Two leading Social Democrats campaigning to lead their party next week said they believe there is no cause for a public referendum on continuing European Union accession talks. Guðbjartur Hannesson and Árni Páll Árnason, both Social Democrats currently campaigning to be their party’s next chairperson, were guests on the television news discussion show Kastljósið last night. Both candidates were in agreement that accession talks with the EU must be completed, followed by submitting the general accession agreement for public referendum. Árni Páll added that he believed there was “no logic” to the proposal brought up by opposition parties to hold a public referendum on whether or not to continue the talks. Guðbjartur agreed, and said that the time has some to decide what Iceland’s position is on the EU – in or out. The opinions of the candidates is in line with a recent poll conducted by Fréttablaðið. The largest portion of respondents to that poll – 48.5% – supported the idea of completing talks and putting the agreement up for referendum. Primary elections for the Social Democrat chairpersonship will be held this Friday, with final results expected by the following Monday. EU accession talks are currently on hold until parliamentary elections in April conclude.
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,
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
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
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
The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police confirms there is no evidence that any Icelanders have joined forces with the theocratic extremist group ISIS. Vísir reports that they sent a formal inquiry to the police on the matter, and were informed that – to the best of anybody’s knowledge – no Icelandic citizens have joined forces with ISIS. As far-fetched as the possibility may sound, European Union anti-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove told the BBC that over 3,000 EU citizens have already joined ISIS. Closer to home, Vísir adds that at the beginning of the summer, Danish secret services revealed
A 28-year-old man is in police custody, suspected of having strangled his wife. The suspect denies the charges against him. RÚV reports police were alerted to the scene shortly after midnight yesterday, at which time the victim had been dead for a few hours. It is also reported that the couple’s two children, aged two and five, were in the home at the time of death, but were asleep. Vísir reports that the suspect denies killing his wife, and was led into Reykjavík District Court yesterday for a custody hearing. He will remain in police custody until October 17. “These