Schools, shops, banks and Iceland's famous swimming pools shut on Tuesday as women in the volcanic island nation – including the prime minister – went on strike to push for an end to unequal pay and gender-based violence. Icelanders awoke to all-male news teams announcing shutdowns across the country, with public transport delayed, hospitals understaffed and hotel rooms uncleaned. Trade unions, the strike's main organisers, called on women and nonbinary people to refuse paid and unpaid work, including chores. About 90% of the country's workers belong to a union.
The Arctic had once been a largely peaceful zone, harboring cooperative international scientific research. But today, it is swiftly becoming one of militarized power politics. Heavily armed nations surround the melting Arctic Ocean, with its unstable environment of eroding shorelines, accessible natural resources, and contested maritime passages. This February, the U.S. launched little publicized, month-long military exercises in the Arctic, hosted by Finland and Norway. The Pentagon’s European Command described the exercises – named Arctic Forge 23, Defense Exercise North, and Joint Viking – as a way “to demonstrate readiness by deploying a combat-credible force to enhance power in NATO’s northern flank”.
Sigurdur Thordarson, a key witness for the FBI against Julian Assange, has been jailed in Iceland. The notorious alleged hacker and convicted pedophile was remanded to custody in Iceland’s highest security prison, Litla Hraun, on September 24. Þórðarson´s lawyer, Húnbogi J. Andersen, confirms that he is in custody. Thordarson was given immunity by the FBI in exchange for testimony against Julian Assange. Thordarson was arrested the same day he arrived back in Iceland from a trip to Spain, and was subsequently brought before a judge after police requested indefinite detention intended to halt an ongoing crime spree. The judge apparently agreed that Thordarson’s repeated, blatant and ongoing offences against the law put him at high risk for continued re-offending.
Between 2015 and 2019, the government of Iceland and the Reykjavik City Council undertook an employment experiment, allowing a sample of workers access to a shorter work week without any loss of pay. The results are now in, and over the past week or so the study’s findings have garnered significant media attention. Many are declaring the Icelandic pilot “an overwhelming success,” reporting that workers experienced greater work-life balance, reduced stress and more free time with family. The Icelandic study fits in with a series of similar trials studying working time reductions undertaken by large companies, municipal governments and other public sector workplaces. These various studies — along with policy advocacy from groups such as the United Kingdom-based think tank Autonomy, which compiled data and released a report for the Icelandic pilot — indicate a renewed interest in lessening the social burden of paid employment.
The world’s largest ever trial of a four-day working week and reduced working time in Iceland was an “overwhelming success” and should be tested in the UK, researchers have said. More than 1 per cent of Iceland’s working population took part in the pilot programme which cut the working week to 35-36 hours with no reduction in overall pay. Joint analysis by think tanks in Iceland and the UK found that the trials, which ran from 2015 to 2019 and involved more than 2,500 people, boosted productivity and wellbeing and are already leading to permanent changes. Icelandic trade union federations, which collectively negotiate wages and conditions for most Icelandic employees, have already begun to negotiate reduced working hours as a result.
To put things into perspective, if the Antarctic ice sheet melted, it would raise global sea levels by around 200 feet. We’ve already seen a noticeable loss of mass on the west end of the glacier, one of the many reasons why we should all be screaming. And Iceland most certainly is: Locals there just held a politically charged funeral for a 700-year-old glacier called Okjökull. Jökull is Icelandic for glacier, so that portion of Okjökull’s name has been removed, and what remains is now referred to as Ok. But Ok is not OK.
Norway is now the world’s leading whaling nation, killing more whales in the past two years than Japan and Iceland combined. A new report released today calls on the international community to respond to Norway’s systematic efforts to weaken management rules and improve market conditions for its whalers. Frozen in Time: How Modern Norway Clings to Its Whaling Past, produced by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI)...
For the last decade, Iceland has been a subject of democracy folklore. The country is often neglected due to its size and location, but when it receives attention it is almost mythologized. One reason for this is that the people there, from the bottom up, are innovating with digital democratic experiments. The folk are co-creating the law. Icelanders to their credit have twice peacefully ousted governments; they are world leaders in transparency laws and digital freedom; and through referendum the nation decided not to bail out its failed banks. Through a crowd-sourced Constitution, Iceland showed a pathway for 21st Century democratic renewal, although successive politicians blocked the final destination. In addition, the Pirate Party of Iceland, a new direct democracy party, has often polled highest yet has not made it into government.
A new law making it illegal to pay men more than women has taken effect in Iceland. The legislation, which came into force on Monday, the first day of 2018, makes Iceland the first country in the world to legalise equal pay between men and women. Under the new rules, companies and government agencies employing at least 25 people will have to obtain government certification of their equal-pay policies. Those that fail to prove pay parity will face fines. "The legislation is basically a mechanism that companies and organisations ... evaluate every job that's being done, and then they get a certification after they confirm the process if they are paying men and women equally," said Dagny Osk Aradottir Pind, a board member of the Icelandic Women's Rights Association.
By Anneta Konstantinides for Daily Mail - A former Icelandic minister has claimed that the FBI attempted to frame Julian Assange during a mission to Iceland. Ögmundur Jonasson, who currently serves as a member of the Icelandic Parliament, said US authorities told him in June 2011 that hackers were trying to destroy software systems in the country. The authorities said there was an 'imminent attack' on Iceland's government databases and that the FBI would send agents to investigate. Jonasson said he was immediately skeptical of the FBI's intentions. 'I was suspicious,' he told Katoikos. 'Well aware that a helping hand might easily become a manipulating hand!'
By Baxter Dmitry for YourNewsWire.com - Iceland has differed from the rest of Europe and the US by allowing bankers to be prosecuted as criminals. Now it seems the purge of the political class has begun. Iceland’s anti-establishment Pirate Party have been invited to form government and have been handed a mandate to begin instituting some of their progressive policies. Icelandic President Guðni Jóhannesson made the announcement on Friday, over one month after the general election, after meeting with head Pirate Birgitta Jónsdóttir. “I met with the leaders of all parties and asked their opinion on who should lead those talks.
By Eric March for Up Worthy - Women in Iceland make roughly 18% less than their male counterparts, according to the latest European Union data. Which is good, compared to a lot of other countries — including the United States (which ranks 28th on the World Economic Forum's Gender Gap Report; Iceland is first). But still pretty unfair. Unless, of course, their work day was 18% shorter. Which means they'd get out at 2:38 p.m. This isn't the first time women in Iceland have gone on strike.
By Staff of WITW - Even in Iceland, the country many experts consider the world’s leader in gender equity, the gender pay gap persists. Women employees make 14 to 18 percent less than men in Iceland — a discrepancy that unions and women’s organizations say means women effectively work for free after 2:38 pm. On Monday, in protest of the pay gap, thousands of Icelandic women decided to work the hours their pay merited — by leaving their workplaces promptly when the clock struck 2:38.
By Gabriel Dunsmith And Adam Eichen for Moyers and Company - Inside a modernist warehouse alongside the ocean in Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital city, four men sit around a table discussing the country’s drug policies. A skull-and-crossbones flag adorns the wall and a cheap blow-up sword hangs over one door frame. Though they aren’t wearing eyepatches or hunting for treasure, these Icelanders call themselves Pirates, and they are drafting policy for a new, insurgent political party, the Pirate Party.
By Danny Mitchell for ROAR Magazine - October 2008, Iceland was hit by one of the worst financial disasters any nation in the world had ever experienced. In response, citizens took to the streets in what has since become known as the “Pots and Pans Revolution”. In response to widespread media silence and a budding wave of popular movements, this documentary explores how and why the people of Iceland resisted the measures imposed by their government following the crisis of 2008 and how they forced their government to resign in an attempt to forge a new political path.