Archive for January, 2018

Directorate-General for Health recommends yellow fever vaccination for all travellers to Brazil 

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

 

The Directorate-General for Health (DGS) recommends that all people travelling to Brazil get vaccinated against yellow fever. The alert published 23rd January 2018 on the DGS website, comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) reported the increase in the number of cases, particularly in the state of São Paulo, together with those of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and federal district (Brasilia).

Between July 1, 2017 and January 14, 2018, 35 confirmed cases were reported, including 20 deaths, according to the DGS statement; another 145 are under investigation.

Since 2016, Brazil has been experiencing yellow fever outbreaks in some states. The last to be included in the list of concern of the authorities was São Paulo, where few Portuguese travel in tourism, “is the business capital, but tourism is not expressive,” according to Nuno Mateus, vice president of the Portuguese Association of Agencies Travel and Tourism (APAVT). However, Brazil “is a destination that is recovering, was the destination with the highest demand at the end of the year,” he adds.

However, Brazilian authorities have promoted mass vaccinations in the states with cases of yellow fever. In São Paulo state, since January 2017, at least 36 people have died as a result of the outbreak, local health authorities reported in the weekly bulletin from the State Department of Health. It is the most populous state in Brazil with 45 million inhabitants. In total, 81 cases of contamination with the disease were detected, compared to 40 registered seven days before.

The most affected city of all, Mairiporã, with 14 deaths, is located at the gates of the state capital, a megalopolis where around 20 million people circulate every day, which increased the risk

Forest Fires – Communiqué of the Ministerial Council of January 18, 2018

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

On 18th January The Council of Ministers approved two diplomas that consolidate the strategy of forest defence and fire prevention and combat, implementing the measures decided in the RCM of 21st October 2017 regarding the strengthening of the level of protection of people and goods and the resilience of the territory to the occurrence of rural fires.

In compliance with the recommendations contained in the report produced by the Independent Technical Commission, the approved measures are aimed at implementing changes of a transversal nature that guarantee a better articulation between the fire prevention and control mechanisms, the professionalism and training of the operators and the specialization of the means.

 

In this regard, the following were approved:

The resolution defining the Single Prevention and Combat Directive. This directive approves, for the first time and in an integrated way, the responsibilities of the various participants in the system, improving flexibility and coordination between them, from the planning stage through prevention to the suppression of rural fires.

In addition to the prevention and combat approach, is to reinforce structural prevention and the incorporation of specialized knowledge in the system, through the creation of a pool of forest fire experts, which will allow qualified technical support to the operational command of rural firefighting.

The involvement of civil society, owners, rural producers, producer organizations, municipalities, civil and military public institutions, all civil protection agents and other entities with relevant knowledge and experience are sought in a cooperative effort and collaboration, with shared responsibility.

On the other hand, the transparency of the system is also strengthened because it is a public document and a free disclosure. In this way it also contributes to the system’s greater capacity of evaluation and accountability of its actors.

The decree-law approving the organization of the Agency for the Integrated Management of Rural Fire (AGIF), which is responsible for the integrated analysis, planning and strategic coordination of the Integrated Rural Fire Management System (SGIFR), including qualified support for intervention at high risk events.

Based on the reformulation of the principles of the forest fire defence system, the SGIRF is oriented towards the protection and sustainability of forest areas and for the safeguarding of people and property, including population groups.

With the creation of the AGIF, it is recognized the need to close the main gaps identified by the Independent Technical Commission created to analyze the events related to the fires that occurred between June 17 and 24, 2017, in terms of planning, integration and interaction between entities and interventions, strategy, intelligence and evaluation of the system.

The AGIF seeks to ensure the integrated analysis of the system, to ensure its soundness and effectiveness, and the articulation of the entities that comprise it, namely, the National Civil Protection Authority, the Republican National Guard and the Institute for Conservation of Nature and Forestry . It also promotes the strengthening of information and communication systems in support of operational decision-making.

Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, at the press conference of the Council of Ministers, Lisbon, January 18, 2018

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, said that the Single Prevention and Combat Directive, approved by a resolution of the Council of Ministers, “establishes the structural transformation mechanisms of the forest fire defence system”.

At the press conference after the meeting of the Council of Ministers in Lisbon, Eduardo Cabrita said that the Directive follows the lessons learned “from the events that took place between June and October, and from the conclusions of the report of the Independent Technical Commission”.

The statement of the Council of Ministers states  that the directive approves “for the first time and in an integrated way, the responsibilities of the various participants in the system, improving flexibility and coordination between them, from the planning stage, through prevention to the suppression of rural fires’.

The Minister said that the directive “clearly characterizes” the level and form of intervention of the various public entities, private entities and civil society that have a responsibility in the prevention and combat effort at all stages.

Eduardo Cabrita stressed that “this is the first time that there is an instrument of this nature”, which compromises all areas of the Government that “corresponds to one of the main objectives of the forest defence reform, which is, the approximation of prevention and combat”

The instrument also provides “the basis that in a few weeks, the National Civil Protection Authority and the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forests can define their directives in their own areas of intervention.

 

Importance of prevention

The Minister of Home Affairs stressed that “the highest priority at the moment is awareness-raising for prevention” and stated that there are “exceptional instruments enshrined in the State Budget with mechanisms that link individuals, public companies, the entire public sector and local authorities”.

Eduardo Cabrita highlighted the need to clean up the forest by the end of May, anticipating the greatest risk, and stated that the 19 most risky areas are identified and involve municipalities, parishes and villages.

The effort to focus on prevention by the end of May will enable “reinforced means to prepare and program the fight and prepare the transition to a different model that will allow for more preparedness in the forest area”.

The Single Prevention and Combat Directive and the organic one of the Agency for the Integrated Management of Rural Fire, were the two diplomas approved in the meeting of the Council of Ministers and “come to consolidate the strategy of defence of the forest and fire prevention and firefighting, concretizing the measures decided in the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of 21st October 2017

The Council of Ministers also approved the creation of the Agency for the Intergrated Management of Rural Fires.

 

Flexible Endowment Facility

The Minister for Home Affairs stated that the State Budget provides for a flexible allocation of € 200 million, which allows for all forms of strengthening of means in the various areas of prevention and combat.

“The reinforcement of 500 units of the Intervention, Protection and Relief Groups [of the GNR] is already under preparation, allowing them to operate throughout the national territory; a reinforcement of 100 elements of the Nature and Environment Protection Service, “he said, adding that the tender was launched for the formation of 100 teams of forest sappers, involving 500 new forest sappers.

Eduardo Cabrita also said that the priorities of 40 teams of permanent intervention with the Portuguese Firemen’s League are being discussed.

In addition to reinforcing human resources, there will also be reinforcement of support structures, whether through personal protection equipment, vehicles, mechanisms of first combat or extended combat.

“The priority is to clear the bush by May 2018. For this, the State Budget has created quick intervention mechanisms, through the waiver of public tender or the approval of the Court of Auditors for the contracting of public entities to build strips of primary or secondary protection and the creation of 500 kms of new protection strips, “he added.

There will also be a credit line of 15 million euros for private entities to take responsibility for cleaning up the areas under their jurisdiction and another for 50 million euros for municipalities to clean up against the non-compliance of individuals.

“We will not stop doing everything so that in the field of prevention, and in preparation for the best fight, this year we will do everything that is necessary so that nothing is as before,” he said.

Seven years in jail for person guilty of 17 burglaries

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

The court of Aveiro has sentenced a 30-year-old man to seven years in prison for 17 break-ins at residences owned by foreigners in the municipalities of Murtosa and Estarreja between May 2014 and February 2015.

The man, who is currently in jail, was charged with 17 felonies of qualified theft and sentenced to 42 and a half years in “partial punishment”. In legal terms, he was given a single sentence of seven years’ imprisonment.

The presiding judge stressed that the fact that the residences were not inhabited, contributed to “mitigate” the degree of illegality, because the owners “did not suffer the shock inherent in acts of this nature.”

The position of the defendant who cooperated with the investigation and fully assumed the facts during the trial was also taken into account by the panel of judges.

The court also upheld two civil claims, ordering the defendant to pay compensation of €599  to the owner of one of the robbed residences and €2000 to the Pardilhó Parish Care Center.

Also in the same case, a scrap merchant who bought some of the stolen goods was sentenced to 120 days’ fine at a daily rate of seven euros, for a total of €840 euros, for five counts of crimes.

Although it was not established that the scrap dealer was aware of the illegal origin of the goods, the judge said that the business should have raised suspicions because the value of the same was lower than the real value and knew that the seller was addicted and had no gainful activity.

A third defendant who was accused of having participated in one of the thefts, was acquitted.

During the trial, the main defendant confessed the facts, justifying the criminal activity by the need of money to satisfy his drug addiction.

According to the indictment of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the defendant cycled the various places in those counties in search of temporarily uninhabited houses, namely owned by.

The assailant entered the houses by means of break-in or staggering and stole copper from water heaters, taps, lamps, furniture, and aluminium doors and windows.

Massive operation by GNR Tax Action Unit and Tax Authority results in seizure of 12 tonnes of tobacco leaf and 19 arrests

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

The GNR Fiscal Action Unit, in conjunction with the Tax Authority’s Anti-Fraud Services Directorate and under the direction of the Central Department of Criminal Investigation and Action (DCIAP), have completed the 15-month investigation known as “Out of the Circuit”.

This has culminated in the indictment by the DCIAP against 16 defendants relating to a transnational criminal organization that organized, production, processing and marketing of fine-cut tobacco and cigarettes.

The criminal organization now dismantled was dedicated to the large scale smuggling and production of leaf tobacco from Spain, Poland and Bulgaria into Portugal.  It was then processed, and packaged for sale and delivery to the public, through social networks and online shopping sites throughout Portugal, without declaration and payment of taxes.

The movement of the proceeds obtained from the criminal activity was carefully carried out in order to avoid its traceability by the relevant authorities.

For the compensation of the State, due to the actual damage caused by IT, VAT and IRC due to the fraudulent activity amounts to more than 13 million euros. The Civil Prosecution Service filed a civil damages claim.

In the course of the investigation, more than 12 tonnes of leaf tobacco and fine-cut tobacco were seized, which if sold would have resulted in further losses to the State of a further 15 million euros in taxes.

During the survey, 111 searches were carried out (87 domiciliary and 24 non-domiciliary) and 19 citizens of Portuguese nationality, aged between 26 and 61, were detained.

The authorities also seized machinery and various objects used in illicit processing and marketing of tobacco, more than two hundred thousand euros in cash, dozens of computer equipment and devices, as well as 32 motor vehicles used in the aforementioned criminal activity.

Accused defendants are charged with committing a criminal offense, twelve felonies for fraudulent introduction into qualified consumption, nine crimes of qualified tax fraud, three money laundering offenses and three crimes of tax fraud. The measure of pre-trial detention was applied to three suspects and the arrest warrant with electronic surveillance to two others, and one of the suspects remains in custody.

Alcaria – Person accused of pet cruelt

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

On 18th January the Territorial Command of Castelo Branco, through the Fundão GNR SEPNA Unit, rescued a dog with signs of mistreatment and abandonment in a property, in the locality of Alcaria.

During a patrol, the military found in the backyard of a property, a dog that was undernourished and neglected by its owner, who has been accused of the crime of pet cruelty.

The dog after being treated by a veterinarian, was delivered to the Fundão Official Collection Centre, as a safeguard measure to provide care, protection and well-being

Maritime Authority warn: Rough seas and strong swells until 19th December

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

The warning published by the Maritime Authority for Wednesday and Thursday (17th/18th December) forecasts waves that can reach 7 meters high on the high seas, which will give rise to a strong swells near the west coast of mainland Portugal. The IPMA has placed seven coastal areas of the mainland plus two areas in Madeira for high seas which may reach a maximum of 9-11 meters.

The National Maritime Authority and the Navy recommend precautions particular by the fishing community and those undertaking  recreational boating, to return to the nearest port of call and to adopt precautionary measures, as well as seek other information of port authorities on the conditions of access to ports, and avoiding going out to sea until conditions improve.

For the general population that frequent the coastal zones anywhere along the entire western coastline, it is advised that until the end of Friday people refrain from walking along the coast and on the beaches, as well as undertaking activities in areas exposed subject to to maritime unrest. People should avoid exposing themselves to unnecessarily risks.

If there is an absolute need to travel to the coast, a vigilant attitude must be maintained and always be aware that in these extreme conditions the sea can easily reach apparently safe areas.

It is emphasised that recreational anglers take extreme caution, avoiding fishing along the cliffs and upstream areas on the coastal fronts hit by wave surf, always bearing in mind that the sea in these extreme situations often reaches areas which are thought to be secure.

 

 

 

Portugal Eight dead and 50 injured in boiler explosion

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

At least eight people died and dozens were injured, some seriously, after a salamander exploded and started a fire late Saturday at the packed premises of a local residents association in, Vila Nova da Rainha, Tondela  in the north of Portugal.

A salamander explosion at 20.40 hrs set fire to the false ceiling of the building and caused widespread panic as people on both floors of the association rushed to the front door. Several people were overwhelmed and this was the cause of the most serious injuries. But there are also several cases of people who have suffered severe burns.

Civil Protection Agency commander Paulo Santos told local radio station TSF that at least at least 35 people were injured, 14 of them in serious condition. One of the injured is a 15 year old.
Around 70 people were taking part in an evening amateur card tournament when the fire occoured. They said people crowded the exits as thick smoke filled the building. Dozens of fire crews and two rescue helicopters were at the scene taking the injured to hospital.

According to the CDOS at the peak of the operation were mobilized about 200 operatives and 74 vehicles involved in victim assistance operations. Four aerial media were activated. Six medical teams from INEM that set up an advanced medical post in order to screen all the wounded.

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa,will visit the scene this morning Sunday 14th January.

 

Illegal IPTV streaming network shut down by law enforcement authorities –  Four arrests

Friday, January 12th, 2018

On 11 January 2018, a crime group suspected of hosting a large-scale illegal IPTV streaming business has been dismantled. The investigations were led by the Cypriot Police – Intellectual Property Crime Unit, with the support of the Cybercrime Division of the Greek Police, the Dutch Fiscal Investigative and Intelligence Service (FIOD), the Cybercrime Unit of the Bulgarian Police, Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC) and with the support of members of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA). In total, four individuals have been arrested and 17 houses searches have been carried out in Cyprus, Bulgaria and Greece.

The network is accused of illicitly distributing Greek, Cypriot and foreign pay TV subscriber channels, using several servers to facilitate illegal signal dissemination via subscription channels. These services were allegedly offered through retailers throughout Europe and sold as a monthly illegal subscription for as little as 20 Euros.

In total, one individual was arrested in Bulgaria on the action day, alongside three others in Cyprus. The servers used to distribute the channels were shut down, and IP addresses hosted by a Dutch company were also deactivated thanks to the cooperation of the authorities of The Netherlands. In Bulgaria, 84 servers and 70 satellite receivers were seized, with decoders, computers and accounting documents.

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PSP Ribeira Brava – Seizure of 12 weapons

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

The Regional Police of the Public Security Police of Madeira informs that it has conducted, through the Police unit of Ribeira Brava, a crime prevention operation that culminated in the seizure of 12 firearms, more specifically 12mm shotguns intended for hunting, in an irregular situation and contrary to the legal provisions governing arms and ammunition.

These preventive actions of the Public Security Police are intended to ensure the removal of firearms, their components or ammunition, thereby reducing the risk of offenses or crimes.

The Madeira Regional Command advises the public to communicate to the PSP immediately any suspicious or criminal offenses which it has knowledge of, using the general line (+351 291 208 400) or, where appropriate, or the crime in progress by calling the emergency line (112).

Funchal and Regional Command of Madeira, January 9, 2018