#ThewRap: Things you need to know, January 8, 2017

Hello! Here are the stories you shouldn't miss this Sunday

Blessing of the Black Nazarene replica in Quiapo, Manila. January 7, 2017. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler










The year's first full weekend is here, and its a bit busy for many. Millions of Roman Catholic faithful are preparing for one of the biggest annual religious events, the Black Nazarene procession, which is carrying a bigger significance this year. The Traslacion, as the procession is called, is scheduled Monday, January 9, and around 8 million devotees are set to crowd the streets of the capital for the event.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila commuters once again will have the option of riding point-to-point buses after a short suspension. Abroad, Barack Obama prepares for his farewell address and Europe is suffering from a big freeze, with dozens dying from the extreme cold. And Miss Universe fever rises, thanks to a sizzling hot pictorial from the outgoing queen Pia Wurtzbach.

Here are some of the biggest stories from the weekend that you need to know:

Millions of devotees set for Feast of Black Nazarene

On Monday, January 9, up to 8 million devotees will converge in the streets of Manila in the annual Black Nazarene procession, called the Traslacion. For devotees, the Feast of the Black Nazarene is different this year, with the recent loss of relatives and friends in the war on drugs waged by the Philippine government. The recent killings in the Philippines pose an unprecedented challenge for the Catholic Church.

Point-to-point buses resume services after weekend snafu

Metro Manila commuters can once again avail of the services of the point-to-point buses starting Sunday, January 8, after a two-day suspension of services by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). The LTFRB suspended the P2P bus services after the DOTr started probing a video showing a P2P bus without license plates. The LTFRB said the provisional authority granted to P2P bus services operator Chris Bauer, chief executive officer of Froehlich Tours, had lapsed. But the bus service company said transport officials have allowed them to resume operations as long as they complete certain requirements by Monday morning.

Russia starts withdrawing army from Syria

Russia's military on Friday, January 6, said it has begun scaling down its deployment to Syria, with Moscow's sole aircraft carrier set to be the first to quit the conflict zone. Russia still had sufficient air defence capabilities in Syria thanks to its S-300 and S-400 systems deployed in the war-torn country. Since September 2015, Russia had boosted its firepower on land in Syria and off the coast in the Mediterranean in support of regime forces targeting the second city of Aleppo.

Europe in deep freeze

A cold wave across Europe has left at least 23 dead in the past two days, including several migrants and homeless people, authorities said Saturday, January 7, with the frigid temperatures expected to continue through the weekend. Authorities expect the toll to rise as weather conditions are set to remain unchanged this weekend.

Obama to America: Work together for change

US President Barack Obama on Saturday, January 7, spoke about the importance of ordinary people working together for change in a preview of the farewell address he will deliver in Chicago next week. "The running thread through my career has been the notion that when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together in collective effort, things change for the better," Obama said in his weekly radio address.

Stats: Boracay welcomed 1.7M tourists in 2016

A record-high 1.7 million tourists flocked to Boracay Island in 2016, beating the official target for the world-famous Philippine island resort. The Malay Municipal Tourism Office said Boracay drew 1,725,483 tourist arrivals in 2016 compared to 1,560,106 in 2015 – a 10.6% increase. Foreign arrivals in Boracay surged to 868,765, up by 12.89% from 2015, while domestic tourists registered 813,302 arrivals, up by 8.7%.

Miss Universe: Pia Wurtzbach's sizzling final photoshoot as reigning queen

Miss Universe 2016 Pia Wurtzbach is counting down the days until she crowns her successor, and she had her last photoshoot as the reigning queen. In the photo, Pia poses in a silver and pink swimsuit by Yamamay, pulling the bottom up and seductively showing off more skin. It was shot by Filbert Kung and styled by Marquis Bias. Pia's hair was done by Elin Nyberg and her makeup by Wendi Miyake.

A 3-screen laptop? It's now a reality

NEW FORM. The conceptual laptop from Razer is definitely eye-catching. Photos from Razer.

NEW FORM. The conceptual laptop from Razer is definitely eye-catching. Photos from Razer.

This year at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2017), Razer introduced something far cooler than the usual accessories: a laptop with 3 built-in monitors, the world's first. Called Project Valerie, the laptop features 3 humongous 17.3-inch displays. Each of the 3 screens boasts 4K resolution for a combined 12K (11520 x 2160) view. Drooling to order one? Well, you can't at the moment.

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