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.



News
Here’s What You Need to Know About Dropping Oil Prices and Drekasvæðið

Here’s What You Need to Know About Dropping Oil Prices and Drekasvæðið

by

Lately it seems that people are getting more and more concerned about the dropping price of oil. This is perhaps less obvious to those of us buying petrol in Iceland, but some Icelanders are questioning whether the search for oil in Drekasvæðið (the ‘Dreka’ or ‘Dragon’ region to the northeast of Iceland)  should continue with crude prices down 55% since June. It seems logical that if the price is dropping there is no reason to look for more resources, but as with most things, it is a little more complicated than that. In December, OPEC met to discuss what should

News
PHOTOS: Reykjavík International Games: Archery

PHOTOS: Reykjavík International Games: Archery

by

The Reykjavík International Games are being held January 16 – 25, and the Archery competition took place on January 17 & 18. The qualification round consisted of FITA triple 40 cm targets for Compound bows and Recurve bows. Archery has always been the sexier cousin of target shooting—rich with history and drama. Also, it isn’t mentioned enough, if you accidentally shoot your friend with anything lethal, a bow and arrow is the most comical. For more information, check out the website: www.rig.is See Also: Reykjavík International Games Swimming (photo gallery)       Reykjavík International Games: Figure Skating (photo gallery)

News
PHOTOS: Karate at Reykjavík International Games

PHOTOS: Karate at Reykjavík International Games

by

The Reykjavík International Games are being held January 16 – 25, and the Karate competition took place on January 17, which included individual categories for both Kata and Kumite. Kata is a choreographed exhibition of skill, whereas Kumite is unrehearsed sparring. Emma Lucraft from England won women’s kata, which is maybe not a surprise as she holds the eleventh place in the Karate world rankings, whereas Elías Snorrason from the Reykjavík Karate Club took the men’s title. Similarly, Viktorija Rezajeva from Latvia, 28th place in the world rankings, won women’s kumite competition, and Lonni Boulesnane from France came in first place in the men’s

News
Arctic Research Gets Cash Injection

Arctic Research Gets Cash Injection

by

The Fulbright Commission of Iceland has signed an agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States guaranteeing 550,000 USD over the next three years to support US scientists’ Arctic research in Iceland. The agreement is the first of its kind between any Fulbright Commission and the NSF and was signed at the Icelandic Embassy in Washington D.C. with Evan Ryan, the United States’ Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and Geir H. Haarde, Iceland’s Ambassador to the US. The Fulbright Commission and National Science Foundation hope the agreement will create new opportunities for collaboration

News
Pantless Cat Burglar Escapes With 4 Bengals

Pantless Cat Burglar Escapes With 4 Bengals

by

Police are using their only evidence, a bra – size 34D – and a pair of leopard print sweatpants, as a means to track down a thief who stole four Bengal cats from a cat breeder yesterday, reports Vísir. “Yes this is our evidence,” said Detective Superintendent Óli Sigurðsson with the Selfoss Police Department. “We’re looking for the owner of these pants and bra and are asking anyone with information to help us solve this case by calling our hotline, 444-2000.” According to the cat breeder’s Facebook page, someone “not very strong” broke into the cat enclosure and stole a cage

News
Icelandic Firm To Gather Credit Info In Eight West African States

Icelandic Firm To Gather Credit Info In Eight West African States

by

The Icelandic credit bureau CreditInfo has won a contract with the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) to manage a regional private credit reporting system, the Private Credit Bureau (PCB), collecting and mediating financial information within the West African Economic And Monetary Union (UEMOA). The Union’s member-countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, the Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, with a total population of over 100 million people. A news release released by CreditInfo VoLo, signed by M. Muhammad M. Jagana, claims that the “strategic infrastructure will not only accelerate the credit development in the region, but also

Show Me More!