Bangladesh confirms 1st death of Rohingya from coronavirus

Rohingya refugees gather at a market as first cases of COVID-19 coronavirus have emerged in the area. (File/AFP)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Bangladesh confirms 1st death of Rohingya from coronavirus

  • The man died in an isolation center set up by the government and aid agencies
  • UN refugee agency said at least 29 Rohingya refugees have tested positive for the disease

DHAKA, Bangladesh: Authorities in Bangladesh have confirmed the first death of a Rohingya refugee from the coronavirus, as infections rise in sprawling camps where more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims have been living since fleeing from neighboring Myanmar.
The 71-year-old refugee died Saturday at Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar, and samples collected from him tested positive on Monday, said Abu Toha M.R. Bhuiyan, chief health coordinator of the office of the Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner.
The man died in an isolation center set up by the government and aid agencies where he had been admitted with COVID-19 symptoms a week earlier.
Louise Donovan, a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency, said at least 29 Rohingya refugees have tested positive for the disease.
With about 40,000 people per square kilometer (103,600 per square mile), the 34 refugee camps have more than 40 times Bangladesh’s average population density. Each shack is barely 10 square meters (107 square feet) and many are packed with up to 12 residents.
Aid agencies and government officials say the challenge of handling a wide outbreak of the virus could be huge.
Authorities in Buddhist-majority Myanmar consider Muslim Rohingya to be migrants from Bangladesh, even though their families have lived in Myanmar for decades. Nearly all have been denied citizenship since 1982, effectively rendering them stateless. They are also denied freedom of movement and other basic rights, including education.
Most of the Rohingya in the camps fled Myanmar after August 2017, when Myanmar’s military launched clearance operations in response to attacks by a rebel group. Security forces have been accused of mass rapes, killings and the burning of thousands of homes.


Ghislaine Maxwell arrested, accused of helping Jeffrey Epstein lure girls into sex abuse

Updated 3 sec ago

Ghislaine Maxwell arrested, accused of helping Jeffrey Epstein lure girls into sex abuse

  • FBI arrested Maxwell about 8:30 am ET in Bradford, New Hampshire
  • She was expected to appear in federal court in New Hampshire on Thursday to discuss her bail or continued detention

Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime associate of the late accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested in New Hampshire on Thursday on US charges of helping to lure underage girls who were then sexually abused by Epstein.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Maxwell about 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) in Bradford, New Hampshire, about 25 miles west of Concord, an agency spokeswoman said on Thursday.
She was expected to appear in federal court in New Hampshire on Thursday to discuss her bail or continued detention, according to a law enforcement official.
Epstein was awaiting trial on charges of trafficking minors when he was found hanged in an apparent suicide while in a New York City jail in August.
The indictment charged Maxwell, 58, with conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
She was also charged with two counts of perjury, according to the indictment by the acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss.
A lawyer who represented Maxwell in civil litigation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The indictment accuses Maxwell of luring the girls by asking them about their lives, schools and families and taking them shopping or to movies.
After winning the girls’ trust, the indictment alleges she would try to “normalize sexual abuse” by discussing sexual topics or by undressing in front of the victims or being present when a victim was undressed.
The indictment alleges that Maxwell was well-aware of Epstein’s preference for minor girls and that he intended to sexually abuse them. Epstein’s alleged abuse included touching their genitals, placing sex toys on their genitals and having the girls touch Epstein while he masturbated.
Maxwell also encouraged the young girls to massage Epstein, and in some cases, the victims were partially or fully nude during the massages.
Maxwell, the daughter of late British media magnate Robert Maxwell, has kept a low profile since the death of Epstein, a financier who was accused of raping and trafficking underage girls over nearly two decades. Some of Epstein’s alleged victims have said Maxwell lured them into his circle, where they were sexually abused by him and powerful friends.
Maxwell was an ex-girlfriend of Epstein who became a longtime member of his inner circle. In a 2003 Vanity Fair article, Epstein was quoted as saying Maxwell was his “best friend.”