Portugal News

portuguese press review plus the odd insight

Sorry, you’re too dirty to take me downtown

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Lisbon’s city council wants to ban older vehicles that generate more pollution from the historic Baixa city centre. The move would affect 20% of the capital’s fleet of 3,500 taxis, according to Publico. Taxistas (cabbies) call for more time to meet the January 2012 deadline.

Pedro Lopes, director of one of Lisbon’s biggest taxi firms, says banning older vehicles from an area between Avenida da Liberdade and Terreiro do Paco will create confusion. If an oil-spewing ‘legacy’ taxi picks up a fare who wants to go to the Baixa, the passenger will have to be dropped off some distance from their destination to continue the journey by other means.

Lisbon has lots of old taxis that are mainly reliable but smoky diesel Mercs. The new regulations will ban pre-1993 cars from central Lisbon unless they are fitted with a catalytic converter.

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Written by porkncheezer

May 20, 2011 at 8:24 am

¿Donde le duele?

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Another 40 Columbian doctors have arrived in Portugal to work in National Health Service centres facing shortages of medical staff in Lisbon, the Alentejo and central Portugal. Dozens of Colombian medics are already working in Portuguese NHS centres across the country.

About 10% of all doctors working in Portugal’s NHS are now from overseas. Not surprisingly around 2,500 of the 4,000-odd foreign doctors in Portugal come from neighbouring Spain. Some Cuban doctors (below) have also been sent to Portugal. Doctor shortages in the country are put down to a program of early retirement for medics rolled out last year.

Written by porkncheezer

May 19, 2011 at 7:41 am

Hands off our marquises!

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Many apartment blocks in Portuguese cities have a slightly higgledy-piggledy look due to customized modifications and enclosures of balconies, known as a “marquise”. Some town and city councils, including Almada across the river from Lisbon, are trying to standardize the appearance of buildings by getting residents to legalize their beloved marquises, used to stow a household ‘junk” and often a place to put washing machines in cramped flats. Many oppose the proposed law changes which will increase property taxes as apartments boost their square meterage.

Publico sends a crack investigative team to gape at the marquise of President Anibal Cavaco Silva. His relatively modest family home in Lisbon is off Avenida Infante Santo. A neighbour points to the president’s two marquises, the Cavaco Silva’s have bought the first-floor flat next door. One of the president’s probably illegal balconies has smart white blinds while the other is mirror glazed.

Portuguese TV showed the newly elected and beaming head of state in his marquise (on left) on election night in 2006. At the time one media wag doubted if President George W. Bush had ever set foot in a marquise, let alone allow himself to be filmed in one.

Written by porkncheezer

May 18, 2011 at 10:17 am

Toff versus urchin

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There’s little Portuguese interest left in European football this season. Apart from the all-Luso Europa League final tonight in Dublin between FC Porto and Braga! Several articles in national press highlight the differences and connections between the two club’s coaches, Andre Villas-Boas of Porto and Domingos Pacienca of Braga.

Villas-Boas, 33, is often described as aristocratic by Portugal’s media. He is the grandson of a viscount and comes from an old Ango-Portuguese family connected to the Douro valley port wine trade.  He got his big break when his then neighbour in the leafy Porto suburb of Foz, Bobby Robson, took him under his wing. Villas-Boas had written to Robson, in his excellent English, to suggest Porto’s new manager play striker Domingos Pacienca more often.  After a playing career in Portugal and Spain, Pacienca, known in Portugal as Domingos, ended up coach at Braga.

High-born Villas-Boas is often said to be the natural successor to Jose Mourinho as Portugal’s most successful coach. But the current Porto supremo prefers  to compare himself with Bobby Robson, his early mentor at the club. Mourinho and Villa-Boas were once thick as thieves when the latter worked as the Special One’s scout at Porto, Chelsea and then Inter. This close relationship appears to have cooled since Villa-Boas took the plunge to coach his own team.

Domingos, from industrialized Leca da Palmeira near Porto, is widely seen as an urchin compared to toff Villa-Boas. He had to be put on a build-up diet when taken on as an apprentice player by FC Porto aged 13.  After hanging up his playing boots his first coaching gig was in charge of Porto reserves followed by spells at Uniao Leiria and Academica of Coimbra before replacing Jorge Jesus at Braga in 2009.

Both Domingos and Villas-Boas are relatively taciturn in interviews and let their teams do the talking for them. Porto’s coach has yet to give a one-to-one interview. But has been known to respond to somewhat off-the-wall questions at press conferences.

Written by porkncheezer

May 18, 2011 at 9:04 am

The players’ player

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Raul Meireles, Liverpool’s Portuguese soccer ace, gets interviewed by Expresso this week. It took him a while to adjust to the pace of the English Premiership after a GBP 12m move from FC Porto to Liverpool last year, he says, where he began playing on the left wing in 4-4-2 formation instead of his more natural central midfield berth. Meireles was returned to his favoured position when Kenny Dalglish replaced Roy Hodgson at Anfield. The Portuguese international rapidly found form and played a key role in Liverpool’s revival with his trademark long-range goals and pinpoint crosses from midfield.

Meireles prefers English football to the game in his native country because it requires a lower level of skill but more tactical awareness. Kenny Dalglish is seen as a god by the Anfield faithful, says Meireles, who admits to having seen some youtube clips of the former Scottish international striker in his pomp. The ex-Porto and Boavista player goes for a regular drink with his Liverpool team-mates but says English fans tnd to appreciate players’ on-field exploits rather than which super models they hang out with. In Portugal things are the other way round, he wryly notes.

Fellow countryman Nani plays up the road in Manchester but the two Portuguese “craques” rarely meet up outside of international duty, Meireles tells Expresso. Probably something to do with the longstanding bitter rivalry between the two clubs who rarely have transfer or other dealings. Raul Jose Trindade Meireles was born 27 years ago in Porto. He was elected player of the year this season by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) in England.

Written by porkncheezer

May 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm

B.Leza back in town

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Legendary Lisbon African dancehall B.Leza, forced to become itinerant for several years, has finally found a new home, reports Publico. Sofia Saudade e Silva, one of two sisters who run B.Leza, said the new location remains hush hush for the time being. But she revealed the new venue is a stone’s throw away from its palace-like predecessor, near Largo Conde Barao, and closer to the River Tagus. So my guess is somewhere near the Ribeira municipal market and Igreja de Sao Paulo – if you know Lisbon.

B.Leza’s co-proprietor said she hopes the new establishment will be up and running by August. The club has operated out of a number of Lisbon locations recently including Teatro Sao Luiz, Musicbox and Teatro Bairro Alto. B.Leza is named after the eponymous Cape Verdean singer of morna, the West African islands’ take on Portuguese fado. Or is that the other way round?

Written by porkncheezer

May 13, 2011 at 8:21 am

Going digital

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Portugal’s analogue TV switch-off has begun with a pilot digital switch-over at Alenquer, north of Lisbon. ANACOM, the state communications regulator, says around 16% of Alenquer residents won’t have access to free-to-view channels and will need to buy a €50 set-top decoder or upgrade their telly.

Cacem and Nazare are the next towns to switch to DTV in coming months and the rest of mainland Portugal, Madeira and the Azores will switch off analogue TV transmitters next year. DTV is already available over most of Portugal so can be picked up with the right equipment.

With early elections looming in Portugal after the collapse of the caretaker Prime Minister Jose Socrates’ Socialist government, the main PSD opposition has called for the digital TV switch-over to be suspended until after polling. Voters, the PSD argues, derive most of their political awareness from television.

Written by porkncheezer

May 12, 2011 at 9:54 am