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Plants help reduce toxic mercury. Pixabay

Plants absorb a vast amount of toxic mercury gas in the atmosphere and help to reduce the pollutant worldwide by depositing the element into soils, said researchers. The process is similar to the absorption of carbon dioxide emissions by plants, said the team from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, in the US.

Hundreds of tons of mercury each year are emitted into the atmosphere as a gas by burning coal, mining, and other industrial and natural processes. When the plants shed leaves or die, the mercury is transferred to soils where large amounts also make their way into watersheds, threatening wildlife and people who eat contaminated fish, the researchers explained, in the study published journal Nature Reviews – Earth & Environment.

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Exposure to high levels of mercury over long periods can lead to neurological and cardiovascular problems in humans, according to Daniel Obrist, Professor at UMass Lowell. There is no safe level of mercury for humans, according to the World Health Organization. Exposure to the hazardous element can lead to irritability, speech and visual impairment, hypothermia, kidney failure, and Alzheimer’s disease, among others.

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For the study, the team collected 200 published studies with data on mercury levels in vegetation from more than 400 locations around the world. They found about 88 percent of the mercury found in plants originates from plants’ leaves absorbing gaseous mercury from the atmosphere. Globally, vegetation can take up more than 1,300 tonnes of mercury each year, accounting for 60 to 90 percent of it being deposited over land, according to Jun Zhou, the Research Associate at UMass Lowell.

The study represents the largest comprehensive review of the uptake of mercury in vegetation and its impact on mercury cycling around the world. The work moves scientists toward a greater understanding of how mercury cycling works, Zhou said. (IANS/SP)



The Microsoft office

Microsoft has disrupted the activities of a China-based hacking group, gaining control of the malicious websites the group used to attack organisations in the US and 28 other countries around the world.

The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) said in a statement that a federal court in Virginia granted its request to seize websites of the hacking group called 'Nickel', enabling the company to cut off Nickel's access to its victims and prevent the websites from being used to execute attacks.

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MediaTek's plans to boost technology democratisation and enable access to disruptive connectivity

Chip manufacturer MediaTek on Monday announced that it is focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, substantial expansion in Research and Development capabilities.

MediaTek's plans to boost technology democratisation and enable access to disruptive connectivity with its range of mainstream to flagship 5G chips.

"We at MediaTek are focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, and substantial expansion in our R&D capabilities. For 2022, we are focused on further strengthening our presence in India, offering incredible experiences to customers, and supporting the country's technology initiatives with our expertise and collaboration with leading OEMs," Anku Jain, Managing Director, MediaTek India said in a statement.

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In the flagship segment, MediaTek recently announced the Dimensity 9000 chip, which is a milestone of innovation and a rise to the incredible, built-to-power flagship 5G smartphones in the world, the company claims.

MediaTek Dimensity 9000 features a single Cortex-X2 performance core clocked at 3.05GHz, three Cortex-A710 cores at 2.85GHz and four Cortex-A510 efficiency cores at 1.8GHz.

It packs a 10-core Arm Mali-G710 that takes care of graphics processing, the report said.

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There have already been voices in the US demanding most of the "China concept stocks" be removed from the US.

If the US loses Chinese companies, Wall Street will gradually alienate itself from the world's most prosperous market and the US will no longer be the true global financial centre, Chinese state media claimed.

Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing giant, announced on Friday that the company is starting the work of delisting from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and initiating preparations for listing in Hong Kong.

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