In Brief | Nation & World 8-4-13


Obama trade representative reverses ban on imports of some Apple iPads, iPhones

President Obama’s trade representative on Saturday vetoed a ban on imports of some Apple iPads and older iPhones, dealing a setback to rival South Korean electronics company Samsung.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman overruled a June decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission, which had banned imports of the iPhone 4 and some variations of the iPad 2.

The commission ruled that the Chinese-made Apple devices violated a patent held by Samsung and couldn’t be imported. The ban never went into effect, though, because the Obama administration had 60 days to decide if it would uphold the commission.

Obama is against import bans on the basis of the type of patent at issue in the Samsung case. The White House has recommended that Congress limit the ITC’s ability to impose import bans in these cases.

Samsung and Apple are in a global legal battle over smartphones. Apple argues Samsung’s Android phones copy vital iPhone features. Samsung is fighting back with its own complaints.

In an email, Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said the company applauded the administration “for standing up for innovation.” A message seeking comment from Samsung was not returned.

Firms dust off tobacco marketing playbook amid pending regulation of electronic cigarettes

RICHMOND, Va. — Companies vying for a stake in the fast-growing electronic cigarette business are reviving the decades-old marketing tactics the tobacco industry used to hook generations of Americans on regular smokes.

They’re using cab-top and bus stop displays, sponsoring race cars and events, and encouraging smokers to “rise from the ashes” and take back their freedom in slick TV commercials featuring celebrities like TV personality Jenny McCarthy.

The Food and Drug Administration plans to set marketing and product regulations for electronic cigarettes in the near future. But for now, almost anything goes.

“Right now it’s the wild, wild west,” Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices made of plastic or metal that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale. Users get their nicotine without the thousands of chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes. And they get to hold something shaped like a cigarette, while puffing and exhaling something that looks like smoke.

Dying 2-year-old boy is Pennsylvania couple’s best man in backyard ceremony

JEANNETTE, Pa. — Looking dapper in a tiny tan pinstripe suit and orange shirt, a 2-year-old boy with only weeks to live served as the best man Saturday afternoon for his parents’ Pennsylvania wedding.

Christine Swidorsky carried Logan Stevenson on her shoulder at the Saturday afternoon wedding in Jeannette, a suburb of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

Logan stood with his grandmother, Debbie Stevenson, during a 12-minute ceremony uniting Logan’s mother and his father, Sean Stevenson. The boy has leukemia and other complications.

“We’re married,” Swidorsky exclaimed joyously after kissing her groom to applause from family and friends.

After a whirlwind week, the Jeannette couple tied the knot in a hastily arranged backyard ceremony that formalized their union and celebrated Logan’s life, which doctors say will be cut short soon by cancer.

By wire sources.