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Portuguese report Portuguese report
by Euro Reporter
2012-08-27 10:13:08
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Shock at Portugal beach drownings

A five-year-old girl and her grandfather who drowned off a Portuguese beach after they were swept into the sea have been described as part of a happy and loving family. The bodies of Lara Lewis and Brian O'Dwyer, 66, were pulled from choppy waters by fishermen in the tourist resort of Nazare, around 60 miles north of Lisbon. It is thought Lara was walking with her grandparents along a sandy beach when they were all pulled into the sea by strong waves. Her grandmother was rescued off Salgado beach by local seamen and she was taken to hospital. Her parents Philip Lewis, a professor at University College London, and Sian Lewis are believed to have been sunbathing in the picturesque fishing village when the incident happened at around 2pm on Tuesday.

Neighbours of the family in Hackney, east London, said they were shocked by the news and paid tribute to the family. David Mason, a translator, said he had known Lara since she was a baby. He said: "I remember them bringing her home in her dad's arms and they were such a happy family. She was a very happy girl who would always say 'hello Dave' when she saw me. This is terribly sad news and for a lot of people it's still sinking in. They were well-known across the community and a lot of people are very upset by the news." Pictures of the scene showed firefighters crouching down in the sand in the afternoon sunshine, about to move the victims. The body of the grandfather was covered in a blue sheet. It is thought the emergency services attempted to revive Lara for nearly an hour.

According to English-language newspaper The Portugal News, Nazare Port Authority commander Albuquerque e Silva said: "The grandfather was already dead when he was hauled from the water. Emergency services attempted to resuscitate the child, but to no avail. "The two victims, accompanied by the grandmother, went on a stroll away from the Salgado beach, which is under lifeguard surveillance, and it must have been during this period that they were knocked over and dragged in by the waves." The Foreign Office said it was in touch with local authorities in the country. A spokesman said: "We are aware of reports of the death of two British nationals in Portugal and we are in touch with the local authorities."


Socialists await Govt’s budget proposal to take stance

Portugal’s opposition Socialist party will only take a stance on the centre-right coalition government’s budget proposal for 2013 once it is made public, according to a high-ranking Socialist Party official.

Socialist MP Miguel Laranjeiro, questioned by journalists earlier in the week, declined to speculate on whether the Socialists would again abstain in the parliamentary budget vote as it did last year. He told a news conference that the government’s budget proposal was still a “blank page” and that the opposition party would only have “an opinion” when it was presented to the legislature, where Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho coalition executive holds a majority of seats.

The government must present its budget proposal by October 15. Miguel Laranjeiro warned that the Socialist Party would not give the government a “blank check” to do as it pleased, saying the executive had “almost always” turned or voted down “hundreds” of its proposals. He was questioned on the party’s budget position at a news conference in light of the perceived interest of Portugal presenting international creditors with a broad political consensus over Lisbon’s EU-IMF bailout programme.


Portugal bailout review to show limits of austerity cure

Inspectors arriving in Portugal next week to conduct a fifth review of its 78-billion-euro rescue will find the country in a deepening recession under tough austerity, which is undermining its determined efforts to meet strict fiscal goals. This could force Portugal to seek a second bailout from its lenders as it remains a long way from being able to meet its borrowing needs on the open market. However, the country may also be found to be a candidate for a relaxation of its tough targets as European leaders start to look at alternative responses to the crisis beyond just demanding a fresh round of cuts. Portugal has garnered less attention in the most recent phase of the euro zone's woes, lacking the power to derail the entire project like Greece or Spain, but also failing to match Ireland in charting a convincing path out of the hands of its lenders. But the country seems to be more on the trajectory of Greece, trapped in a cycle of slow growth and rising debt made worse by the very fact it has been so effective embracing the austerity demanded of it.

"The troika would like to see growth, or else the process could be called into question," said Filipe Garcia, head of Informacao de Mercados Financeiros consultancy. The review by the officials from the European Union, IMF and European Central Bank - the so-called troika - starts on August 28 and should last around two weeks, the finance ministry said in a statement on Friday. So far this year the recession, already the worst since the 1970s, has only deepened. Data last week showed a 1.2 percent slump in second quarter gross domestic product from the previous quarter, after dipping just 0.1 percent between January and March, as sweeping cost cuts and tax hikes dented consumer spending and credit remained tight.

The worsening outlook has prompted economists to downgrade their outlooks, with analysts polled in a recent Reuters poll now forecasting a 3 percent decline in gross domestic product this year and 1 percent in 2013, the latter contrasting with the government's hopes of eking out modest growth. The slump has cut into tax revenues, which fell 3.5 percent in the first seven months of the year, prompting doubts the country can meet this year's budget deficit goal of 4.5 percent of GDP and next year's target of 3 percent. "By proceeding with what we had planned, getting to the end of the year with a deficit of 4.5 percent is becoming more difficult," a finance ministry spokesman said on Thursday after the release of January-July budget data.

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