News in brief ....jpg

News in brief …

Viva Portugal!

PORTUGAL WAS in a festive and jubilant mood recently when Oeiras received the National Squad picked to compete in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. At the Jamor Stadium, a huge flag made up of hundreds of coloured cards was held aloft by thousands of women chanting “Viva Portugal” and “we’re the best”. The Alentejan city of Évora went on to receive the National Squad, where they received a rapturous and euphoric welcome not seen since 2004. Portuguese National Coach, Brazilian Luís Felipe Scolari (pictured), told reporters: “This is our National Squad and they are our passion.”

Cavaco Silva visits troops in Bosnia

PORTUGUESE PRESIDENT, Cavaco Silva, was reviewing Portuguese peacekeeping troops in Bosnia recently. He said it was important that the country viewed its armed forces as an investment, given the important profile that it has in peacekeeping abroad, in the former Yugoslavia and Iraq.

‘Nil point’ for Portugal

ONCE AGAIN, Portugal was awarded ‘nil point’ at the Eurovision Song Contest held in Athens recently. Despite having two promising songs in the run-up to the competition, the Portuguese jury managed to select a lead balloon from Non-Stop who were Non-Starters. To make matters worse, the RTP commentator not once, but twice, referred to next year’s competition being held in Reykjavik, the capital of Finland. Someone buy him an Atlas!    

Opel factory at risk of closing down

THE GENERAL Motors-owned Opel car plant, at Azambuja, looks increasingly likely to close down in 2008, following the ongoing crisis in the American automobile market. The decision depends on the findings of an in-depth series of surveys and reports commissioned by the company, which is evaluating the economic viability of all its European car plants.

Electronic passports unveiled

PORTUGAL’S NEW electronic passport was finally unveiled by the Minister for Internal Administration (Home Office), António Costa. The new document, which is extremely difficult to forge, will begin to be officially issued from July whereas the current passports will be scrapped in August.

Elderly population will soar

THE RETIRED population in Portugal is likely to rise by 10.8 per cent by the year 2015, according to studies presented at the International Psychogeriatric Association Congress held in Lisbon recently. Gerontology specialists from all over Europe discussed the burning issues affecting the elderly, including senile dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression, suicide and conditions in homes for the elderly.

Garage charges highest in EU

THE COST of getting your car repaired at a garage in Portugal is among the highest anywhere in the Eurozone, according to the latest consumer reports. The reduction in the number of road accidents, coupled with lower insurance prices and large company garage consolidation, has done nothing to bring prices down.

Drug-taking habits study

A STUDY into Portuguese drug-taking habits is being carried out this year for the National Plan Against Drugs and Drug Addiction. The study aims to identify changes in drug-taking habits since 2001 and will continue for seven years.

Unemployment fell – slightly

UNEMPLOYMENT HAS fallen for the first time in four years in Portugal, although there are more university qualified graduates on the dole than ever before. The current unemployment rate stands at slightly below half-a-million, in a country that has 10 million inhabitants, of which six million are of working age.

Hepatitis on the up

HEPITITIS C is increasing alarmingly in Portugal, according to new reports. There are three new cases of the disease registered every day, while an estimated 2,000 people do not realise they are infected. According to the SOS Hepatitis Association, the blood-born infection is a silent illness that can lay dormant for many years without showing any symptoms. “We want people to get tested for the illness because the earlier it is detected the better it can be treated,” warned Emília Rodrigues for SOS.

A banana a day keeps depression at bay

EATING BANANAS could reduce your chance of depression, according to the latest research. Bananas are rich in potassium, which encourages the production of dopamine, a naturally occurring feel-good chemical in the brain, which lifts moods and encourages serotonin uptake.

Portuguese immigrants march in protest

THOUSANDS OF Portuguese immigrant workers marched through the streets of Toronto, Canada, recently in protest at the Canadian government’s forced repatriation of illegal workers. Calling for the suspension of deportations and a resolution to the problems of illegal workers in the country, they gathered at Queen’s Park in the centre of Toronto, along with representatives of several civil construction unions and multiethnic organisations. The demonstration passed off peacefully and included immigrant workers from other countries as well as Portugal.