holidays, a vote, and a confession

Christmas is always nice anywhere in the World. In Portugal, Santa is put to work driving the streetcar. Get going Santa!

In other important events, December 1st is an important date around the world, but not as important as in Portugal, where in 1640 we regained back Portugal from the Spanish. To mark this holiday, 2 of the biggest soccer teams faced off - Sporting vs. Benfica with Benfica coming out the winner.

Then today, Porto won...

..and that's about all the soccer news I can take.

In other important events around the country...

They've finally decided to hold another vote to decide whether abortion should be legal. Here are some women in parliament pushing their cause...


Portugal's president has said the country's predominantly Roman Catholic population will vote on whether to legalise abortion on 11 February. Anibal Cavaco Silva said he agreed to the vote because the issue still dominated public debate in Portugal.

The country will be asked if they wish to approve the right to terminate a pregnancy within the first 10 weeks. Abortions are only legal in Portugal in cases of rape, foetal abnormality or if a woman's life is in danger.

In 1998, a slim majority voted in favour of relaxing the law but the result was ruled invalid because of a low turnout.
Let's hope that this is a turning point in Portugal and they legalize abortion.

In other, more amusing news:

A man drove into a subway tunnel in Porto, Portugal - We're always looking for shortcuts aren't we?

Pete Doherty (some famous British musician) has decided to rehab in Portugal - Are you sure that's the right thing to do? Some SuperBock will make you go right back into the dark side.

Portuguese say that everyone is late but me - That's right, we're always the first to point out other people's faults and not our own. Seriously though, I'm always on time!

And finally, the not so amusing, but rather interesting news:

Portuguese say 'no' to high speed trains and new airport - Excerpt:

A large majority of Portuguese oppose the construction of a new airport outside the capital and a high-speed rail line between Lisbon and Madrid, according to a poll published on Monday.

Nearly two-thirds – 65.5% – of respondents said that Portugal could do without the high-speed trains, and 56.3% thought that the airport was not needed, according to the survey, published in the Correio da Manha daily.

The Portuguese government has approved three new rail lines between Lisbon and Madrid, Lisbon and the northern city of Porto, as well as Porto and the northern Spanish city of Vigo.

Work on the rail lines, which will cost near 10bn euros ($13bn), is due to start in 2008. The Madrid-Lisbon line is scheduled for completion in 2013, and will be supported by European Union investment. The new Lisbon international airport – due to open in 2009 – has been designed to accommodate 25mn passengers per year, and will cost 3.1bn euros. The poll was carried out by the Aximage Institute and questioned 550 people by telephone
Why are they saying no again? Is it the potential of thousands of new jobs and people actually having to work? I know there are probably a lot of better things the governmennt needs to focus on, but people, these investments will equal more jobs, people wanting to invest in the country with better infrastructure and well, happy times all around!

Shady chapter of Portuguese history re-opened - Excerpt:

A shady and mysterious chapter of Portugal's history is being re-opened. A man has come forward saying he built a bomb that exploded on the plane of the former prime minister. Back in 1980, socialist leader Francisco Sa Carneiro, and six others were killed when their aircraft crashed in the suburbs of Lisbon.

Jose Esteves a former security agent who was working for the opposition centre-right party says he played a pivotal role in the alleged plot. He added that the prime minister was not the intended target. In this week's news magazine Focus in Portugal, Esteves also claims the bomb was never meant to go off. He says it was only ever supposed to scare General Soares Carneiro, but that a last minute switch of planes meant the premier and his entourage ended up on board.

A parliamentary inquiry last year concluded that a bomb was behind the crash. But the victims' family argue the deaths have never been properly investigated. They are now going to the European Court of Human Rights demanding Portugal be symbolically condemned for the way it handled the case.
This is interesting stuff! This is something I've got to read more about - actually everyone should. If I find anything more, I will post. Here the interesting tidbit though - this person, Sa Carneiro, died in a car crash...and they named Porto's airport after him. Yah, a classic Portuguese move! (Not so say that dumb stuff doesn't happen in other countries, but I always like it when stuff like this happens in Portugal....) Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

malik said...

i'm referring to the part of your posting in which you mention Sa Carneiro's death in a plane crash.
i got interested in this story, too, because it smells. thing is, we are in a country without a tradition of investigative reporting--and i say that in contradiction to your assertion at another place of your blog, that there was one after 74, which i strongly doubt. there was a lot of digging then, agreed, and i guess that's normal after a change of regimes. but the crucial thing about investigative reporting is insisting, and that's not necessarily a Portuguese feature. not then, not now. just look at how fast all of these scandals, Valentim Loureiro, Fatima Felgeiras, António Marais, Carmona, leave alone the casa pia case et al. vanish from the front pages without having come to anything. the role of Sotu Moura, the former Procurador Geral, in all these cases is highly questionable and if you ask someone how that is possible in a democratically organized country, you get a shrug. from the people as well as from the journalists. the headlines here are for selling the particular product, not for fullfilling the role of the 4th estate.

take Ferro Rodrigues (PS) who finally went to the European Court to get some sort of justice because he was falsely (and politically motivated) accused of having been one of the casa pia "clients", or, if you wish, more cynical: users. no wonder that Sa Carneiro's people go the same way. but be aware, there are much to many people still alive who might have been involved in the affair. so it will probably come to nothing again. the power clique in Portugal is a small and tightly closed group of people, which can best be read from the last President's election, in which almost all runners have had the post or had been PMs for one or more times. not one new face there--well, not counting in Francisco Louçã.