Workers Unite!

by and

Earlier this month, a news story broke in the Icelandic media that a young Icelandic girl working at Lebowski Bar was fired after she asked to be paid minimum wage—effectively a pay rise over what she was getting. The story sparked shock and outrage amongst many. To others, it was merely par for the course. […]

Fishing Minister Defends Faroese Snub, Other Icelanders Offer Cake

by

The Faroese fishing vessel Næraberg may have been snubbed by authorities, but other Icelanders are helping the beleagured ship in any way they can. RÚV reports that Minister of Fisheries Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson has called the treatment of the Faroese mackerel fishing vessel Næraberg to be based on “a misunderstanding” on why the snub occurred. […]

Holuhraun Volcano Erupts Again

by

An eruption has commenced at Holuhraun again, replete with magma plumes some 60 metres tall. RÚV reports that an eruption has re-opened at Holuhraun, just north of Vatnjökull, which began in the early morning hours. As can be seen, this is a lava eruption, and plumes of magma are reportedly reaching heights of up to […]

Poll Decidedly Grim For Interior Minister, Government

by

A new poll from Fréttablaðið and Stöð 2 shows about two-thirds of respondents want Interior Minister Hanna Banna Kristjánsdóttir to resign, and trust in her – as well as the government in general – is remarkably low. According to the poll, Vísir reports, which asked respondents if they believe Hanna Birna should resign, 67% of […]

Faroese Receive Cold Welcome In Reykjavík Harbour

by

A damaged Faroese fishing ship was intially refused service in Reykjavík Harbour. That situation changed after protests from Faroese and Icelanders alike. Vísir reports that the Faroese mackerel fishing boat Næraberg experienced severe engine trouble on their way from fishing stocks in Greenland waters last Thursday. This prompted the captain to put in a request […]

Musician May Face Hate Speech Charges

by

An Icelandic musician who has been an outspoken opponent of the Reykjavík Pride festival may be looking at hate speech charges for his remarks about the LGBT community. Gylfi Ægisson, a musician who has made his opposition to Reykjavík Pride publicly known on more than one occasion, did so again in the comments of a […]

Japan Airlines Returns To Iceland

by

Travelling between Japan and Iceland will, for two months at least, be a whole lot easier. Vísir reports that Japan Airlines intends to have six flights from Osaka and Tokyo to Keflavík International Airport in August and September. The first flight landed last Thursday, carrying some 220 passengers. This marks the third year in a […]

News In Brief Late August

by

Unless you’ve been literally living in a cave for the past two weeks, chances are that you’ve heard of the possible eruption at Bárðarbunga peak. In the end (at the time of writing), this insufferable geological formation didn’t have the decency to erupt even a little bit, let alone disrupt air travel across the European […]

Humpback Whale Saved From Netting – VIDEO

by

The Icelandic Coast Guard rescued a whale that had been caught in netting, with the whole event recorded on video. A statement from the Icelandic Coast Guard announces that they received a call yesterday morning of a whale near Skagafjörður that had reportedly gotten caught in some fishing netting. The whale had attempted to free […]

Pagan Chief Says Racists Co-Opt Elements Of Ásatrú

by

The Head Chieftain of the Ásatrú Society says neo-Nazis have attempted to co-opt the pagan faith – a practice the society utterly disavows. “We strongly oppose any attempt by individuals to use their association with the Ásatrúarfélagið of Iceland to promote attitudes, ideologies and practices rejected by the leadership of the Ásatrúarfélagið. We particularly reject […]

Interior Minister Spoke Untruthfully To Parliament

by

What Interior Minister Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir told parliament earlier this summer about police investigations of her Ministry, and what the reality was, are two different things. As Vísir points out, Hanna Birna addressed parliament on the investigations of her Ministry on numerous occasions. On June 18, while police investigations were still ongoing, she told her […]

The Deafening Cognitive Dissonance of the Interior Minister

by

“I can say categorically that his investigation indicates that no one on the White House staff, no one in this administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident. What really hurts in matters of this sort is not the fact that they occur, because overzealous people in campaigns do things that are wrong. […]

Bárðarbunga Area Sees Greater Seismic Activity

by

Seismic activity at and around the Bárðarbunga volcano has prompted authorities to call an urgent meeting to assess the situation. There is still no confirmation of an eruption. Earlier this evening, Tobias Dürig tweeted a photo of fissures in Holuhraun, next to Dyngjujökull, and southeast of Bárðarbunga, taken by a TF-SIF surveillance plane. Vísir reports […]

Icelandic Burger Joint “Best In London”

by

Just two short years after opening up shop in London, the Hamborgarabúllan franchise was chosen by the Independent as the best in the city. After sampling many of the city’s numerous burger joints, and rating them both on their food and atmosphere, the Independent chose Tommi’s, as Hamborgarabúllan is known there, to be well ahead […]

Half Of Westfjords Lose Phone And Internet Service For Hours

by

In a still-unexplained mishap, all internet and telephone service for the southern half of the Westfjords dropped out for about seven hours. RÚV reports that at about 9:30 yesterday morning, phone and internet for Ísafjörður and the southern Westfjords inexplicably ceased to function. Even emergency services were affected by the glitch. It took seven hours […]

Jón Gnarr To Appeal Name Change Case

by

Former Mayor of Reykjavík Jón Gnarr plans to appeal a decision by the National Registry which prevents him from changing his legal name to Jón Gnarr. Vísir reports that Jón recently filed a formal request with the National Registry to change his name from Jón Gnarr Kristinsson to just Jón Gnarr, as he has been […]

Group To Teach Icelanders How To Boycott Goods From Israel

by

A group of Icelanders hopes to educate the general public on how to avoid buying products from Israel. DV reports that the group, called BDS Ísland, hopes to bring to light which Icelandic companies are importing and selling Israeli goods. The “BDS” in the group’s name stands for “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions”. The movement is an […]

Interior Minister Threatened Police, Considering Resigning

by

Interior Minister Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir reportedly threatened the former police commissioner with an investigation of her own, and her assistants tried to influence his statements to the press. This and more has come to light in a new letter from the Parliamentary Ombudsman. Parliamentary Ombudsman Tryggvi Gunnarsson today published another letter to Hanna Birna, asking […]

Truth Committee Confirms: Lagarfljót Worm Is Real

by

The Truth Committee has concluded that the mythical Lagarfljót Worm sea monster is real. After over two years of carefully pouring over the available evidence, the Truth Committee formed to investigate whether or not the famed Lagarfljót Worm is real has come to a conclusion. “We didn’t see the Worm, but we tried really hard […]

Justin Timberlake Chided For “Hello, Reykjavík!”

by

Justin Timberlake held his first concert in Iceland yesterday, and some Icelandic media sources have reported primarily on Timberlake getting the name of the town he was performing in wrong. Singer Justin Timberlake performed to a standing-room-only crowd at the stadium Kórinn in Kópavogur last night. At the start of the show, thousands of Icelanders […]

Weather Station For Westfjords Draws Criticism

by

A single weather station is often used to indicate the temperature and wind speed for all of the Westfjords, and residents are less than happy about it. Vísir reports that reported temperatures in the Westfjords and the actual temperatures are often vastly different. As can be seen in the linked article, the temperature for the […]

Plenty Of Room For Tourists In The Westfjörds

by

As tourist numbers continue spiking, a tourism official from the northwest reminds people that there is still a lot of unspoilt nature in the Westfjörds. About one million tourists will visit Iceland this year and, if the current trend continues, that number will reach 2 million by 2020. However, most of these tourists have been […]

Bárðarbunga Volcano: State Of Emergency Called Off

by

The Icelandic Met Office and Civil Protection authorities have reduced their measurement of Bárðabunga volcano from “emergency” to “alert”, and air travel is open again. RÚV reports that, despite earlier reports that a small eruption was underway under the Dyngjujökull glacier, scientists came to the conclusion, after some disagreement, that there is likely no eruption […]

Immigrant Children To Get Mother Tongue Classes

by

The City of Reykjavík is making preparations to set up mother tongue classes for primary school children of foreign origin. According to an announcement posted on City Hall’s webpage, the School and Recreation Council has passed a measure to set up a workgroup whose purpose it will be to outline how immigrant primary school children […]

88 Fin Whales Culled So Far

by

Over half the quota of fin whales has been culled so far this summer, showing a slight decline from the year previous. Since whaling season began last June 15, Vísir reports, 88 fin whales have been culled. The maximum quota is for 154 fin whales, which may only be hunted during a 3-month period. “It’s […]

Wants To Raise Taxes On Tourism

by

An MP for the Progressive Party wants to raise taxes on hospitality services and reinstate the VAT for businesses in the tourist industry. Karl Garðarsson, posting on his Facebook, expressed objections to a proposal from the Independence Party to raise taxes on food, while “there is no sign that tourism or associated parties will pay […]

Anti-Piracy Group Declaring Bankruptcy Due To Embezzlement

by

The board of anti-piracy group Smáís wants to declare bankruptcy, brought on by the former director having allegedly embezzled funds out of the company. RÚV reports that Smáís has recently filed bankruptcy papers with Reykjavík District Court. According to their filing, the main reason cited is that the former director of Smáís, Snæbjörn Steingrímsson, had […]

State Broadcasting Archives Need Saving

by

Iceland’s state broadcasting service, RÚV, needs help in archiving a wealth of audio and video material going back decades. RÚV reports that many of these archived recordings – some of them going back to 1935 – are in a bad state of disrepair. All told, there are some 10,000 albums, 30,000 reels of tape, 10,000 […]

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. […]