The Libertarian Federation of Iceland
Íslenska Frjálshyggjumaður Ríkjasamband
WEB OF LFI-IFR


Anarchism in Iceland

Iceland was the first anarchist country in the world, since the velvet anarchist revolution May Day 1966, and is still an Anarchy. The "Pots & Pans Revolution" since 2008 is an extension of the revolutionary change of 1966. 01.05.2011 libertarians world wide celebrate both 1. International Labor Day 125 years since the initialization related to the Chicago anarchists in 1886, and 2. the Icelandic Anarchist Revolution 45 years.

The anarchist black flag flew at the Icesave referendum. Iceland rejects bank payback plans two times. Anarchist Economics. May Day 2011 is both a day of action, history and celebration, see International Workers of the World - IWW.

Ragnar Frisch, the Norwegian economic Nobel Prize winner, and social-individualist anarchist, declared Iceland as an ideal in a radio speech in connection with the Nobel Prize in 1969, indicating Iceland was a social-individualist anarchy already, probably about 50-51% degree of anarchy. Anarchy in Iceland, of very low degree, but > 50 %, is registered since 1966/67. The revolutionary change, i.e. when Iceland entered the social-individualist sector of the anarchist quadrant of the economic-political map, de facto a velvet anarchist revolution, is symbolic rooted back to May Day 1966, when Labor Day was first celebrated as a public holiday in the country, i.e. in an otherwise rather libertarian social system.

Iceland was the first Anarchy in the world, and the country is still anarchist. 01.05.1966 is celebrated as the Day of the Anarchist Revolution in Iceland, by libertarians word wide. Remember the anarchist economy in Spain 1936-39 was only in a part of the country, and thus Spain, the whole country, has never been an Anarchy. And ancient systems and countries, archi-societies, were based on slaves and/or lack of significant economic freedom, and thus practically certain never anarchies.

IIFOR has estimated the degree of anarchism in Iceland for the 2000s to about 52 %, i.e. significant. This is a structural, i.e. a long term average, estimate. The last years', retrospectively seen, overinvestment in the banking sector, and per 2008 estimated coming 2 years of recession, may indicate a small and relatively insignificant temporary dip in the anarchy degree, but will probably not alter the degree of anarchy significantly, seen as a long term structural estimate. It confirms however the relatively strong capitalist tendency, i.e. about 46%, relatively stronger than in Norway.

Iceland is ranked as number three according to libertarian degree among the countries of the world, after Norway and The Swiss Confederation. The "Pots & Pans Revolution" of Iceland since 2008 and ongoing, is an extension of the revolutionary change in 1966, and aiming at reducing the dip in the degree of anarchy in the country, and in the longer run increase the anarchy-degree above 52 %. Lots of the Icelandic people are de facto social-individualist anarchists and thus real democrats, but far from all use the label 'anarchist' about themselves, for different reasons.

In the reports quoted from the international newsmedia AIIS has corrected the word "government" of Iceland with "cabinet" or "central administration", as Iceland is an anarchy, and thus has no government in the meaning of archy/state/authorities, i.e. vertical organization - top heavy societal pyramid. Iceland is significantly horizontally organized, anarchistic. The economic-political system in Iceland is real democratic, an anarchy of low degree, as mentioned about 52 percent, i.e. significant. The AIIS calls on the newsmedia in general to report correctly about Iceland.

07-08.03.2010. Iceland rejects bank payback plan. Voters in tiny Iceland in a referendum defied their parliament and international pressure, resoundingly rejecting a $5.3 billion plan to repay Britain and the Netherlands for debts spawned by the collapse of an Icelandic bank - Icesave. According to final results released on Monday, 93.2 percent of voters said "no" in Saturday's ballot, while only 1.8 percent voted "yes". Referendum is a form of direct action as long as Libertarian Human Rights for the minority are secured, etc., i.e. being within the framework of real democracy.

The anarchist black flag flew at the demonstrations related to the first Icesave referendum. The Northern Anarchist Confederation and its Icelandic section the Libertarian Federation of Iceland - Íslenska Frjálshyggjumaður Ríkjasamband, declared that "the result of the referendum is satisfactory, and also pointing forward to NO to EU."

Anarchist economics: The unemployment rate for 2009 was about 8.03%. Thus, the demand management of the incompetent Icelandic cabinet in 2009 was a fiasco. The Icelandic cabinet should have listened more to the anarchists, and increased total demand about 9-10% via additional countercyclical fiscal and monetary measures broadly defined, to achieve full employment for 2009.

A realistic 3% unemployment scenario for 2010, with proper demand management. If the present mismanagement by the marxist cabinet continues, the average unemployment rate for 2010 will be 9-10 percent, an insult to the Anarchy of Iceland. The traditional Keynes type countercyclal monetary and fiscal policy measures, may not be sufficient. Measures to lower inflation and to achieve a modest increase in labor productivity, taking into account green economics, should also be introduced.

In this case the following scenario may be realistic: With about 8.025% unemployment in 2009 and no increase in the labor force from 2009 to 2010, 6% inflation and 1% increase in labor productivity from 2009 to 2010, the total demand nominally must increase exactly 12.91%, via proper countercyclal monetary and fiscal policy measures, from 2009 to 2010, to achieve 3% average unemployment rate for 2010. The marxist cabinet should follow this anarchist advice, and do proper demand management. Do it now! Updated 20.04.2010 and later.

The average unemployment rate for 2007 was 1.008, for 2008 - 1.642 percent, in 2009 - 8.025 percent, in 2010 - 8.192 percent and in 2011 - 7.058 percent, according to Iceland Directorate of Labor and Statistics Iceland. Thus, the demand management of the incompetent Icelandic marxist cabinet in 2009, 2010 and 2011 was a fiasco: The present mismanagement by the marxist cabinet must stop. Do proper demand management according to anarchist economics. Follow the advice of the World Economic Council. Do it now!

28.04.2010. LFI-IFR: Both the Icelandic president and the public should have referendum rights!

27.07.2010. Some 60 percent of the Icelandic public are now against EU-membership!

28.09.2010. Iceland's former PM taken to court. The Icelandic parliament, Althingi, passed a parliamentary resolution with 33 votes against 30 to take former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde to High Court (Landsdómur) on alleged negligence in office in the events leading up to the banking collapse in 2008.

05.10.2010. Demonstration. Thousands demonstrates outside Iceland's Parliament to show just how angry they are about the financial black hole the country is struggling to escape from. LFI-IFR supported the direct action, but condemned the ochlarchical throwing of a) eggs and b) red paint by marxist extremists.

02.12.2010. Support action for Julian Assange. IFR-LFI joins the Anarchist International support action for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

09.01.2011. Iceland summons US envoy over WikiLeaks probe.

09-10.04.2011. New Icesave referendum. No reason that the Icelandic people should pay for the criminal activities of the Icesave-plutarchs. The new proposed Icesave-deal was rejected in the referendum. The Northern Anarchist Confederation and its Icelandic section the Libertarian Federation of Iceland - Íslenska Frjálshyggjumaður Ríkjasamband, Sunday declared that "the result of the referendum is satisfactory, and also pointing forward to NO to EU."

01.10.2011. Icelandic parliament reconvenes amid protests.

20.10.2012. Referendum about proposals for a new constitution.

28.01.2013. Iceland cleared of all claims in Icesave dispute.

FABS in Iceland. The main Nordic and international libertarian progressive rock and punk-band FABS - the Federalist Anarchist Beat Society's five main albums are for listening and sale in Iceland at Tonlist.is, click on 1. The Ballad Of Exterazy Grax (1979), 2. FABS' Collection Album 1967-2008 (2008), 3. Punk Out For Fans Only (2009), 4. Soundtrack From Monter - Anarchist Criticism of Norway 1968 (2010), 5. Anarki i Norge - Anarchy in Norway (2011). See (click on:) FABS for more information. The FABS is major source of inspiration for the Northern Anarchist Confederation and the Icelandic section LFI-IFR.

Fellows in Iceland! Contact IFR-LFI Click here! and join the IFR-LFI-network today! Be a networkmember/subscriber to the IJ@/IFR-LFI/NAC/AI/IFA! Feel free to forward this information to your own network, and/or link up the Website of IFR-LFI at your blog or homepage. Join in the struggle for higher degree of Anarchy in Iceland etc.; i.e. for more socialism and autonomy; against economical plutarchy - that is capitalism; and against statism -- here -- and world wide... Of course a struggle without ochlarchy (mob rule broadly defined), the opposite of anarchist, anarchy and anarchism!!! A struggle for anarchy and anarchism as opposed to all forms of marxism (state-socialism), liberalism and fascism, including populism. A struggle for a movement of the societal, i.e. economical and political/administrative, systems -- in libertarian direction, less authoritarian degree... The IFR-LFI always works and demonstrates with dignity, uses real matter of fact arguments and adds weight behind via direct actions, mass actions, and via elections. More information is available via Contact IFR-LFI Click here.

Resolution, decided with general consent by IFR-LFI and :
The International Anarchist Congress
The 11th Anarchist Biennial 27-28.11.2010
International Congress-Seminar on Anarchism
The AI/IFA network represents more than 50 000 anarchist world wide
To see the Website of the Congress - Click here!
Updated

CONTENTS:
HISTORY AND THE PRESENT ECONOMIC-POLITICAL SYSTEM
ANARCHIST ECONOMICS
UPDATED NEWS AND COMMENTS

Latest updates at the bottom of this document

HISTORY AND THE PRESENT ECONOMIC-POLITICAL SYSTEM

The early history of Iceland can be described as the age of settlement (874-930), and commonwealth (930-1262). In 930, the ruling chiefs established an assembly called the Alþingi (Althing). The parliament convened each summer at Þingvellir, where representative chieftains (Goðorðsmenn or Goðar) amended laws, settled disputes and appointed juries to judge lawsuits. Laws were not written down, but were instead memorized by an elected Lawspeaker (lögsögumaður). The Alþingi is sometimes stated to be the world's oldest existing parliament. Importantly, there was no horizontally organized or otherways organized executive body, and therefore laws were enforced only by persons or families/groups arbitrarely. Such an environment is very conducive to blood-feuds, which provided the writers of the Icelanders' sagas with plenty of material. The Althing had a libertarian tendency, but the system seen all in all was not anarchy at that time. 

Iceland turned to christianity and there was a civil war that ended the Commonwealth. There was also a little ice age, making living hard on Iceland. Iceland was under Norwegian and Danish kings (1262-1944), mostly Danish rule. There was an independence movement that finally ended with establishing of the Republic of  Iceland in 1944, later adopting  NATO membership.

Ragnar Frisch, the Norwegian economic Nobel Prize winner, and social-individualist anarchist, declared Iceland as an ideal in a radio speech in connection with the Nobel Prize in 1969, indicating Iceland was a social-individualist anarchy already, probably about  50-51% degree of anarchy. Anarchy in Iceland, of very low degree, but > 50 %, is registered since 1966/67. The revolutionary change, i.e. when Iceland entered the social-individualist sector of the anarchist quadrant of the economic-political map, de facto a velvet anarchist revolution, is symbolic rooted back to May Day 1966, when Labor Day was first celebrated as a public holiday in the country, i.e. in an otherwise rather libertarian social system.

Iceland was the first Anarchy in the world, and the country is still anarchist. 01.05.1966 is celebrated as the Day of the Anarchist Revolution in Iceland, by libertarians word wide. Remember the anarchist economy in Spain 1936-39 was only in a part of the country, and thus Spain, the whole country, has never been an Anarchy. And ancient systems and countries, archi-societies, were based on slaves and/or lack of significant economic freedom, and thus practically certain never anarchies.

IIFOR has estimated the degree of anarchism in Iceland for the 2000s to about 52 %, i.e. significant. This is a structural, i.e. a long term average, estimate. The last years', retrospectively seen, overinvestment in the banking sector, and per 2008 estimated coming 2 years of recession, may indicate a small and relatively insignificant temporary dip in the anarchy degree, but will probably not alter the degree of anarchy significantly, seen as a long term structural estimate. It confirms however the relatively strong capitalist tendency, i.e. about 46%, relatively stronger than in Norway.

Iceland is ranked as number three according to libertarian degree among the countries of the world. The "Pots & Pans Revolution" of Iceland since 2008 and ongoing, is an extension of the revolutionary change in 1966, and aiming at reducing the dip in the degree of anarchy in the country, and in the longer run increase the anarchy-degree above 52 %. Lots of the Icelandic people are de facto social-individualist anarchists and thus real democrats, but far from all use the label 'anarchist' about themselves, for different reasons.

The system in Iceland is a form of social-individualist anarchism, see System theory and economic-political map, even further from the anarchist ideal than Norway. The authoritarian degree, the relative distance from the anarchist ideal with 100% degree of anarchy, is about 48% in Iceland.  The Icelandic section of the Northern Anarchist Confederation (NAC) and the Anarchist International (IFA-AI) is Íslenska Frjálshyggjumaður Ríkjasamband (the Libertarian Federation of Iceland). It is a loose network of subscribers/networkmembers to the FB/IJA-newsletters since 1982, not a firm organization.

In the reports quoted from the international newsmedia AIIS has corrected the word "government" of Iceland with "cabinet" or "central administration", as Iceland is an anarchy, and thus has no government in the meaning of archy/state/authorities, i.e. vertical organization - top heavy societal pyramid. Iceland is significantly horizontally organized, anarchistic. The economic-political system in Iceland is real democratic, an anarchy of low degree, as mentioned about 52 percent, i.e. significant. The AIIS calls on the newsmedia in general to report correctly about Iceland.

THE 25 HIGHEST RANKING COUNTRIES ACCORDING TO LIBERTARIAN DEGREE ETC.
SYSTEM ANALYSIS

Countries:

Rank of country according to libertarian degree, and type of system

Libertarian degree and (authoritarian degree) %

Degree of socialism
and (capitalism) %

Degree of autonomy and
(statism) %

Gini-index

Norway

1 Anarchy

54,0 (46,0)

55,0 (45.0)

53,2 (46,8)

25,8

Switzerland

2 Anarchy

53,0 (47,0)

51,0 (49,0)

55,1 (44,9)

33,1

Iceland

3 Anarchy

52,0 (48,0)

54,0 (46,0)

50,1 (49,9)

25,0 (est.)

Liechtenstein

4 Soc.dem.

49,5 (50,5)

51,4 (48,6)

47,7 (52,3)

32,0 (est.)

Luxembourg

5 Soc.dem.

49,2 (50,8)

52,1 (47,9)

46,5 (53,5)

30,8

Denmark

6 Soc.dem.

48,8 (51,2)

55,3 (44,7)

43,0 (57,0)

24,7

Japan

7 Soc.dem.

48,5 (51,5)

55,2 (44,8)

42,6 (57,4)

24,9

Belgium

8 Soc.dem.

48,2 (51,8)

54,0 (46,0)

43,0 (57,0)

25,0

Finland

9 Soc.dem.

47,9 (52,1)

53,8 (46,2)

42,6 (57,4)

26,9

Sweden

10 Soc.dem.

47,5 (52,5)

54,0 (46,0)

41,7 (58,3)

25,0

Netherlands

11 Soc.dem.

47,2 (52,8)

52,0 (48,0)

42,8 (57,2)

30,9

Canada

12 Soc.dem.

46,8 (53,2)

50,9 (49,1)

43,0 (57,0)

33,1

Austria

13 Soc.dem.

46,5 (53,5)

52,1 (47,9)

41,4 (58,6)

30,0

Ireland

14 Populist

46,2 (53,8)

45,0 (55,0)

47,4 (52,6)

35,9

Germany

15 Soc.dem.

45,9 (54,1)

53,0 (47,0)

39,6 (60,4)

28,3

Spain

16 Soc.dem.

45,5 (54,5)

51,5 (48,5)

40,1 (59,9)

32,5

Australia

17 Populist

45,0 (55,0)

48,0 (52,0)

42,2 (57,8)

35,2

United King.

18 Populist

44,5 (55,5)

44,7 (55,3)

44,3 (55,7)

36.0

New Zealand

19 Populist

44,0 (56,0)

44,6 (55,4)

42,4 (57,6)

36,2

France

20 Soc.dem.

43,5 (56,5)

51,4 (48,6)

36,6 (63,4)

32,7

Italy

21 Populist

43,0 (57,0)

44,7 (55,3)

41,3 (58,7)

36,0

USA

22 Cons. lib.

42,5 (57,5)

24,5 (75,5)

69,8 (30,2)

40,8

Israel

23 Populist

42,3 (57,7)

47,8 (52,2)

37,3 (62,7)

35,5

Hong Kong

24 Cons. lib.

42,1 ( 57,9)

22,1 (77,9)

74,8 (25,2)

43,4

Greece

25 Populist

42,0 (58,0)

47,9 (52,1)

36,6 (63,4)

35,4

The estimates are approximately figures. © IIFOR/IJA ISSN 0800 – 0220 2007 and later.
Anarchy = here social-individualist anarchism; Soc. dem. = social democrat marxism; Populist = here moderate parliamentarian democratic fascism; Cons. lib. = Conservative liberalism. Ranking of countries according to libertarian degree, estimates of the libertarian degree in general, and information on methodology, see Ranking, especially the footnotes , and economic-political map at System theory .

A short report fram an anarchist activist in Iceland

Anarchist activity in Iceland is mostly focusing on two scenes - literature and environmental protection. We run a library which contains some 1000 titles... "Saving Iceland" is an international direct action environmental movement, determined in saving Iceland and more of the world from the greed of the heavy industry and the fast growing energy industry. With direct action protest camp every summer for the last three years the group has stirred things up quite a bit in this tiny community since direct action as a political tool is mostly unknown here. At least people do not connect strikes with lock-ons or street blockades.

Best wishes
Siggi in Iceland

"

Anarchists and other activists protesting against the responsible for the recession in Iceland (Nov. 2008)
The Anarchist International and the Northern Anarchist Confederation give full support to these demonstrations on Iceland, i.e. as long as they are without ochlarchy, mob rule broadly defined. AI and NAC call for larger degree of autonomy and socialism, i.e. increased degree of anarchy, and thus less degree of capitalism and statism. This includes of course never to be a member of the European Union, with only marxist and populist member states and top-heavy bureaucracy, and no room for anarchy.

Resolution unanimously decided upon by the
The International Anarchist Congress
The 10th Anarchist Biennial 29-30.11.2008

ANARCHIST ECONOMICS

Full employment now! Proper demand management now!

21-22.01.2009: The Northern Anarchist Confederation (NAC), supports the Icelandic people, seen as a class as opposed to the superiors in rank and/or income, and says: Production is real income, not money in the bank - you can't eat money, the things with real economical value are produced goods and services and natural resources. In the name of the social-individualist anarchist Ragnar Frisch: Think real economics - not fiction/money quasieconomics. Iceland should approximately follow this anarchist economical plan, or it will not get the problems solved! - The sooner the better! The public administration should do anarchist economic demand management. With about 8% unemployment, 20% inflation and 2% increase in labor productivity, the public administration should via expansive fiscal and monetary policy see to that total demand increases about = 8% + 20% + 2% = 30%, to achieve full employment. This is as mentioned an approximation and a pedagical simplification. With about 2% unemployment in 2008 and no increase in the labor force from 2008 to 2009, the exact figure is 25% increased demand nominally from 2008 to 2009, to achieve full employment in 2009. The consistent estimate of increased demand from 2008 to 2009, accounted without additional countercyclical fiscal and monetary measures, is 15%. Thus, to achieve full employment, additional countercyclical fiscal and monetary policy measures must increase the total demand nominally 25-15 = 10% of GDP in 2008.

22.01.2009: Comment from J.K.S. (Iceland): "This is exactly what should be fought for. All should unite on this. Great work."

Update 25.03.2009: With about 8% unemployment, 15% yearly inflation and 2% increase in labor productivity, the public administration should via expansive fiscal and monetary policy see to that total demand increases about = 8% + 15% + 2% = 25%, to achieve full employment in 2009. This is as mentioned an approximation and a pedagical simplification. With about 2% unemployment in 2008, and no increase in the labor force from 2008 to 2009, the exact figure is 20% increased demand nominally from 2008 to 2009, to achieve full employment in 2009. The consistent estimate of increased demand from 2008 to 2009, accounted without additional countercyclical fiscal and monetary measures, is 10%. Thus, to achieve full employment, additional countercyclical fiscal and monetary policy measures must increase the total demand nominally 20-10 = 10% of GDP in 2008. In both scenarios we have the same conclusion: To achieve full employment, additional countercyclical fiscal and monetary policy measures must increase the total demand nominally 10% of GDP in 2008. (Updated 22.04.2009).

A 3rd scenario. The traditional Keynes type countercyclal monetary and fiscal policy measures, may however not be sufficient. Measures to lower inflation and to achieve a modest increase in labor productivity, taking into account green economics, should also be introduced. In this case the following scenario may be realistic. With about 2% unemployment in 2008 and no increase in the labor force from 2008 to 2009, 8% unemployment in 2009, 10% inflation, and 1% increase in labor productivity the total demand nominally must increase exact 13.37% from 2008 to 2009 to achieve full employment. The consistent estimate of increased demand from 2008 to 2009, accounted without additional countercyclical fiscal and monetary measures, is 4.30%. Thus, to achieve full employment, in this 3rd scenario, additional countercyclical fiscal and monetary policy measures must increase the total demand nominally 13.37-4.30% = 9.07% of GDP in 2008. (Updated 28.04.2009) .

The countercyclical fiscal and monetary measures broadly defined were not sufficient to reach about full employement i 2009. The unemployment rate for 2009 was about 8.03%. Thus, the demand management of the incompetent Icelandic cabinet in 2009 was a fiasco, although the situation in Iceland was not as bad as in the USA and in the EU's Euro-zone, both with about 10% unemployment for 2009. The Icelandic cabinet should have listened more to the anarchists, and increased total demand about 9-10% via additional countercyclical fiscal and monetary measures broadly defined, to achieve full employment for 2009. The inflation from 2009 to 2010 is forecasted to about 7%. (Updated 10.03.2010)

A realistic 3% unemployment scenario for 2010, with proper demand management. If the present mismanagement by the marxist cabinet continues, the average unemployment rate for 2010 will probably be about 9-10 percent, an insult to the Anarchy of Iceland. The traditional Keynes type countercyclal monetary and fiscal policy measures, may not be sufficient. Measures to lower inflation and to achieve a modest increase in labor productivity, taking into account green economics, should also be introduced. In this case the following scenario may be realistic: With about 8.025% unemployment in 2009 and no increase in the labor force from 2009 to 2010, 6% inflation and 1% increase in labor productivity from 2009 to 2010, the total demand nominally must increase exactly 12.91%, via proper countercyclal monetary and fiscal policy measures, from 2009 to 2010, to achieve 3% average unemployment rate for 2010. The marxist cabinet should follow this anarchist advice, and do proper demand management. Do it now! (Updated 20.04.2010 and 25.11.2010).

The average unemployment rate for 2007 was 1.008, for 2008 - 1.642 percent, in 2009 - 8.025 percent, in 2010 - 8.192 percent and in 2011 - 7.058 percent, according to Iceland Directorate of Labor and Statistics Iceland. These numbers are arithmetic means of the monthly figures of each year in the table below. Thus, the demand management of the incompetent Icelandic marxist cabinet in 2009, 2010 and 2011 was a fiasco: The present mismanagement by the marxist cabinet must stop. Do proper demand management according to anarchist economics. Follow the advice of the World Economic Council. Do it now!

Iceland unemployment rate

The labor force is defined as the number of people employed plus the number unemployed but seeking work.
The unemployment rate is the [number of people unemployd/labor force]100%. The table shows the average unemployment rate percent per month.
Sources: Iceland Directorate of Labor and Statistics Iceland.

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2013 5.40 4.70 6.40 5.70 4.90 5.50 4.70          
2012 6.60 7.30 7.50 7.60 8.80 5.20 4.40 6.30 5.90 5.20 4.60 5.40
2011 7.90 7.90 7.60 9.90 11.0 4.70 5.40 6.20 6.00 7.00 5.20 5.90
2010 9.00 9.30 9.30 9.00 8.30 7.60 7.50 7.30 7.10 7.80 8.10 8.00
2009 6.60 8.20 8.90 9.10 8.70 8.10 8.00 7.70 7.20 7.60 8.00 8.20
2008 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.10 1.10 1.20 1.30 1.90 3.30 4.80
2007 1.30 1.30 1.30 1.10 1.10 1.00 0.90 0.90 0.80 0.80 0.80 0.80

The OECD - Harmonised Unemployment Rates (HURs), for Iceland were 3.0 percent in 2008, 7.2 percent in 2009, 7.5 percent in 2010, and for last quarter of 2010, 8.5 percent.

More about anarchist economics and demand management towards full employment, see General theory of anarchist economics.

UPDATED NEWS AND COMMENTS
Latest updates at the bottom of this document

23.01.2009: Iceland announces early election! Icelandic Prime Minister Geir Haarde has called an early general election for 9 May, adding that he will not stand again because of a throat tumour. There have been several protests against the public administration since October, when Iceland's financial system collapsed in the global credit crunch. On Wednesday, angry protesters surrounded Mr Haarde's car outside the central administration's building in the capital Reykjavik, banging on the vehicle's windows and pelting it with eggs. Mr Haarde's heads a coalition administration with the Social Democratic Alliance which, having been formed after elections in 2007, was not legally required to call a general election until 2011. But the council of state has come under increasing pressure as it struggles to get its banking system working again following the nationalisation of its biggest banks in October. The NAC declares: "Icelandic fellows! Remember! Demonstrate with dignity - not ochlarchy!"

24.01.2009: The situation in Reykjavik is continued demonstrations, today without ochlarchy, the protesters are not satisfied with an early election, and call for resignation of the council of state now. 25.01.2009: Following the pressure from the people's mass demonstrations, Minister of Commerce Bjorgvin Sigurdsson, one of the responsible for the crisis, has resigned. 26.01.2009: Iceland's Prime Minister Geir Haarde, and the rest of the cabinet, have resigned. The prime minister said he would speak to Iceland's president to dissolve the cabinet formally. Protesters were dancing in the street outside the Althing, and said the next target was the Icelandic Central Bank. Iceland's economy is heavily export-based, and with lower exchange rates it is likely that primary exports and tourism will be the main drivers of the future economy, not banking. President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said he would not give any party a mandate to form a new cabinet until Tuesday at the earliest. The Left-Green Movement (Vinstrihreyfingin - grænt framboð) is leading in the polls, but the anarchists are warning about this party's leftwing extremism and marxist authoritarianism. Communism with a dash of green is not the solution to the Icelandic problems.

27.01.2009: New coalition talks for Iceland. Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson has asked the leader of the Social Democratic Alliance to try to form an interim cabinet. He told reporters he had asked party leader Ingibjorg Gisladottir to hold talks with the Left Green Party on forming a minority coalition. The Left Green Party reportedly wants elections brought forward, possibly to April. Meanwhile, the Social Democrats want to replace the governor of the central bank, whom many blame for the country's sudden lurch from prosperity to economic meltdown. They also reportedly want to hold a referendum on European Union membership. The anarchists say: Vote NO to EU!!!  29.01.2009: Discussions between the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens on the formation of a new coalition cabinet are still ongoing. 30.01.2009: It is most likely that the new Icelandic ministers for commerce and for justice will not be MPs, Stod 2 news reported last night. University of Iceland economics professor Gylfi Magnússon and Bifrost University professor Bryndis Hlodversdottir are considered the most likely candidates. According to Stod 2 news, the still unannounced new cabinet is particularly keen to have a woman as Minister for Justice; and Hlodversdottir apparently fits the bill. Meanwhile, Magnússon has been a regular and outspoken media feature since the banking collapse. He has a doctorate in economics from Yale University in the USA and is one of the many economists to predict the crash long before it happened.

31.01.2009: The protests continue. Prospective Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir of the Social Democrats and chairman of the Left-Greens Steingrímur J. Sigfússon announced at noon that the new coalition cabinet will probably be appointed tomorrow, and not today as expected. The Social Democrats and the Left-Greens plan to form a minority cabinet, that is, with the minority of MPs in parliament, and therefore they require backing from the Progressive Party, which needed more negotiations. The Progressive Party (Framsóknarflokkurinn) is an agrarian, liberal and centrist party in Iceland. The seventeenth Reykjavik protest meeting goes ahead today as planned at 15.00 on Austurvollur Square. Later on this evening, The Voices of the People (Raddir Fólksins) protest group has organized Busahaldaboogie, a "victory concert" at Nasa nightclub. The protesters have already had some of their desires fulfilled; but have pledged to continue protesting until the heads of the Central Bank of Iceland have been replaced.

01.02.2009: The Norwegian communist (ml) newspaper Klassekampen published an interview on Friday with Iceland's soon-to-be Left Green Party Minister of Finance. Steingrímur J. Sigfússon appeared on the front page of the paper under the headline, "Liking the Norwegian krona". Sigfússon says in the interview that he has requested talks with the Norwegian Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen on the expansion of financial co-operation between the two countries. She has been invited to Iceland at a time which coincides with the Left Green Movement's tenth anniversary: the 6th and 7th February. The Norwegian krona is considered by some to be an alternative option to Iceland taking up the euro, and the anarchists say "co-operation ok, but Iceland should not drop its own currency." Sigfússon said in the interview, among other things, that the Left Greens firmly believe that entry into the European Union does not best suit Iceland's national interests. The anarchists in this case agree with Sigfússon, and advocate in general more co-operation between the anarchist countries Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, as opposed to the more authoritarian EU, USA, etc. In the afternoon the new center-left cabinet (ríkisstjórn) is decided, and the PM, the lesbian Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, says they will start working on the economy tomorrow. The new cabinet will work until the next parliament election 25 April. It is once more confirmed that in Iceland, as in Norway and Switzerland, the system works significantly more from the bottom, grassroots, and upwards, than from the top downwards, to the bottom. Thus it is anarchism.

Prime Minister Sigurdardóttir said the new coalition will focus on restarting the economy and protecting the households. The new coalition will emphasize a responsible economic management and undertake many projects in a short period of time, she promised. It aims to assure an effective administration to carry out urgent measures, particularly for the benefit of households and business, for rebuilding the banking system, in the field of administrative reform and to carry out measures in favor of increased democracy. A strategy to fulfill these promises will be presented next week. Sigurdardóttir also said that the agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be honored and that the new cabinet is dedicated to co-operate with the IMF. According to ruv.is, the ministries will be allocated to the following MPs: Prime Minister (forsætisráðherra): Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir of the Social Democrats. Minister (ráðherra) of Social Affairs: Ásta Ragnheidur Jóhannesdóttir of the Social Democrats. Minister of Industry and Minister for Foreign Affairs: Össur Skarphédinsson of the Social Democrats. Minister of Transport: Kristján Möller of the Social Democrats. Minister of Finance, Fisheries and Agriculture: Steingrímur J. Sigfússon of the Left-Greens. Minister of Health: Ögmundur Jónasson of the Left-Greens. Minister of Education: Katrín Jakobsdóttir of the Left-Greens. Minister of the Environment: Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir of the Left-Greens. Two new ministers do not have a seat in parliament: Minister of Business Affairs: Gylfi Magnússon, associate professor of economics at the University of Iceland. Minister of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs: Ragna Árnadóttir, the ministry's current undersecretary.  

02.02.2009: Iceland cabinet to end protests? Iceland's finance minister, the authoritarian leftist marxist Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, has said a priority of the new interim cabinet is to end the protests sparked by the collapse of the country's economy. Mr Sigfússon, the Left-Greens' leader, said the cabinet would restore calm to the island nation by "trying to meet all the demands of the people". "We are going to try to take care of the families, the households and businesses as well as we can in the short period that we are going to be operating in," he said. "We are going to take measures to increase direct democracy, change the constitution, and introduce a new electoral law." "Also, open up, give information, and tell the people the truth about the difficulties we are facing," he added. Mr Sigfússon said the cabinet would at the same time attempt to lay foundations for the rebuilding of Iceland's economy and society. "We have been severely hit by the global financial crisis, and the internal collapse of the banking system, but we are going to get out of this," he said. After being sworn in on Sunday, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir said one of her first acts would be to "change the leadership of the central bank", which failed to prevent the collapse of the banking system.

Protesters picketing parliament have blamed the bank's governor, former conservative prime minister David Oddsson, for Iceland's rapid economic expansion that imploded last year. Ms Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir - Iceland's first female prime minister and the world's first openly gay leader - also announced that she had asked a parliamentary committee to look into joining the European Union. However, Mr Sigfússon said the interim cabinet would not make any decisions about the EU before the general election on 25 April. "It'll be up to the next cabinet to decide, and of course to the Icelandic people," he said. The protests will not end until about full employment is reached, the anarchists say: "Iceland has no cabinet in the meaning of topheavy pyramid organization, but anarchy, and so it shall be!"

03.02.2009: Central Bank leaders to be sacked. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir will present a bill at a cabinet meeting today on amendments to legislation on Iceland's Central Bank, including reducing the bank's governors from three to one. The resulting position will be advertised. Yesterday Sigurdardóttir sent letters to the Central Bank's three current governors, Ingimundur Fridriksson, Eiríkur Gudnason and Davíd Oddsson, who is also chairman, requesting that they step down as soon as possible to restore faith in the bank and economic management in the country. The prime minister requested an answer from the Central Bank governors by Thursday this week. The governors will then have the opportunity to negotiate the terms of their resignation. Sigurdardóttir's bill will first be discussed in the cabinet, then at the Social Democrats' and the Left-Greens' party meetings and finally with the Progressive Party, who defend the minority cabinet from a vote of no confidence. "Generally I believe that it can be preferable to change the laws on the Central Bank, but if the matter primarily revolves around replacing the people in charge, there are better ways to go about that," chairman of the Progressive Party Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson said. The first cabinet meeting of the new Social Democrat and Left Green Movement Icelandic cabinet took place this morning at the central administration's meeting house. At the end of the meeting, party representatives hold a press briefing at the National Culture House. Minister of Education Katrín Jakobsdóttir said it is out of the question to introduce a tuition fee to the University of Iceland (HÍ) to improve its financial situation.

04.02.2009: Majority supports Iceland's new cabinet. According to a new opinion poll undertaken by the Stöd 2 news program, 67.4 percent of respondents support the new Social Democrat-Left-Green coalition. Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon is interested in pegging the Icelandic króna to the Norwegian króna and intends to thoroughly exploring the option, saying that the currency question is an important project for Iceland's future. Iceland's Special Investigator Takes Office. Ólafur Thór Hauksson, who was appointed spesifically to investigate the events leading up to the collapse of the country's banking system and as special prosecutor, began working yesterday and has hired four employees in his office. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir asked for cooperation from MPs of all parties in her keynote speech at the Althingi parliament Wednesday on matters aimed at softening the blow of the collapse of the banking system on the employment market, households and families. Sigurdardóttir also asked everyone to keep in mind that her cabinet only has 82 days to execute their plans. "Hopefully this cabinet will be remembered for having been the prelude of new times in Icelandic society where democracy …  means something. It is and should be the cabinet of the people."

05.02.2009: The protests continue, also on Internet... The Icelandic people, seen as a class in contrast to the superiors in rank and /or income, are still angry with the superiors, included politicians, a.o.t. expressed at Internet sites. The societal management including the public administration works, and shall work more and more from the people, grassroots, and upwards, not the other way around. The revolution must be permanent. The protests are also supported by international direct actions, a.o.t. by the Northern Anarchist Confederation, NAC, and the Anarchist International, AI. By the way, the reply from Iceland's Central Bank governors requested on Thursday regarding resignation, has been delayed.

06.02.2009: Protests are still going on in Iceland. The National Museum of Iceland and Reykjavík City Museum – Árbaejarsafn have expressed interest in acquiring objects used during the recent series of protests against the cabinet in Reykjavík, dubbed "The Pots and Pans Revolution." Protests are still going on in Iceland. The Voices of the People (Raddir Fólksins) organization is inviting people to attend the 18th demonstration in the series on Austurvöllur parliamentary square tomorrow to demand a more active democracy and no corruption.

Ingimundur Fridriksson, one of the three bank governors of Central Bank of Iceland asked on Friday to be discharged from office. Ingimundur and Eirikur Gudnason, answered on Friday afternoon the letter of Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, prime minister, but as mentioned earlier this week she demanded that all three bank governors of the central bank would request their discharge and negotiate about their employment termination agreement. The minister demanded in the letter that it would be answered no later then February 5th , Thursday, but the bank governors asked for a change of the deadline till Friday, since David Oddsson, chairman of the bank council, was expected to arrive in Iceland on Thursday night. With the letter sent from Ingimundur Fridriksson to the prime minister on Friday afternoon, was a request of his discharge from office effective from next Monday and the minister has approved the request. There are no information about the content of the letter from Eirikur Gudnason, other than that he did not request to be discharged from office. No answer had been received from David Oddsson, chairman of the bank council of the Central Bank. The delay of answers from the bank governors has raised media attention overseas, and AP newsroom reported on Thursday that the bank governors did not respect the prime minister of Iceland. The information were attained from the prime ministry on Friday night that Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, prime minister, would reconsider the position of this matter and how their reaction would be against Eirikur Gudnason and David Oddsson. "Sack these arrogant superiors", the anarchists declare.

07.02.2009: At the demonstration Saturday arranged by The Voices of the People (Raddir Fólksins) organization there were 500-1,000 people, i.e. the  people in attendance have dropped substantially. Iceland's population is 319,368 on 1st January 2009, up from 315,459 a year earlier. One of the speeches focused on the need to hold the tycoons who bankrupted this nation accountable - not only morally, but, more importantly, financially.

08.02.2009: Still problems at the Central Bank. There are those two Central Bank directors who refuse to step down from their posts, allegedly because they don't feel it is "fair" that they should have to go. Yet all across the nation people are being fired or laid off by the thousands as a result of rationalization or downsizing. Well, the new cabinet has decided to downsize the operations of the Central Bank. And the two remaining directors should have the decency to leave without complaint - just like the thousands of other Icelanders who are having to do the same, in large part due to the failures of those same Central Bank's directors. On that note, the organization The Voices of the People (Raddir Fólksins) is calling a protest in front of the Central Bank tomorrow Monday, where people are encouraged to show up at 8 am with their pots and pans, a continuation of what is being dubbed Búsáhaldarbyltingin, or "The Pots and Pans Revolution", in an effort to block the directors from entering the bank. If it worked before, who says it won't work again!

09.02.2009: Protest outside the Central Bank. Two of Iceland's Central Bank'as directors refuse to resign, but they will probably soon be sacked anyway. A group of protesters this morning gathered outside the Central Bank of Iceland in order to block the bank chiefs' access to the building as they arrived for work. The protestors brought pots and pans with them, as during the series of protests on Austurvöllur parliamentary square, and tried to prevent Oddsson and Gudnason from going to work. Central bank governors Davíd Oddsson and Eiríkur Gudnason have refused to resign despite receiving a request from Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir that they step down. The third governor, Ingimundur Fridriksson, has as mentioned complied with her request. According to Fréttabladid , Oddsson, who is also chairman of the board of governors, replied to Sigurdardóttir with a letter yesterday in which he accused her of violating laws intended to protect the Central Bank's independence and shield the board of governors from "political attacks". The PM issued a statement in response to Oddsson's letter last night, expressing her disappointment with his attitude, saying that Oddsson obviously doesn't share the cabinet's opinion that appointing new employees to the Central Bank will increase people's faith in it. Sigurdardóttir does not intend to make any further comments on his letter. According to Fréttabladid's sources, Sigurdardóttir will not suspend Oddsson and Gudnason, but wait until amendments on the Central Bank take effect, at which point they will automatically be made redundant and be entitled to salaries for 12 months from that date. It is uncertain when these amendments will take effect. The bill will be discussed by the parliament's economics and taxation committee today.

10.02.2009: Daily protests outside Iceland's Central Bank. A demonstration was held for the second day in a row outside the Central Bank of Iceland in downtown Reykjavík this morning. Protestors demanded the immediate resignation of bank governors Eiríkur Gudnason and Davíd Oddsson. Singer-songwriter Bubbi Morthens and his old punk band Egó joined the protestors and entertained the crowd of 50 to 60 people with a 30-minute long free concert. The protests are organized by the Voices of the People movement with musician Hördur Torfason as main spokesperson, who said that people will show up outside the Central Bank every morning until their demands are met. Torfason also encourages people to attend parliamentary sessions at Althing to follow discussions on the Central Bank bill. The "Pots and Pans Revolution" contributes to keep up the libertarian degree, that temporarily has decreased at bit due to the economic crisis, and should be continued.

No tax hike. PM Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir says it is absurd to rise taxes on the people of the country in the next semesters. It will not be done this year as the plans were. On the other hand it may happen in a few years that the taxes need to be raised and the public expenses need to be reduced. This is in Jóhannas answer to Sigurdur Kari Kristjansson, parliamentarian of the Independence party about possible tax raises. The Prime Minister's Office has received comments from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on technical matters regarding the bill on changes to the senior management of the Central Bank. The exact nature of these comments has not been revealed, Fréttabladid reports. The bill will be discussed at the parliament's trade committee today and, according to Fréttabladid's sources, it is hoped that it will be passed by parliament as early as mid-next week. As indicated above, once the bill takes legal effect, the two remaining governors of the Central Bank, Eiríkur Gudnason and Davíd Oddsson, will automatically be suspended. As mentioned they have both refused to resign and Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir is not expected to suspend them before the bill takes effect.

11-13.02.2009: The demonstrations outside Iceland's Central Bank continue in the morning... "Svælum skúrkinn úr Seðlabankanum, föstudaginn 13. febrúar kl. 08.00". Central Bank governor Eiríkur Gudnason announced his resignation as of June 1 in a letter received by Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir on Tuesday. The PM has expressed her disappointment with the announcement. Sigurdardóttir said Gudnason must be aware that he will never have a seat on the Central Bank board of governors until June. The Althing is currently discussing a bill on amendments to the laws applying to the bank's senior management and as mentioned once that bill has been passed, the governors will automatically be suspended.

14.02.2009: New demonstration, the 19th, at Austurvöllu. The Voices of the People (Raddir Fólksins) organization is inviting people to attend the 19th demonstration in the series on Austurvöllur parliamentary square 15.00: Raddir fólksins halda mótmælafund á Austurvelli laugardaginn 14. febrúar kl. 15.00. Yfirskrift fundarins er sem fyrr "Breiðfylking gegn ástandinu" . Þetta er nítjandi mótmælafundurinn í röð og krafan er skýr: Stjórn Seðlabankans verður að víkja.

16-21.02.2009: New demonstration, the 20th, at Austurvöllu. The Voices of the People (Raddir Fólksins) organization is inviting people to attend the 20th demonstration in the series on Austurvöllur parliamentary square 15.00 Saturday 21.02.2009: Næstu viðburðir: Mótmælafundur á Austurvelli laugardaginn 21. febrúar kl. 15.00. Left-Green vice-chair keen on longer cooperation. Minister of Education and vice-chairperson of the Left-Greens, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, said she is interested in continuing to work with the Social Democrats in Iceland's cabinet after the elections on April 25. "One party has been in power for 18 years and it is healthy for all societies to undergo changes," Jakobsdóttir told Morgunbladid, referring to the Independence Party. "This cabinet has some good ideas on how society can be rebuilt and wants to continue working on that." When asked about her party's stance on EU membership for Iceland, Jakobsdóttir said, "The Left-Greens is the party that has been most firmly against joining the European Union while the Social Democrats strongly support membership." "The two parties have to reach a joint solution on that issue if they're cooperation is to continue after the elections," Jakobsdóttir said, explaining that her main argument against joining the EU is that smaller nations are often ignored while the largest nations have the most influence. The anarchists again declare: "NO to EU".

22.02.2009: Unique Iceland documentary in the making. UK-based film producers Heather Millard and Charlie Southall are working a new and unique documentary concept "There & Back Again" about the current economic climate in Iceland — for, with, and by the people. The focus of the project will be on the human element of the crisis; the stories of people who have been affected by it, as Millard described in a press release. "Whilst at the Berlinale [Berlin International Film Festival] last week I met with the Icelandic Film Centre who are very interested in the project and Green Light Films," Millard said, adding: "Green Light Films, which are part of the SENA group, have signed a letter of distribution intent. Providing the film gets made they have agreed to distribute it in Icelandic cinemas, television and on DVD." Millard and Southall launched a website to support their project on Sunday last week and after only a few days they had received a high number of hits and more than 130 people had joined their group on Facebook. The duo is asking for individuals and organization to contribute with financial donations, time, skills and opinions. The funds raised will be used for hiring a production crew from Iceland in an effort to counteract the growing unemployment rates. "So far, we have received numerous offers of help, including a presenter, sound engineer, post production facilities, PR services and a production manager to name but a few," Millard said.

23.02.2009: New demonstration, the 21st, at Austurvöllu. The Voices of the People (Raddir Fólksins) organization is inviting people to attend the 21st demonstration in the series on Austurvöllur parliamentary square 15.00 Saturday 28.02.2009: Næstu viðburðir: Mótmælafundur á Austurvelli laugardaginn 28. febrúar kl. 15.00.

International investors! Invest in Iceland now. The Northern Anarchist Confederation and the Anarchist International call for more international engagement in Iceland. It is of critical importance for Iceland to improve international relations and increase its credit rating. The cabinet and the central administration has become increasingly inward looking since the banking collapse last October, at the expense of important international banking and trade – although it is certainly important to protect homes and businesses domestically. The NAC and AI call for more international realinvestment in Iceland. With the devaluation of the Icelandic krona, a highly skilled work force, many natural resources that can be developed environmentally sustainable and good infrastructure, the Icelandic economy is highly competitive. Invest in Iceland now!

24.02.2009: Central Bank bill delayed. The bill on changes to the senior management of the Central Bank was not passed by the Althing parliament's trade committee yesterday because Höskuldur Thórhallsson of the Progressive Party voted against it. Thórhallsson decided to support the proposal of the Independence Party on not passing the bill until a new EU report on bank matters is released, Fréttabladid reports. As mentioned once the bill is passed by parliament, the current Central Bank governors will automatically be made redundant. "Renewal is necessary to restore the credibility of the Central Bank in Iceland and abroad," the PM stated.

25.02.2009: Growing optimism in Iceland. Consumer confidence in Iceland showed a slight increase in February, despite unemployment figures rising steadily and inflation remaining rampant. The data from the Gallup polling company put consumer confidence at 24,3 – up from the all-time low of 19,5 recorded in January. The figures have been compiled in Iceland since March 2001. Free dinner. The owners of the restaurant Thai Keflavík in Reykjanesbaer municipality, southwest Iceland, have decided to offer guests a free meal tomorrow evening to lighten the load on those who are suffering during these difficult times. Magnús Heimisson, the operational manager of the restaurant and one of its owners, told Fréttabladid , that if tomorrow's initiative proves successful, Thai Keflavík will offer free meals on one evening per month until summer. "And then it will always be at the end of the month when people are in a tight spot," he said. Heimisson said many things have to be organized so that such an initiative can take place but that most people are willing to contribute. "I have been collecting fish, noodles and rice and I have asked family members to help. We are especially grateful for having received the fish at such a fair price." If Thai Keflavík isn't large enough for everyone who is interested in a free meal to dine there at the same time, then people are also invited to take the free meal home with them between 5 pm and 8 pm. Heimisson said that although "there's no such thing as a free lunch" is a well-known phrase in finance, "different rules apply to dinner."

26.02.2009: Central Bank governors resign. Eiríkur Gudnason and Davíd Oddsson, the governors of the Central Bank of Iceland, announced their resignation at a meeting today. Eiríkur Gudnason has worked in the Central Bank for forty years and hence was an important part of the Icelandic history. Oddsson was in the function since autumn 2005. The meeting was very short and crowded. Oddsson said that the bill on changes was at its final stage. He added that the Central Bank of Iceland has had trust all around the world and for that reason the banking system did not fail completely. Oddsson and Gudnason thanked the staff for their cooperation and received a handclap. The parliament's trade committee passed the cabinet's bill on changes to the senior management of the Central Bank last night. It will be up for a final round of discussions at parliament today and could take legal effect already tomorrow.  Salaries of officials in Iceland to decrease. The wage council has decided to lower the wages of around 400 officials as of March 1, by 3,3 to 15 percent. Higher salaries will decrease more than lower salaries. The wage council has also lowered the salaries of ministers and MPs, according to laws passed at the parliament shortly before Christmas.

27.02.2009: New Central Bank governor appointed. As provided for in Temporary Provision II of the Act Amending the Act on the Central Bank of Iceland, the Prime Minister today appointed Svein Harald Øygard provisionally to the position of Governor of the Central Bank and Arnór Sighvatsson provisionally as Deputy Governor. They have already commenced their duties. This was following up on the amendments to the Act on the Central Bank of Iceland passed by the Icelandic parliament Althing yesterday, which came into effect today. The acting Governor and acting Deputy Governor of the Central Bank are to fulfil these positions until appointments have been made to the positions of Governor and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank pursuant to an advertisement as provided for in the Act. Born in 1960, Svein Harald Øygard, graduated from the University of Oslo with a cand. oecon. degree in economics in 1985, focusing on macroeconomics especially. He is familiar with the works of the social-individualist anarchists and Nobel economic prize winners, Ragnar Frisch and Trygve Haavelmo, but his political tendency is not anarchist, but socialdemocrat. The NAC hope however he will contribute to continued anarchism in Iceland...

As Permanent Undersecretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Finance 1990-94, Svein Harald was responsible for macroeconomic policy, co-ordinating the cabinet's financial strategy and monetary policy, financial markets legislation and taxation issues. He directed a reform of Norwegian tax laws in 1992 and was a member of the Norwegian cabinet's working group examining the economic implications of Norway's possible EU accession. Svein Harald Øygard was involved in efforts by Norwegian authorities to resolve the banking and currency crisis experienced by the country in 1992. This was before Norway became an anarchy, in 1994/95. He was a member of the Economic Council of the Norwegian Labor Party until 2000. One of Øygard's first tasks will be to attend a meeting with a delegation from the International Monetary Fund

During the period from 1983 to 1990, Svein Harald worked for the Norwegian central bank Norges bank and the Norwegian parliament Stortinget. In the Ministry of Finance he was responsible for inflation analyses, price and wage modelling and other economic indicators. Since 1995, he has worked for consultants McKinsey & Co. in many areas of Europe, the US, South America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and served as Managing Director of McKinsey & Co. in Norway 2005-07. His work for McKinsey has involved in particular projects and strategy in energy, industry, public administration and finance.

Arnór Sighvatsson, acting Deputy Governor, has been Chief Economist at the Central Bank of Iceland since 2004. Prior to that he had been Deputy Chief Economist at the Central Bank of Iceland since 1995 and Head of the Bank's Economics department. He has worked for the bank since 1990. For two years, Arnór Sighvatsson served as Managing Director's assistant at the International Monetary Fund in Washington. After a period as university lecturer in the US, he worked for Statistics Iceland. Arnór graduated with a PhD in economics from Northern Illinois University in the US, and holds a master's degree in economics as well. He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals on economics and monetary policy, independently or in collaboration with other scholars. The prime focus of these articles has been international macroeconomics, international trade, currency and monetary issues. Arnór has served on various committees and in an administrative capacity for the Central Bank of Iceland.

28.02.2009: According to the Resident Register at the National Registry Office of Iceland, the population of Iceland was 319,368 on 1st January 2009, up from 315,459 a year earlier. That equates to a 1,2 percent increase over 12 months.

02.03.2009: Icelanders are a hard-working people, Svein Harald Øygard said in his first press conference as Iceland's new Central Bank governor, which is one of the reasons why he accepted the offer to lead the bank and the Icelandic nation out of the crisis. Øygard did not comment on whether or when the policy rate will be lowered, currently at 18 %, saying that the primary project ahead is to strengthen the currency of the Icelandic króna. When asked, Øygard said he believed the Central Bank enjoyed credibility, Morgunbladid reports. - No new mass layoffs had been announced to the Directorate of Labor on Friday. Although unemployment is still increasing in Iceland, it is increasing more slowly than in January, according to Gissur Pétursson, head of the directorate. - Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg, who arrived in Iceland last week, ruled out a monetary union between Iceland and Norway after a meeting with Iceland's new Central Banker Svein Harald Øygard on Friday. However, Norway is prepared to help their Icelandic cousins to strengthen their currency, banking system and economy, Stoltenberg added.

03.03.2009: The protests continue. New demonstration, the 22nd, at Austurvöllu. The Voices of the People (Raddir Fólksins) organization is inviting people to attend the 22nd demonstration in the series on Austurvöllur parliamentary square 15.00 Saturday 07.03.2009: Mótmælafundur á Austurvelli laugardaginn 7. mars kl. 15.00.

05.03.2009: Green milk splashed on green energy representatives. Three masked individuals splashed a green liquid — which police believe to be buttermilk with food coloring — on representatives of energy companies during a presentation of their operations at the University of Iceland (HÍ) yesterday, and then fled the scene. The companies Landsvirkjun, Nýorka, Geysir Green Engery and Metan presented their operations in booths on the HÍ square as part of the "Green Days" organized by Gaia, the association of Master students in Environment and Natural Resources studies, to raise awareness of ecological consumption and recycling. Gudmundur R. Jónsson, managing director of finance and operations at HÍ, told Fréttabladid that people are upset about the incident, adding that he suspects who the activists are, although no announcement has been made because of it. "I think it is rather pathetic when people are protesting against something while wearing masks and being afraid to showing their faces. Then they just run away and don't claim responsibility for anything," Jónsson said. A university staff member caught hold of one of the activists, but lost his grip as a spectator disrupted him. Police are investigating the case. The Green Anarchist International Association, GAIA, takes a clear stand against these masked ochlarchists. More information about green anarchism at GAIA and the Eco-Anarchist Manifesto, EAM .

06.03.2009: Progressive Party will join the left-wing parties in new cabinet. Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, leader of Iceland's Progressive Party said in an interview with mbl.is that he wants the upcoming elections to usher in a new cabinet coalition which includes his party. This cabinet should be strong enough to make the tough decisions needed in the current financial and political climate. When pushed on who his partners would ideally be, Gunnlaugsson said his party is looking towards the left. The centrist Progressive Party has historical leaned towards the left, but was coalition partner to the rightwing Independence Party from 1995-2007. He added though, that he would not rule out co-operation with the Independence Party if the leftwing parties are unable or unwilling to form a cabinet with the Progressive Party. The Progressive party's sister party in Norway, the Center Party, is currently in the center-left, red-green coalition cabinet, and is supported toghether with the centrist Left Party as the most libertarian parties,  by the Anarchist Federation of/in Norway, AFIN, to the parliament election in September 2009, see Stortingselection 2009 - a.o.t. results . The Northern Anarchist Confederation, NAC, which includes the network Íslenska Frjálshyggjumaður Ríkjasamband (the Libertarian Federation of Iceland), advocates a similar policy for Iceland as in Norway, with boycott of the authoritarian rightwing and leftwing parties, including The Left-Green Movement (Vinstrihreyfingin - grænt framboð), etc. As mentioned, the anarchists are warning about Left-Green Movement's leftwing extremism and marxist authoritarianism. Communism with a dash of green is not the solution to the Icelandic problems.

09.03.2009: Iceland's Straumur-Burdarás nationalized. The investment bank Straumur-Burdarás has been closed because of a poor liquid cash position and its operations have been taken over by the Icelandic central administration. The bank's CEO William Fall has resigned, affective immediately. Iceland's Kaupthing lent ISK 500 billion to owners. According to its loan records, Iceland's largest bank, Kaupthing, lent almost ISK 500 billion (USD 4.4 billion, EUR 3.5 billion) to some of its major owners at least three months before the collapse of the country's banking system... The Norwegian corruption hunter Eva Joly has been interviewed by Icelandic media, and suggests criminal investigations of the crisis in Iceland.

10.03.2009: The cabinet of Iceland has appointed Norwegian-French Magistrate Eva Joly as a special advisor on the investigation of cases linked to the country's economic collapse. Norwegian born Joly specialised in financial affairs during her studies in France. In 1990 she joined the High Court of Paris as an investigating judge. She quickly made a mark with her tireless crusade against corruption, taking on, among others, former minister Bernard Tapie and the bank Crédit Lyonnais. Her most famous case was that of France's leading oil company – Elf Aquitaine. In the face of death threats, she carried on the case to uncover several cases of fraud. She was named European of the Year by Reader's Digest in 2002. Mrs. Joly now also works as a special advisor to the Norwegian cabinet on money laundering and campaigns for tougher international action against fraud.

11.03.2009: The protests continue. New demonstration, the 23rd, at Austurvöllu. The Voices of the People (Raddir Fólksins) organization is inviting people to attend the 23rd demonstration in the series on Austurvöllur parliamentary square 15.00 Saturday 14.03.2009: Mótmælafundur á Austurvelli laugardaginn 14. mars kl. 15.00. "Breiðfylking gegn ástandinu. Frystum eignir auðmanna, afnemum verðtryggingu og færum kvótann aftur til þjóðarinnar." Historic elections at Iceland's largest labor union. Kristinn Örn Jóhannesson was elected chairman of the Commercial Workers Union (VR), Iceland's largest labor union, beating the sitting chairman Gunnar Páll Pálsson, who has been criticized for his connections with write-offs at Kaupthing. The anarchists urge VR to actively join the struggle for full employment in Iceland.

13.03.2009: Changes of the constitution towards more direct democracy. The Prime Minister has introduced a bill of constitutional legislation to the Althing, amending Iceland's constitution, together with a bill amending electoral legislation to allow voting for individual candidates. Both actions were on the task list of the cabinet and comprise part of the democratic reform measures promised. The cabinet has placed major emphasis on reforms to increase democracy, as is clearly demonstrated in these two bills. The constitutional bill provides for a new clause to be added to the constitution, prohibiting the permanent disposition by the state of natural resources owned by the nation. It would also add a new clause facilitating amendments to the constitution and ensuring that the general public can influence such changes through a referendum, rather than dissolving parliament and holding new elections. An amendment is to be added to the constitution making it mandatory to hold a referendum on specific issues if 15% of registered voters so demand. In addition, the bill would enshrine in the constitution a clause providing for the convening of a special constitutional congress. Earlier in the week the bill providing for election of individual candidates in national elections, rather than only lists of each party's candidates, was introduced.

Natural resources to become national assets. The draft constitutional legislation proposes to add specific clauses on natural resources and environmental issues to the constitution. These would state unequivocally that the state may not permanently relinquish natural resources owned by the nation and place natural resources in the wider context of environmental issues. The constitutional clause making natural resources a national asset will not jeopardise the rights of parties holding harvest rights under the fisheries management regime. The new constitutional clauses will affirm that vessel operators or other parties enjoying such authorisations will never acquire direct and permanent rights of ownership to fishing resources, and also confirms that the legislative body can, by virtue of its responsibility for natural resources on behalf of the nation, alter the arrangements of the fisheries management regime.

Direct democracy. The bill would add provisions to the constitution making it mandatory to hold a referendum on specific issues if 15% of registered voters so demand. The authorisation to hold a referendum will thereby be enshrined in the constitution in general terms, with the detailed implementation to be subsequently provided for in specific legislation, dealing with questions such as the form such a demand is to take, how voters' signatures are to be collected, how issues are to be presented and how referenda are to be held.

Amendments simplified. A new provision would also be introduced facilitating amendments to the constitution and ensuring the general public is given a voice in such amendments. The key aspect here is the holding of a referendum specifically to adopt amendments to the constitution rather than the current practice of dissolving the Althing following the adoption of amendments, holding national elections and having the newly elected Althing adopt the legislation once more without amendments. The change gives the nation the opportunity to express its opinion directly concerning constitutional amendments which is a normal and conventional arrangement in a democracy.

Constitutional congress without politicians. The bill also includes provisions for a constitutional congress to be added to the constitution. Such provisions will provide the basis for convening a constitutional congress, while the details of the tasks and organisation of the congress will be determined with normal legislation to this effect. According to the current draft legislation on a constitutional congress, which is an accompanying document to the bill on the constitution, election to the constitutional congress is to take place this autumn. There will be 41 representatives, elected as individual candidates. They may not be parliamentarians or their alternates, and must stand for election as independent citizens. These 41 nationally elected representatives will comprise the congress which is to draft a new constitution. When and if the constitutional congress has approved a new constitution, a referendum shall be held on its adoption. At least 25% of registered voters must approve the new constitution for it to enter into force.

Voting for individual candidates possible in the upcoming election. The Prime Minister also introduced a bill amending electoral legislation to introduce voting for individual candidates. The bill would allow individual groups proposing candidates to choose whether they ranked their lists of candidates, as has been practiced in recent decades, or offered a list of unranked candidates. If those groups proposing candidates decided on an unranked list of candidates, the eventual ranking of candidates would be up to those who voted for the list, each of whom can rank the candidates on his/her ballot. If this bill is adopted by the Althing voting for individual candidates will be possible in the upcoming elections. The anarchists welcome the constitutional changes towards more direct democracy. This will contribute to keep up a significant degree of anarchy in Iceland.

15.03.2009: Iceland's unemployment figures. Registered unemployment was 8.2 percent in February 2009 and increased by 27 percent from January 2009. 13,276 people were unemployed in February 2009. There were 1,205 unemployed over 6 months in February 2009 but 1,023 in January 2009. The number of open vacancies was 423 in February 2009 and 299 in January 2009 – a rare positive sign. It is predicted that the unemployment will increase in March 2009 and be between 9.1-9.6 percent. Unemployment was 1.9 percent in October, 3.3 in November and 4.8 percent in December. December's figure was the highest since early 1997. The anarchists declare: FULL EMPLOYMENT is job no 1 in Iceland.

16.03.2009. Icelandic protest against terrorist accusations. When United Kingdom authorities used anti-terrorism laws against Iceland last October, a group called In Defence was formed. The group's website received a great deal of international attention for its quirky and imaginative use of photographs to highlight the idea that calling Icelanders terrorists could hardly be a less accurate description. The next stage in the campaign is to present a petition consisting of four 500-page volumes with over 83,300 signatures to the British-Icelandic All-Party Parliamentary Group at the Houses of Parliament tomorrow. The event will include Orri Pall Dyrason from Sigur Ros, who will play a small drum, an Icelandic woman wearing a "skautbuningur," the traditional and symbolic Icelandic costume, and organizers of the "Icelanders are NOT Terrorists" campaign. Also present outside the Palace of Westminster will be students and members of the Icelandic Society of London showing their support with signs.

The petition will be handed over in the Jubilee Room at the Palace of Westminster between 14.30 and 15.00 tomorrow and media interviews will be conducted afterwards in the Westminster Hall. www.indefence.is was launched on 22nd October by a group of Icelanders with close ties to the United Kingdom who wished to protest against the use of the Anti-terrorism Act by the British cabinet against a struggling ally. The group seeks an end to diplomatic hostilities between the two countries and to engender greater understanding and comradeship between the people of Iceland and the United Kingdom. "The interactive Web site, which can be read in nine languages, depicts Icelanders holding signs that announce that they are not terrorists. The campaign has attracted broad-based support among Icelanders, and the number of their signatures represents one-quarter of the population of the country. Hundreds of these supporters, including members of Sigur Ros, have posed for their own picture postcards with messages directed to the British cabinet. Citizens from all over the world have also signed the petition and offered words of support that can be read online," the group's press release says. The anarchists say it is no surprise that the Anarchy of Iceland falsely was declared as terrorist. Anarchists often face such false accusations. The anarchists give full support to the protest of In Defence against the British populist regime. The Northern Anarchist Confederation - the sections of Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, has of course signed the petition of In Defence.

17.03.2009. The demonstration in UK, stating Icelanders are not terrorists, went well, and the CNN-TV reported about the protest internationally with a video from the demonstration. Labor unions in Iceland criticize fishing company. The Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland (SGS), the Confederation of Labor (ASÍ) and others have criticized fishing company HB Grandi for paying shareholders dividends of eight percent when laborers are denied pay raises. "It forces us to reevaluate the decision of postponing wage contract reviews, because it is evident that there are more funds available than stated, at least in this profession," chairman of SGS Kristján Gunnarsson told Morgunbladid . The anarchists support SGS's demand for higher wages.

19.03.2009. Inflation and interest rate on the way down. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Iceland has voted to lower its policy rate by one percentage point to 17 percent. A large trade deficit has turned to a significant surplus. After a one-off adjustment following the depreciation of the króna through 2008, inflation appears to have peaked in January and seems to be declining faster than previously forecast. The outlook is for Q1 inflation to be significantly below the end-January forecast of 18.5 percent and for inflation to return to the 2.5 percent target by early next year.

21.03.2009. Iceland takes over country's top two savings banks. The Icelandic cabinet said on Saturday its financial watchdog had taken over the country's top two savings banks, the latest part of the nation's banking sector to buckle under a weight of debt. The cabinet said discussions with creditors of both Reykjavik Savings Bank (SPRON) and Sparisjodabanki, formerly Icebank, had been unsuccessful and that their liquidity positions had continued to deteriorate, warranting such a move by the Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA). Liquidity support was announced for 11 other savings banks.

24.03.2009. Iceland's inflation drops further. The expected rapid decrease in Iceland's high rate of consumer price inflation appears to be continuing. After peaking in January at a year-on-year rate of 18.6 percent, it reduced to 17.6 percent in February and 15.2 percent this month. Wage hike. Statistics Iceland reports that the monthly wage index in January 2009 increased by 0.6 percent to 355.7 points. That figure is around 7.5 percent over the previous 12 months. The January increase means that real wages stayed the same in that month, but have fallen 9.4 percent in the last year as a whole. Real wages are an assessment of spending power where the effect of inflation is subtracted from the numerical significance of wage increases.

25.03.2009. Business Minister: Iceland's banks fabricated money. Minister for Business Affairs Gylfi Magnússon states that Icelandic banks increased their equity with dubious accounting methods and that such fabricated money is one of the causes for the collapse of Iceland's economy. "I think it's obvious that one of the things that occurred during the dance before the collapse is that people created equity by, for example, changing loan capital to equity," Magnússon told reporters in a press conference yesterday, Fréttabladid reports. "People granted loans for purchasing stocks and then created equity on paper by purchasing assets that were very unrealistically priced and recorded the difference as goodwill," the minister explained.

MP for the Left-Greens Atli Gíslason told Fréttabladid yesterday that, according to his sources, the banks' equity had been "fixed." With increased goodwill, increased profits were recorded, which led to an opportunity for dividend payments. Gíslason described such practice as "bubble profits" and "bubble dividends." Magnússon agrees. People created funds on paper, which weren't backed by any real money. When asked whether the practices of Icelandic bankers might be likened to the business practices of the American energy company Enron, which went bankrupt in 2001, Magnússon said there were many similarities. "Of course people were fooling themselves and partly others as well," Magnússon stated, adding that some Icelandic financial companies are likely to undergo criminal investigations because of their practices. However, it is not for him to decide, Magnússon emphasized, the appropriate institutions will decide how these cases will be investigated.

Magnússon said it is quite possible that goodwill continues to be overestimated in the records of financial companies that are still operating in Iceland. However, at the moment, it isn't worth much. Fréttabladid stated in its coverage of this story yesterday that the combined goodwill of Iceland's largest banks, Glitnir, Kaupthing and Landsbanki, increased from less than ISK 19 billion (USD 165 million, EUR 123 million) in 2003 to ISK 123 billion (USD 1.1 billion, EUR 790 million) in 2007. At the same time, the combined equity of the three banks increased from ISK 92 billion (USD 799 million, EUR 594 million) to ISK 714 billion (USD 6.2 billion, EUR 4.6 billion). The anarchists say: Arrest the criminals!

26.03.2009. Iceland's special prosecutor gets reinforcements. The Icelandic cabinet has decided to increase the number of employees at the office of the special prosecutor and investigator to 20 instead of nine as originally planned, according to recommendations from Eva Joly, an international expert on corruption. Joly was hired as a consultant to the Ministry of Justice earlier this month to assist in investigating the time leading up to the economic collapse. The office of the special prosecutor will also be assisted by four to five foreign experts under Joly's lead, Fréttabladid reports.

27.03.2009. Unemployment in Iceland expected to peak in May. The Directorate of Labor expects unemployment rates in Iceland to peak at 9.6 percent in May and to drop again after that point. According to statistics, unemployment is currently increasing more slowly than at the beginning of the crisis.

01.04.2008. Rockall claim puts Britain on collision course with Iceland. The English newspaper Guardian.co.uk reports: Britain has lodged an application for thousands of square miles of the seabed around the Atlantic outcrop of Rockall - embarking on what could be a diplomatic collision course with Iceland and the Faroes. The submission for the potentially oil-rich territory was delivered yesterday to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLCS) in New York. The unilateral claim for part of the North Atlantic zone, known as the Hatton-Rockall basin, follows the breakdown of years of negotiations between the UK, Ireland, the Faroes, and Iceland. "We are disappointed that agreement on joint action has not proved possible," the Foreign Office said. "We hope [other countries] do not feel the need to dispute the UK's submission."

There is a May deadline for states that were early signatories of the UN treaty to post their claims; the UK is expected to lodge another application for the disputed continental shelf around the Falklands in the coming weeks. Rockall, the eroded cone of an extinct volcano, stands only 70 feet above the sea and is regularly washed over by Atlantic breakers. For decades ownership was disputed between Britain and Ireland in the belief that possession would deliver control over the surrounding waters. A change in the UNCLCS rules, however, meant that isolated outcrops could not generate territorial claims. The UK now measures its extended continental shelf claim - which under the UN regulations can stretch up to 350 miles offshore - from the outlying Hebridean island of St Kilda. The anarchists, the Northern Anarchist Confederation and the Anarchist International, support the claims of Iceland and the Faroes regarding Rockall, against Britain.

03.04.2009. Icelandic cabinet response to the British claim. Britain applied for thousands of square miles of the potentially oil-rich Hatton Rockall basin to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLCS) in New York on Tuesday. "We won't allow it," responded Iceland's foreign minister. "It is absolutely clear that the Brits will not be supported in their claim and cannot submit it the way they did unless other nations such as Iceland and the Faroe Islands give their permission. And we won't allow it," Iceland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphédinsson said at Iceland's Althingi parliament yesterday, Morgunbladid reports. The territory belongs to the UK, Ireland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands and for years these nations have negotiated on how it should be divided. "We are disappointed that [an] agreement on joint action has not proved possible," the UK Foreign Office announced to the Guardian.co.uk. Tómas H. Heidar, an expert in international law at the Foreign Ministry, said it is important to Iceland that the four nations involved reach an agreement on how the area should be divided between them and then submit a joint application to the UNCLCS. The next meeting between these nations to discuss the Hatton Rockall basin is scheduled for June in Thorshavn in the Faroe Islands.

04.03.2009. Darling "overreacted towards Iceland". The application of anti-terrorist laws against Iceland at the beginning of the banking crisis last October was unnecessarily harsh; this is the finding of a British parliament committee set up specifically to investigate events in the Icelandic economy and their effect on the United Kingdom. The committee also found that the laws need reviewing and clarifying to decide if it is right that they are used for situations such as the one that rose with the Icelandic financial crisis. The committee feels that the UK cabinet should have alternative ways to react to these kind of situations. In the report the committee reviews the explanations Alistair Darling gave to his actions, and when interviewed by the committee he told about the phone call he had with Arni Mathiesen, the then Icelandic Finance Minister. The committee does not agree with Mr. Darling that Iceland was not going to honour its commitments. Alistar Darling "interpreted the words of the Icelandic finance minister in the wrong way".

The use of terrorist laws against Iceland has been criticized by a UK Parliament committee that is looking into how the British cabinet reacted, using controversial terrorist laws against Iceland. "If this is as is being reported, then it's the one positive aspect of the whole affair," Says Arni Mathiesen former Icelandic finance minister. "This however helps us (Iceland) very little as the action has been taken," he continues. Mr. Mathiesen says that this is a strong indication that the British Government played a greater role in the fall of the Icelandic banks than earlier assumed. Some in Iceland feel it is striking that in the report nothing is said about the strong words used by the British PM Gordon Brown when he talked about and explained his cabinet's actions. When the report is looked at in whole, it is interesting to note that criticism seems to fall mainly on Alistair Darling and the British Government, without mentioning Gordon Brown. The anarchists agree that the British cabinet overreacted towards Iceland.

06.04.2009. More on the report. Iceland's Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told Morgunbladid that the report might help Iceland's efforts to have the now state-run bank Landsbanki removed from the HM Treasury's list of regimes subjected to financial sanction by the British cabinet, which also includes Al-Qaeda, the Taleban and North Korea. Sigfússon believes that the report might support Landsbanki's cause in its lawsuit against British authorities and possibly also Iceland's cause in the ongoing discussions on compensation to Icesave account holders, Landsbanki's online savings unit in the UK and the Netherlands. "I'm especially hopeful that [the report] will make it easier for us to unfreeze [the assets of Landsbanki in the UK]. It will be difficult for British authorities to maintain it when they are subject to such harsh criticism from its own parliament," Sigfússon reasoned. The anarchists urge the British authorities to remove Iceland from the list with financial sanctions that includes Al-Qaeda, the Taleban and North Korea.

07.04.2009. Iceland requests response from Brown. Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir announced during the cabinet's weekly press conference that she plans to formally request a response from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to the UK Treasury Committee report. The diplomatic relations between Iceland and the UK are rather turbulent at the moment, despite positive news on the matter of the Icesave dispute earlier this month.

08.04.2009. Lower interest rate. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has voted to lower the policy rate by 1.5 percentage points to 15.5%. After its meeting in March, the MPC concluded that the conditions for monetary easing were in place. Economic developments since March 19 have been broadly consistent with this view.

13.04.2009. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, the Prime Minister of Iceland, has written to Gordon Brown the Prime Minister of the UK, asking for his reactions to findings in the Treasury Commmittee report on the actions taken by the UK cabinet early October when the Icelandic banks collapsed. The Anarchist International condemns the British application of anti-terrorist laws against Iceland.

15.04.2008. Provision on constitutional parliament postponed. Iceland's Althing parliament is still operating despite the April 25 elections being less than two weeks away. However, last night it became clear that a provision on a constitutional parliament will not be passed before the elections. The fate of the cabinet's bill on changes to the constitution remains unclear, although Althing leaders believe that if MPs can reach an agreement on it, the matter could be completed in one day, after which parliament could finally be dismissed. The anarchists complain of the delay.

22.04.2009. The anarchists declare: To achieve full employment, additional countercyclical fiscal and monetary policy measures must increase the total demand nominally 10% of GDP in 2008. Do it now!

25.04.2009. Parliament election. The anarchists urge everybody to vote for the Progressive party! Iceland is holding its national parliamentary election today; polling stations are open from 09.00 until 22.00 GMT. In total 227,896 people, over the age of 18, have the right to vote today. Icelandic citizens are automatically registered to vote and do not need to register themselves if they live in the country. The total number of potential voters today is made up of 114,295 women and 113,601 men. There is a three percent increase (6,566 people) in the number of people able to vote since the last election in 2007. The number of people who turned 18 since 2007 and can therefore vote for the first time is 9,398, or 4.1 percent of the total. There are six electoral districts in Iceland: Northwest, Northeast, South, Reykjavik North, Reykjavik South and Southwest (some of the largest towns directly in the capital region which are not part of Reykjavik). Unsure Icelandic citizens can go to their local council's website to find out where to vote. In Reykjavik there are 14 voting stations with seven polling booths in each.

26.04.2009. Iceland's election results: Twenty seven new people will be entering the Icelandic Parliament, Althingi following yesterday's elections. Of the 63 elected to Althingi 26 are women, or 43 percent. Eight of those who sought re-election did not get through. Both of the parties in the governing coalition managed to improve their position and the Independence Party lost a big part of their votes since 2007.

Election letter B - Framsóknarflokkurinn (Progressive Party), 27.699 votes or 14.8% and 9 seats (an increase of two)
Election letter D - Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn (Independence Party). 44.369 votes or 23.7% and 16 seats (lost nine MPs)
Election letter F - Frjálslyndi flokkurinn (Liberal Party), 4148 votes or 2.2% and no seats (lost four)
Election letter O - Borgarahreyfingin (Civic Movement), 13.519 votes or 7.2% and 4 seats (brand new party elected for the first time)
Election letter P - Lýðræðishreyfingin (Democracy Movement), 1107 votes or 0.6% and no seats (brand new party running for the first time)
Election letter S - Samfylkingin (Social Democratic Alliance), 55758 votes or 29.8% and 20 seats (two more MPs than last time)
Election letter V - Vinstri Grænir (Left Green Movement), 40.580 votes or 21.7% and 14 seats (gains five more parliamentarians)

Empty ballots counted 6226 or 3.2%, not valid 528 or 0.3%, Total votes casted were 193.934. Registered voters in Iceland are 227.896 that means that some 85.1% voted yesterday. This also means the left-green coalition has a majority in the parliament, and can continue with their cabinet. The anarchists are warning against the authoritarian matriarch Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir of the marxist socialdemocrats, who will make Iceland join the EU authoritarian MEGA-STATE - super-state, and introducing Euro. This is no way to solve Icelands problems. A depreciated Icelandic Krona is necessary for increased export, and full employment. This is no problem, but a part of the solution, a continued anarchy - the best solution for Iceland. A sound development for Iceland is in a more libertarian direction, not authoritarian with EU-membership.

27.04.2009. Post-election dust begin to settle. Iceland's Social Democrats and Left Green Movement began talks yesterday on the formation of a new cabinet following both parties' strong showing in Saturday's elections. Together the parties hold 34 seats in the 63-seat Althingi parliament, meaning a comfortable majority. According to leaders of the probable continuing cabinet parties who met yesterday at Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir's Reykjavik house, financial issues are at the top of their joint agenda. The anarchists again call for demand management towards full umployment soon. The traditional Keynes type countercyclal monetary and fiscal policy measures, may however not be sufficient. Measures to lower inflation and to achieve a modest increase in labor productivity, taking into account green economics, should also be introduced.

Frettabladid reports that party leaders and deputy leaders resolved to meet several more times over the next few days before formally announcing the formation of a cabinet. But the Social Democrats don't have to form a coalition with the Left-Greens — other options are also possible. The most obvious option is a coalition with the Progressive Party and the Civic Movement. Iceland elects its politicians using a system of proportional representation, meaning that voters choose to support a party and its pre-arranged list of candidates who will receive seats in order, depending on the party's share of the vote. Voters are, however, welcome to cross out candidates for the party they vote for on their ballot papers. If a lot of voters cross out the name of a candidate in their preferred party, that candidate will slip down the list. According to Frettabladid, crossings-out were very common in Reykjavik on Saturday and it will be decided today the effect this will have on the make-up of the next parliament. Independence Party candidate for the South Iceland constituency, Arni Johnsen will, in all likelihood, be forced from first on the list to second. If this happens he will not lose his seat, as his party received three MPs in the South. The importance of Saturday's election did not go unnoticed in the wider world, with more foreign journalists covering the event than ever before. There were plenty of journalists from the Nordic countries, elsewhere in Europe and the USA. A major Japanese television station also sent a crew and the UK arm of the Arabic Al-Jazeera network broadcast live from Reykjavik.

According to Morgunbladid's sources, yesterday's meeting only included general discussions on the policies of the two parties and how different attitudes towards the EU can be settled. The Social Democrats want to apply for membership as soon as possible and the Left-Greens want to remain outside the union. Sigurdardóttir and Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, minister of finance, fisheries and agriculture and chairman of the Left-Greens, debated the issue in an election chat program on RÚV yesterday. "It will be the most difficult issue that we have to solve," Sigurdardóttir commented. Sigfússon agreed, describing the EU question as a "big, difficult and unbridged controversial issue." As to emphasis their different views regarding the EU, the cabinet leaders continued with a heated debate in the RÚV program. According to Morgunbladid's sources, the Social Democrats are determined to persuade the Left-Greens to agree to applying for EU membership as soon as possible. The Social Democrats are in a better position than the Left-Greens as Iceland's largest party with the support of 29.8 percent of voters, while 21.7 percent voted for the Left-Greens. The anarchists are as mentioned against Icelandic EU-membership.

28.04.2009. Iceland's PM: Optimistic after talks with Left-Greens. Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir said she is optimistic about solving the disagreement surrounding the European Union after a meeting with the Left-Green Movement. "I am more optimistic after I left the meeting than before I went inside. Many things have become clearer and I believe that we will find an acceptable solution on the EU matters," Sigurdardóttir told reporters after the meeting, according to Fréttabladid . Minister of Finance, Fisheries and Agriculture and chairman of the Left-Greens Steingrímur J. Sigfússon agrees. "There is a mutual and strong intent for cooperation at hand and I leave this meeting with greater optimism."

At the meeting, groups were formed to lead discussions on pressing issues, such as on the EU and changes to the administration. The EU group is headed by the vice-chairpersons of each party, Dagur B. Eggertsson of the Social Democrats and Minister of Education Katrín Jakobsdóttir of the Left-Greens. Minister of Health Ögmundur Jónasson of the Left-Greens and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Industry Össur Skarphédinsson of the Social Democrats have also been appointed to the EU group. People will be appointed to the other group, on changes to the administration, today. In the coming days, groups that will lead discussions on economic and employment matters will also be formed. Other issues that will be discussed are changes to the fisheries control system. Both parties included a recall on fishing allowances in their party platforms. Chairpersons of both parties are keen on establishing a majority cabinet and therefore are not under as much time pressure as they otherwise would be. President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson confirmed this when PM Sigurdardóttir formally requested the mandate to form the new cabinet at the presidential residence Bessastadir yesterday. Grímsson said it was unnecessary to establish a time limit on when the parties should bring their talks and other projects to an end since their minority cabinet ended up with a majority in parliament after the elections.

The anarchists again call for demand management towards full umployment soon. The traditional Keynes type countercyclal monetary and fiscal policy measures, may however not be sufficient. Measures to lower inflation and to achieve a modest increase in labor productivity, taking into account green economics, should also be introduced. In this case we get a 3rd scenario, see under the headline "Full employment now!" above, where additional countercyclal monetary and fiscal policy measures must increase the total demand nominally from 2008 to 2009 about 9%. Dependent on the economic situation and the demand management policy, additional countercyclal monetary and fiscal policy measures must increase the total demand nominally from 2008 to 2009 about 9% - 10%. Do it now!

29.04.2009. EU still disputed by Iceland's cabinet parties. The leaders of the coalition parties, the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens, as mentioned met at the Althingi parliamentary building yesterday to continue their discussions on an official cabinet agenda. The European Union remains the main matter of dispute. The two parties are taking their time since they have backing from the majority of MPs in parliament and it is unclear when parliament will reconvene. According to Morgunbladid's sources, the EU discussions revolve around at which stage the nation should hold a referendum to decide how to progress in the matter.

Allegedly, some of the members of the Left-Greens have proposed a double referendum, first on whether Iceland should launch membership discussions with the EU and, if approved, on whether Iceland should accept the agreement and join the union. However, the Social Democrats have deemed a double referendum unnecessary. The party's leadership considers an application for EU membership the most important emergency measure that can be undertaken to support the struggling Icelandic economy. "To sell out the fish to EU, will increase, not decrease the economic problems in Iceland," the anarchists say. The Social Democrats are on the wrong track in this case.

The Young Socialists, the youth movement within the Social Democrats, released a resolution to the media yesterday, stating that their party is obligated to ensure that Iceland applies for EU membership as soon as possible, Fréttabladid reports. Under this plan, the nation would then decide with one referendum whether Iceland should join the EU. If the coalition parties cannot agree on that item they shouldn't continue their cooperation in cabinet, the resolution concluded. "The Young Socialists are immature and disinformed", the anarchists say: They must learn that EU is not libertarian, real democracies, as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, but is clearly authoritarian, with a top heavy pyramid made up of superiors in rank and/or income. EU is well on the way to a supranational MEGA-STATE - super-state, with an even higher authoritarian degree. Iceland as EU-member will have no significant influence on the management of EU, will lose much its fish - the gold of Iceland - and will be repressed in EU. The anarchists say a clear NO to EU for Iceland! Cooperate with Norway and Switzerland to solve the crisis! The discussion of EU is a sidetrack to a dead end. Concentrate on demand management towards full employment! Leave the EU-question NOW!

Inflation in Iceland drops to 11.9. percent. The 12-month inflation in Iceland has dropped from 18.6 percent in January to the current rate of 11.9 percent, according to information from Statistics Iceland. The consumer price index (CPI) increased by 0.45 percent in April compared to the previous month and by 0.84 percent if housing is not included, mbl.is reports. For the past 12 months the CPI has increased by 11.9 percent and by 15.6 percent without housing included. Twelve-month inflation peaked at 18.6 percent in January. For the past three months the CPI has increased by 0.4 percent, which equals 1.4 percent annual inflation and 9.4 percent if housing is not included. According to Statistics Iceland, the price of gasoline and diesel oil increased by 8.2 percent (raising the CPI by 0.33 percent) and the price of clothing and shoes by 3.2 percent (raising the CPI by 0.19 percent). The cost of privately-owned housing decreased by 1.6 percent (lowering by the CPI by 0.23 percent). The price of food and beverages dropped by 0.7 percent (lowering the CPI by 0.10 percent).

30.04.2009. Still no solution in sight in Iceland cabinet talks. Prime Minister and chairwoman of the Social Democrats Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir said yesterday that the talks with the Left-Greens on the official cabinetal agenda were going well, although a solution on the EU dispute is not in sight. However, the PM expects an agreement to be reached in the coming days, as she told RÚV . Both Sigurdardóttir and her Left-Green counterpart Steingrímur J. Sigfússon emphasized that other matters were also at stake that require thorough discussion, such as state finances, employment issues and natural resources. Two new task forces to lead talks on those issues were appointed yesterday. " It is going fine. There is no rush. We also have other projects to attend to," Sigfússon said, "whether it is extending the female lumpfish season or dealing with a worldwide swine flu [AH1N1].epidemic." Many of the MPs who are participating in the talks are also ministers and Sigfússon currently serves as minister of finance, fisheries and agriculture.

Words, concepts and definitions. Persons have different definitions of words and concepts. With marxism we mean significant state-socialism, see the economic-political map at System theory. Both Steingrímur J. Sigfússon and Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir are significantly state-socialist, i.e. marxists. Anarchism is libertarian socialism, significant, see map, in practice the progressive center in politics, i.e. from the middle of the economic-political map and upwards, not far right or left. According to IIFOR's research Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are the only anarchist countries in the world, but they are only anarchies of low degree, quite far from the anarchist ideal at the top of the map. Anarchy, anarchism and anarchists are the opposite of "stjórnleysingja", "stjórnleysi" and "óstjórn", i.e. removal, ablation, of management and administration. We are for self management and self administration by the people and we are not against a functioning central administration, but it should be significantly horizontally organized, from the people, grassroots, and upwards, real democratic with optimal order and not chaos. Although the cabinet ideologically by now is marxist, it is not operating in vacuum, the system of Iceland seen all in all is significantly anarchist, social-individualist anarchism. Anarchy and anarchism mean socialism plus autonomy, both significant.

"An" means "without" as in an-aerobe, etc, "arch" means "ruler(s)" broadly defined, and "y" in this connection stands for system, management, coordination, as in monarch-y, oligarch-y, etc. The "an" is connected to "arch", not "y". Thus (an-arch)-y means without arch, but not without system, management, coordination, it means (an-arch)-system, management, coordination. In short an-arch-y = (an = without arch = ruler(s)) y = management. Anarchy is not "stjórnleysi" and "óstjórn" as some authoritarian Orwellian "1984" "newspeak" dictionaries in Iceland suggest. "Stjórnleysi" and "óstjórn" mean rivaling polyarchy/oligarchy and/or ochlarchy (mob rule broadly defined) and/or chaos, i.e. archy - and not anarchy. To mix up opposites as anarchy with "stjórnleysi" and "óstjórn" as outdated dictionaries and media often do, is equally authoritarian as mixing up opposites as peace and war, as Big Brother did in Orwell's "1984" newspeak. It should be stopped, and the International Anarchist Tribunal - The Anarchist Press Tribunal, IAT-APT, in such cases hands out a Brown Card, as free criticism of this authoritarian tendency, and put it on Internet. Report and speak fairly and objectively, and not with authoritarian newspeak, about anarchy, anarchism, anarchist and anarchists! For more information about anarchists vs ochlarchists, see IJA 1(36) and IJA 1(33) . For more information about the Brown Card and anarchy vs chaos, see the Oslo Convention OC and search for anarchy vs chaos at Anarchy debate - Anarkidebatt . The IAT-APT homepage is at Anarchist Tribunal .

01.05.2009. May Day. May 1st, International Workers' Day, commemorates the historic struggle of working people throughout the world, and is recognized in most countries, also Iceland. The anarchists urge the people of Iceland to put attention to the history of May Day, see 1st of May and the "May Day Manifesto 2009 - Full employment now!" of the International Workers of the World, see IWW . Today Iceland celebrates Labor Day. It has been a national holiday in Iceland since 1966 and is one of the country's 11 flag days. Anarchism in Iceland, of low degree, is registered since May Day 1966. Iceland may have been a bit anarchist some time before, but May 1st 1966 is officially celebrated as the first day of real anarchism in Iceland by the Northern Anarchist Confederation and the Anarchist International. The neo-liberalist tendency in the latest years almost ruined the anarchy, but the degree of anarchism is still significant. In Iceland the day was first celebrated with a demonstration on May 1st, 1923. Iceland held Mayday workers' rallies on Friday, along with countries all over the world. The biggest march took place in Reykjavik, and turnout was described as "unusually good". The march was peaceful and ended in a gathering on Austurvollur Square outside parliament. The marches around the world on the 1st May are a reminder to businesses and public sectors not to forget the welfare and development of ordinary citizens. It was, therefore, no surprise that this year's turnout was high. The 1st May was celebrated as a public holiday in Iceland, as in many other countries.

05.05.2009. Icelandic food products gaining market share. Imports of food and drink products into Iceland have gone down by nearly a third in the first quarter of 2009 compared with last year, according to Statistics Iceland figures. Thorolfur Thorlindsson, head of the Directorate of Health, does not believe the news is a sign that Icelanders previously over-consumed food products; simply that they are now consuming in a different way. "This time last year we were, for example, importing a lot of beef and chicken," says Gudmundur Marteinsson, managing director of the Bonus supermarket chain, also pointing out the major shift towards Icelandic roasted and ground coffee instead of imported brands. Another example is frozen rolls and loafs of bread which bakeries used to import, but it is now cheaper to make the bread from scratch in Iceland. According to Marteinsson, the drop in food imports is not manifesting itself in a decreased variety of foods. "People have access to the same products as last year, but the economic situation means that local products are comparatively cheaper."

Iceland's coalition parties reach agreement on EU discussion. The coalition parties, the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens, which are currently discussing continued cooperation in cabinet, have reached an agreement on the European Union, the issue on which their platforms differ the most. According to Morgunbladid's sources, the compromise includes that the Althingi parliament will be left with the ultimate decision on whether EU membership discussions should begin or not. In this way the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens can agree to disagree on the EU question without jeopardizing their continued cooperation in cabinet. The Social Democrats are as mentioned for EU membership while the Left-Greens are against it. "We have mapped that case out extensively and realized what our opportunities are for further discussions," Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, chairman of the Left-Greens, told Morgunbladid after a long meeting between the chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of both parties last night. If everything goes according to plan, a new cabinet will be formed at the end of this week.

Iceland requests larger portion of continental shelf. The Icelandic cabinet submitted a report to the United Nations Commission in New York last week on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLCS), requesting a larger portion of the continental shelf that lies outside the 200-nautical mile zone. The claim is based on a review of the outer limits of the continental shelf of Reykjaneshryggur, which, in Iceland's interpretation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, should be defined as an underwater rise instead of an underwater ridge, Fréttabladid reports. If Iceland is granted a larger part of the shelf and extends its area to 850 nautical miles from the shore instead of the current 350, the natural resources on Reykjaneshryggur could contribute to the country's income. Natural resources of various kinds can be found there such as oil, gas and metals, but also geothermal heat. It is difficult to estimate how high the revenue could be, but there is increased likelihood of very valuable geothermal heat existing in the area around Reykjaneshryggur. It is only a matter of time before it will be harnessed. The report also included an agreement between Iceland, Norway and Denmark on behalf of the Faroe Islands from 2006 on the division of the continental shelf at Aegisdjúp northeast of Iceland, but not the debated Hatton Rockall basin, which lies to the south of the country. The Northern Anarchist Confederation and the Anarchist International support the Icelandic claim.

06.05.2009. Co-operation called by Norway for Arctic resources. Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre opened last week's international conference on managing the Arctic with a plea to co-operate peacefully as the five nations that border the Arctic begin to vie for the lucrative resources that lie under the seabed. Using the catchphrase "High North, low tension", Støre was optimistic at the summit in the northern Norwegian town of Tromsø. The main focus of this year's Arctic summit was the rapid melting of the Arctic's ice. The AFP reports that the Arctic region holds up to 30 percent of the planet's undiscovered natural gas reserves and perhaps 13 percent of undiscovered oil reserves. These resources will finally become accessible as the Arctic ice cap melts away.

The race to claim these potential riches has been accompanied by a similar increase in military activity in the region. NATO plans to play a bigger role in the region, and Russia has been increasingly vocal about its rights to deploy military units in the Arctic. Støre told reporters that the costal countries: " [Will] be able to manage the challenges and opportunities of this region without gliding into conflict and negative competition. We have every opportunity to prove wrong those who say that this is bound to be a regional conflict of competing interests. It need not be that way; we can do that very differently."

Confederation of Labor demands debt solutions. President of the Confederation of Labor (ASÍ) Gylfi Arnbjörnsson said that the cabinet has to react to the problem of household debt if stability is to be achieved. ASÍ is demanding that the reorganization of debt be prioritized. "If this isn't taken care of, we won't be open for discussion," Arnbjörnsson told Fréttabladid . Leaders of the cabinet parties, the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens, met with the representatives of labor unions, employers' unions, farmers and municipalities yesterday where ASÍ presented a nine-point plan on emergency measures and future solutions. ASÍ wants to establish a consultancy office on household finances and hire 50 financial advisors where people who face payment problems can seek assistance. The plan also includes the immediate establishment of regulations on the execution of debt relief and that an emergency fund for households is created.

Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said yesterday's meetings had been very useful. "There is considerable will everywhere in society to move towards stability. The wage issues are also included, state finances and other matters." In regard to the absolute attitude of ASÍ, Sigfússon said that it had been discussed at the meeting how important the coming weeks are, commenting, "We hope that soon we will have land in sight in many difficult cases, for example the reorganization of the banking system." Chairman of the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) Thór Sigfússon said the employment market is screaming for actions, most importantly a considerable lowering of the policy this week. "An insignificant decrease […] would be an immense shock to us. It would be a testament that people don't realize at all how harmful it is for the community if the employment market is left in deep freeze. That would cause irreparable damage," Thór Sigfússon stated. The Central Bank of Iceland will make a new decision on the policy rate tomorrow. The anarchists repeat: Full employment is job no 1 for the public sector. Monetary policy measures are not sufficient to achieve this aim.

Iceland's quota system won't be revolutionized. Despite both cabinet parties, the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens, having a lapse of the fishing quota on their platforms, it is considered unlikely that they will undertake radical changes to the quota system any time soon. According to Morgunbladid's sources, revolutionizing the system is unlikely to happen because the current position of many fishing companies is difficult; debt in the fishing industry is almost three times higher than its annual income. The cabinet parties consider it unwise to undertake radical changes to the distribution of fishing quota during the current economic situation, Morgunbladid reports. However, if fishing companies that are in possession of quota run into trouble the quota could be redistributed and then it wouldn't be necessary to implement the quota lapse method. Both parties have suggested an annual five percent lapse of fishing allowances, which can then be reallocated. The Left-Greens want to enable ship owners to keep some of the quota, while the Social Democrats have proposed a special natural resource fund from which the quota would be reallocated. The ideas of both parties include that it will be possible to rent quota from the public sector since the fishing resource should be in the nation's ownership. The Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners (LÍÚ) opposes all proposals of allowing quota to lapse, arguing that such measures might jeopardize the operation of fishing companies.

07.05.2009. Lower interest rate. The Monetary Policy Committee has decided to lower the Central Bank of Iceland's policy rate by 250 basis points to 13.0 percent. Overnight lending rates will also be lowered by 250 basis points. Other Central Bank interest rates will be lowered by 300 basis points.

Cabinet agenda for Iceland expected next weekend. The parliamentary parties of the two cabinet parties, the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens, reviewed the progress of the ongoing talks of a new cabinet agenda yesterday, expecting them to conclude next weekend. "If an agreement is reached, it will be next weekend," MP for the Left-Greens Atli Gíslason, who attended yesterday's meeting, told Fréttabladid. "This EU matter is not completely solved yet but otherwise most things have been completed." Gíslason explained that the two parties have agreed to disagree on whether Iceland should join the European Union — the Social Democrats support EU membership while the Left-Greens oppose it — and to submit a parliamentary resolution on EU membership application to the Althingi parliament. "Then people will vote and we will see how it goes." Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, who is chairwoman of the Social Democrats, would not be interviewed last night and her fellow party members say that she is the only spokesperson for the party on the progress of the cabinet talks. According to Fréttabladid's sources, the most dedicated followers of EU membership within the Social Democrats' parliamentary group are extremely dissatisfied with the compromise mentioned above. Aim no 1 is NO to EU, the anarchists declare.

08.05.2009. Gordon Brown answers to Iceland's protest. In an answer from the British PM office it said that Mr. Brown was referring to the agreement between the Icelandic cabinet and the IMF in regards of the Icesave accounts. In Gordon's response it said that the British Government celebrated Iceland's agreement with the IMF and that the Icelandic cabinet said they would be paying British Icesavers back. The two cabinets have not reached a final conclusion on how this is to be done. The British Government recognized local responsibility in regards of the Icelandic owned British bank Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander.

09.05.2009. Iceland protests UK PM Brown's comment. The Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ossur Skarphedinsson, today made a formal complaint on comments made by the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, during a session of Parliamentary question time. Minister Skarphedinsson called in the British Charge d'Affaires to Iceland to deliver a protest. The Ambassador of Iceland to the United Kingdom has also delivered a letter to 10 Downing Street. Minister Skarphedinsson said that the Prime Minister's comments of 7 May related to financial losses of the Christie hospital were unhelpful. In his comments, Prime Minister Brown inaccurately stated that the UK authories were not the regulatory authority in the case of Kaupthing, Singer Friedlander Bank, where the Christie hospital funds were deposited. Furthermore, the Prime Minister claimed that the UK authorities were in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund on the rate at which Iceland can repay losses to British deposit holders.

Minister Skarphedinsson earlier today stresssed that Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander Bank is a British Bank, under the regulatory authority of the UK Financial Supervisory Authority. "We of course regret that the Christie hospital has suffered financially due to the seizure by the FSA of Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander, but there is no basis for linking this matter to the Icelandic depositors' compensation scheme", said the Minister. The Icelandic Foreign Minister also said that the statement by the British Prime Minister about the role of the IMF in this context was surprising. The implication that negotiations were taking place between the UK and the IMF on Iceland were worrying, since this would not be compatible with the Articles of Agreement of the IMF, Minister Skarphedinsson said.

10.05.2009. New cabinet takes office - Social Democrats and Left-Greens continue their coalition partnership. A new coalition cabinet, formed by the Social Democrat Alliance and the Left-Green Movement, formally announced today at a press conference held at the Nordic House in Reykjavik, will continue the two parties' partnership. Following the outcome of national elections two weeks ago, these parties now hold a majority of seats in the Icelandic parliament, Althingi. The two party leaders, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, presented the cabinet's platform, which sets out its goals and ambitions in a comprehensive policy statement, and explained its short-term agenda. The cabinet's central aim is to rebalance the state budget by 2013 while at the same time implementing an ambitious plan of job creation and innovation to restore Iceland's position among the most energetic and competitive states in the world by 2020.
Parliament to decide on EU accession application

The two parties have agreed to disagree on the EU issue but both parties emphasise their joint intent that it be the nation which, in a referendum, will finally determine whether Iceland will join the European Union. The Minister of Foreign Affairs will present a parliamentary resolution on EU membership at the upcoming summer session. It calls for the Althingi to decide whether Iceland will commence accession negotiations with the EU. Commitment to IMF program reaffirmed The cabinet is committed to the implementing the Economic Recovery Program agreed with the IMF and will continue its close co-operations and consultation with the Fund, aimed at restoring the economy and rebuilding trust on international financial markets.

Longer-term goals

* A national consensus will be sought for a stability pact, and a plan presented for achieving fiscal balance in coming years.
* The number of ministries will be reduced from 12 to 9 during the cabinet's term in office.
* A comprehensive assessment will be made of the need for further actions to assist households and proposals drafted in consultation with the social partners.
* Corporate debt adjustment and restructuring will be expedited.
* Ten specific urgent employment measures presented.
* An action plan to boost industry and improve the quality of life will be prepared for all regions of Iceland.
* An overall revision of the Act on Fisheries Management carried out, in accordance with the coalition parties' platforms.
* A special constitutional congress will be elected in tandem with upcoming municipal elections.

100-day agenda released

The cabinet has drafted an agenda for the next 100 days, listing the urgent measures which need to be taken to tackle the difficult economic situation, for the benefit of households and businesses. These include measures to finalise the recapitalisation and the restructuring of the banking system, negotiations with foreign creditors and cabinets, legislative proposals introducing democratic reform, finalisation of medium-term fiscal policy and increased efforts in job creation to fight unemployment.

Cabinet Changes

Eight of the ten cabinet ministers of the minority cabinet will continue in office. The two non-political ministers will remain in the cabinet. Four new ministers have been appointed, two from each party, although this will not mean any transfer of ministries between the parties, as some ministers formerly held more than one post in the minority cabinet.

The make-up of the new Icelandic cabinet will be almost unchanged to start with, according to mbl.is. There will be 12 ministries and cabinet ministers will increase from 10 to 12. New ministers will be named for industry; and for environment, fisheries & agriculture. A cabinet press release states, though, that the cabinet intends to trim the number of ministries from 12 to nine over the course of the upcoming term.

European Union membership or not, will as mentioned be decided with a referendum. The nation will vote on whether or not to join the EU with one referendum, and not two as some had suggested, and only after membership discussions have taken place. The Minister for Foreign Affairs will submit a parliamentary resolution on membership discussions this spring, mbl.is reports. Chairman of the Left-Greens Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said it had proven difficult for many of his party members to approve this item of the cabinet agreement. Sigfússon emphasized that the Left-Greens have not changed their view of EU membership — the party is openly against it — and that its members will follow their conviction when the resolution is presented to parliament.

The cabinet agreement states that each coalition party has the right to hold on to their views during discussions surrounding the EU debate, within and outside parliament. The agreement further states that the new cabinet's primary objective is to secure economic and social stability and to achieve national solidarity on Iceland's reconstruction. The new cabinet is based on the good cooperation of the interim cabinet, which, after only 80 days at the helm, laid the groundwork for success in most areas of society in spite of extremely difficult circumstances in the local and global economy, the agreement concludes. It was approved unanimously at a Social Democrat party board meeting today and by all votes except two at the Left-Green party board meeting.

11.05.2009. At least five Left-Green MPs against EU membership. Five MPs of the Left-Green Movement have declared that they will vote against the parliamentary resolution on launching membership discussions with the European Union, which Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson will submit to parliament in the coming days. "We made this disclaimer so that it would be clear to everyone that the Left-Green parliamentary group would not be taken for granted," Thurídur Backman, one of the Left-Green MPs who plans to vote against the resolution, told Fréttabladid. Backman, along with Jón Bjarnason, who has just been appointed minister of fisheries and agriculture, Lilja Rafney Magnúsdóttir, Ásmundur Einar Dadason and Atli Gíslason announced their intention during the Left-Green parliamentary group meeting on Saturday. The MPs denied that they had formed a special alliance against EU membership within the Left-Green parliamentary group, stating that the other nine Left-Green MPs are not in favor of applying for EU membership either.

Yesterday, the Social Democrat Alliance and the Left-Green Movement formed the first left-wing cabinet in Iceland's history, with the aim of creating a Nordic welfare society in Iceland, as Finance Minister and chairman of the Left-Greens Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said while announcing the new cabinet at a press conference. Chairman of the Progressive Party Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson told Fréttabladid that this coalition is among the most "sorrowful" in the republic's history, referring to the cabinet's decision to let the opposition decide whether or not to launch membership discussions with the EU. Party group chairwoman of the Civic Movement Birgitta Jónsdóttir said that having parliament decide whether membership discussions should take place is the best possible solution, while vice-chair of the Independence Party Thorgerdur Katrín Gunnarsdóttir commented that this decision indicates that the "ruling parties" are unable to reach conclusions on matters concerning the EU. The anarchists say: The fight for No to EU is at the top of the agenda.

12.05.2009. Small drop in Iceland mortgage rates. Iceland's Housing Finance Fund (Íbúðalánasjóður) today lowered its interest rates. The general mortgage rate has now fallen to 4.7 percent from 4.9 percent. Interest on mortgages without prepayment clause is now 5.2 percent instead of 5.4. Although the banks have offered mortgages for several years, the cabinet-owned Housing Finance Fund remains the country's biggest mortgage provider and usually offers the lowest interest rates.

First Icelandic cabinet meeting held outside the capital. The first cabinet meeting will be held in the Akureyri Town Hall today. The location was chosen for reasons of equality — a cabinet meeting has never been held outside the capital region. Although it isn't every day that a cabinet meeting is held in Akureyri, local chief constable Daníel Gudjónsson said police will not undertake any special measures because of it. The meeting, which begins at noon, will be followed by a press conference. Meetings have previously taken place at Thingvellir National Park (famous as the birthplace of Icelandic democracy), but never elsewhere in the country, according to a statement from the cabinet. "With this choice of location, the cabinet wants to underline the fact that it is not just for the people who live in the capital, but for the entire country. Further meetings outside of Reykjavik are not being ruled out in the future," the statement reads.

No central administration salaries to exceed that of the PM. The new cabinet has determined that no central administration salaries should be higher than that of the prime minister. This policy calls for amendments to the laws managing the central administration's wage council because some officials earn more per month than the PM's basic monthly salary, which is ISK 935,000 (USD 7,400, EUR 5,500). All elected central administration representatives and the vast majority of Icelandic officials are represented by the wage council, which determines their wages based on certain terms. If the wage council is to lower the salaries of those officials who earn more than the PM, the Althingi parliament will probably have to amend the laws that apply to the wage council.

13.05.2009. Iceland finance ministry reports crisis past its worst, but is pessimistic regarding unemployment. The worst of the Icelandic kreppa (economic crisis) is potentially over already and better prospects can already be anticipated by the New Year. According to mbl.is, this is among the key points in an economists' report published this week by the Icelandic Ministry of Finance introducing a national economic forecast for 2009-2014. The economic forecast says that the country's ability to adapt flexibly to new economic circumstances is strong. Real wages have decreased and the cost competitiveness of Icelandic companies is in good shape. Renewed demand from overseas will help business and support new job creation. The forecast reiterates the importance of refinancing the banks as quickly as possible, and of lifting currency exchange controls, both in order to improve international trust in the treasury's financial position. Households have been hit hard by the financial crisis, but 90 percent are still in paid employment. The report states that laws passed to help hard-hit families get over the worst of the crisis appear to be working. It is also important to loosen controls on the business environment and support investment to increase employment.

The Economy Office at the Ministry of Finance predicts that inflation in Iceland will be 10.2 percent this year and reducing quickly to 1.6 percent next year and 1.9 percent in 2011. The Office also predicts that unemployment will continue to increase to 9.6 percent next year, and will be roughly 9 percent this year before going down to 7.5 percent in 2011. These figures apparently include the potential employment created by a new aluminium smelter planned at Helguvik and the extension of the existing smelter at Straumsvik. If the projects do no go ahead, the Office expects unemployment to be 0.5 percent higher in 2010 and 1 percent higher in 2011. The national economic forecast says that the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of the Icelandic housing stock has been around 60-70 percent in recent years but will fall to around 44 percent by the end of the year. Ministry of Finance analysts cautioned against panic at a press conference this week, saying that early indicators point to a rapidly improving economic picture in the New Year, leading to an increase in the CAR. On the other hand, they also reiterated again the need to assist families experiencing the worst problems paying their housing costs.

Income tax in Iceland remains unchanged this year. A bill on amendments to income tax laws has not been devised, and the cabinet will submit no such bill in the coming summer parliamentary session. Taxation issues are not included in the 100-day action plan of the new cabinet either. The cabinet is however considering taxing the export of unprocessed fish with the goal of encouraging local fish processing in Iceland to create new jobs. Parties within the fishing industry oppose the idea. "Full employment via proper demand management now!" the anarchists demand.

Cabinet proposes constitutional parliament for Iceland and national referendums. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir said at a press conference after the first new cabinet meeting in Akureyri yesterday that she had submitted proposals, including the establishment of an advisory constitutional parliament next year.  These are not changes to the constitution, as suggested earlier, but a question of proposing a parliamentary matter on establishing an advisory constitutional parliament whose representatives would be elected at the same time as municpal elections. The next municipal elections will take place in 2010, by which time the cabinet plans to have introduced a system of individual candidacy, meaning that voters can elect individuals rather than just political parties. Yesterday's cabinet meeting also broached other matters that had been discussed but not decided in parliament during the caretaker cabinet's 90 days, such as the matter of national referendums as well as a bill on a central administration's owned asset administration company. Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon proposed yesterday a resubmission of the bill on the asset administration company. "It has to be one of the first items that the parliament discusses as it's related to the restoration of the economy and debt solutions for companies," he explained. Sigfússon stated that the company was a necessary tool to recover "large socially important companies or projects, which have to be sorted out and reorganized," from banks and other financial institutions.

14.05.2009. Icelandic ambassador sends letter to UK MPs. Iceland's ambassador to the UK, Sverrir Haukur Gunnlaugsson, sent a letter to every British Member of Parliament last week explaining his Foreign Minister's opinion of the ongoing diplomatic issues between the two countries. The freezing order still being imposed on Landsbanki comes in for criticism in the letter - but the ambassador also mentions recent positive developments.
The letter can be seen here: http://mbl.is/media/99/1499.pdf .

15.05.2009. Icelandic parliament reconvenes after election. Althingi, the national parliament of Iceland, will meet today for the first time since the 25 April elections. The parliamentary schedule begins at 13.30 and starts with the traditional church service at Domkirkjan cathedral, next door to Althingi. However, the Icelandic Humanist Society has invited all MPs who do not wish to go to church to join them at Hotel Borg. After the church service, ministers, MPs, clergymen and the President will make their way to Althingi, which will be officially opened by President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson. This will be the 137th term of parliament in the Republic's history (divided by Christmas and summer breaks, as well as elections). The first task of parliament is for Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir to introduce which bills are to be debated during the term. Among them, the Foreign Ministry has presented a bill asking parliament for permission to begin negotiating the terms of accession with the European Union, mbl.is reported. As agreed by the two coalition cabinet partners, the Social Democrats and the Left Green Movement, parliament will be allowed to decide whether to begin negotiations – but the nation will hold a referendum on whether to make a formal application once the terms have been agreed. The anarchists repeat: The fight for No to EU is at the top of the agenda.

19.05.2009. LÍÚ calls PM's vision for the future an illusion. Fridrik J. Arngrímsson, managing director of the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners (LÍÚ), described Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir's vision for the future that Iceland can become a leader in the European fishing industry an illusion. "My vision for the future is that Iceland will lead in the creation and management of the EU fisheries policy as well as lead in the European fishing industry. I'm absolutely confident that it will work," Sigurdardóttir said in her keynote speech at the Althingi parliament yesterday, Fréttabladid reports.

Arngrímsson stated that Iceland will never participate in the management of the EU fisheries policy. The PM also mentioned new business opportunities on the European market, but Arngrímsson said he would like to hear examples. According to Arngrímsson, EU membership will not bring any new business opportunities to the [Icelandic] fishing industry, especially not in relation to company investments. The PM also claimed that EU regulations on proportional stability would secure quota for Iceland on local fish stocks. Arngrímsson described this claim as an exaggeration, "It is a regulation, and it can be changed." The PM has illusions regarding Icelandic EU-membership, the anarchists say and repeat: The fight for No to EU is at the top of the agenda.

20.05.2009. National reconciliation talks begin in Iceland. Almost 60 representatives of labor unions, employer associations, and municipal and central administration launched talks on a "national reconciliation" yesterday, to reach solidarity on economic, wage and social issues. A conclusion is to be reached by June 9. "It is of great significance that all of these parties of interest are cooperating and that the cabinet has the intent to participate in these talks," President of the Confederation of Labor (ASÍ) Gylfi Arnbjörnsson told Fréttabladid. Minister of Social Affairs Árni Páll Árnason, who attended yesterday's meeting, said that it is very important and pleasing that the representatives of the employment market approach the issues at stake with such responsibility.

"And of course that calls for the cabinet contributing towards an agreement," Árnason commented. No conditions have been made for the negotiations. "There are many different opinions and different interests at stake but we have to work together on finding solutions to a number of problems. If that is achieved in a broad reconciliation, it may happen that with time the conclusion will be known as a 'national reconciliation'," Arnbjörnsson said. In 1990, a similar agreement was reached between the central administration and representatives of the employment market after a difficult economic situation the previous winter. That agreement is widely known as a "national reconciliation" or "thjódarsátt" in Icelandic. Arnbjörnsson pointed out that the negotiators represent the interests of around 150,000 people, almost half the Icelandic nation.

The reviewing of wage contracts and planned pay raises, which were supposed to take place at the beginning of this year, were postponed due to the crisis and Arnbjörnsson is optimistic that they can now be discussed and that acceptable solutions can be found. Managing director of the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) Vilhjálmur Egilsson agrees that discussing the extension of wage contracts is of importance as well as wage development between the general and official employment market. "Then people want to discuss what opportunities are at hand for the employment market in general to live up to these agreements and to pay out these increases. Also what opportunities there are to keep people employed," Egilsson added. Egilsson would like to see a "stabilization pact," which sets goals for the economy with regard to inflation, policy rate, the exchange rate and the employment rate. "We have also emphasized abolishing the currency restrictions and the quota lapse ideas." Egilsson suggested instead that laws on fisheries management be reviewed without predetermined goals or deadlines. SA is also keen on reviewing the arrangement of the banks, the reshuffling of the employment market and the central administration's asset management. Full employment now! the anarchists repeat.

23.05.2009. Iceland bank collapse investigators in fraud raids. Forced police searches took place at ten locations yesterday and last Tuesday in relation to the special prosecutor's investigation into the Icelandic banking collapse last year. The raids were directly linked to investigations into the purchase of a 5.01 percent share in Kaupthing Bank by Q Iceland Finance ehf. Q Iceland Finance is owned by Olafur Olafsson and Sheik Mohamed Bin Khalifa Al-Thani. Kaupthing granted Olafsson, who at the time was the second biggest shareholder in the Bank, a loan for half the cost of the purchase of Q's 5.01 percent share. The loan was written against his company which is registered in the British Virgin Islands. The loan was secured by the shares themselves and involved no personal risk to Olafsson. Sigurdur Einarsson, the former Head of the Board at Kaupthing, has said that no money was taken out of the Bank to finance the Sheik's purchase; but Morgunbladid did report in January that the Bank had been buying up its own shares in order to sell them to the Sheik. The investigators are looking into alleged market manipulation and legally punishable embezzlement in relation to the share purchase at the end of September 2008. The searches yesterday were synchronised and began with simultaneous searches of three premises at 10.00. In all, 20 people took part in the raids, mbl.is reports.

The mussel cultivation company Nordurskel on Hrísey island (population ca. 200) in north Iceland has now launched full production after eight years of developmental work with its first products expected to arrive on the market soon. Nordurskel already employs five people and is planning to hire ten others in the coming days. Production will take place in Hrísey. The company estimates that around 100 tons of mussels will be produced this year. "The Icelandic mussel in my opinion is one of the best ones that I've seen in a long, long time. It's a very full meat and it's very tasty mussel, so I think there are lots of opportunities for the industry to grow," said chairman of the Canadian Aquaculture Association Cyr Couturier. "It's the greenest industry in terms of food production in the world, and there's no reason why Iceland shouldn't be a leader in mussel production," Couturier added. "You have […] highly productive water and you just can't beat it."

29.05.2009. Iceland proposes to launch EU membership talks. Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson submitted a parliamentary resolution on behalf of the cabinet to the Althingi parliament yesterday, proposing that Iceland launches membership negotiations with the European Union. Skarphédinsson declared the event as historical, Fréttabladid reports. The parliamentary resolution of the two largest opposition parties, the Independence Party and the Progressive Party, that the parliament's foreign affairs committee prepare membership negotiations with the EU, was also submitted yesterday. Skarphédinsson said that the opposition's resolution showed that it is possible to reach an agreement among MPs on applying for EU membership. The minister, who is member of the Social Democrats, discussed the main arguments for and against joining the EU and said he was certain that Iceland could agree on special solutions on the matters most important to Iceland, such as fisheries, while negotiating with the EU.

However, Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, who is also chairman of the Left-Greens, said he doubted that exceptions and special solutions could be achieved. He bases his view on Norway's experience. Sigfússon further stated that he believed the Icelandic nation would reject EU membership in a referendum. The MPs of the Independence and Progressive Parties criticized the cabinet's resolution. "It is an unusable piece of paper," declared Thorgerdur Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, vice-chair of the Independence Party, adding that Brussels would laugh at Iceland once the resolution has been translated to foreign languages. However, Gunnarsdóttir emphasized that she wants Iceland to apply for EU membership — just according to the opposition's proposals.

Chairman of the Progressive Party Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson claimed that if the cabinet's resolution is passed, Iceland will begin negotiations with the EU without self-respect and that it is unlikely that a favorable agreement will be reached that way. However, Thráinn Bertelsson, MP for the third opposition party, the Civic Movement, said his party celebrates the resolution because the parliament will have the authority to reach a conclusion on the nature of the membership negotiations and then the nation will decide whether or not to join the EU in a referendum. The main difference between the two resolutions lies in that the cabinet wants the parliament to decide whether membership discussions should be launched but the opposition wants the foreign affairs committee to prepare a potential application.

The cabinet's resolution assumes that before membership discussions are launched, a wide-reaching consultation with parties of interest on the goals of the negotiations should take place. Furthermore, the resolution proposes that a professional negotiation committee be appointed by the cabinet and that another committee, established by Althingi, represent the parliament in its relations with the negotiation committee. The opposition's resolution assumes that the foreign affairs committee prepares a report on Iceland's most important interest and works on a framework to address these matters in a possible application. No to EU, the anarchists repeate.

03.206.2009. Towards "national reconciliation" on wage issues. Employment market demands reduction in policy rate.  President of the Icelandic Confederation of Labor (ASÍ) Gylfi Arnbjörnsson and managing director of the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) Vilhjálmur Egilsson were both quoted this morning saying that a lowering of the Central Bank's policy rate is essential for them to reach an agreement on wages.  ASÍ and SA are currently in stabilization talks in an effort to reach a "national reconciliation" on wage issues. Representatives from these unions are in disagreement on when salary increases should take place and say it is impossible to reach a conclusion until the Central Bank lowers the policy rate. The next decision on that matter will be announced on Friday, Fréttabladid reports."If a substantial lowering of the policy rate does not take place there is no use talking about salary increases," Vilhjálmsson said. "It is clear that all attention is on the Central Bank at the moment," Arnbjörnsson told Morgunbladid. "We realize that it will be very difficult to reach an agreement with employers on wage issues."

"It is clear that the position of employers is decided to a large extent by the policy rate development so it is of utmost importance to find a way out of these difficulties in the coming days," Arnbjörnsson added. Both Vilhjálmsson and Arnbjörnsson attended a meeting with representatives of the Icelandic cabinet and local authorities yesterday, during which the country's economic situation was reviewed. Vilhjálmsson told Fréttabladid that he had emphasized that the national deficit be reduced more rapidly at yesterday's meeting and suggested that financial budgets be made for three years at a time. He said that the participation of pension funds in the employment market had also been discussed. Arnbjörnsson told Morgunbladid that ASÍ is interested in continuing to work with the cabinet to find a joint vision for the future. However, the cabinet is not involved in finding a solution to the dispute with SA over salary issues. "It is naturally not the cabinet's responsibility to make a decision on the policy rate, others are responsible for that. But I believe that all conditions are in place to reach a conclusion on the matters between us and the cabinet," Arnbjörnsson said. Full employment now, the anarchists repeat.

04.06.2009. Central Bank of Iceland policy rate lowered. The Monetary Policy Committee has decided to lower the Central Bank of Iceland's policy rate by 100 basis points to 12.0 percent. Overnight lending rates will also be lowered by 100 basis points. Other Central Bank interest rates will remain unchanged.

08.06.2009. 08.06.2009. Hundreds protest Icesave deal in Iceland. As many as 900 people assembled on Austurvöllur parliamentary square in Reykjavík Monday to protest the agreement among the Icelandic central administration and the Dutch and British authorities on Iceland's obligation towards Landsbanki's Icesave depositors. The demonstration reminded many of the series of protests that took place after the economic collapse last fall. The demonstration began calmly at 3 pm, but then the number of protestors gradually increased and the demonstration grew louder, ruv.is reports.  While the agreement was being discussed at Althingi, protestors banged pots and pans together, clapped their hands and rattled their key chains to make noise.

Others were carrying signs. Some read "Iceslave" while others stated that the interest rates of the Icesave loans equal the annual export value of 200,000 tons of cod. Some demonstrators addressed President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, reminding him of his veto right: "Are you signing this, Ólafur?" their signs asked. The demonstration was mostly peaceful, but police arrested five protestors when they didn't comply with demands to stop banging on the walls and windows of the parliamentary building, mbl.is reports. Later in the evening, around 9 pm, a group of protestors barged into the building at Fríkirkjuvegur 11, which is owned by Novator, a company in the ownership of one of Iceland's tycoons, Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, Fréttabladid reports. According to police, the people entered the house through an unlocked door and didn't cause any damage to it. Most people had vacated the house one hour later.

The agreement between the Icelandic central administration and the Dutch and British authorities on Iceland's obligations towards Landsbanki's Icesave depositors was also subject to heated debate inside Iceland's Althingi parliament Monday. Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said the conclusion is acceptable considering that already in October an agreement had been made with the Netherlands which was much less favorable for Iceland, Fréttabladid reports. In fact, the negotiation had been about undoing mistakes that took place during the confusion surrounding the economic collapse in October last year, Sigfússon claimed. However, the opposition parties stated the agreement was a mistake. Chairman of the Progressive Party Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson called it "despicable gutlessness" not to take the Icesave dispute to court. Chairman of the Independence Party Bjarni Benediktsson criticized the cabinet for hiding behind the decisions made by their predecessors.

Not just the opposition disapproves. Daniel Gros, the managing director of the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels, told Morgunbladid that the interest rates are far too high. "I believe these interests create too much of a risk for Iceland and don't consider this a good agreement for the country. I don't think any other country in the world has as high foreign debts than Iceland after this," Gros commented. According to the agreement, the Iceland Compensation Scheme will pay approximately ISK 655 billion (USD 5.1 billion, EUR 3.7 billion) to the UK and the Netherlands over the next 15 years. The loan carries an interest rate of 5.5 percent and is interest-only for the first seven years, during which period only the assets of the old Landsbanki will be used to cover the debt.

09.06.2009. Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir stated that the agreement between Iceland, the UK and the Netherlands on Iceland's obligations towards Landsbanki's Icesave depositors, assumes that it will be reviewed in case the state's debt capacity is questioned.

15.06.2009. Anti-terrorism restrictions on Icelandic bank lifted in the UK. The restrictions on Landsbanki in the UK, established through anti-terrorism legislation after the collapse of the Icelandic banking system in October 2008, will be lifted this week following the agreement on the bank's online unit Icesave. British and Dutch authorities agreed earlier this month to provide the Icelandic state with loans to honor its obligations towards the Icesave depositors in their countries. According to Fréttabladid, the British government has formally announced that the restrictions will be lifted following a decision made by the UK parliament to that end. The announcement was made even though Iceland's Althingi parliament has yet to accept the Icesave agreement. October 8, two days after emergency legislation was established in Iceland to prevent the savings of Icelandic depositors from being lost in the banking collapse, the British government invoked the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 to freeze the assets of Landsbanki in the UK. The implementation of the legislation, which has earlier been used against states like North Korea and organizations like al-Qaeda, was harshly criticized by the Icelandic cabinet, Icelandic citizens and also the UK parliament.

18.06.2009. Demolished house in protest at repossession. Frjalsi Investment Bank won a house in a forced auction last November in the Reykjavik suburb of Alftanes. However, the bank still has not taken possession of the house keys and the former owner unilaterally decided to demolish the house yesterday. According to Stod 2 News, the former owner recently received a final eviction notice and felt he had nothing to lose – it made no difference to him if he went bankrupt owing 60 million kronur or 120 million. With this very public act of disobedience he apparently hoped to draw attention to the terrible situation many in financial difficulties find themselves in these days. Bjarni S. Einarsson, a planning and building representative of the local municipality, told mbl.is that a licence is needed to demolish a house and that none had been sought in this instance. He apparently noticed the demolition when out walking in the area. "I saw what was going on and called the police and house owners," Einarsson said. "I'm totally speechless," he added. Frjalsi representatives say the house is almost totally destroyed, with just the garage remaining intact. A professional demolition company has already been engaged to clear the land and make it safe again.

23.06.2009. Icelandic Forestry Association to create 1,000 jobs.Up to 1,000 people will have employment this summer in relation to re-vegetation of so-called green areas that belong to forestry associations across the country. The project is the initiative of the Icelandic Forestry Association and will be undertaken in cooperation with the Directorate of Labor, the central administration and the municipalites.

Stability pact to be signed in Iceland today? Representatives of the central administration and the employment market discussed a joint resolution on employment and economic matters, dubbed the national reconciliation, until late last night.

24.06.2009. Uncertainty surrounds Iceland's stability pact. The stability pact between Iceland's cabinet and representatives of the employment market is still being discussed, although it was hoped that it could be signed yesterday. Eiríkur Jónsson, chairman of the Icelandic Teachers' Union, said there is still a long way to go. "It is my estimation that everything is still uncertain and that it is very unlikely that an agreement will be reached shortly," Jónsson told ruv.is. "There are still a number of matters that need to be clarified before the deal can be sealed." "As far as I'm concerned, it's absolutely out of the question to obligate ourselves to some future plan where we're forced into brutal cutbacks in the welfare system in the coming years. People also have to look at the income side of things," Jónsson added.  Representatives of wage earners, employers, pension funds and municipalities, along with representatives of the central administration, discussed the stability pact in Karphúsid, until late into yesterday evening.

26. 06.2009. Stability Pact and national reconciliation achieved. An agreement has now been concluded on a Stability Pact which forms a cornerstone in the cabinet's plans for economic reconstruction. Leaders of central and local administration, employers' and employees' associations, the Icelandic Confederation of Labor (ASÍ) and the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA), signed the agreement in the Cultural House today. The Stability Pact covers many of the principal factors concerning which uncertainty has been high in recent months and will serve as one of the main pillars to support further rebuilding of the economy. The aim of the Stability Pact is to promote economic recovery. Upon commencing the negotiations, the contracting parties agreed on specific benchmarks: by the end of 2010 inflation will not be higher than 2.5%, the deficit in public finances will not exceed 10.5% of GDP, the exchange rate will have stabilised and the ISK strengthened to move closer to the real equilibrium exchange rate. The difference between domestic and Eurozone interest rates will be less than 4 percentage points. This will create the conditions for increased investment by both domestic and foreign parties, stronger growth, boosting employment and laying the foundation for improved living standards in the future. In tandem with the conclusion of this pact, the social partners have joined forces to remove labor market uncertainty, by concluding collective bargaining agreements valid until the end of November 2010, which emphasise improving the situation of lowest income groups.

The highlights of the pact are as follows: .

* Collective bargaining agreements in the private sector will be extended until the end of November 2010. Collective bargaining agreements will be concluded with public sector employees in a similar vein as soon as possible.
* The planned fiscal measures action plan until 2013 was presented and a joint understanding reached on its objectives for the period 2009-2011.
* Tax increases will not comprise more than 45% of the extra amount needed to ensure a balanced state budget.
* Major emphasis will be placed on ensuring improvement to the position of debtors and indebted households. The central administration will review and revise the remedies available and make proposals for improvements as necessary.
* Measures to encourage increased employment place emphasis on facilitating major projects and enlisting the co-operation of pension funds in participating in financing projects.
* Plans put forward with fixed dates for reconstruction of the banking system and the central administration's ownership policy; non-Icelandic parties will be able to acquire holdings in Icelandic financial undertakings, in part to facilitate access to credit. Restructuring of bank ownership to be completed by 1 November 2009.
* Joint benchmarks set for recovery in business and industry and the involvement of public parties in industrial operations and ownership of commercial enterprises.
* A fixed schedule for exchange rate measures, including providing a schedule by 1 August for the removal of currency controls. The objective is to ensure ISK stability.
* Efforts will be made to remove restrictions on new investment by 1 November 2009.
* The social partners have stated that interest rates must decrease and have reached the single-digit range by 1 November.
* Joint actions in municipal affairs concerning co-operation in economic issues and harmonisation of information and actions in public administration.
* A future vision for pension fund matters will be examined and all decisions on cutbacks to pension entitlement and financing postponed while this examination is underway.
* Active co-operation on workplace surveillance and the introduction of workplace identification to ensure workers their full rights and combat illegal employment and abuse of unemployment benefits.
* Implementation of the cabinet's statement of 17 February 2008 concerning the rights of workers to an Employment Retraining Fund, Illness and Education Funds and Adult Education.

Approximately 150,000 wage earners stand behind the pact, the vast majority of workers; according to the Directorate of Labor, there is a total of 168,000 people on the employment market in Iceland, Fréttabladid and Morgunbladid report. The pact is in 14 parts and is valid until the end of 2010. Among other items, it assumes that the reorganization of the banking system be completed by November 1 this year, that currency restrictions be abolished and that the policy rate be lowered.  According to the pact the lowest salaries will increase by a monthly sum of ISK 13,500 (USD 105, EUR 75), which was supposed to take effect on March 1 this year but postponed due to circumstances in society. It will now be introduced in stages and take full effect by November 1, ruv.is reports.

Thórarinn V. Thórarinsson, who served as the managing director of the Employer Union when the national reconciliation was made in 1991 — with which yesterday's stability pact has often been compared — told Fréttabladid that he considers it strange that an agreement was made to increase salaries during such difficult times. Thórarinsson said he believes that the pay raises must have been the price that the cabinet had to pay in order to secure peace on the employment market. He added that the biggest risk regarding the stability pact is the position of the pension funds. According to the pact, matters concerning the pension funds will be reviewed."It will prove a difficult project to defend the position of the pension funds and the future of the system," Thórarinsson commented. However, Ari Skúlason, who served as the director of the economics division of ASÍ when the national reconciliation was reached in 1991, said he sees few danger signals in the stability pact, hoping that it is the first positive step out of many. Thorgerdur Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, vice-chair of the Independence Party, described the stability pact as an important milestone. "Such extensive tax increases are likely to slow down the economic stimulus," she commented.

27.06.2009. New protest at Austurvöllur. It is estamated that 300 people are gathered in Austurvöllur to protest the Icesave deal. The protests were organized by the Voices of the People (Raddir Fólksins). In a statement it says that in addition they are protesting the cabinet's indifference in matters concerning homes and businesses and demanded that they start trying the white collar criminals immediatly. Speakers are Helgi Áss Grétarsson, Lawyer, Guðmundur Magnússon, vice president of the Organizaton of the Disabled in Iceland, Ólafia Ragnarsdóttir, the honorable president of the Activistgroup of honourable disabled, Þórður B. Sigurðsson, President of the Organised interest group of the Homes. Chairman is as before Hörður Torfason.

02.07.2009. Icelandic businessmen's homes attacked. Reykjavik capital region police released a statement this morning confirming that red paint has been thrown over the homes of Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson and Hannes Smarason, the former heads of Landsbanki and FL Group, respectively. It is not yet known who carried out the attacks or their precise motivation. It is also not known exactly when the acts of vandalism took place. No messages were written with the paint; it was simply thrown at the walls. According to police, this is not the first time this has happened. The police currently have no leads, but say the issue is under investigation. The anarchists condemn the ochlarchy.

03.07.2009. Icelandic economic collapse exceeds Enron. Last fall's collapse of the Icelandic banking system is more substantial than both Enron and WorldCom, the US's largest bankruptcy cases, according to Helge Skogseth Berg, a Norwegian financial expert. He is now assisting corruption hunter Eva Joly, who was hired by the Icelandic cabinet to help with the investigation on the banking collapse. Mbl.is reports this. "The case is so massive that is impossible to tell for how long I will be assisting in the investigation," Skogseth Berg says. The default of the Icelandic banks is larger than Enron, which in 2001 was the largest bankruptcy case in the history of the United States. "It is also larger than the WorldCom case, which in 2002 became the largest bankruptcy in USA history. The investigation is therefore enormous and will require my presence in Iceland as an advisor." Skogseth Berg is presently in Iceland with Joly, who recently criticized the low budget and manpower the investigation team has been provided with. "I hear that soon, more prosecutors will be hired," he says. "In such a large investigation, it is best to operate a few independent teams because then, the entire investigation won't risk being held back due to any single case. The investigation would go further and the staff would also be put to better use."

18.07.2009. Icelandic Foreign ministry on European Union accession negotiations vote. The Parliament of Iceland voted today in favor of applying for membership of the European Union. This follows a resolution proposal submitted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ossur Skarphedinsson, to Parliament on 28 May 2009, in which the Parliament mandates the Icelandic Cabinet to put forward an application. The resolution passed with 33 in favor, 28 against, and 2 abstentions. Parliamentarians from all five political parties voted in favor of the resolution. The opinion submitted with the resolution states that the Cabinet shall be guided by the majority opinion of the Foreign Affairs Committee on working methods and matters of important interests in its preparation and organization for future EU accession negotiations. "his is a historic day for Iceland," said Foreign Minister Skarphedinsson. "As a European nation already deeply integrated into European structures as a member of EFTA (1970) and of the EU´s internal market through the Agreement on the European Economic Area (1994), we now look forward to taking the next logical step, in close cooperation with our European partners." No to EU! the anarchists say.

20.07.2009. Moves on banks. Iceland has taken a step towards clearing up the mess left by its spectacular financial meltdown. The Reykjavik cabinet has unveiling a deal with creditors of its failed banks and a plan to provide capital for the new ones. The capitalisation – through the issue of new bonds from the central administration – is expected to total about 270 billion Icelandic crowns (1.5 billion euros). Iceland's main commercial banks – Glitnir, Landsbanki and Kaupthing – all collapsed in the space of a week last October, owing the equivalent of more than 40 billion euros to foreign lenders. Restructuring the banking sector and repaying creditors is seen as key to reviving Iceland's economy which is in deep recession. Reykjavik also wants to placate the International Monetary Fund and other foreign lenders that have pledged seven billion euros toward the volcanic island nation's economic recovery. The Icelandic parliament will soon vote on whether to reimburse Britain and the Netherlands for billions owed to savers with Icelandic accounts.

23.07.2009. Disputed application for EU-membership. Last week, after lengthy discussion, the Icelandic parliament voted to apply for EU membership. Today, their Foreign Minister was in Stockholm – because the Swedes currently hold the rotating presidency of the EU – to make their formal application. The next step will be for the EU to approve the application, and entry talks could start next spring. Then the ball will be passed over to the Icelandic people in the shape of a referendum. Whether or not the country will actually join the EU however, is far from being a foregone conclusion. Iceland is traditionally sceptical about joining the EU and some fear that EU fishing quotas could harm the Icelandic fishing industry. On the other hand, the Icelandic banking meltdown last year has resulted in some warmer feelings towards the EU. Either way, the earliest date that Iceland could realistically join the EU would be in 2013. No to EU! the anarchists repeat.

Iceland formally said it would not accept a "rotten deal" for its fishing industry, a key sector of the island nation's troubled economy. "To be frank with you, if we would get a rotten deal on the fisheries, the Icelandic people would get quite angry," Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson said after presenting the EU application to his Swedish counterpart, Carl Bildt. "This is not only an issue of economics. It is also an emotional issue. It is also an issue that is related to sovereignty," said Skarphedinsson, a former fisherman. In 2007, fishing employed 4 percent of Iceland's work force, just over 7,000 people. But seafood accounted for almost half of Iceland's exports and 10 percent of its gross domestic product. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn welcomed Iceland's application, citing its "long and deep democratic roots." The fishing issue is not Iceland's only hurdle, however. The Icelandic Parliament, which only narrowly approved the EU application, has yet to approve an international agreement to repay Dutch and British depositors who put money in the offshore division of failed Icelandic bank Landsbanki. If the assembly says 'no' to the deal it will complicate Iceland's membership talks with the EU.

29.07.2009. More members of parliament against Icesave deal. There is an increasing number of parliament members in Iceland deciding against the Icesave-agreement, according to the news source Bloomberg. 34 members are currently expected to vote against the proposition. Last month, a straw poll indicated that 33 members out of 63 would be against. In an interview with Bloomberg, Minister of Finance Steingrimur J. Sigufsson said that he is not panicking over the vote. According to Bloomberg , Iceland will likely not receive any loans from the International Monetary Fund or other Nordic nations until the Icesave deal is finished and mutual agreements have been made with Britain and the Netherlands. Sigfusson says it is not possible to tell when the talks in parliament will be finished and says the third round of talks will continue sometime next week.

04.08.2009. Eva Joly criticizes Europe over Iceland debt. The Norwegian-French judge Eva Joly is famous for her fraud investigation skills and has as mentioned been hired by Iceland to advise its bank crash investigators and help solve the mysteries surrounding the country's economic downfall. On Saturday she took a sidestep from her official role by writing an opinion piece for several major European newspapers lambasting Europe's treatment of Iceland over recent months. Joly has often proven herself unafraid to criticize the Icelandic cabinet and figures within the judiciary and investigation committee. It is, after all, her job to criticize and affect change for the benefit of everyone (except the guilty). In this instance the common good leads Joly to believe that Europe is approaching Iceland unfairly – especially the Netherlands and the UK.

By forcing Iceland to pay enormous compensation for the Icesave debacle, the countries are helping to reduce Iceland to poverty, increase migration and increase the likelihood that the country will fail, default and never pay back its debts. She also believes they are failing to take responsibility for their own mistakes in the fiasco. Under EU regulations, Landsbanki was entitled to set up its Icesave branches in the Netherlands and the UK and the respective governments could do nothing to stop them. It is also true that branches (as opposed to subsidiaries) remain under the supervision of regulators in their home country and not in the host country.

Joly's point hinges on the part of the EU rule that states the host country should ensure that the branch is being regulated in its home country to the same high standards as the host country's own banks. According to Joly, had the UK and Dutch authorities stuck to this rule diligently, the Icelandic financial regulators would have had to regulate Landsbanki and Icesave much better, possibly avoiding the collapse altogether. "Could anyone realistically think that a handful of people in Reykjavik could effectively control the activities of a bank in the heart of The City?" Joly writes in the Telegraph. "European directives concerning financial conglomerates suggest that EU member states allowing foreign banking subsidiaries into their territories must ensure they are subject to the same control abroad as they would be domestically." "So, was there a failure on the part of the British authorities on this point, which would not be particularly surprising considering the "performance" of other English (sic) banks during the financial crisis? If so, Mr Brown's activism in relation to Iceland might be motivated by a wish to appear powerful in the eyes of his electorate." "Of course, the Icelandic institutions have much responsibility. But does that necessarily mean that the responsibility of the British authorities should be overlooked, dumping it all on the Icelandic people alone?" The original article of Joly can be seen here .

05.08.2009. UK Serious Fraud Office investigating Icelandic banks. Britain's Serious Fraud Office, the public body which investigates large scale financial cases, has been conducting its own investigation into the collapse of the Icelandic banks. Last weekend's leak of Kaupthing Bank's unusual loans portfolio has caused the SFO to ramp up its investigation in recent days, according to British newspaper The Telegraph . A special team within the SFO is investigating the leaked document containing details of huge unsecured loans to a tight-knit group of businesses. The document contains details of all Kaupthing loans over EUR 45 million. There were 205 in total. The SFO has also been receiving information from former UK branch staff members, investors and customers.

The SFO is said to be searching for more individuals who have links with the bank to come forward. The loans document from Kaupthing shows that the large majority of the loans went to Kaupthing's owners and related parties. Many of the loans have little or no security. In addition to this, many customers took loans from the bank to buy shares in the bank, using nothing but the shares themselves as collateral for the loans. Although no official investigation is underway, the SFO has been looking into Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir for many months, at least since the collapse last October. Olafur Thor Hauksson, Iceland's special prosecutor in the official banking investigation, said in an interview with mbl.is that the SFO has made no formal contact with his team and has not requested any documentation from it. He said his team of investigators first heard about the SFO investigation through the media like everyone else.

13.08.2009. Icelandic businessmen's homes attacked with paint. Red paint was last night splattered on the houses of Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, former head of Kaupthing Bank and Karl Wernersson, Head of the Board at Milestone, mbl.is reports. It is not know what sort of paint was used, but it appears to have been gloss paint. This is the second time that Sigurdsson's house has been attacked with paint at night time recently. The former ‘Outvasion Viking's' house has been a regular target for angry vandals in recent weeks. The anarchists condemn the vandalism.

Iceland and UK announce crisis investigation co-operation. "We will swap information with the British and I hope we can get an investigator from the UK to come over here," Eva Joly, advisor to Iceland's Special Prosecutor, said. Joly confirmed to Morgunbladid yesterday that her team will begin formal co-operation with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO). SFO experts sent Joly a letter recently following the leak of Kaupthing confidential loan records to the press suggesting co-operation. Olafur Thor Hauksson, Special Prosecutor, said that it was decided to accept the offer of formal co-operation during one of his regular meetings with Eva Joly yesterday. Co-operation with other Nordic countries is also under discussion, with Joly especially interested in working with her fatherland, Norway. It is hoped a Norwegian representative will meet with Hauksson in Iceland about the future of both countries' investigations. Joly has a meeting scheduled with Richard Alderman, head of the SFO, on 11th September.

Eva Joly said it is normal that the assets of suspects haven't been frozen yet. The public must be patient while their cases are investigated. "One cannot start with freezing people's assets, first criminal behavior must be proven," Joly told Fréttabladid , explaining that it's extremely complicated to decide whether and when assets of suspects should be frozen. When three new prosecutors will start working for the office of the special prosecutor they will, among other projects, track down funds that have been brought out of the country with assistance from foreign specialists.

Financial Times defends Iceland in Icesave case. British and Dutch authorities were urged to take on an increased part of the burden that comes with compensating Landsbanki's Icesave depositors in an editorial in The Financial Times yesterday — otherwise Iceland's economy might come to a long-term standstill. Click here to read the article in full.

14.08.2009. Iceland PM defends parliament's Icesave misgivings. Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir took the unusual step of writing an opinion piece for the Financial Times which went on the paper's website yesterday evening. In her article "Icelanders are angry but will make sacrifices", the PM lays out her version of why the Icesave deal is potentially unfair on Icelanders. "Icelanders, who do not feel responsible for the global banking crisis, are willing to make sacrifices to secure normal relations and trade with the world. But they are angry at having to take on the burden of compensation for the Icesave savings accounts of Landsbanki – a failed, privately owned, commercial bank, which attracted hundreds of thousands of UK and Dutch savers with high interest rates. The amount to be shouldered by Iceland is huge – about 50 per cent of our gross domestic product. Assets against this debt will substantially lower the net amount, but there is much uncertainty about the valuations and forecasts underpinning such calculations." Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir reiterates her cabinet's desire to pass the contract and normalize international relations, but to also not be left with an unrealistic or unfair debt burden. The article is available in full on ft.com, but only to registered users. It is, however, free to register.

Thousands protest Icesave deal at Iceland's Parliament. An estimated number of 3,000 people gathered in front of the Althingi parliament at Austurvöllur square in central Reykjavík yesterday to protest the Icesave agreement in its current form, urging MPs not to approve it.  The demonstration was organized by the Indefence group, which earlier ran the campaign "Icelanders are not terrorists," in response to the UK government's use of the anti-terrorism legislation to freeze Icelandic assets in the UK."We are satisfied with the meeting. It is important that the nation stands together," Ólafur Elíasson, one of Indefence's spokespersons, told Fréttabladid. The group described yesterday's event as a meeting for people to show solidarity. The Indefence group is now preparing to bring its cause to the attention of foreign media. "We were half promised that if the meeting would be big then we would get to write and translate articles for foreign newspapers," Elíasson said.

Some MPs and other well-known people attended the demonstration yesterday, among them former Prime Minister and Central Bank governor Davíd Oddsson. According to Fréttabladid's sources, a cross-political agreement on the cabinet's Icesave proposition is unlikely after the parliament's Economic and Tax Committee's meeting ended in disagreement last night. The proposition includes central administration guarantee on loans from the UK and the Netherlands to the Icelandic Depositors' and Investors' Guarantee Fund so that Iceland can compensate Landsbanki's Icesave account holders in these countries. The committee assembled five times yesterday and Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon joined its members in a meeting after midnight last night, Morgunbladid reports. The opposition parties want to include a disclaimer in the agreement that no payments are made to the UK and the Netherlands if there is no economic growth in Iceland. They also want to limit annual payments to 2.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), while the cabinet parties have suggested 3.5 percent. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir said yesterday that she hoped a solution could be reached on disclaimers that could fit within the current Icesave agreement, while, according to Fréttabladid, the opposition wants a new agreement altogether.

Financial Crisis. Icelanders protest bank repayment scheme. Hundreds of Icelanders descended on parliament in Reykjavik, to protest plans to repay funds lost by Britain and the Netherlands when Iceland's banks collapsed last year. The plan, called Icesave after a failed internet banking operation, would reimburse Britain and the Netherlands after they compensated savers who lost their money. But the protesters believe the plan is unfair. "This is not the nation's problem, but the fault of a private bank," said author Einar Gudmansson. "We believe the cabinet wants to remove the problem from the bank and shift it onto us and our children. We can't accept that." Icesave was an on-line bank owned by the now-failed Landsbanki group. About 300,000 Britons and others in the Netherlands had money in its accounts. The bill now in parliament could leave Icelandic taxpayers footing much of the repayment cost and is widely unpopular with both politicians and the public.

20.08.2009. Már Guðmundsson takes over as Governor of the Central Bank of Iceland. Már Guðmundsson took over from Svein Harald Øygard as Governor of the Central Bank today. Since 2004, Már has served as Deputy Head of the Monetary and Economic Department of the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland. Prior to that, he was employed by the Central Bank of Iceland for nearly two decades, including ten years as Chief Economist. The Prime Minister appointed Már Guðmundsson to the position of Governor of the Central Bank for a term of five years, effective August 20, 2009, and Arnór Sighvatsson to the position of Deputy Governor of the Central Bank for a term of four years, effective July 1, 2009, pursuant to Article 23, Paragraph 1 of the Act on the Central Bank of Iceland. The appointments were made following advertisements and a pre-selection process. Már says that he will spend his first days carefully reviewing the work carried out by the Central Bank in recent months. He notes that the staff and senior management of the Bank have worked very hard under extraordinarily difficult circumstances and that this work will continue. He will also focus his efforts on the future of the financial system and the role of the Central Bank of Iceland.

21.08.2009 Icelandic Parliament votes over changes to the Icesave deal. 49 MPs said yes to the changed version of the Icesave deal, passing it through Parliament at around 23.00. This disputed matter has shaken the nation over the last months due to the financial hold it would have on the country. The changes made to the original deal gained the support of 49 of 63 MPs and was passed after the second round of discussions last night. The yes votes came from the Left-Green Movement, the Social Democratic Alliance and the Independence Party. There was a split within the Citizens' Movement and all of the Progressive Party voted against the deal. Some sources say a majority of MPs realized during the second round of discussion that further changes need to be made to the bill. The changes already made were passed, but the bill was sent back to the Economic committee of Alþingi for further changes before the third and final round of discussions.

24.08.2009. Activists in Iceland damage assets of tycoons. A Hummer jeep belonging to Icelandic billionaire Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson was spray-painted red while it was parked outside Reykjavík University on Saturday night. The same group of activists also claimed responsibility for spraying red paint on the house of former Kaupthing chairman Sigurdur Einarsson. The homes of many prominent Icelandic businessmen have been damaged with paint in the past months, Fréttabladid reports. These include former Glitnir CEO Bjarni Ármansson, director of Íslandsbanki (formerly Glitnir) Birna Einarsdóttir, former CEO of Kaupthing Hreidar Már Sigurdsson, former CEO of FL Group Hannes Smárason, former Landsbanki chairman and majority owner Björgólfur Gudmundsson and one of two owners of Milestone Steingrímur Wernersson. Also, a Range Rover jeep belonging to Stefán Hilmarsson, the former chief financial officer of Baugur Group, was set on fire recently. The homes of people whose work is related to the energy sector have also been damaged, including the homes of outgoing CEO of Landsvirkjun (the national power company), Fridrik Sophusson, CEO of Alcan in Iceland Rannveig Rist and CEO of Reykjavík Energy Hjörleifur Kvaran. These cases have not been solved and it is uncertain whether the same group of activists was involved in all of them. The anarchists condemn the vandalism and suspect marxist leftwing extremist ochlarchs are behind the attacks.

25.08.2009. Icesave discussed in Iceland's Budget Committee. The representatives of all parties in the Althingi parliament's Budget Committee (previously referred to as the Economic and Tax Committee), apart from the Progressive Party, worked on securing the proposed amendments to the cabinets's Icesave bill. According to Morgunbladid's sources, it was emphasized that the Icelandic central administration's guarantee on the loans granted by the UK and the Netherlands to the Icelandic Depositors' and Investors' Guarantee Fund would be dropped in 2024, regardless of whether the loans had been repaid or not. The Icesave agreement, signed by Icelandic cabinet and British and Dutch authorities in June, states that the Icelandic Depositors' and Investors' Guarantee Fund will not start repaying the loans until 2016. The Budget Committee also discussed how it could be implemented that the central administration's guarantee would only be valid if British and Dutch authorities agreed to the disclaimers introduced by the Icelandic parliament.

The committee referred to this item as the "InDefence-disclaimer" after the InDefence campaign group, which has presented ideas in relation to the Icesave case. According to Morgunbladid's sources, the representatives of the coalition parties, the Social Democrats and the Left-Greens, on the committee emphasized that the Independence Party was on board so that as wide a reconciliation as possible be achieved. The members of the Budget Committee have asked to be informed on all interactions between the Icelandic ministries and British and Dutch representatives in relation to its work. Assistant to Minister of Finance Indridi H. Thorláksson said the diplomatic relations with the UK and the Netherlands are professional and taking a natural course. They have been informed of the disclaimers that the Budget Committee has made to the Icesave agreement. However, neither British nor Dutch authorities wish to comment on the case or express their views on the disclaimers until Althingi has reached its final conclusion on the matter.

26.08.2009. Icelandic central administration to sue "outvasion vikings". The cabinet of Iceland agreed yesterday to start preparing a lawsuit against and demand compensation from individuals, associations and companies which caused financial damage to the Icelandic central administration and the Icelandic public in the events leading up to the banking collapse. Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told visir.is.: "I trust that whatever comes out of this, people's sense of justice will be satisfied in that this possibility is being examined." It is too early to mention names of individuals or companies that might be looking at a lawsuit from the central administration. The cabinet decided to appoint a team of independent lawyers to prepare the lawsuits. A statement from the Ministry of Finance describes that demand for evidence in compensation cases are different from criminal cases. If evidence show illegal or careless demeanor that has caused damage to the central administration or the public, it is possible to demand compensation without deciding whether it is right to punish the individual or company in question. Meanwhile the head of Europol's economic crime department has a meeting scheduled with Iceland's special prosecutor, who is responsible for investigating the banking collapse, today. They will discuss potential cooperation on the investigation.

ASI calls for action against debt problems. The problems of the homes are growing by fast paces every day. The position of those who are in payment problems is continuously growing and increasing in numbers of those who can not stand up to their financial commitments. This will only get worse in the following months if nothing is done, especially in the light of that at the same time as the debts are growing has the purchasing power decreased. For the past months has this calling problem which is turning against the common wageworkers in Iceland had very little attention by the cabinet. That is absolutely unacceptable. It is clear that the actions that have already been made by the cabinet and financial institutions are not in any way enough to come up against the problem facing us. The Iceandic Federation of Labor (ASI) has repeatedly pointed out that the actions are too slow, unsystematic and returned very limited results. ASI has demanded that this is improved. The cabinet has to react immediately and bring realistic and operative actions to lighten the debt and payment burden of the homes before people lose all hope of making a decent living in the coming years. The Icelandic Federation of Labor (ASI) puts great emphasis on that all ways to solve the financial problems of the homes is to be looked at and declares itself ready to participate in the work around that.

27.08.2009. Protesters gather in front of Parliament today against Icesave deal. Drumming and whistling could be heard from the protesters inside the Parliament. This noise and commotion going on is in result of a controversial Icesave deal. The third and final round of talks concerning the Icesave deal is being discussed in Parliament during the protests. According to Visir, roughly 300 people attended the protests outside Austurvollur (East Square) in front of the Parliament today. The people were beating drums and holding up signs and flags of many sort. "The idea is that those who show up and protest this Icesave deal could wind up saving themselves one to two million kronur," Frosti Sigurjonsson says, who is the managing director of the Dohop Flight Search System. A group of people broke away from the crowd of protesters this afternoon and tried to break into the Parliament building. Two police officers stopped the small group from entering.

28.08.2009. Iceland to vote on repayment bill. Events in Iceland's parliament will be closely followed in the UK and the Netherlands today. Why? Because deputies are expected to back plans to repay the two countries billions lost in Icelandic deposit accounts last year. The bill has divided the small North Atlantic island. But its approval is seen as key if crisis-hit Iceland hopes to receive further aid from the IMF. Dutch and British savers who placed money in "Icesave" lost billions. The high-interest online accounts were run by Landsbanki, a leading commercial Icelandic bank, taken over by the central administration as it collapsed. UK and Dutch authorities eventually covered money lost in the accounts but have demanded repayment, which has stoked protests in Iceland. Already hit hard by the global economic downturn, many Icelanders say they are now being punished for mistakes they did not make.

Iceland's parliament passes Icesave bill. Today, following 10 weeks of debate, the Icelandic parliament, Althingi, passed legislation authorizing a central administration guarantee for the loans granted by the governments of the UK and the Netherlands to the Depositors' and Investors' Guarantee Fund of Iceland. The legislation was passed with 34 votes of 63. Fourteen voted against it, 14 abstained and one MP was absent.  According to the legislation, the central administration guarantee will be subject to certain criteria and preconditions. These are aimed at ensuring debt sustainability and allowing Iceland to restore its financial system and its economy while at the same time honoring Iceland's international obligations, according to the Icelandic cabinet. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir welcomed the Althingi's decision: "This is one of the largest financial and economic issues ever faced by Iceland and it has greatly preoccupied the Althingi and the people since the collapse of the banking system last autumn." The guarantee of the combined loans from the UK and the Netherlands constitutes the single largest financial commitment ever undertaken by the central administration of Iceland.

The PM declared: "Therefore, as I am sure that every parliamentarian will appreciate, the Icelandic parliament has a solemn duty to ensure an economically sustainable future for the country." " This has been its goal. Its conclusion of the matter aims towards securing the recovery of Iceland's financial system and economy. This is for the mutual benefit of both lender and borrower." The PM also praised the tireless efforts by parliamentarians in the Althingi to reach as broad a consensus as possible and stressed the importance of political unity in difficult times. Following the outcome of the parliamentary process, the cabinet of Iceland will now consult with the governments of the UK and the Netherlands. Prime Minister Sigurdardóttir expressed that her cabinet was hopeful that the Icesave issue would now be concluded in a mutually satisfactory manner.

31.08.2009. Business Minister: Outlook for Iceland better than expected. Minister for Business Affairs Gylfi Magnússon stated in an interview today that the economic outlook for Iceland is better than expected and that there might not even be a recession in gross domestic product (GDP) in Iceland next year. "The good news is that the outlook is slightly better than predicted and of course much better than assumed by the most pessimistic forecasts," Magnússon told Fréttabladid . When asked how this development can be explained, the minister replied: "Many factors are better than predicted: There is naturally considerable recession in private consumption but not more than what forecasts had assumed. The level of investing is slightly higher than expected and export has been more successful than predicted." Magnússon added that it now looks as if the recession in GDP this year will be seven percent, while earlier forecasts, undertaken by the Icelandic Ministry of Finance and the International Monetary Fund, among other institutions, had expected a recession between nine and 11 percent.

"It is very pleasing news," the minister said, pointing out that recession in GDP in the Eurozone will be around four percent this year. "Although the recession is higher here than there the difference is perhaps not as extreme as people had feared." More uncertainty surrounds the economic outlook for 2010, but Magnússon is hopeful that there will not be any recession in GDP next year. "Then there has to be growth elsewhere," the minister explained. "People are especially looking towards investments in the private sector but increased growth in export is also a possibility." Magnússon also expects increased demand for domestic products and services among Icelanders, reasoning that if the exchange rate of the króna will remain low, Icelanders will automatically prefer Icelandic products over imported ones. The minister stated that it is assumed economic growth will become measurable in 2011 and 2012, regardless of how high or low it may be.

02.09.2009. Icelandic president signs Icesave deal. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, the President of Iceland, today signed the Icesave deal which parliament passed last week accepting responsibility for paying British and Dutch customers of the failed Icesave internet bank. The President said he signed the bill because of parliament's changes and conditions designed to lessen the impact on the nation and allow the beginning of economic recovery. The President said that as the bill was amended and submitted jointly by four political parties and then passed by parliament after its three official readings, it is fair to say a national political consensus has been reached. He recognized, however, the controversy still surrounding the issue, including the large public petition urging the President to send the law to a referendum; but said that a speedy solution and a concentration on the future is important in reviving Iceland's labor market and financial system. The final stage is for the British and Dutch authorities to accept Iceland's terms and conditions on its repayment. There have been positive intonations from all sides, but nothing can be known until the two foreign governments formally sit down and study Iceland's proposal.

05.09.2009. Investors from the Anarchy of Norway will invest in the Anarchy of Iceland. A group of Norwegian investors, led by Endre Røsjø, want to put ISK 20 billion in long-term investments into the Icelandic economy. According to MBL.is, Røsjø has already met with representatives of Icelandic pension funds with a view to setting up a special investment fund to be run co-operatively between the pension funds and the Norwegian team. The idea is that the pension funds will also invest ISK 20 billion. Røsjø told MBL that he was invited to Iceland in April by Svein Harald Oygard, the then acting head of the Central Bank of Iceland and a fellow Norwegian.

13.09.2009. Eva Joly compares Iceland crisis to the Ponzi scheme in the US. "The Dutch and the British government should look closer when blaming Iceland for the downfall of their banks" said Eva Joly chief investigator concerning the fall of the banks in an interview with the Times. The Icelandic financial crisis is comparable to the Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme in the US, there regulators ignored a series of red flags and did not act. The same goes with regulators in Holland and England, there were alarms being flagged but local regulators did not act. The Icelandic federal bank said back in 2007 that they were too small to back-up Banks like Kaupthing and Landsbanki. Financial services authority, which had an obligation to monitor the Icelandic banks operating in Britain, has to take a share of the blame and the same goes for regulators in the Netherlands, they should have acted. Read the whole interview here .

16.09.2009. More Icelanders than ever against EU membership. Never since the Federation of Icelandic Industries (SI) began surveying the attitude of Icelanders towards the European Union in 2000 have more respondents declared that they are against membership for Iceland. The latest poll undertaken by Capacent on behalf of SI reveals that 50 percent of respondents oppose EU membership, 33 percent approve of it and 17 percent are neither for nor against. Last year, nearly 50 percent of respondents wanted Iceland to join the EU, Morgunbladid reports. Political scientist Baldur Thórhallsson believes that this conclusion can be explained with the behavior of Iceland's allied nations, for example in regard to the Icesave case."None of our closest allies were on our side; they all sided with Dutch and British authorities. Overall, I think this may have caused the nation lose faith in international cooperation." Capacent also asked how respondents would vote if EU membership was up in a referendum today: 61.5 percent said they would probably or definitely vote against membership and 38.5 percent said they would probably or definitely vote in favor of it.

20.09.2009. Norwegian investment in Iceland's MP Bank. The Norwegian investor Endre Røsjø and Iceland's MP Bank have reached a deal under which Røsjø will take a significant share in the bank at the upcoming shareholders' meeting next month and will take an active role in the future development of the bank. As previously reported Røsjø recently decided to invest in Iceland to help strengthen and develop the country's damaged economy. MP Bank is the largest independent bank left in Iceland and only applied for and received its commercial banking licence after the economic crisis began. The bank has since opened a branch and has begun providing commercial banking services to the public. MP Bank puts its success down to sensible, low-debt investment and a steady long-term approach to business. MP Bank president Gunnar Karl Gudmundsson told MBL.is he is extremely pleased with Røsjø's interest in the bank. Røsjø said that MP Bank's business style closely matches his own, "I will be very satisfied if this first investment in Iceland can go some way to increasing trust in the Icelandic banking sector," he said.

22.09.2009. A third willing to start a payment strike. Close to 90 percent of the nation would be ready to participate in putting pressure on the central administration for actions for the homes according to the new Capacent gallup survey. However only a third would be willing to participate in group actions and take a temporary payment strike and not pay their loans for some days. Capacent gallup made a public survey for the interest organization of the homes late in August and in the beginning of September, but the results were published yesterday. According to them roughly 37 percent of those who answered say that they can just barely get ends to meet, roughly 5 percent say that they are just collecting debts and roughly two percent are bankrupt or almost bankrupt. 

So it might not come as a surprise that roughly 87 percent of those who answered are ready to participate in putting a pressure on the central administration for action for the homes. That does not include group lawsuit because the minority - or close to 37 percent - would be willing to participate in actions like  that. Then the vast majority - 75-80 percent - is supporting the ideas about lifting the indexation and the same can be said about the general reduction of the capital amount of the indexed and currency insured loans. Despite the difficult time said 90 percent that they think it is unlikely that they will move out of Iceland any time soon.

Propaganda website for Icelandic EU-membership. The Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs has opened a new yes-propaganda website for Iceland's European Union membership application. The site allows visitors to follow the application process, see the list of questions the Icelandic cabinet has been asked to answer in a long questionnaire and to see details of negotiations. The new information website on Iceland's EU application will probably not be a reliable source of information, but be similar to the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs' yes-propaganda in 1994. The new website can be viewed here (in Icelandic). Say NO to EU.

28.09.2009. British and Dutch stance on Icesave hardening. The British, Dutch and Icelandic foreign ministers met late last week in New York as a side meeting to the United Nations summit happening at the same time. The issue under discussion was Icesave, with the Dutch and British ministers apparently insistent that the entire loan be paid by Iceland, even if it drags on after 2024. Icelandic Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson told RUV that although the British and Dutch position on Iceland's proposed repayment conditions is not yet the formal position of their governments, the conversation at the meeting was nevertheless heated. He said he laid out Iceland's position and opinions very clearly for the two ministers, but that they did not change their points-of-view. They both maintain that there must be a clear assurance that the full balance of the loan will be paid off, even after 2024. Final attempts to create a united position between the three nations will be made over the coming days. It is obvious that the British and Dutch will not accept the Icelandic conditions as they stand, Skarphédinsson said.

Payment strike? Social Affairs Minister presents solutions for debtors. Minister of Social Affairs Árni Páll Árnason presented ideas on debt relief for homeowners at the Interest Group of Households yesterday, which involve that the capital of mortgages remains indexed, but down payments will be connected to the wage index. "This appears to be a step in the right direction but I suspect that a lot more needs to be done," board member of the interest group Fridrik Ó. Fridriksson told Fréttabladid , adding that it is too early to comment on the ideas in further detail. The interest group is planning a payment strike as of October 1 if the central administration doesn't take proper action to ease the debt burden of households. Other ideas presented by Árnason include that debt load be moved back to its status of May 2008 to secure lower down payments, which could happen as early as November 1. US economist Joseph Stiglitz mentioned wage indexation of down payments as a solution for indebted households during his recent visit to Iceland. However, Jón Bjarki Bentsson, an Icelandic economist, has mentioned various disadvantages that might come with this method, pointing out that the wage index has increased by 29 percent in excess of the consumer price index since 1991.

02.10.2009. Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon presented the cabinet's budget bill for 2010 at a press conference yesterday, commenting that it was the most difficult budget an Icelandic finance minister has ever submitted. The total deficit of the central administration's treasury is estimated to be ISK 87.4 billion (USD 694 million, EUR 437 million) next year. This year it will by ISK 182 billion (USD 1.5 billion, EUR 910 million), Morgunbladid reports. The total expenses of the central administration in 2010 will be ISK 546 billion (USD 4.3 billion, EUR 2.7 billion), compared to ISK 589 billion (USD 4.7 billion, EUR 3 billion) this year. Helgi Magnússon, chairman of the Federation of Icelandic Industries, said the cabinet was "shooting itself in the foot" by taxing the export industries, adding that households will also suffer from higher energy tariffs. The anarchists say: "With about 10% unemployment the budget is clearly too little expansive. A larger budget and deficit, financed by quantitative easing, is optimal. Full employment now!"

13.10.2009. Registered unemployment in Iceland in September amounted to 7.2 percent of the workforce, or an average of 12,242 people over the month. This represents a 9.3 percent (1,242 people ) drop since August. At the same time in 2008, unemployment was at 1.3 percent, or 2,229 people. Unemployment is worst in the Sudurnes region (12.1 percent) and least in the West Fjords and the Northwest (1.8 percent). The rate dropped month-on-month by 11 percent in Reykjavik and 4.3 percent elsewhere. The rate of unemplyment went down by 6.6 percent among men and by 13 percent for women – meaning a total of 7.6 percent unemployment for men and 6.7 percent for women. The unemployment problem is worst among the 16-24 age group and currently measures 18 percent. Despite this encouraging drop in unemployment, the Directorate of Labour predicts a slight increase during October.

18.10.2009. Iceland says has new Icesave deal with UK, Holland. Iceland said on Sunday it had agreed to a new deal to repay Britain and the Netherlands billions of dollars of deposits lost when the island's banks collapsed in 2008, paving the way for new aid from international lenders. Iceland passed a law in August to repay money lost in high-interest "Icesave" accounts, but Britain and the Netherlands balked at the terms, holding up aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other lenders for the island's stricken economy. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir said the new deal would have a number of positive effects, including helping Iceland remove currency restrictions -- put in place at the height of the crisis -- and to ease interest rates. It should also get international financial aid flowing again.

"I predict the IMF review will take place by the end of the month," Sigurdardóttir said at a press conference. When the bill is passed, Iceland, Britain and the Netherlands will issue a statement about the deal that will also include British and Dutch backing for the IMF review, the cabinet said. The deal has been accepted by Iceland's cabinet and the two parties in the coalition, and the cabinet said the new bill would go before parliament on Oct. 19. As mentioned Iceland's banks collapsed in late 2008 at the height of the credit crunch and its economy has imploded, leaving it dependent on a $10 billion aid package headed by the IMF. After initial payments, money has been held up by squabbles over the Icesave issue.

Britain and the Netherlands objected to terms in the original law that meant the Icelandic cabinet's repayment guarantee ran out in 2024. Under the new terms, should the money not be repaid by that date, the repayment period will be extended in five-year blocks. Britain and the Netherlands have agreed that Iceland can seek a court ruling as to whether its Depositors' and Investors' Guarantee Fund has first claim on whatever is recovered from collapsed bank Landsbanki, whose depositors in Britain and the Netherlands had to be bailed out by the two states.

09.11.2009. Unemployment protested in Iceland's Sudurnes. Approximately 300 people participated in a protest march from Reykjanesbaer to Kúagerdi in the Sudurnes region in southwest Iceland yesterday to raise awareness of the unemployment situation in the region and call for action. At the end of last month, 1,600 people were registered as unemployed in Sudurnes. "The cabinet must take the situation and the expectations of people in this area under consideration," the march's organizer Einar Bárdarson told Morgunbladid. At the end of the march, delegates of all political parties who have MPs in parliament received a challenge to further employment development on the Reykjanes peninsula. "People don't have to look any further than to the so-called stability pact and the cabinet's platform. It says black on white what should be done," Bárdarson stated, referring to several projects waiting to be undertaken on Reykjanes. These include the aluminum smelter and silicon factory in Helguvík, a data center in Ásbrú, further development of the university center at the old naval air station in Keflavík, and increased operations at Keflavík International Airport, among other projects. The anarchists support the protest... Full employment now!

14.11.2009. Brainstorm. A group of 1,200 Icelanders considered statistically representative of the population are being brought together today for the first time in an attempt to "harvest the wisdom of the crowd". The group of people aged 18 and over were picked randomly from the national registry to be invited to attend the event at Reykjavik's Laugardalsholl arena, along with 300 representatives of organizations and institutions. They will be asked to name the values Icelandic society should be based upon, as well as their vision for Iceland's future and possible ways of action to rebuild the country's economy and society. The results will be freely available to anyone who wants to take part in the rebuilding effort.

The event is a privately-organized grassroots event, although a week ago the cabinet decided to invest ISK 7 million in the project. Other funding comes from businesses and individuals. Similar groups are regularly sampled for polls and surveys; but never before have they been brought together in person in this way. Organizers, many of whom have strong political and business links, plan to work with all present to formulate a 52-week national recovery plan with a tangible goal for the nation to achieve every week. The motto of the National Meeting organized by a group calling itself The Anthill is, "a date with the future".

16.11.2009. Integrity named Iceland's most important value. Integrity is the value which the estimated 1,400 attendees of Iceland's first National Assembly, held in Laugardalshöll sports arena in Reykjavík on Saturday, mentioned most often as society's most important value. Equality, respect and justice were also mentioned often, followed by love, responsibility, freedom, sustainability and democracy. The family and trust were also given high priority, as stated on the National Assembly's website . One of the assembly's organizers, Lárus Ýmir Óskarsson, told Morgunbladid that the purpose of the event had been to encourage the nation to discuss the basic values of society and their visions for the future. "It was a great experience and I'm proud that I was invited to participate," said attendee Erna Arnarsdóttir. "It was fun to meet people from different backgrounds and discover that we have so much in common." "We all want to reconstruct our country and create a bright future for our children," she added. "I just hope that the results will be worked on. I firmly believe that they will have a positive impact on society." "It was a good and necessary meeting," commented attendee Matthías Björnsson. "So many things are happening in society. Now the most important thing is to construct a just society." Björnsson found it important that the nation came together to discuss ethics because immorality has been accepted in the past years. "But I wish we had discussed the nation's independence more," he added. The anarchists repeat: No to EU!

Attendees, most of whom had been invited according to a random selection, were divided into 162 groups. These groups also included people who had been invited because of their position in society, representatives of companies, organizations, the parliament and cabinet. Among participants were Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, Minister of the Environment Svandís Svavarsdóttir and chairman of the Independence Party Bjarni Benediktsson, to name a few. They participated in the discussions like any other attendees and didn't share tables. Each group had a discussion leader who brought up certain topics and encouraged people to write their ideas and opinions on a piece of paper. Attendees then voted on these phrases and sentences and each group submitted their three most important ideas and values. They were then registered into a database and the immediate results were presented during the assembly.

The most often mentioned values were used to create nine themes for further discussion, which represented pillars for society: education, economy, welfare, environment, administration, sustainability, family, equality and other (later renamed opportunities). "In my mind the goal was to strengthen and support argumentative and critical thought," said author Gunnar Hersveinn, one of those who volunteered to work on the organization of the assembly. He hopes that the assembly will have a positive impact on discussions in society. All ideas mentioned during the National Assembly will be registered and made public. They cannot be traced back to individual attendees, but are labeled with the age, gender and place of residence of the attendee in question and can as such be used for social studies. Click here to read more about the National Assembly and here to read a summary of the results, posted on the Iceland Weather Report .

21.11.2009. Euronews Reports: EU Enlargement - Iceland and the EU - a lasting affaire? Iceland has always been fiercely independent but after the collapse of their banks, and in the face of a global recession, Iceland applied for EU membership. Fisheries however, could be a major stumbling block. They represent 40% of the country's industry and Icelandic fishermen are unlikely to relinquish control of their industry without a fight. On the streets however, opinion is split. Many people are in favor of EU membership. The question will eventually be settled by a referendum. Vote NO to EU, the anarchists say.

25.11.2009. Icelanders march to end violence against women. Awareness of gender-based violence against women was raised during a march with torches in Reykjavík, the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The procession marched from the Culture House on Hverfisgata to the outdoor sculpture Sólfarid on Saebraut.

26.11.2009. InDefence urges the president of Iceland to reject Icesave. Campaign group InDefence has launched a new petition, challenging President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson to veto the amended legislation on the central administration's guarantee on Icesave, provided the cabinet's bill will be passed at parliament, so that it will be up for a referendum. The group's members say it is only fair that the Icelandic nation has a say on this legislation and can vote on it in a referendum because it involves a heavy financial burden on the Icelandic public which future generations will struggle to repay. "When the president signed the Icesave legislation this fall, he released a statement saying that he would not have signed the legislation without the preconditions introduced by Althingi [the Icelandic parliament]," said Jóhannes Th. Skúlason, the group's spokesperson. "With the bill currently being discussed at parliament, one could say that the preconditions have been annulled and our risk and the risk posed to the Icelanders of the future is being increased," Skúlason added. "It must therefore be considered that the president cannot accept the matter the way it is today and therefore we want him to reject the legislation and let the nation decide," Skúlason concluded. People can sign the petition on the group's website, indefence.is . The anarchists urge the people to sign the petition.

Letters exchanged. Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir and her British counterpart Gordon Brown seem to disagree on whether Iceland's responsibility to cover Landsbanki's Icesave deposits in the UK and the Netherlands is legally binding. Letters exchanged between the two prime ministers indicating this were made public yesterday. 

28.11.2009. Icelandic president urged to say no to Icesave. Over 7,000 people had, yesterday evening, already signed a petition from the InDefence Group, urging Icelandic president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson not to sign the expected Icesave contract with the UK and the Netherlands when it passes parliament. As mentioned the group is trying to ensure that the Icesave law's financial obligations on the country will be put to a national referendum. Meanwhile, the Icelandic cabinet has declared it will do all in its power to ensure the Icesave law is passed by parliament before the beginning of next month. Cabinet leaders believe that a majority is attainable. The InDefence petition people are signing reads: "I urge the President of Iceland, Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, to veto the new Icesave laws. I believe it is only fair that the debt the cabinet places on Icelanders and future generations of this country should be put to the nation to decide in a referendum." In Icelandic: "Ég skora á forseta Íslands, herra Ólaf Ragnar Grímsson, að synja nýjum Icesave lögum staðfestingar. Ég tel að það sé sanngjörn krafa að sú efnahagslega byrði sem ríkisábyrgðin leggur á íslenskan almenning og framtíðarkynslóðir þessa lands, verði borin undir íslensku þjóðina í þjóðaratkvæðisgreiðslu."

19.12.2009. Majority in Iceland want to reject Icesave bill. A large majority of the Icelandic public want parliament to reject sovereign responsibility for Icesave in the Netherlands and the UK, according to a high-tech, but non-binding referendum. Around 7,500 people took part in the secure electronic ballot commissioned by the Eyjan news website. To take part in the referendum, eligible voters had to have an access code sent to their online banking service – meaning nobody could vote more than once. 69 percent of voters said that the Althingi parliament should reject the Icesave bill and not force Iceland to take responsibility for the debts of a private company; 29 percent said parliament should approve the bill; and 1.6 percent took time out to vote that they have no solid opinion.

30.12.2009. 33 MPs voted yes to the Icesave Bill, 30 said no. The voting lasted over three hours and was at times fierce and personal. It is now up to the Icelandic president to sign these bills, and with that make them law. The president, Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is under pressure from over 35,000 Icelandic voters who have signed a petition asking him not to sign the controversial laws. After results became clear, the Finance Minister and leader of the Left-Green party Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said that history would judge the decision to be the right one.

31.12.2009. Icesave goes to president. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the President of Iceland, intends to take his time to carefully go over the details of the Icesave Bill which parliament approved yesterday. Grimsson said he cannot yet say how long his decision will take; but did say he intends to meet with key players in the near future, including members of the InDefence group. The InDefence group has set up an online petition asking the President to veto the law and send it to a national referendum. 46,000 people have signed so far. Only one Icelandic president has ever vetoed a law, which makes the Icesave Bill appear likely to pass into law. However, the petition will have a strong influence on the President's decision and Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is the very same president who famously used his veto right once before. Polls indicate that the Bill would be rejected in the event of a national referendum.

02.01.2010. Angry Icelanders are petitioning their president, putting pressure on him not to sign a controversial bill that has divided the North Atlantic island. Tens of thousands of signatures opposing the so-called Icesave legislation were delivered to his official residence. They are aimed at convincing President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson to reject a deal under which Reykjavik would have to repay 3.8 billion euros lost by British and Dutch savers when Icelandic banks went under during the financial crisis. Many taxpayers say they are being made to pay for the bank's mistakes and that it is not fair. The compensation amounts to some 12,000 euros for each citizen on the island nation of 320,000. Icesave high-interest online accounts were run by Landsbanki, a leading commercial Icelandic bank, taken over by the central administration as it collapsed. President Grímsson has already indicated he will take time to reflect before putting pen to paper. More than 56,000 - about 23% of Iceland's voters - signed the petition urging the president not to sign the bill. The petition as mentioned urges the president to veto the bill that allows the move, and calls for a referendum on the issue.

05.01.210. President of Iceland vetoes Icesave legislation. President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson announced at a press conference which began at his residence, Bessastadir, today at 11 am that he has decided to veto the Icesave legislation passed by the Icelandic parliament on December 30 and send it to a national referendum. "It is the job of the president of Iceland to make sure the nation's will is answered," he said. "I have decided... to take the new law to the nation. The referendum will take place as quickly as possible." Fréttabladid reports that the president met with four ministers in private meetings on Sunday: Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphédinsson and Minister of Economic Affairs Gylfi Magnússon. According to the newspaper's sources, Grímsson spoke with Central Bank governor Már Gudmundsson and other experts yesterday on the economic consequences of vetoing the Icesave legislation. The president neither spoke with the leaders of the opposition nor the representative of the International Monetary Fund in Iceland, Franek Roswadowski before making his decision, Fréttabladid states. Leaders of the Confederation of Labor (ASÍ), the Federation of State and Municipal Employees (BSRB), the Confederation of Employees (SA) and the Federation of Icelandic Industries (SI) all urged the president to pass the legislation. BBC Brussels correspondent Dominic Hughes said the longer-term impacts of the decision could be significant for both political and economic reasons. "It's seen as a blow to the country's hopes of a quick entry to the European Union," he said. "In fact, the whole debate has soured feeling in Iceland towards the EU.

Iceland's PM disappointed with president's decision. Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir declared in a press conference held at 12:30 pm today that the central administration is disappointed with the President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson's decision in vetoing the Icesave legislation. Sigurdardóttir explained that a solution to the Icesave dispute is a condition for continued cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the disbursement of loans from the Nordic countries. The president's decision therefore upsets further disbursement of these loans and the IMF's next review of Iceland's economic stabilization program and jeopardizes the economic progress which the central administration has made in the past year, the PM stated. Sigurdardóttir emphasized that Iceland does not intend to run away from its obligations and ended her declaration by saying that an English declaration to that regard will be sent to the international media shortly.

The anarchists welcome the veto and the coming referendum. That taxpayers are being made to pay for the bank's mistakes is not fair. The anarchists and many more believe Iceland is paying too much back to Britain and the Netherlands and want the law courts to decide what the fair repayment amount should be.

08.01.2010. Legal uncertainty on Iceland's Icesave responsibility. Dr. Michael Waibel of the University of Cambridge and Lauterpacht Centre for International Law wrote in an article published on FT.com today that "Iceland has no clear legal obligations to pay up," referring to the Icesave agreement with the UK and the Netherlands. "The UK would likely face substantial obstacles in court. The chance of winning is no more than 60 per cent, and even then the UK is very unlikely to obtain more than in this settlement," Dr. Waibel argues, encouraging the UK and the Netherlands to "start showing a genuine willingness to compromise, rather than using political leverage points in the International Monetary Fund and elsewhere to their maximum advantage."

President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson told Morgunbladid that he is pleased with the understanding The Financial Times , one of the most influential business newspapers in the world, is showing Iceland. "It is very important for the position of us Icelanders that this leading newspaper in the financial world is declaring support of the decision I made," the president said. Norwegian-French magistrate Eva Joly, who serves as a consultant to Iceland's special prosecutor, said in an interview with the Dutch newspaper Nrc Handelsblad yesterday that both the Dutch and the British have been arrogant towards Icelanders and that it is clear that Iceland can never pay the amounts that are being demanded through Icesave. According to Morgunbladid , Joly said in an interview with Icelandic national broadcaster RÚV that she had talked with the authors of the European directive on which the Icesave legislation is based, who had confirmed to her that the directive was never meant to apply to the banking collapse of an entire nation.

"This was also our conclusion," law professor Stefán Már Stefánsson told Morgunbladid . He, and Supreme Court lawyer Lárus Blöndal have maintained that when a total banking system collapse occurs, the laws on depositors' and investors' guarantee funds don't apply and other resources must be found. Stefánsson and Blöndal based their assessment on a report by the French banking committee which was made in 2000, the year after the laws on depositors' and investors' guarantee funds were changed in France, and published in early 2001. According to Morgunbladid , Joly also said in the RÚV interview that there is nothing in the laws saying that there must be a state [state here meaning central administration, not state in the meaning of archy, vertically organized, as Iceland is an anarchy] guarantee on the obligations of deposits in a private bank, in this case Landsbanki. Joly suggested that Icelandic authorities establish an international arbitration to solve the Icesave dispute with assistance from the European Union. The dispute is not just Iceland's problem, she reasoned, but the problem of Europe as a whole. Uncertainty also surrounds the outcome of the national referendum on Icesave.

09.01.2010. Hundreds protested in front of Iceland's Parliament. The organizations Nýtt Ísland ("New Iceland") and Hagsmunasamtök heimilanna (HH; "The interest association of households") called for a protest meeting on Saturday on Austurvöllur square in Reykjavik in front of the Icelandic parliament. This is the fifth Saturday in a row that protestors have gathered on the square. Around 700 people attended the protest meeting last Saturday. Protestors demand a correction of the principal of mortgages and the abolishment of indexation. Additionally, the organizations call for a national cabinet (made up of all political parties) to manage the country.

About the Icesave referendum. The Icelandic Parliament, Althingi, convened today to debate a central administration bill regarding the preparation for a national referendum on the so-called Icesave legislation. This comes in the wake of the President of Iceland´s decision on 5 January not to sign into law a bill which provides for a a central administration guarantee of loan repayments to the British and Dutch governments. According to Article 26 of the Constitution, a national referendum must take place should the President not sign a bill into law.  The Prime Minister of Iceland emphasized to Parliament the importance of respecting the Constitution, adding that all political parties agree that national referendum should take place as soon as possible. "The draft law is simple and without restrictions. I am confident that the majority of eligible voters will make up their minds and participate in the referendum. I have full trust in the Icelandic voters and know that they will make the right decision, " the PM declared. The draft law before Parliament states that a national referendum should take place no later than Saturday 6 March 2010. The cabinet suggests that the vote should take place on 20 or 27 February, or 6 March, 2010.

10.01.2010. Icesave discussed on Icelandic TV. The popular Silfur Egils current affairs television programme today looked at the Icesave issue in detail with live satellite interviews from around the world. Large parts of the show are in English and available to view online. Eva Joly and Alain Lipietz, one of the European politicians behind the cross border banking directive, spoke live from Paris. Economist Michael Hudson spoke from the USA. Elvira Mendez Pinedo and Gerarar Van Vliet also appeared on the programme. It can be watched in full here . French economist and politician Alain Lipietz, who is a member of the European Parliament and was a shadow reporter on the European directive that applies to Icesave, said on RÚV 's political chat program Silfur Egils that the Icelandic state shouldn't be held accountable for the mistakes of a private company. However, Left-Green MP Björn Valur Gíslason told Fréttabladid that Lipietz seems to misunderstand some basic points in the Icesave debate. For example, he repeatedly referred to Icesave as Landsbanki's subsidiary, Gíslason said, while Icesave was a branch. That is why the Depositors' and Investors' Guarantee Fund of Iceland is responsible for repaying part of the deposits.

11.01.2010. The international public opinion regarding Icesave is swinging in Iceland's favor. Eva Joly, adviser to Iceland's special prosecutor into the banking crisis, said on Icelandic television yesterday that the tide of international public opinion regarding Icesave seems to be swinging in Iceland's favor. She said the sensible thing for the Icelandic cabinet to do next would be to engage a third party to help draft an entirely new Icesave agreement which is fair on all involved. She recommended Germany, France and Spain as possible neutral third parties. Iceland's finance minister, Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said in a separate interview later on that the idea is not being dismissed out of hand; but that the Netherlands and the UK would have to agree to it first and formal discussions would need to take place to discuss the idea of third-party renegotiation.

Finance Minister satisfied with Nordic Icesave trip. Iceland's Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon traveled to the Nordic countries last weekend to discuss with his colleagues the impact of the Icesave referendum on the disbursement of loans to Iceland. "The trip was very useful. I was especially satisfied with the reception in Norway," Sigfússon told Fréttabladid , explaining that he had spoken with three Norwegian ministers who all wanted the loan to Iceland to be disbursed as soon as possible. "I also had a good meeting with the Danish finance minister and felt that he was understanding and positive, although the officials who accompanied him were more reluctant," Sigfússon said. The political leaders of the Nordic countries are planning to meet and discuss this issue and provide definite answers later this week.

New poll: Majority will reject Icesave legislation. According to a new survey by Fréttabladid daily, 60 percent of respondents intend to reject the Icesave legislation. The anarchists say a clear No to Icesave in the referendum!

12.01.2010. Liepitz rejects rejection of his Icesave rejection. The French economist and MEP Alain Lipietz, who claimed on Sunday on Icelandic television that European rules do not indicate that Iceland is responsible for the Icesave debt in the Netherlands and UK, has rejected the Icelandic cabinet's claims that he has misunderstood elements of the law. He told the Silfur Egils television programme that the Passport Rules do not call for a home country to cover the deposits of its banks in a host country. The Icelandic cabinet countered that he was probably referring to the fact that Iceland is not an EU member; but pointed out that as an EEA member, the country's responsibilities are exactly the same and do call for repayment. Lipietz's words have grabbed headlines in Iceland, as he said that European law on depositors' guarantee funds shows that the British and Dutch were required to regulate Landsbanki (Icesave) in their jurisdictions. The Icelandic cabinet's assertion yesterday that he was in fact wrong on this point, and was mistakenly assuming Icesave was a daughter company of Landsbanki and not a branch, was quickly rejected by the French MEP who said he stands by what he said.

14.01.2010. The Prime Minister of Iceland urges IMF to continue Economic Programme. "I would like to emphasize that the Economic Programme in co-operation with the IMF should continue without interruption, even though a solution to the Icesave matter will be postponed because of the planned national referendum," the Prime Minister of Iceland, Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, said today in a letter to the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. "The review of the Economic Programme is of fundamental importance for the recovery of the Icelandic economy. Therefore it is very important that the review takes place as soon as possible, not the least in order to ensure further investment and recovery of the corporate sector as a part of the general recovery which is underway in Iceland," says the Prime Minister.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, President of the IMF, said in the evening that: "If many countries in the international community feel that we should wait with our review of our recovery package for Iceland, then we must do that". Strauss-Kahn said this at a Washington press conference. He said he understands the anger of the people in Iceland because of the huge debts they are left with following the banking collapse. He reiterated that an Icesave deal is not essential for continued IMF assistance; but that Icelanders have to understand the IMF is controlled by the international community and must listen to its will. He added though, that the IMF is no country's personal debt collection agency. The IMF itself relies on international co-operation just the same as Iceland now does, Strauss-Kahn told the press conference.

19.01.2010. Aid to the Anarchy of Iceland from the Anarchy of Norway? Professor Oystein Noreng of the Norwegian School of Management argued in his column for Dagsavisen this weekend that Norway should support Iceland financially, and potentially even enter into monetary union with Iceland and jointly co-manage fish stocks. In his column, Professor Noreng begins by stating his opinion that Iceland is not responsible for paying for the failure of Icesave in the UK and Netherlands due to the fact that it never offered a state guarantee. He added that when Lehman Brothers went under, US funds were insured but not those held by foreigners, including Norwegian municipalities – but the American government was not pressured to pay the money back. The Icesave affair has become so overblown, he believes, because Gordon Brown wanted a crisis to make him look strong before this May's elections. Whether right or wrong with the above controversial claims, Professor Noreng then goes on to say he believes there are three main ways for Iceland to recover from its current dire financial situation.

The first is through the IMF route with possible EU membership as well. The second is with help and co-operation from Norway. And the third is with help and co-operation from Russia. "The IMF has for decades been responsible for a tight market-liberal line, inspired by the United States, and has been a scourge for many developing countries," he argues. Russia has the money to help Iceland and would in turn strengthen its position in the North Atlantic as well as becoming a close trading partner. This could be good for both Russia and Iceland, but should be avoided from a Norwegian point-of-view. Norway is one of the world's leading creditors and also has the money to help Iceland back to its feet. Iceland would have to clean up its entire financial sector in exchange, including possible prosecutions. In the long run, Professor Noreng would like to see Iceland adopt the Norwegian krone as a means of stabilizing its economy and increasing the size of Norway's 'domestic' market. Deeper union between the countries could become a sort of mini-EU potentially including Greenland and the Faroe Islands as well, which would benefit all when dealing with the EU, Russia, the USA and other international players. The full article can be read here in Norwegian.

Icesave referendum 06.03.2010. A national referendum on the so-called Icesave legislation will be held on 6 March 2010, as announced by the Icelandic Minister of Justice, Ragna Arnadottir, today. Out of country voting will start on the 28 January.

20.01.2010. FT editor says British public supports Iceland on Icesave. The British have started to feel ashamed of themselves for the fact that their government is pushing Iceland to take on an unbearable debt burden for Icesave – so says the Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator of British newspaper The Financial Times. The Financial Times has published many articles in recent weeks apparently taking sides with the Icelanders in the Icesave issue, which Associate Editor Martin Wolf says is consistent with a shift in broader public feeling. He means the Icelandic president's decision to send Icesave to a pubic referendum combined with some good Icelandic media sources have had a far bigger effect on opinion in the UK than the Icelandic cabinet has. Martin Wolf can be seen speaking in English with a short Icelandic introduction here (click on "Horfa á myndskeið með frétt").

The Dutch government has received no formal message from Iceland that it wishes to renegotiate the Icesave deal for a third time and therefore does not want to say whether or not negotiations will or can take place, Dutch finance minister Wouter Bos said in a letter to parliament. The minister said in his letter that he sympathises with the difficulties Iceland is facing due to Icesave and that he sees nothing else to do at the moment other than to wait and see the outcome of Iceland's referendum on the bill scheduled for the 6th March. Bos said in his letter that the Icelandic central administration has consistently told him that the country will stand by its financial obligations whatever the outcome of the referendum. He concludes by saying that Iceland has much at stake in finding a conclusion to the issue so that loans to the country can continue and begin to fix the credit crisis Iceland finds itself in since its banking system crashed in autumn 2008, RUV reports.

21.01.2010: Iceland Icesave referendum preparations begin. Preparations for Iceland's national referendum on the so-called Icesave law have begun at the Ministry of Justice and the City of Reykjavik. Absentee voting begins next Thursday. It is expected the referendum will cost the Icelandic state around ISK 200 million (USD 1.6 million). According to Hjalti Zophaniasson from the Ministry of Justice, absentee voting slips will begin to be sent out today to district commissioners, embassies and consulates for the beginning of voting on the 28th January. Absentee voting slips will be similar to those used in Iceland on 6th March, except a different colour. The slips ask the question whether the December Icesave Bill passed by parliament should be written into law or not. The City of Reykjavik's Olafur Kr. Hjorleifsson told RUV that the preparations for the referendum are quite normal compared to elections, except for the short time allowed to prepare. He said his staff are busy trying to ensure voting stations will be free on 6th March and that there are enough people available to man them.

Icelandic MPs are currently preparing to inform their foreign counterparts about Iceland's position after President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson vetoed the Icesave legislation on January 5 during two international meetings next week. The Council of Europe will meet in Strasbourg January 25 to 29 and the Nordic Council will meet in Denmark January 26 to 27. According to Fréttabladid 's sources, the Icelandic MPs attending these meetings will use the opportunity to explain Iceland's cause at smaller meetings and in private conversations. Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir wrote in a letter published in the Dutch business newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad today that Icelanders will do everything in their power to honor their obligations towards the UK and the Netherlands to make sure that Icesave won't damage international relations, ruv.is reports.

28.01.2010. The Anarchy of Iceland named greenest country in the world. Iceland is the world's most environmentally friendly country – according to the Environmental Performance Index presented yesterday at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Iceland is often lauded for its renewable energy production, which supplies nearly every home and business with abundant green electricity and hot water. However some point out that renewable energy is logical for Iceland and makes good economic sense and is not an environmental gesture at all — a fact apparently illustrated by the country's high level of car ownership. However, the EPI looks further than just electricity production.

According to Visir.is, the EPI looks at ten different environmental factors for each country, including: the health of the natural environment, air quality, water quality, biological diversity, fisheries management and agriculture. Iceland picked up the most points for reducing carbon emissions and the planting of new forests. The Anarchy of Switzerland, the marxist Sweden and the Anarchy of Norway tied in second on the list and Costa Rica was the only non-European nation to make the top five. The world's developing nations fared worst, with the bottom five on the index being Togo, Angola, Mauritania, the Central African Republic and Sierra Leone. The USA took 61st place on the list and has therefore fallen 22 places since the last EPI two years ago. Other industrialised nations fared badly with Canada dropping 44 places and China 16.

29.01.2010. Iceland president on CNN: We are being bullied. Iceland's president accused the United Kingdom and the Netherlands on Friday of financially "bullying" his country. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson said the two countries had been "using their influence within the International Monetary Fund" to stop it lending Iceland billions of dollars needed to rebuild the country's debt-ridden economy. "We are being bullied. The British and the Dutch are using their influence within the IMF to prevent the IMF program from going forward," Grimsson told CNN's Richard Quest. "We have a situation, where a small nation is in fact ready to shoulder part of this burden but doesn't want to be put in a corner where the very survival of its economy in the next 10 years would be at stake." The comments came after the UK expressed anger at the highly controversial decision by Iceland's president's to veto a bill that would pay back billions of dollars Iceland owes the UK and Netherlands. Britain was forced to spend $3.69 billion last year to cover the losses that British savers incurred when Icelandic banks collapsed.

The British and Dutch governments condemned the decision by President Grimsson and hinted at repercussions for Iceland's bid to join the European Union and for its $10bn international economic rescue program. Despite being already approved by Iceland's parliament, Grimsson refused to sign the bill and called for a national referendum. Grimsson told CNN: "May I remind that if you take the sum that the Icelandic taxpayers are asked to shoulder and you transform it in to the British economic system to get the relative size, this is equal to the British taxpayers being asked to pay £700 billion ($1.1 trillion) for the years and decades to come." Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir hinted that the move could further tarnish the country's image and crush its hopes to become a member of the European Union. "Uncertainty... in the formal dealings with others countries can have unforeseen, wide-ranging and potentially damaging consequences for our society," she warned.

Announcing that Iceland was bankrupt ... was at worst, financial terrorism on their part. -- Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. And while the repayment of Iceland's debt to the UK and the Netherlands is not theoretically a pre-condition for it to receive IMF funding, the president's actions could hinder it. But Grimsson told CNN his move was in the name of democracy. He said he acted in response to the one-quarter of Icelanders who petitioned against the compensation bill that would cost about $17,300 per Icelandic citizen. "We have forgotten that there are two pillars in the western heritage that we are proud of. One is the evolution of the free market [i.e. a real free market, socialist and autonomous, without plutarchy, and with free contracts, not slave contracts, as Icesave.] but the second is the evolution of democracy," Grimsson told CNN. "And what I did was when I was faced with a decision between the financial concerns on the one hand, and democracy on the other, I decided to go with democracy."

Grimsson's veto also reflects his country's anger with their treatment at British hands at the height of the economic crisis, when the UK employed anti-terror legislation to freeze Icelandic assets. "They put my country, on the official Web site, the British government's Web site, side by side with al-Qaeda and the Taleban. "And the second thing was that Gordon Brown in October and Alistair Darling went on global television, including CNN and stated that Iceland was a bankrupt country. "Which was utter nonsense at its best and financial terrorism on their part at its worst." He added: "This meant that companies all over the world, who had had dealings with Iceland, closed their operations down." As a result, said Grimsson, his economy was damaged by the British "to a greater extent than otherwise would have been the case." In a statement on January 6, however, a spokesperson for the British prime minister said that "the Government expects the loan to be repaid. "We are obviously very disappointed by the decision by the Icelandic President, but we do expect Iceland to live up to its legal obligations and repay the money." Source: Anouk Lorie (CNN) - Updated 30.01. 2010.

14.02.2010. Court rules in favor of Icelandic foreign loan holders. Exchange rate indexation of loans is illegal in Iceland and this also applies to domestic loans, according to a new court ruling that could have major consequences. Exchange rate indexation of loans means that the total amount owed in Icelandic kronur varies according to its exchange rate against the currencies in which the loan was issued. Such loans were aggressively promoted by the Icelandic banks in previous years and have now left many diligent car and home owners with bigger debts than the original amount - despite paying their bills every month.

Now the Reykjavik District Court has ruled that such loans are illegal - a ruling which directly contradicts a ruling in the same court in December, RUV reported. According to the legal precedent, courts may now start ordering that exchange rate indexed loans be turned into regular inflation indexed loans denominated in Icelandic kronur. The whole issue rests on a slight loophole, as exchange rate indexation is indeed illegal; but it is not illegal to lend in foreign currencies and then secure repayments in those currencies or in Icelandic kronur. But it is illegal to lend in Icelandic kronur and secure repayments pegged to the exchange rate of foreign currencies. Customers taking out 'foreign currency loans' in Icelandic banks to buy homes and cars in Iceland were given their money in Icelandic kronur. The court has now ruled that this was illegal.

05.03.2010. Iceland prepares for the Icesave referendum. Iceland's economic woes look set to continue as the crisis-hit North Atlantic island nation prepares to go to the polls for a referendum on the question of repaying its massive debt to Britain and the Netherlands. Parliament had agreed repayment terms on the outstanding 3.9 billion euros. The island's president as mentioned refused to sign the legislation, triggering this referendum. The anarchists predict an overwhelming, NO vote and declare that "we already have a better offer on the table from the UK government, so there is absolutely no incentive for anyone to actually accept the previous agreement which this vote will be on."

The "Icesave Bill", so-called after one of the banks which collapsed as the credit crunch hit, is expected to cause ripples beyond the question of the repayment terms. "NO to Icesave could a) spark extended delays in foreign aid which is needed to resucitate the island's economy, which is bad, but b) also clouds the country's prospects of joining the European Union, which is good, and c) Icesave is a slave-contract, and thus - seen all in all - d) vote NO to Icesave tomorrow Saturday 6 March!" - a spokesperson for the Libertarian Federation of Iceland - Íslenska Frjálshyggjumaður Ríkjasamband, said to AIIS.

Later Friday BBC reports: Iceland talks end without deal. Iceland's talks with Britain and the Netherlands over repayment of 3.8bn euros (£3.4bn) of debt have broken up without agreement. It means Iceland's referendum on an existing repayment plan looks set to go ahead on Saturday as planned. The ending of talks came as Iceland's Prime Minister demanded Britain apologise for its role in the affair. Icelanders are likely to cast a heavy "no" vote, raising further questions about the country's financial future. The Icelandic central administration had hoped to avoid Saturday's referendum by agreeing a new repayment plan before the weekend.

Talks between the three countries are expected to continue next week, but not before Icelanders have had their say. A no vote could jeopardise billions of dollars of loans from the International Monetary Fund and other countries. And it could deal a further blow to Iceland's shaky coalition cabinet. Britain and the Netherlands want the money as repayment for bailing out depositors in the Icesave online bank, which folded in 2008 under the global financial meltdown. But Icelanders feel the repayment terms of the existing deal are too onerous and should be rejected because they are being penalised for the mistakes of the banking industry.

Apologise. But there is also hostility against Britain for using anti-terrorist legislation to freeze Icesave assets in the UK. Iceland's Prime Minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, told the BBC that Britain should officially apologise for its actions. She said Britain and the Netherlands had treated Iceland unfairly. Opinion polls suggest more 75% of Icelanders will vote no on Saturday. The hugely unpopular repayment plan was approved by the Reykjavik central administration last December. But the plan was blocked by Iceland's President, President Olaf Ragnar Grimsson , in January, sparking the referendum. Despite months of talks between the three countries, negotiations are again deadlocked.

A statement on Friday from Iceland's finance ministry said: "The Icelandic negotiations committee returns today from London. Iceland remains committed to a continued dialogue and is hopeful that discussions will resume as early as next week. "Discussions to date have been constructive and Iceland is confident that a mutually acceptable solution can be reached," the ministry said. The stakes are high, because Iceland needs international loans to help it rebuild its economy, which was hit particularly hard during the global downturn. Some of these loans are conditional on Iceland repaying its international debts. The dispute has also overshadowed Iceland's application to join the European Union, which was submitted in July last year.

Economic growth. Meanwhile, Iceland's economy grew by 3.3% in the last quarter of 2009, although it contracted by 6.5% over the whole of last year, official data has shown. It was the economy's best quarterly performance since the autumn of 2008. The growth seen in the fourth quarter was in stark contrast to the 7.2% contraction experienced in the third quarter. It was the highest growth since the 3.8% expansion seen in the third quarter of 2008, just before the country's banking system crashed and the central administration took control of all three of its major banks. "That's a nice number, but it's not springtime yet," said Antje Praefcke, analyst at Commerzbank. "Maybe there's less snowfall, but it's not spring yet." He added that the referendum now risked "a delay to the economic recovery". The 6.5% annual decline in gross domestic product compared with growth of 1% in 2008 and a 6% expansion in 2007. The decline was due to a 20% drop in domestic expenditure, Statistics Iceland said. Imports decreased by 24%, while exports grew by 6.2%.

BBC also reports: Icelanders eye chance for payback. Up a snow-covered mountain, in driving hail, howling wind and in pitch darkness, climber Sigurbjorn Sigurbjornson cracks a joke. "You stole our assets," he laughs, a little bitterly, "but we froze your asses!" Iceland had a relatively mild winter, the UK did not. Iceland is an outdoors kind of place. There is an awful lot of outdoors here - and Icelanders like to enjoy it, come rain or shine, in daylight or darkness. So half-an-hour's drive north of Reykjavik, on a Wednesday evening, as the light begins to fade, 250 or so Icelanders have gathered to trek up a mountain in training for an assault on Europe's biggest glacier, Vatnajoekull, later this year. On show on the mountainside are the qualities that have made Iceland what it is - independence, stubbornness and, let's be honest, a touch of lunacy. Who goes climbing in the dark?

Referendum. When the talk turns to how the country has been treated in the financial crisis, however, the sunny disposition of the climbers turns a little sour. "We're not terrorists!" calls out a climber. "Tell Gordon Brown!" The bitterness springs from the seizure in 2008 of Icelandic assets under UK anti-terrorism legislation, something that stunned Iceland, a Nato-ally and a devout follower of Premier League football. The seizure followed the collapse of Icesave, an Iceland-based internet bank that hundreds of thousands of Britons had put savings into as they chased what proved to be highly unrealistic interest rates.

The UK government - fearful at that time of near-panic, of a collapse of confidence in the banking system - guaranteed the savings of investors. And then it turned to the Icelandic central administration for compensation to the tune of £2.3bn. The Netherlands followed suit, looking for just over £1bn. A deal was struck with Iceland, which the parliament in Reykjavik subsequently passed, but then, buoyed by a tide of popular anger, President Olafur Grimsson rejected it. A referendum to be held on Saturday will decide whether the deal will be honoured.

'Unfair' treatment. On the mountainside, it is the perceived unfairness of the asset-seizure, and the subsequent negotiations, that rankles most. "We are very proud of independence," says one climber, "and we don't want to be bullied around, but it is tough to be the little nation and fight with the big ones." "It is debatable about the amount we should pay," says another, "but the way that Britain acted against Iceland is really unfair." "Many people become apes if they get money," says a third. "If they get too much of it they become apes, if they start arguing about it they become apes."

The massive debts of Icesave have hung over this tiny country - just over 300,000 people live on the island - for so long that many are deeply weary of the whole thing. "We are not talking about Icesave and things like that," says Gudrun Ingvarsdottur. They are, says the 37-year-old architect, "banned". But why? "We are just so tired of it," she says "It's like a bad dream and you just can't wake up, and every time you think you've woken up it comes again."

'Crazy'. You hear a lot of that talk around Reykjavik, and it is hardly surprising. Back and forth the arguments go about how many thousand pounds every Icelander will owe the British and Dutch governments. Imagine, says Stefan Olafsson, professor of sociology at the University of Iceland, if the banks had not crashed when they did, but gone onto gather millions of customers, as was their ambition. How much would Icelanders have owed in a few years time, if and when the banks had crashed? "It was a crazy idea altogether, but one logical consequence of financial globalisation. It was hubris," he says.

After pride, the fall. But despite the tales of graduates fleeing the indebted country, there is little evidence of that happening. And many Icelanders you meet are surprisingly upbeat about the future. They will vote "no" by a huge majority tomorrow - "yes" voters are as rare as banking executives in Reykjavik these days. The referendum is, as one top political insider puts it, "crazy" - Iceland has already been offered a better deal by the Dutch and British governments, so why would they approve the one on the table on Saturday? But it will be one way for Icelanders to let the British - and to a lesser extent the Dutch - know just how badly treated they feel.

06.03.2010. CNN reports: Iceland votes on whether to repay foreign debt. Voters in Iceland went to the polls Saturday for a national referendum on whether to repay billions of dollars the country owes to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Britain and Holland rode to the rescue last year when a series of Icelandic banks collapsed, bailing out savers in their own countries to the tune of more than $5 billion between them. Under a European Union directive, Iceland now owes compensation to Britain and the Netherlands. Iceland's parliament [as mentioend] passed a bill authorizing a state guarantee for repayment of the funds, but President Olafur Ragnar Grímsson declined to sign it in January. That prompted Saturday's national referendum on the law.

"Of course we feel empathy for those people that lost money," said Magnus Arni Skulason, who is campaigning against the bill. "We just want to get a more reasonable agreement," he told CNN, arguing that the terms of the loan repayment were "unacceptable." "There are sovereign issues that ... would not be acceptable to any country," he said. "Also there is a staggering interest rate ... equal to running the national health care system for six months here in Iceland." He called the collapse of the Icelandic banks during the world financial crisis of 2008-09 a "shared responsibility of Iceland, the UK and the Netherlands," blaming "financial regulators" in the countries. It is not clear what will happen if voters say no to the loan guarantees.

But the International Monetary Fund loaned Iceland $2.1 billion in November, and said repaying the money to the British and Dutch governments was a requirement of the loan. Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos told CNN in January that non repayment of the funds would affect "the long-term interest of the Iceland economy and the Iceland people." Britain's Treasury expects Iceland to live up to its obligations, it said in a statement in January. Iceland has begun moves toward applying for European Union membership, which Britain and the Netherlands could block. Britain spent £2.3 billion ($3.69 billion) last year to cover the losses that British savers incurred when Icelandic banks collapsed. The Dutch government spent €1.3 billion ($1.87 billion) to cover bank losses in the country.

The central administration of Iceland has for the past three weeks been engaged in a dialogue with the governments of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, hoping for a resolution, Iceland's foreign ministry said Friday. Iceland called the talks "constructive," adding that "Iceland is confident that a mutually acceptable solution can be reached.... and is hopeful that discussions will resume as early as next week." Despite his refusal to sign the bill, Grímsson told CNN in January that "Iceland recognizes its obligations under this agreement." Resolving the issue, he added, "is a key to our recovery and our harmonious relations with these countries." The law on which Icelanders are voting Saturday would compensate Britain and the Netherlands by 2024. A simple majority is needed for the bill to pass. About 300,000 people live in Iceland. The anarchists once more call for a NO vote!

07.03.2010 [00.08 GMT + 1] BBC reports: Iceland rejects bank payback plan. Voters in Iceland have overwhelmingly rejected proposals to pay the UK and the Netherlands in the wake of collapse of the Icesave bank. With a third of results counted, 93% of voters said "No" in a referendum. Iceland's prime minister says her cabinet will remain in office and continue to seek a deal. The British and Dutch governments want reimbursement for the 3.8bn euros (£3.4bn; $5.2bn) they paid out in compensation to customers in 2008. Talks between Iceland, the UK and the Netherlands three countries broke down on Friday without agreement. But Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said even she would not vote in Saturday's poll as her cabinet was seeking to continue the negotiations.

With a third of votes counted, 93% of Icelanders have voted "No", less than 2% back the deal, and the remaining votes are invalid. Mrs Sigurdardottir said that her cabinet would stay in office, despite the "No" results. "This has no impact on the life of the cabinet. We need to keep going and finish the debate. We have to get an agreement," she said. During voting on Saturday, hundreds of protesters outside parliament in the capital Reykjavik banged pots and waved banners reading "Icesave No! No! No!". As results came in, Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphethinsson said talks with the UK and the Netherlands would continue, adding that the referendum result was good for his cabinet's position. "It certainly doesn't weaken our hand," Mr Skarphethinsson said.

Referendum defended. The central administration had hoped to avoid the vote by agreeing a new repayment plan before the weekend. Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphethinsson told Reuters news agency he expected a new Icesave deal "in the next weeks, perhaps sooner". Britain and the Netherlands want the money as repayment for bailing out customers in the Icesave online bank, which folded in 2008 due to the global financial meltdown. President Grimsson rejected suggestions the vote was meaningless, telling the BBC that a strong "No" would strengthen his country's hand. "It's not a pointless exercise because the referendum, according to our constitution, is on whether the deal which the British and the Dutch insisted on at the end of last year, should remain in force as a law in this country," he said. "It is encouraging that in the last few weeks the British and the Dutch have acknowledged that that deal, on which the referendum takes place, is an unfair deal and that is by itself a tremendous achievement by the referendum... we will be able to continue the negotiations."

Many Icelanders believe the plan should be rejected because they feel they are being penalised for the mistakes of the banking industry. "I will vote 'No' simply because I disagree very strongly with us... having to shoulder this burden," Ingimar Gudmundsson, a lorry driver, told AFP news agency. "We want to pay our debts but we want to do it without going bankrupt," Steinunn Ragnarsdottir, a pianist who voted in Reykjavik City Hall, told Reuters.

Britain accused. There is also anger against the UK for using anti-terrorist legislation to freeze Icesave assets in the country. Arni Gunnarsson, a former Icelandic MP, told the BBC News website: "We have not forgotten how Britain used battleships against Iceland during the cod wars. "We find this a very strange method of thanking the Icelandic people for sacrificing the lives of their seamen during World War II. "The colonial attitude is still going strong. The UK should come to its senses." The Reykjavik cabinet approved the repayment plan last December but it was blocked by Mr Grimsson in January, which led to the referendum being called.

Later Associated Press reports: Iceland votes 'no' to debt deal for collapsed bank. Voters in tiny Iceland defied their parliament and international pressure, resoundingly rejecting a $5.3 billion plan to repay Britain and the Netherlands for debts spawned by the collapse of an Icelandic bank. According to results released Sunday, just over 93 percent of voters said "no" in Saturday's ballot, while only 1.8 percent voted "yes," according to a count of all but 2,500 of the 143,784 votes cast. The rest were blank or spoiled ballots. Britain and the Netherlands want to be reimbursed for money they paid their citizens with deposits in Icesave, an Internet bank that collapsed in 2008, along with most of Iceland's banking sector. Ordinary Icelanders say the repayment schedule was too onerous. The overwhelming margin reflects Icelanders' simmering anger at bankers and politicians as the island nation struggles to recover from a financial meltdown. Some Icelanders set off fireworks in the center of the capital, Reykjavik, as the referendum results were announced.

President Olafur R. Grimsson - who sparked the referendum by refusing to sign the repayment deal agreed by Iceland's parliament - said Icelanders resented having to pay for the actions of a few "greedy bankers." He said, however, the British and Dutch would get their money back eventually. The two countries have already offered Iceland more favorable repayment terms than the deal voted on Saturday. "The referendum was not about refusing to pay back the money," Grimsson told the BBC. "Iceland is willing to reimburse those two governments, but it has to be on fair terms." Iceland, a volcanic island with a population of just 320,000, went from economic wunderkind to fiscal basket case almost overnight when the credit crunch took hold. After a decade of dizzying economic growth that saw Icelandic banks and companies snap up assets around the world, the global financial crisis wreaked political and economic havoc. Iceland's banks collapsed within a week in October 2008, its krona currency plummeted and a wave of popular protest toppled the cabinet.

The new left-of-center cabinet has been trying to negotiate a plan to repay $3.5 billion to Britain and $1.8 billion to the Netherlands as compensation for funds that those governments paid to around 340,000 of their citizens who had accounts with Icesave, an Icelandic Internet bank that offered high interest rates before it failed along with its parent, Landsbanki. Last minute talks broke down last week, despite the debtor countries saying they had offered better terms for a new deal - including a significant cut on the 5.5 percent interest rate in the original deal. That would have required each Icelander to pay around $135 a month for eight years - about a quarter of an average four-member family's salary. Despite the referendum result, both sides said they were confident a deal would eventually be reached.

The Icelandic cabinet said in a statement there had been "steady progress toward a deal" in the past few weeks, and Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said officials would resume talks with Britain and the Netherlands now that the referendum was over. British Treasury chief Alistair Darling said his country was prepared to be flexible, and acknowledged it would be "many, many years" before Britain was repaid. Many Icelanders remain angry at Britain for invoking anti-terrorist legislation to freeze the assets of Icelandic banks at the height of the crisis, prompting the worst diplomatic spat between the two countries since the Cod Wars of the 1970s over fishing rights. Darling struck a conciliatory note Sunday. "You couldn't just go to a small country like Iceland with a population the size of (the English town of) Wolverhampton and say: 'Look, repay all that money immediately,'" he told the BBC. "So we've tried to be reasonable. The fundamental point for us is that we get our money back."

In the reports quoted from the international newsmedia AIIS has corrected the word "government" of Iceland with "cabinet" or "central administration", as Iceland is an anarchy, and thus has no government in the meaning of archy/state/authorities, i.e. vertical organization. Iceland is significantly horizontally organized, anarchistic. The AIIS calls on the newsmedia in general to report correctly about Iceland.

The anarchist black flag flew at the demonstrations related to the referendum. The Northern Anarchist Confederation and its Icelandic section the Libertarian Federation of Iceland - Íslenska Frjálshyggjumaður Ríkjasamband, declare that "the result of the referendum is satisfactory, and also pointing forward to NO to EU."

08.03.2010. Direct action by the grassroots New Iceland political pressure group. The grassroots New Iceland political pressure group was very busy on Saturday, holding mock auctions of property owned by Iceland's 'Outvasion Viking'  businessmen and making house calls. In a statement the group described what happened when they gathered outside the home of former Landsbanki boss and owner of West Ham, Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson: when group members knocked the door a woman answered the door-phone saying that Bjorgolfur is innocent and "it is all propaganda by the Icelandic cabinet. It was them who led us up the creek without a paddle".

Group members also mock-auctioned off the large house at Frikirkjuvegur 11 which is owned by Gudmundsson's son, Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson. Next, New Iceland's so-called 'wake-up train' of supporters wound its way to Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir's house to encourage her to go and vote in the Icesave referendum; but she was not home at the time and had already stated publicly that she would not be voting. New Iceland describes itself as an organization open to anyone, both left wing and right wing, who wants to regain the best and most beautiful land in the world from the clutches of all the political parties which currently plague it.

The Icesave referendum - final results: When the final ballots had been counted it became clear that 134,397 voters in Saturday's referendum rejected the Icesave legislation of December 30 — or 93.2 percent of those who voted. Only 2,599 voters, 1.8 percent, wanted to pass the legislation, while 6,744 voters, 4.7 percent, handed in an empty ballot and 491 ballots, 0.3 percent, were invalid. Yesterday morning, all ballots had been counted except for the ballots from the Northeast Constituency. It wasn't possible to fly in the votes from Grímsey island to the counting center in Akureyri until around 7 pm last night due to bad weather, Morgunbladid reports. A total of 144,231 people from the 229,977 registered voters in Iceland went to the polling booths on Saturday, which is a turnout of 62.72 percent. That is a lower percentage than in parliamentary elections in Iceland. For example, the turnout was 85.1 percent in the parliament election of April 2009. In yesterday's referendum the turnout was best in the South and Southwest Constituencies and poorest in the North Reykjavík Constituency.

12.03.2010. The Anarchy of Norway with early loans to the Anarchy of Iceland? Jonas Gahr Støre, the Norwegian Foreign Minister, looks set to break ranks with the other Nordic countries by recommending that Norway grant loans to Iceland before the Icesave issue is finally resolved with the Netherlands and the UK. Aftenposten reports that not only are the Norwegians potentially interested in granting Iceland the promised loan through the IMF right away, but that Støre's cabinet may also be willing to offer another separate loan to Iceland in co-operation with the EU. Støre's timing seems to be deliberate, with his comments coming just a day before today's meeting of the Nordic finance ministers in Denmark. So far all the other Nordic nations have said their support for Iceland will not be paid out before Icesave is completely off the agenda.

"Norwegian assistance is tied to the IMF package and in our opinion the IMF package is not tied to a solution to the Icesave issue as the conditions of the package stand," Støre told Aftenposten. Støre emphasised that the Nordic nations should not do anything to hinder Iceland's IMF package — his comments a direct response to a Nordic neighbor's opinion that the Icesave issue must be out of the way before any loan can come from that country to Iceland through the IMF. Støre said the issue will be discussed today. Støre added that there is no sign that the British and Dutch have tried to stall the IMF's work in Iceland; and a week ago the Fund's chief, Dominique Strauss Kahn told the press he is ready and willing to continue with the Iceland package without a final agreement in the Icesave issue. The Northern Anarchist Confederation, NAC, and the Norwegian NO to EU [Nei til EU] have called on the Norwegian cabinet to give early loans to Iceland.

15.03.2010. Chaos in Iceland? Chaos is the opposite of Anarchy! Alex Jurshevski, an expert in the debt problems of nations, advised Icelandic the Icelandic cabinet not to accept further loans from the International Monetary Fund in an interview on RÚV 's political chat program Silfur Egils yesterday. Jurshevski claimed that chaos reigned in Iceland and criticized the central administration for not handling the situation of Iceland's debt to other states professionally. He said it had been a costly mistake to agree to repay the Icesave debt, ruv.is reports. Then Jurshevski warned the Icelandic central administration against accepting further loans from the IMF as they would only be used to pay out glacier bonds. He argued that the interest payments from these loans would be too much for the Icelandic nation to handle and would lead to further cutbacks in the public sector.

Iceland's Minister of Economic Affairs Gylfi Magnússon did not agree with Jurshevski, stating that Iceland's debts are average compared to other Western states. He reasoned it is necessary to have access to foreign loan capital as debts haven't been repaid. Not to accept loans from the IMF is the "stupidest idea" he has heard in a long time, Magnússon said, because, along with the Icesave loans, they are the most advantageous loans Iceland has been offered. The minister called it "preposterous nonsense" to reject the IMF loans because if so, Iceland can't afford to pay its debts. Magnússon said it is only half the truth to say that the IMF loans will be used to pay out glacier bonds. Foreigners no longer have glacier bonds in Iceland but claims in ISK, a couple of hundred billion. They are bound to take them out of the country at some point. However, in all likelihood, others are prepared to buy those claims at some point in the future, the minister concluded. The Libertarian Federation of Iceland, LFI - IFR, declares: "It is true that the cabinet and central administration of Iceland have some chaotic tendencies, but they are not the significant. Chaos is the opposite of Anarchy! Iceland is an anarchy - not chaos or a failed state."

20-21.03.2010. Volcano eruption. A volcano in southern Iceland has erupted for the first time in almost 200 years, raising concerns that it could trigger a larger and potentially more dangerous eruption at a volatile volcano nearby. The eruption at the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, located near a glacier of the same name, shot ash and molten lava into the air but scientists called it mostly peaceful. It occurred just before midnight Saturday at a fissure on a slope - rather than at the volcano's summit - so scientists said there was no imminent danger that the glacier would melt and flood the area. TV footage showed lava flowing along the fissure, and many flights were canceled due to the threat of airborne volcanic ash. After an aerial survey Sunday, scientists concluded the eruption struck near the glacier in an area that had no ice.

"This is the best possible place for an eruption," said Tumi Gudmundsson, a geologist at the University of Iceland. Nonetheless, officials sent phone messages to 450 people between the farming village of Hvolsvollur and the fishing village of Vik, some 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of the capital, Reykjavik, urging them to evacuate immediately. A state of emergency was declared although there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. Evacuation centers were set up near the town of Hella, but many people returned to their homes later Sunday. The most immediate threat was to livestock because of the caustic gases the eruption released. "We had to leave all our animals behind," Eli Ragnarsdottir, a 47-year-old farmer, told RUV, Iceland's national broadcaster from an evacuation center. "We got a call and a text message ... and we just went."

Scientists say it is difficult to predict what comes next. Like earthquakes, it is hard to predict the exact timing of volcanic eruptions. "It could stop tomorrow, it could last for weeks or months. We cannot say at this stage," Gudmundsson said. The last time there was an eruption near the 100-square-mile (160 square-kilometer) Eyjafjallajökull glacier was in 1821, and that was a "lazy" eruption - it lasted slowly and continuously for two years. The latest eruption came after thousands of small earthquakes rocked the area in the past month. Scientists in Iceland have been monitoring the volcano using seismometers and global positioning instruments, but Gudmundsson noted that the beginning of Saturday's eruption was so indistinct that it initially went undetected by the instruments.

"The volcano has been inflating since the beginning of the year, both rising and swelling," said Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland's Institute of Earth Science. "Even though we were seeing increased seismic activity, it could have been months or years before we saw an eruption like this ... we couldn't say that there was an imminent risk for the area." Einarsson and Gudmundsson said the eruption could trigger a more damaging eruption at the nearby Karla volcano, which lies under the thick Myrdalsjokull icecap and threatens massive flooding and explosive blasts if it erupts. "One of the possible scenarios we're looking at is that this small eruption could bring about something bigger. This said, we can't speculate on when that could happen," Einarsson told The Associated Press.

Iceland sits on a large volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic's mid-oceanic ridge. Volcanic eruptions, common throughout Iceland's history, are often triggered by seismic activity when the Earth's plates move and when magma from deep underground pushes it's way to the surface. All domestic flights in Iceland were canceled because airborne ash might interfere with aircraft engines, although Reykjavik appeared to be unaffected with clear visibility. Aviation officials were to determine whether it is safe to fly again early Monday. A flight to Oslo was canceled, but most international flights into and out of Iceland were delayed but returning to normal, Icelandair said. The airline's flights from the U.S. - departing from Seattle, Boston and Orlando, Florida - were due later Sunday in Reykjavik. Earlier, a flight was turned back to Boston, leaving about 500 people waiting for hours.

First settled by Vikings in the 9th century, Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice because of its volcanos and glaciers. During the Middle Ages, Icelanders called the Hekla volcano, the country's most active, the "Gateway to Hell," believing that souls were dragged below. In the mid-1780s, the Laki volcano erupted, causing scores to die of famine when livestock and crops were destroyed and changing weather patterns across Europe.

31.03.2010. New rift opens at Icelandic volcano. A new rift has opened up at the erupting Fimmvorduhals volcano in South Iceland. The new rift is to the east of the existing one and seven new lava flows have opened, with two of them more energetic than all the others, Visir.is reports. Volcanologists say the new development took them largely by surprise; but current measurements show that the new rift has had little effect on the intensity of the original eruption. The new rift is round 300 metres in length and visitors to the area are advised to remain extremely cautious.

12.04.2010. Iceland's volcanic eruption winding down. Associated Press reports: Iceland's latest volcanic eruption is coming to an end, scientists said Monday - and the unexpected tourist boom that lifted this recession-weary country's financial fortunes may be up in smoke as well. It says something about a country's fortunes when an erupting volcano is greeted as good news. But Iceland has had a rocky time since its banks collapsed 18 months ago, capsizing the economy and sending unemployment soaring. Then, last month, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano began erupting after almost 200 years of silence, threatening floods and earthquakes but drawing thousands of adventurous tourists - and their desperately needed cash - to the site where ash and red-hot lava spewed from a crater between two glaciers.

All good things must come to an end, however, and scientists said Monday that the eruption is winding down. "The volcanic activity has essentially stopped," said Einar Kjartansson, a geophysicist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office. "I believe the eruption has ended." University of Iceland geologist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson said activity at the volcano had declined steeply in the last couple of days, although "it's too early to write its death certificate." Thousands of people have made the trip to the volcano, 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Reykjavik, since the eruption began March 20 - and Icelandic tour companies have made a small fortune taking them there, by bus, snowmobile, souped-up "superjeep" and even helicopter.

Drivers and hikers have caused unprecedented traffic jams in the sparsely populated rural area near the site. "It was like a festival without the music," said British tourist Alex Britton, 27, who recently drove to the volcano. "Or like a pilgrimage." Charter airline Iceland Express says its business has risen by 20 percent since the eruption, and the Icelandic Tourist Board says 26,000 overseas visitors came to the country in March, a record for a quiet month when Iceland is still in its winter hibernation. This rugged volcanic island of 320,000 people tucked just below the Arctic Circle had already received a tourism boost from the economic crisis, which saw the collapse of Iceland's debt-bloated banks and a dramatic fall in the value of its currency, the krona. Suddenly, a famously expensive country with one of the world's highest standards of living was mired in debt, struggling to pay its bills - and newly affordable to foreign tourists.

The volcano has made it a must-visit destination for thrill-seekers from around the world, despite the expense, which ranges from euro55 ($75) for a bus trip to view the volcano from a distance to euro200 ($270) for a superjeep ride almost to the rim of the crater. "We have people who are staying at backpackers' hostels taking the tour," said Torfi Ynvgason from tour operator Arctic Adventures. "To drive over a glacier, in Iceland, in winter, to lava falls - if you have it in your bank account, you're going." The volcano's popularity has proved a headache for the central administration. Iceland's Civil Protection Department says rescue teams have had to help up to 50 people a day down from the site, where temperatures have dipped to -17 Celsius (1.4 Fahrenheit) in biting wind. Last week two Icelandic visitors died of exposure after they became lost and their car ran out of gas on a trip to the site.

Iceland is well accustomed to natural disasters and seismic drama. The island sits on a volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic's mid-oceanic ridge, and eruptions have occurred frequently throughout the country's history, triggered when the Earth's plates move and when magma from deep underground pushes its way to the surface. The Eyjafjallajökull eruption is the country's first since 2004, and the most dramatic since Hekla, Iceland's most active volcano, blew its top in 2000. But Icelanders are far from jaded. They, too, have flocked to see the new volcano, and many describe it as something akin to a spiritual experience.

"It's amazing to see it," said Sunnefa Burgess, who works for tour operator Iceland Excursions. "You could sit there all day. And the noise! It's a feeling you can't really describe." For crisis-weary Icelanders, the eruption has also provided a welcome respite from dire economic news and political turmoil. The volcano has led news bulletins and provided a new topic of chat in the coffee bars and geothermally heated outdoor hot tubs where Icelanders congregate. Now it seems the volcanic windfall is disappearing as quickly as it came. And there is a bigger worry smoldering in the background. Scientists say history has shown that when Eyjafjallajökull erupts, the much bigger Katla volcano nearby often follows within days or months.

Katla is located under the vast Myrdalsjokull icecap, and an eruption could cause widespread flooding. The last major eruption took place in 1918, and vulcanologists say a new blast is overdue. "A large eruption of Katla could disrupt aviation seriously in the North Atlantic," said Kjartansson. "It has the potential to cause a lot of damage and disruption. "But there is very little seismic activity near Katla. I see no reason to expect Katla to do anything in the near future."

Iceland bank meltdown under microscope. Associated Press reports: A report into Iceland's devastating 2008 banking collapse charges that the Nordic nation's former prime minister and central bank chief acted with "gross negligence" in allowing the financial sector to overheat without adequate oversight. The 2,300-page cabinet-commissioned report detailed a litany of mistakes made in the lead-up to the bank meltdown, an event that wreaked political and economic havoc in the tiny island nation. Pall Hreinsson, the supreme court judge appointed to head the Special Investigation Commission, singled out seven former officials including then Prime Minister Geir Haarde and central bank chief David Oddsson for particular criticism.

"The commission finds that these seven have demonstrated gross negligence in the discharge of their duties," Pall Hreinsson told reporters. "They had the necessary information, but did not act accordingly, each pointing the finger at the next person." Hreinsson said that a parliamentary committee would consider whether legal action should be taken against the seven, rounded out by Oddsson's co-governors Eirikur Gundason and Ingimundur Fridriksson, former finance minister Arni Mathiessen, former banking minister Bjorgvin Sigurdsson, and Jonas Jonsson, former director of Iceland's financial services watchdog he added.

Sigurdsson said that he would resign his post as parliamentary leader of the Social Democratic Alliance, but would not resign from parliament. There was no immediate response from the six other men. The report found that the country's three leading banks - Glitnir, Kaupthing and Landsbanki - simply got too big and overwhelmed its financial system when they ran into trouble with excessive risk taking. "The commission is of the opinion that the main reasons for the fall of the banks, among other things, was that the finances of the banks and the loans made by them had grown and surpassed the infrastructure of the banks themselves," said Sigridur Benediktsdottir, a Yale economics lecturer and commission member. "The main reason for the fall of the banks was their growth and their size when they fell."

By the time they dropped, domino-like, within a week of each other in October 2008 after failing to acquire short-term funding, the banking sector had grown to dwarf the rest of the economy by around nine times. Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, who took over when Haarde's cabinet was ousted, welcomed the report as a reminder that Iceland needed to carry out further "rigorous reform" of its financial sector after "the ideology of an unregulated free market utterly failed." In one major blunder detailed in the report, staff at the Icelandic central bank, forgot to extend a $500 million loan agreement, reached in March 2008, with the Bank of International Settlements in Basel. A belated attempt to receive an extension was not granted by the international bank.

The report said that it was a key error at a time when few things were more important than building up Iceland's foreign currency reserves. The central bank then turned to the Bank of England in April 2008, seeking a currency swap agreement. Mervyn King, the British central bank's governor, refused, but offered to help Iceland to sustainably reduce the size and burden of its banking sector. Oddsson rejected that offer. Benediktsdottir said the problems were exacerbated by a lack of staffing and experience at the Public Financial Supervisory, where action was not taken "despite seeing laws broken," she said.

Tight ownership in the financial sector - many of the bank executives were also heading up investment firms that bought up businesses around the world funded by those banks - added to the domino stack. "These investment companies had abnormal, easy access to loans from the banks in the capacity of ownership and influences within them," Benediktsdottir said. The extent of their influence was highlighted Monday when the committee put in charge of Glitnir lodged a lawsuit against businessman Jon Asgeir Johannesson, claiming he used his influence as a major shareholder at the bank to obtain a 6 billion krona personal loan.

Britain's Serious Fraud Office opened an investigation in December into suspected fraud by Kaupthing, focusing on its efforts to attract British investors to its "high yield" deposit account. Monday's report also delved into the $5.3 billion that Iceland owes to Britain and the Netherlands after the collapse of the Icesave online bank, a subsidary of Landsbanki. The report said that the central bank should have been aware its foreign currency reserves would be too small to bail out Landsbanki and criticised authorities for failing to change Landsbanki's structure despite clear concerns about its future.

The Icesave dispute has held up vital money promised by the International Monetary Fund to help Iceland back on its feet after the banking collapse brought the economy to its knees, its krona currency plummeted and protests toppled the cabinet. The IMF has already paid out about $1 billion from the agreed $2.1 billion package, but further reviews on the country's progress - a requirement for the release of further funds - have been delayed. The anarchists welcome the report.

14.04.2010. Iceland evacuates hundreds as volcano erupts again. Associated Press reports: A volcano under a glacier in Iceland erupted Wednesday for the second time in less than a month, melting ice, shooting smoke and steam into the air, closing a major road and forcing hundreds of people to flee rising floodwaters. Authorities evacuated 800 residents from around the Eyjafjallajökull glacier as rivers rose by up to 10 feet (3 meters). Emergency officials and scientists said the eruption under the ice cap was 10 to 20 times more powerful than one last month, and carried a much greater risk of widespread flooding. "This is a very much more violent eruption, because it's interacting with ice and water," said Andy Russell, an expert in glacial flooding at the University of Newcastle in northern England. "It becomes much more explosive, instead of a nice lava flow oozing out of the ground."

Rognvaldur Olafsson, a chief inspector for the Icelandic Civil Protection Agency, said no lives or properties were in immediate danger. Scientists said there was no sign of increased activity at the much larger Katla volcano nearby. The agency said commercial aircraft had reported seeing steam plumes rising thousands of feet (meters) into the air. Scientists aboard a Coast Guard plane that flew over the volcano said the new fissure appeared to be up to 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) long. There were no immediate signs of large clouds of volcanic ash, which could disrupt air travel between Europe and North America. Some domestic flights were canceled, but Iceland's international airport remained open. The volcano, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Reykjavik, erupted March 20 after almost 200 years of silence.

The original eruption petered out earlier this week. But Gunnar Gudmunsson, a geophysicist at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, said there were a series of tremors overnight, and rivers in the area began rising Wednesday morning - strong evidence of a new eruption under the glacier. Last month's eruption struck near the glacier in an area that had no ice. Gudmunsson said the new eruption appeared to be about eight or nine kilometers (five to six miles) west of the original fissure. "Most probably this eruption is taking place at the summit ... under the ice," he said. Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland, said magma was melting a hole in the 650-foot (200 meter) thick ice covering the volcano's crater, sending floodwater coursing down the glacier into lowland areas.

Residents were evacuated to a Red Cross center in the nearby community of Hvolsvollur, the Civil Protection Agency said. Iceland's main coastal ring road was closed near the volcano, and workers smashed a hole in the highway in a bid to give the rushing water a clear route to the coast and prevent a major bridge from being swept away. Iceland, a nation of 320,000 people, sits on a large volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic's mid-oceanic ridge. Volcanic eruptions are often triggered by seismic activity when the Earth's plates move and when magma from deep underground pushes its way to the surface. The last time there was an eruption near the 100-square-mile (160 square-kilometer) Eyjafjallajökull glacier was in 1821.

A bigger worry is Katla, which in the past has erupted in tandem with Eyjafjallajökull. Katla is located under the vast Myrdalsjokull ice cap. An eruption could cause widespread flooding and disrupt air traffic between Europe and North America. The last major eruption took place in 1918, and vulcanologists say a new blast is overdue. "So far there have been no signs of the reawakening of the Katla volcano, but a lot of things can still happen, so we are monitoring it quite closely," Einarsson said.

15.04.2010. Iceland's volcanic ash, forming a large cloud, halts flights across Europe and disrupts US flights to Europe.

16.04.2010. Icelandic volcano still spewing huge ash plume. Reuters reports: An Icelandic volcano is still spewing ash into the air in a massive plume that has disrupted air traffic across Europe and shows little sign of letting up, officials said on Friday. One expert said the eruption at the volcano, about 120 km (75 miles) southeast of capital Reykjavik, could abate in the coming days, but a spokesman of the central administration said ash would keep drifting into the skies of Europe. The thick, dark brown ash cloud that shot several kilometers (miles) into the air and has drifted away from the north Atlantic island has shut down air traffic across northern Europe and restrictions remained in place in many areas. Norway and Sweden said they would resume limited flights in their northern areas, but Poland and the Czech Republic joined the list of countries with closed airports.

"It is more or less the same situation as yesterday, it is still erupting, still exploding, still producing gas," University of Iceland professor Armann Hoskuldsson told Reuters. "We expect it to last for two days or more or something. It cannot continue at this rate for many days. There is a limited amount of magma that can spew out," he added, saying it was the magma, or molten rock beneath the Earth's surface, coming out of the volcano that turned into ash. Environment Ministry spokesman Gudmundur Gudmundsson said no variation was expected in the outflow of ash. "The eruption is ongoing and we are not expecting any change in the production of ash...High level winds will keep dispersing the plume over Europe," he said. The eruption has taken place under the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, normally a popular hiking ground in southern Iceland. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Urdur Gudmundsdottir said there was some damage to roads and barriers protecting farms. "There is still an evacuation of around 20 farms, which is 40 to 50 people," she added, noting this was less than the 800 people who had been evacuated earlier this week.

Floods. People living close to the eruption said the main impact on their lives was the flood waters running off the glacier, which have closed roads. "Obviously it's all been a bit unreal. One is just managing from day to day and doing one's best," said Hanna Lara Andrews, a resident of a farm at the foot of the mountain, who had traveled to Reykjavijk with her one-year-old son. Speaking by telephone, she said she and her family had felt a big earthquake last week. When the eruption came this week they could see a big white cloud and then ash forming behind it. Another professor said on Thursday that the heat had melted up to a third of the glacial ice covering the crater, causing a nearby river to burst its banks.

Icelandic radio said part of the ring road that goes around the small north Atlantic island had been swept away. To the east of the volcano, thousands of hectares of land are covered by a thick layer of ash. The cloud of ash from the eruption has hit air travel all over northern Europe, with flights grounded or diverted due to the risk of engine damage from sucking in particles of ash from the volcanic cloud. The volcano under the Ejfjallajokull glacier, Iceland's fifth largest glacier, has erupted five times since Iceland was settled in the ninth century. Iceland sits on a volcanic hotspot in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and has relatively frequent eruptions, although most occur in sparsely populated areas and pose little danger to people or property. Before March, the last eruption took place in 2004.

17.04.2010. Ash may hover for days over uncertain Europe. The Icelandic volcano that has kept much of Europe land-bound is far from finished spitting out its grit, and offered up new mini-eruptions Saturday that raise concerns about longer-term damage to world air travel and trade. Facing days to come under the volcano's unpredictable, ashy plume, Europeans are looking at temporary airport layoffs and getting creative with flight patterns to try to weather this extraordinary event. Modern Europe has never seen such a travel disruption. Air space across a swath from Britain to Ukraine was closed and set to stay that way until Sunday or Monday in some countries, affecting airports from New Zealand to San Francisco.

Millions of passengers have had plans foiled or delayed. Activity in the volcano at the heart of this increased early Saturday, and showed no sign of abating. "There doesn't seem to be an end in sight," Icelandic geologist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson told The Associated Press on Saturday. "The activity has been quite vigorous overnight, causing the eruption column to grow." Scientists say that because the volcano is situated below a glacial ice cap, the magma is being cooled quickly, causing explosions and plumes of grit that can be catastrophic to plane engines, depending on prevailing winds.

In Iceland, winds dragged the ashes over new farmland, to the southwest of the glacier, causing farmers to scramble to secure their cattle and board up windows. With the sky blackened out and the wind driving a fine, sticky dust, dairy farmer Berglind Hilmarsdottir teamed up with neighbors to round her animals and get them to shelter. The ash is toxic - the fluoride causes long-term bone damage that makes teeth fall out and bones break. "This is bad. There are no words for it," said Hilmarsdottir, whose pastures near the town of Skogar were already covered in a gray paste of ash. Forecasters say light prevailing winds in Europe - and large amounts of unmelted glacial ice above the volcano - mean that the situation is unlikely to change quickly.

18.04.2010. European Union says half of airspace may be free of ash Monday, half of normal flight may run. European air traffic could return to about 50 percent of normal levels Monday if weather forecasts confirm that skies over half the continent are emptying of the volcanic ash that has thrown global travel into chaos, the European Union said. The prospects for a return to normal air travel remained far from clear, however. Ash and grit from volcanic eruptions can sabotage a plane in various ways: the abrasive ash can sandblast a jet's windshield, block fuel nozzles, contaminate the oil system and electronics and plug the tubes that sense airspeed. But the most immediate danger is to the engines. Melted ash can then congeal on the blades and block the normal flow of air, causing engines to lose thrust or shut down.

Scientists say that because the volcano is situated below a glacial ice cap, magma is being cooled quickly, causing explosions and plumes of grit that can be catastrophic to plane engines, depending on prevailing winds. "Normally, a volcano spews out ash to begin with and then it changes into lava, but here it continues to spew out ash, because of the glacier," said Reynir Bodvarsson, director of Swedish National Seismic Network. "It is very special." Bodvarsson said the relative weakness of the eruption in Iceland also means the ash remains relatively close to the earth. In 1989, a KLM Boeing 747 that flew through a volcanic ash cloud above Alaska temporarily lost all four motors. The motors restarted at a lower altitude and the plane eventually landed safely.

19.04.2010. Scientists say Icelandic eruption producing more lava, less ash, but volcano still alive. The dramatic volcanic eruption that belched out the ash plume responsible for grounding much of Europe entered a new phase Monday - producing less smoke but bubbling with lava and throwing up chunks of molten rock. Less ash is potentially good news for stranded travelers, but scientists who are monitoring the mountain's explosion warn the eruption is not finished, and may still set off other eruptions at nearby volcanoes. The first sighting of glowing magma in the Eyjafjallajökull volcano was made on Monday, though the lava is not flowing down the mountain.

20.04.2010. A realistic 3% unemployment scenario for 2010, with proper demand management. If the present mismanagement by the marxist cabinet continues, the average unemployment rate for 2010 will be 9-10 percent, an insult to the Anarchy of Iceland. The traditional Keynes type countercyclal monetary and fiscal policy measures, may not be sufficient. Measures to lower inflation and to achieve a modest increase in labor productivity, taking into account green economics, should also be introduced. In this case the following scenario may be realistic: With about 8.025% unemployment in 2009 and no increase in the labor force from 2009 to 2010, 6% inflation and 1% increase in labor productivity from 2009 to 2010, the total demand nominally must increase exactly 12.91%, via proper countercyclal monetary and fiscal policy measures, from 2009 to 2010, to achieve 3% average unemployment rate for 2010. The marxist cabinet should follow this anarchist advice, and do proper demand management. Do it now!

Some European flights take off; London still shut. Applause, cheers and whoops of joy rang out at airports around the world Tuesday as airplanes gradually took to the skies after five days of being grounded by a volcanic ash cloud that has devastated European travel. But weary passengers might have to tamper their enthusiasm. Only limited flights were allowed to resume at some European airports and U.K. authorities said London airports - a major hub for thousands of daily flights worldwide - would remained closed for at least another day due to new danger from the invisible ash cloud. And with over 95,000 flights canceled in the last week alone, airlines face the enormous task of working through the backlog to get passengers where they want to go - a challenge that certainly will take days.

21.04.2010. Europe's skies open for business. About 75% of European flights are due to operate on Wednesday, according to the air traffic agency Eurocontrol. But delays are expected, as airlines try to cope with the backlog from the cancellation of about 95,000 flights. The international air transport group IATA says the disruptions have cost the industry $1.7bn (£1.1bn). Iceland's civil protection agency said the Eyjafjallajökull volcano had lost nearly 80% of its intensity since the weekend, although the situation remains changeable. Airlines have now begun the enormous task of working through the backlog to get stranded passengers where they want to go. The Eurocontrol air traffic agency said it was optimistic the situation would be back to normal in a few days' time.

22.04.2010. European air traffic starts to return to normal service, some delays still expected. Flights in Sweden and Norway are still grounded. Air travel across Europe may have resumed but the economic impact of the six day ban on all flights will be felt for sometime.

23.04.2010. European airspace on Friday was almost completely free of volcanic ash from Iceland, according to Eurocontrol, the air traffic agency. All of British airspace was available after four small airports in Scotland reopened. But for the first time since the April 14 eruption, Iceland's major international airport was closed after shifting winds blew the ash cloud toward the capital of Reykjavik, west of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Trans-Atlantic flights on Icelandair that usually stop in Iceland were being rerouted through Glasgow in Scotland.

In Iceland, the volcano was active Friday but its ash production was minimal. Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland, said the volcano was only spewing 10-20 metric tons of ash a second into the air, compared to 750 tons a second at the peak of the eruption. "The threat from the volcano is now local. It is not hemispherical," he told The Associated Press. "It is mostly a steam plume. It is carrying only a small fraction of what it was before." Still he said the eruption was continuing and scientists were monitoring it closely. "I think we have seen the worst. The peak of the eruption over, but how long it will linger on is impossible to tell," he said.

26.04.2010. No indications that eruption in Iceland is ending. Although the force of the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajökull glacier in south Iceland is only part of what it was when the eruption was at its height, there are no indications that the eruption is coming to an end. The volcanic unrest is similar to what it was in the past days.

Flights in Iceland resume. The airspace around Keflavík International Airport and Reykjavík Domestic Airport opened for instrument flying at 7 am this morning and airlines are working on resuming scheduled flights to and from these airports. 

28.04.2010. LFI-IFR: Both the Icelandic president and the public should have referendum rights! Johanna Sigurdardottir, Prime Minister of Iceland and leader of the marxist Social Democrats, has told reporters she wants the President's right to veto new acts of parliament and send them to a public referendum to be removed. Johanna Sigurdardottir said she wants the right to call a referendum to be placed directly in the hands of the public. Current president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson has twice used his veto and is the only president to have ever done so, RUV reports.

Sigurdardottir said that her party is very enthusiastic about a bill due before parliament that would call together a constitutional parliament of citizens with the legal power to change Iceland's constitution. She believes such a parliament should make re-evaluation of the president's role a priority. Sigurdardottir is also in favor of the office of president having stricter rules on conduct and a clearer job description. LFI-IFR does not agree with Johanna Sigurdardottir and declares: Both the Icelandic president and the public should have referendum rights! 

01.05.2010. May Day demonstrations in the Anarchy of Iceland. Today is May Day - international labor day. The event is being celebrated with marches, demonstrations and family entertainment all over Iceland. In Reykjavik a large coalition of unions and associations have come together to host a rally starting at 13.00 at Hlemmur and moving down to Austurvollur, Parliament Square. Once at the square, a series of speeches begins at 14.10, and due to end at 15.00. Two brass bands and the popular rock band Hjaltalin are also taking part. After the speeches, most big labor unions and political parties will be offering coffee and cakes to the public and some of the political parties are taking the opportunity to formally open their election offices today for the upcoming local elections. Today is an official flag day in Iceland.

03.05.2010. All flights in and out of Ireland have been canceled Tuesday morning because of the renewed risk of volcanic ash drifting south from Iceland, the Irish Aviation Authority announced Monday. But experts said they couldn't tell whether the shifting winds would lead to wider European airspace shutdowns, mirroring last month's crisis, when more than 100,000 flights were canceled and airlines estimated they lost more than $2 billion in business. "We cannot really tell what it is going to do," said University of Iceland geophysicist Pall Einarsson. Iceland's weather forecasting service attributed the resumed threat to Irish airspace to a change in wind direction, not substantially increased emissions of ash.

Icelandic meteorologist Ole Arneson said the Eyjafjallajökull volcano was emitting a slightly higher level of ash Monday than on previous days. He speculated this was because of an increased volume of melted ice, which generates the ash. "There seems to be a little bit more ash, but the seismic activity is more or less unchanged," he said. Last month the volcano unleashed massive plumes of ash that turned much of European airspace into a no-fly zone for a week. European Union authorities working with jet engine manufacturers eventually established new, more precise measurements for determining whether aircraft could fly safely in ash-affected airspace, which should limit the spread of future shutdowns.

04.05.2010. Iceland's ash may keep choking Europe's air travel. Iceland's clouds of volcanic ash are menacing European air traffic again, but transport chiefs insisted Tuesday they are learning from last month's crisis and won't let the hard-to-measure emissions ground their continent again. Rising volcanic activity spurred aviation authorities in Ireland, northwest Scotland and the Faeroe Islands to shut down services Tuesday after a two-week hiatus. Their airports reopened several hours later, once the densest ash clouds had passed over their airports and back over the Atlantic. Travelers and transport chiefs alike said Europe was learning to pinpoint the true nature of the threat versus last month's better-safe-than-sorry shutdown of air services for nearly a week in several countries. Airline and airport authorities branded that response overkill; it grounded 100,000 flights and 10 million passengers and cost the industry billions.

05.05.2010. Britain's Civil Aviation Authority announced that some airspace over Northern Ireland and Scotland would be closed Wednesday because ash emissions from Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull grew heavier and dipped further south.

07.05.2010. Iceland arrests another Kaupthing boss. Magnus Gudmundsson, the former head of Kaupthing Bank in Luxembourg and the current head of Banque Havilland, has been arrested in connection to the Icelandic Special Prosecutor's investigation into the banking collapse. Former Kaupthing CEO Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson was arrested yesterday. Magnus Gudmundsson worked for Kaupthing for many years and was a close friend and ally of Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson and former Chair of the Board, Sigurdur Einarsson. According to Visir.is, both South Iceland prisons are full, meaning that the Kaupthing pair were held at a police station overnight, pending their bail hearing today. The police arrested Sigurdsson on the orders of Iceland's Special Prosecutor into the banking crisis, Olafur Thor Hauksson. Hauksson and his team continue to work closely with international white-collar crime investigator, Eva Joly.

A mammoth cloud of volcanic ash is stretching 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) across the North Atlantic and forcing most flights between North America and Europe to divert into a sky-high traffic jam, Irish and European air authorities said Friday.

08.05.2010. Volcanic ash has returned to torment air travellers in the north of Portugal and Spain. Several hundred flights were cancelled on Saturday as winds once again blew thick clouds of ash into European airspace. In Portugal, flights from Porto, Lisbon and Faro were affected, while Barcelona was among 19 Spanish airports to close. Several flights from Marseille airport were also cancelled, and difficulties in France and Italy could intensify in the coming days. The travel chaos in continental Europe is nothing though compared to the difficulties of those who live close the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. Many have been forced to flee their homes because of the blanket of ash that has descended upon them.

Soon arrest of the former Chair of the Board of Kaupthing? Sigurdur Einarsson, the former Chair of the Board at Kaupthing Bank, has not answered the Special Prosecutor's request to return to Iceland quickly in connection with the arrests of two other senior bank fiugures. No information is available on when Einarsson will return to Iceland. Einarsson began at the bank in 1994, was its CEO in 1997 and Chairman of the Board between 2003 and 2008. He is described by some as the architect of Kaupthing's breakneck expansion. Einarsson has been living in London for a while, Visir.is reports. Sigurdur Einarsson has been invited to an interview with the Special Prosecutor next week; but it is not known if he will turn up. Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson and Magnus Gudmundsson were as mentioned arrested this week immediately following such interviews.

09.05.2010. Airlines canceled hundreds of flights across Europe and added hours to trans-Atlantic journeys Sunday as planes were diverted around a large plume of ash spewed by an Icelandic volcano and stretching from Greenland to Portugal. So far, the weekend cancellations have been a fraction of the flights nixed two weeks ago when jittery European air traffic authorities closed down much of the continent's airspace for fear the volcano's abrasive ash could harm jet engines. But the possibility loomed of continuing eruption, and rising costs to airlines from ongoing disruption.

12.05.2010. Former Chair of the Board of Kaupthing wanted by Interpol. The former Chairman of Kaupthing Bank, Sigurdur Einarsson, is now on the wanted list of the international police co-operation bureau, Interpol. Einarsson's Wanted-poster on the Interpol website states that he is wanted for counterfeiting/forgery and fraud. Einarsson told Icelandic media over the phone from London that he has no intention of returning to Iceland unforced, adding that the arrests so far have been based on no credible evidence and are just being carried out to appease public anger. If arrested in the UK, the courts there will have to decide whether or not to deport him to Iceland.

Seven Giltnir Bank investors and officials, including Jon Asgeir Johannesson, are being sued for conspiring to snatch control of USD 2 billion to benefit their own "failing companies"" Reuters reports. Those accused also include Johannesson's wife, Ingibjorg Stefania Palmadottir, investor Palmi Haraldsson, former Chairman Thorsteinn Jonsson, former Chief Executive Larus Welding, former directors Jon Sigurdsson and Hannes Smarason.

14.05.2010. The accused Glitnir bank fraudster, Jon Asgeir Johannesson has resigned as the director of the UK high street fashion retailer House of Fraser due to the USD 2 billion lawsuit against him, Financial Times reports. Johannesson's resignation has come in the wake of the USD 2 billion lawsuit against him and six others at the New York State Supreme Court for the alleged siphoning of funds from the Glitnir Bank before its collapse in 2008. Johannesson's position on the House of Fraser board had become untenable after the UK High Court issued a freezing order on his worldwide assets in connection with the lawsuit. It was stated that Johannesson tendered his resignation on Thursday, nearly four years after leading a consortium that took the company private. Both House of Fraser and Jon Asgeir Johannesson failed to comment.

There was significant force in the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull glacier yesterday and the volcanic cloud reached a height of nine kilometers, which is considerably higher than on Wednesday. Volcanic activity is stable and there are no indications that the eruption is coming to an end, Morgunbladid reports. Meanwhile, sheep in south Iceland must be kept inside due to ash fall. Living in tight quarters for a long time compromises the animals' health — some newborn lambs have died. Katrín Helga Andrésdóttir, district veterinarian in south Iceland, said it cannot be stated with absolute certainty that the lambs were killed due to overcrowded sheepfolds. However, overcrowding can cause various infections and diseases, such as bowel infection, swollen udders in ewes and kidney diseases in lambs. On the other hand, fluorine poisoning from the volcanic ash can also be hazardous. Andrésdóttir said it is important that farmers report illnesses in sheep. If their animals are killed, a certification is the basis for payment from the Farmers' Emergency Fund.

16.05.2010. The UK and Ireland are facing new disruption due to the return of Icelandic volcanic ash. No-fly zones have been imposed over northern England and flights in and out of Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland were stopped. The potentially dangerous ash is again heading south-east from Iceland. Expert David Rothery said: "The ash cloud is becoming a problem again because the activity at the volcano has intensified. It's not as intense as it was when the problem began a month ago. But certainly throughout today grey ash has been injected high up into the sky to several kilometres, maybe about 20,000 feet (6,000 metres) and that's been caught by the high altitude winds and it's been blown towards Scotland," he said. 

17.05.2010. Ash clouds. Potentially a summer of disruption. There is some good news for travellers stranded by the latest volcanic ash cloud in Europe: air traffic restrictions have been eased in Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands. Flights in and out of Heathrow and Gatwick airports, for example, have been allowed to resume. But there are warnings that it may only be temporary. Air travel specialist Bob Atkinson said: "This ash is going to keep coming back through the summer and the volcanologists are telling us that this may not be the only volcano that there is to potentially explode (in Iceland.)" "I think it's without a doubt that everybody's now gearing up for the fact that there will be potentially a summer of disruption." No fly zones remain in place over parts of Northern Ireland and the Shetland Islands. But the main airports in Amsterdam and Rotterdam have been allowed to reopen. Hundreds of thousands of passengers have been stranded by the latest disruptions, forcing many to either sit it out or find alternative road and sea transport.

18.05.2010. The wind direction allows Keflavík International Airport to be open today — international flights at Icelandair and Iceland Express are mostly on schedule — although the volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull will disrupt domestic flights in Iceland. The volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull will probably make disruptions of European air traffic more or less during the rest of the spring and in the summer time, but in general, unless special cases, it will not be reported more about it and this volcano on this file until the eruption is over, as enough is reported already of the consequences for the Icelandic economic-political system, the main item of this file.

23.05.2010. Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano reduces activity. The Icelandic volcano which has been disrupting air traffic for more than a month is showing a marked drop in activity, new measurements suggest. Heat camera footage from early on Sunday indicated the temperature in the crater had fallen to just 100C, a leading volcanologist said. This means Eyjafjallajökull is now producing steam, not magma. It would however be a long time before the eruption, which began on 14 April, could be said with certainty to be over. The previous eruption at the volcano lasted 13 months, from 1821-23. It stopped and started again several times with different intervals, so it's difficult to give a timeline. It is also impossible to say whether the neighbouring and much larger and fiercer Katla volcano might also erupt.

30.05.2010. BBC reports: Best Party wins polls in Iceland's Reykjavik. A party that calls itself "the Best" has won local elections in the Icelandic capital, Reykjavik. The Best Party, founded by comedian Jon Gnarr, secured 34.7% of the vote, ahead of the Independence Party's 33.6%. Its campaign video featured candidates singing to the tune of Tina Turner's "Simply The Best". Key pledges included "sustainable transparency", free towels at all swimming pools and a new polar bear for the city zoo. The party also called for a Disneyland at the airport and a "drug-free parliament" by 2020.

As well as specific pledges, its video promised change, a "bright future" and suggested that it was time for a "clean out". The Best Party was only established six months ago. Its victory means it will hold six seats on the 15-member city council. Commentators suggest it has benefited from voters' loss of trust in the cabinet and the establishment in the wake of the country's banking collapse in 2008. According to Iceland Review Online, several local races saw parties that were in power ousted in the polls.

10.06.2010. New contracts with China. The Central Bank of Iceland and the national power company have both signed important contracts with China this morning during He Guoqiang's official visit. A bilateral currency swap agreement has been signed between the central banks of Iceland and China to the value of ISK 66 billion or 3.5 billion Chinese yuan (USD 512.5 million). The contract is for three years from today and can be extended. Central Bank of Iceland governor Mar Gudmundsson and deputy governor of the Central Bank of China, Hu Xiaolian signed the deal today at Iceland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The currency swap agreement is Iceland's first since before the banking crisis, when the Nordic countries signed a deal worth EUR 1.5 billion in May 2008 (50 billion from each country). A Nordic-USA currency swap agreement in autumn 2008 famously did not include Iceland.

Landsvirkjun, Iceland's national power company, has also signed a deal today. The statement of intent with China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE) and the Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank) is intended to strengthen co-operation in the field of renewable energy utilisation. Icelandic energy companies have already provided investment and consulting for geothermal energy projects in China, including the Xianyang "geothermal city", and there is now interest in the Chinese companies investing in developments in Iceland.

03.07.2010. FABS in Iceland. The main Nordic and international libertarian progressive rock and punk-band FABS - the Federalist Anarchist Beat Society's four main albums are for listening and sale in Iceland at Tonlist.is, click on 1. The Ballad Of Exterazy Grax (1979), 2. FABS' Collection Album 1967-2008 (2008), 3. Punk Out For Fans Only (2009), 4. Soundtrack From Monter - Anarchist Criticism of Norway 1968 (2010). To listen you will be asked to install Microsoft Silverlight, if you don't have it already, the download and installation are done in a few minutes and are not risky. Click on: FABS Fanclub for more information. The FABS is a major source of inspiration for the Northern Anarchist Confederation and the Icelandic section LFI-IFR.

22.07.2010. "Icelandic cabinet more interested in helping banks than households". Seven out of every ten Icelandic respondents believes their cabinet cares more about the profits of the banks than about households. This is the conclusion of a new poll by MMR in which just 14 percent of respondents disagreed with the above sentiment. 860 people took part in the online opinion poll, RUV reports. Only 16 percent of people said they think the Icelandic parliament stands up to protect the finances of normal people, with 64 percent saying the institution does not. The public has little more trust in the opposition parties though, with just 30 percent believing a different cabinet from the opposition would do a better job. Finally, 60 percent of respondents felt that the joint central bank and FME (financial regulator) proposal on dealing with foreign currency indexed loans is unfair.

27.07.2010. Some 60 percent of the Icelandic public are now against EU-membership! Euronews reports: EU Enlargement - Iceland starts formal EU membership talks. Iceland has officially begun talks on EU membership just as Icelanders themselves seem to be going off the idea. Launching formal negotiations, the EU's enlargement commissioner urged Iceland's cabinet on Tuesday to give its electorate what he called "more objective information" on EU policies. He added that the decision to join the bloc should be based on "facts and figures" rather than "myths and fears."

Public opinion is not the only obstacle to Icelandic membership. A row over debt owed to Britain and the Netherlands still needs to be settled and there are differences over fishing rights and whale hunting. Brussels forbids whaling but Icelanders see it as part of their culture. Reykjavik is also reluctant to share its rich fishing waters with European countries that have over-fished their own seas. As for the debt dispute, the Dutch and British governments want back nearly four billion euros they had to shell out to customers of the failed Icelandic bank, Icesave. The people of Iceland rejected repaying the money in a referendum and the whole episode has dampened their enthusiasm for joining the EU: some 60 percent of the public are now against doing so. And it's Icelanders themselves who will have the final say on membership in another referendum when, and if, all the other hurdles are cleared.

28.09.2010. Iceland's former PM taken to court. The Icelandic parliament, Althingi, passed a parliamentary resolution with 33 votes against 30 to take former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde to High Court (Landsdómur) on alleged negligence in office in the events leading up to the banking collapse in 2008.

02.10.2010. The marxist cabinet does not keep key election promise. Iceland's economy may be showing signs of a slow recovery; but the wave of house repossessions is not abating and the cabinet is coming under criticism for its perceived failures in protecting householders – something that was a key election promise. A group of protesters camped outside parliament in tents on Thursday night under the banner "Tjaldborg". The reason for the name comes from the "Skjaldborg" or "wall of shields" that the cabinet promised to metaphorically erect to protect vulnerable householders. "Tjaldborg", on the other hand, sounds very similar but means "Tent City".

More protesters began gathering in support and one of the biggest political protests since the zenit of the "pots and pans revolution" was underway by lunch time yesterday. Yesterday was the beginning of the new October session of parliament – which is the reason for the protest. The thousand-strong crowd was significantly smaller than those which toppled the former cabinet in spring 2009. Police described the protest as mostly peaceful – although a serious breach and ochlarchy (mob rule broadly defined) occurred when a window was broken at the Domkirkjan cathedral while MPs were inside for the traditional first day of parliament church service. Protesters also attempted to pelt them with eggs as they entered the church, Visir.is reported. LFI-IFR supports the direct action, but condemns the ochlarchy.

05.10.2010. Euronews reports: Demonstration. Thousands demonstrates outside Iceland's Parliament. As parliament met in Iceland, thousands of people turned up outside to show just how angry they are about the financial black hole the country is struggling to escape from. The protest was aimed at disrupting Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir's first speech to this session's assembly. Many think the cabinet did not do enough in the wake of the banking collapse in 2008. "We have to show the cabinet how we are feeling because the Icelandic people are bleeding, our homes are going up in flames, soon we will have nothing," said one woman. "I am demonstrating against the situation our society is in, unemployment and the total ineptitude of our politicians," was the opinion of a police officer, even though he was in uniform and on duty. The police also showed up, dressed in riot gear – but by midnight the demonstration was losing momentum. The average Icelander lost 20 percent of his income last year, while unemployment stood at more than seven percent in August. Homeowners brandished the keys of their houses threatened with repossession – property prices in Iceland have slumped by 34 percent since October 2007. LFI-IFR supported the direct action, but condemned the ochlarchical throwing of a) eggs and b) red paint by marxist extremists.

25.10.2010. Women's protest. Yesterday marked 35 years since Icelandic women first dropped everything and went on a de facto strike to highlight their importance to society. It is thought some 90 percent of all women in Iceland took that day off in order to demand the same rights and wages as men. This year women are being encouraged to stop work at 14.25 today (Monday) because the actual women's day fell on a weekend. Different events are planned in towns all over Iceland. An umbrella organization of 20 Icelandic women's groups held a conference yesterday in Reykjavik about domestic violence and has been collecting charitable donations as well. Among the speakers at the conference was the UN representative for domestic violence and representatives from several other international organizations against gender-based violence. The Anarchy of Norway's justice minister also attended, as he is one of 14 male world leaders who has signed a contract that says he will keep the fight against domestic violence at the fore in all his political work. Thousands of women participated in the protests.

02.12.2010. Support action for Julian Assange. IFR-LFI joins the Anarchist International support action for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

THE ANARCHIST INTERNATIONAL: Anarchist International support action for the social-individualist anarchist Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

Julian Assange, the main spokesperson for the news-organization WikiLeaks, is social and individualist as well as progressive, and may thus be seen as a social-individualist anarchist. As many social-individualist anarchists he does not use the label 'anarchist' about himself, at least not so far... But he 1. has 02.12.2010 been called anarchist on CNN, and more, 2. has a strong co-operation with -- and support for -- the social-individualist Anarchy of Iceland, 3. is mainly acting as an anarchist, a.o.t. a) for a free press -- against the media as a 4th power of the State, b) doing whistle-blowing against authorities, and c) works for libertarian human rights, and thus 4. practically certain is a social-individualist anarchist. To see an interview with Julian Assange about his main policy and activities click here!

The ochlarchy (mob rule broadly defined) against Julian Assange, a) falsely calling his whistle-blowing and other libertarian press-activities criminal, b) smear-campaigns with probably false accusations of rape in Sweden, c) people calling for his assassination and d) much, much more mobbing, e) must stop. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, and their news-reporting, have full support from the Anarchist International and the Anglophone Anarchist Federation, and AI & AF have 02.12.2010 launched an international solidarity direct action for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. AI & AF call on all anarchists world wide, and all others that read this resolution, to join in the world wide support action. AI & AF demand continued freedom for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks!!!

PS. Fellows world wide! You can join in the international solidarity direct action for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks by forwarding this resolution to your own network, and/or link up the Web of Freedom Online, the official organ of the Anglophone Anarchist Federation and/or the Anarchist International at your Web and/or blog. Do it now!!!

09.01.2011. Iceland summons US envoy over WikiLeaks probe. The American ambassador to Reykjavik has been summoned to explain why US investigators are trying to access the private details of an Icelandic lawmaker's online activity as they try to build a criminal case against WikiLeaks. Revelations that the US Justice Department obtained a court order to examine data held by Twitter Inc. on Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic parliamentarian who sits on the country's Foreign Affairs Committee, immediately caused consternation in the North Atlantic nation. "(It is) very serious that a foreign state, the United States, demands such personal information of an Icelandic person, an elected official," Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson told Icelandic broadcaster RUV. "This is even more serious when put (in) perspective and concerns freedom of speech and people's freedom in general," he added.

Jonsdottir is a one-time WikiLeaks collaborator also known for her work on Iceland's media initiative, which aims to turn the island nation into a free speech haven. Jonsdottir told the Associated Press she was too overwhelmed to comment Sunday, but in a recent post to Twitter, she said she was talking with American lawyers about how to beat the order - and was drumming up support in Iceland as well. US Ambassador Luis E. Arreaga has been summoned for a meeting at Iceland's Foreign Ministry to discuss the issue, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Urdur Gunnarsdottir said Sunday. It was not clear when the meeting was taking place. US Embassy in Reykjavik said no one there would be available for comment until Monday.

The evolving diplomatic spat illustrates the challenge American prosecutors face as they weigh whether to bring charges against WikiLeaks, an international, tech-savvy operation that has angered and embarrassed Washington with a series of huge leaks of classified information. The most recent disclosure of thousands of secret State Department cables saw US diplomats being ordered to gather the DNA and fingerprints of their international counterparts, captured backroom dealing over issues such as Guantanamo and rendition, and publicized unflattering assessments of friends and foes alike.

The US says the disclosures have damaged international diplomacy and put the safety of informants and foreign human rights activists at risk. WikiLeaks has dismissed the claims, but Washington has been trying to find a way to prosecute the group and its leader, 39-year-old Julian Assange, who is currently in England. A court order unsealed earlier this week revealed that American authorities had gone to court to seek data from Twitter about Assange, Jonsdottir, and others either known or suspected to have interacted with WikiLeaks. Some of those named in the court order have said they suspect other companies - such as Facebook Inc., Google Inc., and the eBay Inc.-owned Internet communications company Skype - have also been secretly asked to hand over their personal data. Assange and Jonsdottir have vowed to fight the court order. IFR-LFI supports Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and Birgitta Jonsdottir in this case, against the USA.

10.01.2011. Iceland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the American ambassador Luis E. Arreaga to a meeting this morning after the American government ordered personal information to be released by Twitter in the run-up to a possible lawsuit against WikiLeaks. As mentioned, one of the people affected is Birgitta Jonsdottir, a sitting member of parliament for The Movement and a member of the Foreign Policy Committee. The ministry undersecretary and an international law specialist sat the meeting on behalf of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Visir.is reports. They called for more information from Washington and expressed their deep concern that a criminal investigation should be directed at a sitting member of the Althingi parliament in such a manner. Birgitta Jonsdottir enjoys parliamentary immunity within Iceland and her colleagues in Althingi are supporting her, for the most part.

16.02.2011. Somewhat improved Icesave bill. Althingi, Iceland's national parliament, has voted in favor of a bill that would repay Britain and the Netherlands for money lost when Landsbanki collapsed along with its high interest Icesave accounts in the two countries. 44 MPs supported the bill, 16 opposed it and three did not vote. With support from both coalition parties and the largest opposition party, the bill was comfortably passed. An addendum that parliament should send the bill to a public vote was rejected. The final hurdle for the bill is the Icelandic president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson.

Parliamentary decisions can be vetoed by the president. This has only happened twice before — both times by the current president. He vetoed the last Icesave bill, which was then roundly defeated in the subsequent public vote. This third bill offers much better repayment terms and the president has indicated he is happier with it. However, 30,000 people have now signed a petition asking him to send this bill to a public referendum as well. Grimsson has refused to speak publicly about his upcoming decision while the bill was in Althingi.

20.02.2011. New Icesave referendum. Iceland's president on Sunday called for a referendum on a new deal with Britain and the Netherlands to repay the 3.9 million euros the two nations paid their citizens to compensate for losses incurred in the 2008 collapse of the Icesave bank.

24.02.2011. President's veto of Icesave repayments bill sparks outrage, especially among economical plutarchists. Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson's decision to veto a bill on repaying losses from the Icesave collapse has paved the way for a new referendum, prompting Moody's to warn that a "No" vote would downgrade Iceland's ratings. President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson's decision to veto a new bill on Icesave that had passed parliament with a large majority has sent shockwaves through Iceland and internationally , where many thought the painful issue was finally coming to a close. "This president's decision to put Icesave to a referendum will cause a stalling in the economy, the state's ability to raise finance will worsen and unemployment will increase," Gudmundur Olafsson, an economics professor at the University of Iceland told AFP.

Icelandic negotiators have been struggling for more than two years to reach an acceptable deal on how to repay Britain and the Netherlands for the 3.9 billion euros ($5.3 billion) they spent compensating around 340,000 of their citizens hit by the collapse of online bank Icesave in October 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. The latest deal, considered much more favorable to Iceland than previous versions, was agreed upon in December and voted through by nearly 70 percent of Iceland's parliamentarians. The deal, which would allow Iceland to repay very gradually until 2046 at a 3.0 to 3.3-percent interest rate, only needed the president's stamp of approval before being turned into law.

Instead, Grimsson on Sunday said he would again put the bill to a referendum as he had with the initial version in early 2010. The first time however, the wildly unpopular bill, which called for full repayment by 2026 at a 5.5-percent interest rate, was rejected by 93.2 percent of voters. This time around, few expect London or The Hague to sit down again if the vote is 'No' again, meaning the case could end up in a European Free Trade Association (EFTA) court. At the end of the day, the bill "could be much steeper for the Icelandic tax-payer," Olafur Stephensen, the chief editor of the Frettabladid daily, wrote in an editorial after Grimsson's decision.

The president's move has also raised questions about the role he plays and the powers he enjoys -- Why oppose a deal that has majority backing in the popularly elected parliament? According to the Icelandic constitution, the president's role is largely symbolic but Article 26 does provide the head of state [i.e. in the meaning of central administration - or the whole country, not State in the meaning of x-archy, where x can be anything but not 'an', in Iceland. Iceland is as mentioned an Anarchy, significant.] with the right to put any law voted through parliament to a popular vote if he sees fit. Grimsson acknowledged Sunday that "these (Icesave) contracts are different from the last ones that were put to the nation," but insisted "it is important that the nation again will get its say." According to political scientist Stefania Oskarsdottir, the president's reasoning "was that ... if the majority in Parliament is opposed to the will of the majority of the nation, the president should listen to the nation."

Although Icelanders have appeared far more favorable to the latest deal, with a poll Monday showing 58 percent in favor, voices have also been raised against it. A petition signed by some 37,500 of Iceland's nearly 320,000 inhabitants called on Grimsson to call a referendum on the issue and Monday's poll showed 61 percent of those questioned were happy to get a chance to again have their say on the matter. "His reasons are logical ... He believes he needs to represent the will of the people," Oskarsdottir said. Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson said he was "shocked and surprised" by Grimsson's decision while economist Olafsson went so far as to question the democratic intentions of "a president who supports the minority rather than the majority." Grimsson's second veto in just over a year of a deal approved by parliament has prompted some speculation on whether the house and leftwing cabinet could be facing a crisis of confidence.

09.04.2011. New Icesave referendum. No reason that the Icelandic people should pay for the criminal activities of the Icesave-plutarchs. Iceland votes on debt repay deal with UK, Dutch, Associated Press reported: Icelanders voted Saturday on whether to approve a deal to repay Britain and the Netherlands $5 billion for their citizens' deposits in the failed online bank Icesave, with voters torn between ending the bruising dispute and resisting demands to pay for what many see as the sins of a few reckless bankers. Polls put the "no" side slightly ahead, but also showed a large number of undecided voters. "The Icelandic nation has been put in a terrible situation," said Helgi Sigurdsson, a 36-year-old journalist voting in the wind-lashed capital, Reykjavik. "It has two choices - both are bad. "Probably a lot of people stood for a long time holding the ballot slip."

Icelanders overwhelmingly rejected a previous deal in a referendum last year. The cabinet hopes a "yes" vote on an improved offer passed by parliament will finally resolve a dispute that has caused friction among the three countries and complicated Iceland's recovery from economic collapse. Skuli Jonas Skulason, a 40-year-old business administrator at the Icelandic University Hospital, said he planned to vote yes. "The parliamentarians who made that decision are better informed about the matter than I am," he said. "And if a majority of parliamentarians came to the decision to endorse this deal, then that is the way to go."

The messy dispute stems from the collapse of Iceland's banks - and the tiny island nation's overheated economy - in 2008. British and Dutch savers had deposited more than $5 billion in Icesave's high-interest accounts. After Icesave collapsed, British and Dutch authorities borrowed money to compensate their citizens, then turned to Iceland for repayment. The dispute has grown acrimonious, with Britain and The Netherlands threatening to block Iceland's bid to join the European Union unless it is resolved [fine!]. Failure to agree a deal also stalled installments from a $4.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Iceland went from economic wunderkind to fiscal basket case almost overnight when the credit crunch took hold. Iceland's banks collapsed within a week in October 2008, its krona currency plummeted and protests toppled the cabinet. The Icesave debt was initially set at $5.3 billion, a crippling burden for Iceland's 320,000 inhabitants. The new deal is expected to cost Iceland [i.e. tax-payers] just under 50 billion Icelandic kronur ($444 million). The plan would see Iceland start repayments on the debt's interest in 2016 and finish by 2046, at an interest rate of 3 percent to The Netherlands and 3.3 percent to Britain. The recovered assets of Icesave's parent bank, Landsbanki, are expected to cover the majority of the debt. [Iceland's negotiators and the winding-up committee of the Landsbanki estate estimated they would recover at least 86 percent of the total $5.2 billion debt, the finance minister said.]

The deal was reached in December after long negotiations and approved by Iceland's parliament in January but vetoed by President Olafur Ragnar Grisson amid strong public opposition. Many Icelanders feel they should not have to pay for the mistakes of their banking elite, who made deals around the world during a decade of boom before the credit crunch struck. "Taxpayers should not be responsible for paying the debts of a private institution," said Sigriur Andersen, a spokeswoman for the Advice group, which opposes the agreement. "I think that sends the wrong message onto the market, and sets a wrong precedent." [Yes! This is a general problem of 'moral hazard'.]

Travel company director Egill Orn Arnarsson, 48, said Icelanders' refusal to acquiesce had served the country well in the past, leading to independence from Denmark in 1944 and expanding the country's fishing rights during the "Cod War" dispute with Britain in the 1970s. He said a "no" vote "will save us from national bankruptcy in 2011 and avert us indebting future generations here in Iceland." Polls close at 10 p.m. (2200 GMT, 6 p.m. EDT) and results of the vote are expected early Sunday.

10.04.2011. The new proposed Icesave-deal was rejected in the referendum. Iceland rejects deal to repay UK, Dutch for Icesave bank collapse, triggering more uncertainty, Associated Press reported: Voters in Iceland have rejected a cabinet-approved deal to repay Britain and the Netherlands $5 billion for their citizens' deposits in the failed online bank Icesave, referendum results showed Sunday. With about 90 percent of the votes counted, the "no" side had 59.1 percent of the votes and the "yes" side 40.9 percent. The result reflects Icelanders' anger at having to pay for the excesses of their bankers, and complicates the country's recovery from its 2008 economic collapse.

Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said the results were disappointing but she would try to prevent political and economic chaos ensuing. She said the repayment dispute would now be settled by a European trade court - which could impose harsher terms on Iceland than those rejected in Saturday's vote. Britain and the Netherlands said they would fight to get their money back. Dutch finance minister Jan Kees de Jager said the referendum result "is not good for Iceland and also not good for the Netherlands." "The time for negotiations has passed," he said. "Iceland still has the obligation to pay us back. This is now a case for the courts." British Treasury minister Danny Alexander said he was disappointed "the people of Iceland have rejected what was a negotiated settlement." Alexander told the BBC that "we have an obligation to get that money back, and we will continue to pursue that until we do."

A tiny North Atlantic nation [as mentioned] with a population of just 320,000, Iceland went from economic wunderkind to financial basket case almost overnight when the credit crunch took hold. Its major banks collapsed within a week in October 2008, its krona currency plummeted and protests toppled the cabinet. Some 340,000 British and Dutch savers had deposited more than $5 billion in Icesave's high-interest accounts. After Icesave collapsed, British and Dutch authorities borrowed money to compensate their citizens, then turned to Iceland for repayment. The dispute has grown acrimonious, with Britain and The Netherlands threatening to block Iceland's bid to join the European Union unless it is resolved. Failure to agree a deal also stalled installments from a $4.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Icelanders overwhelmingly rejected a previous deal in a referendum last year, but the cabinet hoped a new agreement on better terms would win approval. The Icesave debt was initially set at $5.3 billion, but backers of the rejected deal said it would cost Iceland just under 50 billion kronur ($444 million), with the recovered assets of Icesave's parent bank, Landsbanki, covering the majority of the debt. The deal was reached in December after long negotiations among the three countries and approved by Iceland's parliament in January. But President Olafur Ragnar Grisson vetoed it amid strong public opposition. Many Icelanders feel they should not have to pay for the mistakes of their banking elite, who made deals around the world during a decade of boom before the credit crunch struck. Opposition politicians called on the cabinet to hold new elections, but Sigurdardottir said her left-of-center coalition would not resign. But she said the result "will make us rethink many issues. We will have to rethink the budget and economic policies."

The Northern Anarchist Confederation and its Icelandic section the Libertarian Federation of Iceland - Íslenska Frjálshyggjumaður Ríkjasamband, Sunday declared that "the result of the referendum is satisfactory, and also pointing forward to NO to EU."

11.04.2011. New Icesave referendum - official results. Iceland's electoral commission has released the final results of Saturday's election on the Icesave law. 177,559 people used their opportunity to vote out of a total of nearly 230,000 registered voters. 69,462 people voted 'yes', which was 39.7 percent. 103,207 people voted 'no', which amounted to 58.9 percent of the total turnout. 1.3 percent of votes cast did not count towards the final outcome. 2,039 of those were deliberately left empty as a protest vote and 406 ballots were invalidated for various technical reasons.

01.10.2011. Icelandic parliament reconvenes amid protests. Iceland's Althingi parliament this morning reconvened for its autumn session, but MPs were met by many hundreds of noisy protesters — something which used to be rare but has become normal since the economic crisis hit in 2008. The protest is being held by the Organised Interest Group of Households and their demands on government are very simple: the swift removal of inflation indexing on house loans and an across the board debt 'correction'. In a television interview this week, Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said that universal debt forgiveness would not be fair to everyone and would not be possible so soon after Iceland's biggest ever recession. She did, however, agree that inflation indexing should go and pointed out that non-indexed loans have recently become available.

Protest organisers say that the event is peaceful; but police cordoned off the Althingi House as a precaution and many eggs have been thrown — including one which hurt a RUV cameraman and another which hurt Left Green MP Arni Thor Sigurdsson. First Lady Dorrit Moussaieff ditched her husband, President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, as MPs and dignitaries were entering the Domkirkjan cathedral for the traditional church service. Instead, she went and joined the protesters. Both had greeted the protesters earlier, on their way in to Althingi. Vilhjalmur Bjarnason, vice chairman of the Organised Interest Group of Households, told RUV: "We will hand Johanna (Sigurdardottir) our protest document this morning. She has promised to accept it personally. Some 34,000 people have signed it." Hopefully the group's demands will be met before the New Year, he added. LFI-IFR condemned the throwing of eggs, i.e. ochlarchy. Sources: Icenews and AIIS.

15.12.2011.The Anarchy of Iceland recognizes Palestine. Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, and Dr. Riad Malki, the Foreign Minister of Palestine, today formally confirmed the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Iceland and Palestine. The Icelandic Foreign Minister presented to Dr. Malki a diplomatic note stating that as resolved with the Parliamentary Resolution of 29 November 2011 the cabinet of Iceland has, as of 15 December 2011, recognized Palestine as an independent and sovereign state, i.e. country, within the pre-1967 Six Day War borders. At a press conference the Icelandic Foreign Minister said that with this recognition the cabinet of Iceland follows through on its previous pledges of support for the Palestinian struggle for independence. The minister thanked Alþingi, the Icelandic Parliament, for the broad support it showed the Palestinian cause and said it was important that the Parliamentary Resolution was passed unopposed. He said the recognition of Palestine was a matter of justice and reiterated Icelandic support for Palestinian membership of the United Nations.

Dr. Malki said the relationship between Iceland and Palestine is unique and conveyed to the cabintet of Iceland, Parliament and the Icelandic people the deep appreciation of his president and of the Palestinian people. He said Iceland's decision was important as Palestine is now recognized for the first time by a Western and Northern European country. Dr. Malki said he expects this to have an influence on other states, i.e. countries, to follow in Iceland's footsteps, which in turn would have positive implications on the peace and security of the region as a whole. He added that 130 states, i.e. countries, now recognize Palestine which encourages them to move forward in building an independent and democratic state, i.e country. Dr. Malki said the timing of the Parliamentary decision on November 29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, was a meaningful gesture that would remain firmly in the memory of his people.

05.03.2012. The Icelandic president will stand again for re-election. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the current President of Iceland, has declared that he will stand for a record fifth term in office in June's election. Ólafur's decision was sent in a press release on Sunday and not declared at a press conference. The President's press conference last Monday, when he declared his intention to think about his options and make up his mind by early this week, drew criticism in some quarters for being over-dramatic. The statement says that he has changed his mind on the decision not to stand, which he announced in his televised New Year's address. He did so after taking stock of the support and encouragement he has been shown and because there is growing uncertainty about how Iceland will be managed and the definition of the role of President in the constitution, there is upheaval in national affairs and the party political system, as well as attacks on Icelandic sovereignty. "In light of all of this and following discussions with my wife and family I have decided to honor these requests and submit my candidacy to remain in the office of President of Iceland, if that is the will of the nation's voters." The President's statement also makes an unusual plea for understanding from the electorate if he decides to call an early election once stability has returned to the country (in the event that he is re-elected in June).

Trial of Iceland ex-PM Haarde over 2008 crisis begins. The trial of former Icelandic Prime Minister Geir Haarde, on charges of negligence over the 2008 financial crisis, has begun in Reykjavik. Mr Haarde is thought to be the first world leader to face criminal charges over the crisis. He rejects the charges as "political persecution" and has said he will be vindicated during the trial. The country's three main banks collapsed during economic turmoil and the failure of Icesave hit thousands. The collapse led to a dispute over compensation between the UK and Iceland, which remains unresolved. The proceedings are being held at the Landsdomur court, a special body to try cabinet ministers, and is the court's first case. Some Icelanders see the trial of Mr Haarde as scapegoating, while others argue that public accountability is essential following the country's financial collapse.

Iceland was plunged into a deep recession following the collapse of its three banks, including Icesave's parent company Landsbanki, in autumn 2008. Mr Haarde, 60, led the Independence Party government at the time. He is accused of being negligent because he had not ensured financial safeguards were in place. The former premier says he was only doing what he thought was best for the country at the time. "I reject all accusations, and believe there is no basis for them," Mr Haarde told the court as he took the stand. He said it was "the first time I get a chance to answer questions regarding this case", welcoming the opportunity. When Icesave collapsed, the then UK Prime Minster Gordon Brown accused his Icelandic counterpart of "unacceptable" and "illegal" behaviour after Iceland said it could not give a guarantee to reimburse UK customers of the online bank. In response, Mr Haarde accused the UK government of "bullying" and bringing down one of its other banks after the Treasury froze the assets of Icelandic institutions in the UK. Source: BBC.

23.04.2012. Former Icelandic Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde found not guilty. The Landsdómur trial against former Icelandic Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde came to end today with him being found not guilty on all major counts. The indictment against the former PM stipulated that he should have done something to decrease the size of the Icelandic banking system. In addition, it was stipulated that he should have moved the ICESAVE accounts from the Icelandic bank Landsbanki to the British registered Heritable Bank, in order to move the jurisdiction outside of Iceland. Despite the not guilty verdict, Haarde was found partially guilty on the last count, which dealt specifically with formalities of parliament meetings. Although found partially guilty on a small part of the indictment, the verdict said that he will not receive any punishment and is consequently a free man.

30.06.2012. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson reelected as president of Iceland.

20-21.10.2012. Referendum about proposals for a new constitution. Icelanders have voted in favour of proposals for a new basic law. Turnout was estimated at less than 50 per cent amid voter fears that the results of the non-binding referendum would be ignored by the small Nordic country’s politicians. The proposed new basic law for the island nation was drafted by 25 ordinary citizens with the help of hundreds of others who weighed in on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. On Saturday, that committee put six constitution-related questions to voters in a referendum, each to be answered by a simple Yes or No. Voters were asked whether they want the committee’s proposals to form the basis of a draft constitution.

After ballots were counted on Sunday 21.10.2012, about two thirds of voters had answered that question in the affirmative, data from the country’s election committees showed. Other questions included topics such as the country’s natural resources and the role of its national church. Results on Sunday indicated that voters want to keep the country’s national church, and that they think natural resources that aren’t privately owned should be considered public property. “Those of us who have hoped for a better society woke up happy this morning,” said Gudmundur Gunnarsson, a member of the constitutional council who is also the father of singer Björk. Iceland’s financial collapse in 2008 during the global economic crisis provoked huge social movements and the demand that any new constitution be drawn up by ordinary citizens became irresistible. Voter turnout is reported to have been around 49 per cent, which is less than the 72.9 per cent who voted last year, when Icelanders for the second time decided whether to approve a deal to compensate Britain and The Netherlands for the 2008 collapse of Icesave bank.

Still, the results were hailed on Sunday by the mayor of Reykjavik, who is also the deputy leader of the Social Democratic Alliance party (Samfylkingin). “Congratulation Iceland. It seem to me that a cross-section of the people voted yesterday and that the results coincide very well with opinion polls,” Dagur B. Eggertsson said on social networking site Facebook. The opposition Independence party, which was in power for much of the last century, has said it thinks the plan needs more detailed examination. Any changes to Iceland’s constitution must be approved twice by parliament, with a general election held between the votes. The country’s constitution dates back to its independence from Denmark in 1944 and it has long been accepted that it needs revision.

28.01.2013. Iceland cleared of all claims in Icesave dispute. This morning at a hearing in Luxembourg, the EFTA Court rejected all claims made by the EFTA Surveillance Authority against the Icelandic state in the Icesave dispute. The EFTA Court ruled that Iceland should not be declared in breach of the law as claimed by the EFTA Surveillance Authority. The Court rejected the claim that Iceland had breached the law or discriminated against depositors when it denied foreign depositors the right to withdraw their funds while Icelandic depositors were allowed to do so. If the EFTA court had ruled against Iceland, Holland and the UK court have pressed further charges against Iceland for up to 2.3 billion euros in damages. The Court’s ruling does not however alter the fact that the Icelandic bank Landsbanki must continue to pay the UK and the Netherlands to reimburse the deposits both countries have covered since the collapse of the online savings account in October 2008. This judgement, which concludes the procedures with the EFTA Surveillance Authority in regard to the Icesave case, is final and cannot be appealed.

27.04.2013. General election in Iceland. Voters in Iceland are going to the polls in elections expected to oust the governing centre-left coalition. Analysts predict that two centre-right parties will be able to form a new cabinet, pledging to soften unpopular austerity policies. This would mark a dramatic comeback for the centre-right, which was widely blamed for Iceland's near-economic collapse in 2008. Their victory could also halt the island nation's EU membership talks. Polls opened at 09:00 GMT and are due to close at 22:00 GMT, with more than 230,000 voters eligible to cast their ballots. The conservative Independence Party and their traditional coalition partners the Progressives are expected to secure a majority in the 63-strong parliament.

The final results (published 28.04.2013):

Independence Party: 26.7 percent (up by 3 percent), 19 seats
Progressive Party: 24.4 percent (up by 9.6 percent), 19 seats
Social Democratic Alliance: 12.9 percent (down by 16.9 percent), 9 seats
Left-Green Movement: 10.9 percent (down by 10.8 percent), 7 seats
Bright Future: 8.2 percent (new party), 6 seats
Pirate Party: 5.1 percent (new party), 3 seats

13.09.2013. No to EU. The Icelandic central administration has dissolved its EU accession team after deciding to give up on talks to join the Union. "We have dissolved our task force and negotiation teams, and there won't be any other summits," foreign minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told the Icelandic parliament, the Althing, on Thursday (12 September). Iceland launched its EU bid after suffering a financial meltdown in 2009, but the country's economy later recovered and public opinion turned against the EU.

22.02.2014. No to EU. The cabinet in Iceland has announced it will suspend its application to join the European Union until a referendum can be held on the question of whether or not to continue negotiations.


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