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September 13, 2006
[crime] What it’s like to be a Homicide Detective in Chicago — from the Best of Craigslist‘Murder is a brutal, ugly thing. 80 or 90 percent of the time it involves narcotics or alcohol in one way or another. Crime scenes can be physically revolting when you first start working murders. Decomposed bodies will always be revolting. One particular murder has given me a life long aversion to eating ribs.’
August 1, 2006
[murder] 39 Years After Boy’s Murder, Police Arrest Two Men‘It was almost 40 years ago that a young grammar school boy set off on a sunny Saturday afternoon to buy a geometry set, still wearing his distinctive uniform as he wandered down a rural bridle path nick-named Happy Valley. Harold Wilson was in Downing Street and the new car sensation was the Mark 2 Ford Cortina, but both were wiped off the front pages by what happened to 12-year-old Keith Lyon before he reached the village store at Woodingdean, near Brighton. In a brief attack, he was stabbed 11 times in the stomach with a serrated kitchen carving knife after a mob of older teenagers from a rival school jumped him, according to local people, then left him to bleed to death on the path.’
June 2, 2006
[con] The Perfect Mark — the inside story of a Nigerian 419 Con‘An enduring trait of Nigerian letter scammers — indeed, of most con artists — is their reluctance to walk away from a mark before his resources are exhausted. On February 5, 2003, several days after the checks were revealed as phony, after Worley was under siege by investigators, after his bank account had been frozen, after he had called his partners “evil bastards,” Worley received one more e-mail from Mercy Nduka. “I am quite sympathetic about all your predicaments,” she wrote, “but the truth is that we are at the final step and I am not willing to let go…”‘
May 18, 2006
[id] Q. What could this boarding pass tell an identity fraudster about you? A. Way too much — the Guardian on personal data and identity fraud. ‘…surfing publicly available databases, we were able – within 15 minutes – to find out where Broer lived, who lived there with him, where he worked, which universities he had attended and even how much his house was worth when he bought it two years ago. (This was particularly easy given his unusual name, but it would have been possible even if his name had been John Smith. We now had his date of birth and passport number, so we would have known exactly which John Smith.)’
April 20, 2006
[murder] eBay, Manga and Murder — the Guardian on Kevin Underwood‘It is almost certainly true that you can find out more about Underwood’s personality from poking around the internet than his co-workers ever bothered to. But looking through the trails he left online, an awful fact becomes clear. Almost everything he did there to express himself was simply a record of the things he liked to buy or rent. Even his depression was understood in terms of the pills that he did or didn’t take.’
December 4, 2005
[web] When Murder Hits the Blogosphere — this actually should be titled “Murder on MySpace”. ‘…[Kara Borden’s MySpace] page was brightly colored with pink-lined black boxes listing her friends and hobbies, a rainbow striped white background and a picture of her in a pink top, smiling with lips closed to hide her braces. She listed her interests as soccer, talking on the phone, the beach and partying. “Books are gay,” she wrote. She lied about her age, listing it as 17. A few hours later she allegedly stood by as her boyfriend, David Ludwig, 18, shot and killed her parents.’
October 23, 2005
[money] How ATM fraud nearly brought down British banking — remarkable inside story. ‘…there wasn’t time for the banks to fix the problem if anyone went public with it. Their MTBU was too short. MTBU? That’s “Maximum Time to Belly Up”, as coined by the majestic Donn Parker of Stanford Research Institute. He found that businesses that relied on computers for the control of their cash flow fell into catastrophic collapse if those computers were unavailable or unusable for a period of time. How long? By the late 1980s it had fallen from a month to a few days. That’s not a good thing; it meant that a collapse of the computers that any UK clearing bank relied on would destroy it in less than a week.’
September 15, 2005
[forensics] Television Shows Scramble Forensic Evidence — article on how forensically-aware criminals are trying to game scientists collecting evidence … ‘There is an increasing trend for criminals to use plastic gloves during break-ins and condoms during rapes to avoid leaving their DNA at the scene. Dostie describes a murder case in which the assailant tried to wash away his DNA using shampoo. Police in Manchester in the UK say that car thieves there have started to dump cigarette butts from bins in stolen cars before they abandon them. “Suddenly the police have 20 potential people in the car,” says Rutty.’ [via As Above]
April 3, 2005
[crime] The Last Request — a Flash animation listing some of the Last Meals of Texas Death Row Inmates … About Last Request: ‘I’m by no means glorifying the men you see in this production because I honestly don’t know if they were really guilty or not. I just know that when I consider the choices they made for their final meals they were trying to tell us something.’ [via Metafilter]
March 26, 2005
[crime] Don’t fuck with Ovid — A LiveJournaller tracks down his credit card thieves. ‘…they found yet another piece of damning evidence. Credit card companies will sometimes send out “checks” that you can use to make a cash advance. One of them had one of my Visa checks in his pocket. Signed.’ [via Waxy]
February 2, 2005
[prison] US Prison Overalls, Bright Orange – £37.50 — as modelled by inmates in Guantanamo Bay … ‘These jumpsuits, coveralls, whatever you want to call them are the genuine artical imported from the US from the main supplier to US correctional institutions.’ [thanks Phil]
January 9, 2005
[history] Desperate Lucan Dreamt of Fascist Coup — great article looking at Lord Lucan’s fascist tendencies as he cracked-up before murdering his children’s nanny … ‘…One [Lucan] biographer, Patrick Marnham, said: ‘Seen from the Clermont Club [Lucan’s favourite gambling haunt], the country was starting to resemble the less stable years of the Weimar Republic. Sir James Goldsmith began to develop his theory of “the Communist infiltration of the Western media”. Over the smoked salmon and lamb cutlets, the talk turned to the pros and cons of a British military coup.’ It may seem difficult to believe now, nearly eight years into the most secure Labour government in British history, but across the country pockets of the traditional ruling class were preparing for military action.’
September 7, 2004
[blogs] UK Political Blog Feeds — another UK Blog Aggregator.
September 3, 2004
[blog] The Policeman’s Blog is not a happy one… ‘So, whilst The Scorpions, MI6, the CIA and Special Branch have been dealing with mercenaries and international terrorists, what have I been doing? Well, dear reader, I have been finalising the case against a 14 year old boy suspected of robbing another child of £5.00 and a novelty key fob.’
September 1, 2004
[missing] Raising the Dead — interesting article about finding missing people using the internet, Google and many eyeballs … ‘Families post all over the Web, searching for missing loved ones. Local coroners and cops, nudged by the Doe Network, upload pictures and vital statistics of their Does. Groups like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children do the same. Networkers comb through it all like they were playing the kids’ card game Concentration, digitized by Patricia Cornwell. Comparing death dates on coroner sites with last-seen-on dates on missing persons sites. Checking for scars, tattoos, anything that distinguishes the person from a crowd. Googling until the coffee runs out. It all sounds like amateur hour. It is amateur hour. There’s no order, no discipline to the investigations. These amateur sleuths slog along at their own pace, chasing their own bogeymen. “That’s why the Doe Network is invaluable – real people looking at real data,” says Emily Craig, forensic anthropologist for the state of Kentucky.’
May 9, 2004
[crime] David Peace’s Top 10 British True-Crime Books‘Crimes happen in actual, specific places at actual, specific times to actual, specific people. Crimes, their victims and their perpetrators, sadly define the times in which we live. There is no puzzle, only pain. No humour, only horror. The following 10 books seek to understand the crimes they document through the context and circumstances of the places and the times in which they occurred.’
April 21, 2004
[film] ‘I thought I was really watching her’ — Nick Broomfield on Aileen Wuornos and the film Monster‘At the time of her execution, Wuornos was definitely psychotic. She was convinced her mind was controlled by radio waves and believed she was going to be taken off in a space ship to join Jesus Christ. She never showed any remorse; she firmly believed she was ridding the streets of evil men. When a priest came to take her confession just before the execution she sent him packing and knelt down and prayed for her victims, believing they were evil and that God should accept them into heaven. When Jeb Bush cynically produced three psychiatrists to assess Wuornos’s mental state and then pronounced her mentally competent, there was a complete disrespect for what the law really intends, which is that people of unsound mind should not be executed.’
November 19, 2003
[murder] Huntley Carr Trial Reports‘A selection of reports of the trial of Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr in connection with the murder of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.’ [via Blah Blah Flowers]
November 9, 2003
[murder] Terrible history haunts the Old Bailey — Poignant summary of the first weeks evidence at the Soham Murder Trial. ‘…whatever the outcome of this trial, I suspect that the three-day opening statement leaves us with a different sense of our own anonymity. If the story is big enough, the shock and outrage sufficient, then heaven and earth will be moved; history itself will give a shake, and come to life. Point by slow point, graphic by triplicate graphic, belt and buttons and braces, one week last summer was carried into court and had life breathed back into it, and a strangely unsettling experience it was, to realise how many thousands footprints we all leave, if someone starts looking hard enough.’
April 21, 2003
[tv] So I Phoned A Friend [Part One | Part Two] — Jon Ronson covers the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Trial … ‘We regulars spend much of our time psychoanalysing the Ingrams. This is because their demeanours are so un-criminal. Even the police, unusually, get involved in the speculation. “The major is a strange character,” says one arresting officer during a press briefing. “Puzzling. I can’t figure him out. There have been some comments in court about Diana being stronger…” He pauses. “I don’t understand that sort of relationship. I’m not part of a relationship like that.” “You’re a lucky man!” shouts a journalist.’
April 9, 2003
[crime] Metropolitan Police Most Wanted — the list includes mudrerers, paedophiles and map stealers‘Bellwood, 50, is currently wanted for questioning by both Danish and Welsh police following thousands of thefts of high-value maps from libraries throughout Europe. [..] It is estimated that 4,500 maps of this type are missing from libraries across Europe.’
November 17, 2002
[murder] The Face of Human Evil — a summing up after the death of Myra Hindley

‘The Catholic religion teaches us that redemption is possible, that even the greatest sinner – even someone who has tortured and killed children for the obscene pleasure of it – can be washed clean of their guilt. Evil is a noun, something like dirt inside you. But for most of us, evil is more like a verb: something you do, not something you are. This is the more modern and more terrifying view of our moral universe – because, instead of regarding Hindley as simply monstrous or aberrant, ‘possessed’, as it were, by evil, we have to start seeing her as not so very different from all of us, just someone who made different choices. She is not alien, but human. This is what humans can do, if they take the hellish road and step by step go down it.’

July 7, 2002
[crime] Shadow of doubt? — Is Barry George innocent of the murder of Jill Dando?

‘Ever the fantasist, Barry George may now be adapting to his notoriety (two tabloid newspapers have advertised tapes of prison “confessions”), but he should be a footnote in this story. Apart from that invisible speck of explosives residue found on his coat, the police found no evidence that he had possessed guns or ammunition in the past 15 years. He had neither expertise in weapons, nor the resources to modify them. He had no car, no money. There was no forensic evidence found in his flat: remarkably, police found no explosives residue there, even though it was assumed that he’d gone home to change straight after the shooting. The two squads of officers, 50 in all, who surveilled his movements for more than three weeks before his arrest gleaned no evidence to assist their case. Dando’s neighbours, the only two eyewitnesses, failed to pick out George in an identity parade.’

May 9, 2002
[destroy] Delete, Baby, Delete — on the difficulty of destroying evidence … ‘On the eve of the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Iran, in 1979, American officials desperately fed secret documents into the embassy’s paper shredders. Over the next several years, while waiting for satellite dishes and Baywatch to arrive, the Iranians painstakingly stitched the documents back together. They ultimately published the reconstituted intelligence files in some sixty volumes, under the overarching title Documents From the U.S. Espionage Den.’ [via Sore Eyes]
[net] Me and my Net Stalker — interesting article on stalking over the internet … ‘…last year Gobion Rowlands logged on as usual to check his email. There was a message from an unusual Hotmail address. Its title was Gob on Rowlands. Its text – not for sensitive eyes – read: “You probably don’t remember me, but I haven’t forgotten you. So you’re still into your wanky dungeons and dragons shit… Clearly you have lived up to your full potential: a self-obsessed arsehole with bad kidneys. Oh yes Rowlands, I fucking know who you are… So why am I emailing you? Just to let you know that you can’t leave your past behind…”‘
April 20, 2002
[books] McVicar’s crime against Jill Dando — review of John McVicar’s new book about the murder of Jill Dando‘[McVicar] believes that George did commit the murder – under, according to the theory he and Pell construct, the combined influence of Queen lyrics, Zoroastrianism, Ninjutsu, born-again Baptism and Highlander.’
December 6, 2001
[columbine] I’m Full of Hate and I Love It — The Secret Diary of Eric Harris… ‘Right now I’m trying to get fucked and trying to finish off these time bombs. Why the fuck can’t I get any? I mean, I’m nice and considerate and all that shit, but nooooo… […] I hate you people for leaving me out of so many fun things. And no, don’t fucking say, ‘Well, that’s your fault’ because it isn’t, you people had my phone #, and I asked and all, but no no no no no don’t let the weird looking Eric kid come along, oooh fucking nooo.” That is how the journal ends — not with the howl of the wolf-god, but the whine of the pathetic geek who can’t land a prom date. And decides everybody deserves to die.’ [via Metafilter]
August 19, 2001
[wtf?] A Child Molester’s ChoiceCreative Loafing looks at Chemical Castration … ‘Roys is not an advocate of the treatment. She prefers intensive, confrontational counseling and medications such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. Roys also says that even when taken properly, the female hormones can have little effect. “We had one offender that we had on Depo[-Provera] for a very long time,” Roys says. “His [male] hormone levels were way down. And he still was having intercourse with his dog.”‘
August 15, 2001
[distraction] Prison Inmate Population Information Search — find out if you have a namesake locked up in New York State… ‘NO INMATE ON FILE BEARING THE NAME SHRUBXXXX’ [thanks, Andy]
June 3, 2001
[crime] WMOB — The Wiretap Network. FBI Wiretaps of Mafia gangsters… Frank and Fritzy. Life imitates the Sopranos. ‘FRITZY: I eat yogurt about 10 o’clock, ’cause I didn’t eat all day from 2 o’clock. So I says, “I’ll have a little yogurt.” Then it had raisins and nuts. FRANK: I thought you don’t eat raisins. FRITZY: It was inside the damn yogurt. FRANK: What’d ya tell me about raisins? FRITZY: Yeah, what I tell you? They were in there, alright? So anyhow, so I, I downed it and five minutes after, I started fucking itching around the balls, you know?’ [via Follow Me Here]
May 22, 2001
[goodfellas] Henry Hill: The Return of the Goodfella — profile of Henry Hill and new website Good Fella Henry‘No longer in the witness protection programme, Hill none the less has to lie low. This means giving his address only to close friends, keeping Rottweilers, and staying away from the old neighbourhoods, especially Brooklyn. Occasionally, he will try a disguise. “If I go to the racetrack, I put a hat and glasses on, and I take my teeth out. You can’t recognise me, trust me.”‘
May 6, 2001
[crime] He’s been getting away with it all his life Ronnie Biggs — A Sunday Times Profile. ‘How did a small-time crook come to occupy such a prominent place in the criminal iconography? Partly it is because many people saw the robbery as a bit of a “caper”. Although Jack Mills, the train driver who was hit over the head with an iron bar, never fully recovered from his injuries and died of leukaemia seven years later, the heist was amateurish by today’s standards. No guns were carried, for example. Then there was the classic battle of wits between Biggs and Superintendent Jack Slipper of Scotland Yard, in which Slipper, now 77 but suffering from cancer, always failed at the last minute to get his man.’ [Related: Ronnie Biggs Official Site]
May 5, 2001
[nwo] Conspirators — Jon Ronson on Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing. ‘April 19 is holy day for anti-government activists and conspiracy theorists. On April 19, 1993, Federal agents ended the siege at Waco. David Koresh’s Branch Davidian church went up in flames. On April 19, 1775, 400 British government troops attempted to disarm the citizens of Lexington, Massachusetts. A hundred colonists shot back, the first shots of the American Revolution, the “shots heard around the world”. (When I visit American militias and patriots and neo-Nazis, they often ask me what I, a Brit, thinks of the Lexington uprising. I explain that I’m not au fait with the ins and outs. They are scandalised that our syllabus doesn’t teach this pivotal moment in British history.)’
April 22, 2001
[news] The Observer profiles Timothy McVeigh’s last days‘It has always puzzled investigators why McVeigh would leave such a trail behind him, including using his own name at a motel the night before the blast and using the same card when ordering the fertiliser and fuel. “I have never caught Tim out on a lie,” insists Michel. “Strange as that may sound, he is very proud of what he has done. Talking of it, he has the enthusiasm of a high-school kid describing a science project he has just completed.” Michel quotes McVeigh as telling him: “Because the truth is, I blew up the Murrah building and isn’t it kind of scary that one man could reap this kind of hell?”‘
April 9, 2001
[murder] Interesting profile of Jeremy Bamber from a few weeks back…. ‘Jeremy Bamber was sentenced to life in 1986 for the murder of five family members in their Essex farmhouse – his adopted parents, his adoptive sister and her six-year-old twins. Last week his case was referred back to the Court of Appeal by the criminal cases review commission. If the three appeal judges are more impressed by new evidence concerning a bloodstained gun silencer than they are by Bamber’s audacious website, the man who was accused of coolly plotting “the perfect crime” could be free before Christmas.’ [Related Link: Bamber’s Website via the power of Google’s Cache]
April 7, 2001
[crime] Only in America… Henry Hill has his own website — Henry is the gangster Ray Liotta played in Good Fellas. Unsurprisingly, his website includes a Threat of the Week section… ‘How does it feel to be a stool pigeon, you rat bastard?’
April 4, 2001
[urban myth] Pickled Penis — Is John Dillinger’s 23 inch penis stored at a museum in Washington? ‘The bulge in the center of the photo (Dillinger’s arm) was supposedly mistaken by contemporary viewers of fuzzy newspaper photos for his penis, thus starting the tale of an incredibly well-endowed John Dillinger. (How he managed to die in a fully erect state was a question the public either didn’t ponder or else attributed to some rather strange misunderstandings about the process of rigor mortis.)’ [kinda via Blogadoon]
April 3, 2001
[rail] The Guardian studies the story behind the cracked rail which caused the Hatfield train disaster…. ‘The public mood, so far as one can tell, would like big fish in the net and a charge of corporate manslaughter. That is unlikely; as someone close to the Hatfield investigation said to me, you would need to find a piece of paper with such improbable words written on it as “Do not repair this track, we can’t afford it. Yrs sincerely, The Fat Controller.” More likely is a charge of manslaughter – culpable homicide – against individuals lower down the ladder, or their prosecution for a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act.’
February 26, 2001
[crime] Blood Money — more proof that life is vastly weirder than any Guy Ritchie movie… ‘Well, somebody tipped off The Sweeney – Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad – that at least some of the 6,800 gold ingots stolen from the Brink’s-Mat high security warehouse in Heathrow on 26 November 1983, had been hidden underneath farm buildings or a cabbage patch in a Sussex village called Ore. Would Ore be the place where Kenny stashed his gold ingots? Bit obvious, eh? Not if you know that whenever you walked into Kenny Noye’s old mansion in Kent, Shirley Bassey’s rendition of ‘Goldfinger’ blasted out of the stereo.’
February 13, 2001
[internet] Disturbing report on the BBC’s Panorama about an internet community of paedophiles called Wonderland… Here’s a transcript of the TV programme. ‘The first thing anyone does when they get online is go looking for the porn, it’s just one of those things. And I found that fairly easily and within 24 hours I’d found the child porn as well. I didn’t expect to find it at first, I thought well it’s an urban myth, it’s just something you hear about on the news and there it was, it was sitting in front of me. I had people I could talk to. I had people that I could trade images with as well. But I had friends. I’d never had so many friends. I had friends all over the world.’ [Related Links: RegisterPaedophile says why he loves the Net, BBC NewsPaedophiles’ vast ‘lending library’]
February 4, 2001
[fraud] A reckoning at the Russia house, SW16. Fascinating look at a massive credit card fraud operation run by a Russian in London… ‘Confident they now had enough information, officers carried out dawn raids on addresses across London, including those of the two main suspects, but even they were surprised by what was found at Tanov’s home. The 33-year-old Russian had turned a small bedroom into a credit card factory, at a cost of no more than 3,000, complete with computers, embossers and hologram making equipment, capable of producing near perfect replicas of Visa, Amex and Master Card.’ [via Beesley]
January 10, 2001
[final request] The final meal requests and last statements of prisoners on death row in Texas. ‘1 jar of dill pickles’Stacey Lawton. [thanks to Micky]
January 8, 2001
[shipman] The true evil of this killer doctor. Interesting comments from Nicci Gerrard in the Observer on the Shipman Murders… ‘The Wests were murderous sexual sadists, performing unimaginable acts of torture on their young victims. But while there has never been a case quite like it, most of us have some understanding of sex as potentially dark and perverse and scarily powerful. The couple gave us a collective wince of terror, as if their monstrous actions offered a glimpse into a hidden side of our psyche. We called them evil and unnatural to comfort ourselves, because we feared they were human, like us – though it was a humanity taken to extremes and unravelled before our eyes. Harold Shipman does not do this. He offers us no glimpse into ourselves. He will not become a symbol of anything; his story spreads few ripples. His voice is dry, neutral. His face is blank. His eyes are polite and empty. His lips are closed. His heart is a mystery.’
January 6, 2001
[murder] The Guardian speculates on Harold Shipman’s state of mind‘David Canter, director of the Centre for Investigative Psychology in Liverpool, raised the chilling possibility that it could be a forerunner of cases to come. The theory is that as the human race in the 21st century thinks of itself increasingly as nothing more than a collection of physical bodies in an evermore materialistic society, then there will be individuals on the extremes who come to believe they are dealing not with people but with objects. He said: “This is one of the arguments for the increase of serial killers.” Is it possible Shipman came to see his patients as nothing but objects, no more valuable than his lists?’ [Related Links: The Shipman Murders from BBC News]
December 1, 2000
[crime] The Jigsaw Man — Interesting profile of the man who inspired Robbie Coltrane’s Cracker… ‘The hearing will concentrate on the role of Britton in the investigation into the killing of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common in London. One allegation is that he offered support and advice to the police not backed by accepted scientific practice as they prepared a “honeytrap” for the prime suspect; he is also accused of having exaggerated claims about the effectiveness of his methods.’
November 15, 2000
[distractions] UK Gangsters and Hardmen Webring. Dave Courtney: ‘I drove to Woolwick station and said to the geezer behind the counter, “can I have a return ticket, please?” “Where to, guv?” he chirped cheerily, so I shot back with my best puzzled look… “back here, you daft bastard,” I said and marched out, chuckling my nuts off.’
October 30, 2000
[news] Guardian Unlimited has an interesting overview of the whole Jamie Bulger case. From An ugly tabloid threat: ‘”The idea that the two boys – now almost men – could soon be free will horrify every parent,” says the Sun, before asking: “Where is the justice for James’s parents?” Then, in a scandalous aside after noting that the lord chief justice, Lord Woolf, had remarked that the boys were “making progress”, the Sun said: “Who cares? After what they did, the idea that they will be corrupted if they aren’t freed is laughable.” In other words, the paper believes that the boys who committed a foul murder aged 10, and who eight years later have shown extreme remorse for their crime and no propensity to violence ever since, should go to an adult jail. It doesn’t matter what happens to them there. The Sun doesn’t care. Let them suffer.’
October 29, 2000
[news] The Sunday Times profiles “The Bulger Killers” — Robert Thompson and Jon Venables. ‘The cost of keeping a young offender in such a unit has been estimated at £100,000 a year, and both youths have improved educationally. Thompson passed five GCSEs and has developed talents for design, painting, textiles, computer studies and catering. As a project to create an “object of beauty”, he once designed and cut a wedding dress, sewing and beading it himself.’
October 10, 2000
[yugoslavia] Guardian Unlimited looks at the corruption surrounding Slobodan Milosevic’s family‘Three days ago Marko and his family left Pozarevac, the Milosevics’ home town, in three black jeeps. As he did, rioters looted his internet cafe and destroyed advertising for his disco Madonna. His nearby lurid Disney-esque theme park, Bambiland, has been closed since the summer, thanks to a popular boycott.’
October 3, 2000
[mugshots] The G-Files present a Celebrity Mug Shot Gallery‘Like anyone else charged with a crime, celebrities must be photographed by police after being arrested, and those images then become a matter of public record.’

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