A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: Holuhraun, still spewing lava. Bárðarbunga, still sinking.

Changes Proposed To Law On Foreigners

Published January 17, 2013

Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson has spelled out some of the changes he wants to see made to Iceland’s law on foreigners.
The minister, in an article he wrote for DV, announced that last Friday, the ruling coalition had approved a bill on immigration law.
First, the bill could empower foreign students coming to Iceland with the right to bring their children with them for the duration of their studies. For this, Ögmundur cites the United Nations directive on the rights of families to stay together, regardless of their country of residence. This bill would also make the right to a permanent residence permit bound to a particular individual. As it is now, if an immigrant changes their living situation – such as by getting married – this will not necessarily be factored in to the decision to grant permanent residency.
Some of the greater changes proposed in the bill concern asylum seekers. If passed into law, the bill would do away with arresting and charging refugees who come to Iceland with false passports. The time period for processing an asylum seeker application would be set at a maximum of six months. If, for whatever reason, the process takes longer than 18 months, the asylum seeker would be granted a residence permit on humanitarian grounds. The bill would also create an independent committee for those applying for residence in Iceland as asylum seekers. Similar committees, Ögmundur points out, already exist in Denmark and Norway.
This bill has yet to be voted on by parliament.



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UN Women’s Conference To Include Women After All

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Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, has said women will be included in the UN Conference on women after all, but it remains unclear exactly how they will be included, reports Newsweek. As reported yesterday, Gunnar Bragi announced in a speech at the UN General Assembly that Iceland in cooperation with Suriname was planning to host a “Male Only” UN conference inviting male leaders worldwide to discuss violence against women and other women’s issues. The news was met with a barrage of criticism with people wondering why Iceland, a global leader in gender equality, would purposely exclude women from a

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Surgeons May Strike

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After failed attempts at negotiations with State authorities, surgeons at the national university hospital Landspítalinn will vote, later this week, on a potential strike. The strike action would commence in two weeks and postpone 150 operations each week. 5,000 people currently await operation, according to RÚV. In case of a strike, surgeons would still do emergency operations. Minister of Healthcare, Kristján Þór Júlíusson, has said that he supports the surgeons’ demands and will discuss the matter with Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson.

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Minister Proposes Privatization To Finance New Hospital

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Healthcare Minister Kristján Þór Júlíusson has proposed that the State sell some assets to finance the construction of new hospital building. In a radio interview broadcast by RÚV Wednesday morning, he stated: “We should proceed by transferring assets that belong to Icelanders in common to another form of ownership, in order to be able to reconstruct our national hospital, as everyone agrees we must do.” As journalist Jóhann Hauksson already pointed out, in pre-2008 Icelandic, ‘transferring assets to another form of ownership’ would have been simply called privatization. The Minister evaluates State assets at a total neat 1,000 billion ISK,

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Geir Haarde Lands Washington D.C Ambassadorial Post

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Former Prime Minister of Iceland, Geir H. Haarde, has landed a pivotal ambassadorial post in Washington D.C, reports RÚV. Geir is most known for being prime minister during Iceland’s 2008 economic meltdown. In 2010, parliament voted in favour of Geir standing trial for negligence and mismanagement while in office. Geir was eventually found guilty of one of the four charges of negligence levied against him. As reported, the charge was that he either knew or should have known that he had to respond in some way to the information he had been receiving that the economy was unstable. Prosecutor Sigríður

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Iceland Sends Men Only To UN Conference On Women

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Iceland, considered a global leader in gender equality, has announced it will send only men to a U.N. conference on women and gender equality, reports ABC. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told the U.N. General Assembly of world leaders on Monday that the January “barbershop” conference will be unique, “as it will be the first time at the United Nations that we bring together only male leaders to discuss gender equality.” It won’t however, be the first time in history that male leaders get together to discuss women’s issues, without any women present. According to Gunnar Bragi, the

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Tax Committee Chair: “No Choice” But For Government To Buy Tax Evasion Evidence

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The chairperson of parliament’s Tax and Economics Committee believes the Icelandic government should buy evidence of tax evasion, a sample of which has already been offered to authorities. RÚV reports that Frosti Sigurjónsson, a Progressive MP and the chairperson of the Tax and Economics Committee, believes the government should pay to receive only legal documentation of Icelanders evading taxes. If the documents were illegally obtained, he added, this detail would certainly “complicate” matters. “If it’s true what I’ve heard, that the Germans have gone this way, buying this kind of information, than I believe we have no choice but to

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