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Pirates and Power at Sea
U.S. Navy cruiser monitors a pirated ship. (AP)

On Tuesday, Sept. 30, the commanding officer of a U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser monitors the pirated motor vessel Faina off the coast of Somalia while one of his helicopters provides aerial surveillance. (US Navy photo)

Somali pirates don’t joke around.

Off one of the busiest sea lanes in the world, where oil-tanker traffic and a whole lot more flow to the Suez Canal, they have been taking ship after ship this year. Boarding bloody if need be, commandeering the bridge, holding crew and cargo ransom for big money.

Ten days ago they hit a deadly jackpot. A Ukrainian freighter stuffed to the gunwhales with heavy weaponry. Soviet tanks. Grenage launchers. Ammo.

Now U.S. warships have the captive ship cornered. A Soviet frigate is on the way. But the problem is spreading.

This hour, On Point: Pirates, global order fraying off the Horn of Africa, and a high seas crisis on the world stage.

Guests:

Jeffrey Gettleman, East Africa bureau chief for The New York Times, based in Nairobi, Kenya. He joined us earlier from an island near the coast of Somalia.

Joining us from London is Roger Middleton, consultant researcher for the Africa program at Chatham House in London. He’s the author of “Piracy in Somalia: Threatening Global Trade, Feeding Local War.”

Joining us from New York City is J. Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University and a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy in Washington, D.C. He writes a weekly column for the New Atlanticist about African security issues. His Sept. 29 column was “The Challenge of Somali Piracy.”

Joining us from Bahrain is Lt. Nathan Christensen, deputy spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain.

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

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Dec 17, 2014
Germany's Andre Schuerrle, left, celebrates scoring his side's 6th goal as Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar reacts during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.  Germany went on to win the World Cup championship later that month. (AP)

From the Sochi Olympics and Ray Rice to Lebron’s return to Cleveland, we’ll unpack a big year in sports.

 
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Relatives of a victim of a Taliban attack in a school, mourn over her lifeless body at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months. (AP)

The Taliban take responsibility for killing more than 100 Pakistani schoolchildren. We ask why there, why now.

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