TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Sarah … a floral display from the flower festival last month.
Front Page News : main source : Diário de Notícias 5/5/2009
Yesterday’s main story : ‘Illegal Financing’. The accounting court, which monitors government spending and performs audits, has blocked government attempts to licence 4 ‘favoured’ companies to undertake 16 major contracts and projects worth €69 million of public funding. The plans involved the injection of capital into these companies, for the renewable contracts that run for between 4 and 15 years. One of the companies was technically bankrupt. In reality, the government created the companies, to invest the capital, and appealed to the banks to invest. The plans were originally rejected in 2008, but were put forward again only to be blocked again a few weeks ago in Lisbon. The projects / contracts were mainly for sea front works around the main town of Madeira and Porto Santo, pools and lakes, and parks and gardens. These financial articles are real swines to translate, so take it with a little pinch of salt, but looking at the list of projects provided, I think many of them have been completed. No mention who the owners / shareholders are for these 4 companies, but there is usually a PSD politician or two with a vested interested.
“Obey the speed limit and don’t drink and drive”. That was the message of a new project to prevent road accidents, that involves children and the police. Students of the School of Mercês were an active partner in an road awareness exercise held yesterday morning by the Police of Public Security on Avenida do Mar (Funchal), as part of the World Day of Traffic, and a project for the prevention of accidents of the Regional Secretary for Education and Culture. The children called for the enforcement of speed limits, not to consumption alcoholic beverages, and the use of safety belts and seats suitable for transporting children. Furthermore not to forget to respect traffic signs and pedestrians. On the 15th of this month, students from various schools in the region have the opportunity to show their acquired highway code knowledge, particularly for pedestrian movements and traffic regulations, at an event to be held at the premises of the bus company, Horários do Funchal.
Three criminals who stole a number of items from Cristiano Ronaldo’s shop (CR7) in Funchal, have been identified by police. All the stolen items have been recovered and returned to the shop, said a police spokesman. The items recovered included items of “great value”, such as baseball caps, belts, shirts, and underwear. The three men from Porto will be allowed to return home after police enquires are completed. The police spokesman added that the weekend policing during the visit of Porto and Benfica to Madeira had been a success, and aside from the incident at CR7, no other problems occurred. I think the spokesman really meant ‘great price’, rather than ‘great value’, as CR7 branded underwear is worth about as much as mine, unless the maestro himself has worn them of course, then they would sell on e-bay for big €€€€€’s. Talking of CR, he is back on top form now, having scored twice for Manchester United last night, and created the third goal in the 1 – 3 champions league semi final against Arsenal. That puts him in his second consecutive final.
‘Family negligence Increased 47% In 2008’. Of the 1,867 cases flagged for attention (1,475 in 2007) to the Regional Commission for the Protection of Children and Youths, 833 cases (566 in 2007) related to neglect. The president of the association responsible for such matters said that the situation is in part a reflection of the economic and social crisis, “Children and the elderly are always the first to feel the consequences of this situation we are experiencing, with the level of households with unemployment and other problems”. In many situations this manifests itself in school absenteeism.
UMa, the University of Madeira, is already looking to help it’s final year students to find employment after graduation, and has agreements with several major companies, such as Banif, PT, and Pestana, to take on graduates. Add to this that there are currently 242 unemployed graduates from UMa on Madeira. The suggestions mentioned here are : Try a military career, seek a master’s degree at a university, emigrate to Spain or England, or even start a business … “The final year students of the University of Madeira are ready for everything, ready to seize every opportunity”. As part of its remit, UMa promotes the mobility of its students.
The 2009 Festival of School Sports started yesterday evening, with the opening ceremony at Barreiros (Marítimo’s stadium), and runs through until Saturday. Around 6,000 children of all schools and ages will attend, and many participate, in athletics, gymnastics, judo, and swimming, to name a few, as well as team sports in 5 disciplines.
There was one more article about the plans for the Festival of Music of Madeira, which takes place between the 4th and 26th June, but time is short and it’s a long article. That is a month away and I am sure it will crop up again.
Other News :
‘Nacional look to secure Manuel Machado – Coach to be rewarded for brilliant season. The board of Nacional da Madeira are in negotiations with coach Manuel Machado to keep the Portuguese manager at the Choupana next season. The President and Machado himself have indicated they are ready to extend their relationship, and try to at least match what they have achieved this season. Machado has steadily built himself a reputation as one of Portugal’s finest coaches, having achieved the notable feat of taking tiny club Moreirense to two promotions to reach the first division, before guiding both Nacional (in a previous spell) and Guimaraes into Europe. After a disappointing stint at Academica, Machado returned to Nacional this season, and under his leadership the team have enjoyed a splendid season. The team narrowly missed out on a place in the Portuguese Cup final, losing to Pacos de Ferreira, with the hindrance of two penalties.
The Swedish lady who was allegedly raped and dumped in São Martinho (see yesterday) is not likely to make an official complaint against her attacker, who offered her a lift home. In cases like this where the victim is adult, the police cannot act unless an official complaint is made. There is nothing yet to support the Diário headline yesterday, that said 4 men were involved.
I saw a story on the TV yesterday morning, about a car fire in Funchal. Nothing special in that, and I forgot all about it until I saw the same story in the newspaper. What was so striking was the chief fireman who tackled and extinguished the blaze before giving an interview. He had this most enormous moustache, that at first sight seemed to be a clump of brushwood that had attacked his top lip. The TV cameraman was obviously distracted with the same phenomenon, and zoomed in really close for a good look, and I am sure I saw a couple of rabbits leaping around. Honestly, the hairs were so thick and straight, that he was in danger of poking someones eye out, and the car fire would have been just a minor distraction had a burning ember entered that human forest. If you don’t believe me, drive to Rua do Lazareto and set your car on fire.
Just to give you some idea of the rubbish I have to trawl through sometimes to find real news, here is an example from yesterday : “A man lost his wallet with important documents (driving license, ID, among others) on Wednesday last, and in his eagerness to find them called the Diário”. There is much more, including a list of the places where the man thought he might have lost it.
Yet another Madeiran businessman was murdered in Venezuela. The 47 year old from Santo António was shot in the head, whilst par
king his car at home, by a man on a motorbike.
‘Social and economic tsunami on the way to Madeira – Unemployment will increase and GDP growth is threatened – “We can not avoid it”. With the European Commission forecasting a contraction of the Portuguese economy in the order of 3.7% in 2009, and a recession of 4% for the European Union and the Euro Zone, Madeira is not going to avoid the worse effects of the crisis. Given this scenario, the picture is even more black at a social level, because the unemployment rate in Portugal this year could reach 9.1%, and in 2010 rise to 9.8%. An economist says Madeira is particularly exposed because of the high ratio of imports to exports, and because of difficulty in obtaining external financing to improve the employment prospects, with predictions as high as 15,000 unemployed by the end of this year. Unfortunately, that extremely bleak prediction makes sense … the only source of redemption I can see is through clever politics and exceptional marketing in tourism.
Another Husky dog was sent to Germany yesterday to be re-homed, the fifth one so far. In an arrangement between Madeira’s SPAD and a German organisation, it was arranged for 7 Husky dogs to go to Germany, with all expenses paid from Germany. The dogs are said to suffer with Madeira’s climate, and not fit well into family life, and consequently there is quite a high rate of abandonment.
The answer to the question about the fifteen different flags in Câmara de Lobos, from yesterday’s blog: They are all countries where naturals from C de L have emigrated to and now live. What an odd thing to do!
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