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NEW YORK — Time is running out for Somalia. As many as 3 million people — one-third of the country — live under threat of starvation. Their lifeline is the sea, from which food, medical supplies, and other aid arrives. And there lies the problem.

Heavily armed bands of modern-day pirates in speedboats are terrorizing ships in Somalia’s coastal waters. So far this year they have raided more than 50 vessels, stealing cargo and hijacking ships, from private yachts to oil tankers, and extorting some $100 million a year in ransom.

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