600,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, say sources

Rohingya refugees walk back after collecting relief material at Balukhali refugee camp in the Bangladeshi district of Ukhia on October 15, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2017

600,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, say sources

COX’S BAZAR: Since Aug. 25, more than 536,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh, the Inter Sector Coordination Group said Thursday. But unofficial local sources put the figure at 600,000.
Around 150 Rohingya have died in the last six weeks due to at least four incidents of boats capsizing en route to Bangladesh. The bodies were recovered by Bangladeshi authorities.
“We can’t cross the river (Naaf) during the day as the Myanmar Army opens fire on boats carrying refugees, so we start the horrifying journey at night,” Bokhtiar Alam, who reached Kutupalang camp a week ago, told Arab News.
The small fishing boats carry 30-70 Rohingya at a time, which is “very risky, especially during the darkness of night,” he said.
Rejoan Huq, another refugee in Kutupalang, told Arab News: “While fleeing from Buchidong, Myanmar, we noticed signboards saying ‘Muslim-free area,’ and the army was celebrating along with local Buddhists.”

He added: “Many of my neighbors from Jambunia, Shooterpara and Mongnipara villages are hiding in paddy fields. Some have taken shelter in boatmen’s residence waiting to cross the river.”
Noor Hossain, a local official from Teknaf Thana, told Arab News: “Around 50 Bangladeshi boatmen and a few Myanmar boatmen are transporting Rohingya to Bangladesh. For the last few days, 3,000-5,000 Rohingya entered Bangladesh everyday through the Shah Porir Dip (an island in the Bay of Bengal). We’re giving them emergency food and water, then sending them to camps in Ukhia.”
Rohingya refugee Mohammed Alamin told Arab News: “We needed to pay 3,000-5,000 Bangladeshi taka per head ($38-$63) to cross the river. Many of my neighbors are still waiting on the other side as they can’t afford the boat fare.”
Nurul Alam who was a private staff of Lo Juung, the judge of Mongdu court, told Arab News: “The Myanmar Army threatened to shoot us if we didn’t leave. We weren’t allowed to visit the nearby market to buy daily commodities.”
Alam added: “I used to receive 218,000 kyat (Myanmar’s currency), which is equivalent to $163, every month as a salary. I was a rich person in my community. Neighbors used to respect me and my family members. Now we’re refugees without a penny.”


Harvey Weinstein rape trial jury finalized — seven men, five women

Updated 3 min 15 sec ago

Harvey Weinstein rape trial jury finalized — seven men, five women

  • Weinstein, 67, faces life in prison if convicted
  • The trial is expected to last up to eight weeks

NEW YORK: Lawyers in Harvey Weinstein’s rape and sexual assault trial agreed Friday on a jury of seven men and five women to decide the fate of the fallen film producer.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys settled on the 12 jurors after screening around 700 candidates in an exhaustive process that took almost two weeks.
Weinstein, 67, faces life in prison if convicted on predatory sexual assault charges related to two women in the high-profile trial seen as key to the #MeToo movement.
The trial is expected to last up to eight weeks, with opening arguments from the prosecution and the defense scheduled for Wednesday.
The jury will hear testimony from former production assistant Mimi Haleyi who says Weinstein forcibly performed a sex act on her in his New York apartment in July 2006.
The disgraced movie mogul is accused of raping another woman, whose identity is unknown.
“The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra is expected to testify as a supporting witness. She says Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s.
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct since claims against him ignited the #MeToo movement in October 2017.
But many of the alleged crimes fall outside the time frame for bringing charges.
The trial is expected to run until March 6.