A Grapevine service announcement Be patient: That eruption is expected to last until 2015

US Considering Sanctions Against Iceland Over Whaling

Published July 21, 2011

The US government is considering imposing sanctions on Iceland for the practice of hunting endangered fin whales. Ministers within the Icelandic government – and even within the same party – have mixed reactions.
The Associated Press reports that the Obama administration intends to cite Iceland as an example when announcing a law that gives the US the right to impose sanctions on any country that flouts international animal conservation laws. After the announcement, which is set to happen Wednesday, the US president then has 60 days to decide on sanctions. Sanctions against Iceland would likely involve ceasing to import any Icelandic fish products, at least from companies connected to whaling.
Minister of Agriculture Jón Bjarnason told Vísir he is not concerned with a possible sanction, considering it “out of the question” that the US would do such a thing. He also takes issue with the US pointing out that Iceland is hunting an endangered species, saying that there are 20,000 fin whales in the North Atlantic, of which Iceland is hunting less than 200.
However, Árni Þór Sigurðsson – chairman of the foreign affairs committee and, like Jón, a member of the Leftist-Green party – believes the practice of whaling should stop, writing on his Facebook, “Icelanders (or should we say ‘An Icelander’?) hunting whales is more damaging for the business and political interests of Iceland than stopping [whale hunting].”
Árni’s use of the singular when talking about whale hunting is not meant entirely in jest. It has recently come to light that Iceland’s whaling “industry” is more or less the business venture of a single man, Kristján Loftsson.
With disagreements within the government over whaling, and possible sanctions looming, it is still not clear what official response the Icelandic government will take.



News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Bomb Squad’s 2003 Find Possibly Western Chemical Weapons

by

A team of Icelandic bomb squad technicians may have found US-produced mustard gas in Iraq, during the 2003-invasion. This was reported by RÚV’s Kastljós, following last week’s coverage in the New York Times, of chemical weapons actually found during the invasion, but treated as classified due to their origins on the one hand, and relative harmlessness, compared with the hypothetical weapons declared to be in the hands of dictator Saddam Hussein in the advent of the invasion. “Old chemical munitions” In 2003, the Icelandic bomb squad’s discovery of potential chemical weapon warheads was covered on the front page of newspaper

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Pirate MP Defies ISNIC By Opening Blasphemy.is

by

Pirate MP Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson registered the domain Guðlast.is, translatable as blasphemy.is, to point out what he claims is mistaken reasoning behind ISNIC’s closure of the Islamic State’s .is domain. Vísir quotes Helgi Hrafn as saying: “I wanted to show that if people wanted to refer to the country’s legislation as grounds for banning certain domains, they must realize that incredible things are forbidden in this country, for example blasphemy.” In its current form the website merely quotes the penalty law article on blasphemy: “Whoever publicly mocks or derides articles of faith or divine worship of a religious group legally

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Interior Minister: Call To Resign “Unbelievably Inappropriate”

by

Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir has dismissed a Left-Green proposal that she resign as “unbelievably inappropriate”. Her criticisms that the proposal contains falsehoods, however, appear to contradict the facts. Last weekend, the Left-Green Party held a party convention wherein a number of proposals were bundled into a general platform. Amongst these proposals is that Hanna Birna resign, in part because “the Minister did not speak truthfully to parliament and the Minister directly intervened in the investigation [of her ministry].” Speaking on radio station Bylgjan, Hanna Birna was dismissive of the proposal, telling listeners: “I find [the proposal] unbelievable

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Management Wrong On Icelanders’ Working Hours

by

A representative of management who contended that Icelanders do not need to work fewer hours has been corrected by the director of the Association for Sustainability and Democracy (ALDA). As reported, Þorsteinn Víglundsson, the director of Business Iceland (SA), recently dismissed a bill that was recently submitted to parliament on the subject of the definition of “full time work”. The bill proposes that the definition be changed from 40 hours per week to 35. Þorsteinn, in an interview with Stöð 2, told reporters that the concerns raised in the bill were unrealistic, saying that Icelanders work on average about 37

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

“Idiot” And Other Words Removed From Icelandic Penal Code

by

The Icelandic Penal Code was recently revamped to remove some of its more out-dated word choices, and replace them with more modern equivalents. RÚV reports that amongst these proposed changes is to remove the word “idiot” and replace it with the phrase “individual with a developmental disorder”. The out-dated “idiot” is currently used in Article 222 of the Icelandic Penal Code, which states, “Anyone who, intentionally or unwittingly, gives dangerous objects or substances to a child younger than 15 years old, a mentally ill person, an idiot or an intoxicated person will be fined or jailed”. Other changes in word

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

ISNIC Cites Business Reasons For Closing Islamic State’s Domain

by

RÚV reports that Isnic closed the domain of militant group ISIS/Islamic State for business reasons, according to Jens Pétur Jensen, ISNIC’s manager. The decision was made following a staff meeting. Jens Pétur says that around half of ISNIC’s ten staff members were opposed to the decision, and would either have preferred the company wait for a legitimate order from State authorities or not close the site down at all. This was heard at a meeting of Alþingi’s Enviroment and Transportation Committee. Jens Pétur told members of Alþingi that the business reasons behind the decision were concerns about the reputation of

Show Me More!