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Judge rules against couple in China’s first same-sex case

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CHANGSHA — A judge today ruled against a gay couple in China’s first same-sex marriage case that attracted several hundred cheering supporters to the courthouse and was seen as a landmark moment for the country’s emerging LGBT rights movement.

The court in the central city of Changsha rejected the suit brought against the local civil affairs bureau for refusing to issue the couple a marriage registration certificate.

The couple’s lawyer Shi Fulong said he expected the judge would rule against them but not so soon within just a few hours. “It goes against the spirit of the laws of the people’s republic of China,” Shi said.

Plaintiff Sun Wenlin said he would appeal until he exhausts all legal options.

The lawsuit comes amid growing awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in China, where society and the government have generally frowned on non-traditional expressions of gender and sexuality.

China doesn’t legally recognize same-sex marriage and officials with the central government have said they do not see the law changing soon.

Sun, his partner Hu Mingliang, and the lawyer entered Changsha’s Furong District courthouse today morning amid cheers from roughly 300 supporters, some of whom had waited outside since 5 am or traveled overnight from neighboring provinces.

Court officials allowed in about 100 spectators and then pleaded with fervent college students that the courtroom was full and that they had to turn others away.

Sun said the police had earlier visited him at the apartment he shares with Hu to try to talk him out of pursuing the lawsuit, but left after he reiterated his determination to press forward with the case.

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“I hope I can pave the way as far and wide as possible so that people who want to do the same will see how much we have tried and what possibilities can there be,” Sun, 26, told The Associated Press in an interview the night before the hearing.

While homosexuality is not illegal in China, the country’s LGBT movement is still in its infancy and it is rare for same-sex couples to live openly.

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.

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