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October 3, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate return from recess today. The House returns today and considers a number of land bills under suspension of the rules.  The Senate begins the week with a motion to proceed to legislation regarding currency manipulation, then moves to judicial nominations, with five federal district judges expected to be confirmed by voice vote.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Aid to Rural Hospitals is Threatened Again, but Still Has Reliable Allies. Lawmakers, advocates and health care providers are gearing up for a fight to preserve special government assistance for rural hospitals that President Obama has targeted in his deficit reduction proposal. The White House plan estimates saving $6 billion over 10 years by trimming Medicare funding to rural facilities known as critical access hospitals. They serve patients in sparsely populated areas in all but five states: Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island. For years, lawmakers from rural states have fought to defend the special assistance programs from budget cuts. But the deficit-cutting drive under way in Congress is now threatening the payments, particularly with a new joint committee charged with suggesting at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction proposals. Congressional Quarterly


Arctic OzoneArctic Ozone Loss in 2011 Unprecedented. Record ozone depletion over the Arctic early this year rivals what was observed in the Antarctic when holes in the protective atmospheric layer first appeared there during the 1980s. The observation raises concerns that portions of the Northern Hemisphere might periodically begin experiencing potentially harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation during early spring, an international team of scientists reports online October 2 in Nature. "It was significantly worse than anything we have ever seen," says Geir Braathen of the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, who was not one of the authors of the Nature paper. Typically, spring Arctic ozone depletion has maxed out at a drop of between 20 and 30 percent, the atmospheric chemist notes. "But in 2011, we had a loss of around 40 percent." Science News


 Russian Arctic Research Station Operational. The nuclear-powered icebreaker "Rossiya" set out from Murmansk three weeks ago to search for a suitable ice floe for a research station. The ice floe where 16 Russian scientists will spend the coming winter is 700 meters long, 400 meters wide, and approximately 3 meters thick. Barents Observer


Zhirinovsky Wants to Arm Russian Trawlers. Vladimir Zhirinovsky calls the Norwegian Coast Guard the "European Somali" in a statement published following the arrest of the trawler "Sapphire II" in the fishery protection zone near Svalbard. The "Sapphire II" was towed to port in Tromso in northern Norway by the Norwegian Coast Guard. The police are now investigating what the Coast Guard says was illegally dumping fish from the trawler last week. Barents Observer


Oil Drilling in AlaskaEarthJustice VS Shell Oil: Courts to Decide on Arctic Drilling. Earthjustice is heading to court to challenge federal approval of Shell Oil's plan to drill in the Alaskan Arctic's Beaufort Sea. After the devastating Deepwater Horizon spill, President Obama delayed plans by Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic Ocean. But this August, the administration reversed course and approved the first part of the most aggressive Arctic drilling proposal in the history of the country by approving Shell's plan to start drilling in the Beaufort Sea as early as the summer of 2012. Examiner


Obama, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to meet at White House on Oct. 20. President Obama will meet later this month with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (yehnz STOHL'-tehn-burg). The White House says Obama wants to personally thank Stoltenberg for Norway's contribution to the NATO mission in Libya when they meet Oct. 20 in the Oval Office. He also wants to discuss a range of issues, including Afghanistan, Middle East peace, the Arctic, global health, climate change, the famine in Somalia and support for emerging North African democracies. Washington Post  


Science in the Arctic: Pirates, Assassins and Other Altered States. What do you do when you're off-duty aboard a U.S. Arctic research vessel on which there's no alcohol and you've run out of DVD movies to watch? If you and your scientific colleagues haven't already gone "bushy" -- a sort of high-functioning cabin fever -- you might find yourself hunting one another with balled-up socks and spoons, writes Bernard Coakley, a University of Alaska Fairbanks marine geologist. Anchorage Daily News 


Shell's Alaska Oil Plan Contested by Inupiat Village, Groups. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA)'s U.S. approval for oil exploration in Alaska's Beaufort Sea is being contested by groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council and an Inupiat village worried about the risk of spills. The Natural Resources Defense Council, based in New York, and Point Hope, a settlement on Alaska's North Slope, were among a team that sued the Interior Department for deciding to allow the drilling, Holly Harris, an attorney for the environmental law firm Earthjustice, said today on a conference call with reporters. Bloomberg 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered on Friday.

Future Events                                   


USARC Commission Meeting: New Hampshire, October 5-7, 2011. Ulmer 2 

The US Arctic Research Commission will hold its 96th meeting in New Hampshire next week. The meeting will begin at the University of New Hampshire (Oct. 5th) and will then proceed to the US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (Oct. 6th), and will end at Dartmouth College (Oct. 7th). A draft agenda (pdf) is available here.


The Arctic in Transition: Regional Issues and Geopolitics, October 3-4, 2011. The conference is organized by the Center for Geopolitical Studies of the Raoul Dandurand Chair, in collaboration with the Centre Jacques Cartier (France), ArcticNet (Universite Laval, Quebec), and the Northern Research Forum (University of the Arctic; University of Lapland, Finland). This high-level international meeting reunites political scientists, lawyers, geographers, historians and practitioners to discuss, first, the socio-economic, political and security issues of developed or developing Arctic regions, and, second, to look at the evolving relationships between these spaces, their peoples, and global affairs. The meeting mainly seeks to adress security issue(s) of the various region(s) that make up the circumpolar world. Three Arctic regions will be highlighted: a) the North-American Arctic (United States (Alaska); Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik) and Greenland; b) the North Pacific Rim (Alaska, Russian Far East, Beaufort Sea/Chukchi); c) the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (Nordic countries - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland - and Russia).


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.


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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