Unless you’ve been literally living in a cave for the past two weeks, chances are that you’ve heard of the possible eruption at Bárðarbunga peak. In the end (at the time of writing), this insufferable geological formation didn’t have the decency to erupt even a little bit, let alone disrupt air travel across the European continent. Instead, it rumbled, made some tremors, fooled scientists into thinking a small eruption was underway when there totally wasn’t, annoyed farmers affected by the evacuation of the area, spawned endless alarmist articles in the international press, and failed to destroy the Kárahnjúkar Dam. Worst. Volcano. Ever.
The case of the Interior Ministry scandal has taken a turn for the worse or better, depending on how you look at it. A letter from the Parliamentary Ombudsman partially transcribed an interview he conducted with former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson, where it came to light that Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir repeatedly questioned nearly every step of the investigations, and threatened to conduct an investigation of both the police and the State Prosecutor when all was said and done, while her assistants tried to get Stefán to issue a press statement denying the details of news coverage of the case. In keeping with her usual MO of defensiveness and denial, Hanna Birna has dismissed or downplayed every part of this letter, remarking that the matter has been personally difficult for her. It well might be, but it’s still probably not as difficult as it has been for Tony Omos, the asylum seeker whose life was ruined by all of this in the first place.
The one and only Justin Timberlake graced our fair shores recently, performing to a standing-room-only crowd in Kópavogur. Despite the high calibre of his performance, and his repeated proclamations of undying love for Iceland through various social media channels, he made the apparently unforgivable mistake of greeting an audience in Kópavogur with “Hello, Reykjavík!” Icelandic media sources were quick to underline this fact, possibly wilfully ignoring Kópavogur being right next door to Reykjavík. Justin, if you’re reading this, the Grapevine is on your side. Kópavogur isn’t a real town; it is a satellite of the capital. Everyone knows this.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen paid a visit to Iceland, too. Only instead of singing to a crowd of thousands, he held a press conference with Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson wherein he emphasised that “I count on Iceland’s support as we make the Alliance even fitter, faster and more flexible.” Which means, for those of us living here, that we can expect more low-flying fighter jets terrifying the locals and the wildlife in the more far-flung regions of the country. Hooray militarism!
Speaking of some of the more far-flung regions of the country, the Westfjords has been getting the short end of the stick lately. First, it finally came to the attention of people living in the capital area that a single weather station on a frighteningly cold promontory has been used to report the temperature and wind speed of the entirety of northwest Iceland. Second, all phone and internet service for Ísafjörður and the southern Westfjords just dropped out for about seven hours. It might be ironic for a magazine called the REYKJAVÍK Grapevine to point this out, but there is more to Iceland than the capital—although sometimes it’s hard to gauge how many people are aware of this.
Of course no News In Brief would be complete without a good ol’ fashioned animal news story, and these past two weeks have seen a few. Two sheep tried to escape from the Árbær farm museum, eluding capture for an undisclosed amount of time before a local managed to capture them and return them to custody, which should make you think twice before you use “sheep” to mean an obedient follower. In more spectacular news, the Lagarfljót Worm is real, the “Truth Committee” which began investigating the lake monster has concluded. This conclusion was based on a video of what was two years ago confirmed to be some netting twisting in an icy river. Because who needs evidence when you have outright conviction?