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louleconventLoulé councillors unanimously approved a recommendation for the renegotiation of the Program to Support the Local Economy loan that the previous administration signed up for in 2012.

The proposal was approved by all sides after a document presented by socialist members pointed out the urgent need for some "deep reflection" on the loan conditions, particularly regarding the payment deadline, and the measures agreed on to increase council revenue and reduce its expenditure.

motorwayMany workers employed to collect tolls on Portugal’s motorway network have been ordered to move location upto 100 kilometres away from their homes, according to their incensed trade union.

The leader of the Trade and Services Workers’ Union, António Vieira, said this is "a threat by Brisa to force the resignation of employees, highlighting the example of a woman resident in Maia, Oporto, who was told to turn up to work in Coimbra."

Brisa has denied any wrongdoing despite accusations of the ‘brutal and illegal’ treatment of hundreds of workers.

TapThe Government says it really is looking for buyers for state airline TAP next year, and want to sell of most of the Post Office in December this year.

The report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the eighth and ninth assessments of Portugal’s adjustment programme shows that revenue of €500 million is expected in 2014 from the sale of Portugal’s publically owned assets.

QuerencaFatacil, the albatross that has hung around Lagoa council’s neck for so many years, is to undergo a full audit in an attempt to bring some clarity to the €700,000 accumulated debt and to look at sensible ways forward for this once important regional fair.

The annual Fatacil event, once the largest exhibition of agriculture, crafts, trade and tourism south of Lisbon, will be subject to a full financial audit covering the last three years, announced Lagoa’s new mayor today.

winter fuel allowanceWinter fuel payments made last year to expats in Europe jumped nearly 60% on the year before to reach a record £ 21.4 million.

Iain Duncan Smith, secretary of state for work and pensions, blamed the rise on an EU judgement which last year meant anyone able to prove a "genuine and sufficient link to the UK" could qualify for the benefit, even non-Britons who had worked or lived in the UK for most of their life.

Mr Duncan Smith called the ruling “ridiculous”. “The winter fuel payment is designed to help British pensioners with heating costs,” he said, possibly unaware that most of the expat recipients are indeed British pensioners.

oiltankerWhen the Prestige oil tanker sank off the coast of Galicia in 2002, it left a vast oil slick which was one of Europe’s worse environmental disasters.

Eleven years to the day after the first distress call from the vessel, a court in Spain has decided that no one was responsible.

The three people blamed for the sinking were acquitted. They were the Captain of the tanker, the chief engineer and the Spanish maritime chief who ordered the tanker out to sea.

maltaMalta is to sell citizenship to people from outside the EU.

The price tag is €650,000 for a passport, which will give people the right to work and to reside in any of the EU’s 28 member states.

The initiative has been approved by the Maltese parliament in a bid to attract wealthy residents who might invest in the island and to garner funds for its coffers.

silves churchThe new mayor of Silves, Rosa Palma, said today that she may have to resort to an external audit of various aspects of the council’s fiscal past, including the disastrous Viga d'Ouro contract which left the council deeply indebted to the banks.

According Palma, who took office less than a month ago, the municipality is trying to renegotiate the Viga d’Ouro debt, but if the result is not conclusive the mayor says she will order an external audit.

Palma said the council is facing various court actions but could discuss only the Viga d'Ouro case where the council now owes the bank about €8 million.