TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Sarah … more great footage from the flower festival, this one from one of the earlier days when the kids dressed up.
Front Page News : main source : Diário de Notícias 28/4/2009
‘Just Four Games Lost In Eleven Years Of Championships’. Madeiran ladies, Esmeralda and Cristina, are pictured from the Madeira Ladies Handball team, formed in 1998, with the ambition of being the top women’s national team in all competitions. They even exceeded that with honours at European level, and with this season still unfinished they are practically already celebrating their 11th league title. In the national championship the team have during those years played 230 games, losing only 4 times. Cristina Vieira played in 226 of those games.
Yesterday’s main headline : ‘Breast Cancer : Tests Running At Half Gas – The mobile screening unit working Madeira is insufficient in helping to prevent a disease that strikes 500 women every year’. In the case of Funchal, the breast cancer testing centre hasn’t been working during the last 6 months, after it was noticed last November that there were cracks in the wall. The mobile unit just can’t manage on it’s own, with only 50% of the work being fulfilled in screening women between the ages of 45 and 69. It seems that the Secretary for Social Affairs ordered it’s closure for safety reasons. It is predicted that it will restart soon. There’s not much point in telling women that it is time critical to screen for cancer, if the service provided operates like that. As well as 6 months lost, it would take at least another 6 months to catch up, if that was actually possible.
‘Customs Hunt Five Kilos Of Hashish At The Door Of The Armas Ferry – A Spaniard Was Caught With The Drug On Saturday’. The drugs were disguised as presents, and were found by Customs and Excise. C & E have no powers in drug trafficking, so the 40 year old man was handed over to police, and is now being kept in custody. The drugs were sufficient for over 50,000 individual doses. I can’t believe that’s the first time it has ever happened, but drug seizures rarely make front page news these days.
‘Case Of The Wild Duck Unresolved For Three Years On Porto Santo’. It was 3 years ago that the Pato Bravo (Wild Duck) was assaulted on Porto Santo, the owner (of the bar of that name silly), was so badly hurt he was at deaths door for three days in a coma, and spent three weeks in hospital. The robber was caught with at the airport trying to flee, having been identified on video security, but since then nothing has happened and the robber is living in England. The owner / victim has made complaints with the authorities to try and get the matter concluded, but he has been stonewalled with the answer that the matter is subject to ‘secrecy of justice’.
‘Madeira Prepares Itself Against Swine Fever – The virus that is alarming the Americas has already arrived in Europe. Madeira is taking the defensive measures adopted in Portugal. So far, there is no knowledge of any Madeirans in Mexico’. Spain already has 20 reported cases, and although there are none yet in Portugal, 3 hospital are on alert. Madeira will follow the guidelines of the health department (DGS), and will take all the preventative measures recommended by the World Health Organisation. One of the measures nationally will be to check the flight (the passengers presumably, as I doubt if the plane has caught it) that comes from Cancun in Mexico, with 200 passengers, before anyone is allowed to disembark. Portugal has a stash of 2.5 million suitable vaccinations, left over from the risky days of Bird Flu, that are still within date, and will be called upon if necessary in the event of a swine fever outbreak. Pig meat is still on sale here, and guaranteed to be unaffected, although in spite of that, prices are in free-fall.
‘700 Evoke The History Of Funchal In August’. In continuing plans to mark the 500 years of Funchal City, plans are in hand to organise a commemorative parade on 21st August this year. The parade ‘A History of Funchal in the Street’, will follow on from a similar event last year, but this time will concentrate more on the use of period costumes, and to have more men involved. Anyone wanting to take part, especially men, can check out the website www.funchal21deagosto.com and register an interest there, and opt for ‘wardrobe days’ during May. Being a man, I would love to join in, but the 21st is always ‘toenail clipping night’, so unfortunately I will have to give it a miss. I am left wondering that if Zarco only discovered Madeira in 1420, what sort of clothes were the locals wearing so soon after. The photo with the story shows folk wearing expensive gowns and billowing silky dresses, but I would have guessed it was something more like loincloths back in those days.
Other News :
‘Government does not know where to take tourism ‘. Yesterday there was a parliamentary debate on Tourism, an initiative of the Socialist Party, who beforehand had accused the regional government of not having a strategy for tourism. I wonder about these socialists sometimes … 1). when will they learn that a government with an absolute majority now, and for the foreseeable future, doesn’t need a strategy for anything, and that’s why it doesn’t have one for education, health, poverty relief, drugs and alcohol abuse etc. etc. 2). What is the point on having a debate on the matter, when any ideas that the PS come up with will be rejected on principle, whether brilliant or not – the best tactic with a good idea is to leak it to a PSD politician, so he can claim the credit, and that is the best way to serve the people of Madeira when representing minority parties … yes I know it hurts to do that.
Madeira’s new stamps were launched on Monday morning, featuring a series of fruits characteristic of this region. The stamp with the lowest rate, €0.32, shows the Anona (Custard Apple), and 330 thousand stamps will be issued. Others are the Pitanga (Surinam Cherry), with a rate of €0.68 (230 thousand copies), the Avocado, with a rate of €0.80 (200 thousand copies), and the Guava, with a rate of €2 (265 thousand copies). I have definitely covered this before, but if it’s good enough for the Diário …
‘European Commission watching the fees charged by the banks’. They believe some of the bank fees are unjustifiably charged to consumers, as was said Monday by the European Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Meglena Kuneva, adding that Brussels will in July release a detailed study of the commissions that banks charge. “The study is not yet ready, but everything points to the existence of a large number of unacceptable fees” said the Commissioner, at a seminar on the 35th anniversary of the DECO-Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection. “Consumers have the right not to be robbed by their banks” she said. Research shows that “in more than two thirds of cases” it was impossible to “distinguish the structure of bank commissions to determine the actual cost of service.”. Quite right too … I bank with BPI and have done for around 4 years, and suddenly they whipped €21 out of my account last month, after no charges for all that time. They referred me to a letter sent last December … would that be the one by any chance that I took to my local branch to be told “don’t worry, it won’t affect you”?
One the subject of ‘unfair competition’, that our favourite newspaper, The Diário’ is claiming against the Jornal da Madeira, I took a look at the JM yesterday to see what they said about the World Association of Newspapers writing to to the president of the republic of Portugal. They report on a conspi
racy of letters, emails, and telegrams aimed at pushing forward a law called ‘pluralismo’, that will deal with some of the issues that the Diário is complaining about, but has been hanging around for some time unapproved. Thanks to ‘Snitch’, by the way, for posting the copy of the WAN letter yesterday, and nice to hear from brother ‘Snatch’ as well.
Talking to a couple of locals about it last night, they were of the view that the JM had no respect on Madeira, despite the fact that it is the mouthpiece for the political party that most people vote for. To demonstrate the fact, I was shown the ‘Obituaries’ section of both papers side by side. The JM had just 3 entries, which would have been massively discounted at the taxpayers expense. The Diário had 4 or 5 times as many, and I was told that they cost around €75 an entry.
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