July 12, 2018 by Eden Flaherty
The Week em Breve – July 12
Welcome to the Week em Breve! This week in Portugal: Valley of Dreams, Drone Licensing, Confused Firemen, Fishing Frenzy, Corruption, and much, much more!
The US ambassador in Lisbon, George Glass, said this week that the US is “attentive” to Chinese investment in Portugal. This, according to Glass, is because it is state, rather than private, companies making the transactions. He said that this “model subordinates economic interests to state ones,” essentially creating “not a trade partnership, but a political one.” This comes as the US charges headlong into a trade war with China.
The latest rejuvenation project is set to connect Monsanto to the Tejo using a 3km “green corridor.” The plans include pedestrian and cycle routes on what is currently “empty” land, along with 700 new trees, irrigated with recycled water. Sweeping under the aqueduct, the path will allow people to walk and cycle down the valley, something that is currently not possible.
The Associação Portuguesa de Energias Renováveis has announced that in the first six months of this year, renewables accounted for 61% of Portugal’s power. According to the association, this was down to this year’s climate — an extraordinary rainy spring. This means that Portugal has shot past the EU target of 32% renewables by 2030.
Drones will be issued with a “license plate” when they are registered on the soon-to-be-released ANAC electronic platform. An identification number, which will have to be affixed to the drone, will be issued giving details of a drone’s owner or operator. This is to track any “irregularities” in its operation and could result in fines between 300 and 7,500 euros. Registration is for drones weighing more than 0.250 kg, so that little one you got for your kid at Christmas should be fine.
There is an air of scaremongering about Publico’s recent declaration that CP is “on the brink of collapse,” but it does highlight serious issues about the state of Comboios de Portugal. They have a shortage of rolling stock, and what they do have is old. Furthermore, the workshops that should repair them go unstaffed. This means reduced or poorly functioning services and shoddy cars strewn with broken glass and graffiti. As the holiday season approaches, there will be even fewer staff and even greater demand, so this problem is set to worsen rather than disappear.
Corruption seems to have taken a back seat in the news recently, but the Juventude Social Democrata is making sure it is not forgotten. The JSD leader, Margarida Balseiro Lopes, defended that politicians convicted of corruption should be barred from public office for 10 years. According to Lopes, this is to challenge the idea that politicians are “all the same,” and increase public trust in the political system. Stopping corrupt officials holding positions of power? Radical.
The New Economics Foundation has found that from now until the end of the year, Europe will rely entirely on imported fish. Unsurprisingly, Portugal is the biggest consumer of fish in Europe, with each person eating an average of 55.3 kg per year. This is compared to the European average of just 22.7 kg. It is not just an environmental issue, but an economic one, with millions of people relying on fishing for their livelihood. The fact that Portugal exhausted its local fish stocks in less than 5 months is a stark reminder of the toll we take on the oceans.
In a story better suited to prime-time television than rural Portugal, two firemen — one volunteer, one professional — have been setting fires. The two men have been accused of causing more than 20 fires in the past two years. Predominantly set in wooded areas, the fires were started on the men’s days off. There is still no known reason, and both men have now been detained for this bamboozling crime.
Think we missed an important story? Let us know in the comments!