Funchal Traffic Worsens ; Clock Those New Glocks ; Costa Luminosa Debut Today

(25th September). Today’s main news headline : ‘Metropolitiana Forgets Santa Cruz – It’s been six years since the people of Santa Cruz saw any new project coming to their region’. That was the multi-storey car park asked for by the câmara from the Sociedade Metropolitana de Desenvolvimento (SMD – Metropolitan Development Society). SMD is the responsibility of the vice-presidency of the Madeira government, and has the responsibility of improving the supply of social and economic infrastructures, through the promotion of sustained investment, to enable new local developments. SMD also covers the areas of Porto Santo, Funchal and Câmara de Lobos. The work of the SMD is often obscured by the local council presidents who take the credit for any new and popular developments, but now the local politicians are not so pleased with the lack of recent activity in the area. Asked about the lack of work, the president of Santa Cruz admits that he would like to have more developments in his region, but tried to play-down the situation. “I would have liked to have more projects, we all would, but it was not possible. We must remember that Santa Cruz has already received four works conducted by the Metropolitana in recent years”. The four projects referred to are : Aquaparque, the sea front at Ribeira da Boaventura, the Largo do Caniço, and the beach zone at Reis Magos. 

The main front page photo today shows a traffic jam : ‘War Of Neighbours In Order To Park Occupies Carriageway – The Chaos on the [road] 5 de Outubro has worsened since the start of school. The council gives in to residents and complicates the life of those who come down through Viveiros’. The traffic of Funchal needs routes, as getting in and out remains awkward, and the hope now is on the new Via Expresso at the port. Peak traffic times are particularly difficult, despite the completion of improvement works completed in central Funchal, and now it’s ‘back to school’ the problem has worsened. The Cota 40 and especially at largo da Cruz Vermelha are highlighted problem areas. The article goes on to list and debate just about every problem on every major road in Funchal, but isn’t it the point that traffic problems are the best way to get people to look to alternatives, such as public transport, and park and ride, and even if I might be so bold to suggest ‘on foot’. If the council keeps looking to make improvements in the traffic flow, it is going to counter its attempts to create a ‘green’ city. Bus lanes on every major road would be my solution, with a few well placed ‘park and ride’ schemes.

‘Convict Beats Up Man In Funchal – The accused of the aggression that sent the man to intensive care, had already robbed the house of a police commissioner’. The 20 year old convict was detained, but subsequently managed to escape, after also being taken to hospital. His 44 year old victim is in a serious condition in Funchal Central Hospital with head injuries.

‘PSP Receives New Guns – The regional command is one of the first in the country to be equipped with the ‘glock’. They are the “latest shout” in firearms, and Madeira already has it’s new stock ready to issue to police officers. The 9 mm weapon is “Characterized by its high taking-out power”. I for one intend to be very well behaved over the next few weeks, as no doubt our fine officers will be keen to try out their new toys. I might even have to be nice to Uncle Bertie when he is over this way again, and even shake hands with him, in case he tells the police to sort me out.

In football, a picture of Cristiano Ronaldo, with the headline ‘Spanish Change Their Opinion – Finally they give in. In Spain, the same press that ‘attacked’ CR9 now appears to idolise him’. After 5 goals in 4 league games, and 8 goals for Real Madrid altogether, Ronaldo has turned a doubtful Spanish press into a bunch of slobbering hero worshippers. He is now the top topic in newspapers and sports circles.

 

 

 

In entertainment : ‘Comedy Brings ‘Aces’ From The TV In October’. National comedy arrives on Madeira next month, with stars from Flor do Mar and Malucos do Riso / Morangos Com Açúcar. The theatre comedy is called ‘I Love My Penis’ (and that has not been translated), and has been doing the rounds in theatres throughout Portugal. It’s for over 18’s. 

‘Via Expresso In The North Ready In 2011’. During a visit to the new road construction yesterday, the regional secretary responsible said that the new road between Boaventura and São Vicente would be ready in 2011. The total length of the extension is 7.1 km. The road is being constructed in three phases, with two phases already underway (Boaventura – Ponta Delgada 1.341 km, and Ponta Delgada – Faja da Areia 3.254 km). 4 new tunnels will be needed to complete the route.

‘Child psychiatry unit opens with a lack of professionals – It needs two child psychiatry doctors, but at present there is only one’. The new centre, São Rafael, was inaugurated yesterday, and is the first one on Madeira, and just the third one in Portugal, that specialises in children aged between 10 and 18 with acute mental health problems. The unit can accommodate 10 patients, with an emergency reserve that can be called upon if needed. Amongst other mental problems, the unit will deal with children who suffer psychotic episodes, make suicide attempts, and suffer severe depression and behavioural changes.

Portugal had 2,213 new case of Gripe A swine flu between 14th and 20th September. Around 20 of the victims were hospitalised.

The ongoing strike by customs officers is causing some problems with incoming freight by sea. Two container ships, the ‘Apolo’ and the ‘Portdouro’, suffered significant delays yesterday in the unloading of containers, posing a threat to the restocking of Madeira’s supermarkets. The deliveries included 30 refrigerated containers, which were released thanks to ‘shortcuts’ permitted by the Director of Customs, but the other containers will remain in Caniçal Port until the strike is over and the release can go through the normal customs channels.  

‘Easyjet Increases Weekly Flights Between Madeira And The United Kingdom – One more connection on the Stansted route will start operating at the end of October’. The UK airport will now have 5 weekly flights for the start of the Winter season. As a result of the same negotiations with Tourism of Madeira, Easyjet will also operate 4 weekly Gatwick to Madeira flights in the Winter, and 3 in the Summer, which is one extra. Including the Bristol route, that will make 12 Winter and 11 Summer flights to and from the UK.

‘Luxury Italian Ship In Port – The new cruise ship of the Costa fleet makes it’s debut today in Funchal Port’. The €450 million Costa Luminosa brings over 2,700 Italian tourists, before leaving for Malaga at 5.30 pm. It underwent the usual inauguration process early this morning, with a good soaking from a powerful water ‘canon’. It will be back again on the 6th October, with 4 more visits to Madeira scheduled for this year. Among its specialities, the ship is a floating art gallery, with nearly five thousand works of art, of which 288 are original works.

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