Anger and uncertainty in Iceland.4/24/2009 12:09:40 PM
Once ranked as the fourth happiest country in the world, Iceland's prospects are now looking seriously bleak after its economy collapsed six months ago.
Iceland may have dropped a few notches from its recent high happiness rating. The mood now is characterised by anger and uncertainty.
The nation was also ranked as the world's most developed country in 2007 by the United Nations Human Development Index, and its fourth most productive per capita [Latin, By the heads or polls.] A term used in the Descent and Distribution of the estate of one who dies without a will. It means to share and share alike according to the number of individuals. .
Icelanders aren't afraid of a spot of hard work. The problem these days, is that work is hard to come by.
Before the October banking crash, unemployment was around one per cent. Today it's nearly 10 per cent. That's a big chunk of a tiny population of a little over 300,000 people.
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We took a drive out to one of a very few brand new unemployment centres. There was never much call for places like this before.
It's located in the grounds of a disused disused
no longer used
Adj. 1. disused - no longer in use; "obsolete words"
noncurrent - not current or belonging to the present time
disused adj United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. naval air station A Naval Air Station is an airbase of the United States Navy. Such bases are used to house Naval Aviation squadrons and support commands. List of Functioning US Naval Air Stations
Staffed by volunteers, the centre is doing a brisk trade in people wanting to learn new skills to fit back into Iceland's shrinking workplace.
Outside were rows of smart cars, now worth far less than the foreign currency loans taken out to buy them. Inside, mostly women are learning to work in a kindergarten.
'Everything has changed'
One of the volunteer staff is Olafia Olafsdottir, a well-groomed, American-educated interior designer, who set up her own business in the weeks immediately preceding the crash.
She hasn't had a single client since.
"I think I could best describe it as the way I woke up one morning and I walked outside and I thought everything looks the same, but everything has changed," Olafia said.
"My future as I planned it, it's gone. I have no idea when it's going to change, and I have no idea if it's going to get worse before it starts to get better."
The same questions are being asked everywhere, from the fishing grounds of the North Atlantic to the comfortable lecture halls lecture hall n → sala de conferencias;
(UNIV) → aula
lecture hall lecture n → amphithéâtre m
of the University of Iceland (body, education) University of Iceland - The Home of Fjolnir.
Here, among the students hard at work, are signs of Iceland's development status: infrared-controlled, white wall-mounted water fountains like something Apple would design, swish glass-walled study areas and lots of natural light.
The better for business students to examine the giant and very current case study going on all around them, best desribed as 'Big Business: How NOT to do it'.
"I think the ethics should change," one student said. "We should not only aim for profits," said another.
But it was Eirikur Tomasson, a fisherman in the town of Grindevik, an hour or so from Reykjavik, who seemed to nail where Iceland needs to head now.
His seven fishing boats are good providers, but fishing, he knows, isn't enough to keep the whole of Iceland in the fashion to which it's become accustomed.
"We have to use all the resources we have," he said. "Like geothermal ge·o·ther·mal also ge·o·ther·mic
Of or relating to the internal heat of the earth.
ge heat and the rivers and the waterfalls and create electricity and sell it."
Breathtaking vistas of glacial rivers and vast volcanic lava plains A lava plain, or lava field, is a large expanse of nearly flat-lying lava flows. Such features are generally composed of highly-fluid basalt lava, and can extend for tens or even hundreds of miles across the underlying terrain. offer a clue to Iceland's future growth.
Renewable energy Renewable energy utilizes natural resources such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished. Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, and hydroelectricity to biomass and biofuels for transportation. , both geothermal and hydroelectric, account for most of the country's energy needs. Developing technology in the field could make Iceland a world leader.
And there are tourists, lots of them, flocking to bathe in the warm sulphurous waters of the blue lagoon, a geothermal spa enclosed in volcanic rock under a cold arctic sky.
It's an unmissable stop on a holiday exploring Iceland's glaciers and lava plains, puffin-spotting or out and about on boats looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. whales, or devouring de·vour
tr.v. de·voured, de·vour·ing, de·vours
1. To eat up greedily. See Synonyms at eat.
2. To destroy, consume, or waste: Flames devoured the structure in minutes. a delicious bowl of lobster soup.
And (although I probably shouldn't say this) the Krona's slide against leading world currencies means you no longer have to be the owner of a large investment bank to be able to afford a few very good Icelandic beers Although beer was banned in Iceland until March 1, 1989, the country has several natively brewed beer brands. The major breweries are Ölgerðin Egill Skallagrímsson and Vífilfell. .
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