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The Week em Breve – April 5

Welcome to the Week em Breve! This week in Portugal: Ghosts and Resurrections, People Power, and Powered Portugal, and a whole lot more.

We Would Have Got Away with It If It wasn’t for Those Meddling Journalists
Corruption strikes again, with more than €30 million of public funds being diverted by six ghost companies. They were found to have no employees, facilities, nor activities. Despite this, they allegedly diverted millions of euros between 2005 and 2013 for food, transport, cleaning, accounting, and more. Observador unmasks the ghosts and looks a little deeper into how they haunt the Portuguese economy in this interesting piece.

“Chuto Rooms” Are Being Rolled Out in New Social Initiative
Lisbon plans to roll out “chuto rooms” in four areas of the city. There will be three fixed units and one mobile unit where users can consume drugs in a safe environment. They are more than just rooms to get high — there will be food support, nursing and hygiene services, as well as social and psychological support. Consumption rooms have been tested in other European cities and it is great to see Lisbon taking positive steps to help addicts in the city.

If You Thought Flying Ryanair Was Bad, Imagine Working There
On the first of April, Portuguese Ryanair crew held a strike, which resulted in 27 flights being canceled. The strike had over 90% backing and demanded that the airline conforms to national law regarding minimum wage, parenthood, and disciplinary action for medical issues or low onboard sales figures. Illegitimi non carborundum, comrades!

Old Is the New New
In an attempt to flip gentrification on its head, three siblings have opened what can only be described as a “vintage grocery store.” In a building that they purchased six years ago, for the staggeringly low sum of €400,000, they now have a restaurant and 15 flats. To add to this bonanza of authenticity, they have opened an old-timey grocery store selling artisanal Portuguese goods to tourists and locals alike. Diário de Notícias gives an in-depth look at how the building developed as well as the ideas behind the store. Feel free to peruse the article even if you would never peruse the shelves.

Tourists Are Falling Over Themselves for a Selfie
A German tourist felled a statue in Porto this week after attempting to take a photo with it. The statue was left undamaged, which is more than can be said for the tourist, and the fall was blamed on “wear” to the statue. The shameful aftermath was shared on social media and is one of several similar instances in recent months. The devilish selfie stick continues to plague Portuguese art.

We have the Power! So Much Renewable Power!
March marks the first month that more than 100% of Portugal’s power needs have been met with renewable energy. This was predominantly supplied by dams, and while fossil fuels still picked up the slack during some peak hours, this was offset by renewables outperforming at other times. Kudos to Portugal for going greener!

Brace Yourselves, the Tourists Are Coming
Lisbon and Porto now have more tourists per resident than London and Barcelona. Lisbon receives 4.5 million tourists per year — meaning nine tourists for every one resident. Outnumbered nine to one! That seems nothing compared to the Algarve, which has a whopping 39 tourists per resident. Now we have the stats to vindicate our constant whining about not being able to walk through the streets.

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