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Alcohol Authority Violates European Regulations

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Published December 11, 2012

The strict guidelines of the State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland (ÁTVR) go farther than the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) allows, and damages could be awarded to alcohol importers.
Many will remember the controversy which arose last February, when ÁTVR decided that shiraz wine endorsed by heavy metal band Motörhead could not be imported on moral grounds. Their primary reason for the rejection was that “The name of the band is a reference to users of the illegal drug amphetamine, and the lyrics of the band’s songs are regularly about war, the abuse of power, irresponsible sexual activity and drug abuse.”
This refers to ÁTVR’s regulations that labels of alcohol may only have information related to the brand, the ingredients, and how the product is made. These regulations also ban any packaging they consider to be encouraging violence, sex, illegal activities, religion or political persuasions.
RÚV now reports that according to the opinion EFTA gave to Reykjavík District Court regarding a brand of cider that was banned from sale because the label featured naked female legs, ÁTVR’s regulations are too strict for European Union regulations. As a member of EFTA, Iceland is obliged to abide regulations set by the EU. The opinion furthermore said that alcohol importers who feel they were cost money as a result of ÁTVR’s regulations could conceivably now sue the institution for damages.
No importer has yet threatened to sue ÁTVR at the time of this writing.



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Bárðarbunga Earthquake Visualization

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An Icelandic computer scientist has created a data visualization showing all of the Bárðarbunga earthquakes measuring over 1.5 on the Richter scale over the last 48 hours. The data used, he explained, is raw data collected from the Icelandic Met Office (it has not been verified by that office), and will help viewers see how the situation is progressing at the volcano. See the whole visualization in motion here.  

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Cat Shelter Packed With Kittens

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Kattholt cat shelter is tightly packed with lots of kittens in need of a home, reports mbl.is. As this is the most romantic time of year for cats, it is the busiest time of year for Kattholt cat shelter, known in English as the Friends of Cats Society of Iceland. “About 500 cats have been brought to Kattholt this year,” said Kattholt employee Halldóra Snorradóttir. “These are lost and homeless cats and the number of cats coming in never goes down… When cats come to us, we first try to track down their owner and if that doesn’t work we try

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Bárðarbunga Volcano Watch: The Morning Edition

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Bárðarbunga volcano continues to rumble but as yet there is no eruption to report, so here is a round up last night’s news. 01:35 – An earthquake measuring 3 or higher on the Richter scale struck the area around Bárðarbunga volcano around 11:30 pm last night, reports RÚV. Since midnight roughly 50 earthquakes have been reported and in total 1000 earthquakes were measured Wednesday. Scientists flying over Bárðarbunga yesterday confirmed that so far there are no changes to the glacial surface of the volcano. 20:56 - Kristján Jónsson, a geologist with the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, has said that although he cannot confirm

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Directorate Of Health Wants Junk Food Tax

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The Directorate of Health wants to see taxes increased on candy and soda, and decreased on fruits, vegetables and fish. MBL reports that the Directorate has grave concerns about the eating habits of Icelanders, and are particularly worried about a government proposal to lower the so-called “sugar tax”. The Directorate believes that reducing consumption of certain foods and increasing consumption of others requires government intervention in the form of how these foods are taxed. According to a report from a work group under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Welfare, about 21% of adult Icelanders have a BMI of 30

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Airline Row Going To EFTA

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A legal dispute between WOW Air and Icelandair will be appealed to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). A decision from the Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision made by Reykjavík District Court, which ruled that the dispute would not go to EFTA. The original request to take the dispute to the international authority was made by Icelandair and Isavia, the company which operates Keflavík International Airport. WOW Air originally filed the legal complaint, against both Icelandair and Isavia, as well as The Competition Authority (ICA). The dispute centres around the parsing out of flight times between the two airlines,

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VIDEO: Killer Whales Playing By Bolungarvík

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An alert journalist in the right place at the right time recorded killer whales frolicking off the coast of Bolungarvík, in the Westfjords of Iceland. Víkari, Bolungarvík’s news outlet, reports that Guðbjörg Stefanía Hafþórsdóttir spotted three killer whales off the coast of Ósvör, just east of Bolungarvík. As their play intensified, they eventually swam right by the Bolungarvík harbor. Guðbjörg managed to record two of the whales swimming about ten  metres from shore, gleefully playing with an eiderduck, throwing it around (nobody said killer whales were particularly nice), which you view  below. Killer whales only number in the hundreds around

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