Behind the headlines this week
Zero VAT on foodstuffs
In the face of rising inflation and the cost of living, the government is to introduce a list of products that will have zero value added tax. The foods include various fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats and eggs. The arrangement will run from the end of Easter until November. The standard VAT rate in Portugal is 23%, though only 6% on some foods and 13% on pharmaceuticals.
Islamic centre killing
Two women were killed and others injured by a man wielding a large knife at the Islamic centre in Lisbon on Tuesday. Police shot and wounded the man when he failed to put down the knife. Now in custody, the attacker is thought to be a refugee from Afghanistan who was receiving help from the Islamic community.
Banking looks stable
The outlook for the Portuguese banking sector is looking stable for the next 12 to 18 months, according to the Moody’s Investors Service. It considers the outlook “globally resilient” in the contest of of the current restrictive monetary policy.
Airlines back on track
Airlines for Europe (A4E) are optimistic that they will achieve pre-COVID levels on the number of flights this summer. This is despite 350 flights and 62,500 passengers being hit by French air traffic strikes and other recent airline staff disputes.
More tourism workers
The ministry of the economy wants to increase the number of people working in the tourism sector by 20%. In a plan announced on Monday, 20 different measures are envisaged, including modernising the network of hotel schools. Improvements in the tourism sector are seen as crucial because it is of such importance to the national economy.
Tanks sent to Ukraine
Three Leopard 2A6 tanks donated by the Portuguese government have arrived in Ukraine.
Germany, Poland, Finland and Spain have also sent Leopard battle tanks to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty against Russia.
The young woman who claims she is Madeleine McCann is now demanding medical records from a Polish doctor she claims drugged her with pills as a child. The Polish parents of Julia Wendell, also known as Jula Faustyna, say she has a mental problem. Dr Fia Johansson, the American private investigator supporting Julia in California, says a Polish lawyer has been contacted and there may be a lawsuit to get to the truth. DNA test results are said to be “imminent”. Meanwhile, it has been reported that the London Metropolitan’s Police’s Operation Grange is to receive more funding from the British home office.