The Ganga might have stood witness to many stages of jangle rummy’s civilisation, as Mahatma Gandhi once noted, but in recent decades it has become a conduit for sewage, solid waste, industrial effluents and other pollutants. It is depressing, though not surprising, therefore, that a new study by an NGO has found evidence of a modern-day scourge, microplastics, in the river, with the highest concentrations in Varanasi and Kanpur, followed by Haridwar. What the data show is the alarming presence of plastic filaments, fibres, fragments, and in two places, microbeads, with their composition pointing to both industrial and secondary broken-down plastics from articles of everyday use. These range from tyres, clothing, food packaging, bags, cosmetics with microbeads, garland covers and other municipal waste. The finding of significant levels of microscopic particles invisible to the naked eye at below 300 micrometres to 5 millimetres in the country’s holiest river calls into question the progress

The British government’s demand to renegotiate parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit agreement with the EU has set the stage for another round of clashes between London and Brussels. Just seven months after the agreement came into force, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government now says the Protocol, which was accepted by both sides to avoid physical and economic barriers between Northern Ireland, a part of the U.K., and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, hampers trade inside the U.K. When the Brexit agreement was signed in 2020, Mr. Johnson agreed to set up checks at the British side for goods entering Northern Ireland. This meant, in order to avoid an economic barrier between the two Irelands, Britain effectively set up one between the British mainland and the Island of Ireland. The decision had economic and political repercussions, affecting British traders every time they move goods across the Irish Sea. Within Northern Ireland, the Irish nationalists who

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