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Hospital Director Pay Rise Reversed

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Published September 20, 2012

A proposed pay rise for the director of the National Hospital has been axed.
As reported, last August the Ministry of Welfare decided to move forward with the proposal to raise National Hospital director Björn Zoega’s salary by 450,000 ISK to 2.3 million ISK per month. Minister of Welfare Guðbjartur Hannesson defended the decision by saying that Björn is not only the hospital director; he is also a specialised surgeon, and the number of operations he has had to perform has been increasing significantly. The added work pressure, he says, led to the conclusion that a rise was in order.
However, Björn was also being courted by a large hospital in Sweden who wanted to hire him as the director there. The position would come with a higher salary than what Björn was getting, and this in turn prompted Guðbjartur to match the offer with a pay rise.
The proposed rise sparked controversy among the general public, with Progressive MP Eygló Harðardóttir telling reporters, “If a minister believes there is a reason to raise the salaries of his subordinates, it would naturally be most important to look towards those who are providing service directly.”
RÚV now reports that the Ministry of Welfare reconsidered the decision, and the pay rise will not move forward as planned. For his part, Björn said that he never suspected the rise would ignite such a strong reaction in the general public, saying that he hoped “public servants could be able to expect a pay rise” for the work that they do.



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Immigrant Children To Get Mother Tongue Classes

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The City of Reykjavík is making preparations to set up mother tongue classes for primary school children of foreign origin. According to an announcement posted on City Hall’s webpage, the School and Recreation Council has passed a measure to set up a workgroup whose purpose it will be to outline how immigrant primary school children will be taught their native languages. The group will be comprised of representatives from all the parties in City Council, directed by Social Democrat vice councilperson Sa­bine Leskopf. The focus of the group will be to assess the need for children of foreign origin to

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88 Fin Whales Culled So Far

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Over half the quota of fin whales has been culled so far this summer, showing a slight decline from the year previous. Since whaling season began last June 15, Vísir reports, 88 fin whales have been culled. The maximum quota is for 154 fin whales, which may only be hunted during a 3-month period. “It’s being going decently well,” Gunnlaugur Fjólar Gunnlaugsson, the plant manager of whaling company Hvalur hf. “There are a bit fewer animals than there were at this same time last year. It’s been a difficult time, but it’ll work out.” Greenpeace, amongst others, have pointed out

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Nói Síríusly Looking For Candy Tasters

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Icelandic candy manufacturer Nói Síríus is searching for volunteers for a “tasting panel” for the company’s product development department. The tasters chosen would be sent new candy prototypes and asked to mark them, to help Nói Síríus decide which products should make it into production. In the past few years 40-50 families have been sent these prototypes to try out but the company has now decided to expand the testing group and advertised the position on Facebook. Vísir reports that within 20 minutes 514 people had volunteered and at time of writing over 1.300 people had commented on the post,

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Scientists Can’t Agree On Bárðarbunga Eruption

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Scientist have been busy interpreting the newest data from Bárðarbunga but cannot seem to agree on what precisely the data indicates, reports Vísir. Kristín Vogfjörð, Director of Research at the Icelandic Met Office believes that based on her interpretations of the GPS data, the pressure is receding and the likelihood of eruption is minimising. Meanwhile, Ingi Þorleifur Bjarnason, a research scholar with the Insitute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland interprets the data differently, believing that the pressure is increasing and that the volcano is rising in preparation for eruption. Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, geophysicist and professor at the University of Iceland

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Wants To Raise Taxes On Tourism

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An MP for the Progressive Party wants to raise taxes on hospitality services and reinstate the VAT for businesses in the tourist industry. Karl Garðarsson, posting on his Facebook, expressed objections to a proposal from the Independence Party to raise taxes on food, while “there is no sign that tourism or associated parties will pay their share.” As RÚV points out, in the summer of 2013 the ruling coalition reversed a change to tax law made by the previous government, which raised the taxes on hotel stays from 7% to 14%. This decision prompted the idea of imposing entrance fees

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Anti-Piracy Group Declaring Bankruptcy Due To Embezzlement

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The board of anti-piracy group Smáís wants to declare bankruptcy, brought on by the former director having allegedly embezzled funds out of the company. RÚV reports that Smáís has recently filed bankruptcy papers with Reykjavík District Court. According to their filing, the main reason cited is that the former director of Smáís, Snæbjörn Steingrímsson, had been funneling money out of the company while at the same time falsifying the company’s financial reports. The embezzlement and false accounting allegedly went on for years, giving the board an inaccurate impression of the actual financial state of Smáís. Furthermore, taxes had not been

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