About 100 people are currently in front of the Russian embassy protesting the persecution of Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot, who are due to receive judgment today. The band was arrested last February, after their performance in an Orthodox church in Russia, where they called upon the “mother of God” to remove Russian president Vladimir Putin from power. Since then, their trial has gained international attention. In Iceland, protesters gathered at the Russian embassy last month, leading to one arrest. Iceland Airwaves directing manager Grímur Atlason has pledged to hold a punk rock concert outside of the Russian embassy and Russian Orthodox church every Thursday at noon, to voice disapproval for the continued detention of Pussy Riot. Amnesty Iceland is formally taking part in a global campaign against the Russian government being organised by Amnesty International. During last weekend’s Gay Pride celebrations, Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr dressed as a member of the band while atop a float in last Saturday’s Gay Pride parade, displaying a sign reading “Free Pussy Riot”. RÚV reports that police have cordoned off a large area in front of the Russian embassy and closed the street. There have so far been no arrests and the protest has been a peaceful one. UPDATE:Sky News reports that the band have been found guilty of “hooliganism” and religious hatred. Prosecutors are asking for a sentence of three years in prison.
Genetically modified mice will soon be imported into Iceland and used to further cancer research, reports RÚV. The Environment Agency of Iceland has granted the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Iceland a license to import and use genetically modified mice for scientific purposes. Genetically modified, or transgenic mice have had their genomes altered through the use of genetic engineering techniques and are widely used for medical or scientific research. Where cancer is concerned, transgenic mice can be developed to carry cloned genes that have the potential to cause cancer. The disease symptoms and potential drugs
An inmate with mental health issues has been in solitary confinement at Litla Hraun maximum security prison for the last 2 months, reports RÚV. The man has in the past spent years in the psychiatric ward of Iceland’s National University Hospital. Two years ago however, he was deemed mentally competent enough to serve out the remainder of his – undisclosed – sentence at Litla Hraun. The prison withheld therapy from the inmate – who was diagnosed with psychopathy – for a year and a half before granting him treatment this past spring. Recently the inmate began refusing to take his medication and as
A lawyer defending former Interior Minister assistant Gísli Freyr Valdórsson has asked the court to remove the prosecutor for “Liking” a news story pertaining to the trial. Gísli Freyr Valdórsson, a former assistant to Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, was charged with breach of confidentiality and relieved of his position last August. He is now on trial in Reykjavík District Court and today, RÚV reports, the defence has offered a unique argument as to why the prosecutor, Helgi Magnús Gunnarsson, is unfit to participate in the trial. Ólafur Garðarsson, Gísli Freyr’s defence attorney, argued in court today that
A new report from Global Age Watch puts Iceland in 7th place amongst the best countries in the world to grow old. According to the report, Norway is officially the best country in the world to grow older, while Afghanistan is the worst. Iceland has held its position in the top ten due to the life expectancy and financial security, amongst other factors. Icelanders aged 60 years old today can expect to live another 25 years; 17.8 of those in good health. 100% of the population over 65 receives some kind of pension, with only 1.6% living in poverty. In
Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl’s book Illska (“Evil”) has been chosen to be one of Iceland’s entries for the Nordic Council Literature Prize. Eiríkur shares the nomination with novelist Auður Jónsdóttir for her book, Ósjálfrátt (“Unintended”). Illska also bears the honour of having already won the Icelandic Literary Prize in 2012 and The Book Merchant’s Prize. Illska is a 500+ page novel about Agnes Lukauskas, an Icelander of Lithuanian descent, and her love triangle with Ómar Arnarson and Arnór Þórðarson. The story spans decades, through the height of World War 2, to Iceland’s recognition of Lithuania as a sovereign nation in 1991,
Fortunately for us, the Holurhraun eruption (discussed here and here) has not produced airplane-choking ash clouds nor led to devastating glacial flooding. There have, however, been continuous plumes of sulphur dioxide wafting through mostly North and East Iceland from the site of the Holuhraun eruption, giving police another reason to cordon off a large swath of Iceland from public access. Not that this hasn’t stopped a few idiots from blithely driving into an eruption site anyway. New forms of natural selection ahoy! Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson is exploring the legalisation of drugs, going so far as to agree