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March 12, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider surface transportation legislation.  The House is not in session.




This Week: March 12-16, 2012. The Senate is expected to complete work on its surface transportation bill. The House is in recess this week. The Senate is expected to hold a number of committee hearings on FY 2013 appropriations and the FY 2013 Department of Defense Authorization. Congressional Quarterly


ChinaflagChina to Conduct First Northern Sea Route Expedition. China will conduct its fifth Arctic expedition between July and September via the Northeast Passage, the country's first attempt through the shipping route also known as the Northern Sea Route, Xinhua reported on Monday. The expedition aboard the Xuelong (Snow Dragon) icebreaker will carry out oceanic, atmospheric, sea-ice and marine life research in the Arctic region, Liu Cigui, director of the State Oceanic Administration, said. "If the expedition goes according to plan, it will also be the first time for a Chinese icebreaker to reach the Barents Sea," Liu said. RIANovosti 


Dogs Take Lead in Sniffing Out Arctic Oil: Shell has been training a dachshund and two border collies to detect oil spills beneath snow and ice. When it comes to drilling for oil in the harsh and unpredictable Arctic, Shell has gone to the dogs, it seems. A dachshund and two border collies to be specific. The dogs' ability to sniff out oil spills beneath snow and ice has been tested and paid for by Shell - and other oil companies and government research organizations - in preparation for the industry's entry into the forbidding Arctic terrain. The company hopes to begin drilling for oil off the northwest coast of Alaska in June. The project, conducted by independent Norwegian researchers Sintef off the Svalbard archipelago in northern Norway in 2009, set out to find a low-tech fix to a nightmare scenario for Arctic drilling: how to clean up a spill in remote waters? The Guardian


NATO Holds Naval Games in the Arctic. The 'Cold Response' 2012 maneuvers are underway in the Arctic, bringing together 16,000 servicemen and a large number of warships from 14 NATO countries, including the United States, Britain, Canada, France and the Netherlands. Sweden is also taking part in the drill along with the NATO countries. The participants in the war games, which will last until March 21st, will be practicing interaction in case of an armed conflict and joint operations in a terrorist attack. The Voice of Russia's Mikhail Aristov has more details. Terrorist organizations exist in the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and North Africa but there are none in the Arctic. Igor Korotchenko of National Security Journal, comments. The Voice of Russia 


Finland to Design Advanced Icebreaker. Aker Arctic Technology of Finland will be joining a team led by STX Canada Marine, to design the Canadian Coast Guard's future flagship, the CCGS John G. Diefenbaker. Working with STX Canada Marine, Aker Arctic will be responsible for assessing ice loads, developing the hull form and structure of the ship, the conceptual design of the propulsion system, and providing the winterization principles to be used.The John G Diefenbaker, named after a former prime minister, will be able to operate autonomously for 270 days in the Arctic, over a larger area and in more difficult conditions than any of Canada's current icebreakers. New Europe 


Todd Park Named New U.S. Chief Technology Officer. I'm very excited that President Obama today is appointing Todd Park as the new U.S. Chief Technology Officer, with the important task of applying the newest technology and latest advances to make the Federal government work better for the American people. For nearly three years, Todd has served as CTO of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he was a hugely energetic force for positive change. He led the successful execution of an array of breakthrough initiatives, including the creation of, the first website to provide consumers with a comprehensive inventory of public and private health insurance plans available across the Nation by zip code in a single, easy-to-use tool. On his first full day in office, President Obama created the position of "Chief Technology Officer" to help modernize a Federal government relying too heavily on 20th century technology, and to better use technological tools to address a wide range of national challenges. In his role as U.S. CTO, Todd will continue the work of Aneesh Chopra, the Nation's first Chief Technology Officer, who stepped down last month after an inspired and productive three years on the job. The White House 


ScienceFrance and Iceland United in Arctic Research. Iceland's Minister of Foreign Affairs,