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US army to lift transgender ban: Media

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is set to lift its ban on transgender troops within the coming weeks, US media reported Friday.

USA Today said the transgender announcement is expected July 1 and the plan would require each branch of the military to phase in the new policy over a 12-month period.

The move would be another major milestone for America’s vast military, which up until five years ago still banned gay troops from openly discussing their sexuality under a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook declined to confirm reports, but said a decision was due “soon.”

Currently, Pentagon rules allow transgender troops to be discharged from the military.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last year ordered all military roles — including combat positions — to be opened to women.

Maryland Democratic Congressman Steny Hoyer welcomed the news.

“The reversal of the ban is a major step forward in the effort to secure the full rights and equality of LGBT people in our country, and it will strengthen our military by ensuring that talented, dedicated candidates are not turned away or discouraged from serving because of their gender identity,” he said in a statement.

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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