurelio Nuño. Eleven people have been rescued, and three are still missing.

Rodrigo Heredia, a 13-year-old student, told a Televisa reporter in Spanish that he escaped the building because of an earthquake drill held earlier in the day on Tuesday.

Citywide earthquake drills were held to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the Michoacán earthquake of 1985, which killed thousands and caused catastrophic damage in Mexico City.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near the town of Raboso in Puebla state Tuesday afternoon, according to the United States Geological Survey. It marked the second powerful quake to hit Mexico in less than two weeks, after an 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the country's Pacific coast 12 days earlier.

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gynane/iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- London Metropolitan police arrested a sixth suspect in last week's Underground train bombing in the early hours of Thursday morning.

After serving a warrant at an address in Thornton Heath, police arrested a 17-year-old male under section 41 of the Terrorism Act and began a search of the property.

The arrest follows less than a day after a 48-year-old man and a 30-year-old man were arrested in Newport, South Wales, when officers executed a warrant at the address where the two men were located.

A 25-year-old man was arrested Tuesday evening, also in Newport, at a different address.

UK terror threat lowered after 2nd man arrested in London Underground attack

A 21-year-old man was arrested on Saturday in Hounslow, a borough in West London, by detectives with the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command, and earlier Saturday police had evacuated a house in a London suburb as well as part of the Port of Dover after arresting an 18-year-old man that morning in the southeastern coastal city.

None of the six men who have been arrested in connection with the attack have been publicly identified. All remain in custody at a South London police station.

Thirty people were injured in September 15 attack on a train at Parsons Green Underground station in London. Police said an apparent bucket bomb exploded during the Friday morning commute, injuring 30 people. All of the injuries were considered minor. Authorities said the bomb did not fully explode, likely limiting the number of casualties.

The terror threat was lowered to severe from critical over the weekend, but police warned the public should remain vigilant.

"This continues to be a fast-moving investigation. A significant amount of activity has taken place since the attack on Friday," said Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met Counter Terrorism Command.

"We urge the public to report any suspicious activity to the police by calling us, in confidence, on 0800 789 321, or in an emergency by dialling 999," Haydon said in a public statement.

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LEE JIN-MAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Iran is in complicance with the international nuclear deal, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said Wednesday, the same day that President Trump said he has "made a decision" on whether to certify Iran as compliant.

"The facts are that Iran is operating under the agreements that we signed up for under the JCPOA," Gen. John Hyten said at an event at the Hudson Instititue, a conservative think tank.

"But at the same time they are rapidly, rapidly deploying and developing a whole series of ballistic missiles and testing ballistic missiles at all ranges that provides significant concerns to not just the United States, but our allies," Hyten noted. Still, he said, "we have an agreement that our nation has signed. And I believe that when the United States of America signs an agreement, it's our job to live up to the terms of that agreement, our job to enforce that."

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said that he has reached a decision on recertifying or scrapping the deal. "I have decided," he told reporters after a bilateral meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. "I'll let you know what the decision is."

The Trump administration has until October 15 to recertify Iran's compliance.

On the campaign trail, Trump suggested renegotiating the deal, something that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says will not happen. "Either the JCPOA will remain as-is, in its entirety, or it will no longer exist," Rouhani told reporters.

"There will be absolutely no changes, no alterations, nothing done to the current framework of the JCPOA."

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Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered a heated response Wednesday to President Donald Trump’s remarks to the United Nations General Assembly, during which Trump declared the Iran nuclear deal all but dead and called it an "embarrassment."

"Ugly, ignorant words were spoken by the U.S. president against the Iranian nation," said Rouhani in his own speech to the General Assembly, "full of hatred and baseless allegations."

Rouhani continued by defending his country's participation in the nuclear agreement and offered a threat directed towards the U.S., saying that Iran "will respond decisively and resolutely to its violation by any party."

Taking further aim at Trump, Rouhani said "destruction" of the nuclear agreement by what he called "rogue newcomers to the world of politics’" will not impede Iran’s course of progress and advancement.

"We never threaten anyone. But we don't tolerate threats by anyone," he said. "Our discourse is of mutual respect."

Rouhani also addressed Israel in his remarks: "It's disgraceful that the Zionist regime not committed to any international instrument or safeguard has the audacity to preach to peaceful nations."

Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech to the U.N. that his country was firmly against the Iran nuclear deal.

"Change it or cancel," Netanyahu urged.

Though Trump has signed temporary waivers on sanctions against Iran, the administration must decide by Oct. 15 whether to recertify Iran as compliant with the nuclear agreement. Trump has openly said if it were up to him, he would have already said the country has not complied. If Trump chooses to decertify Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement, Congress would have up to 60 days to vote on any sanctions. Trump could also choose to stop signing waivers on sanctions or to begin enforcing the nuclear agreement with more vigor.

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Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea reached their highest point in years over the course of this summer, and they don’t look as if they will diminish anytime soon.

Increased missile tests by the North Koreans and a change in approach by the Trump administration have taken the two countries’ leaders into uncharted territory.

The war of words between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump further escalated Tuesday when Trump, in his first speech before the United Nations General Assembly, slammed Kim, saying, "Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime."

Though much about the so-called Hermit Kingdom’s inner workings remain a mystery, more and more information about its military programs and arsenal is becoming clear. Ahead, what we know about the North Korean threat.

The North Korean mindset

Steve Ganyard, an ABC News contributor and a former deputy assistant secretary of state, was quick to note that nobody really knows what motivates Kim, but “the consensus in the intelligence community is that he’s trying to use nuclear weapons for regime stability and the ability to make the U.S. think twice about whether they would trade Seoul for Seattle.”

Scott Snyder, a senior fellow for Korea studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, agreed that maintaining stability is a major goal, as is projecting a strong image globally and at home.

“I believe Kim Jong Un knows that he’s weak and vulnerable, and he believes that having nuclear capabilities and an ability to strike the United States will help to remove the vulnerability he feels,” Snyder told ABC News.

Snyder also believes that the country’s nuclear arsenal helps bolster his legitimacy domestically.

“Having nuclear weapons has become a key to his survival in sustaining his rule, because he looks around the neighborhood and the world and sees that he’s weak,” Snyder said.

He said that while North Koreans call the country’s nuclear weapons program “the treasured sword,” Kim sees it as “the great equalizer.”

In a statement after the country’s most recent missile test, Kim said “he was seeking equilibrium with the U.S.,” Snyder said.

“In that statement, he’s showing his concern about North Korea’s vulnerability,” Snyder added.

There may be a more tangible goal as well, Ganyard said.

“I think there’s also a growing sense with many people that his ultimate goal is a reunification of the Korean Peninsula under his control,” Ganyard said. “That’s even more scary, because that’s a very offensive mindset that he thinks he can keep the U.S. at bay and that he can defeat the South militarily. Now, that’s highly, highly unlikely, but history is replete with conflicts that have been started by miscalculations.”

Missile launches

North Korea has conducted 14 ballistic missile tests so far this year.

The first came in February, when the North launched a solid-fuel, intermediate-range missile that traveled 310 miles into the Sea of Japan.

Gen. John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told a congressional panel in early April that the February launch marked a significant advancement for North Korea because it was its first successful solid-fueled missile fired from a mobile launcher, which makes those missiles harder to track because they can be positioned and fired on short notice.

Subsequent missiles have flown increasing distances, reaching more than 600 miles in one March test of a medium-range Scud-er (extended range).

There was a series of missiles that failed before reaching greater distances, but their capabilities reached new heights on July 4. That was when North Korea launched, for the first time, a two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile to mark the United States’ Independence Day.

The missile was launched into a high-altitude trajectory, reaching 1,730 miles up and about 577 miles horizontally, landing in the Sea of Japan. Three weeks later, another ICBM was launched and went even farther.

The latest missile was launched on Sept. 14, and Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that the missile traveled as high as 478 miles and reached a distance of about 2,300 miles.

According to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, if angled correctly, that ICBM could potentially travel as far as New York or Washington, D.C.

Nuclear arsenal

North Korea has a small arsenal of nuclear weapons, the existence of which have been proven by the country's five nuclear tests. A 2016 Congressional Research Service report estimated that North Korea has between 66 and 88 pounds of separated plutonium, enough for at least half a dozen nuclear weapons.

U.S. intelligence agencies believe that North Korea now has an arsenal of as many as 60 nuclear devices.

North Korea is currently working toward its stated goal of placing a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States.

U.S. intelligence agencies have also concluded that North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb on September 4, according to a U.S. official.

Military technology

Ganyard said North Korea would have to have four essentials in place before being able to strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon: the weapon itself, missiles capable of carrying it, technology that allows the missiles to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere without igniting, and the capability to target missiles.

Kim "showed us that the rocket has the range" necessary to strike "most" of the U.S. through recent missile tests, Ganyard said. A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report and a recent missile test in which Kim detonated a thermonuclear weapon 20 times as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima have led officials to believe the country possesses a nuclear weapon that could be placed on a missile.

Whether Kim has the missile re-entry technology and missile-targeting capabilities necessary for such an attack remains a mystery. Ganyard said it’s “still doubtful” that North Korean forces have the re-entry technology needed to have a nuclear weapon explode at its most destructive state. A recent missile test also appeared to show that the bomb that they had tested “disintegrated before fully re-entering,” Ganyard said.

The North's ability to target missiles remains totally unknown.

“We have no idea where he stands on that technology,” Ganyard said.

Just what kind of re-entry and targeting technology North Korea has is a question that has been unanswered since August.

“Even with the [Defense Intelligence Agency] report out there, I would still say that they have an unproven capability to deliver because there has not been a judgment yet about their ability to master re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere, so that applies for now to the continental United States,” Snyder told ABC News in August. And that still holds true today.

What the recent thermonuclear test has shown, Snyder said, is that the North has nuclear capabilities.

“More importantly, the size of the yield was large enough that it reduces the need for accuracy in the event that North Korea wants to strike a location in the United States,” Snyder said this week.

Snyder also warned that North Korea's re-entry abilities could change in the coming months.

U.S. defense systems

U.S. troops are permanently stationed in South Korea as part of the security commitment America made to South Korea after the Korean War. In addition to those 28,500 American troops in South Korea, there are also 54,000 American troops stationed in Japan.

Beyond simple manpower, the United States has a layered missile defense system designed to track and intercept missiles launched from North Korea.

It includes missile interceptors aboard Navy ships in the Pacific and large ground-based interceptors located in Alaska and California. However, the viability of the large interceptors has been routinely questioned since they became operational nearly a decade ago.

In late May, the Missile Defense Agency successfully tested an interceptor that targeted an ICBM test missile fired from Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is a missile defense shield designed to intercept short-, medium- and intermediate-range missiles.

In April, the United States deployed THAAD to South Korea for the first time, a long-planned move agreed to last summer after a series of 2016 North Korean missile tests. The United States has also placed the THAAD system in Guam, which could be reached by some of North Korea's long-range missiles.

Shifts in rhetoric

The overtly aggressive rhetoric that Trump has been using toward North Korea, coupled with the country’s increasing number of missile tests, has brought the question of what happens next to the fore.

While that answer remains unclear, Snyder suggests that the tests are tied to the rhetoric.

Since taking office, Trump has called North Korea a “rogue nation,” a “great threat,” “hostile and dangerous,” “looking for trouble” and “behaving very badly.” In August, he said that if North Korea didn’t stop threatening the U.S., it would be met with “fire and fury like the world has never seen." Most recently, he has taken to referring to Kim as “Rocket Man.”

Those comments coincide with an increase in tests, Synder said.

“The North Koreans have been pretty consistent in playing tit for tat and responding to threats of pressure with threats of pressure,” Snyder said.

“Within the past months, the escalation in rhetoric has been on the U.S. side -- not to point any fingers -- and the North Koreans have responded in kind,” he added.

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Sarairis Aguilar/AFP/Getty Images(MEXICO CITY) -- Rescuers continue to frantically dig through the rubble of a collapsed school in Mexico City two days after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck, killing hundreds.

One rescuer, who was caked with dust from a pile of cinderblock and rebar that once made up a wing of the Enrique Rebsamen primary and secondary schools, told ABC News early Thursday morning that rescuers were just 3 to 4 feet away from one of the trapped children but were blocked by a chunk of concrete. He's heard knocks and multiple voices, but the noise has grown fainter over the past 12 hours, he said.

The rescuer told ABC News that he was inside when the pile began to collapse, triggering panic to get out. The crawl space for rescuers is only about 16 inches high.

So far, the bodies of 21 children and four adults have been discovered at the site, Mexico's Education Minister Aurelio Nuño said. Eleven people have been rescued, and three people are still missing -- two children and a teacher.

On Thursday morning, the Mexican military delivered an on-camera appeal to parents of children who are still missing to come to the school. Perplexed officials told ABC News that no parents have reported their children missing.

Overnight, first responders continued an hourslong effort to rescue a student named Frida Sofia, Mexico's education minister told Televisa.

Rescuers managed to contact Sofia and give her water and oxygen, the education minister said. She is trapped under a granite table or desk, which rescuers believe is giving her some protection from the rubble.

Sofia informed workers that there are two people trapped with her. Sofia said she can feel the others but doesn't know whether they are alive.

Young students were seen being pulled out of the rubble in dramatic video posted to social media.

Neighbors, police, soldiers and firefighters alike could be seen forming an assembly line, tirelessly clawing through the rubble all day Wednesday.

Rescue dogs and harnessed workers wearing helmets were onsite to search for survivors.

At one point, the rescue crews dropped listening devices into a hole amid the rubble of the collapsed structure and attempted to send in a rescue dog to sniff for survivors.

A flurry of activity was concentrated under a white canopy erected over the hole.

In between the pockets of quiet, a generator's drone can be heard under the repetitive clanking of shopping carts caused by strangers delivering bottles of water and tortillas to rescuers.

A 13-year-old boy named Rogelio Heredia managed to claw his way out of the debris. He told Televisa it felt "like a dream" and described scaling a wall that had collapsed to get to safety on the street.

The school was one of a dozen buildings that were leveled by the pulverizing power of the quake, whose epicenter was about 75 miles from the capital. Mexico City's foundations were built on a lake bed, making many structures particularly unstable during an earthquake.

Tuesday's quake, which has already claimed more than 200 lives, came on the 32nd anniversary of a 1985 earthquake that caused thousands of deaths in Mexico.

The region was engaging in earthquake drills only hours before the earthquake struck Tuesday.

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Matthew Horwood/Getty Images(LONDON) -- London Metropolitan police arrested two more men early Wednesday in connection with last week's bombing of a subway car in Parsons Green.

Police said they arrested two men, ages 48 and 30, in Newport, Wales, just after 5 a.m. local time. The men were arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act after officers executed a warrant at the address where the two men were located.

A 25-year-old man was arrested Tuesday evening at a different address in Newport.

The total number of people held in the attack is now five. None of the five men have been identified by police.

A 21-year-old man was arrested on Saturday in Hounslow, a borough in west London, by detectives with the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command, and earlier Saturday police had evacuated a house in a London suburb as well as part of the Port of Dover after arresting an 18-year-old man that morning in the southeastern coastal city in connection with the attack, police said.

Thirty people were injured in the attack on Sept. 15 at the Parsons Green subway stop in London. Police said an apparent bucket bomb exploded during the Friday morning commute, injuring 30 people. All of the injuries were considered minor. Authorities said the bomb did not fully explode, likely limiting the number of casualties.

"This continues to be a fast-moving investigation," said Dean Haydon, head of the Counter Terrorism Command, in a press release. "A significant amount of activity has taken place since the attack on Friday. We now have five men in custody, and searches are continuing at four addresses. Detectives are carrying out extensive inquiries to determine the full facts behind the attack."

Police said the search at the Hounslow property had concluded, but two addresses in Surrey and two in Newport were still being combed over by authorities.

The terror threat was lowered to "severe" from "critical" over the weekend, but police warned on Wednesday that the public should remain vigilant and report any unusual activity.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A little over a year ago, few people gave Germany's controversial, right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party any chance of making a dent in German national elections. In recent months, the party suffered through several embarrassing internal spats and saw its polling numbers sink amid growing support for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But AfD is now poised to become Germany’s third largest political party after Sunday's elections. Opinion polls show the AfD scoring as much as 12 percent of the vote on Election Day, allowing it to send dozens of lawmakers to national Parliament - or Bundestag - and potentially disrupting German politics.

If the predictions hold, it will be the first time since the end of World War II that a far-right party has attracted enough votes to enter Germany’s Parliament. And the strong showing means the AfD will be the biggest opposition party if Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) continues its governing coalition with the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).

"It's without question a significant achievement for a right-wing party when you view it historically,” said Karen Donfried, the president of the German Marshall Fund, referring to Afd. She said because of its Nazi history, German voters have usually rejected right-wing parties in elections.

“But this is a significant shift for the German political landscape,” she noted.

Founded in 2013 as an anti-European Union party, the AfD shifted its focus from the euro zone debt crisis to immigration after Merkel in 2015 opened the doors to over a million migrants, many fleeing war in the Middle East.

Since then, the party has increasingly found success by becoming the most visible anti-immigration party in Germany. It scored well in a series of regional elections thanks largely to a growing public anger over Merkel's welcoming policy toward refugees, particularly from Syria and elsewhere in the Arab world.

Gideon Botsch, a political scientist at the University of Potsdam just outside Berlin, said AfD's success is partly due to the disillusionment voters feel with Germany's established political parties.

“Many voters, especially on the right but also in the center, have felt that the two traditional parties have not addressed the issue of immigration and German cultural identity,” Botsch said. “And that has led them to consider voting for the AfD.”

The party's platform is staunchly anti-immigrant and opposes any welcoming of Muslims to Germany.

The AfD has called for sealing the European Union’s borders, instituting rigorous identity checks along Germany's national borders and setting up holding camps abroad to prevent migrants from leaving for Germany in the first place. The party also wants to deport anyone whose application for political asylum is rejected while encouraging foreigners to return to their home countries.

Party leaders believe the few migrants who are allowed to remain have a duty to fully integrate into German society, emphasizing the primacy of the German language and traditional German culture. Many of its top officials have outwardly rejected the idea that Islam is part of German society.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel equated the party with the Nazis who ruled the country from 1933 to 1945, an insult rarely heard in national politics.

“If we’re unlucky, then these people will send a signal of dissatisfaction that will have terrible consequences,” Gabriel, a member of the Social Democrats, said in an interview with Internet provider t-online.de. “Then we will have real Nazis in the German Reichstag for the first time since the end of World War II.”

Justice Minister Heiko Maas warned that the AfD's religious, family, criminal and European policies are in clear violation of the German constitution. In an essay published in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper, he singled out a blanket ban on minarets - the towers on mosques from which the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer - which the AfD has promised to introduce.

Though the official AfD platform says that the party supports direct democracy, separation of state powers and the rule of law and order, throughout its short history critics have accused individual members of promoting neo-Nazi ideas and using neo-Nazi language.

Earlier this month, the party was forced to defend its co-leader Alice Weidel following media reports that she had expressed racist views in a private email four years ago. Top AfD officials dismissed a report in the weekly Welt am Sonntag that quoted from an email Weidel allegedly sent to an acquaintance in which she claimed the government was trying to cause "civil war" by systematically flooding German cities with Arab and Roma migrants.

The AfD also developed a series of controversial campaign ads, including one showing the belly of a pregnant woman that says “New Germans? We'll make them ourselves.” Another ad declares “Burkas? We prefer bikinis.”

“In years past, these kinds of ads would turn off many voters in Germany,” Donfried said. “But this time around they seem to resonate with some voters and that’s been a problem for the two main politics parties.”

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