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UNITED States President-elect Donald Trump found himself in a truly difficult position when reports came out that Russian hackers, on orders of President Vladimir Putin, interfered in the recent US presidential election. They allegedly broke into the files of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Russian teams then allegedly leaked the information, some of it embarrassing, through Wikileaks and mobilized an army of paid trolls who deluged US voters on social media with posts and comments designed to hurt Clinton and help Trump.

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The national budget for 2017 has already been approved by Congress and signed by President Duterte but suspicions remain that it still contains “pork barrel” funds which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in 2013.

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and United States President Barack Obama went last Tuesday to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, where World War II started in the Pacific in 1941. It was on December 8, 1941, that Japanese planes mounted a surprise attack on the US military installations at Pearl Harbor, destroying 20 ships and over 300 planes and killing 2,400 people, including 1,000 entombed in the USS Arizona which was sunk in the harbor.

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On New Year’s Day, January 1, Pope Francis decried an attack in Istanbul, Turkey, just hours earlier that had killed 39 people and wounded about 70 others. He lamented that so many people in the world today are left grieving because of terrorism.

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In his State of the Nation Address on July 25, 2016, President Duterte spoke out on many of his concerns – among them Laguna Lake. “Itong Laguna Lake, naubos ang mga…wla na ang fishermen. Iyon na lang – one big fish pen to the other…makita mo sa plane every time I go to Davao…And the fishermen are complaining about their loss. Talagang wala na sila; kasi ang maliit na lugar, iyon lang ang kanila.”

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On New Year’s Day, former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres assumed office as secretary-general of the United Nations. He succeeded Ban Ki-Moon of South Korea as head of the UN Secretariat, a position first occupied by Trygvie Lie of Norway.

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