Arctic News Roundup 6-12 April

Black stone beach at Snæfellsnes, Iceland [Photo by Marc Lanteigne]
by Mingming Shi

1) According to Morgunblaðið, a song written in the local language in Iceland during the COVID-19 pandemic has been going viral on social media and shared by Icelanders. In order to cheer up citizens, and encourage people to stay home, given the restrictions of public gathering in the country now, Ferðumst innanhúss, (or ‘Let’s Travel Indoors‘ in English), or better known as Góða ferð (‘Bon Voyage‘), was written, and a video made by a group of Icelandic musicians has been released online.

2) The short-term prospects for Icelandic tourism are not promising, and numerous tourism companies have been struggling to survive due to low and even zero revenues, considering the COVID-19 situation and its longer-term damage to this sector, as explained by Jóhannes Þór Skúlason of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association (Samtök ferðaþjónustunnar (SAF) ), in an interview with Morgunblaðið.

3) Greenland has been considering establishing its representation in Asia for over five years, with China being regarded as one of the most optimal locations, due to the country’s large domestic market and its geographic proximity to other regional powers like South Korea and Japan. In order to expand its diplomatic network and fuel the economy of the nation, Nuuk has already opened four representation offices abroad. Currently, opening the next representative office appears to have returned to the government’s agenda.

4) A analysis piece about the current regional virus situation provided by Peter Bakkemo Danilov was published on High North News this week. The article summarised the circumstances in the Arctic, with several specialists interviewed, and argued that even though the region is less resilient than its counterparts in more southern latitudes, due to weaker healthcare competence and other related factors, the circumpolar north has seen a slower virus transmission rate so far, partially thanks to lower population densities and longer distances between towns.

5) A hole in the planet’s ozone layer over the Arctic sky was discovered by scientists according to the British news service The Guardian. Researchers explain that this phenomenon is uncommon, and seemingly caused by the recent unusually low air temperatures in the region. They have also predicted that the hole would be short-lived, and would likely not threaten local populations. The ozone layer shields Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation emanating from the Sun, and in 1987, the Montréal Protocol was struck by the international community to ban substances which could erode this protective band.

6) CBC Nunavut published a clip of a widely-circulated ‘brush video’ featuring a number of women of Inuit background from across Alaska, Greenland and Nunavut, profiling their makeup and traditional garments.