#ThewRap: Things you need to know, July 4, 2017

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

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Hello!

Hello Rappler reader,

The diplomatic crisis in the Middle East continues, as Qatar responds to the demands of Saudi Arabia and its allies to address their grievances – from what they called support for terrorism, to the shutting down of the media giant Al Jazeera. Will the Gulf impasse end soon?

Back home, the Judicial and Bar Council will again conduct interviews for candidates vying to be the next Supreme Court justice, replacing retiring Associate Justice Jose Mendoza. How will the nominees perform?

Meanwhile, these stories are abuzz online: a rich businessman's billboard "proposal" for a date with celebrity Erich Gonzales, and the online abuse boxer Jeff Horn has been receiving since winning over Manny Pacquiao.

Don't miss the stories you need to know this Tuesday, July 4, on the wRap.

Qatar responds to demands after deadline extended

Qatar on Monday, July 3, responded to a list of demands from Saudi Arabia and its allies after they agreed to give a defiant Doha another 48 hours to address their grievances. The demands included Doha ending support for the Muslim Brotherhood, closing broadcaster Al-Jazeera, downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran and shutting down a Turkish military base in the emirate. The country has earlier said the demands were "made to be rejected."

Martial law also aims to crush NPA, drug syndicates

The declaration of martial law is not only meant to address local terrorist groups in Mindanao. It also aims to crush communist insurgency, illegal drug syndicates, and peace spoilers. These are among 12 "key tasks" the military must perform under martial law. They are listed in the AFP Operational Directive Number 2 2017 or the "AFP's Implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao."

Singapore PM denies nepotism amid family feud in parliament speech

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Monday, July 3, rejected claims from his siblings that he abused power and engaged in nepotism as he faced parliament over a family feud that has shocked Singapore.

Mindanao Railway construction starts in 2018

After more than two decades and several feasibility studies, construction of the 830-kilometer Mindanao Railway Network will finally begin in 2018. The big-ticket infrastructure project has seen 4 presidents come and go. Now, under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte – who is the first president from Mindanao – construction will start off with the commuter line from Tagum City in Davao del Norte to Digos City in Davao del Sur.

Need toilet paper? COA says Senate has too many rolls

According to the Commission on Audit (COA), the Senate had overstocked around P1.4 million worth of supplies – including toilet paper, insecticide, and batteries. In its report released last July 1, state auditors found that the Senate had more than 6 months' oversupply of toilet paper, and at least two years' supply of insecticide spray. Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said he will look into the overstocking.

Top photo: Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Services (CTS) members carry food as they walk in the Old City of Mosul on July 3, 2017 during an ongoing offensive to retake the city from Islamic State (ISIS) group fighters. Fadel Senna/AFP

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