House sales fall, Machico beach, Agricultural watering, Ferry extended, & other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Vic … The cruise ship Oceana passing Caniço

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 7/8/2008

Main story is about the effects of the economic downturn on property sales, with a 31% drop in mortgage contracts reported in the first three months of this year (compared to the same period in 2007), the worst quarterly record since 2003, and a drop much greater than recorded in the rest of Portugal of 6.15%. Even the Azores recorded a drop of only 14%. During those 3 months just 676 mortgages were agreed worth just €66 million (2007 recorded 975 mortgages valued at €96 million). The average mortgage size has also reduced from €99,000 to €98,000, probably  reflecting a slight reduction in house prices. Some companies are riding the downturn, with one agent reporting a 34% rise in property transactions on Madeira, and sales in Funchal are much better than the island as a whole. If this continues, logic points to a drive to sell properties to foreigners who would find prices much lower than in their home countries … more so in western Europe.

The other two stories front page stories were about the possible transfer of a Maritimo football player, and about 2 new advisers joining the health service (I had a problem understanding the point of that article).

Other News :

President of the Chamber (Council) of Machico believes that the new yellow sandy beach could still be ready this summer. Recent sea water analysis is also showing good results. 

Agricultural watering has for years been a system of flooding the garden or field on a a regular basis (I think it’s weekly) when the Levada men arrive to a licenced user, and just ‘open the floodgates’ for a predetermined period of time. Much of the water is absorbed into the ground, but a lot also runs off and is wasted. In view of regular water shortages, there is talk of moving to a system referred to as ‘drop by drop’ watering. But they are talking about 12 years to put the infrastructure in place.

The rejection nationally of the proposed alteration of the smoking law seems to have focused on the issue of smoking in bars and restaurants, but ‘missed’ another amendment which allows the sponsorship of events by tobacco companies, which was previously regulated. That’s a serious error then, as now the tobacco companies can go on to attract new smokers through high profile event publicity … just the opposite of what was probably originally intended in discouraging new smokers.

Naviera Armas, the owners of the ferry ‘Volcán de Tijarafe’ between Madeira, Portugal, and the Canary Islands have already decided to extend the operation of the ferry service for another two weeks. Now the service will be on offer until 6th October, but there is still a very high certainty that the ferry will continue for the entire year. That decision may be known next week. 

Fox Mulder and Dana Scully arrive on Madeira have arrived on Madeira … no not in person, but on the big screen. The new X Files movie is (or is about to be premiered) in Funchal with the plot under a shroud of secrecy, but almost certainly involving alien abductions.

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