First Cryptocurrency Exchange Registers with Financial Supervisory Authority

The first company to specialize in cryptocurrency commerce and services is now registered with Iceland’s Financial Supervisory Authority, or FME, reports KjarninnMorgunblaðið reported first.

The company, Skiptimynt, is a cryptocurrency exchange dealing in Bitcoin and Auroracoin. Cryptocurrency firms are now required to register their activities with FME, following new legislation intended to combat money laundering and terrorist activities.

Crypto- or digital currencies have gained increased popularity on the international market in recent years, although the value of most have been subject to extreme fluctuations. The value of one Bitcoin is now roughly ISK 770,000 ($6,958/€5,986), but was worth as much as ISK 2,216,800 ($20,000/€17,208) at one point last year.

Free Hot Meals for Schoolchildren an “Equality Issue”

The elementary school in the East Iceland village of Eskifjörður is working to reduce the cost of school lunches for its students and hopes to soon make all hot meals free, RÚV reports. The principal considers free hot lunches a “very important equality issue” facing the Fjarðarbyggð municipality as a whole.

Currently, students in the Fjarðarbyggð municipality pay ISK 450 [$4.06; €3.49] a day for lunches, which in Eskifjörður, generally include fish. This comes out to roughly ISK 9,000 [$81.23; €69.91] a month per student. Principal Birgir Jónsson says that it’s come to the school’s attention, however, that not all families can afford the monthly cost of school lunches and so choose to send their children with bag lunches instead. Some parents may have other reasons for sending their kids to school with bag lunches, he acknowledges, but there are special occasions where eating a hot meal together is more of a social event, and all students should be able to take part then. “We’ve noticed that especially when there’s something like pizza or things like that, then, of course, everyone wants to [have the hot lunch].”

As a first step to addressing the problem, therefore, the school will be reducing the cost of school lunches to ISK 300 [$2.70; €2.33] starting on October 1, 2018. The intention, says Fjarðarbyggð town council foreman Eydís Ásbjörnsdóttir, is to ensure that “…all kids are sitting at the same table and have the chance to get a hot and nutritious meal.”

The municipality is taking steps to make school lunches completely free within the current election cycle.

Golfer Loses Eye After Lava Accident

A golfer lost an eye following an accident at a Hafnarfjörður golf course in South Iceland a few weeks ago, Vísir reports. The victim was a highly experienced Icelandic golfer in his sixties, who was taking part in an open tournament at the course.

The accident took place when the golfer was on the fifth hole, along a section of the fairway appropriately called Hraunið, or ‘The Lava.’ The man’s first shot saw the ball land in some lava that surrounds the course and so he decided to try and hit it back onto the green. On one of his attempts, the golf ball hit a a lava stone that was very close to the ball [about one metre, or three feet away] and which was protruding about ten centimetres [three inches] out of the ground. The ball ricocheted backwards off the rock and hit the man directly in the eye. According to course manager Ólafur Þór Ágústsson, the man hadn’t even seen the stone when he hit the ball.

An ambulance was called to the scene and the golfer was taken into surgery soon after, but doctors were unable to save his eye. According to Vísir’s sources, some consider him lucky, despite the horrible consequences of the accident; had the ball hit him in the temple, it could have killed him.

Golf course manager Ólafur Þór Ágústsson said that the staff were shocked by the incident, but that luckily, these sorts of accidents are very uncommon. He did say, however, that balls do sometimes get hit into the rocks and/or lava surrounding the two different fairways and then ricochet off of them. “But this is by far the most serious [incident] that we’ve had happen at the course. There’s been nothing that compares to this. But people have been close to [having things happen]. In this sport, as in any other, accidents happen,” he said, and they can’t always be foreseen. “It’s just horrifically bad luck.”

The golf course’s management is now considering increasing the number of drop spots in areas with a lot of lava, which may decrease player risk along those sections of the course.