Malaysia is sending three navy ships to the coast of Somalia to protect merchant vessels from piracy. The ships, carrying troops and helicopters, are expected to begin patrolling in the Gulf of Aden in the next few days. Two Malaysian tankers from the shipping line MISC Berhad were seized last month by Somali pirates. The seas off Somalia, close to busy shipping routes, have some of the highest rates of piracy in the world. The country has been without a functioning central government for 17 years and has suffered from continual civil strife. (BBC)

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