Thanks to Elaine
Following items are from yesterday’s Diário de Notícias
Price of meat will increase
António Nóbrega guarantees that changes in the purchasing power in Brazil, and the increasing cost of pig and chicken feed because of rising grain prices, will lead to higher shop prices. South American beef is now nearly all consumed in the domestic market, leaving less available for export. The largest meat importer in Madeira believes that the Region will not escape the escalating prices. An example is picanha (steak) which used to be priced at 5 – 6 euros and now has an international market value of 11.80 euros and a final price in Madeira of 13 euros per kg. He cites an advertising campaign in the Region where chicken sells at 0.99 euros per kg. If a chick costs 40 cêntimos and to produce a kilo of chicken meat costs 50 – 60 cêntimos, it is not possible to continue to sell at this artificially low price.
Hospital will regain fitness to train doctors
After an hour meeting with the President of the Regional Government, the Bastonário da Ordem dos Médicos (President of the Medical Council) said that recent difficulties in training doctors will be overcome. The respective departments in the Hospital of Funchal will soon be inspected for suitability to continue training junior doctors. This follows angry exchanges between the previous Bastonário da Ordem dos Médicos and SESARAM (Health Service Managers) leading to the Ordem stopping training in the hospital, resulting in a shortage of junior doctors in Madeira and an excess in Portugal.
Following items are from today’s Jornal da Madeira
Radar operational in April, problems driving in the snow and increased sales of poncha
The construction of the radar at Pico do Areeiro has been temporarily suspended since last Friday due to weather conditions. The roads should be passable either today or tomorrow as today is the last day that snow is forecasted. There could still be occasional snowfall in high areas over the coming days. The Air Force maintains that the radar will become operational at the end of April. The construction should be finished by the end of this month then testing should take another month. The military had trouble reaching the radar yesterday. The jeep finally made it to the radar but kept skidding and the driver had problems manoeuvring the vehicle in the 30 cm deep snow. He had problems ‘fighting’ with the jeep and burnt out part of the clutch in the final stages of ascent. On previous days, journalists had visited the area with Branco Freitas, Presidente da Associação da Madeira de Todo-o-Terreno Turístico (AMTTT). He has expertise in driving in such terrain but still finds it difficult to drive in snow. He uses the technique of quick, continuous movements, swinging one way and then the other to prevent the wheels slipping on the soft snow. There were many visitors to the area yesterday but still had to leave their cars at the barriers. The snow at lower altitudes had already melted, thus frustrating visitors who could not understand why the roads were still closed. The restaurant in the area was well utilised as dozens of people replaced the missing snow with poncha, to prevent wasting an outing in the cold weather. There have been no reports of vandalised abandoned cars.
Rescue exercise at Madeira Forum
The training exercise simulated a fire in a shop occurring at the same time as a maintenance man falling down a lift shaft. The exercise was to test the security plans for a large public area such as Madeira Forum Shopping Centre. It lasted 45 minutes and started at 9 am, triggering the evacuation of employees and visitors and the police redirecting local traffic. The start was signalled by audible alarms and messages in several languages. Before the fire brigades arrived, the Centre’s prevention team had to intervene. This tested and helped to train all personnel likely to be involved, with an overall positive result but highlighted some areas that needed improving in firefighting.
Madeira maintains the highest average overnight stays in Portugal
In January 2011, Madeira had the highest average number of overnight stays and the average revenue per room was the second best throughout the national tourist regions. Durations of overnight stays were the level of January 2009 but with lower revenue. Overall in Portugal, the average bed occupancy was 20.5% whereas Madeira registered 34.8% (37.1% in 2010). Average length of visits were 5.3 nights in Madeira. The Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) was 18.7 euros for Madeira and the highest was 22.9 euros per room in Lisbon. All regions have suffered reduced income per room since last year and the largest decreases were Madeira (- 14.2%), Portugal (- 10.1%) and Lisbon (- 8.8%). There were increased numbers of tourists visiting the Alentejo, the North and Lisbon but fewer in Madeira (- 8.1%) and the Algarve (- 3.7%). The general trend is decreased tourism apart from through the ports.
CMF rejects responsibility for Pico dos Barcelos delay
Reply to the Tourism Department’s statement, as summarised in yesterday’s blog. Funchal Council denies responsibility for the delay in the completion of the redevelopment of this viewpoint. A project was formed to redevelop the space, increase car parking and for a new tourist services building. This project was withdrawn given its impact on the surrounding landscape and following new guidelines, another project was given to the Tourism Department in 2008.
Real estate generates most complaints
In the past year, 4,900 people attended the Serviço de Defesa do Consumidor (Citizens Advice Centre). 700 were to lodge complaints and the others were for information and clarification. Most complaints were for real estate guarantees, followed by complaints about electrical domestic products and thirdly, telecommunications. Yesterday’s public seminar was to reassure shoppers that buying over the Internet is safe providing certain safeguards are met. The advice is to initially contact the trader and then contact the Service if a dispute is not resolved.
Photography contest winner is Paulo Martins
The Digital Photography Contest sponsored by the Municipality of Porto Santo challenged entrants to rediscover the faces and expressions that have marked and mark the history of the people and the island. Out of 36 photographs for the ‘Faces of an Island – Expressions’ competition, first prize (100 euros) went to Paulo Martins for his photo entitled, ‘The Face of Time’. Second and third prizes went to Rod Costa for ‘Guinuine Sympathy’ and to Francisco Velosa for the ‘Smile of Life’, respectively. There were also Honorary Mentions and each received a copy of the book ‘Porto Santo’.
From today’s Diário de Notícias
PSD reject a vote of congratulations to Diário for winning European award
Most Social Democrats rejected a vote of congratulations to Diário de Notícias for winning the 2010 European Journal of the Year award. All other political parties stressed the importance of a Regional enterprise winning this European award. The proposer of the vote (BE – left wing) said the award "proves that in Madeira there are professionals of high calibre" and recalled the pressures which Diário de Notícias is subject to. André Escórcio, Socialist parliamentary leader, affirmed that the prize "has more value, the greater the attacks". The CDS leader highlighted the "pluralism and impartiality" of the newspaper. Leonel Nunes recalled that the Assembly congratulates athletes and clubs for gaining less prestigious awards. The MPT leader accused the PSD of "every day attacking the Diário".