News from Sue (Saturday 28th) :

Pier will be built at the Landfill Site near Funchal Bay

The Regional Social Secretary Santos Costa said that, although there is still to be a final decision, various options are in the equation, concerning the landfill in the bay of Funchal, one being a playground close to Avenida do Mar, more importantly a wall will be constructed to form a docking area for cruise ships. The wall was to form a protection against silting but stressed that the area was to be one for entertainment, public enjoyment and not buildings. He added that the study was being done in conjunction with the mouths of the João Gomes and Santa Luzia streams. The study is being done and will be completed in due course!! – Where have I heard that before!

Centre launched for Cancer Patients in Porto Santo

Alberto João Jardim yesterday inaugurated a center in support of cancer patients instigated by Porto Santo Regional Center of Madeiran Portuguese League Against Cancer. The space was given by Isaura Melim in a building on Rua João Gonçalves Zarco in the town Vila Baleira.

The President took the opportunity to praise the work of the league of volunteers who took part in the support of people who have serious problems, thanking them on behalf of the people of Madeira each and every one for their commitment in creating this centre. Special thanks were also given to Isaura Melim for the donation of the land and building, a gesture of great significance.
In this area, the Regional Center of Madeiran Portuguese League Against Cancer wants to be closer to the cancer patient and their family members. The Centre is open to all the relatives and friends who wish to ask questions, or give support for the prevention of cancer.
The support facility of oncology patients in Porto Santo were transferred to the Center of Madeira of the Portuguese League Against Cancer, and are located in a building on Rua João Gonçalves Zarco. The space consists of a hall where they are exposed to some campaigns against cancer, one bathroom and a support office equipped with computer system. This is the realisation of an old dream helped also by a nucleus of Madeirans with a view to supporting cancer patients and their families. A group of volunteers from Porto Santo will assist in psychological and counseling patients with ‘portossantenses’, making a bridge with the regional center in Madeira. Moreover, the center will also serve to inform the population of the island in a campaign and screenings, helping to prevent the disease.

News from Sue (Friday 27th) :

Fires still Active in Funchal , Câmara de Lobos , Ribeira Brava

According to updated figures this morning by the Regional Service of Civil Protection firefighters continue to fight fires on the ground in Meia Légua, Ribeira Brava, no Curral Velho, parish of Santo António and Furneira and in the country of Câmara de Lobos.

The ‘ peacekeepers ‘ succeeded in extinguishing various re-ignitions which occurred on Thursday in various parts of the island and remain vigilant in various parts of the island, Águas Mansas, Santa Cruz, Ribeiro Frio and Achada do Teixeira, both in the county of Santana.

UV radiation at extreme level

Funchal is now under extreme risk for exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which will continue until Monday.

The Institute of Meteorology advises the use of sunglasses with UV filter, a hat, t -shirt, umbrella, sunscreen and avoid exposure of children.

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation can lead to acute problems and chronic health, particularly of the skin (cancer), eyes (cataracts) and immune system.


1 The Old Bridge over the river from Porto Novo Re-opens Today.

The Regional Social Secretary will be present for the reopening the old bridge over the river from Porto Novo, in the county of Santa Cruz at 17H today.

The artwork exists, the old stone bridge has a span of 120 meters and intercepts to the Ribeira do Porto Novo. Structurally, it consists of two wing walls, which contain the landfill and its platform and two arcs that intersect the stream.

In its previous configuration, the bridge had a width of approximately 6.40 meters, 5.50 meters and lanes and there are no sidewalks. With the reconstruction the bridge has a total width of 9 metres and an addition 6.5 metres of carriage way making it compatible with the level of service required.

3 The “Tango “will be in Madeira in October

After the success of ” Swan Lake ” at the inauguration of the Centenary of the CD National, the Classic Stage brings to Funchal ‘s famous musical ” The Tango, The Ultimate Tango “, which will premiered on October 30 at the Congress Centre of Madeira Casino , 22.00.

“The true tango lovers now have the privilege to watch this magnificent spectacle, which will be on tour throughout the country and world premiere at Madeira, ‘says the promoter of shows.

Directly from Buenos Aires to major European stage, “The Tango, The Ultimate Tango”, is “recognized by critics as the best current Tango Show “highlights the Classic Stage.

In 2009, the musical ran a week of sessions at the Casino de Paris, earning praise from the French press and continued to impress audiences in Belgium, France, Italy, Cyprus, Slovenia, Switzerland and Estonia.

With artistic director Olivier Tilkin and Sabrina Gentile Patti and choreography at the expense of double Veredice Adrian and Alejandra Hobert, ” Tango “is interpreted by dancers Adrian Veredice , Alejandra Hobert , Claudio Gonzalez, Melina Brufman , Lucila Cionci , Rodrigo Corbató Joe , Christian Marquez, Virginia Gomez , Sabrina Masso and Daniel Escobar.

It also features the voices of Sandra Rumolino and Jose Luis Barreto, orchestrated by Cincotango Ensemble and other musicians.

With this large production, in October, the Congress Centre of Madeira Casino will host a night of dance that portrays the soul of the Argentine people.

Articles from Paul :

5 Canoe tour/race around Madeira: 24-29 August, 2010




The XIX Canoe Tour round Madeira is 141 Kms divided into 9 laps/sections. Organised by Treino Mar from Madeira..the event is internationally known for its difficulty, organisation, international participation and for the beautiful landscapes that the Island offers.

Image caption : Kayaking on Seattle, Washington’s Lake Union

The event is only for sea kayaks – K1, K2, Surf Ski I and Surf Ski II

Contact Treino Mar: 00351 291236337


7 Football: history for Braga! reports:
“Lima hat-trick ensures history for Braga..
Sevilla FC 3-4 SC Braga (agg: 3-5)
One goal from Matheus and a Lima hat-trick earned the visitors a remarkable win and a place in the group stages of the Champions League for the first time.”
Image caption : Câmara Municipal de e Fonte do Pelicano, localizadas nos Paços do Concelho de Braga.
Link: HERE

9 New species of dolphin sighted in Madeiran waters: ‘Fraser’s Dolphin’

‘Rota dos Cetáceos’ sighted recently a new species of dolphin in Madeiran waters. The specie named ‘Fraser’s Dolphin’ is normally only sighted in Azorean waters. Experts say that one of the reasons they have come into Madeiran waters is the higher sea temperature which was on the day of the sightings about 24 degrees.

image caption : Frazer´s dolphin group (Lagenodelphis hosei)
From wikipedia:
Fraser Dolphins’ are about 1 m long and 20 kg weight at birth, growing to 2.75 m and 200 kg at adulthood. They have a stocky build, a small fin in relation to the size of the body, conspicuously small flippers. The dorsal fin and beak are also insubstantial. The upper side is a gray-blue to gray-brown. A dirty cream colored line runs along the flanks from the beak, above the eye, to the anus. There is a dark stripe under this line. The belly and throat are usually white, sometimes tinged pink. The lack of a prominent is a distinguishing characteristic of the Dolphin. From a distance however it may be confused with the Striped Dolphin which has a similar coloration and is found in the same areas of ocean.
Fraser Dolphins’ swim quickly in large tightly packed groups of about 100 to 1000 in number. Often porpoising, the group chop up the water tremendously. The sight of seeing a large group fleeing from a fishing vessels has been reported as “very dramatic”.
It is also marked by having the smallest genitalia of any open sea dolphin.
The species feeds on pelagic fish, squid and shrimp found some distance below the surface of the water (200& or 500 meters). Virtually no sunlight penetrates this depth, so feeding is carried out using echolocation alone.

Tourism in Portugal: a matter of economics reports:

“Portugal’s tourism sector is represented by Bernard Luis Amador Trindade who could easily be mistaken for a movie star, but it is his Mediterranean charm, business intelligence, and political savvy that makes him the perfect representative for a country noted for its beauty, casual way of life, excellent cuisine, and history. Born in Lisbon, his current address is Funchal, the capital of Madeira Island.

Coming from a hospitality, travel, and tourism family, Trindade has been associated with Banco Espirito Santo, the Regional Legislative Assembly of Madeira, and a leader in the Socialist Party since 2003. His move to tourism has been not so much as a step in a new direction, but rather an acknowledgement of his roots.”

11 Marketing Objectives

Tourism represents 65 percent of the country’s GDP, and determined that the Portuguese travel and tourism industry has been facing a tourism crises since 2009 (the global crisis began in 2008). The decrease in consumer purchasing power in Portugal and its most important tourist source markets, together with the consequent decline in demand levels, formed the basis for the slowdown.”

“The National Strategic Plan for Tourism indicates that Portugal is seeking an annual growth rate of 5 percent with 20 million tourist visits by 2015.

The areas contributing to growth will be Lisboa, Algarve, and Porto e Norte. It is anticipated that by 2015, tourism will represent 15 percent of the GDP and 15 percent of national employment. In a March, 2009 report, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) placed Portuguese tourism in 10th position (in terms of size) in the European Union and 6th in tourisms’ relative contribution to the national economy.”

Image caption : Algarve

NEW DIRECTIONS : Accessible Tourism

A search for new markets has prompted the government and tourism officials from Algarve to develop the locale as a leading destination for tourists with disabilities and restricted mobility. The project includes adapting the region’s infrastructure to accommodate the disabled and training professionals in customer service so they are able to meet and respond to the unique needs of this market segment. It is estimated that “accessible tourism” could represent millions of Euros to the tourism economic sector. Currently Algarve has 41 accessible beaches and most have amphibian wheelchairs and crutches available for visitors.”

Link to full article:

13 Portuguese philosopher Baruch or Benedict de Spinoza

“You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all.”


Image image caption : Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677)

Baruch or Benedict de Spinoza (Hebrew: ברוך שפינוזה‎ Baruch Shpinoza, Portuguese: Bento de Espinosa, Latin: Benedictus de Spinoza) (November 24, 1632 – February 21, 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Jewish origin.[1] Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza’s work was not fully realized until years after his death. Today, he is considered one of the great rationalists[2] of 17th-century philosophy, laying the groundwork for the 18th century Enlightenment[2] and modern biblical criticism.[2] By virtue of his magnum opus, the posthumous Ethics, in which he opposed Descartes’ mind–body dualism, Spinoza is considered to be one of Western philosophy’s most important philosophers.

Philosopher and historian Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said of all modern philosophers,

“You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all.”[3]

To read more: link to wikipedia:

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38 thoughts on “”

  1. One has to be extremely cautious when adapting areas easing access for the disabled.

    It has been pointed out to me by a nipper that an easy gradient slope will make the place vulnerable to DARLEKS.

  2. I bought from the butcher an expensive 4.4lb free range, organic, corn fed, privately educated chicken for the weekend, planning on roasting it last night, then letting it cool and being able to raid the fridge during the Bank Holiday Weekend for a cold cut or two or even a sandwich.
    It doesn’t taste as half as good as the roast chicken bought as a carry out in Pingo Doce , or even as a meal in their cafe/restaurant in the Funchal shopping precinct.
    Why does Madeiran roast chicken taste so much better than so called best English.
    Ten times better I reckon and a fraction of the cost.
    I tried a Tesco precooked chicken some while ago, cheap enough, looked good on the rotisseie in shop, but a cardboard box would be better on the taste buds. Never again.

  3. Martin Have you tryed Spanek Vertical Roaster? The chicken falls off the bone. The taste is better as well. You can buy them in uk, be worth buying before you come here, if you got a apartment? Do a internet seach, see what you think.

  4. Sounds like a space rocket Pete.
    I’m very happy with Madeiran chicken and all the food for that matters, except scabbard fish with banana, can’t see what the fuss is about.
    Apartment/house purchase now gone slow, might have a bit of positive news after Bank Holiday but will probably have to start all over again.
    Our sale here still not through.

  5. re: traffic jams. Just reading in the paper about the traffic jam in China. 60 miles long and stationery for 10 days. Apparently the roadworks causing the queue are scheduled to take 4 months! We met someone a few weeks back when we were on hols in Santana. He was moaning about his daughter (raised in England) – “she couldn’t stand Madeira – she wants her chicken from Sainsbury’s!” Another returnee from England was at our in-laws one evening. He was telling us about his lovely place in Canico. “except for the cockroaches – I’ve gotten used to sharing the house with them – but they bl**dy sing to each other at night!”
    First time staying at our new cottage and we were looking forward to the various festas. The Theme Park was having theirs over 2 nights. First night was murderous. A sound system that would have shamed the Rolling stones – we could here it perfectly in our beds till 4 am – Karaoke !!! arrghh!!!
    2nd night we were getting ready to go and see the bands and I opened our front door. My sons godmother fell into me through thr door which she had been leaning on! Unbeknownst to us she and the surrounding neighbours had congregated on our balcony to listen to the the music and watch the fireworks. We brought out chairs and drinks and had a great time.

  6. The road works are finished in the direction of the airport a small patch remains in the direction of Funchal, but only line painting and should not take long.

  7. Thanks all for all the info/news….

    Re the recent fires: Today we ventured towards Santo Antonio da Serra and were devastated to see so much damage above Gaula = In particular the area surronding the “T” junction at Aguas Mansa (left to Camacha, right to Santa da Serra). The entire landscape was just entirely scorched earth with the trees burnt to a crisp = vertical charcoal. The exposed roots, rudely bare and barren hillsides foretold of more woes to come – trees ready to topple, land liable to slide and all the while, the acrid smell of the damped down fires filled the air, in stark contrast to the brilliant sunshine and crystal clear views of the ocean ……………….

    Thankfully, further afield towards Santo, things improved…..verdant hillsides with lush forests and fauna – but what a contrast, an Island of change, chance and charity.

    So, spare a thought to those that live in the most affected areas and if you have the change, chance and charity then give freely …. please.

  8. ‘morning Martin – V hot n’sunny ‘ere m’dear!

    I assume (but NOT by making an ass of you and me) that the foresty commission will be responsible for the national park/protected forestry areas and that individual land owners will be liable to clean/make safe their plots – not an easy task, given the terrain profile.

    Charity begins at home – we want as many people as possible to book a holiday here and inject much needed monies into the local economy ….. the Island is STILL simply gorgeous with some of the best land/sea scapes in the world and coupled with the low cost of eating and drinking delicious local produce, surrounded by those magnificent vistas, it is simply the best!

  9. Jon I think what would still be good idea for Madeira is a charity shop in tourist area. This have 2 benefits locals/ tourists can go and buy things, or hand in not wanted items, also people know where to go with donations.

  10. Good idea Pete……just need to convince “local” opinion and get assistance with premises etc. Who knows, it could lead to a “bring and buy” shop in the major towns also = Machico, Santa Cruz, Rib Bra etc etc …. any suggestions/ideas anyonehow as to viability and how we can start the ball rolling?

  11. Several news items about new fires this morning, I can now smell fire and looking out of the back of the appartment it looks as though Camacha has one and also in the direction of Funchal again.

  12. Yes, thanks Sue, sorry to report that we can see smoke coming from the forest/hills above Gaula to the NW ….. Looks like the Camacha, Eira de Fora, Boqueirao and Aguas Mansas areas again…..sad.

  13. But some cloud is now appearing from the north as the wind swings that way, forecast to bring cooler temps (22*c) with maybe a shower of rain tomorrow night….

  14. Plenty of fires burning all over the island , very sad and must be very hard for the fire fighters to get to a lot of these areas. Funchal is covered by smoke again but not as much as the big fire on the 13th…

  15. I wonder: has it occurred to all the pompous politicians who keep popping -up pompously all over our TV screens; just how lucky they are to have all these fantastic Bombeiros charging all over the island sweating buckets and trying to keep us all from becoming barbecued? Think about it, these people have just recently recovered from the horrors of the landslides and floods now they have literally jumped (not from the frying pan) but from the flood into the fire. I suppose their motto must surely be ‘Through Fire and Flood’. Thanks lads and lassies (Rapages et Raparigas).
    Talking about politicians: has anyone actually counted the number of separate parties and official officials there are on this very small bit of rock and soil?

    Politically speaking: I was in a restaurant the other day (sem espada com banana). The waiter asked me if I wished wine ( does a bear deficate in the woods?). I ordered vino branca (the red stuff!) which he brought promptly – this being Madeira. He asked me if I wished it opened there and then to which I replied in the affirmative. He continued without a single smile, ‘if you wait one moment sir, I will call for The President he will open anything at the wink of an eye’.

    Here’s another ‘has anyone ever counted’ question : Has anyone ever counted how many ‘things’ Alberto J. J. (AKA Alfred) has actually opened in the thirty odd years he has been in the opening business?

  16. Jim, perhaps an enquiry to the President’s office might get an answer to “How many places have you declared open?”
    I am sure he would be proud to list an enormous number, broken down by day month year.
    The bigger the amount, the better the President.
    Does he do wine bottles as well?

  17. Jim Let me know any leader who died of dehydration, it be in the guiness record books. Toby yes I agree with you, about the fires, the firemen should be given bonus for their work this year.

  18. Many things have indeed been opened by Bertie …. including many financial doors opened to his kith and kin. However, far to many of those doors remain unclosed after the european tricked trojan horse has bolted …. leaving its mess behind = dollops of debt. Cheers Bertie, how is Porto Santo? No doubt you are enjoying a fine glass of wine or two (along with a fine cuban cigar accompanied by your local shipping magnate) but certainly not vino branca/novo – that’s reserved for your workers, just to keep them happy! …. Sir (sic) your empire is crumbling and burning, are you merely playing the fiddle whilst Madeira burns? Cheers.

  19. Jon. We got too many millionaires who think they know how to run countries, The British Empire has gone little in away manufacturing, not only by governments but by its own people not supporting it own products as well. One time UK manufacturing was the back bone, together with science, the mother of inventing. Now UK waiting for places like China to take over. How the amity have fallen like Rome, with no shot, but from within. Leaders are no more today, lost like with bankers mess, in the cloud of perfume of money, not from the grass roots from its people. Tale of two islands I suppose.

  20. Debt is everywhere and it certainly is onerous. We all have heard about the sovereign debt crisis, the debt of Greece and the debts of Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy. During that process the euro fell from $1.50 to $1.187; which gave euro zone exporters quite an advantage. The euro has since rebounded to a high of $1.33 and for now settled in near $1.28. Business confidence is back, but in the meantime the next course of action is to be higher taxes and austerity. Even consumers believe things are not going to improve. They all probably see the advantages of a cheaper euro. Even the CDS premiums have disappeared, which means at least for now the crisis has been arrested with a Band-Aid called loans – loans that will take these countries years to repay accompanied by years of depression. As a result, Greece is on the edge of revolt.
    As a result of austerity, imposed on Greece by its Illuminist led government, unemployment has hit 70% in some places. The country’s budget deficit has been reduced by 40%, truly draconian. Spending by government has been cut 10%, which is more than double what the EU and IMF has required. Bankruptcies abound and purchasing power and consumption have plunged. Consequently GDP has fallen 1.5% in the past quarter and tax revenue has fallen off a cliff. Companies, particularly in Perama and Piraeus still are sending ships to other locations for repairs, because Greek wage costs are still too high. In this world of free trade and globalization the cheapest wage gets the business. That means Greeks are going to have to work harder if they want employment. Experts say GDP will fall 4% this year, which will be severe, with 17% of shops in Athens already filing for bankruptcy.
    Instead of this madness Greece’s leadership should have cut government spending by 30%, lowered taxes, defaulted fully or partially on their debt, left the euro and returned to a lower valued drachma. Now they’ll be in depression for years paying off bankers whose loans and bond purchases were professionally ill advised and the funds were created out of thin air.
    These measures have the country in depression and there is no light at the end of the tunnel, as bankers clamor for their money. The worst is yet to come as bigger layoffs begin and prices on everything skyrocket.
    Greece is on the edge of revolution and well it should be. This IMF imposed tyranny should never have been imposed in the manner in which it has been, crudely.
    We haven’t seen the end of the Greek and euro crisis by a long shot and there is a good chance the reaction to such problems could easily spread to Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy.
    Several months ago in Greece’s largest newspaper, as well as on Greek radio and television, we predicted these results and what is to follow. The answer is to get rid of your false leadership that is selling you into IMF servitude that will last for decades. Like Spain was a military training ground for Germany in the 1930s in preparation for WWII, Greece is being used as a training ground for world economic and financial subjugation as planned by the forces of darkness in its quest for total world domination.
    The one-world creators of the euro are aghast at the path five of the 16 members have followed and particularly Greece. As we predicted ten years ago Greece and Italy should have never been allowed into the euro zone because they had cooked their books with the assistance of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. One interest rate can never fit all and you cannot have a monetary zone until you have a EU constitution voted for by the people.
    Now Greek PM George Papandreou, Bilderberger and Illuminists, has invited Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, one of the founding fathers of the euro to advise the country on its debt management. This certainly is by design, so that Greece will do exactly as Europe’s Illuminists want them to do, and, of course, the IMF as well. The question is how much more debt will be piled onto Greece’s shoulders to bail out European bankers? The first loan was for $141 billion and Greece’s ten-year bonds’ yields are still four times those of Germanys.
    There is presently a giant sales job being used on the Greek people to accept Mr. Padoa-Schioppa as their savior. And, of course, a great deal is being made of the fact that he is saving Greece at his own expense – pro bono. We can assure your Europe’s elitists will make sure he is well compensated.
    Ten-year Greek Treasury bonds yield 10.6%, whereas Germany’s ten-year bunds yield 2.27%, that is a difference of 8.33%. There is good reason for the giant gap. In fact Greece has never met Maastricht guidelines of public debt of 3% of GDP. No matter how you look at it Greece is headed for default and that was obvious from the beginning. All they are doing is piling on more debt. Default, total or partial, is the only solution. In that process the euro has to be abandoned.
    There are those who believe the EU and the IMF have brought Greece time. That may be true, but the cost is depression that might last 30 years and the sale of Greek assets to pay back lenders, all of which will be sold to vulture elitists at $0.30 on the dollar. We also believe that within three years Greece’s debt will be $435 billion. How can Greece service that debt when they cannot service their present debt? That will put Greece into perpetual servitude to the bankers.
    The euro and the EU have been failures in our estimation and now the Greek government calls in Mr. Padoa-Schioppa who crafted this failure.
    This Padoa-Schioppa is little less than a sherpa, bureaucrat for European elitists.
    What this is all about is saving Greece and the euro zone. In that process Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy along with Greece will be neutralized by unpayable debt. The elitists who run Europe know that such events could destroy the EU and they cannot let that happen.
    As a result of Greece’s problems in the last five months to May, HSBC has lost 8% of their entire deposit base. The country is in dire financial straights, so there has been a flight of capital. As a result Greek lenders have had to borrow $123 billion in July alone. Portugal, Ireland and Spain have been big borrowers as well. In addition all these countries have falling tax revenue.
    We have said from the beginning that Greece and its co-members are all in a death spiral. Austerity is not the only answer. Default is part of that equation.
    Twenty countries are headed into bankruptcy and more will follow. That brings up the subject of state debt in the US. America has been in an inflationary depression for 18 months. States have been cutting back for two years, but the budget gaps are still there. The struggle continues as states continue layoffs and cuts. 2011 will be a terrible year and 80% of states expect deficits of more than $200 billion. 2012 looks even worse.

  21. Tom Thanks for the info. The impression I get with UK we waiting for China to bail them out, hence the PM budget speach, we have a sign on UK doors we open all hours. In other words we need a map and compass.

  22. Tom This problem been on the books for a long time. Manufactoring was Britain back bone, and it pulled us out of bad times. The boss got it made, you build in China cheap, with little in away trade union problems. You send it back to UK make hugh profits. The money they make put in Monaco or safe haven with good pension. If they any sign of trouble in your country pull the money out. I still think making goods local is the answer in Europe, it better for the environment as well. The only power left to people is think before you buy.

  23. Sound to me Tom that a case has been made for Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and some others , to dump the Euro and euro debts then devalue like crazy and form a new currency within Europe called the DeDo (Debtor’s Dollar).

    It’s value could be very low, say one Euro buys 4 DeDo.
    Imports from China and the Eurozone would cost 4 times more.

    It would give the DeDo countries involved a chance to re-establish their economies, based on the fact they can’t afford to import, so it’s all sleeves rolled up.
    They will sell their products at a price advantage and their holiday business would regrow.
    A few years of this with the resultant capital inflows would be the restart required.
    Old Euro debts would have to be dumped as there is no way they can be repaid.

    Bankcrupt the silly banks, shoot the silly bankers who lent the silly money and the problem is solved.

  24. Martin think with greece it also fat cats waiting for the pickings. ie shipping. We had a take over in uk from usa company, all it wanted was certain engine part, which they did not have the skills. Walked in over night, shut shop and that was it. They was a chap on tv before I come to madeira, he was advising they should use usa safe guards. He said it a state in usa went to the wall they have protection sistem which kick in. He said it not perfect though it there. Saddly I did not catch what the safe guards called.

  25. if #1 country in the World looks that than Portugal looks like a heaven.

    from the horse mouth:
    This line of argument got a significant boost when Newsweek proclaimed that Finland was the best country in the world to live in, closely followed by Sweden and Switzerland. And of course they are happy. After all, there is no poverty in these great countries, the populace is educated, and people generally don’t have a care in the world, because the benevolent government is always there to solve every problem.

    Many people have tried to dispel this myth, but it still persists. I don’t presume to be able to put this issue to rest, but there are some things that should be known about this mythical utopia, the “best country in the world” — Finland.

    Government Education
    Like other Scandinavian countries, Finland likes boasting about its public education system. All schools are run by the government, even the universities. There are no tuition fees for Finnish students. On the contrary, students actually get paid over 400 euros per month to get a degree, in addition to heavily subsidized student loans, student lunches, etc. Free higher education is seen as a right, and because it is a right it must be accessible. To this end, Finland has 20 universities and 27 polytechnics. This in a country with about 5.3 million people, of which 1 million live in the capital-city area, and where only five other cities have a population over 100,000.

    One might think it great that there are so many places of higher learning in a country with so few inhabitants, a proof that its people are educated and civilized. Few things could be further from the truth.

    First of all, the reason for having so many universities is regional politics. Politicians buy votes by creating and maintaining government jobs in depressed areas — the oldest trick in the book.

    Second, the multitude of universities and polytechnics brings the overall level of education down, because such a small population can’t possibly maintain a high standard of education in so many different places. There simply aren’t enough competent people to go around, not to mention that many of the universities and polytechnics are located in less than desirable places. Only very few of the Finnish universities can lay claim to a really high standard of education. Of course, the economics education is subpar across the board.

    Third, with higher education so accessible, it lures thousands of people every year to go for a degree, even though they have no business in the world of academia. This produces a great number of bachelors, masters, and PhDs who don’t have any value on the job market because they studied literature, art history, religious studies, or something like that. In many cases, they didn’t choose their major because they actually thought it would give them a job; they chose it because it seemed fun or interesting, or it was easier to get into than law school or medical school.

    Unemployment among educated people has become a chronic problem. The other side of the coin is that Finland has long had an acute shortage of people with trade skills: carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, and so on — people who can actually provide a valuable service. The shortage has, predictably, driven up prices and prolonged delivery.

    Universal Healthcare
    Like the other Scandinavian countries, Finland has universal healthcare. This is one of the things many like to boast about. However, the healthcare system is bad even by the standards of universal healthcare.

    First of all, it is not a single-payer system in the way you’d imagine a government-run and -financed healthcare system to be — i.e., where it is the central state that provides for and runs the system. Instead, the Finnish system is municipal. Every municipality is formally obliged to provide its citizens with healthcare. Of course, not every municipality can afford a hospital or even a health center. That is why Finland is divided into myriad healthcare districts, each served by hospitals and health centers located in some of the municipalities that make up each district. On the face of it, this may seem reasonable and good. After all, what’s the difference between national and municipal healthcare systems? A quite significant one, as it turns out.

    A major problem with a municipal healthcare system is that it is very restrictive. Only people who are registered in the district are allowed to use the healthcare services there. If you have an emergency, you have the right to get treatment, but as soon as you’re out of the ICU, you have to transfer to a hospital in your own district. This has led to numerous cases where people have been shipped around from one place to another, at taxpayer expense, to accommodate these administrative rules.

    One of the most bizarre examples of this was when a woman fell ill in the capital city, Helsinki. She was given emergency treatment, but as soon as the emergency was over she had to be transferred back to her own district, which was in Rovaniemi, over five hundred miles to the north. Bear in mind that just because you’re out of the emergency room you’re not necessarily all well and ready to be released. Because of the way the municipal healthcare system is set up, a sick individual had to be driven more than five hundred miles to a different hospital.

    One of the most basic laws of society is that the more administrative areas there are within one state, the more bureaucracy it breeds. All these healthcare districts must of course have their own administrations, which in turn have to liaise through the healthcare officials in each municipality of the district, and they all have to coordinate with the administrators of each hospital and health center. And then you have to have healthcare officials, a whole department full of them, at the national level to top things off.

    As you can well imagine, efficiency is not one of the Finnish healthcare system’s main attributes. Studies have shown surpluses of doctors in some places with corresponding shortages in others. Very few of the municipalities can afford to maintain the healthcare services the law mandates. Health centers have been and are being closed all the time, but no administrator is ever laid off. The central government must transfer money to the districts to keep them afloat on a continual basis. In other words, Finland seems to have a central-state-run and -financed healthcare system, but in reality it has a municipal system, which has resulted in even more bureaucracy.

    Any country that wants a universal healthcare system should not look to Finland for an example to follow. One of the real tragedies of this fiasco is the fact that Finland has some of the best private hospitals in the world, but because of our universal healthcare, very few Finnish citizens ever get to benefit from them.

    With a License to Rob
    As a tax consultant, I am frequently engaged in legal battles with the tax authorities, representing my clients and trying to protect their rights. In these fights, I encounter the arrogance, and in some cases the sheer malevolence, of the taxman, completely uncensored. I never cease to be amazed by the ignorance and the callousness of this particular department of the state.

    As a rule, the tax authorities don’t care about the law, in the rare event they even know it. Not only that, but it is clear from the way they act that they consider every penny to be their money, and may only be retained by the taxpayer at their discretion. It even happens that they make up arguments that are blatantly false and without any legal ground whatsoever in order to levy more taxes and impose various other sanctions. When the taxpayers challenge their outrageous claims, they simply ignore the challenges and press on as if nothing has happened — even though the constitution mandates that all decisions and rulings made by a government agency must be based on law and thoroughly explained.

    This doesn’t seem to apply to the tax authorities though, and neither do other legal principles. In all other matters, you are innocent until proven guilty, but if the taxman charges you with something, it is you who has to prove your innocence. If you fail, you’re guilty, and it is the tax authorities who decide whether you fail.

    This type of behavior is certainly familiar to the American public, as the IRS has subjected them to all kinds of violations. However, these violations, taking place no less regularly in Finland than in the United States, fly in the face of the aura of utopia that seems to surround the social-democratic welfare states of Northern Europe.

    The statists may be very comfortable with high taxes, but even they tend to become squeamish when they hear of the havoc wrought upon private individuals and their families by the tax authorities. And it is of course the private individuals and small businessmen who suffer the most aggression, because they seldom have the knowledge or the resources to defend themselves. Billionaires and big corporations at least have a fighting chance; the little guys don’t. So much for the compassionate society.

    In a system such as this — with a very vague tax code; tax officials who are exempt from responsibility for their conduct; and onerous, never-compensated legal expenses arising from litigation against the tax authorities — the rights of the taxpayers are routinely violated. The officials have no interest in making the right decision, so whenever a case is not utterly and totally obvious, they rule in favor of the state.

    “The state enacts vague legislation and then makes the taxpayer pay for its interpretation.”
    After that, the taxpayer can choose between paying the additional and often unlawful tax, or spending time and money challenging the decision. And because the tax officials can and do routinely ignore the taxpayer’s arguments, even the most trivial of cases can be appealed through the judicial system all the way to the Supreme Administrative Court, the highest court in the land. If the taxpayer is unlucky, it can take as long as ten years to settle a dispute, costing tens of thousands in legal fees. And if he wins, he is not compensated for the time and money spent defending his rights, nor are the responsible tax officials reprimanded for their conduct. For this reason, most tax disputes are settled mainly by referring to case law, and the case law has to a large extent been paid for by the taxpayers. In other words, the state enacts vague legislation and then makes the taxpayer pay for its interpretation.

    Increasing Debts
    The reality and future of the Finnish welfare state is not very bright. The crisis in Greece and the other PIIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) has given rise to much-needed discussion about the state of the public finances in Europe. For the first time in a long time, politicians are actually talking about the need for cutting government spending. While this is undoubtedly positive, even those politicians who do advocate spending cuts don’t seem to comprehend what that actually means.

    The increasing deficits and national debts are not the result of a shortage of tax revenues. In Finland, the maximum marginal income-tax rate for individuals is over 50 percent. A value-added tax is levied on all goods and services at every level of production. The tax rate of normal consumer goods and services has recently been raised from 22 to 23 percent. As in the United States, there are a great host of other taxes and duties levied on everything under the sun.

    What has brought the Finnish welfare state close to fiscal calamity is its ever-increasing government spending. Even during the 15 years prior to the collapse of 2008, a period referred to as one of continual economic growth, the national debt was not paid off. In 1994, the Finnish national debt was 51.7 billion euros. In 2007, it rose to €56.1 billion. At the end of 2009, the debt shot up to €64.3 billion, and at the end of June 2010, it rose to €69.8 billion. This in spite of the fact that the tax revenues had remained stable and even risen from 2000 to 2009. Figures show that government spending during the same time rose from €33 billion in 2000 to €46.9 billion in 2009. The projected spending in 2010 and 2011 is €52.5 billion and €50.4 billion respectively. It is estimated that the national debt will hit €85 billion at the end of fiscal year 2010.

    Finland is, and has long been, a poster child for the utopian European social-democratic welfare state, and has now been named the greatest country in the world, in a bizarre remake of Time’s Person of the Year award to Ben Bernanke.

    In Finland, the progressives believe, big government works. So do universal healthcare and public, “free” education. And if Finland can do it, so can the United States. The flaw in that argument is that Finland actually can’t do it, no more than Obama can keep his promises.

    The Finnish welfare state comes at a price we can’t afford. The healthcare system is severely inefficient and costly, and stands in the way of normal people’s access to the truly great medical care provided by the private sector. The public education is also very costly and constantly short of money. Textbooks are passed on from generation to generation, everybody learning the same fallacies as the ones before them, provided that books are even readable.

    The idea of everyone’s right to a university degree has resulted in a very high number of university graduates, but their degrees are often of no value on the job market. Due to high taxes and both the legal and financial risks of employing people, an 8 percent unemployment rate is considered normal. And did I mention that the retirement system is every bit as much of a Ponzi scheme as the US Social Security system, and is on the verge of collapse?

    The national debt has already reached alarming levels. What’s more, there hasn’t been an extended period of time when the principal of the debt has been systematically paid off. At best, it has remained fairly stable, only to shoot up by almost 50 percent in the last couple of years, if the projections hold true. Bankruptcy will come unless significant changes are made.

    I do, however, want to end on a positive note. In survey after survey, the Finnish people overwhelmingly favor cutting government spending as a means to get the public finances under control. Previously, the Finnish have not minded paying taxes, but now they are waking up to the fact that raising taxes is not a viable option anymore.

    Next year, we Finns go to the polling stations to elect a new parliament. I hope the outcome of the election will reflect this important and new-found realization.

    Kaj Grüssner is a tax adviser in Finland

  26. Stories of expat retirees forced to return the UK have been common in the past few years, as the economic slowdown takes its toll on pensioners.
    New data compiled by Natwest International suggests however that 71 per cent of expats who have retired abroad think they made the right decision.
    67 per cent of expats surveyed by the bank said they thought they were happier abroad than they would have been in the UK, while 58 per cent agreed that their experiences abroad were better than expected.
    The survey divided retired expats into two groups: “silver expats”, who spent their working life the UK but retired abroad, and “lifer expats”, who tended to retire in a country they had previously worked in.
    The survey found that “silver expats” were more likely to retire in Europe, while “lifer expats” often moved further afield to places including New Zealand, the USA and Canada.
    Interestingly, only nine per cent of “lifer expats”, said they would consider returning to the UK, while “silver expats” were almost twice as likely to consider moving back (16 per cent).
    And, despite the much joked about tendency of British expats to group together when abroad, 92 per cent of retirees claimed not to live within an “established expat community”.
    Dave Isley, head of NatWest International Personal Banking, said: “Our latest UK expatriate study has revealed that retiring abroad is still very much a popular choice and expats are happy with their chosen life paths
    Every three minutes one Briton is leaving GB forever.

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