Bronze Statue Stolen in West Iceland

Guðriður Þorbjarnardottir Statue

A bronze statue of Guðríður Þorbjarnardóttir was stolen from its pedestal in Laugarbrekka, on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, Vísir reports.

The statue’s disappearance was first noted by a guide leading a tour in the area Thursday. Snæfellsbær Mayor Kristinn Jónasson told Vísir he is shocked that the beloved statue had been stolen, saying it appears to have been removed from its platform with a power saw within the past two days.

Guðríður was born in Laugarbrekka around the year 1000 and was considered the most travelled woman in the world, as well as the first Christian woman to give birth in North America when her son Snorri Þorfinnsson was born during a voyage to Vinland.

Titled “The First White Mother in America,” the stolen statue depicted Guðríður and her son, and was cast from a statue that renowned Icelandic sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson created for the 1940 World’s Fair in New York. It was unveiled in Laugarbrekka in 2000 by then-president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.

List of Íslandsbanki Buyers Released

íslandsbanki

In the wake of opposition criticism about low share prices and a general lack of transparency around the government’s March 22 sale of a 22.5% stake in Íslandsbanki bank, the Ministry of Finance has publicly released the list of investors.

Pension funds biggest investors

As Stundin reports, 209 investors participated in the March sale, with a handful of pension funds scooping up a sizeable number of shares.

The largest single buyer was Gildi Pension Fund, followed by the Pension Fund for Icelandic State Employees, Brú Pension Fund and the Pension Fund of Commerce.

All other investors purchased less than 4% each of the total shares available in this offering.

Notable investors include Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson, the largest shareholder in Glitnir bank before it went bust in Iceland’s 2008 economic collapse; Samherji CEO and former Glitnir chairman Þorseinn Már Baldvinsson; and Benedikt Sveinsson, the father of Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson.

The full list of investors who participated in this round of sales has been published by Stundin.

Rich getting richer

The investment in Íslandsbanki is paying off for those invited to invest. Share prices are up 11% since the sale.

Stundin calculated that the Finance Minister’s father has already made ISK 6 million profit on his newly acquired shares, while the fishing company Jakob Valgeir ehf. has made ISK 102 million.

Invitation-only offering

Íslandsbanki was entirely state-owned until the government sold a 35% stake in 2021. While last year’s sale was a public offering, the recent sale was only open to professional investors, who received an invitation to buy shares, which were then sold for 5% less than market value after markets had closed for the day.

Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI) previously said it was not able to publish the data on who purchased shares. ISFI believed it was likely the buyers’ identity falls under bank secrecy regulations.

 

 

Astronaut Bjarni Valdimar Tryggvason Has Died

Bjarni Tryggvason Astronaut NASA

Bjarni Valdimar Tryggvason, the first and only Icelandic astronaut, died on April 5 at the age of 76. Bjarni was born in Reykjavík on September 21, 1945, but moved to Canada as a child and grew up in Nova Scotia and British Columbia.

He studied engineering physics, applied mathematics and fluid dynamics prior to being selected by the National Research Council of Canada in 1983 to be one of Canada’s first six astronauts. He served as a payload specialist with NASA’s STS-85 crew in August 1997, conducting tests on how fluids behave in space and evaluating a tool to protect cargo and experiments from vibrational disturbances.

Bjarni logged 11 days, 20 hours, 28 minutes and 7 seconds in flight and completed 185 orbits of Earth.

Canadian politician Marc Garneau, who was another of Canada’s original six astronauts with Bjarni, posted a tribute to his late friend on Twitter.

Condolences were also posted by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.