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Key Issues


Lew pressed on tax reform.  "This is not some academic exercise," Sen. Max Baucus tells the Treasury nominee.  (Politico)

GOP leaders waver on tax reform.  Republican leaders are wavering on how aggressively to pursue an overhaul of the tax code this year.  (The Hill)


U.S. senators introduce high-skill immigration bill in nod to Silicon Valley.  Arguing that Silicon Valley and the nation are "losing talent and jobs by the day to countries like Canada, Chile and the United Kingdom," a bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Wednesday introduced a bill to grant up to 75,000 green cards each year to immigrant startup entrepreneurs and 50,000 to students with advanced science and engineering degrees from American universities.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Labor-Chamber immigration talks stall.  Officials from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO have been meeting privately for the past two months to hash out a deal on one of the most controversial pieces of immigration reform — visas for low-skilled workers.  But recent talks have stalled, leaving the two influential groups far apart on the same issue that helped sink reform in 2007.  (Politico)

Napolitano at immigration hearing: US borders have 'never been stronger'.  Homeland Security secretary says tougher enforcement on border is too often ignored in immigration debate.(The Hill)

Economy & Global Trade

Obama finds a model for manufacturing revival.  A former furniture warehouse in a struggling Rust Belt city has emerged as a national model for innovation, and President Obama aims to convince Congress to spend $1 billion to replicate the firm's success nationwide.  (Reuters)

Euro zone economy falls deeper into recession.  The euro zone slipped deeper into recession in the last three months of 2012 after its largest economies, Germany and France, shrank markedly, marking the bloc's first full year in which no quarter produced growth since 1995.  (Reuters)

U.S. Wants To Raise GMOs, Data Flows, Ag Issues In New Talks With EU.  The United States wants to address issues like trade in genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and disciplines on cross-border data flows in forthcoming trade negotiations with the European Union, according to senior administration officials. In a conference call today (Feb. 13), these officials said the negotiations will have no upfront exclusions and will attempt to achieve a comprehensive deal across all sectors over the course of the next 18 months.  (Inside US Trade)

Google challenges Russia video ban.  Google is taking a Russian watchdog to court to challenge its inclusion of a YouTube make-up video clip on a blacklist of banned online material. (BBC)

In High-Tech Japan, the Fax Machines Roll On,  The reluctance to give up fax machines offers a revealing glimpse into an aging nation that can often seem quietly determined to stick to its tried-and-true ways.  (NYT)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

House to restart cybersecurity debate.  The House Intelligence Committee will examine the state of information-sharing about cyber threats and the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) at its first cybersecurity hearing of the year on Thursday. (The Hill)

App developers question Google Play on privacy.  They say personal info is being shared in a possible violation of FTC mandate.  (Politico Pro)

Adobe reviews report of another security bug in its software.  Adobe Systems is investigating a report by a cybersecurity firm that hackers exploited previously unknown bugs in its Reader and Acrobat software to launch sophisticated attacks on personal computers.  (San Jose Mercury News)

For Europe’s spooks, the cloud is a ‘double-edged sword’.  The EU security agency ENISA has released a report on the cloud’s increasingly critical nature. Yes, it highlights the risks associated with the shift to the cloud, but also some notable security benefits.  (

Ransomware cybercrime ring dismantled in Europe.  Suspects are accused of infecting millions of computers with a virus to extort perhaps millions of dollars from computer users in 30 countries.


Environment & Sustainability

Cities push for energy data on commercial buildings.  Minneapolis is the latest U.S. city to require energy reporting to encourage efficiency improvements.  (

CNOOC-Nexen deal wins U.S. approval, its last hurdle.  U.S. regulators have approved the $15.1 billion takeover of Canadian oil and gas company Nexen Inc by China's state-owned CNOOC Ltd, removing the final obstacle to the Asian country's largest-ever foreign takeover.  (Reuters)

Tech Business

China's Internet 'Wall' Hits Business.  China's censors, who have long frustrated individual Internet users, also are hurting businesses, slowing their traffic and hindering their use of a new generation of cloud-computing services like those offered by Google.  (WSJ)

Cisco's profit exceeds Wall Street expectations, partly due to tax benefits.  Bolstered by a nearly $1 billion tax windfall, networking giant Cisco Systems handily beat Wall Street's expectations Wednesday with its latest earnings report.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Xbox co-founder: "The last five years have been painful to watch"  One of the engineers in charge of Microsoft's original Xbox development team has blogged about the mistakes he feels the console is making – it's incendiary stuff.  (Guardian)

NetSuite CEO talks Oracle, SAP and company growth plans.  Netsuite's CEO suggested that "the big idea no one has done is to build an application designed to run a business," adding most of them are designed to run departments.  (ZDNet)

ITI Member News

Applied Materials Sees Bounce After Hitting Bottom.  Applied Materials, long whipsawed by the chip industry's business cycles, reported a 71% drop in first-quarter profit but pointed to signs of a rebound.  (WSJ)

Apple May Lose iPhone Naming Rights in Brazil.  Apple is contesting a decision by Brazilian regulators denying it exclusive rights for the iPhone trademark in the country.  (WSJ)

Tim Cook describes bold future for Apple. But cheaper iPhones? Maybe not.  At Goldman-Sachs tech conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook tiptoes around rumors of a cheaper iPhone, applauds Apple stores, and provides some insight on the future.  (CS Monitor)

Apple asks judge to deny request to block shareholder vote.  Apple filed a motion Wednesday asking a judge to deny a request from a dissident shareholder to block a vote on a measure that would affect the company's ability to issue a special type of stock.   (LA Times)

High stakes if Apple e-books antitrust case goes to trial.  As the only remaining defendant in the U.S. government's e-books antitrust case, Apple Inc appears headed for a high-stakes trial that could significantly increase the personal computer company's liability in related litigation.  (Reuters)

No "Plan B" for Microsoft's mobile ambitions: CFO.  Microsoft Corp has not made much of a dent in Apple Inc's and Google Inc's domination of mobile computing, but a top executive hinted on Wednesday that it will not stop trying and does not have an alternative strategy.  (Reuters)

Google hits back against BT with patent lawsuits.  Google and its Motorola Mobility unit struck back on Wednesday against BT Group, filing patent lawsuits against the British telecommunications group more than a year after BT launched its own lawsuit against Google.  (San Jose Mercury News)

1600 Penn.

At noon ET, the President will be in Decatur, Ga., to visit a pre-kindergarten classroom at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center and then deliver remarks at the Decatur Community Recreation Center to discuss his plan, unveiled in the State of the Union Address, to ensure high-quality preschool for every child. 

Just before 5 p.m. ET, the President will participate in a virtual interview with Google+ and Americans from around the country in a Google+ Hangout to discuss his State of the Union Address. This event will be streamed live on and the White House Google+ page.

Today on the Hill

Senate:  At 10 a.m. ET, the Senate resumes consideration the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be Defense secretary.

House:  At 12 p.m. ET, the House begins its legislative business, taking up a resolution providing for the consideration of a bill that would eliminate the statutory pay adjustment for federal employees.