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Icelandic Competition Authority Concerned Over Bank Operation

Published February 7, 2013

The Icelandic Competition Authority has expressed concern over the lack of competitive operation policies among the country’s three big banks, Landsbanki, Íslandsbanki, and Arion Banki. According to a new report released by the Icelandic Competition Authority, titled “Fjármálaþjónusta á krossgötum” (PDF link) this is resulting in clients paying higher rates and receiving unfavourable terms in order to cover the banks’ ever-increasing operating expenses.
The report reveals that the operating costs of the banks have been increasing significantly year-over-year since the crash, as the public focused their post-crash attention on loan re-evaluation, which increased the banks profits more than had been expected, RÚV reports.
Wages for bank employees have been steadily increasing since the crash, at a far greater rate than employees in other sectors have been experiencing. Such expenses increased by 15% between 2009 and 2010 in the banking sector, while a comparison made with the increased wages of 26,000 firms in other sectors show an average wage increase of just 6% over the same period. Moreover, on an international scale, the operating expenses of Icelandic banks is considered high, accounting for 2.3% of bank assets, in comparison to the operating costs of small Nordic banks and larger European banks claiming 0.6 – 1.5% of assets going toward operating expenses.


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Police Fail To Withhold Names And Identities

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Police have disclosed an internal report about its actions and organization during public demonstrations in the advent and aftermath of the 2008 ecomonic crash, including events related to the uprising known as the “kitchenware revolution”. This is in accordance to a ruling made by the Information Access Complaint Board last week. The board ruled that the report should be disclosed as demanded by author and activist Eva Hauksdóttir since 2012, while the identity, names and addresses of various individuals and officers involved should be withheld. After distributing three copies of the report to select media outlets, the Police were made

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110 Earthquakes In 24 Hours

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Vísir reports that, during 24 hours from Friday morning to early Saturday, 110 earthquakes were measured in and around Bárðarbunga. Seven of those measured at or over magnitude 4 on the Richter-scale. The biggest in the series was of magnitude 5.2 shortly before two o’clock Saturday morning. Bárðarbunga has been in eruption for close to two months now, or since August 29th. Twenty minor earthquakes were measured around mount Herðubreið, none over magnitude 2.

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Gas Pollution Blows West on Saturday, East on Sunday

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The Met Office predicts volcanic gas pollution around the Western, North-Western and South-Western coasts and inlands on Saturday. On Sunday gas pollution is expected on the Southern-East coast and inlands. The Met Office has introduced an online interactive visualizer of its gas pollution forecast model. The Met Office warns that this model is still in development and that predicted levels of SO2 output are imprecise.

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Pasha’s 4th Day on Hunger Strike

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Today, Adam Ibrahim Pasha concludes the fourth day of his hunger strike, which commenced Tuesday. The hunger strike is in protest of the Directorate of Immigration’s (UTL’s) recent decision not to review his application for asylum. Pasha says he will rather die than be deported. Earlier today, he said he felt weak and in need of hospital care. Social services will supposedly visit him today, but at the time of this writing it remained unclear if they would be accompanied by a doctor. [Update:] Pasha was visited by social services today, as well as medical staff, which arrived by ambulance.

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Former PM Regrets 1968 Racist Remarks

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Former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde says that regrets and feels ashamed by racist remarks he made in a school paper at the age of 17. Geir’s article, “Maladies in our Society” resurfaced earlier this year. Its final paragraphs consist of explicitly racist remarks, including: “… I want to mention the highly increased blood-mixing of people of color and Icelanders. I think that such mixing is, to say the least, highly undesirable and unhealthy. The results of mistakes made by nitwits in these matters can be horrendous.” And so on. When the paper came under public scrutiny, last January, Geir

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Blacked Out Street Lights For Better View Of Northern Lights

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An employee of a travel service recently extinguished all street lighting by Kleppjárnsreykir, in the inlands of Borgarfjörður, by aiming a flashlight at their light-sensor controller. Apparently he did this to give a group of tourists a clearer view of the northern lights at play. According to Skessuhorn, a local news medium, this created great danger for the people who stood on the road to observe the sky, insufficiently visible to drivers, in the dark. Police authorities in Borgarfjörður received a complaint about the incident. The rhapsodic tourist guide told police that he had taken care that the travellers did

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