From Iceland — My, What A Unique Ashtray You Have

My, What A Unique Ashtray You Have

Published September 26, 2023

The stories making headlines in Iceland in recent weeks

Undertaking home renovation projects can be a massive headache. Surprises lurking behind the drywall inevitably expand the scope of the project and drive up costs. But unlike other contractors who maybe stumble across some wiring in need of an upgrade, workers removing floorboards and insulation from the attic of the Prime Minister’s Residence on Tjarnargata found fragments of a human skull.

The skull fragments were handed over to the police and subsequently to the National Museum, where they await age analysis. Kári Stefánsson, CEO of Decode Genetics, has also stepped forward and offered to trace the fragments‘ DNA in order to find a match within the company‘s records.

A representative of the National museum told Ví that the skull appears to have belonged to a small woman. They also said that the skull may have been used as an ashtray, as has been documented by the museum in the past.

A law to end whaling

The Pirate Party tabled a bill upon the start of Alþingi’s fall sitting that would legislate the end of whaling in Iceland. The bill would bring whales under the protection of Iceland’s wildlife laws.

The bill proposes making whaling illegal by repealing the Act on whaling, no. 26/1949, and bringing whales under the law on the protection, preservation and hunting of wild birds and wild mammals, no. 64/1994. A new article is proposed to the law on wildlife protection stating, “Whaling is prohibited according to this law. It is prohibited to export, offer for sale or sell game or other products of whales that have been killed or killed in nets.”

Pirate Party MP Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir spoke with the Grapevine earlier in September, expressing concern that Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Svandís Svavarsdóttir would allow Hvalur hf’s whaling licence to lapse at the end of the year rather than attempting to legislate an end to whaling.

“We have drafted a bill that we have offered all members of parliament to be co-signatories on that focuses on banning all whaling and doing it the right way through parliament,” she said. “We expect to at least get it through the first reading and that there will be some debate because we are offering MPs to do the right thing in the legal way so Iceland can take a legislative decision to ban whaling, just as has the rest of the world has aside from very few outlier countries. We want to join the rest of the world in outlawing these barbaric practices once and for all.”

Hvalur 8, one of two operational whaling ships belonging to Hvalur hf., was docked earlier this month following a severe breach of animal welfare regulations. According to regulations placed on this year’s whale hunt, whales must be shot and killed immediately. However, on September 7 the crew of Hvalur 8 harpooned a whale outside the designated target and instead of firing another harpoon immediately, they let it suffer for a half hour before firing again.

Perlan for sale

How’s this for a palate cleanser: Perlan is for sale! For a cool 3,942,440,000 ISK, the glass dome and hot water tanks upon which it sits could be all yours.

So, what are you going to do with your soon to be acquired 5,800 m2? We’d put in a roller disco.

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