Archive for June, 2019

Portugal enters the Critical Fire period

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

Starting today until 30th September, Portugal is in the Critical Fire Period. This means we need to reinforce all our efforts to prevent fires.

Regardless of the actual fire risk in your area the following applies:

Burning for grassland renewal, cleaning stubble or debris that is uncut or cut on the ground, but NOT in piles, is not permitted

The burning of piled-up waste is not permitted

The use of stoves, BBQs and grills is prohibited in all rural spaces, except where used outside of the critical areas and in places duly authorised for the purpose. Please note that BBQs are permitted in private gardens, but the owner is liable should the BBQ catch fire to surrounding vegetation.

Smoking and all types of naked flames are prohibited in woodland and forests.

Balloons with a lit fuse and rockets are prohibited. Fireworks are only permitted subject to authorisation from the Municipal Council.

Fumigating and pest control in apiaries are prohibited except where the fumigators are fitted with spark retention devices.

Spark retention devices and flame covers must be used on exhaust pipes and chimneys of machinery with internal or external combustion engines and on heavy transport vehicles. One or two 6 kg fire extinguishers must be carried depending on whether the maximum weight is less or more than ten tonnes

In addition to the above the emergency services have been reinforced in order to help prevent fires and protect the population should a fire occur.

Alentejo, Algarve and Andalusia unite in project to combat forest fires

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

The investigation and fight against forest fires are being strengthened by uniting the Portuguese regions of Alentejo and Algarve and the Spanish of Andalusia in a cross-border project worth 24.6 million euro.

The project, called CILIFO – Iberian Center for Research and Fighting Forest Fires, involves 15 institutions and bodies of the Euro region Andalusia-Algarve-Alentejo, as well as specialized agencies, municipalities and universities.

One of the Portuguese partners, the only one in the Alentejo, is the University of Évora, which on 1st July was the venue of the public presentation and the launching of CILIFO.

Research and strengthening of cooperation between universities and civil protection systems in support of forest fire prevention and control in Andalusia and southern Portugal are at the heart of the project, which includes a common research, training and awareness-raising plan to be developed in the three regions, indicated UÉ.

The researcher responsible for the project at UÉ, Rui Salgado, explained to Lusa that CILIFO has a financing of 24.6 million euros, being co-financed at 75% by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Program of Cooperation INTERREG VA Spain-Portugal (POCTEP) 2014-2020.

What triggered the launch of the initiative, whose candidature was approved last year, despite the actions started this year, had to do with the fires and “tragedies” that occurred in Portugal in 2017, he stressed.

Since then, “in Portugal, there have been many entities concerned with fires, they have opened different programs for projects” in this area and “it was created in the public opinion, but also in the institutions the need to intensify the fight” to the fires he said.

But he continued, to that end, “there was a need to improve the investigation, to know better how it is going to be combated, and also to take into account that the current conditions, especially from a climate point of view, are different” nowadays, so that climate change is a variable to be considered “in strategies for the prevention and fight against fires”.

According to Rui Salgado, “a large part of the funding” will be applied to infrastructures, such as the creation of CILIFO, which will be in Huelva, Andalusia, and the “training to combat forest fires of the operational ones”, as well as “in awareness of populations and students to a set of measures they can take “to prevent fires.

CILIFO “also has an important component in the area of ​​research” and this “will be the main work” of the UÉ, through three research centres, he said.

The Institutes of Earth Sciences (with specialists in remote sensing, meteorology and climate) and Agrarian and Mediterranean Environmental Sciences (forest engineering, forest fires and remote sensing) and the Centre for Research in Mathematics and Applications (mathematical modeling of support, particularly fire prevention) are the units.

“Three years is some time, but it is not much,” admitted Rui Salgado, regarding the duration of the project, assuming that, in the end, the goal is for the center to be set up in Huelva, for the network of connections between partners to be extended and that the research to be carried out in the EUS will allow a “qualitative leap” to help “forestall better” forest fires.

The main beneficiary of CILIFO is the Junta de Andalucia. The other Spanish participants are the Andalusian Environment and Water Agency, the State Agency for Scientific Research – Doñana Biological Station, the Once and Finnova foundations, the National Institute for Agricultural Research and Technology and Food and the universities of Cadiz, Córdoba and Huelva.

On the Portuguese side, besides the Alentejo University, the Intermunicipal Community of Algarve and the municipal councils of Castro Marim, Loulé, Monchique and Tavira, in the district of Faro are partners of the project.

 

Foreigners increase to nearly 5% of Portugal’s population

Saturday, June 29th, 2019

The number of foreigners living in Portugal increased by 13.8% in 2018 to a total of 480,300, just under 5% of the total population, the highest number since the foreigner and border service was set up in 1976, it said in a report issued on Friday.

The agency’s 2018 report said this was the third year in a row that the number of foreigners in the country had increased, particularly Italians, who increased by 45.9% compared to 2017, and now number 18,862.

Brazilians, however, continue to be the largest foreign community with 105,423 nationals, representing more than a fifth of all foreigners in Portugal.

The report also said that French nationals are also increasing in number and there are now 19,771, which is a 29.1% rise compared to the previous year.

Ukrainians are the only ones whose numbers are falling, with a 10% reduction last year to a total of 29.000.

According to the foreigners and border service more than two-thirds of the foreign population (68.9%) lived in and around Lisbon, Faro (77,489) and Setubal (40,209).

The Judicial Police arrested 14 people for qualified tax fraud

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

On 25th June the Judiciary Police and the Tax Authority, through the National Anti-Corruption Unit (UNCC) and the Directorate of Fraud Investigation and Special Action Services (DSIFAE), respectively, carried 50 home searches and made 14 detentions, on suspicion of criminal association, qualified tax fraud and money laundering, in a criminal case whose investigation is conducted by the Department of Criminal Investigation and Action of Lisbon.

The detainees, aged between 20 and 77, are suspected of belonging to an organized network which, since at least 2017, engaged in intra-Community VAT fraud in the acquisition of telecommunications equipment.

For this purpose they used the formation of successive one-person companies without any real activity and subsequent billing, without VAT being paid to the state’s coffers. The assessed loss is in excess of 6.5 million euros.

The criminal activity of this organized network was boosted by the use of the online sales platforms of the largest national companies in the sector, allowing them to obtain an exposure and sales volume that otherwise would not have reached them.

The detainees will be present at the Court of Criminal Investigation of Lisbon during the day of tomorrow, for first judicial interrogation and application of coercion measures.

Portugal spared extreme hot weather

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

Please be aware if you are travelling in Europe

Hit by an intense heat wave, which will last until at least the weekend, most of the countries of Europe, from Spain to Sweden and Germany, passing through France, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Switzerland, are recording record temperatures , with thermometers over 40 degrees Celsius at various places.

However in Portugal, temperatures are below average for the season, with some cloud and occasional showers.

One of the factors determining this is that a mass of hot air, coming from the Sahara desert, is being pushed far north by the wind, scorching all those countries unaccustomed to such temperatures.

In Portugal, on the contrary, is under the influence of a depression, which has remained in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, bringing with it the cloudiness and precipitation. This depression prevents the mass of hot air from the African desert from reaching here.

The other countries in Europe cannot say the same, starting in Spain, already here, where forecasts point to very high temperatures, above average for the season, in the whole territory, except for Galicia and Asturias. In some Spanish cities, thermometers may reach 44 or 45 degrees Celsius.

In anticipation of high temperatures, alerts have been made in the different countries to European citizens for special care with heat. In France, which still has in memory about 15 thousand dead there recorded during 2003, many schools in the region of Paris cancelled classes and sent the children home. The final examinations, which were scheduled for this week, were also cancelled and postponed for the first week of July.

French and German weather services have warned of the possibility of new temperature records in some of their cities, which can reach 40 degrees Celsius, levels never before registered at this time of year. “It’s an unprecedented situation because it’s happening very early in June,” said Emmanuel Demael of the French meteorological agency, quoted in the European press.

“The situation on the continent is being conditioned by a depression located northwest of the Iberian Peninsula,” said the the meteorologist Ricardo Tavares. “It is this depression that brings, in frontal waves, the rain and cloudiness that have characterized the last days,” stresses the expert.

To compete for this situation, the Azores anticyclone is at this time more weakened and located far to the south, thus allowing the passage of this depression to the Portuguese mainland. “It is not very frequent at this time of year, but sometimes it happens,” notes Ricardo Tavares, noting that early summer in 2018 was also very similar.

 

 

Government announces Safe Summer Program for the Algarve

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

Eduardo Cabrita, the minister of Internal Administration, outlined on Saturday 22nd June the program to ensure the necessary resources to guarantee public safety in the Algarve region, as well as cope with the expected fires.

“What we will have over the summer is a boost in resources that allows us to say that we are prepared for a safe Algarve. We are prepared with an additional presence of means from the PSP, the GNR and a reinforcement of the SEF presence at Faro Airport, “said Eduardo Cabrita.

Safe Communities Portugal were in attendance at the announcement made as part of the Safe Summer event held at Regional Tourism Algarve Headquarters in Faro.

Regarding Civil Protection and the protection of the forest against fires, “given the characteristics of our forest and climate change, we must be aware that risk requires that priority be given to prevention, forest clearing and in programs such as the “Safe Village, Safe Persons”.

“We will certainly have fires. What happened, especially here in the Algarve last year, is that absolute priority has been given to safeguarding human life. We have tested mechanisms to support the population, with great involvement of municipalities and all institutions in the region”, he added.

In the field of public safety, PSP and GNR, working on the ground, closer to the population, both will have a considerable reinforcements in the summer.

The PSP will be reinforced by 36 teams from the Intervention Corps of the Special Police Unit, which will include a total of 360 men. During the summer, four Prevention and Immediate Response Teams – two in Faro, two in Portimão – and mixed policing teams, made up of PSP agents and counterparts from the Spanish Police and the French National Police, will also be affected during the summer.

The GNR, meanwhile, will have about 200 soldiers for permanent reinforcement, as well as four cinotechnical teams (man and dog) and others as patrols on horseback.

There will also be 500 soldiers posted for the main summer events», with emphasis on the concentration of Faro’s Motoclube and the Candido de Oliveira Super Cup.

Also the GNR will have collaborations with security forces estarngeiras, in this case the Spanish Civil Guard, the Carabinieri of Italy and the Gendarmerie Nationale, of France.

As part of the collaboration the President of Safe Communities Portugal David Thomas and Secretary of State for Internal Administration Isabel Oneto signed a protocol at the event covering several initiatives to help maintain the Algarve as a safe destination.

In the airports there was a 40% increase in the number of staff of the Aliens and Borders Service, while negotiations were still underway between the Government and ANA Airports “to increase the electronic control points” in order to avoid congestion and long queues. Eduardo Cabrita.

Regarding thel Civil Protection Emergency Authority, the four new Permanent Intervention Teams, the fire departments of Alcoutim, Monchique and Portimão, were highlighted, increasing the number of professional teams in the Algarve to nine.

There will also will be stationed permanently in the region an Extended Attack Group, made up of 35 soldiers and seven vehicles.

Meanwhile, four aerial facilities, all of them light helicopters, are already operating in the Algarve. As of July 1, the Loulé heliport will become the temporary home of a heavy-duty helicopter.

This is the reinforcement that the region can count on this summer, although the possibility of further strengthening is open if the situation demands it.

Person arrested in connection with investigation into terrorist crimes

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Under the provisions of article 86, paragraph 13, b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Attorney General’s Office and the Judicial Police have issued a statement.

In a criminal investigation involving terrorist crimes, in particular as regards the participation of national citizens in the ranks of the Islamic state, a police operation has been conducted to effect the arrest of an individual suspected of having provided support to combatants of that terrorist organization.

The police action occurred in the early hours of June 16, and a home search was carried out accordingly to the residence where the same person was located.

The citizen is now accused in the United Kingdom for several years, and from there he has developed various activities for the Islamic state, namely as support and facilitator to the movement of other nationals to the territories of Iraq and the north of Syria.

This investigation, which is still ongoing, is essentially limited to those residing in the national territory.

The defendant was present for judicial interrogation on Monday, 17, and the preventive custody measure was ordered.

 

“Safe Summer” Display at Mar Shopping, Loulé

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Following the success of the crime prevention awareness display at Mar Shopping in April, another event is planned at the same location for Saturday 22nd June. It will run from 10.00hrs to 20.00 hrs.

Those participating will be the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) Loulé and Safe Communities Portugal, accompanied for the first time, by the military of the Gendarmerie National from France and the Arma dei Carabinieri from Italy.

The participation of these overseas organisations is part of the GNR “Safe Summer” program, which includes joint patrolling by the military of the Gendarmerie National and the Arma dei Carabinieri at selected tourist locations in the Algarve.

The event has been planned by the GNR, Safe Communities Portugal and the management of Mar Shopping, the latter whom have given great support to this subject.

The theme will again be promoting sound crime prevention practices, to help maintain the Algarve as a safe destination for visitors and well as for residents.

The display will feature, the GNR “Dragoa” (Dragon) mascot which was very popular with children last time and a GNR dog. Safe Communities Portugal will be presenting their updated “Emergency Medical Card” which was developed with the support of the GNR, PSP and INEM.

There will be plenty of leaflets in various languages to take away, and a good opportunity to find out more information concerning safety and security matters.

This event proved very popular with visitors last time so we look forward to seeing everyone.

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It is a mistake to put heavy fighter aircraft in Castelo Branco

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

In a statement on 14th June, Parliament’s Observatory calls on Civil Protection to rethink a decision that will draw a lot of autonomy from key fighters in fighting large fires.

The Independent Technical Observatory of the Assembly of the Republic for forest fires warns that it was a mistake to relocate the only two heavy firefighters to Castelo Branco.

The move was announced earlier this month for security reasons at the base where they were stationed here in Seia, but according to experts in the subject will greatly reduce the response capacity of means considered fundamental in large fires.

In a document analyzing the combat device planned to respond to the flames in 2019, the Observatory makes a point of remembering that these two heavy aircraft are “unique” in Portugal, “scarce in the market, costly and have to be maximized profitability.”

Parliament approves: throwing cigarette buts on the ground will result in a fine

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

The Assembly of the Republic approved the draft Law of the PAN party.

The draft law presented by the PAN party prohibits the “discarding” of the cigarette ends onto the public road and provides that the Government promotes actions to raise awareness of this issue, both for citizens and those responsible for commercial establishments. 

Failure to comply with these assumptions will lead to a slight or very serious environmental counter-order and to the imposition of high fines.

During the discussion of the draft law it was pointed out that some municipalities already have initiatives in this area and could contribute to the final version of the law. André Silva said that “it is estimated that in Portugal about 7,000 cigarette ends are thrown to the ground every minute.”

Closing the debate, the deputy acknowledged that the proposal “is not perfect” and “needs corrections” to “improve and make a consensual law.” The document now goes to the Committee on Environment, Spatial Planning, Decentralization, Local Power and Housing.