Today’s photo – Many thanks to Elaine (West) … Hibiscus flower
Someone a few days ago was asking about this : "… This year we will be transmitting the famous Madeira New Year’s Fireworks show live, here on MadeiraHelp.com from an even better location [than last year], where one may see most of Funchal amphitheatre. … The broadcast will be on from 23:30 on the 31st December 2009 and will transmit all 10 to 12 minutes of the Fireworks show which start at midnight (GMT)". FUNCHAL 2010 LIVE FIREWORKS
Someone looking for really cheap accommodation might find this link handy, as it lists cheap hostels / budget accommodation from just over €10 a night MADEIRA HOSTELS
I must be going soft, giving all this free publicity : "Estate agents Fine & Country have just opened their latest office, at a landmark location in Madeira. The opening of the Madeira office also follows hot on the heels of Fine & Country scooping two of the industry’s top international accolades last month: Best International Estate Agency Marketing at the CNBC International Residential Property Awards, and the Gold Award for Best Estate Agency Overseas at the Sunday Times Estate Agency of the Year Awards. ESTATE AGENCY INFO
"Madeira’s unique topology is what accounts for the prolificacy of levadas. A mountain chain cuts the island in half on an east-west plane. This causes clouds drifting in from the Atlantic to get caught, where they release plenty of rain. The problem is that most of that rain falls into the north end of the island. The south end, which is a more favorable farming area, can sometimes go for six months without any rainfall. The particular geography of the island causes what rain does fall to run directly into the ocean". LEVADA WALKS ARTICLE
Wind strong to very strong in mountains – Civil Protection advises against journeys on foot or by car because of the strength of the wind. The Institute of Meteorology predicts the occurrence of strong winds and very strong in the mountains by early afternoon on Monday, December 28, with gusts that could reach 110 km an hour. The Regional Civil Protection warns the public of the risks associated with cars and pedestrians in mountainous areas and exposed areas.
Many thanks to Sheila for sending this in : The Portuguese Parliament has approved a new law (proposed by the Communist Party) which will give tax inspectors power to access the bank accounts of relatives of anyone being investigated for tax evasion. The law was passed with the support of the PCP and other parties of the Left, but the ruling Socialist Party and the main opposition Social Democrats abstained from voting.
Strong winds in the mountains. The Institute of Meteorology predicts strong winds, especially in the mountains, by early afternoon on Monday 28 December. Gusts could reach 110 kilometres per hour. The Regional Civil Protection warns of risks to traffic and pedestrians in the mountainous areas and exposed areas. The ferry to Porto Santo returned earlier than normal to Funchal today due to the conditions of the wind and sea. It might be unable to sail tomorrow with predictions of an increase in waves to 4.6 and 5 metres.
Many thanks to Elaine from the East for this whopping contribution from yesterday’s Diário de Notícias :
SANAS rescue capsized launch in the Marina. The boat was moored in the Marina of Funchal. The owners of other boats were checking their vessels after the bad weather and discovered this one, a recreation launch (Seagull) beneath other boats. The Maritime Police investigated then SANAS intervened. The boat was re-floated, towed then lifted by a large crane into dry dock at São Lazaro. The operation took five hours.
Overturned car at Pilar. A car on the motorway from Santa Cruz – Câmara de Lobos, crashed then overturned at Pilar junction. The accident occurred at 20.30 and the driver was unhurt.
Shopping centres flooded yesterday with shoppers. MadeiraShopping Centre was crowded with people exchanging gifts and seeking reduced priced items in the first sales, especially luxury items. Most are visiting relatives on Sunday, although the shops expect another bumper day, and the majority of people want to shop before they have to return to work. The shop owners were rejoicing and the evidence was in the long queues at the tills. The closure of the shops in Funchal centre on Saturday helped boost sales. FNAC did well yesterday since gift cards are gaining popularity as presents. Worten tripled their sales on the last few days before Christmas. Salsa has maintained its popularity in the 25 – 40 year old range by strategic marketing during the crisis with promotions. Analysts predict a very difficult 2010 for the Portuguese economy. The Avenida Arriaga was visited by numerous families yesterday, especially after the recent stormy weather. The children enjoyed the seasonal displays with many photographs taken, the Christmas Crib and Ethnological Village being favourite attractions, more than the stalls selling regional produce.
Mysterious boat. A luxurious mega-yacht took refuge from the bad weather off the north coast of Madeira. For two days, the sinister image puzzled drivers on the north coast roads. Dozens of calls alerted the Diário to its presence and the reporters discovered it to be a mega-yacht called ‘A’. The name represents the initials of the owner’s wife Aleksandra. The owner is a Russian billionaire, Andrey Melnichenko, his ‘toy’ is 119 metres in length with a construction cost of 150 million Euros. It was built under secrecy at the German shipyards Blohm + Voss in Hamburg, under the name ‘Sigma SF 99’ and the interior designer was French. It was finished this January and it is designed with straight lines to minimize splashing under the maximum speed of 25 knots. Privacy and security are paramount as evidenced by close-circuit TV, motion sensors and digital codes for access, especially to the master suite. It is at the 11th position in the ranking for the largest motor yacht in the world. The heliport is often used by the couple to embark and disembark. It is crewed by 35 sailors, chefs, entertainers and security staff. The special glass used on the yacht allows privacy for celebrities who want to escape the photographers.
Tsunami here is not a fantasy. The region might suffer a natural disaster, similar to that five years ago in Southeast Asia. A British researcher, Simon Day, has finished a thesis on the formation of tsunamis by landslides, his study quoted by an advisor to the British Government. In the next 10,000 years, a giant tsunami wave up to a hundred metres might form in the Atlantic Ocean. The epicentre would be the volcano Cumbre Vieja in the Canary Islands and the collapse of rock would cause a wave which would have a catastrophic effect on the east coast of America, Brazil and sweep over the Madeiran archipelago. A previous eruption in 1949 opened a 2 km gap in the island of La Palma, sufficient to threaten the destabilization of an area of 500 cubic kilometres. A University of Madeira representative said that geological mapping of the region confirms this but more work is required for any predictions. Geological mapping of seismicity in the North Atlantic by the National Earthquake Information Centre – United States Geological Study is shown in the photo. The map shows flaws in Madeira but the seismic potential is very small. The two previous earthquakes on 24 November (southwest of Funchal) and 3 December (near the Desertas Islands) have gone largely unnoticed.
100 elderly on the waiting list for domestic help. At present, 3,346 elderly receive home help from 580 carers employed by Social Security and there are 100 on the waiting list. Judging by the three personal stories quoted, there are no complaints about the care received. Care is often needed when the families lack patience, are selfish and elderly relatives are abandoned.
Year of crisis makes more people join political parties. The Socialist Party over the past 5 years has gained an average 200 new members every year, with an increase of 400 in 2008 – 2009. The only party which will not give numbers is the PSD but numbers have increased for all other parties. The Movement of the Earth party is the only one with more women than men.
Political parties ask for support for families affected by bad weather. The leader of the Party of the Earth, Isidoro Goncalves, has criticized the silence of the authorities over the damage caused by the weather over recent weeks. She suggests that Câmara de Lobos Council give support, through the contingency funds, especially in the areas of Estreito and Curral das Freiras. There have been no official Council or Government visits to the areas and criticism is directed at Manuel Antonio Correira and Santas Costa. Some damage is due to negligence of the Government in not implementing public works which would have influenced the water courses. In Ribeira Grande in São Vicente, Joao Gouveia (PS) suggests the creation of an emergency plan, after visiting the local population. There has been alleged dumping of waste materials in waterways by the company Tâmega. After a protest by locals, he wants their activity suspended and compensation for families affected by damage. The CDS deputy in the Assembly of the Republic has said his party will write to the Prime Minister to ask for a plan to help those affected by bad weather, as it did with the Azores. José Rodriques had visited São Vicente and wants an immediate payment of 250,000 Euros for those affected, similar to the amount given to the Azores on the 16 December. A contingency plan is also needed for farmers, especially for damaged vineyards. He said the Madeiran executive must establish the responsibility of those who dumped rubbish and other debris in the rivers, which contributed to the destruction seen in São Vicente, Santana and Ponta do Sol. He said the destruction was a combination of human error and the weather, and it was strange that the Regional Government was not meeting the emergency, both in restoring public infrastructure and surveying the damage. The bombeiros responded between the 24 – 26 December to 57 requests for assistance, 34 for transport to hospital. They undertook over 50 hours of work, and 60 vehicles and 123 bombeiros were involved.
New Year average of 90%. Forecasts for the end of the year point to an average occupancy rate of 90% in the hotels. Occupancy is better than last year and some hotels are already full.
Prisoner on Christmas leave returned in less than 24 hours. The man, on leave to join his family over Christmas, was forcibly returned to Funchal Prison within 24 hours. He was apprehended by the PSP on the day after release, in a bar in Santa Cruz, for damage to a motorcycle by throwing it to the ground after a bar fight. He had more than four times the amount of alcohol in his blood than legally allowed under his probation conditions. He had been imprisoned for several years for a rape which he committed on the Continent, and was imprisoned at Cancela in order that he would be closer to his family.
Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias :
Judicial Police without leads of the whereabouts of Martins – 5 months after the death of the businessman Guilherme Alves, the PJ were on the look out for José Martins, who was already the accused and the plaintiff in Porto Santo Court. That’s seems an interesting combination of roles, so perhaps Martins also has a separate lawsuit outstanding beyond his alleged role in the murder of the businessman.
´São Silvestre’ trusts in São Pedro. If the weather helps, today there will be a record number of participants in the Volta (race). Marítimo also runs in the name of solidarity.
Today’s main news headline : Malaria attacks Madeira by surprise – There is a man in the intensive care unit infected with Malaria. Another two are hospitalised with the same disease. Returnees from Guinea, they were diagnosed with flu. The clinical director has already requested new medical supplies.
Movements in the port quadrupled in 50 years – Despite the small berthing area, the number of dockings grew 94% and the size of the cruise boats tripled.
The main photo on today’s front page shows several felled trees and a pile of large rocks, clearly where they shouldn’t be. Today seems to be ‘catch-up day’ for weather stories with 5 making the headlines :
Tempest provokes political storm – Rodrigues (PP) has already written to Sócrates calling for support and sent another letter to Jardim harshly criticizing the lack of action by the Regional Government.
Manuel António guarantees that he was at the site.
BE (Left Block) takes protest to Legislative Assembly of Madeira.
Race to the water in Ponta do Sol.
Two families relocated in Ribeira Grande.
The Lobo Marinho has decided not to go to Porto Santo island today, well I guess the actual masters of the ferry service have decided that. Sea conditions are just too bad.
I am really strapped for time today and tomorrow, so I can’t do any more today, but will try harder tomorrow.
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. All contributions much appreciated.
I read that tsunami article just before going to bed last night, and it was really interesting, with facts and figures about what this massive piece of rock in the Canary Islands (500 cubic kilometres) would do. I remember trying to work out how big that really is, and I reckon that’s a fair bit bigger than Madeira, the part above sea level at least. That particular risk in the Canary Islands has been known about for years, and nothing has been done to mitigate it. But what do you do with a chunk of rock that big? All the cement and cement mixers in the world probably wouldn’t do much good to patch up the cracks. There I go rambling again. Anyway, the tsunami wave would be between 50 and a 100 metres high, and would obviously devastate Madeira and many other coastlines within hours of happening, so it’s no laughing matter. But you know what dreams are like, and as I was still thinking on the matter when I went to bed, I ended up with dreams ravaged by massive tsunamis. The blog snipers will be pleased to know that I did not survive, perishing as the water crashed through my patio doors situated at a mere 40 metres above sea level, having refused to abandon home along with the others. However the dream also contained other important information about who and what survived, and obviously whilst I cannot tell you much about the fate of Uncle Bertie and the other political cronies for reasons of national security, I can tell you that the newly finished €45 million Barreiros Stadium, where Marítimo play, was smashed to smithereens, and Uncle Bertie was pretty upset. But he still managed to stump up another €116.7 million of taxpayers money to build another one before the tsunami wave reached his own front door. The Nacional football stadium however, being much higher up in Choupana, survived the disaster unscathed, and the team inspired by the memory of those lost went on to win the Champions League. I can’t tell you which year it happens exactly, but Cristiano Ronaldo was still playing for Real Madrid, so it’s not so far away. I might leak some more facts later on, but it’s all still a bit wishy-washy at the moment.
Sue sent in these news stories – many thanks.
Strong wind reaches the Azores islands and disrupts air traffic
An aircraft carrier Azores Sata from Lisbon to the Third and he was forced to depart at the end of the morning on the island of Santa Maria because of the strong wind at the airport of Lajes and eventually returned to the capital. A company spokesman told Lusa that the plane, with 89 passengers on board, tried to operate on Terceira island after refueling in Santa Maria, but the weather did not permit it. Five of the passengers disembarked at Santa Maria and the other will fly on Monday from Lisbon to Terceira, stated by the same source. Despite strong winds, the inter-island operation of the company was to be accomplished by other cancellations, said the same source. The nine islands of the Azores will continue to be buffeted by strong winds, with gusts that could reach 100 miles per hour, until the early afternoon on Monday, warned the Regional Civil Protection yesterday. In a notice issued in the late afternoon yesterday, the Azores Civil Protection stated that it also predicted heavy rain and scattered thunderstorms, between last night and the afternoon on Monday. During the same period they warned of rough seas around the islands, with waves that could reach six feet tall.
Faial without signaling. Not only was the sun out yesterday in the early afternoon it attracted some families in the bathing area of Faial. So popular was it that they also wanted to get close to the power of nature and the damage caused by the storm, as the walls of the support ‘promenade’, tumbled due to the storm last Thursday. Clearly the absence of signs or even barriers that prevent the inquisitive children to move close to the rugged area, it could create more accidents; a fact which should be considered due to the number of visitors and tourists who visit this leisure site.
River sand removed. The mouth of the stream that flows next to the swimming complex Madalena do Mar, which was completely blocked on the night of 22 to 23 December, had the sand removed. However, it is believed that due to the weight of huge amounts of earth, stone and debris from trees and other materials carried by the water caused this. But as the photo shows this did not happen. The dredging of the mouth of the stream resulted in a huge pile of debris that is piled on the stone, served to show the many facets the force of rain can given to the flow which had gone down stream.
BMF collects dog run over and save trapped cat. The Fire Department of Funchal were called yesterday to collect a dog that was killed on the Road Conde Carvalhal. The intervention of the same corporation was sought afterwards in the area of the promenade, near the Lido, to remove a cat that could not get down to an awning, where he hid to escape the attack of a dog. Sad dog Happy cat!
Tons of trash from river give the marina. Funchal Marina protests against illegal dumps in the Ribeira de S. John. Funchal marina has removed rubbish in the order of tons since records began with the more intense rainfall this winter. Americo Costa, head of the management of port infrastructure protests against the "lack of civility and poor education" of Funchal who throw garbage into streams allowing the problems to drag downstream. Debris has been dragged either by long duration of heavy rain which raised the level of the streams. The illegal dumps that proliferate along the Ribeira de Sao Joao, which flows along the portage of St. Lazarus, lie behind the pollution of domestic waste in the river port. The strong southwest wind has carried the garbage to the mouth of the marina, outraging some yachtsmen. Carlos Sousa has several vessels moored there and saw with displeasure the diverse abundance of garbage: bottles, plastic, driftwood and animal carcasses. He witnessed the waste floating on Christmas Eve – describing it as "an attack on public health" – Carlos Sousa contacted the administration of the Marina of Funchal, but says nothing was done. He also called for civil protection that ultimately refered the matter to the authority of the Marine Police. No action was taken and the pollution continued for all to see, tourists and sailors, right next to the berths in the south jetty near the mouth of the marina. "We do not have any claim related to this, either orally or in writing," responds to the director of Diary of marina capital of Madeira. Americo Costa says that whenever outbreaks of garbage are detected, the order for removal is given in conjunction with the evaluating of the weather. "The cleanup actions then proceed immediately whenever they are detected debris carried by the rains.
We have the collaboration of APRAM, which provides us a means to transport car and the site itself," he explains. Since the beginning of the rains that have hit the region over the last three weeks, the Marina of Funchal has removed from the basin under its concession area "junk in the order of tons," says the head. "With the floods and the southwest wind, the garbage comes all into the marina." Americo Costa points out that the problem is upstream and protests against the perpetrators of the attacks environment. "It’s a common situation but it should not happen, but there is a lack of civic education and it is the people and who are downstream who are paying," remarked when asked why more surveillance activities were available.
Play safe CHRISTMAS 2009 – Entrepreneurs of shops selling fireworks leave message. The so-called "bomblets Christmas" and any type of firework that the islanders have traditionally launched at this time of year are safe, since they are launched in accordance with the recommended rules. The message is shared by two owners of "Firework Shops" of Madeira, respectively, Fernando Rodrigues and Rui Camisanova.
The latter, Firework Shop Mariano in Itataia, advises parents not to let the children throw any type of fire without being accompanied by adults. "Although they is a moderate risk, there is risk" he says. Adults, in turn, he warns: "Fireworks and alcohol are not good companions." Rui Camisanova explains that a person should never release "bombs" or other types of fireworks, because under the influence of alcohol you do not have control of your actions. "Have fun in safety and not put others at risk ‘is your final warning. Whilst sales have not been could to date due to the economy and bad weather it is hoped that by the end of the year sales will increase. Until then, who buy 75 Eurs or more fireworks in his shop are entitled to a bottle of sparkling wine and 100 grams bag of raisins. Fernando Rodrigues, in turn, owns the "Shop of Fire" Burn the Street, the oldest of Madeira, with about 60 years. Compared to the past, Fernando Rodrigues has no doubt that sales fell a lot. Mainly due to increased competition. Is that this is a type of product to sell, especially at this time and, or if you can sell, or no recovery possible in other months of the year, explains. Five years does not increase the prices of the products they sell and, although he says people are spending more difficulties than before, another explanation for the loss of sales is primarily the weather. It was, as he says, ‘a real whirlwind for the traditional trades. Fernando Rodrigues caveat that "taking the bombs and rockets of large, none of that danger", when used correctly.
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