Mid-week headline news
– June 28
Emergency robot response
The Ministry of internal Administration has announced plans to use the artificial intelligence service ChatGPT to answer 112 emergency calls in Portugal from 2025. Officials have said that using ChatGPT in this way would be entering uncharted waters, but hope it will optimise the work of the emergency service and make it more efficient. At present, it sometimes takes five to six minutes to get a human response to 112 calls.
Ever-present fire risks
The National Meteorological Institute issued a warning yesterday that the risk of wildfires in most of the Algarve was at the maximum level. As if the heat wave this week was not enough of a reminder, the prime minister warned that “we must be aware that fire is a risk and a risk that is present and will not disappear”. The 70 forested areas across Portugal most affected by rural fires need the establishment of an integrated land management scheme, according to the Minister of the Environment and climate action. Meanwhile, smoke from fires un Canada has been passing at high altitude over Portugal and other parts of Western Europe. It is not having any effect at ground level in this country.
Rural police checks
As of yesterday, the GNR police have stepped up patrols and checks on farms and forestry plantations in order to prevent possible “human trafficking and theft, and promote the safe use of vehicles”, reports Luca News.
A new study has concluded that last year almost a third of six to eight-year-old children in Portugal were overweight. The number in the same cateogory described as ‘obese’ was 13.5%.
Madeleine search fails
The analysis of mitems found next to the Arade reservoir during last month’s police search have shown no connection to the 16-year-old disappearance of Madeleine McCann. It was hoped evidence would be found to trace Madeleine’s body and implicate the so-called “prime suspect”, Christian B, who frequented the area in 2007. The German police who initiated the search have reported said they are “disappointed” that the items found “have not proven to be of any use”.
The European Commission has proposed to allocate €11 million in support for Portuguese farmers who have been affected by drought. A total of €330 million is to be given to farmers across 22 EU member states affected by adverse climate conditions.
Combating drug traffickers
So far this year Portuguese police have seized almost the same quantity of illegal drugs as in the whole of 2022. This has led to the criminal investigation police (PJ) warning on Monday of the need for more resources to combat drug traffickers. On the same day as this announcement it was revealed that eight men were arrested and a tonne of cocaine seized from a sailboat that ended up sinking north of the Azores.