U.S. administration officials, private sector executives and privacy advocates are reviewing a draft of a bill that would encourage sharing of cybersecurity data between the government and companies, two key Senators said on Wednesday. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, said they have circulated the draft to key stakeholders in its early stages to avoid the disagreements that have thwarted passage in the past. "We have worked together for months to draft a bill that allows companies to monitor their computer networks for cyber attacks, promotes sharing of cyber threat information and provides liability protection for companies who share that information," Feinstein and Chambliss said in a statement. Many companies have urged Congress to pass cyber legislation but ensure that it limits the private sector's liability in sharing cyber data.
An expert panel on Wednesday urged the United States to add Pakistan to a blacklist of violators of religious freedom, saying that the Ahmadi minority suffers "apartheid-like" conditions. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises the government on policy but does not take action on its own, urged the State Department to add Pakistan to its list of "countries of particular concern" subject to potential sanctions. In an annual report, the commission said Pakistan "represents the worst situation in the world for religious freedom" among countries that are not already on the US blacklist and that conditions in the past year "hit an all-time low." Robert George, chairman of the commission, voiced alarm over treatment of the Ahmadis, who were declared by Pakistan to be non-Muslims in 1974.
By Gabriel Debenedetti WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate will vote this year on a proposed constitutional amendment that would let states and Congress regulate campaign finance laws, Senator Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday. The New York Democrat made the announcement weeks after a ruling on April 2 by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down aggregate campaign donation limits, a decision that could allow wealthy individuals to contribute even more to candidates and party committees. The proposed constitutional amendment, written by New Mexico Democrat Tom Udall, would empower Congress to regulate federal election spending and outside groups, and give states the chance to dictate their own internal campaign finance rules.
China is advancing rapidly to overtake the United States as the biggest economy in the world, new data shows, with the leader of the world economy since the 19th century possibly losing its top spot to the Asian giant from this year. "The United States remained the world's largest economy (in 2011), but it was closely followed by China" once data was adjusted for comparison on a standard basis, the World Bank said on Wednesday. In parallel, the OECD grouping 34 advanced economies and analysing the same data, said that "the three largest economies in the world were the United States with 17.1 percent (of global output), China 14.9 percent and India 6.4 percent." "Large emerging economies, China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Russian Federation and South Africa, accounted for about 30 percent of global GDP in 2011, up from about 20 percent in 2005," the OECD said.
Manila said Wednesday the United States had a treaty obligation to help the Philippines if it is attacked on its own territory or in the South China Sea, as it rejected criticism of a security agreement. President Barack Obama on Tuesday declared the US would support its ally in the event of being attacked, a day after his government signed an agreement allowing a greater American military presence on Philippine bases over 10 years. Obama cited a 1951 mutual defence treaty but did not specifically mention coming to Manila's aid in the South China Sea, where China and the Philippines are in dispute over tiny islets, reefs and rocks. "Under the mutual defence treaty, the United States will come to the assistance of the Philippines if our metropolitan territory is attacked or if our armed forces are attacked in the Pacific area," Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a statement.