first_imgLISBON, Portugal – Europe’s economic recovery is in full swing, and in countries like Portugal the unemployment rate is falling steeply from record highs reached during the recent financial crisis. Just don’t tell people like Nuno Mendes that the good times are back.The 40-year-old Portuguese government worker lives from six-month contract to six-month contract, doing the same job every day but never sure of his future, and takes home just 1,200 euros ($1,500) a month. He would like to marry his girlfriend and have children, but he can’t afford it. Unlike co-workers on permanent contracts, banks won’t give him a mortgage.“Everything in my life is on hold — starting a family, making long-term plans,” Mendes says. “It’s all very limiting and debilitating.”Many workers across southern Europe are in the same boat as Mendes, trapped in poorly-paid, insecure jobs that are locking them out of a life they once felt entitled to. It’s one of the legacies of the eurozone debt crisis, and it’s the new normal.Unemployment across the 19-country eurozone was at its lowest level in nearly nine years in December, at 8.7 per cent, official figures showed Wednesday. The improvement from 9.7 per cent a year earlier comes amid a strong economic growth rate of 2.5 per cent last year.The brightening figures conceal, however, a darker reality.Temporary, or fixed-term, contracts that give workers a short horizon of income security have increasingly become the norm since the Great Recession. The European Commission acknowledged last year that “the overall trend since 2006 indicates growing use of involuntary fixed-term contracts.”European leaders have in recent times urged governments in southern Europe, where the end of 20th-century dictatorships heralded new democratic powers and powerful trade unions demanding job protection, to make their workforces more flexible. That meant making it cheaper and easier to hire and fire employees.Recent legislation has watered down some safeguards. Even so, many businesses remain reluctant to risk open-ended contracts that further down the line could be an unwelcome burden due to severance pay and other legal considerations.Such concerns have given rise to what is termed a dual labour market, seen by analysts as a European scourge. It means that some workers get a healthy pay packet, generous benefits and employment security. Others endure low wages, job insecurity and bleak prospects of promotion.The Spanish government said this month that 2017 was a record year for job creation, with 21.5 million employment contracts signed. The downside: 19.6 million of them were temporary.Italy’s largest trade union says the number of people with temporary or part-time jobs who are seeking permanent, full-time work grew to a record 4.5 million in the first half of 2017. That compares with nearly 3.1 million in 2007. On top of that, the number of Italians who cannot find full-time work more than doubled from 756,000 in 2007 to 1.8 million in the first half of last year.European businesses have partly explained that by a mismatch between the skills workers possess and the skills companies need. A survey published this month by the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry, based on responses from more than 50,000 businesses in 23 countries, found that the mismatch “is becoming a significant obstacle to growth.”Portugal’s jobless rate stood at 7.8 per cent in December, the lowest in eight years. It peaked at a record 16.2 per cent in 2013, which was a third straight year of recession after the country’s 78-billion euro ($97 billion) bailout amid the eurozone’s financial crisis. A recovery began the following year.But only 34 per cent of employment contracts signed between 2013 and last year were open-ended, according to the Observatory of Crises and Alternatives at Portugal’s Coimbra University.“The creation of jobs in Portugal has been spectacular … but most of them are temporary jobs,” said Nuno Teles, one of the observatory’s researchers.He points to a high turnover of fixed-term contracts. From 2013 to the end of 2017, about 3 million employment contracts were signed, but only about 1 million of them still exist. Some workers, Teles says, have two work contracts in the space of a month.Part of the reason is the nature of Portugal’s economic recovery. It is largely being powered by the tourism sector, where seasonal work is common, and the construction industry, which is frequently offering contracts valid only for the duration of specific building projects.Another driver of change has been new technology. Working patterns are changing, with an increasing number of people freelancing, working part-time from home and holding jobs for short periods. It suits some.In the case of employees like government worker Mendes, there’s an added twist: he isn’t a temporary worker, he’s a fake temporary worker, and the government is behind the sham.Mendes, who holds a Masters degree, belongs to a loose national association of such workers called “precarios do estado” —literally, “precarious government workers.” They are employed by the state on temporary contracts that are renewed every six months or annually. The association is pressing the government to make good on its 2015 promise to formally classify them as the permanent workers they effectively are.The association’s website includes numerous stories from those in similar circumstances to Mendes. “Why can’t I set out the course of my and my family’s life for the next 3, 4, 5 or 10 years?” complains one of them, 37-year-old school teacher Antonio Fachada.The issue has become a key battleground for trade unions, but Mendes says he doesn’t feel resentful. He sees the government as a victim of the financial crisis, too, because the bailout lenders wouldn’t let it hire permanent staff.With the economy surging, Mendes is hopeful his limbo will come to an end soon, though he’s learned to roll with the punches.“I’ve stopped worrying about my future,” he says with a laugh. “I can’t, because I’d end up having no life.”____Colleen Barry in Milan and Ciaran Giles in Madrid contributed to this story.last_img

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first_imgBayern Munich left the Santiago Bernabeu furious with referee Viktor Kassai and his team of assistants after being knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid on Tuesday.Real Madrid won 4-2 after extra-time to advance with a 6-3 aggregate success but Cristiano Ronaldo was offside for two of his three goals and a harsh dismissal for Arturo Vidal left a fuming Bayern with 10 men.Chile midfielder Vidal was shown a second yellow card by Kassai in the 84th minute for what appeared a clean challenge on Marco Asensio, tilting the game in Madrid’s favour as they entered extra-time trailing 2-1.Ronaldo scored the next goal in the 105th minute from a clear offside position, and then sent Madrid 3-2 up on the night when fractionally offside.”When they rob a game from you like that, it’s very tough. This error can’t happen in the Champions League,” said Vidal.”When it was 2-1 they got scared and the referee started putting on his show. We played with one less man at home and here, too. The referee put us out of the Champions League.”There were other contentious decisions on the night, including Casemiro avoiding a red card for a late foul on Bayern’s Arjen Robben when already booked and an offside against Robert Lewandowski in the second half when the Polish striker was well placed.”It’s very harsh, two offside goals, the red card for Casemiro before mine,” said Vidal.”The dressing room is very sad because we really wanted to go through but we have to keep improving and hope these things will not happen again.advertisement”We’re very angry, a game with that much intensity can’t be decided by the referee.”Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti agreed with Vidal and said in his media conference that the referees needed video help.”Arturo’s card was not a card and then two goals for Cristiano were offside,” said the Italian.”We are not happy about this. In a quarter-final you have to have a referee with more quality, I think. It’s time to introduce videos for the referees.”His Real Madrid counterpart Zinedine Zidane did not want to discuss the refereeing but he claimed Bayern’s second goal could have also been ruled offside.Lewandowski appeared to be fractionally offside in the buildup to Sergio Ramos’s own goal, causing panic in the area before the defender prodded the ball past Keylor Navas.”They have told me their second goal was also offside. It goes both ways, that is football,” said Zidane.”More than the second yellow (for Vidal) or the offside goals, the six goals we scored over the two games mean we deserved to go through in the tie.”last_img

first_imgMicromax’s Bharat-series of affordable phones kicked off earlier this year with the launch of the Bharat 2. The company joined hands with BSNL and Vodafone in October to launch the Bharat 1 4G VoLTE feature phone and Bharat 2-Ultra, respectively. It followed up with the Bharat 3 and Bharat 4 in September that were priced at Rs 4,499 and Rs 4,999, respectively. The Bharat 5 launched today with the tagline “Power of 5” as it highlights a 5000mAh battery, 5-megapixel rear and front cameras at Rs 5,555.At this price point, the Bharat 5 will be taking on the like of the new Redmi 5A. Xiaomi’s latest entry-level smartphone will be available for Rs 4,999 for the initial 5 million customers after which its price will come back to Rs 5,999. We take a quick look at everything the budget Bharat 5 comes with under-the-hood.Specifications:Processor: The Bharat 5 is powered by a quad-core MediaTek processorRAM: It will be available with 1GB of RAM, similar to the Bharat 4Internal storage: It comes in a single storage option of 16GBScreen: The Bharat 5 sports a 5.2-inch HD (720×1280) display with bezels all aroundRear camera: There’s a 5-megapixel sensor on the top left side of the back panel with LED flags support and a Bokeh ModeFront camera: The front sees a 5-megapixel sensor as well with LED FlashSoftware: The budget handset runs on Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box much like the Bharat 4Battery: Micromax has fitted the Bharat 5 with a massive 5000mAh battery pack that provides a standby time of 500 hoursSpecial features:– The Bharat 5 borrows most of its design cues from the Bharat 4, especially on the front. There are panel is where you see the most change, as it features a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash on the top left corner. Micromax aims to provide quality cameras in the budget segment with the Bharat 5.advertisement– The biggest feature about the Bharat 5 is its large 5000mAh battery that promises around 500 hours of standby time, hence the tagline “Power of 5”– Micromax says that its Bharat-series aims to provide affordable phones to help feature phone users jump to smartphones. The Bharat 5 is its most premium budget phone yet, and the company will compete against the Redmi 5A for the entry-level segment.– The company has sold 3 million Bharat phones so far and plans to sell around 6 million by March-end with the help of the Bharat 5.– Micromax is also offering benefits for Vodafone customers who purchase th Bharat 5. Users will get 10GB or additional data on whichever plan they’re on for a period of 5 months.Price and availabilityThe Bharat 5 rides on the tagline “Power of 5,” which is why it has been priced at Rs 5,555. This is the most expensive Bharat phone so far as the Bharat 4 came at around Rs 4,999. The Bharat 5 will be competing against the newly launched Redmi 5A which is priced at Rs 5,999 and currently at Rs 4,999 for initial 5 million customers.While the Xiaomi will sell the Redmi 5A both online and offline, the Bharat 5 can be found only through offline markets. It goes on sale starting Tuesday December 5 and will be available only in a Black colours option.Also Read: Micromax Bharat 5 launched at Rs 5,555, comes with 5MP camera with bokeh mode & 5,000mAh batterylast_img

first_imgThe world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotorCorp today launched XPulse 200 (carb version), XPulse 200 (FI version), XPulse 200T and Xtreme 200S. While Hero XPulse 200 is an off-roader, Hero XPulse 200T is a touring motorcycle and Hero Xtreme 200S is a premium city motorcycle. With the launch of these three new motorcycles, the company showcased its focus on providing the customers with premium and modern design with superior technology.Below is the price (ex-showroom, Delhi) detail of the new Hero bikes.– Hero XPulse 200 (carb version) – Rs 97,000– Hero XPulse 200 (FI version) – Rs 1.05 lakh– Hero XPulse 200T – Rs 94,000– Hero Xtreme 200S – Rs 98,500Hero MotoCorp will soon start bookings of XPulse 200, XPulse 200T and Xtreme 200S. The new motorcycles will be available for retail sale at the company dealerships across the country in a few weeks.Hero XPulse 200T will be available in four colour options — Candy Blazing Red, Black, Matte Shield Gold and Matte Axis Grey. Hero XPulse 200 (carb version) gets 2 colour options — Sports Red and Black. Hero Xtreme 200S will be available in three colour options — Sports Red, Mapple Brown and Panther Black. Hero XPulse 200 (FI version) gets three colour options — Matte Green, Pearl Fadeless White and Matte Axis Grey.”These new motorcycles are the outcome of years of concerted and determined product development efforts at the Hero Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT). Our 200cc line-up now comprises of four powerful, performance-oriented and contemporary motorcycles. Going forward, we will continue to focus on developing distinct products for higher-capacity segments as we move up the value chain,” Hero MotoCorp Chief Technology Officer Markus Braunsperger said.advertisement”These three new bikes showcase our focused product portfolio approach for the premium segment. We have now successfully developed and appointed a horizontal strategy for our premium bikes. By developing a versatile 200cc platform, we can cater to various customer segments for roads, no roads, cities, and highways. These products will further improve the brand image of Hero MotoCorp in India and across the globe. The era of an adventure and technology packed motorcycles from Hero has begun,” Hero MotoCorp Head – Global Product Planning Malo Le Masson said. Hero XPulse 200 gets a single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 2-valve, air-cooled, 199.6 cc engine.Hero XPulse 200 and Hero XPulse 200T come with a single-cylinder, 4-stroke, 2-valve, air-cooled, 199.6 cc engine that produces 18.4 ps and 17.1 Nm of torque. There will be a 5-speed constant mesh transmission. Hero Xtreme 200S is powered by a 200 cc, air-cooled engine that produces 18.4 PS and 17.1 Nm of torque.. Hero XPulse 200T gets a diamond type frame.Both XPulse 200 and XPulse 200T get diamond type frame. Hero XPulse 200 comes with telescopic hydraulic type suspension up front with 190 mm of wheel travel and a monoshock at the rear with 170 mm of wheel travel. It gets knobby tyres to suit the off-roading capabilities. There will be a 21-inch wheel at the front and an 18-inch wheel at the rear. There will be a 276 mm petal disc at the front and a 220 mm disc at the rear.Hero XPulse 200T gets a telescopic front suspension and a 7-step preload adjustable monoshock at the rear. Also, it will come with 17-inch wheels along with tyres that will be more road-focussed. There will be a 276 mm disc at the front and a 220 mm disc at the rear. Both XPulse 200 and XPulse 200T will feature single-channel ABS. The two bikes will also a 13-litre tank.XPulse 200 and XPulse 200T will get features like LCD instrument panel with advanced trip computer enabled with Hero app, Bluetooth connectivity, turn-by-turn navigation and LED head and tail lamps. Hero XPulse 200 will also come with a high mounted exhaust apart from engine sump guard and knuckle guards. Hero XPulse 200T gets features like ribbed seats, rear grip with bungee hooks, under-seat USB charger and wide handlebars. Hero Xtreme 200S comes with rear wider radial tyre, mono suspension and 37 mm diameter front forks with anti-friction bush.Hero Xtreme 200S comes with a 7-step adjustable mono shock suspension, 276 mm front disc with single channel ABS and 220 mm rear disc. Hero Xtreme 200S gets features like LED headlamps with position lamps and LED taillamp with split sporty grips, digital speedometer and engine kill switch. It comes with rear wider radial tyre, mono suspension and 37 mm diameter front forks with anti-friction bush.Hero XPulse 200 will rival Royal Enfield Himalayan and BMW G 310 GS. Hero Xtreme 200S will challenge TVS Apache RTR 200 4V ABS R 2.0 and Bajaj Pulsar NS 200 ABS.ALSO READ | Hyundai Venue base variant spotted, does not feature alloy wheels and projector headlampsALSO READ | Maruti Suzuki Ignis 1 lakh units sold since launch in January 2017ALSO READ | Maruti Suzuki Ertiga with 1.5-litre DDiS 225 diesel engine launched, price starts at Rs 9.86 lakhadvertisementlast_img

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