TODAY’S PHOTO thanks to Tobi … the Queen Elizabeth II on her final ever visit to Madeira yesterday. Thanks also to Vic and Helen for sending in QE2 photos.
Football … darn!
Main News : source : Diário de Notícias 19/6/2008
Not much room left on the front page after 60% was taken up with a scary looking football fan with his face painted in Portugal’s colours.
Construction works on the new express road between São Vicente and Santana have contaminated 7,000 square meters of farming land according to 15 affected farmers. The government project, contracted to Zagope, has apparently allowed water containing chemical products to seep into the nearby agricultural areas. The farmers have delivered a petition to the appropriate government department to try and get something done. No chemical analysis has been carried out yet, but crops of corn, beans, pumpkins, mogangas, cucumbers, spring greens, and some fruits are contaminated with oil, diesel and others products. Must be a dreadful situation for these poor guys, who grow to feed their families. The way things work here it could take forever to resolve the problem which has already been ongoing for 7 months, let alone get compensation. One of the farmers interviewed said that he had lost everything, and he doubted whether the land would ever be usable again.
Anyone know what a ‘moganga’ is ?
The Commission of Public Works, Transports and Communications has formed a working group to investigate and deal with the subject of air traffic and liberalisation of the air routes, which include those around Madeira … without any representative from Madeira. Relations between here and central government are strained enough as it is, so what idiot came up with that great plan?
Other News :
UV (ultraviolet) light exposure gets another airing, with yesterday forecasted to hit factor 11, an “extreme level”. The increasing exposure is “not necessary due to a ‘worse’ state of the layer of ozone above Madeira”, but it’s geographical position clearly is a factor, and high levels are not just here for the summer, but all year around. Not very explanatory I know, so if the ozone layer is not the problem, why are the UV levels increasing? Is Madeira drifting south towards the equator? Are we in danger of colliding with the Canary Islands?
I suppose we should consider ourselves very lucky, in that when we go to the bank we can talk to the cashier face to face, and not through a 3cm thick plate of reinforced glass, and generally bank security seems pretty non existent, and certainly is not in your face … well I like that anyway. Maybe that will change, as the Diário tells the story of a bank robbery that netted €1,200 in Funchal on Tuesday. Two couple walked into the bank, and whilst one couple distracted the cashier, the other couple managed to extract the large notes from the cashiers till under the counter. Nobody noticed the theft until later, when the police were then notified.
Staying with the theme of unusual crimes, Porto Santo has it’s first flasher. Apparently a local man in his 40’s regularly goes out and displays his merchandise in the street, and then runs back into his house. The Police have warned the man, but it seems there is little else they can do. A couple of quotes from the article : “Given the frequency of the actions, many people are astonished by his exhibitionism”. The tension is now hotter than ever, because, according to an inhabitant of that street, “you cannot go out to smoke a cigarette, or simply put out the trash, without witnessing these degrading scenes”. I just report the news, I don’t make it!
Wednesday in the Regional Assembly of Madeira saw the approval of the new smoking laws by the PSD “friend of the smokers”. Despite opposition parties voting against the proposals and saying that what was going on was illegal (that Madeira cannot modify a national law), the amendments went through comfortably on the vote. What these amendments mean is that subject to ratification in Portugal:
1. Bars, cafes, & restaurants of less than 100 sq metres can be smoking areas.
2. Such places do not need to install smoke extraction equipment.
3. Both the Porto Santo Ferry and Madeira Casino can have areas designated for smokers.
4. Tobacco companies can sponsor sporting events of international interest (such as the Madeira Wine Rally).
I am sorely tempted to give the government a good slating here, but with more than enough political debate already this week, I will give it a miss today.
In the same session in the assembly, the matter of fuel prices was debated, with opposition parties pushing for a reduction in the rates of fuel tax (ISP) as they have in the Azores. The PSD overturned the debate, even though they have the powers to cut those taxes. In the Azores the tax reductions in place are -6.3% petrol, -34% diesel, -63% diesel for fishing, and -51% for butane gas.
Sunday night saw an invasion of flying ants between Ribeira Brava and Calheta. Some businesses had to close their doors to protect their customers from the pests. I also met a few personally that night. We seem to get this for just one night every year here in Rib. Bra., but it seems to be much earlier this year, but I could be wrong. On our balcony we have an invasion of normal ants most nights, but rarely see them during the day. Nocturnal ants, or long term effects of poncha … you decide!
If you were in the first phase of tax returns this year (straightforward employment and pensions only) any tax refunds due should be with you shortly. 4.63 million tax returns were received by Finanças this year, an increase of 4% on 2007. Those submitted by internet increased 20%, to 3.19 million.
Yesterday saw our blog hit a new monthly visitor record, and today it will pass the 4,000 visitor mark, and it’s only the 20th of the month … amazing! Thanks so much for reading and especially for taking part!
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