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Icelandic Government Ministers Condemn Gaza Attack, Protest At US Embassy Planned

Published November 19, 2012

Two ministers of the Icelandic government have publicly spoken against the Israeli military operation on Gaza. Meanwhile, over 1,400 plan to stage protests in front of the US embassy at 17:00 today.
As many are no doubt aware, Israel and Gaza are currently engaged in a military struggle over the past six days that has so far killed 95 Palestinians and three Israelis.
RÚV reports that Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson has condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza, saying that the operation was “tragic and unequal [in military force]“. He also said that he plans to discuss the matter further with other members of the cabinet tomorrow.
Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson took matters a step further, saying that Icelanders should be protesting the attacks. When this statement was questioned by conservative MP Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Össur backed him up, saying Ögmundur has every right to express himself on the subject.
Icelanders are, in fact, planning to protest. A protest demonstration is to be held at the US embassy at 17:00 today. At the time of this writing, over 1,400 people have joined the event on Facebook.
Protest is also being aimed at the Icelandic government, as a new petition has been created demanding the Icelandic government call for an international embargo on Israel. Over 2,200 have so far signed this petition.



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Strange Activity At Geothermal Spot

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A geothermal location in southwest Iceland has been going through some sudden and dramatic changes. Víkufréttir reports that the geothermal area of Gunnuhver has seen quite a transformation recently. The site, which was once a relatively placid patch of gently bubbling clay and wafting sulfuric steam, is now under police lockdown. All steam has disappeared from the area, save for the source of the geothermal spring itself, which alternately bellows hot steam and clay metres into the air. The pedestrian walkway through Gunnuhver has partially collapsed due to the heat and water damage. Below, you can see a video of

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Former Foreign Minister: Just Hunt The Non-Endangered Whales

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A former Minister of Foreign Affairs has made a novel suggestion to end the current international row over Iceland’s whale hunting practices. RÚV reports that former Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson believes there is a middle way when it comes to whaling: simply hunt the whales that are not endangered: minke whales. In fact, he contends that this is what one can read between the lines of a recent demarche from 35 nations exhorting Iceland to stop hunting fin whales. “Which would be that Icelanders drop hunting fin whales, but may continue hunting minke whales for domestic use,” he

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MPs From 5 Parties Behind Keflavík Train Proposal

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MPs from five parties have proposed the Icelandic government explore building a train between Keflavík and Reykjavík, as well as a train for the greater Reykjavík area. Vísir reports that the proposal has speakers from every parliamentary party except the Pirate Party. Leading the proposal is Left-Green chairperson Katrín Jakobsdóttir, followed by Svandís Svavarsdóttir (Left-Green), Ásmundur Friðriksson (Independence Party), Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir (Progressives), Óttarr Proppé (Bright Future), Karl Garðarsson (Progressives) and Oddný G. Harðardóttir (Social Democrats). The proposal calls for results of the government’s findings on the logistics and possibilities for the trains in 2015. The idea is not a

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Minister Of Fisheries: Our Whaling Is Sustainable

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The Minister of Fisheries, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, says he is concerned by the démarche delivered to the Icelandic government to end the practice of whaling. Sigurður Ingi told RÚV however, that he felt it was important to highlight that all [fishing] organisations operating in Iceland do so sustainably, unlike many of the countries who signed the démarche. “I think that in the past few years we have been too shy about [our sustainable whaling practices] and I think it’s really burned us,” said Sigurður Ingi. “People and companies have maintained for a long time [that whaling has damaged the reputation of

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Volcano Update: Bárðarbunga Continues To Subside

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The subsidence of the Bárðarbunga caldera continues, sinking by 45 cm just this morning following an earthquake with the magnitude of 5.4, reports RÚV. Yesterday, Civil Protection (CPEM) reported a subsidence of over 50 cm. Currently there is no information about the progress of the lava flow coming from the Holuhraun eruption. This is because of dangerous conditions which forced scientists to evacuate the area yesterday. Not before posting some excellent pictures and showing off a lava sample on Twitter though. Pahoehoe lava creeping over older lava. Credit: Uni. of Iceland/Johanne Schmithh #Bardarbunga #Holuhraun #Iceland pic.twitter.com/cvMB2f0Nh7 — Univ. of Iceland (@uni_iceland) September

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Firings At The Directorate Of Labour

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Government-sanctioned budget cuts have forced the Directorate of Labour to let go of some of their employees and cut back on services to the unemployed. “We are struggling with a demand to reduce operational costs by about 100 million [ISK],” Gissur Pétursson, the director of the Directorate, told RÚV. “There is no other choice. We cannot conduct interviews and counseling like we would otherwise want to.” 20 employees have already been let go, operating hours have been shortened, and the service office has been closed. Gissur could not comment on the exact number of employees who will be let go

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