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May 10, 2012


Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House is expected to consider a bill to replace the budget "sequester" with a different set of cuts. The House is also expected to vote on passage of the FY 2013 Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill. The Senate will consider legislation to prevent increases to student loan interest rates.  




Russia, Norway to Hold Joint Naval Exercises. From May 11 to May 16, Russia russia/norway flagsand Norway are to hold joint naval exercises Pomor-2012 in the Barents and Norwegian seas.  The exercises will involve Russia's large anti-submarine ship Admiral Chabanenko and the Norwegian frigate Fridtjof Nansen. Such maneuvers are being be held for the 4th time. From the Russian part, the exercises will also involve a rescue tug, anti-submarine aircraft, including Su-33 carrier based fighters, Il-38 anti-submarine aircraft and Ka-27 helicopters. The key goal of the exercises is to practice coordination between Russian and Norwegian Navies and Air Forces in the Arctic region, spokesman for the Northern Fleet, Captain Vadim Serga says: "The exercises are targeted at mastering skills for anti-terrorist missions. They include search operations with the participation of marines, the rescue of a merchant ship from armed extremists, as well as escort duties, coast guard interception of high-speed motor boats and rescue operations. The helicopters' crews will train landings on the decks of Russian and Norwegian ships." Voice of Russia 


PanettaPanetta: U.S. Leadership Needed in Law of the Sea Convention. As the globe's preeminent maritime power, the United States has much to gain in ratifying the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said here May 9. Panetta spoke at the Law of the Sea Convention forum. Ratifying the treaty, he said, would allow the United States to exert a leadership role in the development and interpretation of the rules that determine legal certainty on the world's oceans. Panetta listed five reasons why the Law of the Sea Convention strengthens U.S. national security. Defense Pro 


White House Calls High Seas Treaty a Tool Against Iran, Russia. The Obama administration on Wednesday used an obscure high-seas treaty to take aim at global rivals Iran, for its threat to blockade the Strait of Hormuz, and Russia, for its rush to claim natural resources exposed by the Arctic ice melt, while also dangling an olive branch before a domestic rival in hopes of winning the treaty's passage in the U.S. Senate. The White House deployed top Pentagon leaders to make the point that approving the treaty, the United Nations' Convention on the Law of the Seas, would give Washington a new tool to combat Iran, China, and Russia. And in a deft political move, the defense brass also noted that U.S. firms stand to rake in greater profits if the Senate acts. US News & World Report  


capitalHopes Buoyed for Ratification of UN 'Constitution for the Seas.' Many in Washington had given up on Senate ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea, because Republican opponents had prevented the treaty from reaching the Senate floor twice during the past decade. But hopes for ratification have been revived, with the launch of a new campaign backed by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, some of the nation's top corporate leaders and a former Senate GOP leader. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to hold hearings sometime this year on the 1982 treaty, which maritime legal experts have called "a constitution for the seas." Ratified by 162 countries, the treaty establishes universal legal standards for shipping, fishing and mining and also codifies customary navigation and transit principles already followed by most countries. Other nations that have not ratified it include North Korea, Libya and Iran. Congressional Quarterly


Alaska National Guard Tests Arctic Search and Rescue Capabilities. In Alaska, as part of the exercise scenario, Joint Task Force Alaska sent pararescuemen from the Alaska Air National Guard's 212th Rescue Squadron and paratroopers from the Alaska Army National Guard's C Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade to respond to a major aircraft crash in a remote area of the state with passengers onboard. "This training is really important to make sure that such complicated rescues are successful," said Senior Airman Robert Bowler, 212th Rescue Squadron, Survival Evasion Resistance Escape specialist. "It's a low frequency event, but it's high risk because of the kind of environment we're operating in and the complex nature of getting equipment and personnel to that kind of remote site." Alaska Native News 


Federal Spending in Alaska: Running out of steam? The Institute of Social and budgetEconomic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage recently published a report of federal funding in Alaska. Here is a summary of the research: After nearly a decade of explosive growth, federal spending in Alaska has turned flat, except for the temporary boost from the stimulus package-the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-that pumped more than $2.2 billion into the state economy in 2009 and 2010. Total federal spending in Alaska was $11.2 billion in 2009 and $10.9 billion in 2010, compared with about $9.4 billion in 2008. But without the stimulus funds, federal spending in 2009 and 2010 would have been no higher than in the previous four years. Alaska was first among the states in per capita stimulus funds, with more than $3,000 per capita, or nearly four times the national average. Spending is no longer growing for either defense or grants-the largest categories of federal dollars coming into the state. Still, the special characteristics that have historically kept Alaska near the top of the state rankings for federal funds per capita will continue to guarantee a strong role for federal dollars in the economy. A link to the full report is available here.

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events               


NOAA's Hydrographic Services Review Panel meeting, May 22-24, 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska. This federal advisory committee will discuss improvements of navigation services that NOAA provides for Alaska and the Arctic. Topics include new nautical charts and navigation safety, emerging commercial shipping needs, accuracy of land elevation data for coastal management, and natural hazard warning and response for the Alaska/Arctic region. The public is invited, and can provide comments during the May 23 and 24 afternoon sessions. For more information, click here.


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. Click here.  


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, August 5-10, 2012. This event 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 healthmeetinglogoindigenous 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. Click here


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-28, 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. Click here


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 inuitconferencelogomuseums 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, click here. 





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