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.
The Directorate of Health says it has had to deal with a virtual explosion of diarrhoea cases caused by campylobacter, a bacteria spread mostly by the poor handling of meat. In a statement posted on the Directorate’s website, about 100 cases of campylobacter-caused diarrhoea have been reported over the past year. The afflicted come from many different backgrounds, making it difficult to find the cause of the outbreak. The most common form of campylobacter, Campylobacter jejuni, is often connected to poultry, as the bacteria lives in the digestive tracts of many different bird species, and poorly handled raw chicken is
An Icelander hoping to sell group trips to North Korea has pulled the plug on the operation, citing negative press of the regime as being the major cause. Vísir reports that Egill Örn Arnarson Hansen, the original organiser of the trips through his travel office Trans Atlantic, claims 20 people had signed up for the trip to North Korea since he first announced the trips last December. This was just under the amount that would be needed for a group trip, despite the 600,000 ISK per person price tag. “We had a complete group, but when news stories about concentration
The Environment Agency of Iceland will be paying Iceland’s most sparsely-populated regions for the hunting of foxes, which the agency says have been experiencing a population boom. In a statement posted on the agency’s website, the agency says the number of foxes in Iceland has increased by tenfold over the past 30 years. Foxes in Iceland, as elsewhere in the world, can often be the bane of farmers. The agency hopes to reduce the damage to livestock caused by foxes, albeit within guidelines of what constitutes humane and sustainable hunting. The 3-year plan offers hunting subsidies to rural communities, with
To decrease the speed of drivers on Bergstaðarstræti, actress Vigdís Hrefna Pálsdóttir has been placing flower pots in the middle of the road as traffic calming devices, reports Vísir. “Usually it’s small things – more often than not, flower pots, bags or buckets with flowers in them – that I place in the middle of the street, with more than enough room on either side so that people can drive without hitting them,” said Vigdís. “It’s getting a lot of attention, most people like it and are happy but then the odd black sheep loses it over the flowers.” These odd
Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir has been appointed Police Commissioner of Reykjavík, reports Vísir, she is the first woman to hold this post. In accordance with a new police law, Police Commissioners in Iceland will be cut down from 15 to 9. Additionally two other women have been appointed Police Commissioners, meaning that out of 7 newly appointed Police Commissioners, 3 are women and 4 are men. The move comes in the wake of criticism that the National Police Force has been failing to make good on promises to increase gender equality within the force after three men were appointed to senior positions despite
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