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.
Sláturfélag Suðurlands (SS) reports that there is a shortage of Icelandic beef, prompting the company to blend Danish beef into their hot dogs. Sold under the slogan “Icelanders Eat SS Hot Dogs”, SS hot dogs are arguably one of Iceland’s iconic foods. However, Viðskiptablaðið reports that they are no longer 100% Icelandic. “Unfortunately, due to the present shortage of Icelandic beef, we have been forced to use a little Danish beef that meets our quality standards,” SS product manager Guðmundur Svavarsson told reporters. While not specifying on the exact quantity of Danish beef in the hot dogs, Guðmundur provided assurances
Fraudsters pretending to be employees of Microsoft are contacting Icelanders by both letter and telephone. MBL reports that one of the most common tactics these fraudsters will use will be to call people on their home phones, purporting to be employees of Microsoft. These fraudsters tell the potential victim that Microsoft has detected a virus on their computer, and that in order to be rid of it, they must go to a specific website to download and install “virus removal software”. In reality, these are not people calling from Microsoft, who cannot see into your computer to look for viruses
July in Iceland has so far had one of the fewest sunny days in over a generation. MBL reports that July has only had three completely cloudy days so far – July 1, 10 and 18. However, a lack of completely cloudy days does not necessarily mean an abundance of sunny days. 50.6 hours of sunlight have been recorded for the month of July so far. This is 58.5 fewer hours than the sunlight average for July calculated from 1961 to 1990, and 85.3 fewer hours than the average over the past ten years. In fact, there has not been
Conductor and Music Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov, will lead an ensemble of musicians at an anti-war protest today at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, reports Slipped Disc. The protest will call for peace talks and an end to the occupation. A number of other cultural personalities have pledged their support and will be participating. “We will do some improvised vocal and instrumental response to the situation. It is a small part of an evening with many other performances.” said Ilan. The group will gather in the square at 8pm. Their slogan reads: ‘We stand together against the silence of
A celebration is planned in Dalasýsla this weekend to mark 800 years since the birth of saga writer Sturla Þórðarson, reports Vísir. The guest of honour will be former president Vigdís Finnbogadóttir and guest speakers include; Speaker of the House Einar K. Guðfinnsson, Norwegian politician Olemic Thommessen, writer Einar Kárason and director of the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, Guðrún Nordal. Sturla Þórðarson, Snorri Sturluson’s nephew and pupil, was a chieftain as well as a saga and contemporary history writer active in the 13th century. His most famous work is Íslendinga saga, the longest saga within Sturlunga saga. In the wake of the dissolution of
Iceland’s Foreign Affairs Committee will meet to discuss the situation in Gaza, although the Foreign Minister has called it “pointless” to cut ties with Israel. RÚV reports that Birgir Ármannsson, the chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee, will call together the committee to discuss the situation in Gaza. “The events that we have been closely following are of course tragic, and they cause us a lot of worry,” he told reporters. “The news that is being reported, daily now, underlines the seriousness of the issue.” The committee’s meeting is in response to a request from Left-Green MP Svandís Svavarsdóttir to