Welcome to the Week em Breve! This Week’s News in Portugal: Trash Talks, Facebook Fascists, Crime-Genius Hackers, the Biggest Pride Festival in Europe, Metro Renovations, Corruption, and much more!
New Trash Fines Set to Come to Lisbon
The amount of trash in Lisbon increased by 10% between 2015 and 2018, and the city council plans to do something about it with possible new measures across the city. This includes hiring new urban hygiene workers, increasing the number of trash collections in some neighborhoods, and a range of fines from 150€ to 44,000€ garbage-related offenses. Littering (that includes cigarettes), for example, could lead to fines of 150€ to 1,500€ for individuals and as much as 15,000€ for “legal entities” — e.g. companies, associations, etc.
Fascists’ Facebook Freakout
Speaking of trash on the streets, Mário Machado has been kicking up a fuss in the lead up to his “Homage to Salazar” march at the beginning of next month. New Social Order (Nova Ordem Social), the party which Machado heads, has had its Facebook page removed and in response, the group has moved to Whatsapp, a blog, and an online forum. Machado is now using these platforms to dox the individuals he sees as responsible for denouncing the NOS facebook page in the first place.
#Catch Me If You Can
In a story more suited to sci-fi than Sabado, the “computer and crime genius” and alleged hacker of Benfica Rui Pinto has been arrested. He was eventually caught in Hungary after traveling through several EU countries in recent months — chased by a European arrest warrant. The Benfica hack for which is accused relates to a swath of private correspondence that was leaked online, but he is also suspected of stealing information from Sporting and FC Porto. To make the story even more Hollywood, after several years of silence, the Facebook page Football Leaks, to which Pinto is connected, posted “@PJ looking for me? LOL #catchmeifyoucan.”
Could EuroPride Come to Lisbon?
Portugal is launching a bid to host the largest LGBTI event in Europe — EuroPride — in 2020 with the hopes of spreading the event across both Lisbon and Porto. The event is held in a different European city each year and as well as having significant symbolic value, it would also bring economic benefits, according to Diogo Vieira da Silva, Executive Director of Variações. Portugal is going head to head with Barcelona, Maspalomas (Canary Islands), and Belgrade to host the event and the winner will be announced in September.
Managing the Metro
Metro de Lisboa has rescinded the current contract for the Arroios refurbishment, according to the city council. At a public meeting, residents were told that the Metro will be taking administrative control of the works with the aim to resume the project as soon as possible. The work will hopefully be completed in the second half of this year.
Over Budget and Overdue? Have a Bonus.
An EY audit of EDP dams — ordered by EDP themselves — discovered that things weren’t going so well. It was carried out at the end of 2017, but kept under wraps, and shows major flaws in the control over the construction of several dams such as Baixo Sabor, Ribeiradio Ermida and Foz Tua. These problems include projects running over budget by hundreds of millions as well as past official deadlines. And, to top it off, the construction firms responsible were given bonuses regardless of their failures. The projects have since been completed (after EDP brought EY on board).
The fact that Portugal is bleeding money to corruption was highlighted in a recent EU report, but now the Ministro Adjunto e da Economia, Siza Vieira, has said that a soon-to-be-published OECD report shows it to be seriously affecting Portuguese competitiveness. Vieira says that Portugal must re-focus on tackling corruption since it is currently at the same level as Nigeria and Iraq.
Houses Are Expensive, Study Finds
In a report released this week, Fitch Ratings has predicted that people’s ability to buy a house will only worsen over the next two years as house prices across Portugal continue to rise. This is most noticeable in Lisbon and Porto where house prices increased 20% -22% in the second quarter of last year compared with 2017. Additionally, Fitch predicts that the home loan balance will stabilize and then grow over the next two to three years.
Think we missed an important story? Let us know in the comments!