Dengue “not compatible” with Madeira.

An unusually short blog, but for once good news – so can’t wait to share it! Very important news for an island that depends almost exclusively on tourism for its future.

Madeira com baixa probabilidade de alojar dengue

UK investigators, including some from the University of Oxford, have concluded that Madeira has “climatic cycles incompatible with the dengue virus”. The discovery, published this month in a scientific magazine, was made ​​after the outbreak that occurred in the archipelago in 2012, when it infected more than two thousand people.

According to the authors, sufficient tropical temperatures are not present in Madeira in the colder months, and this interferes with the ability of the dengue virus to reproduce inside the mosquito. They conclude therefore that “the island has a natural defence against the sustainability of the virus in the territory – which would have been the determining factor in the end of the 2012 epidemic in December of that year”.

The dengue outbreak in Madeira was the first long-term epidemic in Europe, becoming an event of great importance both locally and to the rest of the continent (81 cases were “exported” from the island). The World Health Organization estimates that about 3.5 billion people live in countries already affected or at risk of being affected by dengue, a virus that is transmitted by mosquito bites.

Another report in the United States, also published in the last few days agrees with the findings, but issues a warning to the health authorities not to become complacent, stating: “Using key estimates, together with local climate data, we further propose that there is little support for dengue endemicity on this island, but a high potential for future epidemic outbreaks when seeded between May and August—a period when detection of imported cases is crucial for Madeira’s public health planning”. http://tinyurl.com/oee97hl

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Ash cloud on horizon? 3 sailors rescued. Ferry petition. Caniço food festival. More hot weather.

A repeat of the disruption to air travel in 2010 is becoming more of a possibility as seismic activity is reported to be increasing again in Iceland. The BBC report this morning that Iceland has issued a red alert to their domestic aviation industry due to the Bardarbunga volcano, meaning significant ash emissions are likely. The Icelandic Met Office has warned that a small eruption under an ice cap has begun at Bardarbunga. The air space over the site has been closed, but all Icelandic airports currently remain open, authorities say.

Pleasure boat sinks

Auxiliary boat, mobile and very-light 'save' three castaways who have returned to land about two hours later.  Photo Rui Silva / ASPRESSLate on Thursday night the Navy rescued three crew members of a pleasure craft that had sunk between Madeira and the Desertas. All three were reported to be in good condition, with one having a minor leg injury. They were found adrift in a small inflatable dinghy, about four miles from Deserta Grande, after dialling 112 from a mobile phone. Apparently, smaller craft (this was a “Recreational Vessel Type 4” – whatever that is) are allowed to sail between Madeira and Porto Santo under the rules of a regional decree, as they are always within 12 miles of one or the other coastline.

Ferry petition

Carlos Pereira diz que se o Governo e o PSD aprovarem a proposta do PS em Setembro, a concessão avança rapidamente.I have been asked by a reader to remind other readers of the on-going petition for the re-instatement of the ferry link to the mainland. The petition is here: http://tinyurl.com/q7pamd3 and there is also a facebook page: http://tinyurl.com/mbs72me

By a complete coincidence yesterday’s Diario carried a story on the same subject, reporting that the parliamentary leader of the PS-M believes it is possible to have a new sea route between Madeira and the mainland operating at the beginning of next year. In May his parliamentary group submitted a proposal to discuss the matter, which apparently became bogged down in a backlog of other propsals, but it is now hoped that it can be brought forward to the first plenary of the next legislative session in early September, when MPs return.

Gastronomia do Caniço

Gastronomy of Reed

The village of Caniço hosts its annual showcase of “gastronomic delights” from the 27th to the 31st of August. This is promoted by the local parish council (Junta de Freguesia do Caniço) in partnership with some restaurants and bars in the area, and features various groups / musical bands. Details on their Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/freguesiadocanico

Facebook

Image result for facebookSpeaking of Facebook pages, the blog has launched a new page – if anybody wants to add to it feel free! There have been a couple of half-heated previous attempts over the last few years and it was felt that a new start was required – unfortunately we have had to discard 500+ friends in the process! There is now a “Like” button on the right sidebar of the blog, and we hope to add one to each post when the technology gremlins have gone away.

More hot weather

The month of August will become hotter in the coming days. According to the forecasts of IPMA (the Portuguese “Met Office”) temperatures expected for the South Coast, North Coast and Porto Santo have placed these three regions under yellow alert due to the “persistence of high maximum temperatures” at least until tomorrow (Monday).

Estrada Monumental update

Looks like things are finally moving on the “new” old road between the Lido and Ajuda. We finally have a road surface and the beginning of some landscaping Thanks to David for these photos taken over the weekend:

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Tour bus bust-up. Portugal deflation. 8 hotels insolvent.

The Diario is reporting an ugly bust-up between the drivers of a tourist bus and an off-road jeep after one blocked access to the popular Pico do Facho viewpoint above Machico (opposite) yesterday. The tour companies concerned are actually named in the article, together with registration number of the vehicle involved, The drivers apparently became involved in “severe verbal and physical aggression”, much to the alarm of 100 or so tourists reported to be at the mirador at the time. The police were called to the incident, which is hardly the best way to promote this generally most peaceful of holiday locations. Perhaps the tourist authorities should talk to these (presumably licensed) companies?

Portugal trade deficit and deflation

A gardener walks past a wall with graffiti that reads, Portugal recorded the fifth largest trade deficit in the 28-member European Union between January and May, with a negative balance of €4.1 billion in international trade according to Eurostat today. Meanwhile the Telegraph reports that “Portugal has crashed into deep deflation……..markets were stunned by the sudden fall in Portugal’s inflation to -0.7 in July, from -0.2pc the month before”. Portugal’s public debt has jumped from 94pc to 129pc of GDP in three years. Full article here: http://tinyurl.com/pt5wstm

“Astronomy of Summer 2014”

The non profit making Amateur Astronomers Association of Madeira has organised three free sessions this week under the initiative “Astronomy of Summer 2014”
The first is tomorrow (20th) between 21:30 and 1:00 a.m. at Cais do Funchal (the main pier on the seafront), followed on Friday, May 22, at the same times, at Promenade do Caniço, and Saturday, again at the same times. at  Chão da Lagoa , next to the north gate; These activities are targeted at a wide audience:  www.astronomiamadeira.net .

Eight hotels insolvent

Hotel Monumental Road should be completed in 2008 but is still in the 'skeleton'.  Most likely it is offered for sale.  PHOTO? JOAN? SOUSA / ASPRESSFollowing the demise of the Golden Gate and the Yacht Bar, the Diario reported last week that eight hotels on the island are insolvent, after Millennium BCP requested the insolvency of the company that owns the Madeira Palacio, due to accumulated debts of € 114 million. It is another episode in the impasse that has fallen in the work of renovation and expansion of the five-star hotel on the Estrada Monumental which should have been completed in 2008. The documentation shows that the two parties failed to reach agreement on funding for the completion of works. After judicial confirmation of the insolvency the most likely path is the company’s liquidation and sale of the property. This hotel  opened in 1972 by American owners. Two years later it passed to a Portuguese company, hand was then sold in 2005 to Fibeira group, financed by BCP. At the end of the following year, the Madeira Palace closed for restoration and the construction of 112 new luxury apartments (Madeira Palace Residences). In November 2008 the works stopped for lack of funding. In April 2011, the bank give sufficient credit to finish the Madeira Palace Residences. In late 2012, the 112 apartments went on sale but became bogged down in a dispute – Fibeira apparently intended to sell the flats separately, while the BCP would rather sell them together with the hotel.
The Madeira Palacio is the eighth large or medium sized hotel to be the target of an insolvency proceeding or revitalization (pre-bankruptcy) courts in the region over the past two years. All have financial difficulties in common, with combined debts of more than € 227 million. However, the Palacio is the biggest in monetary terms. According to the Diario the other seven units involved in insolvency proceedings / revitalization since 2012 are: Regency Club, Regency Palace, Choupana Hills, The Lince, Quinta Jardim da Serra, Hotel Paul do Mar and Hotel Santa Catarina. The main creditors are BCP and BES. The Eden Mar is not included as incorrectly reported in other places (Editors note: Clarification 21.8.14 - It has been subsequently established that the “Hotel Mar” referred to previously is definitely not the Eden Mar – thanks to readers for clarifying this! Apologies if the blog has impugned the reputation of this successful hotel in any way).

Note: Sincere apologies to the Pestana Group – one of their hotels was mentioned in the original version of this blog in place of the Choupana Hills – this error has been corrected now.

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