Band Together to Protest Pence

Pence Protest

Eleven organisations have banded together to hold a public protest on the occasion of US Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Iceland, Vísir reports. Pence is expected for an official visit to the country tomorrow, where he will meet with Iceland’s Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, among other officials. Protest organisers say they felt compelled to create a platform for locals to express their views on the Trump administration’s policies.

Iceland’s Anti-War Association (Samtök hernaðarandstæðinga), The National Queer Organisation of Iceland, Trans Ísland, The Icelandic Feminist Association (Femínistafélag Íslands), and The Culture and Peace Association (MFÍK), are just a few of the organisations banding together to protest Pence’s visit and policies. The youth wings of the Social Democratic Alliance, Pirate Party, and Left Green Movement are also behind the protest. The Left Green Movement youth wing’s participation is of particular note, as the party’s chairperson and current Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir is one of the officials scheduled to meet with Pence tomorrow.

Focus on military ominous

Guttormur Þorsteinsson, chairman of Iceland’s Anti-War Association, says the protest is intended to send a clear message to both the Icelandic and US governments. He believes military matters will be a focus of Pence’s visit. “All this military preparation that’s been here in Keflavík, bomber aircraft, construction, and such, I think suggests that there is some emphasis in the US government on increased mobilisation here in the Arctic and then trying to get Iceland into that, which we of course find to be a very ominous development,” Guttormur stated.

The event is not only intended for anti-war activists, however. Pence has been a vocal campaigner against the rights of LGBTQ+ people. The Vice President, who has described himself as a “Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order,” once called gay couples a signal of “societal collapse.”

“There are so many things you can disagree with him on,” Guttormur asserted. “LGBTQ+ issues, women’s rights, environmental issues, refugee issues; basically everything this man stands for.”

The protest is scheduled to take place in Austurvöllur, the Parliament square, at 5.30pm tomorrow, September 4.

“I Am Not My Husband’s Handbag:” Iceland’s First Lady

First Lady of Iceland Eliza Reid

Iceland’s First Lady Eliza Reid believes global politics can catch up to social progress when it comes to the treatment of world leaders’ spouses. The writer and editor, who is married to Iceland’s President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, shared a Guardian article titled “The G7 was the final straw – world leaders’ wives should refuse to travel with their spouses,” on her public Facebook page, saying the author’s words “struck a chord.”

“I too think it’s shameful to see (I hope) independent, intelligent women reduced to props for their husbands’ political agendas,” Eliza wrote. “We can do better than assume the spouses of our leaders have nothing better to do with their time than traipse after their other halves.”

Being Iceland’s First Lady, Eliza says, is a “privilege and an honour for which I am very grateful.” She insists, however, that it shouldn’t be taken for granted that political leaders’ “unelected, unpaid” spouses will accompany them at all official functions. “I am not my husband’s handbag, to be snatched as he runs out the door and displayed silently by his side during public appearances.”

Eliza does not travel with her husband to conferences, summits, or meetings. “Rather, when I choose to travel with him it is either for an official or state visit […] or when I believe the occasion warrants the inclusion of the two of us.”

Eliza’s full post can be read in English below.

Icelandic Artist Royalties No Longer Subject to Income Tax

Masterkey Studios

Revenue from copyrighted material will now be taxed as capital gains in Iceland, and therefore not subject to income tax, RÚV reports. Performing rights organisations are welcoming this change, passed by the Icelandic parliament yesterday.

Musicians are one example of copyright holders who get paid royalties for the use of their compositions. The new amendment means they will no longer have to pay income taxes on this revenue. The legislation will also affect other types of creators, such as writer and visual artists. Icelandic Music Association Chairman Jakob Frímann Magnússon welcomed the change in a Facebook post, calling the legislation unique and its implementation the result of a 25-year battle.

Poor Langoustine Season Could Mean Restaurant Shortage



The langoustine served in Höfn, Southeast Iceland, has a reputation for being the best in the country. Yet the town’s main supplier Skinney Þinganes told RÚV its catch from this summer will not be enough to supply restaurants throughout the winter. It’s unclear what is behind the drastic drops in langoustine, or Norway lobster, stocks in recent years.

In a good season, Skinney’s langoustine catch can reach 250-300 tonnes. This summer, it was only 38. Höfn í Hornafirði is known for its langoustine dishes, and the town’s restaurants are a big tourist attraction year round. Skinney’s CEO Ásgeir Gunnarsson says the company will not be able to supply all the town’s restaurants throughout the winter. Chefs will have to find the tasty crustacean elsewhere in Iceland or even import it from abroad.

The Marine and Freshwater Research Institute (MFRI) determines langoustine quotas on a year-to-year basis. No quota was given out this year, although unused quotas from the last fishing year could be used. Low stocks also led the institute to close Lónsdýpi and Jökuldýpi this summer, two of the best langoustine fishing spots off Iceland’s south coast, for a period of one year.

Langoustine is found off of Iceland’s south coast, and caught almost exclusively by companies in Höfn, Þorlákshöfn, and the Westman Islands. Ásgeir says that langoustine fishing reached a peak about one decade ago, when the catch could reach up to 2,200 tonnes per year. “Young lobster has been very rare in this ten-year period. But it should be noted that lobster is caught starting from 3-4 years old, so we know very little about what happens in its first years, we don’t see it in the catch. One hopes it’s making a recovery, but there’s little evidence that points to that.”