Rohingya fleeing Myanmar across river into Bangladesh

Bracing for more clashes, thousands of Rohingya, mostly women and children, have decided to try to wade across the Naf River in an attempt to reach Bangladesh.

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Around 2,000 people are believed to have made the dangerous journey from Myanmar since Friday, when the latest violence erupted in Rakhine state.

A series of coordinated attacks by Rohingya militants on several police posts signalled a new shift in the long-running conflict.

The militants attacked about 30 police stations and an army base, wielding guns, sticks and homemade bombs.

A smaller attack in October last year was met with brute military force from Myanmar, along with claims of human-rights abuses.

Rohingya refugee Mujibur Rahman says the people just want peace.

“In our village, there was huge fighting. So we have come here, taken shelter near the border, and we want to stay here in Bangladesh, because, in our country, there is much repression, so we are here. We appeal to the Bangladesh government to allow us to stay for some days. After that, when there is peace in our country, we will go back.”

The government of Myanmar says it has evacuated at least 4,000 non-Muslim villagers as fighting continues.

The United Nations has confirmed it has pulled out all non-essential staff from the area.

At least 12 members of the security forces and several civilians are believed to be among the dead.

Advocates for the Rohingya say many people have fled to the mountains or are seeking to cross into Bangladesh.

Witnesses have described seeing several hundred people stuck in a “no man’s land” at one border point, their path blocked by Bangladeshi guards.

The Bangladesh Border Guard’s Lieutenant Colonel Manzurul Hasan Khan says authorities are trying to deal with the situation.

“This morning, we have heard a huge number of fighting on the other side of the border, including explosions. What I think is the reason is, this morning, Rohingya again came down to this side in numbers. They are looking scared. It looks like they are running out of the fear of their life.”

The Rohingya have faced severe restrictions in north-western Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship and their movements are limited.

Many Myanmar Buddhists, who make up the majority of the nation’s population, consider them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

But some can trace family connections in Myanmar for generations.

Some analysts are speculating the latest flare-up could be linked to Ata Ullah, the leader of a group that claimed responsibility for last October’s and Friday’s attacks.

Myanmar’s government has declared the group a terrorist organisation and has threatened to take action against it.

The treatment of the more than one million Rohingya living in Myanmar has become a major issue for leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has faced criticism from the international community.

Speaking in Vatican City, Pope Francis has called for kindness to prevail.

“Sad news has arrived of the persecution of the religious minority, our Rohingya brothers. I’d like to express my full closeness to them. Let us all ask the Lord to save them, and encourage men and women of goodwill to help them, for them to be given their full rights.”

Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar to Bangladesh since the early 1990s, with around 400,000 now in the country.

 

Weekend sports wrap

It was predicted to be the highest-grossing fight financially in boxing history, and the action in Las Vegas lived up to the hype.

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Ireland’s Conor McGregor lasted 10 rounds with one of the best boxers the world has seen in Floyd Mayweather.

In the end, Mayweather dealt with an early flurry of punches from the dual-weight Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, champion before asserting his dominance.

It gave Mayweather his 50th career victory without a loss, and he promptly retired after the fight.

He admitted it was a tougher fight than he expected.

“He’s a lot better than I thought he was. He used different angles, he was a tough competitor. But I was the better man tonight. Conor McGregor, you are a hell of a champion, and, to the country of Ireland, we love you guys.”

Mayweather retires with more wins in an undefeated career than any man before him.

Not many had given McGregor much hope of making the transition from UFC into the world of boxing.

But his showing proved some of the skills that have led him to two world titles at UFC are transferable.

“Early on, I felt it was handy enough, to be honest. But he’s composed in there. You’ve got to give it to him. That’s what 50 fights will give you. So, fair play to him.”

In cricket, Australia had appeared to be off to a good start in the first test against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

Australia bowled out the home side for 260, with the spin pair Nathan Lyon and Ashton Agar taking three wickets each and fast bowler Pat Cummins taking another three.

But Australia lost David Warner, Usman Khawaja and nightwatchman Lyon to be three wickets down for 18 at the close.

In tennis, it has been a great weekend for Australian Daria Gavrilova, who won her first Women’s Tennis Association title at the Connecticut Open in the United States.

She had to recover from a set down and fought back hard against Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova.

After two hours and 45 minutes, Gavrilova secured the win, which moves her into the world’s top 20 for the first time.

The 22 year-old Russian-born Australian was delighted.

“Thank you, everyone who came and supported us throughout the whole week. It means the world to me to hold this trophy. Thank you so much.”

Gavrilova plays US qualifier Allie Kiick in the first round of the US Open in New York next week.

In Rugby Union, Australia pushed the All Blacks all the way in Dunedin on Saturday, but a late try by New Zealand was enough to secure a 35-29 victory.

On arrival back in Sydney on Sunday, Australian coach Michael Cheika said he was disappointed to see New Zealand retain the Bledisloe Cup for the 15th straight year.

But he said he was pleased with many parts of his team’s performance in the last two tests.

“As you can see by the performances in the back half of game one and for the majority of game two, we can play at that level. It’s about being consistent and having the mental aptitude to play, and play for every minute. And we let a few minutes in different parts of the game go last night, and they hurt us.”

The next test for Australia is against South Africa in Perth on September the 9th.

The teams playing in the first week of the AFL finals have been confirmed after the weekend action.

The Adelaide Crows take on Greater Western Sydney, Geelong meets Richmond, and Port Adelaide will face the West Coast Eagles.

Last season’s grand finalists, the Sydney Swans, will play Essendon.

In the National Rugby League, the final make-up of the top eight will not be known until next weekend’s matches are completed.

That is because Saint George Illawarra managed to beat Penrith on Sunday.

That result means Saint George needs to beat the Canterbury Bulldogs next week to make the finals.

It also means Penrith has to beat the Manly Sea Eagles to guarantee its spot.

In English Premier League football, Liverpool has humiliated Arsenal 4-0 this morning.

And Lewis Hamilton won his 58th career race in the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix.

 

India city under siege after clashes over ‘rape guru’ kill 36

The army was deployed in Haryana state’s Panchkula city after tens of thousands of followers of guru Ram Rahim Singh went on an angry rampage, attacking television vans and setting fire to dozens of private vehicles.

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Security forces were put on high alert to ensure there was no repeat of the violence that erupted Friday afternoon, minutes after a special court pronounced the self-styled guru guilty of raping two of his followers.

Mobile phone services were disrupted in some parts of Haryana and neighbouring Punjab state, where authorities had earlier imposed a curfew following the clashes. 

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Although the curfew was lifted Saturday, restrictions on public assembly remained in place.

Haryana police chief B.S. Sandhu told AFP Saturday at least 30 people had died with the toll likely to rise as some of the wounded were being treated for serious head injuries. 

“The toll within the state is at least 30 dead and around 200 injured including about 50 police and security personnel,” said Sandhu.

“Some of the injured didn’t come to the hospitals fearing that they could face police action or arrests for involvement in the violence,” he said.  

Official sources told AFP earlier that at least 36 people had died, with most of the fatalities caused by gun shots.

The 50-year-old Singh is known as the “guru in bling” for his penchant for bejewelled costumes and claims to have 60 million loyal followers worldwide.

The rape case was brought against him after an anonymous letter was sent to then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2002 accusing him of repeatedly raping the sender and several other women in the sect.

A judge asked the Central Bureau of Investigations to look into the accusations, but it took years to trace the alleged victims and it was not until 2007 that two women came forward and filed charges.

Some 200,000 members of Singh’s sect had gathered in Panchkula in a show of support for the guru a day ahead of the verdict.

Fifty-year-old Singh is known as the “guru in bling”. AAP

The conviction enraged his followers, with many saying they were in a state of shock over the verdict.

“I have been with dear Ram Rahim Singh for around 14 years. I can bet that all the allegations against our guru are false,” said Rajkumar, a shopkeeper from Haryana who was undergoing treatment at the hospital.

“He can’t do any wrong… He works to rid the world of all its troubles,” he told AFP, his head heavily bandaged.

Singh’s sentencing will be announced on Monday. 

Jones laments Demons’ AFL finals near-miss

Melbourne co-captain Nathan Jones has blamed their agonising AFL finals near-miss on a season of inconsistency.

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While he blasted their woeful first quarter in Saturday’s upset loss to Collingwood, Jones said they had let other opportunities slip during the year and only have themselves to blame.

Jones hopes the tumultuous end to Melbourne’s season burns in their guts through the summer to fire them next season and he expressed sympathy for the anger of long-suffering Demons fans.

Melbourne were aiming for their first finals appearance in 11 years this season and they were seventh going into round 23.

After their disastrous loss to the Magpies, it came down to the last five minutes of the home and away season.

Two last-ditch West Coast goals meant the Eagles took eighth spot from Melbourne by just 0.5 of a percentage point.

“It’s obviously a pretty bitter pill to swallow,” Jones said.

“The players are hurting as much as our supporters would be livid when the opportunity was there and we let it slip.

“It’s a culmination of results … rather than just the first-quarter performance against Collingwood (that) has led us to this position.

“Hopefully it burns in the players’ gut over the pre-season.”

Sidelined by a leg injury, Jones was by himself on Sunday as he watched their finals spot snatched from them.

“I locked myself down and sat on the couch,” he said.

“It’s one of the more nerve-racking situations I’ve been in … frustration and anger.”

Despite the agonising near-miss, Jones is bullish about their future.

“We’re well aware of where we sit in our journey, there are going to be ups and downs,” he said.

“That can be quite frustrating at times, particularly to our supporters who have been through such a range of emotions and such a downward spiral over the past decade.

“To see us on the improve … with hope and the opportunity that was there for this season, to see it slip like it has, is a bitter pill to swallow.

“But hopefully it leaves us in a better position as a footy club and as a playing group for the experience.”

Fellow captain Jack Viney missed the end of the season after he returned early from foot injury and was sidelined again.

Jones was asked if the Demons had erred by letting Viney return quicker than expected from the operation.

“Speaking with him, I don’t think think the two things (injuries) are directly related, but maybe they could have taken a little bit more time,” Jones said.

“At the same time, guys are trying to push the limits … it was a credit to him, really, for how well he did come back.”

Jones added that second-year midfielder Clayton Oliver was “pretty stiff” to miss the All-Australian squad.

Fittler yet to discuss NSW coaching job

Brad Fittler insists Laurie Daley’s sacking as NSW coach was such a shock that he’ll wait for the dust to settle before potentially starting discussions about taking over the job.

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Fittler is viewed as one of the leading candidates for the role after the NSWRL board last Friday decided not to renew Daley’s contract after four State of Origin series losses in five years.

Up until last week, Daley was tipped to be offered a one-year contract extension and it’s understood he had the backing of several key decision-makers including NSWRL CEO Dave Trodden.

However following a review of the 2017 series they lost 2-1 after winning the first game convincingly, Daley was let go and Fittler said the call surprised everyone around the game.

“It’s pure paper speculation,” Fittler said of suggestions he was a shoo-in for the position.

“It was a shock to the board. Everyone just thought Laurie Daley was going to get another year.

“I haven’t spoken to Loz but obviously he’s been bombarded and the key here is to let it settle.”

It’s been reported the NSWRL will seek to install Fittler as head coach with Phil Gould and Andrew Johns in advisory or assistant positions.

Fittler said he was happy with his media and commentating roles and working in the NSW pathways program.

Asked if he wanted the job, Fittler told NRL长沙桑拿按摩论坛,: “At the moment, I love what I’m doing. It’s pretty much as simple as that.

“I love the commentary, I love working with the kids. Some really good things are coming out of that, some kids like Campbell Graham and Nick Cotric, who have all been a part of the pathways, Cam Murray, are all starting to play first-grade at 18 or 19-years-old.”

He said there was a lot of water to pass under the bridge before he would accept the role.

“For me to be interested there’s got to be a lot of discussions with a lot of different people,” Fittler said.

“When you start bringing it all together, it’s not as easy as going ‘yes’ and ‘yes’ and ‘yes’. At the moment I’m just relaxing and loving what I’m doing.”