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September 6, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate return from recess today. The Senate is expected to consider a judicial nomination and patent law reform. The House will hold a pro forma session today.


Fiscal 2012 Appropriations: Homeland Security. The Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up draft legislation that would make fiscal 2012 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security.


U.S.-Russia Arms Control. The Center for Strategic and International Studies will sponsor an event titled "Beyond New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty): Advancing U.S. National Security Through Arms Control with Russia."


9th International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering, September 3-7, 2011. The Melnikov Permafrost Institute (Yakutsk, Russia), the Institute of Northern Mining (Yakutsk, Russia), the Cold and Arid Regions Engineering and Environmental Research Institute (Lanzhou, China), and the Heilongjiang Institute of Cold Region Engineering (Harbin, China) will host the Ninth International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering to be held in Mirny, Yakutia. The aim of the Symposium is to provide a forum for discussion of permafrost engineering issues, as well as for exchanging practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva. 


Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, September 4-6, 2011. "Our Ice Dependent World," organized by the Northern Research Forum and its partners as the Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, will be hosted by the University of Akureyri in the town of Hverager­i, Iceland. Addressing the three 'poles' - the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Himalayan region- the sub-themes represent different perspectives for viewing the subject of natural ice and evaluating its importance.  The event will consider implications of ice melt on humanity, communities, minds, perceptions and knowledge on ice; International law, 'soft law' and governance on ice.


Media Reviewtodaysevents    


OcgycoverArctic oceanography publication. The September issue of the journal Oceanography, "The Changing Arctic Ocean: Special Issue on the International Polar Year (2007-2009)," is now available from The Oceanography Society, here. This issue, co-sponsored by the USARC, NOAA, and NSF, contains 30 contributions on a wide range of Arctic-related subjects such as marine geology, research vessels, outreach, science policy, ocean observing, physical, biological and chemical oceanography, modeling, sea ice, and other topics. The issue was edited by Ellen Kappel, with assistance from guest editors Joseph Ortiz, Kelly Falkner, Patricia Matrai, and Rebecca Woodgate.


Boehnerharry reidLeaders to Stay Close to Deficit Panel. Party leaders are giving the new super committee some space to build a bipartisan deficit plan, but they are staying close enough to the process to continue as the unseen hands behind the scenes. Indeed, the new Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction is unlikely to reach a "grand bargain" without the leaders' signoff. Congressional Quarterly


Supercommittee to Meet on September 8. The new congressional supercommittee on deficit reduction will hold its first meeting next Thursday, Sept. 8, the panel's co-chairmen announced Friday. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said the initial meeting would be open to the public and would feature opening statements and a consideration of rules. Five days later, the panel will meet again and hear testimony on "the history and drivers of our nation's debt and its threats" from the director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf. The Hill  


Congress Faces New Round of Spending Fights: Lawmarkers Brace for Clashes Over Disaster Relief Funding, Appropriations. Battle-weary from the year's constant spending fights and hyper-aware of stagnating job numbers, Congressional leaders are working to avoid a rehash of the same disputes in the impending debate to fund the government for the coming year. However, serious obstacles remain, including a potential clash over disaster relief funding and the fact that a deal must be completed in less than four weeks. The fight to finish last April's stopgap spending bill, set to expire Sept. 30, was the opening act for the debt ceiling debate that dominated the House and Senate floors for months. In both instances, lawmakers brought the government to the brink of financial calamity, narrowly avoiding a shutdown in April and a debt default in August. Roll Call


Appropriations This Week. The Senate Subcommittee on Energy-Water will mark up the Energy-Water appropriations bill today with the full committee marking it up on Wednesday. The Senate Subcommittee on Homeland Security will mark up the Homeland Security appropriations bill today. Congressional Quarterly


Air Ships on Their Way to Canada's North: 'It took us a while to get over the giggle factor.' What flies in the air, is shaped like a giant white cigar, stands up to six stories high, and may soon be seen over Nunavut? It's an airship, and many hope these new flying machines, which have been called "new wave blimps," will be able to provide mining industries with cheaper and cleaner travel by 2014. Nunatsiaq Online


House to Put Individual Spending Bills on Hold; Senate to Press Ahead. House Republican leaders have decided not to move standalone fiscal 2012 spending bills this month, greatly reducing the chances that any of the 12 annual appropriations measures will be enacted except as part of an omnibus. "No individual appropriations will come to the floor during September," said a House leadership aide, adding that the chamber will focus instead on the GOP's efforts to spur job growth by reducing federal regulation. Congressional Quarterly


More Rumors About Elusive Bering Strait Tunnel: Will it ever happen? This year's extent of Arctic sea ice could be the second smallest ever, making the Northwest Passage and Northern Sea Route ever more navigable. But in and around the Bering Strait, the amount of ice wouldn't matter if the plans to build an underwater tunnel between Russia and Alaska are realized. Though the idea was initially floated by Tsar Nicholas II in 1905, it was scrapped by the Soviets and then again by the economic meltdown of the 1990s following the Soviet collapse. Vladimir Putin reignited Russian interest in the project and raised the issue with former president George W. Bush in 2008. Alaska Dispatch 


Poor Arctic Communications Threaten Development, Canadian Sovereignty: Study. A recent study suggests weak northern communications networks are holding back economic development and impairing efforts to enforce Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. "Communications ties in to safety and security. It also ties in to sovereignty," said Maj. Tom Bachelder of the Arctic Security Working Group. The Globe and Mail 


Iceland's President Welcomes Chinese Interest.Iceland President Olafur High quality global journalism requires investment. Iceland's president has hailed a controversial Chinese investment as a sign of the country's blossoming ties with the rising Asian power, while alleging that Europe and the US abandoned their north Atlantic neighbor in the wake of its devastating financial crisis three years ago. "China and India lent Iceland a helping hand in many constructive ways whereas Europe was hostile and the US was absent," Ëlafur Ragnar GrÝmsson told the Financial Times, as he responded to a controversy over the proposed sale of a large tract of Iceland to a Chinese tycoon for an eco-tourism resort. The Financial Times  

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 2838, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act (LoBiondo, introduced and referred to committee)

Future Events                     


4th International Sea Duck Conference, seaduckconferencelogoSeptember 12-16, 2011. The Sea Duck Joint Venture has helped sponsor a North American Sea Duck Conference once every three years since 2002. These conferences provide opportunities for researchers and managers to share information and research results, conduct workshops on specific issues, and to hold related meetings. The 4th conference will officially be an international conference and will be held in Seward, Alaska, 12-16 September, 2011, with participants from the U.S., Canada, Russia and Europe, focusing on sea ducks in the North and the Arctic. It will be held at the Windsong Lodge, with three days of presentations and workshops, and there will be a chartered boat trip the last day into the Kenai Fjords to watch sea ducks. Registration is available on the website for the conference and the excursion.


Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, September 14-17, 2011. The 27th Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, entitled "Fishing People of the North: Cultures, Economies, and Management Responding to Change," will be held in Anchorage, Alaska. This international symposium will provide a forum for scholars, fishery managers, fishing families, and others to explore the human dimensions of fishery systems and growing need to include social science research in policy processes. The conference is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Sea Grant program.    


Advanced Workshop on Oil Spills In Sea Ice: Past, Present and Future Fermo

September 20-23, 2011. A technical workshop, organized by Dr. Peter Wadhams, on the physical problems associated with oil spills and blowouts in sea ice will be held at the Istituto Geografico Polare "Silvio Zavatti," Fermo, Italy. Scientists, engineers and policy makers are invited to address the questions of how oil is emitted from a blowout or spill, how the oil and gas are incorporated in the under-ice surface, how the oil layer evolves, how the oil is transported by the ice, and how and where eventual release occurs. The aim is to incorporate the experience of those scientists who worked in this field in the 1970s-1990s, when large-scale field experiments involving oil release were possible, and to relate this to the needs of present researchers who are seeking solutions to the problem of a sustainable Arctic oil spill management system. Registration forms are available here


Murmansk Arctic Forum, October 1-2, 2011. Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society, the forum will host discussion on Arctic navigation, development of the Northern Sea Route, railway extensions, and construction of a deep-water port in Arkhangelsk.  The official website is in Russian.


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).


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.   


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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