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Interior Minister Wants Nubo’s Lease Nullified

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Published July 27, 2012

Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson has come to the decision to convince the government to nullify Chinese entrepreneur Huang Nubo’s land lease.
As reported, Huang Nubo originally wanted to buy Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum, comprising about 30,639 hectares in northeast Iceland, for the development of a resort. However, Icelandic law forbids foreigners from purchasing property, and so an agreement was made that he could lease the land instead.
However, Huang Nubo told reporters in Beijing recently that he also was given the option to rent the land for another 40 years at the lease’s conclusion. In addition, he said he plans to build 100 villas “mostly for wealthy Chinese”, with “the remaining about 300 square kilometers of land will be developed into a mountain park that provides services like hiking, horseback riding and hang gliding to tourists around the globe”.
Ögmundur has already expressed displeasure with the revelation, saying, “We’re not talking about some shop by Jökullsá river. If people can rent land for this length of time, it becomes more or less equivalent to land ownership.” Vísir now reports that Ögmundur plans to go all the way – he wants Huang Nubo’s lease terminated.
Ögmundur points out that while foreign investment is important to Iceland, the country needs to be more cautious when it comes to how large nations practice business here, saying that “we as a nation and a government need to watch out for our interests in the future”.
Ögmundur will introduce the measure to recall on Tuesday.



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Bárðarbunga Volcano Watch: The Afternoon Edition

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Volcano watch is still in full swing, but no eruption yet. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of the day’s Bárðarbunga news so far: 13:23 – The closure of the area north of Vatnajökull glacier has already lead to significant financial losses for the local tourism industry, reports RÚV. In light of recent evacuations, mountain huts and guest accommodations at Kverkfjöll and Askja have had to close now for the winter, nearly a month earlier than planned, despite nearly full bookings for the remainder of the season. 12:53 – Should this eruption occur, Friðþór Eydal, a spokesman for ISAVIA, which

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RÚV Backtracks, Prayers Back On Air

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Iceland’s National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, have backtracked their recent decision to take prayers off air following a meeting with the Bishop of Iceland. As reported, RÚV planned to remove daily morning and evening prayers, plus programmes in which scripture is read out and replace it with a single once-per-week programme examining theology, the culture of religion and society.  Morning prayers and the nightly programme, Orð Kvöldsins (Evening Words) featuring scripture will remain on the radio’s roster. “It is important that words of prayer are heard in the media age,” said Bishop of Iceland, Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, who welcomed the decision to keep morning prayers,

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Twitter Flooded With Cowabunga Bárðarbunga Jokes

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In anticipation of Bárðarbunga’s possible eruption, social media users have been busy sharing their thoughts on the volcano. Many of these tweets are helpful, pointing travellers to vital resources but an alarming number use Bárðarbunga as a segue into some kind of Cowabunga joke. Presented here is a selection of tweets collected by the Grapevine. Helpful Dear people, please stay updated through safetravel.is regarding #bardarbunga volcano. — I heart Reykjavík (@IheartReykjavik) August 19, 2014 Pretty cool visualisation of #Bardarbunga‘s seismic activity. Updated every minute. http://t.co/H7u0ic5fJW — Ómar Kjartan Yasin (@omarkj) August 19, 2014 Follow the development in #Bardarbunga at our Facebook page https://t.co/EeMH2MgxKB

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Area North Of Bárðarbunga Volcano Evacuated

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An evacuation order went into effect yesterday in the area north of Vatnajökull glacier, in light of ongoing earthquake activity around the Bárðarbunga volcano, reports RÚV. According to Víðir Reynisson, department manager of Iceland’s Civil Protection and Emergency Management, the evacuation has been a success though he could not be sure that some had not been left behind.  “The evacuation has gone well so far,” Víðir told RÚV last night. “We don’t expect the evacuation to be finished until maybe 3 am… This sort of thing just takes time. There are bad roads and such. What will happen next is that the Icelandic Coast Guard will

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Government To Increase Reforestation

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Iceland’s government intends to increase funding to reforestation efforts around the country. RÚV reports that while recent years have seen government cuts to Iceland’s national reforestation efforts, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson wants to reverse that trend. The minister points out that even as demand for timber is growing, successive cuts over the years have made many tree planters worried about the impact the demand will have on Iceland’s forests. “The government has a plan to increase reforestation and revegetation for, amongst other reasons, the trapping of carbon dioxide,” Sigurður told reporters. “I expect that

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Ministry Of Tourism?

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One of Iceland’s captains of the tourist industry has proposed that tourism be given its own ministerial jurisdiction. MBL reports that Ásbjörn Björg­vins­son, the director of the Icelandic Tourism Association, believes the time has come for the Icelandic government to devote at least part of a ministry to what is already a major revenue-generator for Iceland. “One of the things that the Icelandic Tourism Association has pushed for is that Ragn­heiður Elín Árna­dótt­ir be given the title Minister of Tourism, not just the Minister of Industry and Commerce,” the title she current holds, he told reporters. Ásbjörn believes the title

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