TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Sarah … an eye-catching pot feature spotted in Santana.
Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 16/2/2009
‘Hotels of Madeira in the hands of the state’. The unfinished Colombo Resort on Porto Santo looks to be heading down this path, but according to today’s main headline, there are hotels that already taken this route. Squeezed by financial pressures, various hotel owners are turning to the state and the banks for assistance and incentives (state guaranteed credit lines), effectively and ‘on paper’ passing over a substantial stake in their businesses, in order to keep their doors open. One such ‘credit line’ of €100 million, especially to support the tourism industry of Madeira, is funded 60% by the state, 25% by the bank BPI, and 15% by Banco Espirito Santo.
The opening event in the carnival season was in Santana on Sunday, with the ‘Festa dos Compadres’. Thousands turned up to see the parade which, included political and ‘crisis’ themes, despite the cold and threat of rain.
Nearly 200 Venezuelans, out of 353 legally resident on Madeira, turned up to vote at their consulate on Sunday. The vote was to decide whether a president should be able to serve more than 2 terms in power, prompted by the current post-holder Hugo Chavez, who is asking the question for his own agenda. Many Venezuelans here fear the prospect of Chavez staying in power longer, according to the Diário. Chavez won the vote.
‘Graffiti Stains Funchal’ – Two young student males, 16 and 17, have been identified by police as responsible for a paint graffiti campaign in Funchal. They have vandalised schools, commercial premises, and public buildings and equipment with their handiwork. Having ‘signed’ their work in abbreviated fashion, the case against them should be very easy to prove, even without the six spray cans found on them when caught by patrolling police. The Diário called it an “authentic attempt to change the image of the city”. Good work in catching them, but somehow I suspect their handiwork, particularly on private buildings, will still be there for all to see long after these vandals have forgotten all about their punishments.
Another front page feature about neighbourhood drug problems, this time in Bairro da Nogueira, which already is one of those less salubrious places for the usual reasons. Many families there are affected by by drug trafficking or consumption, and are afraid to talk about the situation there. It’s that same sad feature story that you can read often in the newspapers here (and elsewhere in the world of course), with crime, poverty, and drugs problems all intertwined, so I won’t go into detail even though I read the whole article. Drugs have been here on Madeira for years, but it is only in recent years that they have really started to take hold. The government here, had it taken on board the experience of other countries, could have done much more to stop the problem growing … but like everything else and in common with most governments, ‘fire fighting’ rather than ‘fire prevention’ is the preferred option.
‘Delay in Study Stalls Fight Against Drugs’ A study commissioned a year ago by police with Madeira University still has not published it’s findings. Why do they need a report, everyone knows the problem areas, the causes, and consequences … just get on with it!
And a story hot from this morning’s press : The President of the Madeira Socialist Party, João Carlos Gouveia, sacked today the Secretary General, Jaime Leandro, and the party’s parliamentary leader, Vitor Freitas. Official confirmation has not yet been obtained, but in an important year Gouveia obviously doesn’t feel party unity and stability are important factors in improving election results. In an unconfirmed rumour, President Bertie was woken up to be told the news … he responded by asking “but who are these people?”, and then rolled over and went back to sleep.
Other News :
Sítio das Feiteirinhas is to be the new cemetery site in Caniçal, after the old one filled up. It should be ready for use within 8 months in phase one, having been given priority status. Phase two will then include the chapel, waiting room, toilets etc. The original cemetery in Caniçal will then start to be cleared out, taking at least until 2012.
The regional government is making another €10 million in credit available to help small companies with less than 10 employees. That must include nearly every business on Madeira, so I don’t see €10m stretching very far!
According to the news agency Reuters, Madeira airport is in the top ten list of scariest airports in the world … “Madeira Airport in Funchal, Madeira is the ninth on the list. Pilots are specially trained for a clockwise approach to the airport which is wedged in by mountains and the Atlantic.”. When did they move the airport to Funchal then … I hadn’t noticed? Just shows that whoever decided this list has probably never even tried it! Article here: http://www.presstv.com/Detail.aspx?id=85284§ionid=3510212
2008 was a record year for yachts visiting Madeira. All together 1,910 visited, up 11% on the previous year. The marinas in Porto Santo and Quinta do Lorde, prove the most popular, with growth in visiting yachts, whilst Funchal and Calheta are going the other way. No mention of Lugar de Baixo?
The TVI series set on Madeira, ‘Flor do Mar’, hit it’s climax last night with a double length feature episode set in the ‘fake festa’ in São Vicente. What an emotional thriller it was too, with the two surviving brothers casting aside their hatred after 25 years, and making up with kisses and embraces, all because of an old football. It just goes to show, that given the will, football can resolve nearly all of life’s problems.
A message for anyone who joined the free Portuguese lessons in Ribeira Brava, but was put off continuing because the teacher couldn’t explain things in English. The Wednesday afternoon sessions will now be taken by another teacher who is fluent in English (and obviously Portuguese too).
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