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Key Issues


House GOP set for critical immigration reform talks.  Advocates from across the political spectrum are trying to bend lawmakers' ears on how to handle Obama’s top domestic priority.  (The Hill)

Immigration Positions Harden Ahead of House GOP Meeting. Democrats and Republicans in the House dug in their heels Tuesday over giving a path to citizenship to people living in the country illegally, making it increasingly unlikely that the House will be able to pass a bipartisan immigration overhaul similar to the one the Senate approved two weeks ago.  (CQ Roll Call)

Immigration reform heads for slow death.  Republicans walked away from their 2012 debacle hell-bent on fixing their problems with Hispanics. Now, they appear hell-bent on making them worse.  In private conversations, top Republicans on Capitol Hill now predict comprehensive immigration reform will die a slow, months-long death in the House. Like with background checks for gun buyers, the conventional wisdom that the party would never kill immigration reform, and risk further alienating Hispanic voters, was always wrong — and ignored the reality that most House Republicans are white conservatives representing mostly white districts.  (Politico)

Obama pushes economic case for immigration as House eyes next steps.  The White House is trying to turn up the pressure on Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass sweeping immigration reform in coming weeks, making the argument that modernizing the outdated system would boost the economy and cut the deficit.  President Barack Obama's top advisers released a 32-page report on Wednesday pulling together well-known economic arguments - highlighted by quotes from some Republican stalwarts - that passing reforms will grow the economy by 3.3 percent by 2023 and reduce the deficit by almost $850 billion over 20 years.  (Reuters)

Turning the Tides for STEM in Washington State.  Things worth doing are rarely easy, and the step to theoretical work from small programming projects can be a large one. And particularly for women, retention in computer science and other STEM subjects is a real problem during the college years.  (Huffington Post/Microsoft’s Cheryl Platz)

As Japan PM Abe weighs labor reform, IBM emerges as test case.  When 27-year IBM veteran Martin Jetter came to Tokyo last year, the new president of the technology giant's Japanese arm had a radical idea: hold workers accountable for performance.  (Reuters)

Short-term thinking led Australia into an IT skills shortage.  Job advertisements looking for candidates with a decade's worth of experience is leading to a skills crisis of our own making.  (ZDNet)

Global Trade

Top negotiators to update Japan on TPP talks in Malaysia.  Top negotiators of the 11 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks will spend a full day explaining the current status of the talks to Japan when it joins them in Malaysia later this month, government sources said Tuesday.  (Kyodo)

India: backtracking on local electronics.  India has succumbed to pressure from governments, multinationals and industry bodies abroad to review its policy of boosting locally-made electronics.  It’s good news for international business. But what are the consequences for the Indian economy if demand for electronic products is increasingly served by imports?   (FT)

Lawmakers urge firm U.S. line on China in bilateral talks.  U.S. lawmakers influential on trade policy urged the Obama administration on Tuesday to press China in talks this week to halt the theft of intellectual property and curb practices that discriminate against American companies.  (Reuters)

Civil Society Groups, Unions Warn Of TTIP Risks As First Round Begins.  As the first negotiating round of a U.S.-EU free trade agreement kicked off yesterday (July 8), consumer groups, unions and non-governmental organizations publicly warned that the deal could facilitate deregulation and thereby lower existing protections in both economies for consumers, workers and the environment.

EU hits Russia with first WTO dispute over car levy.  The European Union launched the first formal trade dispute with Russia at the World Trade Organization on Tuesday, less than a year after Moscow joined the trading club.  (Reuters)

Cybersecurity & Privacy

U.S.-China cybersecurity talks slow.  And Congress hasn't exactly grabbed the reins on the issue either.  (Politico)

China, U.S. talks on cyber security go well: Xinhua.  Talks between China and the United States on cyber security, overshadowed by revelations of U.S. electronic surveillance by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, have gone well, state media said on Wednesday, with both sides pledging to improve cooperation.  (Reuters)

U.S. Security Chief Sees Risk in Digital Israel.  Israel’s plan to allow Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) to turn the country digital with a super-fast fiber-optic network may compromise national security if precautions aren’t taken, a U.S. security chief said.  (Bloomberg)

Former judge calls for FISA court improvements.  A former judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) argued on Tuesday that the court needs to hear an opposing view when weighing whether to approve a request for a surveillance warrant.  (The Hill)

The price of surveillance: Gov't pays to snoop.  In the era of intense government surveillance and secret court orders, a murky multimillion-dollar market has emerged. Paid for by U.S. tax dollars, but with little public scrutiny, surveillance fees charged in secret by technology and phone companies can vary wildly.  (AP)

European Parliament Calls For 'Full Review' Of Data Transfer Agreement.  By a strong majority, the European Parliament last week called on the European Commission to conduct a “full review” of an agreement that allows a number of U.S. companies – including those allegedly complicit in the National Security Agency's PRISM program – to transfer data about EU citizens to the jurisdiction of the United States.  (Inside US Trade)

NSA 'spied' on most Latin American nations: Brazil paper.  The U.S. National Security Agency has targeted most Latin American countries in its spying programs, with Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico ranking among those of highest priority for the U.S. intelligence agency, a leading Brazilian newspaper reported on Tuesday.  (Reuters)


Senate leaders at odds on tax reform.  Leadership gave wildly different assessments of the Finance Committee’s work on tax reform.  (Politico)


Sprint, IBM want to connect your phone to your car through the cloud.  Sprint and IBM are betting that the cloud will be the key component of the connected car of the future. It’s not just about connecting your car to the internet. It’s about who’s in the driver’s seat.  (GigaOM)

With Big Data, Fail Cheaper, Fail Better.  Data is cheaper to come by and easier to play with than ever. Business failure is also more common. An author on using data at work says the two are related, in ultimately positive ways.  (NYT)

Permanent home for Silicon Valley patent office put on hold.  The move to find a permanent home for the Silicon Valley branch of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been put on indefinite hold.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Telephone companies go wireless, abandon copper lines.  Verizon is taking the lead by replacing phone lines with wireless alternatives, but competitors have made it clear they want to follow. It’s the beginning of a technological turning point.  (AP)

China's Interest in Driverless Cars Extends Well Beyond Mobileye.  Unnamed investors in China are part of an international group of institutions that have put $400 million of new money into Mobileye, the Netherlands-based company that makes camera technology for driverless cars. But China's interest in driverless cars goes back more than four years and is increasingly well developed.  (WSJ)

Tech Business

Google, Adobe and Best Buy are working on an ecommerce web data standard.  The standard, which is being thrashed out under the auspices of the W3C, aims to standardize product and customer information in order to simplify data exchange and make it easier to set up an ecommerce site.  (GigaOM)

Chinese chipmakers in ‘bloody’ price war.  Rivals drawn to fast-growing entry-level end of tablet market.  (FT)

Apple, Amazon end 'app store' lawsuit.  Apple Inc and Inc have ended their lawsuit over who has the right to use the "app store" name, clearing the way for both companies to use it.  (Reuters)

More ITI Member News

Microsoft Restructuring Set for Thursday.  According to numerous sources close to the situation, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is poised to unveil his plan to drastically restructure the tech giant this week. And, while timing might change, sources said that the current plan is to make it public on Thursday.  (AllThingsD)

Microsoft settles thousands of software piracy cases.  Working to protect its intellectual property, the tech giant settled 3,265 counterfeiting suits worldwide during the past year.  (CNET)

Google Chromebook Under $300 Defies PC Market With Growth.  Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Chromebook was dismissed as a bare-bones laptop with limited appeal when it debuted two years ago. Now it’s defying skeptics and gaining share as the rest of the personal-computer market shrinks.  (Bloomberg)

Applied Materials says mobile drives sales.  Applied Materials shares rose 3.4 percent Tuesday after the biggest maker of semiconductor equipment said industry spending will pick up next year as chipmakers boost output to meet demand for mobile-device parts.  (San Jose Mercury News)

Apple asks for stay on ITC ban on iPhone and iPad models pending appeal.  Apple has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to stay a ban on certain iPhone and iPad models pending an appeal.  The ban could come into effect on Aug. 5 after a 60-days review period during which U.S. President Barack Obama can veto the order.  (IDG News)

HTC One build process will appear in future HTC designs.  Despite troubles and slow production rates for the HTC One, HTC says it will continue to use its metal unibody process for future HTC phones.  (CNET)

A Nokia hybrid PC? Remember the Booklet.  Nokia's partnership with Microsoft for phones could easily extend into the Windows 8 hybrid market.  (ZDNet)

Nokia to bet on Lumia's camera upgrade to overcome budget handicap.  Nokia is expected to unveil a new smartphone with a 41-megapixel camera on Thursday, banking on advanced optics to make up for meager marketing resources and limited phone apps.  (Reuters)

BlackBerry Seeks Partners in Bid to Regain Clout.  BlackBerry Ltd., struggling with losses and a dwindling user base, has renewed its call for partners that can help the smartphone maker get its software on more devices and potentially share the burden financially.  (Bloomberg)

New BlackBerry Name, Same Problems.  Research In Motion officially changed its name to BlackBerry at its annual shareholders meeting but continued to face some of the same tough questions that have dogged management for years.  (WSJ)

BlackBerry Chief Admits Release of New Phones in U.S. Was Flawed.  Thorsten Heins told investors at the company’s annual meeting that more time would be needed for a turnaround.  (NYT)

EMC battles rogue backups.  With a new set of hardware and software releases, EMC is promising to simplify its customers' storage infrastructure by combining different types of operation into a single EMC system.  On Wednesday, the company will unveil a new midrange tier of Data Domain storage systems, updates to its Avamar and NetWorker backup software, and an update to its Mozy data storage service. The updates are part of a new approach to storage EMC is developing, one it says will allow its customers to use their primary storage systems to execute backup, archiving and disaster recovery functions as well. (IDG News)

Today on the Hill

House:  The House convenes at noon ET and continues debate on HR 2609, the Energy and Water appropriations bill for fiscal 2014.

Senate:  The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. ET and will vote on whether to limit debate on a motion to proceed to S 1238, a measure to extend the previous fixed interest rate of 3.4 percent on federal student loans for one year.

1600 Penn.

At 11 a.m. ET, President Obama will meet with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.  Immigration reform is at the top of their agenda.  Later, at 2 p.m., the president will award the 2012 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal in a ceremony in the White House’s East Room.