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Antarctica and Iceland

The frozen continent's a stateless scientific reserve, but Matthew Teller finds nations vying to dig in; Emma Jane Kirby tracks elves through Iceland's rugged landscapes

Antarctica is not a country - the entire frozen continent is a stateless, scientific preserve, governed by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, where mining and military action are banned. But Matthew Teller finds that in fact, there are diplomatic manoeuvres all around, as other nations - from Chile to China - are vying to expand their presence there.

Almost at the other end of the world, Iceland might be wetter, warmer and far more heavily populated, but Emma Jane Kirby must still brave icy winds and blasted landscapes to try and track down some legendary beings. She is not yet completely convinced that the dramatic scenery really does house a population of elves.

(Photo: A group of tourists observe an iceberg at Kinnes Cove, Antarctica. (c) Matthew Teller 2014)

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