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Buddhist monk hacked to death in Bangladesh

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DHAKA — An elderly Buddhist monk was found hacked to death today in Bangladesh, police said, the latest in a spate of murders of religious minorities and secular activists in the Muslim-majority nation.

No group has yet claimed responsibility, although the killing in the remote southeastern district of Bandarban appeared to bear a resemblance to several recent murders by suspected Islamist terrorists.

“Villagers found Bhante (monk) Maung Shue U Chak’s dead body in a pool of blood inside the Buddhist temple this morning. He was hacked to death,” Jashim Uddin, deputy police chief of Bandarban, told AFP.

Uddin said the monk, thought to be 75, appeared to have been attacked by at least four people at the Buddhist temple in Baishari, some 350 kilometres (220 miles) southeast of Dhaka early today morning.

“We saw human footprints in the temple and found that four to five people entered the compound,” he added.

Suspected Islamists have been blamed for or claimed responsibility in dozens of murders of Sufi, Shiite and Ahmadi Muslims, Hindus, Christians and foreigners in recent years.

The ISIS group and a Bangladeshi branch of Al Qaeda have said they carried out several of the killings.

However the secular government in Dhaka denies that ISIS and Al Qaeda are behind the attacks, saying they have no known presence in Bangladesh, and blames the killings on homegrown terrorists.

Buddhists make up less than one per cent of Bangladesh’s population of 160 million people.

AFP

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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.

Agencies

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