Aerial view of a burned Rohingya village near Maungdaw, north of Rakhine state, Myanmar September 27, 2017. REUTERSRepresentatives of UN agencies will be permitted to visit Rakhine state in Myanmar on Thursday for the first time since the start of a massive exodus of minority Rohingya Muslims.The United Nations has been demanding access since its humanitarian organizations were forced to pull out of Rakhine when Myanmar’s military launched operations against Rohingya rebels in late August, causing hundreds of thousands to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.“There will be a trip organized by the government, probably tomorrow, to Rakhine,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.“We hope above all that it is a first step toward much freer and wider access to the area,” he said at his daily news briefing.He said the chiefs of UN agencies would take part in the trip.The UN has drawn up a contingency plan to feed up to 700,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, and warned that those who fled will not be returning home soon.“All the UN agencies together have now set a plan for a new influx of 700,000. We can cover if the new influx reaches 700,000,” the World Food Program’s deputy chief in Bangladesh, Dipayan Bhattacharyya, said on Wednesday.‘Return will take time’ -UN refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi said that for those who have fled to Bangladesh, “return will take time, if it happens, if the violence stops.”Myanmar’s military, under fire for imposing a news blackout on the campaign around the city of Maungdaw in the country’s west, on Wednesday organized a press tour in the Hindu village of Ye Baw Kyaw.Mass graves containing 45 Hindu villagers were discovered in the area earlier this week, and the military has accused Rohingya militants of carrying out the massacre.The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) “categorically” denied that its members “perpetrated murder, sexual violence, or forcible recruitment” in the area.The decomposing skeletal bodies remained laid out in rows on a grassy field outside Ye Baw Kyaw as distraught relatives wailed, according to AFP journalists at the scene.Hindus who fled the area have told AFP that masked men stormed into their community and hacked victims to death with machetes before dumping them into freshly-dug pits.Myanmar’s army has tried to control the narrative over the crisis, restricting press access to the conflict zone while it posts regular updates that blame Rohingya militants for the bloodshed.Government and military reports have also sought to highlight the suffering of other ethnic groups, such as Rakhine Buddhists and Hindus, swept up in the communal unrest.Ethnic cleansing accusations -The latest violence has intensified long-running religious hatreds and been complicated by a swirl of rival narratives from different ethnic groups.Thursday’s visit for the UN representatives will come on the same day that the UN Security Council meets on the situation in Myanmar.On September 13, the council demanded “immediate steps” to end the Myanmar violence and expressed concern about “excessive force” being used by the military.The council also called on the Myanmar government to abide by its commitment to facilitate humanitarian aid in Rakhine, but until now that request has not been met.Secretary General Antonio Guterres will address the UN Security Council during its open door session. As a former UN high commissioner on refugees, Guterres knows Rakhine and the context of the current crisis intimately.With accusations of “ethnic cleansing” being leveled at the UN General Assembly, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said last week she was “ready” to organize the return of the Rohingyas.The Rohingyas, the world’s largest stateless group, are treated as foreigners in Myanmar, whose population is 90 percent Buddhist.
April 7, 2015 2 min read Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now » The idea of the digital picture frame is logical, but in execution, it doesn’t always work. In many cases, the picture quality isn’t great, the frames are cheesy and the whole vibe is a bit suburban-country-living gone wrong.A new art-tech startup, Meural, is making digital picture frames super classy and innovative. The image appears on a matte LCD display and the frame is made by hand of maple wood. The New York City-based startup isn’t interested in a slideshow of family vacation snaps from your latest family trip to Disney, either. The idea is for you to rotate images of fine art and professional photographs in your Meural.The startup is being very careful not to upset the art community traditionalists. “We unreservedly respect the established means of art collection and curation,” says CEO Vladimir Vukicevic, in a statement announcing the launch. “Meural is working closely with museums, galleries and artists to create an innovative new layer in visual culture by increasing the opportunity for exploration and accessibility.”Related: Marc Ecko on Entrepreneurship as an Art Form (Video)The discovery component of the Meural “digital canvas” makes it appealing to the indecisive set. And what if your tastes change? Or your mood shifts? Or you grow tired of a particular image? The Meural frame is connected to an app wirelessly, so you can change the image from across the room. But, also, if you are standing in front of the image, the frame is gesture sensitive, so you can wave your hand in front of the “digital canvas” and change the image displayed.Related: Artists Are Job-Creating Entrepreneurs, Too.The Meural frame is not available for purchase just yet. It’s in pre-order, starting at $395, and is expected to ship this fall.The technology that Meural is using to collect pre-orders is a new “standalone” crowdfunding software developed by the alternative finance platform RocketHub. The pre-order software, called LaunchPad, allows businesses to customize the RocketHub software to their particular needs. Vukicevic, the founder of Meural, was previously the CTO of RocketHub.Related: Crowdfunding Nearly Tripled Last Year, Becoming a $16 Billion Industry