The Null Device
The Independent reports from Iceland, formerly the happiest country in Europe, now economically bankrupt, and its government having resigned today:
There is no word from the government yet on how it plans to repair the damage. What does that mean for the man on the streets of a country whose coffers are empty? Are we talking soup kitchens, sheltered housing and begging on street corners? Far from it. If you're as comfortable as Iceland was, the rot has its work cut out before it emerges on the surface.
On Friday morning, human rights campaigner and protest organiser Hordur Torfason told a chilling anecdote to illustrate the desperation many Icelanders are feeling. He had received a phone call from a man who said that four generations of his family had lost everything. "He wanted me to help them build a gallows in front of the parliament building," says Torfason. "I asked him if this was to have some symbolic significance. 'No,' came the answer. 'A member of my family wants to hang himself in public.'"
The seas are full of fish, geothermal energy and natural gas are abundant. Oil prospecting is beginning. But there is a risk that Iceland will give its riches away in a fire sale to the same Vikings who have already half-sunk the nation once.Meanwhile, even though a large part of Iceland's economic collapse could arguably be attributed to Britain hastily freezing Icelandic assets under anti-terrorism legislation, Icelanders have managed to donate jumpers, socks and blankets to the freezing pensioners of the northern English city of Hull.
A US congressman has taken a leaf out of Japan's book and proposed a law requiring camera phones to make a sound when a photo is taken, to prevent evil perverts from surreptitiously photographing people for their vile gratification. The Camera Phone Predator Alert Act will also prohibit the sale of phones in which the tone can be disabled. And, of course, it will make taking photos at concerts or weddings or similar more fraught, though... for God's sake, won't someone think of the children‽
Mind you, the bill appears to be the brainchild of one Congressman, with no cosponsors, which suggests that it probably won't come anywhere near becoming law.