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Thursday’s Daily Brief: Albinism, displacement in Central America, family-friendly nations, updates on the Gulf and Darfur

This Thursday, top stories includes: International Albinism Awareness Day; the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, appealing for regional talks on Central America forced displacement; updates on the latest attack on oil tankers in the Gulf and on recent clashes in Darfur; and a new report by UNICEF on the best and worst "family-friendly" nations.

Darfur peace process at a ‘standstill’ as demonstrations against Sudanese Government continue

Sudan’s President Omar Bashir may have declared a country-wide “cessation of hostilities” but in the face of continuing nationwide protests against his rule, the peace process in Darfur has “once again” come to a standstill, a senior UN official told the Security Council on Monday.

Security Council downsizes AU-UN mission in Darfur, eyeing eventual exit

The Security Council on Friday extended the mandate of the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping operation in Sudan’s Darfur until the end of June next year, but reduced the number of troops deployed in the field with an eye towards the mission’s eventual exit.

‘Durable solutions’ needed for durable peace in Darfur, UN envoy tells Security Council

The overall security situation in Sudan’s Darfur region “remains calm”, despite continuing low-level skirmishes, a top United Nations envoy said on Thursday; updating the Security Council on the UN mission’s work on the ground.

Two UN-AU peacekeepers injured after ambush in Darfur

Two peacekeepers serving with the joint United Nations-African Union force in Darfur (UNAMID) have been injured after they were ambushed yesterday by unidentified gunmen in the west of the troubled Sudanese region.

UN-African mission voices concern at rebel warning against using Darfur airports

The United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur today voiced its grave concern after a rebel leader warned that airports in the strife-torn region, as well as the rest of Sudan, have been designated as military targets and could be vulnerable to attacks by his group.

UN-African Union mission welcomes release of staffer kidnapped in Darfur

The joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur today welcomed the release of one of its staff members who was kidnapped in the strife-torn Sudanese region three months ago.

UN-African Union official meets with leaders of troubled Darfur camp for displaced

A senior official with the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur today met with leaders of a restive camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the war-torn Sudanese region.

Probe under way into abduction of two UN-African Union blue helmets in Darfur

An investigation is underway into the abduction of two police advisors serving with the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in the strife-torn Darfur region of Sudan who were seized early Saturday.

Ban saddened by deaths of Darfur peacekeepers in road accident

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today he was saddened by the deaths of four Sierra Leonean peacekeepers serving in the joint United Nations-African Union mission in the Sudanese region of Darfur (UNAMID) who died in a road accident.