Iceland

Moonstone

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This short, beautiful novel tells the story of Máni Steinn Karlsson, a movie-obsessed teenager living with his one ancient relative in an attic in the centre of Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1918. Máni Steinn, translated as Moonstone, roams the small town looking for the odd jobs available to a boy who struggles to read and planning which film he will see next in either of the two cinemas.

New Icelandic myths

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Iceland's Tories, the Independence Party, apparently had good reason to feel satisfied with the last year as they announced a new debt relief plan.

Having presided over Iceland's spectacular financial collapse in 2008, they were returned to office in May.

Despite only receiving a slight increase in their vote, and being forced into coalition with the liberal Progressive Party, they won the finance ministry for their leader Bjarni Benediktsson.

Iceland's Tories are back

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Sarah Ensor unpicks the myth that Iceland has taken an alternative route to austerity

Iceland's Tories are back in power just five years after their spectacular disgrace. Though their vote only increased by 3 percent, the conservative Independence Party has returned to government in coalition with the liberal Progressive Party.

This is a dramatic turn of events. In 2008, as the shockwaves of the global financial crisis hit Iceland's economy, the then Tory prime minster Geir Haarde had to announce, "There is a real danger that the Icelandic economy could be sucked with the banks into the whirlpool and the result could be national bankruptcy."

Follow Iceland

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Voters in Iceland have for a second time rejected the opportunity to help bailout the governments of Britain and the Netherlands.

When Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008, the black hole created in the global economy threatened to swallow Iceland, then described by the Financial Times as "a reasonably large banking system with a small country attached".

Icesave, the internet bank set up by Landsbanki, Iceland's privatised national bank, immediately collapsed. After weeks of protests at the parliament building in Reykjavik the government fell in January 2009.

Iceland and the saucepan revolution

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"We managed to topple the government using the best of non-violent protests, civil disobedience and political satire," - 24 year old receptionist Guðjón Heiðar Valgarðsson encapsulates what many of the protesters felt when on 26 January the then prime minister, Geir Hilmar Haarde, announced the resignation of his government.

"The Saucepan Revolution" as it is called, because of the pots and pans protesters had with them, made Haarde the first leader to resign as a result of the global economic crisis.

Haarde's right wing Independence Party had been in power for nearly two decades, steering Iceland's economy away from the fish industry and geothermal energy to finance by deregulating the banking sector in the late 1990s.

Iceland's bosses in hot water

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As the collapse of Iceland's economy threatens workers' living standards there, Sarah Ensor reveals how the Icelandic working class met the depression of the 1930s with militant resistance.

The Financial Times described Iceland as a "reasonably large banking system with a small country attached". Yet until the 1990s this was a small economy based on fish and cheap geothermal energy. Between 1940 and the 1970s the former Danish colony halfway between Moscow and Washington built valuable relationships with both states. Standards of living were high and inequality relatively low. Then a new breed of entrepreneurs emerged.

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