This probably won’t come as a surprise to our readers, but the hottest topic right now is the increased domestic restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The restrictions, which went into effect at midnight on October 5th, limit social gathering to 20 people; shut down bars, restaurants, gyms and Reykjavík-area pools; and require the use of masks everywhere it’s not possible to maintain a two-metre distance between people. Two points of conflict have raised concerning which facilities are closed and the now-mandatory policy of wearing a mask on the bus. Gym owners in particular have been upset about the restrictions, pointing out that while they can create conditions for proper social distancing, for whatever reason Icelandic authorities are allowing contact sports to continue. Meanwhile, regular bus users were not alerted about the mask up policy through the apps they use and those who do mask up have complained that some drivers are admitting passengers without mask on. So it would seem there are still a few kinks to work out
A great many Icelanders are seriously concerned about China allegedly spying on us. Shortly after news broke that some 400 Icelanders were included in the massive Zhenhua Data leak, where millions of influential people around the world were ranked in terms of their interest to Chinese authorities by a company with ties to that country’s military and intelligence sector, the Chinese embassy in Reykjavík has come under fire for another sort of alleged surveillance: its CCTV cameras. Reportedly, the embassy’s video surveillance covers a much wider swath of ground around the embassy than is deemed necessary, at least by Iceland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and they’ve asked the embassy to move the cameras. With that in mind, whatever you do, don’t do anything anti-China anywhere near the embassy; they may be watching you.
Apparently Centre Party chair and disgraced former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson is not getting enough attention, as he chose to direct national focus on himself by speaking out in opposition to a bill that would protect intersex children from medically unnecessary, non-consensual and, in many cases, psychologically damaging surgeries on their genitalia. Sigmundur spared no hyperbole, calling the bill “probably the scariest parliamentary issue I can remember in recent times”—pretty rich coming from a guy named in the Panama Papers. Response came swiftly from director of the National Queer Organisation Þorbjörg Þorvaldsdóttir, who said in part, “This is the most extremist talk I have ever heard. He wants, in other words, that we continue to perform unnecessary surgeries on children who have no say in the matter.” The bill is from the Prime Minister and its passage is all but certain, no matter what Sigmundur has to say about it.
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