Over one thousand environmentalists gathered with green flags outside the Prime Minister’s office yesterday to submit a petition against government plans to review the Framework Programme for Hydro and Geothermal Energy Resources, Vísir reports. The demonstration was organised by the Icelandic Environmental Union, which collected public recommendations regarding the Framework Programme that various organisations, municipalities, lobby groups and individuals had sent to Alþingi and the Ministry of Environment. The demonstration was held in reaction to the government’s recent announcement of their plans to review the Framework Programme with the aim of increasing the number of power stations currently in operation as well as the Prime Minister’s desire to carry through plans for an aluminium smelter in Helguvík. It was also a reply to the Prime Minister’s belittlement of earlier public responses to the Framework Programme. The Chairperson of the Environmental Union, Guðmundur Hörður Guðmundsson, handed over the recommendations and signatures to the Prime Minister’s assistant. Guðmundur told RÚV that some eight power stations would need to be put into operation in order to generate enough power for the smelter in Helguvík and that it would bring 90% of all energy produced in Iceland into the service of manufacturing aluminium, which he did not consider economically sound. Responding to the frequently cited argument that Helguvík would bring much needed jobs to people of the Reykjanes peninsula, Guðmundur further stated that big industry was not the most viable way to create jobs and that even the leader of the the Youth Organisation of the Independence Party had recently written an article pointing to alternative ways for economic growth and job creation. Read related Grapevine story here.
Vice State Prosecutor Helgi Magnús Gunnarsson says that data about the former Minister of the Interior’s phone communication was not examined during the police investigation of the Ministry’s leak of confidential documents in November 2013. This was in response to inquiries made by DV. The official says that the Capital Area Police department took this decision, out of respect for Hanna Birna’s position as Minister, at the time. He claims not to be not aware of the Police having discussed this with the Minister, during the investigation. The Police examined data concerning the phone usage of seven Ministry employees, including
Police officer Birgir Örn Guðjónsson, colloquially known as Biggi the cop, wrote an article, published in Fréttablaðið/Vísir on Thursday, under a title which may be loosely translated as “The Forbidden Article”. Birgir shares an anecdote about a man “of foreign origin” who, reportedly, would not allow his wife out to party, and claims that this shows the need “to wonder whether the cultures of those who come here are always their private matter.” The article is vague as to which information should, according to the officer, be made public. Its appearance shortly after the leak of confidential documents about one
The general police forces need 70 pieces of MP5 submachine guns as soon as possible, 150 soon, and at least 260 such weapons in the long term, to have the upper hand against terrorism, says Jón Bjartmarz, Chief Superintendent at the High Commissioner of the Icelandic Police. Interviewed by RÚV, Jón explained the immediate goal as having “two machine guns at each station house, and there are 35 of those.” One of the threats that Jón cites as a reason for acquiring the artillery is the Islamic State (IS). Jón says that IS is not simply a threat from outside,
A new linguistic area has developed at the University of Iceland, where Icelandic and English are used equally, says a professor, as reported by RÚV. The professor adds that this causes problems for a large number of teachers and students, which remain largely unspoken. Even if the majority of courses at the University of Iceland is still taught in Icelandic, in most departments, most of the reading material is provided in English. Meanhile, teachers also face growing demands to publish their research in English. Professors Hafdís Ingvarsdóttir and Birna Arnbjörnsdóttir investigated the use of English at the university, interviewing both
On the 3rd anniversary of Iceland recognising the state of Palestine, the Palestinian ambassador to Iceland (who resides in Oslo, Norway) will be speaking at a special event arranged by the Iceland-Palestine Association. The event which coincides with the UN’s annual day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, will start at 14:00 and is open to all. The ambassador, Mufeed Shami, Iceland’s ambassador to Palestine, María Erla Marelsdóttir, will be speaking at the event and singer Ragnheiður Ólafsdóttir will be performing. As reported, immediately following the meeting at Iðnó, a launch party for Fyrir Gaza will start. Fyrir Gaza is a charity
The Bárðarbunga caldera has sunk by only 50 metres since the Holuhraun eruption began three months ago, indicating that it will not erupt, reports RÚV. Holuhraun on the other hand, continues to erupt and shows no signs of stopping. Scientists with the Institute of Earth Sciences flew over Bárðarbunga and Holuhraun yesterday to collect new data and investigate the likelihood of an eruption at Bárðarbunga caldera. Currently the Holuhraun eruption is fed by lava from underneath Bárðarbunga volcano. “Yes we believe that it’s likely [there will be no eruption in the Bárðarbunga caldera] and that the results we collected on our