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Portugal ends 4 public holidays to help economy

Portugal's Parliament has approved a government proposal to scrap four annual public holidays from next year in an effort to improve the country's economic competitiveness.

After a decade of scant growth, Portugal last year needed a €78 billion ($101 billion) bailout. It is in recession, and unemployment has climbed to a record 15.3 percent.

The Portuguese are giving up their days off on Oct. 5, marking the day in 1910 Portugal became a republic, and Dec. 1, commemorating the restoration of independence in 1640 after 60 years of Spanish rule.

Following discussions with the Vatican, the mostly Roman Catholic country is also ending holidays on Corpus Christi and All Saints' Day.

The extended working time is part of changes to labor entitlements approved Friday.