Today’s photo – Many thanks to Pete … “Madeira soil erosion”.
I saw this photo on Flickr titled ‘Natures Fireworks’, which I thought was very clever and appropriate. It was taken in the Farmers Market in Funchal.
Many thanks to Tom for sending in this link : “The Greek debt crisis has spread to Spain and Portugal in a dangerous escalation as global markets test whether Europe is willing to shore up monetary union with muscle rather than mere words … Credit default swaps (CDS) measuring bankruptcy risk on Portuguese debt surged 28 basis points on Thursday to a record 222 on reports that Jose Socrates was about to resign as prime minister after failing to secure enough votes in parliament to carry out austerity measures … Parliament minister Jorge Lacao said the political dispute has raised fears that the country is no longer governable. “What is at stake is the credibility of the Portuguese state,” he said”. UK DAILY TELEGRAPH It had 112 comments by 9 pm yesterday!
Many thanks to Elaine once again for yesterday’s top news stories :
Laurissilva among the favourites. The list of 77 candidates for the next stage of the competition, ‘7 Natural Wonders of Portugal’, will be released today for public voting between 7 March and 7 September. These have been chosen from the original 323 entries and there will be 11 chosen for each of the seven categories.
The nine wonders of the region
Ilhas Selvagens – Located about 163 miles from Madeira, they represent the extreme south of the country. The Nature Reserve of Selvagens was established in 1971 and is one of the oldest reserves in Portugal.
Ilhas Desertas – Biogenetic Reserve since 1992 and Nature Reserve since 1995, the Ilhas Desertas are one of the last strongholds of Lobo-marinho. They are also an important centre for nesting seabirds.
Floresta Laurissilva – Considered World Natural Heritage by UNESCO and classified as a Biogenetic Reserve by the Council of Europe, the Laurissilva is endemic to Macaronesia.
Cabo Girão – Located in the municipality of Câmara de Lobos, it is the highest promontory in Europe with a height of 580 metres. The viewpoint of the site is one of the most sought after.
Fajã dos Padres – Narrow strip of land along the coast, under a cliff about 250 metres high, this fajã is located on the south coast of Madeira and is endowed with an agricultural area of excellence.
Pico Ana Ferreira – About 283 metres above sea level, it is the highest point of the western part of the island. At its peak there have developed a spectacular set of prismatic columns known as ‘piano’.
Praia do Porto Santo – Stretching over six kilometres between Vila Baleira and Ponta da Calheta, the golden sandy beach is one of the attractions of Porto Santo and the sand has therapeutic capabilities.
Cabeço dos Laranjas – On the islet of Cima (Porto Santo), you can see a spectacular outcrop of fossils of red algae, known locally as ‘oranges’ for their striking resemblance to that fruit.
Galerias do Ilhéu da Cal – In the largest island of Porto Santo, where the limestone mining industry began in the XVIII Century, today there are wonderful galleries where you can see subaquatic lava flows and volcanic ash.
1,000 participants in the Carnival of Câmara de Lobos. 18 groups will participate in this traditional parade held on the evening of February 15th. This year it will include the Associação de Animação Geringonça and Malta do Furor (Achada de Gaula) and two other newcomers: Banda Filarmónica do Caniço e Eiras and the Escuteiros de São Martinho. Participants from various institutions, of all ages. The parade begins at 21.30, starting at Avenida Nova Cidade and ending at the car park of Baía de Câmara de Lobos.
Plans for Vila Giorgi and Castanheiro in discussion. From 18 February to March 17, plans for the redevelopment of this area of Funchal will be available online. The mayor noted that this is a very balanced plan when it comes to shopping, houses and services as it sets a percentage for each. In between Rua das Pretas and São Pedro, there will be a plaza of 1,700 square metres under which there will be a car park with 450 spaces, and 150 of these will be reserved for local traders. Vila Giorgi is a private development consisting of a five star hotel with 44 rooms and a block of 33 apartments. The detailed plan of the area Ornelas will be available between 18 February and 10 March.
Court establishes that the driver responsible for a fatal accident had no licence. The accident occurred on the 25 October 2008 near the viewpoint of Cabo Girão. At around 3 am, the car hit a stone wall causing the death of one of the occupants, an 18 year old man and the other was seriously injured. At the time, it was a popular location to practice dangerous manoeuvres. The driver had no licence and the car was uninsured. The driver was still learning at a driving school and had only been in possession of a car for a short period of time.
PT and PSP used in ‘phishing’. If there is an e-mail in the mailbox with the logo of the police and PT (shown), it should be deleted immediately. Clicking on one of these logos takes the user to a copy of the website and an executable file is immediately downloaded.
430,000 Euros for the Open de Golfe and Rali Vinho Madeira. Turismo de Portugal will provide 330,000 Euros for the Golf Open and 100,000 Euros for the Madeira Wine Rally. This is 30% of the total needed for the golf tournament at Porto Santo, and the Regional Budget will provide an additional half a million Euros. The Wine Rally also needs 1 million Euros in funds and will receive 650,000 Euros from the government.
JORNAL DA MADEIRA – FRONT PAGE NEWS
‘Healer’ takes money and gold at Caniçal. A case of doorstep fraud. A woman and her son knocked at the door of a house where a 40 year old woman lived with her son. The visitors tried to sell clothing but the resident was not interested. The street vendor then changed the course of conversation, claiming that she was a registered healer, reading palms, tarot cards etc. She wanted money for powerful remedies which would be fully effective. Over a period of several days, the victim handed over 3,500 Euros in cash and gold items, totalling 5,000 Euros. The police have found the two suspects, assumed mother and son, and some of the items but not the money. The local people commented on the ridiculous way in which this has happened.
Five robberies in Calheta. Five burglaries in recent days but the assailants have not been caught. Most of the damage has been by the forced entries rather than items stolen. Two houses at Ledo, two at Palheiros and the Junta de Freguesia have been robbed.
Loja do Cidadão and Dolce Vita have a new innovation. A new information system will be installed in these two areas in Funchal. The user of the Loja do Cidadão can find out their place in the queue for their chosen service and estimated waiting time. The service is also accessible on the second floor of the Dolce Vita commercial mall, so the user can shop or consume food while waiting. This service will be inaugurated at 18.00 on Monday February 8th.
Cortejo folião animated “Festa dos Compadres”. This was the first time this parade has taken place in Santana during the Festa dos Compadres. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, 16 groups from the primary and secondary schools took part. The parade was followed by musical entertainment. Prizes were awarded to the best participating groups and the best participant. The Ball of Compadres followed at 22.00. Many, including families, watched this procession especially as it was the initial one. It is to be kept as a separate additional event from the main parade, which is on the following Sunday afternoon (this afternoon).
Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias :
500 waiting for tobacco consultations. The search for help in quitting smoking grows, but Madeira cannot provide an adequate service, lacking facilities and doctors to cope. [Why is a doctor needed I wonder?]. Outside of Funchal, only Câmara de Lobos can actually offer consultations to help smokers. It has been two years since the publication of the directive of the Directorate General of Health, which called for the creation of specialized clinics in all health centres and hospitals, but decentralization has still not happened.
In politics : Social Democratic Party and Socialist Party without proposals since the Summer – The two biggest parties only came up with two projects of decree in the current legislative session. It’s a good point actually. With the distractions of the regional and national elections, Christmas, the PS leadership election, the Regional Finance Law, and the bad weather, it seems that the politicians here have taken the opportunity for a verrrrry extended Summer holiday.
Many [suffer] damages without the right to compensation. The majority of the storm damage caused over the past weeks, will not be covered for repair or replacement. Natural disaster damage can be covered, such as that experienced recently by thousands of people, and can be remedied, but only for those who have appropriate insurance. The other option for some, is to find someone else to blame, but Saint Peter (São Pedro) himself is exempt from such claims. This is pretty much the situation facing those who are victims of natural phenomena, that may or may not be worsened by human intervention. And the problem is that, except for compulsory insurance associated with bank loans for house purchase, the majority of homes in the region (especially rural) are not insured. The article also has a helpful ‘Question and answer’ session fielded by the Insurance Institute of Portugal, as well as citing various laws that cover this area with insurance policies. Just for Martin’s benefit, after raising the subject at the weekend.
Today’s main news headline : Bad debt threatens health – The Regional Health Service owes 147 million Euros to suppliers, that admit withholding supplies from the hospitals and health centres. With wisdom the people say : health doesn’t have a price. But the truth is that on Madeira it costs plenty, more than the money that the Region makes available. The shortfall is paid through the long waiting lists, as well as from the medical suppliers whose ‘financial health’ for a long time has been connected to the [life support?] ‘machine’. At the end of 2008 the Regional Health Service (SESARAM) had to pay €147 million to the suppliers, a scary figure if one considers the impacts on the suppliers of essential products to health centres and hospitals. Several other large figures are presented, all related to various categories of debt, or lack of equity, and the Diário once again labels another major organisation as ‘technically bankrupt’. 60% of the health budget on Madeira is used to pay doctors, nurses, and other staff. Skipping through the meat of the article, the Diário changes tact somewhat, and then reports that the average costs of public expenditure per head of population here (in general terms) is 36% higher than in the Azores. In medical terms the two archipelagos compare differently, with Madeira with 2.5 doctors and 7.7 nurses per thousand of population, and the Azores with 2 doctors and 6.7 nurses for the same numbers of people. Both sets of numbers are however well lower than the European average. Madeira spends on health an average per head of population of €1,312 [per year?] compared to €960 on the Azores. So where does that leave us you ask, with a health service in technical bankruptcy? What can we do to protect ourselves in our times of greatest need. Whilst we can all do things to lessen our risk of needing health care, like Uncle Bertie packing in those toppling Cuban cigars for instance, the answer of course lies in Poncha. More research and investment is needed in Poncha, and I am prepared to do my bit to help. Where health facilities are being starved by suppliers of essential medical supplies, low cost Poncha substitutes are the key. We could allocate different flavours for different illnesses for example, with the traditional lemon being used to treat problems with stress and depression, whilst the rather more sickly maracujá flavour could be used for ladies with problems.The main sport / football headline today : What lacked in the paint remained in the points – The game in Barreiros was delayed because one could not see the lines on the pitch. But neither that, nor a barely tolerable performance stopped Marítimo beating União de Leiria [1-0], and overtaking Nacional, defeated [1-0] in Olhão. The unimpressive photo with this story has the lions share of the front page of the Diário, with the rather bizarre scene out on the football pitch, of a solitary man and a pot of paint and a brush, repainting the seemingly non existent white lines on the pitch. It could only happen here … a premier league match, a cut field with goalposts, two football teams, a refereeing team, a couple of thousand fans, … but someone had forgotten to mark out the pitch, and nobody noticed until it was too late!!! Luckily the game wasn’t televised, as this embarrassment can hopefully be maintained on Madeira. It must have been quick drying paint too. The plot of distraction obviously worked as Marítimo overcame the opposition to win. Well done lads, good tactics (said through gritted teeth).
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