#ThewRap: Things you need to know, July 21, 2017

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

VICTIMS. Certain elements appear in the circumstances surrounding incidents of extrajudicial killings in the Philippine drug war. All photos by Alejandro Edoria

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Hello!

Good morning, Rapplers!

Two American lawmakers are troubled by the human rights violations committed in relation to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that they vow to lead protests when the leader visits the White House.

The US congressional hearing, where Duterte’s record is scrutinized, comes 4 days before he delivers his 2nd State of the Nation Address.

Meanwhile, Philippine authorities arrest 44 members of a Malaysian and Chinese syndicate believed to be behind kidnap-for-ransom and loan shark operations in Manila casinos.

Here are the big stories you shouldn’t miss.

Human rights hearing: US lawmakers to lead protest vs Duterte White House visit

Two United States lawmakers slammed Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in a hearing on Thursday, July 20, about alleged abuses in the war on drugs waged by his government. Congressman James McGovern, who represents the 2nd district of Massachusetts, vowed to "lead the protest" in case Duterte comes to visit the White House. Also "troubled" by Duterte's invitation to the White House, US Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California's 14th district said Duterte's "abuses" should be condemned by US President Donald Trump and the US Congress. McGovern and Speier spoke at a hearing conducted by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress in Washington DC on Thursday.

What to expect at Duterte’s SONA 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his second State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 24. The theme will be "A Comfortable Life for All," said Malacañang. Just like in 2016, the event will do away with pomp and pageantry, following the Duterte administration’s inclination to keep formal events simple. Here are the 11 things we can expect about Duterte’s SONA and major SONA-related events from organizers and those close to the President.

Members of Malaysian, Chinese casino syndicate arrested in the Philippines

Two Malaysians and 42 Chinese suspects have been detained in the Philippines over the kidnapping and beating of a Singaporean woman abducted at a Manila casino, authorities said Thursday, July 20. The kidnappers had demanded $180,000 (more than P9 million) for the release of victim Wu Yan, 48, Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes said. "The group was believed to be responsible [for] the series of kidnapping incidents perpetrated against foreign nationals who are high roller casino players in recent months,” the official said.

OJ Simpson granted parole, can walk free by October 1

Disgraced American football star OJ Simpson – who was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend but later jailed for armed robbery – was granted parole after nearly 9 years in prison. A 4-member parole board in the western United States state of Nevada voted unanimously Thursday, July 20, to free the 70-year-old Simpson after a public hearing broadcast live by news networks. Simpson, who was emotional as the decision was announced, could walk free as early as October 1.

Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, 41, dead in apparent suicide

Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, who overcame a troubled childhood to top the charts with an angry but melodic brand of metal, was found dead Thursday, July 20, in an apparent suicide. He was 41. The Los Angeles County coroner's office said it received a call just after 9 am local time that Bennington had been found hanging at his home in the luxurious Palos Verdes Estate area.

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