ests on major brands of bottled water have found that nearly all of them contained tiny particles of plastic. In the largest investigation of its kind, 250 bottles bought in nine different countries were examined. Research led by journalism organisation Orb Media discovered an average of 10 plastic particles per litre, each larger than the width of a human hair. Companies whose brands were tested told the BBC that their bottling plants were operated to the highest standards. Sherri Mason, a professor of chemistry at the university, conducted the analysis and told BBC News: "We found [plastic] in bottle after bottle and brand after brand. "It's not about pointing fingers at particular brands; it's really showing that this is everywhere, that plastic has become such a pervasive material in our society, and it’s pervading water - all of these products that we consume at a very basic level." Currently, there is no evidence that ingesting very small pieces of plastic (microplastics) can cause harm, but understanding the potential implications is an active area of science. Commenting on the results, Prof Mason said: "It's not catastrophic, the numbers that we're seeing, but it is concerning." Experts have told the BBC that people in developing countries where tap water may be polluted should continue to drink water from plastic bottles. Contacted to comment on the findings, the companies behind the brands have insisted that their products meet the highest standards for safety and quality. They also point to the absence of any regulations on microplastics and of the lack of standardised methods of testing for them. Last year, Prof Mason found plastic particles in samples of tap water and other researchers have spotted them in seafood, beer, sea salt and even the air. This latest work comes amid growing international attention on plastic, fuelled by the BBC's acclaimed Blue Planet 2 series in which Sir David Attenborough highlighted the threat of plastic waste in our oceans. The research into bottled water involved buying packs from 11 different global and national brands in countries chosen for their large populations or their relatively high consumption of bottled water. To eliminate any risk of contamination, purchases in shops and deliveries to courier companies were recorded on video. Some packs in the US were ordered over the internet. The screening for plastic involved adding a dye called Nile Red to each bottle, a technique recently developed by British scientists for the rapid detection of plastic in seawater. Previous studies have established how the dye sticks to free-floating pieces of plastic and makes them fluoresce under certain wavelengths of light. Prof Mason and her colleagues filtered their dyed samples and then counted every piece larger than 100 microns – roughly the diameter of a human hair. Some of these particles – large enough to be handled individually - were then analysed by infrared spectroscopy, confirmed as plastic and further identified as particular types of polymer. Particles smaller than 100 microns – and down to a size of 6.5 microns – were much more numerous (an average of 314 per litre) and were counted using a technique developed in astronomy for totalling the number of stars in the night sky. The make-up of these particles was not confirmed but Prof Mason said they can "rationally expected to be plastic". This is because although Nile Red dye can bind to substances other than plastic - such as fragments of shell or algae containing lipids - these would be unlikely to be present in bottled water. Since the study has not been through the usual process of peer review and publication in a scientific journal, the BBC has asked experts in the field to comment. Dr Andrew Mayes, of the University of East Anglia and one of the pioneers of the Nile Red technique, told us it was "very high quality analytical chemistry" and that the results were "quite conservative". Michael Walker, a consultant to the Office of the UK Government Chemist and founder board member of the Food Standards Agency, said the work was "well conducted" and that the use of Nile Red has "a very good pedigree". Both of them emphasised that the particles below 100 microns had not been identified as plastic but said that since the alternatives would not be expected in bottled water, they could be described as "probably plastic". One obvious question is where this plastic may be coming from. Given the amount of polypropylene, which is used in bottle caps, one theory is that the act of opening a bottle may shed particles inside. [i]Source: BBC[/i]

Swedish police investigating allegations that a woman was gang raped live on Facebook have arrested three men.

The alleged crime took place in an apartment in Uppsala, a city about 50 miles north of the capital, Stockholm.
In a statement, the Uppsala County police said they were alerted at 8:24am Sunday.
"This rape was broadcast live on a Facebook group and numerous people have been in touch regarding seeing this broadcast," they said.
"The police went to said apartment, and in the apartment were three men and a woman. The three men were detained on the spot and then arrested by prosecutors at 2:30pm on Sunday."
They said they were treating the case as one of aggravated rape.
Magnus Berggren, deputy chief prosecutor in Uppsala, told CNN the men remained in custody Tuesday and the investigation was continuing.
He said the Facebook group in question was a closed group "where you could post rather special things. Even for that group this was not anything normal."
He confirmed Swedish media reports that the woman did not appear to be fully conscious.
"She was intoxicated. We're not really sure how," he said.
The police said the men arrested were born in 1992, 1996 and 1998 -- meaning they are aged between around 19 and 25. The woman was born in 1986, making her around 31.
Facebook Live allows people to broadcast live from their smartphone. The footage of the incident has been removed, said Berggren.
He appealed for anyone who has the video to send it to the police, and said prosecutors have been in touch with Facebook at their United States headquarters to request assistance.
"This is a hideous crime and we do not tolerate this kind of content on Facebook," a Facebook spokesman told CNN in a statement. "We support local law enforcement who make data requests related to criminal investigations, particularly when it comes to the safety of young people. We respond to valid requests relating to criminal cases."

Sridhar Dharmapuri, at a scientific conference in Dhaka on Sunday, said instead, Bangladesh must keep eyes on the use of pesticides and metals in food as they were ‘hazardous’ to human health. His comment came on the heel of the government’s anti-formalin drive in which police destroyed tonnes of mangoes last year by using a much-debated ‘formalin detection device’. He said actions must be taken based on “scientific evidence and not on perceptions” as he found that the anti-formalin drive came after media reports, and it caused economic losses. Dharmapuri said the instrument they used was “faulty” as it was for measuring formalin in atmosphere, though he found it even irrelevant to detect formalin in vegetables or fruits. “There is no limit of formalin in food in any country as it is difficult to measure. Real evidences from scientific analysis found that formalin is added naturally in different quantities in various foods and vegetables.” “When something is naturally present, trying to measure it using a faulty instrument is only compounding the problem,” he said.  Dharmapuri was one of the key scientists in the establishment of the National Food Safety Laboratory in Dhaka with the support of UN agency FAO. Professor of Medicine at Stanford University Stephen Luby, and Chief Technical Adviser of the FAO Food Safety Programme John Ryder were the co-chairs of the panel when he spoke on “risk perception” in the ongoing ‘One Health Conference.’ He said in case of fish, even if formalin was used it was neutralised in the cooking process. “You wash them many times before cooking. Then you cook, you boil, so most of the time formalin goes away,” he said. “Formalin is basically an industrial hazard. It does not cause any health hazard from being used in food items. Up to 100 PPM per day can safely be consumed, according to European food safety authority,” he said. “It is only dangerous when in a furniture or painting factory one gets exposed to huge amount of formalin gas,” he explained. Food safety is a huge concern in Bangladesh since there is no proper supervision on food adulterations. But Dharmapuri cautioned against any decision taken based on perceptions and not real scientific data. “This (anti-formalin drive) is an example where perception of risk from a substance reached such an extent that food were being destroyed on the basis of a faulty test carried out to detect a compound which itself was not a major issue at that time,” he said. “Reports that we normally read could be unreliable. Only scientific analysis can establish a fact,” he said, giving examples of some reports. He said after the hue and cry last year, they, too, tested samples in National Food Safety Laboratory for formalin using three methods, including the faulty machine that police used. File Photo File Photo The FAO-backed lab itself developed a method and borrowed a kit from another organisation. He said all three showed different quantities of formalin in the tested food. “In one case it says positive even though we didn’t detect anything. In some cases we found negative result despite detecting it.” “So it means it’s difficult to measure such compound. So we really should not waste our time and resources or worry about those substances. “We should pay attention to those areas where it is required like the use of metals and pesticides in food,” he said. The food analyst said they found the level of lead in turmeric even 20 times higher than the permissible level. “This is a deliberate act. The argument that it comes from environment pollutants does not hold much water here,” he said. “It (lead) is added to enhance the colour to make it more yellow and more attractive.” He also called for educating farmers on the use of pesticides to ensure its proper use for agriculture. The scientist, however, suggested getting the evidence of formalin added to food items since it is “illegal”. “If somebody sprays formalin in water, the water has to be caught. The evidence of formalin does not come from the fruit. It comes from the way it added,” he said.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Home Affairs during a meeting on Sunday asked police to report to it at the next meeting.

Committee chief Tipu Mushi told reporters, “Many quarters have questioned police’s role after Avijit Roy’s murder. It is said that the incident took place amid police presence.”

“That’s why we have sought to know about it in details. Police have been asked to brief the committee in the next meeting.” One of the panel members, who preferred to be not named, “Avijit murder was not in the meeting agenda.

But the committee sought police’s explanation since allegations were raised from different quarters.” The member said police told the committee that they would give their explanation in writing.

Avijit and his blogger wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya were attacked near TSC intersection at Dhaka University on Feb 26 night. Both of them were hacked with sharp weapons.

The writer, hacked on his head several times, died from profuse bleeding at the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital later.

File Photo File Photo Bonya, who lost a thumb, later alleged that police personnel were standing nearby when they had come under attack.

They watched the events unfold but did not come to the couple’s rescue, she claimed.

Former chief justice ABM Khairul Haque and the prime minister’s Adviser HT Imam recently came down hard on the law enforcers for allowing such brutal murder to happen inside the university campus amid heightened security during the Amar Ekushey Book Fair.

But Inspector General of Police Shahidul Hoque rejected the allegations. Hoque claimed police had acted and rushed to the scene hearing the couple’s cry for help but the killers had fled by then.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police have a three-strong team investigating the alleged inaction of police. The FBI is assisting the Detective Branch (DB) in the murder investigation as Avijit was a US citizen.

But even after nearly a month, the investigators are yet to identify the killers. Atlanta-based bioengineer Avijit had founded popular blog Mukto-mona and was known for his secular writing.

He had received death threats several times from radical fanatics. Police say they are conducting their enquiry based on those threats. So far, they have only managed to arrest one suspect – Shafiur Rahman Farabi, who in a Facebook post had threatened to kill Avijit when he returns home.

DB spokesperson Monirul Islam on Sunday told reporters, “There were a lot of people around the scene where Avijit was killed but none could clearly say how many assailants were involved in the attack or what they looked like.”

The mingling of an artist’s imagination and real incidents has brought Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman alive in the pages of a four-colour comic book for children.

The Centre for Research and Information (CRI) published the 24-page book, ‘Mujib’, on the independence hero’s 95th birth anniversary, based on his unfinished autobiography.

The book was launched on Tuesday at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in Dhanmondi by his grandson, CIR Trustee Radwan Mujib Siddique Bobby.

Sheikh Mujib was born on Mar 17, 1920 at Tungiparha in Gopalganj. Bangladesh emerged an independent country in 1971 following a long struggle led by him.

He began writing his autobiography at the bidding of his wife and comrades while being held in the Dhaka Central Jail in 1967.

But the work remained incomplete. Forty-four years later that unfinished autobiography was published at the initiative of his elder daughter Sheikh Hasina.

Radwan Mujib, son of Sheikh Mujib’s younger daughter, Sheikh Rehana, said at the launch that he had not seen his grandfather but had got to know him from the stories he heard of him from his mother and aunt. “When I was in school, many of my friends did not know my grandfather’s name. Teachers often forbade me to mention him.

This used to cause me a lot of pain. “Mother used to tell me to be patient. When I was older, I used to wonder how to familiarise those of my age with grandfather.”

This urge finally led to the publication of an illustrated autobiography of Bangabandhu with drawing by artists Syed Rashad Imam Tanmoy and ABM Salauddin Subho.

“I am feeling very happy to hold this book in my hand today. It’s a great satisfaction for me to have been able to do at least this much for my grandfather,” said Radwan Mujib. Cartoonist Ahsan Habib said, “The publication of this book has given Bangladesh its first graphic novel.

“This is a big thing for us cartoonists.” He added that comics did not find a place in the children’s section of the Amar Ekushey Library run by the Bangla Academy.

“We were trying for their inclusion for a long time. Maybe, we will now find a niche, thanks to this graphic book on Bangabandu.”

He said there could hardly be a better way to present Bangabandhu to children. Cartoonist Rafiqun Nabi said not only will the book attract children but will also be useful for adults.

“But I have reservations about using the word ‘novel’ in this case. A novel would imply something fictional. But Bangabandhu was no fiction. He was real,” Nabi said. CIR Executive Director Sabbir Biswas, however, explained that it was a new term.

“None of us was there during Bangabandhu’s time. So we had to take the help of imagination to portray him. But the stories are real.

Hence the term ‘graphic novel’,” he said. The first part presents the background against which Bangabandhu began writing his autobiography, the stories of his birth, childhood, getting a pair of spectacles when still young, and his first jail term.

Another 12 parts will be published in stages narrating Bangabandhu’s experiences in social and political arenas and various aspects of the Bengali’s struggle for freedom. MP Tarana Halim and actor Sara Zaker, among others, were present at the book launch.