Evictions on the rise as housing plans and golden visa changes come into shape // Passengers left on stopped packed train during strike
Portuguese news in English on Monday, March 6, 2023.
Passengers left on packed train stopped outside station for more than an hour
Some passengers got out and walked along the tracks while others felt sick when a packed train was stopped about a kilometre outside Benfica station for an hour, Lusa reports. The CP train was already fully loaded thanks to the strike when someone pulled the emergency brake on Wednesday night. Some passengers ended up feeling sick during the wait and one lady was taken to hospital, according to police. Meanwhile, many others gave up and walked along the tracks to get to the next station. CP cancelled 746 of 985 planned trains on Wednesday, thanks to the strike.
Evictions on the rise as housing plans come into shape
More details are emerging about the government’s plan to force owners to rent out abandoned houses in response to the housing crisis, Público reports. They include a 100-day time limit to use the home before its placed on the market and a lengthy list of exceptions. Those include second residences, emigrants homes, places being renovated and homes Alojamento Locais. Councils can force landlords to carry out repairs if necessary, the cost of which will be taken out of future rental payments.
We already know no new golden visas will be granted, but the government is now also proposing limits on those who already have them, Público reports. Under the plan, which is under public consultation, real-estate-based golden visas will only be renewed if the home is rented out for at least five years or if the golden visa holder or their descendants actually live in it. Current applications remain valid.
Evictions are on the rise again, approaching pre-pandemic levels across the country and even surpassing those figures in Lisbon, Público reports. There were more than 2300 eviction requests to the relevant body last year — up almost 25% from 2021 but down from the 2019 total of 3229 — with almost 1000 in Lisbon alone.
The president of the Portuguese chapter of international Catholic charity Cáritas has warned problems with struggling families will get worse if the price of food doesn’t fall, Lusa reports. She’s concerned the organisation won’t have the resources to stop more people falling into poverty.
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TAP struggling to hire for summer
Portuguese flag carrier TAP is struggling to hire workers ahead of a busy summer, risking cancellations and other problems, Dinheiro Vivo reports. Unions linked to the airline are warning of a chaotic summer, saying the airline has struggled to find, in particular, experienced flight crew, thanks to the company’s current financial situation and the wages it pays. “No one that’s at EasyJet or Azores Airlines wants to go to TAP and this demonstrates that the conditions TAP offers aren’t attractive,” said Ricardo Penarroias, president of a flight crew union. Representatives from unions representing engineers and maintenance workers and pilots had similar complaints, as the airline faces worker shortages while flying more routes.
Benfica SAD, former club president, current SAD administrator and others accused of financial fraud. The entities are accused of paying €1.65 million to a small IT consultant, whose owner is accused of charging 11% to put through receipts for fictitious services. The company and owner have also been charged. (Lusa)
Catholic church child sex abuse commission leaves long list of recommendations. The body calls for a range of changes, from the abolition of closed confessions to the creation of a Children’s ombudsman and the creation of a new commission to further investigate the matter, within and outside the church. (Público)
What's left of the pandemic rules? Masks, remote work and little else. Masks are still mandatory in medial facilities and nursing homes, while about 836,000 people (17% of the employed population, were still working remotely at the end of last year. (Público)
Europe’s central bank says companies are cashing in on inflation. While sharp increases in prices of food and other goods have been blamed for increasing companies’ costs, data shown to the European Central Bank’s Governing Council showed profits were growing, rather than shrinking, as an increase in costs would imply. (Reuters, in English)
On a lighter note
If you love chocolate, cartoons and cute old Portuguese villages, this is the event for you. From March 10-26, there’ll be about 25 tonnes of chocolate in town for the Óbidos International Chocolate Festival, the theme of which this year is cartoons, Diário de Notícias reports. So there’ll be cartoons telling the historia of chocolate and delicious sculptures in the form of favourites such as Spider-Man, Astérix and Obélix, Tom and Jerry, Lucky Luke and Goofy. Each sculpture takes about 270 hours to make.