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Putin approves sending foreign volunteers to Donbass******
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that he supported the idea of allowing volunteers from abroad to provide military assistance to Donbass.
Western countries and Ukraine do not hide that they are gathering mercenaries and sending them to Ukraine, Putin said at a meeting with permanent members of Russia's Security Council.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin that he had received "a huge number of applications from various kinds of volunteers from different countries" who would like to come to Lugansk and Donetsk in order to "participate in what they consider a liberation movement."
"The largest number is from the Middle Eastern countries. There are already more than 16,000 applications," Shoigu reported.
"If you see that there are people who want on a voluntary basis, especially not for money, to come and help people living in Donbass, you need to meet them halfway and help them move to the war zone," Putin said after listening to his report.
Putin also backed Shoigu's initiative to transfer Western-made weapons captured by the Russian military in Ukraine to the forces of Donbass.
Hertha stun runner up Dortmund in Bundesliga******
BERLIN, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Borussia Dortmund dropped points in the title race after Marco Richter's brace helped Hertha Berlin secure a 3-2 comeback win at the 17th round in Bundesliga on Saturday.。
The "BVB" controlled the possession in the opening stages and produced half chances through Thomas Meunier and Marco Reus, who came close twice.。
Hertha created more danger in front of the target as Jurgen Ekkelenkamp tested Dortmund goalkeeper Marwin Hitz form close range in the 5th minute.。
The Dutchman remained in the thick of things and squandered another big chance from promising position ten minutes later.。
Myziane Maolida thought he had opened the scoring, but his goal was ruled offside by the video assistant referee with 18 minutes played.。
Dortmund punished Hertha's wastefulness and marked the opener before the break as Erling Haaland's through ball allowed Julian Brandt to beat Hertha goalie Alexander Schwolow with a chipped ball.。
The capital club came out with its guns blazing after the restart and shocked Dortmund with the leveller in the 51st minute. Ishak Belfodil benefitted on a pass into path from Vladimir Darida and shrugged off Axel Witsel before slotting the ball past Hitz.。
Things went from bad to worse for passive Dortmund as Hertha gained momentum and turned the tides by courtesy on Richter's brace within 12 minutes.。
Marco Rose's men pressed frenetically but Steffen Tigges goal with seven minutes remaining came too late as Hertha protected its 3-2 lead until the final whistle.。
"We take the lead but then we started to give away presents. Hertha had the will to turn things around whereas we lacked in vehemence," Dortmund's head coach Rose said.。
Elsewhere, Eintracht Frankfurt recorded its third consecutive win as Jesper Lindstrm's sole goal was enough to edge Mainz 1-0.。
Borussia Monchengladbach couldn't return to winning ways after four defeats in row. The "Foals" shared the spoils with Hoffenheim as Kevin Akpoguma's injury time equalizer cancelled out Breel Embolo's first-half opener.。
Union Berlin ended its winless run and carved out a hard earned 1-0 victory over resilient Bochum as Max Kruse's drop kick from 13 meters ensured all three points on the road.。
Bottom club Arminia Bielefeld flabbergasted Leipzig 2-0 on the goals from Janni Serra and Masata Okugawa despite a numerical disadvantage, and last placed Greuther Furth played out a goalless draw with Augsburg. Enditem。
Ghislaine Maxwell convicted of recruiting teenage girls for Epstein sex abuse******
This undated trial evidence image obtained on December 8 from the US District Court for the Southern District of New York shows British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and US financier Jeffrey Epstein.。
Ghislaine Maxwell was foundguilty by a US jury on Wednesday of helping the late financierJeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls, sealing aremarkable fall from grace for the British socialite.。
Maxwell, 60, was accused of recruiting and grooming four teenagers between 1994 and 2004 for Epstein, her formerboyfriend, who killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan jail cellwhile awaiting trial on sex abuse charges of his own.。
She was convicted on five of six counts, including one countof sex trafficking. Lawyers for Maxwell, who faces up to 65years in prison, vowed to appeal.。
Maxwell's trial was widely seen as the reckoning Epsteinnever had and one of the highest-profile cases.。
During the month-long trial, jurors heard emotional andexplicit testimony from four women who portrayed Maxwell ascentral to their abuse by Epstein. Three of the four saidMaxwell herself touched their bare breasts or took part in theencounters, which often began as massages.。
Maxwell's attorneys sought to undermine the women'scredibility, arguing that they were motivated by money toimplicate Maxwell since all four had received million-dollarawards from a compensation fund for Epstein's victims.。
But the women disputed those characterizations, saying theydecided to testify out of a desire for justice, not money.。
After the verdict was read, Maxwell, wearing a burgundyturtleneck, poured herself a glass of water. Defense attorneyJeffrey Pagliuca patted her upper back. An expressionlessMaxwell looked briefly at two of her siblings seated in thefront row as she left the courtroom.。
Annie Farmer, one of the women who testified againstMaxwell, said: "I am so relieved and grateful that the juryrecognized the pattern of predatory behavior that Maxwellengaged in for years and found her guilty of these crimes."
Maxwell's lawyer, Bobbi Sternheim, told reporters thedefense was disappointed with the verdict.。
Maxwell will return to Brooklyn's Metropolitan DetentionCenter, where she has been held in isolation since July2020. Maxwell has voiced concerns about her treatment at thejail, asserting that guards have disrupted her sleep at nightand that the stench of raw sewage has permeated her cell.。
During the trial, prosecutors showed jurors bank recordsindicating Epstein paid Maxwell millions of dollars over theyears. They said Maxwell was motivated to do whatever it took tokeep Epstein happy in order to maintain her luxurious lifestyle.。
Maxwell's attorneys argued prosecutors were scapegoating herbecause Epstein was no longer alive.。
"Epstein's death left a gaping hole in the pursuit ofjustice for many of these women," Sternheim said. "She's fillingthat hole, and filling that empty chair."