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Indian court jails 11 for life over Gujarat massacre

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NEW DELHI — An Indian court has imprisoned 11 Hindus for life for the murder of dozens of Muslims during riots in Gujarat in 2002 that shook India at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state’s chief minister.

The court sentenced 12 other people to seven years in jail for arson and other charges during the disturbances, in which 69 Muslims were killed, while another defendant was handed a 10-year sentence, prosecutors said.

The massacre occurred during a series of religious riots that flared for two months in Gujarat and killed more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims.

The court called the massacre the “darkest day” but rejected prosecutors’ demand to sentence the defendants to death, after ruling the attack was not planned.

A Hindu mob scaled the boundary wall of a housing complex in Ahmedabad — Gujarat’s largest city — in February 2002 before torching the homes in which Muslim families were trapped.

Among the victims were children and women who were burned to death.

The riots, among the worst since India’s independence from Britain in 1947, have dogged Mr Modi’s political career for years after he was accused of not doing enough to stop the violence.

Mr Modi, a Hindu, denies any wrongdoing and in 2013 a panel appointed by the Supreme Court said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him.

The violence also tainted Mr Modi’s international reputation even as he rose in power at home, culminating in his 2014 general election victory.

The United States revoked his visa in 2005 but allowed him to travel there again after his election victory.

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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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