Flower Festival Meets Objectives, Beef Sales Diminishing, Adoption Concerns, … etc.

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Tobi … even more stunning than yesterday’s photo from Sunday’s flower festival parade. In fact, I am so impressed that an extract from this photo will probably be a permanent feature on the new blog (if Tobi doesn’t mind that is).

To those who took the trouble to send in flower festival photos, many thanks. I had so many I won’t be able to use them all now, but I will keep them in the reserve folder so we can have the odd reminder now and again, until next April.

Front Page News : main source : Diário de Notícias 27/4/2009

‘It’s yet More Beautiful – Flower Festival parade left tourists well satisfied’. Thousands of Madeirans and tourists watched the parade on Sunday afternoon in downtown Funchal, and hoards of children took part. the 54th festival involved many well known faces from the small screen, especially from the TV series ‘Flor do Mar’, and Madeira’s current favourite daughter, the singer Vânia Fernandes. Several comments from the tourists were very favourable, and one group from France said they were motivated to return to see it again. There is some film footage here : FLOWER-FESTIVAL  (although it didn’t work when I tried earlier, hopefully it will be fixed).

In a second but related article, Madeira’s Secretary for Tourism says it is difficult to determine which of the two events is responsible for bringing the greater number of visitors to the region, in trying to evaluate the success of the end of year celebrations and the flower festival. Conceição Estudante admitted that last weeks event had fully met it’s objectives, and had brought a partial recovery in tourism. She added that the goal now was to make other events, such as the ‘Atlantic Festival’ just as popular. Yesterday’s parade, with the theme “The Little Prince”, brought many recreations of the characters of Antoine Saint-Exupéry, the author of the book. The variety of flowers were huge, but it was no surprise that the rose, which in the book is described as the best friend of the Prince, was supreme. 1,100 participants took part in the 9 parade groups. That would be some achievement making the Atlantic Festival just as popular as the top two events, as visitors would have to stay 3 or 4 weeks to see all the displays. I have an idea that would be popular for tourism. In lieu of a grassy knoll, which would be ideal and more permanent, why not put stocks in Saint Catherine’s Park, and make our politicians take turns to be the target of rotten tomatoes for a week. Even I would be a regular visitor to Funchal to see that. I think Senhora Estudante just about deserves to be excluded from the line up, though she is no longer in my good books after ignoring my last letter.

Main headline of yesterday : ‘Crisis Gives Favour To The Cheaper Meats – Chicken and pork are stealing the market share of beef. The purchasing power of people is affecting the consumption of beef. Fillet and loin remain in the butchers displays, whilst rump is gaining ground. This is happening not just in the domestic market, but also in hotels and restaurants’. The ‘cut’ in the flesh has affected the market since last year according to the supplier Nóbrega, with customers moving to cheaper alternatives, although overall there has been no significant fall in meat (and poultry) sales. It is not just the customer pocket dictating the trend, but the rising prices of meat generally are deterring hotels and restaurants from buying what they used to buy. I don’t know much about meat, as I rarely buy any, but it seems chicken and pork in my local Pingo are cheaper than ever on some days … unlike fruit and veg which just seem to get more and more expensive. Maybe I have been sheltered by farmers freebies for too long, but as that source has temporarily dried up until July, I am having to buy everything for now. I paid €1.10 a kilo for spuds yesterday, and I brought apples for the first time since last Summer, as the price was down to €0.69 a kilo in Hiper Sã (the truth is I don’t like them that much either). 

‘Fátima Creates Contest For Young Talents’ –  In an extension of a theme that already runs in Brazil, Angola, and Venezuela, Fátima Lopez wants to put the entire nation on the search for the best young talent in Portugal. The ‘Face Models of the Year’ competition, on reading further, has nothing to do with talent, and is more about modeling and fashion involving a rubber woman called Fiona. Madeira will have its own regional final in 2010 if all goes to plan. She is a famous stylist apparently.

‘Adoption Is Still Not Consensual – The children come first, but it warrants more attention to the situations where there are biological family ties’. “There is a lack of humanity”, “It is horrible for children when they are separated from parents when there are emotional ties”, are a couple of the quotes from Sister Celeste Silva, from a children’s home, referring to cases where the courts have made the decision that children should be put up for adoption. She is referring to children in her care, who can stay there, but still receive visits from parents until visits are cut by court order, leaving offspring scared and confused. “I am not saying that we should not opt for adoption. There are cases where this is the best solution, but I realise that there are other (better) alternatives for the sake of the emotional stability of children”. The option to remove custody of children from parents is based on the law and the facts (from reports of social workers and psychologists), where there is evidence that children face serious risks. Particularly those children in danger of abandonment, abuse, lack of affection, overwork, or behavior that jeopardizes their development.

The only other headlines were Nacional’s win at Belenenses on Sunday, putting them back in fourth place above Sporting Braga, and that the defeat for Marítimo away at Benfica has virtually ruled any hope of a European place for them.

Other News :

‘Easyjet’ has already carried 100 thousand passengers in just six months. The low cost airline has also registered 125 thousand reservations on it’s service between Madeira and Lisbon, since opening up last October, giving it an impressive occupancy rate of 93% on it’s twice daily flights. Credit to them, especially as they have forced TAP, the Portuguese airline, to drastically slash prices on the same route. However it seems Easyjet has a diminishing reputation with the British, who on the UK – Madeira flights, are now paying much higher prices than when the new connections started in 2007, so no brownie points for you there Sir Stelios! The latest Easyjet sale finishes tonight, but unusually no one has commented as to whether it is any good this time.

‘Lobo Marinho Registers 43.8% Occupancy’. The company that owns the Porto Santo ferry was unable to fill 450,000 of the 800,000 places on it’s 694 trips made in 2008. It has the capacity for 1,153 passengers, but only averaged 505 per sailing. nearly half those passengers who travelled, did so during the 3 main Summer months. The regional government and Porto Santo Line were therefore a little surprised that the president of the câmara (council) of Porto Santo has called for another boat to do the same service (seemingly to start from Porto Santo in the mornings, and return there at night). He also mentioned that the Madeira-Portugal-Canary Island, Naviera Armas, ferry could do a stop there, but it is not entirely clear whether those are the one and the same suggestion.

After the debut visit o
f the ‘Ruby Princess’ at the weekend, another newcomer, ‘Vision of the Seas’, came in yesterday. It is traditional for a newcomer to get welcomed by a tug boat spurting jets of water for its inaugural visit.

120 years ago today the dictator António Oliveira Salazar was born, and now the man has been recognised as a political example for the current leaders in Russia, alongside Franco, Hitler & Mussolini.  And I thought Russia was trying to move forward …

Those good people at Galp, who have many petrol stations on Madeira, have come up with or copied a good idea to save the environment … an on-line lift sharing scheme, where people register their work journeys, or other regular routes, and offer to give people with the same needs a lift. Quite honestly I doubt if many blog readers will find it of interest, especially as the site is in Portuguese, but here it is anyway www.energiapositiva.pt

Sam at Madeira Active very kindly sent me a copy of the letter from the World Association of Newspapers, as mentioned a couple of days ago. It is in English, and was sent to the president of Portugal, Cavaco Silva. It is a strongly worded critical letter about the attempts of the Jornal da Madeira to crush our favourite daily, The Diário de Notícias. As it is in PDF format, I cannot reproduce it on the blog, but if anyone want to see it email me and I will send it on. Thanks very much Sam!

Oh joy!!! Thank you Leixões for that lame home draw last night. Nacional are now 7 points ahead of you, with 4 games to go … two wins will be enough to qualify for Europe, maybe less, but with Benfica, Porto & Sporting in Nacional’s final fixtures, maybe it would be better if Leixões could lose just one more.


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, stories, or snippets for the madeira4u blog to [email protected] – anyone can join in! Thank you!

10 thoughts on “Flower Festival Meets Objectives, Beef Sales Diminishing, Adoption Concerns, … etc.”

  1. Der can you not do a page of flower festival photos like you did for the carnival. I sent the link of the carnival ones to several friends and they enjoyed seeing them.

  2. Blimey, you're up early!

    With the madeira4u website closing in few days Sarah, it's hardly worth it. The last time I did one it only got a couple of hundred views, and it takes ages to set up … gotta work on the new blog. Lots of excuses … will publish one of yours tomorrow promise! I feel soooooooooo guilty!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry!!!!!!

    Anyway take a look at the link in todays blog, lovely footage of the FF parade. Som eof the music wasn't to joyous though. Vânia is not missing out on her beef it seems, but it seems to work well for her fantastic voice.

  3. His Excellency Aníbal Cavaco Silva
    President of Portugal
    Lisbon, Portugal
    23 April 2009

    Your Excellency,
    We are writing on behalf of the World association of Newspapers and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications in 102 countries, to express our serious concern at the deliberate abuse of state funding of the press by the regional government of Madeira and the consequent distortion of the newspaper market and infringement of basic rules of competition.

    Empresa Diário de Notícias Lda is the publisher of the Diário de Notícias, the largest daily
    circulation newspaper in Madeira. The Empresa do Jornal de Madeira Lda (EJM) publishes the
    Jornal da Madeira and is 99.97% owned by the Government of the Regional Autonomy of
    Madeira (RAM). According to the reports, the total support given to the EJM by the RAM from
    1993 to 2008 exceeds €38 million. At the same time, the RAM has unequally distributed
    government advertising between the newspapers. In 2007 and 2008, the RAM purchased 234 and
    216 pages in the Jornal da Madeira, while only buying 10 and 18 pages per year in the Diário de

    Despite these infringements of Portugal’s Competition Rules, Empresa Diário de Notícias Lda was able to trade profitably without the need for public or shareholder financial support. Until 31 December 2007, the Diário de Notícias printed an average 15,922 papers daily which were sold at €0.70 each, while the Jornal da Madeira had a print run of approximately 5,000 papers with a price of €0.50 each. However, from 2 January 2008 the Jornal da Madeira became a free newspaper and its print run was increased to 15,000. At the same time, it substantially reduced the cost of advertising. There appeared to be no effort to run the newspaper as a profitable operation, rather it acts as a deliberate policy to use state funding to damage Diário de Notícias.
    This anti-competitive behaviour directly affects the profitability of Empresa Diário de Notícias and threatens the jobs of 120 staff.
    Following representations by Empresa Diário de Notícias, the RAM took the limited action of
    putting a €0.10 cover price on the Jornal da Madeira from July 2008 and reducing the print run to 6,500 daily, and 9,000 on Sundays. However, the reaction to the complaint submitted to the competition authorities by Empresa Diário de Notícias in April 2009 has been to once again increase the circulation of the Jornal de Madeira to 15,000 and to adopt an even more aggressive advertising sales approach with a 90% discount on standard advertising prices.

    We are seriously concerned that the RAM – the President of which is a regular contributor to
    Jornal da Madeira, which is a strong supporter of his party – is acting in contravention of
    Portugal’s Competition Rules and using state funds to try to force Diário de Notícias out of
    business. Furthermore, by threatening the existence of Diário de Notícias, the actions of the RAM constitute a direct threat to freedom of expression.

    We respectfully call on you to take all necessary steps to ensure that the Competition Authorities hold an urgent and transparent investigation into the actions of the RAM. We ask that you do everything in your power to ensure that the RAM is prevented from distorting the newspaper market in Madeira and that in the future it respects the rules of free market competition.

    We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

    Yours sincerely,

    Gavin O’Reilly
    World Association of Newspapers

  4. Can I ask any of the blog readers that have had coughs, what medication from the pharmacy have they taken that has worked! I was given levotuss for the dry cough but when it became a wet cough was given something else. Is there anything better than levotuss?

    Secondly as anyone visited Maderia Medical centre? if so do you book an appointment come back later or go and wait? I know its a private medical centre and I do have travel insurance & i will be covered under that. for me its nearer than the hospital thanks Sarah (der, I understand about the photos, & yes I was up early, come to think of it with all the coughing i got hardly any sleep). Sarah

  5. Sarah, regarding Madeira Medical Centre: We have used once for visitors, telephoned for appointment, booked and seen by a Doctor within 2 hours. However….that particular Doctor did not speak English and the medication prescribed wasn't very suitable. This is just "our" experience" and others may have had more luck.
    We can personally recommend an EXCELLENT Madeiran english speaking (and trained/experienced) Doctor in Funchal. Please e-mail me via our web site if you require further info:
    Good Luck in any event Sarah.

  6. sarah we have used MMC a few times and always had English speaking Dr's & nurses
    S-in L used the dental service in there as an emergency,very impressed

  7. Fantastic pics Tobi….
    Re MMC, my earlier comments were based on a "one off" experience on behalf of our visitors and ONLY reflected their treatment.
    I've got a broken tooth so may well visit the Dental unit there – will keep you posted!


  8. Hi Der

    As you mentioned no one had given an opinion on the Easy Jet sale, I thought I would take a look at the site before the sale ended – just to see what and how 'special' their deals were. WEll interestingly flight prices have NOT come down that much…for the dates I am travelling on soon, were a few months back just over £500 and now they have reduced them to just £435 – not much of a saving and an extortionatley higher price than the cheapy offers of last year. Thank god I booked with TAP – maybe forcing their prices down was good as I got my flights for €196, makes you wonder how EJ can blow their trumpet on bookings when TAP can charge less than half the price for a trip to UK and back.

  9. I think its time to knock the LOW COST off easy jets name now….

    Thanks Jon glad you like the photos, and we must meet up i will send you an email soon…

    Der all New Ships and Aircraft, have water sprayed on their first visit, as you can see on the pic i sent of the Ruby, although its not so clear .


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