Enforcing The Status Quo

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Recently, we covered the story of an opinion piece written by Birgir Örn Guðjónsson – better known to the internet as Biggi the Cop. He’s been a pretty popular figure on social media for his perpetual grin, friendly demeanor and overall charm. Most foreigners I know react to this guy by saying he “doesn’t look […]

A Farewell To Arms

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The MP5 submachine guns Iceland received from Norway will be sent back, the Icelandic Coast Guard has announced. According to the announcement, posted today on the Coast Guard’s website, the conclusion of talks with the Norwegian army yesterday and today led to the decision to return the guns, which have been held by toll authorities […]

An Ornamental Resignation

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Today, (now former) Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir resigned from her post, one year and one day after her ministry leaked a memo to select members of the press containing falsehoods and misinformation about Nigerian asylum seeker Tony Omos. As one of the first people to call for her resignation, you’d think I’d […]

Most Icelanders Want Interior Minister To Resign

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A new poll shows considerable opposition to Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir staying in power – even from members of her own party. Vísir reports that, according to a new poll from Stöð 2 and Fréttablaðið, 50% said they believe Hanna Birna should resign, 30% believe she should remain on, 14% were undecided […]

Rabbit Meat Is For Gentlemen

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After nearly a year of planning and preparation, free-range rabbit meat is now ready to hit Icelandic shelves. RÚV reports that yesterday’s Food Market at Harpa featured a number of dishes that are uncommon at best in Iceland, amongst them: free-range rabbit. Birgit Kositzke, who raises the rabbits, described the meat as “gentlemen’s food” for […]

Health Minister Open To Medical Marijuana

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Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson said he considers legalising medical marijuana a possibility, and trusts the professionals where the subject is concerned. Recently, more Icelanders have been coming forward as self-medicating with marijuana, which is still illegal in Iceland, even for medical use. Kristján told reporters, however, that he was not opposed to the […]

43 Million For Three Ministerial Luxury Cars

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Vehicles to be bought for three government ministers will cost taxpayers 43 million ISK, as they happen to be luxury cars. Viðskiptablaðið reports that three new cars have been brought into the ministerial fleet. Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinson has received a Land Rover Discovery SE. The market price in Iceland for this […]

Nation Divided Over Debt Relief Package

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With the government’s debt relief package only days old, the response from the public has been decidedly underwhelming. According to a new poll conducted by Fréttablaðið, 41% said they were satisfied with the government’s new debt relief package, 32% were unsatisfied, 22% had no opinion at all, and 5% declined to respond. When calculated for […]

Iceland Becoming More Peaceful?

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Most categories of crimes saw a decline over the past month, but there was a sharp increase in vehicle-related crimes. Vísir reports that, according to police data for the month of October, nearly every category of crime decreased from the month previous. The greatest decrease was amongst break-ins, which fell by 40% from September. In […]

Iceland To Donate Christmas Tree To Faroe Islands

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In the fine tradition of Nordic countries sending Christmas trees to each other, Iceland will be sending one of its own to the Faroe Islands. Vísir reports that Reykjavík Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson felled the tree himself, after receiving proper training on the use of a chainsaw and getting outfitted right for the task. The […]

Acid Rain Caused By Holuhraun Eruption

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Samples of rainwater taken around Iceland have shown that some parts of the country are being showered with acid rain. Sara Barsotti, a Programme Director of Volcanos at the Icelandic Met Office, told RÚV that about 40% of their rainwater samples have tested as being highly acidic. While these samples were taken from across the […]

Being The Other

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I won’t soon forget the day I was finally awarded Icelandic citizenship. Having moved to Iceland eight years previous, I fulfilled all the necessary requirements for a non-Schengen immigrant – I had been living continuously in Iceland for at least the past seven years, I had not even so much as a speeding ticket on […]

About 13% Of Westfjords Residents Are Immigrants

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The percentage of residents of foreign origin in the Westfjords is nearly double the national average, although most immigrants live in the capital area. Westfjords news source Bæjarins Bestu reports that, according to figures from Statistics Iceland, there were 27,447 registered immigrants in Iceland, comprising 8.4% of the population. If the children of immigrants are […]

Icelandic Astronomers Elated Over Comet Landing

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Astronomers and astronomy buffs around the world celebrated the landing of Philae on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and Iceland was no exception. Today, the comet probe Philae landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, completing the most difficult leg of a historic mission to observe, amongst other things, how comets react as they get closer to the Sun. Those with […]

Room For Improvement In Wiretapping

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The system for archiving wiretaps could stand a number of changes, a prosecutor told a conference of law students today. MBL reports that Kol­brún­ Bene­dikts­dótt­ir, a prosecutor from the State Prosecutor’s office, told attendees at today’s Orator conference of law students that the current system by which wiretaps are stored and organised could do with […]

The Trees Are Coming Down On Laugavegur

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Many merchants on Reykjavík’s main shopping street are distressed over a recent decision to cut down many of the trees on Laugavegur. MBL reports that trees along Laugavegur are being cut down, and this has caused no small amount of concern amongst some of the street’s storeowners. “We are unhappy that trees are being cut […]

Satanic Energy “Too Good For Progressives”, Say Satanists

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Some of Iceland’s pro-Satan faction have taken exception with artist Snorri Ásmundsson’s assertion that “Satanic energy” surrounds the Progressives, contending that Satan is too good for the party. DV reports that preparations are underway for this year’s Anti-Christian Festival, to be held on the Winter Solstice (which this year falls on December 21). The festival […]

Interior Minister Assistant Confesses Leaking Tony Omos Memo

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Interior Minister assistant Gísli Freyr Valdórsson has confessed to leaking the memo on Tony Omos to select members of the media, and has been subsequently fired. RÚV reports that, according to a statement from Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, Gísli requested a meeting with her this afternoon. He is currently standing trial in […]

What About The Renters?

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A city councilperson has pointed out that the government’s giant debt relief package is aimed at homeowners – not renters, who are often worse off financially than homeowners. Today, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson revealed the details of their plan to reduce homeowner debt. While this might have been good […]

Cinnamon Whisky Recalled

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A whisky intended only for American palates has been recalled by its Icelandic importer, as it contains more propy­lene glycol than Europe allows in a drink. MBL reports that alcoholic beverage importers Haugen-Grupp­en ehf. has recalled bottles of Fireball cinnamon whisky from Icelandic shelves. Fireball was sent to Iceland by mistake, as it was only […]

Greenpeace Criticises Icelandic Fishing Company

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A new report from Greenpeace accuses Samherji of engaging in environmentally damaging and possibly illegal fishing practices. Samherji’s director denies the accusations. A new report from Greenpeace, “Monster Boats”, casts a spotlight on vessels from around the world which practice unsustainable or illegal fishing, often hiding their ownership behind numerous shell companies. Two ships from […]

News In Brief: November

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Icelanders have once again grown fed up with their elected representatives, staging a massive protest demonstration in front of Alþingi last Monday. Thousands stood at Austurvöllur, Reykjavík’s hip spot for protest meetings, to denounce a veritable cornucopia of bad policy decisions (police estimated 4,500 attendees at the protest, while some attendees estimated that they were […]

High Levels Of Sulphur Dioxide In Capital Area

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SO2 from the Holuhraun eruption has enveloped southwest Iceland again, at levels high enough at times to warrant staying indoors. RÚV reports that sulphur dioxide in concentrations of 600 to 2,000 µg/m3 is considered possibly harmful to those sensitive to the gas, which can cause irritation of the eyes and respiratory system. At about 7:00 […]

Bus Company Forced To Sell Mercedes Jeep

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Mass transit company Strætó will have to sell the Mercedes jeep that was originally bought for managing director Reynir Jónsson. Vísir reports that the board of Strætó took the decision at a meeting held last Wednesday to sell the jeep, which was bought for 10.2 million ISK last summer. According to the minutes of the […]

Support For Government Gets Even Lower

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A new poll from Market and Media Research (MMR) shows support for the ruling coalition now at about 33% – the lowest it has ever ranked. According to the poll, the current support for the ruling coalition of the Independence Party and the Progressives is down from 34% two weeks ago. Taken separately, support for […]

Business Owners: Alcohol Bill Does Not Go Far Enough

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The Icelandic Federation of Trade (FA) is unhappy with the bill to allow the sale of alcohol in stores – for not going far enough. RÚV reports that FA has cast a number of doubts on a re-submitted bill which would legalise the sale of alcohol in stores. Currently, it can only be bought in […]

Protesters File For Damages Against State

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Ten protesters are filing for damages against the Icelandic state for actions police took against them at the Gálgahraun lava field last year. RÚV reports that the ten protesters are seeking 2 million ISK in damages each for unlawful arrest and deprivation of freedom after they were forcibly removed from a site of construction at […]

Prime Minister Surprised By Cleaning Staff Firings

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Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson says he was surprised by news that Government Offices had fired 18 professional cleaners, saying that trust plays a crucial role in the work environment. Sigmundur told listeners of radio show Reykjavík síðdegis that he was surprised to see photos of the Prime Minister’s office used in news stories that […]

Residents File Written Complaint Against Planned Home For Disabled

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A group of Icelanders living near the proposed site of a home for the disabled have filed a formal complaint against the decision. Vísir reports that the written complaint “demands that this decision be taken back.” The decision in question is the City of Reykjavík’s plan to build a group home for disabled people. The […]

May Stop Free Plots For Religious Groups

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The Interior Minister has said that it is possible her ministry will examine whether or not to continue to give free plots of land to religious organisations, or sell the plots instead. RÚV reports that Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir expressed her own interpretation of the law on the Christian Fund. Article 5 […]

There Was No UFO Over Reyðarfjörður – VIDEO

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Those following the movements of extraterrestrial beings can breathe a little easier today, as it was confirmed that there was no UFO over Iceland yesterday. Yesterday, MBL reported that video had been taken of a mysterious object flying over the east Iceland town of Reyðarfjörður. The video caught on in Icelandic social media, with many […]

New Round Of Legalised Names!

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The Name Committee has approved a new batch of names that Icelanders can now legally give their children. Vísir reports that six first names and one middle name have been approved. Parents can now additionally name their female children Eldþóra, Angelía, Selena and Lilly, and male children can now also be named Brímir and Rex. […]

Police Insist They Do Not Keep Records Of Political Opinions

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Despite evidence to the contrary, the Commissioner of the Capital Area Police says the police do not keep a record of the political opinions of others. Vísir reports that Commissioner Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir met with the Constitutional and Supervisory Committee yesterday morning to discuss, amongst other things, a written report put together by former Chief […]

Sulphur Dioxide Cloud Over Reykjavík

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Sulphur dioxide levels in the capital area were so high today that a cloud of the volcanic gas could be seen hanging over Reykjavík. MBL reports that levels of sulphur dioxide from the Holuhraun eruption were high enough in the capital area to be cause for concern. SO2 concentrations reportedly reached 700 to 1,600 µg/m³ […]

Iceland May Return The Guns To Norway

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The Director of the Icelandic Coast Guard says it is possible Iceland will return machine guns to Norway, if it turns out they were not “gifts” after all. Vísir reports that top officials from the Capital Area Police and the Icelandic Coast Guard met with the Judicial Affairs and Education Committee this morning, to discuss […]

Government Fires Cleaning Staff To Save Money

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In an effort to save revenue, the Government Offices of Iceland fired 18 cleaning workers, all of them low wage-earning women. Labour union Efling announced that 18 workers were fired in all. Most of these workers are over the age of 50, and all of them are women earning amongst the lowest legal wages in […]

Gnarr May Be Considering Presidential Bid

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In light of a new poll showing public support of the idea, former Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr may consider running for President of Iceland. According to a poll conducted by newspaper Fréttablaðið which asked respondents who they want to see as Iceland’s next president in 2016, the largest portion – 47% – chose Jón Gnarr. […]

Parliamentary Proposal To Change Time Submitted

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A new parliamentary proposal from multiple parties would, if passed, set the Icelandic clock back by one hour in the winter. The proposal has the support of MPs from every parliamentary party except the Left-Greens, and is led by Bright Future. It points out that the Icelandic clock has been set to a kind of […]

Electronic Ballots Could Increase Voter Turn-Out

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New research shows that offering the option of electronic ballots could increase voter participation. RÚV reports that research conducted by the University of Iceland, the University of Akureyri and doctorate students at the University of Mannheim examined why municipal elections earlier this year saw the lowest voter turn-out since 1928. The most predominant reasons people […]

Iceland’s Next Christmas Tree Found

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October is barely over, but Norway has already picked the Christmas tree they will be sending to Iceland this year. MBL reports that Reykjavík mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson has received some good news from Oslo. “Oslo has picked the tree to send us this year and the mayor sent me this photo of it,” Dagur […]

Most Icelanders Against Legalising Casinos

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The vast majority of Icelanders are against a recent proposal to legalise casinos, although that opposition has decreased slightly in the few past years. According to a poll from Market and Media Research, 68.6% of Icelanders are either very opposed or rather opposed to the idea of a casino in Iceland. Those very opposed decreased […]

Bishop Blames Immigration For People Leaving The Church

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Bishop of Iceland Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir believes people leaving Iceland and foreigners coming in contribute to the high numbers of people deregistering from the National Church. Addressing attendees at an ecumenical council last Saturday, RÚV reports, the bishop offered a number of explanations for why more people are leaving than joining the National Church. “One […]

Most Consider Themselves Unsafe Downtown

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Over half of those who responded to a poll done for the police said they feel unsafe downtown after dark or after midnight on weekends. MBL reports that, according to a poll conducted by the Social Sciences Department of the University of Iceland (at the behest of the police), 55% of respondents said they considered […]

Labour Leaders Prepare For Hard Road Ahead

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Leaders of several trade unions say they are getting ready to take a harder stance against management this year, with the need for solidarity amongst workers especially emphasised. The temporary collective bargaining agreement that was agreed upon earlier this year is soon reaching a close, and many professions – such as music teachers and doctors […]

Icelandic “Kokteilsósa” Origin Called Into Question

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Iceland’s ubiquitous kokteilsósa (“cocktail sauce”) did not come from Iceland, as was recently asserted, but variations of the condiment can be found across continents. Master chef Úlfar Eysteinsson told listeners on Reykjavík siðdegis last Wednesday that the pink sauce found on countless Icelandic burgers and sandwiches was “completely Icelandic”, allegedly first concocted by Magnús Björnsson. […]

Norway Wants Their Gun Money From Iceland

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Despite the repeated claims of Icelandic officials to the contrary, the Norwegian government wants Iceland to pay actual money for the guns they sent us. DV reports that Bent-Ivan Myhre, a spokesperson for the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, does not share the opinion of the Icelandic Coast Guard that, despite their being a signed sales […]

Sulphur Dioxide Back In The Capital

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It looks as though our long-term friend sulphur dioxide will be spending a couple days in the capital area – starting tonight. MBL reports that there were low levels of SO2 from the Holuhraun eruption in the capital area today. The highest levels were recorded in the east Reykjavík neighbourhood of Grafarvogur, where sulphur dioxide […]

Norway Wanted To Send Whale Meat To Iceland

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Documents obtained by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) revealed that a Norwegian whaling company has sought to ship about 10 metric tonnes of minke whale meat to Iceland, and Iceland’s most prominent whaler stands to directly benefit from the deal. According to a statement posted by the AWI, the Norwegian whaling company Lofothval has sought […]

Iceland First In Gender Equality

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Data from the Global Gender Gap Report shows Iceland to be the country with the highest amount of gender equality for the sixth year in a row. According to the report, Iceland came out on top when it comes to gender equality, ranking a score of 0.859, with 1.0 indicating perfect equality. A closer look […]

Red Cabbage As Eruption Pollution Meter

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One enterprising Icelander discovered a way to gauge levels of sulphur dioxide pollution, in a decidedly Icelandic way. Sulphur dioxide from the Holuhraun eruption has been plaguing east Iceland for weeks now, and the noxious gas sometimes compels locals to stay indoors. When SO2 meters in the southeast town of Höfn í Hornafirði lost power […]