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TOPIC: portugal

In The News

Kyiv In The Dark, China’s COVID Record, Stuttgart Christmas Market

👋 Goedemorgen!*

Welcome to Thursday, where 25% of Kyiv remains without power after heavy Russian air strikes on energy infrastructure, China sees record COVID cases, and sorry Thanksgiving, t’is the season for German Christmas markets. Meanwhile, Portuguese news website Mensagem reports from the city of Sintra, in western Portugal, where single parents have banded together to create a new model of joint child care.

[*Flemish]

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Single Parents In Portugal Turn "It Takes A Village" Into A Practical Reality

The death of a young child left alone at home while his single mother was out shocked a community. Now, single parents have banded together to offer support to each other. And they're succeeding in the face of overwhelming challenges.

SINTRA — The large and curious eyes of Gurnaaz Kaur reveal her desire to understand the world.

This four-year-old Indian girl doesn’t speak Portuguese yet. A few months have passed since she left her country on the family adventure across the European continent. She uses a few gestures to try to express herself and greets people with a “bom dia” (good morning), one of the few expressions he has learned.

Nahary Conniott, 8, is also looking for ways to interact. From Angola and on the autism spectrum disorder, she has already experienced difficult situations and was asked to leave the private school she attended. In the other schools in which the mother enrolled her, the refusal was always justified by the lack of vacancies.

Children with such different paths found the support they deserved in the Colo100Horas project. Started in 2021, it is a self-organized network of women who came together to help immigrants with their immense daily challenges in Sintra, in western Portugal.

The long list of problems meant they banded together to look for a solution: the strenuous routine of caring for children (still imposed in most homes as the responsibility of women), low salaries, the overcrowding of daycare centers, excessive work and the difficulty with shift schedules, which is common in jobs in the catering and cleaning industries.

A tragic case that occurred recently in the neighborhood that drew attention to the need for greater support for families: a six-year-old boy died after falling from the ninth floor of the building where he lived. He was at home with only his two little brothers, while his mother had left to go to the market, a few meters away.

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Pascoal: Born In Portugal, Citizen Of Nowhere

Born 32 years ago in Portugal to Angolan refugee parents, Pascoal has never been granted Portuguese nationality. Too many people like him live under the threat of being deported to a faraway country they’ve never known.

LISBON – When a team from the European Commission visited Cova da Moura, a suburb of Lisbon, in September, they challenged young musicians in the area to rap about what Europe meant to them. As a reward for their work, the Commission offered a trip to Brussels. But three of the musicians, Pascoal, Hélio, and Heidir, couldn’t even think about it: they didn’t have passports or any form of national ID.

Adriano Malalane, an attorney, says that in the case of Pascoal, “a residence permit is the most he can aim for.”

Pascoal’s birth certificate – the only ID document he has – proves that he was born in the heart of Lisbon. And yet, Portugal does not recognize him as a citizen, and so he lacks any form of national identification

The lack of sufficient ID documents has blocked him from everything from school trips, to sports, to work — or at least, made it very, very difficult.

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For LGBTQ+ Who Fled Bolsonaro’s Brazil, The Fear Of “Homophobe President” Winning Again

Portugal became a refuge for the Brazilian LGBTQ+ community who faced real danger following Jair Bolsonaro's victory four years ago. Some of those who left say that if Lula beats the right-wing incumbent in Sunday's presidential election, they would move back home.

LISBON — Nanny Aguiar sought in Lisbon the security that Jair Bolsonaro took away. Whenever she plays the violin or performs at Palácio do Grilo, in Xabregas, a neighborhood in the east of the city centre, Aguiar is reminded of everything she felt that October night five years ago. That night she lit candles in her house and made the decision to leave behind Recife the coastal Brazilian city where she was born 30 years earlier, and move to Lisbon.

That night of Oct. 22, 2018, Jair Bolsonaro emerged victorious in the presidential elections, with 64% of the votes in the second round. The life of Aguiar and Brazil’s entire LGBTQ+ community would never be the same.

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Despite living in a different city, Aguiar never changed her polling station, in the extreme south of Recife, near her mother’s house away. “It was an excuse to spend another Sunday with her”, She says, laughing. “That day, I voted, had lunch with my mother and only came home that night.”

It was on the return journey, by car, that reality hit her. “This guy did not appear from nowhere in 2018, we had known for a long time who Bolsonaro was: a racist and homophobe. The problem is, he was a joke. No one ten years ago thought that someone like that could legitimately be in power.”

For nearly four years, the man residing in the presidential palace in Brasilia makes statements like “having a gay child is a lack of beating” or “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual child. I'd rather my child die in an accident.”

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In The News
Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Joel Silvestri and Anne-Sophie Goninet

The Battle For Severodonetsk, Iran Raises Nuclear Eyebrows, Paula Rego Dies

👋 Aniin!*

Welcome to Thursday, where heavy fighting and shelling rock eastern Ukraine, Germany calls out Iran for its nuclear ambitions, and the art world mourns the passing of “visceral” painter Paula Rego. Meanwhile, our This Happened video format explores one of the most iconic photographs of the Vietnam War, which just turned 50.

[*Ojibwe - Canada]

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Society
Laure Gautherin

Quiet, Boss! How Portugal Became The World Model For Work-Life Balance

Portugal has become the first place in the world where it is illegal for managers to contact their employees after hours. Will other countries follow suit?

It's 8 p.m. after a long day of work, and you've clicked on your well-earned Netflix show...and "ping," another after-hours phone notification has arrived from your boss. Much of the working world has been there, somewhere between annoying and invasive. But now, in Portugal, it is also illegal.

Last Friday, the Portuguese Parliament approved a pioneering new law barring employers from contacting their staff outside their contracted working hours. The news, which has been hailed around the world by labor rights activists, academics and even television comedians, has largely been framed as a welcome response to the around-the-clock remote working that COVID-19 lockdowns have triggered.

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Portugal
Clémence Guimier

Highway To Hell? Portuguese Priest Steals From Church To Buy 19 Cars

If we know that greed is one of the seven deadly sins, what about lust for German cars? A Lisbon priest has received a four-and-a-half-year suspended jail sentence for aggravated breach of trust and embezzlement, having taken his parishioners' money to buy no fewer than 19 automobiles.

Although Antònio Teixeira is known among his flock as a particularly kind and generous clergyman, always ready to help and support all in need, his spending habits tell a different story. Between 2011 to 2017, the priest spent an estimated 420,000 euros to buy 19 cars — including three Mercedes and 12 Volkswagens.

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Portugal
Anne Sophie Goninet

Man Found Alive 20 Days After His Funeral

An elderly COVID-19 victim, presumed to have been dead (and buried) for 20 days, has been located alive in the same Portuguese hospital where he was being treated.

The 92-year-old, who had been hospitalized for about two months due to respiratory problems, was infected with COVID-19 while in the hospital the Jornal de Noticias reported this week. His son told the newspaper that the hospital had called his sister three weeks ago to say the man had died.

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Portugal
Patrice dos Santos*

What Latin America Can Learn From China About Smart Cities

Most people in Latin America and the Caribbean live in urban areas. And many of those cities are downright massive, with sustainability challenges that desperately need solutions.

-Analysis-

LISBON — At the heart of the so-called "smart city" concept, both in the developing and industrialized worlds, is the ability to create districts capable of tackling certain global challenges of our time.

Those challenges are starkly evident in Latin American cities and include urban regeneration, social inclusion, and socio-environmental issues like waste management, assuring water supplies and fomenting the circular economy. The smart city concept is intrinsically linked, in other words, to the quest for sustainability and social inclusion.

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have on average an urban population rate of 80.6%, according to World Bank figures (compared to the global average of 55.3%). And 40% of the region's population lives in cities of more than a million inhabitants. LAC is thus the most urbanized place in the developing world, and the intensity of this urbanization has made traditional policies for managing issues of land use, social inclusion or governability, less relevant.

Obviously, information and communication technologies alone won't transform a city's environment. That's why LAC, perhaps more than other regions, needs defined national policies with a clear vision of civil society's needs, and in line with sustainability guidelines like the UN's Regional Action Plan (PAR) for the Implementation of the New Urban Agenda 2016-36, or Goal 11 of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals on making cities "inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable."

The rise of megacities — places like Mexico City and greater Buenos Aires with more than 20 million residents — and growth pressures exerted by regional cities are compounding these aggravated environmental problems. Examples include pollution due to the concentration of economic and industrial activities, traffic congestion and the critical state of residue disposal.

We need social and technological changes to forge a new urban paradigm.

GaWc, a research network connected to Loughborough University, in England, found that of all LAC countries, only Brazil has a range of cities qualifying as smart cities working on improving the urban environment. They included both alpha (Sao Paulo) and beta cities (Rio de Janeiro), and others with a potential for global role-playing (Curitiba, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Recife, Campinas and Salvador de Bahía).

Governing for smart cities in LAC faces other, transversal challenges such as reduced citizen participation, limited industrial capacity, dependence on foreign technologies and unequal public financing capabilities. We thus need social and technological changes to forge a new urban paradigm defining the city as a public good whose process of "co-design" requires inputs from all actors of economic, technological and financial relevance.

These can typically include the Inter-American Development Bank, Inter-American Association of Telecommunication Firms (ASIET) and CAF, the Development Bank of Latin America. They must also include the views of ordinary people and active participation of universities (public policy and territorial sciences departments, architecture, engineering etc.).

Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China — Photo: Naitian Wang/Unsplash

But for inspiration, actors involved in urban policymaking in Latin America would do well to look beyond the region — to China, where more than 500 pilot projects have been launched in cities lie Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hangzhou, among others. Indeed, China has demonstrated smart power through the WeGo information sharing platform, improved collaboration between cities, and developed particular solutions for urban co-creation and sustainable city development.

Applying those lessons in LAC will require precise indicators through urban and environmental monitoring, to evaluate and check on objectives duly set by public decision-makers and not just by the capacities of leading tech firms.

The sharing of experiences at local, regional and national levels thus becomes a key component in increasing the learning curve for Latin American districts, metropolitan zones and regions, and ultimately creating cities that are both more inclusive and environmentally friendly.

It's not too late for the LAC region to promote and enact policies for developing cities in greater harmony with the natural world. But the time to start is now.

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Portugal
Cécile Thibaud

Portugal's Economic Miracle Makes A Case Against Austerity

-Analysis-

LISBON — What a successful gamble for Lisbon: The European Commission is about to ratify the proposal to end Portugal's excessive deficit procedure. The country will be joining the club of virtuous economies , against experts' forecasts. The recovery is a remarkable achievement considering Portugal hit a virtual rock bottom in 2011. On the brink of bankruptcy, the country had to ask for financial assistance to the tune of 78 trillion euros from Brussels and the IMF and had been forced to take strict austerity measures.

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food / travel

Time To Stick A Fork In The Cult Worship Of Chefs

Restaurants are places for eating, not genuflection.

-OpEd-

What's the best restaurant in the world? According to the World's 50 Best Restaurants, the award goes to the Eleven Madison Park in New York. My sincere congratulations. But I hope to never visit you.

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Portugal

Sizzling Sardines

Once the fish had been caught, the fisherman's wife in Nazaré would put them directly on the grill for breakfast. Bom apetite!