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Gone But Not Forgotten – This is World News in Focus

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Popular culture: The last week of 2016 was tough for many Baby Boomers and their kids as several cultural icons passed away.

First pop singer George Michael, 53, died at his Oxfordshire home on Boxing Day.  He was best remembered for such 1980s hits as “Last Christmas” and “I’m Never Gonna Dance Again” with the duo group Wham!

George Michael died of heart failure, according to his manager, Michael Lippman.

Then two days later, actress, author and screenwriter Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars movie franchise, died in Los Angeles at the age of 60.

She suffered a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles on 23 December and had been hospitalized.

Paying tribute to Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, who co-starred in Star Wars  as Hans Solo, said she was “one-of-a-kind … brilliant, original.  Funny and emotionally fearless…”

A day after Fisher’s passing, her mom, actress Debbie Reynolds, passed away.

MLive.com has paid tribute to all the celebs we lost in 2016:

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U.S.: President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. on Thursday for espionage.

The President’s move is seen to be a retaliation against Russian authorities who are believed to have backed the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and other political organizations in an effort to  influence the U.S. presidential election in favor of Republican candidate Donald Trump.

In addition, the U.S. State Department closed two waterfront estates in New York and Maryland, which, it alleged, were used for Russian intelligence activities.

The Russian authorities regretted the sanctions, but President Vladimir V. Putin said on Friday that Russia would not reciprocate the U.S. measure.

Instead, Putin said he would “invite all children of U.S. diplomats accredited in Russia to the Christmas and New Year tree in the Kremlin.”

For more about Russian sanctions and Obama’s last weeks in office, we go to PBS NewsHour:

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Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces criminal investigation on allegations of bribery and fraud in campaign donations as well as in a Defense Ministry deal to buy submarines from Germany.

Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Thursday that the country’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has ordered an investigation against the Prime Minister, who will be summoned to give evidence on these matters.

Netanyahu’s spokesman dismissed the charge as “nonsense.”

A week ago, with US abstention, the United Nations Security Council voted, by 14 to 0, to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation under international law” and a “major obstacle” to peace.

Netanyahu issued a quick rebuff against the resolution, and retaliated by recalling Israel’s ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal “for consultations.”  He also cancelled a planned visit to Israel next month by Senegal’s foreign minister and cut off all aid programs to Senegal, according to the New York Times.

For more about Netanyahu’s disappointment, we go to:

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Brazil: Greece’s ambassador to Brazil, Kyriakos Amiridis, 59, was murdered on late Monday night in his home in Rio de Janeiro.

Amiridis’ body, which was charred, was found on Thursday evening inside the car that he and his wife had rented.

A police officer, Sergio Moreira, 29, who is having an affair with the ambassador’s wife, Francoise de Souza Oliveira, confessed on Friday that he killed the ambassador.

Local police surmised that Amiridis was stabbed to death and his body was carried to the rented car and set on fire.  Investigators also believed that Moreira and Oliveira, who are now arrested, co-arranged the murder.

For more we go to the New York Daily News:

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Candle Image Courtesy of Ramona Edwards / Shutterstock.com