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78 killed, 500 injured as tornado pummel eastern China

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BEIJING — A powerful tornado along with hurricane-force winds, hailstorms, pounding rain have killed at least 78 people in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu and injured nearly 500 others, Xinhua reported.

The tornado hit near the city of Yancheng, according to state broadcaster CCTV and other official media. They said large numbers of people were injured and roads were blocked.

Whole villages were leveled and huge trees felled when winds of up to 125 kilometers per hour struck around Yancheng city.

CCTV showed people carrying the injured to hospitals, cars and trucks flipped over on their roofs, street light poles snapped in half, and steel electricity pylons crumpled and lying on their side.

Some 200 people were left critically injured during the storms and the worst tornado in half a century, which reduced buildings to rubble.

Photos of the scene showed dazed residents near the remains of houses surrounded by tangled telephone wires, splintered wood and toppled poles.

“It was like the end of the world,” said Xie Litian, 62, from Donggou township in Funing County, describing how all the other houses in his neighbourhood had been destroyed.

“I heard the gales and ran upstairs to shut the windows,” he said.

“I had hardly reached the top of the stairs when I heard a boom and saw the entire wall with the windows on it torn away.”

President Xi Jinping ordered “all-out rescue efforts” after what Xinhua said was one of the worst disasters ever to hit Jiangsu.

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Over 70% of deep-sea fish of Atlantic Ocean have ingested plastic : Study

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Fragments of plastic are found throughout the world, from nearly every continent to nearly every body of water. But, researchers recently have found 73 percent of Northwest Atlantic deep-sea fish are also eating it — the highest reported frequency of plastic-eating fish in the world.

Plastic particles were found in some of the most remote parts of the Atlantic Ocean with almost three quarters of a sample of more than 230 deep-water fish collected by NUI Galway scientists having ingested plastic particles.

The contamination level among the fish species, located in the northwest Atlantic thousands of kilometres from land and 600m down in the ocean, is one of the highest reported frequencies of microplastic occurrence in fish worldwide, according to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

The NUIG scientists, as part of the study, participated in a transatlantic crossing onboard the marine institute’s Celtic Explorer vessel.

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PhD candidate and lead author Alina Wieczorek said, “Deep-water fish migrate to the surface at night to feed on plankton [microscopic animals] and this is likely when they are exposed to the microplastics.”

During this research cruise they took dead deep-sea fish from midwater trawls such as the spotted lanternfish, rakery beaconlamp, stout saw-palate and scaly dragonfish.

Microplastics are small plastic fragments that commonly originate from the breakdown of larger plastic items entering the ocean. Other sources may be waste water effluents carrying plastic fibres from clothing and microbeads from personal care products. Due to their low density, most of these microplastics float at the sea surface.

The fish ranged in size from the smallest species the Glacier Lantern at 3.5cm to the largest species, the stout saw-palate at 59cm.

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