A conservative city councilperson for Reykjavík has called mayor Jón Gnarr’s recent remarks about making the city a military-free zone “irresponsible.” As reported, mayor Jón Gnarr has said that he wants all military sea vessels banned from the capital harbour, all military aircraft banned from the local airport (including CIA rendition planes) and furthermore, expressed the belief that Iceland should withdraw from NATO altogether. RÚV reports that Independence Party city councilperson Kjartan Magnússon took exception to these remarks, calling for a special discussion session on the matter in city hall today. Kjartan argued that in the past, these nations – usually Denmark and Norway – had been asked to bring their warships to Reykjavík in order to help out with rescue operations. He said that he considered it irresponsible to say that warships, from countries Iceland considers friends, are not welcome in the city’s harbour. The mayor’s office has not as yet responded to the remarks to the press.
Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir may have tried to influence police investigations of her ministry, prompting the previous police commissioner to quit. The Constitutional and Supervisory Committee has asked the Minister to explain herself. DV reports that, according to their sources, former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson was on one occasion called into Hanna Birna’s office where she expressed displeasure with the course of police investigations of the Ministry of the Interior. On another occasion, Hanna Birna allegedly phoned Stefán, saying she was unhappy with police conduct in the investigations. Stefán reportedly discussed this with
An Indonesian woman living in Iceland had some candid words to share about the experience many Asian women endure when they move here. RÚV reports that Cynthia Trililani, originally from Indonesia, has been living in Iceland for the past ten years now. She has two university degrees, and is working on two master’s degrees while working in a playschool. Despite her background, Cynthia told attendees at SlutWalk last Saturday, herself and Asian women in general are subjected to some ugly stereotypes from some of the locals. Cynthia said that many Asian women are regarded as “uneducated sex toys” who are
A group calling for asylum seeker policy reform wants a Palestinian asylum seeker who was deported to be allowed to return to Iceland. RÚV reports that the group, Ekki fleiri brottvísanir (“No more deportations”), handed over a petition of support for Ramez Rassas to the Ministry of the Interior and the Directorate of Immigration. Rassas originally fled Gaza in 2009, and has been seeking asylum since then. After repeated failures for asylum in Norway, he came to Iceland last November. He was deported back to Norway last February, and then sent back to Gaza the following month. There, he currently
The numbers are in for the 8th annual seal census. In all 706 seals were spotted in a 100 km stretch of beach in northwest Iceland, reports RÚV. “We counted 706 this year which is similar to last year,” said biologist Sandra Granquist. “We counted 705-707 last year so [the numbers have] been pretty much the same in the last 3 years.” The census was conducted by employees of The Icelandic Seal Centre as well as a number of volunteers who arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning to help count. The census helps scientists keep track of how many seals are in the
A severe shortage of nurses in Iceland is expected in coming years, reports RÚV. Ólafur G. Skúlason, chairman of the Icelandic Nurses’s Association, estimates that roughly 900 of the 2800 nurses working today will retire within the next 3 years. At the same time only 400 nursing students will graduate and many seek other jobs due to the heavy workload and poor wages. Additionally, the demand for nurses is increasing quickly with the ageing population. To respond to the shortage Ólafur told mbl.is that it was important to encourage men to become nurses, not only to bolster numbers but because they
A single cruise ship in Reykjavík harbour releases as much pollution as 10,000 cars, in part due to a lack of necessary equipment on the part of harbour authorities. Vísir reports that 90 cruise ships, carrying over 100,000 passengers, have come to Iceland so far this year. The number of cruise ships is expected to increase to 100 next year. When a cruise ship docks in harbour, it leaves its generators running continuously. In a single 24-hour period, one cruise ship burns enough oil to equal the pollution from 10,000 cars. There is a common solution at hand – but