US Embassy Delivers Protesters’ Message To Washington

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The US Embassy in Iceland says they have received the written statement from protesters who oppose the Gaza attacks, and “have delivered this message back to appropriate colleagues in Washington”. As reported, protesters assembled in front of the US embassy yesterday, in opposition to US support for Israel while the attacks on Gaza continue. Vísir […]

Interior Minister Responds To Official Inquiry

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Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir met with the former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police four times during police investigations of her ministry, but denies she ever tried to exert influence. These acts may put her on shakey ground with members of her own party. In a statement posted on the ministry’s website, […]

Social Affairs Minister Worried About Immigrant Children

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Minister of Housing and Social Affairs Eygló Harðardóttir said she is worried about second- and third-generation children of immigrants, saying that they are in danger of becoming isolated. RÚV reports that her ministry is also concerned about immigrants on the rental market. “We are very worried about the status of immigrants on the real estate […]

Interior Minister Scandal Causes Tremors In Parliament

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Members of parliament are sharply divided on how to contend with the news that Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir may have tried to influence the police investigations of her ministry. Shortly after news broke from DV that Hanna Birna had allegedly told then Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson, both in […]

Puffin Hunting “Unsustainable And Unethical”

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Iceland’s puffin population has hit such low numbers that hunting the birds has sparked strong criticism. The Nature Office of South Iceland has released their findings of a detailed puffin census conducted around the country. Of the dozen nestings areas that were inspected, all of them showed a sharp decline in the number of young […]

Former PM Geir Haarde Lands Ambassador Appointment

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Former Prime Minister of Iceland Geir H. Haarde will, effective January 1, 2015, serve as “an ambassador in foreign service” to an as-yet unspecified appointment. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that Geir H. Haarde has been appointed as “an ambassador in foreign service”, along Left-Green MP and former Foreign Affairs Committee chairperson Árni […]

Parliamentary Ombudsman Wants Answers From Interior Minister

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The Parliamentary Ombudsman, after having spoken with both former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson and State Prosecutor Sigríður Friðjónsdóttir, is now demanding that Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir answer to allegations that she may have tried to influence the course of the ongoing police investigation of her ministry. RÚV reports […]

New Website Offers “World’s Largest Database Of Women Achievers”

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A group of Icelanders hope to provide men and women everywhere with a trove of examples of women achievers, and spoke to Grapevine about why this project matters. The website, Reconesse Database, will not only provide a world map marking women achievers past and present – the site is also asking the general public to […]

Festival Encouraged To Do More To Prevent Rape And Assault

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Organisers of this weekend’s Merchants’ Holiday festival in the Westman Islands have been challenged to ensure there will be no rapes nor assaults this year. Vísir reports that last year, 16 sexual assaults at the festival were reported to police. This figure actually marks a decline in assaults at the event. By contrast, the Eistnaflug […]

Interior Minister May Have Tried To Influence Investigations

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Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir may have tried to influence police investigations of her ministry, prompting the previous police commissioner to quit. The Constitutional and Supervisory Committee has asked the Minister to explain herself. DV reports that, according to their sources, former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson was on one […]

Asian Immigrant Speaks Up Against Exploitation

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An Indonesian woman living in Iceland had some candid words to share about the experience many Asian women endure when they move here. RÚV reports that Cynthia Trililani, originally from Indonesia, has been living in Iceland for the past ten years now. She has two university degrees, and is working on two master’s degrees while […]

Group Demands Palestinian Be Granted Asylum

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A group calling for asylum seeker policy reform wants a Palestinian asylum seeker who was deported to be allowed to return to Iceland. RÚV reports that the group, Ekki fleiri brottvísanir (“No more deportations”), handed over a petition of support for Ramez Rassas to the Ministry of the Interior and the Directorate of Immigration. Rassas […]

One Cruise Ship = 10,000 Cars

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A single cruise ship in Reykjavík harbour releases as much pollution as 10,000 cars, in part due to a lack of necessary equipment on the part of harbour authorities. Vísir reports that 90 cruise ships, carrying over 100,000 passengers, have come to Iceland so far this year. The number of cruise ships is expected to […]

Iceland And Iran May Bolster Economic Relations

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Iran and Iceland are currently exploring economic ties with each other, and looking for ways to broaden them. PressTV reports that Director of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran Valiollah Afkhami-Rad and Iceland’s Accredited Ambassador to Tehran Gunnar Pálsson have been in talks to review what the two countries could offer each other. Afkhami-Rad, while […]

Cutting Ties With Israel “Out Of The Question”

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It looks very unlikely that Iceland will cut political ties with Israel, going by what the previous and current Foreign Ministers have said on the subject. While the Foreign Affairs Committee will soon meet to discuss what the Icelandic government will do in response to the attacks on Gaza, one option is vanishingly unlikely: the […]

11,000 Take Part In SlutWalk, Inspire Parliamentarians

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About 11,000 Icelanders participated in yesterday’s annual SlutWalk, and helped inspire a parliamentary proposal which could help victims of sexual assault. Vísir reports that about 11,000 Icelanders marched from Hallgrímskirkja at 14:00 yesterday to Austurvöllur, in front of parliament. There, attendees listened to speeches on the subject of placing the blame for rape on rapists […]

Petition On Israeli Government Submitted To Foreign Affairs Committee

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About 6,600 Icelanders signed a petition calling for their government to end diplomatic ties with Israel in response to the attacks on Gaza. Vísir reports that journalist Illugi Jökulsson, who initiated the campaign, met with Foreign Affairs Committee chair Birgir Ármannsson on Friday to give him the signatures. While the petition drive began only the […]

Diarrhoea Outbreak Caused By Campylobacter

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The Directorate of Health says it has had to deal with a virtual explosion of diarrhoea cases caused by campylobacter, a bacteria spread mostly by the poor handling of meat. In a statement posted on the Directorate’s website, about 100 cases of campylobacter-caused diarrhoea have been reported over the past year. The afflicted come from […]

Group Trips To North Korea Cancelled

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An Icelander hoping to sell group trips to North Korea has pulled the plug on the operation, citing negative press of the regime as being the major cause. Vísir reports that Egill Örn Arnarson Hansen, the original organiser of the trips through his travel office Trans Atlantic, claims 20 people had signed up for the […]

30 Million To Fox Hunting

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The Environment Agency of Iceland will be paying Iceland’s most sparsely-populated regions for the hunting of foxes, which the agency says have been experiencing a population boom. In a statement posted on the agency’s website, the agency says the number of foxes in Iceland has increased by tenfold over the past 30 years. Foxes in […]

Prime Minister Sends Letter To Netanyahu

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Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has sent a strongly-worded letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the subject of the “deeply disturbing” attacks Israel is launching against Gaza, urging for “a peaceful resolution”. RÚV reports that the office of Netanyahu has confirmed they have received Sigmundur’s letter, which can be read in its […]

Chinese Investors May Buy Part Of Icelandic Bank

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A group of Chinese investors are currently in negotiations over buying a portion of Islandsbanki, though this is not the first time such negotiations have been reported. Reuters reports that the investors group is comprised of “Chinese bank ICBC, insurer China Life Insurance Company and a large Chinese private equity fund”, an unnamed source from […]

Jeep Rolled To Avoid Hitting Sheep

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Two tourists risked their lives in order to swerve around a sheep that had jumped into the road. Vísir reports that the incident took place in Vatnsnes, northwest Iceland, at about four o’ clock this morning. While traveling on a country road, the two tourists were suddenly faced with a sheep that had bounded into […]

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 […]