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Iceland’s Economic Growth Not As Great As It Seems

Iceland’s Economic Growth Not As Great As It Seems

Published February 22, 2013

The capital controls that have helped to stabilize the króna in the wake of the 2008 collapse and assist Iceland’s economy in achieving some growth are both a blessing and a curse.
Reuters reports that the same controls that have helped Iceland to sustain a 2% growth – greater than that being experienced throughout continental Europe – are weighing down the country’s big ticket companies, like gaming powerhouse and Eve Online creators CCP, which operate on a global scale and need to freely conduct business with investors operating in foreign currencies.
“The economic remedy has now become part of the problem,” said CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson. “We are not building the company as fast as we could from a global perspective.”
The capital controls make it very difficult for the company to purchase the foreign currency it needs and to conduct business with equity investors abroad.
While 2% growth is admirable compared to Iceland’s European peers, it is still well below the 4.5% the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had predicted for the country in 2011 through 2013, due, in part, to inflation being stubbornly high and for ongoing intervention from the Central Bank to keep the currency afloat.
Reuters notes that the parliamentary elections scheduled for April are only adding to the uncertainty in the country, as voters are growing weary of austerity. “Polls show centre-right parties [Independence Party and Progressive Party] widely seen as responsible for the crisis may replace a leftist government.”



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Minister’s Phone Data Left Unexamined, Out Of Respect

Minister’s Phone Data Left Unexamined, Out Of Respect

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Vice State Prosecutor Helgi Magnús Gunnarsson says that data about the former Minister of the Interior’s phone communication was not examined during the police investigation of the Ministry’s leak of confidential documents in November 2013. This was in response to inquiries made by DV. The official says that the Capital Area Police department took this decision, out of respect for Hanna Birna’s position as Minister, at the time. He claims not to be not aware of the Police having discussed this with the Minister, during the investigation. The Police examined data concerning the phone usage of seven Ministry employees, including

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Police Officer Wants Limits On Immigrants’ Right To Privacy

Police Officer Wants Limits On Immigrants’ Right To Privacy

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Police officer Birgir Örn Guðjónsson, colloquially known as Biggi the cop, wrote an article, published in Fréttablaðið/Vísir on Thursday, under a title which may be loosely translated as “The Forbidden Article”. Birgir shares an anecdote about a man “of foreign origin” who, reportedly, would not allow his wife out to party, and claims that this shows the need “to wonder whether the cultures of those who come here are always their private matter.” The article is vague as to which information should, according to the officer, be made public. Its appearance shortly after the leak of confidential documents about one

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Police Need Machine Guns To Fight Islamic State

Police Need Machine Guns To Fight Islamic State

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The general police forces need 70 pieces of MP5 submachine guns as soon as possible, 150 soon, and at least 260 such weapons in the long term, to have the upper hand against terrorism, says Jón Bjartmarz, Chief Superintendent at the High Commissioner of the Icelandic Police. Interviewed by RÚV, Jón explained the immediate goal as having “two machine guns at each station house, and there are 35 of those.” One of the threats that Jón cites as a reason for acquiring the artillery is the Islamic State (IS). Jón says that IS is not simply a threat from outside,

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A new linguistic area has developed at the University of Iceland, where Icelandic and English are used equally, says a professor, as reported by RÚV. The professor adds that this causes problems for a large number of teachers and students, which remain largely unspoken. Even if the majority of courses at the University of Iceland is still taught in Icelandic, in most departments, most of the reading material is provided in English. Meanhile, teachers also face growing demands to publish their research in English. Professors Hafdís Ingvarsdóttir and Birna Arnbjörnsdóttir investigated the use of English at the university, interviewing both

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Palestinian Ambassador To Visit Iceland

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On the 3rd anniversary of Iceland recognising the state of Palestine, the Palestinian ambassador to Iceland (who resides in Oslo, Norway) will be speaking at a special event arranged by the Iceland-Palestine Association. The event which coincides with the UN’s annual day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, will start at 14:00 and is open to all. The ambassador, Mufeed Shami, Iceland’s ambassador to Palestine, María Erla Marelsdóttir, will be speaking at the event and singer Ragnheiður Ólafsdóttir will be performing. As reported, immediately following the meeting at Iðnó, a launch party for Fyrir Gaza will start. Fyrir Gaza is a charity

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Bárðarbunga Probably Won’t Erupt After All

Bárðarbunga Probably Won’t Erupt After All

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The Bárðarbunga caldera has sunk by only 50 metres since the Holuhraun eruption began three months ago, indicating that it will not erupt, reports RÚV. Holuhraun on the other hand, continues to erupt and shows no signs of stopping. Scientists with the Institute of Earth Sciences flew over Bárðarbunga and Holuhraun yesterday to collect new data and investigate the likelihood of an eruption at Bárðarbunga caldera. Currently the Holuhraun eruption is fed by lava from underneath Bárðarbunga volcano. “Yes we believe that it’s likely [there will be no eruption in the Bárðarbunga caldera] and that the results we collected on our

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