A man armed with a grenade has barricaded himself into a bank after shooting his wife in the arm and leg and apparently intending to then kill her lover, his bank manager. Furious that his bank manager had been doing to his wife what bank managers do only too often to their clients, the man, armed with a pistol and a hand grenade, locked himself in the bank with a hostage (a 28-year-old female bank worker) and states that he wants the bank manager to appear so that he can kill him. Another demand is that the Portuguese President, Jorge Sampaio, or the Prime Minister, Antonio Guterres, guarantees the future education of his two sons in the military college of Lisbon. The man states that he has not slept for some days and that he has been receiving psychiatric treatment. It also transpires that he had fought in Portugal’s colonial war in Guinea Bissau, a particularly difficult theatre of war. Many Portuguese who fought in the colonial war in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau between 1961 and 1974 have shown post-traumatic stress symptoms. It is hoped that this man can see reason before he commits a worse tragedy. This is the third such case to have appeared in Portugal this year, shortly after the programme “Big Brother” went on television. In this programme, a group of 12 men and women live together in a house and all their movements are monitored on camera – even the more taboo ones showing sexual activity and bathrooms. These programmes are the most popular in Portugal, by far, and situations like this, with a person claiming public attention on t.v., curiously (or not) begin to appear. TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU, LISBON

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