From Iceland — News In Brief: May Edition

News In Brief: May Edition

Published May 22, 2012

News In Brief: May Edition

Just when we thought we had heard the last of the Worm of Lagarfljót, a former FBI agent showed up searching for the mythical creature. We’re not sure if he was successful, but we would probably have heard about it if he had been.
Then there were some rumours that Iceland would play Planet Vulcan in the next Star Trek movie. This wouldn’t be the first time that Iceland stars in a Hollywood film, and it certainly won’t be the last. At least two Hollywood films, Darren Aronofsky ‘Noah’ and Ben Stiller’s ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,’ will be filmed here this summer and fall.
Back on Earth, Iceland continues to negotiate its accession into the European Union. If we join, the government has requested that we be exempt from setting our clocks forward for European Summer Time on the grounds that it would cause “unnecessary confusion and unpleasantness.”
The European Union may be ready to give us that, but unless an agreement can be reached in the current mackerel dispute, it will likely move forward with an import trade ban on all Icelandic and Faroese fish products.
Icelanders are among the least likely of western Europeans to use condoms, according to a survey conducted by the University of Akureyri. Well, it could be worse; Iceland is also the second-best country in the world to be a mother, according to data compiled by Barnaheill (“Save the Children”).
The capital area bus service company Strætó hf. announced that they will be lengthening bus service hours, and increasing the frequency of passing buses. So you can expect more busses starting June 3.
With double the mass transportation, Reykjavík Mayor Jón Gnarr believes that it would be realistic for the capital area to ditch its cars completely: “This will naturally be a tremendous change for people living in the capital area. It will reduce air pollution and lead to a decrease in car traffic, and maybe give people the realistic option of not driving their cars, but using only mass transportation.”
In more serious news, two asylum seekers from Algeria, aged 15 and 16, were sentenced to 30 days in prison after arriving to Keflavík with false passports. Many were up in arms over this. The Icelandic Government Agency for Child Protection pointed out that Icelandic children would never have been sentenced for the same crime. Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson said that this situation underlined the importance of reworking existing laws on asylum seekers. Read more about this on page 18.
Speaking of legislation, a bill providing clearer protections for transgender people in Iceland has been submitted to parliament and aims to become law this June. Read more about this as well as an interview with the first Icelander to undergo sexual reassignment surgery on page 10.
On the election front it looks like incumbent President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is neck and neck with opponent Þóra Arnórsdóttir. While Þóra is taking a break from her campaign to give birth, however, Ólafur has gone on the offensive, claiming that she would be “dangerous” for the country.
Speaking at the European Cities Against Drugs (ECAD) conference in Ireland, Ólafur also shared his thoughts on combating drug use amongst kids. He prescribes: one hour of family time per day, participation in sports, and abstaining from alcohol until age 18.
Meanwhile, Selfoss clearly doesn’t read news about Kópavogur (or our news in brief), which was plagued by seagulls last month when dried meat pellets were used to fertilize a field. Yes, Selfoss made the same mistake and the birds descended on Selfoss

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