Archive for May, 2019

Rural Fires. Municipalities have until the end of the day to clear land from non-compliant landowners

Friday, May 31st, 2019

City councils have until end of Friday  31st May  to ensure land clearing, replacing landlords and other forest producers in default, in order to avoid penalties for current transfers from the Financial Equilibrium Fund (ETF).

In the scope of the Exceptional Regime of the Secondary Networks of Fuel Management, inserted in the Law of the State Budget for 2019, as in 2018, the city councils have to guarantee “the accomplishment of all the works of fuel management, owners and other forest producers in default”.

Between April 1 and May 26 of this year, the National Republican Guard (GNR) initiated “1,710 new infractions to owners for lack of fuel management (cleaning of the forest), on average 40 infractions per day during this period.

During the year 2018, this security force raised 8,425 infractions due to lack of clearing of forest land, which corresponds to an average of 23 infractions identified per day.

In order for municipalities to be able to replace non-compliant landlords, the law states that “landowners and other forest producers are obliged to allow access to their land and to reimburse the town council for expenses incurred in the management of fuel.”

In order to ensure the payment of the costs of the land clearing work, municipalities can apply by September 30 to the line of credit to finance the cleaning of the forest, totaling 50 million euros, as happened in 2018.

Portugal Civil Protection Exercise Cascade 2019

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

In Portugal, about three thousand people, including operatives and extras, will participate in this simulacrum that intends to test the responses of the various national authorities that integrate Civil Protection. There will also be teams from Madeira and the Azores, as well as overseas

. And the unfolding of the exercise can be followed in the account of the National Authority of Emergency and Civil Protection ANEPC, Facebook page.

The exercises will take place in the districts of Aveiro (Águeda, Albergaria-a-Velha, Aveiro, Ílhavo and Sever do Vouga); Lisbon (Alenquer, Amadora, Cascais, where the effect of a tsunami will be tested on 31st to remove people from the beaches of Conceição and Duquesa, Lisbon, Odivelas and Sintra); Setúbal (Almada, Barreiro, Seixal, Sesimbra and Setúbal) and Évora (Arraiolos, Vendas Novas, Évora, Montemor-o-Novo, Viana do Alentejo and Reguengos de Monsaraz).

In addition to the firefighters, GNR, PSP, PJ, SEF, INEM, Directorate General of the Maritime Authority, IPMA and several other entities, will participate in these exerciseswith teams from Spain (specialists in nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical rescue – NRBQ – and a vessel specialized in combating pollution of the sea); France (NRBQ response module), Germany (NRBQ water purification and detection module), Croatia (urban search and rescue specialists) and elements of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) which will have a specialized combat vessel to pollution at sea.

“We will have 64 active scenarios, not at the same time, and with different durations,” said DN Patrícia Gaspar, 2nd national operational commander of the ANEPC .

In this simulacrum the intervention of the various rescue authorities will be necessary in two extreme cases: an episode of adverse weather conditions that affects mainly the district of Aveiro and that has serious consequences in the building, public and industrial infrastructures and a break in a dam.

The second situation will be an earthquake that affects the districts of Lisbon, Setúbal and Évora. Both in Aveiro and Setúbal, the responses to the spill of a dangerous substance due to an industrial accident (in the port of Setúbal) and a collision at a dock in the port of Aveiro will be tested, which will cause a tanker to spill fuel oil for the sea.

The scenarios for these exercises are staggered at three levels, as Patricia Gaspar explains: “Level 1 is at the local level, we will test local emergency situations, such as evacuations from schools, the second level is district, where it will be necessary to request support of district structures, the third level is national and that is where the international teams will be put in. All levels are important because there is an interaction. ”

In Lisbon, for example, “there will be situations of people withdrawing from schools and other small incidents in various parts of the city,” said the ANEPC official.

In order to carry out these exercises, ANEPC and the municipal civil protection services involved organized teams of volunteers that will act as extras in the scenarios. “We will count on municipal officials, children, scouts, members of the associations that have made themselves available to participate,” says Patrícia Gaspar.

The participation of hundreds of elements involved in civil protection in this exercise will not have an impact on the response to real distress situations in a week when high temperatures are expected, says the 2nd ANEPC operational commander. “The fire-fighting device is not included and in case of real occurrence, if necessary, the means will be made available”, he guarantees.

 

 

Portugal: Company uses satellite images to find environmental crimes

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

Coimbra, Portugal, May 28, 2019 (Lusa) – CybELE, a Portuguese company based in the European Space Agency incubation centre is developing technology that uses satellite images to identify environmental crimes, it said on Tuesday.

The project began with the concern of Robin Bouvier from France who, after years of working as a legal adviser to an environmental organisation realised that most environmental protection laws were not enforced and he decided to do something to improve the application of the laws, he told Lusa.

“The images are processed according to the client’s needs and can create a visual idea of the kind of environmental damage and the impact. For instance, we can generate a mask to highlight deforestation or illegal logging in a region or to identify the chemical compounds in an oil spill or other kinds of ground pollution”, he said.

Robin Bouvier told Lusa that the CybELE technology saves time and money to investigate the evidence and to identify and calculate the cost of the environmental damage.

Apart from being useful to law firms and insurance companies, he hopes that the technology can also assist NGOs, governments or international associations that operate in this area.

“The technology lets you monitor a huge area remotely, but much more can be done to improve the accuracy of the satellite images and with the new generation of satellites our analysis will improve”, he added

Comunicado Conjunto do Ministério da Administração Interna e do Ministério da Agricultura, Florestas e Desenvolvimento Rural

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

Face às previsões meteorológicas para os próximos dias, que apontam para um significativo agravamento do risco de incêndio florestal no território do Continente, o Ministro da Administração Interna e o Ministro da Agricultura, Florestas e Desenvolvimento Rural assinaram hoje o Despacho que determina a Declaração da Situação de Alerta no período compreendido entre as 20h00 de hoje, dia 24 de maio, e as 23h59 do dia 30 de maio, para o território continental.

A Declaração de Situação de Alerta resulta dos seguintes fatores:

  • As informações do Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA) sobre as condições meteorológicas para a globalidade do território do Continente;
  • O índice meteorológico de risco de incêndio florestal – FWI, calculado e disponibilizado pelo IPMA, é elevado para os próximos 6 dias;
  • Os comunicados técnico‐operacionais emitidos pela Autoridade Nacional de Emergência e Proteção Civil (ANEPC) que determinam a passagem ao Estado de Alerta Especial Amarelo do Dispositivo Especial de Combate a Incêndios Rurais nos distritos de Beja, Castelo Branco, Évora, Faro, Lisboa, Portalegre, Santarém e Setúbal;
  • A necessidade de adotar medidas preventivas e especiais de reação face ao risco de incêndio.

 

 

 

As medidas de caráter excecional no âmbito da Situação de Alerta são:

  • Elevação do grau de prontidão e resposta operacional por parte da GNR e da PSP, com reforço de meios para operações de vigilância, fiscalização, patrulhamentos dissuasores de comportamentos e de apoio geral às operações de proteção e socorro que possam vir a ser desencadeadas;
  • Proibição da realização de queimadas e de queimas de sobrantes de exploração;
  • Dispensa dos trabalhadores dos setores público e privado que desempenhem cumulativamente as funções de bombeiro voluntário, nos termos dos artigos 26.º e 26.º-A do Decreto-Lei n.º 241/2007;
  • A emissão de Aviso à População pela Autoridade Nacional de Emergência e Proteção Civil sobre o perigo de incêndio rural;
  • A solicitação à Força Aérea, através do Ministério da Defesa Nacional, da disponibilização de meios aéreos para, se necessário, estarem operacionais nos CMA a determinar pela ANEPC;
  • O imediato acionamento das estruturas de coordenação institucional territorialmente competentes (Centro de Coordenação Operacional Nacional e Centros de Coordenação Operacionais Distritais)

24 de maio, 2019

Portugal Mainland placed on Rural Fire Alert

Saturday, May 25th, 2019

The mainland is currently until 23.59 hrs on May 30, in the Alert Situation, due to the meteorological forecasts that “point to a significant increase in the risk of rural fires.”

According to a statement from the Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI), the minister’s joint dispatch with this authority and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development “announcing the Special Yellow Alert State of the Special Device to Combat Rural Fires in districts of Beja, Castelo Branco, Évora, Faro, Lisbon, Portalegre, Santarém and Setúbal.”

In view of this information, the Government has determined that the whole Continental Territory will be placed on Alert, which implies the adoption of “exceptional measures” such as “raising the level of readiness and operational response by the GNR and PSP” for operations surveillance and monitoring and support to the population.

Burnings and burnings of surplus are also prohibited and the dismissal of workers from the public and private sectors who are voluntary firefighters is allowed.

The Air Force is also requested to provide air support in case of need and the coordination mechanisms for national and district operations were immediately activated.

Judicial Police Annual Dug Report 2018 – Cocaine

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

In 2018, 3,343 drug seizures (all types) were registered, of which 2,928 are recorded by weight and 412 in units and 3 in liquid form.

Cocaine appears as the narcotic with largest amounts seized.

Cocaine Seizures

In 2018, in terms of combating cocaine trafficking, approximately 5.53 tonnes were seized, in a total of 498 cases. The amount of cocaine seized increased by 102.6% in 2018, compared to with the previous year, standing at 5,538.23 kg compared with 2,734.16 kg seized in 2017. This is the highest since 2015.

The increase in quantities seized is associated with an increase of 16.9% in the number of cases which rose from 426 to 498, which is the highest in the last five years.

Of the quantities seized 90.9% (5,036.07 kg) was by the Judicial Police. The GNR also recorded a very significant increase in the quantities seized, from 45.5 kg in 2017 to 365. 51 kg in 2018.

In seizures of cocaine, the sea route continues to be the used for the transportation of high quantities, reaching in 2018 a total of 3,101.16 kg in 8 cases. These values represent 56% of the total cocaine seized, but only 1.61% of cases,

The overland route comes with 2,117.51 ​​kg (38.23%) in 342 cases (68.67%), followed by the airway with 309.76 kg seized in 105 cases.

Routes

As recorded in previous years, the national territory continues to be used by several groups and organizations as a transit point for significant quantities of cocaine from the Latin America and the Caribbean, whose final destination is for other European countries.

Based on the division of the various flows identified by geographic area of ​​origin, as in previous years Brazil stands out both for the number of seizures (100) and for the amount seized (277.70 kg). In terms of quantities, Martinique, with 840,00 kg, and Colombia, with 485.45 kg, appear as the main countries of origin of cocaine seized.

Regarding the destinations Spain was identified as a destination country of 2,148.95 kg 18 seizures, corresponding to 38.8% of the total cocaine seized, but only3.6% of the total seizures.

With the same number of cases, France was a destination country with 870.21 kg of cocaine seized. Only 12 were the final destination were non-European countries

Portugal was identified as a destination country of 1,007.73 kg seized on 67 occasions.

It should be noted that of the 498 seizures registered there is only information on the route in 123 situations, the others being unknown.

At the national level, the districts where the largest quantities of cocaine are: Lisbon (2,419.54kg), Azores (2,270.39 kg), Setúbal (481.87 kg) and Santarem (340.03kg).

As regards the number of seizures, only two districts exceed 100 cases: Lisbon with 148 and Faro with 102.

A very hot summer forecasted

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Intense heat and record temperatures will mark the summer of Europe this year. The threat of fire will be high in Portugal and the heat waves will last for several days, announces the US website AccuWeather.

Heat waves, temperatures of 43C over several consecutive days, risk of high fire. This is the scenario set for this year’s summer in the Iberian Peninsula – and especially for Portugal -, the AccuWeather meteorology site stated on Tuesday. Night time temperatures will also be hot.

The areas at greatest risk will be from northern Portugal into northern Spain and from the Alps into Germany and Czech Republic.

IPMA RESPONSE

In response IPMA the official weather organisation in Portugal, which issues various alerts, has stated that this will be the trend, in line with climate change, but has given a more “prudent analysis”.

An IPMA spokesman They add this is not new “and that this summer will be marked by temperatures above normal. In fact, this is the trend of recent years in line with the phenomenon of climate change.

However, commenting on the long-term forecasts of AccuWeather  that point to hot flashes with temperatures reaching 43ºC, the specialist warns that in terms of weather “can not be generalized” and that it is difficult to do predictions at such a long distance because there are many parameters at play.

“Everything indicates that we have a summer with temperatures above normal … and it is even likely that some points in the country can reach values ​​above 43ºC, ” says the expert, noting that this happened last year. As an example, in August 2018, Setúbal reached 45.9 and some regions surpassed 44ºC.

Thus, IPMA opted for a “prudent analysis”, worked in relation to previous periods, and it is not possible to anticipate heat waves such as those predicted by the US site, although the trend is this

ACCUWEATHER REPORT

“Europe will have a summer full of intense heat,” says the report. The heat wave arrives in June and crosses the Iberian Peninsula, drifting northward during the summer months.

The document highlights that the heat wave coming in the coming weeks will be even stronger and more persistent than last summer, when record temperatures were recorded in countries such as Portugal, Belgium or the Netherlands.

On the mainland, rainfall will be low during the summer months and temperatures will be even higher than those recorded in 2018. Even when the heat waves pass, temperatures will remain close to or even above normal, explains the report of the platform.

The threat of fire then expands to the northeast and will reach France, the Alps and Germany. Between July and August, all of central Europe is expected to be on alert due to the high risk of fire.

Unseasonably warm nights will also be a concern during these heat waves, making for dangerous conditions as homes without air conditioning that will be unable to cool down before heat builds again the following day.

It will be important for residents and visitors to take extra care in the heat to prevent illness. Drinking plenty of water, spending time in the shade and wearing light clothing will be necessary.

When possible, strenuous outdoor activity should be avoided during the hottest part of the day.

Stagnant conditions contributing to the intense heat will also result in poor air quality, especially in and near cities. Air quality may also be worsened by smoke from wildfires.

Twenty two arrested in the dismantling of a major crime group who amassed €680 million from their criminal activities

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Europol have reported that a highly professional and dangerous international organised crime group was dismantled last week after a complex investigation carried out in the framework of a Joint Operational Task Force, established at Europol, between the Lithuanian Criminal  Police Bureau, the British HM Revenue and Customs, the Polish Police Central Bureau of Investigation, the Estonian Central Criminal Police under the Police and Border Guard Board and the Spanish Guardia Civil and Policia Nacional.

The operation, code-named ‘Icebreaker’, is the biggest of its kind to date in Europe against such an organised crime group, comprising nationals of Lithuania and other EU countries, involved in large-scale drug and cigarette trafficking, assassinations and money laundering.

Over 450 police and customs officers, including special interventions units, in Poland, Lithuania, the United Kingdom and Spain carried out coordinated raids targeting the members of this long term existing, highly professional and dangerous criminal network in the early hours of 15 and 16 May with the support of Europol and Eurojust.

As a result, the suspected ringleader – a 48 year old Lithuanian national, was arrested in Spain. A further 21 suspects were detained in Poland, Lithuania, Spain and the United Kingdom. 40 house searches took place, resulting in the seizure of €8 million in cash, diamonds, gold bars, jewellery and luxury vehicles, as well as the discovery of hidden compartments used to smuggle drugs and psychotropic substances. A substantial quantity of illicit cigarettes was also seized.

The magnitude of the damage caused by this organised crime group is significant: it is believed that these criminals acquired an estimated €680 million as a result of their criminal activities for the period 2017-2019 alone. This criminal group would traffic drugs and cigarettes into the UK, before smuggling the illegally obtained cash to Poland by different means.

The money was then laundered via currency exchange offices and subsequently invested in real estate in Spain and other countries. The leaders and members of this crime group used counter surveillance and counter intelligence measures to try to evade law enforcement authorities, as well as specialised encrypted communication devices.

Portugal: Police arrest 17 Hells Angels

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

The Judicial Police have today (21st May 2019) conducted searches  in Lisbon and other parts of the country on resulting in the arrest of 17 people as part of a case that involves Hells Angels bikers, a police source told Lusa. Some 150 Judicial Police were involved in the operation. Those arrested are aged between 29 and 52 years.

In March last year, about 20 bikers of the Hells Angels group invaded a restaurant in Prior Velho, near Lisbon, to attack the Red & Gold group, created by Mário Machado. The two rival groups were involved in a fight inside the establishment, with knives, sticks, iron bars and other objects.

This episode of violence led the police to begin a nationwide operation and to hold, in July last year, the first 58 members of the motorcycle group Hells Angels in Portugal (which had one in Germany).

In March 2019, the court of Lisbon held six more members in custody, and in February decided to keep 23 other defendants in remand.

In total there are 38 in pre-trial detention of the 68 defendants (one of them in Germany).

The suspects are indicted of criminal association crimes, attempted first-degree homicide, theft, assault, possession of prohibited weapons and drug trafficking.

There have been Hells Angels groups in Portugal since at least 2002. In the US, where the organisation was founded in the 1940s with its members typically ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles, it has for several years been considered by the Department of Justice to be an organised crime syndicate.

Person detained with almost two million smuggled cigarettes seized in Montalegre

Monday, May 20th, 2019

A person was detained and nearly two million smuggled cigarettes seized by the GNR in Montalegre (Vila Real), in an operation it was announced today.

According to the GNR, the seizure took place last Friday, under the IBÉRIA operation, which sought to carry out searches for a site used as a support base by an international criminal organization. It was used to store fraudulently produced tobacco to supply the marginal commercial circuits, both in national territory and in other European countries.

In a statement, the GNR states that 1,897,940 cigarettes of different brands were seized, packed in about 95 thousand packs “that did not bear the fiscal stamp required for its commercialization in the national territory” and had a commercial value of around 420 thousand euros.

If it had been sold to the public, recalls the GNR, “it would have harmed the State by more than 320 thousand euros, resulting from the evasion of tax levied on Special Tax on Tobacco (IT) and VAT.”

A 41-year-old man was arrested and appeared before at the Department of Investigation and Criminal Action of Oporto (DIAP), but was released on payment of a security of five thousand euros, being subject to periodic presentations at the police station in his area of ​​residence.

The operation of the Tax Action Unit, through the Tax Action Detachment of Oporto, was supported by the Intervention Unit and the support of the Spanish authorities through the Central Operative Unit of the Civil Guard.