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Discussion Starter #1
I've decided to create a thread just about Portuguese news. In this thread, you can post topics relating to Portuguese culture (ex: food, wine, music, history, etc.) You can also post other things you hear on Portuguese news. I will also allow talk about the Portuguese government. However, the talk will be limited to news and questions. If any offensive material somehow pops up, I will immediately close the thread and eliminate this portion of it.
 

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Portugal marks day of mourning for funeral of last Fatima witness

Tue Feb 15,11:20 AM ET Entertainment - AFP




LISBON (AFP) - Flags flew at half-mast across Portugal as the nation marked a day of mourning for the funeral of Sister Lucia, the last of three shepherd children who claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary during a series of apparitions in 1917 in the town of Fatima.



Thousands of faithful from across the country are expected to attend the funeral of the 97-year-old Roman Catholic nun who died on Sunday of old age at the Carmelite convent where she has lived in virtual seclusion since 1948.


The funeral services will get underway at 4 p.m. (1600 GMT) at the main cathedral in the historic centre of Coimbra and Sister Lucia will be buried, as was her wish, afterwards in the graveyard of the convent where she lived for more than five decades.


Her remains will be transferred in a year to a shrine built in nearby Fatima at the site where the visions are said to have taken place.


The shrine has become one of Catholicism's most revered sites, drawing millions of pilgrims each year, including Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II who has visited it several times.


Hundreds of people flocked to the convent on Monday, with many waiting up to two hours to pay their last respects to the nun. Many brought flowers and candles which they left by the casket.


Political parties have postponed their campaigning for this weekend's general election while President Jorge Sampaio called Sister Lucia in a letter of condolences "a symbol and a point of reference to many people around the world."


Sister Lucia and her two younger cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, said the Virgin appeared to them six times on a tree near Fatima, which was then a small farming town.


The first sighting was on May 13 and the children said the Virgin appeared to them at the same spot on the 13th of each subsequent month until October when the visions abrubtly stopped.


The descriptions of the visions, which Sister Lucia -- the only one of the clidren who could clearly hear the Virgin -- recorded years later, are believed by the faithful to have predicted the outbreak of the Second World War as well as the attemped assasination of the pope in 1981.


Pope John Paul II attributes to Our Lady of Fatima his survival of the shooting in St. Peter's Square which took place on May 13 -- the same day as the first of the reported Fatima visions in 1917.


The pontiff beatified Francisco and Jacinta, who died from influenza within three years of their visions, in May 2000 at a ceremony in Fatima attended by more than 600,000 people.


The Vatican (news - web sites) is also expected to take steps to beatify Sister Lucia, who the pope has met three times since his shooting.


Beatification is the last step to sainthood.


Born Lucia de Jesus dos Santos on March 22, 1907, the youngest of seven children in a peasant family, she was popularly known simply as Sister Lucia after she became a nun.
 

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Portugal's Socialists Win Absolute Majority

Sun Feb 20,10:37 PM ET World - Reuters



By Ian Simpson

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal's opposition Socialists scored their biggest electoral win, giving Prime Minister-elect Jose Socrates an absolute parliamentary majority to implement plans to kick-start growth in Western Europe's poorest country.



The Socialists won 120 of the 230 seats in parliament in a general election on Sunday, the first time any party has held an outright majority for a decade, and their victory was endorsed by a large voter turnout.


Socrates, who ousted center-right Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes, said he wanted Portugal's fourth government in three years to restore confidence to the country, where unemployment hit a seven-year high of 7.1 percent last year.


"The Socialist Party has a majority to govern Portugal. This is not a majority of protest. It is a way to build a new future for Portugal," Socrates, 47, told cheering supporters after the Iberian nation's clear-cut swing to the left.


Cars with Socialist supporters waving flags raced up and down Lisbon's palm tree lined Liberty Avenue to celebrate the party's largest election win since a revolution overthrew a rightist dictatorship in 1974 and established democracy.


Socrates faces challenges in boosting an economy still struggling after a recession and closing a stubborn budget deficit that breached euro currency zone limits in 2001, but many analysts saw his strong mandate as cause for optimism.


"GOOD FOR MARKETS"


"The result will be good for the markets," said fund manager Pedro Correia da Silva.


"I was scared that the election results would be neither fish nor fowl. But the government that comes out of these elections has now all the conditions to do its work, if it has good policies and (chooses) good politicians."


President Jorge Sampaio dissolved parliament early in December, citing lack of confidence in Santana Lopes's coalition government after a bout of instability.


Santana Lopes was in power for only seven months. The former Lisbon mayor replaced Jose Manuel Barroso as prime minister in July when the latter left to become European Commission (news - web sites) president.


Portugal's Lusa news agency, quoting preliminary results from the National Elections Commission, said the Socialists had won 120 seats in the 230-member parliament and the Social Democrats 72.


The Communists won 14 seats, the rightist Popular Party, the Social Democrats' coalition partner, had 12, and the Left Bloc eight seats. The results do not include four deputies to be elected by Portuguese living abroad.


Sampaio will meet party leaders in the next few days to discuss the formation of a new government and Socrates is likely take office in mid-March.


Socrates has vowed to boost economic growth to three percent a year through technological investment. The central bank has forecast growth this year at 1.6 percent, below the European Union (news - web sites) average for the fifth year in a row.


He has also said he would cut public spending, now nearing half of gross domestic product, by reducing the public work force through attrition.
 

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FRONT PAGE STORY - 19/02/2005

Job losses hit 7-year high

Official statistics published on Wednesday show that the number of people joining dole queues in Portugal has risen to its highest level since 1998 – the year in which the current method to calculate unemployment figures was first used. The official jobless rate for the latest available statistics (the final quarter of 2004) show that more than one in 13 people (7.1 percent of the working population) were unemployed during this period. The Prime Minister has since blamed this rise on the President for creating political instability by calling early elections. José Socrates, who should be voted Portugal’s next Prime Minister on Sunday, has termed these figures a “tragedy”.

The number of people out of work and claiming benefits had risen to an official figure of 389,700 by the end of last year. National Statistics (INE), upon publishing these alarming figures, further revealed that 9.6 percent more people were jobless than had been 12 months before.

On a geographical scale, the regions of the Alentejo (9.4 percent), Greater Lisbon (8.1 percent) and the north (8.0 percent), remain the hardest hit by job losses, while the island regions of the Azores and Madeira were where fewer workers found themselves out of work.

The group who most commonly affected by job losses in 2004 was the 35 to 44 age group, with a rise of 22.6 percent in relation to the previous year.

Industry, construction, energy and water were the sectors that were most likely to send workers to dole queues, with an increase of 16.2 in job losses in comparison to 2003.

This latest increase in unemployment is set to weigh heavy on the country’s social security system, with earlier figures having revealed that €5 million euros per day had been paid out in unemployment benefits – an amount which would have since risen in proportion to the rise in the jobless rate.

On the political front, outgoing Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes and the favourite to replace him, Socialist leader José Socrates immediately gave these figures great prominence as they finalised their campaigning for this Sunday’s general elections.

Pedro Santana Lopes argued that this record high is due to the “political instability we have experienced since November” when early elections were called.

“Decisions to invest in Portugal have stagnated with the dissolution of Parliament”, explained the Santana Lopes.

However, he reminded journalists that this “bad news” was accompanied by the “good news” that inflation had fallen 0.5 percent in January when compared with the last month of 2004.

José Socrates reacted with greater concern, saying the jobless rate of 7.1 percent was a “tragedy” and that the country was experiencing “a significant social crisis”. He continued that “things are worse in Portugal – be it in the economy or in the job market”.

“This indicator proves that the alarm bells should have been ringing a long time ago”, added the man tipped to be Portugal Prime Minister for the next four years.

He concluded that he had “never seen one government lose so many jobs in so little time as the current one”.

Leading trade unions have meanwhile warned that these figures border on lows comparable only to some of the country’s worst economic crises.

UGT trade union leader João Proença recalled that statistics available for the pre-1998 period show figures of 7.0 to 7.5 percent being recorded in the worst recession in Portugal’s modern history (1993 to 1995).

João Proença further warned that the jobless rate is set to increase during the first quarter. He added that the only hope for a short-term recovery would hypothetically come in the second quarter of 2005 when workers are handed seasonal jobs in areas such as the tourist industry.
 

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Drought-hit Portugal tries cloud-seeding to trigger rainfall

Wed Feb 23, 1:32 PM ET Science - AFP




LISBON (AFP) - A military aircraft in drought-hit Portugal seeded clouds with chemicals over three localities in an attempt to induce rainfall, an air force spokesman said.


The C-130 Hercules cargo plane released silver iodide and potassium chloride into clouds above the southern district of Evora and the central districts of Castelo Branco and Coimbra, Major Paulo Gonclaves told private radio TSF.

The two chemicals capture water vapor in clouds and form droplets which can turn into rain, he added.

The cloud-seeding project was carried out in cooperation with the national weather office which advised the air force on the best locations and altitudes to try to induce rainfall.

Precipitation levels were less than 20 percent of normal levels across mainland Portugal in January, according to the national weather office.

Lisbon received no rainfall at all last month. It was the first time that this has happened during the first month of the year since 1901.


The dry weather has hurt crops and led desperate farmers to cut leaves off trees to feed their herds while authorities in several remote villages have been forced to import water for drinking and washing by truck after wells ran dry.


Portugal receives most of its precipitation during the winter months but a persistent high-pressure area over the country of just over 10 million people has prevented storm systems from moving across the nation, the office said.
 

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Portugal seeks to honour diplomat who saved thousands from Holocaust

Fri Feb 25,11:53 AM ET



LISBON (AFP) - Portugal wants to pay tribute to a Portuguese diplomat who saved the lives of thousands of Jews and other persecuted minorities from the Nazis during World War II by turning his childhood home into a museum dedicated to human rights.



As consul general in the southern French city of Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes issued some 30,000 visas over three days and nights in June 1940 -- against the wishes of his government -- to those seeking to flee, usually saving them from deportation to death camps.


Some 10,000 visas, which would allow the bearer to enter neutral Portugal, went to Jews attempting to escape the Holocaust, according to estimates made by historians.


Among those who received one of the visas were French writer Charles Oulmont, pianist Norbert Gingold and Otto von Habsburg, the heir of the Austrian-Hungarian empire who was disliked by Adolf Hitler.


Sousa Mendes' efforts caused him to fall out of favour with the right-wing dictatorship of Antonio Salazar which ruled Portugal with an iron fist at the time.


"I will not condone murder, therefore I disobey and will continue to disobey Salazar," he is reported to have said at the time.


He was recalled to Lisbon in 1941, fired from his job and was denied a pension. Sousa Mendes died impoverished in 1954.


The Sousa Mendes family estate located in the town of Cabanas de Viriato, some 300 kilometres (180 miles) northeast of Lisbon, is currently in ruins.


"Our goal is to turn this locale into a meeting place, aimed at younger visitors, which will serve to talk about the actions of this diplomat and the importance of human solidarity," former first lady Maria Barroso told AFP.


Barroso, married since 1949 to former three-time Socialist prime minister and former president Mario Soares, is the head of the Sousa Mendes Foundation, set up with state funds in 2000 to preserve the memory of the diplomat.


She is leading the drive, which has the backing of other leading personalities as well as family members of the diplomat, to turn the home into a museum.


One of his grandchildren, Antonio Sousa Mendes, said he would like the proposed museum to have a special section dealing with the plight of refugees.


"Our main difficulties are due to a lack of funds," he said.


Barroso said there had been several promises for funding for the project which failed to come through.


"We need to find a new strategy," she said.


The drive to create a museum in memory of Sousa Mendes is the latest step in a growing effort by Portuguese officials to honour the diplomat since an almost bloodless military coup returned Portugal to democracy in 1974.


In 1988 the then Socialist foreign minister Jaime Gama tabled a law which would posthumously reinstate Sousa Mendes in Portugal's diplomatic corps.





The bill was unanimously approved by the assembly, with members of parliament rising to their feet to honour him.

A year earlier the Portuguese government had awarded him the Order of Liberty medal while in 1994 then president Mario Soares inaugurated a bust of Sousa Mendes in Bordeaux.
 

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Lisbon lights up tourism to Portugal

The European football championship held in Portugal last year has resulted in a clear win for the country’s tourism industry. Lisbon is emerging as a popular destination for city trips while the Algarve is investing in new facilities to market itself as a year-round destination.

German tour operators are generally upbeat about prospects for the City of Light this year following the successful soccer championship that generated extensive prime-time media coverage of the country and its attractions. "The trend since the European Championship has been very positive,” commented Frank Götze, Dertour’s product manager for city trips. Stefan Velte, Neckermann’s product manager for city trips and events, added: "We had a plus of 60% last year and have a 30% increase this winter.” The Thomas Cook operator has doubled its capacity for Lisbon this year, Airtours has expanded its programme by 20% and Dertour by 10%.

Extensive modernisation of the city’s hotels and numerous openings are now paying off. "Most hotels have no more than 45 rooms and are very individually-designed. Whatever their price category, they are often very close to the sights,” pointed out TUI city trips manager Ulrike Richardt. Prices in restaurants, shops and museums offered good value for money compared to expensive cities such as London, Paris or Barcelona, operators agreed. With its wide range of attractions and a broad range of nearby golf courses, Lisbon had all the ingredients to be a "trend destination” among European cities, Richardt suggested.

Flights from Germany to Lisbon, however, are generally more expensive than to other European cities and often involve a transfer that can take the total journey time to 5-6 hours. The 2-3 hour non-stop journey times puts the city at the edge of the viable flying time for low-cost carriers. There are nonstop flights from Frankfurt and Munich with Lufthansa and TAP Air Portugal, from Cologne and Stuttgart with Germanwings, and from Berlin, Hamburg and Munich with Gexx. But Ryanair, Easyjet and HLX do not offer Lisbon while Air Berlin offers indirect connections via its Palma hub in code-share with Hapag-Lloyd Flug.

Further south, the Algarve is meanwhile investing in new hotels ready to host the World Golf Cup later this year. The new properties are mostly focusing on golfing and wellness holidays. Thanks to the soccer championship, the region’s infrastructure has also improved with a modernised airport at Faro and a new motorway to Lisbon.
 

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Drought causes sunken Portuguese village to reemerge

Thu Mar 3, 2:18 PM ET Offbeat - AFP




LISBON (AFP) - A village which was submerged 35 years ago in northern Portugal by rising dam waters has reemerged due to the worst drought to hit the country in decades, drawing hundreds of onlookers to the remote location.


Visitors from across Portugal, including former residents of the village of Vilarinho das Furnas, located some 400 kilometres (240 miles) northeast of Lisbon, have travelled to the locality to walk through its streets which have been under water since 1970.


The roofs of the dozens of homes which housed 52 families in the village are missing but the stone walls are for the most part still standing.


Residents of the village, who received state compensation to leave their homes, formed an association in 1985 which has set up a small museum charged with keeping memories of village life alive.


Portugal receives most of its precipitation during winter months but many parts of the country of just over 10 million people recorded their driest January in over a century this year.


The country saw an average of just 542 millimetres (21.7 inches) of rainfall last year, compared with an average of 930 millimetres (37.2 inches) between 1961 and 1990, national weather office figures show.


The dry weather has led desperate farmers to cut leaves off trees to feed their starving herds and caused millions in crop damage, while in several remote villages authorities have resorted to importing water for drinking and washing by truck because local wells have run dry.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Incoming Portuguese prime minister presents cabinet

Fri Mar 4, 5:59 PM ET World - AFP




LISBON (AFP) - Portugal's Prime Minister-elect Jose Socrates unveiled his government, less than two weeks after his Socialist Party won its first-ever outright majority in parliament in an early general election.



"This is a government of competent and capable people, which will be able to restore confidence in our democratic institutions, in the economy and our country," he told reporters after presenting his cabinet to President Jorge Sampaio.


Socrates, a pro-market former environment minister, nominated 16 ministers to his cabinet, half of them independents and the other half party members.


Sampaio is expected to swear in the new government, which has one less cabinet member than that of the outgoing centre-right administration of Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes, on March 12.


The incoming prime minister turned to technocrats for the posts of finance and economy ministers and defied expectatations, giving women only two cabinet spots.


He named Luis Campos e Cunha,former central bank deputy governor and the current dean of the school of economics at the New University of Lisbon, to the post of finance minister.


Campos e Cunha, a fiscal conservative, helped write the Socialist election platform which made fighting rising unemployment through higher spending on training and technology a priority.


For the post of economy minister Socrates appointed the party's economic spokesman during the campaign, Manuel Pinho, a board member at Portuguese bank Banco Espirito Santo.


Diogo Freitas do Amaral, a one-time president of the United Nations (news - web sites) General Assembly and former defence minister, was appointed to the post of foreign minister.


Freitas do Amaral is a strong backer of greater European Union (news - web sites) integration who fiercely opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq (news - web sites) in numerous newspaper opinion articles and public speeches.


He founded the right-leaning Christian Democratic Party shortly after a military coup toppled a right-wing dictatorship in 1974 and led the party until 1992 but backed the Socialists during the election campaign.


Freitas do Amaral and Campos e Cunha were also named two of three state ministers, a sign of the importance which they will have in the new cabinet.


"My first impression is that this is a cohesive, strong and small government which is of the centre. The left wing of the party is not represented here," political analyst Carlos Magno told state-controlled television RTP.


The Socialists swept the Social Democrats from power in the snap polls held on February 20, winning 121 seats in the 230-seat assembly.


The Social Democrats, led since July by populist former Lisbon mayor Pedro Santana Lopes, won 75 seats, their worst showing in over two decades.


The right-wing Popular Party, which has governed in a coalition with the Social Democrats since 2002, has 12 seats in the new assembly, the Communists have 14 seats and the far-left Left Block has eight.


In December Sampaio, a Socialist, dissolved parliament and called early elections because he said Santana Lopes' government lacked credibility and could not guarantee stability following a series of gaffes.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Baggage handlers quarantined in Portugal after contact with suspect powder

Thu Mar 10,10:08 AM ET Health - AFP




LISBON (AFP) - Eight baggage handlers at Lisbon's international airport have been quarantined after being exposed to a white powder that leaked from a suitcase from a US plane, causing their eyes and throat to become irritated.


The mysterious substance was found in capsules which fell out of a bag which had just been unloaded late Wednesday from a Continental Airlines that arrived from Newark, New Jersey in the US, daily newspaper Correio da Manha reported Thursday.


The baggage handlers received first aid at the airport, Portugal's busiest, and will remain at home until tests on the powder determine what it is, the president of their STHA union told national news agency Lusa.


Francisco Goncalves added that preliminary tests on the white powder carried out at the airport ruled out anthrax, which killed several people in attacks carried out in the United States in 2001.


Firefighers searched the plane and submitted it to a chemical wash before it returned to the US, he told Lusa.


Airport officials were not immediately available for comment.
 

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New Portugal PM vows friendly U.S. ties
Sat Mar 12, 2005 03:48 PM GMT
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By Ian Simpson


LISBON (Reuters) - Jose Socrates has been sworn in as Portugal's prime minister, vowing to keep friendly ties with the United States despite naming a foreign minister who has compared U.S. President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler.

Underscoring his commitment to a stronger European Union, the Socialist leader also said he would seek to hold a referendum on the EU constitution in December this year.

Socrates, who ousted a Social Democratic government in elections last month, raised eyebrows last week when he named law professor Diogo Freitas do Amaral his foreign minister.

A critic along with Socrates of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Freitas do Amaral has compared Bush to Hitler and other dictators in putting national sovereignty above international law.

Touching on relations with Washington, Socrates said Portugal's European links coexisted with its "calling as a Atlantic nation".

The government "will assure the active and committed presence of Portugal in NATO and the continuation and deepening of our reciprocal relations of friendship and cooperation with the United States of America", he said in an address after being sworn in.

Socrates spoke with Bush on March 4 shortly after naming his cabinet and assured him of Portugal's cooperation with Washington, weekly newspaper Expresso reported on Saturday.

Then-prime minister Jose Manuel Barroso backed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and sent a small police force there. He also hosted a pre-war summit between Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair at a U.S. air base in the Azores islands.

Socrates, a 47-year-old former environment minister, said the party's clear win meant his government was empowered to carry out its programme to jump-start the sagging economy through technological training and investment.

The Socialists won 121 of the 230 seats in parliament. The government is Portugal's fourth in three years.

Socrates said he would seek to hold a referendum on the EU constitution in December 2005 jointly with municipal elections. The constitution would have to be changed to allow the joint voting.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.
 

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Nice thread, I went to Portugal last summer and loved it, and of course it is the birthplace of our Fantastic number 7 Cristiano Ronaldo :finger:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Catherine said:
Nice thread, I went to Portugal last summer and loved it, and of course it is the birthplace of our Fantastic number 7 Cristiano Ronaldo :finger:
Nice to know that :D
 

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Barroso: Lisbon success in the hands of EU leaders


The success or failure of the Lisbon agenda is in the hands of EU leaders, Commission President José Manuel Barroso warned on Thursday.

Speaking at the launch of an annual Lisbon ‘performance’ scorecard, the European Commission President said that the EU's economic reforms were now starting to deliver.

“Lisbon is all about achieving the possible, not the impossible, it’s starting to deliver… but its success is largely in the hands of member states,” Barroso told the Centre for European Reform.

The Portuguese commission president, who has to convince EU governments next week to back his radical reforms called for a “clear and unambiguous commitment to change.”

Barroso said he agreed with the former Dutch prime minister Wim Kok’s assessment that EU member states must not duck their responsibilities.

“I have been accused of following a risky strategy [on Lisbon]. I agree, it is risky, but standing still is not an option,” he declared.

“I’m happy that this commission has set Lisbon as its top priority, but this is a partnership, not just the commission’s work”.

“The final decisions come from member states,” he reiterated.

Barroso admitted that political support for reform was a problem.

“It’s not easy being a prime minister in Europe today… we need a pragmatic approach to achieving this goal.”

The commission chief said that naming and shaming member states was not part of his approach.

“Politicians have to be encouraged to be encouraged,” he said. “We need both political and economic integration.”

And Barroso wanted to avoid the image of the commission being seen as a school teacher.

“I don’t like the commission always giving out lessons [to the member states]. We need a more sophisticated approach.

Answering questions on the controversial services directive, which has recently developed into a row between Brussels and Paris, the commission chief said he understood how legislation designed to complete the internal market could “become polluted by internal political considerations.”

But he admitted that if he could achieve just one objective over the next twelve months, it would the introduction of the services directive. “I think we can do it,” he said.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Portuguese Banker's Art May Raise $29 Million, Christie's Says
March 17 (Bloomberg)
--

Portugal's Antonio de Sommer Champalimaud, who owned 2.1 percent of Santander Central Hispano SA, Spain's biggest bank, left a fortune of about $3.1 billion when he died last year, according to Forbes magazine.

The banker-industrialist also left a collection of Canaletto paintings and Louis XVI furniture in a mansion that Christie's International likens to New York's Frick Collection. The artworks may fetch around 15 million pounds ($28.9 million) when they're auctioned in London on July 6 and 7, Christie's said.

London-based Christie's and New York-based Sotheby's Holdings Inc. are gathering art for their London sales in June and July. Most of the proceeds from the Champalimaud sale will go to a Portuguese medical foundation, Christie's said.

The Lisbon-born businessman, who made his fortune in cement, insurance and banking, started buying paintings and furniture from Paris dealers in the 1960s and 1970s to furnish a French- style mansion, said Christie's specialist James Bruce-Gardyne. Provenance, or a work's pedigree, was important to Champalimaud, he said.

Canaletto's ``View of the Mola, Venice,'' an almost square painting with a pink-stained blue sky and the Doge's barge moored in front of a palace, has a top estimate of 6 million pounds. The work was commissioned by the Earl of Lovelace in 1753, and Champalimaud may have been bought it when it was last auctioned in 1973 for 280,000 pounds, Bruce-Gardyne said.

Fragonard Painting

Fragonard's 1754 ``La Jardiniere,'' a chocolate-box style painting of a woman in a garden, has a top estimate of 600,000 pounds. The Portuguese collector bought it for 36,000 pounds in 1963 at a London sale of the Beaverbrook family's property, the Christie's specialist said.

After Portugal's dictatorship was overthrown in 1974, the new government confiscated some of Champalimaud's companies and he left for Brazil. Returning in 1992, Champalimaud negotiated compensation valued at 10 billion-escudo ($59 million) from the government, and built a second fortune.

Champalimaud sold controlling stakes in two of his Portuguese banks in 2000 to Santander, receiving stock in the Spanish bank in exchange.

Parts of Champalimaud's collection will be shown at Christie's New York (May 14-24), at Christie's King Street headquarters in London (June 5-16), and at Venice's Hotel Gritti Palace (June 9-11). For more information, go to http://www.christies.com /.



To contact the reporter on this story:
Linda Sandler in London at [email protected].
Todd White in Madrid at at [email protected].

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Jim Ruane in Brussels at [email protected].
Last Updated: March 17, 2005 04:06 EST
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Posted on Sun, Mar. 20, 2005

Portugal's holy site stirs visitors

FÁTIMA'S POWER DRAWS MILLIONS, BUT OFF-SEASON TREK IS MEDITATIVE


By Patricia Anstett




FÁTIMA, Portugal -- If you plan nothing else about a trip to Fátima, factor in the 13th day of the months from May to October. Doing so will go a long way toward dictating the kind of experience you'll have.

Some 4 million people tour Fátima each year, drawn by an appearance of the Virgin Mary reported here 88 years ago by three shepherd children. Visits by Pope John Paul II and the Feb. 13 death this year of Sister Lucia dos Santos, the last surviving Fátima witness, have only added to Fátima's allure as one of the world's holiest sites.

To Fátima's followers, Sister Lucia's death on the 13th was more than fate, more than the superstition of bad luck the number often conveys.

Mary reportedly appeared six times, on the 13th of each month from May through October 1917, wearing a brilliant white gown and holding a white rosary. Since then the legend of Fátima has continued to spread. The pope himself, who has visited Fátima three times, credits his survival of an assassination attempt in Rome on May 13th, 1981, to Our Lady of Fátima's intercession.

The pope chose May 13, 2000, to beatify the first two shepherd children, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who died within three years of the apparitions. Now Fátima's most devout believers hope the ailing pontiff will choose another May 13 to elevate Francisco and Jacinta to sainthood.

Prayers to the virgin

Visiting Fátima on the 13th or on some other day is the difference between praying with thousands on a Sunday morning in St. Peter's Square or the quiet sanctuary you might find in a downtown church at a weekday Mass.

I visited Fátima one sunny Friday morning in January -- it was the 7th -- as temperatures rose by midday to a summery 70 degrees. No more than 150 people were there for the noon rosary at the Chapel of Apparitions, an open-air church built on the site of the appearances.

There still were seats in the chapel, and the gathering was so small you could barely hear the hushed prayers. After the rosary, a dozen people lined up for a blessing of religious objects behind the chapel. The same number gathered holy water from the towering Sacred Heart statue at the center of the plaza.

The only visible commerce came from a bookstore and religious goods store on the grounds, both operated by a couple of the nearly 80 religious orders that have seminaries and convents in the village. Both stores were empty when I entered. Except for wax body parts, for purchase by people diagnosed with various injuries and conditions, many of the items in the store were simple and inexpensive, like the $1 embroidered relic of the three shepherd children. (The wax body parts are placed in front of a shrine and the Fatima staff eventually burn them in an area where the faithful light candles.)

The quiet afforded me a chance to feel the roots and depths of the place. I could faintly envision, amid the marble and concrete, an earlier time when the shrine was more simple and pure, the experience more meditative. Without distractions, I could smell the candles nearby, pause to listen and pray to the noontime bells and communicate, one mother to another, to Mary.

The drawback (or advantage, if you don't like crowds) of an off-season visit is that you miss the big picture: the massive candlelight services attended by thousands; throngs of people waving white handkerchiefs in a procession behind a large Our Lady of Fátima statue headed to the shrine's magnificent basilica; numerous ceremonies to bless the sick; and, throughout the day, in as many as six languages, the recitation of the rosary, Our Lady of Fátima's request to the shepherd children.

We found the basilica closed, much to our disappointment. If you are traveling in the off-season, you'll need to check ahead on basilica hours if you want to see the structure with its 15 altars dedicated to the rosary, the tombs of Francisco and Jacinta, and an organ with 12,000 pipes. A free brochure from the shrine's small tourism office lists off-season Mass at the basilica at 7:30 a.m.

May through October, however, you should be prepared for an enormous crowd. The devout come night and day and fill the plaza for as far as your eyes can see, say those who have seen it.

Many come by the busloads, others on foot, from Lisbon 70 miles away. Thousands more camp in the countryside. The most devout line up to take their turns crawling on their knees more than 100 feet down a sloping path to the chapel.

A healing pilgrimage

``I call it a renewal of faith,'' says John Hickey, 82, of Dover, Mass., who has made eight trips to Fátima with his wife, Mary. She held the U.S. flag for four hours one year during a Flag of Nations procession, and John has served Communion and helped at benediction ceremonies, he said. For several years now, the highlight for the Hickeys has been attending a Mass celebrated at the chapel on their Sept. 7 wedding anniversary.

Off-season, the power of Fátima is still very much alive. Faith is as much personal as it is public, and Fátima stirs hope and conveys promises that prayers will be heard whether they're said in a crowd or not.

``I personally have heard stories from many people who have traveled to Fátima and have experienced spiritual healings of their heart,'' says Leonard St. Pierre, president of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fátima's Detroit Archdiocese. Leonard traveled to Fátima in 1982. ``I know of marriages that have been restored and of people who have grown closer to God. It is not just a pilgrimage site for physical healing. Our Lady's presence is very real there.''

Some Fátima travelers also visit the church and cemetery, the original burial site of Francisco and Jacinta, on the outskirts of Fátima. Two miles away, in Aljustrel, the homes of the children, largely unchanged over the last 88 years, give a glimpse of what the tiny village must have been like to live in. A particularly popular site is the Hungarian Stations of the Cross, 14 little chapels leading to a marble monument of Jesus on the cross, along two miles of uphill, stone walkways, a challenge for some elderly visitors.

Heading back toward Lisbon, on a winding road away from Fátima, is the village of Batalha, site of the 14th-century Batalha Monastery, an enormous Gothic structure with stained-glass windows. It overlooks a small plaza with a few restaurants and a half-dozen shops, where souvenirs sell for half or less what Lisbon shops charge.

Here, we were just one small bus of nine tourists. There were no other tourists in the historic monastery or in the half-dozen shops in town. It was a delightful change from the romantic bustle of Lisbon.

And I couldn't have dreamed a better ending to the day than our stop in the village of Nazaré. It sits high on a cliff overlooking the ocean, a picturesque setting perfect for snapshots to take home.

We basked in the sunlight on a ledge at the end of town and watched the elderly women, who, according to folklore, each wear seven skirts at a time.

Indeed, some wore so many petticoats and skirts that they virtually waddled around the plaza, their heads covered by scarves, their faces bronzed from the sun. I bought some souvenirs and headed to a cafe.

I had just what I needed: glorious sunshine, plenty of time to reflect on the day and a cold beer.
 

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O Glorioso, You have not posted any Portuguese News for a while
:rollani:
Anything intresting been happening there recently?? :)
 

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former swimming suit model u mean?:D
 

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I got some news.......In Filha do Mar.....Salvador took his son and Marta's daughter Maria out and while taking pictures notices Maria looks like him.....
 
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