Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic (Portuguese: República Portuguesa) is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of mainland Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East.
Portugal's Constitutional Court on Friday upheld the country's ban on gay marriage, rejecting a challenge by two lesbians who are seeking to wed.
The court said its five judges ruled 3-2 against an appeal lodged by the women two years ago.
Since the spring of 2010, Portugal has been battered by the debt crisis that began in Greece and has spread across much of Europe’s periphery.
Faced with a heavy debt burden and rising interest rates, Portugal enacted three rounds of austerity measures that angered workers and put its economy into recession. But the interest rates being charged for its government debt remained high, and in May 2011 the government asked the European Union for a financial bailout of 78 billion euros, or about $114 billion.
Portugal signed an agreement to grant $2 billion in aid to Madeira to enable it to meet its social and financial obligations, the island's officials announced.
The Lisbon-based government will transfer the 1.5 billion euros until 2031, said Alberto Joao Jardim, the president of the Madeira regional government.
In return, the leader said, Madeira will put in motion a set of austerity measures similar to those imposed on Portugal in May when the country agreed to a bailout sponsored by the various world bodies, including the International Monetary Fund.
Back in 2001, Portugal had the highest rate of HIV among injecting drug users in the European Union—an incredible 2,000 new cases a year, in a country with a population of just 10 million. Despite the predictable controversy the move stirred up at home and abroad, the Portuguese government felt there was no other way they could effectively quell this ballooning problem. While here in the U.S. calls for full drug decriminalization are still dismissed as something of a fringe concern, the Portuguese decided to do it, and have been quietly getting on with it now for a decade. Surprisingly, most credible reports appear to show that decriminalization has been a staggering success.
In Portugal, Joao Dinis, a spokesman for Portugal's National Farms Confederation, said the drought has added to hardships caused by the country's acute financial crisis, which forced it to ask for a euro78 billion ($102 billion) bailout last year, making credit scarce.
Farmers are enduring "a very, very difficult" period, with cereal crops badly hit and grazing land in short supply. The weather service classifies almost half of Portugal as being in severe drought.
The correct answer is Portugal, which in 2001 became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. At the recommendation of a national commission charged with addressing Portugal's drug problem, jail time was replaced with the offer of therapy.
Portugal has written to the U.S. offering to resettle up to 60 Guantánamo inmates who are not considered security risks, and Portuguese Foreign Minister Luís Amado wrote to his European counterparts urging them to join his country's effort to help the U.S. close down Guantánamo. "The time has come for the European Union to step forward," Amado said in his letter. "We should send a clear signal of our willingness to help the U.S. government in that regard, namely through the resettlement of detainees."
Portugal, a largely Catholic country, is struggling with recession and debt. Along with the economies of Greece, Italy, Ireland and Spain, its economy is a cause for concern across the 17 countries that use the euro as their currency.
Portugal, a country with a rich history of seafaring and discovery, looks out from the Iberian peninsula into the Atlantic Ocean.
When it handed over its last overseas territory, Macau, to Chinese administration in 1999, it brought to an end a long and sometimes turbulent era as a colonial power.
The roots of that era stretch back to the 15th century when Portuguese explorers such as Vasco da Gama put to sea in search of a passage to India.
Portugal has taken austerity measures to a new level with the decision to scrap four of its 14 public holidays.
Two religious festivals and two other public holidays will be suspended for five years from 2013.
The decision over which Catholic festivals to cut was negotiated with the Vatican.
Portugal has already cut public sector wages and raised taxes to reduce its budget deficit and deal with its economic crisis.