A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: Holuhraun reaches river, steam plumes reported

Iceland First Western European Country To Recognise Palestine

Published November 30, 2011

Iceland took the historic step of being the first country in western Europe to recognise the state of Palestine, much to the joy of Palestinians living here.
Of the 63 members of Icelandic parliament, 12 were not present for the vote, 38 voted in favour of recognising the state, and 13 members of the Independence Party abstained from voting. There were no votes against.
RÚV reports that there was much celebration of the event, with Palestinians seated in the parliamentary gallery during the historic vote.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson said that he hopes that Iceland taking this step will “serve as an example, to other Nordic countries, for example, to support Palestine as sovereign, independent state”. He has said he intends to speak to other Scandinavian leaders to encourage them to do just that.
Iceland is far from alone when it comes to countries in the world that do recognise Palestine. Nations representing some 80% of the world’s population already do, but Iceland is the first country in western Europe to take this step.



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Progressive Wrong About Peace Tower

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A Progressive city councilperson has questioned the cost of maintaining Yoko Ono’s Peace Tower, and was apparently misinformed about how the Peace Fund is used. RÚV reports that Progressive city councilperson Sveinbjörg Birna Sveinbjörnsdóttir has submitted a formal request to City Hall to know how much money it costs the city to maintain the Peace Tower. Speaking to reporters, Sveinbjörg said she had nothing against the Peace Tower itself; she simply wanted to know the operational costs for a work of art. Furthermore, she added that she found it strange that former Mayor of Reykjavík Jón Gnarr should receive money

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Text Messages Insufficient As Eruption Alerts

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It has come to light that using text messaging to alert towns and villages of poisonous SO2 levels does not work as well as intended. RÚV reports that some 750kg of SO2 are spewing out of the Holuhraun eruption every second. This has caused SO2 levels in many parts of northeast Iceland to reach alarming levels. In order to alert residents in the area of these dangerous levels of SO2, mass text messages were sent Friday evening to people living in Eskifjörður, Reyðarfjörður, Fáskrúðsfjörður and Neskaupstaður. However, many text messages arrived late, if at all, depending in large part on

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Resignations At DV Stack Up After Editor Is Ousted

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DV’s managing director, assistant editor, and at least 4 other employees have resigned in light of recent events which saw chief editor Reynir Traustason ousted from his position, reports RÚV. As reported, ‘World Class’ gym chain owner, Björn Leifsson, filed a libel suit against tabloid DV –  known for its critical investigative journalism – earlier this year. At the end of August, Björn announced that he had bought a minor share in the paper, with the declared intention of getting rid of its editor, Reynir Traustason (pictured). Björn then sold the shares to owners who proceeded to form a new board. Subsequently

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Eruption Pollution At All Time High

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The residents of Reyðarfjörður have been advised to stay indoors as fumes from the Holuhraun eruption cause pollution to spike to record levels, reports RÚV. Reyðarfjörður, located on Iceland’s east coast saw levels of sulfur dioxide reach 4,000 µg/​cubic metres last night. Residents of Reyðarfjörður have been advised to stay inside and monitor pollution readings. In addition to staying inside and closing all windows and doors, residents are recommended to turn on their radiators to increase air pressure inside their homes. These pollution levels are the highest readings in Iceland since the Icelandic Meterological Office began recording sulfur dioxide pollution

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Alcohol Bill Submitted

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A bill that would permit the sale of alcohol in private shops has been submitted to parliament, and it is uncertain whether it will fail or become law. Currently, alcoholic beverages may only be bought from any of the The State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland (ÁTVR) stores in the country. One man, Independence Party MP Vilhjálmur Árnason, hopes to change that. Vísir reports that Vilhjálmur’s bill, which would make alcohol legal for sale in supermarkets, has been submitted to parliament. However, even he admits that support for the bill is on a knife’s edge. “I expect that there

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Twin Solar Storms = Northern Lights Galore!

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While the planet is bombarded with charged solar particles, this translates into some fantastic Northern Lights displays for Iceland. The Guardian reports today that two coronal mass ejection (CME) bursts from the Sun sent charged solar particles hurtling towards Earth yesterday and today, “raising concerns that GPS signals, radio communications and power transmissions” could be scrambled. On the brighter side, the Guardian also speculates that the “storms might also trigger beautiful auroral displays along northern latitudes as electrically charged solar particles hit the atmosphere.” As it turns out, they are absolutely right. As can be seen on the Icelandic Met

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