BBC begins to block VPN access to iPlayer

imageVarious on-line sources, increasing over the last few days, report ex-pats having problems connecting to iPlayer using a “VPN” to fool the BBC’s servers into believing that they were located in the UK. The powerful (and expensive) “Hide my Ass” VPN service has seen the number of it’s access points in the UK that could connect to iPlayer gradually reduce to zero over the last week, whilst the equally popular “IPVanish” reportedly started to experience problems on Tuesday, with users in Cyprus and Australia reporting that they could not connect to iPlayer regardless of the hardware or web browser they were using.
It does increasingly look like the BBC have found a way to block VPNs and their associated IP addresses from connecting to iPlayer, which I guess is something that was waiting to happen –  a BBC report in July claimed that more than 60 million people were watching the BBC iPlayer for free outside of the UK by masking their location. It remains to be seen how the VPN companies, who can charge over $10 per month, will respond. FilmOn, which does not have a rewind or catch up service, unlike iPlayer, is still operating as usual.

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Cargo plane start date. Marine Parks. Nature Festival.

The long awaited air-freight service (previous blog) connecting Lisbon and Madeira will commence on the 20th of this month according to the operator’s Facebook page. However it will use a different aircraft than was originally intended. FlyMii plans two daily flights, five days a week, from Tuesday to Saturday, with the plane leaving Lisbon at 6:00am and returning from Madeira airport at 10.00pm. The flights will take an hour and 45 minutes.
FlyMii say that the final choice of ATR 72F was due to the greater suitability of the model to the type of load that will be transported between Madeira and Lisbon, especially with regard to agricultural products and fish. The new aircraft offers a greater load capacity (8 tons) and, with a larger door, can accommodate the standard type of container used internationally – something that was not possible with the Bombardier CRJ 200 they originally planned to use.
The operator claims that companies such as Zara and McDonald’s have expressed an interest in using the service, and that door-to-door parcel deliveries should be much speedier. Whilst the price list has not been finalised it is understood that Madeiran agricultural produce and fish will enjoy a special rate.

Marine Protected Areas

The Regional Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources, through the Natural Park of Madeira, is planning to create a “Network of Marine Protected Areas’. The new legal framework to create four new Marine Parks (Funchal, Cabo Girao, Ponta de São Lourenço and Achadas da Cruz) is to be incorporated into a draft Regional Legislative Decree that will be considered by the Council of Government in the near future.

Madeira Nature Festival

imageThe Madeira Nature Festival has just started and lasts until the 11th. The festival promotes “tourist activities based on nature thus encouraging a direct contact with the rich natural heritage of the archipelago” – full itinerary on the link opposite.

Organ Festival

Another festival coming up is the sixth Madeira Organ Festival, with free performances by “renowned master organists” taking place in various religious landmarks – Funchal’s Cathedral (Sé), Colégio Church and Santa Clara Convent – between the 9th and the18th of October. Full itinerary on the link below:


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Ferry latest. Longer Flower Festivals. Elections.

Ferry bidders reduced

Image result for armas ferry madeiraToday’s Diario and the redesigned “JM” (Journal da Madeira) reports that the seven maritime companies that were interested in re-introducing a link between the island and the mainland have been reduced to five (previous blog). The Administration of the Ports of Madeira (APRAM) will conduct negotiations, with bids being invited by the end of November, with a series of guidelines having now been issued to prospective bidders. The Government is also not ruling out the possibility of a mobility allowance for residents and students of the region to use the ferry – similar to the subsidy of air travel between Madeira and the mainland (previous blog). The ports of Lisbon, Setubal, Sines and Portimão are all being mentioned as possible connections to Funchal. A demonstration will be held this afternoon on the pier in the port, by the “Nós, Cidadãos!” political movement calling for the “urgent replacement” of the ferry.

Flower Festival lengthens

2016 edition of the Flower Festival will close with recreating the parade of classic cars, which was done in the 1980s.

It was reported in the local press during the week that the Flower Festival will last for two weeks next year, and that the theme of the closing parade in 2016 (17th April) will be classic cars – last done in the 1980’s. The will still be a large flower parade on Sunday 10th April. The 2017 Flower Festival will be further extended to three weeks, both extensions apparently due to requests from tour operators, who prefer a more relaxed timetable.

Ronaldo record nears

The Madeiran born footballer now stands on the very edge of breaking another record, having equalled the legendary Raul’s record of total goals for Real Madrid after a brace in the Champions League mid-week. The slight difference is that it took Raul 741 games to score his 323 goals, whilst it has it has taken CR7 only 308. At the same time the 30 year-old took his total number of professional goals past the 500 mark.

Meanwhile Ronaldo has strongly denounced a story printed in the “Correio da Manhã  on Wednesday that he has been harassing a young American girl using social media. The “Morning Post”, published in Lisbon, is described by Wikipedia as a newspaper specialising in “crime, scandals and attention-grabbing headlines”.


Sunday sees the Portuguese legislative election, with all 230 seats up for grabs. The ruling centre-right coalition of the Social Democratic Party and the Democratic and Social Centre–People’s Party, led by Pedro Passos Coelho, is seeking re-election to a second term in office. There are 20 electoral constituencies within the Republic, including the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores which elect one Assembly Member each. A further two members are elected by Portuguese nationals residing in Europe and those elsewhere in the world, leaving 226 seats to be decided on the mainland according to the population of the constituencies.

Weather Warning

The Portuguese Met Office (IPMA) have issued a yellow warning for what is forecast to be a rainy and windy weekend – particularly on Sunday afternoon. As usual conditions are expected to be worse inland and on the north coast.

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