For the First Time in 5 Years, Pirates Hijack Vessel off Somali Coast

Pirates hijacked an oil tanker with eight Sri Lankan crew onboard, a Somali official said on Tuesday, the first time they have successfully taken a commercial ship since 2012…”The pirates hijacked the oil tanker and they brought it near Alula,” Mohamud Ahmed Eynab, the district commissioner for Alula, told Reuters on Tuesday by phone. Pirates in the town confirmed they were expecting the ship. The tanker was believed to have eight crew on board, said Steed, an expert on piracy who is in contact with naval forces tracking the ship. “The ship reported it was being followed by two skiffs yesterday afternoon. Then it disappeared,” he told Reuters.


Trump seeks deep cuts to UN relief programs, just as 20 million people face famine… “The White House has instructed the State Department and the US Mission to the United Nations to cut US contributions to the UN by 50%. The United States is the largest funder to the UN, in all contributing about $10 billion to the UN and its various agencies, like UNICEF, the World Food Program and the UN Refugee Agency. These organizations depend on American leadership (many are run by Americans) and American funding. Without the latter, they will simply be unable to do their job.  In many cases ‘not doing their job’ means that some of the most vulnerable people on the planet will lose their last lifeline.” (UN Dispatch

Dutch Election Day… “Dutch voters head to the polls Wednesday to elect members of their 150-member House of Representatives, they do so in an environment of perhaps unprecedented international attention. While many in the Netherlands pride themselves on their renowned tradition of tolerance, the country faces a rising tide of discontent and xenophobia, with the far right candidate Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) narrowly trailing the ruling conservative party in most polls. For many observers, Wednesday’s elections are a harbinger of how European electorates will respond to surging movements led by radical right, nationalist, and xenophobic politicians in 2017.” (UN Dispatch