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.
It’s likely that, because of her recent resignation, former Minister of the Interior, Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, will not have to face a parliamentary hearing on the leaked memo scandal, reports RÚV. Hanna Birna was due to appear in a live and publicly televised hearing to discuss her role in the leaked memo case, as well as answer to allegations that she may have tried to influence the course of an ongoing police investigation of her ministry by threatening former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police, Stefán Eiríksson. According to Helgi Bernódusson, the parliment’s Office Manager, a minister is both politically responsible
Every year, several dozen butchers commute from provincial New Zealand to rural Iceland – for just two months’ work, reports the BBC. As work commutes go, the journey takes some beating, roughly 22,300km (about 13,850 miles) each way. The roughly 30 butchers travel to Iceland for the lamb processing season, which begins each September. “My friends say ‘Iceland? What do you kill there – seals?’ Nah, they’ve got their own breed of sheep,” said Shawn Parkinson who has made the trip for the past seven years. “We’d be out of work if we stayed in New Zealand at this time
A 500 metre long ice cave is currently being tunnelled into Iceland’s Langjökull glacier. So far the crew have dug the cave’s entrance, roughly 200 metres into the glacier and are experimenting with how to light the tunnel. Plans are to turn the cave into a tourist destination where visitors can learn about glacial formations and potentially, even get married. “In the tunnel there’ll be a room,” said Sigurður Skarphéðinsson, CEO of the Ice Cave Iceland project. “We like to call it the multipurpose room and there, in cooperation with others, we’ll be able to offer people the chance to
Hardcore Icelandic Arsenal fan, Sigfríð Ingólfsdóttir, only ever wears Arsenal gear or Arsenal themed clothing, reports Vikudagur, except when she has to attend funerals. Sigfríð, 62, began following English football 30 years ago and first started supporting Arsenal after thinking the name of the team was pretty neat. She has since become one of Arsenal’s most dedicated fans in Iceland, has an “Arsenal Room” in her home, and is regularly stopped to discuss games. “I get stopped out on the street, people like to talk to me about Arsenal and football in general,” said Sigfríð. “Some of them are on
The MP5 submachine guns Iceland received from Norway will be sent back, the Icelandic Coast Guard has announced. According to the announcement, posted today on the Coast Guard’s website, the conclusion of talks with the Norwegian army yesterday and today led to the decision to return the guns, which have been held by toll authorities over the past few weeks. Customs officials held onto the guns on account of a dispute over whether the guns were a gift or a purchase. The Icelandic Coast Guard contends that “almost all the weapons in possession of the Icelandic Coast Guard (90%) have
Minister of the Interior, Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir, is expected to announce that she is stepping down today and will not return to parliament until the New Year, according to RÚV. Hanna Birna has been under a lot of scrutiny following the leak of incriminating and falsified information about Nigerion asylum seeker Tony Omos. She has maintained her innocence throughout the affair, even after her aide Gísli Freyr Valdórsson admitted to the leak. Despite the Independence party and PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson declaring their support of her, a lot of pressure has been on her to resign, including from the 1,000 people that