Welcome to the Week em Breve! This week in Portugal: Talking with God, Finding Unicorns, Travelling Lynx, Robots and much, much more!
Some of you may remember from a previous Week em Breve that Portugal has the highest gas prices in Europe and the second highest electricity prices. You may also remember that a recent study found that housing prices here are wildly disproportionate to income. Well, there’s more! Data from the European Commission has revealed that Portugal has the third most expensive gasoline in the EU, according to Sapo. That is without taking into account the 50% tax! So, if you are crazy enough to have a car in Lisbon, it will cost you!
You may also remember that we recently reported that the number of young people in Portugal who are actively religious is falling. Well, some recent research backs this up. Despite Portugal having one of the highest baptism rates in Europe, with the majority of people being raised Christian, the latest research found that 48% aren’t practising. In complete contradiction, and much more interestingly, 28% of respondents in Portugal claim that God speaks to them on a daily basis!
For those unfamiliar with investment jargon, a unicorn is a startup with a valuation over $1 billion. A rarity, hence the name. Well, Portugal has got another with Outsystems — a software firm founded in Lisbon — reaching that figure following recent investment from KKR and Goldman Sachs. The company is now based in the U.S., so it may not mean much to any of us, but how often do you get to talk about unicorns?
Speaking of unusual creatures, it was reported this week that an Iberian Lynx from Portugal turned up in Barcelona. The critically endangered animal was released to the Alentejo in 2015, and after several excursions has finally made an almost 1000 km journey to Catalonia. This makes him the first in the region for more than 100 years. Welcome back, good sir!
Tasty delivered food at little cost? Yes, sounds good, but we have to think about where those “savings” are made. Turns out that many of the people delivering food all around Lisbon are unable to eat basic meals themselves. These are the claims of a union, which says Uber Eats and Glovo drivers work in risky conditions with little pay — just 1.35€ per delivery. A study carried out determined that the delivery drivers had no base salary, no benefits or social protection, and face an increased risk of physical harm. On top of this, it is alleged that the work is carried out illegally. Even with the use of recibos verdes these drivers technically work for somebody else, not themselves.
Who likes bureaucracy? Nobody! Unless you are the fabulous creation of Douglas Adams. Porto, knowing this, is going to introduce Lola — a robot designed to help people with paperwork at the Loja do Cidadão. Under the same program, there will be Citizen Cards for foreigners, which aim to include all those pesky numbers on one card. We have seen weird things like this rolled out before, but hopefully, it will work this time!
There is a plan to introduce a reward system for recycling. The current push by councils is not going far enough, and it has been proposed that by 2019 there will be a system in place that rewards people for returning plastic bottles. It will give “tokens” for returned bottles, which can then be spent at certain shops. It’s nice to see people thinking about how to reduce plastic pollution, and if you want to actively do something right now, join the Dune Project for their beach clean up!