Tax Committee Chair: “No Choice” But For Government To Buy Tax Evasion Evidence

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The chairperson of parliament’s Tax and Economics Committee believes the Icelandic government should buy evidence of tax evasion, a sample of which has already been offered to authorities. RÚV reports that Frosti Sigurjónsson, a Progressive MP and the chairperson of the Tax and Economics Committee, believes the government should pay to receive only legal documentation […]

No Known Icelanders In ISIS

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The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police confirms there is no evidence that any Icelanders have joined forces with the theocratic extremist group ISIS. Vísir reports that they sent a formal inquiry to the police on the matter, and were informed that – to the best of anybody’s knowledge – no Icelandic citizens have joined […]

Murder In Breiðholt

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A 28-year-old man is in police custody, suspected of having strangled his wife. The suspect denies the charges against him. RÚV reports police were alerted to the scene shortly after midnight yesterday, at which time the victim had been dead for a few hours. It is also reported that the couple’s two children, aged two […]

Bus Drivers Told They Will Be Fired For Complaining

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In a letter from Strætó management, bus drivers are told that complaining about a new on-board video camera policy will lead to termination. “Employees have the right to file a grievance [over the policy], but if they use it, it can lead to termination of employment,” reads part of a letter from Strætó management to […]

Parents Question School Dress Code

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Some parents in east Iceland believe a new school dress code was “poorly thought out” and shifts responsibility for sexual assault onto children. RÚV reports that the parents of students of a primary school in Neskaupsstaður recently received a letter from school officials regarding a new dress code for children attending a school dance. These […]

MPs Debate “Nature Pass” Idea

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Members of parliament have still not arrived at a definitive conclusion on whether or not to initiate a “nature pass” for tourists. Vísir reports that yesterday members of parliament discussed the Ministry of Industry’s “nature pass”, an all-inclusive pass to visit many of Iceland’s sites of natural wonder. Directed at tourists, the revenue from the […]

Possibly Hundreds Of Icelanders Using Tax Shelters

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Documents offered to the Directorate of Internal Revenue (RSK) could prove that hundreds of Icelanders are avoiding paying taxes through the use of shelters. The Ministry of Finance is considering purchasing the documents from the unnamed party offering them. Fréttablaðið reports that RSK has only received samples of the documents in question, with the offer […]

Icelandic Art Forgeries Might Be On The Market

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The Association of Icelandic Visual Artists (SÍM) is worried that a number of paintings on the market by Icelandic masters might be forgeries. RÚV reports that police in Copenhagen are investigating two paintings of Svavar Guðnason that are suspected of being forgeries. The paintings were intended to go to auction earlier this week. Jóna Hlíf […]

Poison Gas Cloud Moving From Northeast To Southeast

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Emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) from the Holuhraun eruption will go from moving northeast to southeast over the next 24 hours. The new SO2 cloud forecast for the next 24 hours has been released. While there is no sign that the gas will be making its way to the capital, some residential areas in east […]

Residents Object To Home For Disabled In Their Neighbourhood

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Some residents of the Laugarás area of Reykjavík object to plans to build a six-person home for the disabled in their neighbourhood. Vísir reports that the Environmental and Planning Committee for the City of Reykjavík has approved a plot for a group home for the disabled. The proposed house would be approximately 600 m2 and […]

Lawyer Doubts Ministry’s Impartiality In Tony Omos Case

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The lawyer for Nigerian asylum seeker Tony Omos has called into question the neutrality of the Ministry of the Interior to handle his appeal for asylum in Iceland. RÚV reports that Omos’ case was heard in Reykjavík District Court today, with his legal team aiming to overturn the decision of the Directorate of Immigration to […]

Progressive Tries Again To Legalise Gambling

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Progressive MP Willum Þór Þórsson has again submitted a bill to parliament which, if passed, would legalise gambling in Iceland. Vísir reports that the new bill, which is the same as the one which was submitted last winter, would only allow for one casino operation permit. The bill has co-signers from the Progressive Party, the […]

137 Fin Whales Culled

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A total of 137 fin whales have been hunted this season, and the hunting of minke whales will continue through part of autumn. MBL reports that the season for hunting fin whales has come to a close this year. Gunn­laug­ur F. Gunn­laugs­son, the plant manager of the whale processing station in Hvalfjörður, told reporters that […]

Roman Abramovich Tried To Buy Blue Lagoon

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Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has at least twice tried to buy the famed Blue Lagoon. DV reports that their sources say Abramovich first became enamored with the Blue Lagoon after visiting Iceland in 2006, at the behest of President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Since then, Abramovich has visited Iceland a few times, and the Blue Lagoon […]

Progressives Mock Muslims On Video

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Reykjavík’s two Progressive councilpersons showed up at a student party uninvited and held forth in an incident captured on video. Vísir reports that last Friday night, political science and economics students from the University of Iceland were holding a party at Hverfisgata 33. The upper floors of this building are home to a reception hall, […]

Landowners Demand End To Smelter Pollution

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A group of landowners in Reyðarfjörður have told the Alcoa Fjarðaál aluminium smelter to stop the emission of fluoride in the area. Austurfrétt reports that the landowners’ group Landeigendur Áreyja has told the directorship to put an end to the omissions, which they say are far too high. Guðrún Kjartansdóttir, speaking to reporters on the […]

Immigrant Wins Work Permit Challenge Against Government

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An immigrant from Iran has won a court case against the Icelandic government, after he was denied a work permit on grounds the court found insufficient. MBL reports that the man in question came to Iceland from Iran in 2011, originally on a student permit. Later in the year, he bought an import company, taking […]

Poison Gas Cloud Heading Northeast

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The Icelandic Met Office predicts sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas from the Holuhraun eruption will move north and east over the next 24 hours. As can be seen, the Met Office has two maps for predicted areas where significant levels of SO2 will be present. Egilsstaðir and Reyðarfjörður are expected to be hit the hardest by […]

Special Prosecutor Accused Of Illegal Phone Taps

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A former employee of the Office of the Special Prosecutor says the office tapped phones of suspects illegally. The Minister of Justice believes the matter needs to be investigated. In an interview with Fréttablaðið, former Special Prosecutor’s Office employee Jón Óttar Ólafsson said that the office listened in on illegal taps of phone conversations of […]

Foreign Ministry Harshly Criticised

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs has received some backlash over his decision to close the Icelandic International Development Agency. While the Agency will be absorbed by the Foreign Ministry, Vísir reports, the move is not without its critics. Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told reporters for RÚV that when his office examined the […]

Civil Protection: Potentially Fatal To Ignore Closed Area Warnings

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Civil Protection in Iceland would like to remind the general public that illegally entering the eruption area could be dangerous or even fatal. RÚV reports that the tracks of at least six separate interlopers were found entering the cordoned-off area surrounding the Holuhraun eruption. Víðir Reynisson of Civil Protection in Iceland wants to remind people […]

Police Mistaken On Child Abuse Case

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The police have declined to prosecute a case of child abuse at a local playschool, and the Ombudsman for Children says this is based on a legal misunderstanding. As reported, the playschool Leikskólinn 101 was shut down in August 2013 after video evidence of child abuse reached city authorities. RÚV reports that one of the […]

More Labour Unions Criticise Prime Minister

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Another labour union group has criticised the proposed 2015 budget, while Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson doubts unions will make good on their threat to walk out over it. In a new statement from the Húsavík Labour Union Office (Framsýn) entitled “The heart of the government doesn’t beat with working people”, the labour union group […]

Interior Minister Assistant On Trial

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One of the Minister of the Interior’s assistants is currently on trial for his part in the leak of a memo about asylum seeker Tony Omos. Gísli Freyr Valdórsson, a former assistant to Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, was charged with breach of confidentiality and relieved of his position last August. He is […]

Asylum Seekers To Get Health Coverage

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A new bill from the Minister of Health would provide health insurance coverage to Iceland’s asylum seekers. Currently, only those asylum seekers who were expressly invited to Iceland by the government have had immediate health coverage. RÚV reports that this may soon change. This Tuesday, Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson will submit a bill […]

PM Baffled By Union Criticism

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Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson told parliament he was very surprised by the harsh criticisms the proposed budget has received from labour unions. RÚV reports that Social Democrat MP Árni Páll Árnason asked the Prime Minister what his response was to yesterday’s statement from the Confederation of Icelandic Labour Unions (ASÍ) on the proposed 2015 […]

Foreign Minister Unsure About Sanctions Against Israel

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told parliament that he was unsure whether now is the time to engage in sanctions against Israel. MBL reports that the Minister, responding to a question from Social Democrat MP (and former Foreign Minister) Össur Skarphéðinsson on whether or not Iceland should start sanctions or embargos against Israel, […]

Sulphur Dioxide Cloud Moving West And South

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The cloud of SO2 emanating from the Holuhraun eruption is moving both further west and further south. The Icelandic Met Office reports that the SO2 from the Holuhraun eruption has already spread over a large portion of the country. Currently, it covers a large portion of central Iceland, extending northwest to Blönduós and east across […]

Trade Unions Very Critical Of New Budget Bill

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The Confederation of Icelandic Labour Unions (ASÍ) has released a statement saying there is “no foundation for further discussion” with the government if their new budget bill passes. The statement, posted on ASÍ’s website, calls the new budget bill “an attack on working people”, saying that the Central Committee of the labour union was “deeply […]

Volcanic Pollution: Also Bad For Animals

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While there has been considerable reporting on the effects of SO2 on humans, animals are even more at risk. RÚV reports that farmers in the Icelandic countryside are worried about what effects the gas will have on their sheep, many of whom have not yet been herded. While a great many animals in the east […]

Police Raid Illegal Tourist Accommodations

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Police are already starting to crack down on black market rentals of houses and apartments for tourists. MBL reports that the Reykjavík Area Police, in conjunction with the Directorate of Internal Revenue, have closed four establishments illegally renting out accommodation to tourists. These properties, identified as “homes and apartments”, had no permit to rent out […]

Strange Activity At Geothermal Spot

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A geothermal location in southwest Iceland has been going through some sudden and dramatic changes. Víkufréttir reports that the geothermal area of Gunnuhver has seen quite a transformation recently. The site, which was once a relatively placid patch of gently bubbling clay and wafting sulfuric steam, is now under police lockdown. All steam has disappeared […]

Former Foreign Minister: Just Hunt The Non-Endangered Whales

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A former Minister of Foreign Affairs has made a novel suggestion to end the current international row over Iceland’s whale hunting practices. RÚV reports that former Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson believes there is a middle way when it comes to whaling: simply hunt the whales that are not endangered: minke whales. In fact, […]

MPs From 5 Parties Behind Keflavík Train Proposal

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MPs from five parties have proposed the Icelandic government explore building a train between Keflavík and Reykjavík, as well as a train for the greater Reykjavík area. Vísir reports that the proposal has speakers from every parliamentary party except the Pirate Party. Leading the proposal is Left-Green chairperson Katrín Jakobsdóttir, followed by Svandís Svavarsdóttir (Left-Green), […]

Firings At The Directorate Of Labour

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Government-sanctioned budget cuts have forced the Directorate of Labour to let go of some of their employees and cut back on services to the unemployed. “We are struggling with a demand to reduce operational costs by about 100 million [ISK],” Gissur Pétursson, the director of the Directorate, told RÚV. “There is no other choice. We […]

Signs Gender Wage Gap Is Growing

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The Union of Public Servants (SFR) has released a salary poll that shows the gender wage gap within their ranks is growing. Vísir reports that the unadjusted wage difference between men and women doing the same work within SFR is 21%. Men in SFR make, on average, 469,885 ISK per month, while women doing the […]

35 Nations Exhort Iceland To End Whaling

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All 28 European Union member states and seven other countries have delivered a demarche to the Icelandic government to end the practice of whaling. In a statement from the European Commission, they confirm that “The EU, its 28 Member States and the governments of the United States, Australia, Brazil, Israel, New Zealand, Mexico and Monaco, […]

News In Brief: Early September

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Remember last issue when we complained that the Bárðarbunga volcano was a huge disappointment for not having the decency to erupt? Well, apparently the volcano gods read the Grapevine, because a huge fissure opened up in Holuhraun and began spewing forth some very photogenic magma. Icelanders were quick to ask the most important question: What […]

Progressive Wrong About Peace Tower

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A Progressive city councilperson has questioned the cost of maintaining Yoko Ono’s Peace Tower, and was apparently misinformed about how the Peace Fund is used. RÚV reports that Progressive city councilperson Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir has submitted a formal request to City Hall to know how much money it costs the city to maintain the Peace […]

Text Messages Insufficient As Eruption Alerts

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It has come to light that using text messaging to alert towns and villages of poisonous SO2 levels does not work as well as intended. RÚV reports that some 750kg of SO2 are spewing out of the Holuhraun eruption every second. This has caused SO2 levels in many parts of northeast Iceland to reach alarming […]

Alcohol Bill Submitted

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A bill that would permit the sale of alcohol in private shops has been submitted to parliament, and it is uncertain whether it will fail or become law. Currently, alcoholic beverages may only be bought from any of the The State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland (ÁTVR) stores in the country. One man, Independence […]

Twin Solar Storms = Northern Lights Galore!

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While the planet is bombarded with charged solar particles, this translates into some fantastic Northern Lights displays for Iceland. The Guardian reports today that two coronal mass ejection (CME) bursts from the Sun sent charged solar particles hurtling towards Earth yesterday and today, “raising concerns that GPS signals, radio communications and power transmissions” could be […]

Progressive Party May Be In Trouble

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The Progressive Party, which leads the ruling coalition, is now only the fourth largest party in the country, and edges out the others by about 2%. According to the newest poll from Market and Media Research, the Independence Party is once again the largest party in the country, with 28.2% of respondents saying they would […]

Minister Of The Interior Makes New Spin On Investigations

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Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir has come up with a new defence for how she interacted with the former police commissioner which legal experts say is completely wrong. RÚV reports that the Minister has issued another defence of her interactions with former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson. These interactions included […]

Gálgahraun Nine Trial Begins

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The trial of the nine protesters charged with disobeying police orders in their demonstration against road construction through the Gálgahraun lava field began today. Last October, the nine protesters blocked construction equipment in the Gálgahraun lava fields. Their grievance is that the fields were officially protected from development in 2009. On this, the first day […]

Volcanic Pollution In The Air In East Iceland

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Sulfur dioxide levels in Reyðarfjörður reached alarming levels yesterday, and residents are advised to exercise caution. Vísir reports that SO2 levels in Reyðarfjörður reached 2600 µg/m3 yesterday morning through midday the same day, and have fallen to 250 µg/m3 today. Despite the steep drop, SO2 levels no greater than 1 µg/m3 are considered safe. For […]

Iceland And NATO To Increase Partnership

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced some new developments in Iceland’s relationship with NATO. According to a statement posted on the Minstry’s website, Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson met with Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of NATO Allied Command Operations Philip M. Breedlove today, to discuss numerous ways in which Iceland will […]

Health Minister Agrees With International Drug War Report

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Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson told reporters he agrees with a new report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GODP) that the “war on drugs” has been a failure. Vísir reports the the GODP has released their latest findings on drug policies around the world. Their conclusions are clear: the criminalisation of drugs […]

Justice For Iceland’s Beekeepers

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The beekeepers who received half of their ordered bees dead on arrival have been compensated for the damage incurred. RÚV reports that the shipping company DHL has made a deal with the beekeepers, in compensation for causing half a shipment of 2 million bees to arrive dead due to a processing error. In addition to […]

Ten Million Raised For Goat Farm

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The general public has shown an outpouring of love and support to save an Icelandic goat farm from closure. RÚV reports that the beleagured Háafell goat farm in Borgarfjörður has received a tremendous amount of support from people around the world. The farm, home to some 400 goats, had fallen into dire financial straits: a […]