ITI Daily News Roundup

05/15/2013

Key Issues

Workforce

Senate Panel Keeps Up Effort To Reshape Immigration Overhaul.  Senators on the Judiciary Committee spent their second full day slogging through proposed amendments to the bipartisan immigration overhaul. Tuesday's subject was the method of awarding visas for those wanting to come here to study and work.  (NPR)

Hatch wields clout on tech visas.  Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a major advocate for the tech industry, is viewed as a potential swing vote for the underlying Gang of Eight bill, and he clearly knows he has some leverage in this battle. But Hatch’s plans run right up against Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a top critic of H-1B visas and a Gang of Eight negotiator who has repeatedly stated his opposition to the heart of Hatch’s measures.  (Politico)

Senate Judiciary panel wraps up debate on H-1B visa measures.  The Senate Judiciary Committee finished working its way through amendments on the section of the Gang of Eight's immigration bill that covers visas for foreign high-skilled workers on Tuesday afternoon.  It's unclear when Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) will call up a package of his amendments dealing with the H-1B provisions in the bill. Observers are expecting Hatch's proposed changes will be put up for votes on Thursday, when the committee will resume its markup of the sweeping immigration bill.  (The Hill)

Bipartisan House Group May Stop Short of Producing Comprehensive Immigration Bill.  A bipartisan group in the House has gotten bogged down in its efforts to craft an immigration proposal, even as a similar group is moving its bill through the Senate Judiciary Committee.  (CQ Roll Call)

House immigration group at impasse.  Lawmakers are unsure if they’ll come to the agreement they’ve sought for four years.  (Politico)

Apple builds relations beyond Foxconn.  iPad maker switches more work to rival contractor.  (FT)

Tax

More tax lobbyists working Washington's hallways, meeting rooms.  After declining for two years, the number of companies that hired a tax lobbyist, or lobbied on tax issues using in-house staff, rose modestly to 1,509 in the first three months of 2013, up from 1,487 during the same quarter a year ago.  (Reuters)

Amazon UK pays $3.7 million tax on $6.5 billion sales.  Amazon.com's main UK unit paid taxes of $3.7 million on its 2012 income, despite group UK sales of $6.5 billion (4 billion pounds), its accounts published on Wednesday showed.  (Reuters)

Global Trade

US think tank seeks suspension of trade policies with India.  Alleging that recent trade policies of India are jeopardising its trade ties with the US, a Washington-based think tank has recommended the Congress to suspend trade benefits for New Delhi.  "To be clear, a strong, growing, and collaborative trade relationship between the US and India is in both parties' best interests. But India's recent trade policies are placing that relationship in jeopardy," Stephen Ezell, senior analyst at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), said in a paper released Tuesday.  (Economic Times)

U.S. To Engage With Vietnam On Market Access, Textiles At Lima TPP Round.  The United States will aim to make progress with Vietnam on the key issues of goods market access and the rule of origin for apparel at the 17th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations that kicks off tomorrow (May 15) in Lima, Peru.  (Inside US Trade)

Internet advocates say the TPP is the biggest threat yet to open web.  Already, the treaty has been compared to SOPA and ACTA, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation describing it as the biggest threat to the global web in years. As in previous years, they're raising the alarm, and hoping that the global outcry will be enough to shoot down the treaty.  (The Verge)

EU threatens trade duties against China's Huawei, ZTE.  The European Commission plans to send a formal warning to China that it is ready to levy trade duties against telecoms equipment makers Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp over what it says are illegal subsidies, people close to the matter said.  (Reuters)

In support of tariff reform.  Reform will ensure manufacturers face a level playing field.  (Politico op-ed/McCaskill and Portman)

RIM Targets Emerging Markets.  BlackBerry maker Research In Motion said it's planning to roll out a new phone that will target customers in the developing world.  (WSJ)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

Angst over net surveillance on Hill.  Lawmakers appear more reluctant than ever to expand legal surveillance.  (Politico)

Iran-Based Hackers Traced to Cyber Attack.  A previously unknown hacking group believed to be based in Iran has started cyber attacks inside the U.S., according to Mandiant Corp., a security company that’s linked China’s army to similar activity.  The Iranian group emerged within the last six months and has infiltrated the networks of at least one U.S. corporation, Richard Bejtlich, Mandiant’s chief security officer, said in an interview in Washington today. (Bloomberg)

Chinese internet: 'a new censorship campaign has commenced'.  Murong Xuecun, who has had his accounts deleted, explains how bloggers compare being silenced on the Chinese internet to being put to death.  (The Guardian)

Regulation

House unanimously votes for government-free Internet.  The House on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation reaffirming U.S. policy as one that supports an Internet that is controlled by stakeholders, not governments.  (The Hill)

U.S. Now Paints Apple as ‘Ringmaster’ in Its Lawsuit on E-Book Price-Fixing.  According to the Justice Department, Apple took a leadership role in a price-fixing conspiracy in the market for e-books.  (NYT)

Apple tells U.S. of tough talks, not collusion, with publishers.  Apple Inc responded to Justice Department accusations it conspired with publishers to push up electronic book prices, saying it negotiated with a number of publishing companies separately and crafted different agreements with each.  (Reuters)

Tech Business

Pressures Build on Japan's Electronics Giants.  Sony and Sharp, two once-powerful electronics makers, are grappling with outside investors and fed-up creditors looking to break the cozy and insular bonds that have been a Japanese corporate hallmark.  (WSJ)

Video streaming is on the rise with Netflix dominating.  With 32.3 percent of the market share, Netflix reigns the entertainment streaming world, but Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube still maintain their piece of the pie.  (CNET)

Andreessen: Decline of IPOs could hit middle class.  Netscape founder-turned-venture-capitalist Marc Andreessen said the declining number of initial public offerings is hurting performance of public markets and would affect the millions of Americans who hold retirement savings in the stock market.  (San Jose Mercury News)

More ITI Member News

Google close to launching streaming music service.  Google has now signed on the three major labels as it gears up to unveil a Spotify rival.  (CNET)

Google I/O conference may highlight new phone and online software.  Google will have a difficult time matching the spectacle of last year's surprise sky-diving demonstration over Moscone Center, but several thousand software developers and other techies are still eager to see what the giant Internet company plans to show off this year.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Larry Page Says Vocal Cord Paralysis Causes His Voice Problems.  Google’s chief executive said he has paralyzed vocal cords, a rare health problem that causes a hoarse voice and constricted breathing. The company said a year ago that he had a voice problem.  (NYT)

AMD eyes 'comeback' in Asia with reorg.  Chipmaker reorganized its regional strategy from a "horizontal to vertical" focus, says its Asia-Pacific head, who admits AMD had "struggled" but is now ready to get back on the growth path.  (ZDNet)

Sony Meets Outspoken Investor, but Courtesy Reigns.  Daniel S. Loeb, often caustic dealing with others, had a polite meeting in Tokyo with executives of Sony, where he is trying to engineer a major shake-up.  (NYT)

Dell moves up earnings report, stirring speculation.  In the midst of a proposed buyout, Dell Inc. said Tuesday that it will report its latest quarterly earnings ahead of schedule — a move that could raise speculation that the Round Rock-based computer maker’s results will be dismal.  (American Statesman)

BlackBerry to bring BBM to Apple, Android.  The smartphone maker plans to open its messaging system to iOS and Ice Cream Sandwich platforms. The company also introduced a cheaper Q5 phone.  (Washington Post)

Today on the Hill

Senate:  Senators begin work at 9:30 a.m. ET with six remaining amendments to the Water Resources Development Act to be considered before Senators vote on final passage. 

House:  The House convenes at noon ET and will consider five measures under suspension, including one that would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission to complete rules exempting certain “small issue” offerings up to $50 million in a 12-month period from registration.

1600 Penn.

At 11 a.m. ET, President Obama will deliver remarks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service in Washington, D.C., an annual ceremony honoring law enforcement who were killed in the line of duty in the previous year.

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