Portugal

Former Portuguese minister wins damages in child abuse case

Paulo PedrosoLisbon - Former Portuguese labour minister Paulo Pedroso has won damages worth 100,000 euros (145,000 dollars) for having been jailed preventatively in connection with a paedophilia scandal, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Pedroso was jailed for nearly five months in 2003 on 23 counts of child abuse. An investigating judge later deemed the evidence inconclusive and shelved the case against the Socialist politician.

A Lisbon court said the detention of Pedroso had been a "gross error," granting him financial compensation for moral damage and judicial negligence.

Former Portuguese minister wins damages in child abuse case

Paulo PedrosoLisbon - Former Portuguese labour minister Paulo Pedroso has won damages worth 100,000 euros (145,000 dollars) for having been jailed preventatively in connection with a paedophilia scandal, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Pedroso was jailed for nearly five months in 2003 on 23 counts of child abuse. An investigating judge later deemed the evidence inconclusive and shelved the case against the Socialist politician.

A Lisbon court said the detention of Pedroso had been a "gross error," granting him financial compensation for moral damage and judicial negligence.

Polish, Portuguese presidents discuss Lisbon Treaty, Georgia

Warsaw  - Polish President Lech Kaczynski met with his Portuguese counterpart on Tuesday to discuss Georgia, Ukraine and the European Union's Lisbon Treaty.

Kaczynski said he was optimistic, along with Anibal Cavaco Silva, about the Lisbon Treaty's future, but stressed that Ireland must solve "its problem" on its own. Kaczynski added that his signature wasn't hindering the treaty's ratification, but it's the Irish no vote in a June referendum that's a hindrance.

Kaczynski also reaffirmed he was happy with the conclusions reached at Monday's EU summit on Georgia.

"I think either Nicolas Sarkozy's success in Moscow awaits us," Kaczynski said, "or the necessity to act further."

Suzlon Energy acquires 30% stake in REpower System for €270 million

Suzlon Energy acquires 30% stake in REpower System for €270 millionSuzlon Energy, the world’s largest fully integrated wind power company, has signed an agreement with Martifer for the acquisition of the Portuguese conglomerate's stake in REpower Systems for €270 million.

The agreement to acquire Martifer's stake of about 22.48% cent in REpower will be completed by December 15, 2008.

According to official sources, the completion of the agreement will take Suzlon's stake in REpower to about 90%. The company currently owns about 66% stake in REpower.

Tourist plane makes emergency landing in Portugal

Tourist plane makes emergency landing in Portugal Lisbon  - A Thomas Cook Boeing 757 taking British holidaymakers to Spain's Canary Islands on Wednesday made an emergency landing in Faro, southern Portugal, airport sources said.

The sources described the landing as a part of "normal airport activity," saying it was usual for captains to land at the nearest airport when facing an "unforeseen situation."

The plane was carrying 210 passengers who had boarded it in London.

Portugal's new security laws blasted as "totalitarian"

Portugal's new security laws blasted as "totalitarian"  Lisbon  - The Portuguese opposition and judges' representatives Tuesday criticized the country's new internal security legislation, describing it as undemocratic and unconstitutional.

President Anibal Cavaco Silva on Monday signed legislation approved in May with the votes of the governing Socialist Party, which has an absolute majority in parliament.

The legislation increases the powers of police investigators and creates the figure of a general secretary for security who will report directly to Prime Minister Jose Socrates.

Alleged sighting of Madeleine in Netherlands last year probed again

London - Private detectives are investigating reports that a little girl calling herself "Maddy" was seen in the Netherlands just a few days after British toddler Madeleine McCann vanished during a holiday in Portugal in May 2007.

Reports in Britain said Wednesday that the possible sighting in Amsterdam of the missing girl was reported to Portuguese officers in June 2007.

But it was only made public with the release of previously secret police files earlier this week.

Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, have hired private detectives to search for Madeleine, who would now be 4.

The Dutch sighting was seen by detectives as the "most promising" of the lines of inquiry that are now being pursued.

Madeleine died in apartment, Portuguese investigator claims

Lisbon - Three days after the Portuguese judiciary freed Madeleine McCann's parents of the status of suspects in her disappearance, the former chief investigator into the case Thursday still insisted that they may have hidden her body.

The British toddler died accidentally in Gerry and Kate McCann's holiday apartment in the southern Portuguese tourist resort of Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, Goncalo Amaral claimed in his book A Verdade da Mentira (The Truth of the Lie) which was published Thursday.

There was evidence that the McCanns subsequently hid the body and led police to believe that their daughter had been abducted, Portuguese press reports quoted the book as saying.

Portuguese police suspected of high-tech spying

Lisbon - Portugal's judicial police (PJ) investigates criminal suspects and ordinary citizens illegally with high- technology methods, the daily Diario de Noticias reported Wednesday.

The PJ has a "secret service" with highly sophisticated technological equipment in Cascais on the outskirts of Lisbon, according to the daily.

The section known as the Central Department of Technological Prevention and Support (DCPAT) can, for instance, listen to phone conversations live, and uses tie pins to film people, Diario de Noticias claimed.

The technology, which did not show in official inventories, could target citizens or politicians in addition to criminal rings, the daily wrote.

Fire prompts evacuation of 150 people in Lisbon

Lisbon - A fire in central Lisbon prompted the evacuation of dozens of people overnight in the Portuguese capital, media reported Monday.

The fire was believed to have started in an uninhabited building where drug addicts sometimes stayed. It affected two nearby buildings. Several hotels were also preventatively evacuated.

About 150 people sought shelter in a nearby cinema. Two among the nearly 100 firefighters battling the flames were reported injured.

The authorities announced an investigation into the causes of the blaze. (dpa)

Shots fired in Portugal near Premier Socrates' party conference

PortugalLisbon - Shots were fired near the building where Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates had met shortly before with members of his Socialist Party (PSP) in the southern city of Portimao, police reported Saturday.

No one was injured in the incident, which took place Friday evening, police said. Investigators recovered seven bullets from the scene.

Around 300 PSP members were present in the building at the time of the shooting. Socrates had left about half an hour before.

The motive for the shooting was unclear. Portimao Mayor Manuel da Luz speculated that young people were shooting at traffic signs.

Cristiano Ronaldo challenges Spain for Euro final against Portugal

Basle - Portuguese star striker Cristiano Ronaldo praised Spain Sunday and challenged the team coached by Luis Aragones to play the final of Euro 2008 against Portugal.

"I would like Spain as a rival for the final. It is playing very well," Ronaldo said.

Ronaldo - courted by Real Madrid to Manchester United's displeasure - praised Spain's top goalscorer, David Villa.

As to Portugal's likely rival for the quarterfinals, Ronaldo said he had no preference.

"I do not mind if it is Germany or France. We are playing very well and I trust Portugal whatever the rival," he said.

Portuguese hauliers end strike - Spanish protests continue

Lisbon/Madrid - Portuguese hauliers Thursday ended their strike after reaching a preliminary agreement with the government to alleviate the effect of rising fuel prices.

The government had shown "a clear and unequivocal will to solve the problem," hauliers' representative Antonio Loios said.

The three-day strike had begun to cause shortages at supermarkets and petrol stations, and Lisbon airport prohibited most planes from refuelling on Wednesday.

Traffic meanwhile appeared to be returning to normal in neighbouring Spain, where a hauliers' strike that had caused chaos on the roads and led to violent clashes went into its fourth day.

The Welsh might trace their ancestry back to Portugal and Spain

London, May 6 : A new research has suggested that the Welsh can trace their ancestry back to Portugal and Spain, debunking the century-old received wisdom that they came from Iron Age Germany and Austria.

According to a report in the Western Mail, the research was carried out by Professor John Koch from the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies, in Aberystwyth, Wales.

Koch’s radical work on Celtic origins flatly contradicts the writing of Sir John Rhys, who in the late 19th century established the idea that the Celts originally came from central Europe.

Mystery, hope and prayer mark Madeleine anniversary

London - Madeleine posterThe Madeleine posters in Britain's pub windows may have faded but suddenly, one year on from her disappearance from a holiday apartment in Portugal, the pretty girl's smile is everywhere again.

"They didn't find Maddie yet, did they, Mummy?" is reported to be a frequently-asked question by British youngsters whose media acquaintance with the fair-haired toddler has turned Madeleine into something of a friend.

Thirty slightly injured in Portuguese bus accident

Lisbon  -  At least 30 people, including 27 schoolchildren, were slightly injured Friday when a bus transporting 60 people slipped off the road and tumbled two metres down the roadside in Esposende, north of the Portuguese city of Oporto, police said.

The driver was believed to have veered too far when trying to avoid hitting a vehicle coming from the opposite direction in rainy weather.

Most of the passengers were children going to several schools. (dpa)

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