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Gudni Johannesson wins 2016 Presidential election of Iceland

History professor and political newcomer Gudni Johannesson (48) has won the 2016 Presidential election in Iceland.

He will succeed Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, who served as President of Iceland for 20 years i.e. four five year terms as the head of state.

Background

In the 2016 Presidential election, as an independent Gudni Johannesson was able to secure 39.1% votes. He defeated Halla Tomasdottir, a businesswoman without party affiliation, who was able to secure 27.9% votes. While David the former conservative party Prime Minister and Central Bank Governor David Oddsson was placed third and he won just 13% votes.

About Gudni Johannesson

  • Gudni Johannesson is historian and lecturer at the University of Iceland, Bifrost University and University of London.
  • He is an expert on political history, diplomacy and the constitution. He has not yet mentioned which political party he supports.
  • He has published a number of works, including on the Cod Wars, 2008–11 Icelandic financial crisis and Icelandic presidency.
  • He has written a biography of Gunnar Thoroddsen (former PM of Iceland) and a book about the presidency of Kristjan Eldjarn.

President of Iceland: He is elected head of state and holds a largely ceremonial position and has limited powers. He has term of four-years and is elected by universal adult suffrage. He carries the powers to block legislation and acts as a guarantor of the constitution and national unity. Since Iceland became a Republic in 1944, there have been five elected presidents.

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Indian-American Author Akhil Sharma wins 2016 International Dublin Literary Award

Indian American author Akhil Sharma won the prestigious 2016 International Dublin Literary Award for his semi-autobiographical novel “Family Life.”

His novel was shortlisted out of an initial 160 nominations by a panel of judges of award that included novelists Ian Sansom, Juan Pablo Villalobos and Carlo Gebler.

Family Life is Sharma’s second novel and took him 13 years to write. The novel traces the journey of a family that emigrates from New Delhi to New York, where one brother is left severely brain-damaged after a tragedy strikes.

About Akhil Sharma

  • Sharma was born in New Delhi. Later he had immigrated to US along with his family in 1979.
  • His first novel was An Obedient Father published in 2000. It has won the prestigious PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award in 2001.
  • His stories also have been published in The New Yorker and in Atlantic Monthly. These stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories and also in O. Henry Prize Collections.
  • Awards and honours: In 2007, he was named as one of Granta magazine’s Best of Young American Novelists. His second novel Family Life had won the prestigious 2015 Folio Prize.

About International Dublin Literary Award

  • The International Dublin Literary Award is an annual international literary award awarded for a novel written in English or translated into English.
  • The aim of the award is to promote excellence in world literature. It is solely sponsored by the Ireland’s capital city Dublin.
  • The award is richest literary prizes in the world and carries monetary prize of 100,000 euros. If the winning book is a translation then prize is divided between the writer and the translator.

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Scientists in Iceland turn CO2 into rock to combat climate change

In a unique experiment, scientists from Iceland have discovered a new way to trap the greenhouse gas (GHG) carbon dioxide (CO2) deep underground by changing it into rock.

The new way was discovered as by Scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and other institutions as part of a pilot program called CarbFix project.

The pilot program was launched in 2012 at the Hellisheidi power plant- the world’s largest geothermal facility in Iceland.

Key Facts

  • In the CarbFix project, scientists pumped CO2 and water, 540 metre underground into volcanic rock at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant.
  • In this method, CO2 is dissolved with water (termed as carbonation) is pumped into volcanic rocks called basalts.
  • Later, the CO2 solidifies turning into a solid mineral (calcite), which can then be stored. In the research it was found that 95% of the gas was captured and converted in two years.

Significance

This technique the speedy carbonation has potential to combat climate change and may provide a safer, faster way to sequester CO2 and limit global warming. In future, it could be a viable way to store CO2 underground permanently and without risk of leakage.

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