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Indian-origin Antonio Costa is new Prime Minister of Portugal

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Lisbon, Portugal: Indian-origin Antonio Costa was elected as the new Prime Minister of Portugal after Costa-led coalition of left parties voted out the coalition government headed by Pedro Passos Coelho.

Costa, popularly known as ‘Babush’ (boy) was born in Lisbon in 1961. He is the son of famous novelist late Orlando da Costa who hails from Goa. Costa’s family are descendants of Hindu families in Goa who got converted to Christianity during Portuguese rule.

Portugal President Anibal Cavaco Silva appointed Costa as the Prime Minister on Thursday, thus ending the political turmoil that was created due to a fractured mandate in the election results announced last month.

Prime Minister Modi congratulated Antonio Costa on twitter and tweeted:

New Socialist Party government sworn in

Portugal’s new government led by Socialist Party (PS) leader Antonio Costa was sworn in on Thursday by President Anibal Cavaco Silva here.

The new government consists of 17 ministers and 41 secretaries of state, among whom Justice Minister Francisca Van Dunem has become the first black female minister in Portuguese history, XInhua news agency reported.

At the swearing in ceremony President Cavaco Silva said the new government, the 21st since the establishment of democracy following the 1974 carnation revolution, resulted from “an unprecedented solution”.

He said his doubts over some points included in agreements the PS reached with the Left Bloc, Portuguese Communist Party and Green Party, which are essential to the government’s political stability and durability, still remain although efforts have been made.

He emphasised that the top priority for the government is to create job opportunities, promote economic growth and fulfil international commitments.

Costa in his speech pledged that his government will be “moderate” in action, saying it was not a time for radicalisation. He also stressed his respect for Portugal’s commitments to the eurozone and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The previous centre-right minority government was sworn in on October 30 but was ousted in a parliamentary vote of motion by the then main opposition PS and its leftist alliance only 11 days later, making it the shortest-lived government since a bloodless coup on April 25, 1974 which turned Portugal into a democracy.

(With inputs from IANS)

(Photo: www.jantakareporter.com)

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400-year-old Ship Wreckage Filled With Indian Spices Found in Portugal

The wreck was found as part of a 10-year-old archaeological project backed by the municipal council of Cascais, the navy, the Portuguese government and Nova University of Lisbon.

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A divers takes photos of some of the items found after the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais, Portugal. VOA

Archaeologists searching Portugal’s coast have found a 400-year-old shipwreck believed to have sunk near Lisbon after returning from India laden with spices, specialists said on Monday.

“From a heritage perspective, this is the discovery of the decade,” project director Jorge Freire said. “In Portugal, this is the most important find of all time.”

In and around the shipwreck, 40 feet (12 meters) below the surface, divers found spices, nine bronze cannons engraved with the Portuguese coat of arms, Chinese ceramics and cowry shells, a type of currency used to trade slaves during the colonial era.

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One of the nine nine bronze cannons engraved with the Portuguese coat of arms found by divers around a shipwreck near Cascais, Portugal. VOA

Found on Sept. 3 off the coast of Cascais, a resort town on the outskirts of Lisbon, the shipwreck and its objects were “very well-preserved,” said Freire.

Freire and his team believe the ship was wrecked between 1575 and 1625, when Portugal’s spice trade with India was at its peak.

In 1994, Portuguese ship Our Lady of the Martyrs was discovered near Fort of Sao Juliao da Barra, a military defense complex near Cascais.

“For a long time, specialists have considered the mouth of the Tagus river a hotspot for shipwrecks,” said Minister of Culture Luis Mendes. “This discovery came to prove it.”

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The wreck was found as part of a 10-year-old archaeological project backed by the municipal council of Cascais, the navy, the Portuguese government and Nova University of Lisbon. (VOA)