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Hack and wheeze

Over the years I’ve normally employed the ostrich strategy in dealing with colds and other minor illnesses – ignore them and they’ll go away. However, after a valiant effort to that effect this week, I was finally forced to concede my defeat yesterday. From the moment of getting up I felt like I’d been hit by a Mac truck and could only think of one thing: BED.

So for around the last 36 hours I’ve been cooped up inside, officially engaged in what is known as ‘nursing a cold’. And trying my best to enjoy it. After all, there’s something about having licence to lay in bed and not having to feel guilty about it, not to mention flaking out in front of the television and watching shallow drivel like E!’s ‘100 Sexiest Celebrity Bodies’, on the premise that ‘it hurts too much to think’.

But enough about me. I now give you what may or may not turn out to be a regular feature, depending on… well, basically whether or not I’m up for it. Note Bene: this selection is completely subjective, and absolutely non-exhaustive. I’m talking about:

THE WEEK’S NICELANDIC NEWS IN BRIEF

GORBI DOES NICELAND
Former Soviet President Mikael Gorbachev was here to give a talk at the invitation of Landsbankinn [National Bank], to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the summit between himself and Ronald Reagan at Höfði House in 1986. It was the first time that the leaders of those two countries had met since the start of the Cold War and while there was no official resolution, it’s widely agreed that this was the beginning of the end of the Cold War. Plus it put Iceland on the map for about two days.

ICELAND AND US SIGN NEW DEFENSE AGREEMENT
After making the trip to Washington for a meeting with Condi Rice on Tuesday, the Icelandic delegation, which included PM Geir H. Haarde and Foreign Minister Valgerður Sverrisdóttir, were told that Condi was far too busy to deal with the trivialities of the Nicelandic defense agreement on that day and could they please come back tomorrow? Like obedient little puppies they did, and signed the defense agreement that is so top-secret that only two people in Iceland know what it’s about [I’m serious]. Which seems rather ridiculous, don’t you agree? I mean, wouldn’t it be appropriate for the citizens of the country to have at least an idea of what might happen should some maniac decide that Niceland is just the country that he’d like to add to his nation-acquisition portfolio?

Meanwhile, that same day [Tuesday], a big-assed assault ship named USS WASP sailed into Reykjavík Harbour, on the premise that the US was showing ‘support’. The navy commander added that Iceland could expect more such visits in the future, to prove that the US would protect Iceland even in the absence of a military base. Although how the arrival of a ship that would normally take several days to arrive in the event of an attack can prove that is, well… kind of beyond me.

EX-FOREIGN MINISTER REVEALS HIS PHONE WAS TAPPED
Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, ex-FM, says he knew that his phone was tapped back in 1993, and suspected it was The Americans. Which is odd, because it might just as well have been The Icelanders, as recent reports have surfaced that espionage was rampant in this country during the Cold War. That seems to shock a lot of people – which in itself is kind of shocking. I mean, didn’t everybody spy on everybody during the Cold War? C’mon kids – we’re not that naïve.

RUSSIAN FLAG NICKED FROM EMBASSY
Three young guys ripped off a Russian flag flying on the premises of the Russian Embassy last weekend, in the middle of the night. The Russians freaked out, meantime the kids had been captured on CCTV camera, they returned the flag with a humble apology, the Russian ambassador stormed up to the Foreign Ministry and demanded that the kids be properly reprimanded since after all, Iceland was supposed to ‘protect’ them [the Russians]. The whole silly debacle was reported in detail on the news, except the one thing I’d like to know: what the hell was the Russian flag doing at full mast in the middle of the night?

COPS DEMAND THEY BE ALLOWED TO CARRY WEAPONS
… After picking up a drug dealer who was carrying a loaded pistol. This would be the first time this happens, but it’s unlikely to be the last. In other words, little ol’Niceland is going to the dogs, just like every other country, and we shall soon have proper cops ‘n robber gunfights on our streets. Sigh.

ICELANDAIR ANNOUNCES NEW DESTINATIONS
Yup, Icelandair is adding new destinations, including Halifax. They had Halifax on a few years back, but discontinued it after a couple of years. What I cannot understand is why they are not able to fly to more central regions in Canada, like, say Toronto. Or Ottawa. As long as I’ve been around, there have been no direct flights between Iceland and Canada [except for the said two years to Halifax], which is incredibly annoying. And apparently it’s Canada’s fault. The government won’t issue licences to Icelandair because they’re afraid of competition with Air Canada, or so the rumour has it. Meh.

THAT’S ENOUGH FOR THIS WEEK: WEATHER PLEASE
Overcast and drizzly right now, storm warning in the highlands and in the northwest, colder temps on their way. Currently 8°C and sunrise was at 08.14, sunset 18.12.

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