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

Revised Constitution Being Drafted

Published May 9, 2011

Iceland’s new constitution is currently being drafted, and a number of changes are already being proposed.
As the Grapevine reported, elections for the 25-member constitutional assembly were ruled invalid on the grounds that the way the elections were conducted broke numerous voting laws. The issue has been a political one, as conservatives have been opposed to changing the constitution, while leftists greatly favour doing so. Last February, the government proposed appointing those 25 who had been elected onto a “constitutional council”, thereby getting around the court ruling. The measure passed, 30 votes against 21.
Vísir now reports that a number of changes are already being proposed. Among these is an addition to the chapter on human rights, which would forbid any Icelander from being conscripted into military service. Iceland has no military force at the moment, and the closest thing to it – the Icelandic Defence Agency – was abolished last January. However, should an Icelandic army be formed, for whatever reason, and this new article to the constitution be passed, no Icelander need fear being drafted.
Those curious about the constitutional council, its background, and its purpose can visit their English language page. News on their progress is still only in Icelandic.



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News In Brief: Late September

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 Fortunately for us, the Holurhraun eruption (discussed here and here) has not produced airplane-choking ash clouds nor led to devastating glacial flooding. There have, however, been continuous plumes  of sulphur dioxide wafting through mostly North and East Iceland from the site of the Holuhraun  eruption, giving police another reason to cordon off a large swath of Iceland from public access. Not that  this hasn’t stopped a few idiots from blithely driving into an eruption site anyway. New forms of natural  selection ahoy! Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson is exploring the legalisation of drugs, going so far as to  agree

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Arca To Co-Produce New Björk Album

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The follow-up to Björk’s 2011 album ‘Biophilia’ will be co-produced by Brooklyn based Venezuelan artist Arca, reports Pitchfork Media. Arca has previously collaborated with Kanye West on his album Yeezus and FKA Twigs on EP2. Björk’s last album Biophilia has far surpassed the boundaries of a simple studio album and by embracing new technology has found its way into Nordic school curriculums and been the inspiration for a film which recently premiered at Manchester International Festival.

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Thousand Litres Of Icelandic Christmas Beer Lost

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A thousand litres of the Christmas beer, Þvörusleikir (named after Icelandic Yule Lad “Spoon Licker”), was poured down the drain at Borg Brugghús in recent days, reports Nútíminn. Árni Long, Borg Brugghús (Borg Brewery’s) master brewer told Nútíminn that he would not distribute a beer he was even a little unsatisfied with. “This is obviously a tragedy for beer enthusiasts like us,” said Árni. “But at the same time it’s something you must learn to tolerate as master brewer for an innovative brewery. These 1.000 litres of Christmas beer simply did not measure up to the standards we set for [our

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UN Women’s Conference To Include Women After All

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Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, has said women will be included in the UN Conference on women after all, but it remains unclear exactly how they will be included, reports Newsweek. As reported yesterday, Gunnar Bragi announced in a speech at the UN General Assembly that Iceland in cooperation with Suriname was planning to host a “Male Only” UN conference inviting male leaders worldwide to discuss violence against women and other women’s issues. The news was met with a barrage of criticism with people wondering why Iceland, a global leader in gender equality, would purposely exclude women from a

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Surgeons May Strike

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After failed attempts at negotiations with State authorities, surgeons at the national university hospital Landspítalinn will vote, later this week, on a potential strike. The strike action would commence in two weeks and postpone 150 operations each week. 5,000 people currently await operation, according to RÚV. In case of a strike, surgeons would still do emergency operations. Minister of Healthcare, Kristján Þór Júlíusson, has said that he supports the surgeons’ demands and will discuss the matter with Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson.

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Minister Proposes Privatization To Finance New Hospital

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Healthcare Minister Kristján Þór Júlíusson has proposed that the State sell some assets to finance the construction of new hospital building. In a radio interview broadcast by RÚV Wednesday morning, he stated: “We should proceed by transferring assets that belong to Icelanders in common to another form of ownership, in order to be able to reconstruct our national hospital, as everyone agrees we must do.” As journalist Jóhann Hauksson already pointed out, in pre-2008 Icelandic, ‘transferring assets to another form of ownership’ would have been simply called privatization. The Minister evaluates State assets at a total neat 1,000 billion ISK,

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