TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Jessie … Funchal kiddies carnival from last Friday
Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 24/2/2009
The Diário refers to Tuesday’s ‘trapalhão’ free-for-all parade as the ‘Satire Parade’ (that was the word I wanted yesterday but couldn’t think of). Full of political and social criticism in the costumes and props of the two thousand participants. Cristiano Ronaldo, José Sócrates, Alberto João Jardim were among the favourites portrayed (though I also noted many Barack Obamas), and one ‘float’ also enacted a marriage between the two Portuguese politicians. One thing I didn’t realise was that this year the parade was open to tourists, though quite how they would have stopped them in the past is beyond me. Some tourists did join in, as I saw them interviewed on TV. Tourism came off quite well during the carnival season, with a hotel occupancy rate of 74%.
‘Senhora do Mar’, or in English ‘Lady of the Sea’, the Portuguese entry into last years Eurovision Song Contest, sung by Madeira’s favourite daughter Vânia Fernandes, has been voted the best ever piece in the song festivals. Vânia claims to be surprised by the distinction, and the writer of the song says its success was purely down to Vânia. I presume it was a vote only in Portugal, but even so I would agree with the decision, with an interpretation by Vânia that send shivers down ones spine. On the other hand, it is the only song in this category that I know!
The story from a week or so ago about the conflict of interests of a councillor of CMF (Funchal Câmara) who was also a lawyer representing the development plans for the new Savoy Hotel, has raised it’s head again, as a judge and the Bar association chip in on the matter of professional standards. Apparently this is not the first time that this lawyer has caused controversy, at he did a similar thing in a project linked to the University of Madeira.
According to a report from the Bank of Portugal, Madeirans are the best when it comes to avoiding bad debt, and are the best customers of the banks. In fact to quote the article on repayments of debt “it shows that Madeiran customers are the most compliant in the country, and that the crisis has not in fact reached the family budget. Furthermore, the Madeirans – citizens and businesses – are generating more wealth and consequent savings.” Madeirans only represent 2.3% of the total population of Portugal, yet the deposits made represent 4% of the total in the economy, showing an anomaly that makes Madeira the sixth region in the league table of the biggest depositors. One of the reasons for these clearly distorted statistics and inaccurate assessments on the financial affairs of Madeirans, is the savings and deposits from immigrants, that were up 14.3% on the previous year. How can the Bank of Portugal make such an inaccurate interpretation of Madeiran finances? Perhaps the president of the Câmara of Calheta has a seat on the board?
‘Reduction in vacancies for foreigners worries immigrants living on Madeira’ – Ukrainians have asked for their embassy to intervene, and Africans voice their displeasure about the situation. The call to give local jobs to Madeirans, combined with a large influx of non-europeans (four thousand in 2007), and the closing of many businesses is causing great concern. Referring to President Jardim’s speech on keeping jobs for Madeirans, a Ukrainian spokesman says he does not know whether this will contribute to an increase in discrimination and xenophobia on Madeira, but he is certain that pockets of discrimination already exist, mentioning cases with the police. Aside from more recent ‘suggestions’, in 2005 Jardim went public in saying that Chinese and Indian traders were not welcome on Madeira as they created unfair competition for Madeiran entrepreneurs. Recent statistics on immigrants living on Madeira are not available, but in 2007 the figure was 7,242, or 1.65% of the population, with more recent statistics coming available next month.
The long awaited confrontation between Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) and José Mourinho in the champions league fixture Tuesday may have fizzled out into a goalless draw, but CR won the main honours of the day when he was named ‘man of the match’.
Other News :
The cable car at Garajau now has an operating licence, two years after it’s inauguration, and nearly one year after grinding to a halt after storm damage.
The European Commission yesterday gave it’s endorsement to a package of budgeted measures submitted by the Portuguese government, aimed at boosting a flagging economy. It has also agreed not to take action against Portugal for an ‘excessive deficit’.
I think the police here are great … but why am I mentioning it? There was a response to an old blog yesterday, that made me think about the policing here. I will reproduce it, along with the original news clip, tomorrow, and maybe we can have a bit of a laugh too!
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