Monday, April 24, 2017
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Payday?

The scene with long queues and lots of elderly people in the post office is repeated every month. More than a dozen people stand there in a queue and wait for their pensions. Most of them receive a sum that is way below €400. The money is paid to them in cash, and counted out in public before being handed over. The post office clerk counts the money out to the pensioner: ten, 20, 30 euros, one hundred, two hundred, three hundred euros, and then the money is stuck in the envelope which had previously contained the payment slip from …

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Support a universal basic income PROSPERITY + FREEDOM

Beggar in Lisbon

From 25 to 29 September at the Assembleia da República, the Portuguese parliament in Lisbon, scientists and politicians will come together for the World Congress on the Universal Basic Income (http://basicincome.org/) to discuss its introduction. What is a UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME? How does it work? How is it financed? Does it make economic sense? And, above all, is it socially fair? No strong democracy is based on losers. Digitalisation and automation, the abandonment of coal, oil and gas, and the adoption of renewable energy and robot technology are revolutionising our world of work. The world over, these changes will take …

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Bringing the Horta do Zé estate back to life

It is a cool autumn evening. The campfire glow flickers continuously over the faces of the audience. They tell and listen to stories about the River Sado, this farm and its garden. What would it have been like here 50 years ago, when feudal conditions still prevailed and the farm workers lived on the farmstead with their families? And what might its future hold? The branches of a walnut tree spread out over everyone and create a feeling of security. It’s as if the elves are dancing over the heads of the audience. But wait: who makes a campfire under …

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Ruins – a realisable utopia

Does Monchique really need a cable car? When organising a town or a city, the most fundamental requirement is, first of all, to define a strategic concept, however utopian this may be, that will enable everyone to understand what sort of human activity is essential there. The house is the first cosmic concept of organised and potentially positive space in the town’s dynamic construction, with all of its dreams and aspirations. Utopia is a necessary part of any visionary reform that can appeal to the town’s social imagination. The town mirrors the way in which social and personal relationships are …

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About a better life: Make our country a better place

I recently bought myself an Interrail ticket for 224 euros. I used it to travel for five full days within a fortnight through half of Europe. The idea that I could stop here and there, get out and take my time, increased the sense of anticipation. And so I consulted the timetables of Portuguese and Spanish railways CP and RENFE. In doing so, I was amazed to discover that there is only one rail connection between Lisbon and Madrid (and back). Why? For the 600 km between the two cities, the train needs 13 hours. I realise that we in …

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ANCCRAL | Portugal’s third revolution

EN In the dairy of the multi-purpose centre in the parish of Azinhal in the municipality of Castro Marim in the Algarve, where time stands still from time to time, there has been – almost without anyone noticing it – a genuine revolution. For five days a week, the goat rearers association ANCCRAL (Associação Nacional de Criadores de Caprinos da Raça Algarvia) produces fresh goat’s cheese there, and an incredibly good natural yoghurt, unprecedented in the region. As part of his secondary activity, as the finance department would call it, (atividade secundária), Pedro Constância (see photo) collects the milk from …

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Leaving the city and returning to the land, for love

Changing the mentality of their parents, who were reluctant to accept the prospect of five years with no profit in order to convert to wholly organic production, was just one of the mountains that the Mariano couple had to climb. They had already conquered other steep slopes. The first was when they decided to swap the comfort of the capital Lisbon to return to their roots in Macedo de Cavaleiros, after an extremely violent robbery perpetrated on the parents of 47-year-old Raquel Mariano, a theologian who has become a farmer since she returned to her starting point in 2012. Giving …

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Zero emissions

Electric vehicles offer a superior driving experience. With fast, smooth acceleration, an ultra-quiet environment and lower emissions of polluting gases, their use is becoming inevitable. The programme Mobi.E, started in 2010, promoted the use of electric cars, and, according to ACAP at the start of 2016, an increase of 2,149 vehicles was seen, and the trend is upwards. The MOBI.E network has 1,300 normal charging points and 50 rapid charging points in locations with public access in mainland Portugal.     I drive… a VEECO RT João Oliveira, aged 63, works in IT and on the building of electric vehicles in …

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Portugal is growing in the bicycle production market

There are moments that remain engraved for ever in our memories, and one such moment is without doubt getting your first bicycle. It was bluish in colour, decorated with the football stickers of the time; it was second-hand, and bore the signs of accidents from my cousins’ adventures. How could you forget your first bicycle, that high-speed companion on daring adventures? The bicycle is nowadays the most commonly used means of transport in the world. Portugal is the third biggest producer of bicycles in Europe. This means of transport emits no polluting or greenhouse gases, the bicycle is a vehicle …

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Grandchildren wanted

The village communities in the Alentejo, all the human biotopes comprising welfare, sharing and mutual responsibility, hospitality, collective memory and togetherness, are not yet a thing of the past. Consumers want to know who produces their food. Young people long for their grandparents’ understanding. In different suburban areas and villages, local people want to be in charge of their own administration. Couples and young families need to have people to talk to, genuine support, community. Perhaps it is the old people who can play a role here. An insight into the Alentejo villages and their quest for resurrection. Re-inventing the …

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