Panda Visits PSI But Won’t be Served Vinho Seco ; Road Works Cleared At Boa Nova

(5th August). Today’s main news headline : ‘Porto Santo Alert To The Madeira Market – José António Castro, president of ACIPS, says that regional tourism is decisive for the island and he no longer believes in the new hotel of Ronaldo’. The president of the commercial association of Porto Santo says that the hotels should learn to adapt to market conditions in times of crisis, and start to sell packages inside the regional market, to those Madeirans that represent over 80% of the tourism that visits the island, recognising the it is a "pretty complicated" situation, particularly due to air transport, and particularly the cost. He believes that Porto Santo is capable of marketing itself on its strengths, highlighting safe conditions as a major factor. "We have to sell using the safety factor, with the potential to be an ecological island, with clean spaces and unpolluted seas, such as the paths and walking tracks" he said, adding "Nethertheless we’re still a little known destination in the European markets, even with the good work of the Association for the Promotion of Madeira. But we feel that Porto Santo lives essentially from the Madeirans". He also talks about the proposed 7 star hotel which would have footballer Cristiano Ronaldo as a partner and promoter, and believes that the project will not go ahead. He says so much time has now passed since it was announced, and that as CR7 no longer exists, the idea of a 7 star hotel (in line with the player’s shirt number) disappeared when the player left Manchester United.

Panda Visits PSI But Won't be Served Vinho Seco ; Road Works Cleared At Boa Nova 1 ‘Sand Constructions In Porto Santo And In Funchal – Panda goes to Porto Santo for the 52nd competition promoted by the Diário de Notícias’. Last year Funchal was selected as one of the locations for the preliminaries of the competition ‘Contruções na Areia’, and does the same this year on Saturday (starts 11am). The competition takes place on 18 beaches around Portugal. Also on Porto Santo on 15th August (3.30pm Praia da Fontinha), the event will be filmed and shown by the children’s TV channel ‘Panda’, and will be attended by the TV star, the big cuddly Panda himself. The competition is open to children aged between 6 and 14 who own a plastic bucket.

Panda Visits PSI But Won't be Served Vinho Seco ; Road Works Cleared At Boa Nova 3 ‘Vinho Seco Of Porto Santo Banished From The Downtown Street Sellers’. For some reason this was in the ‘economy section’ of the Diário, which seems to have been taken over by Porto Santo stories today. I have explained about ‘vinho seco’ before, but just in case anyone missed it, it is a local dry red wine made from low quality grapes, and is a main tipple of the working class and poor, as it sells for €1 or less a litre. Most visitors to Madeira would be unlikely to come across it. It is also believed to contain toxins, and is the root to much of the drunkenness and alcoholism on Madeira. Anyway, back to the story. Fruit sellers working from street stands in Vila Baleira on Porto Santo have been prohibited from displaying or selling Vinho Seco, by the council, a source of annoyance for some, as the wine "is much appreciated by the Porto-Santenses and tourists". The licensed sellers are now deemed to have inadequate hygiene conditions to serve the wine in glasses. The bars and tascas are unaffected. The ruling has cheesed off producers and sellers, as there was already insufficient demand to sell all the wine produced. The Diário found that it was still possible to get the tipple ‘under the counter’, or buy a bottle disguised as something else. Sounds like another politically correct thingy to me … lacking hygiene indeed … I would use this stuff to clean my lavatory if I ever ran out of disinfectant, and its probably cheaper, and certainly smells better

The main photo today shows a traffic queue on the via rápida at the start of roadworks  : ‘Vialitoral Reduces Confusion In Boa Nova – The persistent critics of the chaos caused by maintenance works are going to stop: the management company accelerated the works in order to ease the traffic until Saturday’. The job was targeted to be done in record time at the junction at Boa Nova, after a storm of criticism from unhappy drivers along that route, after long traffic queues. The company recognised and regretted the inconvenience caused by the essential work, and the change in plan enabled the work to be completed at midnight last night, leaving the two lanes open and flowing for today’s travellers. Further work will be undertaken on expansion joints Saturday and Sunday, but of course there will be much less traffic then, and further work planned for next week will also cause less hindrance.

‘Police Already Receive One Debt That They Complained About – The ‘ungrateful’ weekend was highlighted in the Diário. The government didn’t like it. But the debt of P. Cruz was paid yesterday morning to the police officers’. President Jardim made an appeal, and the president of the Casa do Povo (House of the People) in Machico responded with a cheque for €742, overdue by a year for the policing provided for their Grape Festival.  Alberto João Jardim denied a lack of recognition for the police that had worked long hours during the hot weekend for the royal visit and the rally, saying that he had sent thanks in writing to the Regional Commander of the PSP (police). The union official didn’t withdraw his accusation of ingratitude though. Perhaps it is the case that for special events like festas and the rally, police are paid directly through the organisers of the event … sounds strange though?

Three more ‘forest’ fires reported yesterday. One in Santo da Serra was extinguished by Santa Cruz firemen, who after returning to base were then called to another high up in Gaula. The other was in Lombada, Ponta do Sol, and nearly burnt down an electricity post.

In football : ‘Ex-Nacional Player Alonso Signs For Marítimo’.

Anyone watch the Sporting v Twente champion league qualifier last night? It looked all over for Sporting Lisbon until 90+5 minutes, in a 95 minute game, when the Sporting goalkeeper came upfield in desperation for a final corner to be taken … and scored with his shoulder, with a couple of deflections along the way! Amazing. I remember Jimmy Glass from many years ago doing the same thing.

The board of the Health Service of the Autonomous Region of Madeira (SESARAM) is promoting first aid training for people aged between 16 and 25. The initiative aims to provide young people with useful skills that could help save a life.

‘Week Of Youth Starts Today – Art, music, astronomy, and plenty of social life are the high points of the initiative’. The 2009 version, promoted by the regional secretary of human resources, runs until 12th August. It also includes a hip hop contest on Saturday. A contest involving trendy beer ingredients, that should be worth a visit!

3 months after the first case showed in Portugal, there are now 342 367 registered and confirmed cases of Gripe A, or H1N1 swine flu, with the majority not needing to be hospitalised and quickly returning to normal life. No one has died. I have not heard of any new cases on Madeira for getting on two weeks now, so I reckon we must be totally clear for the moment.

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