Archive for October, 2017

PYRO-CUMULONIMBUS. The phenomenon that may be the origin of the fires of October 15

Monday, October 30th, 2017

It has a difficult name to pronounce, it is rare, but it may have been registered twice this year in Portugal

The deadly fires of Pedrógão Grande, on June 17, and the central zone, on October 15, may be related to a rare phenomenon, with a difficult name to pronounce: pyro-cumulonimbus.  Two members of the Independent Technical Commission that investigated the fires of early summer that killed 64 people believe that this is what happened, they told TSF.

“Pyro-cumulonimbus is a storm created by a fire,” says Paulo Fernandes, Ph.D. in Forestry and Environmental Sciences at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD). Among the images he saw and the reports he heard about the fires, highlights the cloud of the fire, which describes as “very developed, very high that at a certain point began to produce lightning and thunder.” “This is one of the signs of pyro-cumulonimbus,” he concludes.

This phenomenon had already been described by the Independent Technical Commission regarding the fire of Pedrógão. “It is a cloud of smoke that rises very high, 10 kilometres.

When this cloud rises so high, in addition to condensation, ice is formed and is the friction between the ice crystals that can cause lightning, caused by the fires themselves, and that sometimes give rise to new ignitions, “describes Paulo Fernandes, for whom the existence of a pyro-cumulonimbus” would explain, at least in part, the devastation that was observed in these two great fires of the interior. “According to what the researcher told TSF, “a typical forest fire does not cause that destruction,” and it is necessary for that to happen “strong wind, with projections at a great distance from incandescent materials.”

Report finds serious security breaches at prisons’ entry

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

Prison guards are not subject to mandatory checks to ensure that prohibited objects, such as mobile phones or drugs, are transported to prisons, constituting a “serious security breach”, according to a report from the prisons’ inspection services.

The report of the Audit and Inspection Service of the Directorate General for Reintegration and Prison Services (DGRSP), which evaluates the control procedures at the entrance of the prisons, was the subject of a hearing held on 26th October by the Justice Minister, Francisca Van Dunem, at the request of the PSD party.

The document, dated May and signed by the coordinating inspector, states that the control of visitors in prisons is carried out through “detection devices, by palpation and by review of clothing, footwear, personal luggage or similar objects”, competing with the guards prisons “to ensure the control of the entry and exit of persons” from prisons.

“The law does not exclude any citizen from such control,” he says, specifying that the visitors, lawyers and prison guards who work within prisons are subject to these mandatory measures.

According to the inspection report, these procedures are applied to visitors, but in relation to the prison corps there is an “intolerable relaxation of such procedures, not thorough verification of the belongings that each worker carries with him into the prison establishment, as well as not making their belongings pass through x-rays”.

The DGRSP Audit and Inspection Service reports on numerous police investigations and cases involving the introduction of mobile phones and drugs into prisons by prison guards.

The document concluded that the scheme for the introduction into prisons of these objects prohibited by DGRSP workers “does not pre-suppose a structured criminal organization nor an elaborate plan”, resulting in a “serious failure to comply with mandatory procedures”, a situation that occurs throughout the country.

Fires caused peak air pollution and Fumes reached the Baltic countries

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

The increased pollution in Portugal began on October 6, with high levels of nitrogen dioxide and ozone. On the 15th, with the winds came the dust from North Africa, and with the fires, an excess of inhalable particles

The worst forest fires ever in Portugal, which on the 15th and 16th of this month burned at once an absolute record of more than 220 thousand hectares, causing 44 deaths, more than 70 injured, also led to a severe episode of air pollution.

Fumes and particles travelled to northern France and southern England, where they were enough to cloud the sun, and they also reached northern Germany and the Baltic states (see map below). In the country, the air measurement stations registered, on days 15 and 16, throughout the territory, levels of inhalable particles well above the legal limits.

The pollution, however, had already affected Portugal since 6th October because of the weather conditions, with intense heat and lack of wind, which caused high concentrations of pollutants (nitrogen dioxide and ozone) in the air. With the fires and atmospheric circulation, determined by Hurricane Ophelia, which brought a strong south wind, and together with it the dust of the desert from North Africa.

In those two days of fires, “there were air quality measurement stations that registered values ​​four times the daily limit”, says Francisco Ferreira, professor and researcher at the New University of Lisbon in the area of ​​air quality and president of environmental association Zero.

On 15th and 16th October stations throughout the territory reported inhalable particulate values ​​above the limit of 50 micrograms per cubic meter (mg / m 3). “There were stations in the country that reached 300, and in Galicia, where there were also fires, reached 600 mg / m3, in Vigo and Santiago de Compostela, in these days,” Francisco Ferreira said.

In the Air Quality Index, the classification was in these days of “bad”, the worst of the scale, which remained on the morning of 17, but which later improved throughout the day with rain and the west wind that contributed to clean the atmosphere. On the 18th, the classification of air quality was already “very good” and “good” in all seasons of the country.

Conferência “Um alerta para a fraude online na indústria do turismo”

Friday, October 27th, 2017

O Presidente da Região de Turismo do Algarve, o Presidente da Associação Sindical dos Funcionários de Investigação Criminal da Policia Judiciária e o Presidente da Safe Communities Portugal convidam-no(a) a participar na conferência “Um alerta para a fraude online na indústria do turismo”, no dia 9 de novembro, entre as 09h30 e as 17h30, na Escola do Turismo de Portugal, em Faro.

O objetivo desta conferência é oferecer uma perspetiva sobre a forma como a fraude online afeta a indústria do turismo em todo o mundo, tornando-se um alvo apetecível para os cibercriminosos, que atuam em áreas como o arrendamento, os websites de viagens, a venda de bilhetes de avião, entre muitas outras.

Na conferência serão abordadas as ameaças ao turismo e as medidas que estão a ser tomadas em Portugal para identificar os riscos e reduzir os efeitos.

Este será o primeiro evento no Algarve sobre este tópico específico, o qual esperamos que ajude na sensibilização para estas novas ameaças e promova a partilha de conhecimentos e a troca de informação sobre as melhores práticas com o objetivo de reduzir os riscos no futuro.

A participação é gratuita mas está sujeita a inscrição até ao dia 6 de novembro através do e-mail: planeamento@turismodoalgarve.pt

Mais informações aqui.

Prime Minister has not yet accepted resignation of the president of Civil Protection

Friday, October 27th, 2017

The President of the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) has not yet been officially released from service by the Prime Minister despite offering his resignation on October 18 “with immediate effect. To the surprise of some ANPC staff members, Joaquim Leitão “is still on duty and doing daily dispatches,” according to Diarios de noticais.

“Despite the sense of mission and service that motivated me to take up this challenge, I feel that I have not met the conditions necessary to keep me as president of this noble house. For the same constraints of conscience and duty to the country, I request the termination of my service commission, with immediate effect, “Joaquim Leitão wrote in his resignation request.

No less surprising is the presence of the National Operational Commander (CONAC) of Colonel Albino Tavares, who in the report of the Independent Technical Commission is criticized for his role as coordinator of operations during the fires of Pedrógão Grande. Albino Tavares, who was appointed in the interim, by the former Minister of Internal Administration, is referred to as having ordered the communications operators not to register any more alerts on the ANPC time tape for “excess information.”

The delay in replacing these leaders is causing growing concern among some ANPC leaders. “There are several decisions that have to be taken as soon as possible, under the risk that the plans will not be prepared in time for the summer of 2018,” said one of these sources, highlighting “the case of air transport: the tenders should be launched this month!

The reform of the “organic model” of the ANPC is one of 43 proposals that the CDS sent Thursday to the prime minister. Assunção Cristas asked António Costa to “respond with fairness and speed to the victims of the fires and ensure a rapid reconstruction of the productive fabric”.

Conference – On-line Fraud affecting the Global Tourism Industry

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo do Algarve, in Faro.

9th November 2017, 09:30 hours to 17:45 hours

Fraud affecting the tourism industry is one of the fasted growing crimes, involving villa-rental fraud, air-ticket fraud, fake food poison scams as well as others. Losses to potential holiday makers are considerable and are increasing, and the industry, including travel agents, hoteliers, villa letting companies and individuals who let properties all suffer as a result.

Tourism is increasing globally and Portugal is the choice for many, particularly from northern Europe. It is likely that fraudsters will take advantage of this trend, resulting in a further increase in this activity.

Safe Communities Portugal, Regional Tourism Algarve and the Judicial Police Officers Association have therefore planned this unique conference as a pro-active initiative to address these issues. The event will be officiated by the Secretary of State for Tourism, Dra. Ana Mendes Godinho.

This seminar will explore the threats to tourism posed and what steps are being taken in Portugal to identify the risks and reduce the affects. It will provide an opportunity for attendees to gain a greater insight into the problems resulting from such fraud, including the experiences of the local letting and management agents, who deal with victims.

The aim of the conference is to identify best practices, which can help the industry in creating awareness, enhance preparedness and thus put in place appropriate measures, to reduce these frauds in the future. This will benefit the local tourism industry here in Portugal and attendance will provide an opportunity to gain further information concerning this subject and what steps can be taken locally and internationally.

The seminar will aim at improving standards in the construction, design and management of websites and social media in the advertising of holiday accommodation and related services, to make them more resilient to fraud.

The conference will bring together around 12 presenters, who are experts from: the national cyber security centre Lisbon, police, a UK based international fraud expert, consumer organization, hotel, travel and property letting associations, and travel industries. There will be plenty of opportunity for the participants to ask questions.

Property letting companies, tour operators, property management companies and property owners who let properties are encouraged to the conference, which will be the first international conference of its kind to be held in Portugal – possibly Europe. The conference is sponsored by TUI and Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo do Algarve

This is a full day conference and entry is free. The event is in English and Portuguese. Registration is required by contacting planeamento@turismodoalgarve.pt no later than 6th November.

Immediate response to feeding of farm animals affected by October fires

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, Luís Capoulas Santos, said that “it may be possible to begin distributing food from Wednesday [October 25]” on the farms affected by the fires on 15th and 16th October in the North and Center of the Country.

These statements were made in Vila Nova de Poiares, after a meeting with local authorities and representatives of farmers in the municipalities affected by the fires, where the Minister of Planning and Infrastructure Pedro Marques was also present.

“Farmers have stored animal feed, but unfortunately the fires have destroyed those reserves, and that is why emergency solutions will be used to replace them,” said the minister, adding that five platforms will be set up for that purpose in Monção, Tondela, Vagos, Vila Nova de Poiares and Gouveia.

Luís Capoulas Santos also recalled: “We are in an extremely dry year, where the shortage of food was already very high, and part of the winter reserves were already being consumed. Now this tragedy has destroyed the rest and the pastures. ”

“There is a great desire on the part of all to work together as quickly as possible to relieve suffering and to revive not only hope but also life and the economy,” concluded the Minister, The aim of the meeting was to coordinate the logistics necessary to implement measures to support farmers, such as support for animal feed.

 

Criminal Group who enticed French Nationals  to Portugal arrested

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Three men and a woman suspected of kidnapping, assault, theft and computer fraud, where the victims were several French citizens, were detained by the Judicial Police in Viseu.

In a statement sent to the Lusa news agency, the PJ stated that, after attracting the victims to Portugal, detainees “resorted to violence, deprivation of liberty and fraud” to steal “large amounts of money from them.”

According to PJ, French citizens were contacted via the internet by the woman “who persuaded them to come and spend a few days in the city of Viseu for romantic dates.” Upon arrival, the victims were taken to a luxury villa “beautifully decorated, where four members of the group [aged between 22 and 61 years] were present using false names.”

“During the first day of each victim’s stay, the suspects obtained the victims credit / debit cards and their secret codes, then use them to carry out various withdrawals and purchases,” says PJ.

It says that once the victims realized what had happened and resisted they, “were assulted and locked in one of the divisions of the house.”

In addition to the arrests, the operation of the Directorate of the Judicial Police Centre resulted in the rescue of a newly arrived victim from France.

Various items and documents were seized from the homes of the suspects during searches.

The detainees appeared the court for first judicial interrogation and one of them was held in custody and another under house arrest with electronic surveillance. The remaining two are required to present to the authorities twice a week.

National Strategy for the Prevention of Forest Fires Approved by Government

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

Following an 11 hour extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers, the Government today approved a National Strategy for Preventive Civil Protection, which defines as “essential” the prevention and combating of rural fires including as a “priority” the strengthening of professionalism and capacity building throughout the system.

“Civil protection is not just for after the calamities. Civil protection has to start with the information that is given from the school to each house, so that we can all be better prepared to protect ourselves from the risks,” said the prime minister , António Costa.

In addition to its focus on professionalisation, the National Strategy for Preventive Civil Protection will reinforce the role of the Armed Forces and Air Force in preventing and fighting fires.

Government will provide up to 400 million euros to rebuild homes, businesses and re-establish crops

Government has today decided a series of new measures following the fires

  1. The State will become a shareholder of SIRESP, the company that manages the emergency communications network, and will take a majority position that will allow it to take control of the company.
  2. Pedro Marques, Minister of Planning and Infrastructures, today announced a set of measures on communications in the event of catastrophe, which also include the acquisition of four new mobile stations with satellite links (currently only two), the hiring of a redundancy system with satellite connection, to ensure communications in the event of a failure in fiber optic cables – which has happened successively in the fires of this summer.
  3. There will also be a “full cleaning up to ten meters” on both sides of the road and rail, amounting to 16.000 kms in the first instance.
  4. There will also be incentives for the burial of aerial cables in the technical channels that exist on roads and railways, reducing the payment to Infraestruturas de Portugal, which manages the national road network and the rail network.
  5. Measures already approved in the Extraordinary Council of Ministers that is taking place today. In addition to the Minister of Planning, Environment Minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes also announced the hiring of 100 new sapper teams – 500 people – joining the 292 that currently exist. The minister also announced the hiring of 50 new nature watchmen.
  6. In terms of funds, Pedro Marques pointed to an investment of eight million euros in SIRESP, and 28 million in the cleaning of roads and railways. The Minister of Environment pointed to values ​​in the order of 20 million. Caldeira Cabral spoke in 35 million euros, using structural funds, over several years.
  7. The Air Force will start managing the aircraft contracts involved in fighting the fires
  8. Greater intervention will also be the Army, through the Emergency Military Support Regiment,
  9. The Minister of Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral, announced that studies will be carried out to create a fuel market for bio-refineries capable of using the residues resulting from the cleaning of Portuguese forests. This model will encourage the recovery of forest waste, ‘thus creating an ability to develop a collection system, either by local authorities or by companies that wish to do so’.

30 Million for Reconstruction of homes

  1. The Government stated it has decided to allocate € 30 million from the State Budget to support the reconstruction of homes destroyed in the fires and to provide up to 100 million for businesses. Plots of a support package totaling around 400 million euros, including social security and agriculture.
  1. The Minister of Planning and Infrastructures, Pedro Marques, announced that the survey in the regions affected by the fires found that there are more than 500 own and permanent homes partially or totally destroyed, which will be supported, provided that the insurance does not pay up.
  2. As far as business are concerned more than 300 affected, according to the same representative, the Government decided to “structure a system of subsidy of up to 100 million euros, with a view to supporting the acquisition of burnt equipment and reconstruction of installations “. There will also be a line of credit of EUR 100 million and an investment support system of EUR 100 million with 50 million Community funds. Again, at enterprise level, such support will only apply if insurance does not reimburse those affected.
  3. At the level of Labour and Social Security, Minister Vieira da Silva said that about 5,000 jobs will have been affected, announcing a series of measures to promote employment, highlighting the support to the treasury to pay wages for a period of three months, “probably extendable”. Measure that can walk in the order of 13 million euros and will extend to the cases of employment at risk resulting from the fires last June in Pedrógão Grande.
  4. For agriculture, Minister Capoulas Santos announced, support will be around 35 million euros, with two credit lines announced, one of five and the other of three million, for the installation of parks for depositing the wood and for commercialization wood at reasonable prices, respectively.
  5. The official indicated that 15 million euros will be allocated to “tackle the most serious problems” of soil erosion and water contamination.
  6. The Government will still support 100% of the losses up to five thousand euros of small farmers and “above this amount, 50% lost in everything that has to do with loss of machinery, equipment, facilities, stables, engines and crops such as vineyards, orchards and olive groves. “

“The total figures are in the order of 400 million euros. It is not enough, but they are close to that,” said Minister Pedro Marques at the second briefing of the day with the presentation of measures approved by the Extraordinary Council of Ministers that is taking place in the Palace of Belém, in Lisbon, to launch a “fundamental” reform in fire prevention and control systems and to adopt emergency measures to support fire victims.

According to the Minister of Planning and Infrastructure, the measures now approved for the recovery of housing and infrastructure of companies and municipalities, support for employment and the agricultural and forestry sector are “adequate for the scale of occurrences of the last weekend “.

At the first briefing, the Minister of Justice, Francisca Van Dunem, announced the creation of a commission to pay compensation to the families of the victims of the fires, which will have 30 days to establish the criteria, and then the Ombudsman will establish the value of compensations.

 

Portugal – Government reshuffle – appointments/re-appointments

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

On 21st Portugal the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, inaugurated  new ministers: Deputy Prime Minister, Pedro Siza Vieira, and the Minister of Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita, (replacing Constancia Urbano de Sousa) at a ceremony held at the Palácio de Belém in Lisbon.

The new Secretary of State for Civil Protection, José Artur Neves, and the new Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality, Rosa Lopes Monteiro, also took office today.

Isabel Oneto and Carlos Miguel were respectively reappointed as Assistant Secretary of State and Internal Administration and Secretary of State for Local Authorities.

They were sworn in to the presence of the President of the Assembly of the Republic, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, and all the ministers of the Government, in a short ceremony held in the Ambassadors’ Hall of the Palace of Belém, which lasted about six minutes.

Also present was former Secretary of State Jorge Gomes – who was overall responsible for the civil protection department.