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Miss Universe contest starts in scandal-hit Philippines

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/30/2017
Miss Universe contestants pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Eighty-six conestants are vying for the title to succeed Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines. From left, Brenda Jimenez of Puerto Rico, Valeria Piazza of Peru, Christina Waage of Norway, Ida Ovmar of Sweden, Isabella Krzan of Poland.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) © The Associated Press Miss Universe contestants pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Eighty-six conestants are vying for the title to succeed Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines. From left, Brenda Jimenez of Puerto Rico, Valeria Piazza of Peru, Christina Waage of Norway, Ida Ovmar of Sweden, Isabella Krzan of Poland.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Miss Universe contest has started in the Philippines, a country deeply fascinated with beauty contests but also under an international spotlight because of the president's bloody crackdown on illegal drugs and a police scandal.

Miss Universe contestants pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Eighty-six conestants are vying for the title to succeed Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines. From left, Yuliana Korolkova of Russia, Lucija Potocnik of Slovenia, Alena Spodynyuk of Ukraine.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) © The Associated Press Miss Universe contestants pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Eighty-six conestants are vying for the title to succeed Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines. From left, Yuliana Korolkova of Russia, Lucija Potocnik of Slovenia, Alena Spodynyuk of Ukraine.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

American comedian and pageant host Steve Harvey opened the show Monday with a pledge to announce the right winner after he named the wrong one a year ago when the contest was held in Las Vegas, causing an uproar.

Miss Universe contestants blow kisses to photographers as they pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Eighty-six conestants are vying for the title to succeed Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines. From left, Chalita Suansane of Thailand, Dijana Cvijetic of Switzerland, Teodora Dan of Romania, Jihan Dimack of Tanzania, Cheryl Chou of Singapore, Zuzana Kollarova of Slovak Republic, Tansu Cakir of Turkey, Jayathi de Silva of Sri Lanka.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) © The Associated Press Miss Universe contestants blow kisses to photographers as they pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Eighty-six conestants are vying for the title to succeed Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines. From left, Chalita Suansane of Thailand, Dijana Cvijetic of Switzerland, Teodora Dan of Romania, Jihan Dimack of Tanzania, Cheryl Chou of Singapore, Zuzana Kollarova of Slovak Republic, Tansu Cakir of Turkey, Jayathi de Silva of Sri Lanka.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Eighty-six candidates are vying for the crown, currently held by Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines.

Miss Universe contestants pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Eighty-six conestants are vying for the title to succeed Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines. From left, Flavia Brito of Portugal, Noelia Freire of Spain, Magdalena Cohendent of Uruguay, Ntandoyen Kunene of South Africa, Unoako Anyadike of Nigeria and Andrea Melgarejo of Paraguay.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) © The Associated Press Miss Universe contestants pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Eighty-six conestants are vying for the title to succeed Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines. From left, Flavia Brito of Portugal, Noelia Freire of Spain, Magdalena Cohendent of Uruguay, Ntandoyen Kunene of South Africa, Unoako Anyadike of Nigeria and Andrea Melgarejo of Paraguay.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

President Rodrigo Duterte was invited but has not shown up after holding a midnight news conference where he fumed over the involvement of anti-drug policemen in the kidnapping and killing of a South Korean man.

Miss Universe contestants blow kisses to the media as they pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Eighty-six conestants are vying for the title to succeed Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines. From left, Brenda Jimenez of Puerto Rico, Valeria Piazza of Peru, Christina Waage of Norway, Ida Ovmar of Sweden, Isabella Krzan of Poland.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Miss Universe contestants blow kisses to the media as they pose on the red carpet on the eve of their coronation Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Eighty-six conestants are vying for the title to succeed Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines. From left, Brenda Jimenez of Puerto Rico, Valeria Piazza of Peru, Christina Waage of Norway, Ida Ovmar of Sweden, Isabella Krzan of Poland.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
© The Associated Press
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