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

Icesave Cited To Block Iceland EU Membership

Published March 16, 2012

A member of the European parliament has cited Iceland’s outstanding debt to the UK over Icesave as the reason why the country’s impending membership in the EU should be blocked.
Iceland is currently in accession talks with the EU, and while the EU has repeatedly assured the Icelandic government that Icesave would not be a determining factor one way or the other, The Independent now reports that at least one MEP is making Icesave an issue.
Marina Yannakoudakis, a London Tory MEP, refused to support a resolution calling for Iceland’s membership in the EU, saying, “As a London MEP I cannot support this resolution. Six London borough councils had a total £120 million invested with Icesave; Transport for London invested a further £40 million and the Metropolitan Police £30 million. These councils and organisations have not seen a penny of their money since Icesave’s collapse in October 2008. The Icelandic government is dodging its legal obligation to pay minimum compensation to these and other British depositors.”
Contrary to this statement, last December Landsbanki actually paid 266 billion ISK to the British depositor’s insurance fund as part of its plan to pay back the Icesave debt.
This was backed up by another Tory MEP, Charles Tannock, who expressed confidence that Iceland would honour its debt, saying, “I understand around one third of the recognised priority claims have now been repaid. Given Iceland’s successful completion of the International Monetary Fund’s economic recovery programme last year and its return to positive economic growth, we have no doubt that the other outstanding claims will be repaid.”



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Minister Of Fisheries: Our Whaling Is Sustainable

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The Minister of Fisheries, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, says he is concerned by the démarche delivered to the Icelandic government to end the practice of whaling. Sigurður Ingi told RÚV however, that he felt it was important to highlight that all [fishing] organisations operating in Iceland do so sustainably, unlike many of the countries who signed the démarche. “I think that in the past few years we have been too shy about [our sustainable whaling practices] and I think it’s really burned us,” said Sigurður Ingi. “People and companies have maintained for a long time [that whaling has damaged the reputation of

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Volcano Update: Bárðarbunga Continues To Subside

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The subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera continues, sinking by 45 cm just this morning following an earthquake with the magnitude of 5.4, reports RÚV. Yesterday, Civil Protection (CPEM) reported a subsidence of over 50 cm. Currently there is no information about the progress of the lava flow coming from the Holuhraun eruption. This is because of dangerous conditions which forced scientists to evacuate the area yesterday. Not before posting some excellent pictures and showing off a lava sample on Twitter though. Pahoehoe lava creeping over older lava. Credit: Uni. of Iceland/Johanne Schmithh #Bardarbunga #Holuhraun #Iceland pic.twitter.com/cvMB2f0Nh7 — Univ. of Iceland (@uni_iceland) September

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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 affected 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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