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South Korea conducts live fire exercise near North border

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SEOUL — South Korea conducted a large-scale live fire exercise Monday on the East Sea, where North Korea has been upping tensions with a series of missile and rocket launches supervised by leader Kim Jong-Un.

The drill including K-9 self- propelled artillery units and 130mm multiple rocket launchers was held in the coastal county of Goseong, which borders the North.

The aim of the exercise was to role play “the scenario of a possible North Korean maritime provocation”, South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-Gyun told reporters.

It comes during an extended period of elevated military tensions on the Korean peninsula, triggered by Pyongyang`s fourth nuclear test on January 6.

Over the past month, Kim Jong-Un has personally monitored numerous rocket and missile launches into the East Sea, including the North`s first test of a medium-range ballistic missile for two years.

Late last month, Kim watched what state media called the country`s largest-ever long-range artillery drill, involving multiple batteries of heavy-calibre units pounding an offshore island from a beach about 120 kilometres (75 miles) North of Goseong.

Monday`s South Korean drill was focused on “mastering more efficient and accurate firing procedures at sea against enemy targets”, the defence ministry spokesman said.

The North`s fourth nuclear test in January saw the UN Security Council — backed by Pyongyang`s main ally China — impose its harshest sanctions to date over the North`s nuclear weapons programme.

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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