Counting the cost of Lisbon’s floods // Corruption scandal hits EU Parliament
Portuguese news in English on Sunday, December 18, 2022.
THANK YOU: With Christmas next weekend, I won’t be putting out a newsletter, so thank you all so much for reading this year. And an extra thank you for everyone who supports the newsletter financially every month and helps to keep this thing going. I hope you all have a merry Christmas and a fantastic new year.
Counting the cost of Lisbon’s floods
The Lisbon City Council is collecting details until December 21 of damage suffered in the recent flooding, Lusa reports. As well as the online form found here, the council is calling on those affected to contact their insurers for a damage report and record photo and video evidence. Tuesday was Lisbon’s rainiest day ever and weather records also fell in the districts of Setúbal and Évora, Público reports. The good news is that the country appears well on it’s way to leaving the drought behind, climatologist Ricardo Deus said, while noting intense rainfall such as this isn’t the ideal way to break a drought.
Corruption scandal hits EU Parliament
A major scandal has been unfolding, enveloping the European Parliament and Qatar, the host of the World Cup, Politico reports, in English. In look at how things have played out, the publication describes the institution as having been rocked to its core by the preliminary charges of corruption and money laundering. Belgian police allegedly found €1.5 million in raids on homes and offices in Belgium, Italy and Greece. Greek politician Eva Kaili, an EU Parliament vice president, is one of four suspects held on preliminary charges after police allegedly found €150,000 in cash in the apartment she shares with her partner. Official documents claim the four are suspected of accepting payments to do Qatar’s bidding. “European democracy is under attack,” European Parliament president Roberta Metsola told colleagues, according to Politico.
Portuguese news in English, for estrangeiros is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
One conviction from dozens of vaccine fraud cases
More than 200 investigations into COVID-19 jabs administered to people who weren’t yet eligible have so far led to just one conviction, Público reports. Two trials are still awaiting an outcome but the vast majority of the cases were shelved by prosecutors. In several cases, they decided the speed at which things were unfolding in the early days of the pandemic resulted in accidental errors, or a lack of guidelines around what to do. One of those was the case of an ambulance station in Porto, where 11 workers from the local pastelaria were vaccinated because the leftover doses were about to expire and the paramedics didn’t know what else to do about them. Health authorities later issued guidelines about what to do in such a situation.
Strike to hit rail network before and after Christmas, drastically reducing services. Unions say services will be cut to 25% on December 23, 25 and 26 and on January 1 as they push for more money. (Expresso). More info from CP here (in Portuguese).
Portuguese climate activists convicted of disobedience, ordered to pay €295. The spokesperson for the four students who occupied the arts faculty of the University of Lisbon said they were disappointed but would “keep fighting”, adding “history will forgive us”. (Público)
Another support package announced for vulnerable families. One million of the poorest families will receive €240 this month through the normal Social Security channels to help deal with the cost of living crisis. In general, opposition parties supported the measure but criticised the fact it was necessary for so many Portuguese. (Público)
Investigations into police violence jump 57% in a year. Prosecutors launched 334 last year but didn’t reveal details about the number of accusations or punishments, which had been requested by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. (Diário de Notícias)
On a lighter note
New Year’s Eve celebrations are back. After last year’s cancellation, Lisbon’s Terreiro de Paço will again fill with people on December 31, to bring in 2023 with a huge party. The stage will host a list of acts, starting at 10.30pm and playing through to about 2am, with 12 minutes of midnight fireworks accompanied by an original score from the DJ Moullinex, Time Out reports. In Porto, the festivities will take place at the Queimódromo, in the Parque da Cidade, featuring Fernando Daniel, Diogo Piçarra and (in-person, I believe) Moullinex.