France looks to work with Tunisia on returning extremists

Scene of the October 29 killing of three people at a church in the southern French city of Nice.

November 9, 2020

Article Highlights:

  • Tunisian nationals constitute a significant portion of foreign jihadists in Syria, Iraq and Libya.
  • Tunisia is willing on certain conditions to take back its nationals expelled from France.
  • Public opinion in Tunisia is hostile towards the return of suspected jihadists.

Little Tunisia has a BIG jihadist problem

In 2015, the United Nations released a report that highlighted some 5,000 Tunisians traveled to Syria, Iraq and Libya over the past decade.

The Washington Post documented that in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, Tunisians traveled to Syria, Iraq and Libya “more than any other nationality from outside those countries.

While it is important to note that Tunisian authorities claim the figure is lower, around 3,000, it still is highest number of foreign fighters per capita in the world.

The alleged perpetrator of that attack, 21-year-old Brahim Aouissaoui, who arrived illegally in Europe in late September, is not the first Tunisian suspected of carrying out a deadly jihadist attack in Europe.

France wants Tunisia to take Jihadits fighters back…

France is focused on dealing with this sensitive situation following the October 29 killing of three people at a church in the southern French city of Nice.

For starters, France wants to expel some 20 Tunisians already convicted on terrorism charges or suspected of jihadist inclinations.

According to several reports, Tunisia is willing to take back its nationals from France under specific conditions.

Tunisians are NOT in a rush to take back fighters…

Most Tunisians are against the return of the suspected jihadists as they seem them as a threat to their young democracy and modern way of life. Authorities have refused the return of their troubled citizens from France on the basis of travel restrictions linked to the ongoing pandemic.

Tunisia Security Outlook

Security Insight: The return of the suspected jihadists are a security concern in Tunisia. Security analysts calculate that some 70 percent of over 230 foreigners illegally in France and suspected of radicalism are from the Maghreb region which includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.

Operational Impact: While this development may not have an immediate impact on foreign businesses operating in Tunisia, it is important for companies to monitor the negotiations for future risk assessments.

Travel to Tunisia: The latest State Department Travel Advisory for Tunisia is a Level 3: Reconsider Travel. On 28 October the Tunisian authorities introduced new measures due to the ongoing pandemic. These measures include a national curfew and travel restrictions. 

We will continue to monitor the situation in Tunisia by providing up to date analysis and support. Currently, our Security Portal which provides advanced tactical and in-depth forecasting, is proving to be an effective tool for organizations operating in Tunisia.

Request Access to our Security Portal:


Tunisia bans travel within country as cases INCREASE…


Source:[Reuters News] October 29, 2020


Tunisia on Thursday banned travel between the country’s regions, suspended schools and public gatherings and extended a curfew, as it tried to contain a rapid surge of COVID-19 cases with hospitals nearly full.

"Tunisia cannot afford a second lockdown with the government already fighting the central bank over a projected deficit double what it had originally foreseen."-Tunisian PM 

🇹🇳Tunisia UPDATED Pandemic Control Measures:

-Banning internal travel in most cases, -Suspension of schools until Nov. 8th -Two-week suspension of universities -Ban on protests and public gatherings of more than four people.

A night curfew that was already in place in several regions has been extended across the country and brought forward to start at 8pm instead of 9pm on weekdays, while remaining at 7pm on weekends.


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Tunisia sees rise of “Criminal Violence”

Tunisia: According to the September report of @FT_DES released on Wednesday, October 28th:

“Criminal violence topped the list of forms of violence over the past three months, with a rate of 75.6%, followed by institutional violence, violence in public spaces and then economic violence.”

Tunisia is ranked significantly lower than the UK, France and Germany on the Global Terrorism Index, and heavy government investment has beefed up protective security in major cities and resorts.

Still, sociologist Mohamed Al-Jouili warned of the danger of paving the way for the emergence of a new pattern of crimes, which are not restricted to convicted criminals. “The time span between a simple quarrel and a murder has become very short, which carries negative connotations that invite us to search and look for the underlying causes,” he said.

Make sure to JOIN our Facebook Page for all the latest updates on Tunisia and to CONNECT with our community of travelers.

Tunisia Security UPDATE

Tunisia: Over 400,000 tourism jobs eliminated after Pandemic Shutdown

Tunisia empty medina.
Global tourism losses due to coronavirus amounted to $460 billion in the first half of the year;

Highlights:

  • Tourism revenue has declined 61 per cent in Tunisia as a result of coronavirus, the Central Bank of Tunisia reported on Friday.
  • tourism industry in the country, which includes more than 1,300 travel agencies and provides 20,000 direct and indirect jobs.
  • 28 per cent of the sector’s workforce were sacked following the imposition of a general quarantine.

Tourism Sector takes MASSIVE hit

October 26, 2020

Tunisians are waking up to the fact that while they may have survived the first wave of the pandemic, their tourism industry is NOT looking good at all. For starters revenue has declined 61 percent!

Tunisian Economy was already in Trouble: Even before the pandemic, Tunisia had suffered a poor economic record, with sluggish growth, high unemployment and declining public services, since its 2011 revolution ended autocratic rule.

It’s no mystery that the North African country depends heavily on its tourism sector for many social economic reasons. Tunisia relies on tourism for foreign currency, jobs, and security.

Bankruptcy threatens about 98 per cent of travel agencies in Tunisia…”

In many ways the the fact that thousands of businesses in Tunisia are declaring bankruptcy is as much a security issue as it is an economic one. Why? More than 4,000 families make a living from the tourism sector in Tunisia.

If the situation does not improve it will lead to civil unrest and increase security risks throughout the country.

Tunisia’s tourism sector is in TROUBLE

An industry expert recently confirmed, the danger of bankruptcy which threatens about 98 per cent of travel agencies in Tunisia if financial support measures approved by the government since the start of the health crisis are not implemented.

This will not surprise those monitoring the situation as we learned in September that global tourism losses due to coronavirus amounted to $460 billion in the first half of the year; that’s a 65% decline in the number of tourists worldwide!

Tunisia Security Outlook

Security Insight: The Tunisian Federation of Travel Agencies (FTAV) held a protest on Tuesday outside the headquarters of the Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts in the capital, Tunis, to ask authorities to support businesses which are on the verge of closure.

Operational Impact: Moving forward we may start to see more of these types of protests & activities throughout the country in response to the economic hardships and ongoing curfews.

Travel to Tunis may continue while adhering to all security precautions. Consult with us for itinerary-based tactical monitoring and ground support options.

We will continue to monitor the situation in Tunisia by providing up to date analysis and support. Currently, our Security Portal which provides advanced tactical and in-depth forecasting, is proving to be an effective tool for organizations operating in Tunisia.

Request Access to our Security Portal:


@DavidSecurity-Security Awareness

Greetings, my name is David A. Santiago also known as @DavidSecurity and for over 15 years I’ve helped hundreds of organizations, expats, and travelers understand

Security Awareness Program:

A full spectrum Security Awareness Program covers pre-travel training, arrival safety briefing, and ongoing safety/security training for:

  • Business Travelers
  • Expat staff and their families
  • Security conscious travelers

The Challenge 

Life can change in a SPLIT second.  How can you be aware of your surroundings while at the same time have the awareness to identify potential threats? In a fast paced world, where everyday new security, health, and cyber threats are emerging, how can you go about your day in a security conscious manner?  

Answer: Being aware of one’s surroundings and identifying potential threats and dangerous situations. Think AIR! 

  • Aware
  • Inquire 
  • REACT

A Valuable Skill…

The bottom line is that Situational Awareness is more than just a concept, it is a skill you can learn.  A habit you can incorporate into your everyday life without appearing paranoid and ultimately it is a lense that will assist you as you seek to accomplish your mission.

Of course I can write a book on this topic but the best way to experience the power of timely information is to test our service.

Contact us for a FREE DEMO.

Security Risk Management

@DavidSecurity interviewed after an unprecedent attack on an American school in North Africa.

Greetings, my name is David A. Santiago also known as @DavidSecurity and for over 15 years I’ve been assisting organizations operating in HIGH threat environments.

Security without Risk Management is wishful thinking!

My GOAL is to provide organizations with practical and actionable information so that they can operate safely in a cost effective manner.

Security Risk Management is the ongoing process of identifying security risks and implementing plans to address them.

Risk is determined by considering the likelihood that known threats will exploit vulnerabilities and the impact they have on valuable assets. 

Mitigating risk through timely information

Timely & Actionable information allows you to stay ahead of the headlines. It enables your organization to assess risk and take proactive steps that will keep your business operations steady in a chaotic world.

With the support of our network and security partners, we are able to provide an in-depth knowledge of the region or regions you’re working in, along with updates and insights on issues and trends that can directly affect your business.

Of course I can write a book on this topic but the best way to experience the power of timely information is to test our service.

Contact us for a FREE DEMO.

How Tunisia went from Pandemic Success to Regional Curfews…

Article Highlights:

  • Tunisia chooses regional curfews instead of a country wide shutdown.
  • Tunisia’s Prime Minister on Monday ordered a curfew starting from Tuesday in all regions of the country.
  • Coronavirus cases are surging in Tunisia, which had managed to contain the virus earlier in the year.

Tunisia Pandemic Success

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

On Monday, October 20th Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi had to address the media to clarify an important point. Over the weekend various media outlets reported that Tunisia would enforce a country wide curfew. This rang alarm bells for many including security professionals like myself that monitor the situation in Tunisia from a security risk management perspective.

Coronavirus cases have been surging in Tunisia, which had managed to contain the virus earlier in the year, and have now reached more than 40,000.

Tunisia Under Regional Curfew

Instead of a country wide curfew, the Prime Minster stated that he gave governors the power to order Regional Curfews in response to the surge of coronavirus cases.

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi on Monday gave regional governors the power to order curfews starting from Tuesday to combat the coronavirus pandemic, his office said.
  • Much of Tunisia is under a curfew in effect from 21:00 to 05:00 (local time) Monday to Friday, with a longer 19:00 to 05:00 curfew in place at weekends, for 15 days until October 23.
  • Face masks remain mandatory in public places nationwide. Schools remain closed though universities have reopened following strict hygiene measures. Nonessential businesses are permitted to resume operations at 70 percent capacity. Restaurants and cafes have reopened, following social distancing regulations. Public transport is also operating at 50 percent capacity. 

Early Celebration?

Not too long ago Tunisia was receiving praise from many media outlets and world leaders for their successful response to the first wave of the pandemic.

Here’s a headline from June 15th: Tunisia has beaten coronavirus: prime minister, Elyes Fakhfakh announces country’s victory over COVID-19.

For months, Tunisia was viewed as one of the first countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to successfully contain the coronavirus outbreak. I even wrote an article about how the “Tunisian Model” could potentially be used by the travel industry as a case study of how to operate post COVID.

The country recorded zero new cases for five consecutive days starting May 11, completed its deconfinement plan between May 4 and June 14, opened its borders for tourism starting June 27, and resumed normal economic activity.

By August I was ringing the alarm bells!

As of July 17, Tunisia had performed over 81,300 tests. It had recorded 1,327 total contaminations, 1,093 recovered patients, and 50 total deaths. Compared to the rest of the region, Tunisia has good COVID-19 mortality and recovery rates (3.8 percent and 82.4 percent respectively). 

What Happened?

The first cases recorded in Tunisia was in early March. Giving credit where credit is due the government responded swiftly with a comprehensive set of measures aiming to slow the virus’ progression. The Tunisian response included:

  • Suspension of all travel,
  • mandated working from home for non-essential workers,
  • closed mosques, imposed mandatory confinement and nightly curfews,
  • shut down schools and businesses, and banned public gatherings.
  • Military and police forces were tasked with ensuring that these instructions were followed.

And then Summer happened…

On June 27, Tunisia reopened the country’s international land, sea, and air borders. Tunisia’s Minister of Tourism Mohamed Ali Toumi has tried to reassure foreigners that the country is ready and safe for tourism while promoting the country’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The chains of the virus transmission are primarily linked to gatherings, including weddings. Chains of transmission have also been observed in some factories.”-Nissaf Ben Alaya, director general of the National Observatory for New and Emerging Diseases

Moving Forward

Tunisia hopes that by giving regional governors the power to order curfews they will restrict night time gatherings without shutting what is left of their economy.

As if the pandemic wasn’t bad enough, Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi said on Sunday that his country is undergoing a critical financial situation as a result of the ongoing stifling crisis which has led to a reduction in the 2021 budget. 

This will only make the situation even more challenging!

We will continue to monitor the situation in Tunisia by providing up to date analysis and support. Currently, our COVID-19 Security Portal which provides advanced tactical and in-depth forecasting, is proving to be an effective tool for organizations operating in Tunisia.

Request Access to our COVID-19 Security Portal:


5 Cybersecurity Tips for everyday “Dummies”

Cyber-attacks are getting more and ore complicated…

Nobody likes to be called a dummy.  Especially a well educated professional like yourself but what if I was able to convince you that when it comes to Cybersecurity, taking the “dummy approach” may be your best mitigation strategy.  

The numbers are alarming.  According to the FBI the number of complaints about cyberattacks to their Cyber Division is up to as many as 4,000 a day. That represents a 400% increase from what they were seeing pre-coronavirus.

The Challenge

The headlines don’t lie, cyber-criminals are intensifying their attacks and going for everything from personal information to consumer data. While they may not have any ethics, they are not stupid.  

Let me ask you a question: If you had to pick a house to break into.  Would you pick house#1 with the state of the art security, anti-climb fence, and K-9s? Or house#2 with the windows slightly open, mail piled up, and no car in the garage?  

Pretty easy choice..wouldn’t you agree? 

Cybercriminals think the same way.  While it is true that each day more and more companies are experiencing increasingly sophisticated attacks, cybercriminals are always on the lookout for easy targets. 

Online, the easiest targets are individuals and usually small businesses that take little to no precautions.  

Enter the Dummy Approach

Let’s face it cybersecurity is COMPLICATED. Disagree?  Well consider this:

  • There is a hack attack every 39 seconds. 
  • Around 94% of all malware is spread through email. 
  • 300,000 thousand new pieces of malware are created daily.
  •  95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error.

The fact is that we are living in a fast paced and ever complicated world.  There’s simply too many threats and too much information for us to catch up. Instead of trying to keep up with everything we can approach cybersecurity as a Dummy. Please allow me to explain. 

When I said like a “dummy”, I use the term as an avid reader of the Dummies series. They are extensive series of instructional/reference books which are intended to present non-intimidating guides for readers new to a particular topic.  

“Dummies has always stood for taking on complex concepts and making them easy to understand.”

Now, this article is by no means a review of the excellent book Cybersecurity for dummies. More than just reading a book, the point we are making is that when it comes to Cybersecurity the “dummies approach” is effective. The genius about the Dummies series is that they empower readers with actionable knowledge that they can apply to their daily lives.   

With that, here 5 Cybersecurity for Dummies Tips that will help you cyber-protect yourself, family and business. 

5 Helpful Cybersecurity for Dummies tips…

  • 1. Acknowledge the Risk: Cybersecurity for Dummies makes a simple yet alarming claim:
    “Every person, business, organization, and government entity is a potential target for hackers. People who think that they do not have anything of value and “why would hackers want to attack me?” often act without proper diligence and learn quite quickly how wrong their perspective is.”
    Dummy Tip#1: By acknowledging the risk you are more likely to take practical measures to protect yourself.
  • 2. Passwords Are Important: A recent study on passwords showed that “despite ubiquitous warnings not to do so, a large number of people still use weak passwords such as “123456” or “password”.

    Dummy Tip#2: Avoid weak passwords. Even better use multi-factor authentication when it is available. Multi-factor authentication should be used whenever possible because it immediately neutralizes the risks associated with compromised passwords by adding an additional layer of security to protect highly sensitive personal information.
  • 3. Don’t go cheap: The average hack can be easily prevented with a base level of awareness and effective software.  Modern security software dramatically increase the odds of a person fending off a whole slew of potential cybersecurity problems, including malware, breaches, spam overloads, and others. Add on a strong cybersecurity awareness foundation and you have yourself a fordable cybersecurity posture.

    Dummy Tip#3: You owe it to yourself, your family, and your business to invest in the latest software and cybersecurity awareness training.

Cybersecurity has never been more challenging than it is today and with new threats arising daily it is only going to get more complicated. While this may seem overwhelming at first, there is a lot we can do to reduce the risks we face.

By adopting a practical yet effective approach as outlined in Cybersecurity for Dummies we can strengthen our cyberscurity posture without be an IT professional.

Tunisian town included in “10 most dangerous tourist attractions” in Africa!??

Small town in friendly Tunisia made the “10 Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions” in Africa list?? Let’s talk SECURITY!

 @DavidSecurity here once again keeping you up to date on the latest Travel Security Updates on everything from travel warnings to personal security awareness.

 I recently came across an article with the catchy headline Top 10 most dangerous tourist attractions in Africa.  As an expat that lived for over 10 years in North Africa, I have to say that the headline grabbed my attention. 

Breaking down the Top 10 List-VIDEO

Top 10 Most Dangerous Tourist Destinations in Africa…

Danakil desert, Ethopia

The article written by Adaobi Onyeakagbu was very descriptive and informative. I loved the 1st question:

Is a good adventure story worth risking your life? Let’s leave you to decide from a list of beautiful tourist attractions in Africa that can actually kill you.

The question was powerful and it immediately grabbed my attention. You see as a security professional, I believe that with the right mindset, awareness, and set up virtually NO PLACE is off-limits to tourists.

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“They don’t call it the Devil’s Pool for no reason! This naturally formed rock pool is located at the very edge of the majestic Victoria Falls on the Zambia side (the other side of the falls is in Zimbabwe). Some tourists are daring enough to swim in it. Some go even further and dangle their legs off the side.

Swimming can only take place between September and December when a natural rock barrier forms, but it is still extremely dangerous. Several people have plunged to their death from the Devil’s Pool, including one famous tour guide, who managed to save one of his charges who had started to fall. Unfortunately, he slipped during the rescue and lost his own life instead. You can marvel at the beauty of Victoria Falls without risking your life, so why not do that?”

How did Tunisia Make the List?

 I was literally shocked when I came across the 8th so-called most dangerous place in Africa.  8. Tatooine, Tunisia.

According to the Article:

8. Tataouine, Tunisia

This one is for all the Star Wars fans out there planning a visit to Tunisia. You may be familiar with Tataouine as the fictional village of Tatooine in George Lucas’s Star Wars films. The Skywalker farm buildings were left there after filming and have since attracted thousands of Star Wars fans to the area.

Unfortunately, it appears that the region is no longer safe for tourists to visit, so you may have to put your tour on hold for now. Recent terrorist activity in nearby Libya has made the area of Tataouine unstable, as it is in the path of traveling jihadists hoping to join infamous terrorist group, ISIS. Tourists have already perished in Tunisia, after an attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis left 19 dead. Best to leave it until there’s no further risk of attacks, we think.

Tataouine is UNIQUE!

Anybody that’s ever been to Tataouine, Tunisia know 3 facts about the sleepy town:It’s quite literally in the middle of NO WHERE!

1. It is literally in the middle of nowhere!

Tataouine is the southernmost of the twenty-four governorates of Tunisia, the only one to border both Algeria and Libya (a geographical fact that makes people think it is “dangerous”). While it has a population of 149,453 you wouldn’t know it if you visited town as it is as lay back as you can get.

2. The star wars set are…shall we say aged…

Tataouine is the town that inspired George Lucas to name his fictional desert planet Tatooine. The sets are visible in the desert nearly four decades after the first film was filmed! Although there’ve been several attempts to revive the area the sets have to face the harsh sand dunes.

3. The locals are very welcoming…

During your trip to Tataouine, you’ll notice the breathtaking desert landscapes, colorful markets and of course friendly people.

Tataouine is NOT “Dangerous”…

Now I know that it’s true that the region is facing challenges especially in nearby Libya but still I know that there are 100 other places more “DANERGOUS” in Africa.  In fact, you’re properly more likely to get pickpocketed in a major Western city then you are to be kidnapped in Tatotourine IF you practice basic security awareness.

Well let me know what you think.  Especially if you’ve ever visited Tatoonie or maybe you clicked on this video because you’re a big start wars fan in which case I say….May be the force be with you!




Did Tunisia reopen too soon?

Key Points:
-Tunisia declared VICTORY over the pandemic on June 15th.
-Since then Tunisia recorded 983 COVID-19 cases, 424 out of them imported and 559 locally transmitted.


On June 15th 2020 Tunisia’s prime minster held a press conference to declare victory over the pandemic.

The former prime minster stated that his country had achieved a victory against the novel virus and pointed to the convincing statistic that Tunisia had no NEW CASES to report.

“We came out of this crisis with really important health consequences and the least damage,” he said.

Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh

Fakhfakh made the statement on a local TV channel, saying Tunisians should be proud of themselves for beating the virus.

“We came out of this crisis with really important health consequences and the least damage,” he said.

He noted that the country would reopen its borders on June 27.

Rush to Reopen…

For tour operators and the hospitality sector in Tunisia, March through June is typically one of the busiest times of the year.

On top of this: “2020 was set up to be our best year in terms of sales and numbers of tours, and even size of tours. We had big group tours coming,” said Joshua Mok, who works at Mosaic North Africa, a Canadian company that offers private tours in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. “

Naturally, the local economy was eager to restart the economy.

Tunisia reopened with a color-coded system to show which countries may enter without restrictions as the government attempts to revitalize tourism, a key sector for the country’s flailing economy.

Tunisia’s color-coded system…

The government of Tunisia divided countries into three zones (red, orange, and green) based on the number of cases and epidemiological situation in each country.  While they continue to revise the list as the pandemic evolves here’s a quick breakdown: 

·         “Red List” Countries (including the United States):  for citizens and official residents of “red” countries, only Tunisians may enter Tunisia. 

·         “Orange List” Countries:  for citizens and official residents of “orange” countries, Tunisians and tourists may enter Tunisia providing they present a negative COVID-19 lab test, with results received within 72 hours before travel to Tunisia and the analysis conducted no more than 120 hours prior to arrival.

·         “Green List” Countries:  for citizens and official residents of “green” countries, everyone may enter Tunisia without a test. 

In addition to the testing requirement, all individuals, regardless of nationality, are required to quarantine upon arrival, with Tunisians in mandatory self-quarantine at their homes and tourists in a seven-day quarantine at a hotel at their own expense.  Tourists remaining past seven days may pay for a COVID-19 test the sixth day and, if negative, may leave the hotel.

Confused travelers…

Citizens of the UK interested in traveling to Tunisia were very confused. Within a matter of 30-days they went from Orange to Green…back to Orange…and quite possibly back to Green in the coming days.

UK FCO Travel to Tunisia Guidelines

  • The UK is classified as an “Orange” country. This means that visitors from the UK wishing to travel to Tunisia must take a PCR test (which detects the presence of the virus) 72 hours before they travel. From the 26 August, all visitors to Tunisia, regardless of where they fly from, must take a PCR test 72 hours before they travel.
  • You must show evidence of your negative test result at the airport when you arrive in Tunisia.
  • Upon arrival in Tunisia you must self-isolate at your hotel or place of residence for 14 days.
  • If you wish to pay for an additional PCR test after seven days of self-isolation, you can do so at your own expense. If the result of this second test is negative you will be permitted to end your quarantine early.
  • Upon entry you must sign a declaration to confirm that you will abide by these rules.
  • The Tunisian authorities are updating country classifications regularly so please ensure you check these pages for the latest status before travelling.

See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel. (UPDATED on August 21, 2020)

Did Tunisia reopen too soon?

Tunisia recorded 983 COVID-19 cases, 424 out of them imported and 559 locally transmitted, in addition to six deaths.

The horizontal growth of cases pushed the country to reconsider the “VICTORY” label and restart the battle against the pandemic across the country.

The Director of Tunisia’s National Observatory for New and Emerging Diseases warned that the epidemiological situation in the country is “critical” after an increase in the number of Covid-19 infections.

So did Tunisia reopen too soon? It appears they did. This could be a result of several factors including increase travelers, increase testing, and increase social activities (wedding season) throughout the country.

Tunisia showed the world the 1st time around that they were more than capable of handling this pandemic. Let’s hope they use that experience to put balance measures in place so that that they can once again claim “victory”.

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