From Iceland — News In Brief: Costco, Counter-Terrorism & Unsustainable Tourism

News In Brief: Costco, Counter-Terrorism & Unsustainable Tourism

Published July 11, 2017

News In Brief: Costco, Counter-Terrorism & Unsustainable Tourism

It seems like we can never get enough of Costco updates, mostly because what this company is doing seems unfathomable and no more real than a ‘Game of Thrones’ episode. This week, Costco has in fact lowered their gasoline prices by offering a litre of diesel at 158.9 ISK—6 ISK less than a month ago. It may not seem like a big deal, but for people who seem willing to drive 45 minutes out of their way to get cheaper gas, Costco is slowly becoming the equivalent of a Santa Claus with a full time job.

Perhaps the arrival of Costco to our steamy shores has something to do with the odd levels of happiness that have been recently recorded by market researcher MMR. According to MMR, a majority of Icelanders believe that life is fair, unless you’re a member of the Pirate Party. In that case you seem to be exempt from experiencing such levels of euphoria. You know what helps with feeling happy? Money, as well as the certainty that the government is not fucking you over.  Surely then, the fact that 88% of the ruling Independence Party thinks that life is great shouldn’t really come as a shock.

To make sure everybody continues to feel happy and safe in their home, Iceland (a country without an army or a big enough ego to procure one) is considering arming special forces police during major events like Independence Day as counter-terrorism measures. Armed police were already seen at the Color Run at the beginning of the month, but further actions are currently being explored. The main question is whether increasing surveillance will really increase security or just inject more fear in the population.

In the meantime, the police already have their hands full with a gruesome Mosfellsbær murder case in which a group of six was accused of killing a man in cold blood, possibly in connection with a feud in the Icelandic criminal underworld. The man had just had a baby and was enjoying the company of the child and his wife when the group knocked on his door. Then, he was allegedly beaten with an iron bar, before being run over by a large pickup truck. No further details have yet been disclosed by the police but the case has shocked the community almost as much as Birna Brjánsdóttir’s death just a couple of months ago.

Far away from underground misfits, authorities at Vatnajökull National Park are putting their foot down when it comes to protecting the environment. According to park ranger Regina Hreinsdóttir, the number of travellers and cars at the tourist centre is becoming unsustainable. Therefore, two travel companies based in Skaftafell will be asked to take their service elsewhere in order to decrease the traffic of people and cars and consequently their impact on the environment. Nobody knows where said companies might go, but Regina makes it clear that the access to Skaftafell itself won’t be banned at all.

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