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.”
To decrease the speed of drivers on Bergstaðarstræti, actress Vigdís Hrefna Pálsdóttir has been placing flower pots in the middle of the road as traffic calming devices, reports Vísir. “Usually it’s small things – more often than not, flower pots, bags or buckets with flowers in them – that I place in the middle of the street, with more than enough room on either side so that people can drive without hitting them,” said Vigdís. “It’s getting a lot of attention, most people like it and are happy but then the odd black sheep loses it over the flowers.” These odd
Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir has been appointed Police Commissioner of Reykjavík, reports Vísir, she is the first woman to hold this post. In accordance with a new police law, Police Commissioners in Iceland will be cut down from 15 to 9. Additionally two other women have been appointed Police Commissioners, meaning that out of 7 newly appointed Police Commissioners, 3 are women and 4 are men. The move comes in the wake of criticism that the National Police Force has been failing to make good on promises to increase gender equality within the force after three men were appointed to senior positions despite
Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has sent a strongly-worded letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the subject of the “deeply disturbing” attacks Israel is launching against Gaza, urging for “a peaceful resolution”. RÚV reports that the office of Netanyahu has confirmed they have received Sigmundur’s letter, which can be read in its entirety below. In sending the letter, the Prime Minister echoes concerns brought up by other members of the Icelandic government, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson. Iceland’s Foreign Affairs Committee will soon meet to discuss the situation and what action to take. Icelandic
A group of Chinese investors are currently in negotiations over buying a portion of Islandsbanki, though this is not the first time such negotiations have been reported. Reuters reports that the investors group is comprised of “Chinese bank ICBC, insurer China Life Insurance Company and a large Chinese private equity fund”, an unnamed source from the Ministry of Finance said. Talks are currently ongoing with the bankruptcy estate of Islandsbanki, previously known as Glitnir, on the subject of possibly buying a stake. “It’s pleasing that there is an interest in the bank,” chairperson of the bankruptcy estate Steinunn Guðbjartsdóttir said.
Two tourists risked their lives in order to swerve around a sheep that had jumped into the road. Vísir reports that the incident took place in Vatnsnes, northwest Iceland, at about four o’ clock this morning. While traveling on a country road, the two tourists were suddenly faced with a sheep that had bounded into their path. The quick-thinking driver swerved to avoid the sheep, causing one of the front wheels to slam into a roadside ditch. This sent the jeep rolling across the road, eventually coming to a stop on its driver side. The first person on the scene
Cat owner Vífill Garðarson may need to put his cat Panda down after someone shot him with an air rifle, reports Vísir. Earlier this week Vífill’s neighbour came across Panda lying motionless in his garage and called Vífill to come pick up the cat, but Panda did not run to his owner as he is prone to do. “He just lay there, completely still so I had to pick him up and carry him home,” said Vífill. “When I put him down on the ground again he couldn’t stand up so I rushed him to the veterinary hospital.” Initially the