A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: The Holuhraun eruption is at it again
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MPs Argue Over Gaza, Ambassador Responds To Protests

MPs Argue Over Gaza, Ambassador Responds To Protests

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Published November 21, 2012

Members of parliament engaged in a heated debate over the current military conflict between Israel and Gaza yesterday. Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Iceland has posted a statement on his blog responding to Monday’s protests.
The Israel/Palestine question can spark rather passionate rhetoric between people, and members of parliament are no exception. DV reports that Independence Party chairman Bjarni Benediktsson set off a heated debate over the issue himself in parliament yesterday.
“The spark that ignited this powder keg came from Hamas,” Bjarni said, adding that Hamas has in the past said that it is their goal to wipe out Israel. “Such a policy I do not understand.” He also said that he believes Iceland should stop pressing for the United Nations to recognise Palestine as a sovereign nation.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Árni Þór Sigurðsson retorted that Hamas has actually changed their position concerning Israel, wanting peaceful co-existence and putting the onus on Israel to make that happen, but that it remains the policy of Israel to wipe out Palestine.
Social Democrat MP Mörður Árnason responded to Bjarni, saying, “The Israeli Minister of the Interior has said that the purpose of the attacks should be to bomb Gaza back to the Middle Ages,” referring to comments made by Israeli Minister of the Interior Eli Yishai, who indeed did say that the “goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.”
“And here comes the chairman of the Independence Party saying that Israel should stand by its principles? This is not how people talk, Bjarni!,” Mörður said.
In related news, US ambassador to Iceland Luis E. Arreaga has posted a statement on his blog in response to last Monday’s protests. Here is the statement in full:

Many Icelanders came to the Embassy yesterday to express peacefully their views about the ongoing conflict in Gaza. They asked for the United States to intervene to stop the conflict and prevent the loss of life. The United States favors a lasting peace that includes the creation of a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel. We also recognize the right of Israel to defend itself against attacks on its population. Both President Obama and Secretary Clinton are indeed engaged and working with leaders in the region to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. In fact, Secretary Clinton is on her way to the region where she will visit Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Cairo to consult on the situation in the region. She will emphasize the United States’ interest in a peaceful outcome that protects and enhances Israel’s security and regional stability; that can lead to improved conditions for the civilian residents of Gaza; and that can reopen the path to fulfill the aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis for peace and security.



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Holuhraun: 4 Square Kilometres Of Lava

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Lava exuding from the Holuhraun eruption stretches 3.5 kilometres from the centre of the fissure and measures approximately 1.6 kilometres at its widest point, reports Vísir. According to the Icelandic Met Office the Holuhraun fissure is 1.5 km long with continuous eruption taking place in a 600-800 m long central section. The area of the lava is roughly 4 square kilometres. Currently, none of the tributaries of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum touches the lava edge. A white blueish cloud has been rising from the eruption but its white colour does not suggest that it is an ash cloud. The

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Road To Dettifoss Waterfall Reopens

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The District Commissioner of Húsavík has decided to reopen the road to Dettifoss waterfall on the west side of Jökulsá á Fjöllum as of 08:00 am today, reports the Civil Protection Department. Other roads and hiking trails on the west side of Jökulsá are still closed. The decision has been made, not because the flood risk has gone down – it hasn’t – but because of increased surveillance in the area. As the volcanic eruption in Holuhraun is being intensely monitored and park rangers and additional law enforcement are present in the area it was deemed safe enough to reopen

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Union Official Worried About Tourism Industry Workers

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The managing director of one of Iceland’s largest trade unions says they are “extremely worried” about workers in the tourism industry. “We are extremely worried about [workers within] this field,” Drífa Snædal, the Managing Director of the Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland (SGS), told Vísir. “If Iceland intends to build up the tourism industry, it will have to really clean house.” Drífa says that unions around the country have had to deal with reports of employees filing grievances, mostly about being paid unfairly. “There are two types of groups within the tourism industry,” she said. “Those who

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Faroese Ship Bids Iceland Adieu

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The beleagured Faroese fishing vessel that ordinary Icelanders assisted despite the cold shoulder from government has bid our fair shores farewell. MBL reports that Næraberg departed from Reykjavík harbour at about 6:00 this morning. At the time of this writing, the ship is about halfway to Greenland, presumably to resume fishing mackerel. As reported, the ship was sailing from Greenland when it encountered engine trouble and radioed Iceland for permission to dock in Reykjavík harbour to conduct repairs. However, citing an obscure law about fishing rights, Icelandic authorities initially only allowed permission for the ship to dock – the crew

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Stormy Weather Is Hurricane Cristobal Petering Out

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The high winds and rain Iceland has been experiencing over the past 36 hours or so are the remains of what was Hurricane Cristobal. Iceland’s mercurial weather caught the attention of science buffs overseas, as Discover Magazine reported late last night that the storm formerly known as Hurrican Cristobal was taking “dead aim” at Iceland. Hurricanes are not common to more northern latitudes. In fact, Cristobal had changed into what is known as a “warm seclusion cyclone” by the time it reached Iceland. This kind of cyclone is characterised by a center of warm, wet air surrounded by cooler air.

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Björk’s Biophilia Film To Premiere In Reykjavík This Week

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Björk’s Biophilia tour went on for almost two years, scoring a huge hit with critics and audiences around the world due to it’s innovative, immersive production. After a long process of trying to fund a definitive concert film of the project, it came right down to the wire, with the final show at London’s cavernous Alexandria Palace becoming the subject of Biophilia Live. BAFTA-award winning editor and filmmaker Nick Fenton, speaking of his experience as co-director, said: “We felt like security guards, in a little booth surrounded by screens and talking to sixteen cameramen and women. You couldn’t feel further

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