News in Brief 11 April 2016 (AM)

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A WFP air drop. File Photo: WFP

Syria: Next phase of talks "crucially important"

The resumption this week of talks on the Syrian crisis is "crucially important," the UN official shepherding the process told journalists in the country's capital on Monday.

UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said the next phase of the negotiations, set for this Wednesday in Geneva, will focus on political transition, governance and constitutional principles.

Mr de Mistura was speaking in Damascus following discussions with the Syrian Foreign Minister and his team.

He expressed hope that the talks will be "constructive" and "concrete."

The UN envoy also praised the recent delivery of food aid to the besieged city of Deir ez Zor in eastern Syria.

The World Food Programme (WFP) air dropped 20 metric tonnes of chickpeas, beans and other food supplies there on Sunday.

Mr de Mistura said this act shows the international community's determination to reach Syrians everywhere.

Europe: Action needed on refugee relocation

Action is needed on European plans to relocate refugees and migrants who have arrived on the continent, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Monday.

UNHCR has released a statement expressing its concern following violence this weekend between security forces and hundreds of refugees at the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

The agency recalled that similar scenes have been unfolding at various European borders in recent months.

UNHCR added that much attention has been focused on the recent agreement between the European Union and Turkey regarding refugee relocation.

The deal aims to stem the waves of people coming to Europe and is being implemented in the Aegean Islands and Turkey.

However, UNHCR said many other refugees and migrants continue to be affected by the crisis, particularly the nearly 46,000 in mainland Greece who arrived before the agreement came into effect.

Bangladesh: Blogger murder impacts on freedom of expression for all

Authorities in Bangladesh are being urged by a senior UN official to investigate the recent murder of a blogger.

Nazimuddin Samad was attacked and killed in the capital, Dhaka, last Wednesday night.

The law student and citizen journalist reportedly had criticized Islam on his Facebook page.

Irina Bokova, head of the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, has issued a statement condemning his murder.

She stressed that it was important for the authorities to thoroughly investigate this crime "as it targeted not only an individual, but freedom of expression for all citizens of Bangladesh."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2’47″

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