Staying Power

Elsa Pálsdóttir was doing what she loved most: Deadlifting. As she rested between sets, she chit-chatted with a man of Polish extraction, who was likewise availing himself of the equipment in the snug Massi gym in Njarðvík. When their conversation came to a close, Elsa’s interlocutor turned to another gym patron, an older Icelander, and observed, “that […]

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Disaster on Dark Seas

ES goðafoss

U-300On the morning of November 20, 1944, a single U-boat cruised silently at periscope depth beneath the rough waves of the North Atlantic, lurking just a few kilometres off the Northwest coast of Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula. The lone periscope was virtually invisible in the turbulent grey ocean waters. The German submarine, type VIIC/41, designated U-300, […]

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Deported Asylum Seekers Have Right to Reevaluation, Appeals Board Rules

Asylum seekers protest Reykjavík

The Immigration and Asylum Appeals Board has ruled that a group of asylum seekers have a right to a reevaluation of their applications, RÚV reports. As many from the group have already been deported to Greece, however, a lawyer for the appellants has stated that it might prove difficult for his clients to reappear before the Directorate of Immigration.

Difficult to implement the ruling

In October, Reykjavík’s District Court ruled in favour of Palestinian Suleiman Al Masr in his case against the government. The court concluded, among other things, that Al Masr could not be blamed for the delay in the government’s processing of his application, which resulted in his not being deported to Greece (while social restrictions were in effect and travellers were obligated to submit a negative COVID test).

Following the decision, Suleiman’s lawyer, Helgi Þorsteinsson Silva, asked the Appeals Board to rule in similar cases. The Appeals Board published the rulings this morning.

“There are over twenty rulings and over ten individuals whose applications have been reopened because the premises were similar to Al Masr’s case. For many of them, the decision means that it’s rather likely that they will be granted asylum in Iceland,” Helgi told RÚV.

All in all, Helgi believes that there are approximately 100 asylum seekers who have the same cause for appeal.

“But what’s interesting is that many of the asylum seekers have already been deported and some of them were arrested and put into custody not so long ago,” Helgi observed, adding that many of those dwelling in refugee camps in Greece would find it difficult to return to Iceland and appear before the Directorate of Immigration.

“It’s not uncommon for individuals,” Helgi explained, “who’ve been asylum seekers in Greece for some time, and who don’t have valid visas, for example, to have arrived in Iceland on the basis of Greek travel documents. In some instances, those documents are now expired. It could take a long time to renew those papers,” Helgi remarked, while also noting that the Greek asylum system was on the verge of collapse, as had been widely reported.

Getting the Word Out

The Icelandic Literature Centre awards grants to some 80-100 translations from Icelandic to other languages each year. The number of applications for translation grants has been steadily increasing. Icelandic books have been translated into around 50 languages. Three recently published Icelandic to English translations:Three recently published Icelandic to English translations:Quake (Stóri skjálfti) by Auður Jónsdóttir (trans. Meg Matich).Salka Valka […]

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Teigarhorn: Average Temperature Has Risen 2°C Since 1880s

Djúpivogur is home to Iceland's latest art museum

The average temperature in Teigarhorn, East Iceland has risen by 2°C since measurements began in the late 19th century, Austurfrétt reports. Five of the area’s warmest summers have been recorded after the turn of the century.

Higher temperatures, fewer snowy days

Last week, Kristín Björg Ólafsdóttir, a climatologist with Iceland’s MET Office, marked the 150th anniversary of continuous temperature measurements at Teigarhorn by giving a talk in Löngubúð in Djúpivogur.

As noted in her lecture, the Danish Meteorological Institute began conducting measurements in Djúpivogur in 1872 but measurements were moved to Teigarhorn in 1881. The average temperature in Teigarhorn has risen by 2°C over that time (meanwhile, Earth’s average global temperature has risen by 0.8°C since 1880).

Kristín also noted that three of the area’s warmest summers had recently passed, i.e. in 2014, 2016, and 2017. The coldest summers, on the other hand, occurred well over 100 years ago, in 1881, 1887, 1888, and 1892. Five of the area’s warmest summers have been recorded after the turn of the century.

As noted by Austurfrétt, Teigarhorn distinguishes itself from other places in Iceland as the site where the country’s hottest temperature was recorded: 30.5°C on June 22, 1939. (The original measurement was 30.3°C, but as the thermometer was later deemed 0.2°C too low, the measurement was revised).

Kristín also pointed out that the annual average number of “all-white” days (when the ground is covered by snow) in Teigarhorn only amounted to 18, i.e. just over two weeks.

Austurfréttir reports that Teigarhorn was awarded Centennial Observing Station status from the World Meteorological Organisation for over 100 years of continuous meteorological measurements. This is the second weather station in Iceland to be awarded the status (the first was in Stykkishólmur).

Search Area Expanded as Missing Fisherman Still Not Found

The Coast Guard has expanded the search area in its effort to find a missing fisherman who fell overboard last Friday. A prayer service was held for the man in Grindavík on Sunday.

Most extensive search effort in years

The search continues for a fisherman who fell overboard just outside Faxaflói Bay on Friday afternoon. The man, a Grindavík resident and father of three, was a fisherman on the longline fishing boat Sighvatur GK-57, which is owned and operated by the Grindavík-based fishing company Vísir hf. The police have interviewed the ship’s captain and have deemed the incident a “tragic accident,” Vísir reports.

Read More: A Brief History of Iceland’s Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre

The search effort is the most extensive of its kind in years, Guðmundur Birkir Agnarsson, Director of Operations with the Icelandic Coast Guard, told the hosts of the radio programme Morgunútvarpið yesterday morning. On Saturday, fifteen boats participated in the search – among them the patrol ship Þór – in addition to two helicopters.

Given how many days have passed since the man fell into the sea, the Coast Guard has expanded the search area from 10 x 10 nautical miles to 18 x 18 nautical miles. Ásgeir Erlendsson, Public Relations Officer for the Icelandic Coast Guard, told Mbl.is yesterday that search conditions have been relatively good, despite not having found the man.

Prayer service in Grindavík

A prayer service was held for the fisherman in Grindavík on Sunday. Fannar Jónsson, Mayor of Grindavík, told Vísir that the community was ‘deeply saddened’ and that all they could do was wait.

According to Fannar, the prayer service was well attended, for an event such as this has an outsized effect on such a small community:

“Yes, it’s very hard. You have a big family and friends … the crew, the company, and the sailor’s family, they’re all hurting. But there’s a solidarity and a unity among the community, whenever something like this happens.”