TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Alan. A scene from the Trapalhão Carnival parade on Tuesday.
Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 27/2/2009
The story about the unauthorized works on the Calheta Beach Hotel is back, after the regional government told Calheta Câmara to stop the works a week or so ago. According to this report, the work is still carrying on at a brisk pace, with both the president of the Câmara and the director general of the hotel refusing to answer questions on the matter. The hotel is building an extension on one of the roof terraces, having never submitted any planning application. It does however now have permission to build an air bridge from the hotel to the other side of the main road. This issue seems to be attracting a lot of interest from Diário readers, and I wonder if there is a sniff of corruption in the air that is agitating them?
The auditors delivered a report on the two companies, Via Expresso and Vialitoral, to the Legislative Assembly on Thursday. These companies are the giants of roadworks on Madeira, but the report was just financial with nothing particularly juicy or untoward highlighted, but you do wonder about this part of the statement made : The audit shows that the balance of the consolidated accounts has a deficit of 256.4 million euros, “an improvement in the order of 22.4 percent compared to 2006.”
The auditor has also reported that the regional government incurred over €17 million in late payment interest charges, particularly in the area of public works. It’s a bit of a complex article about financial issues which I am not going to attempt to translate, but as a result of the audit the government has accepted 7 recommendations from the audit. What that is worth I don’t know, because the article also refers to 19 unfulfilled previous recommendations, which included the timely payment of it’s financial commitments!
Expropriation, or compulsory purchase of land, is causing controversy again, with the public complaining about the lack of consultation and information for the project called Cota 500. 55 of the 125 plots of land needed in the area at the back of Funchal, in the road construction which involves 7 tunnels and 9 bridges, are still to be resolved. Work on the first phase has already started, with suspicions of changes being made to the plans without any consultation, affecting the pieces of land that need to be purchased. It just goes to show how careful you have to be when you buy land or property here, as not only will someone build through your garden or even your house without meaningful consultation, you will also be underpaid for what you have lost, and into the bargain may lose scenic views or have to put up with a busy road on your doorstep.
The football story was that Sporting Braga had gone through to the next stage of the UEFA Cup, after a 1 – 1 draw. They will play Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the competition.
Other News :
The Portuguese are not too keen on sport, with physical exercise appearing in 8th place in a survey of free time activities, conducted by Coca-Cola. Internet activity is the number one activity. Of those who do sporting activities, football is the preferred option (30%) with men, whilst with women it is walking / mountain trekking (20%).
There was me singing the praises of policing yesterday, only to read that one officer has received a one year suspended prison sentence for filling up his private car on the police petrol account.
In a survey conducted by DECO (consumer defence) it has concluded that the taxi service on Madeira has improved since the introduction of taximeters. In 600 ‘mystery shopper’ taxi trips in Portugal and the islands, it concludes that 20% were overcharged, and in 18 cases they were refused receipts when requested. Other serious problems reported were improper application of surcharges and fare rules, and charges higher than those shown on the meter. The biggest victims of taxi fraud are by far foreigners. DECO have appealed to the police and other authorities to fight back with more enforcement actions, singling out Lisbon airport for special attention.
PT, or Portugal Telecom have said that they will start transmitting digital TV signals in most of Portugal from the end of April until the end of this year, including Madeira. The switch-off of the analogue signal should be possible at the start of 2011.
This weekend’s football : Nacional v Académica today at 5.30pm, on SportTV2. Tomorrow Marítimo host Setúbal at 8pm, that’s on SportTV1. Unusual for both our teams to get home TV coverage.
Thanks so much for all the carnival parade photos sent in, and sorry I can’t use them all, but I have given all contributors at least one slot. Please don’t send in any more carnival photos, if I used all the ones I have, there would be enough for nearly 6 months.
Aside from your valued blog responses (you can reply direct using the form at the bottom of each blog comments page), please send any unreported Madeira news, topical photos, events information, or snippets for the madeira4u blog to firstname.lastname@example.org – anyone can join in! Thank you!