Archive for November, 2017

This years flu maybe more serious – Vacinations recommended by Health Authority

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

The Directorate-General for Health reinforced yesterday (28th November the call for vaccination. The flu strain that is expected to circulate this year is associated with more cases and more severe conditions of the disease

Since October, 1.2 million vaccines have been administered by the National Health Service (SNS), which represents an additional 19% over the same period last year. There are still 300 thousand available doses, besides the 600 thousand available for sale in pharmacies. For the first time this year, the vaccine has also become free for people with diabetes and firefighters who have a recommendation for it.

Influenza A (H3) is expected to the dominant flu virus this winter, the same as last year which caused an excess mortality of 27% in Portugal.

Graça Freitas, director general of Health, has reinforced yesterday the call for vaccination: “Vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate. That is the great precaution against influenza.” Rui Nogueira, president of the Portuguese Association of General and Family Medicine (APMGF), told the DN that there is “lack of care” in Portugal in the “cold suitability” and left some advice to the Portuguese.

The cold flu will have killed 4467 people in Portugal last winter, which represents an excess of 27% over that expected. As in the other European countries, the influenza A (H3) virus was the predominant one, as it is expected to be this year. “When the dominant virus is an A (H3) virus, the intensity of the flu tends to be greater and even the severity of the disease,” warned Graça Freitas yesterday.

Strengthening the European Union in civil protection meets the needs identified by Portugal

Monday, November 27th, 2017

The Minister of Home Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, said on 23rd November  that Civil Protection reinforcement measure created by the European Union, “responds to the needs identified by Portugal” and the country is “in full harmony” with the measures.

At a press conference in Lisbon announcing the strengthening the resources of the European Civil Protection Mechanism, the Minister said that this reinforcement “is more proof of solidarity among the Member States and is a determining factor for the consolidation of a Europe that protects and defends its citizens and assets’.

The new program has an allocation of € 280 million by 2020, of which € 230 million is for the creation of a structure that the European Union does not yet have, and € 50 million for ‘forest fire prevention and preparedness measures and other incidents of civil protection. ”

The European Union will create a reserve of its own Civil Protection resources, such as firefighting aircraft, field hospitals and water pumps, among other medium-sized technicians, to deal with disasters such as fires in Portugal.

Eduardo Cabrita welcomed the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, for “this initiative that responds to the needs identified by Portugal” and that is in “full harmony” with the measures approved by the extraordinary Council of Ministers of October 21.

The Minister also said that ‘this new response is complementary to the operational arrangements of each Member State, strengthening and boosting Europe’s ability to effectively address and respond to natural disasters’.

“We are talking, on the one hand, of creating a European-level rescue system to improve the response available in the European Union and investment in the areas of disaster prevention and response,” he added.

The new EU proposal also includes a set of new support for Member States, such as co-financing up to 75% of each country’s improved operational response.

The Minister of Home Affairs will meet with EU civil protection commissioner Christos Stylianides early December to find “the best way for Portugal to integrate and actively participate in this reinforcement”.

“We will discuss how to benefit, both in the pillar of the support mechanism and in the pillar for the prevention of these new programs, and the possibility of Portugal participating in the European effort,” he said.

The European mechanism will now be available to all European Union countries, which will be able to ‘request their complementary intervention when there are significant occurrences’, such as fires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes or epidemics.

Portugal integrated into the Tsunami early warning network

Monday, November 27th, 2017

The Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, inaugurated the Portuguese centre for the Tsunami Warning System (Tsunamis), integrating Portugal into the alert network, affirming that it represents an increase of safety for the population.

“It is an investment of only one million euros”, said the minister, adding that “I say ‘only’ because sometimes there is talk of investments of many millions of euros that, perhaps, do not have added value for our security as this million.”

“This million so simply allows Portugal to integrate the international tsunami early warning network,” he said at the inauguration of the centre located at the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA).

The Minister said that the Portuguese population will also be more informed about any events of this type that may be detected, but that the equipment serves above all to improve coordination and anticipation with the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC).

“The tsunami early warning centre is part of this effort” of coordination between the IPMA and the ANPC, he said.

“Portugal must be at the centre of the best of global scientific networks,” as “tsunamis are not a distant reality,” said Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita, who also participated in the ceremony.

The Minister recalled that “the 1755 earthquake was associated with one of the largest tsunamis in existence.”

This ‘early warning system was launched – with the participation of UNESCO – following the 2004 tsunami that affected Indonesia and other parts of Asia’.

GNR holds three people and registers nine crimes during private security operation

Monday, November 27th, 2017

The operation, which was mobilized 650 military personnel who performed more than 460 inspections, resulted in the seizure of 64 doses of cocaine and seven illegal gambling machines

The GNR detained three people and registered nine crimes and 135 counts of misconduct during a private security surveillance operation, held nationwide November 22-26, the GNR reported on Monday 27th November.

During the operation, called “Prisec”, the GNR also seized seven illegal gaming machines, 64 doses of cocaine and two video surveillance systems, which operated without proper authorization, said the security force, in a statement.

During the five days of the operation, the GNR mobilized a total of 650 military personnel, who carried out more than 461 surveillance actions, especially at sports venues and commercial establishments, namely shopping centres and food and beverage establishments.

The GNR says that this operation of supervision is to detect situations that could constitute criminal or infractions in private security.

According to the GNR, the areas of supervision under this activity focus on personnel and private security resources, security measures, ownership, prohibitions and rules of conduct in the execution of private security services.

The GNR also indicates that, since the beginning of the year, it has carried out a total of 1138 inspection actions to companies, commercial establishments and sports venues.

Minister of International Administration announces budget for police and civil protection

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

The Minister of Internal Administration Eduardo Cabrita Minister has announce in the Ministry’s budget presented in Parliament on 21st November, the “reinforcement” of 500 military personnel for the GNR Intervention, Protection and Relief Group (GIPS), increasing it from 600 to 1100 personnel, and the reinforcement of 200 more personnel for the Nature Protection and Environment Service (SEPNA), under the new forest defence policies.

The MAI will have a budget of €2,128 million, an additional €60 million compared to 2017, with the largest share of the investment to belong to the National Civil Protection Authority.  According to the minister, this increase serves to sustain a “new dimension in the prevention and combat of forest fires” and a guarantee that until next summer “” nothing can remain as before.”

In the budget summary, the SEF is also highlighted, with them receiving the highest increase in personnel expenses (plus €15.1 million), for the admission of another 100 inspectors and the reinforcement of other categories.

The figures according to Diarios de Noticais are less clear however as in the documents presented the MAI appears to have artificially increased the GNR and PSP numbers of 2017 with 750 students who have not even started the police training course.

The document itself assumes the integration of the “trainees”, but does not mention that they have not yet started the training, which will only begin in 2018. Last year the PSP had 21,715 police officers and this year has 20 355 (a reduction of 1360), but with the number of trainees were added 430, totalling 20 885, a figure that remains for 2018. These include 400 trainees who have still not entered training school.

As for the GNR, the situation is the same. In 2016 there were 24,740 military personnel, which was reduced to 24 390 this year. In the official document, the MAI adds to these 350 candidates, which according to a GNR source, should only begin their training in December. With this sum, which is joined by 30 other officers already taking the course, GNR maintains the same strength of 2016.

More than 5,000 child sex offenders are registered

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

A total of 5033 offenders are registered in the Criminal Identification Register of Convicted Sex Crimes against Sexual Self-Determination and Sexual Freedom of Minors, which is two years in force on Wednesday 22nd November, according to data from the Ministry of Justice.

The register includes all those convicted of committing sex crimes in which the victim is a minor, and may be cancelled after a period of five to 20 years after the extinction of the sentence.

The file also contains data on offenders convicted before the entry into force of the law two years ago and whose crime is recorded in the criminal record.

The criminal identification record system contains data from the perpetrators for five years when they are charged with a fine or imprisonment for up to one year and for 10 years for imprisonment of more than one year and not more than five years.

The data will be available for 15 years when a prison term of more than 5 years and not more than 10 years is applied. When the offender is sentenced to a penalty of more than 10 years his data will be in the register for a period of up to 20 years.

This registry can only be accessed by judicial magistrates and prosecutors for the purpose of criminal investigation, investigation of criminal cases, execution of sentences and decision on adoption, guardianship, custody, foster care, civil sponsorship, surrender, custody or trust or the regulation of the exercise of parental responsibilities.

Information from the registered can also be provided  to entities that conduct investigations, or to whom it is incumbent to cooperate internationally in crime prevention.

Judicial Police arrest 52 persons arrested in major drug trafficking operation

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

The Judiciary Police, in an investigation by the DIAP of Sintra, in an investigation for crimes of drug trafficking, criminal association and money laundering, have carried out a vast operation involving the execution of 100 search warrants and the arrest of 52 people, 49 in execution of arrest warrants and three who were caught in the act.

The operation took place in a neighbourhood of Lisbon, and several items of considerable relevance to the investigation, including narcotics, money, cars and prohibited weapons, were seized.

The operation, undertaken by the National Counter Terrorism Unit (UNCT), involved 260 investigators from the Lisbon, Coimbra, Leiria, and Setúbal units, due to its scale.

The detainees, 43 men and 9 women, aged between 17 and 61, will be present at the first judicial interrogation in order to apply coercive measures.

Coordinator of Criminal Investigation of the PJ, Patrícia Silveira, who coordinated this operation stated that “The operation was aimed at a perfectly structured criminal association, with a defined leadership, with various levels with attribution of tasks, responsibilities, and engaged in organized drug trafficking”.

“Most of these individuals had long police records for such crimes, some of whom had even served prison terms and we therefore consider some of them to be dangerous,” she added.

The operation which took place on 16th November took 3 days to prepare and was within the framework of organized crime investigations that have lasted for two years.

Arrested for agricultural burning leading to Forest Fires

Monday, November 20th, 2017

The carrying out of agricultural fires led to the arrest of two men, during the weekend, in the district of Bragança, for having generated forest fires.

One of the arrests occurred in the area of ​​São Julião de Palácios, in the county of Bragança, and the other in the municipality of Vila Flor, and in both cases the suspects in the forest fire crime were caught in the act.

According to information released by the GNR, the two detainees, a 67-year-old man in Bragança and a 58-year-old man in Vila Flor, were carrying out agricultural burning, and lost control, allowing the flames to spread.

The arrest in São Julião de Palácios occurred on 18th November in the afternoon. A forest fire prevention patrol by the Environmental Protection Corps GNR detected a column of smoke. The suspect fled on foot, “the moment he spotted the GNR military,” but ended up being “intercepted and detained.”

The man alleged that “his intention was to burn for the purpose of renovating the pasture, but lost control, which led to the burning of about 30,000 square meters of weeds,” as indicated by the GNR.

The previous day, on Friday, soldiers from the Territorial Post of Vila Flor detained another man of 58 years for the same crime of forest fire and under the same circumstances.

The GNR reports that “the individual was burning a surplus when the flames spread, having burned six thousand meters of weeds.”

Calls for greater international cooperation in combatting on-line travel fraud

Monday, November 20th, 2017

The On-Line Fraud Affecting the Global Tourism Industry Conference held in Faro on Thursday achieved its objective by bring together over 200 people to learn about the threats that this type of fraud poses to the industry and ways in which these threats can be reduced, thus protecting local businesses involved in tourism as well as holiday makers themselves.

A total of ten presentations were made by the National Cyber Security Centre; Judicial Police Cyber Security Unit; Consumidor.pt; the Association of Local Lodging in Portugal, SEF, GNR, ASAE, PSP, Safe Communities Portugal and PROFiT a travel fraud organization from the UK.

The event started by overviews from the Mayor of Faro, Dr. Rogério Bacalhau; President of Regional Tourism Algarve, Desidério Silva; President of the Association of Inspectors Judicial Police, Ricardo Valadas; Presidente of AHETA Elidérico Viegas and President of Safe Communities Portugal David Thomas, who had intiated the idea of the conference.

During the conference the Secretary of State for Tourism Ana Mendes Godinho revealed that the tax revenue from local accommodation almost doubled in just over a year, from 69 million in 2015 to 123 million in 2017, which resulted from an entry into the formal economy of a group of units that were not registered and therefore out of the market”.

She added that the campaigns to integrate these accommodation in the formal economy “have had very positive results, namely” through a new rule that requires the registration of online booking platforms “.

“It is a rule that requires that the registration number be visible on the platforms, immediately leading to an entrance of housing units, has increased from 28 thousand registrations in 2015 to more than 50 thousand currently,” said the Secretary of State for Tourism.

According to Ana Mendes Godinho, the legalization of housing, “many of which had operated underground”, is also a way of promoting regular offers and combating fraud through advertising on the Internet.

“What Portugal is saying at the moment is that everything that is registered is reliable accommodation. It is an important step for security, because it gives a guarantee of the accommodation that exists and is a way of saying that, there, we are also a destination insurance, “concluded the official.

During the conference the President of AHETA Elidérico Viegas highlighted the threats posed to the tourism industry particularly those involved in local lodging through bookings made by the internet. He added that frauds affect consumers in particular, which is of concern to the EU but officials had been unable to deal with these problems so far.

David Thomas outlined the difficulties in dealing with such frauds which often involved fraudsters based overseas. He added that whereas it was clear that Portugal was doing its part, for example through the introduction of AL registration and the compulsory inclusion on AL numbers on adverts, greater collaboration between overseas law enforcement was needed so more effective measure could be introduced.

Those attending the conference learned about the different types of frauds that took place, in particular the rising number of fraud sickness claims being made by some tourists. Barry Gooch Founder of Prevention of Fraud in Travel, who had travelled from the UK for the conference, outlined the work of his association and how they collaborated with the police and industry in the UK in trying to tackle these types of fraud.

Various presenters explained enforcement issues, and ways in which such frauds could be reduced through checking websites closely before entering into agreements and transferring money. The conference also covered ways in which business could protect themselves through the better design of their websites and through improved internal security procedures.

There were two panel discussions and allowed those in the audience to ask questions of the presenters and share their own experience. Some of the presentations will be placed on the Safe Communities Portugal website www.safecommunitiesportugal.com

 

Safe Communities Portugal Celebrates its 5th Anniversary

Monday, November 20th, 2017

In front of an In front of an audience of around 200 people and government officials attending the On-line Fraud affecting the Global Tourism Industry, in Faro on 9th November, Safe Communities Portugal celebrated its 5th Anniversary since it’s forming (originally under the name Safe Communities Algarve) in November 2012.

To celebrate the occasion the Secretary of State for Tourism Ana Mendes Godinho, accompanied by Désiderio Silva President of Regional Tourism Algarve and David Thomas President of Safe Communities Portugal (SCP) cut a cake that had been prepared by the Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo do Algarve – Faro.

On stage were Raoul Rui Martinez, President of the SCP General Assembly and board and fiscal members: Jim Litchko, Chris Stretton, Jane Thomas and Paula Santos, together with Coronel Joaquim Crasto Commander GNR Faro District (Algarve), Superintendent Viegas Martins PSP Faro District Commander and, Chief Inspector Elsa Trindade Head of the ASAE for the Algarve, to help celebrate the occasion.

The Secretary of State gave a speech which included the work of SCP and its value to the community and tourism. She highlighted the “importance of all the remarkable and extraordinary work developed by Safe Communities since their start 5 years ago, specifically with the foreigners living in this such beautiful country creating a better communication between the community with the national authorities and entities”.

Also, two years ago when she had the first meeting with the President of SCP, he reported the security concern within the foreign community living in the Algarve which had previously existed, which led to the forming of the Association – currently that problem does not exist thanks to the help of SCP.

She concluded “I wish that SCP continue with their excellent work for many years”.

David Thomas responded by thanking the Secretary of State and the President of Regional Tourism Algarve for the support that they had given and the close working relationship that exists. This enables Safe Communities to address various issues concerned and take measures to help the authorities maintaining the Algarve as a safe destination for tourists.

SCP has provided assistance to over 2000 people who have contacted us this year, and the demand on our services is increasing considerably. We have helped people in many different ways for instance in respect of missing relatives, reporting crime to police, various fraud cases and people who have been scammed, victims of crime, often involving close contact with the law enforcement agencies, civil protection authorities and embassies and consulates.

Increasingly much of our work also involves lobbying government on behalf of the community to improve services. Two examples in particular this year were our meeting with the ANPC two days after the Pedrógão Grande fire to find ways in which public communication could be improved, and with the GNR and Regional Tourism Algarve following the “Portugal Invasion” disturbances.

We are a small group pf volunteers proving a free and unique service to the community and visitors to Portugal. We are always looking for volunteers and if readers would like to help in some way Safe Communities are pleased to hear from you