Publishing Rights to Andri Snær’s Latest Book Sold in Seven Countries

The rights to Andri Snær Magnason’s latest book, On Time and Waterhave already been sold to publishers in seven countries, even though the book is first released in Iceland today. It’s almost unheard of, an as-yet-unpublished book receiving this kind of attention,” Egill Örn Jóhannsson, CEO of Forlagið publishing company, stated in an interview with mbl.is.

Billed as “the book that will make you understand what our future holds for us – if we dont act immediately,” On Time and Water is based on interviews and advice by leading scientists in glacial science, ocean science, and geography.” Personal, historical, and mythological stories are woven into the narrative.

Andri Snær Magnason is one of Icelands most celebrated authors and his former non-fiction book Dreamland: A Self-Help Manual for a Frightened Nation was a best-seller. He has won the Icelandic Literary Prize in the categories of fiction, childrens fiction, and non-fiction. He has also written plays, poetry, and short stories.  

Forlagið recently announced that the US rights to On Time and Water were sold to Open Letter Books. The book is currently being shopped around in other countries as well.

Andri Snær spoke with Iceland Review on the subject of climate change and his upcoming book in 2018.

Feared Losses of ISK 15 Billion in Past 12 Months

currency iceland

Police authorities in Iceland fear that cybercriminals have stolen up to ISK 15 billion from Icelandic companies and private citizens in the past 12 months, Vísir reports. Although many cases still go unreported, a new law enacted in June will obligate companies providing essential services to report cybercrimes to the authorities.

A conference on cyber security was held by the Ministry of Transport and Local Government yesterday. Speaking at the conference, Karl Steinar Valsson (chief of police of the greater capital area) estimated that companies and private citizens have suffered losses amounting to nearly ISK 1,6 billion in the past two years.

As only a fraction of such cases go unreported, Valsson estimates that actual losses are more extensive.

“If I had to estimate then I would say we could safely add another zero to the current number. Not 1.6 billion but 16 billion. I fear that in the past 12 months we’ve lost between ISK 10 and 15 billion,” Valsson said.

New legislation enacted in June will go into effect September 1, 2020. The law stipulates that companies must report cybercrime to the authorities.

“Important infrastructure, especially in the financial and the energy sector, are required to report cases of cybercrime to the relevant regulatory agencies,” Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Minister of Transport and Local Government, speaking at yesterday’s conference stated.

Sigurður emphasised the importance of increased transparency. Companies must report such cases when the occur: “We must learn to do better on a case-by-case basis.”

Wetland Reclaimed on Presidential Estate in Iceland

wetlands Iceland

Earlier this week, ditches were filled on the estates of Bessastaðir – the official residence of the President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhanesson – and Bleiksmýri, RÚV reports. The effort forms a part of the Icelandic Wetland Fund’s endeavour to fill ditches on a total of 25 estates before next summer. According to the Fund’s estimates, the restoration of these wetlands will be the equivalent of removing 1,000 vehicles from the road, as far as carbon emissions go.

Labourers employed by the Fund finished filling the ditches in Bessastaðir and Bleiksmýri on Wednesday. Yesterday, the effort was resumed on Krísuvíkurmýri (a total of 60 hectares) in Hafnarfjörður. The reclamation will continue on estates such as Kirkjuból in West Iceland and Hof in East Iceland.

The Icelandic Wetland Fund was established in 2018 by Auðlind (the Guðmundur Páll Ólafsson Memorial Fund), the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCSI), and other companies. President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson is the project’s guardian.

Read more: Iceland’s Wetland Restoration

According to a public statement made last year by the Icelandic Wetland Fund, filling in ditches is a quick and cost-effective way of reducing carbon emissions:

“It has been estimated that the length of the drained [ditches] in Iceland is about 34,000 kilometres. The […] focus is on co-operation with farmers, landowners, municipalities, and the Icelandic state to restore areas not used for cultivation or forestry. The restoration of wetlands is a relatively fast and cheap way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Iceland.”

Swimmer’s Itch in Landmannalaugar

landmannalaugur iceland

According to a news bulletin published on the Environment Agency of Iceland’s website on Wednesday, an unspecified number of cases of swimmer’s itch  (human cercarial dermatitis) have been reported in the geothermal pools in Landmannalaugar, in the highlands of South Iceland.

According to the bulletin, the Agency has consulted with an epidemiologist at the Institute for Experimental Pathology (University of Iceland) in Keldur whose analysis concludes that the swimmer’s itch can be traced to free-swimming larvae of bird parasites of the family Schistosomatidae (Trematoda):

“Contact with Schistosomatidae [larval flatworm parasites] in the water causes swimmer’s itch. The skin erupts when the body’s immune system successfully neutralizes the flatworms. If an individual experiences no allergic reaction then that indicates that the flatworms have successfully penetrated the skin. Once there, however, they will perish before long [humans aren’t suitable hosts]. Schistosomatidae feed on mallards and scaups, which sometimes inhabit the area around Landmannalaugar.”

The Environment Agency–in collaboration with specialists–is currently endeavouring to prevent future outbreaks of swimmer’s itch in the geothermal pools in Landmannalaugar.

“Preventing an outbreak of swimmer’s itch has proven unsuccessful this year. It’s important that visitors of the geothermal pool are conscious of the risk of contracting swimmer’s itch,” the bulletin states.

According to a spokesperson for the Environment Agency, the best way to prevent an outbreak of swimmer’s itch is to restrict the access of ducklings to the bathing site and the adjacent brook.