News
Environmentalists Not Elf Lobby

Environmentalists Not Elf Lobby

Published December 23, 2013

“Elf advocates” have joined the fight to protect the Gálgahraun lava field on the Álftanes peninsula, The Associated Press reports, but RÚV and several other Icelandic news outlets contend that the article contains “numerous misrepresentations.”
The AP article is ostensibly about the construction of the road Álftanesvegur, which, as reported, was opposed from the start by environmental activists who point out that the area was designated as a protected natural area in 2009. Cobbling together quotes from notable figures, such as author and environmentalist Andri Snær Magnason and University of Iceland folklorist Terry Gunnell, the AP article presents a picture of environmentalists who “see the elf issue as part of a wider concern for the history and culture of the very unique landscape,” and of a country in which “elves are no joke,” even while our Scandinavian neighbors “haven’t taken them seriously since the 19th century.”
RÚV lists several main misrepresentations in the AP article, starting with the idea that members of the environmentalist group are all elf believers. But RÚV isn’t the only news outlet which is taking issue with the AP text.
Alda Sigmundsdóttir—writer, translator, and blogger at the Iceland Weather Report—commented on the article, stating that “an earnest effort to conserve some pristine lava is turned into something trite and superficial.”
At Iceland Review, publisher Benedikt Jóhannesson (“Who still believes in the Yule Lads, but no longer puts his shoe in the window”) had this to say:

“The story is false. It is probably written by someone who learned about it in a bar. Or else a freelance journalist, trying to make a quick buck before Christmas, wrote about something that everyone loves reading about, the mixture of myth and reality by an odd nation on the fringe of civilization.
In reality the “elf lobby” is a group of environmentalists. It has not “regularly mobilized hundreds of people to block bulldozers building a direct route from the tip of the Álftanes peninsula, where the president has a property, to the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer.“
There have been many people protesting in the lava, but not hundreds. One of them is the self-confessed elf believer mentioned in the story, the others are environmentalists. The road is not from the tip of the peninsula, but rather a new connection from the main road to the existing road in the peninsula. The president does not have a property in Álftanes any more than Obama has the White House. Bessastadir, the official residence of the President of Iceland, is on Álftanes.
The road has not been blocked. Work continues on it and the lava has already been crossed by bulldozers.
My opinion of the Guardian (and the Associated Press) plummeted this afternoon.”

Since its publication yesterday afternoon, the AP story has already been republished by myriad international news outlets, including The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Salt Lake Tribune, Australia’s news.com.au, and The Independent.



News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Flower Pots Calm Traffic

by

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

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Woman Appointed Police Commissioner Of Reykjavík

by

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

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Prime Minister Sends Letter To Netanyahu

by

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

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Chinese Investors May Buy Part Of Icelandic Bank

by

A group of Chinese investors are currently in negotiations over buying a portion of Islandsbanki, though this is not the first time such negotiations have been reported. Reuters reports that the investors group is comprised of “Chinese bank ICBC, insurer China Life Insurance Company and a large Chinese private equity fund”, an unnamed source from the Ministry of Finance said. Talks are currently ongoing with the bankruptcy estate of Islandsbanki, previously known as Glitnir, on the subject of possibly buying a stake. “It’s pleasing that there is an interest in the bank,” chairperson of the bankruptcy estate Steinunn Guðbjartsdóttir said.

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Jeep Rolled To Avoid Hitting Sheep

by

Two tourists risked their lives in order to swerve around a sheep that had jumped into the road. Vísir reports that the incident took place in Vatnsnes, northwest Iceland, at about four o’ clock this morning. While traveling on a country road, the two tourists were suddenly faced with a sheep that had bounded into their path. The quick-thinking driver swerved to avoid the sheep, causing one of the front wheels to slam into a roadside ditch. This sent the jeep rolling across the road, eventually coming to a stop on its driver side. The first person on the scene

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Panda The Cat Shot With Air Rifle

by

Cat owner Vífill Garðarson may need to put his cat Panda down after someone shot him with an air rifle, reports Vísir. Earlier this week Vífill’s neighbour came across Panda lying motionless in his garage and called Vífill to come pick up the cat, but Panda did not run to his owner as he is prone to do. “He just lay there, completely still so I had to pick him up and carry him home,” said Vífill. “When I put him down on the ground again he couldn’t stand up so I rushed him to the veterinary hospital.” Initially the

Show Me More!