Elaine working overtime!!!

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http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/amigo/18885

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 – Manx Shearwaters offshore in Madeira

On both the arrival and departure from Funchal I spent a couple of hours on the upper deck.  Both were carried out in similar conditions.  Sunny but rather strong gusting winds.  On the way in, (from about 4 miles out) I counted 57 Cory’s Shearwaters and 5 Manx Shearwaters.  Unfortunately all the birds were at distances of 100 metres or over so I did not even bother with record shots.  On the way out I had at least 41 Cory’s and 11 Manxies.

http://www.kingofthebop.com/2011/03/17/the-madeiran-sleigh-ride-without-snow/

The history of the Monte toboggan rides and the transport hammock (rede).

http://www.morganforbes.com/123news.aspx?id=221

Portuguese tourists to Madeira on the increase

A recent announcement by the regional secretary of tourism for Madeira, has confirmed that the number of Portuguese tourists visiting Madeira Island has actually overtaken those from the UK or Germany. The Brit newspaper, Madeira’s regional title , reported that the percentage of Portuguese tourists visiting the island has increased from 10% to 30% since 2008. Another positive sign,  is the increase in Madeira Island’s popularity as an overnight destination, which has risen by 17% in the same period.
The increase in tourism to the island amongst the Portuguese comes after a new €315,000 campaign to promote the island was launched at the Lisbon Travel Market  (BTL) last month.
Speaking of its success The Brit added, “Due to market changes, the domestic market is becoming more attractive which can only be good news for Madeira and Porto Santo, especially as the BTL allowed those present to promote both islands”
Suggestions have been made to link the recent rise in popularity of Madeira Island amongst the Portuguese, to the current declining tourist numbers in North African countries such as Egypt.  
Madeira provides a good alternative to the North African destinations, with year round sunshine and political stability. This factor, combined with an increase in money allocated to promotion of  Madeira both in Portugal and in the UK, could spell good news for the island’s tourism moving forward into 2011.

News from Diário de Notícias and Jornal da Madeira

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Marítimo Chairman criticises the Regional Government and Jardim’s reply

Carlos Pereira, the Chairman of Club Sport Marítimo, rejects the Regional Government’s accusation that he lacks gratitude for the investment in the Estádio do Nacional (Barreiros Sports Stadium). In a television interview, Pereira had claimed that redevelopment is held back by debt as the government has not transferred funds for the past two months. The Regional Government denied these accusations and stated that CSM is responsible for raising the finance discussed. This controversy between the President of the Government and the Chairman of CS Marítimo led Victor Freitas (Socialist) to request a parliamentary inquiry. Jardim replied later on, blaming the report of his ‘fight’ with Carlos Pereira on Diário distorting the truth and attacking the Social Democrats.

33 years to defend the Autonomy and develop the Region

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the inauguration of Alberto João Jardim as Presidente do Governo Regional – 17th March 1978. He was 35 years old and succeeded Ornelas Camacho who was midway through his mandate. In his inaugural address, he used the phrase now held responsible for his repeated re-elections, «a Madeira será o que os madeirenses fizerem», "Madeira is what Maderienses do (make/create)". It reflects the will of the people of the archipelago. He stated he will not make any promises that could not be fulfilled. His two main aims were to defend and strengthen the Autonomy and develop a Region that was at that time, the most undeveloped in the Country and in Europe. He said the Government of Madeira has no dependency or hierarchical subordination to the Government of the Republic. He is still eager for further constitutional revisions to give more powers to the Region since decentralised democracy allows more realistic (local) decision making. Primary objectives have been to increase regional productivity, social housing and combat the rising cost of living, as people desire a better standard of living. Madeira now surpasses the EU average for GDP (Growth Domestic Product). There are still legal arguments about funding from Portugal, as Madeira cannot be totally independent, and constitutional amendments. He promises a stable economic cycle during this term and that the Government of the Republic "can count on the cooperation and dialogue" of the Regional Government. The present mandate gives priority to social problems, especially in relation to the elderly population. Jardim announced he will stand again as candidate for President of the Executive at the Social Democrats Christmas Dinner in 2010.

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Five million euros to recover rural paths

The Regional Government has invested five million euros to fund the recovery of 97 rural paths (caminhos) in the Region. Examples are the caminhos da Moitadinha e da Cancelinha in the parish of Arco de São Jorge in Santana. They became impassable last year. They provide the local population with an alternative route from Arco de São Jorge to Santana, necessary as the road connecting these two areas is subject to landslides. Many rural paths in the county were affected by the weather and new areas for leisure have been created in these restored locations. The planned ViaExpresso will resolve such natural situations. The Regional Secretary for the Environment expects the 800,000 euros Agricultural Award 2010 to be paid into the accounts of hundreds of farmers tomorrow. Also tomorrow, Selos da "Marca Madeira" (‘Made in Madeira’ stickers) will be distributed to local producers. These free stickers are to encourage and promote genuine Regional produce.

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Expansion of the Hospital of Funchal estimated at 20 million euros

The expansion of the present hospital should cost between 15 – 20 million euros. The types of services installed will be similar to the ones planned for the cancelled ‘new hospital’ in the district of Santa Rita. The land adjacent to the Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça is already reserved for public works, so construction costs should not escalate. An additional 5.5 million euros will be spent to upgrade Accident and Emergency and this will take one and a half years to complete. Decisions have also been made to rebuild estrada da Tabua, damaged during the February 20th storm last year and 13 homes in Serra de Água, Ribeira Brava.

Câmara de Lobos is associated with the ‘Clean Portugal’ project

On the 18th and 19th March, volunteers, municipal services, schools and several organisations will remove litter from the county. They will concentrate on collecting recyclable material. They will also help reforest high areas of the county: Boca dos Namorados and Caminho Real, in Corrida. The groups will meet at 9 am on both days in the park at the entrance to the bay.

—-Two thirds of the sites cleaned in Portugal a year ago are dirty again, especially woods on the outskirts of large cities such as Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra.

Hotels save up to 20% of their energy bill

The first phase of the Solgest energy monitoring program concluded that 11 hotels reduced their energy (water, electricity and gas) bills by 15 – 20%. This first phase of the project lasted from September 2010 to February 2011, thus each hotel could save up to 38,000 euros per year. Behavioural changes, such as workmen not leaving taps running to remove bad odours from sink traps and changing to more efficient light bulbs, helped save up to 23% water, 15% electricity and 10% gas charges. The equipment installed allows real time monitoring of consumption. The outlay was 775,000 euros, funded 85% by the EEA and 15% by the Regional Government.

Ana Moura nominated for the Songlines Music Awards 2011

The fadista Ana Moura is nominated for the British magazine’s Songlines Music Awards 2011 in the category of Best Artist, alongside Femi Kuti, Youssou N’Dour and Cheikh Lô. She is nominated for the album Leva me Aos Fados. The award is to recognise and celebrate the wealth of outstanding musical talent from across the world that has been reviewed in Songlines. A compilation album featuring all 16 nominated artists is on sale from March 21st and winners will be announced in the June issue on sale April 29th.

Transavia summer campaign

The airline transavia.com has launched a campaign for Porto-Paris flights starting at 42 euros. Porto-Nantes and Porto-Funchal flights between April and September are from 49 euros, bookable through their website www.transavia.com/pt.

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