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Oil to hit $250 if new Iran sanctions applied; MP
by Staff Writers
Tehran (AFP) Dec 4, 2011

Oil prices will soar to $250 a barrel if new US and EU sanctions being threatened against Iran are applied, the head of Iran's parliamentary economic commission predicted, Keyhan newspaper reported Sunday.

"Should America and some European countries impose sanctions on our oil and gas, then global oil prices will hit $250 per barrel," Arsalan Fathipour was quoted as saying.

The European Union on Thursday expanded a sanctions blacklist against Iranian firms and individuals and warned it was considering extra measures against Iran's financial and oil sectors.

At the same time, the US Congress is considering legislation targeting Iran's central bank -- the nexus for receiving payment for oil exports -- despite White House concerns that Iran could benefit if oil prices shoot up.

The mooted sanctions, coming on top of others announced on November 14 by the United States, Britain and Canada, seek to pressure Iran to halt its controversial nuclear activities.

Oil prices on Friday closed at $100.96 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate crude, and $109.94 per barrel for Brent North Sea crude.

The market is being influenced by the rising tensions over Iran -- OPEC's second largest producer after Saudi Arabia -- and the economic situation in the United States and Europe.

"America and some European states are seeking to put sanctions against our oil and gas industry on their agenda," Fathipour said.

"But even mentioning such a thing will excite the global oil market and hike its global price," he said.

China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey are the main customers for Iran's oil exports.

Philippines holds six Chinese for 'illegal fishing'
Manila (AFP) Dec 4, 2011 - Philippine naval authorities have detained six Chinese fishermen for alleged poaching in the country's territorial waters, police said Sunday.

The fishermen's vessel was intercepted Thursday off the coastal town of Balabac in Palawan, a western island facing the South China Sea where both countries have overlapping territorial claims.

"Recovered from their possession and control were eleven sea turtles, fish nets and other paraphernalia," national police spokesman Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said.

He said the six have been detained and their boat confiscated while charges were being prepared against them.

It was not clear whether the Chinese Embassy in Manila had been informed of the incident, and no one from the embassy was immediately available to comment.

Hundreds of Chinese fishermen have been caught allegedly poaching in waters off Palawan over the past decade, but all have eventually been freed and deported to China.

China claims ownership over all of the South China Sea on historical grounds, and its fishermen often stray close to Philippine shores.

In October, the Philippine navy seized 25 small Chinese fishing boats being towed by a larger vessel, also off Palawan.

The bigger vessel escaped after the navy confronted it near Reed Bank, just 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Palawan.

Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia also have competing claims to parts of the South China Sea.

Vietnam and the Philippines have complained of increasing Chinese aggression in the area, but a proposal made by Manila at a recently concluded East Asian summit seeking a stronger regional front against Beijing failed to gain traction.

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Argentina draws Spain into Falklands row
Buenos Aires (UPI) Dec 2, 2011
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