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

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

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Hello!

Hello, Rappler readers!

Here are the big stories from the Philippines and around the world that you shouldn't miss:

PH foreign affairs chief rejected over US citizenship

The Commission on Appointments on Wednesday, March 8, rejected unanimously the ad interim appointment of lawyer Perfecto Yasay Jr as Philippine foreign secretary after he denied once being a US citizen. Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the CA foreign affairs committee, said Yasay's rejection was final. Rules dictate that President Rodrigo Duterte can no longer reappoint Yasay, his campaign supporter and dormitory roommate when they were law students. He vowed to appoint an acting foreign affairs secretary on March 9.

New rights team formed to look into Davao Death Squad

The Commission on Human Rights has formed a new team to investigate killings allegedly carried out by the so-called Davao Death Squad. This move comes after former Davao City policeman Arturo Lascañas again faced the Senate to detail murder allegations against President Rodrigo Duterte. This is not the first time the CHR is investigating the existence of the DDS. It previously identified 206 deaths attributable to the DDS between 2005 and 2009. In 2012, the CHR released a resolution stating that it found "probable cause" and recommended that the Ombudsman investigate the "possible administrative and criminal liability" of Duterte in relation to the killings under his watch as Davao City mayor.

Duterte accuser Lascañas reveals more in one-on-one with Rappler

Rappler talks to Arturo Lascañas, former police officer and self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad. The former hitman, who told senators he got orders to kill from Rodrigo Duterte when the President was still city mayor, talks about his team of hitmen, addresses policemen who will be involved in the revived TokHang operations, and has a message for President Rodrigo Duterte as well. Watch the interview here.

Yes or no to death penalty: Read how lawmakers explained their vote

When the House of Representatives passed House Bill 4727, which seeks to reintroduce the death penalty, the leadership gave lawmakers 3 minutes each to explain their vote, if they wished. Rappler runs the full text of the speeches delivered by 14 congresmen and women who voted against the bill, and 3 who voted in favor of the measure.

Major tech firms looking into CIA hacking of phones, other devices

The tech sector was scrambling to understand the implications of an alleged broad Central Intelligence Agency hacking arsenal, capable of spying on phones and other connected devices. Major tech firms said they were looking at the allegations raised in the documents released by WikiLeaks on Tuesday, March 7. Security analysts said the documents, if authentic, were not on the same scale as the explosive 2013 revelations from former national security contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed mass surveillance tools used by the National Security Agency. Still, Joseph Hall, a technologist with the Center for Democracy and Technology, said the report raises questions about the US government's pledge to disclose security flaws to technology firms under a so-called "vulnerabilities equities process."

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