August 23, 2018 by Eden Flaherty
The Week em Breve – August 23
Welcome to the Week em Breve! This week in Portugal: Tackling Train Troubles, Drone Crashes, Fighting for Public Spaces, Weed Worries, Fearsome Tolls, Portuguese Porn, and much more!
Tackling Trains Troubles with Tech
CP this, CP that. The beloved Portuguese national train company has been in the news a lot lately. Well, once again it has made headlines, but this time because one sick-of-being-late software developer decided to create an app that lets people know if a train will be delayed, and how long for. It is called Chamada Atrasos CP and is currently only available in android early access, but may soon sweep the city!
CLEAR! Mandatory Defibrillator Training for Drivers
Those less inclined to take the train could soon have a little extra responsibility. While it is widely accepted that knowing basic CPR is a “civic duty,” it may become mandatory for drivers to learn how to use an external automatic defibrillator. This is similar to recent legislation aimed at teaching secondary school pupils CPR as the Portuguese government tries to increase the chances of surviving cardiac arrest.
Drone Crash Causes Delays
A drone crashed on the runway of Lisbon airport, which led to a stoppage of eight minutes. The drone was seized, with the public prosecutor saying it could constitute “an attack on the safety of transport by air, water or rail,” which carries a sentence of up to 10 years. The operator was taken into custody, and this close call is just the latest in 16 reported cases in the first half of 2018. This could easily lend credence to the need for proposed drone laws.
Santa Catarina Stripped of Character?
Many of you will be familiar with Miradouro de Santa Catarina (aka Adamastor). A viewpoint in Lisbon that has for many years drawn a rather eclectic crowd who drink, listen to buskers, and sometimes smoke a little weed. It has been fenced off for some time due to ongoing renovation, but residents have formed a group to fight back against a proposal for a permanent fence. The fence would be used to close the miradouro for “moments of rest” and to “facilitate its maintenance,” according to the council. However, this is being called an act of “social hygiene” by critics of the project, who argue that it is yet another attack on the diverse public spaces of Lisbon.
Booksellers’ Call to Arms
Speaking of group actions, a number of booksellers have formed an organization to fight for independent bookstores. They say that in a sector being dominated by three big names — Bertrand, FNAC, and Sonae Group (Continente) — it is important to come together to set themselves apart. While many of the stores specialize, such as in children’s books or cookbooks, the group believes that diversification is key, while maintaining this wonderful ecosystem of independent stores. Support your local independent bookstores, people!
Dope Dulls the Mind
It may not come as a shock to many, but a recent study has found that “prolonged consumption of cannabis… harms the memory.” The research was a joint venture between the University of Lisbon and the University of Lancaster, UK, which came to the unsurprising conclusion that exposure to cannabinoids can cause “significant deficiencies” in memory. This is in addition to the previously known problems that it can induce, such as psychosis and schizophrenia. However, the research also found that memory problems can be offset by caffeine products administered simultaneously, which is an important step in battling the side effects of medical marijuana.
I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles…
There was a continued growth in consumer credit in the first half of 2018, with financial institutions lending roughly €3.7Bn — a new record according to the Bank of Portugal. Additionally, Real estate consultants Cushman & Wakefield have revealed that investment in Portuguese property increased 56% in the first half of 2018 when compared with the same period last year. This includes huge investments in retail property such as Blackstone’s shopping centers as well as other commercial property, like the sale of Lagoas Park for €375 million. Unsurprisingly, 98% of investments in Portugal’s property sector come from foreign investors, according to Cushman & Wakefield, with the main ones being from France, the UK, and Spain. Is this in line with growing demand? Well, sort of. There has been a significant drop in the number of tourists booking hotel rooms this summer, with a national drop in foreign overnight hotel stays of 5.1%. This slack was, however, taken up by Alojamento Local rentals such as Airbnb. A trend thought likely to continue, with the President of Portugal’s short-term holiday homes association (ALEP) claiming ALs will take over by 2020. More loans, more property investment (at previously-reported inflated rates), and a reliance on tourism. Let’s see how this pans out.
Sick of the City? Hit the Road!
Or, maybe not. 2017 has been reported as having the highest toll revenue ever. Drivers in Portugal paid a massive 1035 million Euros last year, with more than half going to Brisa. We all know that the highways of Portugal can be expensive, but that is a hefty sum.
NSFW! Portuguese Porn Goes International
Seriously, don’t open the original story at work, in public, or if you have a weak disposition. Porntugal (yes, that’s really what it’s called) has been nominated for “Hardcore Website of the Year” at the 2018 XBIZ Europe Awards — a European version of the famed American adult entertainment awards. The ceremony will take place at the beginning of next month in Berlin, with Porntugal — the only Portuguese-language pornography producer — hoping to take home this prestigious award.
Think we missed an important story? Let us know in the comments!