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State Funding Of Harpa Under Investigation

Published March 20, 2013

The European Free Trade Association’s Surveillance Authority (ESA) has launched an investigation into state financing of the Harpa Concert Hall and Convention Centre. According to an announcement on the ESA’s website the Authority began looking into the State’s funding of Harpa since 2011 after receiving a complaint from an unnamed “interested party.”
The question about the suitability of the Icelandic government funding Harpa revolves around the clear financial separation at the concert hall between running cultural happenings and commercial events, like conferences.
“Aid to promote culture is welcome under the EEA Agreement. Iceland must, however, make sure that such aid is not in fact subsidizing commercial activities, such as the hosting of conferences,” said Oda Helen Sletnes, president of the EFTA Surveillance Authority, in the ESA’s statement on the investigation.
The initial research the ESA has conducted since the original complaint was lodged in 2011 raised enough questions about the possible funding of commercial activities at Harpa with State money to warrant launching the official investigation.
Harpa is jointly owned by the Icelandic State and the City of Reykjavík.



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Cat Shelter Packed With Kittens

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Kattholt cat shelter is tightly packed with lots of kittens in need of a home, reports mbl.is. As this is the most romantic time of year for cats, it is the busiest time of year for Kattholt cat shelter, known in English as the Friends of Cats Society of Iceland. “About 500 cats have been brought to Kattholt this year,” said Kattholt employee Halldóra Snorradóttir. “These are lost and homeless cats and the number of cats coming in never goes down… When cats come to us, we first try to track down their owner and if that doesn’t work we try

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Bárðarbunga Volcano Watch: The Morning Edition

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Bárðarbunga volcano continues to rumble but as yet there is no eruption to report, so here is a round up last night’s news. 01:35 – An earthquake measuring 3 or higher on the Richter scale struck the area around Bárðarbunga volcano around 11:30 pm last night, reports RÚV. Since midnight roughly 50 earthquakes have been reported and in total 1000 earthquakes were measured Wednesday. Scientists flying over Bárðarbunga yesterday confirmed that so far there are no changes to the glacial surface of the volcano. 20:56 - Kristján Jónsson, a geologist with the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, has said that although he cannot confirm

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Directorate Of Health Wants Junk Food Tax

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The Directorate of Health wants to see taxes increased on candy and soda, and decreased on fruits, vegetables and fish. MBL reports that the Directorate has grave concerns about the eating habits of Icelanders, and are particularly worried about a government proposal to lower the so-called “sugar tax”. The Directorate believes that reducing consumption of certain foods and increasing consumption of others requires government intervention in the form of how these foods are taxed. According to a report from a work group under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Welfare, about 21% of adult Icelanders have a BMI of 30

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Airline Row Going To EFTA

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A legal dispute between WOW Air and Icelandair will be appealed to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). A decision from the Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision made by Reykjavík District Court, which ruled that the dispute would not go to EFTA. The original request to take the dispute to the international authority was made by Icelandair and Isavia, the company which operates Keflavík International Airport. WOW Air originally filed the legal complaint, against both Icelandair and Isavia, as well as The Competition Authority (ICA). The dispute centres around the parsing out of flight times between the two airlines,

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VIDEO: Killer Whales Playing By Bolungarvík

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An alert journalist in the right place at the right time recorded killer whales frolicking off the coast of Bolungarvík, in the Westfjords of Iceland. Víkari, Bolungarvík’s news outlet, reports that Guðbjörg Stefanía Hafþórsdóttir spotted three killer whales off the coast of Ósvör, just east of Bolungarvík. As their play intensified, they eventually swam right by the Bolungarvík harbor. Guðbjörg managed to record two of the whales swimming about ten  metres from shore, gleefully playing with an eiderduck, throwing it around (nobody said killer whales were particularly nice), which you view  below. Killer whales only number in the hundreds around

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Bárðarbunga Volcano Watch: The Afternoon Edition

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Volcano watch is still in full swing, but no eruption yet. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of the day’s Bárðarbunga news so far: 13:23 – The closure of the area north of Vatnajökull glacier has already lead to significant financial losses for the local tourism industry, reports RÚV. In light of recent evacuations, mountain huts and guest accommodations at Kverkfjöll and Askja have had to close now for the winter, nearly a month earlier than planned, despite nearly full bookings for the remainder of the season. 12:53 – Should this eruption occur, Friðþór Eydal, a spokesman for ISAVIA, which

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