TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Tobi … just to prove the point that white peacocks do exist (Botanical Gardens, Funchal). And according to a bit of internet research, so do albino peacocks … watch this space as I watch the youngster grow (if the cats don’t get it).
Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 5/7/2008
In what I suppose might be termed ‘happy slapping’ in some countries, the first cases I have seen reported of similar occurrences have taken place here on Madeira. A mixed group of youngsters (aged between 12 and 16) have been identified by police as having committed acts against younger children and old people, with the aim of humiliating them. Occurrences have taken place in both Funchal and Santa Cruz, that a police spokesman has described as “practice of several illicit actions qualified by the law as crime, namely offences to the physical integrity, mischief and defamation”. The gang prepared a mixture of chemical substances, potentially toxic, and threw them over more vulnerable victims, filming the event on mobile phone cameras and posting them on Youtube on the internet for all to see (the Diário actually has one such film to view on it’s website). The victims were approached in parks, school enclosures, and leisure areas, and ended up with damage to clothing and other personal property, with other reports of vandalism of public property. What a disgrace, and slur to the generally fine reputation of the children of Madeira. Another ‘import’ of a sick youth culture that we could well do without. If they try it with me their mobile phones will be going where the sun don’t shine!
An initiative introduced in 2001 to improve the eating habits of school children is already revealing positive results, through the provision of ‘healthy’ buffets. In with sandwiches, cereals, fruit, and yogurts, and out with the snacks, cakes and sweets. Monitoring has shown a big increase in the consumption of yogurts and sandwiches. I have noticed, and I don’t know if anyone else agrees (and I have certainly read about it in the newspaper), but the problem of obesity is increasing here not reducing, so a pat on the back for selling more healthy foods is not really deserved if children are still sourcing the unhealthy stuff elsewhere on top of what they get through their schools.
Other News :
The medical centre in Câmara de Lobos is so overworked and understaffed without sufficient doctors, the Diário reckons that people are turning up earlier and earlier to get seen. It suggests that to get seen reasonably quickly you need to get up at 4 in the morning, but then cites a case of a woman who arrived at 4.30am and had still not been seen 6 hours later!
It seems that a change in policy with the payment of pensions is causing some problems at post offices (CTT / Correios). The queues are pretty bad at the beginning of the month anyway, but the change in policy this month meant that all the pension payments were issued in the first 3 days of June, instead of the first 5 as usual (reason given: because of the postmen going on holiday). Matters are not being helped by the fact that travellers entitled to the residents rebate (between Madeira and Portugal), now have to claim the rebate at the CTT.
In a tedious political argument that you probably don’t really want to know about, it is alleged that the yellow bus company ‘Horários do Funchal’ achieves just an 18% average in passenger occupation of available seats, but doesn’t care because the government subsidises the company and its inefficiencies. As someone who sees a country bus service that does not serve the outer communities so well in terms of availability, times, and frequency of service (outside the main towns that is), then if true this is clear proof of a ‘two speed island’, as well as an abuse of taxpayers money.
Requests for bankruptcy have gone up 36% in the first half of this year, compared to 2007.
An analysis of construction plans gives a forecast of 600 million tons of cement needed in 2009, beating previous records, even those in 2004 when the European funding was in its peak years. I hope that much cement will be evenly spread, otherwise Madeira might tilt!
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