In Focus

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In Focus

In Focus: Where is Iceland’s Updated Constitution?

Between 2010 and 2012, Iceland “crowdsourced” a new constitution which was handed over to Parliament. A national referendum followed, where a majority voted for the document to be used as a foundation for constitutional reform. Yet it was never adopted. Fast forward nearly a decade: a group of activists is fighting for the “new constitution” […]

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COVID-19 Iceland
In Focus

In Focus: How Iceland’s Experts Are Tackling COVID-19

Iceland’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on February 28 in an Icelandic man in his 40s returning from Italy. The number of cases rose steadily until April 5, after which it started dropping as rapidly as it had shot up. In a matter of weeks, the country had managed to contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus, […]

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sale of state-owned Icelandic banks
Business

In Focus: Sale of State-Owned Banks

For years, Iceland’s government considered selling 25-50% of Íslandsbanki bank, currently fully owned by the State Treasury. Reducing state ownership of financial institutions was a turnaround in Iceland’s financial policy that had been in development for years. With memories of the banking collapse still strong in the minds of the public, many were opposed to […]

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avalanche barriers
In Focus

In Focus: Avalanche Barriers

On January 14, 2020, three large avalanches fell in quick succession in the Westfjords of Iceland. One avalanche fell in Súgandafjörður, directly across from Suðureyri, causing a tidal wave to strike the town that, ultimately, did little damage. The other two fell in Flateyri, causing more significant destruction. The timing of the avalanches was noteworthy. […]

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In Focus

In Focus: Municipal Mergers

It’s Monday morning. Katrín wakes up and gets her daughter ready for school. After dropping her off, she heads to the local library, where she does freelance work. On her way there, she notices the progress in the apartment housing being built across the street: she’s renting now but has put a down payment on an apartment there. During her lunch break, Katrín drives out of town for a walk at her favourite hiking spot. Since it was designated as a protected area several years ago, it’s been getting more popular. She works until 5.00pm. Her daughter participates in an after-school program until then. After picking her up, they head to the local pool for a bit of fun before dinner. One organisation has had a hand in every aspect of Katrín’s day, as well as her daughter’s: her local council.

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Landmannalaugar
In Focus

In Focus: Proposed Highland National Park

The Icelandic highland is one of the largest uninhabited, uncultivated areas in Europe. Almost all of Iceland’s population lives near the coastline, owing both to the barrenness and the coldness of the highland, and to Iceland’s fishing-based economy. The government is now planning to designate the entirety of the Icelandic highland as a national park, which would make it one of the largest national parks in the world, covering 30% of the country. But not everyone is on board with the idea.

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Samherji ship fishing capelin
Business

In Focus: Samherji Scandal

One of the biggest news stories to break last year alleged that one of Iceland’s largest seafood companies, Samherji, had bribed Namibian government officials to gain access to lucrative fishing grounds, while also taking advantage of international loopholes to avoid taxes. The story was reported collaboratively by Kveikur, Stundin Newspaper, and Al Jazeera Investigates, after months of investigations sparked by the confessions of whistleblower Jóhannes Stefánsson, a former project manager for Samherji in Namibia. The following report is based on their extensive research.

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fireworks pollution
Culture

In Focus: No Smoke Without Fireworks

Reykjavík’s New Year’s Eve fireworks tradition results in much pollution, yet it’s also the primary source of funding for the country’s search and rescue teams.

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In Focus

In Focus: Municipal Mergers

It’s Monday morning. Katrín wakes up and gets her daughter ready for school. After dropping her off, she heads to the local library, where she does freelance work. On her way there, she notices the progress in the apartment housing being built across the street: she’s renting now but has put a down payment on an apartment there. During her lunch break, Katrín drives out of town for a walk at her favourite hiking spot. Since it was designated as a protected area several years ago, it’s been getting more popular. She works until 5.00pm. Her daughter participates in an after-school program until then. After picking her up, they head to the local pool for a bit of fun before dinner. One organisation has had a hand in every aspect of Katrín’s day, as well as her daughter’s: her local council.

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candy sugar tax
In Focus

In Focus: Proposed Sugar Tax

In an effort to improve public health, the Icelandic government plans to impose a sugar tax of 20% on products such as candy, chocolate, and sweetened soft drinks.

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