Showing posts with label Portugal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Portugal. Show all posts

January 2, 2019

PORTUGAL, Portugal

Portugal is a beautiful country with beautiful beaches in which someone with just a modest income, retirement can live there in a good fashion. Whether renting or buying is right for you, one can just decide but with this beautiful country you can't go wrong as a tourist but I'm mainly talking about moving there. The public health care system is a disappointment even though is free.  I'm told they are trying to improve but that is a problem.

As an American, it would be easier to get busy but it will take time.

Why am I posting about Portugal? Because I love that country and if it was up to me I will be moving there now.

No one has advice me or paid me to write about Portugal and we don't do that type of commercial.

If you are from Portugal or in Portugal you can add whatever I missed good or bad. I have no doubt Portugueños will see this because they are my top readers and I love them as people. The only Portugueñeno I feel shame as a latin is the head of a congressional investigation on Trump and he went and gave all the private information to the white house which was investigated for awful crimes that the justice dept was investigating. Do you know his name? I will see if you can find out. I know who he is but I would like you to know who he is.......and post it on this. No need to let anyone who you are unless you want to. Any problems let me know at

Thank You, Adam


September 9, 2018

How Portugal's Biggest Disaster Initiated A Scientific Discipline for a State Of Readiness

Why You Should Care?
Because a 1755 quake shook thinkers and movers into serious action.

Portuguese, Mirandese
Spoken Language

GDP Per Capita

Capital City


Most of the population of Lisbon was in church when the first quake hit. It was the morning of All Saints Day, 1755, and this was the most prominent city in one of the world’s most powerful countries. None of that mattered, of course, when the shaking started.

The Lisbon quake is still a defining moment in the city’s history. Estimated to be an 8.5 magnitude or higher on the modern-day Richter scale, it was followed by two smaller quakes and a tsunami, as high as 15 meters, then by days of fires that engulfed the city. Hundreds of aftershocks happened over subsequent months. No official death count exists, but sources both contemporary and modern estimate somewhere between 10,000 and 60,000 people died (the population numbered about 1 million at the time). About 82 percent of the city’s buildings were destroyed, among them churches, cathedrals, royal palaces, and the opera house.

That the rich and the outwardly godly weren’t spared in the quake may have been one factor that spurred what amounted to an existential crisis among some Europeans. While many did turn to religion in the time of crisis — and 18th-century Portugal had its share of spiritual leaders blaming the quake on human sin, a phenomenon that persists today — science and philosophy also had their part to play. Thinkers like Voltaire, Rousseau and Immanuel Kant (there’s more on Kant; keep going) all meditated on the earthquake and what it meant for humankind and its trust in fate.

The birth of seismology — the science of earthquakes and their accompanying phenomena — is often traced right back to 1755, and specifically to one man: Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the Marquis of Pombal. Technically serving as Secretary of State to King Joseph I, Pombal took on a much larger role in the aftermath of the quake, explains Mark Molesky, author of This Gulf of Fire: The Destruction of Lisbon, or Apocalypse in the Age of Science and Reason. “The king was kind of shell-shocked — he and his family were almost killed by this,” Molesky says, “and he essentially gave power to Pombal, and Pombal ruled in his name for about 20 years.”

It was Pombal who ordered that a questionnaire about the earthquake be filled out for every district of the city: How many aftershocks? Did the sea rise or fall before the tsunami? Which parts of the city were damaged by fire, and to what extent? That data, still housed in Portugal’s archives, has allowed modern researchers to examine and reconstruct the details of the 1755 quake with the benefit of modern scientific theory.

This is not to say that the scientists of the day were on the right track when it came to the earthquake’s causes. Astronomer John Michell put forth an elaborate theory involving a wave of force, much like a sound wave, perhaps caused by a volcano superheating rock layers in the earth. Immanuel Kant — yes, that one — appropriated ancient theories invented by Aristotle, who thought quakes might be caused by wind passing through underground caverns. Kant, feeling that winds weren’t strong enough to cause such devastation, decided it might be explosions in underground caverns.

Of course, the study of plate tectonics has given us insight into what actually causes earthquakes. But the plot of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson’s classic San Andreas aside, that knowledge hasn’t actually made quakes easier to predict. Knowledge is power, except when it isn’t: The scientific quest kicked off in Lisbon 263 years ago still doesn’t have the answer it was truly searching for.

Pombal’s contributions didn’t lead to much prevention. But preparation, that he could do. Tasked with rebuilding Lisbon almost from the ground up, Pombal rebuilt many neighborhoods on a system of logical grids in an architectural style still known as Pombaline — notable for being some of the first modern architecture to incorporate anti-seismic safety features, like wooden frames that could sway without breaking. The new buildings, which also used wooden lattice frames meant to evenly distribute the force of a quake, and doors, windows, and walls were built to standard sizes. And soldiers were ordered to march heavily around buildings to stress-test them. Note: There hasn’t yet been an opportunity to test this in real life — 1755 remains the biggest earthquake Portugal has ever experienced.

Pombaline Lisbon has been placed on a list of candidates to become a World Heritage site, not just for its now-iconic orderly architectural style, but as a commemoration of Portugal’s contribution to being prepared.

Fiona Zublin, Report

December 20, 2017

Portugal Emerging as Europe's Successful Anti Germany's Economy

 Beautiful, historic Lisbon

Germany’s resolute Chancellor Angela Merkel is not usually one to admit she’s been wrong. But this autumn, when it comes to her faith in austerity economics in Europe, Merkel, together with her then-Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaüble, did as much — in deed, if not in word.

The Germans threw their hefty weight behind the leftist economist Mário Centeno, Portugal’s finance minister, for the coveted post of head of the Eurogroup, the common currency’s influential 19-member directorate. In January, Centeno, a Harvard-educated Portuguese Socialist Party freethinker, will leave Lisbon’s left-wing government to succeed the incumbent president, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The Dutchman had been a critical ally of Germany in recent years, taking to task the profligate Southern Europeans — and inadvertently ripping open a contentious divide between Europe’s north and south that persists to today. 

Centeno constitutes a shift in course. Until now, he has represented a Southern European country, Portugal, that received a 78 billion euro ($92 billion) bailout from its fellow European Union member states amid the euro crisis. But even more remarkable, Centeno was part of a leftist government with the backing of a communist party, which subsequently bucked the marching orders of its northern creditors and the troika composed of the European Central Bank, European Commission, and International Monetary Fund.

Whether Centeno’s ascension, with Berlin’s assistance, represents a shift in German economic thinking remains to be seen. Less than two years ago, Schaüble, the eurozone’s fiercest fiscal hawk, warned Portugal that its refusal to follow the rules would sink its economy and force it to seek another international bailout. But, since then, Lisbon’s cautiously renegade deviations have won plaudits even from budget disciplinarians — including Schaüble himself.

Portugal has proven it’s possible for a struggling country to defy German-imposed austerity in the EU and still succeedPortugal has proven it’s possible for a struggling country to defy German-imposed austerity in the EU and still succeed. That’s not to suggest that, just because Centeno has served a leftist Portuguese government, he will pursue radical policy ambitions in Brussels. But, as president of the Eurogroup, he will execute duties in a body that grew immensely in significance over the course of the financial crises and will be paramount in guiding the reform processes that still lie ahead.

The Eurogroup was initially designed as an informal meeting for finance ministers to exchange views, but now it monitors draft national budgets and bailout programs as part of the economic surveillance instituted as a result of the crises. The president is a key figure in eurozone developments even though the body has been starkly criticized as nontransparent and undemocratic, as it is not subject to parliamentary discretion, nor are its minutes public.

Centeno, like the Portuguese government he served, already symbolizes the possibility that a new, less German, ideological era of economic governance is in the offing in Europe. Lisbon is the first Southern European government to climb out of the swamp of indebtedness and stagnation. Its economy is undergoing its fastest expansion in over a decade, and more growth is expected next year, which will shrink the country’s budget deficit to 1 percent of GDP — the slightest in 40 years. Unemployment this year fell to 9.2 percent, down from 17.5 percent in 2013, and exports are picking up. (Nevertheless, Portugal’s national debt is still 128 percent of its current GDP, a sign that it is not entirely out of the woods yet.)

“Mr. Centeno’s appointment is representative of a policy change in the workings of the eurozone,” said Gustav Horn, an economist at the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, a German think tank. “It’s an admission that the hard-line austerity prescriptions and fiscal contraction haven’t worked, which we can see in Greece. Cutting spending and taxes in times of crisis only make things worse. Portugal’s approach was different: first get the economy going, then get the budget right. Merkel has now obviously recognized this.”

Portugal’s path back to the family of healthy European economies wasn’t anywhere in sight when, in 2010, Portugal stumbled into the debt trap and downward spiral that also captured many of its indebted southern European peers. The introduction of the euro 11 years prior had diminished the competitiveness of a country accustomed to tampering with its currency’s value in order to gain favorable trading terms. It also provided Portugal with easy access to almost unlimited credit — which went largely toward property, construction projects, and high-risk financial products. GDP grew. But when the bubble burst and the time to pay came around, Portugal went belly up but when the bubble burst and the time to pay came around, Portugal went belly up like the others, outing a legacy of mismanagement, jiggered accounting, and public sector waste.

To stave off bankruptcy, Portugal signed up for a bailout in 2011. That came with familiar instructions to cut the budget deficit, lower wages, and retirement benefits, reduce public spending, and in general comply with the EU’s fiscal policy conditions. Portugal’s conservative government at the time dutifully instituted tax hikes and salary cuts for public servants, four national holidays were scratched, and many utilities were privatized. Over two years, the country’s education budget was slashed by 23 percent. Predictably, unemployment soared as the economy ground to a halt.

The upshot was that in 2015 a Socialist Party minority government came to power under the veteran social democrat António Costa with the nod of the Portuguese Communist Party, Greens, and independent Marxists in the parliament — a breathtaking novelty. Costa’s administration came into office having witnessed the unsightly defeat of a Greek government lead by the like-minded Syriza party, which had rejected outright the troika’s terms and then capitulated under pressure, facing a bitter choice between either insolvency (and crashing out of the euro) or compliance.

On the campaign trail, Costa, Lisbon’s mayor at the time, spoke vaguely about challenging the austerity regime without undermining the troika’s framework — in contrast to Syriza’s uncompromising stance. In office, Costa’s government appointed Centeno to the finance ministry. Working in Portugal’s central bank and teaching at the University of Lisbon, the 51-year-old labor market specialist hadn’t been in the spotlight until Costa called on him to design the Socialist Party’s economic platform for the 2015 election campaign. In academic circles, he had the reputation of a liberal favoring labor market flexibility. In office, he proved to be a shooting star: 2017 surveys showed him as the Cabinet’s most popular minister, with Portuguese voters obviously crediting him with putting the economy back on its feet.

Centeno was given a mandate to steer economic reforms — and, crucially, to kick-start the economy by bolstering demand.Centeno was given a mandate to steer economic reforms — and, crucially, to kick-start the economy by bolstering demand. “It’s completely wrong to think that a country like Portugal could become more competitive on the basis of Third World competitive factors,” Costa told the Financial Times in January 2016, referring to the Troika-dictated intention to boost productivity by deflating wages. The government stuck largely to the troika’s fiscal terms while reversing pension and salary cuts, stopping privatization of public water and transport companies, and reinstating the holidays. In spite of reprimands from the troika, it bumped up the minimum wage and scuppered the regressive tax hike. Social security was increased for poor families.

Despite the threats and doomsday prophesies from EU officials, the measures rekindled domestic demand and investment in 2016. Growth became steady. A year after assuming office, Costa’s government with a leftist menagerie behind it could flaunt a 13 percent leap in corporate investment. “Portugal has increased public investment, reduced the deficit, slashed unemployment and sustained economic growth,” Guardian columnist Owen Jones wrote earlier this year. “We were told this was impossible and, frankly, delusional.” In September, Portugal regained investment-grade credit status from international rating agencies.

Centeno’s posting to lead the Eurogroup now lines up adroitly with French President Emmanuel Macron’s reform agenda. Macron can most probably count on Centeno as an ally in tying the euro area’s economies more closely together and kick-starting growth on the troubled southern economies with an investment strategy. Greece remains a major concern for the zone, as its economy has not responded positively to the Schaüble-era reforms. The body will certainly discuss easing the measures imposed in Greece during the height of the debt crisis.

For this reason, the Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore commented: “Centeno’s election can be seen as a turning point.” It will prove all the more so if Centeno, and his anti-austerity reformism, continues to have the backing of Germany — and that will, in turn, be more likely if the next German governing coalition includes the Social Democrats, which seems increasingly likely.

To be sure, no one in Germany is apologizing about the straightjackets they insisted Europe’s debtor's don. But the important thing isn’t whether Merkel goes on the public record crying “mea culpa.” Taking stock of Portugal’s achievement and easing up on the debtor countries — foremost Greece — would be compensation enough.

Portugal is proving what many of us know: "Austerity is meant for the already poor and the working class, for anybody else is getting the money the others are loosing, this is a univeral rule. Having the money to spend and create business' and jobs no one can do it better than people that are working and the poor. From a new refrigerator or bed for the poor to a new car to commute for the working class couple or single working individual. We should ask who is got the money and from whom did they get it? Austerity is mention when those with the money either start loosing it through bad investments or they suffer from the disease of I got it but need to keep it thus I need more"   [Adamfoxie]

November 7, 2017

The Portugal People Demand Justice for Victims of Fires that Ravage Part of Their Country

Various Portuguese cities protested on 21 October for better services to prevent forest fires. Image: screenshot, Eu, a Rainha e 3 princesas. (YouTube)
On 21 October, in various major cities in Portugal, hundreds of people came out to demand justice for victims that were killed by massive forest fires that had torn through parts of the country.
Forty-two people died and around 70 were injured in forest fires on 15-16 October, leading the government to declare three days of mourning for the victims and their famillies.
Fires were also reported in the Spanish region of Galicia, where four people died.
An estimated 500 fires have spread through Portugal's northern and central regions, burning around 250,000 hectares of forests and affecting various villages.

In June 2017, forest fires left 64 dead in Pedrógão Grande, Portugal. Image: screenshot, Despertar da Consciência Cósmica (YouTube)
In June, a similar tragedy took place in Pedrógão Grande — a municipality in the center of the country — with fires leaving 64 dead and more than 200 injured.
According to the European Forest Fire Information System, which monitors forested areas via satellite images, around 500,000 hectares of forest have burned in 2017 alone – an area roughly twice the size of the district of Lisbon. 

To understand the seriousness of the situation, only 4 districts have no fires. Portugal is literally burning Various videos were shared online and they gave glimpses of the devastation:

A tragedy forewarned

The aims of Saturday’s protests were to demand better state measures to prevent and fight fires.
Questions were raised over the inability of the civil protection service to control the tragedy. João Soveral, of the Confederation of Farmers of Portugal, told the newspaper Público:
After Pedrógão, they closed streets and evacuated villages for everything and nothing. This Sunday, they did not do this anywhere, there were tens of reports of open roads surrounded by fire. In Leiria's forests there could have been a tragedy similar to that of June because they only closed roads very late.
The protesters also called into question the many years that construction permits were given to projects in high fire risk zones. A proposal of stricter forestry reform presented by the government — after large fires in 2003 and 2005 — was questioned by councils, which complained that the rule was a barrier to investment.
“The government introduced a flexibilization of the law that authorized constructions on a case by case basis, depending on whether or not the applicant had means of self-protection – there was an open door for anything to be built”, added João Sorval, in the same report by Público.
The environmental organization, Quercus, brought attention to the large areas of eucalyptus, a tree of highly flammable wood whose growth, ironically, tends to expand after fires of this type.
On top of the growing list of issues, during the 15-16 October fires, citizens who attempted to look for information or tried to contact relatives on the website of Portugal’s Civil Protection, found that the site was offline.
It was a private initiative that assumed the role of sharing information; using the civil protection’s own data, the application informed people of the location of fires and their status in real time.
The project was created in 2015 by the programmer João Pina to facilitate the work of firefighters, and it became so important during that fateful October weekend that servers could not manage the 400,000 users and the 1.5 million views it received. 
Impossible to remain indifferent to this tragedy. Solidarity with relatives and friends of the victims. Total support for the firefighters risking their lives to help in the best way possible.
Whether the Portuguese government will heed the cries of its people is anyone’s guess, but in the meantime, the country continues to burn.

Global Voices

May 14, 2017

Portugal Wins Eurovision Song Contest with Salvador Sobral

Portugal won the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev, Ukraine on Saturday, marking the first time that country has won the contest since 1964. The winning song, "Amar Pelos Dois," had been a favorite through last week's semifinals.
In his acceptance speech, singer Salvador Sobral railed against what he called "disposable music," saying he thought his win was "a victory for music with people who make music that actually means something." After his win, Sobral reprised the winning song as a duet with his sister Luísa, who wrote and composed it.
Sobral first performed his winning ballad bare-bones, stripped of many of the larger-than-life on-stage (and off-stage) treatments associated with Eurovision. There were no backup dancers or pyrotechnics; a stage manager urged audience members in the arena not to cheer as Sobral's quieted performance began. Another relatively rare feature of this year's winner was that Sobral sung in Portuguese, not English, which often hampers a country's shot at winning. The last non-English winner was in 2007, when Serbia's Marija Šerifović won with "Molitva."
Kristian Kostov, of Bulgaria, came in second with "Beautiful Mess."
Eurovision began 1956, with seven countries from continental Europe competing. The contest has since grown to into a mega-production; this year's show featured acts from 42 countries, including non-European countries like Israel and Australia.
The winner is determined through a mix of voting from viewers at home and the opinions of music industry professionals from each represented country, through a complex format intended to maximize the chances for a dramatic reveal of the winner. The competition's rules, like finding the baby in a king cake, have the winning country host the following year's contest.
This year's contest was in danger of being overshadowed by politics, however, despite the rules generally discouraging political overtures.
Ukraine, the winner of last year's competition with a song that referenced the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars during World War II, was viewed as thinly-veiled criticism of the 2014 annexation of Crimea. Ukraine and Russia have publicly sparred over the win since.
Julia Samoylova, intended to be Russia's Eurovision envoy this year, was banned by Ukrainian authorities from entering the country after the host country learned she'd performed in Crimea without permission from Ukrainian authorities following the territory's annexation in 2014. After failing to convince Ukraine to reverse its decision to bar Samoylova, Eurovision organizers gave Russia the option to have her perform remotely or for Russia to choose a different artist, an offer rejected by the Russian channels which selected her. In a statement quoted by the Tass news agency, Russian representatives said the offer "clearly runs counter to the very essence of the event."
The detente wasn't Russia's only Eurovision controversy in recent years; 2014's contest saw the country's entry booed, a reaction to Russia's laws around LGBT rights. That booing continued, to varying degrees, through subsequent years.
Aside from the political imbroglios, Eurovision has for most of its existence been known for its oddball performances — and this year was no exception.
Romania's entry, "Yodel It!" by Illinca and Alex Florea, indeed had, as the title suggests, a fair bit of yodeling, which also featured rap as well as regular singing.
Jacques Houdek's "My Friend," from Croatia, was a duet, fairly common in Eurovision. But here, Houdek's partner was himself, with Houdek dramatically pivoting each time he switched voices. Not to mention the fact that he did all this in two languages — and neither Croatian.
Italy, a favorite to win this year, ended in sixth place. Francesco Gabbani's "Occidentali's Karma" was staged featuring a man in a gorilla costume dancing on the stage — a nod, the singer said, to anthropologist Desmond Morris' book The Naked Ape, which helped inspire the song.
Moldova entered "Hey Mama," by the Sunstroke Project, a band whose exuberant saxophonist became the "Epic Sax Guy" meme when the group first brought it to Eurovision in 2010. Moldova's entry this year was about an overprotective mother-in-law. The band is, no doubt, hoping "Hey Mama" will manage to go viral as well.
For its part, the diminutive Balkan nation of Montenegro brought "Space," by Slavko Kalezić, who donned a mesh shirt, sparkly pants, and danced around the stage waving his unnaturally long pony tail in a circle. He did not make it to the final.
Next year’s contest is scheduled for May, in Portugal.

May 10, 2017

Man Kills His Gay Partner with African Spear over Too Much Sex Argument

Simon Carley-Pocock, A Brirish accountant, killed at his hilltop home in Portugal.
Eugenio Felipe Reicha, 21,
Gardener and accused killer

A gardener accused of killing his gay British accountant lover with an African spear after a bedroom row in Portugal has been convicted of the grisly murder.
Eugenio Felipe Reicha, 21, was sentenced to 14-and-a-half years in jail after being found guilty of killing expat Simon Carley-Pocock at his hilltop home in Portugal.

Three judges decided Reicha's fate after a trial at a court in the Algarve city of Faro, which ended with a verdict after six separate hearings over five months.
Thirteen years of his sentence were for the homicide. The other year-and-a-half came after he was convicted of stealing about  £17,000 of valuables from his victim's home near the pretty tourist village of Alcoutim an hour north of Faro, and driving without a licence. 

Handcuffed Reicha, who now sports a Mohawk and a goatee beard, stared straight at lead judge Henrique Pavao as the verdict was read out in open court on Friday but showed no emotion.
Afterwards, he was driven back to nearby Olhao prison to start his sentence.
University-educated Mr Carley-Pocock, 58, originally form Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, was found dead on April 5 last year.
Reicha, who was described as the expat's lover in court, was initially arrested after being stopped without a driving licence in the Brit's Audi A4 convertible.
He confessed to police he had stabbed his victim in a drug-fuelled rage with a spear he threw out of the car as he left the crime scene after a small knife he also used was discovered on him.

The court trying Reicha heard at the start of his trial that he had told detectives after his arrest that he lashed out during a row when Mr Carley-Pocock demanded more sex.
A friend of the killer, who was rumored to have been working as a rent boy at the time of his crime, told how Reicha showed him sick mobile phone photos of the dead Brit in bed with his intestines hanging out and confessed to the killing.

The court also heard how he tried to sell a TV stolen from Mr Carley-Pocock's cottage and two blood-covered cameras to another pal.
He refused to testify in court and gave no explanation for his horrific act.

A psychiatrist who examined Reicha said he had an 'explosive personality' and showed 'indifference' to his crime - but was fit for trial.
Mr Carley-Pocock, who was found naked with chest, stomach and head injuries, is said to have died between 1pm on April 3 and the early hours of April 4 last year.

Public prosecutor Brizida Miguel claimed ahead of the trial: 'Eugenio Reicha did what he did with the intention of causing his victim's death, without any apparent motive.
'He had an intimate relationship with this person. He acted in an insensitive manner and with total indifference for his victim’s life.'

Mr Pavao, the only one of the three sentencing judges at the hearing, rejected prosecution claims he killed his victim to facilitate the theft and said he was convicting him of simple homicide rather than a crime of qualified homicide which is reserved for the worst type of murders and carries a stiffer penalty.

He told him before sending him to jail: 'Fourteen and a half years can seem like a lot of time to some and a short time to others.
'You can use it to become a man and if that's the case it's a proper penalty, or you can keep being a nobody and continue to be aggressive and uncaring about others. It's up to you.'
Explaining a court decision to destroy Reicha's mobile phone after it was seized and used as evidence, he added: 'You used the phone to take a photo of what you did and boast about it.
'It was a hideous act. It would be immoral to give it back to you.'

The killer's defence lawyer Vera Goncalves admitted outside court: 'The verdict is what we expected.
‘I'm going to talk with my client but he was ready for this decision.

'If we appeal it will only be about the time he's been ordered to spend in prison, not the convictions.
'I requested psychiatric expertise because I thought I could influence the decision. The reports confirmed he had abnormalities but nothing that would influence things from a criminal perspective.'
University of Hertfordshire-educated Mr Carley-Pocock, who is thought to have given up his accountancy job and move abroad to rest after being diagnosed with a serious illness, had been living in Portugal for several years.

Respected Portuguese daily Jornal de Noticias said at the time of the murder the dead man was a HIV carrier but police sources insisted they had did not think it had anything to do with the crime.
An ex-British boyfriend helped police piece together his last hours and collect forensic evidence after the killing, but neither he or any other family or friends were at yesterday afternoon's/Friday afternoon's hearing.
Reicha, grew up in institutions and was nicknamed Fantasma by friends - a nickname that literally means 'ghost' in English but can also be used to describe a mysterious character. 
He was alone in court at the time of the sentencing. 

This story originally posted at the Daily

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