Aurochs, babies and firebombs

Dear Reader

A week of news and views from the Algarve…

Former prime minister of Portugal and latterly president on the European Commission, the millionaire former-Maoist, José Manuel Durão Barroso, already has been embarrassed by the withdrawal of the red carpet treatment should he visit former colleagues in Brussels.

His new bosses at the Great Vampire Squid, Goldman Sachs, gave Barroso a job ‘advising on the effects of Brexit’ and expected at least that the new boy would be able to open doors at the Commission and walk right into the offices of those in power.

Barroso now faces an ethics committee over his acceptance of the highly paid new job and already has written to the EC president Jean-Claude Juncker stating "it has been argued that the mere fact of my working with Goldman Sachs raises integrity issues." Got it in one, José, in fact of all the post-president jobs you could have accepted, this was the worst possible choice.

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/9809-goldman-sachs-may-regret-barroso-appointment-as-allegations-fly

Surprising then that Portugal’s current PM, António Costa, stepped into the Barroso row on Friday by demanding a written explanation from Juncker. Costa says he can’t just stand by while a Portuguese citizen suffers discrimination.

Hint to Costa: ‘leave well alone,’ this is not you fight or your concern.

If the PM is so concerned at discrimination against Portuguese citizens, there are plenty of blatant examples at home, not least the continuing programme of demolitions of properties on the Ria Formosa islands to help rid the islands of its residents which is the unstated long-term goal.

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/9846-portugal-s-pm-claims-discrimination-of-barroso-over-red-carpet-ban

Users of the Via do Infante motorway near the Faro exit cannot help but be impressed at the speed with which the new Ikea store is being erected. Cranes crowd the skyline and press releases from the company have increased in vapidity as there is not really much to say.

‘Spring 2017’ is the latest guesstimate for the opening of the Swedish-owned store and the company is attracting new employees using social media.

There was a recruitment ad last week for school leavers and those still at school to join an in-store job training scheme. This should help keep the running costs down during those difficult start-up years...

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/9805-algarve-s-ikea-to-open-in-the-spring-of-2017

Road access to Ikea will be speeded by the recent opening of the Almancil bypass extension. It seems lucky that this job was finished before the summer recess for the EN125 roadworks programme which should have recommenced on September 1st.

As the government has not paid the main contractor, Rotas do Algarve Litoral, which in turn has not felt inclined to pay its sub-contractors for their sterling efforts to populate the EN125 with as many roundabouts as possible, the various roadworks in the section west of Olhão remain at a standstill and will do so until the cash is forthcoming.

Opposition MPs have spotted that the government seems to have engaged in a policy of slow payment of its outstanding bills, despite appearing to hold adequate working funds. This behaviour sets a poor example and speedy payments have many positive economic effects - as the government has been telling Portugal’s businesses for years.

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/9796-en125-roadworks-contractors-quit-over-non-payment

The Asset Administration Bureau, a division of the Asset Recovery Office of the Judicial Police, should be a fun place to work, grabbing posh motors and properties from crooks and auctioning them off to relieve the taxpayer’ burden. Indeed, €222 million so far has been seized from those making crime their career choice.

Examples of the car maker’s art from Rolls Royce, Porsche and Jaguar are unable to be sold due to a legal complication worthy of ‘Yes Minister.’

The seized properties and cars may not be sold in case the owners later are acquitted on appeal and might want them back.

The ruling decree law seems to have been approved with little experience of reality so those in the Asset Administration Bureau will continue to sit on their assets until they are allowed to get on with their real jobs of maximising sale values from the proceeds of crime. Sir Humphrey would be proud…

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/9799-seized-assets-worth-222-million-can-not-be-sold-due-to-legislation-error

One can not help but notice the increasing media presence of the former Finance Minister, Maria Luís Albuquerque, for whom the bright light of open government and clear explanation was always a challenge.

In fact, Albuquerque’s memory has become so selective that she has started to criticise herself as well as her former boss Pedro Passos Coelho.

Maria Luís claims now to have wanted the sale of Novo Banco to have gone through the first time around, even though this would have blown a hole in the 2015 State accounts, and said "there are many unanswered questions" at Caixa Geral de Depósitos - questions that she refused to answer when in charge and determined to hide the bank’s crippling problems until after the 2015 general election.

The stain of suspicion remains with this politician even before she took over at the Finance Ministry as, when working at the Debt Management Agency, her office approved the ruinous deals which saw State-owned businesses beggared by escalating repayments to banks such as Santander.

This was due to entirely avoidable 'snowball' clauses in 'off balance sheet borrowings' that in the case of Metro de Porto left the company paying interest of 40% on debts carrying a headline 4.79% repayment rate. Albuquerque denied all knowledge of any of these deals, a position that few can greet as credible.

Albuquerque currently is engaged in erasing her political history as she wants to be a prime minister. The press should not play along with her game however many cosy ‘exclusive’ interviews she does to try and airbrush her past.  

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/9798-the-albuquerque-interview-the-socialists-have-got-it-all-wrong

To Alcoutim, the council area whose eastern border is defined by the Guadiana river and whose councillors take seriously the area's depopulation problems evident in many rural municipalities.

The latest encouragement to residents and those the council wants to attract to this beautiful part of the Algarve is to keep property taxes at the lowest possible rate and to forego the local income tax percentage normally credited to council accounts by the Tax Authority.

Already, like Monchique which suffers similar problems, the 'baby grant' acts to encourage frequent and unprotected sex to boost the local head count. The low cost of property and property ownership also should help persuade incomers to embrace Alcoutim's dedication to procreational activities.

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/9814-alcoutim-keen-to-keep-existing-families-and-encourage-new-residents

To the west where Vila do Bispo council has announced an exhibition in its interpretation centre.

"Origins of the Prehistoric Kingdom of the Algarve" has as a centrepiece a stone carving of an aurochs dated to around 22,000 BC.

Other artefacts, including many from the Vale Boi site in Budens, are from the lower Palaeolithic to the Chalcolithic period. If you visit the exhibition, all will be explained.

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/9807-meet-the-ancestors-vila-do-bispo-s-prehistoric-kingdom-of-the-algarve-exhibition

A wave of relief last week swept across those in the Algarve whose income derives from the region’s ports.

The president of the ‘Ports Authority of Sines and of the Algarve,’ João Soares Franco, has been replaced, as has his entire board in a move that can only help Faro and Portimão.

The seemingly deliberate delay to the much-needed expansion of Portimão's quayside and the lack of progress in upgrading Faro docks has served to increase the animosity triggered when the management of the Algarve’s ports was moved to Sines by the Passos Coelho government.

Franco’s possibly well-refreshed commentary to the assembled press at his leaving do laid bare his negative attitude towards the Algarve and its potential for growth should the Portimão quayside be lengthened and the cruise ship turning area dredged.  

João Franco’s opinion of Portimão was that "the cruise business will never pay for the investment" and that in addition to environmental implications, extending the docks in Portimão "will have little economic viability."

This was not his decision to make nor did he have the authority to air this opinion. The investment already had been analysed by the former Minister for the Economy Pires de Lima in 2014, who as a businessman saw immediately the viability of developing Portimão’s quayside and agreed a €10 million investment in the Algarve’s ports just for starters.

Maybe now the deliberately delayed report and costings for this viable maritime development will be forthcoming and larger cruise ships soon will be able safely to dock in the Algarve bringing thousands of new tourists to the region.

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/9816-sines-algarve-ports-president-removed-at-long-last

It was with sadness that I posted a news item last week about a former volunteer fireman arrested for setting fires in forests in and around Proença-a-Nova in the Castelo Branco region.

His habit of driving through forested areas throwing home-made firebombs out of his car window is despicable and when the 46-year-old is found guilty, the judges are unlikely to go easy when it comes to sentencing.

Portugal’s firemen will be as distressed and angry as the public by news of this case but in no way should these senseless acts detract from the moral and financial support we are happy to given to the fire service which relies on volunteers for 90% of its workforce.

Well done to the police who have arrested 72 people this year for setting forest fires, an impressive result when considering the solitary nature of the crime.

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/9844-volunteer-fireman-arrested-for-starting-16-forest-fires

For those wishing to help raise funds for the Bombeiros, there is a fun event in Silves on Saturday 24th September:

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/community-news/charity-news/9832-fundraising-event-to-say-obrigado-bombeiros

With distressing parallels to the Madeleine McCann case, Ben Needham’s family has been waiting since 1991 for news of the toddler who went missing from the Greek island of Kos.

The police seem at last to have found the answer to Ben’s disappearance and are ‘no longer looking for a missing person’ but now will search for Ben’s remains. A digger driver working near the holiday home is likely to have accidentally killed the lad and, in a panic, buried him.

Ben’s mother’s comments are particularly harrowing and show the effect a missing child has on any parent.

Madeleine McCann has been missing since May 3rd, 2007 and so far there has been not a single credible explanation as to her whereabouts or fate.

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/9830-missing-ben-needham-killed-in-digger-accident-25-years-ago

Portugal’s cheery and empathetic population are in favour of welcoming Syrian refugees to live here. In Spain and Portugal, 67% of those polled said “bring it on” when asked if they would have any problem in accepting the refugees.

Within Europe, only the Irish scored higher on the empathy chart, but that’s to be expected from the Irish - a cheery lot.

As for ‘Les Misérables,’ the French were not at all willing to have more foreigners invade their hallowed homeland, superseded only by those in the Czech Republic for their dislike of refugees and for their general grumpiness towards their fellow man.

Portugal needs more people or must accept that its population will continue a long-term decline and react accordingly to reduce the number of schools and increase automation in industry.

PM António Costa already has said Portugal will take 10,000 refugees and would not be averse to taking 20,000 - if the price is right as each comes with a resettlement grant.

So far Portugal has been sent fewer than 800 refugees from the Greek camps, some of whom already have left their new homes in Portugal and made their way to Germany and other northern European countries where job prospects are rosier.

The problem is not within our borders, the processing system in Greece is slow and many offered a place in Portugal prefer to stay in temporary squalor and wait for a chance to get to Germany.

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/news/9843-portugal-s-empathy-towards-refugees-shames-meaner-countries

Finally, to art and in addition to Jill Stott's ever-popular Life Drawing classes each Thursday,

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/features/clubs-associations/9722-life-drawing

here is a selection of sketches from Algarve artist Edwin Hagendoorn whose swiftness of hand captures those going about their daily business.

http://www.algarvedailynews.com/features/art-culture/9838-algarve-life-september-sketches-from-edwin-hagendoorn

 

Other News

 
Misericordia plan to house Roma families in Ferrarias comes under heavy fire

Misericordia plan to house Roma families in Ferrarias comes under heavy fire

A public meeting at the parish council of Ferrarias, Silves, on Thurday evening had to be moved...

 
Amorim and dos Santos lose over €100 million on Galp share sale

Amorim and dos Santos lose over €100 million on Galp share sale

Companies controlled by Portugal’s richest man and Angola’s wealthiest woman have lost more than €100 million on...

 


 
S&P maintains Portugal rating as 'junk' with the outlook 'stable'

S&P maintains Portugal rating as 'junk' with the outlook 'stable'

There has been no change for Portugal from Standard Poor's which has kept its debt...

 

 
Record heat threatens greater ice melt in Greenland

Record heat threatens greater ice melt in Greenland

Greenland’s vast ice sheet began melting faster and earlier this year aided by record-breaking warm weather, according...

 

 
 
Transport sector: cheap diesel to match Spanish pump price

Transport sector: cheap diesel to match Spanish pump price

Portugal’s government has launched its ‘cheap diesel’ trial for HGVs filling up close to the border with...

 

 
Lisbon: Chinese couple charged over daughter's fall from 21st floor

Lisbon: Chinese couple charged over daughter's fall from 21st floor

A Chinese couple who left their five-year-old daughter alone while they went off to the Lisbon Casino...

 

 
Doñana national park in grave peril

Doñana national park in grave peril

Spain's Doñana wetlands area is reported to have lost 80% of its natural water supplies, putting it...

 

 
Portugal Telecom fined $1.25 by the Americans for duping investors

Portugal Telecom fined $1.25 by the Americans for duping investors

Portugal Telecom has been ordered to pay a fine of $1.25 million to settle U.S. charges that...

 

 
Bayer successfully grooms Monsanto with $66 billion

Bayer successfully grooms Monsanto with $66 billion

Monsanto, the American agrochemical giant and producer of genetically-modified seeds, is to merge with another crop chemical...

 

 

 

Algarve golf drives at new record

Algarve golf drives at new record

The Algarve Tourist Association has reported record figures from the booming golf market with 691,676 rounds played

 

Latest Features

Monchique Fire in Pictures

Monchique Fire in Pictures

With thanks to photographer, Robert Pickering, who shares some shots of the...

 
Euro Weekly Update - September 16th 2016

Euro Weekly Update - September 16th 2016

Broadly, investors tended to favour the premier league currencies - the US...

 
Penina again hosts the annual afpop-Medal Insurance Open Golf Tournament

Penina again hosts the annual afpop-Medal Insurance Open Golf Tournament

The 7th Annual afpop-Medal Insurance Open Golf Tournament was held on Wednesday...

 
Algarve Life....September sketches from Edwin Hagendoorn

Algarve Life....September sketches from Edwin Hagendoorn

Edwin Hagendoorn's favorite subjects are found in daily life, like his atelier,...

 

 
 5 day trip to Torres Vedras/Lourinho - Oct 17th

5 day trip to Torres Vedras/Lourinho - Oct 17th

The Algarve Archaelogical Assocation is organising a trip to Torres Vedras/Lourinho on...

 
The World’s Largest Network for Expats Launches New Mobile App

The World’s Largest Network for Expats Launches New Mobile App

InterNations now offers expats an easy way to stay in touch and...

 

 
Life Drawing in Olhão

Life Drawing in Olhão

A tiny group of committed life drawers gather each Thursday morning in...

 

 

The Algarve Wednesday Walkers celebrates 20 years of walking

The Algarve Wednesday Walkers celebrates 20 years of walking

A significant milestone was recently reached when the Algarve Wednesday Walkers (AWW)...

 

Property

 A New Specialist Service from Cerro Novo Estate Agents

A New Specialist Service from Cerro Novo Estate Agents

Golf is the number one, year-round leisure activity of visitors to the Algarve and over the past 18 months, there’s...

 

 

 Exclusive Algarve Villas September News

Exclusive Algarve Villas September News

A selection of September's new listings from award winning Algarve estate agent, Exclusive Algarve Villas.

 

 

 
Take your September sun to new heights with these terrific terraces

Take your September sun to new heights with these terrific terraces

Make the most of this late September sun with a glass of bubbly and stunning views from these terrific terraces.

 

 

 
September property sizzlers

September property sizzlers

A growing number of homeowners are turning to the online property portal, Beverywhere.com, to advertise and sell their homes, saving...

 

 

 

What's Happening?

Amigos de Musica September Concerts at Os Agostos

Amigos de Musica September Concerts at Os Agostos

Charles Owen, one of the finest British pianists of his generation, will be giving two concerts for the Amigos de Música at Os Agostos. On Tuesday September 27th, 2016 Charles...

 

Anniversary Celebrations at the Jazz Clube - Sept 18th

Anniversary Celebrations at the Jazz Clube - Sept 18th

 

Charity News

APAA September 2016 Newsletter

APAA September 2016 Newsletter

The latest news and events from animal charity, APAA. CLICK HERE to read the SEPTMBER NEWSLETTER. (images/pdf/APAA_sept16_news.pdf)

 

 

APAA - End of Summer Dinner - Lagoa, Oct 7th

APAA - End of Summer Dinner - Lagoa, Oct 7th

 

 Business News

 

RECEIVE 2 PV SOLAR PANELS FOR FREE !!!

RECEIVE 2 PV SOLAR PANELS FOR FREE !!!

Come to the ALGARVEXPO in Vilamoura on 17+18 of September and receive 2 FREE PV Solar Panels !! Or 5% discount on your SHS FeedIN System !!! Find us...

 

 

Business Cocktail Evening - Sept 22nd

Business Cocktail Evening - Sept 22n

 

 

Until next week

Ed

 

 

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