Hounded by the economic crisis that shows no signs of letting up and by political leaders of all stripes, Portugal's conservative Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho sent out an unprecedented message to his fellow citizens: emigrate.
The most far-reaching programme of privatisation of state enterprises in the history of Portugal kicked off Thursday with the sale of almost all of the state's shares in the Energias de Portugal (EDP) utility to China's Three Gorges Corp.
Roma leaders are alarmed at the growing discrimination faced by their people in Europe, especially because of the anti-gypsy stance taken by many political parties, which blame the ethnic minority group for a wide range of social ills.
A European Union economic forecast for 2012 indicates Portugal is the EU country that will grow the least.
The severe financial and economic problems in Portugal are driving many women to desperation and pushing them into prostitution as a last resort to support their families.
Voters in crisis-stricken Portugal will go to the ballot boxes next Sunday to choose not a government, but something more like delegates who will administer decisions already taken by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
Bruno Gonçalves wears many hats: he is municipal mediator in this city in central Portugal, a leader of the NGO SOS-Racismo, author of a book on integration in schools, and a human rights activist -- but, he stresses, "I never stop being a gypsy."
Despite the global economic crisis that has hit Europe especially hard, Portugal's official development aid to its former colonies will not decline this year, although "unfortunately no increase is expected either."
"They are a heartache," admitted Portugal's Prime Minister José Sócrates about the draconian economic measures his government approved in a bid -- with dubious effectiveness -- to calm the financial markets and recover lost credibility.