A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: Eruption Pollution Likely To Hit Whole Country

Conservatives Back in Power?

Published September 22, 2010

Great divisiveness between the Social Democrats and the Leftist-Greens over whether or not former ministers should stand trial for negligence has brought up talk of new elections, or even a new coalition formed comprised of Social Democrats and the Independence Party – the same two parties who were driven from power in early 2009.
As reported, the parliamentary committee was originally assembled with the knowledge and approval of the prime minister and given the task to investigate which, if any, former ministers should stand trial in a national court for their part in the economic collapse. Their conclusion was that two conservatives – former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and former Minister of Finance Árni M. Mathiesen – and two Social Democrats – former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir and former Minister of Business Björgvin G. Sigurðsson – should stand trial for negligence. A recent poll on the matter showed that a strong majority of Icelanders fully support the idea.
However, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, also a Social Democrat, told parliament that she doubts that pressing charges against them would accomplish anything, and that they could not have prevented the economic collapse.
The remarks have sparked a catalyst of reactions that could lead to new elections, or even a new coalition.
Atli Gíslason, chairman of the parliamentary committee, told Vísir that if a parliamentary majority does not pass a measure calling for the four former minister to stand trial, that new elections should be held.
In fact, many Leftist-Greens, Progressives, and MPs for The Movement have expressed disappointment with the prime minister’s remarks, which they see as her protecting members of her own party, and many wondering why she has waited until now to say anything about the work the committee was assigned to do.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, an MP for The Movement, called the Prime Minister’s remarks “predictable spin”, and said that she ought to apologize to parliament for it. Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, chairman of the Progressive Party, told RÚV that new elections were indeed discussed in parliament yesterday, as was the formation of a new coalition, comprised of the Social Democrats and the Independence Party: the same two parties that were driven from power in the wake of popular protests in early 2009.
The Leftist-Green Party officially disagrees with the prime minister, with Leftist-Green chairman Steingrímur J. Sigfússon telling reporters that he was pleased with the work that the committee has done.
A vote on the matter is expected today.



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Minister Of Fisheries: Our Whaling Is Sustainable

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The Minister of Fisheries, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, says he is concerned by the démarche delivered to the Icelandic government to end the practice of whaling. Sigurður Ingi told RÚV however, that he felt it was important to highlight that all [fishing] organisations operating in Iceland do so sustainably, unlike many of the countries who signed the démarche. “I think that in the past few years we have been too shy about [our sustainable whaling practices] and I think it’s really burned us,” said Sigurður Ingi. “People and companies have maintained for a long time [that whaling has damaged the reputation of

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Volcano Update: Bárðarbunga Continues To Subside

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The subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera continues, sinking by 45 cm just this morning following an earthquake with the magnitude of 5.4, reports RÚV. Yesterday, Civil Protection (CPEM) reported a subsidence of over 50 cm. Currently there is no information about the progress of the lava flow coming from the Holuhraun eruption. This is because of dangerous conditions which forced scientists to evacuate the area yesterday. Not before posting some excellent pictures and showing off a lava sample on Twitter though. Pahoehoe lava creeping over older lava. Credit: Uni. of Iceland/Johanne Schmithh #Bardarbunga #Holuhraun #Iceland pic.twitter.com/cvMB2f0Nh7 — Univ. of Iceland (@uni_iceland) September

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Firings At The Directorate Of Labour

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Government-sanctioned budget cuts have forced the Directorate of Labour to let go of some of their employees and cut back on services to the unemployed. “We are struggling with a demand to reduce operational costs by about 100 million [ISK],” Gissur Pétursson, the director of the Directorate, told RÚV. “There is no other choice. We cannot conduct interviews and counseling like we would otherwise want to.” 20 employees have already been let go, operating hours have been shortened, and the service office has been closed. Gissur could not comment on the exact number of employees who will be let go

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Signs Gender Wage Gap Is Growing

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The Union of Public Servants (SFR) has released a salary poll that shows the gender wage gap within their ranks is growing. Vísir reports that the unadjusted wage difference between men and women doing the same work within SFR is 21%. Men in SFR make, on average, 469,885 ISK per month, while women doing the same work make 369,446 ISK. This was detemined by a Capacent Gallup poll conducted for SFR. When these figures are adjusted for other factors that have an effect on salaries, the gender wage gap not only still remains, at 10%, it is also increasing. Last

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35 Nations Exhort Iceland To End Whaling

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All 28 European Union member states and seven other countries have delivered a demarche to the Icelandic government to end the practice of whaling. In a statement from the European Commission, they confirm that “The EU, its 28 Member States and the governments of the United States, Australia, Brazil, Israel, New Zealand, Mexico and Monaco, today declared their opposition to the fact that the Icelandic government still permits commercial whaling, in particular the hunting of fin whales and the subsequent trading of fin whale products.” The Icelandic government has received the demarche (see below), which was delivered by the EU’s

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Eruption Pollution Likely To Hit Whole Country

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If Holuhraun continues erupting it is likely the whole country will be effected by poisonous SO2 levels, reports RÚV. “[If the eruption continues] we can expect strong levels of SO2, especially to the northwest,” said Þorsteinn Jóhannsson, a specialist working with air pollution at the Environment Agency of Iceland. “And presumably, the direction of the wind will change at some point and then we can expect it all over the country.” RÚV reports that SO2 pollution measured 1,250 micrograms per cubic meter in Reykjahlíð near Lake Mývatn last night. The maximum safety limit for SO2 is 600 micrograms per cubic meter. Several

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