Statue Would Honour Strongman

The family of Jón Páll Sigmarsson have petitioned the city of Reykjavík for a space to erect a two-metre [6.6 ft] bronze statue in honour of the Icelandic strongman known for his brash public theatrics and gentle private persona, RÚV reports. If approved, the statue would stand in front of Jakaból gym, where Jón Páll first began his training.

Although he died quite young at the age of 33 in 1993, Jón Páll, who was also known as The Viking, remains one of Iceland’s best-known powerlifters. By the time of his death, he had won the World’s Strongest Man competition four times.

In a letter addressed to the city’s culture and athletics council, Jón Páll’s family say the strongman is known worldwide as “the father of modern strength trials.” There have been efforts made to erect a statue in Jón Páll’s honour since his death, but thus far, none of them have yielded any results. Now, however, Jón Páll’s son and his mother have collected donations to fund the statue. April will mark what would have been Jón Páll’s 60th birthday, so his family is especially eager to see the memorial through this time.

The proposed statue would be two metres tall [6.6 ft] and one metre [3.3 ft] wide in bronze and would be accompanied by a short biography of Jón Páll and his accomplishments. His family and statue supporters have stated that they would take full responsibility for its cost and upkeep.

Suspended Prison Sentence, 800K Fine for Defamation of Character

The Reykjavík District Court handed down a four-month suspended prison sentence for lewd conduct and significant defamation of character to a local man on Thursday, RÚV reports. The man has also been sentenced to pay his former fiancé ISK 800,000 [$5,792; €4,931] in damages.

Per the court ruling, in December 2018, the man sent his ex’s then-boyfriend messages saying that she was dishonest and repeatedly calling her names. He then sent a sexual video of the woman to her boyfriend and three other people. The District Court found that in so doing, the man had shamed, insulted, and degraded the woman.

The man openly admitted his offenses to the court and did not contest the charges made against him.

Crime Novelist Ragnar Jónasson Tops Bestseller List in Germany

Ragnar Jónasson

Mistur (German title Nebel; English title The Mist) by Icelandic crime novelist Ragnar Jónasson is currently #1 on Der Spiegel‘s bestseller list in Germany. This is the first time that an Icelandic author has topped this list.

Mistur is the final instalment in Ragnar’s trilogy starring policewoman Hulda Hermannsdóttir. In a somewhat unconventional move, German publisher btb Verlag released all three books in the trilogy—Dimma (German title Dunkel; English titleThe Darkness), Drungi (German title Insel; English title The Island), and Mistur—in rapid succession this year. The first and second instalments came out in May and July respectively. This seems to have been a good bet: Dimma reached number two on Der Spiegel‘s list and all three books were ranked in the top ten last week, a relatively unheard-of coup.

Ragnar’s books have sold close to 1.5 million copies worldwide and been published in 27 languages in 40 countries. He can easily claim to be one of Europe’s most popular authors right now and is on track to becoming a household name in the US, too. American TV giant CBS is in the process of turning The Darkness into an eight-part series, which will be produced in Iceland with support from Truenorth Productions, which recently coproduced Netflix’s first original Icelandic series, The Valhalla Murders.

Young, Unskilled Workers Need Targeted Educational Support

A new study shows that a third of Icelandic jobs will change significantly in coming years as unskilled workers currently in the labour force go back to school to further their educations, RÚV reports.

According to Guðbjörg Vilhjálmsdóttir, professor of academic and vocational guidance counselling at the University of Iceland, the biggest professional changes will be seen among those who only have completed grunnskóli, or mandatory basic education up to the age of 16. She estimates that 45% of the jobs completed by this demographic will either undergo significant changes or disappear entirely.

In February, Guðbjörg conducted a study of 154 young people aged 18-29 who had been working during the previous six months. These individuals had no more than an upper secondary education and did not attend junior college or university. They were only able to secure jobs in unskilled labour professions; most of them work long hours in the service industry.

These young people reported that they dropped out of school for a number of reasons that ranged from a lack of interest in pursuing higher education to poverty. These reasons are in line with other studies that have been previously conducted in this field.

Fewer young women believe they are doing ‘decent work’

According to Guðbjörg’s findings, young men seem to secure more complex work than young women—jobs related to machinery and maintenance, as well as in the agricultural sector. She says this may account for the boost in young women’s applications to university; in order to get a skilled job, they must have a higher education.

Guðbjörg also asked her respondents whether they thought they were doing “decent work.” This is a coinage of the International Labour Organization, which explains that “decent work… involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.”

It came as a surprise, Guðbjörg says, that the young women she spoke to were less likely to think themselves doing decent work than young men.

Targeted support needed to meet unskilled young people’s educational needs

This demographic is worse situated than other Icelanders, Guðbjörg says, because by and large, they are not fully aware of their situation and have trouble determining what to do in their work life in order to improve their future prospects. They tend to have difficulty planning out their next step and lack support, as they often come from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. When asked what kind of work they would like to do if there weren’t any roadblocks in their path, most of Guðbjörg’s respondents said they would go into specialist and technical positions.

Younger participants in the study tended to want to continue their studies more than participants on the older end of the spectrum. It also tends to be easier for these younger individuals to return to school so soon after leaving upper secondary school.

Although study participants were shown to think it less and less likely that they would go back to school the older they got, 71% of respondents intended to return to school with the belief that they would finish their degrees. Guðbjörg says that this group of unskilled workers needs particular support to acquire an education that is based around their needs.