Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, outgoing Minister of Employment, has caused a local stir by publishing an article in the Financial Times wherein he attempts to account for the upset in the recent Parliamentary elections. The article, which appeared in the opinion section on the Financial Times website last night and is expected in print form tomorrow, is entitled “Iceland’s election is a signal to the rest of Europe.” In the article, Steingrímur attempts to account for why Icelandic voters chose to reinstate the right wing parties that led them into the 2008 crisis in spite of the relative success of the outgoing centre-left coalition in stabilizing the economy and lowering unemployment. Steingrímur centres the article around what he calls a “fundamental question,” namely whether “any politician can meet the unrealistic expectations of Europe’s voters.” He criticizes the materialistic consumerism and insatiable demand for economic growth which he claims right-wing parties exploit in order to lure voters with extravagant promises about increasing consumer power. Steingrímur argues that such promises of increasing consumer power through tax cuts and de-regulation are short-sighted, opportunistic and do not take sustainable growth into account. He ponders why the left-centre coalition suffered such an outstanding defeat after having managed to lead the country towards economic recovery whilst sparing low-income groups the austerity measures which have been increasingly implemented elsewhere in Europe. After considering the claims that the coalition’s defeat was due to a lack of boasting about their success or disunity within the coalition, he again suggests the role of unrealistic voter expectations: “the truth is that we were beaten by the enormity of the task and the importance of public expectations.” In this way, Steingrímur not only challenges European politicians to weigh short-term profits against long-term stability and sustainability but he also urges European voters to re-evaluate their own expectations.
Acclaimed British film director Mike Leigh has been announced as the Guest of Honour at this year’s Reykjavík International Film Festival (RIFF), reports RÚV. His newest film Mr. Turner, about the English painter J. M. W. Turner will be screened at the festival which begins on September 25 and runs until October 5. Leigh, who is not short of awards, will add yet another to his collection when he is bestowed a lifetime achievement award for contributions to cinema by Iceland’s President, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. “Mike Leigh has been one of Europe’s leading directors for 25 years and among the best
Yesterday’s volcanic eruption at Holuhraun lasted only 3-4 hours and the aviation code has been downgraded to orange. “It was a small eruption and a small sample of the magma that is moving underground reaching the surface,” geophysics professor Páll Einarsson told RÚV. According to Páll and geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson the eruption was more like an accident and a departure from what was expected. “The magma intrusion strayed unnecessarily close to the surface and some magma came out,” said Páll. Additionally, the Met Office has downgraded the aviation alert from red to orange and the no-fly zone has been reduced
ISAVIA has imposed a no-fly zone over the Holuhraun eruption site and a parts of northeastern Iceland. In a brief posted to their website, ISAVIA, who control and run Iceland’s airports, have stated that it is unclear how much ash is likely to be produced. Contingency plans in the event of disruptive ash production are in place. Reykjavík’s Air Traffic Control Centre, in cooperation with the Icelandic Met Office has mapped out a no-fly zone over and around the Holuhraun volcanic eruption. UPDATE: The previous no-fly zone (pictured above), used to include Akureyri Airport but the reevaluated no-fly zone is smaller. Akureyri airport is
The Icelandic Met Office has confirmed an eruption has started in Holuhraun, north of Dyngjujökull. This is further backed up by the Míla live-feed where the eruption is visible in the distance. According to Iceland’s Civil Protection Authority the lava is making its way to the surface through a 100 metre long fissure with low lava fountains with thin flowing lava. The eruption site is located in an area devoid of ice meaning that the flood risk for North Iceland is so far minimal.
The Icelandic Coast Guard rescued a whale that had been caught in netting, with the whole event record on video. A statement from the Icelandic Coast Guard announces that they received a call yesterday morning of a whale near Skagafjörður that had reportedly gotten caught in some fishing netting. The whale had attempted to free itself, but a rope from the net was entangled around its tail, and it was swimming not far from shore. A local sailor had attempted to free the netting from the whale himself, but the hook he was using was smacked from his hand by
The Head Cheiftain of the Ásatrú Society says neo-Nazis have attempted to co-opt the pagan faith – a practice the society utterly disavows. “We strongly oppose any attempt by individuals to use their association with the Ásatrúarfélagið of Iceland to promote attitudes, ideologies and practices rejected by the leadership of the Ásatrúarfélagið. We particularly reject the use of Ásatrú as a justification for supremacy ideology, militarism and animal sacrifice,” a statement the religious order posted on their website in English reads in part. “It should also be known that visitors have no authority to speak on our behalf. There is