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October 12, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 



The House and Senate are expected to consider expedited trade deals.


Arctic Futures Symposium, October 12-14, 2011. The International Polar Foundation (IPF) and the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco will host Arctic Futures 2011. The event is a follow-up to last year's symposium, and will bring together international and interdisciplinary Arctic stakeholders including EU and foreign policymakers, scientists, representatives of industry, indigenous peoples and academics to discuss needs, address challenges, exchange ideas, and network.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Interior Putting Finishing Touches on MMS Makeover. It was a rebranding of the largest order. In the wake of a sex, drugs and oil-permitting scandal, the BP spill and long-standing controversies over revenue collection, the Interior Department had to do some major shop cleaning in how it managed offshore drilling. The Minerals Management Service - the nearly 2,000-employee agency charged with the missions of permitting, inspecting and collecting royalties from oil and gas exploration on federal lands - was too close to the industry it was charged with regulating. Politico


ChinaflagGAO Says White House Science's Office Meeting with Chinese Officials Violated Law. The White House science adviser's office violated a prohibition in the final fiscal 2011 spending measure against unauthorized contact with China, according to a Government Accountability Office opinion released Tuesday. Under the final fiscal 2011 spending legislation, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and NASA were barred from collaborating in any fashion with either China or Chinese-owned companies unless authorized to do so under a subsequent law. OSTP officials held discussions in Washington with Chinese officials in May as part of bilateral talks between the United States and China on technology issues, as did Treasury and State Department officials. Congressional Quarterly


Why Climate Models Underestimated Arctic Sea Ice Retreat: No Arctic Sea Ice in Summer by End of Century? In recent decades, Arctic sea ice has suffered a dramatic decline that exceeds climate model predictions. The unexpected rate of ice shrinkage has now been explained by researchers at CNRS, Université Joseph Fourier and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They argue that climate models underestimate the rate of ice thinning, which is actually about four times faster than calculations. This model bias is due to the poor representation of the sea ice southward drift out of the Arctic basin through the Fram Strait. When this mechanism was taken into account to correct the discrepancy between simulations and observations, results from the new model suggested that there will be no Arctic sea ice in summer by the end of the century. Science Daily


russia/norway flagsNorwegian Coast Guards Exceed Authority, Russia Says. Russian fishermen in the Barents Sea are worried that for some time now, their ships have often been arrested by Norwegian coastal guards - despite the fact that this year, Russia and Norway ratified an agreement that clearly says which country owns which waters in the Barents Sea and in the Arctic Ocean. The Council of Russian fishing industry workers has asked Russia's authorities to be tougher in defending their interests. Voice of Russia


Russia, Norway Clash on Spitsbergen Again. Russia and Norway have agreed to coordinate measures preventing violations of the Spitsbergen archipelago status, stated Russia's FM Ministry Sergei Lavrov at the Barents Euro-Arctic Council in Sweden's Kiruna. Earlier, on October 6, Lavrov expressed concerns over frequent arrests of Russian vessels off the island in a phone talk with his Norway's counterpart Jonas Stoere. He urged Oslo for cooperation within the 1920 treaty which puts Spitsbergen under Norwegian jurisdiction but allows Russia to do business and research in the area. Voice of Russia


Polar Mission Finds Thin Ice Floes and 'Warm' Water in High Arctic. A 12,000-mile scientific research cruise that traversed the North Pole and sampled conditions across the Arctic Ocean found some of the thinnest floes yet observed at such high latitudes - offering a unique reality check on the diminished polar pack during one of the most severe seasonal melts on record. "In the central Arctic, the proportion of old, thick sea ice has declined significantly," according to this report posted last week by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. "Instead, the ice cover now largely consists of thin, one-year-old floes." Alaska Dispatch 


Healy, Coast GuardYoung Backs Call for Icebreakers. U.S. Rep. Don Young is joining the call for additional U.S. icebreakers. An announcement from the Alaska Republican's office Tuesday says Young has introduced legislation that would authorize the Coast Guard to lease two new icebreakers. Young says the race for the Arctic has begun and the United States is "getting beaten by the likes of China and Russia." He says that with sea ice melting, the potential for new resource development and transportation is enormous. Anchorage Daily News


Group Wants School Fined After Musk Oxen Deaths. An animal rights group wants the University of Alaska Fairbanks investigated and fined following the deaths of at least a dozen musk oxen at the school's large-animal research station. A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection report, released this week by the group Stop Animal Exploitation Now, says the animals died or were euthanized because of chronic malnutrition and emaciation. The Aug. 30 report says research staff was told not to contact the attending veterinarian about the health problems for fear of reprisal from the school's Office of Research Integrity, with which the veterinarian was also involved. Forbes


Russia to Develop Northern Sea Route. Russia is pledging to spend billions on icebreakers and search and rescue bases along the country's Northern Sea Route, to help turn it into a major shipping lane able to support tankers and cargo ships. At the second International Arctic Forum Sept. 21 to 24 in Arkhangelsk, Russia, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised 10 new search and rescue bases and a fleet of new icebreakers for the Northern Sea Route, also once known as the Northeast Passage. The shipping lane is a 4,000 nautical mile shortcut between Europe and Asia, running from Murmansk in the Barents Sea along Russia's Arctic coast to the Bering Strait. CBC News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                                   


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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