#ThewRap: Things you need to know, January 9, 2017

Hello! Here are the top stories you shouldn't miss this Monday.

DEVOTION. The Black Nazarene procession moves in front of the National Museum as of 9:30 am on Monday, January 9. Photo by Paterno Esmaquel/Rappler










Dear Rappler reader,

Today is the feast of the Black Nazarene feast, one of the Philippines' biggest religious festivals. As in previous years, devotees defied reports of accidents from in previous years' celebrations, and even a terror threat in order to join the Traslacion procession at the Quiapo Church in Manila. As a precautionary measure, authorities said mobile phone signals will be jammed in the area during the celebration. In the wake of extrajudicial killings the key message from Church leaders to devotees this year is: hope, not death.

In Europe, British Prime Minister Theresa May insists that Britain will have control over its borders after Brexit, going so far as suggesting that she would be prepared to quit Europe's trading zone to achieve it.

Pope Francis tells mothers to go ahead and breastfeed in church. Nokia finally unveils its first Android-powered Nokia smartphone: the Nokia 6.

And finally, remember the Chibok girls of Nigeria who were abducted by jihadist insurgency group Boko Haram? It has been 1,000 days since their mass abduction and only 2 dozen of them have been rescued so far.

Here is the list of stories you should not miss this Monday.

Devotees defy terror threat for annual Black Nazarene procession

Hundreds of thousands of Black Nazarene devotees defied a terror threat in order to join the annual “Traslacion” procession on early Monday, January 9. One of the Philippines' biggest religious festivals attracts up to 8 million Catholics from all walks of life because the image of the suffering Christ is supposedly miraculous. Few have been discouraged by reported mishaps, injuries and even deaths in previous celebrations. For this year, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council called on devotees to be vigilant as it extended assistance to Black Nazarene feast organizers 'to ensure the safety and well-being of the devotees.' For 'security purposes' cellphone signals will be jammed in Manila during the Nazarene feast.

#WarOnDrugs: hope, not death for the lost

Ahead of the Black Nazarene feast, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged Catholics on Sunday, January 8, to remain hopeful about the lost, as he presided over a thanksgiving Mass for former drug addicts who have changed their lives. Tagle also signed an agreement with Fazenda da Esperança, an international drug rehabilitation farm, to boost the Archdiocese of Manila's drug rehabilitation program. The agreement comes as President Rodrigo Duterte wages a war on drugs that has already killed more than 6,200 people. The recent killings in the Philippines pose an unprecedented challenge for the Catholic Church which has actively campaigned against the death penalty. At the Quiapo Church, devotees of the Black Nazarene were welcomed by a huge streamer that quotes one of the 10 commandments: "Huwag kang papatay." (Do not kill.)

UK willing to quit Europe's trading zone to have control over its borders - PM

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May insisted on Sunday, January 8, that Britain will have "control over our borders" after Brexit, suggesting she would be prepared to quit Europe's trading zone to achieve it. May has come under increasing pressure to reveal more detailed plans about her Brexit strategy, and promised to do so during a series of speeches in "the coming weeks." Experts say a so-called "hard Brexit" would mean Britain withdrawing entirely from Europe's single market and negotiating new trade arrangements in order to impose strict immigration controls.

Assad: Syrian forces on road to victory after retaking Aleppo

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with French media to be aired on Monday, January 9, that his forces are on the road to victory after recapturing the key city of Aleppo last month. It was his first interview with French media since the December 22 recapture of the rebel-held east of the city, which had been under siege for months. Rebel forces, who seized east Aleppo in 2012, agreed to withdraw after a month-long army offensive that drove them from more than 90 percent of their former territory.

Nokia Android smartphone officially unveiled

HMD Global, the company that owns the rights to produce Nokia-branded phones, unveiled its first Android-powered Nokia smartphone: the Nokia 6. The phone will come with the latest version of Android Nougat, the seventh iteration of Google's operating system.

Nigeria marks 1,000 days since Chibok girls' abduction

Sunday, January 8, marked 1,000 days since the mass abduction of schoolgirls from Chibok, a town in the northeastern part of Nigeria, by jihadist insurgency group Boko Haram. Of the more than 200 schoolgirls who were abducted almost 3 years ago, only two dozen have been found or rescued. Some of them had babies in captivity. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said his government is committed to finding the remaining 195 Chibok schoolgirls.

Pope Francis: women should feel free to breastfeed in church

"The ceremony is a little long, someone's crying because he's hungry," the pontiff told worshippers attending an annual ceremony commemorating the baptism of Jesus. Like the Virgin Mary Mothers who nursed Jesus, mothers should "go ahead and breastfeed, without fear," the pope said.

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