A Grapevine service announcement LOOK BUSY! Growing Likelihood Of Eruption At Bárðarbunga

Medhi Released, Could Face Four Years In Prison

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Published May 20, 2011

Iranian asylum seeker Medhi Kavyanpor has been released from custody after threatening to set himself on fire at the offices of the Red Cross, and police say he could face charges that carry a maximum sentence of four years in prison.
By now, many of our readers are familiar with the case of Medhi Kavyanpor, who has been waiting for seven years to receive an answer regarding his request for political asylum in Iceland. This is despite the fact that Iceland, being a signatory to Dublin Regulation II, is bound by an international treaty to process all asylum seeker applications within one year.
Since the incident occurred, Medhi’s case has received a great deal more media attention, with Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson telling reporters that no one should have to be sent back to a totalitarian regime. Medhi has been in custody for the past two weeks.
Vísir now reports that Medhi could face charges for the incident. Citing the Icelandic criminal code, police say that his actions endangered the health and lives of others, and that it is not unlikely he would be charged with doing so. The maximum penalty for this crime is four years in prison.
Medhi has remained committed to his fight for political asylum in Iceland, telling the Grapevine in a new interview, “sometimes you simply have to stand up for yourself. You cannot harm other people, but your own life—well, if it doesn’t have any meaning, you better take it. In the situation I’m in, it is my only weapon. I don’t have anything else.”



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RÚV Backtracks, Prayers Back On Air

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Iceland’s National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, have backtracked their recent decision to take prayers off air following a meeting with the Bishop of Iceland. As reported, RÚV planned to remove daily morning and evening prayers, plus programmes in which scripture is read out and replace it with a single once-per-week programme examining theology, the culture of religion and society.  Morning prayers and the nightly programme, Orð Kvöldsins (Evening Words) featuring scripture will remain on the radio’s roster. “It is important that words of prayer are heard in the media age,” said Bishop of Iceland, Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, who welcomed the decision to keep morning prayers,

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Twitter Flooded With Cowabunga Bárðarbunga Jokes

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In anticipation of Bárðarbunga’s possible eruption, social media users have been busy sharing their thoughts on the volcano. Many of these tweets are helpful, pointing travellers to vital resources but an alarming number use Bárðarbunga as a segue into some kind of Cowabunga joke. Presented here is a selection of tweets collected by the Grapevine. Helpful Dear people, please stay updated through safetravel.is regarding #bardarbunga volcano. — I heart Reykjavík (@IheartReykjavik) August 19, 2014 Pretty cool visualisation of #Bardarbunga‘s seismic activity. Updated every minute. http://t.co/H7u0ic5fJW — Ómar Kjartan Yasin (@omarkj) August 19, 2014 Follow the development in #Bardarbunga at our Facebook page https://t.co/EeMH2MgxKB

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Area North Of Bárðarbunga Volcano Evacuated

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An evacuation order went into effect yesterday in the area north of Vatnajökull glacier, in light of ongoing earthquake activity around the Bárðarbunga volcano, reports RÚV. According to Víðir Reynisson, department manager of Iceland’s Civil Protection and Emergency Management, the evacuation has been a success though he could not be sure that some had not been left behind.  “The evacuation has gone well so far,” Víðir told RÚV last night. “We don’t expect the evacuation to be finished until maybe 3 am… This sort of thing just takes time. There are bad roads and such. What will happen next is that the Icelandic Coast Guard will

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Government To Increase Reforestation

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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 cuts over the years have made many tree planters worried about the impact the demand will have on Iceland’s forests. “The government has a plan to increase reforestation and revegetation for, amongst other reasons, the trapping of carbon dioxide,” Sigurður told reporters. “I expect that

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Ministry Of Tourism?

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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 Iceland. “One of the things that the Icelandic Tourism Association has pushed for is that Ragn­heiður Elín Árna­dótt­ir be given the title Minister of Tourism, not just the Minister of Industry and Commerce,” the title she current holds, he told reporters. Ásbjörn believes the title

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Prime Minister Learns What “Transparency” Means

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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 to step down during police investigations of her ministry, amongst other things, has ruined the credibility of the ministry itself. Yesterday, Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson told MBL that he believes Hanna Birna has acted appropriately throughout the matter, adding that he questioned the premise

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