Monday, 9 December 2013

Icelandic Cod Wars

Who would have guessed that something as harmless as fishing spots could incite wars between two nations? In a way, that’s exactly what happened between Iceland and the United Kingdom during the 3 Cod Wars.

In the 1950s and 1970s, the island-neighbor nations engaged in naval conflicts over territorial waters. Iceland had extended the borders of its own waters into what the UK regarded as international waters. The problem? Fishing ships from the UK and other countries had used this section of the sea for decades, and the action by Iceland would damper their fishing industry.

Why Go To War?

In the early 20th century, much of Iceland was heavily dependent on income from the fishing industry. With the recent invention of the steam-powered boat, fishing trawlers could venture farther from land, so the Icelandic Government increased the distance from the mainland in which waters were considered Icelandic territory.

The British Government, realizing that this action could set a precedent other countries might follow, ignored the change in boundaries and ordered warships to protect their trawlers.

Several incidents occurred in the 1950s, including the collision of an Icelandic patrol vessel and the British HMS Russell. Soon after that, the Icelandic patrol vessel María Júlía fired upon the British trawler Kingston Emerald, forcing it to retreat.

Eventually, the two sides essentially agreed to disagree. They determined that if any future disagreements were to arise, they would consult with the International Court of Justice. However, two decades later, a different political party led the Icelandic government, which then ignored the treaty. This time, the boundary was expanded to 50nm from the mainland, more than four times the distance of the first disputed boundary. This led to the second cod war.

Several violent incidents occurred and during this war, the Icelandic coast guard started to use net cutters to cut the trawling lines of non-Icelandic vessels fishing within the new exclusion zone. The British government sent more warships to protect their fishing boats.

After a series of talks within Nato, British warships were later recalled. An agreement was signed which limited British fishing activities to certain areas inside the 50 nmi (93 km) limit, resolving the dispute that time. This agreement expired in November 1975, and the third "Cod War" began.

Resolution of the Conflict

In 1975 Iceland again increased its demands and declared that the ocean up to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its coast fell under Icelandic authority.

There were several incidents of ramming by Icelandic ships and British trawlers, tugboats and frigates. British trawlers also saw their nets cut by the Icelandic coast guard. This was only a minor inconvenience to the British, but the government of Iceland had a strong strategic position.

Iceland threatened to close the NATO base at Keflavík, which would have severely threatened NATO’s position in the Atlantic Ocean during the United States’ conflict with the Soviet Union. As a result, the British, under pressure from the United States, agreed to relent to Iceland.

200 nm is now the seazone prescribed to nations by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

All in all, both the British and Icelandic sides experienced one casualty each. A British fisherman was killed when a heavy rope was cut and recoiled into his body, and an Icelandic Coast Guard engineer was electrocuted when his welding equipment was flooded with seawater.

Source: Guide to Iceland
Iceland24, December 2013

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Regret over Iceland's first police shooting

Icelandic police have shot dead a man who was firing a shotgun in his apartment in the early hours of Monday. It is the first time someone has been killed in an armed police operation in Iceland, officials say. Tear gas canisters were fired through the windows in an attempt to subdue the 59-year-old, who lived in the east of the capital, Reykjavik.

Iceland police

When this failed he was shot after firing at police entering the building. Between 15 and 20 officers took part. Back-up was provided by special forces. The tear gas was used when the man, who has not been named, failed to respond to police attempts to contact him and continued shooting.

When they entered the apartment, two members of the special forces were injured by shotgun fire - one in the face, the other in the hand.

Iceland police

Police stated during a press conference earlier today that policemen were shot at when trying to enter the gunman’s apartment. On one occasion, police shot at the man in an attempt to overcome him. The man was rushed to the hospital’s emergency ward but was pronounced dead.

Motives unclear

“All available members of the police force were deployed, and they tried to subdue him, but it was not successful,'' Reykjavik Metropolitan Police Commissioner Stefan Eriksson told a press conference, according to local media website Visir.

Iceland police

“The man began to shoot out the window of the apartment and it was decided to take action.'' The motives of the man, who has not been named, are unclear. According to RUV, Iceland's national television station, the gunman had been making threats to his neighbors. Shotguns for hunting are legal in Iceland.

Many Icelanders believe that the country rarely sees gun violence in part because handguns are banned.

Source: BBC News, Icelandreview and Aljazeera
Iceland24, December 2013

Monday, 2 December 2013

Icelandic QuizUp’s App: The Biggest trivia game in the world

So we fell in love with QuizUp immediately. The trivia app lets you challenge your friends, or random opponents, in trivia categories like tech, science, literature, Game of Thrones, even corporate logos.

Plain Vanilla was originally founded in Iceland by Fridriksson shortly after he finished his studies at Oxford University. Its first project was a children’s entertainment app for iPad called Moogies. That game was published by Chillingo in late 2011. It got good critical ratings, but it wasn’t a commercial success. In early 2012, Plain Vanilla was almost out of money. But the team came up with its idea for QuizUp. They tries to get backers in Iceland but failed. So they moved to San Francisco, where they raised $1 million in a seed round in the summer of 2012. In March, they raised another round.

Plain Vanilla Games, the creator of the QuizUp iPhone game that it calls the “biggest trivia game in the world,” has raised $2 million in a new round of funding.

Plain Vanilla raised the money from eVentures and Sequoia Capital just a little over a week after it launched its mobile trivia title, which has more than 100,000 questions in 300 categories. The free-to-play game hit No. 1 among free apps on the iTunes App Store, with more than 1 million downloads and 60 million plays. The company says players are playing more than 5,000 matches a minute.

The topics range from Batman in arts and literature to Elton John in music. The game is free-to-play, but players can purchase in-app items known as XP Boosters. The boosts last for an hour and range in price from $1.99 to $5.99.

QuizUp is targeted at casual gamers, trivia lovers, bar trivia enthusiasts, academics, and anyone who loves to be right. Plain Vanilla Games was founded in 2010 and competes with Trivial Pursuit, RivalMe, Trivia With Pals, Social Trivia, ExQuizIt, and Sporcle.

“We anticipated the run-away organic growth of Plain Vanilla’s QuizUp app even before it launched. It was obvious to us that there were no similar apps on the market with this level of depth and virality,” said Mathias Schilling, eVentures cofounder and managing partner. “QuizUp is simultaneously addictive and educational, with 250 topics ranging from sports to the arts. We believe Thor and his team will make a substantial impact on the market.”

Peter, Iceland24
December 2013

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Thousands of Passwords and SMS Online after Hacking Vodafone Iceland

The website of Vodafone telecommunications company in Iceland was hacked earlier this weekend, exposing 30,000 user passwords and 80,000 text messages as well as other confidential customer data such as addresses, reports.

The messages ranged from personal messages between individuals to sensitive information between MPs and senior policy makers.

Vodafone urges customers who may be using the same passwords on other sites to change them. All passwords on have been rest, according to a statement from the company.

Statement from Vodafone Iceland (

Vodafone Iceland urges all customers who have identical passwords on other services (such as webmail or social media) to their 'My Vodafone' (Mínar síður) account on to change the password on the relevant sites.

This is to ensure that data obtained by a foreign hacker can not be used to gain access to other sites.

All passwords on Vodafone Iceland's website have been reset, users will be prompted to set a new password when service resumes.

Source: Icelandreview
Iceland24, Diciembre 2013