Merchants Ordered To Buy Grapes ; Jellyfish Ruin Summer ; 1,715 Car Accidents In 6 Months

(9th August). Today’s main news headline : ‘Madeira Government Puts The Wine Companies To Resolve Surpluses – The secretary Manuel António and the social democrat Jamie Ramos promised that there would not be a a grape left to sell. With the excessive production, the government, in election times imposes on the companies that they buy more than they need’. There is already too much wine in stock, but for "electoral reasons" the government commits the ‘wine houses’ to buy more grapes than they need. Now there are 14 million litres of wines in stock here, but an export market of little more than 3 million litres annually. Over / high production also should result in a drop in grape prices, and it is this problem that scares our leaders. The problem is not just political, but relates to the sustainability of the whole sector. We produce more wine than there is demand, and as a result the companies that produce and export Vinho Madeira are starting to feel economic difficulties in managing very large stocks of wine. Guarantees to growers given by our leaders and politicians did not go unheeded, and as the government cannot buy the excess grapes, and nor can the PSD social democrats, the private sector has been committed. Manuel António Correia, Regional Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources, is now waving money at the merchants, having secured a line of credit of €3.5 million, especially to ensure that the total grape production of 2009 is brought up. The incentive is that the merchants can borrow the capital necessary, and the government will then pay the loan interest (100% year 1, 90%, 50%, and 50% in the 4th and final year). The situation has arisen in part because the government has wavered in imposing production limits on the farmers, by hectare. Exports registered a sharp fall last year, with the devaluation of the British pound cited as the main reason. Unbelievable.  I am sure there must be some European law which prevents this sort of thing, but as it is not a direct state subsidy perhaps not. Did you know there is a ‘Madeira sem alcool’ (alcohol free Madeira wine)?

‘TV Inspires More Crime Than The Immigrants’. The isolated cases – the death of the businessman of Porto Santo (kidnapped and murdered) may give a different idea, but the police guarantee that Madeira is still safe. The husband that murdered his wife during divorce proceedings (Calheta), or the man who stabbed his neighbour to death over a land dispute. This is still the pattern of homicides on Madeira, but the Judiciary Police still regard this region as the safest in Portugal, both in numbers and the behaviour of the population. The regional coordinator of the PJ says that the environment here is relaxed, and one can move around day and night, on foot or by car with total free will, unlike parts of Porto or Lisbon where one needs to take precautions when travelling, or going to a cashpoint machine. He says that crimes such as the Porto Santo kidnapping, are what the PJ term ‘imported crime’, the roots in this case being Brazilian. The other crimes (mentioned) are the same as always, but now have lost weight and importance, but have not disappeared. The nature of other petty crimes has changed here, with drugs and the internet often at the root. The criminal types that operate here have changed targets, moving from city centre shops, out to residential areas. Crime victims now are often people living alone. Ricardo Silva, the regional coordinator of the PJ, does point out that imported crime comes more often and more harmful via television, than by the immigrants who came to Madeira in the last 10 years. He says that these TV images may encourage those who have criminal tendencies, but never had the courage to carry out what they were thinking, through their frustrations and hates.

‘Raul Solnado Died (1929 – 2009) – The creative comedian that entertained generations, but was also a very fine actor’. He is not Madeiran, but he is obviously very popular judging by the amount of media coverage yesterday and today. He is to be cremated today in Olivais.

Marítimo played Nacional in Machico last night, and the main front page photo today shows the ‘full house’ crowd wearing their ‘Chapeau de Esperança’ hats (Hat of Hope – fundraising for social causes) leading to the headline : ‘Solidarity Wins The Derby Match In Machico – Marítimo beat Nacional 3 – 0’.

Merchants Ordered To Buy Grapes ; Jellyfish Ruin Summer ; 1,715 Car Accidents In 6 Months 1 This from the Jornal da Madeira : ‘Hot Spring: Cause Of The Jellyfish? In the season for beach outings, life has not been so good for those who like the sea. The jellyfish have tormented, almost daily, those who go to the sunny beaches. Already many people have been stung’. The uneasiness arrived before the beach season began. Almost daily came the creatures with three names (alforrecas, águas-vivas, and medusas), clinging along the coast, particularly along the south of Madeira. Many people have been stung, and some say the beach season has been ruined by the creatures that have stopped holidaymakers enjoying a dip, without any fear, in the Atlantic. The beach and pool complex lifeguards have had a lot of extra work as a result too. At the Lido in Funchal for example, they have to do several underwater exploratory dives a day, to see if there is a jellyfish problem, but even so swimmers are still getting stung. The Jornal spoke with a biologist, who said the species encountered this year is different to the usual less troublesome creatures. It is called ‘Pelagia noctiluca’, and is a species that likes to hang around at the waters surface, and stings more than most species. It is not very dangerous, but is able to sting with contact with any part of its lower body. The biologist who has been here since 1992, says this has been the worst year he has seen here for jellyfish. He said this species also occurs in the Mediterranean, in numbers for maybe several years, and then they just disappear, the cycle there being between 10 to 14 years. It could be different here, and the increased numbers are more likely to be to do with a hot Spring than with sea pollution. A medical doctor says that there are people extremely sensitive to the stings that can burn ‘incredibly’, and children are known to cry a lot and spend the rest of the holiday fed up. One sting to a child can completely ruin a holiday, he said. Some people feel a burning for a few hours, and then it just passes, and the victim stays on the beach. With some the sting mark will remain for months. Home treatment recommendations include applying vinegar or alcohol (externally), and any moisturising cream will help relieve the pain. There are also creams containing corticosteroids that "are excellent" but they should only be used on the recommendation of a doctor or pharmacist. If you don’t have any alcohol or vinegar to hand after being stung, there is another ‘home made’ liquid that most people have available at a moments notice, carried around in ones bathing costume, though quite how you get it from the dispenser to the jellyfish sting will depend on personal preferences. The article definitely says use "your own", just to make sure there is no confusion. Was I hibernating I wonder, as I am sure I missed that ‘hot Spring’.

(8th August). ‘Nobody Takes Responsibility For The ban On Selling Wine On Porto Santo – After the council, now it is the Regional Inspectorate of Economic Activities saying that it is the law that prohibits. The product has its days numbered’. The reactions to the news of the ban on the sale of Vinho Seco wine on Porto Santo, by glass or bottle, on the fruit stalls, continues to cause reactions, this time from IRAE. In a statement on the subject the Regional Inspectorate of Economic Activities rules out responsibility for the ban, behind the cover of "law enforcement". According to a statement from the IRAE on Friday, "in the Summer of 2007, complaints were received that bottled wines and aguardente were being sold, allegedly adulterated, in market stands located on Porto Santo". The IRAE then moved in and seized bottles, under their legal obligation, but the complaints were not verified.  They did not make any ban on the sales, but point out that the law requires tax to be paid and proper labelling of bottles with the seal of assurance, and that there should be hygienic conditions within a licensed authorisation. The council on Porto Santo has already distanced itself from any decision to ban Vinho Seco. That’s every festa on Madeira cancelled forever then, or dry at least. I hate to think what would happen if someone looked into the sale of food at these festas (in terms of hygiene), but for sure it will happen one day.

Petrol (gasolina 95) rises two cêntimos a litre in price tomorrow, to €1.211. Diesel rises by 1c per litre.

From the Jornal da Madeira : ‘1,715 Accidents In The First 6 Months Of 2009 – The number has dropped, police commissioner Pimenta says that many people have taken the advice of the police, but there has been an increase of breaking limits, some with fatal consequences and serious injuries as a result’. The overall accident count has been reducing since 2003, when there were 5,950, with last year reporting 3,035 for the whole year. So far this year there have been 10 road accident fatalities, the latest being on 1st August, 70 serious injuries, and 518 light injuries. More than half of all accidents are caused by excess speed.

The number of drivers caught without driving licences by police is escalating. 170 people have already been detained, in just the first 7 months of 2009. The whole of 2008 led to 198 detentions for this crime, with the numbers growing for the last 5 years. It doesn’t say so, but I suspect that more police checks are behind the reasons.

The bridge ‘ponte do Bettencourt’, by the ‘Bazar do Povo’ in Funchal was reopened to traffic on Saturday evening … early! The reinforcing / repairs works were shorter than expected because the north platform was found to have been in better condition than was expected, and with the use of prefabricated girders. The job was supposed to have taken until next month (then add two more months for Madeira). There are still some jobs left to do, but they will be finished this week.

5 thoughts on “Merchants Ordered To Buy Grapes ; Jellyfish Ruin Summer ; 1,715 Car Accidents In 6 Months”

  1. Thought of The Day:
    Couldn’t the tourist board issue free bottles of the surplus wine to B&B’s? To be placed in guest rooms as “welcome to Madeira” tasters/testers to encourage sales!
    Hic……

    Reply
  2. What a fab idea Jon, what an incentive that would be to promote the local beverage……but then who would monitor the actual issue to the rooms for guests and not landing it where landlords can sample the tipple instead? me…double hic!

    Reply
  3. Sam, well of course us trusted landlords of these fine establishments can surely be taken at our word? It’s not as if we were politicians or anything! Anyway (apologies to Der) we would surely have to do quality control checks and dispose of any opened and unused samples accordingly….hic hic hic! Vote for the NVMP (Novo Vino Madeira Pelo) party – I am it’s founding member, an independant and committed to ensuring free wine for all!

    Reply
  4. Im no professional, but I imagine you just made the best point. You obviously fully understand what youre talking about, and I can really get behind that. Thanks for being so upfront and so honest.

    Reply

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