Entries in Portugal (3)


Madeleine McCann: Police Believe Missing British Girl Is Alive

Metropolitan Police Service(LONDON) -- Investigators still searching for Madeleine McCann, the British toddler who went missing from a Portuguese holiday rental home five years ago this week, say they believe the girl is still alive and they now have the "best opportunity" yet to solve the case.

McCann was 3-years-old when she vanished on vacation with her parents Kate and Gerry McCann and twin siblings in the Algarve region of Portugal.  The girl's parents say they found Madeleine missing after having left the children in the home unsupervised while having dinner less than 500 feet away.

"[We are] seeking to bring closure to the case," Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood told the BBC.

Detectives for the first time since the investigation into McCann's disappearance, dubbed Operation Grange by U.K. police, say that as a result of evidence uncovered during their latest review they now believe there is a possibility Madeleine is still alive and are appealing for direct information concerning her whereabouts.

Police didn't specify what clues led them to believe the girl may still be still alive.

"I am satisfied that the systems and processes that we are bringing to this set of circumstances will give us the best opportunity to find those investigative opportunities that we can then present to our colleagues in Portugal," Redwood said.

Investigators released an age progression image of McCann on Wednesday as her ninth birthday approaches on May 12.  The image was created in close collaboration with the family, according to a statement from the U.K.'s Metropolitan police.

British police on Wednesday called on Portugal to reopen the case, saying they have close to 200 leads that could help find the missing girl alive.  But in Portugal there is much less support for reopening the investigation, and the McCann's own Portuguese lawyer says it is hard to find people who sympathize with the couple.

"Everyone believes I am defending a father and mother that killed the daughter and got rid of the corpse," the McCann's Portuguese lawyer Isabel Duarte said.

With 28 detectives and seven civilian support staff, the Operation Grange team is handling the massive trove of reports and documents on the case.  Hundreds of reported sightings of Madeleine have come in since she disappeared, but they have all led nowhere.

After her reported disappearance on May 3, 2007, the Polícia Judiciária, the Portuguese investigative police, initially decided that the girl had been abducted, but soon stated that they hypothesized that she died in the rented house. 

An Algarve resident named Robert Murat was named a suspect on May 17, 2007.  In September of 2007, Kate and Gerry McCann were also named as suspects in the mystery surrounding what happened to their daughter, but they were cleared, along with Murat, in July of 2008.´╗┐

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Daredevil Surfer Not Fazed by 90-Foot Wave

ABC(NAZARE, Portugal) -- The daredevil surfer who shattered a world record by riding a 90-foot-high wall of water says the monster wave "just popped out of nowhere" but that he was never afraid.

"This wave was very different," Garrett McNamara said. "This one just jacked up, broke, actually kind of barreled, and went to run me over, and somehow by the grace of God, I made it.

"When I rode the wave I didn't know how big it was and then it landed on me at the very end. It was like a ton of bricks on my shoulders and that's when I realized if I had fallen it could have been really bad."

McNamara, 44, of Hawaii, is part of an elite fraternity of extreme surfers who travel the world seeking gigantic waves.

He claimed the record this week while surfing off the coast of Portugal, where an underwater canyon magnifies wave energy, producing eye-popping crests. The record wave's 90-foot height still must be verified through videos and photos to officially eclipse the old "big wave" surfing record of 77 feet.

Two other big-wave enthusiasts with McNamara had just ridden 60-foot waves when the 90-foot crest began forming as McNamara was being towed into position. He released the tow-line and then began the ride of his life.

McNamara described the sensation as like skiing on the steepest, iciest trail on a big mountain "and then all of a sudden this avalanche starts coming after you and you're turning to get away from the avalanche but you're actually staying as close as you can to it."

McNamara's website says that in the past 10 years he has been "on a mission to catch the biggest, best waves on the planet."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Budget Rejection Prompts Resignation for Portuguese Prime Minister 

George Doyle/Thinkstock(LISBON, Portugal) -- The prime minister of Portugal, Jose Socrates, resigned Wednesday.  His decision to step down comes after failed attempts by his minority government to gather support from opposing parties for an austerity budget, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The proposed budget included spending cuts and an increase in taxes.  Parliament's rejection of the budget is likely to lead the country to seek a bailout package.

Socrates has said before that he would not continue in his post if parliament did not accept the budget.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the financially strapped country is looking at $5.96 billion in debt repayments next month.

Socrates said in a televised address a bailout could be worse for Portugal.

"Those who imagine an external aid package won't include more demanding measures, measures that are worse for us, are completely fooled," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

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