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XINHUA, GLOBAL TIMES (China), AFP

Worldcrunch

WUXI – Zhang Yimou, one of China’s top film directors is being investigated over claims he has fathered seven children, the Chinese media reported on Thursday.

The Wuxi City Population and Family Planning Commission, in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, is investigating the Xi'an-born director, after it has come to light that Zhang had at least seven children – a violation of China’s family planning policy reports the Global Times.

Zhang, 61, could be fined up to 160 million yuan ($26 million) for these violations.

China’s one-child policy limits urban couples to one child, and to two children for rural families when the first child is a girl.

Zhang, one of China’s most respected directors, according to Xinhua, has won several awards including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.

His most famous films include Red Sorghum (1987), Raise the Red Lantern (1991), Hero (2002) and House of Flying Daggers (2004). His last movie, in 2011, was The Flowers of War, starring Christian Bale.

Many of his early films were banned in China, reports the AFP, but he has since become a favorite. He was chosen to direct the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and was a runner-up for the Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2008.

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Vladimir Putin delivers a speech to Russian people following the results of the referendum dealing with the annexation in four regions of Ukraine partly controlled by Moscow

Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger, Chloe Touchard, and Emma Albright

In a wide-ranging and provocative speech, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced the annexation of four Ukraine regions, which Putin says now make Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson officially part of Russia.

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Speaking in the Kremlin’s St George’s Hall, the much-anticipated address to the Russian nation follows the so-called "referendums" in the occupied areas of the four Ukrainian regions — which the West condemned as shams held under gunpoint. Friday’s annexation comes as Russia is losing territory on the ground following a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive.

Putin directly addressed the leaders of Ukraine and "their real masters in the West," that the annexation was "for everyone to remember. People living in Luhansk and Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are becoming our citizens. Forever."

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