News from Tom :
Portuguese Parliament Approves Austerity Budget – 1 minute ago
(RTTNews) – The Portuguese Parliament has passed the debt-ridden government’s austerity budget aimed at restoring the confidence of financial markets amid reports that the country is next in line for a financial rescue package.
The budget passed through the Parliament in Lisbon on Friday, as the Opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) kept its promise not to vote against the hard measures, and abstained from voting in the best interests of the country’s fragile finances.
The ruling Socialists voted for the controversial measures that will cut wages, pensions and jobs drastically, while other parties voted against it.
PSD leader Pedro Passos Coelho urged the minority government to hold a tight control on spending. PSD’s stance was crucial in the passage of the budget, failing which, Prime Minister Jose Socrates had threatened to resign.
The budget was approved after the EU Commission as well as Portuguese government spokesman dismissed a report by German daily Financial Times Deutschland that Portugal’s eurozone partners had joined the European Central Bank in urging Lisbon to apply for a EU bailout package.
Under intense pressure to cut a high level of national debt which is undermining its economy and fueling market concerns that it may need a bailout, Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos had no choice other than announcing a number of cost-cutting measures such as reducing wages for public-sector workers and freeze pensions next year, and increase taxes to help pay off the debt.
Lisbon has proposed to increase VAT to 23 per cent, the highest rate in Europe.
The Portuguese government is committed to reduce national deficit from 7.3 per cent to 4.6 per cent of GDP in 2011 in an effort to convince international investors that it will not be forced to seek a bailout like Ireland or Greece.
Normal life in Portugal was affected on Wednesday, as public and private-sector workers joined the country’s biggest-ever strike in protest against the austerity measures.
It was the first joint strike since 1988 by the country’s two largest trade union confederations — UGT and CGTP — representing 1.5 million workers in the public and private sector.
Portuguese workers were the latest to join a wave of industrial actions that other troubled euro economies such as Greece and France had been witnessing in the latter half of 2010, as governments were forced into unpopular cost-cutting programs to overcome mounting deficits or to conform to bail-out commitments.
The Greek government had been taking a number of austerity measures since March to battle its budget-deficit crisis, inviting a series of anti-government protests.
Public wrath raged over French government’s move to reform the country’s pension system as part of austerity measures weakened with President Nicolas Sarkozy vowing to press on with the measures saying that there is no other way out.
Portugal’s Prime Minister had categorically denied that Lisbon will be forced to seek an European Union bailout like Ireland or Greece, saying that his country did not need financial aid.
News from Sue 26/11 :
Rain causes Downtown Flooding
Yesterday, between one and two in the afternoon it rained 37 litres per hour, on 21 October it had been 27 litres but the figure for the 20 February catastrophe was 51 litres. The rain began to fall early but the peak was in the early afternoon, causing the closure of several streets in downtown Funchal. The Avenida do Mar was closed but reopened when the rain diminished, the Old Town area was also flooded (Rua de Santa Maria, Rua Dom Carlos 1, Rua dos Barreiros and surrounding areas) affecting restaurants caused by the Ribeiro Nora which occurred on 21 October. Rua da Carreira and flooded again with restaurants being affected, access to Campo da Barca was conditional, the tunnel of Cota 40, behind the school, was flooded with two vehicles caught in the height of the water, rising up through the cars. A coach also suffered damaged in the middle of the tunnel and had to be towed out. Those cars and buses following had to be evacuated with the assistance of the fire-fighters from the two Funchal corporations.
Outside Funchal the Regional Road 103 between Monte and Ribeira das Cales and the ER 105, between Encumeada and Paul da Sierra were closed because of the danger of falling rocks.
Madeira records 172 New Cases of Domestic Violence
The Madeiran Social Security reported on 172 new domestic violence cases in its annual report being presented yesterday to the Regional Secretariat for Social Affairs. The President of the Board of Trustees of the Social Security Centre of Madeira, Bernadette Viera, said that this increase did not mean “more cases” but due to the newly created project there was more information in schools and associations that allowed more freedom in speaking of mistreatment.
Women should feel safer now that they can ask for support, even though it is known that the phenomenon of domestic violence has always existed and unfortunately culturally accepted. In total there are now 930 cases in the region since the beginning of the team’s work in 2002 to support women who are victims of domestic violence.
Launch of Sá Carneiro’s Book
On the publication of Sá Carneiro’s book, written by Miguel Pinheiro and published by Sphere Books Albert Joan Jardim considered it an honour to present this work on the Portuguese politician who had formed the basis for his personal course of life in politics.
He felt it had been published at the right time as Portugal was at the present time in a situation that could have been avoided if they had followed the national project of Francisco Sá Carneiro. The inadequacy of the current political and constitutional system is now evident and the President considered that “Sá Carneiro was and is right” and the country was better with him.
Many books had been written about Sá Carneiro by people fascinated by his character; hence Miguel Pinheiro had to come up with something new, with the utmost historical accuracy in order to spur a new appetite for reading. These objectives he felt had been achieved in that the biography included a significant number of facts which had so far been ignored by the public. This means that from now and in the future there would be a deeper understanding of the psychology and personality draw up by the biographer. It should also not be forgotten that it was the government of Francisco Sá Carneiro who initiated the efforts for the accession of Portugal to the European Community when the entire Left was opposed to such a step.
The author said that this biography, with more than 800 pages, was the result of five years intensive research and has revealed a man who loved to take risks, who was not afraid and very funny, contrary to what was often thought. It should not be forgotten that Sá Carneiro was happy in Funchal as there he felt he could relax and a place where he could forget what happened in Lisbon.
News from Sue 23/11 :
Inauguration of the Night Shelter Association
The President defended the Government yesterday at the inauguration of the Night Shelter Association for the Protection of the Poor, a change in the system that “gives an opportunity for a coup” («dá azo a golpadas»«dá azo a golpadas»«dá azo a golpadas» dá azo o golpadas – not sure if this is a good translation the word golpe means a coup – so probably an expression). The leader of the regional government said yesterday, that the labour system needed to be revised the labor system, in force in Portugal, which gives an opportunity to those people who want to remain unemployed.
Alberto João Jardim, who spoke on the sidelines of the inauguration of the new Night Shelter for the Protection of the Poor Association and said it, was time to end "hypocrisy" over the poverty numbers in Madeira. It was the President’s view that all this was immoral and led to the actual figures of unemployment not being known.
To end this situation, the President of the Government defended any changes to the laws of this country, because those who do not want to work should not live at the expense of the taxpayer. Those who want to work but had no opportunity should be supported, "stressing that" we must end the system giving rise to the opportunity for these coups.
The ceremony of inauguration of new premises of the Night Shelter Association for the Protection of the Poor, an institution founded by his grandfather, and now chaired by Almada Cardoso, the leader of Madeira showed pride for investment there by the Center for Social Security Madeira.
Alberto Joao Jardim recalled the historical reasons that led to the institution because "there was famine in Madeira, 30 years ago. It was a time of great misery, aggravated by the Second World War, with the phenomenon of widespread hunger, especially in areas outside Funchal with no direct access to the products of the land. The President of the Government stressed that the Association for the Protection of the Poor was seen, especially, as a sound basis for responding to social problems. By 2009, Social Security had identified 120 homeless in Funchal, having achieved through the integration of 68 people through monitoring programs. Of the current 55 existing cases, 30 are homeless who refuse to be supported in terms of reception at night by the authorities and institutions.
The Night Shelter Association for the Protection of the Poor is located at Rua do Frigorifico. The new facilities will enable the Centre to increase the capacity from 15 to 28 users, running every day, in order to meet the basic needs of disadvantaged groups of the population, particularly in the evening with reception, food, health, hygiene and clothing. It also has the facilities of a cafeteria, laundry and occupational therapy centers. The space has an area of more than a thousand square meters. The total cost of the work was around 737 000 Euros, 100 percent funded by the Social Security Centre of Madeira.
Youth of 18 Causes Accident and Flees the Scene
A man around the age of between 30-40 years was admitted to the hospital yesterday with some serious face injuries suffered as a result of a car accident. The accident happened around 20:15 hours on a pedestrian crossing in Rua do Oudinot. As far as it could be ascertained the victim was riding a bike up Rua do Oudinot in the right lane. As he approached the traffic lights, which were green for the traffic, when a youth crossed on the run and left the scene of the accident without looking at the damage he had caused; this was clarified by a driver further back in the left lane. The cyclist ended up in the road with the bike on top of him, he was wearing a half helmet or "shorty", causing him serious eye injuries. On site, in addition to the PSP, which was also the EMIR assisted the young and the BVM and transported the victim to the hospital.
Câmara do Porto Moniz Supports the County
The Municipality of Porto Moniz will next year support sixty families in the recovery of their dilapidated houses. This project is a contribution to the improvement of housing conditions of families as well as an enhacement to the quality of the landscape of the county, bearing in mind that Porto Moniz is a touristic environment.
Another initiative by the municipality will invest in the assignment of textbooks to all students between the first and ninth years of basic education. Additionally the local government guarantees those students in higher education, outside the Region, the payment of two trips back and forth up to a maximum of 200 Euros each.
Finally the Board will sign a protocol with the Mario Miguel Foundation for the creation of a circuit for collection and processing of clothing for elderly in the county.
Marina Merchants Affected by Storms
Dissatisfaction continues between merchants at the Marina of Funchal with the conditions in which exist in many of the commercial spaces that exist there, mostly restaurants.
With the rain that fell on Sunday night, for example, there were many owners who had to resort to buckets and other containers to cope with the many leaks that take place. Many of these restaurants have had some similar problems, but now, especially after the February 20, the structure appears to be more unstable and more and more water seeps inside the establishments, scaring away some customers.
Entrepreneurs know that construction is scheduled, but complain that the competent authorities should take some urgent action now to improve the situation a little.
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