Iceland: A Nation of Sleep

Schools were closed, giving 45,000 children an unexpected holiday. There were no newspapers, no television broadcasts, no mail deliveries and only intermittent telephone service. With state-operated liquor stores shuttered, restaurant wine and whisky stocks were being drained by thirsty diners. Indeed, as a strike by 11,000 government and private-sector employees crippled public services in Iceland, supplies of almost everything that makes life interesting on the edge of the Arctic Circle were disappearing faster than icicles in a spring thaw.

The strike against the government of Prime Minister Steingrimur Hermannsson had been called over the issue of wage raises for...

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