Terrible start to 2009, Women in crime, New BP filling stations, & other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Another pic taken last week that shows nicely just how thick the snow was.

Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 8/3/2009

Main headline : ‘Two Months to Forget’ – this refers to the lost of trade to the hotels during January and February, where tourism has taken a bad hit. During the two months, fifteen thousand tourists were missing, with a resulting loss of over one hundred thousand hotel nights and €6 million in revenue. The occupation rate is down as low as 43%. At the airport the economic problems are also having an impact, with the number of flights down 6%, and over 31 thousand less passenger movements. The British market is the worst affected, with eleven thousand less than previously expected, followed by much smaller losses of three thousand German visitors, and two thousand less from Denmark. Extend these losses to car hire, excursions, restaurants, and other tourism services and you can see why the Diário calls it the “first big signs of the crisis”. That is a bit scary, after I thought we were getting off lightly after a downturn rather than a crash. If this keeps up, then watch the unemployment rate and the bankruptcies rise to new record levels.

It looks like Santo António is the Diário’s village of the week this week. It is situated in Santo da Serra, and the residents there are concerned about insecurity, lack of policing, poor accessibility, lack of daycare for the elderly and for young children, and a lack of doctors and health care. Part of the story covers the neglected fountain of Santo António, which lies right in the middle of the village, but is pretty much neglected with weeds and rubbish making it an eyesore.

The ‘Ribeira da Metade’ in Faial is the scene of illegal extraction of inert substances by various construction companies. They come outside of normal working hours, digging up the vegetation, telling the locals that they are cleaning up the river bed. What is being taken away is a valuable cargo, and at €22 a cubic metre, a lorry load of sand and gravel is worth nearly €400. The Diário reported watched for an hour and saw 5 lorry loads of material removed from the site.

In another article, maybe timed to coincide with the ‘International Day of Women’, the Diário looks at the involvement of women in crime with some surprising results. 59% of all women prisoners have committed crimes relating to drug trafficking, although for many of the crime statistics given it is not clear whether they are for Portugal or just Madeira. Madeira had 307 prison inmates at the end of last year, and just 3 were women, and they are kept in a facility for women with just 25 places. The newspaper carries a graph comparing men and women involved in crimes, and although it is impossible to get exact readings, these are some rough comparisons for the percentage of crime committed by women : crimes against the person, nearly 40% ; against society nearly c.45% ; and involving drugs c.70%. It’s just an observation, but  how come there are so few women in prison compared to men?

In motorsport, in what could be the last rally of Camacha, the new season started with a victory for Alexandre Camacho & Pedro Calado in their Peugeot 207 S2000. Next up is the Porto Santo Rally in three weeks time.

Other News :

‘More Espetada Than Anonas’ : referring of course to the 19th Anona (custard apple) festival in Faial on Saturday. It seems that the number of producers displaying at the festa ‘didn’t add up to the number of fingers on one hand’, but the 8 stands selling barbecued meat were doing a brisk trade. There are 1,800 anona producers on Madeira. I think Tobi went along yesterday, maybe he can give us some idea of what it was all about?

Today BP (British Petroleum) inaugurates a new petrol station on Madeira, the start of an investment of €4.5 million for Madeira which will last through to next year. Four new petrol stations will be built, 2 in Funchal, and two on the outskirts. BP, through it’s operating partner ‘Lubrimade’ sees Madeira as a profitable market having sold 18 million litres of petrol and diesel last year, which with other products generated €25 million in turnover in 2008. Not deterred by government price controls for fuel sold on Madeira, a spokesman said “”BP believes in unregulated markets and that free competition leads to greater benefits for consumers. But price regulation is a sovereign decision of the Government and for which BP has the greatest respect”. Perhaps that’s a hint for Uncle Bertie that the time has come to suspend government intervention in fuel pricing?  With these new filling stations that’s really going to spread the business thinly around Funchal with real competition possible, though shame they couldn’t have built something new out west, where it is needed more. It just shows that BP and the other fuel companies are recession proof, with or without government price intervention, as there can’t  be many types of business that would judge Madeira to be a profitable market at this time.

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10 thoughts on “Terrible start to 2009, Women in crime, New BP filling stations, & other snippets”

  1. To be strictly accurate, Santo António is the same place as Santo da Serra – its full name is Santo António da Serra, but that's too long for most people, hence the contractions. Whatever it is called, it is still a pretty cold and damp place much of the time.

    We went to the Anona Festival last year. It ws quite interesting, but chucked it down with rain. On the news, I noticed that this year…it chucked it down with rain. Does this indicate a weekend to note in your diary for next year 'rain due'?
    –Andrew

    Reply
  2. Hi Der as Andrew says it rained alot this side yesterday so i gave the festival a miss, and while your baskin in sunshine in the west today, its cold damp and light rain this side…..

    Reply
  3. I do beleive this nasty weather is something to do with global warming, not just in Madeira but the weather is crazy all over the world.
    So you get a little rain in Madeira……
    That's not to bad, I've got snow and bitterly cold wind where I am , so just lets make the best of things ………Spring is around the corner:)

    Reply
  4. We have actually felt like that sometimes also Lyn, on more than one occasion this year I have had to go to bed wearing a jumper, trackie bottoms and socks!
    –Elaine

    Reply

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