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CHALLENGES (France)

PARIS - His name is André Santini. André, with an "é", not Andre.

A French member of parliament and mayor of Issy-les-Moulineaux in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, André Santini prides himself on being the first French politician whose website features an accented letter (www.andré-santini.fr), the French weekly financial magazine Challenges reports.

Bonne idée? As of May 3, French websites can indeed register domain names that include a whole new range of characters and accents: á, â, ã, ä, å, æ, ç, è, é, ê, ë, ì, í, î, ï, ñ, ò, ó, ô, õ , ö, œ, ù, ú, û, ü, ý, ÿ and ß.

Defenders of the French language are excited about the novelty. But isn't it likely to create problems for users who do not use a French keyboard?

Technically, no: the accented characters are optional, which means you can omit them and still access the website. That's good news. Imagine having to type down URLs featuring diacritics such as the Spanish tilde (˜), the Romanian ț, the Latvian ķ, or the Turkish ğ…

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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.

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