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.
A group of Icelanders are aiming to have the country brought under the administration of the Norwegian government as “Norway’s 20th county”. The group in question, Fylkisflokkurin (“The County Party”), already has just over 1,200 members at the time of this writing. The group, formed by director of the National Center of Addiction Medicine (SÁÁ) and former Fréttablaðið editor Gunnar Smári Egilsson, purports in their mission statement that they aim for “the re-uninfication of Iceland and Norway”, wherein “the Norwegian government would constitutionally protect and promote Icelandic culture while Icelanders would enjoy all the same rights as Norwegians.” “Iceland is
An ongoing labour dispute that has most directly affected the tourist industry has been resolved. The Air Mechanics Union of Iceland (FVFÍ) has signed a collective bargaining agreement with Icelandair ehf., Vísir reports. The new contract will be in effect until August 31, 2017. As reported, air mechanics have over the summer pushed for higher wages and better working conditions, culminating in temporary work shut-downs. While some of these work stoppages lasted no more than a few hours, this was enough to prompt the cancellation of flights during the height of tourist season. Interior Minister Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir proposed passing
Epidemiologists say that there are no examples of ticks in Iceland carrying either Lyme Disease nor tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). MBL reports that neither of these diseases have been reported to be present in ticks in Iceland. Nonetheless, the Directorate of Health has laid out some helpful tips about ticks and how to deal with them. The Directorate of Health advises the general public to acquaint themselves with what ticks look like and where they can be found. If venturing into tick-risk areas, a person should cover their skin as much as they can, using common bug repellent on exposed parts
This morning, we posted an amusing bit of news about a local designer, Sara María Júlíusdóttir, who observed an elderly man, which she claimed to be a tourist, pooping outside the boutiqe she manages, Kirsuberjatréð. “Tourist Poops Outside Storefront” proved quite the hit with you readers, providing plenty of clicks and ‘likes’ (537 and counting!) while asserting Reykjavík Grapevine’s position as the discerning reader’s highbrow publication of choice. However, some of our many Facebook friends took offense to Sara María’s assertion that the streetpooper in question was indeed a tourist. “How did she know for sure it was a tourist?” one
Iceland’s representative at the United Nations, Gréta Gunnarsdóttir, condemned both Israel and Palestine in a speech at an open meeting of the Security Council last night, reports Vísir. “I want to start by expressing Iceland’s condemnation of the violations of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict,” said Gréta. “While the current situation in Gaza is beyond tragic I am not going to dwell on it. Because the core problem is not what is happening today. The core problem is the occupation.” In her speech Gréta said that the IDF’s air and ground assault raised concerns about respect for the
An incredibly large landslide struck the south-eastern side of Öskjuvatn lake just before midnight last night and all traffic to the area has subsequently been closed, report Vísir. The landslide was so large it caused a tsunami in the lake and made the surrounding area tremor for over 20 minutes. The landslide is attributed to good weather in recent days which lead to ice around the lake melting quickly, causing the ground to destabilise. The ridge surrounding the lake is still believed to be unstable and landslips are possible. All traffic in and around the area has therefore been banned until scientists and Iceland’s Emergency