TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Eiryl … they look like Espada fish in Funchal fish market? Something tomorrow to remind us of Summer, I think we need it.
Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 4/2/2009
Another short article about the new Radiotherapy unit, which received it’s first patients, and now apparently cost €12 million, and not €10 million as stated yesterday.
Main story : The Institute for the Port and Maritime Transport has decided that the operations of unloading / loading the ferry ship ‘Volcan de Tijarafe’ at the port of Funchal is meeting the terms in which it was licensed, without any claim of irregularity. Allegations were being made that the ferry owners were breaching their licence terms by carrying loose freight, when it should all be held within commercial vehicles, creating issues with competition and port traffic. A bit of a nothing story really, as it was resolved a couple of weeks ago, but monitoring of the situation is set to continue.
‘Hope of the Jardim (da Serra) is the generation that will make the difference’ – The Diário pays a visit to a school in Jardim da Serra, a small town with it’s fair share of problems with drugs and alcohol. It concludes that children as young as 13 years old know much more about these issues than would be expected, knowing even about the different drug types. This is part of the school policy to educate and warn it’s 204 youngsters, before they get involved. This has resulted from partnerships with the Regional Center for Addiction, and with the Health Center, in actions involving the community and school population. Besides drug and alcohol abuse, the school still has the ambition to do some educating on certain diseases that affect the community. It was so with obesity, and now with Celiac Disease (a disease that affects the small intestine of genetically predisposed children and adults). The school director believes that these initiatives can make a difference, and she looks to obtain ‘feed-back’ from children who have passed though the school, to establish whether the policies have worked and to prepare new initiatives for the future. That is why, together with her team, she is working to maintain a continuity in the monitoring of children when moving to other educational establishments. Fair play! I have always considered that state education just doesn’t teach children the things they really need to know, important things like managing money, avoiding debt, keeping out of trouble, looking after ones health, etc., as well as such issues as drugs and alcohol awareness. It looks like this one smart lady has expanded beyond the standard curriculum through her own initiative, and I hope she is rewarded with reduced problems in Jardim da Serra, and that her proactive ideas catch on elsewhere. This regional government, like most governments on the planet, prefer to deal with combating the effects of the problems mentioned once they have taken hold to the point of no return. As this school is showing, the way forward is to take the initiative to educate, to prevent problems before they would normally occur.
The number of driving licences issue to the good people of Madeira has halved over the last ten years. New drivers who passed their tests in 1998 numbered 4,741, but last year was down to just 2,364. Nothing to do with the popularity of driving, or tougher tests, but it just demonstrates a side effect of the reducing birth rate for Madeira (even though the years compared would make any driver a bit young to be taking a test). Also hard financial times are having an effect, and the reduction is reflected equally in Portugal as well. Nearly all people taking driving tests in current times are around the age of 16 to 18 according to an owner of three driving schools.
‘Old habits resume’ is the daily sports story, and I only cover it because it is a different angle on the sports stories that I normally read. Football clubs faced with new and old financial pressures are turning back towards amateurism in order to continue their existence. Government subsidies are in the process of being cut in the lower divisions (II & III). Although the philosophy of Madeiran football is that there must be some financial incentive for players in clubs, such as Machico and Câmara de Lobos, full time salaried players are no longer an option, and as such changes are being made to accommodate players who need to work in a normal job. Not mentioned is the funding from the câmaras, who in years gone by managed to slip ratepayers / taxpayers money to local clubs, but financial laws have been tightened and accountability is much more transparent these days. If you probably asked around, many people would expect that Nacional and Marítimo are the only fully professional clubs on Madeira, but even towns like Ribeira Brava with a population of around 5,000, still have fully professional football teams.
Other News :
There is rather a shocking trial underway in Ponta do Sol at present, with a 20 year old man in the dock, having last May raped and beaten an 85 year old woman in Calheta whilst robbing her home. He says he was drunk and has no recollection of entering the woman’s house.
That’s all I can find I’m afraid, using my definition of interesting. There seems to be a lot of recycled news around these last few days, a sign that the Diário is struggling for good material this week.
I struggled down for to the local school for a Portuguese lesson yesterday, and even with 26 signed on, just 9 turned up. OK the weather wasn’t great, but still, the poor teacher must be feeling a bit concerned that people are loosing interest so soon.
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