Sunday, July 16, 2023



Weekend headline news


Maybe the hottest heatwave ever!

Southern Europe is bracing itself for the hottest heatwave ever recorded. Temperatures in Portugal in the next few days are expected to again reach 40C (104F) or more, but not as much as in parts of Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Spain where 48C (118.4F) is being predicted by the European Space Agency. A red alert has been issued for 10 cities, including Florence and Rome. Such heatwaves are due mainly to the burning of fossil fuels that are still not being politically banished by the major users outside of Europe.

Drug decriminalisation: two views

Regina LaBelle, who held a top position in the US Office of Drug Control under both the President Obama and Biden administrations, wrote an article published this week in The Hill , a Washington political newspaper, strongly advising Americans to take a lesson from Portugal’s success in decriminalising all forms of drug use.  This was in contrast to an article published a few days earlier in the Washington Post under the headline,  Once hailed for decriminalizing drugs, Portugal is now having doubts”. 

Two new national monuments

A government decree has declared the Islamic baths in Loule and the Alfandega Nova building in Porto as national monuments. The baths date back to the 12th century when Loule was a medieval Islamic settlement. The Alfandega building was designed by a French architect in the 19th century and is now a congress centre and museum.  

 Judicial opinion: government is “criminal”

Portugal’s Judicial Employees Union is anticipating the complete closure of the courts and public prosecutors’ offices due to strike action that started on Friday. The union has denounced what it calls the “criminal silence” of the government in responding to its members’ wage and conditions demands.

Doubts about digital currency

Portugal’s finance minister is among those in the eurozone with “significant doubts” about the creation of digital money. A virtual version of the euro currency is being studied by the European Central Bank. What is being most seriously questioned is its “usefulness” - or otherwise.

Regional English newspapers

Prices are going to rise for the second consecutive week, is among the reports the Portugal News. The increase in the week ahead will be the same for both: 1.5 cents per litre. The Portugal Resident headlines include: “Police detain 16 suspected of €5.6 million tax scam on imported cars.”

Portuguese-language papers

One of the top stories in the Portuguese press in recent days has been the controversial findings of the final report of a parliamentary committee inquiry into the management of TAP, Portugal’s international airline.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023


 Mid-week headline news

                                – July 12

Sweden joining NATO

Portugal’s Prime Minister  António Costa was in the Lithuanian capital on Friday night before the start of the NATO summit yesterday and heard the welcome news that Turkey had withdrawn its opposition to Sweden joining the Atlantic alliance. This is a further landmark step in the strengthening of European security as Russia’s war in Ukraine shows no sign of abating. Sweden will now be NATO’s 32nd member state following Finland’s accession in April this year. Ukraine wants to join the alliance, but admission is unlikely while the war continues.

NATO to focus more on Africa?

During yesterday’s NATO discussions, Portugal’s prime minister said that the alliance had agreed to announce conclusions on Portugal’s request that more attention be paid to its southern flank, the continent of Africa.

EasyJet cancellations

EasyJet has so far cancelled 350 flights to Portugal between 21-25 July due to a new strike planned by cabin crews. The union representing the cabin crews said on Monday that 69% of flights from Faro, Lisbon and Porto would be cancelled.

Help for the Roma people

Portuguese Romanies want the government to establish an agency or commission to deal with the issues specific to their communities across the country. An estimated 30,000 to 50,000 Romanies, also known in Portugal as ciganos (gypsies), have long been regarded by many indigenous Portuguese in a negative or insulting way.

Robot designed to disinfect  

The University of Aveiro has developed an autonomous robot to disinfect public spaces with ultraviolet radiation and harmless chemical solutions, Luca News reported on Monday.

Keep Golden Visas: Madeira

The leader of the local government in Madeira is insisting on an extension of the Golden Visa scheme for the autonomous regions. He has described the mainland government’s decision to scrap the scheme for the entire country as “scandalous”.  

Classic cars this weekend in Algarve

The 30th annual Algarve Classic Car Event will take place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The best place to see a great many classic cars this Friday will be next to the marina in Vilamoura. On Saturday they will set off on a rally, stopping for a while at Tavira and São Brás de Alportel. On Sunday they will visit Albufeira and Armacao de Pera.

Tourist boats must avoid orcas

The Portuguese Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests has banned tourist boats from approaching groups of killer whales (ocas). As tempting as it is to get as close as possible for the pleasure of tourists, orcas have shown a strong tendency to attack propellers and rudders and occasionally sink boats off the coasts of Portugal and Spain.

Rare wildlife for ecotourists

Genevieve Fox writing in Sunday’s Observer newspaper waxed lyrical about the wildlife in northern Portugal’s Greater Coa Valley. It was in this 120,000 hectare nature corridor that she spent hours watching a rare breed of wild horses. The area’s rich biodiversity includes Iberian wolves, lynxes, eagles and vultures.


Sunday, July 9, 2023



Weekend headline news

                                 – July 9


Cluster bomb controversy

Portugal has long condemned the use of cluster bombs, a stockpile of which the United States is now planning to give to Ukraine to help the war effort. Among the many countries to ratify a convention against cluster bombs in 2015, Portugal will be able to discuss the US plan at a NATO summit in Lithuania this coming Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sweden joining NATO?

Portugal fully supports the bid by Sweden to join NATO, which the US president and the Swedish prime minister sought to push forward at their meeting in the White House last Wednesday. It is of great security importance given Russia’s war in Ukraine. All 31 NATO leaders agree with this except Turkey and Hungary. President Erdogan of Turkey continues to block the move, arguing that Sweden has harboured members of a Kurdish terrorist group. Hungary is expected to accept Sweden’s membership if Turkey concedes.

Quitting an energy treaty

The European Commission has formally proposed that the EU and all its member states, including Portugal, withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) in “a coordinated and orderly manner”.  On Friday, the EU Green Deal chief, Frans Timmermans, said: “It’s time for Europe to withdraw from this treaty and to put all our focus on building an efficient and competent energy system that promotes and protects renewable energy investments”. 

Prepared for wildfires

Wildfires this summer will be “more difficult” than last year’s, but Portugal is prepared, said the president of the National Authority for Emergency and Civil Protection (ANEPC) on Friday. Last year’s severe wildfires burnt more than 105,000 acres (42,500 hectares) of forested land. 

More strikes during Pope’s visit

Portuguese teachers, railway workers, police officers and garbage collectors are planning protests and strikes during the World Youth Day celebrations in Lisbon. Pope Francis will be among the estimated one million Catholic attendees at the event over the first week of August.  

Shorter working week

Nearly 40% of Portugal’s private sector businesses have signed up to experiment with a four-day instead of the traditional five-day working week. A government-funded programme will take place over the next six months to test if employees can achieve 100% productivity targets while being paid 100% for 80% time worked. Successful pilot 100-80-100 projects have been conducted in Ireland, Brussels, the UK, the US, and New Zealand.

Sun, sea and silence

Most beachgoers in Portugal want to enjoy peace and quiet, which is why fines of up to €36,000 will be imposed for anyone playing their music too loudly this summer. So best keep your mobile music device shut off altogether when you are on the sand.  President Marcelo hospitalised

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa fainted and was rushed to hospital by ambulance from a university visit in Almada on Wednesday. He reported experiencing hypothermia, dizziness, nausea, and extreme fatigue after a light lunch. The hospital visit was later described as “a precautionary measure”.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023



Mid-week headline news 

                                  – July 5

Widespread wildfire dangers

Thirty-five Portuguese municipalities in six districts from Bragança in the north to the Algarve in the south are at “maximum” risk of wildfires, the national meteorological office warned yesterday. A total of about 80 municipalities across Portugal, including the whole of the Alentejo region, are reckoned to be at “very high risk”. It is expected to be a worse year for wildfires than in 2022, mainly because of the drought, and winds in the Algarve.

Hunger amomg Alentejo farm animals

The drought situation in the Baixo Alentejo region is so severe that many farm animals have little food or water. Fodder, when it exists, has tripled in price. Luca News has reported that farmers are facing “a nightmare” this summer because of a lack of hay. The lowest level of dam water in the whole country is in the Monte da Rocha reservoir in Ourique, which provides water for the entire Alentejo Baixa. It is down to 9% capacity. In the last 10 years it has never reached full capacity. 

Electricity from Renewables

In the first half of this year, wind power has provided 25% of Portugal’s electricity needs, and hydroelectric sources 23%. Renewable production in total has contributed 61%. These figures were reported yesterday by the national electricity company RENS.

Grossly inadequate housing 

Municipalities across the country have identified 77,000 families living in “undignified” conditions. Parliament heard this yesterday from the housing minister, who noted that almost 84% of Portugal’s municipalities are developing local housing strategies under the so-called 1st Right programme.

Harmful bacteria in water supplies

A new study has concluded that microplastics polluting some domestic water systems are accumulating more pathological bacteria resistant to antibiotics. The results of the study were released on Monday by the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Coimbra.

The Portuguese press  

The front pages in the main Portuguese newspapers so far this week have been reporting on a court case about the shocking death of a young girl, lack of workers in the tourist industry, workplace harassment, and preparations for the World Youth Day mass event in Lisbon, with concerns that rubbish collectors in the capital may go on strike.

 Weekend weather

It is expected to be slightly cooler in the Algarve with highs of 31C on Saturday and 34C on Sunday. It will probably heat up with temperatures returning to 37C on Tuesday. Lisbon temperatures will probably be 27-28 degrees. Similar temperatures are forecasts for the north of the country with grey skies and a little rain. The central interior areas are likely to experience 31-33 degrees over the weekend, but up to 38C by the end of next week. 




Sunday, July 2, 2023


Weekend headline news 

                                 – July 2


Not so peaceful Portugal

The Global Peace Index 2023 has placed Portugal as the seventh most peaceful country in the world.  This has dropped for the third year running and is at its lowest position since 2015. The GPI annually covers nearly all of the countries in the world and uses many indicators in making its assessment. The top three most peaceful countries this year are Iceland, Denmark and Ireland.

Excessive air pollution

The European Union Court of Justice has again declared that Portugal has failed to comply with EU rules on air quality. Nitrogen oxide (NO2) levels have exceeded the limits in parts of the country causing a serious health hazard. This is due mainly to road traffic, especially diesel vehicles.

 Paedophile prevention

A group that is working on investigating and preventing the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults within the Portuguese Catholic Church is reportedly now directly linked to prosecutors in a greater effort to eliminate this criminality. Meanwhile, a shocking report in the Daily Mail in the UK reports that paedophiles are using AI to create and sell life-like child sexual abuse images.

Inflation lower last month

Portugal’s prime minister on Friday welcomed the news that inflation had dropped by 7.6% in June to 3.4%, saying that wage increases are not putting pressure on this rate.  The government hopes that new rules for withholding tax, which came into force yesterday, will ensure that an increase in gross income corresponds to an increase in net income.

Closer links with France

France and Portugal have promised to deepen ties in cultural, educational, technical, and scientific sectors. This was announced at the end of high-level discussions between officials of the two countries on Wednesday. Greater investment in languages and cooperation in maritime affairs were specifically mentioned. 

World Youth Day

The number of people from around the world registered to take part in World Youth Day, which is scheduled to take place next month in Lisbon, has reached about 300,000. Portugal has the fourth highest number registered. This is a Catholic event with Pope Francis scheduled to attend.

Don’t miss the ‘supermoons’!  

The first of four consecutive ‘supermoons’ this summer will light up the night sky tomorrow, July 3. The three others will occur on August 1, August 30 and September 29. ‘Supermoons’ appear to be bigger and brighter than normal full moons because their orbit is closer to the Earth when they reach their fullest phase. 

National Portuguese press:

Top headlines in recent days have included a wide range of stories about the rising cost of living.  

Local English newspapers:

The Algarve Daily News leads with the president of the republic’s proposal to end the obligation to display an insurance stamp on the windscreen of your car.

Among the Portugal News main stories: “Calls to bring an end to dolphins in captivity”.

The Portugal Resident emphasises that “Portugal won’t be bullied into cutting back on social security measures...”

Wednesday, June 28, 2023


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.

Overweight children

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”.

Climate-affected farmers

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.



Sunday, June 25, 2023



Weekend headline news 

                             – June 25


Strikes next week

The secretary-general of Portugal’s largest trade union federation has predicted a national day of strikes and demonstrations all across the country next Wednesday. Workers in various sectors are demanding wage increases.

Expanding  tourism

The inland areas of Portugal, which are much less well-known to visitors compared with Lisbon, Porto or the Algarve, “can and should be inspiring for the transformation of tourism”, declared the secretary of state for tourism, commerce and services on Friday.  There are already measures in place to make this come true, he added.

Capital of Culture

Portugal’s prime minister has said that the designation of Évora in the Alentejo as the European Capital of Culture 2027 is an opportunity for the development of the region and he country through investment in culture.

Gambling addicts

A surprisingly large number of Portuguese people are addicted to gambling. An official study has found that 55% of Portuguese citizens – the majority of them men – have admitted to being addicted to gambling. That’s an increase of 7.6% from a similar survey in 2017.

Other addictions

The prevalence of tobacco consumption in Portugal increased from 48.8% in 2017 to 51% in 2022, according to a report by Luca News. The consumption of alcohol increased from 49.1% to 56.4% over the same period, while the use of sedatives was 13%, down from 22% in 2021.

New tax idea

The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) has presented a bill to parliament proposing a reduction of personal income tax and VAT for families. At the same time the PCP wants more taxation on companies and a tax on transitions to tax havens.

New Fatima saint

Pope Francis has signed a decree to advance the beatification of Sister Lucia, the eldest of the three children said to have witnessed the apparitions at Fatima in 1917. The Church will now have to approve a miracle attributed to her before the process of sainthood can be completed.

In the papers

The Portugal News announces that from July only electric buses will be operating in the city of Évora.

The Portugal Resident reports that human trafficking is a “time bomb under Portugal’s feet”.

The Algarve Daily News has led with: a story about a man who killed his wife, stayed with her corpse all night and surrendered himself the next day.