According to a new report released by Statistics Iceland on household finances of Icelanders [PDF link] 10.1% of households were behind on mortgage or rent payments in 2012 and 10.4% of households were in arrears with other loans during the same period. Moreover, in 2012, 48.2% of houses identified as having difficulty making ends meet, with 36% of households unable to cover unexpected expenses that were to arise.
While these figures don’t bode well for the financial health of Icelanders, the statistics point to a slight improvement over the state of households in 2011. More than 50% of households had reported having a difficult or very difficult time making ends meet in 2011. Arrears on mortgage and rent payments have remained stable over the course of 2011 and 2012, but arrears on other loans have decreased year-over-year. Single parents are more likely than other household types to be experiencing financial difficulties. Comparing single-person households, single men are more likely to be in arrears than a household run by a single woman. The study was conducted by a survey of 3,091 households around Iceland over a three-month period of March through May 2012.
Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has sent a strongly-worded letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the subject of the “deeply disturbing” attacks Israel is launching against Gaza, urging for “a peaceful resolution”. RÚV reports that the office of Netanyahu has confirmed they have received Sigmundur’s letter, which can be read in its entirety below. In sending the letter, the Prime Minister echoes concerns brought up by other members of the Icelandic government, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson. Iceland’s Foreign Affairs Committee will soon meet to discuss the situation and what action to take. Icelandic
A group of Chinese investors are currently in negotiations over buying a portion of Islandsbanki, though this is not the first time such negotiations have been reported. Reuters reports that the investors group is comprised of “Chinese bank ICBC, insurer China Life Insurance Company and a large Chinese private equity fund”, an unnamed source from the Ministry of Finance said. Talks are currently ongoing with the bankruptcy estate of Islandsbanki, previously known as Glitnir, on the subject of possibly buying a stake. “It’s pleasing that there is an interest in the bank,” chairperson of the bankruptcy estate Steinunn Guðbjartsdóttir said.
Two tourists risked their lives in order to swerve around a sheep that had jumped into the road. Vísir reports that the incident took place in Vatnsnes, northwest Iceland, at about four o’ clock this morning. While traveling on a country road, the two tourists were suddenly faced with a sheep that had bounded into their path. The quick-thinking driver swerved to avoid the sheep, causing one of the front wheels to slam into a roadside ditch. This sent the jeep rolling across the road, eventually coming to a stop on its driver side. The first person on the scene
Cat owner Vífill Garðarson may need to put his cat Panda down after someone shot him with an air rifle, reports Vísir. Earlier this week Vífill’s neighbour came across Panda lying motionless in his garage and called Vífill to come pick up the cat, but Panda did not run to his owner as he is prone to do. “He just lay there, completely still so I had to pick him up and carry him home,” said Vífill. “When I put him down on the ground again he couldn’t stand up so I rushed him to the veterinary hospital.” Initially the
An estimated 3000 people attended an anti-war “die in” in central Reykjavík yesterday protesting Israeli air raids on Gaza, reports Vísir. At the protest over 600 people lay down on the ground to represent the recent civilian deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Speakers included Reykjavík Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson and Sveinn Rúnar Hauksson. At the end of the protest participants walked to Iceland’s Government Offices to hand off a memorial wreath with the names of over 600 Palestinian victims written on it. The wreath was given to Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. Yesterday Sigmundur confirmed that he had sent an official letter to
A group of Icelanders are aiming to have the country brought under the administration of the Norwegian government as “Norway’s 20th county”. The group in question, Fylkisflokkurin (“The County Party”), already has just over 1,200 members at the time of this writing. The group, formed by director of the National Center of Addiction Medicine (SÁÁ) and former Fréttablaðið editor Gunnar Smári Egilsson, purports in their mission statement that they aim for “the re-uninfication of Iceland and Norway”, wherein “the Norwegian government would constitutionally protect and promote Icelandic culture while Icelanders would enjoy all the same rights as Norwegians.” “Iceland is