#ThewRap: Things you need to know, February 6, 2017

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

PEACE AT LAST? Philippine communist guerrillas in Mindanao. File photo by Edwin Espejo/Rappler










Dear Rappler readers,

As the world continues to watch the legal battle over US President Donald Trump's immigration ban, India's IT industry raises fears that a crackdown in high-skilled workers' visas, as part of a larger immigration reform effort, would create uncertainty and leave US businesses short of the skilled workers they need.

In the Philippines, peace talks between the government and the communist rebels are in limbo once again as a "disillusioned" President Rodrigo Duterte denounces the rebel group as "terrorists."

Below are the stories you should not miss today.

Duterte: NPA rebels are 'terrorists'

After scrapping peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday, February 5, that New People's Army (NPA) rebels are "considered terrorists." Duterte made the remarks after he visited the wake of 3 soldiers who were killed by the NPA in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. Asked by media if the Duterte administration would declare an all-out war against the rebels, the President responded: "No, no. Law enforcement lang (only) against terrorists, period."

Malacañang: CBCP is 'out of touch'

As expected, Malacañang on Sunday, February 5, fired back at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), after the Church leaders denounced what they described as the "reign of terror" in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said 'officials of the CBCP are apparently out of touch with the sentiments of the faithful who overwhelmingly support the changes in the Philippines.' He added that there is no reign of terror in the Philippines, but a "reign of peace."

Trump to meet NATO leaders in May

Newly elected US President Donald Trump will meet with fellow NATO leaders for the first time in May, the White House said Sunday, February 5, after the president's call with the alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Trump, whose virulent criticism of NATO during the campaign period became a cause of concern among European leaders, expressed "strong support for NATO" but called on European members to pitch in more, the White House said in a statement, adding that Trump "agreed to join in a meeting of NATO leaders in Europe in late May."

India's techies worried over U.S. crackdown on high-skilled visas

Trump's immigration policy reform efforts are causing unease among India's IT sector. Shares in India's 3 largest tech firms took a hit after White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggested that presidential and congressional action could be taken on H-1B visas as "part of a larger immigration reform effort". India's IT outsourcing industry, which employs almost 4 million people, makes more than $60 billion from the American market by filling a skill gap in US engineering. Visa restrictions would create uncertainty and leave US businesses short of the skilled workers they need, says a business group.

Qatar records coldest ever day

Qatar usually makes headlines for its hot weather. But on Sunday, February 5, the desert state recorded the lowest ever temperature in the country's history: just 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to a statement posted online by state media. The new record is the lowest temperature since the 3.8 degrees recorded in January of 1964, the Qatar Meteorology Department said.

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