Portuguese President Inauguration speech;Malasadas: right temperature, size & talent; O Cagarro – Cory Shearwater Bird of the Year 2011; Portugal has most of the rare seabirds species in Europe;

Portugal & Madeira News from Paul Abbiati:

Portuguese President Inauguration speech

Portuguese President calls for a political and social consensus

Reuters reports:

“Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva said on Wednesday he would cooperate with the minority Socialist government to help solve the country’s debt crisis.

Image caption: Portuguese President Cavaco Silva in centre in 1998 meeting Jose Socrates Portuguese Primeminister on right and Dmitry Medvedev on the left.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony for his second term, Cavaco Silva, who is from the main opposition Social Democrats, also called for a political and social consensus to work out a medium-term strategy for Portugal to leave behind what he called its “emergency economic situation”.

The president has largely ceremonial powers in Portugal but can dissolve parliament and sack the government under a vaguely-worded constitutional clause assuming a case when “democratic institutions are at risk”.

Cavaco Silva’s speech suggested he is not inclined to use these powers, considered by some analysts as a potential political risk that could exacerbate Portugal’s economic woes.

“To the government and prime mininster, I reiterate my commitment to cooperation,” he said, promising a mandate with a firm dedication to safeguard national interests.

Prime Mininster Jose Socrates, in his turn, promised “loyal institutional cooperation on behalf of the government and myself, which is what the Portuguese await from us.”

Cavaco Silva made no reference to the possibility of Portugal requesting an international bailout, a move the market considers as all but inevitable. Socrates is firmly opposed to a rescue package.

Cavaco Silva has previously said that if the International Monetary Fund was to intervene, that would mean that the government has failed.
Earlier on Wednesday, Portugal’s two-year cost of borrowing hit the highest level since it joined the euro in a bond auction and the government said yields were unsustainable in the long run without Europe-wide action.

He made his comments came just two days before the first of this month’s two European summits, where euro zone leaders will discuss the situation in Portugal and take the next cautious steps in their year-long effort to quell the region’s debt crisis.”

link to report: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/09/portugal-president-idUSLDE7282DY20110309

Malasadas: right temperature, right size, right talent

“When the bread didn’t rise people couldn’t afford to waste it, so they started to fry it. In Portuguese “mal” means bad and “assada” means dough, so malasadas really is “bad dough.” They said a great malasada comes from a combination of the right temperature, the right size, and the right talent…”
link:
http://www.khon2.com/news/local/story/Bad-dough-brings-long-lines-big-appetites/0QJafdjj4UijQtmAV4t7ag.cspx

“A malasada (or malassada) is a Portuguese confection. They were first made by inhabitants of Madeira Island. Malasadas are made of egg-sized balls of yeast dough that are deep-fried in oil and coated with granulated sugar. A popular variation is where they are hand dropped into the oil and people have to guess what they look like. Traditional malasadas contain neither holes nor fillings, but some varieties of malasadas are filled with flavored cream or other fillings. Traditionally the reason for making malasadas has been to use up all the lard and sugar in the house, luxuries forbidden from consumption during Lent. Malasadas are eaten especially on Mardi Gras – the day before Ash Wednesday.

In Madeira they eat Malasadas mainly on Terça-feira Gorda (Fat Tuesday in English) which is also the last day of the Carnival of Madeira, the reason for making malasadas was to use up all the lard and sugar in the house, in preparation for Lent (much in the same way the tradition of Pancake Day in the UK originated on Shrove Tuesday), Malasadas are sold along side the Carnival of Madeira today. This tradition was taken to Hawaii, where Shrove Tuesday is known as Malasada Day, which dates back to the days of the sugar plantations of the 19th century, the resident Catholic Portuguese (mostly from Madeira and the Azores) workers used up butter and sugar prior to Lent by making large batches of malasadas.”

“In 1878, Portuguese laborers from the Madeira and Azores came to Hawaii to work in the plantations. These immigrants brought their traditional foods with them, including a fried dough pastry called the “malasada.” Today there are numerous bakeries in the Hawaiian islands specializing in malasadas.
Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”), the day before Lent, is also known as Malasada Day in Hawaii. Being predominantly Catholic, Portuguese immigrants would need to use up all of their butter and sugar prior to Lent. They did so by making large batches of malasadas, which they would subsequently share with friends from all the other ethnic groups in the plantation camps. This led to the popularity of the malasada in Hawaii.

In the United States, malasadas are cooked in many Portuguese or Portuguese descendant homes on Fat Tuesday. It is a tradition where the older children take the warm doughnuts and roll them in the sugar while the eldest woman—mother or grandmother—cooks them. Many people prefer to eat them hot. They can be reheated in the microwave, but then they will have absorbed the sugar, providing a slightly different flavor and texture.

Source: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malasada

Portugal has most of the rare seabirds species in Europe

RSPB working with SPEA

Portugal is especially important to the RSPB because its Atlantic archipelagos support some of the rarest bird species in Europe, namely the endemic Azores Bullfinch, the Madeiran Petrel and the Desertas petrel.

Portugal also includes magnificent natural sites and habitats, including internationally important marshlands, and high nature value farmland, such as the spectacular cork oak ‘montados’ across large parts of the country. Many of these are also very important sites for migratory species.”

http://www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/projects/details/200555-portugal-country-programme

O Cagarro – Cory Shearwater Bird of the Year 2011

The biggest colony of these birds (Calonectris diomedea) is located on the Savage Islands, Madeira.

`Madeirabirds´ summary:

“..the largest sea bird that breed in Madeira Archipelago. It is a migrant bird with white underparts, long and slightly rounded wings and dark brown and grey upper parts. It has a greyish head with no marked cap and a yellowish thin bill. Cory’s Shearwaters flight is relaxed low, very close to sea and weaving its body through the waves.

Distribution

In the Madeira archipelago this bird is present between March and October, for the breeding season. It spends the remaining months of the year on the high seas. Corys can be seen on all islands of the archipelago with Selvagens having the biggest number of birds per square meter. In Madeira Island it is common to hear them after sunset near the coastline all around the island.
Habitat

In Madeira, this species nest mainly in sea cliffs while in Selvagens it builds its nests on holes on the ground or under big rocks, but never too far from the ocean. Though the best habitat to observe this bird is on a seawatching trip

Breeding

Cory’s Shearwaters build their nests in holes in rocky sea cliffs or burrows on the ground. It lays one egg on the unique annual brood, between May and June. Incubation period is 54 days and the chick leaves its nest by October.”
Links:
http://www.madeirabirds.com/corys_shearwater_calonectris_diomedea_borealis

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cory’s_Shearwater

RSPB working with SPEA

http://www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/projects/details/200555-portugal-country-programme

16 thoughts on “Portuguese President Inauguration speech;Malasadas: right temperature, size & talent; O Cagarro – Cory Shearwater Bird of the Year 2011; Portugal has most of the rare seabirds species in Europe;”

  1. Reuters yesterday on EU Leaders meet on Portuguese economy

    “EU leaders will discuss on Friday the steps being taken by the Portuguese government to tackle its economic problems, but they are not working on any European rescue plans, a French government source said on Wednesday.

    The source said that euro zone leaders would seek to make progress on a competitiveness pact proposed by Germany, but it was not clear they would reach agreement on this on Friday and they have a deadline of the end of the month.

    Under the terms of the pact, European states will agree a set of indicators by which to review their progress at an annual leaders summit, the source said.

    “There will be indicators but the list is not yet agreed upon,” said the French government source. “It will have to be a very limited number of indicators which will be followed by European heads of state and government.”

    The source said that talks to strengthen the 440 billion euro European Financial Stability Facility were continuing, including the possibility of allowing the fund to purchase the debt of troubled EU states in the primary debt market.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/09/euro-summit-france-idUSWEB381520110309

    Paul Abbiati

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  2. In Poland “paczki” exists from around 1700 r. as Kraeppel.

    Germany- Pfannkuchen or Berliner Pfannkuchen, PORTUGAL Bolas de Berlim, France Boule de Berlin, a Berliininmunkki in Finland. RUSIA -пончики – poncziki . Izrael- sufgania,, Hungary- farsangi fánk.

    But the tradition has been born in southern Poland long before in Portugal.

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  3. Some thoughts:

    It looks like the Eurozone made a huge mistake in not kicking Greece out of the system the minute it failed to meet the zone’s debt and deficit targets. This would have established that the rules matter. If a country wants the benefits of a strong common currency, it has to manage its finances responsibly. In the same way that expelling a disruptive student from a classroom changes the behavior of the remaining kids, the other PIIGS countries would have immediately begun making the hard cultural and financial choices necessary to live in a (relatively) sound money world.

    But by bailing out Greece, Europe instead sent the message that soaring government spending and double-digit deficits will be rewarded with massive loans. This allowed the other weak economies (Ireland being the notable, admirable exception) to put off the hard adjustments — which soured German voters on further bailouts, making help on an effective scale a tough, if not impossible sale.

    Now, with inflation rising, the European Central Bank has been forced to promise to raise interest rates, which traps the PIIGS countries between two destructive forces: rising interest rates (prospective from the ECB and immediate in the bond markets) and the inability of German leadership to deliver a trillion-euro bailout.

    The result is a feedback loop of deteriorating finances leading to credit downgrades leading to higher bond yields leading to further deteriorating finances, until at some point everything falls apart.

    We may not be far from that point, when the bond markets demand unmanageably high rates on new Portuguese or Spanish bonds, one or both threaten to default, and German voters call their bluff. What happens then is anybody’s guess.

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  4. Not being expert in international finance I make these comments with a naive view of borrowing and lending.

    If Portugal and others offer government bonds with such high returns, why can’t I buy some?
    They would give me better return than I now receive on savings and at the same time Portugal can put the money towards its debt problems.
    If all savers bought these problem solved?
    The rate of return would be lower on later bond issues as sovereign debt is paid off
    The money is safe because no Eurozone country is going to be allowed to default.
    The effect on the international value of the Euro has to be protected.

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  5. You can Martin they are called gilts in this country.
    There are two ways of buying gilts. You can go direct to the Government’s Debt Management Office (DMO) when new stock is issued; or you can go to the market via a stockbroker or the Bank of England’s brokerage service, which allows stock to be bought and sold through any main Post Office.
    Not sure what they are called in Portugal. But beware the value can go down as well as up, and if the country defaults you could lose some or all your money.
    You can also buy funds that contain UK or European bonds.

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  6. it is to be or not to be for Portugal on this meeting results

    Friday’s meeting is a pre-summit in the run-up to a much larger one with all 27 member states on March 24-25. Euro-zone leaders want to reach preliminary agreements on a restructuring of the stability pact prior to the regularly scheduled event later this month, when the final reform package on Europe’s common currency is expected to be approved. The fact that the club of 17 are meeting prior to that summit is already being celebrated in some quarters as the first step toward the creation of a common economic government — a step Merkel and Germany had long resisted until the scope of the euro problems became clear.

    What Decisions Are Expected?

    The euro-zone leaders want to give their blessing to the “pact for competitiveness” at Friday’s meeting, but final approval isn’t expected for another two weeks. But by the end of the month, four major points will be decided on:

    ■Possible changes to the existing bailout packages for Ireland and Greece
    ■An increase in the capital and guarantees in the existing European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) so that it can cope with cases of further countries potentially facing insolvency
    ■The structure and composition of the permanent European Stability Mechanism (ESM) rescue fund
    ■Structural reforms in the euro zone aimed at preventing future crises (the “pact for competitiveness”).

    Merkel has stated that the package must be accepted in its entirety — or not at all.

    What Does the German Government Want?

    Above all, Merkel wants to prevent the resources of the euro rescue fund from being used too flexibly. In particular, she doesn’t want EU money to be used to buy government bonds of overly indebted EU countries. Rescue actions should remain the exception to the rule and should only take place when “the euro zone as a whole” is in danger.

    As accompanying measures to the rescue package, Merkel also insists that the partner countries obligate themselves to implement structural reforms related to retirement ages, wages and taxation in order to increase competitiveness within the bloc and ensure that the current debt crisis is not repeated.

    Will the Temporary Euro Rescue Fund Be Increased?

    It is likely that the temporary rescue system will be enlarged to give leaders more leeway. The current amount of €750 billion ($1.03 trillion) cannot currently be fully disbursed, as a cash buffer is needed in order to maintain the highest possible credit rating for the fund. Only the €250 billion from the International Monetary Fund and the €60 billion from the EU budget can be withdrawn. The remaining €440 billion comes in the form of credit guarantees provided by the euro-zone states.

    Since only six euro-zone countries have a AAA rating, the fund can only lend out their share of the €250 billion at the most favorable interest rates. In order to exhaust the full coverage, the AAA states, including Germany, must increase their share.

    The increase is a precautionary measure in the event that other bankruptcy candidates will soon also have to take cover under the rescue umbrella. Until now, money from the fund has only gone to Ireland. Greece had its own special package.

    What Chances Does Merkel’s Pact for Competitiveness Have?

    In order to deflect attention from the constant stream of new impositions on the pocketbooks of German taxpayers, Merkel has been trying for some time to shift the focus of the discussion so it concentrates more on the obligations of the weaker euro nations. With that in mind, she and French President Nicolas Sarkozy presented a pact for competitiveness at last month’s EU summit.

    The six-point plan foresees, among other things, further harmonizing wages, taxes and retirement ages in the euro zone so that the economically weaker countries are better aligned to the stronger countries. The recommendations were too concrete — and too German — for many partner states, however.

    After angry protests, Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, the powerful EU institution that comprises the 27 leaders of the bloc and has the final say on many issues, prepared a compromise paper that still includes only vague wording about how the euro-zone countries should, as a whole, practice wage moderation while keeping an eye on demographic developments. This paper is the starting point for further talks.

    It is only a voluntary commitment by EU leaders, not a binding change in EU law. The summit participants declare that they will do their best to reach the desired common goals, but it does not contain any mention of sanctions.

    Will Ireland and Greece Get Their Wishes?

    The new Irish government under Prime Minister Enda Kenny is calling for a reduction in the interest rate associated with the EU rescue package that was adopted in November. Many Irish feel that the rate of 5.8 percent is too high, especially given that the EU can borrow money for a rate of 2.9 percent on capital markets. The EU is expected to make a concession in this regard.

    Greece would like to extend the timeframe for paying back its EU loans and also use them to buy back the country’s own bonds at favorable rates. The German chancellor recently expressed her support for the Greeks on this point.

    What Does the ECB Want?

    Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) wants to offload the Greek, Irish and Portuguese government bonds it has acquired since the start of the euro crisis, and it envisions the euro rescue fund taking the debt — worth about €77 billion — off its hands. The ECB will continue to push behind the scenes to get its balance sheet cleaned up. The central bankers are unhappy about the bond purchases they made as part of the emergency assistance — considered a massive breach of an ECB taboo — and want to clean up their act again.

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  7. Something different …. in Pingo Doce, in their exotic selection of fruits, they are selling something quite expensive called “Rambutans”. I have checked our various dictionaries but cannot find a translation into English. Does anyone know what this fruit is? Many thanks.

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  8. Rain Rain go away ….
    Guests took bus from Machico to Santana via old roads = oh dear, much ado about something….many turn backs and diversions from the blocked roads due to rock falls etc … and a protacted journey ensued. Taxi back, shared with an English couple and then din dins with us tonight in a local eatery and beddie byes!
    Does anybody else have any updates as to travel conditions? Appreciated.

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  9. Hello again…it might be too late to get this message to Debs, but it’s not a lychee. I was looking around plant info today and came across the Arbuta unedo-Cane apple or strawberry tree. This is used for making aguadente apparently.
    Anyway it is an Atlantic plant, grows in Portugal as well as other places…..as opposed to the lychee which is more native to China etc.

    At first glance they look very similar……interesting………now I just need to find someone who has it growing in their garden…so I can take some stems and paint it.
    Any offers out there??
    Anyone know of this plant at all?

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  10. Nearly all of what you state is astonishingly legitimate and it makes me ponder the reason why I hadn’t looked at this with this light before. This particular piece truly did turn the light on for me personally as far as this specific issue goes.

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