The draft of Iceland’s new constitution could be submitted to parliament as early as next week. Last October, Icelanders voted in an historic referendum pertaining to the draft of a new constitution drawn up by the Constitutional Council. About two-thirds of those who took part in the referendum said Yes to the draft being submitted to parliament. Vísir now reports that a team of experts who were asked to read and offer suggestions or criticisms of the draft have completed their work. They had no significant suggestions to make about the draft, giving the green light for the next part in the process. Valgerður Bjarnadóttir, chairperson of the Constitutional and Supervisory Committee, told reporters that it is her hope the constitutional draft can be submitted to parliament next week. Among the new articles that Icelanders voted in favour of being in the new constitution were that natural resources that are not privately owned be declared national property, that equal weight be given to votes cast in all parts of the country, and that a certain proportion of the electorate be able to demand that issues are put to a referendum. Once submitted to parliament, it will be debated on and sent back to committee in additional three times before a final vote is cast. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, or longer.
Intense earthquake activity continues around Bárðarbunga volcano and Vatnajökull glacier, reports RÚV. Just passed midnight an earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale hit Bárðarbunga and an earthquake measuring 4.5 hit Askja caldera, the largest quake in Askja since 1992. An additional two strong earthquakes hit Bárðarbunga around 3 am. Seismic activity has been intensifying further in the past few days due to pressure changes resulting from the movement of magma, which is now making its way to the Askja caldera. Almost 500 earthquakes were measured last night overall. According to the Met Office, going forward there are three possible outcomes. The first
Former Mayor of Reykjavík Jón Gnarr plans to appeal a decision by the National Registry which prevents him from changing his legal name to Jón Gnarr. Vísir reports that Jón recently filed a formal request with the National Registry to change his name from Jón Gnarr Kristinsson to just Jón Gnarr, as he has been known for decades. The Registry rejected the request, saying in part that “it is illegal to take up a new surname in Iceland.” Jón says that this is not true in practice, pointing out that foreigners who receive Icelandic citizenship are allowed to keep their
A group of Icelanders hopes to educate the general public on how to avoid buying products from Israel. DV reports that the group, called BDS Ísland, hopes to bring to light which Icelandic companies are importing and selling Israeli goods. The “BDS” in the group’s name stands for “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions”. The movement is an extension of the Facebook group “We don’t buy products from Israel”, wherein Icelanders post Israeli goods that they find on store shelves here in Iceland. Sema Erla Serdar, the chairperson of BDS Ísland, hopes to assemble and organise this information, and then make it more
Interior Minister Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir reportedly threatened the former police commissioner with an investigation of her own, and her assistants tried to influence his statements to the press. This and more has come to light in a new letter from the Parliamentary Ombudsman. Parliamentary Ombudsman Tryggvi Gunnarsson today published another letter to Hanna Birna, asking for more information in light of her answers to his previous letter and his conversations with former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson. In the course of the Ombudsman’s interview with Stefán, the former commissioner says that Hanna Birna had, on many occasions,
After the big reveal of The Knife’s Iceland Airwaves performance last week, the festival has released 40 new additions for the 2014 edition. The announcement includes a fine selection of local artists, including Grapevine’s band of the year Sin Fang, the Ólafur Arnalds/Janus Rasmussen techno partnership Kiasmos, emerging nu-electronica maestro M-Band, and bearded musical polymath Mugison. From abroad, the UK indie label Domino Records will send over two of their finest, with virtuoso guitarist Anna Calvi bringing her dramatic sound to Reykjavík, alongside label-mate How To Dress Well. They’re joined by Bella Union’s indie-psych band Horse Thief, Canadian noise-rock outfit
Police are asking for help finding off-roaders who damaged land by Löðmundarvatn lake, reports Sunnlenska. As reported, off-road traffic has been causing considerable damage to soil and moss, which is in fact illegal to drive on. Natural replenishment of the moss, which is in many instances crucial to preventing soil erosion, can take years. The damage to the land by Löðmundarvatn lake is believed to have been done on the 19th or 20th of August. The tire tracks are approximately 30 cm wide and anyone with information is asked to reach out to Hvolsvellir Police department by calling 488-4110 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.