A Grapevine service announcement Be patient: That eruption is expected to last until 2015

News In Brief: November

Published November 12, 2012

The month of October began on a peaceful note with the LENNONONO Awards given in Reykjavík. These awards, which recognise efforts made for the cause of world peace, were this year presented to late peace activist Rachel Corrie, author John Perkins, noted anti-theist Christopher Hitchens, Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot, and pop singer Lady Gaga. While some wondered how Hitchens—who was a prominent cheerleader for the invasion of Iraq—ended up receiving a peace award, the event was by all accounts joyously celebrated and it was followed by the lighting of Ono’s “Peace Tower” on the island of Viðey.
A bit of an environmental scare took hold when hay near an aluminium smelter in northeast Iceland was found to have high levels of fluoride. Farmers were immediately informed of the potential contamination and advised not to feed the hay to their animals until it was deemed safe. After a thorough examination, it was determined that levels of fluoride in the hay were far below what are considered dangerous levels, and the farmers were given the green light to give the fluoridated hay to their horse and sheep—all of whom are now reported to have beautiful smiles.
Speaking of animals that were almost poisoned, a dog show in Kópavogur was temporarily cancelled when pieces of liver sausage were found scattered around the area. Tests done at the University of Iceland revealed that the pieces did indeed contain high levels of rat poison. For the time being, there are no known suspects or motives, but police are still investigating.
Were you thinking of visiting Álftanes next year? Too bad! It won’t exist anymore. Earlier this month, residents of Álftanes and Garðabær voted in a referendum in favour of merging their communities, which will take effect next year. The new town is to be named, imaginatively enough, “Garðabær.” One resident of the old Garðabær complained that the referendum information packets were one-sidedly in favour of the merger between the relatively wealthy Garðabær and the debt-ridden Álftanes, but hey, all water under the bridge now!
In other news, Icelanders voted yes to a new constitution earlier this month in an advisory referendum made up of six questions. About 49% of eligible voters took part, with two-thirds of them voting in favour of parliament accepting the draft that the Constitutional Council has written. They also voted in favour of nationalising natural resources that hadn’t already been privatised, creating a “one person = one vote” rule, and keeping a clause about a national church in the new constitution. Media sources the world over subsequently reported the constitution had been written by the nation as a whole via Facebook and Twitter.
Finally the most widely read story this month—thanks in part to Pee-Wee-Herman for sharing it—was the story of police breaking up a cat party in Suðurnes. Neighbours of an abandoned house noticed cats coming in and out of an open window of the house and, naturally, they called the police. When the police showed up, they found no people in the house but they did find “two to three cats” snuggling on the couch. The cats were summarily evicted and the house was shut tight by the police thereafter. Whoever said cats have it easy clearly has never tried to be one in Suðurnes.



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Police Fail To Withhold Names And Identities

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Police have disclosed an internal report about its actions and organization during public demonstrations in the advent and aftermath of the 2008 ecomonic crash, including events related to the uprising known as the “kitchenware revolution”. This is in accordance to a ruling made by the Information Access Complaint Board last week. The board ruled that the report should be disclosed as demanded by author and activist Eva Hauksdóttir since 2012, while the identity, names and addresses of various individuals and officers involved should be withheld. After distributing three copies of the report to select media outlets, the Police were made

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110 Earthquakes In 24 Hours

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Vísir reports that, during 24 hours from Friday morning to early Saturday, 110 earthquakes were measured in and around Bárðarbunga. Seven of those measured at or over magnitude 4 on the Richter-scale. The biggest in the series was of magnitude 5.2 shortly before two o’clock Saturday morning. Bárðarbunga has been in eruption for close to two months now, or since August 29th. Twenty minor earthquakes were measured around mount Herðubreið, none over magnitude 2.

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Gas Pollution Blows West on Saturday, East on Sunday

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The Met Office predicts volcanic gas pollution around the Western, North-Western and South-Western coasts and inlands on Saturday. On Sunday gas pollution is expected on the Southern-East coast and inlands. The Met Office has introduced an online interactive visualizer of its gas pollution forecast model. The Met Office warns that this model is still in development and that predicted levels of SO2 output are imprecise.

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Pasha’s 4th Day on Hunger Strike

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Today, Adam Ibrahim Pasha concludes the fourth day of his hunger strike, which commenced Tuesday. The hunger strike is in protest of the Directorate of Immigration’s (UTL’s) recent decision not to review his application for asylum. Pasha says he will rather die than be deported. Earlier today, he said he felt weak and in need of hospital care. Social services will supposedly visit him today, but at the time of this writing it remained unclear if they would be accompanied by a doctor. [Update:] Pasha was visited by social services today, as well as medical staff, which arrived by ambulance.

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Former PM Regrets 1968 Racist Remarks

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Former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde says that regrets and feels ashamed by racist remarks he made in a school paper at the age of 17. Geir’s article, “Maladies in our Society” resurfaced earlier this year. Its final paragraphs consist of explicitly racist remarks, including: “… I want to mention the highly increased blood-mixing of people of color and Icelanders. I think that such mixing is, to say the least, highly undesirable and unhealthy. The results of mistakes made by nitwits in these matters can be horrendous.” And so on. When the paper came under public scrutiny, last January, Geir

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Blacked Out Street Lights For Better View Of Northern Lights

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An employee of a travel service recently extinguished all street lighting by Kleppjárnsreykir, in the inlands of Borgarfjörður, by aiming a flashlight at their light-sensor controller. Apparently he did this to give a group of tourists a clearer view of the northern lights at play. According to Skessuhorn, a local news medium, this created great danger for the people who stood on the road to observe the sky, insufficiently visible to drivers, in the dark. Police authorities in Borgarfjörður received a complaint about the incident. The rhapsodic tourist guide told police that he had taken care that the travellers did

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