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September 30, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate are in recess until October 3rd.


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Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Dramatic Suicide Drop in Northwest After Students Take Charge. A region long battered by some of the nation's highest suicide rates has some welcome good news -- a drop in deaths credited in part to teenage students.  When the Teck John Baker Youth Leaders Program began a few years ago, eight students in the Northwest Arctic Borough School District took their lives during a year-long period ending in August 2009, said Michelle Woods, the program coordinator. Alaska Dispatch 


AK Whaling BoatAlaska Whaling Boats Prepare for New Season. Back during the April bowhead season, Barrow whaling captain Crawford Patkotak and his crew were fortunate enough to land a whale for their community. Of the 35 registered whaling boats and 24 allowed strikes, Barrow hunters struck seven whales and landed five. As the fall opening nears, the Patkotak crew, along with many others, will prepare their boats and equipment in an effort toward the 13 remaining allotted strikes. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the federal National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) plans to evaluate the number of bowhead whales that it will allow Alaska Eskimos to harvest during their annual hunts. The current quota permits up to 75 bowhead whale strikes per harvest, which is estimated to be less than 1 percent of the entire population of bowhead whales in the Western Arctic. Alaska Dispatch 


Environmentalists Challenge Shell's Arctic Drilling Plan. A dozen environmental groups and a native Alaskan village on Thursday filed a lawsuit challenging the government's decision to allow Shell to explore for oil in the Beaufort Sea. The move, spearheaded by Earthjustice, the Alaska Wilderness League, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups, is the latest bid to block Shell Oil Co.'s long-planned Arctic exploration. It comes as Shell appears closer than ever to launching offshore drilling in the region - with plans to start work on two exploratory wells in the Beaufort Sea next summer and two more a year later. Houston Chronicle 


Researchers: Canadian Arctic Ice Shelf Diminishes Significantly, Nearly Disappearing. Two ice shelves that existed before Canada was settled by Europeans diminished significantly this summer, one nearly disappearing altogether, Canadian scientists say in newly published research. The loss is important as a marker of global warming, returning the Canadian Arctic to conditions that date back thousands of years, scientists say. Floating icebergs that have broken free as a result pose a risk to offshore oil facilities and potentially to shipping lanes. The breaking apart of the ice shelves also reduces the environment that supports microbial life and changes the look of Canada's coastline. Washington Post 


Murkowski 2Murkowski Joins Six Senate Colleagues Urging Indian Health Service Improvements. Senator Murkowski today joined a bipartisan group of her Senate colleagues in urging Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other top administration officials to act quickly to improve health care delivery to American Indians and Alaska Natives. In a letter to Secretary Sebelius and Indian Health Service Director Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, the senators pointed to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report issued Friday that highlights billing and other problems in the IHS system that make it difficult for American Indians and Alaska natives to receive care from health providers and makes it difficult for health care providers offering the services to get reimbursed. The GAO report, called "Indian Health Service: Increased Oversight Needed to Ensure Accuracy of Data Used for Estimating Contract Health Service Need," states that due to inadequate and inconsistent data collection by IHS, it has been very difficult for health care providers who contract with IHS to quickly determine a patient's eligibility for services.  Poor data collection also makes it difficult for IHS to know what contractual services are needed by American Indians and Native Alaskans and whether it has adequate funds to pay for such services.  Senator Lisa Murkowski 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

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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