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4828In a disparaging speech, the head of Turismo de Portugal has criticised the large mish-mash of regional bodies that try to promote tourism, and the fact the Portugal still is not a coherent brand.

The number of regional bodies is high, given the size of the country, according to of Louis Matoso, the national tourism boss who admitted that regional slants in national initiatives are useful but the whole system really does need sorting out.

graffitiFour youngsters between 16 and 20 years old have been caught red-handed by the police in Tavira early on Friday morning as they sprayed graffiti on public and private buildings.

Police seized ‘various objects’ being used by the suspects in pursuit of their anti-social activities, including several spray cans.

bollywoodAfter nearly a year the six screen cinema at the Continent Portimão shopping centre reopened last week as a brand new Cineplace.

The new operator Orient Group have taken on 12 people.

The Portimão cinema had been closed since January this year following the insolvency of Socorama Castello-Lopes which operated other cinemas nationally including the multiplex at Algarve Shopping in Guia which managed to reopen in August.

4828The hopes of the Algarve’s hoteliers have been dashed as the expected flood of home grown tourists may be off target with 76% of those Portuguese interviewed said they will be staying at home over the Christmas period

Of these, 49% say they are staying at home as they are pretty much broke, and staying put will save what little money they have left.

diamond2The secret heart of the diamond trade is said to be Antwerp and specifically on Hoveniersstraat, an otherwise unremarkable street of office blocks.

Here in 1,500 diamond offices, eight thousand people, representing 160 nationalities, handle diamonds worth £85 million every day.  

About 85% of all the diamonds on the world market are bought and sold here and vaults contain gems worth hundreds of millions more.

acropThe Greek budget for 2014 contains more than €3 billion in austerity cuts.

But it also predicts that Greece will exit its recession after six long years with growth of 0.6%.

The OECD, on the other hand, believes the economy will continue to shrink in 2014.

4801A former leader of the Labour Party in the UK believes that 50% should be the top rate of income tax.

Lord Kinnock said this would demonstrate the party’s “unerring” commitment to fairness.

The last Labour government raised the upper tax band from 40% to 50% in 2010 in response to the recession but the coalition has since cut it to 45%.

airportdropoffThe existing tax on air travel is to be increased, as announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Air Passenger Duty for people flying from the UK will go up for the sixth time in as many years.

The increase comes in on 1 April and will hit medium and long-haul flights.