University of Peradeniya

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University of Peradeniya
පේරාදෙණිය විශ්ව විද්‍යාලය
பேராதனைப் பல்கலைக்கழகம்
UoP Crest.gif
University of Peradeniya Crest
Motto Sarvasva Locanam Sasthram (Sanskrit)
Motto in English Knowledge is the Eye Unto All
Established 1942 University of Ceylon
1972 University of Sri Lanka, Peradeniya Campus
1978 University of Peradeniya
Type Public
Endowment LKR 2.265 billion [1]
Chancellor Prof. P.W. Epasinghe
Vice-Chancellor Prof. A. Senaratne
Academic staff 731
Admin. staff 2,973
Students 11,065 [a]
Undergraduates 9,605 [b]
Postgraduates 1,440 [c]
Location Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Campus Suburban
700 Hectares
Publication(s) Ceylon Journal of Science
Sri Lanka Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences
Colours

Gold & Maroon

        
Athletics 30 athletics teams
Affiliations University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka Association of Commonwealth Universities
Website Official website
Logo of the University of Peradeniya

Coordinates: 7°15′15″N 80°35′48″E / 7.25417°N 80.59667°E / 7.25417; 80.59667

The University of Peradeniya (Sinhala: පේරාදෙණිය විශ්ව විද්‍යාලය, Tamil: பேராதனைப் பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is a state university in Sri Lanka, funded by the University Grants Commission.[2] It was established as the University of Ceylon in 1942.

The University of Peradeniya hosts eight faculties (including the newly added Allied Health Science faculty), two postgraduate institutes, 10 centres, 73 departments, and teaches about 11,000 students in the fields of Medicine, Agriculture, Arts, Science, Engineering, Dental Sciences, Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science and Allied Health Science.[3] It claims to the largest government endowment by a higher educational institution in Sri Lanka, based on its large staff and faculties/departments.[4]

Ranking[edit]

In 2014 University of Peradeniya has been ranked by 1st[5] place for excellence. In Sri lanka University of Peradeniya has been ranked in 3rd place for total evaluated rank. Tis has been published by Webometrics[6] in january 2014. In 2013 University of Peradeniya has been ranked #1 in Sri Lanka in research by ResearchGate.[7] In 2010, according to University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP),[8] University of Peradeniya ranked 1426th in the world. It is the only Sri Lankan university ranked under URAP.[9]

University name World rank Presence Impact Open ness Excellence
University of Colombo 2,251 4,044 3,387 2,701 2,106
University of Moratuwa 2,754 3,691 3,684 2,426 3,133
University of Peradeniya 2,810 4,478 5,490 3,024 1,841
University of Sri Jayewardenepura 4,146 666 7,648 5,577 3,548
University of Kelaniya 4,417 6,439 7,179 4,707 2,646

This rank chart is showing the ranked list of Sri Lankan Universities. Ministry of Higher Education has been published this rank list in 04.07.2014. According to this ranking University of Peradeniya's prosperity is showing in high level.

Location[edit]

On a site that touches the lower slopes of the lush mountains of Hanthana, University of Peradeniya is famous for its natural beauty. Its picturesqueness has inspired many intellectuals like Prof. Ediriweera Sarachchandra, Sri Lanka's premium playwright.[10] Th university is in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, eight kilometres from the sacred city of Kandy (the historic capital of the last kingdom of Sri Lanka) and about 110 kilometres from Colombo. A tourist attraction, Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya is close by. The university spans an area of nearly 700 hectares in the Mahaweli flood plain. Most of the area remains afforested. Climate around the university is mild, and the temperature fluctuates between 18 to 30 degrees Celsius.

The main entrance to the university is through Galaha road. The Faculty of Engineering is located on one side of the Mahaweli River and all other faculties on the other side. The Akbar bridge links the two banks of the river. Considered as a marvel of civil engineering, it was designed by late Prof. A. Thurairajah (Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, 1975–77 and 1982–85) and built by the first batch of the faculty, in the year of its inception. The Sarasavi Uyana railway station is on campus. Another bridge known as Yaka Paalama links the railway to the other bank. Daily shuttle bus services operate from Kandy to Galaha junction and Kandy to the university.

A separate subcampus was established in 1968 at Mahailuppallama, North Central province for the Faculty of Agriculture.[11] Separate residential facilities are provided to this subcampus.

History[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

The proposal for the establishment of University of Ceylon, the first university of Sri Lanka, which also was the predecessor of University of Peradeniya, goes back to 1999.[3] But no progress was seen until the formation of Ceylon University Association in 1906 under the guidance of Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam, Sir James Peiris and Sir Marcus Fernando. Its request for a European style university in Sri Lanka was partially granted by the British rulers with the formation of Ceylon University College on 1 January 1921.

The University Council, through which the administration of the Ceylon University College was done, appointed committees to plan the academic activities of a future university.[3] For the location it made suggestions to locate the university in Bullers Road (now Bauddhaloka Mawatha) in Colombo, but it was disputed by the politicians. To resolve the controversy, the then Governor Hugh Clifford appointed a committee headed by Justice M.T. Akbar on 20 December 1926. It suggested that the proposed university should be unitary, residential and has to be established outside Colombo. Another committee was appointed in 1928 with Sir Walter Buchanan-Riddel as Chairman. It proposed a site located at Aruppola, in the Dumbara Valley close to Kandy. At this stage Dr. S.C. Paul and Andreas Nell pointed out disadvantages in the site and proposed a larger site at Peradeniya. In 1938 the government acquired the site and developed an area about 150 hectares (out of 700 hectares) to create the University Park.[12]

Although the site was acquired, no plans were made to establish the university until 1941. It was with the arrival of Sir Ivor Jennings as the second principal of the Ceylon University College, that plans to establish the university were put into effect. He stressed the urgent need to move the university to Peradeniya, to the Minister of Education C. W. W. Kannangara and took the initiative in the process. Thus he is still considered as the forefather of the University of Peradeniya.[13]

1942 to 1952[edit]

In 1942, the University of Ceylon was created as the first unitary, residential and autonomous university in Sri Lanka with its seat in Peradeniya, amalgamating Ceylon University College and the Medical College into a single unit with 55 academic staff members, 904 students in four Faculties.[14][15] But due to World War II, it was only in 1946, the construction of buildings could be commenced. Until then, the lectures and laboratory classes were conducted in the buildings obtained from the Ceylon University College and the Ceylon Medical College in Colombo. Two consultants, Sir Patrick Abercrombie and Clifford Holliday did the planning and layout of the university complex. The first phase of work constituted only the development of the left bank. The building of a bridge across the Mahaweli River, later known as the Akbar bridge, was planned by Prof. A Thurairajah. Transfer of the first batch of students, students from the Departments of Law and Agriculture and the third and fourth year students of the Department of Veterinary Science, from Colombo to Peradeniya took place in 1949. Another major move took place in 1952, with the transfer of staff and students of the Faculties of Arts and Oriental Studies, together with the Main Library and the University Administration. This movement on 6 October 1952 marks the official establishment of University of Ceylon, Peradeniya. At the initial stages, Vice Chancellor Jennings wanted to model the university as British universities, but met with the resistance of students who opposed the changes.[16]

1952 to 1972[edit]

A bridge inside the university.

Although the buildings at Peradeniya was established in 1952, the official ceremony for its inception was held in 20 April 1954, with the participation of Queen Elizabeth II. The reason for its delay was the Sri Lankan government who were keen to postpone the ceremony until Queen Elizabeth II could participate in the event, whose visit was delayed by the death of King George VI. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh also participated in the event. He declaring the university opened stated:

You have remarked Mr. Chancellor, that it is not easy to open a university, because once established it is always open. However, like the shopkeepers of London during the bombing, I can declare this place to be "more open than usual..."

Sections of the University of Ceylon, functioned in Colombo and Peradeniya acted as campuses of the same university until 1967. But in 1967, these campuses were split into two. The section located in Peradeniya was known as the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, while the section located in Colombo was known as University of Ceylon, Colombo.

1972 to 1978[edit]

The elegance of the University in spring, the Senate building.

By the University Act No.1 of 1972, four universities functioned at that time; Peradeniya, Colombo, Vidyodaya and Vidyalankara and the Ceylon College of Technology, Katubedda, Moratuwa became five constituent campuses of a single university structure - the University of Sri Lanka. It had one vice chancellor and five presidents for five campuses. Under this designation, University of Ceylon - Peradeniya became the University of Sri Lanka - Peradeniya Campus. But this designation prevailed only until 1978.

1978 to the present[edit]

Under the Universities Act No. 16, 1978, the University of Sri Lanka had been split into six independent, autonomous universities as University of Peradeniya, University of Colombo, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, University of Kelaniya, University of Moratuwa and University of Jaffna.[17] This Act brought back some of the central features of the Ceylon University Ordinance of 1942 such as the Senates, the Councils and Courts.

Governance and administration[edit]

The University of Peradeniya operates under the provisions of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 and the Universities (Amendment) Act No. 7 of 1985. It is a state university and the undergraduate study is 100% free. Therefore it depends on the government for much of its annual grant, which is provided by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Due to this its administration is heavily influenced by the UGC. The University's administration is based upon that of the former University of Ceylon consisting of a dual structure of bodies: the Council (formally known as the University Court which is the governing body) and the Academic Senate (academic affairs).

Officers[edit]

Sarachchandra open air theatre of University of Peradeniya, a well known historical theatre and the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka. It was built according to the architectural style of ancient Greek theatres and named in memory of Ediriweera Sarachchandra, Sri Lanka's premium playwright.
Chancellor

Chancellor is the head of the university and is responsible for awarding all the academic degrees. Usually the chancellor is a distinguished person in an academic discipline. Otherwise it is a clergy or a distinguished person in the civil society. Appointment is done by the President of Sri Lanka. The position is mainly ceremonial and duties are usually carried out by the vice chancellor. The current chancellor of the university is Prof. P.W. Epasinghe. He is the IT advisor to the president of Sri Lanka

Vice chancellor

The vice chancellor is de facto the principal academic and administrative officer of the university, responsible for the management tasks. This appointment is also done by the President of Sri Lanka. The current vice chancellor of the University of Peradeniya is Prof. Atula Senaratne, former head of the Department of Geology. The deputy vice-chancellor is Prof. Shantha Hennayake, former head of the Department of Geography.

Deans of Faculties

Deans are the heads of the faculties. They are responsible for the management and the tasks carried out by the faculty. Deans are appointed by the chancellor for three years.

List of chancellors and vice chancellors[edit]

Faculties and institutions[edit]

A traditional lion statue in front of the senate building of the university
Founding of the Faculties of the University of Peradeniya
Faculty Year founded

Faculty of Arts 1942
Faculty of Medicine 1966
Faculty of Science 1961
Faculty of Dental Sciences 1943
Faculty of Agriculture 1947
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science 1947
Faculty of Engineering 1950
Faculty of Allied Health Sciences 2005

The university has eight academic faculties of study. These faculties contain 72 departments in total. In addition, the university has two postgraduate institutions and six affiliated centres. At the beginning, it had only three present day faculties, namely; the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Science. Departments of Law and Oriental Studies also functioned separately. Since then, five other faculties have been added. The latest addition is the Faculty of Allied Health Science which was established in 2005.

The Post-graduate Institute of Science (PGIS) and Post-graduate Institute of Agriculture (PGIA) are the postgraduate institutions established in the university. PGIS is a national institute established by the Ministry of Higher Education, Sri Lanka in 1996. PGIA was established in 1975 and offeres three postgraduate degrees. In addition to these institutions, Senerath Paranavitana Teaching and Research Museum functions affiliated to the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts.[18] It was established in 1960.

Library network[edit]

The University of Peradeniya library is a centrally administered network of libraries. It is considered the oldest academic library in Sri Lanka.[d] Containing 430,000 plus items, it is one of the largest libraries serving the country today. Seven branches of the library are established in faculties in the main campus at Peradeniya and one other branch in Mahailuppallama subcampus.

University of Peradeniya library contains a legal deposit collection of 300,000 items, special collection of 15,000+ items acquired from various individuals, palm-leaf manuscript collection of approximately 5,000 (second largest palm-leaf manuscript collection in Sri Lanka) and a microfilm collection of 17,000. Furthermore, it owns the largest historical map collection in Sri Lanka.[19]

Student life[edit]

Student organizations[edit]

Students at the University of Peradeniya run over 100 clubs and organizations. These include cultural and religious groups, academic clubs and common-interest organizations. The Peradeniya Students' Union (PSU) is considered the highest body which represents all internal students of the university.[20] Separate student unions operate in each faculty. These student societies include:

Sports[edit]

Swimming pool
Gymnasium

Sports activities in the university are conducted by the Department of Physical Education. University of Peradeniya has 30 athletics teams up-to date. Sports facilities include a well equipped gymnasium; which is one of the largest multi-purpose outstation stadiums in Sri Lanka, a 50m swimming pool and separate stadiums for cricket, rugby, football, hockey, tennis, track and field and elle.

Residential facilities[edit]

Gal Bangalawa of University of Peradeniya.

The University of Peradeniya is the only residential university in Sri Lanka. It provides residential facilities to most of its undergraduate students, all its academic staff members and guests. Three guest houses — Gal Bangalawa, Upper Hantana Guest House and Lady Hill which formerly was a tourist hotel — come under university administration. Residential halls for undergraduate students:

  • Gents
    • Arunachalam Hall
    • Akbar Hall
    • Andreas Nell Hall
    • James Peris Hall
    • Hindagala Hall
    • Jayatilake Hall
    • Mahailuppallama Gents Hostel
    • Marcus Fernando Hall
    • Marrs Hall
    • New Akbar Hall
    • Sarasavi Uyana Hall
    • Senaka Bibile Hall
    • Sir Ivor Jennings Hall
  • Ladies
    • A/7 Women's Hostel
    • Mahailuppallama Ladies Hostel
    • Hilda Obeyesekara Hall
    • Ramanathan Hall
    • Sangamitta Hall
    • Wijewardena Hall
  • Bhikkus
    • A/4 Bhikku Hostel
    • A/5 Bhikku Hostel
    • Kehelpannala Hall
    • Sangaramaya

International collaborations[edit]

The university has developed international relationships since its earliest days. Student exchange programs, collaborative research, split postgraduate programs, international seminars, conferences and short courses are being carried out with these global partners via the Directorate of Research and International Affairs of the university. This was established as a separate institution in 2006.[21] UoP has initiated cooperation programs with foreign governments and institutions.

Academic networking[edit]

UoP is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) academic network.

Research and academic partners[edit]

The university has signed Memorandums of Understanding for research and academic development with these international universities.[22]

Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education program[edit]

The Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE) program provides facilities for undergraduate students from United States of America to study in Sri Lanka. Each year, about 20 undergraduates spend five months in Sri Lanka following courses given by members of the Faculty of Arts. This programme also involves an exchange of faculty.[27][28]

Government partnerships[edit]

People[edit]

Students[edit]

Demographics of undergraduate body [e]
Total Students Percentage
Sinhala 7849 81.72%
Tamil 1006 10.47%
Muslim 661 6.88%
Burgher 8 0.08%
Indian Tamil 42 0.44%
Other/International 39 0.41%
Total 9605 100%

Total number of undergraduates in the university for year 2009/10 was 9605. Student intake for that year remained 2620. In 2008, a total of 1514 postgraduate students studied in the university, most of them being affiliated to the two postgraduate institutions: Postgraduate Institute of Science (PGIS) and Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture (PGIA). Postgraduate output for the year was 358, including 15 doctorates. Faculties except Science and Agriculture conducted their own postgraduate courses. Women constituted 53.15 percent of undergraduates. Women constitution remained over 45 percent in all faculties except Faculty of Engineering where it was 15.46 percent.[f] Courses in all faculties except faculty of Arts are taught in English medium. In faculty of Arts 69.85 percent undergraduates are enrolled in Sinhala medium, 15.93 percent in Tamil and 14.22 percent in English.

Alumni[edit]

University of Peradeniya has produced a large number of alumni in its 68 years of existence. Among the best-known are Sri Lankans are Hon. W. J. M. Lokubandara; former speaker of the parliament (2005–2010),[29] Sri Lankabhimanya Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar; distinguished diplomat, politician and lawyer,[30][31] Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala; former Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations,[32] Prof. Gananath Obeyesekere; emeritus Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University and the person who entered into an intellectual debate with Marshall Sahlins over the rationality of indigenous people through the details of Captain James Cook's death in the Hawaiian Islands in 1779,[33] Prof. Anuradha Seneviratna; a renowned Sri Lankan scholar,[34] Prof. Malik Peiris; discoverer of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus,[35] Major General Janaka Perera; chief of staff of the Sri Lanka Army and one of the most distinguished generals in Sri Lankan history,[36] Prof. J B Disanayake; head of the Department of Sinhala, University of Colombo.,[37] Prof. Kusuma Karunaratne; the first female Professor of Sinhala Language[38] Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera; a prominent Sinhala writer, poet, and essayist[39] and Prof. Neelan Tiruchelvam - A Sri Lankan Tamil politician, peace activist and an internationally respected academic. Founder and director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies and the founder and director of The Law and Society Trust.[40][41]

Faculty[edit]

Comparison of Academic Staff [42][g]
Category Number engaged in the university system (2008) Number engaged in University of Peradeniya (2008)

Professors 386 106
Associate Professors 79 23
Senior Lecturers 1929 336
Lecturers 1556 216
Academic Support Staff 326 50

The number of permanent academic staff of University of Peradeniya is 731. It is the university in Sri Lanka that is served by the highest number of professors, associate professors and academic staff. Teacher to student ratio of the university remained 1:13 by 2008.

University of Peradeniya has been served by a number of world-class faculty. Distinguished faculty include Prof. Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah; Professor in Anthropology (1955–1960), a leading social anthropologist in the world, recipient of the prestigious Balzan Prize,[43] the highest recognition of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland and Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor (Emeritus) of Anthropology at Harvard University, Prof. Senarath Paranavithana; the pioneering archeologist and epigraphist of Sri Lanka and once the archeological commissioner,[44] Prof. Gunapala Malalasekera; famous Sri Lankan scholar and diplomat; compiler of the "Gunapala Sinhala-English Dictionary",[45] Prof. Anuradha Seneviratna; a renowned Sri Lankan scholar, Prof. Seneka Bibile, the founder of Sri Lanka’s drug policy and the greatest medical benefactor of humanity that Sri Lanka has hitherto produced.[46] and Prof. Ashley Halpe, a prominent Sri Lankan writer.

Criticism[edit]

Ragging[edit]

In the past the university has been criticized for its high level of ragging with several incidents grabbing national headlines.[47] These include the death of S. Varapragash in 1997 due to kidney failure following severe ragging by a group of eight Tamil senior students[48] and the permanent disability of Rupa Rathnaseeli in 1975 as a result of having jumped from the second floor of the hostel Ramanathan Hall to escape the physical ragging being carried out by the seniors. She later committed suicide in 1997[49] A second incident occurred in 1997. Selvanayagam Varapragash, a first-year engineering student at University of Peradeniya, was murdered on the campus due to hazing. He was subjected to sadistic ragging and in the post-mortem a large quantity of tooth paste was found in his rectum. This kind of serious ragging does not prevail in the university anymore. It has reduced to a process of adapting the new students to the university's unique culture, mostly through harsh speech. Also there are non-ragging groups in many faculties who stand against ragging incidents and act against ragging.

Popular culture[edit]

Serene road inside university

The University of Peradeniya holds a central position in classical university education, which has made it the setting for many dramas, films, songs, poems, novels and other cultural works in Sri Lanka.[50][51] Songs like "Hanthanata paayana sanda..." by Amarasiri Peiris, "Hanthane kandu muduna sisara..." by W. D. Amaradeva, "Hanthana adaviye meduru kulunu sudu sandaluthalaa pisa..." by Nanda Malini, "Mé nagaraya maa oba munagasunu nagarayayi..." by Mervin Perera, "Hanthane raja dahane...", "Nethu saluna...", "Hantana Desin ena..." are only a few of them. Movies like Gamini Fonseka's Saagarayak Meda [In the middle of an ocean] and Sugathapala Senarath Yapa's Hanthane Kathawa (The story of Hanthana) are directly based on University of Peradeniya. UoP is featured in the novels: Siri Gunasinghe's Sevanella [The shadow] and Gunadasa Amarasekara's Ek Sathya Kathawak (One true story). Groundbreaking dramas like Prof. Ediriweera Sarachchandra's Maname (1957) and Sinhabahu (1960) were first directed and played there.[16][52] In Sarachchandra's novel Heta Echchara Kaluvara Nae [Tomorrow is not that dark], an entire chapter is dedicated to describe the beauty of the university.

Further reading[edit]

  • De Silva, K. M. and Jayatilaka, Tissa (eds). Peradeniya: Memories of a University, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Kandy (1997), ISBN 955-580-023-5
  • Peiris, Ralph. Universities, politics and public opinion in Ceylon, Springer, Netherlands (Volume 2, Number 4 / June, 1964). ISSN 0026-4695 (Print) 1573-1871 (Online). 435-454pp.
  • Goonetileke H. A. I. Introduction to Jennings’s The Kandy Road (1993)
  • Jennings, Sir Ivor The Road to Peradeniya (Autobiography), ISBN 955-552-114-X
  • Gooneratne, Yasmine. The Sweet and Simple Kind: A Poetic Account of a Nation's Troubled Awakening, Abacus Publishers (2006), ISBN 1-4087-0163-4 / ISBN 978-1-4087-0163-8 (UK edition)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

a. ^ Table 2.1.1: Total student enrolment by faculty (pp.24), University Hand Book 2009 published by the University of Peradeniya publications (2010).[53]
b. ^ Table 2.1.1: Total student enrolment by faculty (pp.24), University Hand Book 2009.
c. ^ Table 2.1.1: Postgraduate students by faculty (pp.24), University Hand Book 2009.
d. ^ "The oldest academic library in Sri Lanka, founded in 1921 as the university College Library became the University of Ceylon Library in 1942 and was moved to Peradeniya in 1952. Currently it has one of the largest collections in the country, numbering more than 500,000 in volume" - International dictionary of library histories, Volume 1.[54]
e. ^ Table 2.1.15: Undergraduate enrolment by ethnicity (pp.39), University Hand Book 2008
f. ^ Total number of students in Faculty of Engineering, 2008: 1468. Number female: 227. Table 2.1.4: Undergraduate enrolment by ethnicity (pp.22), University Hand Book 2008
g. ^ Only permanent staff included. Number of academic staff engaged in university education is retrieved from the University Statistics - 2008 by University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka

References[edit]

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  3. ^ a b c "Faculties, Postgraduate Institutes and Centres of the University of Peradeniya in the year 2002". University of Peradeniya. 2002. Retrieved 2010-05-24. 
  4. ^ "University System at a Glance". University Grants Commission (Sri Lanka). 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-24. [dead link]
  5. ^ http://www.mohe.gov.lk/index.php/en/component/university/?view=rank
  6. ^ http://studentlanka.com/2014/02/12/world-ranking-of-sri-lanka-universities-2014-janurary-top-30/
  7. ^ https://www.researchgate.net/institutions/Sri_Lanka
  8. ^ "URAP - University Ranking by Academic Performance". 
  9. ^ http://www.urapcenter.org/2011/university.php?q=University of Peradeniya
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  12. ^ "Cambridge by the Mahaweli: Peradeniya University". The Island. 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-24. 
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