26. Jul 2010 - 09:27Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Coalition parties at odds over Magma deal

Magma Energy's acquisition of Icelandic energy company HS orka continues to cause turmoil in Icelandic politics. Ever since The Committee on Foreign Investments concluded that the sale was legal, members of the coalition party, Left Green Movement, have been calling for the deal to be revoked, threatening the end of the coalition government with the Social Democrats if nothing is done to stop the deal.

The Leftist Green have said that Magma Energy's purchase of HS Orka is illegal and that energy resources in Iceland should be kept in Icelandic ownership. The legality of the deal has been called into question since Magma Energy is a Canadian company and companies outside of the European Economic Area are prohibited from investing in energy resources within the area. Magma Energy established a subsidiary in Sweden specifically for the purpose of buying HS Orka.  

However, the Social Democrats have pointed out that if the deal is revoked the energy company would still remain in foreign ownership since Magma Energy bought the company from Geysir Green Energy which is owned by Islandsbanki which in turn is owned by its foreign creditors. Thus putting a stop to the deal wouldn´t place the company back into Icelandic ownership, adding that Icelandic law permits foreign ownership of energy companies, the only exception being that parties outside the European Economic Area are prohibited from owning such companies. The Social Democrats have also said that it is too late to influence the deal and that doing so would mean that Iceland would lose what little credibility it has in the eyes of foreign investors at a time when Iceland desperately needs foreign investment to stimulate the economy.

The rift between the two parties in government is said to be virtually unmanageable given the harsh statements issued by MP's and ministers in the past few days and that the controversy over the deal could well be the kiss of death for the coalition government.

 




14.Jul 2010 - 00:35 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Popular hiking route across Fimmvörduháls open after eruption in Eyjafjallajökul

Fimmvörðuháls, one of Iceland's most popular hiking routes is now described as

Access to one of Iceland‘s most popular hiking routes, Fimmvörduháls has been restricted ever since the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull began in March.  The route has now been re-opened and hikers who have hiked across Fimmvörduháls describe the hike as "amazing" and "absurd" in Morgunbladid‘s Sunday Edition.

12.Jul 2010 - 23:55 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

MP considers referring Magma Energy's purchase of Icelandic energy company to ESA

Loophole in law makes it possible for companies outside of EEA to acquire stakes in Icelandic energy companies. Margrét Tryggvadóttir a Member of Parliament for Hreyfingin is considering whether the controversial sale of HS Orka to Magma Energy should be referred to the EFTA Surveillance Authority to decide whether the sale is legal.
08.Jul 2010 - 22:35 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Eidur Gudjohnsen back on loan to Tottenham?

Gudjohnsen would rather play with Tottenham Hotspur than AS Monaco according to the Sun. Eidur Gudjohnsen might be playing for Tottenham Hotspur for another season according to the English tabloid, The Sun.
05.Jul 2010 - 13:32 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Bobby Fischer‘s body quietly exhumed this morning

Bobby Fisher's body exhumed this morning to acquire DNA sample for paternity testing.

Bobby Fischer‘s body was exhumed this morning in order to get a DNA sample to test the paternity of a nine year old Philippines girl, Jinky Young, Pressan.is reports.  Jinky is to find out whether Bobby Fischer is her biological father after a DNA sample from his body has been examined. 

The girl is the daughter of Marilyn Young, a woman whom Bobby Fischer had a relationship with, who claims that he is the biological father of her daughter.  This is the first time in Iceland a body is exhumed to acquire a DNA sample.

04.Jul 2010 - 12:18 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Foreign creditors threaten law suit after Supreme Court ruling on FX linked loans

Banks face huge losses if the Supreme Court rules that only the interest rates negotiated in each case should be charged on the FX loans which have been ruled as illegal.

Glitnir‘s foreign creditors and current owners of Islandsbanki are considering their position after the Supreme Court recently ruled that linking the rate of a foreign currency to a loan issued in Icelandic kronas is illegal visir.is reports.  Over 44 thousand individuals in Iceland took such loans in the period from 2004-2008.  

 

01.Jul 2010 - 17:59 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Iceland Inspires concert featuring Damien Rice live online tonight

The concert tonight is one of the highlights of the Inspired by Iceland campaign.

The Iceland Inspires concert is set to be held tonight at Reykjavik Music Pavillion Park 8pm GMT (9pm BST).  The open-air ‘Iceland Inspires’ concert was to be held at the Hamragardar campsite near the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, but was moved to Reykjavik because of adverse weather conditions.  

28.Jun 2010 - 22:07 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

BP considers an Icelandic invention to clean up oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Icelandic invention might help clean up oil spill in Mexico Bay.

BP is considering using an Icelandic invention to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The inventor Olafur Ögmundsson says it is an honour that BP is considering his invention which he says is 15 years old mbl.is reports.   

27.Jun 2010 - 13:45 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

New marital law takes effect today - gays allowed to wed in church

The Rainbow Flag represents gay pride, diversity and inclusiveness.

The new marital law which was passed in Parliament earlier in June takes effect today, the International Gay Pride Day. With the new law, marriage is now defined as the union of two persons instead of a man and a women.   

24.Jun 2010 - 22:11 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Iceland has the most secure water supply - Somalia the most vulnerable

Clean water could well be Iceland's most valuable resource in the future.

A recent survey found that Somalia has the most precarious water supply while Iceland has the most secure, Reuters reports. The survey was made with the purpose of alerting companies to investment risk.

 

23.Jun 2010 - 14:36 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Central Bank of Iceland lowers interest rates by 0.5%

CBI would have lowered interest rates more if it weren´t for the uncertainty caused by recent Supreme Court ruling on FX linked loans.

The Central Bank of Iceland has lowered interest rates by 0.5%. The deposit rate will be 6.5% and the maximum bid rate for 28-day certificates of deposits (CDs) will be 7.75%. The seven-day collateralised lending rate will be 8% and the overnight lending rate 9.5%.

21.Jun 2010 - 21:37 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Icesave: We want that money back says David Cameron

In a statement to the UK parliament on the conclusion of last weeks's European Council meeting the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that Iceland must pay the 2.3 billion pounds that the country owes the UK. David Cameron told the parliament that the European Council had accepted Iceland's application for EU membership but that the UK intends to use the application process to make sure that Iceland repay the UK the 2.3 billion.

19.Jun 2010 - 07:55 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Farmer by Eyjafjallajökull opens website to report news on restoration work after eruption

The first image of the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull taken at Thorvaldseyri.

One of the first pictures of the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull came from the farmer Ólafur Eggertsson who lives at Thorvaldseyri. Thorvaldseyri is in close proximity to Eyjafjallajökull and soon after the eruption began it was clear that the effects were going to be significant on the farm with layers of ash building up day after day as the volcano continued to spew ash throughout April and the better part of May.  

 

 

17.Jun 2010 - 09:28 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Icelanders celebrate their Independence day today

Iceland's Independence Day celebrated across the country today.

On 17 June 1944 Iceland became Independent from Danish rule and ever since Icelanders have celebrated their Independence day with marching parades, ceremonious speeches and a variety of entertainment for all ages.
 

15.Jun 2010 - 13:12 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Thorsmörk, one of Iceland‘s most popular natural treasures to re-open today

Route to Thorsmörk to reopen today for tourist operators.

Thorsmörk is to re-open today for tourist operators after being closed since the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull started in April, mbl.is reports.  The popular tourist destination is in close proximity to the volcano and the effects of the eruption on the spectacular nature in Thorsmörk are quite substantial.  It is, however, considered worthwhile to go visit this unique natural treasure which is getting greener by the day as the rain washes off the ash that has fallen in the area in the past weeks.

15.Jun 2010 - 11:06 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

EU leaders have agreed to start membership talks with Iceland

Iceland could become a member of the European Union as soon as 2012.

The foreign ministers of the European Union member states have agreed to start discussions with Iceland on the country's membership into the European Union according to the Daily Telegraph.   

14.Jun 2010 - 10:07 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Majority of Icelanders want to withdraw EU application

Iceland's application for EU membership to be discussed on June 17, Iceland's Independence day.

Almost 60% of Icelanders want the government to withdraw the application for entry into the European Union according to a recent survey done by MMR.   In the survey 58% said they were either very much in favour or rather in favour of Iceland withdrawing its EU application while 24% said that they were either completely against or rather against withdrawing the application. 

 

10.Jun 2010 - 22:28 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Security increased at Latrabjarg after tourist falls to his death at steep cliff

Only one warning sign at Latrabjarg which over 20 thousand travellers visit each year.

Yesterday a tourist from Germany who was travelling in the Westfjords with his wife fell to his death at Latrabjarg. The man fell while taking pictures from the edge of the steep cliff. The cliff is renowned for its birdlife and beauty and is a popular tourist attraction for travellers in the Westfjords with approximately 20 thousand travellers visiting each year. 

09.Jun 2010 - 20:54 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Iceland ranked second most peaceloving country after New Zealand

Yoko Ono's beacon of peace, the Imagine Peace Tower, is on the small island of Videy just outside the bay of Reykjavik.

The Institue for Economics and Peace has published the Global Peace Index, a list of 149 countries ranked according to how peaceful they are.  Iceland is ranked number two after New Zealand which is considered the most peaceful country in the world for the second year running.  Iraq is considered the country in the world which is the least at peace followed by Somalia.

 

08.Jun 2010 - 09:49 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Will the Best party run for the next governor elections in California?

The Best party, which has formed a majority with the Social Democrats in Reykjavik City Council, after an astounding election victory, might be Iceland's latest export according to Frettabladid

 

04.Jun 2010 - 17:53 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Comedian Mayor of Reykjavik - promises more fun in the city

A new coalition majority announced on a rooftop in suburban Breidholt in an cloud of ash.

A new coalition majority between the Best party and the Social Democrats has been formed.  Jón Gnarr, the leader of the Best party and one of the most beloved comedians in Iceland will be the next Mayor and Dagur B. Eggertsson, leader of the Social Democrats will become the Chairman of the City Council's Executive Committee, it was announced today. 

03.Jun 2010 - 12:20 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

National campaign launched - Icelanders encouraged to go online to promote their country

Icelanders are encouraged to go online today and spread the message that the country is a safe and interesting travel destination.

Today a national campaign for Iceland will be launched around the world in which all Icelanders are encouraged to go online and send messages about their country to friends and family.   The campaign is one of its kind and aims to spread the message that Iceland is an interesting and safe travel destination. The campaign follows the significant drop in travellers coming to the country after the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull as previously reported by Pressan.

02.Jun 2010 - 16:28 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Leader of Social Democrats accepts The Wire on DVD from Best party leader

Social Democrats must see The Wire before the The Best party will work with them in the City Council.

The Best party and the Social Democratic party continue their discussions on forming a majority on the Reykjavik City Council.  Although the Best party has now taken a more serious approach than in the election campaign,  they continue to make fun of traditional politics by, for instance, referring to their meetings with the Social Democratic party as "secret meetings" and not abandoning their condition of only working with those who have seen The Wire

31.May 2010 - 16:46 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

The National Horse Festival in Iceland cancelled because of infectious respiratory disease

The Icelandic horse has been badly affected by infectious respiratory disease.

In a meeting today at the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, a decision was made to cancel the National Horse Festival because of the infectious respiratory disease which has been affecting Icelandic horses in the past few weeks, Hestafrettir.is reports. The festival was set to take place between 27 June and 4 July in Skagafjordur.  The festival is held every other year with  thousands of people attending from both Iceland and abroad.

 

31.May 2010 - 11:08 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

CBI sells treasury bonds to pension funds strengthening foreign exchange reserves by 17%

Sale of bonds part of plan to remove capital controls says Governor of the Central Bank of Iceland.

The Central Bank of Iceland, on behalf of the Treasury, has reached an agreement with 26 pension funds in which the funds purchase Housing Financing Fund (HFF) bonds owned by the Treasury.   The Treasury and the Central Bank acquired the bonds following the banks’ collapse and agreements with Banque Centrale du Luxembourg and the liquidator of Landsbanki Luxembourg as Pressan has previously reported. 

31.May 2010 - 09:36 Jóna Ann Pétursdóttir

Coalition talks between The Best party and Social Democrats

Coalition talks in initial phase says Dagur B. Eggertsson chairman of The Social Democratic party in Reykjavik.

Chairman of the Social Democratic party in Reykjavik, Dagur B. Eggertsson,  told Pressan that discussions had begun with the Best party on forming a majority coalition in the city.  Dagur was optimistic that they would be able to form a workable coalition which would stay in government for the next four years. No conditions have seen set by either the Best party or the Social Democrats he told Pressan.

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