TeleTracking and The DAISY Foundation — Recognizing Extraordinary Nurses for Excellence in Patient Flow

PITTSBURGH, PA—(Marketwired – August 31, 2016) – TeleTracking Technologies, Inc., the leading provider of patient flow solutions, is pleased to announce its partnership with The DAISY Foundation to create “The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses in Patient Flow”. The award recognizes nurses for their commitment to the highest quality of care with compassion and regard for the unique needs of the patient.

“At TeleTracking, we develop outcomes–based solutions that streamline workflows and give nurses more time to spend at the bedside to deliver timely, compassionate care,” says Nanne Finis, Vice President, Advisory Services, TeleTracking. “We are so pleased to collaborate with The DAISY Foundation to honor nurses who make an impact every day,” says Michael Gallup, President of TeleTracking. “Timely coordination of care will continue to be our true north as we look to the future.”

The award will be announced at TeleTracking's Client Conference, October 9–12, 2016 in Naples, FL, where the organization will also celebrate its twenty–fifth anniversary. The call for nominations will occur in early November with submissions due in February, 2017. The inaugural award will then be presented at TeleTracking's Client Conference in Phoenix, AZ in October 2017.

Bonnie Barnes, Co–Founder, Chairman and President of The DAISY Foundation said, “We experienced compassion and incredible commitment of nurses when our son, Patrick, was hospitalized for eight weeks with the auto–immune disease ITP. Patrick's nurses were highly skilled in all aspects of using the technology that was available to them, but it was their extraordinary sensitivity to Patrick's and our family's needs that made such a difference to us. No doubt, given the way everything came together for his care, there was a nurse in the background. Our experience with nurses was the impetus for starting The DAISY Foundation. We are so pleased to create a special DAISY Award to honor the important role that patient flow plays in delivering care.”

This award provides well–deserved recognition to all nurses who often work behind the scenes to coordinate care so that the experience, for both patients and their families, appears seamless.

About TeleTracking
TeleTracking Technologies, Inc., the world leader in patient flow and healthcare operations management enables the timely and purposeful delivery of patient care. Founded over a quarter of a century ago, TeleTracking is the perennial KLAS Patient Flow Category Leader. To learn more about TeleTracking visit

About the DAISY Foundation

The DAISY Foundation was created in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died at the age of 33 from complications of an auto–immune disease [hence the name, an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System]. Patrick received extraordinary care from his nurses, and his family felt compelled to express their profound gratitude for the compassion and skill nurses bring to patients and families every day. The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses celebrates nurses in more than 2,300 healthcare facilities around the world. For more information about The DAISY Award and the Foundation's other recognition of nurses, faculty and students, visit

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UN Negotiations Focus on What Lies Beneath the High Seas

The high seas – oceans which fall beyond the jurisdiction of any country – make up about two thirds of the world’s ocean and half of the total surface of planet earth. In negotiations currently underway at UN headquarters, governments are trying to decide how they will share, conserve and sustainably use the marine resources […]

Starkey Hearing Foundation With Calipari Foundation and NBA Stars Provide the Gift of Hearing to People in Need in Lexington, Kentucky

LEXINGTON, KY—(Marketwired – August 29, 2016) – A first–of–its–kind hearing mission changed more than 75 lives yesterday in Lexington, Kentucky as University of Kentucky Men's Basketball Head Coach John Calipari and many other star athletes joined Starkey Hearing Foundation to share in the joy of patients receiving the gift of hearing.

“What a delight to be here and see people's eyes light up as they receive their hearing devices,” Calipari said from the hearing mission. “It's great to think about how life–changing this will be for these Kentucky residents.”

William F. Austin and Tani Austin, co–founders of Starkey Hearing Foundation, and the Foundation's team of audiologists and staff provided patients from Kentucky with hearing devices as well as counseling and training to patients and family members on how to care and operate their hearing device.

“Giving a person the ability to hear has an immediate, inspiring impact on that person's quality of life and a compounding positive effect on the world,” Mr. Austin said. “Thank you to our many incredible partners who helped make this happen.”

There is an estimated 7.2 million people in the U.S. with hearing loss who are living below the poverty level. For more than three decades, Starkey Hearing Foundation has been changing lives through hearing care, providing more than 1.9 million hearing aids to people in need, including more than 125,000 domestically.

“More than 700,000 Kentucky residents have hearing loss, with many unable to afford the care they need,” Lowell Scott, president and owner of the hearing mission sponsor, Hearing Solutions said. “To make this difference for these people's lives, there's just nothing like it.”

For others seeking hearing device assistance in the U.S., visit–now or call 1–800–328–8602.

About Starkey Hearing Foundation

Starkey Hearing Foundation, a public charity founded by William F. Austin, gives the gift of hearing to people in need in the U.S. and around the world. Disabling hearing loss affects more than 360 million people, including 32 million children, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that improve lives and promote understanding. The Foundation focuses on hearing health care missions, education, and recycling, as well as grants to mission–aligned organizations. The Foundation has cared for more than 1.1 million patients and provided 1.9 million hearing devices in more than 100 countries. Connect with Starkey Hearing Foundation on Facebook and Twitter, or visit

To download complimentary event images, please visit: []

To download complimentary b–roll, please visit: []

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US Federal Contractor Registration to Give Away $1 Million in Services to Clients

WASHINGTON, DC—(Marketwired – August 29, 2016) – US Federal Contractor Registration, the world's largest third–party government registration firm, is giving away $1 million in services, and, since July 7, 2016, has given away nearly $300k in services to small businesses owned by veterans, minorities, and women.

This $1 million giveaway will end December 31, 2016, or when the company has given away the full amount in services. Services can include access to contracting training modules, set–aside certifications, newsletters and industry updates, and even bid training.

“I was ecstatic to learn that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) hit its small business contracting goals, which is thanks in part to the work we do for our clients,” said US Federal Contractor Registration President Eric Knellinger. “To help celebrate the SBA announcement, and to help the SBA exceed its contracting goals again next year, I decided to make available for free $1 million in services.”

Knellinger said that since no two contractors are alike, he isn't planning to just give everyone the same thing, and that each client will get what they need to foster contracting success.

“While talking to and qualifying the client, we'll determine what will help them succeed as a government contractor, and then we'll give them access to something that will do just that,” said Knellinger. “Many small businesses don't have the necessary start–up capital to invest in themselves, and what I'm trying to do is take away some of that burden.”

For example, a business owned by a woman may qualify for woman–owned small business certification, which gives them access to contracts set aside specifically for these types of businesses. Similar programs are in place for veterans and minorities, and US Federal Contractor Registration helps its clients get these certifications and find contracts on which to bid.

Knellinger is also willing to extend special financing to businesses who need help paying for specific services or products.

Clients interested in getting their part of this unprecedented $1 million giveaway must qualify, which Knellinger and his team is ready to help them do. Qualifying is just the first step on the road to succeeding as a government contractor, said Knellinger.

“During my career, I've seen firsthand how difficult succeeding in business can be, whether you're looking for federal contracts or not,” said Knellinger. “I want to take this experience and knowledge and share it with owners of small businesses, and show them how they can succeed as government contractors.”

In 2015, US Federal Contractor Registration helped its clients earn more than $1.9 billion dollars in government contracts. As of August 15, 2016, US Federal Contractor Registration clients have earned more than $1 billion in contracts in 2016.

Top Rate Express Services, Inc., which helps its clients identify and address freight issues, problems, and opportunities, and, drawing information from several sources, helps clients develop appropriate and cost–effective solutions, recently won its first contract. Anthony White owner of Top Rate Express Services, Inc. praised US Federal Contractor Registration for “help[ing] each step of the way.” White added that his acquisition specialist “[went] above and beyond what I'd expect from someone and made sure I understood the steps and processes I needed to take and put in place in order to secure a contract and succeed.”

Saskia Aimee, LLC — a woman–owned small business that makes available high–end and unique gifts for corporate events and/or incentive trips — recently completed her System for Award Management (SAM) Registration, thanks to US Federal Contractor Registration. Saskia Aimee, LLC Owner Saskia Galbraith called working with US Federal Contractor Registration “wonderful.”

“I honestly would be lost trying to figure out how to complete my SAM Registration and search for and bid on contracts. I would have just completely ignored the opportunity, but US Federal Contractor Registration showed me the light.”

With the $1 million giveaway ending when the company has given away the entire $1 million in services, Knellinger recommends business owners contact the company as soon as possible.

“Even if a company already has a SAM Registration, there's so much more they can do to increase their chances of winning a government contract,” said Knellinger. “I expect that the services we give them will help them do just that.”

US Federal Contractor Registration is the world's largest third–party registration firm. It helps business owners register to do business with the federal government; build a proper profile in the following systems: (8a, GSA, DSBS, System for Award Management, HUBZone, WOSB, EDWOSB, VOSB, SDVOSB, DAPA, and the Simplified Acquisition Program); and market that profile to the federal government. US Federal Contractor Registration is a platinum rated D&B rated company. It has completed more than 65,000 federal registrations for federal contractors, nonprofits, state and local agencies, and even for the U.S. government.

To connect with US Federal Contractor Registration, call 877–252–2700, ext. 1.

Primary Data Enhances VMware Storage Policy-Based Management and VM-Aware Storage With DataSphere

LAS VEGAS, NV—(Marketwired – August 29, 2016) – [VMworld booth 2123]

  • The Primary Data DataSphere platform expands the Storage–Policy Based Management (SPBM) and VM–aware storage features of VMware vSphere across heterogeneous storage environments
  • DataSphere serves as a certified universal VASA provider for VMware Virtual Volumes, enabling both existing and new storage resources to be fully Virtual Volumes capable
  • DataSphere enhances VMware SPBM to include more granular options for data placement and movement, as well as automation that aligns the right data to the right storage at the right time

Primary Data today revealed that its newly available DataSphere platform is complementary to the Storage–Policy Based Management (SPBM) and VM–aware storage features of VMware vSphere®. DataSphere is a data orchestration platform that enables the intelligent placement of data across enterprises' entire pool of existing and new storage resources through data virtualization. This breakthrough data mobility across file, block and object storage types, coupled with policy–driven automation, reduces storage overprovisioning costs by up to 50 percent while seamlessly integrating into VMware vCenter™.

“DataSphere orchestrates data across file, block and object protocols for the very first time,” said Lance Smith, Primary Data CEO. “Unifying data across different storage types overcomes storage silos and aligns resources with changing business needs. By automatically moving the right data to the right storage at the right time, DataSphere expands the efficiency of VMware's powerful SPBM features across enterprises' diverse storage resources.”

Across in–server flash to the cloud, DataSphere automates the placement of virtual disks through IT–defined objectives set by application managers. Virtual disk performance, protection, and availability policies are maintained automatically to ensure alignment of business requirements and storage resources. DataSphere intelligently determines which storage system can actually meet application needs and then automatically moves data as necessary, without any impact to live I/O processes. This ensures enterprises meet VM requirements efficiently, using the full capabilities of their existing storage investments.

DataSphere is complementary to VMware Storage Policy Based Management which provides dynamic control of storage service levels for individual Virtual Machines (VMs) and VMDKs. By separating the data path from the control path, the DataSphere platform unites data management across a storage independent, global dataspace that spans different storage types and access protocols. Integrated Data Analytics, combined with Smart Data Mobility, eliminates the need to excessively overprovision storage, while ensuring that VMs meet required Service Levels.

The Primary Data DataSphere platform also leverages vSphere Storage APIs for Storage Awareness to deliver a VMware–certified universal VASA provider, enabling both existing and new storage resources — from server–side flash to NAS and cloud storage — to be presented as a single, easy–to–manage, VMware–certified Virtual Volume datastore. Regardless of storage vendor management, protocol type, or the number of systems added to the DataSphere, DataSphere allows a single VVol to be presented to VMware vSphere, overcoming storage silos and greatly simplifying manageability.

“Primary Data's DataSphere is an innovative example of how VMware partners are helping customers reallocate time traditionally spent managing infrastructure to adding real business value from storage assets,” said Lee Caswell, vice president, Storage and Availability Products, VMware. “Our complementary technologies make it possible for our mutual customers to seamlessly manage more complex storage environments with common management.”

“IT teams at companies even just a few years old can manage dozens of different systems with different capabilities, creating a lot of complexity and cost,” said George Crump, Lead Analyst, “DataSphere enables enterprises to modernize their infrastructure and overcome storage silos with a software–defined solution that puts storage systems to work serving the data that aligns best with the capabilities of each system. This helps overcome the expense of overprovisioning by optimizing storage efficiency, and also makes it easier to add new solutions like VMware SPBM and Virtual Volumes across existing storage resources.”

Product Availability

The DataSphere platform is now available from Primary Data and its reseller partners. Enterprises interested in evaluations can contact to arrange a complimentary consultation and software trial. VMworld 2016 U.S. attendees can see DataSphere in action at booth 2123 from August 28 – September 1, 2016.

About Primary Data

Primary Data transforms datacenter architectures by orchestrating the right data to the right place at the right time. Through data virtualization, the Primary Data DataSphere platform creates a global dataspace across direct–attached, network–attached, private and public cloud storage to deliver unprecedented manageability, performance, and efficiency. The storage–agnostic DataSphere platform features an intelligent Objective engine that automatically moves data across file, block, and object storage to meet evolving application requirements in real time. Visit us at or follow us on Twitter at @Primary_Data.

Storage Policy Based Management, SPBM, vSphere, Virtual Volumes and VMwareare registered trademarks or trademarks of VMware, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

The tragedy in Yemen

By Eresh Omar Jamal
Aug 29 2016 (The Daily Star, Bangladesh)

While the slaughter of Yemenis continues, the world remains silent in response to their screams. Why is that? Has the world lost its senses, especially to feel the sufferings of the tormented? In an alleged effort to defeat the Houthi rebels, a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, supported by the United States and the United Kingdom have been bombarding Yemen, already one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, with air-strikes since March 2015, sending it literally back to the stone-age.

The war has triggered a major humanitarian crisis. Since the air-strikes began, “food prices [in Yemen] have gone up 60 percent, leaving 14 million people across the country classified as ‘food insecure’.” (Yemen’s children die from bombs, bullets, hunger, ABC News, August 23) According to figures provided in the New York Times, “the war has killed more than 6,500 people, displaced more than 2.5 million others and pushed one of the world’s poorest countries from deprivation to devastation.” (“America Is Complicit in the Carnage in Yemen”, August 17) Other reports have shown these figures to be much higher. Meanwhile, the United Nations has blamed the coalition for at least 60 percent of deaths and injuries to children last year, warning along with human rights groups, that the coalition may have been “commissioning international war crimes” (Saudi-led coalition could be committing ‘international crimes’ bombing civilians in Yemen, UN warns, The Independent, March 19).

At a press briefing at the United Nations on June 29, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International revealed that, “Unlawful air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition have killed and maimed hundreds of children in Yemen and damaged dozens of schools, but the coalition strong-armed the Secretary-General in an attempt to escape scrutiny.” That is, to have Saudi Arabia removed from the UN’s list of shame. The Secretary General Ban Ki-moon himself after being bullied said, “There has been fierce reaction to my decision to temporarily remove the Saudi-led Coalition countries from the report’s annex. This was one of the most painful and difficult decisions I have had to make. The report describes horrors no child should have to face.”

Yet, the media, and especially the western media, continues to keep mum. Why? Well, one explanation may be that because the coalition consists of those allied with the West, the western media does not want to report on the alleged war crimes that they may have committed. Another reason for such deafening silence, however, may be because most of the killings are actually being committed using weapons supplied by the West.

According to the Washington Post, the US has sold the Saudis a total of USD 20 billion in weapons over the last one year. Britain too has sold close to USD 4 billion worth of weapons to the Saudis. The Obama administration, despite aggressively lobbying for greater gun control in the US, “has discreetly brokered and authorised the sale of more arms to foreign governments than any other US president since World War II”, according to Owen B. McCormack. During the first five years of his tenure alone, “new agreements under the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales programme — the largest channel for US arms exports — totalled over USD 169 billion,” exceeding the amount authorised during the entire tenure of his predecessor by almost USD 30 billion.

And, of course, the main recipient of American made weapons has been Saudi Arabia — “almost 10 percent of US arms exports” while 9 percent went “to the United Arab Emirates, an ally of Riyadh in the Yemen war.” (“Such a long silence on Yemen,” The Hindu, August 22) According to Congressional Research Service, even as early as 2010, the Obama administration authorised the sale of a whopping USD 90.4 billion worth of arms to the Saudis. And according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, “arms imports to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states increased 71 percent from 2005-2009 to 2010-2014, accounting for 54 percent of imports to the Middle East in the latter period. Saudi Arabia rose to become the second largest importer of major weapons worldwide in 2010-2014, increasing the volume of its arms imports four times compared to 2005-2009.”

Not surprisingly, many of these weapons are being used to devastating effect in Yemen according to the likes of Human Rights Watch, Oxfam and Amnesty International, including the British made cluster bombs, even though the weapon was banned in conflict decades ago because of their catastrophic effects on civilians (“British-made cluster bomb found in Yemeni village targeted by Saudi-led coalition”, The Independent, May 23).

And so it goes, with innocent Yemenis being torn to shreds by the most horrific of weapons out there, the Lords of War continue to make windfall profits. Fortunately for them, the media’s silence guarantees that there is no significant pressure to end the supply of weapons to maim and kill a bunch of poor people here and there. After all, how else will the demand for these weapons keep up with their massive supply? As the fictional character in the movie Lord of War, Yuri Orlov said, “where there’s a will, there’s a weapon”. And the “coalition of the willing”, whether it be to go to war in Iraq, or for the destruction of Yemen, have been more than ready to oblige to the will of western arms manufacturers. For the Yemenis, however, the horrors of having these weapons used on them are, unfortunately, very real. As should be our shame for failing to genuinely care for the lives of innocent men, women and children, despite repeatedly saying otherwise, as evident from our remorseless silence in the face of their desperate screams.

The writer is a member of the Editorial team.

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

Myanmar Turns to Kofi Annan for Help on Festering Rohingya Crisis

A young girl in Aung Mingalar Muslim ghetto in Sittwe, Rakhine state, Myanmar. Credit: Sara Perria/IPS

A young girl in Aung Mingalar Muslim ghetto in Sittwe, Rakhine state, Myanmar. Credit: Sara Perria/IPS

By Sara Perria
YANGON/LONDON, Aug 27 2016 (IPS)

Myanmar’s government has responded to pressure from the international community to tackle religious tensions and persecution of Muslims in Rakhine State by appointing former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan to head a commission to advise on “a sustainable solution” to the crisis.

The northwest region bordering Bangladesh has been under close scrutiny from western governments and some U.N. agencies since clashes erupted in 2012 between the Buddhist Arakan community and the mostly stateless Muslim minority.”It’s good that Kofi Annan is involved…, but there is also the risk that it becomes a window-dressing for the NLD to buy time and avoid international criticism.” — Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project

The violence, in which extremist monks are accused by human rights observers of playing a role, resulted in over 200 deaths, mostly Muslims. Since then, more than 100,000 Rohingya Muslims have been confined in IDP camps or ghettos. Access to medical treatment, education and jobs are so heavily compromised that thousands from the community have undertaken the risky journey to nearby southeast Asian countries, at the hands of human traffickers.

A 2015 boat people crisis laid bare the existence of mass graves near the border between Thailand and Malaysia, triggering a worldwide call for action to end the Rohingya persecution.

“The Myanmar government wants to find a sustainable solution to the complicated issues in Rakhine State, that’s why it has formed an advisory commission,” the office of Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto head of government, said in a statement announcing Annan’s appointment on Aug. 24.

The Nobel peace laureate, who scored a landslide election victory in November 2015 and took office nearly five months ago, has until recently attracted criticism from outside Myanmar for her reluctance to address openly the issue. Fellow Nobel laureates, including the Dalai Lama, were notably critical last year.

Even as leader of the opposition to the previous military-backed government, Suu Kyi was accused of not speaking out for the 1.1 million Rohingya minority despite her status of human rights icon following 15 years under house arrest.

Her supporters point to the sensitivity of the issue and the risk of triggering further conflicts to justify what others call a dismissive attitude at best. Suu Kyi did however repeatedly call for a quick and transparent solution to the Muslim minority’s lack of status, which has dragged on since 1982 when the military junta under Ne Win stripped many of their citizenship.

The National League for Democracy leader explicitly avoids using the word Rohingya, a controversial term of some historic dispute which triggers fierce responses from nationalist politicians of the Arakan majority who form the largest bloc in the Rakhine State parliament.

The graves of people killed in the 2012 clashes between the Buddhist Arakan community and the mostly stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar. Credit: Sara Perria/IPS

The graves of people killed in the 2012 clashes between the Buddhist Arakan community and the mostly stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar. Credit: Sara Perria/IPS

In May, the Myanmar government advised foreign embassies, including the US, not to use the term. However at a later meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Suu Kyi also said that she would avoid using the term Bengali, adopted by the previous government and rejected by the Rohingya, as it identifies them as illegal migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh, rather than long-term residents.

A statement by the Kofi Annan Foundation in Geneva also chose not to use the term Rohingya.

“I am pleased to support the national efforts to promote peace, reconciliation and development in Rakhine,” Annan said. “I look forward to listening to the leaders and people of Rakhine and to working with the State and central authorities to ensure a more secure and prosperous future for all.”

The statement says the overall objective of the commission, assisted by the Kofi Annan Foundation, is “to provide recommendations on the complex challenges facing Rakhine.”

The commission is to “initiate a dialogue with political and community leaders in Rakhine with the aim of proposing measures to improve the well-being of all the people of the State.”

These will contemplate “humanitarian and developmental issues, access to basic services, the assurance of basic rights, and the security of the people of Rakhine”.

The final report and recommendation will be submitted next year directly to the Myanmar government.

The commission is to meet for the first time next month. It also includes former U.N. adviser Ghassan Salamé, Dutch diplomat Laetitia van den Assum, and representatives of the Myanmar Red Cross Society and human rights and religious groups.

A top official in Suu Kyi’s party was reported by local media as saying that “Mr Annan is influential in international politics, and we need his support to steer a real peace in this country.”

“We need his advice, whether he’s a foreigner or not,” he added.

However, the choice has already hit raw nerves.

According to Eleven Myanmar, a local newspaper, the move has sparked anger from the Arakan National Party.

Teenagers clear ditches before the rainy season in Aung Mingalar Muslim ghetto in Sittwe, Rakhine state, Myanmar. Credit: Sara Perria/IPS

Teenagers clear ditches before the rainy season in Aung Mingalar Muslim ghetto in Sittwe, Rakhine state, Myanmar. Credit: Sara Perria/IPS

“We cannot accept these developments only after internal issues have been made an international issue,” said ANP chairman Aye Maung. “If tax revenue could be derived from the natural resources in our state within the framework of rights and privileges of our own people, we want to try to develop our region in cooperation with the global community. I don’t accept that the State can develop only after flattering the international community.”

Reaction on social media to Annan’s statement highlighted a harsh debate over which community in Rakhine should be helped, reflecting in some cases the view of extremist Buddhist movements such as 969, which is driven by Ashin Wirathu, a prominent Mandalay-based monk, and the nationalist Ma Ba Tha – the Organisation for the Protection of Race and Religion.

These groups have in the past years exacerbated tensions, calling for the defence of the country against foreign influence and organising rallies in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city. Wirathu, who has a large following on Facebook, has repeatedly stressed how Islam is penetrating the country, threatening the existence of the Rakhine majority.

Such nationalist messages have resonated across Myanmar, with some 90 per cent of the population estimated to be Buddhist. Muslims, who come from various ethnic backgrounds and are not all Rohingya, are estimated to make up about one third of Rakhine’s 3 million people. The state is one of the poorest in Myanmar.

One of the first challenges for the newly established commission will be how to balance the urgent need to find a solution to the desperate situation in which the Rohingya have been forced and an improvement in living conditions for the general Rakhine population.

This balancing of human rights and development issues have been at the heart of a debate raging within the United Nations which has yet to be resolved.

According to a non-profit CDA Collaborative Learning Projects report on conflict sensitivity by Gabrielle Aron, a concentration of humanitarian help since the 1990s within the Muslim areas of Rakhine State has led to the perception of an imbalance in aid disadvantaging ethnic Rakhines. As a result, international intervention has evolved into a trigger for ethnic tensions.

For Suu Kyi’s government, which is in effect sharing power with the military, the thorniest issue will be how to grant some form of citizenship to the Rohingya community that will allow them greater integration with Myanmar as a whole without antagonizing Buddhist nationalists. Meanwhile military leaders casting themselves as protectors of Myanmar’s Buddhist identity are sticking with the term Bengali and have taken a tough line on citizenship.

While the establishment of the commission is seen by many as a positive step, Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project and a respected expert on the conflict in Rakhine, says it leaves many questions open, starting with its unclear mandate.

“Other reports have already come out with ‘recommendations’. But what is needed now is action, and the implementation of what has already been recommended so far in terms of freedom of movement and access to healthcare, for example,” she tells IPS. Lewa is also sceptical about the timeframe, arguing that one year is far too long to come out with suggestions on how to solve the situation.

“I am a bit worried that the commission will not be meaningful. It’s good that Kofi Annan is involved to raise the profile of the mandate, but there is also the risk that it becomes a window-dressing for the NLD to buy time and avoid international criticism,” Lewa says.

Meanwhile the situation in Rakhine and in the camps has not changed much since the NLD has taken over from the military-backed government. Conditions inside the camps are miserable, with temporary bamboo houses now falling apart and too old to offer acceptable living conditions.

Most importantly, the key issue of freedom of movement to allow access to healthcare has not been tackled. “The central government has to take action to end this situation. They need to find a way and force the Rakhine to accept the Rohingya,” she says.

The Arakan Project director, however, also highlights a number of small positive steps undertaken by Suu Kyi, such as the rejection of the term ‘Bengali’.

Tun Khin, president of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, points to the lack of Rohingya representation within the newly-established commission as its main limitation: “We welcome the commission, but it is quite disappointing that the Rohingya are not included in it,” he tells IPS.

“We want to know how they will consult with the Rohingya community… We are also worried about how the government will act following the recommendations [next year]. People cannot wait for food,” he says.

Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy and the Sustainable Development Goals

The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) don’t just define development in terms of economic growth, they also call for sustainable use of the world’s limited natural resources. For the government of Thailand, one way to achieve the balance between people, planet and prosperity embodied in the SDGs, is by following a development model based on […]