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Suicide attacker ID'd in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines -- DNA tests have confirmed the identity of the first known Filipino suicide bomber in the country's south, an alarming milestone that underscores the need for public vigilance and a modernized armed forces, officials said Wednesday.

Two attackers carrying explosives killed three soldiers, two villagers and themselves and wounded 22 others in a June 28 attack on an army camp in Sulu province's Indanan town. The Islamic State group said the attackers were its fighters, but police played down the claim.

Philippine police and military officials said at a news conference that tissue taken from the remains of one of the attackers, identified by his family as Norman Lasuca, matched those of his mother, Vilman Lasuca, and a brother in police DNA tests. Efforts to identify the second attacker were continuing.

"One of the biggest implications if we already have a suicide bombing case in the Philippines is that this should open a new mindset that we now have a different security environment in our country," said military spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgar Arevalo.

Cover completed at Chernobyl site

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday inaugurated a giant structure built to confine radioactive debris at the nuclear reactor that exploded in Chernobyl in 1986.

The confinement structure for the Chernobyl nuclear power plant's Reactor No. 4 cost almost $1.7 billion to build, and the entire project cost about $2.5 billion.

The complex construction effort to secure the molten reactor's core and 200 tons of highly radioactive material took nine years to complete under the auspices of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Reactor No. 4 at the plant in what was then Soviet Ukraine exploded and burned on April 26, 1986, spewing radioactive dust across Europe in the world's worst nuclear accident.

The new confinement structure was designed to safeguard radioactive debris and prevent further crumbling of the reactor. A section of the machine hall collapsed in 2012.

Deputy project manager Victor Zalizetskyi, who has been part of construction and repairs at the Chernobyl plant since 1987, said he was "filled with pride" that he got to work on a job "that has such a big importance for all humankind."

Wildlife seizures called most ever

PARIS -- Police and customs officials have carried out the most widespread wildlife-trafficking operation ever in a joint global effort that's led to the seizure of thousands of endangered animals and the arrests of nearly 600 suspects.

The World Customs Organization and Interpol said Wednesday that in June the agencies conducted nearly 2,000 seizures in a historic joint operation that helped authorities round up nearly 10,000 live turtles and tortoises, nearly 1,500 live reptiles, 23 live apes, 30 big cats, hundreds of pieces of elephant tusk, half a ton of ivory and five rhino horns.

"It's landmark. It's the first time such a large joint network has been mobilized -- across 109 countries," Interpol's wildlife expert Henri Fournel said.

"What we lacked in tackling wildlife crime was a concerted network and this is what we have now," he added.

Operation Thunderball, which operated out of Interpol's complex in Singapore, led to the arrests of 582 suspects, it said.

A Section on 07/11/2019

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