Arctic Tensions Rising

Tensions between Russia and its Arctic neighbor states flared up against last week when President Dmitri Medvedev told his Security Council on Wednesday that the country must be prepared to defend its claim on the region’s natural resources.

With global warming rapidly changing the Arctic landscape, the region might well emerge as a future battleground between the former superpower and nearby interested states, including Canada, Denmark and Norway. The whole Arctic contains about 13 percent of the planet’s untapped oil resources and so much as 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas. Medvedev predicted that conflict will arise over possession of these riches. Read more “Arctic Tensions Rising”

Losing Iceland

The ravage left by the Icesave debacle still frustrates relations between Iceland and the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The latter two insist that the island nation repay the four billion euros which they spent compensating consumers who nearly lost all their savings last year when the Iceland bank went under. Although the country’s parliament, the Althing, which is actually the oldest of its kind in the world, decided that the money must be repayed, President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson has vetoed their bill. Four billion euros is a lot of cash for a country of 300,000 people. In fact, it amounts to a third of their yearly GDP. A referendum March 6 will decide the confrontation between president and parliament. Read more “Losing Iceland”