UN aid chiefs set to visit Rakhine state

first_imgAerial 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.last_img read more

Views on New Chancellor

first_imgD.C. Chancellor Kaya Henderson will be leaving her job at the end of September and the administration of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wants to make sure that the public has input into the selection of her permanent successor.On Aug. 30, 139 residents from throughout the District gathered into the atrium of the Roosevelt High School in Ward 4 to tell city leaders what they want in a new D.C. public schools leader. The deputy mayor for Education, Jennie Niles, said that public feedback and participation in the process is crucial.Deputy Mayor of Education Jennie Niles led a recent chancellor search community forum. (Courtesy Photo)“This is the first of three events that we are doing to find out what you, the residents, want in a new chancellor,” Niles said. “Mayor Bowser (D) is committed to education. Good schools are key to the health of our city.” Niles said the second forum will take place at Eastern High School on Sept. 7 and Savoy Elementary School on Sept. 14, both from 6:30-8 p.m.Henderson first served as a top deputy under D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee and was appointed by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) in 2011 as the chancellor. While as chancellor, Henderson has been credited for continuing D.C. public school reform, raising standardized test scores, increasing enrollment and an improving the graduation rate.Her critics point out that she had a polarizing relationship with the teachers union and would fire principals at will that she felt were underperforming despite the academic progress of the schools they led.Niles told the forum participants that their input will be put into a report that will be given to Bowser. Simultaneously, the city has hired an executive search firm, Boyden, to look nationally and internationally for qualified candidates, Niles said.A committee, called D.C. Rising, that consists of 17 education leaders and business and civics stakeholders will manage the process and make a recommendation to the mayor for chancellor.Niles said that Bowser intends on making a selection in early to mid-October. Henderson will be replaced temporarily by a top D.C. school administrator, John Davis, as the interim chancellor, until the end of the school year.“John Davis will serve as the interim chancellor until June 2017,” she said. Davis is considered to be a leading contender for chancellor and it is widely known that he is interested in the job.There were 24 tables in the atrium with a range of 5-10 people per facilitator. Niles gave the participants three questions to ponder.The first question was what would you want a new chancellor to focus on? The second was the selection factors in terms of personal and professional qualities, skills and experiences of the new chancellor? The final question was the participants’ opinion on the direction of the District’s public schools.The participants had 15 minutes to discuss each question and the facilitators took notes to verify the responses.“We need to have more African-American male teachers, we need to focus on closing the achievement gap and retain effective principals and let principals have more autonomy in the schools,” Stephen Jackson, the former principal at Dunbar High School, said speaking on behalf of his table.Another table focused on lessening the education gap between the races in the school system.“We need to reduce the achievement gap between the races, allow initiatives to take hold and disband them at will and improve school culture,” said LaFonda Willis, a member of the Ward 5 Education Council.Outside of the meeting, members of the Washington Teachers’ Union, of whom Henderson has had plenty of battles with, distributed flyers to participants, questioning the two-month selection process of the chancellor and articulating five qualities that it wants to see in a new school district leader. Elizabeth Davis, who is president of the Washington Teachers’ Union, is also a member of the D.C. Rising committee that will present the qualifications and its recommendation to Bowser for the new chancellor.Terry Goings is a Ward 4 resident and a civic activist in the Lamond-Riggs neighborhood questioned whether the forums would actually contribute to the decision process.“The process is typical of a citywide forum,” he told the AFRO. “The mayor’s team wants to get as many views as possible before she makes her decision. The question is will the information that we submit today get to the mayor?”last_img read more

Evidence suggests Neanderthals took to boats before modern humans

first_img Citation: Evidence suggests Neanderthals took to boats before modern humans (2012, March 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-03-evidence-neanderthals-boats-modern-humans.html © 2011 PhysOrg.com Russian site may show late Neanderthal refuge The Reconstruction of the Funeral of Homo neanderthalensis. Captured in the Hannover Zoo. (Via Wikipedia) Explore further The stone “mousterian” tools are unique to Neanderthals and have been found on the islands of Zakynthos, Lefkada and Kefalonia, which range from five to twelve kilometers from mainland Greece. Some, such as Paul Pettitt from the University of Sheffield, suggest they could have swum that far. But that doesn’t explain how similar tools found on the island of Crete got there. That would have meant swimming forty kilometers, which seems extremely unlikely, especially since such swimmers wouldn’t have known beforehand that Crete was there to find.Ferentinos et al suggest the evidence shows that Neanderthals not only figured out how to build boats and sail but did so quite extensively well before modern humans ever got the idea. They say because the tools found on the islands are believed to date back 100,000 years (and the islands have been shown to have been islands back then as well) Neanderthal people were sailing around that long ago. Thus far, evidence for modern humans sailing dates back to just 50,000 years when they made their way to Australia. If true, that would mean Neanderthal people were sailing around in the Mediterranean for fifty thousand years before modern people built their first boat.Others have suggested that hominids have been sailing for as long as a million years; stone tools found on the Indonesian island of Flores date back that far. It could be that both modern humans and Neanderthals were boating around for hundreds of thousands of years and we just don’t have any evidence of it because the boats back then would have been made of wood and evidence of their existence would have decayed to nothing long ago.center_img Journal information: Journal of Archaeological Science (PhysOrg.com) — Neanderthals, considered either a sub-species of modern humans or a separate species altogether, lived from approximately 300,000 years ago to somewhere near 24,000 years ago, when they inexplicably disappeared, leaving behind traces of their DNA in some Middle Eastern people and artifacts strewn all across the southern part of Europe and extending into western Asia. Some of those artifacts, stone tools that are uniquely associated with them, have been found on islands in the Mediterranean Sea, suggesting, according to a paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, by George Ferentinos and colleagues, that Neanderthals had figured out how to travel by boat. And if they did, it appears they did so before modern humans. More information: Early seafaring activity in the southern Ionian Islands, Mediterranean Sea, Journal of Archaeological Science, In Press, Corrected Proof. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2012.01.032AbstractThis paper summarises the current development in the southern Ionian Islands (Kefallinia and Zakynthos) prehistory and places it within the context of seafaring. Archaeological data from the southern Ionian Islands show human habitation since Middle Palaeolithic going back to 110 ka BP yet bathymetry, sea-level changes and the Late Quaternary geology, show that Kefallinia and Zakynthos were insular at that time. Hence, human presence in these islands indicates inter island-mainland seafaring. Seafaring most likely started some time between 110 and 35 ka BP and the seafarers were the Neanderthals. Seafaring was encouraged by the coastal configuration, which offered the right conditions for developing seafaring skills according to the “voyaging nurseries” and “autocatalysis” concepts. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more