The destruction of Ivory, the danger of melanoma, and the debate over voting booth selfies are three of the stories we're covering today.I'm Carl Azuz.We'll start in Kenya.
It took 10 days for officials there to build the 12 actual ivory towers that are now burning.They are both priceless and worthless.The piles of tusks from 8,000 elephants, the horns for more than 340 rhinos, exotic animal skins, sandalwood bark, it's all being intentionally burn in the largest torching of illegal wildlife products ever.Kenya's president says his country has lost as many as 70 percent of its elements.Poaching, the illegal killing of animals, claims the life of an elephant every 15 minutes and a record number of rhinos were poached last year.Critics say destroying these materials will actually increase their value on the black market and increase poaching.But supporters say it hasn't in the past and that the burns as symbolic as it is destructive.
The fire is crackling loudly, you can feel the warmth from far away, and the smoke is quickly filling the air.In some parts of the world, this would be considered ludicrous.In fact, there's been a lot of controversy surrounding this burn-105 tons of ivory, 1.35 tons of rhino horn literally going up in smoke.That's an estimated black market value of $172 million. Now, no more.Kenya's message to the world, this ivory is worthless.It has no value unless on a live animal.It's not the first born in Kenya's history.Kenya first began burning ivory in 1989 and initially saw good results.Experts attribute the scourge in poaching to Asia's voraciously growing appetite for ivory, particularly in China.This is the biggest ivory burn in the world's history.It's left 12 piles of contraband, like these, blackened with smoke, in a fire due to last for more than a week.But Kenyans hope this will change perceptions forever.Robyn Kriel, CNN, Nairobi National Park, Kenya.
Next up, chaos in the Middle Eastern nation of Iraq.The ISIS terrorist group, which controls large parts of land there, says it's responsible for a pair of suicide bombings on Sunday.They happened in a city in southern Iraq where at least 11 people died and more than a dozen others were wounded.And a day beforehand, in the nation's capital, there was a rush of hundreds of angry protesters inside Baghdad's Green Zone.This is a four square mile heavily fortified area of government buildings and international embassies.The protesters ransacked parts of Iraq's parliament building before Iraqi security forces regained control.A controversial Iraqi religious leader had stirred up the crowd on Saturday, criticizing Iraq's politicians and calling them corrupt.The nation has been struggling with political problems, in addition to terrorism and instability.U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry have traveled there recently to push more stability in Iraq, expressed support for its leaders and encouraged them to work together.