Surtsey: New World Heritage Site

Published July 10, 2008

Surtsey, the volcanic island off the
southern coast of Iceland was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List
at World Heritage Committee meeting in Quebec City on July 7th.
A total of 27 new sites were inscribed on the WHL including the Preah
Vihear Temple in Cambodia and Fujian Tulou in China.

Surtsey is a fairly new island
approximately 32 km from the south coast of Iceland formed by
volcanic eruptions that took place from 1963 to 1967. It is
considered all the more intriguing for having been protected since
its “birth”, providing the world with a pristine natural
laboratory. Free from human interference, Surtsey has been used to
study and produce unique long-term information on the colonisation
process of new land by plant and animal life. Since they began
studying the island in 1964, scientists have observed the arrival of
seeds carried by ocean currents, the appearance of moulds, bacteria
and fungi, followed in 1965 by the first vascular plant.

Iceland now has to sites on the World
Heritage List, Surtsey and Þingvellir National Park, site of the
ancient assembly of the Althing which was inscribed in 2008.



Mag
Opinion
<?php the_title(); ?>

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. What really hurts is if you try to cover it up.” – Richard Nixon, at the start of the Watergate scandal. On August 26, Parliamentary Ombudsman Tryggvi Gunnarsson sent Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir a third letter regarding police investigations of her Ministry,

Mag
Opinion
<?php the_title(); ?>

A Volcano Bigger Than Timberlake

by

Historically, Iceland has seen some volcanic eruptions at a devastating scale. The most prominent in public memory is arguably the late 18th century Móðuharðindi, two years of brutal hardships caused by an eruption in volcanic ridge Lakagígar. The sky and sun darkened, while ashes destroyed pastures, and temperatures sank, leading to the death of an estimated 75% of the country’s livestock and a fifth of its human population. After 200 years of economic and technological progress, any such incident should now be easier to deal with. That seemed to be the case, albeit on a smaller scale, during the unforeseen

Mag
Opinion
<?php the_title(); ?>

A Summery Summary

by

In case you missed reports, while traveling or otherwise enjoying Iceland’s ten days of summer, here are the latest news in brief, a summary of the last week or two. Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð warns that, should fresh meat imports be allowed, a virus, common in foreign meat-products, might cause Icelanders to behave like foreigners. The populations of Britain and Norway still seem to behave normally, as they remain relatively Toxoplasma-free. That was the day after the Minister complained, on Facebook, that the Icelandic media did not pay due attention to Iceland’s weightlifting champions. It seems a countryman just won

Mag
Opinion
<?php the_title(); ?>

Foreign Policy For Profit

by

Last week, the Russian government announced they would respond to Western sanctions over the situation in the Ukraine with some economic sanctions of their own—a full embargo on food imports from the EU, the US and several other Western countries. Norway, which is on the list of embargoed countries, is hit especially hard, Russia being the single most important market for Norwegian seafood exports last year. Immediately, many Icelanders exclaimed that this was great news! Fish exporters seemed especially happy, because—for some reason—Iceland was not included on the embargo list. The funny thing was, nobody knew for certain why. A

Mag
Opinion
<?php the_title(); ?>

So What’s This Unfair Treatment Of Young Employees I Keep Hearing About?

by

In Iceland, labour unions and employers’ organizations negotiate to establish parameters for pay and other benefits. Earlier this month, a 22-year-old new hire of Lebowski Bar made the not unreasonable demand of being paid according to the general wage contract. Apparently, her employer, instead of paying different rates for weekdays, weekends and nights—as is required by law—paid out a single hourly wage for all times of day and night. This isn’t ‘Nam. This is a paycheck. There are rules. Yes, the bar is named after ‘The Big Lebowski,’ but there is no need to make this article a collection of

Mag
Opinion
<?php the_title(); ?>

Where’s Robert Barber?

by

I recently attended the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavík’s annual American Independence Day celebration, a lively event with great music, a delicious American-style buffet, a host of accomplished people and an abundance of patriotic spirit. As I scanned the mingling crowd, I recognised several highly-distinguished Icelandic guests, including former president Vigdís Finnbogadóttir and newly-elected Reykjavík mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson. However, as the evening wore on, I realised that one important American figure was noticeably absent from all the festivities: Robert Barber, President Obama’s nominee to replace Luis Arreaga as U.S. Ambassador to Iceland. When I returned home later that evening, I

Show Me More!