Cultural budget cut, UFO over Porto da Cruz, Ponta do Sol grows, & other snippets

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Tobi … a striking combination of dark clouds and sunshine.

Please send in any nice Christmassy photos you have to share with everyone who is not here to see the festive season on Madeira.

Front Page News : source Diário de Notícias 22/11/2008

Football is back on the front page, with the 91st ‘Series Madeira’ starting yesterday and continuing today … enough said!

The Regional Directorate for Cultural Matters (DRAC) has had it’s budget cut of over 50% as a result of reductions in the state budget for 2009. That means a severe cutback on cultural and heritage events and projects. The €6.4 million budget for this year will be replaced by just €2.8 million next year. Other funding is available but it is in a shared pot, or has been allocated for a specific purpose. I think this directorate covers museums, art etc, so I don’t think it will affect carnival, festa, Xmas and new year celebrations etc. In fact I am sure it won’t with 3 elections to be held next year.

The President of the Association of Portuguese Banks, João Salgueiro, who is over here for a speaking engagement with the Diário, has said that Portugal’s companies suffer from a severe problem … lack of productivity. Low performance levels by the Portuguese workforce are ensuring that businesses are finding it hard to be competitive.

Young recently qualified nurses who were promised jobs in the health service have not been recruited, and are ending up working in Pingo Doce and Wortens. The government department responsible has failed to open up vacancies. At present the number in service is 1,700, with an ideal level being between 2,300 and 2,500.

I already mentioned yesterday that the taxi drivers in Funchal decided to have an impromptu protest on Friday, blocking Avenida do Mar with a slow ‘march’ and making a right racket with their horns. Officially the protest was about the ‘disloyal’ competition from private transport companies picking up the tourists from the cruise ships. Police were called in to try and restore normality.

Other news :

It seems that teachers here, who already have their blanket performance assessment ratings of ‘good’, are still going to support the national movement against these evaluations. The teachers union on Madeira says it expects a strong turn-out on the day of the national strike, scheduled for 3rd December.

A bit of excitement in Porto da Cruz on Friday afternoon when several people saw a white unidentified flying object  plunge into the sea about a mile off the coast, leaving a plume of smoke behind it. Maritime Police were called to investigate but found nothing, and the airport control tower reported that there was nothing abnormal detected. The other large white object that leaves a trail of cigar smoke  was spotted safe and well in Funchal the same night … just in case anyone was concerned.

Two German hang-glider enthusiasts were ditched into the sea at Madelena do Mar on Friday after venturing out, against advice, in strong winds. They were rescued by a nearby fishing boat, and one was taken to hospital after swallowing large amounts of sea water.

One of the levada muggers mentioned on yesterdays blog has been detained in preventative prison, whilst the other two have been released, subject to reporting in regularly at a police station.

‘Road Crossing’s Responsible for 38% of People Getting Run Over’. That’s the title, and the article states that of the 182 people knocked down so far this year, 69 took place on ‘passadeiras’ (zebra crossings). The Diário blames the pedestrians for being impatient and without prudence, which is probably true on the light controlled ones. I am not so sure on the others, because does anyone actually understand the official protocol for using one? I don’t. If I wait on the pavement, invariably no one stops, if I put a foot on the crossing invariably no one stops. If I walk out into the road in front of a moving car, then they stop, well most of the time anyway.

Ponta do Sol village is about to grow by 33,000 square metres. The growth will take place in the north, at a cost of €5 million for works. The new development will eventually have a connection to the new ‘fast road’ to Canhas, a new police station, and a new school. I should think the police will be very happy … I wouldn’t want to work in the old police station even if they paid danger money, and maybe that is why they are always so active in road traffic operations.

The Left Block (BE) party has delivered to the Regional Assembly of Madeira a proposal to create a support centre for the treatment of Madeira’s 30,000 alcoholics. At present the only place help is available is at the Casa de Saúde in São João. The idea will be rejected for sure, as it didn’t come from the social democrats (PSD-M), so the only reason for mentioning it is the number involved. 30,000 is 12% of the population here, so I really can’t believe that is true. Perhaps they count part time alcoholics, as I think I know a few of them?

The Porto Santo ferry will drop all together its fuel surcharges, from 1st December. The surcharge rules used are removed once the price of a barrel of petroleum drops below 80 dollars.

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4 thoughts on “Cultural budget cut, UFO over Porto da Cruz, Ponta do Sol grows, & other snippets”

  1. anyone know where you can buy roller sun blinds like you get outside of cafes etc over the outside seating, but smaller? Perhaps the new DIY place that opened last month? Thanks
    –Der

  2. It's freezing in south east England…bit of snow this am but very little. Hope you are all nice and warm over there!! There was a mention on the blog a week or two ago about a bus trip to see the Christmas lights round Funchal. Anyone know where it will go from/to.
    –karen

  3. Hi Karen , i think its the FUNchal buses that will be doing the christmas light trips , so as long as you have your ticket , you can get on and off when ever you please on the stops round the city.

    pretty chilly here today , the coldest ive been for a good while.

    Cant help you with a blind Der, but will ask around, maybe Casa Antonio in funchal.

    Glad to hear you didnt drink to much last nite Elaine, i bet your feeling better for it Today.

    –Tobi

  4. It's definately the Funchal Sightseeing Tours that do the trips, but they might be part of the Funchal bus company. I couldn't find a website for them anyway.
    –Der

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