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.
Bárðarbunga caldera continues to subside at the same rate as before, roughly half a metre per day, reports the Institute of Earth Sciences. Large earthquakes are still being detected in the Bárðarbunga caldera, several with a magnitudes over 3, some over 5. The lava production at the currently active Holuhraun eruption continues to be strong. The lava flow is now around the centre of the lava field, which has grown to around 37 square kilometres. As reported, scientists in the field estimate that around 90% of the SO2 gas coming from the eruption originates in the active craters and only 10%
The outlook for hedge funds caught in Iceland’s $85 billion banking failure may be looking up, reports Bloomberg. The administrators overseeing claims against one of the three banks that defaulted in 2008, Glitnir Bank hf, say recent talks with a government committee indicate that it will now be easier to complete creditor settlements. “My impression is that the government had until now not been ready,” Steinunn Guðbjartsdóttir, head of Glitnir’s winding-up committee, told Bloomberg. “Now that they’ve got their processes in place, it will be possible to complete this sooner rather than later.” The main obstacle to repaying creditors has
The Icelandic Met Office predicts sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas from the Holuhraun eruption will move north and east over the next 24 hours. As can be seen, the Met Office has two maps for predicted areas where significant levels of SO2 will be present. Egilsstaðir and Reyðarfjörður are expected to be hit the hardest by the gas, which continues to pour out of the Holuhraun eruption site. However, levels of SO2 will vary from region to region, and even from hour to hour. A more detailed map allows one to see the forecast movement of SO2 concentrations through Tuesday. Simply
A former employee of the Office of the Special Prosecutor says the office tapped phones of suspects illegally. The Minister of Justice believes the matter needs to be investigated. In an interview with Fréttablaðið, former Special Prosecutor’s Office employee Jón Óttar Ólafsson said that the office listened in on illegal taps of phone conversations of clients and lawyers alike. Both the Special Prosecutor (shown above) and the State Prosecutor have dismissed the allegations as completely untrue. However, RÚV reports that Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson – serving in his capacity as acting Justice Minister – believes the matter warrants further
The Minister of Foreign Affairs has received some backlash over his decision to close the Icelandic International Development Agency. While the Agency will be absorbed by the Foreign Ministry, Vísir reports, the move is not without its critics. Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told reporters for RÚV that when his office examined the best way to continue developmental aid, they came to the conclusion that the best strategy would be to bring the Agency into the Ministry. However, this contention is not supported by a report done on the subject for the Ministry in 2008, when Ingibjörg Sólrún
The water consumption of Icelanders is so high, it corresponds to each Icelander using about 200 litres of water each day, reports RÚV. According to the UN Water, about 50-100 litres of water is needed per day for personal use, meaning that Icelanders are using two times more water per day than is necessary. Comparatively, the water resources available to each Icelander is roughly 530.000 cubic metres where are as Norwegians, for example, have 80.000 m3 and Danes only 3000 m3. Water usage in Iceland has increased considerably over the past few years. The UN states that 85% of the world population