The Arctic This Week: 17 November – 23 November 2012

By Tom Fries The Arctic This Week – 17 November – 23 November 2012

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If you’re pressed for time this week, I’d suggest you focus on the following excellent articles.

Start with four long-form pieces. The first, from Barents Observer, goes into fascinating depth about Russia’s case against Ivan Moseyev, leader of northwest Russia’s Pomor movement. Move on to a detailed, dense and well-written article from Canadian Geographic on the politically-sensitive business and science of Canada’s polar bears. Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated released its new Annual Report on the State of Inuit Culture and Society, and you’ll want to read Nunatsiaq News’s breakdown of what it has to say about education in Nunavut. Wind up with a well-organized catalogue from the University of Stavanger of the challenges facing oil-and-gas operators in the Barents.

Move on to four shorter pieces, each of which is valuable for a different reason. An article in National Geographic is the latest to track the Bristol Bay / Pebble Mine debate, which is a fascinating case study in the politics of resource development. Reuters gives you a good summary of the important details of Russia’s debate over whether to allow Gazprom competitor Novatek to export LNG directly. Colin Kenny writes an agitated but entertaining piece in the National Post on what he sees as the foolhardiness of Canada’s spending on ships for Arctic patrols when dangers in more southerly waters are, shall we say, clearer and more present. Finally, read along as Nunatsiaq News does what we’ve all probably dreamt of at some point; they dig for treasure in the back rooms of the Canadian Museum of Nature’s permanent collection, which is the official natural history repository for Nunavut.

For some feel-good coverage, you might also wish to scroll down to the Sports section and peruse the three articles on the NHL players’ charity games in Canada this past week. They’re fun to read.



Russia’s newly-minted defense minister Dmitry Rogozin warned of a “corruption purge” (RIAN) this week, in association with assorted embezzlements by military officials. Minister Rogozin expressed shock that “top defense officials in the 1990s dared to register state property in the names of daughters, sons, and mothers-in-law.” Other than the dismissal of Anatoly Serdyukov, perhaps the most high-profile sacking related to the scandal was that of the chief designer of GLONASS, Yury Urlichich (ITAR-TASS).

Despite Minister Rogozin’s ongoing purge, shipbuilding proceeds apace. The submarine Alexander Nevsky is set to begin sea trials in December 2012 (NT), and the frigate Admiral Gorshkov will follow suit in late 2013 (NT). It’s unclear whether heavy black smoke seen on Monday swirling around the Admiral Gorshkov as it sat at rest in Severomorsk harbor was from the ship itself or from the chimney of another nearby ship (BO).

The Severnaya Verf shipyard near St Petersburg says it is booked to capacity with orders up through 2020 (NT), and the Sevmash shipyard outside Murmansk is puffing up its chest proudly as it looks toward near-term delivery of three submarines (BO). Neighbor Norway is also looking to replace some of its sub fleet, and it sent out Requests for Information to several shipyards, including four in Europe and one - Daewoo - in South Korea (UPI). It’ll be interesting to see who ends up with the contract.

Several classes of Russian submarines will soon be outfitted with Caliber cruise missiles, which can hit land targets at a range of 300-2,500 km (NT), but subs can fill other roles, too: the nuclear sub Daniil Moskovsky rescued two sailors whose ship went down in the Barents this week (BO).

Lastly from the European Arctic, Norway is in the midst of a military exercise in the North which is intended to aid interoperability between the different branches of its armed forces (BO).

[North America]

Colin Kenny, writing in Canada’s National Post, offered his unsparingly frank assessment of the Canadian strategy of purchasing multi-purpose ships to enable the country’s navy to patrol Arctic waters. Suffice it to say: Mr Kenny would do things differently. Also in Canada, the next couple of months will see the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security program welcome participants to a conference on Arctic peoples and security (Gordon Foundation). Next door in the US, two Alaska Air National Guardsmen’s heroic and dramatic rescue of a woman in the Alaskan interior garnered a long and captivating article in Alaska Dispatch.



On Wednesday the 21st, Russia’s infamous new law instructing any politically-engaged NGOs with funds coming in from outside Russia to register as “foreign agents” went into effect (RIAN). Though the new law does not appear to affect RAIPON directly, it is part of a broader clampdown on NGO activity of which RAIPON’s closure seems to be a part. RAIPON sent an appeal to the Russian Supreme Court asking for a review of the decision against it (BO), and Greenlandic politicians added their voices to those demanding that Russia reauthorize RAIPON to operate (NN). For a look at how the place of RAIPON in Russia’s internal politics compares with those of other indigenous peoples’ organizations elsewhere around the Arctic, look to a post from Mia Bennett.

Similarly, the case against Ivan Moseyev got underway this week, after Mr Moseyev’s release from the hospital (BO). Though originally charges of high treason and incitement of ethnic hatred were to be leveled against Mr Moseyev, high treason seems to have disappeared from the list somewhere along the way (BO). A cautious but thoughtful debrief from Bjarge Schwenke Fors appeared in Barents Observer, and is well worth your time to understand how this case came to be.

[The EU Seal-trade Ban]

At stake in Luxembourg at the European Court of Justice this week was the right of several organizations – some non-European groups, some representing Canadian Inuit – to challenge the EU’s ban on trade in seal products (ITK). As far as I am able to ascertain, the legal argument hinges on whether the organizations attempting to appeal the ban have enough of a connection to the (former) European trade in seal products to claim standing of some kind (NN) in European courts. To make your own assessment, find the original text of the claim here. Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak wrote to the president of the European Parliament and described the European seal-trade ban as “an attack on our way of life” (NN).

[North America]

A bill that would impose greater financial transparency on the operations of First Nations governments is working its way through Canada’s legislature, where it has become quite a political hot-potato. Both Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan and Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo this week issued strongly-worded assessments of the bill’s wisdom and value (CBC). Minister Duncan also spoke at the Yukon Geoscience Forum about the value of devolution and streamlining of the regulatory process for extractive projects in Canada’s North (NN). Relatedly, the Nunavut Planning Commission’s new Land Use Plan, which you can read online here, is getting road-shown in Qikiqtarjuaq, Pangnirtung and Iqaluit (NN).

This week also saw the fourth Nunavut Youth Parliament take place (NN), the reappearance of the Hans Island issue on the scene (NN), and the release from Statistics Canada of information on the economic accounts of the three northern territories, showing Yukon and Nunavut doing OK and the NWT doing…well, less OK.

Next door in Alaska, state politics are shaking out after the elections, with committee leaders being chosen (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) for the state Senate. Republicans are now the majority party in both houses.

[Around the Pole]

Although it isn’t new, worth pointing to is an overview on the Canadian Parliament’s website of all organizations involved in circumpolar cooperation. The Canada-based Centre for International Governance Innovation published a new report this week indicating – in my poor attempt to summarize it in one sentence – that greater investment in the speedy development of transportation infrastructure is perhaps the most critical ingredient in the stew of Arctic development for Canada and the US. Meanwhile the Arctic Council shared a de-brief of its October workshop which feeds into the Arctic Resilience Report.

Lastly, we heard that a majority of Icelanders are no longer interested in becoming part of the EU (IceNews).



The great majority of wild- and domestic-animal news came from Canada this week. Let’s start with a fantastic article from Canadian Geographic on polar-bear science. Blessings on Zac Unger for doing his best to lay out both perspectives of the story (Disappearing? Flourishing?) and stay emotionally clear of both. On Atlin Road in the Yukon, Environment Yukon is hoping that hunting grizzly bears from the road (which doesn’t seem quite sporting, does it?) will be banned (Yukon News), while in Gameti, Northwest Territories, growing packs of wolves are worrying residents (CBC). Meanwhile the Yukon Humane Society is enduring some tough financial times (WS).

Next to Alaska, where a new study on Guillemots in Alaska’s Arctic indicates that while a little bit of warming seems to have helped the birds thrive, more seems to be driving the ice edge far enough away that feeding is a difficult task (Frontier Scientists). Moose in Fairbanks, not unlike grizzly bears in the Yukon, are getting too close to local roads and getting killed (FNM).

And finally to Svalbard, where a rare white humpback whale was spotted (AD) and videotaped (YouTube).


The appearance of some unusual species on Franz Josef Land in the Russian Arctic is evidence enough of climate change for some Russian scientists ( Scientists from MIT meanwhile appear to have modeled, at least in part, how ocean currents can affect the extent of Arctic sea ice (Science Codex). It’s new, interesting and important research. Perhaps equally important is new research into the surprising ways in which melt-water is retained and refrozen in a porous “percolation zone” in the Greenland ice sheet (SciencePoles). LiveScience made an effort to summarize the major ways in which the Arctic will change under a warmer climate regime, while researchers from the UK and the US suggested that limiting delegation size and moving to majority-rules rather than consensus-based decision making at the Doha climate round are necessary for any progress to be made (which seems reasonable) (Reuters).

Further news of a dystopian future Arctic environment came in a 20-minute video featuring several climate scientists talking about the potential disaster of methane gas hydrate release from Arctic subsurface permafrost (Envisionation). One could also read this week about the mechanism by which dangerous atmospheric pollutants hitchhike with “secondary aerosols” – a term which I do not know – and thus travel great distances (Discovery). The community of Barrow, Alaska has been enjoying, or suffering through, a warmer-than-usual winter thus far (EOTA), and a climate scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey has suggested that a warming Arctic might be contributing, by slowing the jet stream, to keeping extreme weather (droughts, Superstorm Sandy) around longer to do more damage (Public Radio International). Not all are convinced.

[Uncollected tidbits]

Ottawa archaeologist Pat Sutherland, who has been doing some well-publicized research on a site on Baffin Island possibly demonstrating the presence of Norse seafarers as early as 1300, was dismissed from her post with the Canadian Museum of Civilization in April. The Ottawa Citizen digs as much as it can into the story. Pioneering glaciologist Austin Post died this week at age 90, after a lifetime of contributing seminal research to the field (FNM). Nunatasiaq News’s staff did what so many of us have wanted to do – go digging through the back rooms of our natural history museum, looking for treasure. It’s a definite read of the week. Finally, among the many weird and wonderful phenomena of the Arctic are “frost flowers,” which look for all the world like crystalline dust bunnies that sit atop sheets of newly-formed ice (



The much-discussed deal between BP and Rosneft was signed this week, with Rosneft taking over BP’s 50% stake in TNK-BP and BP garnering an additional 5.66% of Rosneft, for a new total of 19.75% (RIAN). The enormous Russian oil major also grabbed the Pomorsky and Pomorsky-2 offshore licenses in the Pechora Sea (BO) and signed off on an environmental-protection agreement with Statoil for offshore Arctic work (Platts). How these developments fit into a general trend towards “de-privatization” of Russia’s hydrocarbon producers is covered in Natural Gas Europe.

Discussion of whether to allow Novatek, as well as Gazprom, to export LNG directly in the future continued (Trend), and it’s nicely covered in Reuters. Should this change be implemented, one might safely assume that it would be in part a response to changes in the world market for gas, but chairman of the Russian Duma’s energy committee Ivan Grachev expressed the opinion this week that rumors of shipped gas from the US competing on the European market with pipeline gas from Russia are simply a “bluff” to help bargain prices down (BN).

Total and Statoil both renewed existing memoranda of understanding with the Murmansk region; the agreements appear to focus on educational, economic and social cooperation with the region (BN). One example of such cooperation is the award of NOK 11,5mn to three new Norwegian-Russian research projects on polar and petroleum research (BO). Murmansk is also ready to release the new jack-up rig Arkticheskaya from the Zvedochka yard in Severodvinsk, at which point it will become a member of Gazflot’s fleet. Gazflot also says it has plans to construct a new oil base in Murmansk (BO). In spite of these moves forward, a Gazprom representative permitted himself to be quoted at a conference this week saying that the Russian oil-&-gas industry is not technologically well-equipped enough to take on Arctic shelf projects yet (BO).

Finally in Russian energy news, Barents Observer had an interesting report about ambitious plans to develop wind-energy projects on the Kola Peninsula to feed in to the European grid. We ourselves had an entertaining interview with Yuri Sergeev of Bellona Murmansk back in February 2012 in which we discussed this issue, among many others. Mr Sergeev is an entertaining speaker, and the interview is worth listening to.


A blessedly tidy and pleasingly-written overview of the state of play for Norwegian Arctic offshore work came out this week from Karen Anne Okstad, writing for the University of Stavanger. If you have trouble keeping track of what’s where and who’s doing what, this is the place to start.

Norway’s in the money, with a 14.2% increase in tax revenues received from hydrocarbon-extraction taxes in October, compared with October 2011 (AB). Such numbers probably help to relieve some of the pressure for further exploration, and oil minister Ola Borten Moe made public the government’s current preference for keeping the waters around Lofoten and Vesteralen closed to exploration – for now (Platts). Statoil, perhaps the most productive of Norway’s golden-egg-laying geese, is threatening to move its operations out of Norway in response to new taxes instituted by the government (AB), and in other unfortunate news for the company its Melkøya plant was forced to shut down once more this week, though only briefly, due to an unexpected power failure (AB). On the plus side, the company also signed off on a plum deal with German company Wintershall to deliver about 6% of total German gas for several years ahead (AB). Apparently Statoil’s advertising blitz in Berlin is working; those billboards are EVERYWHERE.

In other Norwegian news, a Lundin-operated prospect near to Snøhvit in the Barents Sea looks as though it might be useful, but the company says further studies are needed before the well’s potential is accurately assessed (AB). If you’re looking for work in Norway’s oil sector, with its ridiculous salaries, you can find opportunities now via an online portal for international applicants (IceNews). Those ridiculous salaries, which are in part driven by ever-increasing investment in the oil-&-gas industry, might paradoxically become a problem for Stavanger (AB). Meanwhile electricity prices for Norwegian consumers, which are largely dependent on rainfall rather than hydrocarbon production, were substantially lower in 2012 than in 2011, and are expected to remain low in 2013 (AB).


In contrast to Norway, energy customers in Nunavut are looking at a sharp increase in their bills; commercial customers will see their monthly bills go up by between 4.1% and 9.1%, while residential customers will see an increase of between 3.9% and 15.8% depending on a number of different factors (NN). “Merry Christmas, Nunavummiut”, jokes author Jim Bell. In Yukon, the energy needs of Whitehorse might in the future be met by the gas available in the nearby Whitehorse Trough. But figures on the available resources are fairly preliminary, and the cost of drilling exploration wells plus opposition from various corners might make conditions prohibitive at the moment (WS). Other projects that were mentioned at the Yukon Geoscience Forum included the Eagle Plain license, run by Northern Cross, for which development is still years in the future (WS), and the Peel River watershed land use proposal, which is a bone of significant contention between the Yukon government and the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation (CBC). Other than that, a theoretical rail line between Alberta and Alaska seems like an appealing project to parties on both sides of the border, though investors have yet to be found (interesting articles – a good one from Alaska Dispatch and a thinner one from CBC). The rail line would take hydrocarbons from Alberta’s oil sands and run them to Delta Junction, Alaska, where they would be fed into the trans-Alaska pipeline (TAPS) and shipped out from the port at Valdez. Incidentally, TAPS operator Alyeska Pipeline Services lost a court battle with the state of Alaska, in which it argued it was being overcharged for leases on the land beneath the pipeline (FNM).


There was plenty of news from Alaska this week, and we’ll start with the bigger issues. Now that Shell has packed up for the year and moved its equipment southward, Greenpeace, Fair Pensions UK and Platform London have prepared a concise investor briefing which they hope will arm current or prospective shareholders with some tough questions to ask Shell before deciding to put/keep their money in the company’s hands. Jen Dlouhy – this time in the San Francisco Chronicle – looks once more at concerns among indigenous residents of Alaska’s North Slope about offshore oil activity. Relatedly, the president of the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope wrote an opinion piece in Anchorage Daily News expressing support for the recently concluded plan for future use of the NPR-Alaska. Indefinite protections for the unique Teshekpuk Lake region of the NPR-A might help to protect an important local caribou herd (EOTA). Meanwhile efforts are ongoing to train local people to assess and tackle damage from a theoretical future oil spill, in the hope that trained “boots on the ground” might restore the natural environment as quickly as possible (Arctic Sounder). At a national level, Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski will be working on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee with its new chairman, Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden (Politico).

On to the more local level. The cost of heating oil in Fairbanks hit its highest point ever this year (FNM), and plans to truck LNG from the North Slope to Fairbanks for local energy needs have fallen through for the moment (FNM). On the positive side, the nearby Healy Clean Coal Plant has received permission to restart operations (FNM).


[Pebble Mine]

One of the most politically interesting extractive projects that’s been in the news in recent years is the Bristol Bay / Pebble Mine project, covered thoroughly and readably this week by National Geographic.


On Saturday the 17th, officials inspected the Sotkamo mine, owned by Talvivaara, in eastern Finland to assess its readiness to resume operations (YLE); on Monday, they elected to leave the mine closed (YLE). The whole mess looks likely to be costly for the government, which will be dishing out money through several different channels to mitigate effects of this spill and – hopefully – to prevent another (YLE). On Wednesday the mine was permitted to reopen (EOTA), but on Thursday yet another leak – very much smaller than the first round – was detected at the mine (EOTA).


New 2012 estimates for total investment in mineral exploration and appraisal in Canada’s northern territories are in. Nunavut took a substantial dive from earlier estimates, while both the NWT and the Yukon enjoyed a modest upward bump (Up Here). Though Yukon spending was higher than estimated, it’s still a net dropoff from last year’s figures (WS). Guy Quenneville makes precisely the kind of point that needs to be made about a weakness in the way those numbers are calculated (Up Here).

In Yukon, proposed amendments to the Oil and Gas Act are seen by the Kaska Nation, Ross River Dene Council and Liard First Nation as a threat to their voice in resource-exploration decisions, and the three groups are considering taking serious action to block mining activity on their lands (CBC, WS). Elsewhere, an unclear term in the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s final review of the Mary River project should be explained and/or corrected by 27 November (NN), and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association is offering six-week courses in underground mining in Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay (NN).

Moving to specific projects, this week it was gold, silver, diamonds and…zinc. There appears to be at least 40% more gold than originally estimated at the Agnico-Eagle owned Meliadine mine near Rankin Inlet (NN), while the Silver Range project, north of Faro in the Yukon, released resource estimates for silver, copper, zinc and lead in that prospect (CMJ). Minerals and Metals Group’s proposal for the Izok zinc-copper mine in Nunavut’s Kitikmeot region is now in the hands of the Nunavut Impact Review Board; let’s see where it goes from here (CBC). Also in Nunavut, a geologist is advocating strongly for the development of a diamond industry (NN).


[Finland and Russia]

Finland’s business climate was the subject of a surprising number of articles this week. Forbes ranked Finland as the 9th best country in the world in which to do business ( – yes, really), and startup NordicHug, which produces an alcohol-free cell-phone cleaning solution based instead on cloudberries, got a major press boost in Russia from a brief meeting with PM Medvedev at a recent startup event ( – greatly to be recommended for those of you in the Nordics). The Russia-Finland relationship might get a small boost from the upgrading of a border crossing between the two neighbors (BN).

In other Finnish industrial news, farmers’ groups urged Finnish premier Jyrki Katainen to support continuation of subsidies to farmers in Finland’s sparsely-populated North (EOTA) and a citizens’ initiative to end fur farming looks unlikely to get past the Finnish parliament (YLE).

On the other side of the border, SIVA IM, a Norwegian company focused on helping Norwegian companies abroad, conducted a seminar with businesspeople in Murmansk, hoping to help them navigate their way to starting up businesses in Norway (BN). A local pilot project also hopes to help Russians understand the ins-and-outs of developing tourism businesses (BN). Murmansk celebrated its business week this week, the agenda of which is available through Barents Nova.

[Shipping and Fisheries]

There was limited news in shipping this week, save for a detailed report from Barents Observer on the total cargo to have passed through the Northern Sea Route thus far this year. This year saw ten times as many vessels go through as in 2010, and 1.5 times as much cargo by weight as in 2011. The article includes many other details as well. We also heard that the Rossiya, one of Russia’s nuclear icebreakers, has been contracted to do time in the Gulf of Finland this winter (BO).

On fishing, Iceland’s war of words with the UK over mackerel harvests continues (IceNews), and cold-water prawns from the Norwegian Barents Sea fishery may now brand themselves under the “Friend of the Sea” label for sustainability (

[A last note from Canada]

Take the time, if you can, to read an interview from Up Here Business with Kenn Harper, the former owner of Arctic Ventures department store in Iqaluit. It’s a real pleasure.


[Comprehensive reports]

I’m not sure whether it’s new or not, but a useful PDF from the Nunavut Roundtable for Poverty Reduction collects in four pages several indicators that highlight the different ways in which poverty is an important issue for the territory’s communities. Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated also recently released its new report on the state of Inuit culture and society for 2010/2011. Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami commended NTI for the report. Across the Atlantic, the Danish Institute for International Studies will be hosting on 7 December a workshop looking at the Arctic Social Indicators developed by the Arctic Council and at the upcoming second edition of the Arctic Human Development Report.


School attendance rates in many Nunavut communities are lower than they were ten years ago, though student populations are growing (NN). In the latest Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated report on the state of Inuit culture and society, the organization blasts federal and territorial governments for perceived failures in their policies that may contribute to this and other problems. An excellent overview of that critique comes from Nunatsiaq News. A recent release from Nunavut’s education department also makes it clear that, although non-Inuit are making up an ever-smaller percentage of the territory’s school population, non-Inuit students graduate at rates three times higher than Inuit students (NN). There are also concrete issues at the local level, as seen at an elementary school in Iqaluit: the Joamie Elementary School is in need of more full-time staff to better-serve its special-needs children (CBC).

The Nanisiniq Arviat History Project team took some time this week to share some of the project’s many accomplishments. Worth reviewing are some of the many presentations the team has put together for various international conferences over the years, as well as the many videos they’ve assembled (link 1, link 2) to chronicle their communities.

On the European side of the Arctic, this coming week should see efforts to increase educational exchange between sectors and nations in the Barents region (BO), while in Iceland an entrepreneur is working on developing curriculum to teach young kids how to code (IceNews).

[Health and Diet]

The Nunavut Food Security Coalition, made up of Inuit organizations, other NGOs and the Government of Nunavut, hopes to have a food security strategy for the territory ready by spring of 2013 (EOTA). A massive profile of Leesee Papatsie, Up Here magazine’s Northerner of the Year, goes into great detail about the issue of food insecurity in Nunavut and Ms Papatsie’s efforts to challenge the high costs of food for Nunavut residents. Country food is a significant component of many Canadian Arctic residents’ diets, and hunters in Nunavik have been charged under the Fisheries Act for harvesting more than the allotted 315 beluga whales this year (CBC).

Residents of Nunavik who smoke or drink may feel the impact from increased provincial taxes imposed this week by Québec (NN), while Nunavut may soon consider opening beer and wine stores in communities that approve them as a way to deal with bootlegging, among other issues (CBC).

On to broader health issues. A survey of the Dene Nation in the Northwest Territories indicates that the community is doing well in a general sense, though many residents said they had gone hungry at some point (CBC). Statistics Canada released a report indicating that 2- to 5-year-old children of teenage Inuit mothers have, in general, worse health and behavioral outcomes than their peers born to mothers 25 or older (NN). A shortage of trainers is making progress slow, though valuable, in the Government of Nunavut’s ASIST suicide-prevention training program (NN), while a similar Alaskan program is attempting to tackle this program in that state’s remote communities (EOTA). A long article from the Winnipeg Free Press on the seemingly intractable problem of abusive treatment of aboriginal women is very, very tough to read.

In more ordinary news, costs for an addition to the Whitehorse General Hospital appear to have grown to four times their original size (CBC). Yikes.


Here I’ll refer you again to the newly-released CIGI report on the need for improved marine (and other) transport infrastructure in the Canadian and US Arctic. The construction of Canada’s winter roads is getting underway (Fort McMurray Today), while Norwegian low-cost carrier Widerøe is waiting for news of progress on the Shtokman project before re-starting its regular flights to Murmansk (BN).


A Toronto native who has spent a great deal of time working on arts with youth in Nunavut was interviewed in the Huffington Post.  A competition for short horror films is open to any filmmaker north of 60°. Any citizen of Fairbanks may audition to sing with Opera Fairbanks for their 2013 season ( The organization Northwords launched an anthology of selected writings from 17 Northwest Territories writers (CBC).


The population of Norway’s northern counties is growing slowly (BO). Nunavut’s judges work in conditions and deal with situations that most other judges never witness (CBC).


I’m not sure if Canadians north of 60°, taken all together, are sportier people than their counterparts in other Arctic nations. But it often appears that way.

We’ll start off with the only two sports articles that did not come out of Canada. First, the New York Times devoted some ink to a solid profile of Dave Dupuis, an Inuktitut-French-English speaker from Kuujjuaq, who is playing hockey at Skidmore College in upstate New York. Thousands of miles away, ice huts are gradually coming available on lakes near Fairbanks, Alaska (FNM). Let the fun begin!

Now on to Canadian sports news, which comes from the Whitehorse Star, as usual, and from the CBC. We’ll start with hockey, in which the ongoing charity games in which NHL players are taking part during a lockout were big news in Deline, Inuvik, Yellowknife and Whitehorse (CBC, CBC & WS).

Also, there was curling, which is a language that I do not speak. If I am getting the gist of this right, it looks like Yukon did well at the start of the week in interprovincial competition (WFP), though local clubs did poorly at the club level (WS). Brief hopes for a Yukon club later in the week (WS) went unrealized in the final outcome (WS). I hope that is a marginally accurate representation of those articles’ contents.

Briefly in other sports, a 100-mile dogsled race from Haines Junction to Silver City might get jolted back in to life after four years of conspicuous absence (WS). Snowboard Yukon held its annual general meeting this week in hopes of drumming up volunteers and board (ha!) members for this season’s activities (WS). Friday saw the opening of a new Northwest Territories Sport Hall of Fame in Yellowknife (CBC); our congratulations to its first thirteen inductees!


Three photo essays worth viewing came out this week. The first is from the BBC, from the voyage of a small motor vessel, the Polar Bound, through the Northwest Passage. The second covers Dave Walsh’s excellent photographs, and talks with the photographer about the technical details of shooting icebergs (photoshelter). The last is from, which offers a series of photos from Ajar Varlamov of Yakutsk as it makes the transition from autumn to winter.

Or check out these excellent single photos of (1) Piteå, Sweden, (2) Longyearbyen at night, (3) an archetypal Arctic iceberg in 2012 and (4) its 1873 counterpart, from a travelogue by William Bradford.

Finally, check out a piece of history – Gerardus Mercator’s surprisingly accurate and, simultaneously, surprisingly fanciful 1595 map of the Arctic (Wikimedia commons).


Now to those pieces of news that fit nowhere else…

If you’re an American, don’t plan to travel overseas with jewelry made from animals and then come back into the country with it (FNM). You’ll have a fight on your hands. / Fairbanks is already looking at temperatures of -30° Fahrenheit (FNM). / The Santa Winter Games took place in the Swedish town of Gällivare (The Local). / Finland’s Rovaniemi is seeking development proposals that “are attractive and enriching for the magical Santa-themed area, but which also have a robust business concept” ( *chuckle* / Craig Medred’s profiles of Chuck Baird, who is in his fourth month living alone on Latouche Island, and of missing survivalist Thomas Seibold, who went missing some weeks ago, are both well worth reading, but the latter is really gripping. / New research suggests that Norse might have had different reasons than originally suggested for packing up their things and leaving Greenland in the 1400s (NN). / A bulldozer that fell through the ice and sank up to its cab in Pond Inlet probably won’t be up and running again anytime soon (EOTA). / That nutty Australian luxury-yacht owner who made a fool of himself in Cambridge Bay earlier this year paid his fines under the local liquor laws (NN). / The alert level for the Cleveland volcano in the Aleutian island chain has been lowered (FNM). / The Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association selected its winning holiday-card design (NN). / The Nordic Council of Ministers has financial support available for Arctic projects in a variety of different fields – check it out (Arctic Council). / It’s never too late for Thanksgiving redux, and perhaps after your first go-round with the traditional goodies it’s time to try out Alaskan Thanksgiving recipes (EOTA). Let me know how those octopus patties are. / Santa and the Grinch have begun their annual, seasonal appearances in Fairbanks (FNM).


Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN)
Aftenbladet (AB)
Alaska Dispatch (AD)
Alaska Native News (ANN)
Anchorage Daily News (ADN)
Barents Nova (BN)
Barents Observer (BO)
Bristol Bay Times (BBT)
BusinessWeek (BW)
Canadian Mining Journal (CMJ)
Eye on the Arctic (EOTA)
Fairbanks News Miner (FNM)
Financial Times (FT)
Globe and Mail (G&M)
Huffington Post (HP)
Indian Country Today Media Network (ICTMN)
Moscow Times (MT)
Natural Gas Europe (NGE)
Naval Today (NT)
New York Times (NYT)
Northern News Service Online (NNSO)
Northern Public Affairs (NPA)
Nunatsiaq News (NN)
Ottawa Citizen (OC)
RIA Novosti (RIAN)
Russia Today (RT)
Voice of Russia (VOR)
Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
Washington Post (WP)
Whitehorse Star (WS)
Winnipeg Free Press (WFP)