Olympic start, Buses in debt, Shark panic, Unemployment down, and other snippets.

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Tobi … a pair of colourful parrots, residents at the Botanical Gardens near Funchal   Front Page News : source : Diário de Notícias 8/8/2008   Lead headline : “Everybody for the ‘Bird’s Nest’ for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. It happens today at 13h08 Portugal time”. Old news by the time you read this, but I thought it was an odd start time, and then it occurred to me maybe they wanted more 08’s to add to the date 08/08/08, being that 1pm here is 8pm in China. I hear that the number 8 is a lucky number in China.   The yellow bus company ‘Horários do Funchal’ made a loss of €3.1 million last year, compared to a loss in 2006 of €987,000. It blames debt servicing, as well as rising costs and wages for the poor figures. It purchased 5 million litres of diesel to operate it’s fleet. I think you can probably guess what the next headline about the company will be … no prizes though.   In Portugal, 2 Brazilian robbers who held up a branch of BES bank in Lisbon took 6 hostages. Police took control of the situation killing one of the robbers and seriously wounding the other with snipers, and the hostages were rescued pretty much unharmed.   Other News :   The sea at Funchal had some pollution problems during July, but tests undertaken in the last week or so have shown clean water, rated as ‘good’.   Young Madeiran students in the field of medicine are opting to go to Spain, the UK, and eastern Europe to take courses, believing that the quality of the courses is better than they can find in Portuguese universities.   A Hammer-head shark spotted at Reis Magos (Caniço) caused some panic amongst bathers on Thursday afternoon, with everyone making a quick exit from the water. The shark was spotted by a windsurfer who warned the bathers. Someone who knows about such things said that such sightings are frequent and that there is no record of attacks on bathers.   The regional secretary of Human Resources, Brazão de Castro, reaffirmed yesterday that “unemployment in Madeira suffered an increase in the last few years, but has signs of stabilization and of some diminution”. There were 8,838 unemployed in January of this year, decreasing to 8,247 at the end of July. *** WARNING … Politician Statistics ***

That’s it for a rather quiet news day!

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