Another knock to Portugal economy ; Fontes rediscovered ; German flights return

Today’s photo – thanks to Der … Another one of those old bus photos I started showing some months back. I must emphasise that it is a photo of a photo, and I was not actually around to take this shot many years ago.

madeira news blog 0911 der old buses 2

Many thanks to Elaine (East) for these website links :

The Rede – traditional transport now for hire in Funchal. HERE

The Classical Orchestra, OCM, has a new website with an English version. HERE

Many thanks to Paul for this interesting piece and the link to the WSJ video:

The socio-economic and employment situation in Madeira. Over the past decade, Madeira has seen dynamic economic growth with GDP per capita in 2003 reaching 90 % of the EU-25 average – above that of most of mainland Portugal.

Much of this growth has been driven by the increasing importance of the services sector in the economy, including real estate and tourism services, which complement more traditional industries such as agriculture and fishing. While in the past Madeirans would emigrate to find work, economic growth has largely reversed this trend and today the region has generally lower unemployment by Portuguese standards.

Employment also grew by 5 % in the decade up to 2004, in particular in the 25-44-year age group. Growth in the services sector has contributed to rising levels of female employment that reached 41.8 % in 2004, although this remained below the EU target of 60 % then. Education levels are also improving. Between 2000 and 2003 the number of workers without basic qualifications fell to 8.6 % and those with basic, secondary and higher levels of education all increased. This feature is due to earlier investments in the education and training system in Madeira.

However, among job-seekers, 3 in 4 of them have less than a secondary level of education. The number of long-term unemployed has been stable at around one-third of the total unemployed. Madeira is making extensive efforts to develop its economy and private sector in ways that capitalise on the particular advantages the region can offer, including by making significant infrastructure investments even though these are less than in the earlier 2000-2006 funding period.

To sustain economic growth and rising employment Madeira now needs to expand its labour market and provide its workers with the skills the Madeiran economy and businesses need today and in the future.

The European Social Fund. The European Social Fund, created in 1957, is the European Union’s main financial instrument for investing in people. It supports employment and helps people enhance their education and skills. This improves their job prospects.

Source: Information service of DG Employment, Social Affairs & Equal Opportunities Communication Unit, Brussels

ESF priorities in Madeira. Madeira’s strategy for ESF funding has global objectives :

-to significantly increase the level of education and training among its people, and in

particular in technology-related areas,

-to create more jobs in ways that support entrepreneurial initiatives

and the requirements of the regional labour market;

-to improve social cohesion and regional governance.

To achieve these objectives the ESF Operational

Programme has two main priorities:

Priority 1 : Education and training

Priority 2 : Employment and social cohesion

Portugal Downgrade Adds To Debt Woes. A solution to Greece’s budget woes remains elusive for the EU. Now Fitch’s downgrade of Portugal reminds investors, again, that Athens is not alone in the dark. WALL ST JOURNAL VIDEO 

Also an article on the issue and impacts from the BBC HERE

Madeira fungi                    Thanks to Pete

Many thanks to Elaine once again for yesterday’s top news stories :

DIÁRIO 24/03/2010


Cleaning reveals the Fontes de João Dinis. This water source has been buried for decades in the gardens that separate the Palácio de São Lourenço from the Avenida do Mar. The mudslide that hit Funchal on the 20th February entered these gardens and on removing the debris, this public water supply was uncovered. It was built 520 years ago. In 1490, Funchal Council approved the water from the ‘Altinho das Fontes’ when they built the first fort which became the Palácio de São Lourenço. Historians have identified the Fontes de João Dinis from photographs from the 1930s, before the Avenida do Mar was constructed. Photographs from the twentieth century prove that the fountain was still in good working order. The fountain is to be left on view when the centuries old pebble pavement and gardens are renovated.


Luso-Canadians gather one million Canadian dollars. Over the past month, 700,000 Canadian dollars have been collected for Madeira and the community hopes to reach one million. The campaign started on TV and radio stations for the Portuguese in Canada. A festival of folklore arranged by the Canadian Madeira Club brought together 18 dance groups and the club hosted three dinners to raise money. Last weekend, the largest union for civil construction workers held a dinner for 1,100 people and collected 280,000 Canadian dollars. The union has 46,000 members of which several thousand are Luso-Canadians.

Solidarity takes three mayors to London. Miguel Albuquerque, Ismael Fernandes and Arlindo Gomes, the Mayors of Funchal, Ribeira Brava and Câmara de Lobos, respectively, will go to the solidarity dinner in London on Saturday. All 800 tickets have been sold and the organizers could have sold another 500 if the room at the Ibis Hotel at Earls Court could accommodate more. It is uncertain if the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson can attend and the event will not be broadcasted live on RTP-Madeira as previously reported. The dinner costs a reasonable 30 pounds per person including drinks. Also present will be the President of Marítimo (Carlos Pereira), Ricardo Pestana from the Banif bank, the Ambassador of Portugal, the Portuguese Consul, the Madeiran Advisor and the leader of Lambeth Council. More than 60 volunteers will help prepare and serve food and drinks. The two singers, Vânia Fernandes and Adelaide Ferreira provide live entertainment.


TUI Germany should have two winter flights again. Two charter flights that were cancelled three years ago during the winter season 2007/8 are being renegotiated. Until four years ago, these flights brought 70,000 tourists to Madeira. Over the past four years, the German market along with other European markets fell by 20%. Last year, TUI brought 50,000 tourists from Germany. Negotiations are for two flights from Frankfurt and Dusseldorf with Stuttgart as another option. If the deal materialises, TUI will no longer use Air Berlin, a low-cost carrier that connects Madeira to more than a dozen German cities, although many are indirect flights. Proposals for more routes for Air Berlin to fly to Madeira are not as promising as hoped.

Reid’s Palace is one of the ten top historic hotels.  Reid’s Palace luxury hotel, part of the Orient-Express chain, is listed as the fifth most outstanding historic hotel in Europe and the United States. The list was compiled on the British Trivago hotel comparison website from customer evaluations and prices. It is cited as having an excellent location on the south coast of Funchal and a brief history of the hotel is included on the Trivago website. The top hotel is the 1861 five-star Palace Beau Rivage in Lausanne, Switzerland. The list is HERE



New leader of PSD will not be invited. A few days before Friday’s election of the new national leader of the PSD, Alberto Jardim warns that there will be no-one from Lisbon invited to this year’s PSD-M Festa do Chão da Lagoa. The festa is scheduled for the last weekend in July. Jardim thinks the internal bickering and intrigues will continue within the national party. Regardless of who wins, even if it is Paulo Rangel, he says the leader could not efficiently organize the party structure. Although there are 15,000 PSD members in Madeira, only 8,000 can vote at the national level. — Jardim said the national PSD would continue "um albergue espanhol" – Spanish hostel, asylum ? Anyone know what this phrase means?

RAM wants to integrate into OSPAR. A meeting of representatives from six countries in OSPAR is being held in Funchal. The inclusion of Madeira in the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Northeast Atlantic would be beneficial to the region, along with the inclusion of the Canary Islands. The Azores are already in OSPAR. This would help to protect the marine environment which is a vital resource for Madeira. This intention must be formalized by the Regional and Republic Governments. At the conference, Madeira won praise for the protection of marine species and preservation of biodiversity. Illegal fishing in international waters is a worry for the representatives and the Madeiran fishermen are having to go further out to catch fish in deep water.

Several hypotheses for the inerts stored at the bay of Funchal. The Regional Director for the Environment acknowledged that the debris stored at the bay of Funchal prejudices the image of the city. He says it was the right decision due to the circumstances of the tragedy. It is unthinkable to move the material elsewhere on land, especially to higher areas from where it could be washed down again. It would take thousands of trucks to move it all. The several hypotheses would have to be studied both economically and environmentally. The material could be kept where it is to add another zone by the sea. It could be moved to other coastal areas requiring protection from the sea, for example the bathing complexes at Lido and Barreirinha. It could be dumped at sea, as allowed by law as it is from a tragedy, and to reduce environmental impact would have to be deposited between 2,000 – 4,000 metres deep.


Whale sighted off the coast of Paul. A whale was spotted about 400 metres off the coast of Paul do Mar for a few minutes at around 11.30 am. It could have been a sperm whale and was offshore near the cafe area and the statue of fishermen. Although it is normal to see whales in the region, especially in this area, it is unusual for them to be so close to land. The information is recorded on a database at the Whale Museum for the regional authorities and the European Commission and used in studies and educational programs.

Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias :

Those made homeless forgotten in Campanário – Storm left people without house losing hope : the authorities just photographed the damage.

Collapse in telecommunications obliges the move of the networks to safer locations.

Today’s main news headline : Rangel plays down autonomy – The motion of the candidate preferred by [president] Jardim to lead the Social Democrat Party set aside just one paragraph on the autonomy issues. Hmmmm … I reckon this is a bit of naughtiness by the Diário to put a spanner in the works of President Jardim’s voting plans in tomorrow’s national PSD leadership election. I don’t think Jardim cares for any of the candidates to be honest, and he has given the PSD members on Madeira his blessing to vote for who they want (theoretically at least). What would be really interesting is if Passos Coelho wins the leadership election, because Jardim hates him with a vengeance. Should Coelho win, then we will have a bizarre situation where Jardim is then more closely aligned to his new buddy, and ex-worst enemy, Prime Minister Sócrates of the Socialists, than to his own party at national level. 

Social Democrat Party already agrees to give the votes asked for by the Socialists – Another mess in the Parliament. Serrão was not elected and asked for the intervention of [president] Cavaco. At night, the PSD said that it would give the necessary votes.

Socialist Party has an alternative PEC [Programme of Stability and Growth] for Madeira.

Incentives to businesses without tax demands.

The main sport headline today : FIA confirms triumph of Vítor Sá on Porto Santo [rally] – The software used was approved. A rival of the Madeiran had claimed that the winning car had been ‘enhanced’ outside of the rules, after last weekends victory.

Football : Twist in the ‘Hulk case’ leads to resignation of Hermínio Loureiro from the League of Clubs.

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. 


BTW – Someone sent me an email today, one of those supposedly funny ones, titled ‘How to tell male and female birds apart [without a close inspection]. It used these two Madeiran Gaivotas to illustrate the point. I am not sure I really understood the joke, and I certainly didn’t find it at all amusing, but I thought I had better warn people that it is going around. Der

Finally, from me at least, going back a few days, there was a controversial article on the website of a Welsh newspaper, which has prompted at least 3 blog readers to comment that the article is inaccurate. The article practically claimed we suffered an event of Haiti proportions last month, and that it was necessary to flee Madeira. Have a look! and maybe also comment HERE

Update from Sheila : Alone in the garden of an empty Garajau apartment, this dog is dying from neglect. The Police know about this; SPAD knows about this and many of us know about this. Attempts to trace the owner of the dog are being made, even by the President of SPAD, Sr. Goncalo Santos himself. He told me over the telephone yesterday: "I cannot break into private property to save a dog". The English tourists, who have been staying in the flat next door to the dog, have been trying to lower water and food over the wall down to the animal. Tomorrow, these visitors are returning to the U.K. Then the plight of this dog will become even more desperate.

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21 thoughts on “Another knock to Portugal economy ; Fontes rediscovered ; German flights return”

  1. Could it be Der that ” um alberque espanhol” is reference to a chaotic situation.
    Similar to a “Faulty Towers hotel” with a waiter from Barcelona causing mayhem with Basil.
    I quite like the idea of a political party being like Faulty Towers.
    It might make you larf.
    Bertie seems amused.

  2. Cockermouth High Street in a village in the Lake District of England opened yesterday to traffic for the first time since it was flooded in November.
    This slow and feeble effort to re-open contrasts badly with Madeiran efficiency.

  3. We also spotted a whale some 400 mtrs off Gaula/Poto Novo shores yesterday at approx 4 pm – so did the two cats and the Santa Maria who were following closely, all accompanied by a skool of Dolphin……

    The third cat – sea born? – was however being towed by the large RIB lifeboat and accompanied by the two smaller ones….I assume it was being taken to the new boat repair facility under the runway? Does anybody know why?

    It was a lovely late afternoon & evening with calm seas, warm sunshine, birds and boats various criss crossing the “bay” —- ahhh, living the dream again!

  4. How time changes things. I have just returned from a short stay in Madeira. Weather not up to much but pleasant otherwise. Very easy and cheap to get there now – my fourth time in Two years.
    I was there in 1968 and 69, the only boats following the whale then would have been the whalers from Canical and I would have been with them. Not proud or ashamed of it I was filming events as they happened and did not then think about the rights and wrongs of it.
    I have been whalewatching twice since in the Azores – I took my grandchildren last year and it is a strange contrast to the mayhem of the old days.

    Moving on the picture of the “old” bus does not look too different to some io todays SAM buses.

    Now to be unPC I understood the seagulls and think it is hilarious and TRUE.

  5. How can someone say they cannot break in when there is an innocent dog suffering from serious neglect. The owners want prosecuting and so do the officials who do not give the animal rescue staff the power to break in and rescue it. I love Madeira but cannot believe that you leave animals to die like this.

  6. Me again, why do you have to break in? surely you could lower someone down from nextdoor and lift the dog out. This is pure cruelty at its worst. It could also be that the person who lives there is ill, had been killed – something must be done

  7. I have just been to see this dog, the blue hose pipe in the pic is not out on the Mud (lawn) now, so maybe someone is looking after this dog, although its a sorry state to be in just a small dry mud patch for him, he seem quite lively, and all the dogs around started barking as i was looking over the wall, which was making a good noise to upset neighbours. I could lower a bucket of water and food down for the dog but if it is on its own this is not going to solve the problem and you can see its been scratching at the windows trying to get attention. This just shows what a joke the authorities are on this island.

    Dont know what to suggest, could get a few of us together and go there and cause a noise and refuse to move till the police remove the dog, there are neighbor next door who have a dog, the police could be let in by them and over the wall as its only a low wall, the dog seems very friendly.

  8. Tried to book online via TAP a flight to Madeira from any London airport.
    RAF Mildenhall or RAF Lakenheath preferred but the Americans are not willing.
    Gave up sfter 2 hours as the TAP on-line system refused to acknowledge that I had put in at least one telephone number.
    A call (at great cost 0845) was eventually answered and the advice given to resolve the problem was not recognised by the on-line booking system.
    If I paid £20 I could book via the operator.
    Went to queasyjet, better luck, but it has given me two acknowledgements and not accepted my passport details.
    Took the money ok though!
    Probably paid twice and with little hope of a resolution.
    Trying to find a human to ask is impossible.
    I wish I could go to a travel agent and book a seat at a reasonable price.

  9. Well done Tobi – if you need us to join you, we will – just say the word, darn good idea. Some advert for Madeira………shame after all the other good ethos. It only takes one bad egg…….

  10. Martin I THINK if you are booking by TAP online it needs the UK code in front of your phone number. Also you can change the site to the UK site. Hope Easyjet hasn’t taken your payment twice.

  11. I am a bit confused about the dog – the photograph is heartbreaking and yet Tobi says it is quite lively. Surely it isn’t a case of breaking in – a ladder down from the adjacent apartment would suffice. I agree with Tobi that in this case the authorities here are unbelieveable. Does anyone live next door and, if so, why can’t someone knock on their door? Please let us know what we can do.

  12. Can’t believe this about the dog, if you need us to turn up let me know, espeically as we live in Garajau, am too arithritic to climb over the wall but will swell the crowds if nothing else.

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