March 7, 2019 by Eden Flaherty
The Week em Breve – March 7
Welcome to the Week em Breve! This Week’s News in Portugal: NASA Cod Cakes, Inventor Theft, Overpriced Property, Portugal Space, Wage Inequality, and much more!
Taxes and Tolls: Driving in Portugal is Just Plain Expensive
If you thought gas was expensive in Portugal, wait until you hear about cars! New taxes aimed at environmental protection mean that the cost of a vehicle is now far higher in Portugal than in other EU countries. In fact, some cars are reportedly 5000€ more expensive here than in places such as Germany.
Unrealistic Asking Prices Lead to Unsold Properties
And it ain’t just cars that will put you out of pocket, housing is apparently out of reach too. These “prohibitive prices” are leading to longer sale times for homeowners in Portugal — with some predicting that they will double in 2019. The Associação dos Profissionais e Empresas de Mediação Imobiliária warned that people need more reasonable valuations of their property to avoid pricing out the Portuguese middle class and increasing the time it takes to sell.
Critical Software Co-Founder Challenges Wage Inequality
While the real estate agents worry about the middle class, others are more concerned about those on minimum wage, with the co-founder of Critical Software, Gonçalo Quadros, describing it as an “indignity.” It is impossible to live with dignity or raise children while on minimum wage, according to Quadros’ fiery acceptance speech for the 2019 University of Coimbra Award. He also criticized the wage inequality within companies, with those at the top regularly earning hundreds or even thousands times more than the lowest salary.
Highest Domestic Violence Murder Rate in 10 Years Prompts Day of Mourning
So far this year, domestic violence has led to 11 women being murdered. This is the highest figure in 10 years and more than double what it was for the same period last year. Following street protests, mainly aimed at the lenient sentences handed out by some judges, Portugal announced a day mourning for all victims. It took place on March 7th, with public buildings flying flags at half mast.
We’re Going to the Stars! (Soon)
The Portuguese government is looking to the stars and has approved the creation of a space agency, Portugal Space. It will be based on the Island of Santa Maria in the Azores and, according to the Minister of Science, will be operational within a month. There are hopes that this agency, and the building of a microsatellite launching base, will stimulate “space industry” in Portugal, with new jobs and companies.
Get on the Eurovision Hypetrain
And speaking of stars, Conan Osíris has won the 2019 Festival da Canção, earning him the right to represent Portugal at this year’s Eurovision song contest. He will head to Tel Aviv to perform his winning song… Telemóveis.
Chef’s Claims Are Out of This World
In a bizarre claim, famed chef Kiko Martins allegedly said that he won a NASA competition to send his recipe to Mars. In recent months he made claims about entering and subsequently winning the competition — with bolinhos de bacalhau, no less. As it transpired, the competition was actually run by a Spanish organization and was designed to promote recipes using the species of potato that scientists are hoping to grow on Mars. Strange times for one of Lisbon’s top chefs.
Portuguese Inventor Accuses Huawei of Stealing His Camera
In another bizarre but far more plausible claim, a Portuguese inventor has accused mobile-giant Huawei of stealing his patent pending 360 camera. After flying to America to meet Huawei officials about his camera, Portuguese inventor Rui Pedro Oliveira never heard from the company again, but a few years later they produced their own camera (the EnVizion 360 Camera), which the inventor claims is based on his stolen design.
Summer is Coming, and So are the Fires
While it may not have felt like it this week, summer is indeed on its way. And, in Portugal, that can mean pretty devastating fires. The government has therefore sent out information about the obligations that home and business owners have to avoid these threats. You have until March 15 to create a protection band of 50 meters around houses, warehouses, workshops, factories, or shipyards and of 100 meters around things like campsites, industrial parks, and landfills. If this somehow applies to you, go out and do it! Or face the hefty fines.
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