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CNN, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER (US), REUTERS

Worldcrunch

Residents in New Orleans are rushing to complete last-minute preparations, bracing themselves for Tropical Storm Isaac, which will begin to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast late Tuesday, as forecasters set to upgrade it to Hurricane status.

The Tropical Storm is gaining strength, poised to become a "robust" hurricane on a projected path that leads it directly to New Orleans, harkening back to the devastation wrought seven years ago by Hurricane Katrina.

The National Hurricane Center, part of the U.S. National Weather Service, issued the following statement:

...ISAAC ON THE VERGE OF BECOMING A HURRICANE...SIGNIFICANT STORM SURGE AND FRESHWATER FLOOD THREAT TO THE NORTHERN GULF COAST... ...U.S. Warnings in Effect...

Tropical Storm #Isaac advisory 29 issued. #Isaac on the verge of becoming a hurricane go.usa.gov/W3H

— Natl Hurricane Ctr (@NHC_Atlantic) August 28, 2012

Isaac has taken on an added significance because its projected landfall Wednesday falls on the anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina in 2005, CNN reports. It is also threatening to throw off the script of the Republican National Convention, which begins Tuesday in Tampa -- though the Florida city will be spared the brunt of the storm.

The tropical storm has already killed at least 22 people and caused significant flooding and damage in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, before skirting the southern tip of Florida on Sunday, Reuters reports.

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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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