Today’s Photo Thanks to Derek … Jardim do Mar coast
A CRUISE PASSENGER’S ASSESSMENT (Prinsendam cruise in November 2009) : "Madeira (Funchal) – Our last stop before the transatlantic journey, this lush island is such a paradise … I was there at the end of November and the sun was shining, many flowers in bloom and everything was just so green. I did the hop on/hop off here too – be sure to get off and wander. This was my favorite port – the sloping mountainside covered in red roofed homes was quite a sight as I made my way up in the cable car … another activity everyone must try. It’s all just so picturesque. I didn’t try the Madeira wine – mistake! The food was good – lovely soft local cheese blended with al dente pasta, a small salad, chocolate mousse pie and wine for only 10 Euro. I also bought a bottle of local port and a nice big bag of local sea salt to take home to friends – such a nice touch. jmk171’s Rating: 5+". Never heard of anyone taking sea salt as a present for friends … won’t break the bank, that’s for sure.
"They originated as purely experimental devices, but small satellites are now taking on a growing number of operational roles alongside their full-sized counterparts. A conference next year will discuss how the evolution of small satellites is spurring a radical increase in data availability and knowledge-based services. The event is the latest in a series covering Small Satellite Systems and Services – the 4S Symposium. Taking place every two years, the 4S Symposium has enjoyed progressively greater international participation since it began in 1992, with 25 nations represented at the 2008 event in Rhodes, Greece. The next 4S Symposium will take place from 31 May to 4 June on the Portuguese island of Madeira". FASCINATING STUFF … WHERE IS THE PLAIN ENGLISH VERSION?
Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, has, according to the findings of an international study published this week, surpassed London on the ‘World’s Most Expensive Cities’ list regarding the purchasing of common goods, like food. Based on the differences between prices of goods as simple as milk, a coffee or a hamburger, it has been established that all of the afore-mentioned and many other consumables are now more expensive to buy in Lisbon than in London. A study by international price-comparing company PriceRunner International has ranked Lisbon as the 14th most expensive capital city in the world, one place above London, which this year fell one position from 14th to 15th. MORE ON THE PORTUGAL NEWS (thanks to them, and thanks Elaine for the tip-off).
Many thanks to Elaine once again for yesterday’s top news stories :
Paid night watchmen in Funchal. Funchal Council presented last week a proposal for licensing the legal activity of night watchmen in the city of Funchal. The intention is that from 2010, they can be paid by voluntary contributions from people in areas where they will be working. This activity will start in the city centre and later extended to other areas where their intervention is needed. The night guards will be a link between the population and the PSP. Regulation will allow direct action in areas for trade and tourism and in residential areas. Candidates need to be Portuguese, between the ages of 21 and 65, have compulsory education, be very fit and hold no administrative post. To prevent confusion between their work and the police, the role of the night watchman is to patrol and conduct surveillance in the area for the protection of people and goods. They cannot use a weapon but later may be licensed to use dogs. They will wear a uniform and the only financial support from the Council will be for their training.
Cabo Girão redevelopment. The present redevelopment of the viewpoint at Cabo Girão should take a year and a half to complete (first quarter of 2011), costing over 2 million Euros. There will be a glass floor suspended over the cliff and the entire area renovated to enhance the panoramic view. Until then, there will be limited access, both on foot and by car, especially for the next six months. There will be new pedestrian and vehicle access, landscaping, a tourist information centre, exhibition centre, cafeteria, shops and toilets. The viewpoint itself will extend over the cliff, by a steel structure with a glass floor that accentuates the feeling of height above the sea (580 metres). The cafe will have a terrace suspended above the ravine, where you can enjoy the spectacular scenery that attracts many tourists to one of the finest views of Madeira.
PSP hold aggressor. A man has been identified and detained by the police early this afternoon following a warning by the public that a man was assaulting a taxi driver, and might even have the possession of a firearm. The man who was driving a truck carrying pine wood, placed the truck across the road to block the path of the taxi which had a client inside. The taxi driver was pulled from the car and shaken by the neck and threatened several times. Several motorists and residents witnessed the incident in São Matinho, near Edificio Varzea Park. After the scene, the assailant left the area and the taxi driver whose shirt was completely torn, also left. The police later intercepted and detained the van driver and a machete was found inside but no gun.
New luxury mega-yacht. The Northern Star, one of the most luxurious and modern mega-yachts in the world, anchored today in the Port of Funchal for six hours. Coming from Falmouth, en route to the Caribbean (Antigua), where it will operate for the coming months then return to Europe in late March 2010. Built in Germany in 2009, it became operational in July and ranks 67th on the list of today’s largest yachts, the first position belonging to the imposing Dubai with a length of 162 metres. The Northern Star is 75.6 metres long and 13.5 metres wide, it caters for 12 guests and 22 crew and has a maximum speed of 17 knots.
Mundovip Madeira prepares new destinations for Summer. SATA will continue to be the major partner. The new destinations in next Summer’s schedule are ones that are served by direct flights from Madeira. Negotiations with SATA about more flights to the Canary Islands, one of the main destinations for the past eight years. It might be possible to fly directly to Cabo Verde and better links to Canada.
Orchestra launches Symphonies of Mozart. Four years after accepting an invitation from EMI Classics to record five albums for the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Mozart, the OCM launches tomorrow at FNAC five albums of Mozart’s symphonies. Both national and regional soloists were involved and some will be at FNAC tomorrow with the conductor Rui Massena at 15.00. The discs have been on sale since November.
Madeira in Autumn / Winter 2010 catalogue of Pierre Cardin. The French designer has chosen Madeira as background for the catalogue for the Autumn collection. Ponta de Sao Lourenco, Quinta da Eira in Santo da Serra, Paul da Serra, Chão da Ribeira (photo) in Porto Moniz and The Vine Hotel were chosen. He hired a German production team with the well-known Hamilton R. Pereira who is responsible for Fiat Punto, BMW, Jaguar, Zara, Nike, Air France and KLM adverts. They came for a week and brought international models including the English top model Ryan Thomas. Two days were spent at Chão da Ribeira. The photographer taking part, Tim Peterson, covered a top editorial piece in Vanity Fair about Michael Jackson. Pierre Cardin is 87 years old and founded his design house in 1950 and is responsible for unisex pieces, avant-garde and designing for men. One of his most famous ploys was the 1954 ‘bubble dress’. This year, he has been named global ambassador for the UN Organisation for Agriculture and Food.
More companies cancel Christmas gatherings. Restaurants show a 30 – 40% loss in demand since 2008. Due to the credit crisis, many companies are suspending traditional Christmas gatherings. Interview with Jose Brito, the manager of A Lareira in Caniço. In the first quarter of the year there was a drop in tourism, numbers increasing during the summer months but a decrease in customers again since then. Their main business is at the weekend and this Christmas is also looking poor, so far 30% less bookings than last year. Restaurants are traditionally visited at the end of Midnight Mass when families go for soup or hot chocolate. In Machico, the restaurant Escondidinho has 40% less bookings for Christmas lunch and dinner. The Council of Machico has cancelled its reservation there. To try to attract customers, the As Vides in Estreito de Câmara de Lobos is offering a digestive aguardente and the possibility of using a photography service on festival days upon payment for photos. The owner said, "In times of crisis, it’s time to innovate".
PSP pay the bill of the Finance Law. The Regional Command of the PSP is the only one in the country without funding because only in Madeira, the fines levied contribute to the Regional Budget. This limits the operation of the PSP. The Regional and Republic Governments have not decided on who takes the initiative for funding: the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the holder of the source of revenue from fines (Executive of Madeira). The PSP has paid the bill for litigation between the State and the Autonomy, since the Law of Regional Finance was announced with a cut in funds for Madeira. In Ponta do Sol, the Council has financed repairs to the dilapidated local police station and a new one is urgently required. New stations are required in other areas and new police vehicles are also needed.
Offended trader receives compensation. Four individuals who were aggressive towards a trader in Banda d’Alem in Machico three years ago, have been ordered by the Court to pay compensation. They were verbally and physically assaultive against the 53 year old haberdashery owner. The shop owner asked a woman driver not to park on a yellow line outside his premises as it was causing damage to his business. The four from the same family heard later on about the incident and thought he had used insulting terms and entered the shop for an explanation. A conflict occurred and local residents had to assist the shop owner and the police arrived. The aggressors had threatened to "take justice into their own hands" and said the proprietor failed to have the same view for every vehicle that stopped outside his shop, especially when it belonged to a relative. The trader is relieved they have been found guilty, as he has found it psychologically difficult when coming across these four in the street and his 15 year old son refused to attend the school in Funchal where one of the aggressors taught, (two of the four were teachers). The money will be donated to an institution which helps victims of domestic abuse.
Cribs in São Roque and Nun’s Valley. On Friday evening, the large manger at São Roque was inaugurated and can be visited between 15.00 to 22.00. It is at the Associação Cultural do Galeão. The theme is ‘Environment and Traditions’ and includes a wide range of figures typical of the region and religion. Every year a new crib is presented to captivate audiences, especially children. At Nun’s Valley, the Associação Refugio da Freira will present the crib on December 19 in the car park of the Civic Centre. It will stay until January 17 and can be visited between 09.00 to 20.00. The crib is larger than previous years as the space for it is larger and there will be a raffle on the final day. The Casa do Povo in Ponta do Sol is having a Christmas nativity scene contest for all three parishes in that area. Their large public crib will be inaugurated between December 18 and December 20.
Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias. Lots of them today! Far too many for one person to manage …
Fishing with losses of €2 million – The earnings and the catches register further decreases in the third quarter. The losses compared to last year have already reached €1.95 million according the the latest report form the National Institute of Statistics. The first 9 months of 2009 have seen revenues fall to €11.9 million. The drop in revenues is partly due to the reduction in the Madeira catch, with September this year for example registering a 29% lower catch than in 2008. In the first 9 months of this year 957 thousand less kilos of fish have been landed. Tuna fish have been the exception, with 142 more tons caught so far this year.
Today’s main news headline : Debt is going to duplicate – Loans and other means increase by 125% the direct debt of Madeira that, at the end of 2010 will surpass the thousand million Euros. There is a shortage of funds to meet the budget for 2010, and tomorrow the ‘chancellor’ Ventura Garcês has to explain how the government will cope with the situation, the most difficult in recent years. This link to a webpage will enable you to see where the money is going MADEIRA BUDGET 2010 (you will need to enlarge the tables – bottom right corner of Windows Explorer 8).
Budget obliges government to make up €500 million.
Debate gets underway tomorrow in the Legislative Assembly of Madeira and favours monologue of Jardim.
Pregnancy terminations increase 46% in the Region – Single women, aged from 20 to 29, are the group with the most abortions. In the first 10 months of this year there were 210 voluntary pregnancies terminations, compared to 174 in the whole of 2008. Data collected since the new abortion law came into force on 1st January 2008 shows that 58% of the women are single, 36% are married, and 6% were divorced. 40% of the total are aged between 20 and 29, 6% are aged 40 to 49, and 20% are less than 20. The youngest of them all was a 13 year old girl. 16% of the total were foreigners living here. The increase in abortions is reflected nationally, but not nearly to the same extent according to the examples given in the article.
There are increasing numbers of students with scholarships. 1,470 young people receive government support for their further education, and €250,000 has already been spent on support. In the 2008 / 2009 academic year the number of such students was 1,372, and number that has already been exceeded in the current academic year, with a few more already waiting to be added to the list. One reason for the increase is the "global crisis that affects all families and that causes more students to seek this kind of support", says João Costa e Silva, Director of the Office of Education. Those students who study outside of Madeira receive monthly support of €170, and that amount also applies to those students from Porto Santo who come to Madeira for higher education. The total monthly cost to the Madeira government will work out at around €250,000.
Marítimo lose the game and fifth place – Rio Ave effectively impose the first defeat of Mitchel. Today’s rather pointless main front page photo shows some players milling around on the pitch. Marítimo missed a chance to go 4th in the league, and climb above Nacional who lost on Friday night. They lost 0 – 1 at home to Rio Ave yesterday afternoon, the first [league?] defeat under new manager Mitchel van der Gaag.
Jokanovic takes charge of coaching of Nacional.
If anyone else can oblige with the translation of any of the ‘blank’ or sparsely filled headlines, or other news stories, here is the link … Thank you in anticipation.
Elaine has very kindly sent in a second contribution today: "Jornal da Madeira is having a series of articles on Madeiran Christmas traditions".
CHRISTMAS 2009 – The tradition of Christmas with the taste of honey – HONEY CAKE
Appeared in the heyday of sugar production in Madeira, honey cake, and through the centuries until today, remains as a symbol of Madeiran cuisine. The tradition dictates that this cake is prepared on December 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which marks the beginning of Christmas in our region.
Although the honey cake is baked in industrial moulds to meet the demands of the business, there are still many people who prefer to do it at home, as with Rita Freitas who from a young age became accustomed to this art that has its secrets, because as she stated "there are many recipes for honey cake and each one has a special feature. What causes it to be tasty and look great are the amount of products that arise and the cooking time."
To make a honey cake at home is a task that requires much effort. It starts the day before the day to prepare the cake, when you buy the bread dough at the bakery in preparation for the baking at home. After a day of "rest" the dough is ready to receive the condiments, warm honey, grated orange or lemon, spices, almonds, walnuts, Cidrão and Madeira wine. Kneading is also a demanding job, as Rita Freitas said, emphasizing that "the person must have some strength in order to be a long time leaning over the bowl to knead, as tradition, but now there are machines that make this service quicker, but never as they did it before. Before then, It seems that the cake was better. But it is with joy knowing that then we will have a honey cake that will please many people."
The next step may be effected only three or four days after mixing, since in this work "we have to cover the dough with a cloth or blanket and let it rise in a warm place at a constant temperature. Then divide the dough into portions of 250, 500 or 750 grams depending on the size of the cakes. Put these portions of dough into round shapes, low and level and well oiled and take to bake in a hot oven, after having decorated the surface with half walnuts or almonds or pieces of Cidrão." When finished, honey cake is ready to be served at home visits of family and friends, or typical gatherings particularly those that are after the Mass do Parto. A lament of our speaker is that "the younger generation is no longer interested in making honey cake at home and thus this tradition will be lost. I still remember the time when in all the houses honey cakes were made and the joy that lived with so many people to help in making this cake. So then it seemed that Christmas was more joyful. But while I can I will continue to make homemade honey cake, not only to maintain the tradition but also that many can enjoy a real Madeiran treat."
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