TODAY’S PHOTO : Many thanks to Sarah … yesterday’s children’s carnival parade in Funchal, which Sarah took and had to me by 11am yesterday, just missing the blog publication time. Even so, I bet it is the first photo on the internet!
Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 20/2/2009
‘Nurses on Strike’ – As mentioned yesterday, the 24 hour strike by nurses is now over, with an estimated 80%+ turn out, in “a great desire to express their discontent.” The strike mainly affected hospital admissions, as the nurses strived to draw attention to 3 issues : “Blocking the Ministry of Health on the negotiation process in the career path of nursing,” “constant instability and degradation in working conditions” and the rules and procedures “that don’t serve the services, nor the improvement of health care”.
The main story yesterday was about those Madeirans who invested their money in what they thought were guaranteed returns, only to find they have lost or are losing significant sums. In what the bank refers to as ‘scams’, in some cases the investors money was put into different investments than the clients were told. One couple who invested money 8 years ago, without touching it, found that at the end of their term there was less money than they had invested. The Diário says that there are other Madeirans they are aware of that have lost 40% of their investments. Anyway, it’s not clear whether the investments referred to were missold, mismanaged, or the customers misunderstood the risks … whatever, the complaints are rolling in.
A primary school in São Martinho, Funchal, is under fire after two six years old escaped into the streets unobserved. They were on the loose for two hours before they were detained by adults in a bar. The Police were involved, but were unsuccessful in their search. The school blames under-staffing, saying that requests for more help were not answered, and there was no security guard. It is now talking about keeping all the school doors locked once everyone is inside.
The Calheta Beach Hotel has been building a new extension without planning consent. The new structure on the roof was known about by the câmera (local council), who did nothing to stop it, and it was in fact the regional government that intervened in the end, ordering the works to be stopped. Besides requiring permission locally, the regional office of tourism and transport needs to be consulted, and that didn’t happen either. The hotel claims it is doing interior remodeling, when it is fact clear for any passer-by to see that they are actually building an extension on top of an existing roof terrace. It seems that the câmara of Calheta has a different remit than the câmeras on the rest of the island and is constantly in the press for that reason, but maybe that philosophy is the right way forward, because according to the president of the câmara, it the one part of Madeira where the recession has not yet arrived.
In the interests of growth and success, the football club Nacional is considering going more professional, when it holds its executive elections this year. At it’s AGM last year the shareholders approved an amendment for the payment of it’s management. How it can afford to pay it’s players is pretty puzzling in itself, let alone to add more costs to it’s existing commitments. If I recall correctly, aside from the club Academica, Nacional had the lowest crowds in the Portuguese top league.
In the same article, the Nacional star player Nenê is still being tugged in all directions by suitors, with a German club (possibly Hamburg) having offered €4 million for the player. Neither club or player seem to be in a rush to part company. In the meantime though, the Diário has found out that Nenê has a Portuguese grandfather, and that the Brazilian player is applying for Portuguese nationality. That process will no doubt be speeded up if the Portuguese national side need a new striker, and will open up new possibilities in Europe at club level for the player.
Other News :
The decision has been taken nationally to close a prison in Funchal, Cadeia dos Viveiros, because of problems with conditions and safety. It currently houses around 50 inmates who have problems adapting to or integrating in prison life, but is a support unit to the prison at Cancela. For example sex offenders go there, and VIPs, who may otherwise be victimised by other prisoners. These prisoners will be reallocated to other prisons nationally, and not necessarily on Madeira, decided on a case by case basis.
Whinging taxi drivers, who have been protesting recently about unfair competition from tour companies and hotels, have managed to get an audience with representatives of the regional assembly of Madeira to air their views.
We already knew that 2008 was a best year ever in some respects for tourism on Madeira, but now the national ‘bottom line’ has been published revealing a year of growth of 1.7% last year, compared to 2007. The Bank of Portugal has said that tourism last year brought in receipts of over €7.5 billion. Portuguese tourists travelling elsewhere spent less than €3 billion last year, so no doubt the money people in the government will be pretty pleased with the contribution of tourism to Portugal’s balance of payments.
The European Commission has given Portugal a good ticking off after it has consistently failed to implement measures for the protection of unique, fairly unique, and less than fairly unique species, on and around Madeira and the Azores. By now there should have been 36 designated conservation areas in place.
This weekend’s football: both our teams are away on Sunday at 4pm, with Nacional visiting Amadora and Marítimo at Académica. Neither is televised. The big game of the weekend is Sporting hosting Benfica today at 8pm (SportTV1).
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