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French court condemns former French president Chirac to a 2-year suspended prison sentence

A French court has given former President Jacques Chirac a two-year suspended prison sentence for diverting public funds and abusing public trust.

(BBC NEWS) Paris - Mr Chirac, 79, was not in court to hear the verdict because of ill-health but denied wrongdoing.

President from 1995 to 2007, he was put on trial on charges that dated back to his time as mayor of Paris.

He was accused of paying members of his Rally for the Republic (RPR) party for municipal jobs that did not exist.

The prosecution had urged the judge to acquit Mr Chirac and nine others accused in the trial. Two of the nine were cleared. The other seven were found guilty.

In 2004, during his presidency, several figures including France's current Foreign Minister Alain Juppe were convicted in connection with the case.

Mr Juppe was given a 14-month suspended sentence.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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