Feeding the homeless, Pinocchio of politics, New reservoir opened, & other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Sarah … another orchid from the gardens at Boa Vista

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 15/3/2009

‘Look how it is on the Rua Do Carmo’ – “Platoon of misery : every night appear new faces and mix in with the youths, the old, and the foreigners – people that paid taxes all of their lives but end up with soup offered by the charitable institutions and individuals”. The main gathering points for the homeless in Funchal are named as Largo do Phelps, Rua do Carmo, and in the market area. It’s a really sad story, and it is not just about the homeless, as other people with places to live but with no money to buy food also turn up.

Main headline : ‘Unemployment hits tourism’ – “Not even the sector that determines the regional economy is able to resist the wave of job losses. Of the ten thousand unemployed, almost 1,700 come from the tourism sector”.

Yesterday was the ‘international day of the consumer’. The Diário went out to talk to business owners about their knowledge of consumer rights and attitudes, and was satisfied with the results. “The customer is always right” seemed to be that key phrase of the sellers, and those interviewed said that with this in mind, customers never asked for the complaints book.

The other 3 main front page articles are about the big game the previous night; about a new giant cruise ship called ‘Pacific Coast’ that has been registered here and will sail with the Portuguese flag; and the comings and goings of people in Canhas, with many older emigrants returning to South Africa and Venezuela, whilst the younger people set off into Europe in search of work (particularly to France and England).

The 22 year old mother who was stabbed 5 times by her husband is still in a serious condition, whilst the 5 years old boy, who was there when it happened, has been taken in by grandparents. The husband, who used 4 different knives in the attack, is in preventative prison.

President Jardim, whilst speaking at the political rally of the PSD on Saturday night, took a slightly different slant on his foreigners in Madeira stance. He has now said that he doesn’t want people from the continent coming here that don’t intend to work. “I say here, to these gentlemen of the continent, those who do not like to work, please do not come here, we only like those who want to work.” Taken to the letter, that’s anyone who came here to retire not welcome anymore!, but I am sure that wouldn’t be his intention as many pensioners are small takers and big spenders. It could have been aimed at me of course, as perhaps Uncle Bertie had been told that I was attending this rally in Ribeira Brava.

Don’t forget that the Easyjet 20% off sale ends at midnight tonight.

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 16/3/2009

Main headline : ‘Environmental Aggression With Light Penalties’. Referring to the government recognition that the extraction of inert materials (sand, gravel etc.) from Madeira’s river beds is illegal, but not in a criminal sense, and the fact that the activity generally takes place outside of the working hours of the authority that should be monitoring the sites involved. Sanctions against the offenders are hard to apply, and when a case is successfully pursued, the company just pays the fine and then returns to an extraction site and starts digging again. The environmental association ‘Quercus’, through the voice of its chairman, thinks the time has come to introduce “tougher measures”. One of the suggestion is to “seize or prevent access to the machines and trucks, which would have an immediate deterrent effect.” Sounds good to me, but let’s hope someone does something quickly before Madeira is reduced to a sea level quarry site!

An accident on a road construction site was averted, when a chestnut tree prevented the fall of heavy machinery onto two houses in Laranjal.

A rather odd story to be a headline, but we are told that the clocks are going to change on 29th March, by 60 minutes as we move into the summertime zone.

Accompanied by a picture of the puppet Pinocchio, the political headline is about a controversy involving the Young Social Democrats (JSD) and the left block (BE), referring to offensive negative publicity campaigns about the claims of prime minister Sócrates about unemployment in Portugal. One poster refers to the PM as ‘Pinócrates’, on a poster showing him with an extremely extended nose, saying ‘I am going to create 150,000 jobs!’. Another shows another politician (PS) with an equally extended nose with ‘mentiroso’ (liar) written along it’s length, with the caption “and unemployment rose”. One of the posters also says ‘Free Madeira’. Lawsuits are in the air as claims of offence to personal dignity are being cited, whilst the leader of the BE accuses the PS of lacking in sense of humour.

Another article explains how those with private pensions can, through legislative provisions, draw them early with a reduction. For someone who has paid into into a retirement saving plan (PPR) for 40 years, they can start to draw their pension at age 55, with a reduction of over 30% compared to the salary the pension was based on. There is a calculator that can be used on the Social Security website at   www.seg-social.pt . The article talks about the difference between salaries and pensions increasing considerably in coming decades, and that eventually it will be necessary to raise the normal retirement age, beyond the current 65 years.

The lions share of the front page was given to a photo of Porto football club who won on Sunday night, going 4 points clear at the top of the table. Many think that the title race is all but over after Benfica suffered a home defeat on Saturday.


Other News :

President Jardim inaugurated a new reservoir lake in Camacha on Sunday, that will help ensure continuity of water supply during the Summer in that area and in Funchal. Climate change is at present a concern of the regional government, with a 15% reduction in rainfall over the last 10 years. The new reservoir is 12 meters deep, and cost €5 million to build. 73% of the money came from the European Union, the remaining 27% from the regional budget. It is the first of a series of such projects to secure water supply for the population and for agriculture. Lagoa das Águas Mansas also has public leisure areas surrounding it. Just to prove that I am open minded and give credit where it is due … nice one Bertie (ouch!).

The local derby match last night between Nacional and Marítimo fizzled out into a 1 – 1 draw, a result that was no good to anyone in the race for European football next season. There were 8 bookings and one player sent off. A rather pathetic 3,300 spectators turned up to watch the game, but perhaps that wasn’t so surprising as the game was on a Monday night. I don’t know whose idea that was, but I bet television money had something to do with it.


This is the direct link for the blog about this blog’s future. I will keep this direct link on for a while, so you can click here and read, or respond if you can help or have any good ideas. I will be checking it for new responses daily : www.madeira4u.com/blog.html/3508


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 blog@madeira4u.com – anyone can join in! Thank you!

9 thoughts on “Feeding the homeless, Pinocchio of politics, New reservoir opened, & other snippets”

  1. Der he is probably refering to anyone not working but causing a drain on the Madeiran unemployment resources rather than retired persons who are living off their pensions, saving etc.

  2. No doubt about it Sal! but as is common practice in the world of journalism and politics, every word present and missing gets analysed, and of course within Europe every citizen has a right to move around whether they intend to work or not.

    Waht he said of course makes sense, but that statement alone really got a lot of attention in the nation news.

  3. Having arrived back in England today, it was a pleasant 14C at London Gatwick, however on the way home from the airport ran into thick fog! Apparently though supposed to have sunshine for the rest of the week….no doubt Funchal today was hot and sunny (6 pm and its currently 8C)
    Re theyoung people etc wanting to come to England and France to work, I think perhaps England should have the same rules as Portugal do for the foreigner workers. In my case, I was offered a position at a language school in Funchal, in August last year I had an email contract and telephone coversations about the position, hours, salary, etc and when I turned up to sign the paper contract in September (having paid for return flights, accomodation, etc & had the expense of shipping over teaching materials) I was told the job was offered to someone else. Apparently from what I hear from other foreign friends living in Portugal in general they too have had similar experiences or know of people that have. I had two options one to consult a lawyer however I was informed that this would take a long time and be very expensive, or secondly to fight the language school myself. This I did and I got a small amount of compensation. So as we are all part of the EU where should there be different rules!

  4. Looks like the good weather has disappeared here also this afternoon, it came over fairly cold and bleak and is raining now. The 5 day forecast isn't promising either and only shows sunshine for Thursday! I guess I ought to get my fleece blanket out again.

  5. Hi Der and rest of blog readers, here's somthing funny for today – not that I am amused!

    Yet again I am bleating on a bout the crappy postal service in Ponta do Sol.

    I would not belive it if I hadn't opened my post box (which I have had to move, requested by the post offic under the new postal regime).

    Having not recieved post since the day of my birthday (6th march and very pleased to see birthday cards actually arrive on the day of my birthdy – miricale) that today was to see my nect batch of post. A wad of 15 envelopes and I thought – goody, someone loves me after all.

    First letter – phone bill, thought wonderful it's suddenly reduced itself by €120 euros from last month and I haven't even paid it yet, then looked at the date……….JUNE 2008 – it took 9 months, yes 9 months to get from Funchal to me in Ponta do Sol!!!!!! That has to be a record!
    Next, two electric bills for OCTOBER 08 and NOV 08 and yet on the 6th I received my cutoff notices for Jan and feb!
    A Xmas card from uk sent on 22/11/08 – better late than never!
    And two letters from the same person – one sent on 24th October 2008 costing 50p and a follow up letter sent on 9th January 2009 with 3 1st class stamps and 1 second class stamp from the UK.

    To say the least I am absolutely flabaguasted that the post can be this bad, to receive my phonebill from June of lat year from funchal is really taking the piss!

    If anyone can better this please let me know as I am nowing thinking that I am being sngled out as one of B's unwanted foreigners and desiging to make life very awkward, so that I go home or is it that our postal service is completely incompetant???



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