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Clinton clinches Democratic presidential nomination

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LOS ANGELES — Hillary Clinton has achieved the number of delegates needed to secure the Democratic U.S. presidential nomination, as per tallies on Monday by two U.S. media outlets, the day before six states were set to vote in nominating contests.

A former senator and US secretary of state, Clinton would be the first woman to ever be the presidential candidate of a major political party in the country’s 239­year history.

But the campaign of her rival, Bernie Sanders, vowed to keep up the fight in what has been a protracted and increasingly antagonised primary race that has exposed deep rifts between the left­wing and the more centrist of the Democratic Party.

A Sanders campaign spokesman said it was wrong of the Associated Press and NBC News, which made the calls on Monday evening, to count the votes of superdelegates before they cast ballots at the Democratic National Convention in July.

“Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump,” Sanders’ spokesman Michael Briggs said in a statement, castigating what he called the media’s “rush to judgement.”

While most delegates are awarded by popular votes in state­by­state elections, superdelegates largely consist of party leaders and elected senators, members of Congress and governors, and can change their mind at any time.

For that reason, the Democratic National Committee has echoed the Sanders campaign, saying the superdelegates should not be counted until they vote at the convention in Philadelphia.

But that has not deterred the news media. The AP and NBC reported that Clinton reached the 2,383 delegates needed to become the presumptive Democratic nominee with a decisive weekend victory in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, and a burst of additional support from superdelegates.

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Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont who calls himself a democratic socialist, has commanded huge crowds spilling out of parks and stadiums and has been particularly bolstered by younger voters angered by widening economic inequality with his promise of a “political revolution.”

But Clinton, who prefers smaller, round­table events, has continued to edge out Sanders, particularly among older voters with longer ties to the Democratic party. Her less lofty promises focus on improving the policies of her fellow Democrat and former boss, President Barack Obama.

“According to the news, we are on the brink of a historic, historic, unprecedented moment,” Clinton told a rally in Long Beach, California, shortly after the AP report. “But we still have work to do, don’t we? We have six elections tomorrow and we’re going to fight hard for every single vote, especially right here in California.”

Clinton has 1,812 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses, and Sanders has 1,521. She also has the support of 571 superdelegates, according to an AP count, compared to 48 for Sanders.

Her campaign manager, Robby Mook, said the media call on Clinton was an “important milestone”.

“We look forward to Tuesday night, when Hillary Clinton will clinch not only a win in the popular vote, but also the majority of pledged delegates,” he said in a statement on Monday.

Sanders supporters have pointed to the uncertainty of whether or not Clinton or her aides will face criminal charges as a reason for him to remain in the race.

Clinton’s decision to use an unauthorised private email server kept in her home for her work as secretary of state remains the subject of a criminal inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Reuters

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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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