A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: Holuhraun, still spewing lava. Bárðarbunga, still sinking.

Parliament Committee Calls Ban on Wikileaks “Harsh Operation on Freedom of Expression”

Published December 10, 2010

The parliamentary general committee (allsherjanefnd) met today to discuss the ban that Visa and Mastercard have placed on card-holders who wish to donate to Wikileaks, and have raised the possibility of taking away their operating licences.
Numerous interested parties met with the committee today, among them electronic payment companies Valitor and Borgun, both of whom work with Visa and Mastercard. Also in attendance were The Consumer’s Alliance, Amnesty International and, via conference call, Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.
Róbert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, told mbl.is, “People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it. They said this decision was taken by foreign sources.” Valitor and Borgun have emphasized that the matter is not in their hands.
The committee has asked for more information from these companies, however, to prove that there are legal grounds for banning cardholders from donating money to an organisation such as Wikileaks. Amnesty International said that they were very concerned at the precedent the ban sets with regards to human rights.
Róbert said that it was the opinion of the members of parliament on the committee that the operating licences of Visa and Mastercard in Iceland should be seriously reviewed.
As reported, Datacell – a company which had been serving as a proxy for payments to Wikileaks – is already planning to sue Visa. Kristinn said that he has no doubts Wikileaks will themselves sue Visa, and Mastercard as well.



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Landowners Demand End To Smelter Pollution

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A group of landowners in Reyðarfjörður have told the Alcoa Fjarðaál aluminium smelter to stop the emission of fluoride in the area. Austurfrétt reports that the landowners’ group Landeigendur Áreyja has told the directorship to put an end to the omissions, which they say are far too high. Guðrún Kjartansdóttir, speaking to reporters on the matter, said that before the smelter was built, area residents were promised that they need not worry about any kind of fluoride pollution from the smelter. “We were told that this would be a very hi-tech and perfect smelter,” she said. “It is unacceptable to

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Immigrant Wins Work Permit Challenge Against Government

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An immigrant from Iran has won a court case against the Icelandic government, after he was denied a work permit on grounds the court found insufficient. MBL reports that the man in question came to Iceland from Iran in 2011, originally on a student permit. Later in the year, he bought an import company, taking a seat on the directorship and registering himself as the managing director. After buying the company, the man changed the company’s name, and began to import silk and carpets from the Middle East, as well as dates, nuts and other foodstuffs. However, in March 2013

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Volcano Watch: Bárðarbunga And Holuhraun Update

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Bárðarbunga caldera continues to subside at the same rate as before, roughly half a metre per day, reports the Institute of Earth Sciences. Large earthquakes are still being detected in the Bárðarbunga caldera, several with a magnitudes over 3, some over 5. The lava production at the currently active Holuhraun eruption continues to be strong. The lava flow is now around the centre of the lava field, which has grown to around 37 square kilometres. As reported, scientists in the field estimate that around 90% of the SO2 gas coming from the eruption originates in the active craters and only 10%

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Creditors Closer To Pay Out

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The outlook for hedge funds caught in Iceland’s $85 billion banking failure may be looking up, reports Bloomberg. The administrators overseeing claims against one of the three banks that defaulted in 2008, Glitnir Bank hf, say recent talks with a government committee indicate that it will now be easier to complete creditor settlements. “My impression is that the government had until now not been ready,” Steinunn Guðbjartsdóttir, head of Glitnir’s winding-up committee, told Bloomberg. “Now that they’ve got their processes in place, it will be possible to complete this sooner rather than later.” The main obstacle to repaying creditors has

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Poison Gas Cloud Heading Northeast

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The Icelandic Met Office predicts sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas from the Holuhraun eruption will move north and east over the next 24 hours. As can be seen, the Met Office has two maps for predicted areas where significant levels of SO2 will be present. Egilsstaðir and Reyðarfjörður are expected to be hit the hardest by the gas, which continues to pour out of the Holuhraun eruption site. However, levels of SO2 will vary from region to region, and even from hour to hour. A more detailed map allows one to see the forecast movement of SO2 concentrations through Tuesday. Simply

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Special Prosecutor Accused Of Illegal Phone Taps

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A former employee of the Office of the Special Prosecutor says the office tapped phones of suspects illegally. The Minister of Justice believes the matter needs to be investigated. In an interview with Fréttablaðið, former Special Prosecutor’s Office employee Jón Óttar Ólafsson said that the office listened in on illegal taps of phone conversations of clients and lawyers alike. Both the Special Prosecutor (shown above) and the State Prosecutor have dismissed the allegations as completely untrue. However, RÚV reports that Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson – serving in his capacity as acting Justice Minister – believes the matter warrants further

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