Wants To Make Iceland “Norway’s 20th County”

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A group of Icelanders are aiming to have the country brought under the administration of the Norwegian government as “Norway’s 20th county”. The group in question, Fylkisflokkurin (“The County Party”), already has just over 1,200 members at the time of this writing. The group, formed by director of the National Center of Addiction Medicine (SÁÁ) […]

Air Mechanics Sign Collective Bargaining Agreement

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An ongoing labour dispute that has most directly affected the tourist industry has been resolved. The Air Mechanics Union of Iceland (FVFÍ) has signed a collective bargaining agreement with Icelandair ehf., Vísir reports. The new contract will be in effect until August 31, 2017. As reported, air mechanics have over the summer pushed for higher […]

Tick Bites Not Disease-Carrying

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Epidemiologists say that there are no examples of ticks in Iceland carrying either Lyme Disease nor tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). MBL reports that neither of these diseases have been reported to be present in ticks in Iceland. Nonetheless, the Directorate of Health has laid out some helpful tips about ticks and how to deal with them. […]

Icelandic Hot Dogs Contain Danish Beef

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Sláturfélag Suðurlands (SS) reports that there is a shortage of Icelandic beef, prompting the company to blend Danish beef into their hot dogs. Sold under the slogan “Icelanders Eat SS Hot Dogs”, SS hot dogs are arguably one of Iceland’s iconic foods. However, Viðskiptablaðið reports that they are no longer 100% Icelandic. “Unfortunately, due to […]

New Wave Of “Microsoft” Fraudsters Hit Iceland

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Fraudsters pretending to be employees of Microsoft are contacting Icelanders by both letter and telephone. MBL reports that one of the most common tactics these fraudsters will use will be to call people on their home phones, purporting to be employees of Microsoft. These fraudsters tell the potential victim that Microsoft has detected a virus […]

Fewest Sunny Days In 25 Years

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July in Iceland has so far had one of the fewest sunny days in over a generation. MBL reports that July has only had three completely cloudy days so far – July 1, 10 and 18. However, a lack of completely cloudy days does not necessarily mean an abundance of sunny days. 50.6 hours of […]

Foreign Committee To Meet Over Gaza

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Iceland’s Foreign Affairs Committee will meet to discuss the situation in Gaza, although the Foreign Minister has called it “pointless” to cut ties with Israel. RÚV reports that Birgir Ármannsson, the chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee, will call together the committee to discuss the situation in Gaza. “The events that we have been closely […]

Progressive Leadership On The Defensive

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As more Progressives leave the party, tensions continue to rise. Last week, former Reykjavík city council candidate Hreiðar Eiríksson announced he was leaving the Progressive Party over remarks Progressive city council candidate Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir made during campaign season, as well as the party leadership’s silence on the matter. Sveinbjörg said she would revoke the […]

Seal Census Volunteers Needed

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Volunteers are requested to take part in an official counting of seals in northwest Iceland. MBL reports that people with a proclivity for nature in general and seals in particular are being asked to take part in the census this Sunday. The census is being conducted by The Icelandic Seal Centre in Hvammstangi, northwest Iceland. […]

Believes Alcohol Bill Will Pass

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An Independence Party MP planning to submit a bill that would permit the sale of alcohol in private shops is confident it will become law. RÚV reports that Independence Party MP Vilhjálmur Árnason will submit a bill this autumn that would permit the sale of alcoholic beverages in privately-owned shops, with some limits. For example, […]

Police Monitoring Drug Sales On Facebook

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Icelandic police are getting more involved in stopping the buying and selling of drugs on Facebook. RÚV reports that the Facebook drug trade is usually conducted within closed or secret groups that one must gain approval to join. The drugs traded include virtually everything from cannabis and ecstasy to steroids. Detective Þórir Ingvarsson told reporters […]

President Refuses To Discuss Campaign Remarks

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President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson will not comment on whether he will leave his office before his term is up, as he implied in 2012, nor will he comment on anything he said during the campaign season. Over two years have passed since Ólafur was re-elected president, after a campaign season in which he issued a […]

The Media “Understands” The Progressives

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A Progressive Party MP believes the party could have done a better job at handling anti-mosque rhetoric during municipal election season. In a recent interview with DV, Progressive Party MP Karl Garðarsson was candid about how his party campaigned during last May’s municipal elections. In particular, he criticised how Progressive leadership responded to Progressive city […]

Surtsey Flourishing With Life

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One of Iceland’s youngest islands is now home to more plant species than any of the other outlying islands of the Westman Islands chain. Surtsey, a volcanic island that rose out of the ocean between 1963 and 1967, has been officially protected since 1965. Since then, scientists have paid regular visits to examine how life […]

Best Of The News

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In reviewing the past year in news, you will see certain patterns emerge: certain public figures, events and topics that seem to ignite social media and office break room conversations for days, weeks or even months. Arguments are had, alliances are formed, and people are unfriended over these very stories. These are news trends that […]

Progressive Alternate MP Quits Party Over Mosque Issue

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An alternate MP for the Progressive Party told Grapevine he is quitting the party altogether, largely due the party’s handling of statements made by Progressive candidates for Reykjavík city council that he calls “offensive to Muslims”. Þorsteinn Magnússon, once an alternate MP for the Progressive Party, announced today that he was leaving the party for […]

Wants Pressure Put On US Over Gaza

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The Left-Green Party has called upon the Icelandic government to put pressure on the United States over the current situation in Gaza. Vísir reports that parliament’s Left-Green MPs have sent a request to Foreign Affairs Committee chairperson Birgir Ármannsson to convene a special session to discuss the issue, despite parliament currently being on summer vacation. […]

Less Access To Alcohol Could Lead To Increased Drinking

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In the midst of discussions on whether Iceland should allow the sale of alcohol in shops, research has shown that restricting access to alcohol may lead to young people drinking to greater excess. Independence Party MP Vilhjálmur Árnason recently proposed Icelandic law be changed to allow for the sale of alcholic beverages in privately-owned shops, […]

Completely Unthinkable

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As you read this, the State Prosecutor is reviewing the latest findings of a months-long police investigation of the Ministry of the Interior, over a memo on Nigerian asylum seeker Tony Omos that found itself in the hands of select members of the media last November. This memo impugned Tony’s reputation, with accusations— which later […]

MP Learns Whole New Meaning Of “On The Record”

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Independence Party MP Vilhjálmur Árnason, after accusing a journalist of distorting parts of an interview with him, received a very direct response from the journalist in question. The interview was a part of an article, “She Is The Best Government Minister” (refering to Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir), and was printed last week […]

Health Minister Forms Committee To Help Addicts

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Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson has formed a committee whose task it is to find ways to help drug addicts, socially and medically, rather than taking a more punitive approach. Vísir reports that the committee is based on a parliamentary proposal submitted by Pirate Party MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir. The committee will focus on ways […]

Icelandic Men Longest Living In Europe

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New data compiled by Statistics Iceland shows that Icelandic men live longer than any other European men, while European women trump them all. According to their findings from data gathered in 2012, Icelandic men can expect to live 81.6 years. Their life expectancy has also increased by two years, up from just under 80 years […]

Prime Minister Wrong On Imported Meat

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Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson made claims about meat from the US that were not actually true, an official from the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) told reporters. Addressing attendees of a Progressive Party leadership meeting last Friday, the Prime Minister said he welcomed the prospect of Costco in Iceland, but warned against what […]

Iceland’s Foreign Minister Condemns Gaza Attacks

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson issued a statement yesterday calling for “the full force” of the UN Security Council to be used to stop the violence in Gaza. In a statement posted on the ministry’s webpage, Gunnar Bragi expressed grave concerns over the current attacks on Gaza. “I condemn all use of violence […]

Kári Stefánsson Awarded For Alzheimer’s Research

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Founder of deCODE Genetics Kári Stefánsson was recognised by the Alzheimer’s Association for his work in researching the genetic aspects of the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, being held in Copenhagen, recognises the achievements of scientists from the around the world in the fight against the disease. Amongst the recipients of the Inge Grundke-Iqbal […]

Sea Cucumber Bubble Pops

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Iceland’s sea cucumber exporting business, a booming industry in its time, is now on the wane. Vísir reports that numerous locations around Iceland that once exported sea cucumbers have had to decrease production or shut down altogether. Seafood company Reykofninn-Grundarfirði ehf. was the first to begin exporting sea cucumbers, in 2005, to east Asian countries […]

Legality Of “Tourist Prices” For Domestic Flights Questioned

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It is unclear whether or not it is illegal to charge Icelanders and foreigners two different prices for the same domestic flights. As reported, Eagle Air (or Flugfélagið Ernir) has two websites: one in English and the other in Icelandic. How much a person is charged for a domestic flight depends on which site they […]

Pamphlets On Civil Rights For Concert-Goers

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An Icelandic civil rights group will be handing out pamphlets at music festivals informing people of their legal rights when confronted by police. Snarrótin, a civil rights group in Iceland, has taken issue with the way police conducted themselves at the Secret Solstice music festival, Vísir reports, claiming that “cultural profiling” was used by police […]

Costco “Misunderstood” By Some Icelanders

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An Icelander living in Canada told Icelandic radio that the fears of Costco coming to Iceland are based on erroneous information and misconceptions. “I think the discussion has gone in the direction of their being this American company coming here and making huge demands, trying to get around the law, and all that,” Jenný Stefanía […]

New Skeifan Could Be “Like SoHo”

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Plans are already in the works to rebuild the Skeifan district of east Reykjavík, only days after a fire raged through several businesses in the area. Vísir reports that Reykjavík city council is reviewing ideas to change the planning dynamics of Skeifan, a neighbourhood known primarily for small to mid-sized businesses, with about 50% of […]

UKLA Award For Icelandic Author

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The English translation of Andri Snær Magnússon’s “The Story Of The Blue Planet” has won the UK Literacy Association (UKLA) award. Andri Snær shared the news of the award, for the category of literature for children aged 7 to 11, which honours authors writing children’s literature taught in a classroom setting. This makes the first […]

Sigur Rós: Too Sexy For Google

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Google has been pressuring at least one music website to censor album art considered “sexually explicit”, including the cover for Sigur Rós’ Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. The Independent reports that popular music website Drowned in Sound (DiS) has been told by Google that they must censor or remove “sexually explicit” album art […]

“Paris Of The North” Receives Glowing Review

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ScreenDaily says the Icelandic film “must be a contender for a major award and will be a regular feature at other international film festivals.” A review of Paris Of The North (París norðursins) was featured in today’s ScreenDaily, and the verdict is highly positive: “The wonderfully – and often beautifully – bleak landscape contrasts perfectly […]

Foreigners Charged More For Domestic Flights

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Eagle Air charges hire rates for domestic flights that are purchased through their English language website. Eagle Air’s director says it is “not unnatural” for tourists to pay more than locals for the same services. Eagle Air (or Flugfélagið Ernir) has two websites: one in English and the other in Icelandic. How much a person […]

Jón Gnarr: “In Jesus’ Name, Answer Me!”

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Former Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr has once again spoken up about the Icelandic Name Committee, calling it “discriminatory” and only applicable to a “fraction of Icelanders”. “In Iceland, you can be named Jesus,” Jón Gnarr posted on his Facebook, Vísir reports. “The Name Committee can’t stop that. It doesn’t matter if you spell it with […]

Reindeer Farm Possibly In The Works

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Two Icelanders are hoping to start a farm of 200 reindeer, with the hopes of increasing that population tenfold over the next 10 to 15 years. RÚV reports that Stefán Hrafn Magnússon, a reindeer farmer based in Greenland, and Björn Magnússon, a former farmer with a keen interest in reindeer, have filed an application with […]

Pig Gelding Becoming More Humane

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Progress has been made in encouraging Icelandic pig farmers to abide the law where the gelding of pigs is concerned. “The large pig farms have hired veterinarians to geld pigs with anaesthetic,” Auður Arnþórsdóttir, a veterinarian at the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST), told Vísir. “All pig farms are obligated to use anaesthetic when […]

Fire In Reykjavík: Millions In Damage, And Not The First Time

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It is estimated that last night’s fire in Reykjavík did hundreds of millions in damage, while locals in the area defied police lines in order to take photos and record videos. As reported, a fire broke out yesterday evening at the dry cleaning company Fönn in the business district of Skeifan, soon spreading to neighbouring […]

Puffin Populations Falling

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A biologist contends that Icelandic puffin populations are reaching dangerously low levels. Vísir reports that Erpur Snær Hansen, a doctor of biology, has been examining the populations of young puffins at different nesting grounds around Iceland, and has come to some grim conclusions. “This is the 12th year in a row that [puffin] nesting has […]

Significant Mark-Up On “Tourist Candy”

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Icelandic candy, bought wholesale and put in packaging directed at tourists, is being sold at a mark-up as high as 150%. DV noted, for just one example, that a 150g bag of the Icelandic candy Möndlur sells for 349 ISK at one Ólís gas station. The same amount of the same candy, only put in […]

Most Pleased With President

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Most Icelanders are satisfied with the job President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson has been doing, with a spike in support coinciding with a recent visit from Swedish royalty. According to a new poll from Market and Media Research, 55.9% of respondents said they were happy with the president’s performance, up from 49% one month […]

State Broadcasting To Rent Out Office Space

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State broadcasting network RÚV will soon begin renting out the top two floors of their office building, in part to “to create a more open and dynamic workplace”. Vísir reports that the top two floors of Efstaleiti 1 comprise a total of about 1,000 square metres of office space. RÚV is currently accepting offers, with […]

Book On Abortion For Women In Iceland In The Works

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Two academics are calling upon women in Iceland to share with them their personal experiences with abortion, with the aim of compiling them into a book. About 1,000 abortions are performed in Iceland each year. Political scientist Silja Bára Ómarsdóttir and gender studies expert Steinunn Rögnvaldsdóttir, in an article published on the feminist blog Knúz, […]

MP Opposes Costco In Iceland

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The parliamentary party chairperson for the Progressives says she is against Costco coming to Iceland, for “health reasons”. “[The Progressives] want to avoid saving a few krónur on imported meat at the expense of our health later on in life,” Progressive parliamentary party chairperson Sigrún Magnúsdóttir told Vísir on the subject of Costco possibly coming […]

Answers Wanted From Fishing Minister On Whaling Death

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Both those who oppose and support the practice of whaling want answers from the Minister of Fisheries on how long it takes a whale to die once harpooned by an Icelandic whaler. “There is no point to supervising and conducting research on how we conduct [whale] hunting here if the results won’t be published,” Sigursteinn […]

How Long It Takes A Whale To Die Kept Secret

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The results of ongoing research on how long it takes a fin or minke whale to die once harpooned will not be made public, the Minister of Fisheries has confirmed. In response to a question posed by Left-Green chairperson Katrín Jakóbsdóttir, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson confirmed that an investigation on whaling […]

71% Of Immigrants Experience Prejudice, Study Shows

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A new study conducted by the Multicultural and Information Centre Iceland shows that 71% of immigrants in Iceland have experienced discrimination from Icelanders. The report, “Origin and multiple discrimination”, focuses on numerous aspects of daily life for immigrants in Iceland. Amongst them are their experiences with discrimination. According to the study, only 28% of foreigners […]

Icelandic Cannabis Use Miscalculated

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The recent UN report on Icelanders and cannabis use may have been based on a misunderstanding of the data: Icelanders do not lead the world in cannabis use, but they do lead Scandinavia. According to the UN findings, approximately 18.3% of Icelanders aged 15-65 smoke cannabis, making Iceland the country with the highest per capita […]

Costco Sets Sights On Iceland

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The popular US wholesale chain store Costco has expressed an interest in opening up shop in Iceland, and are now hoping to get official approval. Two places for the store are currently on the table, RÚV reports: Kauptún in Garðabær and Korputorg, in northeast Reykjavík. “I would find it mostly a good thing to get […]

Police Post About Balloons And Finding Nemo On Facebook

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Capital area police have posted Facebook updates about a misunderstanding over a pair of balloons, the recovery of one of them to its rightful owner, and Finding Nemo. The story began June 26, when capital area police were alerted that someone believed a parachute was floating off the coast of Álftanes. Preparing for the worst, […]