The astounding story of Iceland's constitution - and its government's failure


In 2012, more than two-thirds of Iceland's population ratified the most democratically crafted constitution in world history, written in public and drafted by a representative committee of 1,000 Icelanders; now in a stirring video in the leadup to the next national election, Icelanders are calling on one another to only vote for candidates who'll take action on the constitution the nation voted for. (Thanks, Larry!) Read the rest

Icelandic Supreme Court: all nine top bankers are guilty of market manipulation


All nine of the top Icelandic bankers from the Kaupþing market manipulation case have been found guilty by the country's Supreme Court, which reversed the district court that had acquitted two of the defendants last year. Read the rest

Why the Pirate Party could end up running Iceland

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With the Icelandic Pirates crushing it in the polls and set to form the next government of a sovereign, carbon-neutral, strategically located nation, it's worth asking how a party whose two issues -- internet freedom and copyright reform -- are wonky, minority interests rose to prominence. Read the rest

Travel through a breathtaking ice cave in Iceland


Martin Critchley shot this lovely ice cave footage, which proved so popular he released an extended cut. Read the rest

Letter sent to Iceland farm with hand-drawn map instead of address gets there anyway


A tourist who visited Iceland couldn't figure out what address to use to send a letter to someone, so they drew a map. Their letter was mailed to a farm in Hvammsveit, West Iceland, with a cute little drawing instead of an address, and the intended recipient still got it.

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Iceland's powerful Elf Lobby wins fight to unearth Elfin Lady Stone buried by construction workers

An elf door leans against a rock in the Icelandic countryside outside the village of Selfoss October 1, 2006. Belief in the unseen runs so high in Iceland that the Public Roads Administration sometimes delays or reroutes road construction to avoid what locals believe are elf habitat. 2006. REUTERS

Bowing to intense pressure from elves and the people who believe in them, the government of Iceland will unearth a purportedly magical “Elfin Lady Stone” buried by highway workers by mistake. The inadvertent burial of their sacred site seriously pissed off the mythical creatures, according to reports.

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Iceland soccer commentator finds team's performance satisfactory


His name is Gummi Ben. The BBC reports on a remarkable day for the 330,000-strong island nation.

(Edit: sorry about the hinky Streamable embed; open video in a new window)

Gummi Ben, who became a commentator after hanging up his boots in 2009, has been fending calls off all day.

"It's been quite strange and actually hectic, because the phone hasn't stopped ringing," he told the BBC.

"But I'm really enjoying it! It's part of the job."

Translation: "*screams*. My voice is gone, but it doesn't matter. We have come forward, in this tournament, and never, not once have I ever felt so good" Read the rest

Iceland's Pirate Party to receive millions in election funding


Iceland's elections are publicly funded, with funds awarded based on polls of the electorate; the Pirates have consistently polled higher than any other party, and the incumbent coalition (whose parties are polling in the single digits) has been scrambling to avoid a general election after the Panama Papers revealed that he had secret offshore accounts that benefited from his bailout of Iceland's planet-destroying banks. Read the rest

Switzerland of Bits: crowdfunding a haven for freedom of information & free expression

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Since the International Modern Media Institute was founded in 2011 it has been an independent watchdog and advocacy group working to promote and protect freedom of expression and freedom of information.

The Icelandic Parliament resolved unanimously to make Iceland a Safe Haven for freedom of expression and freedom of information. These intended legal protections promote whistleblowing, journalism and online rights. It is local in scope but global in impact.

Over the last week the world has witnessed the revelations of the Panama Papers making public the offshore dealings of politicians and business leaders. Offshore tax havens serve two functions; to avoid tax and to hide ownership. Already, in Iceland, the Prime Minister has been forced to resign as a consequence of these reports which unveiled his offshore dealings.

The Panama Papers were the result of a whistleblower coming forth with information and a huge team of investigative journalists working to verify data and coordinating its reporting. The safe haven initiative aims to encourage and promote governmental transparency, holding power to account, empowering citizens and thereby democracy.

IMMI conducts legal research, advocates for legislative reform and is an active participant in working groups established to implement a legislative framework in Iceland where journalism and online rights are protected and supported. This includes drafting and implementing an act on whistleblower protection, fighting to remove data retention from Icelandic law, drafting and promoting legislation on the limited liability of intermediaries and a host of other measures.

In order to protect democracy, real and meaningful democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of information must to be protected, ensuring access to information and freedom of the media. Read the rest

Fearing the Pirate Party, Iceland's government scrambles to avoid elections

People demonstrate against Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson in Reykjavik, Iceland April 5, 2016. REUTERS

With Iceland's Prime Minister stepping down over revelations of his financial secrets, thanks to the Panama Papers, many assumed that elections couldn't be far behind -- and if the recent polls could be relied upon, the Icelandic Pirate Party would form the next government.

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Iceland prime minister resigns over Panama Papers revelations


Follow the exposure of his interest in an offshore business – and several days of insisting that he would not resign – the prime minister of Iceland has resigned.

Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson has resigned, the deputy chair of Iceland's Progressive Party said Tuesday. Gunnlaugsson had been under intense pressure to step down since leaked documents hacked from a Panamanian law firm revealed his links to an offshore company, triggering mass protests in the capital.

Previously. Read the rest

Iceland's Prime Minister asks to dissolve Parliament


Depending on whose estimate you believe, as much as 10% of the population of Iceland demonstrated outside Parliament yesterday, and everyone agrees that they were the largest demonstrations in Icelandic history (and possibly the largest demonstrations, proportionally of any country in history). Read the rest

Iceland's Prime Minister says he won't resign, mass demonstrations gain momentum

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After storming out of an interview where he was questioned about his ownership of an offshore company implicated in the Icelandic banking scandal, Iceland's Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, has said he will not resign (he did apologize for doing a bad job on the interview). Read the rest

If Iceland held its elections today, the Pirate Party would win

Yaaarrrh - eða bara Píratar

Pirate Party MP Birgitta Jonsdottir has long sat in the Icelandic parliament, later joined by two more MPs, being part of the reform movement that has repudiated the Icelandic establishment, which helped drive the planet to the brink of ruin through corrupt banking practices. Read the rest

Iceland's fastest-growing "religion" courts atheists by promising to rebate religious tax


In Iceland, tax-authorities collect "parish fees" from all residents and remit them to churches based on the stated religious affinities of those residents. If you're an atheist, your fees are collected and go into a general fund shared by all churches. Read the rest

Power-pylons that look like looming giants


Choi + Shine, an architecture firm, has proposed modifying Iceland's existing power-transmission pylons to turn them into looming giants whose arms are poised to reflect their positions -- pylons ascending a hill will be posed as though they were scaling its slopes. Read the rest

Icelanders school their PM on solidarity with Syrian refugees


The Prime Minister of Iceland offered to take in 50 Syrian refugees; 10,000 of his countrymen responded to this announcement by offering their homes to house Syrians fleeing horrific violence and danger. Read the rest

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