2008–2011 Icelandic financial crisis
The Icelandic financial crisis was a major economic and political event in Iceland that involved the default of all three of the country's major owned commercial banks in late 2008, following their difficulties in refinancing their short-term debt and a run on deposits in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Relative to the size of its economy, Iceland's systemic banking collapse was the largest experienced by any country in economic history; the crisis led to a severe economic depression in significant political unrest. In the years preceding the crisis, three Icelandic banks, Kaupthing and Glitnir, multiplied in size; this expansion was driven by ready access to credit in international financial markets, in particular short-term financing. As the international financial crisis unfolded in 2007–2008, investors perceived the Icelandic banks to be risky. Trust in the banks faded, leading to a sharp depreciation of the Icelandic króna in 2008 and increased difficulties for the banks in rolling over their short-term debt.
At the end of the second quarter of 2008, Iceland's external debt was 9.553 trillion Icelandic krónur, more than 7 times the GDP of Iceland in 2007. The assets of the three banks totaled 14.437 trillion krónur at the end of the second quarter 2008, equal to more than 11 times the national GDP. Due to the huge size of the Icelandic financial system in comparison with the Icelandic economy, the Central Bank of Iceland found itself unable to act as a lender of last resort during the crisis, further aggravating the mistrust in the banking system. On 29 September 2008, it was announced. However, subsequent efforts to restore faith in the banking system failed. On 6 October, the Icelandic legislature instituted an emergency law which enabled the Financial Supervisory Authority to take control over financial institutions and made domestic deposits in the banks priority claims. In the following days, new banks were founded to take over the domestic operations of Kaupthing and Glitnir; the old banks were put into receivership and liquidation, resulting in losses for their shareholders and foreign creditors.
Outside Iceland, more than half a million depositors lost access to their accounts in foreign branches of Icelandic banks. This led to the 2008–2013 Icesave dispute, that ended with a EFTA Court ruling that Iceland was not obliged to repay Dutch and British depositors minimum deposit guarantees. In an effort to stabilize the situation, the Icelandic government stated that all domestic deposits in Icelandic banks would be guaranteed, imposed strict capital controls to stabilize the value of the Icelandic króna, secured a US$5.1bn sovereign debt package from the IMF and the Nordic countries in order to finance a budget deficit and the restoration of the banking system. The international bailout support programme led by IMF ended on 31 August 2011, while the capital controls which were imposed in November 2008 were lifted on 14 March 2017; the financial crisis had a serious negative impact on the Icelandic economy. The national currency fell in value, foreign currency transactions were suspended for weeks, the market capitalisation of the Icelandic stock exchange fell by more than 90%.
As a result of the crisis, Iceland underwent a severe economic depression. A new era with positive GDP growth started in 2011, has helped foster a declining trend for the unemployment rate; the government budget deficit has declined from 9.7% of GDP in 2009 and 2010 to 0.2% of GDP in 2014. The Icelandic króna had declined more than 35% against the euro from January to September 2008. Inflation of consumer prices was running at 14%, Iceland's interest rates had been raised to 15.5% to deal with the high inflation. On the night of Wednesday, 8 October 2008, the Central Bank of Iceland abandoned its attempt to peg the Icelandic króna at 131 krónur to the euro after trying to set this peg on 6 October. By 9 October, the Icelandic króna was trading at 340 to the euro when trading in the currency collapsed due to the FME's takeover of the last major Icelandic bank, thus the loss of all króna trade'clearing houses'; the next day, the central bank introduced restrictions on the purchase of foreign currency within Iceland.
From 9 October to 5 November, the European Central Bank quoted a reference rate of 305 krónur to the euro. The Central Bank of Iceland set up a temporary system of daily currency auctions on 15 October to facilitate international trade; the value of the króna is determined by demand in these auctions. The first auction sold €25 million at a rate of 150 krónur to the euro. Commercial króna trading outside Iceland restarted on 28 October, at an exchange rate of 240 krónur to the euro, after Icelandic interest rates had been raised to 18%; the foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank of Iceland fell by US$289 million during October 2008. During November, the real exchange rate of the Icelandic króna, as quoted by the Central Bank of Iceland, was one-third lower than the average rate from 1980–2008, 20% lower than the historical lows during the same period; the external rate as quoted by the European Central Bank was lower still. On the last trading day of the month, 28 November, the Central Bank of Iceland was quoting 182.5 krónur to the euro, while the European Central Bank was quoting 280 krónur to the euro.
On 28 November, the Central Bank of Iceland and the Minister for Business Affairs agreed on a new set
Reykjavík is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It is located on the southern shore of Faxa Bay, its latitude is 64°08' N, making it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state. With a population of around 128,793, it is the heart of Iceland's cultural and governmental activity, is a popular tourist destination. Reykjavík is believed to be the location of the first permanent settlement in Iceland, according to Ingólfr Arnarson, was established in AD 874; until the 19th century, there was no urban development in the city location. The city was founded in 1786 as an official trading town and grew over the following decades, as it transformed into a regional and national centre of commerce and governmental activities, it is among the cleanest and safest cities in the world. The first permanent settlement in Iceland by Norsemen is believed to have been established at Reykjavík by Ingólfr Arnarson around AD 870. Ingólfur Arnarson is said to have decided the location of his settlement using a traditional Norse method.
The story about the pillars is dubious to many people. He settled near the hot springs to keep warm in the winter and would not have determined it by happenstance. Furthermore the probability of the pillars drifting to that location from where they were said to have been thrown from the boat seems improbable; that is what the Landnamabok says and says furthermore that Ingolf's pillars are still to be found in a house there in town. Steam from hot springs in the region is said to have inspired Reykjavík's name, which loosely translates to Smoke Cove. In the modern language, as in English, the word for'smoke' and the word for fog or steamy vapour are not confused but this is believed to have been the case in the old language; the original name was Reykjarvík with an additional "r" that had vanished around 1800. The Reykjavík area was farmland until the 18th century. In 1752, the King of Denmark, Frederik V, donated the estate of Reykjavík to the Innréttingar Corporation; the leader of this movement was Skúli Magnússon.
In the 1750s, several houses were built to house the wool industry, Reykjavík's most important employer for a few decades and the original reason for its existence. Other industries were undertaken by the Innréttingar, such as fisheries, sulphur mining and shipbuilding; the Danish Crown abolished monopoly trading in 1786 and granted six communities around the country an exclusive trading charter. Reykjavík was the only one to hold on to the charter permanently. 1786 is thus regarded as the date of the city's founding. Trading rights were limited to subjects of the Danish Crown, Danish traders continued to dominate trade in Iceland. Over the following decades, their business in Iceland expanded. After 1880, free trade was expanded to all nationalities, the influence of Icelandic merchants started to grow. Icelandic nationalist sentiment gained influence in the 19th century, the idea of Icelandic independence became widespread. Reykjavík, as Iceland's only city, was central to such ideas. Advocates of an independent Iceland realized that a strong Reykjavík was fundamental to that objective.
All the important events in the history of the independence struggle were important to Reykjavík as well. In 1845 Alþingi, the general assembly formed in 930 AD, was re-established in Reykjavík. At the time it functioned only as an advisory assembly; the location of Alþingi in Reykjavík established the city as the capital of Iceland. In 1874, Iceland was given a constitution; the next step was to move most of the executive power to Iceland: Home Rule was granted in 1904 when the office of Minister For Iceland was established in Reykjavík. The biggest step towards an independent Iceland was taken on 1 December 1918 when Iceland became a sovereign country under the Crown of Denmark, the Kingdom of Iceland. By the 1920s and 1930s most of the growing Icelandic fishing trawler fleet sailed from Reykjavík. On the morning of 10 May 1940, following the German occupation of Denmark and Norway on 9 April 1940, four British warships approached Reykjavík and anchored in the harbour. In a few hours, the allied occupation of Reykjavík was complete.
There was no armed resistance, taxi and truck drivers assisted the invasion force, which had no motor vehicles. The Icelandic government had received many requests from the British government to consent to the occupation, but it always declined on the basis of the Neutrality Policy. For the remaining years of World War II, British and American soldiers occupied camps in Reykjavík, the number of foreign soldiers in Reykjavík became about the same as the local population of the city; the Royal Regiment of Canada formed part of the garrison in Iceland during the early part of the war. The economic effects of the occupation were positive for Reykjavík: the unemployment of the Depression years va
Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 348,580 and an area of 103,000 km2, making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country being home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is geologically active; the interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields and glaciers, many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle, its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate. According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island. In the following centuries, to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls of Gaelic origin.
The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the Althing, one of the world's oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Following a period of civil strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century; the establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway and Sweden. Iceland thus followed Norway's integration into that union, coming under Danish rule after Sweden's secession from the union in 1523. Although the Danish kingdom introduced Lutheranism forcefully in 1550, Iceland remained a distant semi-colonial territory in which Danish institutions and infrastructures were conspicuous by their absence. In the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Iceland's struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918 and the founding of a republic in 1944; until the 20th century, Iceland relied on subsistence fishing and agriculture. Industrialisation of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity and Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world.
In 1994, it became a part of the European Economic Area, which further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance and manufacturing. Iceland has a market economy with low taxes, compared to other OECD countries, it maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. Iceland ranks high in economic, social stability, equality ranking first in the world by median wealth per adult. In 2018, it was ranked as the sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations' Human Development Index, it ranks first on the Global Peace Index. Iceland runs completely on renewable energy. Hit hard by the worldwide financial crisis, the nation's entire banking system systemically failed in October 2008, leading to a severe depression, substantial political unrest, the Icesave dispute, the institution of capital controls; some bankers were jailed. Since the economy has made a significant recovery, in large part due to a surge in tourism.
A law that took effect in 2018 makes it illegal in Iceland for women to be paid less than men. Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation's Scandinavian heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old West Norse and is related to Faroese and West Norwegian dialects; the country's cultural heritage includes traditional Icelandic cuisine, Icelandic literature, medieval sagas. Iceland has the smallest population of any NATO member and is the only one with no standing army, with a armed coast guard; the Sagas of Icelanders say that a Norwegian named Naddodd was the first Norseman to reach Iceland, in the 9th century he named it Snæland or "snow land" because it was snowing. Following Naddodd, the Swede Garðar Svavarsson arrived, so the island was called Garðarshólmur which means "Garðar's Isle". Came a Viking named Flóki Vilgerðarson; the sagas say that the rather despondent Flóki climbed a mountain and saw a fjord full of icebergs, which led him to give the island its new and present name.
The notion that Iceland's Viking settlers chose that name to discourage oversettlement of their verdant isle is a myth. According to both Landnámabók and Íslendingabók, monks known as the Papar lived in Iceland before Scandinavian settlers arrived members of a Hiberno-Scottish mission. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed the ruins of a cabin in Hafnir on the Reykjanes peninsula. Carbon dating indicates that it was abandoned sometime between 770 and 880. In 2016, archeologists uncovered a longhouse in Stöðvarfjörður, dated to as early as 800. Swedish Viking explorer Garðar Svavarsson was the first to circumnavigate Iceland in 870 and establish that it was an island, he built a house in Húsavík. Garðar departed the following summer but one of his men, Náttfari, decided to stay behind with two slaves. Náttfari settled in what is now known as Náttfaravík and he and his slaves became the first permanent residents of Iceland; the Norwegian-Norse chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson built his homestead in present-day Reykjavík in 874.
Ingólfr was followed by many other emigrant settlers Scandinavians and their thralls, many of whom were Irish or Scottish. By 930, most arable land on the island had been claimed. Lack of arable land al
Politics of Iceland
The politics of Iceland take place in the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the President is the head of state, while the Prime Minister of Iceland serves as the head of government in a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the parliament, the Althingi; the judiciary is independent of the legislature. Iceland is arguably the world's oldest assembly democracy; the Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Iceland as "full democracy" in 2016. Elected to a four-year term, the President has limited powers and is poised in a ceremonial office that serves as a diplomat and figurehead; the prime minister and cabinet exercise most executive functions. The head of government is the prime minister, together with the cabinet, takes care of the executive part of government; the cabinet is appointed by the president after general elections to Althing. Only when the party leaders are unable to reach a conclusion by themselves in reasonable time does the president exercise this power and appoint the cabinet themselves.
This has never happened since the republic was founded in 1944, but in 1942 the regent of the country did appoint a non-parliamentary government. The regent had, for all practical purposes, the position of a president, Sveinn in fact became the country's first president in 1944; the governments of Iceland have always been coalitions with two or more parties involved, because no single political party has received a majority of seats in the Althing during Iceland's republican period. The extent of the political powers possessed by the office of the president are disputed by legal scholars in Iceland; the president is elected every four years, the cabinet is elected every four years and town council elections are held every four years. The modern parliament, called "Althing" or "Alþingi", was founded in 1845 as an advisory body to the Danish king, it was seen as a reestablishment of the assembly founded in 930 in the Commonwealth period and suspended in 1799. The Althing is composed of 63 members, elected.
Suffrage for presidential and parliamentary elections is universal. Members of the Althing are elected on the basis of proportional representation from six constituencies; until 1991, membership of the Althing was divided between a lower and upper house but this was changed to a unicameral system. After four four-year terms as the world's first elected woman president, the popular Vigdís Finnbogadóttir chose not to run for re-election in 1996. More than 86% of voters turned out in the June 29, 1996 presidential elections to give former leftist party chairman Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson a 41% plurality and comfortable 12% victory margin over the closest of three other candidates. Traditionally limited to 6–12 weeks, Iceland's campaign season was marked by several intensely personal attacks on Ólafur Ragnar, a former finance minister who tried to erase memories of his controversial support of inflationary policies and opposition to the U. S. military presence at the NATO base in Keflavík. Ólafur Ragnar had used his ceremonial office to promote Icelandic trade abroad and family values at home.
The next presidential elections will be held in June 2020. The last parliamentary elections took place on October 28, 2017; the ruling government was three-party coalition government which collapsed after the departure of Bright Future. The Independence Party retained its position as the Althing's largest party, and the Independence Party, the Left-Green Movement and the Progressive Party formed a coalition government. A total of 201,777 votes were cast constituting 81.2% of the 248,502 electorates. The results of the 2017 election were as follows: In losing four seats in the April 1995 parliamentary elections, the IP and SDP mustered a simple majority in the 63-seat Althing. However, Prime Minister and IP leader Davíð Oddsson chose the resurgent Progressive Party as a more conservative partner to form a stronger and more stable majority with 40 seats. Splintered by factionalism over the economy and Iceland's role in the European Union, the SDP suffered from being the only party to support Iceland's EU membership application.
The beginning of the millennium saw a merger of all the left parties to form the Social Democratic Alliance. Some members chose to join another new left party instead, the Left-Green Movement. After the PP's loss in the 2007 elections its longstanding alliance with the IP ended despite still being able to form a majority. Instead the IP's leader Geir Haarde chose a stronger but somewhat unstable coalition with the Social Democrats. Geir's administration fell apart in January 2009 and he called for an early election before standing down as party leader; the Social Democrats subsequently formed an interim government with the LGM. In the resulting election, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir's administration prevailed, the first time Icelanders voted for a majority left-wing government. After the 2008 financial crisis, there has been an increasing fractionalization of the Icelandic party system; the increase in the number of p
Björgvin G. Sigurðsson
Björgvin G. Sigurðsson is an Icelandic politician, representing the Social Democratic Alliance, he became Iceland's first Minister of Business Affairs when the new ministry was split off from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce on 24 May 2007. On 25 January 2009 Björgvin announced he would be stepping down as Minister effective firing the head of the Icelandic Financial Supervisory Authority as his last official act, he thus assumed part of the political responsibility for the current financial crisis and the associated protests. He was a been a member of the Althing for the South Iceland constituency from 2003 to 2013. "About the minister". Ministry of Business Affairs. Archived from the original on 6 November 2008. Retrieved 6 December 2008. Stormurinn - Björgvin's autobiography
A director general or director-general or general director is a senior executive officer the chief executive officer, within a governmental, statutory, NGO, third sector or not-for-profit institution. It is used in many countries worldwide, but with various meanings. In most Australian states, the director-general is the most senior civil servant in any government department, reporting only to the democratically elected minister representing that department. In Victoria and the Australian Government, the equivalent position is the secretary of the department; the Australian Defence Force Cadets has three Directors-General which are all one-star ranks: Director-General of the Australian Navy Cadets Director-General of the Australian Army Cadets Director-General of the Australian Air Force Cadets In Canada, the title director general is used in the federal civil service, known as the Public Service of Canada. A director general in the federal government is not the most senior civil servant in a department.
Directors general report to a more senior civil servant, such as an assistant deputy minister or associate deputy minister. The title "director general" is not used within the civil services of the ten provincial governments, nor the three territorial governments. Deputy ministers are the highest level bureaucrat within the Canadian civil service at the federal and territorial levels. Deputy ministers are not politicians but professional bureaucrats. Outside the federal and territorial civil services, some public sector agencies such as school boards in Quebec use the title "director general". In the European Commission and the Council of the European Union, each department is headed by a non-political director-general; this is equivalent to a British permanent secretary. In France, the similar word président-directeur général means the highest person in a company, at the same time chairman of board of directors and CEO. From 2001 the two charges may be disjointed; the directeur général délégué has a role similar to that of a chief operating officer.
French ministries are divided in general directorates, sometimes named central directorates or directorates, headed by a directeur général, a directeur central, or a directeur. Prior to the coup d’état of 1974 which overthrew the government of Emperor Haile Selassie, the chief civil servant of a government ministry or independent state agency was known by the title of Director-General. In contemporary Ethiopia, the head official of independent agencies such as the Information Network Security Agency or the Ethiopian Investment Corporation is titled Director-General, as are second-tier divisions within ministries, below secretariats. In Germany, Generaldirektor may be used for the CEO of a large and established concern, company or enterprise if subordinates have the title director; the title is, unofficial and by now out of use. A GmbH has a Geschäftsführer, an Aktiengesellschaft, a board of executive directors with a chairman; the term is used by German Institute Taipei, Germany's informal representative mission to the Republic of China, to refer to its head of mission.
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The word Director-General was used in the Philippines as a highest ranking law enforcer, which means the head of a law enforcement agency. Such agencies are: Philippine National Police Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Bureau of Corrections A general director is the highest executive position in a Russian company, analogous to a US chief executive officer, or a UK managing director; the position exists for all Commonwealth of Independent States legal forms, except for sole proprietorships. The general director is the "single-person executive body" of a company, he or she acts without power of attorney to represent the company, issues powers of attorney to others. His or her powers are defined by the company charter, by decision of the general meeting of shareholders or participants, by the board of directors. In Spain, México, other Spanish-