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Key Issues

Global Trade

Obama To Urge Japan To Join Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with President Obama at the White House Friday for discussions that will focus on both security and economic issues. The U.S. is pushing Japan to join in on a regional trade pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but Japan wants the U.S. to agree to special conditions first.  (NPR)

White House facing pressure from US business groups on trade with Japan.  U.S. business groups say they worry including Japan in Asia-Pacific trade deal could lower pact's ambitions.  (The Hill)

View: What’s a Pacific Trade Pact Without Japan?  The best news that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama could announce after their meeting on Feb. 22 is that the U.S. wants Japan to join it in talks on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact -- and that Japan has decided, belatedly, to take part.  (Bloomberg editorial)

De Gucht Says U.S.-EU Negotiations To Be Formally Launched In June.  European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht today (Feb. 21) told the European Parliament's International Trade Committee he hopes the U.S. and the EU can formally announce the launch of their bilateral trade negotiations at the two countries' bilateral summit in June.  (Inside US Trade)

BlackBerry hands over PIN to Indian govt.  Canadian phonemaker is reported to have handed over PIN details of BlackBerry handsets in India, but the government will need unique identification numbers of the phones to monitor messages between users in the country and abroad.  (ZDNet)

Facebook Co-Founder Sees Opportunities in Asia.  Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin says Asia's consumer market offers investment opportunities, though he doesn't expect a repeat of the success he had with the social network.  (WSJ)

Workforce & Talent Development

The 'Line' For Legal Immigration Is Already About 4 Million People Long.  In the back and forth between Congress and the White House over immigration, both sides seem to agree that people now in the U.S. illegally should wait at "the back of the line" for legal residency — meaning no green card until all other immigrants get theirs.  But that presents a problem, because the wait for a green card can take decades.  (NPR)

Guest-Work Plan Obama Opposed as Senator Resurfaces Today.  In a midnight session almost six years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama voted to gut a guest-worker program that sponsors of an immigration bill considered vital to their effort to legalize millions of undocumented residents.  A few weeks later, the bipartisan measure was dead -- blocked from a final vote by Republicans who called it amnesty for lawbreakers and Democrats who said it would hurt American workers and treat immigrants unfairly.  (Bloomberg)

Business and labor make breakthrough in immigration talks.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO on Thursday announced a breakthrough in talks on immigration reform, releasing joint principles for a temporary worker program.  The labor federation and business lobby have been holding talks for weeks on how to fix temporary worker programs. The issue split unions during the last major immigration push in 2007 and played a part in dooming the effort in Congress.  (The Hill)


Big Companies Fear Offshore Tax Fallout.  A recent survey shows large multinational firms are bracing for more offshore tax inquiries, with good reason.  (

Coalition: Reform both sides of tax code.  The fate of corporate tax reform — a goal shared by virtually everyone in Washington — is almost certainly linked to a far greater challenge: rewriting tax laws for individuals.  (Politico Pro)

Congress May Not Rewrite the Tax Code in 2013, But They Can Make It Simpler.  President Obama and Congress still have an opportunity to do something very useful: Clean up the law so it is simpler and smarter.  (Forbes)

Editorial: Cut corporate taxes to bring business back.  Now would be a good time for Congress to cut the corporate tax rate, perhaps to the British rate of 21 percent, while eliminating many loopholes. America needs to get back in the game.  (Orange County Register)


Is this the best time to cut spending and raise taxes?  Economists warn that the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts in federal spending set to start taking effect March 1 would stunt growth and slow hiring. Less clear is how long it would take to feel the benefits from the tough-love approach.  (McClatchy-Tribune)

US businesses sanguine about sequestration.  U.S. business groups and chief executives are lobbying less aggressively to avert the looming budget sequestration than they have during past fiscal stand-offs, judging the impact on the economy and financial markets to be less severe. (FT)

EU Says Euro Zone to Shrink in 2013 as Unemployment Rises.  The euro-area economy will shrink for a second year in 2013, driving unemployment higher as governments, consumers and companies curb spending, the European Commission said.  (Bloomberg)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

Hacked. Now What?  If companies tell us when they get hacked, will they be at more risk? Will consumers be safer?  (NYT editorial)

Twitter adopts email security protocol to crack down on hacker attacks.  Twitter announced Thursday that it adopted a new security technology that's aimed at cracking down on phishing, a popular method used by hackers to send emails to users that appear to be from a Twitter-related email address in order to gain access to their account information.  (The Hill)

Intellectual Property

Software firms defend patents in D.C.  Software patents, facing new scrutiny in the U.S., drive innovation and protect huge investments by developers, representatives of software companies said during a Capitol Hill briefing.  (PCWorld)

For Music Industry, a Story of Two Googles.  When it comes to the music industry, there are two Googles — represented on one side by its suite of entertainment media services, and on the other by its mighty search engine.  (NYT)

Energy & Sustainability

Rumored Energy pick stirring fears on left.  President Obama's possible selection of MIT physicist Ernest Moniz is not sitting well with some green advocates.  (The Hill)

Front-runner to lead EPA vows more action on climate change.  Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, said the agency will act on climate change.  (The Hill)

How to get real green from your green certifications.  It's easy for a business to make green claims without really getting greener. Here's how to do the right thing.  (

Japan's lesson for U.S. reactors: Disaster is possible.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission studied the disaster at the Fukushima reactors for a year. Now it's voting on an expensive safety modification to 31 similar reactors in the U.S.  (Marketplace)

Why companies are fueling the rise of green gaming.  The business community has embraced gamification as a way to change the public's attitude and behavior.  (


FCC small cell move gets high-tech backing.  Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm support the opening up of the 3.5 GHz band.  (Politico Pro)


New crime-prediction research highlights the promise of big data.  New research from the University of Michigan highlights the potential for tackling tough problems like crime by getting creative with data, so we can fight the disease instead of the symptoms.  (

Tech Business

Samsung Copies BlackBerry Playbook.  Samsung is now taking aim at Research In Motion's still-formidable grip on the world's most security-conscious government and corporate clients.  (WSJ)

CSR breaks the billion-dollar sales mark.  CSR has broken the billion-dollar mark, reporting full-year sales of $1.025bn and beating analysts’ expectations.  (FT)

A Titan’s How-To on Breaking the Glass Ceiling.  Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, is attempting nothing less than a Betty Friedan-like feat: a national discussion of a gender problem with no name.  (NYT)

ITI Member News

Alcatel picks ex-Vodafone executive as CEO.  Alcatel-Lucent has hired Michel Combes, former head of Vodafone’s European business, as its new chief executive in the latest attempt to transform the fortunes of the ailing telecoms equipment maker.  (FT)

Google Glass patent application gets technical.  The Web giant details everything from the bridge to the display of its high-tech spectacles, saying advancements in wearable displays have really been needed.  (CNET)

Google unveils touchscreen laptop.  Google has unveiled its first touchscreen-enabled laptop, the Chromebook Pixel.  (BBC)

Judge orders Apple, Samsung to trim 2014 patent spat.  A California judge tells both companies that they need to narrow down their upcoming 2014 court battle.  (CNET)

Watch Out: Apple Patent Hints At Something For Your Wrist.  The rumor mill has been churning out speculation about what's next from Apple. The latest fodder comes from the Apple Insider blog, which found an Apple patent filing pointing to a smart watch with a flexible touchscreen display.  (NPR)

Apple "iPref" stock would unlock value: Einhorn.  In a rare public conference call, hedge-fund manager David Einhorn, who has filed a lawsuit against Apple to make it distribute more of its $137 billion cash pile, detailed the merits of issuing perpetual preferred stock.  (Reuters)

Dell to sue Philips, alleges cathode-ray tube price fixing.  Dell may be in the middle of a buyout process, but it hasn't stopped the computing firm from planning to take Philips to court.  (ZDNet)

Declaring This a Year for Fixing and Rebuilding, H.P. Posts Lower Profit.  Though Hewlett-Packard is battling a declining demand for personal computers, the computer maker’s quarterly results were better than expected.  (NYT)

HP May Be Debt Free This Year, CFO Lesjak Says.  Hewlett-Packard CFO Cathie Lesjak said there’s a pretty good chance that on that basis, HP will be debt free by the end of 2013. “Our goal is roughly zero,” she said.  (All Things D)

IBM plugs big data capabilities into Deutsche Telekom’s M2M infrastructure for smarter cities.  The two companies have signed a partnership aimed at providing municipalities with tools for making their cities, in particular their transport systems, smarter and more efficient.  (

Sony seeks head start over Microsoft with new PlayStation.  Sony Corp said it will launch its next-generation PlayStation this year, hoping its first video game console in seven years will give it a much-needed head start over the next version of Microsoft's Xbox and help revive its stumbling electronics business.  (Reuters)

PayPal readies launch of mobile payments system in Europe.  Payment processor unveils new hardware that will read credit and debit cards that use the Chip and PIN system, which is more prevalent in Europe.  (CNET)

Nokia to sell cheaper phones to counter low-end rivals.  Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is set to launch cheaper handset models in an attempt to fend off growing competition from Chinese rivals in the low-end market, company sources said on Friday.  (Reuters)

1600 Penn.

At 11 a.m. ET, the President and the Vice President will attend the Democratic Governors Association Meeting, being held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.  Then, at 12:15 p.m., the President will welcome Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan to the White House where they are expected to have in-depth discussions on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance, and deepening bilateral cooperation. The Vice President will also attend. 

Today on the Hill

The House and Senate are in recess this week.  They will be back to work on February 25.