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Anti-austerity anger shakes Portugal

LISBON — The country has crept out of more than 2 years of recession, unemployment has fallen, tourism is booming and exports have surged. Nevertheless, the government knows there’s little cause for euphoria. 

Portuguese turmoil prompts new euro zone fears

BRUSSELS — Within 24 hours, Portugal has been thrown into political turmoil by the resignation of two key ministers, casting doubt on the country's ability to get its economy back on track and raising fears of a renewed euro zone crisis.

In Portugal, a home for a hero

LISBON — A crumbling ruin in a remote Portuguese village is a sorry memorial for one of the greatest heroes to have resisted Hitler's plan to destroy Europe's Jews.

Why a ‘small’ bailout for little Cyprus is a big deal

Commentary: Letting one member fail can be contagious for the rest of the euro zone.
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People walk past closed shops in the old town of Nicosia, Cyprus, on Jan. 26, 2013. The bailout of Cyprus is garnering much less attention than did the help provided to other struggling euro zone members. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)
The bailout of Cyprus is garnering much less attention than did the help provided to other struggling Euro Zone members. Cyprus is tiny, and rescue or no rescue, the euro will remain largely unaffected. Or so the argument goes.

Anti-austerity protests in Spain, Portugal draw tens of thousands (PHOTOS)

Anti-austerity protests in Spain and Portugal drew tens of thousands of protesters into the streets.

Drug decriminalization in Portugal decreases number of addicts

On July 1, 2001, Portugal decriminalized every imaginable drug, from marijuana, to cocaine, to heroin. Some thought Lisbon would become a drug tourist haven, others predicted usage rates among youths to surge. Eleven years later, it turns out they were both wrong.

Portugal hit by public sector strike against austerity

Portugal’s biggest union, the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers called the strike to fight changes to labor laws making it easier to hire and fire workers and cut holidays and layoff compensation.
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European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Olli Rehn (R) attends a press conference accompanied by the Portuguese finance minister, Vitor Gaspar (L) at S. Bento Palace, in Lisbon, on March 14, 2012. Portugal is swallowing the EU's austerity medicine in return for loans. It seems that medicine is not helping individual patients using the country's health system. (PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

This is a story I've been expecting to see for some time coming out of the U.S. and my thanks to The Guardian's Giles Tremlett for finding it in Portugal. Clearly the economic situation in the West since 2008 - crash followed by government imposed austerity measures - has been having a terrible effect on many folks' mental and physical well-being.

Now in Portugal comes a very specific set of data showing how devastating things are.


Portugal passes latest bailout review by troika

The government has been working hard to cut spending and implement key economic reforms in the face of a steep recession and a record high jobless rate of 14 percent.

Portugal: the new Greece

Unsustainable bond yields being used to finance unpayable debts.
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Things are really rough all over the Iberian peninsula as Portugal's Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho (R) seems to be telling his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy. (PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

In Portugal the numbers are all bad:

The deficit is 9.1 percent of GDP. The economy is expected to contract by anywhere between 3.1 and 5 percent this year. It took a bailout from the EU, ECB, IMF "troika" of 78 billion euros ($102.6 billion) and will have a hard time paying it back because its credit rating is now "junk." Five year bond yields yesterday broke a record: 18.9 percent. Three year bond yields hit 21 percent.

Oh, and unemployment stands at a record 13.2 percent.

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