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Hindu priest hacked to death by suspected Islamists in Bangladesh

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DHAKA — A Hindu temple priest was hacked to death in western Bangladesh Friday, police said, the latest in a series of attacks on religious minorities by suspected Islamists.

Shyamananda Das, who helped conduct prayers at the Radhamadan Gopal Bigraha Math in Jhenaidah district, was killed by three men on a motorcycle as he was walking on a highway adjacent to his temple early in the morning, police said.

“They hacked him on his neck three times and there was one stabbing mark in his head,” deputy police chief of the district Gopinath Kanjilal told AFP.

“He died after he was brought to a hospital.”

Kanjilal said Das, also known as Babaji, was “a priest” in the temple. But local police chief inspector Hasan Hafizur Rahman told AFP the 50-year-old man was “a temple volunteer who helps conduct prayers”.

“He was an itinerant temple volunteer who travels from one temple to another to serve the Hindu devotees. He came to this temple only yesterday,” he said.

“He was attacked as he walked outside the temple to collect flowers for prayer services,” he added.

Police said no group claimed responsibility for the attack, but it bore hallmarks of recent murders of religious minorities by suspected home-grown Islamist militants.

“The pattern of the killing is similar” to ones carried out by local Islamist militants, Rahman said.

Last month a Hindu priest, 70-year-old Ananda Gopal Ganguly, was also hacked to death in a rice paddy field in the same district near his home.

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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