Jackpot plan 'B' approved, Carnival fireworks, Faial full, The African influence, etc.

TODAY’S PHOTO : Thanks to Sarah … An ‘A’ frame house at Santana.

Front Page News : source Diário de Notícias 21/1/2009

Most of the news stories from Wednesday were still hanging around on the website yesterday when I checked, so new front page news is a bit thin on the ground.

Main headline : ‘PSD already has a plan to raise millions’. “The men of Jardim don’t waste any time”. Straight after the Constitutional Court ruled out the legitimacy of sharing out the ‘Jackpot’ budget, the party has come forward with a different money raising wheeze (to fund the 2009 election campaigns). Whereas the ‘Jackpot’ budget previously paid the salaries of the politicians at the rate of 15 x minimum wage, now the surplus money instead of funding the parties directly, will now be used to increase the salaries of politicians to up to 20 x minimum salary depending on membership of the parliamentary groups (which one would assume are pretty much if not all social democrats). This action will be backdated until June 2007, and there is nothing more the constitutional court can do about it. The Diário quotes the total ‘benefit’ as being in 7 figures, but with doubts over the exact amounts, but the article doesn’t say how it will work from there. One would assume that each PSD-M politician will then donate his windfall to the party, and then probably declare that donation on his or her tax return to avoid personal taxation liability. Dirty tactics maybe, but it seems it is all above board. I am sad that it means the well funded PSD-M campaigns will be as noisy and intrusive as ever, and I guess any competing political parties will just disappear in the background as usual.

This years carnival (February) will have fireworks, and the TV series ‘Flor do Mar’ is to be extended … two bits of good news announced by Conceicão Estudante yesterday in Lisbon. The regional secretary for tourism and transport announced that the eight firework ‘stations’, that couldn’t be used at new year due to rough seas, will be set-off on one of the carnival days, not yet announced. She is also optimistic that the extension of the TV soap will give Madeira even more coverage and attract more Portuguese to Madeira for holidays. It was also announced that Madeira was the most popular Portuguese holiday destination in 2008, and that bookings so far for the first quarter of this year are little changed from the same period in 2008.

The cemetery in the parish of Faial at present only has the capacity to receive another four to five burials. Then, the suggested alternative to the local population will be to bury their dead in the cemetery of the parish of Santana. A spokesperson for the council said “It’s a very small cemetery and in the last five years it has been registering more deaths than usual. I tried to find a place to build a new cemetery, but the truth is that there almost no land available to expand”. She adds “The law requires that the body should be buried for at least three years, but we extend the limit for five years so that the body is fully decomposed.” So what happens to the body when it is dug up? Does this mean that when you buy a family plot that you are in fact only renting it until decomposition is complete. Not really important questions for a man of my age, who is happy to be fed to the fish rather than take up valuable cemetery space, when the time comes.

It’s been Two years since the closure of the Ethnographic Centre in Camacha, as decreed by the council of Santa Cruz, because the building has a very serious risk of collapsing. Yet there is not a short-term solution that will resolve the problem. Serious design flaws are the cause of the problems in the three story building. It was opened by President Jardim in 2001, and after closing the building for safety reasons the câmara (council) lied to everyone, saying it was closed for ‘inventory’. They say that demolishing and rebuilding is impossible as the premises are now out of guarantee. The Diário refers to the project as a ‘white elephant’ … another one to add to the growing list.

The other story was about a former Marítimo footballer who went to play for Rapid Bucareste.

Other News :

The population of Madeira and Porto Santo have specific unique genetic traits. A researcher at the Laboratory of Human Genetics at the University of Madeira claims that the people have a distinct African influence, unlike the Portuguese population on the continent where the influence does not exist or is virtually non-existent. The results of the research is important for plans to establish a centre for bone marrow donors on Madeira. The fact that Porto Santo has a distinct African trait is no surprise as African pirates were regular visitors there, leaving the women alive and expectant when they left. In fact you can still visibly see that ancestry in many people there and also some on Madeira, so maybe that has been spread around and diluted over the last few centuries. However, history is adamant that Madeira was populated directly from mainland Portugal.

The problems at Funchal Central Hospital continue, with the new computer system not coping, and an influx of flu patients and bronchitis victims. Aside from waiting for hours, many patients are having to stand or sit on the floor. Sounds like if you went in with a broken finger you might come out with something rather more unpleasant.

CMF (Funchal Council) have launched a ‘big families’ discount card. Weighing over 500 kilos will get you nothing, but any family with 3 or more children will get you 50% discount on some shows promoted by CMF, discounts on photocopies in libraries, and reduced prices in the council run sports and swimming facilities. In addition you can apply for a special ‘family tariff’ for your water consumption.

The Madeiran João Vieira set of yesterday on board the catamaran ‘Blue Note’ with the port of destination being Le Marin, Martinique. He is the Portuguese record holder for the most Atlantic crossings, and so far, including this trip, he has notched up 130,000 mn (nautical miles?) in 49 Atlantic voyages. For this trip, the skipper also has the company of a companion and a nephew. The food will be based on fish, because “every day we go fishing, and we always catch a Dourado or a Tuna, with rice or pasta and salad. We take approximately 400 litres of water and 400 litres of fuel. This trip will last 18 to 20 days without stopovers, and I intend to travel an average of 140 nms per day” he concluded. I struggle to think of many stopovers anyway, but there again I have no idea where Martinique lies.

Last year the new ferry service between Madeira / Canary Islands / Portimão brought 20,000 passengers to Madeira, half of whom were tourists. In June it is quite likely that the ‘Volcán de Tijarefe’ will start doing two trips each week, if demand is sufficient.

In national news : ‘Portuguese troops leave Iraq’. Defence Minister Nuno Teixeira, announced yesterday the end of the Portuguese participation in Iraq due to “changes in the conditions of security” and the absence of an agreement with the Iraqi government on the status of the military in the country. The six military currently personnel in Iraq will be withdrawn by the end of this month. I am sure the difference won’t really be that noticeable.

This weekend’s football : Marítimo v Leixões TONIGHT 18.30 on SportTV1, and on Saturday Nacional v Sporting 18.30 also on SportTV1.

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Has anyone done a full year on the ‘new’ car tax system, where renewal is based on the anniversary month of the car’s registration? I am only curious because there were supposed to be reminders sent
out, and I wondered if it actually happened.

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A quick count up on the school register for the free Portuguese lessons in Rib. Bra. on Wednesday showed 26 names, but this week the most we have had is 13 attendees. I think some students are frustrated because the teacher only speaks a little English, and hence things don’t get explained fully and accurately … a dangerous situation for such early days. For those who skip classes, you should note that your absence is recorded, and the school will keep a record and tell your parents at the end of term.

I have heard that there are free lessons in Calheta as well, but no one has informed ‘the blog’ so I couldn’t tell you where and when, but apparently they are 3 hour lessons at night time.

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11 thoughts on “Jackpot plan 'B' approved, Carnival fireworks, Faial full, The African influence, etc.”

  1. The burial system on the island is pretty complex and as I understand it the family are now not able to buy a plot unless they have a huge amount of cash to do so. When we buried my mother-in-law last March we were only able to rent a compartment in one of the tombs for a period of 5 years – after this, her bones will be taken out and placed in a small drawer along the wall of the cemetary. The compartment in the tomb is shared with members of other families (no relation to my mother-in-law), which I have to say I found quite strange from the ideas I have been used to. Apparently, it is very frowned upon to bury your relative in the ground and this is considered to be the act of the poor! There are wealthy families who have large monument type house structures in which they place all family remains, but I am not sure if these now only exist from families that purchased them many years ago. My father-in-law was buried some years ago and after 5 years the tomb was opened and his remains removed to a drawer in the wall – there is no place to put flowers – just a tiny photo and a small hook type thing to maybe attach one small artificial flower stem. I find it quite depressing! Have to say the job of opening these tombs after a maximum of 5 years must be a horrid job!
    –Emily

  2. Hi Der, thank you for the reminder re: car tax. We actually should have done ours under the new scheme in December but guess what? No reminder was sent and we forgot! When we tried to do it on line this afternoon, it wasn't possible so we had to make a trip to the financia office to pay it along with a 15 euro fine for late payment. Better than a 250 euro on the spot fine from the police though!
    They also confirmed that NO REMINDERS are being sent by post so it is up to every car owner to remember their registration date and pay their car tax on time, which we think can be done up to 3 months in advance of the due date.
    –Elaine & Ginga

  3. Have you caught that lizard yet Sarah.

    As to digging up the bodies, i think they leave it 5 years then they say the soul has completly gone , i guess if you cant afford a drawer, they return the bones to the next of kin to disspose of, is this correct.
    –Tobi

  4. There is a an English cemetery not far from the English church in Funchal where there are graves and also space for cremated remains to be placed.They don't dig them up after 5 years either!! Very peaceful setting and is open to the public daily. If your preferance is cremation, then it has to be done in Lisbon and then you can do what you wish with the ashes.
    –Jeanne

  5. It hasn't been built yet Der. It has been talked about for about 10 years, but we are told it will happen in 2010. Yea, right.
    The English cemetery has plenty of room – and Jeanne is right, you are not dug up later on! Not that you'd know anything about it, of course.
    –Andrew

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