Tens of thousands eligible for rental subsidy // Vaccine update as expert predicts WHO change
Portuguese news in English on Monday, February 27, 2023.
Tens of thousands eligible for rental subsidy
About 100,000 families spending 35% or more of their income on rent could receive the rental subsidy announced as part of the government’s plan to tackle the housing crisis, senior minister Marina Gonçalves tells Público. In an extensive interview, she also revealed the government was planning to make contracts signed under the new proposed coercive rental regime last five years, and owners wouldn’t have the same tax concession rights as other landlords. She said old contracts begun before 1990 will now be permanently kept away from the standard rental pricing regime, allowing older people paying extremely cheap rents to stay in their homes, Público reports. Landlords will be compensated using a system yet to be designed. Thousands took to the streets of Lisbon to protest over the cost of living crisis at the weekend, Reuters reports, in English.
Lisbon and Porto’s mayors have heavily criticised some of the new housing measures, blaming a “centralist obsession” and the government’s “interventionist vein”,” Público reports. Particularly the compulsory rental policy has been described as “without parallel” in Europe but there are actually similar measures in place in multiple countries, Público reports.
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Vaccine update as expert predicts WHO change
All vaccination phases are now available on a no-appointment-needed basis, Lusa reports. That means anyone over 18 can go to their closest vaccination centre and get a first, second, booster or even seasonal booster dose. Anyone five or over can also walk in to the “open house” for their first jab. The development comes as respected Portuguese epidemiologist Manuel Carmo Gomes says it’s “highly likely” the World Health Organisation will lift its pandemic state of emergency (different to the national ones put in place at various times) when it next meets in April, Diário de Notícias reports. He says we’re living in a relatively calm and controlled situation, but not free of the virus. He expects the virus to become even more seasonal, saying there’s no need for a state of emergency once scientists can properly predict the virus, and he predicts only the emergence of a new and very different subvariant would likely stop the WHO from acting.
‘Urgent’ call for church inquiry follow-up
The inquiry set up for victims of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has finished up but complaints keep coming in, Público reports. Psychiatrist Daniela Sampaio said the creation of another way for survivors to come forward was “urgent”, particularly given the release of the report was expected to prompt fresh denunciations. The commission’s former coordinator, Peter Strecht, said testimonies had been coming in on the street, to the commission’s former phone number and even to the work emails and locations of the commission’s former members. He called for the creation of a new commission or other way to ensure an “open communication channel” for victims. That commission should also tackle questions such as compensation and consequences when accusations are proven. Hundreds of catholics gathered in an hour-long silent candlelit vigil outside Lisbon’s Mosteiro dos Jerónimos last week, Público reports. The cardinal of Lisbon was also there in a gesture of “solidarity and communion with the victims”.
Train strike this week and next month. CP, IP and Fertagus workers are striking from today until Thursday but the rail operators must maintain service levels at 25%. Another strike is scheduled for March 10-27. (Público)
Number of convictions for corruption and related crimes hits 16-year low. According to available data, there were 102 convictions in 2021, breaking a non-linear trend that had been gradually increasing. (Público)
Majority disagrees with state funding for World Youth Day. Only one in five of those surveyed agreed with the investment while 61% disagreed and 54% don’t believe the massive event will generate the predicted €300 million for Lisbon and the country. (Diário de Notícias)
Residency permits for foreigners to work double. According to SEF, almost 36,000 people were granted permission to live and work here temporarily last year, double the number in 2018.
Scale of ‘forever chemical’ pollution across UK and Europe revealed. An interactive map shows contamination by polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), two of which have been linked to an array of health problems, including eight sites in Portugal. (The Guardian, in English and Público)
On a lighter note
You can finally watch Portugal’s first Oscar-nominated film, Ice Merchants, which Público reports has just picked up a prestigious international award. The short film won Best Short Project at America’s Annie Awards for excellence in animation. Director João Gonzalez’s work is the second Portuguese production to win the award, following in the steps of Regina Pessoa’s Tio Tomás, a Contabilidade dos Dias in 2020. Ice Merchants made its debut in Portuguese cinemas earlier this month. Depending on the cinema, I’ve seen prices listed about €2.50 or €3, given the shorter length.
Why do you even listen to these scammers at who? What happened to your own minds? Your own discresion?