A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: Eruption Pollution Likely To Hit Whole Country

New Law On Religion Introduced

Published January 23, 2012

A new bill submitted by the Minister of the Interior would make a number of changes to existing laws on religion, among them that its passage would make all religions and philosophical organisations equal before the law, and give greater freedom to those who choose not to register with any religion at all.
RÚV reports on some of the changes proposed in the bill. Among them, philosophical organisations such as the secular humanist group Siðmennt would be able to receive the “tithe tax” which normally goes to whichever religious group a person is registered in.
Such groups would also have the right to perform weddings and bestow names on children. The buildings which house them would also fall under the real estate tax category normally afforded only to religious organisations.
On an individual level, for someone outside any religious organisation, they would be able to choose to which organisation their tithe tax would be paid, instead of it just going straight into the national treasury, as it does now. In addition, while the current law states that a child born to a mother registered in the national church will be automatically registered in the church as well, the new law would eliminate automatic registration altogether. Instead, the parents would need to make a joint decision as to what, if any, religious or philosophical group to register their child in. In the event that the parents are no longer together, the decision would fall to the parent with full custody.



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Firings At The Directorate Of Labour

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Government-sanctioned budget cuts have forced the Directorate of Labour to let go of some of their employees and cut back on services to the unemployed. “We are struggling with a demand to reduce operational costs by about 100 million [ISK],” Gissur Pétursson, the director of the Directorate, told RÚV. “There is no other choice. We cannot conduct interviews and counseling like we would otherwise want to.” 20 employees have already been let go, operating hours have been shortened, and the service office has been closed. Gissur could not comment on the exact number of employees who will be let go

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Signs Gender Wage Gap Is Growing

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The Union of Public Servants (SFR) has released a salary poll that shows the gender wage gap within their ranks is growing. Vísir reports that the unadjusted wage difference between men and women doing the same work within SFR is 21%. Men in SFR make, on average, 469,885 ISK per month, while women doing the same work make 369,446 ISK. This was detemined by a Capacent Gallup poll conducted for SFR. When these figures are adjusted for other factors that have an effect on salaries, the gender wage gap not only still remains, at 10%, it is also increasing. Last

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35 Nations Exhort Iceland To End Whaling

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All 28 European Union member states and seven other countries have delivered a demarche to the Icelandic government to end the practice of whaling. In a statement from the European Commission, they confirm that “The EU, its 28 Member States and the governments of the United States, Australia, Brazil, Israel, New Zealand, Mexico and Monaco, today declared their opposition to the fact that the Icelandic government still permits commercial whaling, in particular the hunting of fin whales and the subsequent trading of fin whale products.” The Icelandic government has received the demarche (see below), which was delivered by the EU’s

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Eruption Pollution Likely To Hit Whole Country

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If Holuhraun continues erupting it is likely the whole country will be effected by poisonous SO2 levels, reports RÚV. “[If the eruption continues] we can expect strong levels of SO2, especially to the northwest,” said Þorsteinn Jóhannsson, a specialist working with air pollution at the Environment Agency of Iceland. “And presumably, the direction of the wind will change at some point and then we can expect it all over the country.” RÚV reports that SO2 pollution measured 1,250 micrograms per cubic meter in Reykjahlíð near Lake Mývatn last night. The maximum safety limit for SO2 is 600 micrograms per cubic meter. Several

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Potato Harvest So-So, Summer’s Fault

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Harvest is upon Reykjavík’s allotment gardens and unfortunately for potato salad enthusiasts city-wide, the yield was not great. RÚV reports that aggressive rain during the summer months flooded many allotments, including Vigfús Karlsson’s. Vigfús, who enjoys growing cabbage, carrots as well as potatoes in his allotment,  told RÚV that his crop was quite sluggish. “And that’s not fun,” Vigfús said. Roughly 800 allotments were rented out to the public in Reykjavík and Mosfellsbær this summer and some were luckier than others. Hreiðar Sigmarsson was one of the lucky few with an excellent harvest. His allotment in Grafarvogur yielded plenty of red and

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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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