From Iceland — News In Brief: Mid-October Edition

News In Brief: Mid-October Edition

Published October 20, 2017

Iceland’s smite-ability once again made international headlines last week when the men’s national team utterly crushed Turkey, 3-0, and qualified for the World Cup for the first time. They are the smallest nation to qualify in recent history. And you know what that means? That’s right: more merciless tweeting from us in game after game until Iceland inevitably brings home the championship, which to all rational observers is pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point.

In less cheerful news, freedom of the press in Iceland is under attack, as the Reykjavík District Commissioner has issued an injunction against media outlets Stundin and Reykjavík Media, ordering them to cease reporting on the financial dealings of Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson and his family with Glitnir bank shortly before the 2008 financial crash. The matter has been condemned by the Journalists’ Union, and Stundin will be fighting it, but a court might not even see the case until elections are over. Oh, also, the District Commissioner has been an active member of the Independence Party, from which Bjarni hails. Pretty convenient, that.

In the wake of the disturbing revelations about disgraced Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, women around the world have been speaking up about sexual harassment they’ve received from powerful men, and Björk has been no exception. Recently, she recounted sexual harassment she received from “a Danish director”, clearly referring to Lars von Trier, who directed her in Dancer In The Dark. Lars, unsurprisingly, denies everything, but come on. Have you seen his movies? The man hates women. Let’s just be honest about that.

Independence Party MP Ásmundur Friðriksson reminded everyone that he still hates foreigners, saying that asylum seekers take money away from funds that could be spent on Iceland’s elderly and disabled. Not only is this demonstrably false; Ásmundur has himself both voted against increased funding to these groups, or abstained from voting. So who’s really costing Iceland’s elderly and disabled money? For that matter, how much is Ásmundur costing us?

Finally, news that Reykjavík will form a special Airbnb committee was met with audible sighs of relief around the capital area. Specifically, the committee will be working closely with Airbnb to crack down on illegal Airbnb listings. The hope is that this may reduce pressure on Reykjavík’s already tightly-closed housing market. Those of us currently renting temporary spaces from friends in order to avoid living in a tent at the park wait with bated breath for the effect to take hold.

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