5 things for Thursday, December 29, 2016: Russia hacking, Rodrigo Duterte, Debbie Reynolds

Dear readers: For our year-ending newsletter tomorrow, we’d love to hear about your New Year’s resolutions. (Ours is to keep you reading!) Email us at 5things@cnn.com. Here’s what you need to know today to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

1. Russia hacking

The US is prepping the big payback. The Obama administration may outline today how it’ll retaliate against Russia for messing with our elections. The “proportional response,” as it calls it, will include sanctions and the very ominous-sounding “covert actions at a time of its choosing.” Russia’s response? Bring it on, there’s more where that came from.

2. Rodrigo Duterte

Attention public officials in The Philippines: if you misuse funds, get ready for a special helicopter ride with the president … during which he’ll push you out midair. Rodrigo Duterte admitted on TV he’s done it before. He has also said he’s personally shot suspected criminals. All part of a tough guy image as he wages a war on drugs that’s killed nearly 6,000 just in the second half of 2016.

3. North Korea

Since he came to power five years ago, Kim Jong Un’s had 340 people executed, says a new report out of South Korea. Many of those were senior military and political party figures. Basically, Kim reportedly kills anyone who poses any kind of threat to him. One analyst says Kim’s drive to show everyone he’s boss has made him an even more brutal dictator than his father.

4. Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds was a Hollywood triple threat: a singer, dancer and actress known for classics like “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” She died yesterday at 84. We don’t yet know the cause, but the sudden loss of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, just a day earlier was a heavy blow. “She’s with Carrie now,” her son, Todd, said.

5. Amazon Echo

Prosecutors aren’t asking to put an Echo on the witness stand (we think), but they do want Amazon to turn over info on a murder suspect’s device, since it may hold clues on how a man ended up dead in a hot tub. Amazon has resisted. This is just the latest instance of how authorities are seeking evidence from our personal devices as technology and our lives intertwine.


People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.

Free fireworks

New Year’s Eve gets a little extra shine this year, thanks to a comet. But it won’t exactly light up the sky though. You’ll need binoculars to see it.

Do what you have to do

All the celebrity deaths have folks worried about Betty White. A SC man vows to keep her safe at all costs. So of course he started a GoFundMe page.

Green means go

An Uber driver brags about hitting 236 green lights in a row, while the rest of us wish we could just hit two sometimes.

Dear shoplifter

He stole a knife from a pawn shop. After he left his ID and fingerprints. So the cops sent him a note, saying please don’t make things that easy for us.

Pour one out

That’s the only way to pay tribute to Robert Leo Hulseman, the man who invented the Solo red cups. Yep, 2016 has taken him too.


Hit parade

Goodbye to the music of 2016 continues, this time played by a guy who calls himself the Samurai Guitarist. (Click to view)

The agony of Earth's hottest year: 'I miss that cold-cold weather'
2 soldiers dead in Texas helicopter crash

Leave a Reply