L A T E S T      N E W S

We are on solid legal ground, says Italy

JERUSALEM: Amidst a diplomatic row with India, Italy has said it is on solid legal ground in seeking international arbitration in the case of the Italian marines charged with killing two Indian fishermen.

"We have juridically solid reasons to proceed in the direction of international arbitration," Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi told reporters as he arrived at an international conference being hosted by an Israeli think-tank in the city of Herzliya.

"The Indian government is amply apprised of all it needs to know about our reasons, as do many of our partners," he was quoted as saying by media reports.

Already-strained relations between Rome and New Delhi notched up on Monday when the Italian Government announced that marines Salvatore Latorre and Massimiliano Girone would remain in Italy and not return to India to face murder charges after being allowed to come home to vote in February's general election by the Supreme Court.

The apex court had allowed them to go to Italy to cast their vote in the elections there after Italian ambassador to India Daniele Mancini had given an assurance to send them back.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had yesterday noted that the country is agitated over Italy's action which is "unacceptable" and said the government will pursue diplomatic channels to bring the two marines back.

Taking a tough stand, the Prime Minister also accused Italy of violating "every rule of diplomatic discourse" and asked it to send back the two marines undergoing trial for killing Indian fishermen, failing which there will be consequences on bilateral ties. — PTIBack








UN for peaceful resolution to India-Italy diplomatic row

UNITED NATIONS: Amidst a diplomatic row between India and Italy over the fate of two Italian marines, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a peaceful resolution to the issue.

Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, charged with murder for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February last year in an anti-piracy operation, were permitted by India’s Supreme Court to go to Italy for four weeks for voting in last month’s election.

Relations between Italy and India were further strained on Monday when the Italian government announced that marines Latorre and Girone would remain in Italy and not return to India to face murder charges after being allowed to come home to vote by the Apex Court.

Ban’s spokesman told reporters on Wednesday that the Secretary-General has called on both countries to resolve their issues peacefully and in accordance with international law.

The Supreme Court had allowed the marines to go to Italy to cast their vote in the elections there after Italian Ambassador to India Daniele Mancini had given an assurance to send them back. — PTIBack








'Foreign' terrorists behind Srinagar attack: Shinde

NEW DELHI: Amid strong attack from various political parties over terror strike in Kashmir, the government on Thursday indicated Pakistani link to the attackers but refrained from saying that they belonged to that country. 

Making identical statements in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said some items bearing markings of Pakistan have been recovered from the terrorists who were killed in the encounter after attack on a CRPF camp. 

He made the statement after sharp criticism by members from various parties, who said the government has repeatedly failed in preventing terror incidents as well in dealing with Pakistan from where it originates. 

“The killed terrorists are suspected to be of foreign origin,” he said about the incident in which five CRPF jawans lost their lives while battling the attackers. 

When pressed in the Rajya Sabha for clarifications, Shinde said he did not say that the terrorists were Pakistanis and only mentioned them as foreigners. 

“From the bodies of terrorists killed, two diaries, one each containing numbers suspected to be of Pakistanis, tube of Betnovate, a skin ointment were recovered. Further investigations reveal that this tube was manufactured in Glaxo Smithkline Pak Ltd, at 35 Dockyard, Karachi. The name of the tube mentioned in Urdu and the numbers mentioned in the diaries appear to be of Pakistani origin,” he said. 

He insisted that the government was dealing with terror strongly. “Yahan koi chudiyan nahin pahna hai. Sabke haath me taakat hai (Nobody is wearing bangles on their hands. Everybody is strong),” he said, responding to members’ criticism of being soft. 

At the same time, he said, the government “knew there will be such attempts” after the execution of Mumbai terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. — PTI







Punjab Speaker suspends 9 Cong legislators

CHANDIGARH: Following unruly scenes inside and outside the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday, the speaker on Thursday suspended nine Congress legislators for the day.

The nine were suspended by Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal for the alleged assault on the watch and ward staff of the Assembly.

Watch and staff member Jaipal Singh on Wednesday filed a complaint with the Chandigarh Police saying he was dragged and beaten by the Congress legislators.

Atwal on Wednesday charged Congress MLAs with “criminally assaulting” the watch and ward staff while compromising the security of the Assembly complex here.

Congress legislators clashed with security personnel and the watch and ward staff in the Punjab Assembly complex as a young woman, who was thrashed and abused by police officials in Tarn Taran, tried to barge into the complex during the ongoing budget session.

The commotion started when the victim, accompanied by Congress legislators, was taken to the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) office in the Assembly complex. 

The security and Assembly staff reached the office to take her away as she had entered without a valid entry pass.

This was objected to by Congress legislators and this resulted in a clash between them and the security personnel.

Some Congress legislators, who were inside the Assembly Hall, shouted slogans against the government and staged a walkout.

Atwal said the Congress legislators, led by leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar, “had brought some unidentified and unauthorized persons without valid entry pass to Punjab Vidhan Sabha premises with unknown motives.” — IANS







Petrol prices may be cut by Re 1; diesel to be costlier

NEW DELHI: Petrol price may be reduced by about Re 1 per litre while diesel price may be hiked by 40-50 paisa a litre from March 15/16.

While petrol prices are being cut in step with falling international oil rates, diesel rate increase would be in line with the January decision to raise prices in small dozes every month till all of the Rs 11 per litre losses are eliminated.

Sources said the revision in rates of petrol and diesel is likely to be announced as early as tomorrow.

The cut in petrol price will follow two rounds of hike in rates since February. Petrol price was hiked by Rs 1.50 a litre on February 16 and then by Rs 1.40 per litre from March 2. Both the increases were excluding local VAT.

Petrol in Delhi currently costs Rs 70.74 a litre. Since last revision, international gasoline (petrol) prices have come down to about $120 per barrel from $131.00 a barrel at the last time last revision. Also, the rupee has marginally appreciated against the dollar to Rs 54.11.

Diesel prices have been since January hiked by over Re 1 per litre in two instalments and it currently costs Rs 48.16 a litre. Despite the increases, oil firms lose Rs 11.26 per litre on sale of the nation's most consumed fuel. — PTI




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