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November 10, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate is expected to consider legislation regarding cross-state air pollution rules and several other legislative provisions. The House is not in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Senate Hopes to Complete Second 'Minibus' Before Thanksgiving Recess. The Senate will revisit some of the biggest policy disagreements between Republicans and President Obama as it attempts next week to pass a second package of spending bills for the fiscal year that began six weeks ago. Republicans are expected to join Democrats in voting Thursday in favor of a procedural motion that would permit debate to begin on a second three-bill "minibus" appropriations measure (HR 2354) for fiscal 2012. Congressional Quarterly


Polar Bear gets "species of special concern" status in Canada. Under the Species at Risk Act of Canada, the polar bear, Ursus maritimus, has been designated as a species of special concern, a designation which is one level below the threatened and two levels below the endangered categories. Canada is home to two-thirds of the world's polar bears and a management plan will be implemented within the next three years in order to affront the reality facing the species. Eye on the Arctic  


Yukon Premier Keen on Canadian Arctic University. Yukon wants to take the lead in founding a university in Canada's Arctic. That's what Yukon's premier, Darrell Paslowski, who was sworn in Nov. 5, said during his recent election campaign. If elected, his Yukon Party government would help create a Yukon University, he promised. Nunatsaiq Online


 Coast Guard SealCoast Guard Members Attend Media Events for Coast Guard Alaska. Lt. Cmdr. Jon Bartel, from Coast Guard Sector San Diego, signs his autograph for fans at the NBC Today Show in New York, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011. Bartel is a rescue helicopter pilot who is featured in the new reality series "Coast Guard Alaska," which highlights search and rescue cases that occurred off the coast of Alaska. U.S. Coast Guard



coldwindsblowingCoast Guard Ready to Respond to Severe Storm. The Coast Guard continues to work with federal and state partners and is keeping prestaged assets in Western Alaska to respond to any incidents that arise from the severe storm affecting the Bering Sea and Northwest Alaska Wednesday. "We are continuing to work with our federal, state and local partners to address the needs of Alaskans resulting from the storm as they arise," said Capt. Daniel Travers, Coast Guard District 17 chief of incident management. "We currently have helicopters positioned in parts of Western Alaska and the Coast Guard Cutter Sherman is on patrol in the Bering Sea." The forecast for Wednesday in Northwest Alaska includes winds of 60 to 70 mph decreasing throughout the day, blizzard warnings, coastal flood warnings and heavy freezing spray in the Northern Bering Sea. U.S. Coast Guard


black carbonNew Methane-Belching Microbe Found in Alaska Permafrost. Genetic analysis of Interior Alaska permafrost has uncovered what may be the state's newest creature -- a methane-producing microbe so tiny that a billion of them could fit inside a teaspoon of freshly thawed muck. This wee archaean methanogen, as yet unnamed, was unearthed during a high-tech investigation into how greenhouse gas-spewing microscopic life in Arctic soils might respond once their tightly frozen world transforms into ripe-smelling slurry. One answer: it doesn't take long for this microbial legion to start belching away, so to speak. "In just a matter of days, the microorganisms were shifting their community -- the functions were shifting and starting to behave more like a seasonally thawed active layer (of summertime permafrost)," explained Janet Jansson, a microbial ecologist, and one of the study's eight authors, from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California. "It happened very rapidly." Alaska Dispatch


Classes begin at Inuit cultural school. Clyde River, Nunavut, is a hamlet of 820 inhabitants on northeastern Baffin Island- and it is now the home of Piqqusilirivvik, the new $32 million Inuit Cultural Learning Facility that was established this year to teach Inuit traditional knowledge to Nunavut land claim beneficiaries. The ultimate goal of the program is to teach students to survive in the Arctic by following traditional Inuit methods. The coursework is taught by Inuit elders- in Inuktitut- and there is no tuition to be paid for participating in the program. 25 students are currently enrolled, with the present term ending in December.

 CBC News


ICC 'Disappointed' by Lack of Progress in Global Mercury Treaty Talks. More than 700 representatives from governments and non-governmental organizations met last week at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi to discuss a global treaty on mercury, which they hope to reach by 2013. But they left Nairobi without any consensus about what needs to be done to reduce the release of mercury into the environment, where it has toxic effects on humans and wildlife. Nunatsiaq Online


WWF Launches Planning Tool for Arctic: "We Must Plan for a World of Change." The World Wildlife Fund launched a new tool to help Arctic governments and communities plan for climate change Nov. 9 at a meeting of the Arctic Council in Lulea, Sweden. "We must plan for a world of change if we wish to conserve Arctic ecological systems, including the services they provide to people," said Dr. Martin Sommerkorn from WWF's global Arctic program. "In these times of rapid change, effective stewardship of Arctic natural resources requires a new way of thinking." Nunatsiaq Online


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


S. 1192, Alaska Safe Families and Villages Act (Begich, introduced and referred to committee)


S. 1763, SAVE Native Women Act (Akaka, introduced and referred to committee)


S. 1836, to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to clarify that the Act applies to certain incidents that occur in water beyond the exclusive economic zone of the United States (Menendez, introduced and referred to committee)


Future Events                                   


Arctic Policy Forum: The Role of Science in Responsible Development, November 15, 2011. Join the Institute of the North for this quarter's Arctic Policy Forum.  This presentation and networking event will focus on science and collaboration in the Arctic and will feature Michael Macrander, Lead Scientist for Shell and Fran Ulmer, Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. The Institute of the North's Arctic Policy Forums are a new way of engaging in Arctic issues. These quarterly networking events  serve to underline and elevate Alaska's role in the Arctic.  Informal policy presentations followed by networking events invite policy makers and administrators, researchers, community leaders and interested citizens together for an informal sharing opportunity. Participants will hear expert presentations on key policy findings and positions; emerging Arctic technologies; and challenges facing infrastructure development in the Arctic. Participants will also have the opportunity to spend time getting to know key stakeholders in Alaska's Arctic.

White House Tribal Nations Conference, December 2, 2011. President Obama will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of the Interior. As part of President Obama's ongoing outreach to the American people, this conference will provide leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration. Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference. This will be the third White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President's commitment to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country.  


AGU Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 2011. The American Geophysical Union's ("AGU") Fall Meeting to connect with colleagues, broaden their knowledge base, and embrace the joy of science.  The groundbreaking research presented at this world-renowned event is critical to advancing our understanding of the natural world and to addressing the challenges society faces as they relate to our science. As an organization, AGU works to unite Earth and space scientists who are dedicated to the common goal: scientific discovery for the benefit of humanity.  One of the most important ways we do this is through the Fall Meeting - an event that embodies who we are as a scientific organization and that is key to helping us achieve our organizational mission, vision and goals. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 16-20, 2012. The symposium was first held in 2002 to connect scientists in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and beyond in an effort to collaborate and communicate on research


 activities in the marine regions off Alaska. There will be plenary and poster sessions featuring a broad spectrum of ocean science on issues of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. There will also be speakers, workshops and special sessions.


US Arctic Research Commission meeting in Washington, DC, January 25-27, 2012. The Commission will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the 25th, and then with representatives from the federal government and other entities to discuss Arctic research issues. An agenda will be provided in early January here


Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in Arctic science and policy are also expected. More information to follow. 


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring together over 2,000 Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. 


The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012. The conference will be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia. The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008. Details to follow.  


The Arctic Imperative Summit, July 29-August 1, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities; state, national and international leaders; the heads of shipping and industry; as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research.


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Heath, August 5-10, 2012. This kivalina girlevent is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and indigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and behavioral health.


Arctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World , October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature. For more information, please email Lauren Marr.


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