Northern Lights Driving Causes Danger

Travellers seeking northern lights can cause considerable danger on roads, according to Aftenposten. Icelandic police authorities have warned travellers of the danger. Travellers come from all over the world to witness the northern lights in wintertime Iceland.

Northern Lights tourism comes with its fair share of traffic problems. According to the Icelandic police, many travellers lack experience driving in winter conditions. “The weather in Iceland changes every five minutes and road conditions alike,” said Jóhannes Sigfússon, police inspector at Akureyri. “A dry road can become icy and slippery in a matter of minutes.”

Nighttime is the most dangerous, as tired drivers not used to the conditions look upwards in search of the northern lights. Eighteen people lost their lives in traffic accidents last year, and half of those were of foreign origin.

Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten’s coverage states that travellers often seek dangerous mountain roads and that many a northern lights trip ends in disaster. It also states that travellers often drive in the middle of the two-lane ring road when seeking out the northern lights. The road may twist and turn at a moment’s notice, and a driver that’s not fully alert might end up crashing.

Travellers are advised to use for information about road conditions and weather. It is the official road information website of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration.



Former Minister Accused of Sexual Harassment Over 50-Year Period

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson

At least twelve women have come forward with accounts of sexual harassment by former minister and diplomat Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson. Stundin reported first. The oldest accounts occurred in the 60s while the most recent is from last year. In 2012, it was revealed that Jón Baldvin had sent his wife’s niece sexually explicit letters starting when she was 14 years old.

Sent niece explicit letters

Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson was an MP for the Social Democratic Party (Alþýðuflokkurinn), serving as Minister of Finance from 1987 to 1988 and Foreign Affairs Minister from 1988 to 1995. Following his time in parliament, he served as a diplomat from 1998 to 2006. In 2012, Guðrún Harðardóttir, a niece of Jón Baldvin’s wife, revealed he had sent her sexually explicit and erotic letters between 1998 and 2001, when she was 14-17 years old. Jón Baldvin denied that he had sexually harassed Guðrún, but apologised for what he called a “lapse of judgement” in initiating the correspondence. Guðrún attempted to press charges against Jón Baldvin for sexual harassment, but police dropped the case.

In 2013, Jón Baldvin was invited to the University of Iceland as a guest lecturer. When objections ensued, the university withdrew the invitation. Jón Baldvin protested the decision and threatened to take legal action, upon which the university agreed to pay him ISK 500,000 ($4,100/€3,600) in compensation and publicly apologised for how they handled the matter.

Women share accounts in Facebook group

On Saturday, Stundin published an interview with four women who describe accounts of sexual harassment by Jón Baldvin. The earliest of the accounts occurred in 1967, when Jón Baldvin was a teacher at Hagaskóli elementary school. The victims of his alleged harassment would have been around 13-14 years old. Carmen Jóhannsdóttir asserts Jón Baldvin sexually assaulted her just last year in June, when he started stroking her behind at the home he shares with his wife Bryndís Schram in Spain. Guðrún Harðardóttir recounts Jón Baldvin attempting to kiss her when she was a teenager and repeatedly appearing in her bedroom at night. Other women have described similar visits.

In a Facebook group called #metoo Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, at least 12 women have shared accounts of sexual harassment at the hands of the former politician. The group is reported to have around 300 members, though many identify as witnesses or supporters of the victims.

Jón Baldvin responds

When asked by reporters about Carmen’s account, Jón Baldvin called it “totally absurd and untrue.” When further interrogated about the accounts from Hagaskóli he stated “That’s an ancient matter and I have nothing to say about that. I won’t respond to it.” Jón Baldvin’s wife Bryndís has expressed supported for her husband. Jón Baldvin has stated that he intends to respond to the accusations in his own time.