Where Can I Watch “A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism?”

Friðrik Þór Friðriksson

Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s 2009 documentary, “A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism” (originally Sólskinsdrengurinn, or “The Sunshine Boy”) was a critically well-received film about autism.

The narrative of the film centers around the mother Margret Dagmar Ericsdóttir and her search for help to understand her son, Keli’s, condition.

Many of Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s films explore the lives of people who are socially marginalized in some way, such as in “Angels of the Universe,” which features a mentally ill artist.

The documentary was also narrated by Kate Winslet and scored by Sigur Rós and Björk.

During the filming of the documentary, actress Kate Winslet and mother Margret Dagmar Ericsdóttir met and together founded the Golden Hat Foundation, a nonprofit organization for raising autism awareness. The organization aims to “change the way people on the autism spectrum are perceived, by shining a light on their abilities and emphasizing their great potential.”

Additionally, a book arose from the nonprofit and film, called “The Golden Hat: Talking Back to Autism.” It compiled correspondence between Kate Winslet and Margret Dagmar Ericsdóttir, in addition to statements from various celebrities and Margret’s son, Keli.

It may be difficult to find on a major streaming service, so if you want to watch it, then your best bet is likely acquiring it on DVD.

Taxi Drivers Stage Protest in Reykjavík

Taxi in Iceland's capital, Reykjavík

A heated meeting took place among taxi drivers in Reykjavík and Suðurnes yesterday evening to discuss a bill on taxi services sponsored by the Ministry of Infrastructure, RÚV reports. This morning, taxi drivers staged a protest outside the Minister’s Residence in Reykjavík.

Protest stopped by the police

Outside the Minister’s Residence in Reykjavík this morning, numerous taxi drivers staged a protest, which was eventually stopped by the police; expressing their strong objecting to a new bill on taxi services, taxi drivers drove down the street and honked their horns in front of the residence.

Drivers were not allowed to enter the government meeting inside the minister’s residence, however, but Daníel O. Einarsson – the Chairman of the Federation of Icelandic Taxi Drivers (Bandalag íslenskra leigubílstjóra) – took the time to read out a special appeal, Fréttablaðið reports. He requested that the processing of the bill be postponed.

“The Federation asks the government to grant working taxi drivers a hearing as regards the bill on taxi services,” Daníel stated. Approval of the bill would open up the door for ride-share services like Uber, which have gained a foothold abroad.

Abolition of designated taxi zones and more licences

The Ministry of Infrastructure posted the bill to the government’s consultation portal (Samráðsgátt) in July. As noted on the website, the draft of the proposed law is similar to former bills that have previously failed to pass through Parliament.

Among other things, the bill proposes the abolition of designated taxi zones and removal of restrictions on the number of work permits. It also removes the obligation for taxis to operate through designated stations and proposes alterations to requirements for those who intend to work as taxi drivers.

Worried that income will be lost in the form of foreign currency

In an interview with RÚV, Guðmundur Börkur Thorarensen, Managing Director of BSR Taxi, stated that the association was dissatisfied with the bill:

“We are concerned that a large part of the drivers’ income, 30%, will leave the country in the form of foreign currency; that it will reduce income among drivers; and make the service that we have been offering, over the past few years, much worse,” Guðmundur remarked.

Guðmundur maintained that BSR had repeatedly pointed out that more work permits were needed: “But the idea that we should just completely open it up and that there would be no filter as far as quality standards are concerned or the number of drivers, that’s never been on the table.”

It’s Going to be a White Christmas, Meteorologists Say

Toddlers in Iceland in Winter

According to current weather forecasts, this year’s Christmas will be white; snow will fall tonight in the capital area and will continue to fall on Saturday.

Twenty below temperatures already recorded

The current cold spell, which began early last week, is predicted to last until Christmas Day. In light of the continued frost, the snow that is expected to fall tonight and tomorrow in the capital area (West and Southwest Iceland) is unlikely to melt before Christmas. The next few days should also see snow in other parts of the country.

In an interview with Mbl.is yesterday, a meteorologist with the Icelandic MET Office confirmed that current forecasts predict “light snow” over the holidays and that the current cold spell was expected to last at least ten more days.

During this time, temperatures are expected to range between 2°C and 20°C, the latter temperature having already been recorded at Grímsstaðir á Fjöllum and Hólasandur in Northeast Iceland. It has also been very cold in the highlands of Iceland.

Europol Experts Believed Terror Suspects Posed Imminent Threat

Héraðsdómur Reykjavíkur Reykjavík District Court

The two men recently charged with planning a domestic terrorist attack were believed to pose an imminent threat by Europol experts, Vísir reports. A ruling made by the Court of Appeal, published yesterday, notes that the defendants had discussed launching an attack on Parliament, the Ministry of Justice, and the police authorities.

The Court of Appeal overturns custody ruling

On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal overturned a ruling by Reykjavík’s District Court revoking the extended custody of two men recently charged with violating Article No. 100 of Iceland’s General Penal Code (pertaining to acts of terrorism). The Court of Appeal ruled that the defendants, who had been held in custody since September, were to be released on the basis of a mental assessment that concluded that they were not a danger to themselves or others.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeal published its ruling on its  website. The judgment references the overturned Reykjavík District Court ruling, which notes that the police authorities had consulted with Europol experts on the case. Having reviewed the case files, the Europol experts concluded that the two men were likely to take imminent action and commit acts of terrorism in Iceland.

Had begun penning his own manifesto

As reported by Iceland Review earlier this year, when the defendants were arrested in September, the police seized semi-automatic rifles, including AK-47s and AR-15s, along with ammunition and components for 3D-printed guns. Court documents state that the police also seized an item that could be inserted into an AR-15 rifle so as to make it automatic.

Court documents also note that the men possessed material concerning known terrorists and their atrocities, in addition to manifestos. The suspect who is the subject of the ruling denied that he was planning an act of domestic terrorism, maintaining that comments concerning various terrorist atrocities were harmless: they had been made in jest and under the influence of alcohol. The same held for all the other material that they had acquired.

Court documents further maintain that the defendant had begun to pen his own manifesto.

Last night, RÚV reported that the District Attorney would yet again motion for custody.

 

 

Cold Spell Continues: Emergency Shelters Open All Day Today

An icy Reykjavík City Pond.

The City of Reykjavík has activated an emergency plan and will keep emergency shelters open around the clock today, Vísir reports. An unhoused man hopes that the city will continue keep emergency shelters open 24 hours a day for the duration of the cold spell, predicted to last ten more days at least. The cold weather is expected to have wide-ranging effects.

The unhoused hope for extended shelter

As reported by Iceland review earlier this week, temperatures in Iceland have hovered well below 0°C over the past week – and if weather forecasts prove accurate, temperatures are expected to drop even further this weekend and the next.

In response to the cold weather, the City of Reykjavík has decided to keep its emergency shelters open over the next 24 hours (the shelters are normally open from 5 PM to 10 AM). The city will then assess the situation, going forward, tomorrow. Speaking to Vísir, Heiða Björg Hilmisdóttir, Chair of Reykjavík City’s Welfare Council, stated that City of Reykjavík would be reviewing the possibility of expanding shelters:

“It’s our priority that no one is made to sleep outside or is turned away at night. If only there were more organisations like Samhjálp, Icelandic Church Aid, and the Icelandic Red Cross that were willing to help, that would be very helpful.”

Heiða pointed out that approximately 300 people had availed themselves of emergency shelters in the city this year, of which a hundred came from other municipalities. Other municipalities must get involved: “We’re learning, and we need to listen and evaluate and do as well as we can, but other municipalities besides Reykjavík need to involve themselves.”

Ragnar Erling Hermannsson, who has been unhoused for some time, hopes that emergency shelters will be kept open around the clock while the cold spell lasts:

“I’m going to see if they keep the shelters open around the clock beyond today,” Ragnar observed. “It makes you wonder if this is just some kind of showmanship by the city. In reality, they have a choice between two or three people dying today or keeping the shelters open while the cold lasts.”

A difficult time for small birds

Aside from the dangers that freezing temperatures pose to people, the cold spell also makes it difficult for small birds to find food and running water.

“It’s hard to find food in this frost,” Hólmfríður Arnarsdóttir, Director of BirdLife Iceland, told Vísir. “There are only a few hours a day of sunlight, so there is less time to look for food and more time that must be dedicated to keeping warm, i.e. the entirety of the night.”

Hólmfríður stated that it is extremely important for people to feed the birds and make sure that they get water while the cold weather persists: “It’s best to feed them twice a day: at dawn and at dusk.”

More pools to be closed?

On Tuesday, Rangárveitur, which manages the hot-water supply in three municipalities in South Iceland, published a press release to notify residents that the hot-water supply was nearing its limit. In light of the cold, the local authorities, on the advice of Veitur, decided to close three public pools in the area – in Hvolsvöllur, Hella, and Laugaland.

The cold could also affect swimming pools in the capital area. Steinthór Einarsson, Director of Operations and Services at ÍTR (Sports and Outdoor Activities), told Vísir yesterday that three public pools may need to be closed:

“There are three pools, Vesturbæjarlaug (West Reykjavík), Sundhöllin (Downtown Reykjavík), and Dalslaug (Grafarholt), which we may need to close due to the cold. I just received a message stating that they don’t need to be closed tomorrow (Friday, December 16), but we reassess every day. As there is a very cold forecast ahead, it’s impossible to say for certain.”