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LIBERATION (France)

PARIS - On the wave of the solid popularity of newly installed French President François Hollande, left-wing parties look to be headed for a clear majority after Sunday's first round of parliamentary elections.

First estimates give the Left -- led by Hollande's Socialist Party -- 47% of the vote, in front of Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP, with 35%, and the far-right National Front with 13-14%, according to Libération. The second round of parliamentary elections will be held next Sunday, with top vote-getters in each district facing off.

The Socialists needs 289 out of 577 seats for an absolute majority. The left-wing alliance is poised to garner between 275 and 329 seats, to which it hopes to add 8-18 green MP's (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts) and 13-20 far-left MP's (Front de Gauche).

Conservative party UMP is poised to lose it majority, but should be able to keep from 210 to 270 parliamentary seats.

National Front leader Marine LePen won more than 42% of the vote in her district in northern France, putting her in a strong position to enter Parliament. Still, record low voter turnout (around 60%) translated into a disappointing national showing for the far-right, which was unable to match Le Pen's 18-point performance in the first round of the presidential election in late April.

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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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