#ThewRap: Things you need to know, November 16, 2017

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

President of the United States of America and President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte during the 31st ASEAN GALA Dinner 
Photo by Russell Palma Pool Photo










Good morning Rapplers!

During his official visit to the Philippines, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang praised improving Philippine-China ties. During the Chinese leader's visit to Malacañang, he and Duterte witnessed the signing of 14 deals, including a P1.1-billion grant for the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City. As expected, there was no mention of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute or the Hague ruling won by Manila against Beijing in their public statements.

The US too is boasting of a better relationship with the Philippines. US President Donald Trump said he mended ties with the Philippines in a press briefing he held after attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Meetings. Trump said it's "important to get along with the Philippines" considering it is a "most prime piece of real estate from a military standpoint."

Meanwhile, US-based human rights watchdog Freedom House said in a report that the Philippines has a cadre of paid online commenters as part of a "keyboard army" that sought to support President Rodrigo Duterte and attack detractors of the administration. According to Freedom House's Philippines-specific report, which studied the country from June 2016 to May 2017, the country's paid commenters could earn anywhere from P500 ($10) to up to P2,000 or P3,000 ($40 to $60) daily.

In world news, Zimbabwe's military is in control of the country as President Robert Mugabe is under house arrest; and UCLA players caught shoplifting in China return to America.

All these and more are on today's wRap.

Li says PH-China ties as warm as Manila temperature

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte tells Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that he hopes to 'reciprocate' China's generosity one day

PH 'keyboard army' drumming up support for drug war – report

The report by Freedom House, Freedom on the Net 2017, says the country's paid commenters could earn anywhere from P500 ($10) to up to P2,000 or P3,000 ($40 to $60) daily

Trump: I fixed ties with PH, a 'most prime real estate' militarily

"[In] the Philippines, we just could not have been treated nicer....The relationship with the past administration was horrible, to use a nice word,' says US President Donald Trump

PH military conducts air strikes vs MILF breakaway group

Ground troops are conducting clearing operations after targeting a Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters encampment in Maguindanao

Doctors reattach severed arm of woman in MRT accident

Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez says Angeline Fernando's arm has been successfully reattached to her body

Mugabe under house arrest as military takes control

(UPDATED) Military vehicles block roads outside the parliament in Harare and senior soldiers deliver a late-night television address to the nation

LiAngelo Ball, 2 other UCLA players arrested in China arrive in U.S.

UCLA's LiAngelo Ball – the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie star Lonzo Ball – and teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill arrive on a flight from Shanghai to Los Angeles

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