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Baghdad bombings toll reaches 250

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BAGHDAD — The death toll from a massive suicide bombing in Baghdad over the weekend has reached 250, Iraq’s Health Ministry says.

The attack, claimed by Islamic State aggressors (IS), was the deadliest of the many car bombings in Baghdad since the 2003 US-led invasion.

The suicide car bombing ripped through Baghdad’s Karrada district early on Sunday when it was teeming with shoppers ahead of the holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, sparking infernos in nearby buildings.

Iraq’s interior minister submitted his resignation on Tuesday as authorities sought to contain the public’s anger about the bombing.

“I placed my resignation before the Prime Minister,” Mohammed Ghabban told a news conference, though it was unclear if it would be accepted, and he may yet stay in office.

Mr Ghabban said the explosives-rigged truck came from Diyala province, north of Baghdad, meaning it likely successfully navigated a security checkpoint on the way into the capital.

He described as “absolutely useless” the checkpoints that are littered throughout capital, which have long been a pillar of Government efforts to secure the city.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced changes to security measures following the blast, including scrapping the fake bomb detectors that were still in use years after the man who sold them to Iraq was jailed for fraud in Britain.

Authorities also hailed the arrest of 40 jihadists who were said to be connected to planned attacks, while the Justice Ministry announced the execution of five convicts, linking the timing to the Baghdad blast.

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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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