Earthquakes Shake North Iceland

An earthquake measuring 5.6 was felt in towns and villages in North Iceland on Saturday afternoon, RÚV reports.

The quake occurred just after 3.00pm, and was centred offshore, roughly 20km (7.5mi) northeast of Siglufjörður. According to the Icelandic Met Office, it came on the heels of a similarly sized quake, measuring 5.3, in the same area, and was felt by residents in Dalvík, Hofsós, Siglufjörður, and Akureyri, and as well as those in the municipality of Hörgársveit, further inland.

The Tjörnes fracture zone started experiencing an earthquake swarm on Friday afternoon, peaking with the 5.6 quake on Saturday. Following this, there were a number of smaller quakes, many of which were measured at a 3.0 or higher.

Though the largest earthquake was felt all around the region, it doesn’t seem to have caused any substantial damage and police in the area said they received fewer calls about it than expected, most likely because sunny weather had taken most people outdoors on Saturday afternoon.

Icelandic Trivia App Off to Winning Start

Teatime Games, a startup based in Reykjavík, has won over trivia nerds around the world with Trivia Royale, its new “social gaming” app, Mbl.is reports. Teatime Games is the newest endeavor of CEO Þorsteinn B. Friðriksson, who cofounded the wildly popular QuizUp seven years ago. Trivia Royale builds on the success and basic format of QuizUp, but gives it a new, interactive twist.

Per the Teatime website, “Trivia Royale pits players from across the globe against 1000 opponents in thrilling tests of knowledge to become a ‘Royale’ and earn a coveted spot in the exclusive ‘Royale Lounge.’” Players do so by winning a series of five-question ‘duels’ against individual opponents in their bracket until they are ‘the last man standing.’ (If you lose a duel, you’re out.) This ‘royale’ structure is key to some of the most popular games in the world, says Þorsteinn, pointing to massively multiplayer games such as Call of Duty and Fortnite.

Personalised avatars are also one of the app’s big selling points – the app’s “augmented reality face filter” technology (called Gamesfaces) protects players identities while simultaneously using their camera phones to pick up their actual facial expressions. Paired with chat features, the Gamesfaces technology is intended to make the app more social and personal, or, as it says on the website, “Watching your opponent’s reaction when you deal the winning blow can be priceless.”

Screenshot, Teatime Games.

Teatime was founded in 2017, about a year after QuizUp was sold to a company in the United States. It currently employs about 20 people in its downtown Reykjavík office, not counting the question authors, most of whom are contractors based in the US, and the programmers, who are based all around the world.

Since its founding, the startup has launched several games “with mixed results,” says Þorsteinn. But each one has been a learning experience. “You’re always going up and down in this business,” he remarked. “It’s definitely always a roller coaster.” For now, however, Trivia Royale is riding high. The app was launched on Wednesday, and by Saturday, was already ranked the 17th most popular game in the US and was enjoying even more popularity in Europe. (Indeed, by Saturday, it was the #2 most popular trivia game in the US.)

But Þorsteinn isn’t resting on his laurels and is wary of “declaring victory right away. We’ll let a few days pass,” he remarked cautiously. “These are definitely good indicators and the game’s popularity is promising.”

Mall’s New Dog-Friendly Sundays Set Tails Wagging

Sundays at Kringlan shopping mall in Reykjavík just got a lot more pupular, Vísir reports. As of last week, the shopping mall is permitting local pet owners to bring their furry buddies on their Sunday shopping expeditions, provided they follow a few simple rules.

Kringlan, Facebook.

There are no specific size restrictions on the dogs that are allowed in the mall, but owners must be able to hold them on the escalators and/or pick them up if a situation requires. Dogs will not be allowed in either of the mall’s grocery stores and nor will they be permitted in salons or medical centres. Other shops may choose not to allow dogs and pet owners are asked to respect any requests not to bring their dog inside.

Kringlan, Facebook.

Soffía Kristín Kwaszenko brought her shih tzu Mangó with her last Sunday to celebrate the new rules and said that she hopes in the future, the mall will move to allow dogs every day. Mangó hasn’t been in such situations before, but the friendly fluffer just needs a bit of “environmental training,” Soffía said, and he did a great job on his first retail outing.

Some dog days opponents have worried about potential messes, but Soffía is confident that owners will be responsible and train their animals well. Moreover, Kringlan has received permission to allow dogs on the premises from the Ministry for the Environment and the city’s health authorities and assures guests that the new rules will be regularly reviewed to make sure that all visitors are having a pawsitive experience.

Two to Be Deported for Quarantine Violations

Police

Two Romanian nationals who violated quarantine regulations have been fined and will be deported from Iceland, Vísir reports. They were among nine other Romanian nationals who were fined for not abiding by quarantine rules.

See Also: Test Positive After Breaking Quarantine

The two men facing deportation are among 14 Romanian nationals currently being detained in the quarantine hotel on Rauðarárstígur in Reykjavík. They were arrested earlier this week with another man on suspicion of robbery in Selfoss, South Iceland. Further investigation revealed they had arrived in the country from London less than 14 days ago and should, therefore, have been in quarantine. Indeed, following their arrest, they tested positive for COVID-19, as did one policewoman involved in the incident. Sixteen South Iceland police officers were quarantined as a result of the case.

Following this incident, police began a search for another group of Romanian nationals who were believed to have had contact with those arrested and likely also violating quarantine regulations. The group presented themselves at a central Reykjavík police station shortly after and are now at the quarantine hotel. There are currently 17 people in the quarantine hotel, three of whom are asylum seekers.

The 11 quarantine violation fines ranged from ISK 150,000-200,000 ($1,100-$1,500/€1,000-€1,300). The cases of the other nine individuals who were fined are still under consideration, but it is possible that further deportations will take place.