Spain’s defence minister Carme Chacón has called for an EU naval taskforce to blockade three pirate ports in Somalia. Navies from the EU, China, the US and India already patrol large areas of ocean off the Somali coast, but have not been effective in stopping the seizure of ships and yachts in the Gulf of Aden shipping lane, or into the Indian Ocean. Often huge ransoms are paid by shipping companies, while governments turn a blind eye. Now, Chacón says the international community must track such payments. She has good reason to be angry. Pirates currently hold 36 Spanish fishermen hostage and say they will not release them until Spain releases two of their own. Read more: BBC, Guardian
Ireland's population has still not recovered from the Great Famine.