A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: The Holuhraun eruption is at it again

Outgoing Minister Of Employment Takes Stock Of Recent Elections

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Published May 15, 2013

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.  



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What To Name The New Lava Field

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As the Holuhraun eruption has spead lava over a wide swath of the country, Icelanders now ask themselves: what should we name the new lava field? As reported, magma pouring from the kilometres-long fissure in Holuhraun has now spread over an area comprising some 4 km2. When all is said and done, a new lava field will be born, which raises the important question of what to call it. Numerous suggestions have been brought up in the Icelandic media lately. MBL reports a number of suggested new names for the lava field. On the more obvious end of the scale,

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Little Change In Party Support, High Voter Dissatisfaction

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Two separate polls show little change in party support, although large numbers of voters are either undecided or dissatisfied with any of their options. Two polls have recently measured levels of support for the different political parties in parliament; one from Gallup (G) and one from Fréttablaðið (F). Their results are comparable, and while they show little change in support for different parties since the last poll, they also show a significant level of voter dissatisfaction. The Independence Party is the party with the greatest level of support in the country, at 28% (G) and about 31% (F). Both polls

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Most Icelanders Not Happy With Summer Of 2014

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In terms of the weather alone, most Icelanders have been unhappy with this past summer, with one notable exception. According to a new poll from Market and Media Research, only 45.4% of Icelanders nationwide have been satisfied with the weather this past summer. This is up slightly from 44.9% for the summer of 2013, but way down from 96.3% for the summer of 2012. The trend can be attributed to what have been relatively cool, cloudy and rainy summer both this year and last, while the summer of 2012 was decidedly warmer and sunnier. Regionally, not all Icelanders were of

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Two Women Attacked In Downtown Reykjavík, Appeal For Witnesses

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Two women were first harassed and then assaulted in downtown Reykjavík in the early hours of Saturday 30th August. A man started accosting them in Hverfisgata, outside Bar 11, at about 4.45am, in both Icelandic and English. When his drunken advances failed, he started following and aggressively coming on to the two, resulting in him being slapped. He then attacked both women, hospitalizing one with facial cuts and two black eyes. One of the women was artist Rosalie Smith, who was on her last night in Iceland and has now returned to the United States. She has sent out a

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Holuhraun: 4 Square Kilometres Of Lava

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Lava exuding from the Holuhraun eruption stretches 3.5 kilometres from the centre of the fissure and measures approximately 1.6 kilometres at its widest point, reports Vísir. According to the Icelandic Met Office the Holuhraun fissure is 1.5 km long with continuous eruption taking place in a 600-800 m long central section. The area of the lava is roughly 4 square kilometres. Currently, none of the tributaries of the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum touches the lava edge. A white blueish cloud has been rising from the eruption but its white colour does not suggest that it is an ash cloud. The

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Road To Dettifoss Waterfall Reopens

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The District Commissioner of Húsavík has decided to reopen the road to Dettifoss waterfall on the west side of Jökulsá á Fjöllum as of 08:00 am today, reports the Civil Protection Department. Other roads and hiking trails on the west side of Jökulsá are still closed. The decision has been made, not because the flood risk has gone down – it hasn’t – but because of increased surveillance in the area. As the volcanic eruption in Holuhraun is being intensely monitored and park rangers and additional law enforcement are present in the area it was deemed safe enough to reopen

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