Italian naval guards to be produced before local magistrate

The naval guards-Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone-were arrested by Kerala Police on Sunday and brought to the land from the ship which was intercepted and wharfed at Kochi Port. They have been charged with murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code

Kollam (Kerala): Two naval guards of the Italian ship Enrica Lexie, charged with killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast, would be produced before a local magistrate here Monday afternoon, reports PTI.

The naval guards-Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone-were arrested by Kerala Police on Sunday and brought to the land from the ship which was intercepted and wharfed at Kochi Port.

They have been charged with murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

The deceased-Valentine Jalastine and Ajeesh Binki-last week set out to sea in a boat along with nine fellow-fishermen from Neendakara fishing harbour.

They were allegedly killed by the marines of the ship who fired at their boat on 15th February.

The Italian authorities have contended that the fishing boat was fired mistaking it to be a pirates' vessel.

After four days of negotiations involving Indian and Italian diplomats, the naval guards were arrested by police in Kochi on Sunday.

They were later questioned by a team of senior police officials including Kochi City Police Commissioner MR Ajith Kumar and Kollam SP Sam Christy Daniel.

An Italian delegation on Sunday met senior external affairs ministry officials here and discussed the killing of two Indian fishermen by the guards on board an Italian ship with both sides accepting that no armed personnel can fire on unarmed fishermen.

India is hopeful that Italy will co-operate in ensuring that law of the land takes its course.

Meanwhile, Cochin Port sources said the Italian vessel would be moved to the outer anchorage within the port limits.

The ship is presently inside the oil terminal due to which other oil tankers of various companies are finding it difficult to discharge cargo.

Two tankers of Kochi Refinery are in the outer harbour waiting to discharge their cargo containing furnace oil, Euro-III and Euro-IV products.

Cochin Port and Coast Guard would monitor the movement of the Italian ship, port sources said.

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Markets closed on account of ‘Mahashivratri’

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), National Stock Exchange (NSE), foreign exchange, money and all commodity markets, including bullion, oils and oilseeds, are closed today for 'Mahashivratri'. Regular trading will resume on Tuesday.

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Oil jumps to 9-month high after Iran cuts supply to Britain, France

Iran's oil minister Rostam Qassemi had warned earlier this month that Tehran could cut off oil exports to 'hostile' European nations. The 27-nation EU accounts for about 18% of Iran's oil exports

Singapore: Oil prices jumped to a nine-month high near $105 a barrel today in Asia after Iran said it halted crude exports to Britain and France in an escalation of a dispute over the Middle Eastern country's nuclear programme, reports PTI.

Benchmark crude was up $1.75 to $104.99 per barrel at mid-day Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Earlier in the day, it rose to $105.21, the highest since May. The contract rose 93 cents to settle at $103.24 per barrel in New York on Friday.

Brent crude was up $1.52 at $121.10 per barrel in London.

Iran's oil ministry no Sunday said it stopped crude shipments to British and French companies in an apparent pre-emptive blow against the European Union after the bloc imposed sanctions on Iran's crucial fuel exports. They included a freeze of the country's central bank assets and an oil embargo set to begin in July.

Iran's oil minister Rostam Qassemi had warned earlier this month that Tehran could cut off oil exports to 'hostile' European nations. The 27-nation EU accounts for about 18% of Iran's oil exports.

The EU sanctions along with other punitive measures imposed by the US are part of Western efforts to derail Iran's disputed nuclear programme, which the West fears is aimed at developing atomic weapons. Iran denies the charges, and says its programme is for peaceful purposes.

Oil prices were also boosted by China's decision to boost money supply in a bid to spur lending and economic growth.

China's central bank said on Saturday it will lower the ratio of funds that banks must hold as reserves, a move that frees tens of billions of dollars.

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