Today’s photo – Many thanks to Pete … "On today’s (Thursday) blog the article on Cleaning reveals the Fontes de João Dinis. You said there is a well, are here two photos for you, 2nd well is working water coming out, The 1st again another well, but dry. I am not clear which one in the blog, so I thought I’d send you both photos".
Many thanks to Paul for this. It was covered yesterday, but with different articles I think :
4 marine protected areas on the extended continental shelves of the Azores as well as mainland Portugal. On the 24th March the WWF in Funchal, Madeira “praised Portuguese authorities for announcing the establishment of four marine protected areas on the extended continental shelves of the Azores as well as mainland Portugal.” “The four sites – on the southern Mid Atlantic Ridge, Altair Seamount, Antialtair Seamount and Josephine Bank – together cover an area of 120,000 square km rich in vulnerable deepwater communities, including cold-water coral reefs, sponge fields, coral gardens, and deep sea bony fish, sharks and rays.”
OSPAR Convention. The announcement of marine protected area status was made at an international North Atlantic environmental commission (OSPAR Convention) meeting attended by UN fisheries and seabed agencies in Funchal, Madeira. It follows three of the four sites being declared being declared off limits because of the use of destructive bottom fishing gear just under a year ago.
Image : Map of the marine area and the 15 contracting parties of the OSPAR Commission for the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic.
Ground breaking progress on ocean governance. Stephan Lutter, International Marine Policy Officer with WWF Germany said it was ground breaking progress on ocean governance : “It comes at a time when the political and economic boundaries in our oceans are shifting. We would wish that all Coastal States who have submitted claims for an extended continental shelf beyond the limit of 200 nautical miles were taking their obligation to protect the marine wildlife out there as seriously as Portugal.” All four of the new marine protected areas will be unique in legal terms, with the coastal state in charge of protecting the natural resources of the seafloor, and international bodies to protect marine biological diversity in the corresponding High Seas waters.
“Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone”. This new legal arrangement opens up possibilities of improving protection to the first pilot marine protected area in international waters of the North Atlantic, the so-called “Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone” located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which was agreed by contracting parties to the OSPAR Convention on the in 2008.
Also from Paul :
No danger of Portugal being sucked into the same sort of debt whirlpool as Greece. "European Union president Herman Van Rompuy said on Friday (26th March) there was no danger of Portugal being sucked into the same sort of debt whirlpool as Greece. "The problem is completely different for Portugal," Van Rompuy said when asked if he feared that Lisbon might be next to seek help dealing with a bulging annual deficit and national debt. "I really believe that the situations are not in the least comparable and that the markets realise that, and will realise that in the coming days," he added.
Photo : Herman Van Rompuy, ex-Belgian prime minister now EU President
"You can only compare what’s comparable," Van Rompuy added, also distinguishing between what had happened in Athens and fears over Spain’s high deficit.
Portugal’s decision to freeze public sector wages was "a step in the right direction”. European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet meanwhile said that Portugal’s decision to freeze public sector wages was "a step in the right direction." Link to full article
REMEMBERED TO PUT YOUR CLOCKS FORWARD ONE HOUR?
Many thanks to Elaine once again for yesterday’s top news stories :
FRONT PAGE NEWS
Ancient bridges should stand. Funchal Council want to keep the old pedestrian bridges wherever possible. Two that are repairable after storm damage are Cidrão (photo) and D. Manuel over the ribeira de Santa Luzia. Bridges that have to be demolished or partially rebuilt are: near the old headquarters of Nacional connecting rua do Tanoeiros and Rua da Alfândega; Til and Rua da Carne Azeda over the ribeiro do Livramento (behind the Jardim de Santa Luzia); over the ribeiras and ribeiros near the Mercado and Minas Gerais; in Laranjal (Estrada Comandante Camacho de Freitas), Fundoa, Quinta Falcão, Casabranca and the ponte do Livramento.
Two thousand truckloads of inerts. Over two thousand lorry loads of aggregates have been dumped at a landfill at the mouth of the ribeira da Alforra in Câmara de Lobos. Thousands of cubic metres of material, mainly earth, have stained the sea front of this fishing town. This landfill is now closed. The mayor admits the brown stain in the sea has a bad visual impact but the urgency of the situation justifies using this option.
PSP accused of violence and torture. The family of a 46 year old man has made a complaint to the prosecutor against the Public Security Police for aggression and acts of torture committed by agents on that individual. According to the brother of the alleged victim, it started around 17.30 on Thursday when Rui Duarte Nunes, known as Dude, was approached by two police officers of the Rapid Intervention Brigade (BIR) in the area of Quinta Deão. The officers took his brother to an area close to the parish council building and began an unprovoked attack. They punched and handcuffed him and reinforcements came, witnessed by family members who live nearby. Rui Nunes was taken to the Regional Command of the PSP and when released at 20.30, he could hardly walk. He was taken by ambulance to hospital where he was treated until 2 am. Wounds were on his face, back, abdomen, behind his ears, feet and pepper spray had been thrown in his eyes. Rui Nunes attended court where the judge ordered him to go to the Forensic Medicine department for photographs to be taken. The PSP argue that he had attempted to assault them. His brother said that Rui is a drug abuser but neither violent or a criminal.
Traders received 136.7 million Euros of aid. A month after the catastrophic events on February 20th, 800 traders have received 136.7 million Euros in compensation. 45 applications of less than 75,000 Euros, totalling 2.3 million Euros have been approved and another 130 are being processed by the banks for a total of 8.3 million Euros. In the final stage are 15 applications totalling 3 million Euros that are for more than 75,000 Euros each. The total so far is 5.4 million Euros of funds set up by the Governments of the Republic and Madeira granted to 180 traders, averaging 30,000 Euros each. Funchal Council has secured 350,000 Euros for 150 traders or 2,500 Euros each. Insurance firms have paid 123 million Euros for 683 claims, an average of 180,000 Euros. Firms with 40/60 employees can ask Social Security to pay 70% of wages and contributions for three months. Among the companies that have received bank aid to secure jobs, 32 are micro-sized, 12 small-sized and one medium-sized firm. They received 2.3 million Euros or 51,000 Euros each. Support has been given to 10 firms in the tourism sector, 8 in the service sector, 3 in the transport sector and 2 construction firms. The most support has been to firms in Funchal and other areas are Santa Cruz, Câmara de Lobos, Machico and Ponta do Sol. 40 other companies have benefited from 1.5 million Euros from credit lines to help with cash flow problems.
ANAM current debt is reduced to 206 million Euros. ANAM manages Madeira Airport and the results in 2009 are an improvement since the previous year due to better management. The passenger numbers fell 4.3% despite a fall of 6.5% through European airports. The main shortfall was a 20% decrease in passengers from the United Kingdom, made up by Easyjet passengers from Lisbon. The net income for 2009 fell from minus 10.3 million Euros in 2008 to minus 7.2 million Euros. ANAM paid 60 million Euros to the banks to reduce the debt by 25% and interest rates were lower. This left a debt at the end of 2009 at 206 million Euros.
Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias :
Socialist Party of Madeira already assures support for Passos Coelho – Guilherme Silva was the delegate of Rangel [loser in the PSD elections], but accepts the victory of the new leader, from whom he expects solidarity. The party activists of PSD-Madeira backed a loser, with 86% of the vote going to Paulo Rangel. Madeira was the only region of Portugal that gave Rangel a majority. Silva said "we always count on each other on the day following the result of an internal party election … it is a saying that the PSD always had". He highlighted the "significant victory" of Pedro Passos Coelho and added that he believes that this is a "strong leadership, capable and consistent to provide opposition to the Socialist Party and José Sócrates". Hmmm … normally that sort of statement would come from the party leader for Madeira, but perhaps Uncle Bertie was just too busy to face the press!
Pharmacies flee from supplying syringes – Complaints accuse drug addicts of ruining the environment. Chemists say that they were obliged to refuse the exchange of syringe ‘kits’ in their shops in order to restore a ‘good environment’. Thefts, threats, injuries, altercations, and a bad atmosphere are the reasons given from withdrawing from the syringe exchange programme, with some shops in downtown Funchal having left the scheme a year ago. "It was a service that we offered for the State and society, but today we can not afford to lose customers because things are not easy," says Ana Mafalda Rodrigues, technical director of the Portuguese Pharmacy, located on Rua João Tavira. The movement of drug addicts in the establishment troubled customers who felt intimidated with the way they spoke and asked for assistance, without regard to who was ahead in the queue, she explains, adding that for such a decision to be taken the occurrence of "some thefts" was also taken into account.
Today’s main news headline : 409 companies leave Business Centre – It is a sharp fall in just one year, but the exit from the International Business Centre of Madeira was already happening since 2001. In 9 years, 3021 companies abandoned Madeira.
Geraldine Chaplin come to the Festival of Cinema. I had no idea who she was, but a quick peek at the article says that she is an actress of great renown, but also the daughter of Charlie Chaplin. However, there is another famous guest who I am well aware of, as he features in my DVD collection … Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame. The festival runs from the 10th to the 17th April, in Funchal of course, in the Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias.
The main sport / football headline today : Benfica ‘tidies up’ Braga and the Premier League – The Benfica ‘nation’ can start to celebrate : yesterday, Luisão scored the victory goal before Braga and will have ‘swept away’ the issue of the title for this season. There are still six games left this season, and with a gap of 6 points between league leaders Benfica and second placed Braga, it’s a bit too early to be celebrating methinks, although I don’t have much doubt that the Diário’s assumption is correct. 6 weeks of noisy gloating Benfiquistas to put up with until the season end, and then even more after … I think I might go into a Spring hibernation. It’s been a long long time since Benfica have has a successful season, and I don’t actually begrudge them that, it’s just that obnoxious manager Jorge Jesus that I can’t stand. His behaviour cannot be described as anything other than legalised yobbery and he sets a disgraceful example to football supporters. No wonder hooligan problems are hitting the Portugal headlines with increasing regularity.
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