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Environmental Minister To Change Protected Area

Published January 4, 2014

The Minister for the Environment intends to change the protected area around Þjórsá river, at the behest of the national power company Landsvirkjun.

RÚV reports that the previous environmental minister, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, wanted to increase the protected area around the river. This plan was to prevent the creation of Norðlingalda Reservoir for electrical power, which she argued would do environmental damage to the river.

However, the current Minister for the Environment, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson – after receiving objections from Landsvirkjun – says he intends to change the shape of the protected area to exclude the spot where the reservoir would be created. This would give the power company the green light to begin development.

The Iceland Nature Conservation Association objected to the decision, saying that development would not only effect Þjórsá, but the surrounding area as well. The waterfalls Kjálkaversfoss, Dynkur and Gljúfurleitarfoss, for example, which are downstream, would be “ruined”.

The minister’s decision is not finalised, tough – parliament as a whole finalises decisions on protected areas; not just the minister.



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Motion To Subtitle All Icelandic Content

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Several members of parliament have table a motion to introduce subtitles on all visual media content, reports Vísir. Currently it is only compulsory to subtitle foreign language content in Iceland but the MP’s believe that all content, including Icelandic news, films and television programmes should be subtitled as well. The motion has been put together by MP’s from 3 different parties and aims to enhance media services for the deaf and hard of hearing. Additionally, the motion argues the subtitles would help foreigners and new residents learn Icelandic. This is the second time this motion has been put to Iceland’s

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Malaysian Airlines Did Not Fly Over Holuhraun

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Malaysian Airlines have slammed a satirical article claiming that one of their flights was forced to make an emergency landing after flying over the Holuhraun eruption, reports RÚV. On Monday, satirical news site, World News Daily Report, published a fake article claiming that Malaysia Airlines flight MH131 was forced to make an emergency landing in Iceland after the plane’s navigation systems were damaged by heat and debris from the eruption. The article added that the pilots of the Boeing 777 aircraft were instructed to fly almost directly over the volcano despite warnings from the International Civil Aviation Organisation. Malaysia Airlines,

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Trade Unions Very Critical Of New Budget Bill

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The Confederation of Icelandic Labour Unions (ASÍ) has released a statement saying there is “no foundation for further discussion” with the government if their new budget bill passes. The statement, posted on ASÍ’s website, calls the new budget bill “an attack on working people”, saying that the Central Committee of the labour union was “deeply disappointed” with the proposals in the budget. “[The Central Committee] believes there is no basis for continued cooperation with the government if the budget bill becomes law,” the statement reads in part. ASÍ’s criticisms are numerous. They are particularly dissatisfied of the proposed raising of

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Volcanic Pollution: Also Bad For Animals

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While there has been considerable reporting on the effects of SO2 on humans, animals are even more at risk. RÚV reports that farmers in the Icelandic countryside are worried about what effects the gas will have on their sheep, many of whom have not yet been herded. While a great many animals in the east and the north – where the pollution has been greatest – have been rounded up, their still remain a great many behind, grazing in the mountains. Some farmers have reported that even the rounding-up itself is made more difficult by the pollution, as horses get

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Police Raid Illegal Tourist Accommodations

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Police are already starting to crack down on black market rentals of houses and apartments for tourists. MBL reports that the Reykjavík Area Police, in conjunction with the Directorate of Internal Revenue, have closed four establishments illegally renting out accommodation to tourists. These properties, identified as “homes and apartments”, had no permit to rent out the rooms for this purpose. Authorities combed over advertisements in newspapers, social media, and sites such as AirBnB through August and September, comparing the properties advertised and seeing whether or not they had the legal right to offer guest accommodation. In addition, tax records were

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WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN’ GOING ON

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After damn near revolutionizing Reykjavík drinking culture via the beloved Appy Hour app, The Reykjavík Grapevine team has created a new thingamajig that will hopefully prove just as useful for the denizens of Reykjavík and their guests. The new app is called Craving, and has the purpose of granting hungry people freedom from having to spend hours pondering where to go for lunch or dinner. Of course, taking time to carefully deliberate where one’s next meal should come from is a wholly enjoyable endeavour, but as those of us who frequently dine out in 101 Reykjavík (and are generally spoilt for choice)

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