A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: The Holuhraun eruption is at it again
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News In Brief: Early September

News In Brief: Early September

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Published September 7, 2012

Good news for those who are bound to the bus when it comes to travel: municipal bus service now extends across the country. If you live in the capital area, you can now take the bus as far afield as Akureyri, and if you already live in the country, Strætó hf. will also be providing smaller buses or even cars to those wishing to travel between towns and villages. Hitchhiking is now rendered something to be done solely for fun and adventure, as opposed to out of sheer necessity, for the car-less who want to travel outside of the capital area.
In other news, farmers are now actively targeting tourists to take part in the annual sheep round-up, also known as “réttir,” which occur all over Iceland every autumn. Réttir entails heading out into the hills on horseback, four-wheeler and on foot to gather sheep (which have spent the summer grazing in the mountains) and bring them back to their respective farms, as part of their journey onto our dinner tables. The round-up usually ends in an alcohol-fuelled celebration, too, so there’s that to look forward to at the end of all your hard work.
One of Grapevine’s more popular news stories in a long time was the unusual tale of a woman who unknowingly took part in search for herself, after she was erroneously reported missing during a tour of south Iceland. The confusion arose from the fact that when stepping off the bus at Eldgjá, she reportedly changed clothes before getting back on the bus. Apparently no one recognised her after the wardrobe change, and she was reported missing, sparking a manhunt that continued into the early morning. Even more bizarrely, the woman took part in the search herself without realising that she fit the description of the missing person. The search was called off around 3AM off when she announced her existence to the police.
An Icelandic yacht builder in Dubai is currently embroiled in accusations of forgery, following a civil case he launched against an Emirati who refused to pay for a yacht the Icelander had built for him. While winning that case, the court shortly thereafter claimed the Icelander had forged government documents related to it. The Foreign Ministry has since gotten involved, although there is as yet no word on what progress is being made.
With the referendum on the draft of the new constitution coming up next month, the national church is fighting for its continued government support. With current poll numbers showing that most Icelanders still do not trust the institution, the church is hoping public opinion will be on their side when it comes to the question of whether or not to have the concept of a national church present in the new constitution.
Already, public support to remove the clause from the constitution, which would effectively de-nationalise the church, is growing and the church is preparing an “information website” that Bishop of Iceland Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir told reporters will be purely informative, not taking an official stand itself, so that voters can decide for themselves whether or not they want the new constitution to have an article on the church. Will the church survive the referendum? Well, it’s in God’s hands now.
Iceland’s renowned distinction for glaciers may become a thing of the past in a couple of centuries. It has been reported that, for the first time in human memory, the peak of Snæfellsnes is bare of ice. Even more unsettling, scientists measuring glacial melting trends now estimate that if the melting rate continues as it has, Iceland’s glaciers will be no more in about 200 years. Climate change denialists will no doubt contend that this is due to volcanoes getting hotter or some such nonsense. In the meantime, keep in mind that your grandchildren might never know Iceland to be very icy at all.
In more encouraging news, Google Voice Search now recognises Icelandic. Trausti Kristjánsson, who conducted the project, used about 123,000 voice samples from 563 different people to complete the effort. Apart from giving native speakers all the advantages that Google Voice Search gives speakers of other languages, foreigners can now test their Icelandic pronunciation by seeing, for example, if saying “Eyjafjallajökull” to Google Voice Search will return results for the famed volcano, or show random results for Abraham Lincoln.
Perennial favourites Of Monsters And Men, who have been enjoying a smashing success across North American and Europe, have now attained an achievement closer to home. According to British music chart positions, they have now matched a record previously held only by Björk. While Björk’s appropriately named first solo effort, Debut, was released, it went straight to the third position on the British music charts, and the first single from the album—‘Violently Happy’—went to the 36th position. ‘My Head Is An Animal’—Of Monsters And Men’s first album—has made it to the third position as well, but notably the first single from that album—“Little Talks”—is now at the 12th position. It was at the 21st position only a week ago. Not too shabby!



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Icelandic Drug Market On Facebook

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The Icelandic drug market has made a move to social media. “Really well cut and good coke for the weekend,” one Facebook ad boasts. “You’ll feel it on the first line and won’t need another bump after 15 minutes – 15.000 ISK. Don’t buy coke off any old person, make sure you taste it first.” According to Vísir, drugs, pharmaceuticals and steroids are readily available and advertised through Facebook and other online mediums. “Far more people have access to [drugs through social media],” said Detective Chief Superintendent Friðrik Smári Björgvinsson. “A sign of changing times and a new reality. The police

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What To Name The New Lava Field

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As the Holuhraun eruption has spead lava over a wide swath of the country, Icelanders now ask themselves: what should we name the new lava field? As reported, magma pouring from the kilometres-long fissure in Holuhraun has now spread over an area comprising some 4 km2. When all is said and done, a new lava field will be born, which raises the important question of what to call it. Numerous suggestions have been brought up in the Icelandic media lately. MBL reports a number of suggested new names for the lava field. On the more obvious end of the scale,

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Little Change In Party Support, High Voter Dissatisfaction

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Two separate polls show little change in party support, although large numbers of voters are either undecided or dissatisfied with any of their options. Two polls have recently measured levels of support for the different political parties in parliament; one from Gallup (G) and one from Fréttablaðið (F). Their results are comparable, and while they show little change in support for different parties since the last poll, they also show a significant level of voter dissatisfaction. The Independence Party is the party with the greatest level of support in the country, at 28% (G) and about 31% (F). Both polls

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Most Icelanders Not Happy With Summer Of 2014

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In terms of the weather alone, most Icelanders have been unhappy with this past summer, with one notable exception. According to a new poll from Market and Media Research, only 45.4% of Icelanders nationwide have been satisfied with the weather this past summer. This is up slightly from 44.9% for the summer of 2013, but way down from 96.3% for the summer of 2012. The trend can be attributed to what have been relatively cool, cloudy and rainy summer both this year and last, while the summer of 2012 was decidedly warmer and sunnier. Regionally, not all Icelanders were of

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Two Women Attacked In Downtown Reykjavík, Appeal For Witnesses

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Two women were first harassed and then assaulted in downtown Reykjavík in the early hours of Saturday 30th August. A man started accosting them in Hverfisgata, outside Bar 11, at about 4.45am, in both Icelandic and English. When his drunken advances failed, he started following and aggressively coming on to the two, resulting in him being slapped. He then attacked both women, hospitalizing one with facial cuts and two black eyes. One of the women was artist Rosalie Smith, who was on her last night in Iceland and has now returned to the United States. She has sent out a

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Holuhraun: 4 Square Kilometres Of Lava

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Lava exuding from the Holuhraun eruption stretches 3.5 kilometres from the centre of the fissure and measures approximately 1.6 kilometres at its widest point, reports Vísir. According to the Icelandic Met Office the Holuhraun fissure is 1.5 km long with continuous eruption taking place in a 600-800 m long central section. The area of the lava is roughly 4 square kilometres. Currently, none of the tributaries of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum touches the lava edge. A white blueish cloud has been rising from the eruption but its white colour does not suggest that it is an ash cloud. The

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