Saturday, 06 February 2016
A- A A+

bpiPortugal’s bloated banking sector has made only half-hearted efforts to reduce costs by laying off staff, just 7,000 job losses in the last five years, many with comfy early retirement packages.

The banks claim that reductions in operating costs have been a top priority but strong unions have ensured low lay-off rates with BCP reducing staff by just 309 employees despite a job reduction agreement under its restructuring plan, necessary to achieve in order to pay back the taxpayer.

parmesanCrafty Parmesan producers in Italy have converted their cheese into bonds.

A cooperative near Modena in Italy's northern gastronomic heartland Emilia Romagna has raised €6 million by issuing bonds guaranteed by wheels of its Parmesan cheese.

eiffeltowerChanges in the spelling of some 2,400 French words have sparked indignation among traditionalists.

When the word “oignon” can be replaced with “ognon”, guardians of the language fear French will be boiled down to a medium just for “text messaging”.

merkelBrussels has approved Portugal’s 2016 State Budget proposal, but has attached a health warning that there is a risk of default.

The European Commissioners have given the green light to António Costa’s socialist agenda and the often tense negotiations now are over, to the relief of Angela Merkel who said "it is important the Portugal succeeds."

vilavitaThe Algarve’s hoteliers association reports that January tourism figures were up 16% year-on-year with a consequent welcome rise in income.

The provisional figures are for an increase in tourist numbers of 15.9%, up 4.6 points, to a 33.6% occupancy level.

This figure is better than for every January since the 36.7% occupancy rate recorded in 2007.

brexitLenPortugal wants Britain to stay in the European Union, but while the new Socialist government will listen to Prime Minister David Cameron’s requests for EU reforms, certain demands would be beyond the pale.

“Our position is very simple,” said Portugal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, this week. “We will do everything in our power so that the UK remains in the EU.”

bastosA businessman from Porto de Mós, Leiria, convicted in 2010 of shooting a man dead who had been caught robbing his Madiver company premises, received a 13-year sentence but later fled the country.

António Bastos, also a director of the União de Leiria football club, was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison for murder, plus one year and two months for the use of a prohibited weapon in the 2009 incident.

nuclearThe Portuguese government’s Environment Committee has called for the urgent creation of ... another committee to review a dodgy Spanish nuclear power station just 100 kilometres from the border at Almaraz, to the North East of Caceres.

Portugal says this is "an exceptionally serious situation" at an emergency meeting on Thursday after reports that there are serious doubts over the essential servicing of the power station’s cooling system.