Airlines Eye Direct Flights Between China and Iceland

Keflavík airport

Chinese airlines, such as Juneyao and Air China, are exploring direct flights between China and Iceland. He Rulong, the Chinese ambassador to Iceland, revealed this at a press conference at the Chinese embassy today, VB.is reports.

Shanghai or Beijing to Keflavík

Last week, the ambassador discussed potential flight routes with Isavia, the national airport and air navigation service provider of Iceland. He told reporters that Isavia wants to strengthen its cooperation with Chinese airlines and that direct flights could begin within a few years. He hopes to see them up and running even sooner, as a large portion of tourists in Iceland visit from China.

“The discussions have been ongoing this year and I know they’re looking at options with a few different airlines,” the ambassador said. “The flights could be between Keflavík and either Shanghai or Beijing.”

Plans halted by pandemic

Direct flights had been in discussion shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic began and the airline Juneyao was already planning flights from Shanghai to Keflavík with a layover in Helsinki, Finland. Two flights per week were being scheduled, but the pandemic disrupted these plans.

“Many are now asking when this could happen,” the ambassador said. “Some say in five years, others in three. My answer would be that we should be even more optimistic and work hard to make this happen sooner rather than later.”

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Björk Among Plaintiffs in Fish Farming Case

björk 1997

The Westfjords Police will continue to investigate the escape of 3,500 salmons last August from a fish farm in Patreksfjörður run by the company Arctic Fish. Police had previously ended their investigation, but a motion from dozens of interested parties forced the issue, BB.is reports.

Among the plaintiffs was internationally renowned singer Björk Guðmundsdóttir. Björk is a member of AEGIS, a pressure group against offshore aquaculture, operating on behalf of the Icelandic Wildlife Fund (IWF).

Disastrous environmental effects

Police had dropped their investigation into whether Arctic Fish had breached laws governing fish farming in December of last year. Fish escaping from fish farms can have disastrous environmental effects. The farmed fish can carry parasites deadly to wild fish or even breed with the wild fish, producing offsprings that can not survive in nature.

The motion from environmental groups and angling societies caused the Public Prosecutor to intervene and have the police reopen the case. Gunnar Örn Petersen, the manager of the Federation of Icelandic River Owners, said that the Westfjord police commissioner was either incompetent or biased in the case. The commissioner’s stance had been that Arctic Fish could not be held liable for the circumstances leading to the escape.

Wild salmon safety in the public interest

The Public Prosecutor, however, noted that the manager and, in some cases, board members of Arctic Fish could be responsible for the internal monitoring of conditions and protocols regarding fish farming. They went on to state that all plaintiffs were eligible to file a motion in this case, as it pertains to the public interest of safeguarding the wild salmon population.

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Suspected Murder in Akureyri

Akureyri

A man is being detained by police following the death of his wife in their rental apartment in an Akureyri building. The man is in his 60s and will be held for a week on suspicion of murder, Vísir reports.

Domestic violence suspected

The woman was around 50 years old and the couple had just moved into the apartment this winter along with their son in his 20s. Neighbours described having heard shouting from the apartment at times, but did not notice anything Sunday night or Monday morning when the woman passed away. Police arrived at the scene Monday morning after 4 AM.

Police are investigating whether the incident was a case of domestic violence that resulted in the woman’s death, sources said.

No official information

However, local police have not given any official information about the case, not even about the age of the people involved or their relationships. The investigation is at a sensitive stage, police said, and Reykjavík Metropolitan Police technical staff have been flown north to Akureyri to assist in the crime scene investigation.

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Deep North Episode 71: Goodbye to the Grind

kaffi valeria snæfellsnes kirkjufell

The oldest known evidence of coffee in Iceland is a letter that Lárus Gottrup, a lawyer in Þingeyri, wrote to Árni Magnússon, a professor and manuscript collector, on November 16, 1703. They had spoken at the Alþingi (national Parliament meeting) that summer, and Árni was upset that his friend had forgotten to send him the coffee he had requested by spring ship from Copenhagen. To avoid leaving Árni stimulant-free, Gottrup sent 114 g of coffee beans (about a quarter of a pound) and noted that he himself did not like coffee: “After all, I’m not a fan of it.”

Nowadays, cafés dot the Icelandic landscape, from the bustling streets of Reykjavík to the most remote rural villages, each with its own character and charm, yet all sharing the same commitment to keep the community buzzing. And in one small West Iceland town, a fresh brew is bubbling: Kaffi Valeria, a specialty café steeping tradition and innovation in a country with a caffeine history as deep and intriguing as a cup of its finest roast.

Read the story here.

Ljósbrot to Open Cannes Film Festival Category

Cannes Film Festival

Ljósbrot, the forthcoming film from director Rúnar Rúnarsson, will be the opening film of the Un Certain Regard category at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

This will be the sixth festival in a row that an Icelandic film is part of official selection at Cannes, Klapptré reports.

Festival success

Ljósbrot is Rúnar’s fourth feature film. His first feature, Eldfjall (Volcano), was released in 2011 and was presented in the Director’s Fortnight category at Cannes. The film received 17 international awards at film festivals. His second feature, Þrestir (Sparrows), came out in 2015 and won the main prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival. His third feature from 2019, Bergmál (Echo), was selected for the Cannes Atelier screenwriting workshop and was premiered at the Locarno Film Festival. Rúnar has also had success with short films.

Ljósbrot takes place on a lovely spring day and follows Una, whose live changes in a moment, kicking off an emotional rollercoaster ride. It stars Elín Hall, Mikael Kaaber, Katla Njálsdóttir, Gunnar Hrafn Kristjánsson, Ágúst Wigum and Baldur Einarsson. Rúnar directs, writes the screenplay, and produces along with Heather Millard.

Iceland at Cannes

Several Icelandic films have been selected for the Cannes Film Festival before, both feature films and shorts, and for the festival’s independent sections, such as Director’s Fortnight and Critic’s Week.

1954: Hálendi Íslands / Magnús Jóhannsson (In Competition)
1984: Atómstöðin / Þorsteinn Jónsson (Director’s Fortnight)
1992: Ingaló / Ásdís Thoroddsen (Critics’ Week)
1992: Ævintýri á okkar tímum / Inga Lísa Middleton (Short Films)
1993: Sódóma Reykjavík / Óskar Jónasson (Un Certain Regard)
2003: Stormviðri / Sólveig Anspach (Un Certain Regard)
2005: Voksne mennesker / Dagur Kári (Un Certain Regard)
2008: Smáfuglar / Rúnar Rúnarsson (Short Films)
2009: Anna / Rúnar Rúnarsson (Director’s Fortnight)
2011: Eldfjall / Rúnar Rúnarsson (Director’s Fortnight)
2013: Hvalfjörður / Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson (Short Films)
2015: Hrútar / Grímur Hákonarson (Un Certain Regard)
2016: Sundáhrifin / Sólveig Anspach (Director’s Fortnight)
2018: Kona fer í stríð / Benedikt Erlingsson (Critics’ Week)
2019: Hvítur, hvítur dagur / Hlynur Pálmason (Critics’ Week)
2021: Dýrið / Valdimar Jóhannsson (Un Certain Regard)
2022: Volaða land / Hlynur Pálmason (Un Certain Regard)
2023: Fár / Gunnur Martinsdóttir Schlüter (Short Films)
2024: Ljósbrot / Rúnar Rúnarsson (Director’s Fortnight)

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