Tag Archives | funchal central hospital

Pongy duck pond ; Unwanted loopaper costs us all €16 per year ; Duck pond a stinking

Today’s photo – Many thanks to Pete … Ship in Funchal harbour Wednesday 3rd February

madeira news blog 1002 pete ship in funchal harbour wednesday 3rd februaryThanks a lot for Becky for coming up with a few more web snippets for our enjoyment. These two are very nicely written, and well worth a visit :

“The natural beauty of the place really is staggering though unfortunately, many visitors don’t get to appreciate all that the island has to offer. Too many remain in the capital, Funchal, and delighted by its pretty cobbled streets, gorgeous gardens and stunning situation fail to venture into the rugged interior. Those who do will be rewarded by towering mountains, breathtaking views and a taste of rural life that has hardly changed over the past century. What a refreshing change from the usual hurly-burly of life in London!” ONE FOR THE GOURMETS

“The wheels were lowered. The plane was coming in to land. And yet, from the window, all we could see was a fast-approaching mass of blue. Unless an aircraft carrier made a last-ditch appearance on the scene we were all going to get very wet. I nervously made a mental note of the location of my lifejacket. The Portuguese girl in the seat next to me dug her Nancy Dell’Olio nails into my arm. Then miraculously, at the very last, Madeira sprang out beneath us. A tiny porcupine of an island, each of its rocky prongs holding a spectacular viewpoint on its tip. The plane of passengers burst into spontaneous applause.” THIS IS NOTTINGHAM

Many thanks to Elaine for this whopping contribution from yesterday’s news top stories :

DIÁRIO 09/02/2010


Pollution of the pond of Lugar de Baixo. This is "an untapped potential", according to the environmental agency Quercas. The Lagoa do Lugar de Baixo is a unique coastal habitat for migratory birds from the North Atlantic. Yet it is polluted with rubbish and has not been cleaned for five years. The proposed environmental education centre lacks facilities and is only half used. In 2005, a group of students from Ponta do Sol removed 19 bags of rubbish.  A guide to the birds that visit the pond was published by the DRA but there has been little other work on this area of 3,500 square metres which is one of the main points for bird watching in the region. The Regional Director of the Environment explained that the protocol with the local offices of Tourism,  Environment and the Society for the Development of the West Point (SPDO) was not realized. He said it is the latter who own the area and they must make the first move. The pond is polluted by both rubbish deposited by humans and rotting vegetation. The local council know about the degradation and the mayor said he had already contacted the DRA about a joint cleaning operation. The DRA recognize the importance of the area as a place of ecological sensitivity but deny responsibility for the management or cleaning of the area and state the responsibility belongs to the owners SPDO. Eight years ago, Quercus made a 46 page report on the environmental restoration of the area and proposed that a frequent analysis of the water quality was needed. Obviously, this has fallen on ‘deaf ears’.

Left Bloc takes the Jornal da Madeira to the Committee at São Bento. The extensive debate on the Portuguese media, specifically any pressure from the Government of the Republic and schemes to control the media, takes place shortly in the Assembly of the Republic and will include the ‘case’ of Madeira. All opposition parties require clarification by José Sócrates on issues related to some media, in particularly any attempt to purchase TVI by PT, the end of ‘Jornal de Sexta’ of Manuela Moura Guedes, the case of Público and  recent controversy involving the journalist Mário Crespo.The Left Bloc has promised to forward a request for a parliamentary inquiry into the situation of the media in Madeira, in particular the Jornal da Madeira. The Left Bloc (BE) is limited at a regional level as it has only one deputy and cannot ask for a parliamentary inquiry. Pressure on journalists and media companies and the situation of Jornal da Madeira, owned wholly by the Regional Government, are some of the things that over the years, the opposition have denounced in Madeira. Recently, in the Assembly of the Republic, the CDS raised the issue of unfair competition caused by the Jornal da Madeira receiving several millions of Euros per year from the Regional Government.


Carnival maintains 2009 funding but attracts fewer tourists. Current forecasts indicate 10% fewer tourists – 62% – than 2009 but the budget is still 350,312 Euros. The decrease is thought to be because the Carnival is early this year, whereas last year it was at the end of the month. A manager of the hotel sector, António Trindade, said that over the past three or four years, the hotels have been practically full. They must concentrate on the traditional British market in future years, as there are no new emerging markets. The Carnival events are being increased this year with a new Carnival attraction on Sunday. Friday is children’s day, 1,100 taking part in the ‘Carnaval das Crianças’ between 10.30 – 12.00 at the Placa Central da Avenida Arriaga . Between 15.00 – 17.30 along the Avenida Arriaga, ‘Carnaval Solidário’ has 200 participants, followed by a party in the Jardim Municipal, organized by the Association for Community Development. On Saturday evening, 1,095 take part in the main parade, ‘Cortejo Alegórico’, which starts at 21.00. There will be fireworks ten minutes beforehand at the Parque de Santa Catarina. The OCM plays at the Praça do Município from 22.00. A new parade on Sunday between 21.00 – 23.00, ‘Carnaval das Avenidas’ (Carnival of the Avenues), involves three of the groups that participate on Saturday: ‘ Fura Samba’, ‘Caneca Furada’ and ‘Os Cariocas’. There will be one group performing at each of the following locations: central area of Avenida Arriaga near the Sé, in front of the Regional Secretariat of Tourism and the Pier. This new idea is to act as a bridge between the main event and the following Tuesday’s ‘Cortejo Trapalhão’ which starts at 16.00. Program on the official Tourism site in five languages.

Carnival with varied agenda at various locations in the region. The Carnival parade in São Vicente takes place at 10.30 on Friday 12 February, taking the theme International Year of Biodiversity. Participating are all the local schools, social services institutions and day centres. After the procession, the council has prepared a variety show in the Municipal Gardens.

Vandalism and arson at Santo António. Early yesterday morning, vandalism and an alleged arson attack on two trucks caused more than 100,000 Euros of damage. The one that was vandalized had the windows broken and the interior ransacked and the other had the front tyres set alight. This is possibly linked to another suspected arson attack. A fire broke out at the Complexo Desportivo do Marítimo, an infrastructure to support the youth and veterans of the football club. Damage was not as bad as first expected; damaged electrical wiring, paintings, aluminium and glass.

LREC and Meteorology interested in partnership. The Regional Laboratory of Civil Engineering and the Institute of Meteorology of Madeira are interested in forming a partnership to study the climate and landscapes of the region.They would combine data from the weather stations and automatic monitoring stations of LREC to help prevent natural disasters.


Free JM costs each Madeiran 16 Euros. The media agency Lusa has calculated that every year, each person in Madeira ‘pays’ 16 Euros for the Jornal da Madeira. Lusa arrived at this conclusion by dividing the four million Euros that each year the Executive transfers to the Jornal da Madeira by the population size of 255,000. The newspaper also receives advertising revenue. It is distributed free to some outlets. The published opinions are all assigned to the PSD and the Government. These complaints have also gone to the Competition Authority and the EU. In comparison, every Portuguese resident subsidises the three state-run media channels: RTP, RDP and Lusa by less than 15 Euros each year. Most of the money transferred from the State Budget goes to RTP which has a number of public channels: RTP1, RTP2, Madeira, Azores, International, Africa and RTPN.

BE protest against millions to Barreiros. The Left Bloc has calculated that the 31 million Euros the Regional Government will spend on the remodelling of the Estádio dos Barreiros would create about 1,100 jobs in the region, a decrease of almost 8% in the number of unemployed. This justifies a protest vote in the Legislative Assembly against the "waste" in the construction of the stadium of Clube Sport Marítimo. This would be a significant number of jobs at a time when the region has more than 14,000 unemployed and companies are going through a serious crisis. For the BE deputy, the Government has shown "not to be socially and politically serious or responsible in defining their priority areas for action."

Coelho accuses the judges of being "subservient". José Manuel Coelho, (PND) compares the courts of the Region to the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil in the 1960s. He says the judges "persecute" the democrats. "The judges are not independent and are subservient to the jardinista regime." In the court case of the PND directors of the journal Garajau, Coelho accuses the Government of defamation. At issue are the texts in the journal that accuse the lawyer Cunha e Silva of being a legal advisor to the Port of Funchal and not declaring this income to the Constitutional Court. Coelho accuses the Government of abusing taxpayers’ money to pay the lawyer Garcia Pereira to defend Cunha e Silva when it is a case of "personal issues". Garcia Pereira is one of the most expensive lawyers in the country, receiving 5,000 Euros every time he comes to Madeira, at a time when there are plenty of unemployed local lawyers.


Madeira guarantees the State more IVA than claimed. The Minister of Finances said that Madeirans pay less tax, IVA (VAT), than the rest of the Portuguese, used for political opportunism by Alberto Jardim. The rate of IVA is 30% less in Madeira and the Azores than the mainland, but Teixeira dos Santos left out the fact that this reduction only applies to consumers and not the companies that import goods and services that are consumed in the region. These reductions in the Azores and Madeira are allowed by the EEC and are designed to compensate for the higher transport costs of imports to autonomous regions. In his speech, Teixeira dos Santos hinted that Madeira is prejudicing the Portuguese taxpayer. Yet the State receives revenue from purchases that are bought in Portugal then imported to Madeira. The State also benefits from Portuguese telecommunication firms and banks based in the Free Zone. Madeirans generate more revenue; the income per capita (per person), without compensation from the State, is 33% higher than the Azores. The Azores benefit from a compensation of 471 Euros per capita whereas Madeira receives only 172 Euros, to compensate for IVA generated in the Region but not paid on the Continent. The income per capita is higher in Madeira than the Azores because of income generated by tourism and the higher cost of living. With a PIB (GDP) 45% higher than the Azores, the IVA revenue of Madeira is 35% higher than the Azores. — Usual spurious arguments as they are not comparing like-for-like: Continental Portugal, Azores and Madeira. No indications of the relative cost of living in all three areas.


Prime Minister denies giving directions to PT for the purchase of TV station. José Sócrates announced that PT had a "strategic intent" on buying TVI but this was totally beyond the control of the government. In Face Oculta, a case presently in the Portuguese courts, there is strong evidence that there was a plan involving the Prime Minister to control the TV station TVI. This case involves wiretapping to investigate allegations of corruption and economic crimes related to business enterprises of the State and private enterprises. There are 18 defendants.

Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias :

Man dies two hours after release from hospital -  A fall yesterday sent the sexagenarian to hospital. He was released yesterday, but he wanted to stay in as a hospital inpatient. But he returned to Campanário. A little later he died.

Controversy keeps 46 families without a home. Five years later, the Council of Santa Cruz and the Housing Institute discuss the Salão complex. And the works don’t go forward.

Intensive Care invade the AVC Unit. The hospital department that deals with stroke patients is taking in more inpatients from intensive care, than there are actual stroke inpatients. The Hospital of Dr. Nélio Mendonça, in Funchal, says "It’s a matter of priorities". The clinical director of the Health Service Region (SESARAM), Miguel Ferreira, explains that the situation is not new, but adds that it is a timing problem.

Today’s main news headline :  UNESCO Ambassador evaluates the ‘Rabaçal Case’ – The disagreement over the cable car project in the mountains moves on to a new stage : discussion between the opposing parties in front of the international representative. The trip to Madeira was to be low-key, but the opinion of the UNESCO representative will be decisive regarding the building of a cable car in the Laurissilva forest.  The ambassador and an inspector spent two days here trying to understand the scope and impact of the proposals, and why environmental groups were so against it and sent a petition with thousands of signatories. The visit was kept confidential, but it is known that on Monday the ambassador spent the day in the area of Rabaçal, along with officials representing the Natural Park, Forestry, and the Environment, as well as the company promoting the project.  The beautiful landscape that would be affected by the project is the subject of the main photograph on today’s front page, and if the UNESCO representative took one look at that they would for sure be thinking no, no, no! I really really hope the plan is shelved, and if it is it would be doing debt-ridden Madeira a real favour. This project will cost a small fortune that will surely never be recovered through tourism revenues. In fact I reckon the plan can only really still be in existence through the sheer stubbornness of Uncle Bertie’s pals, as the economic case against the project must have overtaken the environmental case long ago. 

The main sport / football headline today : Benfica ‘bury’ their rivals Sporting – Thrashed (4 – 1)  by the reds in Alvalade [Sporting’s stadium].

Winner of the Portugal Cup may not qualify for UEFA. Fifth place in the league will give access to Europe. If all goes to plan Porto will occupy the other place in the final against Benfica, but have to get past Académica first tonight (SIC 8.15 pm). As both the big teams will probably finish in the top five in the league, I doubt  whether they will really care about this method of entry to the Europa League, but should Académica pull off a miracle tonight … well then that would be a different story.

If anyone else can oblige with the translation of any of the ‘blank’ or sparsely filled headlines, or other news stories, here is the link. All contributions much appreciated.

If you can, please contribute something Madeira related. A funny story or good or bad experience, a news item, or a story from a Madeira newspaper, a photo or video, a teaser, news of a bargain flight or item in a supermarket. Please help keep this blog going … without user contributions it won’t survive. Please don’t send in automatic translations (like Google translator) without checking them through and correcting them first, thanks.

You can email blog@madeira4u.com with any large contributions and photos / videos.


Please use the comments here for general chit-chat, or feel free to ask any questions … someone usually has an answer.

Continue Reading 15

Classical Orchestra homeless ; Adoption rate falling ; Pessimistic forecast until 2011

Today’s Photo Thanks to Elaine (out West) … The newest wind turbine at Paul da Serra

madeira news blog 0911 elaine sol newest wind turbine at Paul da Serra "We departed a very sunny Madeira at 18.00 as the sun was sinking accompanied by around 100 Cory’s Shearwater outside the harbour entrance. All the passengers on deck watching departure were treated to a fantastic sunset, complete with Green Flash!" I am impressed that anyone passing through Madeira would recognise a Cory’s Shearwater, it took me years to identify what they were, and now I call them Cagarras, the Portuguese name. MARINELIFE BLOGSPOT

I know there are one or two artists who follow this blog, so this should be a real treat from Ella du Cane, and for others who who might be more interested in the text from 1909 of Florence du Cane. This is an actual book, complete, with all the artwork, published in the beautiful format produced by A & C Black back in those days, with titled tissue guards for the plates. You can flip the pages using the buttons in the top right corner, or just let it flip them for you so you can sit back and watch.  The flowers and gardens of Madeira 

There are loads of other ‘Madeira’ books on that website as well, so worth bookmarking!

"Madeira a privileged place and an excellent luxurious destination. At only 1,5 hours of flight of Lisbon, Madeira it offers a warm reception, the happiness and friendliness of his people and the extraordinary beauty of his sceneries with multiple social, sports and cultural activities, they provide in any moment of the year an unbeatable ambience for the celebration of events, trips of incentives and conferences". A CHRISTMAS PLUG

Many thanks to Elaine (the one out West again) for sending in this article :

Classical Orchestra loses the Congress Centre. The Classical Orchestra of Madeira will no longer be able to perform from April at the Congress Centre, at least in its present form. The agreement concluded between the Pestana Group and the Regional Government for a period of three years which allowed the free use of space for training will not be renewed. The director of the Casino da Madeira, Carlota Cavaco, confirmed the news, but denied that the end of the partnership has anything to do with the controversial intervention of artistic director Rui Massena, adding that it was an agreement with the Government, not with the orchestra or with the Foundation. She said that the auditorium, with capacity for 600 tourists, is important for the Pestana Group, and for local events, shows which bring in tourists, and national and international conferences that are held there. The Pestana Group has invested six million Euros to keep the concession for another ten years.

The rest is from the normal Elaine (from the east I think?), with many thanks …

Father Borga at Christmas. On 12 December the Hospital’s Christmas show has many regional artists. The singing priest connected to the RTP ‘Praca da Alegria’ and SIC ‘Casos de Policia’ is the guest artist. The show is at the Forum Machico on the 12 December at 15.00. The authorities tried to book José Luis Borga last year but he was too busy as he is both a singer and a priest. He started playing the keyboards in a youth group with his brother, then played the viola and organ when at the Catholic University and won the 1983 Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Ancient Mariner’. He started his artistic career with his first album ‘Navigation’ which reached platinum status and his second disc was ‘Singing is Praying Twice’. The concert is especially designed for the elderly and hospital patients. The auditorium seats will be completely filled with users from residential homes, day care centres and patients.

ECM Christmas Drinks Campaign. The Empresa de Cervejas da Madeira (ECM) is having a Christmas delivery service to homes or businesses for individuals or companies. For example, if you want to order Coral beer, you can order an imperial machine, barrels and glasses and they will be delivered and collected, along with any bottles. They have a Christmas Products catalogue including wines from Portugal and Madeira, Madeira Wine and spirits. Ordering can be by phone.

Loja Diogos wine tasting well attended. About 500 people attended the 20th anniversary celebrations at the Hotel Four Views Baia. There were 20 producers with 99 different types of wines. The owners of the firm were surprised by the high number of people attending as well as 90 who stayed for the dinner that evening. Chefs from other hotels also attended who were finalizing their Christmas and New Year menus and wanted appropriate wines. It is a difficult time to sell wine, as customers prefer low prices, but there are many good wines at lower prices.

Members of the three major parties examine Jardim’s pessimistic forecast. In recent days, Jardim has repeatedly said that the next two years (until 2011) will be very difficult, saying cuts in funding, not only of the state budget, will force a rethink about better planning of the Government’s program which was presented in 2007. The leader of the PSD party, Jamie Filipe Ramos agreed and defended these ideas. He said it was inevitable that there would be a reduction in the money transferred from the Portuguese State as it had a decrease in tax revenues. He added that given these circumstances and constraints plus the difficult time for private investment, it is quite reasonable to be selective in public investment without losing the capacity to implement the Government’s programs. "It seems rather reasonable and even wise these days." Naturally, the opposition has a different view. The Socialist Party’s Carlos Pereira points out that it would require a "paradigm shift" and that Jardim and the PSD find external ‘scapegoats’ (Socialist Government in Portugal and recession) to try to evade its own responsibilities. He continued to say that the last two years were difficult and Jardim said he was going to resolve the problems and now after the elections, he says the next two will be. "It is a hoax, a lie sold to Madeira and now we are paying." He believes the plight of the regional economy started in 2000 when the region began to loose the pace of growth because it no longer had the capacity to invest and began to borrow significantly, to be paid by the regional budget. In addition, there was bad negotiation of EU funds. Lino Abreu, the CDS-PP member, believes the statements of Jardim show "a mood of some desperation." "We live in very difficult times and I agree when he says that 2010 will be the most difficult year since the crisis began in 2007." According to the Popular Democrat, "Madeira needs a new investment cycle, a new way of being in the economy. It is necessary to change the current paradigm, a vision and a strategy more focused on the regional economy, on economic factors and the key sectors that are still providing some jobs, like tourism. We need policies for the extraordinary special session in which we live."

Petition for abandoned animals. The ‘Greens’ are starting petitions in Funchal and Santa Cruz, the counties where the problem is greater.  They think the problem of abandoned animals cannot be solved by just goodwill and are against euthanasia, believing that sterilization is a better way to control the population of cats and dogs. They want two kennels to be set up and a more effective registration of domestic animals. They also want the kennels to have housing programs for vacation time in order to avoid abandoning pets during the holiday period. —- A Diário reader commented, how do you subscribe?

Ruckus at the hospital. The Rapid Intervention Brigade (BIR) of the police had to intervene last week to resolve a ruckus that started at the entrance of the Emergency Room of the Hospital Dr. Nelio Mendonca in Funchal. There had been a previous robbery attempt on an elderly couple by a young person and the violence came from the relatives of the victim who decided to take justice into their own hands. The youth was injured and went to the hospital to receive assistance but was again attacked inside the Emergency Room. The BIR calmed tempers and took the youth to the police headquarters.

Domestic violence in Porto da Cruz. After a divorce was granted, the ex-husband still insists on going to the house where his ex-wife and daughter live. The eldest son, worried because his mother lives in an isolated area of Porto da Cruz, has called the police and also reported the matter to the Commission for Children. The father goes to the house at night time and once attacked and frightened the daughter. Her 25 year old brother, who has lived with domestic violence for years, said his father flees before the police arrive and they conclude the ex-wife is fabricating the story. The complaints were first made in September and the father now gets drunk and takes friends to scare the mother and sister. He says his sister is scared and has difficulty at school. He has only heard promises but no action since he complained. The mother has asked for victim status at the police station, but they still say she imagines it as they have no evidence. The brother is married and cannot always be with his mother but is concerned for the safety of his mother and sister and does not know where else to ask for help and protection. 

Surfer in trouble between Jardim and Paul do Mar. A surfer was in trouble yesterday morning forcing the deployment of naval means of assistance. A Maritime Authority and a SANAS launch were sent but before arrival to the area, the surfer had managed to return to dry land, safe and well.

Bishop calls for inner reflection at the end of the liturgical year. The brothers Vicentinos organized an open-air mass which began with a procession from Caniço Church to the Statue of Cristo Rei at Garajau. There was a small stage at the statue which served as an altar for the celebration of the Eucharist, which was attended by seminarians and the Movement of Catholic Scouts. —- I saw the procession along the Estrada do Garajau. It was well attended and they were singing as they went along.

Christmas Gifts purchases awaiting the Christmas bonus. Purchases are limited to cheaper decorations, cookware gifts, pyjamas, slippers and children’s books. Larger electronic goods are being viewed but not sold. Some people are waiting for the Christmas sales. 8 – 24 December is traditionally the busy period.

IHM and squatters. On November 17th, the Diário reported that the IHM had 15 days to evict a family of five who were occupying social housing in Nazaré. The aunt had lived there for three years then was admitted to a nursing home and as the son had emigrated, he had no legal right to live there. The other family members illegally moved in. The IHM (landlord) will allow children and third parties to live in a place temporarily as long as there is no overcrowding, although the rent may increase depending on income. They cannot tolerate people who take advantage of someone with advancing age or disease problems, move in then consider it a fait accompli. They have several of these cases, along with ‘squatters’ returning after a divorce or economic hardship. They usually only resort to court proceedings for failure to pay the rent and since 1978, arrears have totalled nine million Euros. 803 tenants do not pay on time and 358 are complying with a payment plan.

24 children adopted this year. The majority are aged between four and six years. There are 19 other children in a situation of adoptability, all older than six years, and 97 couples or single women on the waiting list to adopt. It is more difficult to find suitable couples to adopt when the children are older and when there are siblings, one case is of three siblings and the social services do not want to separate them. Older children tend to end up in institutions, occasionally after a failed compulsory pre-adoption period. In 2010, there will be specific training for people wanting to adopt. There has been a decrease in the number of families for fostering, at present 30. No children are waiting for a family. There is to be an awareness campaign to increase the number. Currently, 73 children are being fostered and 9 were fostered this year.

Metropolitana and OPM use port areas and do not pay anything. The Court of Auditors is preparing an audit of APRAM (Ports Authority) and have concluded that the business model developed by the Regional Government adversely affects the public interest as there is under-capitalization. The company Metropolitana occupy the North Terminal and have not fulfilled a concessionary contract. Recently, the vice-president of the Regional Government has tried to raise revenue from the infrastructure. The Terminal dos Socorridos da Cimentos Madeira pay a fee to use the port at a value considered too low. The Auditors also question why the Government have not paid APRAM a concession for the area where the balloon was installed. They also want to know why the port operators OPM do not pay to use the ports. Although concessions are beneficial for the price of goods and services, the Court questions more than 70 of the licensing or concessions. The experts denounce the Region spending 240 million Euros on the ports, €190 million on Funchal, Porto Santo and Caniçal, the only ones with any commercial revenue, while APRAM was forced to spend another €53.7 million on small ports that do not generate any revenue. This has led to APRAM having a liability of €227 million and accumulated losses of €56.6 million.

Councils not creating advisory bodies in matters relating to youth policy. Porto Santo is the only exception, i.e. working within the law. The main reason given is that the recent elections have not allowed them to comply with the law. There are also financial constraints as the councils have to finance logistical and administrative support to the advisory bodies.

Police arrest 8 and seize 6 weapons. Special Crime Prevention Operation on Saturday night / Sunday morning in Câmara de Lobos, Ribeira Brava and Calheta. 7 arrests associated with driving while under the influence of alcohol and the eighth individual was arrested for possession of a prohibited weapon and receiving a stolen gold bracelet. 32 other individuals were identified. Searches of vehicles, people and premises resulted in the seizures of 6 weapons including an alarm gun, rattle (?), knife with an 11 centimetre blade, a 1 metre long baton and 2 pairs of scissors. There were 46 traffic offences and 12 violations of the law at 5 nightclubs. 65 police officers were involved.

Back to me (Der) :

The leading news headline from today’s Diário : Public Service Police victim of fraud investigate dentist – The police’s own social services bring an inspection team to Madeira because of medical bills with exorbitant charges. There is at least one dental practice in Funchal under investigation, where the 700 police here have special arrangements for dental treatment under a state protocol. The inspection will involve interviewing around 20 police officers who received treatment from the alleged fraudster. In question is that the treatment described on the bills submitted is considerably more elaborate than the treatment actually given, and the state (Ministry for Internal Administration) may have been ripped-off to the tune  of tens of thousands of Euros.  Ha, join the club! So it’s not just me. Expect to read in the next few days the headline ‘Dentist found lying in Funchal gutter after a good flossing’.

Not even the ‘sales’ help the hotel industry – ‘Full house’ for New year doesn’t soften the loses. Hotel bosses confirm that the tradition still goes on as always, but they say that it has gone bad. The principal hotels in Funchal and in Madeira are generally sold out for New Year, but it has been a bad year in terms of hotel occupation rates and that will still reflect in the financial results.

‘100 Biggest and Best’ disputed and awarded – Three invited guests participate in the conference. The consecration is today at 5 pm. Entrance is free. My personal favourite headline of the today, as it means we are almost at the stage where I won’t have to keep reading about it anymore for almost a year. Company news for the sake of it is boring, unless you own one of those companies of course, but I lost count of how many times the Diário gave front page coverage to their own little showpiece. The Diário even had the cheek to publish a supplement yesterday, Financial Times style, and while it might have been almost ‘red’ all over, I would bet my bottom Euro that it certainly wasn’t ‘read’ all over … anywhere.

This got headlined twice : The most sought after toys only for order – Games, films and dolls head the favourites lists. Many are already sold out. A month to go until Christmas and already there are toys sold out – Consoles, dolls, and toy cars lead the favourites list. Despite the crisis and with still a month to go until Christmas, some gifts can only now be acquired by advance ordering, as they are sold out on the shop shelves. Even then there are no guarantees they will be delivered in time for Xmas. One toy in case is the figure ‘Naruta’ in the ‘Brinca kids’ series, but the shops still display the publicity regardless. This year the trend continues as always, with girls preferring dolls including Nancy’s and Barbies, and boys prefer toy cars and figures such as Gormiti’s and Bionicle. No mention of ‘Action Man’, is he out of fashion these days? I had one once, but it was a cheap squeezy Chinese version with no moving parts … what an embarrassment. Every time my pals had a ‘action man get-together’, I had to pretend that my ‘action man’ was off sick. I think they called him the ‘out-of-action-man’ in the end.

… and finally : Ex-deputies (MPs) request ‘reintegration’ – Maximiano Martins may receive up to €30 thousand. Sérgio Marques studies his case. I can’t really be bothered to delve into such political stories, but from memory these were two Madeiran gentlemen ‘displaced’ by recent elections from political roles in the Portugal Republic.

If you can, please contribute something Madeira related. A funny story or good or bad experience, a news item, or a story from a Madeira newspaper, a photo or video, a teaser, news of a bargain flight or item in a supermarket. Please help keep this blog going … without user contributions it won’t survive. Please don’t send in automatic translations (like Google translator) without checking them through and correcting them first, thanks.

You can email blog@madeira4u.com with any large contributions and photos / videos.


Please use the comments here for general chit-chat, or feel free to ask any questions … someone usually has an answer.

Continue Reading 11

Camacha Apple Festival ; 2 sharks born in captivity ; Fatima statue on the move

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Tobi … This, according to Tobi, is the Porto Santo Wolf Spider. I actually wonder if it is a wind-up. Can anyone confirm? Talking of animals, you should take a look at this page of animal photos, all taken on Madeira, all taken by Tobi. YOU WILL BE SURPRISED

madeira news blog 1009 tobi porto santo wolf spider

I went to a bit of a do in Serra da Água Saturday night, but through lack of transport I decided to make the return journey on foot, thinking it was an hour or so at a brisk pace, which was actually far from the reality. Having got a little lost at the start of the town itself, which is a lot bigger than I thought, I stopped somebody to ask directions, and he ended up taking me the last couple of kilometres in his car. Then on the return walk, after about half an hour of walking, someone stopped and picked me up and took me home, but that was after buying me a beer en-route. What kindness and generosity indeed!

A couple of today’s main headlines :

The main news headline in today’s Diário : Pain Unit Without Resources – The lack of human resources and changes made in the field of work contribute to the reduction in capacity of the unit in Funchal Central Hospital. The unit should work with three full time anaesthesiologists, but for the last year has only had one. The monthly average of procedures carried out so far this year is 1,064, compared to nearly 1,500 in 2007 and 2008. The lack of trained staff and specialists means the unit has to turn to other specialists in the hospital for help, but that is not sufficient to fill the shortfalls.

The other main story continues from yesterday (see below) : Haemorrhage In Caniçal – Burst piping in the transfer of fuel oil leaks an undetermined quantity of spillage in the sea. The transporter was pumping fuel into the tanks of Companhia Logística de Combustíveis da Madeira (CLCM), when a union burst. The official opinion is that the spillage is not large, as the problem occurred at the end of the transfer, and teams were quickly on the scene to deal with the matter.


New Disappointment – Marítimo again falls by the wayside in the first round of the cup. Camacha and União continue in the competition. Marítimo managed a shock result yesterday in the Azores, losing 2 – 1 to lowly Santa Clara, in the Portugal Cup. The other two local União and Camacha teams won their games on Madeira and go on to the next round. Machico and Canicense also got knocked out.

Today is the big day for Portugal, who will learn their opponents in the 2010 World Cup play-offs, to be played on 14th and 18th of November. The home leg will be played in the Stadium of Light "Luz", the home of Benfica. Portugal are the clear favourite in FIFA rankings, whichever opponent they meet.

Yesterday’s top news stories, many thanks to Elaine :

Apple Festival to change date next year. On Saturday afternoon, there were few visitors to the festival in Camacha. There were 1,500 kilos of apples from 14 farmers for sale. The main interest to visitors was the traditional cider production/selling. The President of the Parish admits that the festival has been loosing strength in the past three years despite increased production and quality of apples. The organizers will attempt to revitalize the Apple Festival next year and by request of the producers, want to hold it in late September/early October as the apples mature early. They are hopeful that Sunday will bring more visitors. —-I hope they can resurrect the festival. Perhaps trade was better on Sunday afternoon. Did anyone go?

In comparison, they said that several hundred people took advantage of the sunny afternoon to attend the Regional Meeting of the Philharmonic Bands in Ribeira Brava. Yes I can confirm Elaine, lots of people there, as this event goes from strength to strength each year. This year seating was provided for everyone, and yet amazingly there was still enough space for the drunks to dance. Also, they used the super-duper big stage this year, with the roof that goes up and down. That must be the fifth time this year, so they might as well just buy the darn thing.

ARMAS has carried 24% fewer passengers per trip than last year. The average per trip this year has been 24% less than last year and 40% less than 2007. The highest average was in 2007 when it was 280 passengers per trip but this year has only been 166. There have been 40 more trips this year but with only a gain of 563 passengers (25,959 passengers this year so far). Although the total number of passengers has increased, it has been offset by the cost of an increased frequency of service. The major increase in trade has been Portimão / Canaries (57.9%) and Funchal / Portimão (17.3%). The only decrease in passengers was 3.4% less on the Las Palmas / Funchal route. The transport of vehicles is slowly increasing each year. Cargo transport has increased over 500%, so helping revenue.

In addition, the airport had 4.9% less passengers and 3.6% less flights in the first nine months of this year, compared to last year. Domestic passengers increased 12.7% and a decline of 18% international passengers.

No candidates for the City of Culture 2010 award. Eight municipalities could have entered by the deadline in June but none did, possibly due to elections. Last year, Santa Cruz, Machico, Funchal and Câmara de Lobos entered and the latter won. The award was started in 2007 by the Government and they must either end the award or invite a particular municipality.

Less patients had to travel to Portugal for treatment. Since 2006, an average of about 2,000 patients had to be diagnosed / treated in Portugal. So far this year, only 1,200 have had to go. The Health Department  pay for air fares at short notice, local transport, subsistence and also the transportation and subsistence of a companion. This year, no patients had to be referred out of the Continent. This is partly due to the opening of the new Radiotherapy Unit in February, which they hope will save more than 1 million Euros by the end of the year in costs.

Two sharks born in Madeira Aquarium. A shark, commonly named Caneja, gave birth to one on Saturday afternoon and one on Sunday morning. This is an unusual event and the mating sharks have been in the aquarium in Porto Moniz for ten months.

Pilgrim statue goes to the regions.  After a Mass, the statue of Fátima goes to Boaventura, accompanied by a procession of about 300 bikers from the Madeira Biker’s Club. The police hope that the quiet traffic on Sunday will not lead to too many queues.

Suspected murderer returned to freedom. Continuation of the case of a man killed in Nogueira on Wednesday after an argument. The deceased man was from Mozambique and had gone to the alleged murderer’s house with a knife in his hand, where he was killed. The suspected murderer has been freed as long as he regularly reports to the police, as they pursue enquiries, and his family have moved out of the area for their own safety.

Ecological Park has planted 63,000 species. A daily activity between Autumn and Winter, involving employees, schools and associations. The projects have EU support. They aim to eradicate evasive alien species and restore natural vegetation cover, especially in areas to resist erosion. The Ecological Park is a protected area of Funchal, founded in 1994. The Reception Centre was developed in 2004 and has had more than 4,000 visitors.

Shipping news. After two failed attempts, the 290 tonnes generator engine has finally been unloaded at Câmara de Lobos. In another event, during the transfer of fuel from a supply ship to Caniçal, there was a spillage which meant the emergency ‘absorbent blanket’ (looks like foam) was sprayed into the sea around the spillage.

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Madalena Rock Fall Risk ; CMF To Return €255k ; High University Placings ; Mums & Buses Row

(15th September). Today’s main news headline : ‘Câmara Loses Revenue – Funchal council charged tax to the Pestana Hotel Group at the start of an unconstitutional regulation. As a result, 15 years after, it is forced to return 255 thousand Euros’. It’s an old case, dating back to December 1994, when the boss of the Pestana Group was told that the câmara ............  ...read more

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Airport Traffic Encouraging ; Bernardo Collars O’Leary ; Hospital & Gardens Renamed

(4th September). ‘Movements Grow In The Airport – Madeira better than Lisbon, Porto and Faro in August’. Clearly Madeira doesn’t compete with the 3 main airports in Portugal in terms of numbers, but in term of growth (or recovery) the figures were promising last month with a growth in aircraft movements and passenger numbers, something no ............  ...read more

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Hospital Infections Hit 8% ; 3 Gripe A Cases ; Banana Plant Nationalised ; Water Leaks

(2nd September). Today’s main news headline  : ‘Hospital Cause Of Incurable Illness – A young person aged 24 went into Funchal Central Hospital Emergency Department six months ago with abdominal pains and left with a hospital infection. She lives today "a hell", without good health and scarred by the "inconclusive" surgical interventions. Her mother ............  ...read more

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Hospital Baby Ward Secured ; New Traffic Laws ; Jardim Under Fire ; Russia Promotes Madeira

3 of the 5 headlines today are in Politics, so I will deal with those later.

(24th August). ‘Hospital ‘Seals’ Paediatrics – After the affair with the baby in the hospital nursery, those responsible reactivate the door code entry system’. Referring to the 3 month old baby who was found with a fractured arm and head bruising, but no one knows what happened, ............  ...read more

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