Archive for June, 2019

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.

Thirty Six persons tried for ATM explosions and money laundering

Friday, June 7th, 2019

36 suspects, including 10 women, were tried for their direct involvement, in the explosions of 26 ATM boxes and by laundering the stolen money. The biggest gang ever brought to trial.

The sentence was delivered on Friday 7th June by the court of Setúbal, two and a half years after they were detained by the National Counterterrorism Unit of the PJ in November 2016. 17 convicts, 11 of whom were incarcerated.

The two ringleaders, who were already in custody, with six others, have since been sentenced to 15 years in prison each.  None had a criminal record until they entered this crime spiral.

The “bando” – as they were classified by the collective of judges of the tribunal of Setúbal, that absolved to them all of the accusation of “criminal association” – had tentacles in several counties of the zone of Greater Lisbon: there was the “Amadora group”, the “Cascais group”, the “group of Setúbal” and the “Group of the Eastern Zone of Lisbon”.

“That’s what we call a ‘carousel gang’, which uses different operations according to the zone where they want to operate,” explains one investigator who was involved in this process.

The judgment, to which the DN had access, has 535 pages and gives a detailed description of each of the assaults, the role of each, the income they have had and the damages they caused (for which they were also ordered to pay heavy damages, of more than 300 thousand euros).

At least 15 state-of-the-art cars, including BMW’s, Mercedes, Audis, and more than a dozen high-powered motorcycles were seized by the authorities in the possession of the main operating companies when the searches were made

The crime may have compensated over time – and was long, about 22 months – in which they managed to keep out of reach of the authorities.

The first ATM that exploded (at least, of which there is registration and evidence) was on September 30, 2014, in Queluz; the last one was on July 21, 2016, in Algés.

This “know-how” was nothing more, nothing less, than a course in Automotive Mechatronics that was given to Autoeuropa Training Academy . That is why, according to the judges, the preferred target of the gang was the “vehicle theft of the VAG Group, responsible for the production, marketing and assistance, mainly of the Audi brand; , Bora, Golf and Passat, Volkswagen brand “because” Tuga “knew a lot about” the functioning of its electronic and mechanical components. ”

From its “social report” the court withdrew “very positive elements in relation to its family structure with personal concerns at this level”. However, it is pointed out, it can not “be indifferent to the massive number of crimes committed over an excessive period of time as well as the presence of this defendant in concrete in almost all operations carried out.”

Portugal regains 3rd place as world’s most peaceful country.

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

This is the finding of the Institute for Economics and Peace. (IEP) based on 163 countries.

Although shown as a gain of two places compared to 2018, the actual 2018 report shows us in 4th place. In 2017 Portugal was also in 3rd place having improved consistently over the last 10 years.

Spain and France are ranked in 32nd and 60th place respectively, Portugal’s promotion this year to third place in the Global Peace Index has exponentially raised the bar on this country’s profile.

In respect of European countries Portugal is ranked second just behind Iceland in top place.

The report is compiled annually covering 27 indicators ranging from Violent crime, homicide to internal conflicts.

In the domain of “Safety and Security” Portugal was in 9th place this year up four places compared to 2018. By comparison in this domain the UK and Spain were ranked 29th and 33rd places respectively. Afghanistan was in last place.

The Index’s ‘key findings’ report that “the average level of global peacefulness improved very slightly, for the first time in five years.

“Europe remains the most peaceful region in the world, and it recorded a very slight improvement in peacefulness after several years of deterioration.

 Training for the security forces for appropriate intervention with LGBTI people

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

The Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality, Rosa Monteiro, said that training aimed at security forces on crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people (LGBTI) aims to enable those professionals to provide” appropriate intervention with those who are victims’.

“That the professionals of the security forces understand this specificity and what can be done to help avoid victimisation”, added the Secretary of State, in statements to the Lusa news agency, in the presentation of the manual “Policing of Hate Crimes against LGBTI people: Forming a Professional Police Response, in Lisbon.

The group will have access to a manual produced by the Council of Europe, translated into Portuguese, with guidelines and a comprehensive approach for daily use, dealing with issues ranging from insults to physical violence.

Rosa Monteiro also mentioned the intersectional specificities of an immigrant transsexual woman or a homosexual gypsy man, for whom the absence of a support network makes it urgent to perceive the complexity that these persons face, not just another victim of an aggression.

“There is a lot of work to do to give more visibility to this problem that people feel in their concrete lives,” said the Secretary of State, adding that this is an issue that exists both on the streets and in social networks.

Rosa Monteiro, highlighted the increasingly trend in cyberbullying, stressing that the main objective is to denounce situations of violence against LGBTI people, “and today we will have a training session, in addition to the presentation of the manual, with the collaboration of the Judiciary Police (PJ) so that these agents multiply their use by the various security forces’.

The first training course took place between May 28 and 29 in Lisbon, adding 30 professionals from the criminal police, from the Public Security Police (PSP), the National Republican Guard (PNG) or PJ, to the Public Ministry.

AGIF considers that Portugal remains “very vulnerable to the risk of fires”

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

The Agency for Integrated Management of Rural Fire (AGIF) considers that Portugal remains “very vulnerable to the risk of fire”, and there is “a long way to go” to change the behaviour of the populations and the planning.

“The country remains very vulnerable to the risk of fire because there is still a long way to go to change population behaviours (ignitions), spatial planning (exposure) and active management of forest and agricultural (fuel load) spaces. We must persevere in these areas over the next decade, “says AGIF in a response sent to Lusa.

On a day when the means of rural firefighting are strengthened, AGIF stresses that the reinforcement of operational resources “will always be insufficient in the days of extreme weather to reduce burned area, although more effective to save lives and goods” in the short term.

“Weather variability and climate change add uncertainty in an adverse context,” says the AGIF, which is in operation for the first time this year during the fire season.

Asked if the changes introduced in the fight against fire will be visible this year, the agency stresses that the change of context and the system is “not instantaneous”, producing the political measures, incentives and investments in the long term, between five to 10 years.

Of the use of fire in rural areas, 40% originated from extensive burning of vegetation, pastures and stubble elimination and 19% in burnings to eliminate leftovers from exploitation.

“We cannot forget that 85% of fires start within 500 meters of a settlement, it is human activity that causes accidents and 70% of the incidents result from poorly made fires, burnings and burns. “states AGIF.

AGIF participates in the Special Rural Fire Fighting Device (DECIR) this year, supporting in several areas of knowledge, namely in the assessment of danger, analysis of pyro-meteorology and fire behavior and risk management.

According to AGIF, this year’s 35 elements of this agency that constitute teams of integrated management of rural fires, made available to the command posts, at the request of the National Authority of Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC).

The agency also participates permanently in ANEPC’s Decision Support Nucleus for the Analysis of Rural Fires, supporting the strategic and operational decision before the fires and during the development of the occurrences, as well as in the preparation of the periodic strategic analysis.

It has been in operation since January and is chaired by Tiago Oliveira, currently has 11 sub-regional centers, with full coverage in the country.

AGIF, as a strategic coordination of the fire prevention and control system, has since January promoted the horizontal articulation of the main entities, namely the Institute of Nature Conservation and Forestry, ANEPC, Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere and GNR, at the level national, regional and supramunicipal.

The organization states that locations of risk and prevention and pre-suppression measures are identified, namely targeted awareness, patrolling, fuel management scheduling and recommendations for pre-positioning combat resources.

More dead and injured in road accidents in the first five months of the year

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Lisbon, 05 Jun 2019 (Lusa) – The number of deaths on Portuguese roads has risen in the first five months of the year over the same period, as well as the number of seriously injured, despite fewer accidents, according to official provisional data.

According to the latest figures of the National Road Safety Authority (ANSR), between January 1 and May 31 of this year 192 people died on Portuguese roads, 10 more than in the same period (182).

In the same period, 802 serious injuries were recorded, 73 more than in the first five months of 2018.

Between January 1 and May 31 of this year there were 52,737 accidents, 59 fewer than in the same period last year (52,796).

The ANSR also indicates that 16,114 people suffered minor injuries, 551 more than in the same period last year (15,563).

Thefigures of the ANSR, which gathers data from the GNR and PSP, also points out that in the last week of May (22-31 May) 16 people died on the roads and 73 were severely injured.

ANSR data also indicate that between June 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019, the number of deaths on the roads increased to 518 (11 more than in the period from June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2018), while of serious injuries rose to 2,214 (over 102).

Between June 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019, the district with the highest number of fatalities resulting from accidents was Porto (60), followed by Setúbal (53), Lisbon (53), Aveiro (41) and Leiria (39).

The district of Lisbon was the district with the most serious injuries (308), followed by Porto (218) and Setúbal (173).

The data of the National Road Safety Authority concern the dead whose death was declared at the scene of the accident or on the way to the hospital.

President of Assembly of Republic proposes to dedicate June 17 as National Day in Memory of Victims of Fires

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

The President of the Assembly of the Republic, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, today sent to the parliamentary leaders a draft resolution to consecrate June 17 as National Day in Memory of Victims of Forest Fires, according to information sent to Lusa .

The initiative should be voted on this Friday. In the text sent to the parliamentary leaders, Ferro Rodrigues recalls that “June 17, 2017 will remain in history as the day when the most deadly forest fire in Portugal took place, continuing for more than a week in the municipalities of Pedrógão Grande, Castanheira de Pera, Ansião, Alvaiázere, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Arganil, Góis, Penela, Pampilhosa da Serra, Oleiros and Sertã.

This fire, which broke out in Escalos Fundeiros, Pedrógão Grande county, and which later spread to neighbouring municipalities in the districts of Leiria, Coimbra and Castelo Branco, caused 66 deaths and 253 injuries, seven of them seriously, and destroyed about 500 houses , 261 of which were permanent housing, and 50 companies.

“The Assembly of the Republic, an organ of sovereignty representative of all Portuguese citizens, was sensitive to the unrest caused by a tragedy of this magnitude, so brutal and so cruel,” reads the text of the initiative. The high number of injuries and significant damage to property, “highlighting the approximately five hundred housing units, one third of which is the first housing, and half a hundred industrial units in several sectors,” in addition to the large losses in equipment and various infrastructures.

” The initiative also states that it is now up to the parliament to “create the conditions to honour the mortal victims of this great fire, evoking its memory.” Considering “just the appeal of the Association of Fire Victims of Pedrógão Grande so that June 17 be dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives in forest fires,” Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues proposes to the Assembly of the Republic to consecrate that as the Day National Report on Victims of Forest Fires.

The president of the Assembly of the Republic also points out that the initiative aims to “evoke the men, women and children who lost their lives in 2017, but also those who, throughout our history, have succumbed to the scourge of forest fires in Portugal “. Ferro Rodrigues concludes that the initiative is also intended to “remember that a tragedy like that which occurred in 2017 cannot be repeated”. The note sent to Lusa also indicates that Ferro Rodrigues is the first subscriber of the draft resolution that “should count on the support of the parliamentary groups”.

Programa Estou Aqui! ® I’m Here Child Safety Program

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

The Public Safety Police and other partners know the importance of your child in your life.

We want you to make the most of this relationship and the Bracelet I AM HERE! ® To help you with this mission.

The I’M HERE! ® Program is designed so you never miss a moment of your children’s presence, and helps reunify the child with parents if the child goes missing.

I’M HERE – Children´s safety programme: involves the issue of a bracelet.

The program runs from 1st June 2019 to 31st May 2020

It is designed for children from 2 to 10 years old but bracelets for children under the age of 2 may exceptionally be available if they are demonstrably capable of walking alone.

The I’M HERE! ® bracelet has been developed to high quality standards. The tests performed ensure that the fabric is prepared to withstand up to 12 months without losing quality.

The bracelet consists of a fabric ribbon containing an alphanumeric code and the inscription “Call / LIGA 112”.

The bracelet can be order on-line from the official website for collection at a nominated police station

PSP contact details concerning the program here Telephone: 218 111 087 (from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) Email: estouaqui@psp.pt

 

US State Department begins social media screening for nearly all visa applications.

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

Yesterday 2nd July 2019 the U.S. State Department began implementing its requirement that nearly all U.S. visa applicants submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers as part of the application process.

The new requirement, which could affect up to 15 million would-be travellers to the U.S., is part of a broad expansion of enhanced screening under the Trump administration.

First proposed in March 2018, the State Department only just updated the application forms to request the additional information, aciording to a report from Associated Press.

“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveer and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” the department said in a statement to the AP.

“We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”

In the past, this enhanced screening information, including email, phone numbers and social media had only been required for applicants who had been identified for extra scrutiny — primarily people who had travlled to areas with a high degree of terrorist activity. Roughly 65,000 applicants per-year had fallen into that category, according to the AP.

When the State Department first filed its notice of the changes, it estimated that 710,000 immigrant visa applications and 14 million nonimmigrant visa applicants would be affected — including business and student travelers.

New questions on the visa application forms list social media platforms and require applicants to provide any account names they may have had on them for a five-year period. The forms also request phone numbers and email addresses applicants have used over the past five years, along with their international travel and deportation status and whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.