H & M, Euro founder calls for break-up. Portuguese motoring fines challenged.


It was quite a compliment to be invited “behind the scenes” immediately prior to the opening of the new H & M store at the Edifício Minas Gerais at the Rotunda at the bottom of Avenida do Infante, between the old Marina Shopping Centre and the new Dolce Vita development. This, I am sure, was due to the increasing popularity of the blog and the associated Comments” rather than the parent web site! It was quite eye-opening to be given background details by their PR Officer, who had flown in for the day – thank you Inês. 29 jobs have been created (another 27 follow at the new store in the Forum (the old Radio Popular shop on the ground floor) at the end of the month – but the strange thing is that there are still unfilled positions. These are mostly managerial, and are currently filled by temporary secondments from Lisbon. You would have thought that in these economic climes that there would be no shortage of takers, but apparently they are struggling to find applicants with the correct experience. Presumably the name “H & M” will be pronounced “Agar e M” in Portuguese? Total employees world-wide 104,000

German euro founder calls for ‘catastrophic’ currency to be broken up

Oskar Lafontaine, the German finance minister who launched the euro, has called for a break-up of the single currency to let southern Europe recover, warning that the current course is

The Telegraph reported last week that Oskar Lafontaine, the German finance minister who launched the euro, has called for a break-up of the single currency to let southern Europe recover, warning that the current course is "leading to disaster"."The economic situation is worsening from month to month, and unemployment has reached a level that puts democratic structures ever more in doubt," he said."The Germans have not yet realised that southern Europe, including France, will be forced by their current misery to fight back against German hegemony sooner or later," he said, blaming much of the crisis on Germany’s wage squeeze to gain export share.

Mr Lafontaine said on the parliamentary website of Germany’s Left Party that Chancellor Angela Merkel will "awake from her self-righteous slumber" once the countries in trouble unite to force a change in crisis policy at Germany’s expense.His prediction appeared confirmed as French finance minister Pierre Moscovici recently proclaimed the end of austerity and a triumph of French policy, risking further damage to the tattered relations between Paris and Berlin."Austerity is finished. This is a decisive turn in the history of the EU project since the euro," he told French TV. "We’re seeing the end of austerity dogma. It’s a victory of the French point of view". Mr Moscovici’s comments follow a deal with Brussels to give France and Spain two extra years to meet a deficit target of 3pc of GDP. The triumphalist tone may enrage hard-liners in Berlin and confirm fears that concessions will lead to a slippery slope towards fiscal chaos.

German Vice-Chancellor Philipp Rösler lashed out at the European Commission last weekend, calling it "irresponsible" for undermining the belt-tightening agenda. It appears that the Franco-German alliance that has driven EU politics for half a century is in ruins after France’s Socialist Party hit out at the "selfish intransigence" of Mrs Merkel, accusing her thinking only of the "German savers, her trade balance, and her electoral future". Mr Lafontaine said he backed EMU but no longer believes it is sustainable. "Hopes that the creation of the euro would force rational economic behaviour on all sides were in vain," he said, adding that the policy of forcing Spain, Portugal, and Greece to carry out internal devaluations was a "catastrophe".

Mr Lafontaine was labelled "Europe’s Most Dangerous Man" by The Sun after he called for a "united Europe" and the "end of the nation state" in 1998. The euro was launched on January 1 1999, with bank notes following three years later. He later left the Social Democrats to found the Left Party.

Validity of Portuguese motoring fines on foreigners in doubt

The Portugal News reported last week that a complaint lodged by an Australian national for not having the details of an alleged transgression written in English, has set the wheels in motion for what could amount to considerable change in Portugal’s Highway Code relating to foreign motorists.

The case in question arose from the fact that the complainant was unclear as to what offence had been committed and what law had been broken. The resulting grievance lodged with the Ombudsman, enshrined by the Constitution as the guardian of the people’s rights in Portugal, has now resulted in a recommendation urging the government to change the law or be responsible for not closing a potential loophole for foreigners who do not understand Portuguese and which could allow them to not pay fines.

In a recent ruling stretching eight-pages, the Ombudsman or Provedor da Justiça, casts serious doubts over the procedure of issuing fines. Alfredo José da Costa established the fact that written fines in Portugal are not in any other language “such as in English” is in direct contravention of the Penal Procedure Code and means “cases which occurred up until now could be nullified. This model is considered impractical and needs to be altered.”

The authority has, due to these grey areas, called for sweeping law changes to govern the handling of non-Portuguese speaking foreign drivers whenever there is a breakdown in communication with law enforcement authorities.The Ombudsman, in its ruling, accepts the impracticality of having an interpreter present whenever a fine is issued to a foreigner. As a result, it has called for a law change incorporating existing legislation regulating the rights and duties of detainees, while specifically calling for fines to be translated into English. It explains the “universality” of English “is unanimously recognised” and having English as a second language “safeguards the duty of informing the overwhelming majority of road users.”

11 thoughts on “H & M, Euro founder calls for break-up. Portuguese motoring fines challenged.”

  1. Webcams which used to be Strawberry World’s domain on the blink again. Just night time showing. Trying to keep up with the foreshore building works

  2. Jon, the people we know who said the houses behind theirs were hit live on a road that comes off of Rua 13 Septembro 1509 (which comes out near exit 18 on the VR), so they are in the lower parts of Gaula. Will see if I can find out any more from them.

  3. Martin The media may talk about the amount of money the Europe costs Britain, what they do not tell you eu has given human and worker rights. These right will be weaker by pulling out. The Con/dems are telling you the truth for once. They want uk to be “open all hours” and to trade more with the new trading countries. What they also do not tell you is workers pay will be cut and working longer hours to compete with these counties like Brazil China etc. The bosses will look at a worker who works cheap and longer hours, next to one who costs more and work less. Do the changes form within.

  4. I have a social website as a hobby, along with my ecommerce sites, the spammers were getting past the re-captcha so I added a couple of questions to the registration field that were specific to Ireland and 4 options, between you and me there is no right and wrong answer but the bots and human spammers do not know that, they have to figure out the question then do the re-captcha and just dont bother

    I have not had 1 spammer sign up in 3 weeks and now spend 2 minutes a day checking spamtrawler compared to 30-60 minutes.

    The questions are what is guinness famous for and can you drink on good friday (yes you can but pubs are closed, a quick google search will tell you)

    It is such a shame we have to go to these efforts but I went away for a weekend without updating when I was sent a notification from the software company and came back to 736 spammers which all had to be manually deleted!

    Bless my members though they realised what was going on and bombarded them with pictures of sheep, pints of guiness and quotes in Irish, as I had not verified them their emails were full of my site notifications……….a dose of their own medicine!

  5. Martin I read your comment. Looks like they going to lot of lower and middle class not happy in the future. If Germany cant sort out the problems in the eu they going to be hard times.

  6. Great Tracie – so much for the power of Guinness! The spam bots seem to have become much more clever in the last few months, so I have just set up an Microsoft Outlook “rule” sending them to a “pending” folder that I can sort out when I have couple of days free! The “Askimet” WordPress plug-in seems to work quite well.

  7. I didn’t realize that spammers were so prevalent….rotters.

    Thanks MartinPN – maybe a case of a quick off/on the Rapida (getaway) “job”… will ask more neighbor’s for updates……

  8. Well done to our local H&M representative!

    The article re Portuguese Police/Traffic offences has an interesting relevance…..
    Our most recent guests managed (?) to obtain a Parking Fine Ticket for overstaying their pre paid ticket: 31 minutes = 6 euro fine, courtesy of Camara de Lobos municipality. Ticket in Portuguese, of course. Lots of “small print” and main way to pay is indicated as via “multibanco” or internet banking…..they didn’t understand this or the Entidade, Referencia or Montante input required…… ALSO, there were TWO different amounts to pay! The first (6 euro) being for THEIR infringement BUT the other 57 euro being for previous UNPAID (28 day limit?) fines incurred by previous drivers/renters of their hire car……they were confused!

    We explained, paid their fine via our computer, with print out receipt and have advised them to inform/hand over the paperwork to the hire car company on return of vehicle……and to clearly demonstrate that they were NOT on the island when the other fines were imposed……car hire records/fine reference numbers/details etc……..all very confusing methinks.

    I imagine (?) that the car hire company will take the fine monies (and huge admin fee) from the credit card details of previous drivers but feel there is a risk that current drivers could have mistakenly paid all the fines owing……not clear documentation.

    There is now an additional way to pay via a VISA card – this listed at the bottom of the ticket with a ‘phone number of the agency employed by the government – written in English but VERY hard to spot!

    Has anyone else noticed how Parking fines rise in value as you progress Westwards on the Island? Santa Cruz (bless) come in lowest at approx. 3 euro rising to some 6 in Camara de Lobos and a wacking 10 (or MORE) in Ribeira Brava!

  9. Update re house break-in in lower (lower) Gaula area….from local Café owners, it appears to have actually been a “one off” with the “baddies” targeting a household that they knew (and which) contained loads of ciggies and booze ….

    We’ve been told NOT to worry.


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