First Rohingya refugees arrive at isolated Bangladesh island

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Authorities in Bangladesh have sent the first group of more than 1,500 Rohingya refugees to an isolated island despite calls by human rights groups for a halt to the process. An official says the 1,642 refugees boarded seven Bangladeshi naval vessels for the trip to Bhashan Char. The island was once regularly submerged by monsoon rains but now has flood protection embankments, houses, hospitals and mosques built at a cost of more than $112 million by the Bangladesh navy. The island’s facilities are built to accommodate 100,000 people, just a fraction of the million Rohingya Muslims who have fled waves of violent persecution in their native Myanmar.