(2nd June). The main news headline and main front page photo for today : ‘Sexo À Solta / Sex On The Loose – Despite of extra police effort in Funchal downtown, the prostitution resists. Sex acts in public and the gossip staining the image destination. The indignation is already spreading on the internet’. The picture shows a young lady approaching a car driver in his vehicle at night. Police patrols are forcing constant movement of those involved in prostitution, as they move on prostitutes and customers when they see them, but the intervention lasts just a few minutes. In truth they have just spread out the prostitutes onto more streets, and they are now more wise to dodging police patrols. On one of the most well know travel websites worldwide ‘tripadvisor.com’ the area is identified and criticised as being a point of open prostitution at night and until the early hours of the morning. "This may start to attract tourists who come looking for attractions other than those that Madeira has always been known for offering", warns a hotel manager who asked to remain anonymous for fear of acts of revenge. "I am not for or against prostitution. Every one knows about it, but they must understand that they are damaging the lives of people and business" he says. The main streets involved now are ruas da Carreira, Alegria, Major Reis Gomes and Brito Câmara. A local resident says that prostitution now involves youngsters, male and female, saying "it is the crisis is driving these people to subject themselves to these things". The Diário calls it a cat and mouse game, and reading the stories from the streets in the articles, that sums it up nicely. It seems strange covering this after several years of reading the newspapers, with the subject almost never mentioned, but in just the space of a week it has become front page news. Maybe the police are not inexperienced in dealing with this or someone just hasn’t thought it through, but the authorities must be naive for sure, because you can’t just speak to someone and tell them to stop doing their normal job, and it’s pretty obvious they are going to carry on somewhere and somehow with more care and cunning. All this clamp-down has achieved is front page and unwanted internet coverage for something undesirable, but now for more than one reason.
‘Generic Medicines Free For 6% – Just 3,461 Madeira pensioners benefit from the new regime that entered in force yesterday’. From yesterday certain generic medicines became free for pensioners who are on income below the national minimum wage. The new measure only applies to doctors prescriptions for holders of the health service medical card. Because of some communication problems some pharmacies were unable to implement the new measures on time, but it should all be resolved very soon. This was an initiative from national government, so applies to all of Portugal.
‘Children Invade The Market – The show united around 380 children from several Funchal schools’. Dancing, musical moments, and theatrical animation, marked the International Day of the Child. The stands of fruit and vegetables in the Mercado dos Lavradores (Funchal Fruit Market) became the stage and props for all sorts of acts, in an initiative organised by Funchal Council.
Lots of coverage about the missing French Airbus yesterday and today, but you can get these on any TV news station, so I won’t cover this.
‘Adjudication Contested – Rebuilding of the Marítimo stadium in Barreiros : Consortium led by AFA goes ahead with objection’. The tender process and result did not please all interested parties, but the work on redeveloping the football stadium is to proceed, but it may all end up in court.
(1st June). ‘500 Kilos Of Support Delivered To SPAD – School children mark Day Of The Child with a campaign to help’. It was the idea of a teacher at the school Externato Júlio Dinis, which involved the entire school of around 100, resulting in 500 kilos of animal feed being delivered to the Society for the Protection of Domestic Animals yesterday.
A man fell around 10 metres on his way home from a drinking binge, near Levada dos Tornos. He suffered light injuries after the fall just a few meters from the house where he lives. He had to be rescued by seven firemen, after locals raised the alarm, and was taken to hospital in Funchal. One of those ironies of life : if he hadn’t been drunk, he probably wouldn’t have fallen, and if he hadn’t been drunk he would probably have suffered far greater injuries.
The Navy / National Maritime Authority will undertake, on 5th June, off the Ponta de Garajau and along Garajau beach, an exercise to combat sea pollution by oil, and a sea rescue. Named ‘MERO 2009’, the exercise will work around the scenario of a collision between a cruise ship, played by the Porto Santo Ferry, and a sand dredger (I think) played by a Portuguese Navy frigate. The simulation will include the evacuation of wounded passengers, as well as containment and treatment of the oil pollution. Other ships will also be involved, including a Galp oil tanker.
‘Scary Increase – In the first four months of this year 85 abortions were recorded on Madeira’. That compares to 52 registered in the same period in 2008. The clinical director of the Regional Health Service considers this one of the reasons for the downward trend in birth rates on Madeira and Porto Santo Island, with 544 births during the same four months, compared to 622 last year. "Women do not get pregnant because there are inadequate economic conditions" he said, alluding that the crisis is the reason given by parents for not starting or increasing families, "There are now couple who at this moment of hard times turn away from the prospect of putting another child in the world, where money is short and there is now means to sustain one". Another source states that 25 to 30 years ago, there were 5,000 children born on Madeira every year, and that has now dropped to less than 3,000. According to my maths it is well short of 2,000.