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UN appoints special advisor for piracy

Brussels: UN Chief Ban Ki-moon has appointed former French culture minister Jack Lang to be the United Nations special advisory on piracy, writes AFP quoting Washington's envoy to the global body.

US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice Wednesday welcomed the appointment in a statement to the Security Council as it assessed the options for confronting piracy, particularly off Somalia and the Horn of Africa where the crimes have 'taken on troubling modern form.'

'The United States welcomes the secretary-general's appointment of Jack Lang as the UN Special Advisor on Piracy,' Ms Rice said. 'We look forward to working closely with him and coordinating our efforts.'

Mr Lang is a member of parliament for France's Socialist party. Last year right-wing President Nicolas Sarkozy made him a special envoy on North Korea, after sending him to Cuba to help renew ties with Communist rulers there.

Unofficial figures show 2009 was the most prolific year yet for Somali pirates, with more than 200 attacks - including 68 successful hijackings - and ransoms believed to exceed US$50 million (S$68 million) in total.  [26/08/10]

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