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Conservative Chairman Criticises Proposed Tax Increase

Published August 10, 2012

Conservative chairman Bjarni Benediktsson has called a government-proposed increase on the VAT on accommodation costs “utterly ridiculous”.
The ruling coalition, in their continued work at recovering the economy, have looked for where cuts can be made and increases levied. One area involves tourism – the government is proposing increasing the VAT on accommodation costs from 7% to 25.5%. As tourism is a growing industry, the government believes more than tripling the VAT within the field could bring in much-needed revenue for the economy.
Vísir reports that conservative chairman Bjarni Benediktsson strongly disagrees, calling the proposal “utterly ridiculous”.
He considers the tax hike unrealistic, and does not believe it would bring any significant returns to the treasury coffers. Bjarni also pointed out that as a growing industry and area of employment, it has been hoped that investors would be drawn to Iceland. “The last thing [tourism] needs are tax hikes which undermines the industry as a whole during a period of growth.”



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Pasha’s 4th Day on Hunger Strike

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Today, Adam Ibrahim Pasha concludes the fourth day of his hunger strike, which commenced Tuesday. The hunger strike is in protest of the Directorate of Immigration’s (UTL’s) recent decision not to review his application for asylum. Pasha says he will rather die than be deported. Earlier today, he said he felt weak and in need of hospital care. Social services will supposedly visit him today, but at the time of this writing it remained unclear if they would be accompanied by a doctor. [Update:] Pasha was visited by social services today, as well as medical staff, which arrived by ambulance.

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Former Prime Minister Regrets 1968 Racist Remarks

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Former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde says that regrets and feels ashamed by racist remarks he made in a school paper at the age of 17. Geir’s article, “Maladies in our Society” resurfaced earlier this year. Its final paragraphs consist of explicitly racist remarks, including: “… I want to mention the highly increased blood-mixing of people of color and Icelanders. I think that such mixing is, to say the least, highly undesirable and unhealthy. The results of mistakes made by nitwits in these matters can be horrendous.” And so on. When the paper came under public scrutiny, last January, Geir

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Blacked Out Street Lights For Better View Of Northern Lights

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An employee of a travel service recently extinguished all street lighting by Kleppjárnsreykir, in the inlands of Borgarfjörður, by aiming a flashlight at their light-sensor controller. Apparently he did this to give a group of tourists a clearer view of the northern lights at play. According to Skessuhorn, a local news medium, this created great danger for the people who stood on the road to observe the sky, insufficiently visible to drivers, in the dark. Police authorities in Borgarfjörður received a complaint about the incident. The rhapsodic tourist guide told police that he had taken care that the travellers did

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Icelandic Coast Guard Bought 250 MP5s From Norwegian Army

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A spokesperson for the Norwegian army has confirmed that the Icelandic Coast Guard bought 250 MP5 submachine guns from them last December, contrary to official contentions that the guns were a gift. RÚV reports that Dag Aamont, a spokesperson for the Norwegian army, has confirmed that the Icelandic Coast Guard signed a deal with the Norwegian army on December 17 of last year to purchase the weapons. According to the agreement, Iceland paid about 11.5 million ISK for the weapons. Dag would not offer more information on the matter, nor would he comment on statements from Icelandic officials that the

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STEF Issues Injunction Against Telecoms

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Copyright holders interest group STEF has issued an injunction against many Icelandic telecoms to block access to Deildu.net and The Pirate Bay. MBL reports that The Performing Rights Society of Iceland (STEF) has already filed an injunction against telecoms Voda­fo­ne, Hringdu, Sím­inn, Tal and 365 Media, asking the court to rule in favour of ordering them to block access to torrent sites The Pirate Bay and its Icelandic cousin, Deildu.net (now known as Iceland.pm). The injunction against Síminn fell through on technicalities, and the judge in the Tal case recused themselves as being unfit to hear the trial. While most

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More Priests Than Medical Clinics In Countryside

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Outside of Iceland’s capital, priests outnumber medical clinics, and some far-flung corners have no government offices at all. Vísir reports that, according to data from the Icelandic Regional Development Institute, priests are considerably easier to find than medical professionals in many parts of the countryside. While priests are absent from 12 municipalities outside the capital area, medical clinics are absent from 15 of them. Three municipalities – Svalbarðseyri, Stöðvarfjörður and Stokkseyri – have no government branch offices whatsoever. Reykjavík is home to the seat of government, the National Church, and the main offices of nearly all public service departments. Outside

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