Two massive aluminium companies, Alcoa and Norðurál (owned by Century Aluminum), pay little or no income tax in Iceland, RÚV reports. Instead, the multinational corporations funnel funds abroad, thanks in part to Icelandic laws that facilitate the lowering or elimination of local taxation. The avoidance of these two aluminium giants is made possible by complicated chains of ownership. All financial dealings of Alcoa are routed through affiliates in Luxembourg, while the finances of Norðurál are processed via its parent company in Delaware, in the U.S. The operations in Iceland are apparently run on a loan from the parent companies abroad, so the Iceland-based companies are permitted to deduct the loan repayments they make to their own parent companies annually before determining they local annual income. This brings the taxable income of Alcoa and Norðurál to next to nothing. A feature on the two smelters on Kastljós earlier this week revealed that Alcoa, which has been operating in Iceland for 16 years, has not paid taxes at what would be the appropriate rate since 2003 and have a tax credit to look forward to next year. The IMF has advised Iceland that the tax laws currently being exploited by Alcoa and Norðurál need to change. With the activities of Alcoa and Norðurál (as well as the power systems that support the energy-demanding smelting they undertake) impacting Icelandic nature to such a large degree, one might ask what is the benefit of having these companies operating in Iceland if there isn’t even a financial payoff.
Hallgrímskirkja has been voted one of the world’s weirdest buildings, reports Vísir. According to the Top 50 Weirdest Buildings list, Hallgrímskirkja is the third strangest looking building on the planet. The Stone House in Guimarães and the Casa Da Musica – both located in Portugal, came in first and second place respectively. Hallgrímskirkja is the largest church in Iceland and is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson. According to the State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson who designed the church, it’s appearance is meant to resemble basalt lava flows in Iceland’s landscape. The construction of the church began in 1945 and was completed 41 years later
According to new figures from Frjáls Verslun women make up only 10% of the highest-earning CEO’s in Iceland. Out of 200 top-earning CEO’s women account for only 20 and out of 19 categories (split by industry) only one woman came in first place. Vísir reports that Unnur Þorsteinsdóttir, VP of Genetic Research with deCode Genetics is the highest-earning female director making over 13 million ISK each month. Guðbjörg Edda Eggertsdóttir, former president of Actavis Pharmaceuticals, came in second with over 10 million ISK a month and Birna Einarsdóttir, CEO of Íslandsbanki, came in third with just over 3.5 million ISK a month. The results cast a new
About 11,000 Icelanders participated in yesterday’s annual SlutWalk, and helped inspire a parliamentary proposal which could help victims of sexual assault. Vísir reports that about 11,000 Icelanders marched from Hallgrímskirkja at 14:00 yesterday to Austurvöllur, in front of parliament. There, attendees listened to speeches on the subject of placing the blame for rape on rapists rather than victims. The stage was also graced with musical acts, such as the rap group Reykjavíkurdætur, who composed a song for the occasion (see below). While the attendance alone is significant, SlutWalk has also inspired lawmakers to take notice. Vísir reports that Bright Future
About 6,600 Icelanders signed a petition calling for their government to end diplomatic ties with Israel in response to the attacks on Gaza. Vísir reports that journalist Illugi Jökulsson, who initiated the campaign, met with Foreign Affairs Committee chair Birgir Ármannsson on Friday to give him the signatures. While the petition drive began only the previous Monday, by the end of the work week some 6,600 signatures had been gathered. The petitions calls upon the Icelandic government to break political and diplomatic ties with the Israeli government as a response to the attacks on Gaza, adding that diplomatic methods have
An Icelandic man’s pregnant American wife has still not received a verdict on her Icelandic residence permit application even though she applied for one in the fall of last year, reports DV. Jessica Jacobs has lived in Iceland since 2012. Initially she moved to study Icelandic in Ísafjörður, but quickly relocated to Reykjavík where she met her future husband, Matthías Enok Hannesson. After getting married, Matthías and Jessica filed an application for residency which has since developed into a long-winded bureaucratic nightmare. According to the Reykjavík District Commissioner’s Office the couple need to deliver a certificate confirming her marital status in the U.S. This document must
A young man was arrested last night after he attacked a tourist outside the Cabin Hotel on Borgartún in Reykjavík, reports DV. The man, who was found in possession of drugs, violently resisted his arrest and spent the night in jail. The tourist in question was sent to hospital and intends to file charges against the young man. It was a busy night for police who also stopped two drivers in Austurbær. One was under the influence of alcohol and the other under the influence of drugs. Meanwhile in Vesturbær two other drivers were stopped, both under the influence of