Directorate Of Health Wants Junk Food Tax

by

The Directorate of Health wants to see taxes increased on candy and soda, and decreased on fruits, vegetables and fish. MBL reports that the Directorate has grave concerns about the eating habits of Icelanders, and are particularly worried about a government proposal to lower the so-called “sugar tax”. The Directorate believes that reducing consumption of […]

Airline Row Going To EFTA

by

A legal dispute between WOW Air and Icelandair will be appealed to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). A decision from the Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision made by Reykjavík District Court, which ruled that the dispute would not go to EFTA. The original request to take the dispute to the international authority was […]

VIDEO: Killer Whales Playing By Bolungarvík

by

An alert journalist in the right place at the right time recorded killer whales frolicking off the coast of Bolungarvík, in the Westfjords of Iceland. Víkari, Bolungarvík’s news outlet, reports that Guðbjörg Stefanía Hafþórsdóttir spotted three killer whales off the coast of Ósvör, just east of Bolungarvík. As their play intensified, they eventually swam right […]

Government To Increase Reforestation

by

Iceland’s government intends to increase funding to reforestation efforts around the country. RÚV reports that while recent years have seen government cuts to Iceland’s national reforestation efforts, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson wants to reverse that trend. The minister points out that even as demand for timber is growing, successive […]

Ministry Of Tourism?

by

One of Iceland’s captains of the tourist industry has proposed that tourism be given its own ministerial jurisdiction. MBL reports that Ásbjörn Björg­vins­son, the director of the Icelandic Tourism Association, believes the time has come for the Icelandic government to devote at least part of a ministry to what is already a major revenue-generator for […]

Prime Minister Learns What “Transparency” Means

by

Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson drew harsh criticism for remarks he made about an impending vote of no confidence against Interior Minister Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir. The Pirate Party announced earlier this week that they were considering submitting a vote of no confidence against Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir. They contend that her refusal […]

News In Brief Early August

by

A whole new angle on the ever-brewing Ministry of the Interior scandal came to light when it was reported that Interior Minister Hanna Birna had contacted then-Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson, in person and by phone, in part to ask if police could be trusted with ministry files, and when their investigations […]

Growing Numbers Of Bats In Iceland

by

New research shows an increasing number of bats in Iceland, most likely arriving via cargo ships. The research, published in the journal Acta Chiropterologica under the title “A Review of the Occurrence of Bats (Chiroptera) on Islands in the North East Atlantic and on North Sea Installations”, placed primary focus on newly discovered species of […]

Car-Sharing Service Opens In Iceland

by

A new Icelandic car-sharing company is letting people rent their cars out to others, or rent a car from others themselves. The company in question, Caritas, allows registered users to advertise their car for rent, at rates the car owner sets themselves. Other users can log on to look for a car that meets their […]

Growing Likelihood Of Eruption At Bárðarbunga

by

The possibility of a volcanic eruption at Bárðarbunga is increasing, to where the Prime Minister has met with rescue and civil defence officials on the subject. The Icelandic Met Office reports  “very strong indications of ongoing magma movement, in connection with dyke intrusion [and that this] is corroborated by GPS measurements”. At the same time, […]

Interior Minister May Have To Answer For Her Assistant’s Actions

by

By law, the Minister of the Interior may be held responsible for the memo the State Prosecutor says one of her assistants leaked to the press. As reported, Gísli Freyr Valdórsson, an assistant to Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, has been charged with breach of confidentiality. He is alleged to have doctored a […]

Elevated Caution Over Seismic Activity At Volcano Site

by

The Bárðarbunga volcano is now classified as “Code Yellow”, although there are no indications that magma has reached the surface. According to a statement from the Icelandic Met Office, a cluster of earthquakes at and around the Bárðarbunga volcano – on the roughly northwest corner of Vatnajökull glacier – have been recorded and have been […]

Interior Minister Assistant Charged

by

Gísli Freyr Valdórsson, an assistant to Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, has been charged with breach of confidentiality. RÚV reports that the State Prosecutor has filed charges against Gísli for allegedly leaking a memo to select members of the press which contained false allegations about Nigerian asylum seeker Tony Omos. Hanna Birna, in […]

Interior Minister May Have Broken Ministerial Regulations

by

Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir has responded to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, again, and the facts brought to light may implicate her in breaking official government regulations. As reported, sources who spoke to DV said that Hanna Birna spoke with Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson while he was still involved with […]

City Examines “City Bikes” Possibility

by

Reykjavík may soon join the list of cities with a “city bikes” service, renting out bicycles to residents to reduce car traffic downtown. DV reports that Reykjavík City Council formed a workgroup this morning to look into the logistics of offering city-owned bikes to residents, to be temporarily rented in order to travel downtown. “I […]

Says Residents In No Danger From Fluoride Emissions

by

Despite fluoride levels in the grass around an aluminium smelter being above the safe limit for three years in a row, residents in the area have been told they are in no danger. The Real Estate, Planning and Environmental Committee of Fjarðabyggð met with officials from The Environmental Agency of Iceland (UST) and the Icelandic […]

MP Proposes “Immigrants’ Ombudsman”

by

An MP says immigrants are “helpless against our system”, and believes they need an ombudsman. Elín Hirst, an MP for the Independence Party, posted an update on her Facebook regarding a missing immigrant who was newly found. The immigrant in question has been struggling with mental health issues, and is now in a doctor’s care. […]

Russia Focus Of Foreign Affairs Committee

by

Recent events in the Russian Federation has prompted the Foreign Affairs Committee to examine what new courses of action Iceland may take. RÚV reports that three subjects where the main focus of the committee’s discussions: Russia’s import ban of some European goods, sanctions placed against Russia by other countries, and the current armed conflict in […]

Airport Security Varies For Different Nationalities

by

The security measures an arrival at Keflavík International Airport must go through can depend on the departure country of the flight. RÚV reports that passengers on flights arriving from Canada and Russia go through twice as many security measures as those arriving from western Europe. This also applies to those leaving Iceland for those countries. […]

Lamb Getting Ready For Whole Foods

by

The autumn cull of lambs has already begun in some parts of Iceland, to be sent to Whole Foods stores in the US. MBL reports that about 600 sheep were slaughtered in Hvammstangi yesterday. The meat from the cull will be shipped fresh to the US for sale in Whole Foods stores. Magnús Freyr Jóns­son, […]

Support For Government Falls Slightly

by

According to the latest poll, public support for the ruling coalition has decreased over the past month. The poll was conducted by Market and Media Research (MMR) from July 28 to 31. According to their findings, support for the ruling coalition of the Progressive Party and the Independence Party has taken a slight dip, from […]

Off-Road Driving Becoming Major Problem

by

Greater cooperation between local authorities and tourist companies is needed to stem the damage done to the Icelandic countryside by off-road driving, says an official from the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCSI). RÚV reports that off-road traffic has been causing considerable damage to soil and moss, which is in fact illegal to drive on. […]

400 Compete In League Of Legends Match

by

About 400 Icelanders took part in a League of Legends competition at the University of Reykjavík over the weekend. League of Legends (LoL) is a multiplayer online battle arena. Released in 2009, it is today a critically-acclaimed game played by millions of people every day, and Iceland is no exception. Vísir reports that a massive […]

Over One-Fourth Of Iceland Attend Reykjavík Pride

by

About 90,000 people – over one-quarter the population of Iceland – attended yesterday’s Reykjavík Pride celebrations. Vísir reports that some 30 floats took part in the parade, which began at the BSÍ bus terminal and ended at the foot of Arnarhóll. Reykjavík Pride kicked off with a speech from former Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir who, […]

Tourism Having Effects On Rental Market

by

An increase in tourism has made a negative impact on the local rental market, the head of the Renters’ Association of Iceland contends, causing both apartment scarcity and rising rental costs. Vísir reports that tourists have shown a greater willingness to pay much higher rent for a shorter amount of time than a local would […]

Says National Registry Breaking The Law Over Girl’s Name

by

A lawyer for the family of Harriet Cardew argues that denying the girl an Icelandic passport is in violation of the Icelandic Constitution. Ragnar Aðalsteinsson, the Cardew family’s lawyer, told Vísir that the National Registry’s decision to deny 10-year-old Harriet a passport for having a foreign name actually breaks two laws. First, there is the […]

Shops And Restaurants Running Out Of Minke Whale

by

The minke whale cull has fallen far below expectations, prompting a shortage of whale meat in shops and restaurants in Iceland. Vísir reports that whalers have only hunted 18 minke whales so far this year. While only 3% of Icelanders eat whale regularly, minke whale meat remains popular enough amongst tourists to precipitate a shortage […]

Mystery of Rumbling Tuya Solved

by

The mysterious rumbling noises heard emanating from the tuya Herðubreið have a very mundane explanation. Harpa Grímsdóttir of the Icelandic Met Office told Vísir that according to their findings, the source of the rumbling heard earlier this week was a landslide. Specifically, melting snow gave way along the northeast slope, taking with it a layer […]

Archaeologists Angry With Archeological Office

by

Eight archaeologists have accused The Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland (CHA) of operating without supervision when it comes to the excavation and research of Iceland’s historic sites. Vísir reports that the eight archaeologists have pointed out that CHA’s role is supposed to be that of a party supervising the work of other archaeologists. Instead, they […]

Half Tjörnin’s Duck Species Dying Off

by

Three of the six duck species at the pond Tjörnin in Reykjavík are dying off, and will disappear if nothing is done. Vísir reports that Ólafur Karl Nielsen, an ornithologist for The Icelandic Institute of Natural History (IINH), has recently concluded a count of the ducks at Tjörnin. The results, although not final, are hardly […]

Mysterious Noises Coming From Volcano

by

Strange rumblings coming from the tuya Herðubreið are confounding observers as to their possible source. Vísir reports that visitors to the mesa-shaped volcano in northeast Iceland have been unable to determine if the persistent rumblings coming from Herðubreið are being caused by an avalanche, landslide, or something else entirely. Rangers around Herðubreið were the first […]

Ombudsman Wants Clearer Answers From Interior Minister

by

Parliamentary Ombudsman Tryggvi Gunnarsson is not satisfied with the response he received from Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir last week about her communications with former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson, and has asked for further clarification. In a new letter Tryggvi posted to the Ombudsman’s website, the Minister is asked […]

Icelander Takes Part In Mongol Derby

by

Aníta Margrét Aradóttir is the first Icelander to take part in what has been called the most dangerous race in the world, the Mongol Derby. Vísir reports that Aníta has her work cut out for her. Competitors ride Mongolian horses that are described as “barely tamed” over a route stretched 1,000 kilometres. Horses are changed […]

Museum Wants Penis Of Beached Sperm Whale

by

A sperm whale which washed up on Iceland’s shores earlier this week may become the Penis Museum’s newest donor. RÚV reports that the whale was spotted on the shores of Skarðsvík, located in the Árneshreppur region of the Westfjords. The 12-15 metre carcass was visible from the road, as traffic reportedly slowed as passers-by checked […]

New Police Commissioner Wanted Iceland To Ignore International Law

by

The newly-appointed Commissioner of the Capital Area Police, Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir, has gone on record saying Iceland should continue to ignore international law on the treatment of refugees. As DV points out, last December, Sigríður – at the time Suðurnes chief of police – told magazine Nýtt Líf that she was opposed to a proposal […]

Viðey: Not Exactly Wheelchair Accessible

by

The chairperson of Iceland’s MND Society has harshly criticised the City of Reykjavík for scheduling events on the island of Viðey, despite the island being more or less inaccessible to the wheelchair-bound. RÚV reports that not everyone has been happy with the full schedule of events the city has hosted on Viðey this summer. Guðjón […]

Bird Deaths Still A Mystery

by

Scientists have ruled out avian flu as the cause of the massive die-off of about 100 sea birds in west Iceland last spring, but the culprit remains a mystery for now. RÚV reports that samples taken from some of the dead birds were analyzed both here and abroad. These samples showed signs of some kind […]

Icelanders Ahead Of US In Autism Treatment

by

An Icelandic child neurologist working in Florida says Iceland is “a few steps ahead” when it comes to the treatment of autism in children. In an interview with Morgunblaðið, child neurologist Lauf­ey Ýr Sig­urðardótt­ir talks about her experiences working at the Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida. Moving to the state from Iceland two years […]

Rock ‘N’ Roll Summer Camp For Young Women Coming Up

by

Stelpur Rokka! (Girls Rock!), a rock ‘n’ roll summer camp that encourages young women to take up music, begins next week. Bæjarins Bestu reports that the event will be held from August 15 to 17 in Hólmavík, northwest Iceland. The camp is open to all young women and trans women aged 12 to 16, regardless […]

Foreign Minister Joins Icelandic-American Celebration

by

Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson was among the guests at this year’s “August The Deuce” festival in Mountain, North Dakota, which celebrates the Icelandic heritage of the village. MBL reports that Gunnar Bragi was given a small tour of the area, visiting a memorial to poet Steph­an G. Stephan­son and the site of […]

Demanded Fair Wage And Got Fired

by

A former employee of Lebowski Bar, after asking to be paid according to the law, was fired from her position. Trade union Efling says the exploitation of restaurant workers is common, and that there is little they can do about it. MBL reports that Gréta Sól­ey Sig­urðardótt­ir began working at Lebowski Bar at the end […]

No More Security Camera Photos In The News

by

The Data Protection Authority (Persónuvernd) has announced that it is illegal for news outlets to run photos taken from security camera footage. In the announcement, Persónuvernd points out that still frames and photos taken by security cameras, usually of someone who is suspected of committing a crime, have been distributed through numerous media outlets. This, […]

US Embassy Delivers Protesters’ Message To Washington

by

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

by

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

by

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

by

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”

by

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

by

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

by

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”

by

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 […]