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Austria Struggles to Identify Migrants’ Bodies

Veteran police investigators say they have never faced a task like identifying the 71 bodies of would-be refugees unloaded from the back of a truck found abandoned along a highway last week.

Apple’s Latest Challenge: Topping Its Own Success

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus reignited sales growth for the smartphone. But analysts predict muted growth for its latest models due out next week.

Chinese Navy Ships Operating in Bering Sea Off Alaska Coast

Five Chinese navy ships are currently operating in the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska, the first time the U.S. military has seen such activity in the area. 617

Capital Account

For Russia, Oil Collapse Has Soviet Echoes

For most countries, the economic slowdown in China and the accompanying slump in commodity prices represent something between nuisance and pothole. For Russia, they are a catastrophe, writes Greg Ip. 69

Inside Uber’s Fight With Its Chinese Nemesis

China’s multibillion-dollar ride-hailing market has erupted into a brawl between Uber and Beijing startup Didi Kuaidi.

Obama Locks in Votes to Secure Iran Nuclear Deal

President Barack Obama locked in enough support in Congress to ensure he can overcome bipartisan opposition and implement a landmark nuclear accord with Iran. 1729

U.S. Tech Firms Make Pilgrimage to Brussels

The giants of Silicon Valley are bulking up in the European Union’s de facto capital, hiring lobbyists and jostling for the favor of the Web’s most ambitious regulators.

South African Gold Faces Uncertain Future

South Africa’s gold mining industry must undergo radical change to cope with falling prices, intensifying labor disputes and the surging cost of ever-deeper exploration.

A Modigliani Painting for $100 Million?

Christie’s International said it expects to ask roughly $100 million for a Modigliani nude that will be auctioned this fall, a bold reflection of how prices for blue-chip paintings have skyrocketed in recent seasons.

Small Firms Slow to Embrace Chip-Card System

Many small businesses aren’t racing to update their checkout systems ahead of an Oct. 1 shift that will put merchants on the hook for some fraudulent card charges.

Shell, Exxon Must Pay Groningen Quake Compensation

A Dutch court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil must compensate homeowners for a drop in house prices caused by earthquakes linked to production at the Groningen gas field.

Private-Equity Firms Explore Bids for Petco

Private-equity firms are examining a possible purchase of Petco Holdings, the pet-store chain that filed to go public last month.

Asian Shares Rise; China Closed

Asian stocks rose after U.S. markets restored some stability. China markets are closed on Thursday and Friday for a holiday.

Giant U.S. Pension Fund to Propose Shift Away From Stocks, Bonds

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the nation’s second-largest pension fund, is considering a significant shift away from some stocks and bonds amid turbulent markets world-wide. 104

Malaysian Fund 1MDB Has Tens of Millions of Dollars Frozen

Swiss authorities said they had frozen funds worth tens of millions of dollars linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad as part of an investigation into alleged corruption.

Gas Discovery in Egypt Troubles Israel

Israeli officials have expressed concern that the discovery of an extensive gas field off the coast of Egypt could upend Israeli development of its energy resources.

Environment

World Tree Count Climbs

There are slightly more than three trillion trees in the world, a figure that dwarfs previous estimates, according to the most comprehensive census yet of global forestation. 140

Masked Gunmen Kidnap 18 Turkish Workers in Baghdad

Identities of gunmen in early-morning raid on sports stadium weren’t immediately known, as Turks in Iraq seized for a second time in the past year.

At Least 22 Killed in Suicide Bombings at Mosque in Yemen

A pair of suicide bombings killed a least 22 people Wednesday at a mosque in San’a, just hours after a gunman killed two Red Cross workers.

Solitary Confinement Poses ‘Grave Problem,’ Study Says

Prisons are holding as many as 100,000 inmates in solitary confinement, a striking figure that poses a “grave problem” for the criminal justice system, according to a study.

Emails Point to Large Role for Clinton Adviser Blumenthal

Longtime aide Sidney Blumenthal maintained an outsize role with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, despite being blocked from taking a job at the department. 189

Biden’s Florida Trip Draws Campaign-Level Attention

Vice President Joe Biden received full-court national attention for an otherwise routine visit to Miami Dade College, with dozens of television cameras, photographers and reporters there to cover his 30 minutes of remarks.

Court Weighs Request to Immediately Stop Phone-Data Collection

An appeals court panel is considering whether to allow the government to continue the bulk collection of phone records during a six-month transition period until a new law kicks in prohibiting the controversial program.

Search Continues for Three Suspects After Illinois Policeman Killed

As a small northern Illinois community mourned a popular veteran police officer who was fatally shot while on duty, authorities scoured the area overnight in search of three men wanted in his slaying. 72

Video

Hungarian Police Struggle to Control Migrants

2:02

The Iran Nuclear Deal Explained

3:34

Uber Class-Action Lawsuit: What's at Stake

2:39

20 Odd Questions

Manolo Blahnik on Old Films and Kate Moss

The shoe designer on what he’d blow his money on, the drama behind Kate Moss’s wedding shoes and exactly how he feels about fake Manolos.

WSJ. Magazine

Robert Redford: From Sundance Kid to Hollywood Legend

The legendary actor is as busy as ever, with starring roles in the film adaptation of Bill Bryson’s ‘A Walk in the Woods’ and in the forthcoming drama, ‘Truth.’

WSJ Blogs

Real-time commentary and analysis from The Wall Street Journal
Die Seite Drei
Schnelle Analysen und Beobachtungen zum Zeitgeschehen

Schlechte Nachrichten nur noch freitags

Die Senkung der Bonität Großbritanniens durch die Agentur Moody’s zu Wochenschluss gibt einen Vorgeschmack davon, wie Länderratings ab dem nächsten Jahr mitgeteilt werden dürfen: Nur noch freitags nach Börsenschluss und maximal drei Mal im Jahr. So wollen es die EU-Gesetzgeber und so werden es die Mitgliedstaaten nach Ostern auch formal beschließen.

Die Kommission begründet die neuen Regeln in einem Memo unter anderem damit, dass die Ratingagenturen im Vorfeld der Finanzkrise die Risiken komplexer Finanzinstrumente nicht richtig eingeschätzt hätten.

dapd

Worauf sie nicht hinweist, was aber die eigentliche Zielrichtung der neuen Regulierung ist: Die Strenge, die die Ratingagenturen bis 2008 bei strukturierten Finanzprodukten fehlen ließen, zeigten sie kurze Zeit später überdeutlich bei den Anleihen jener Staaten, die die Kosten der Finanzkrise zu tragen hatten.

In der Folge gab es etliche Herunterstufungen, die, wie die Kommission anmerkt, die Refinanzierungskosten der betroffenen Staaten unmittelbar erhöhen, die Kapitalausstattung von Banken beeinflussen und Auswirkungen für die Finanzstabilität haben können. In den vergangenen Jahren passierte es wiederholt, dass Ratings von Krisenländern wie Griechenland, Portugal oder Spanien kurz vor einer wichtigen Anleiheauktion gesenkt wurden. Die Folgen waren schmerzlich.

Für die Ratingagenturen ist die neue Freitagsregel ärgerlich, denn sie schafft unnötige Rigiditäten. Aber vielleicht lassen sich Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s und Fitch mit dem Hinweis trösten: Es hätte schlimmer kommen können. Aus dem Memo der Kommission geht nämlich hervor, dass die europäischen Gesetzgeber prinzipiell auch noch andere Möglichkeiten sahen, das Problem unerbetener Ratings zu lösen.

Erstens: Die Gründung einer eigenen Ratingagentur. Das wurde, wie bekannt ist, zwar ernsthaft erwogen, aber als zu teuer verworfen. Die EU-Kommission bezifferte die Kosten auf 300 bis 500 Millionen Euro.

Zweitens: Das Verbot von Länderratings. Diese Möglichkeit wird in dem Papier zwar allen Ernstes als Möglichkeit erwähnt, aber ebenfalls verworfen. Zur Begründung heißt es: „Es könnte der Eindruck entstehen, dass die Mitgliedsländer etwas zu verbergen haben.“

Drittens: Die Möglichkeit, schlechte Nachrichten zu überbringen (mit guten rechnet die Kommission offenbar gar nicht), wird auf drei Mal pro Jahr beschränkt.

Die Kommission entschied sich also für Variante drei. Die beinhaltet nicht nur, dass Länderratings immer freitags kommen müssen. Sie schreibt auch vor, dass die Ratingagentur das betroffene Land mindestens 24 Stunden vorher informieren muss, damit die Regierung nach Fehlern in der Urteilsbegründung suchen kann.

Außerdem muss die Agentur Ende Dezember einen Kalender veröffentlichen, in dem ihre Veröffentlichungstermine für 2014 stehen. Abweichungen von diesem Kalender sind nur in wohlbegründeten Ausnahmefällen möglich. Das Beispiel Moody’s versus Großbritannien zeigt, dass die Ratingangenturen schon für die neuen Regeln zu üben beginnen.

Ansonsten gilt für diese Reaktion auf die Finanzkrise das gleiche wie für frühere Maßnahmen auch: Sie kommt spät – die Zeit der schlimmsten Herabstufungen ist vorerst vorbei – und sie kuriert ein Symptom, nicht die Ursache. Die Ratingagenturen sind lediglich Überbringer einer häufig unangenehmen Botschaft. Und die lautet schlicht: Ihr habt zu viel Schulden.

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The Wall Street Journal & Breaking News, Business, Financial and Economic News, World News and Video
Search

Austria Struggles to Identify Migrants’ Bodies

Veteran police investigators say they have never faced a task like identifying the 71 bodies of would-be refugees unloaded from the back of a truck found abandoned along a highway last week.

Apple’s Latest Challenge: Topping Its Own Success

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus reignited sales growth for the smartphone. But analysts predict muted growth for its latest models due out next week.

Chinese Navy Ships Operating in Bering Sea Off Alaska Coast

Five Chinese navy ships are currently operating in the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska, the first time the U.S. military has seen such activity in the area. 617

Capital Account

For Russia, Oil Collapse Has Soviet Echoes

For most countries, the economic slowdown in China and the accompanying slump in commodity prices represent something between nuisance and pothole. For Russia, they are a catastrophe, writes Greg Ip. 69

Inside Uber’s Fight With Its Chinese Nemesis

China’s multibillion-dollar ride-hailing market has erupted into a brawl between Uber and Beijing startup Didi Kuaidi.

Obama Locks in Votes to Secure Iran Nuclear Deal

President Barack Obama locked in enough support in Congress to ensure he can overcome bipartisan opposition and implement a landmark nuclear accord with Iran. 1729

U.S. Tech Firms Make Pilgrimage to Brussels

The giants of Silicon Valley are bulking up in the European Union’s de facto capital, hiring lobbyists and jostling for the favor of the Web’s most ambitious regulators.

South African Gold Faces Uncertain Future

South Africa’s gold mining industry must undergo radical change to cope with falling prices, intensifying labor disputes and the surging cost of ever-deeper exploration.

A Modigliani Painting for $100 Million?

Christie’s International said it expects to ask roughly $100 million for a Modigliani nude that will be auctioned this fall, a bold reflection of how prices for blue-chip paintings have skyrocketed in recent seasons.

Small Firms Slow to Embrace Chip-Card System

Many small businesses aren’t racing to update their checkout systems ahead of an Oct. 1 shift that will put merchants on the hook for some fraudulent card charges.

Shell, Exxon Must Pay Groningen Quake Compensation

A Dutch court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil must compensate homeowners for a drop in house prices caused by earthquakes linked to production at the Groningen gas field.

Private-Equity Firms Explore Bids for Petco

Private-equity firms are examining a possible purchase of Petco Holdings, the pet-store chain that filed to go public last month.

Asian Shares Rise; China Closed

Asian stocks rose after U.S. markets restored some stability. China markets are closed on Thursday and Friday for a holiday.

Giant U.S. Pension Fund to Propose Shift Away From Stocks, Bonds

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the nation’s second-largest pension fund, is considering a significant shift away from some stocks and bonds amid turbulent markets world-wide. 104

Malaysian Fund 1MDB Has Tens of Millions of Dollars Frozen

Swiss authorities said they had frozen funds worth tens of millions of dollars linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad as part of an investigation into alleged corruption.

Gas Discovery in Egypt Troubles Israel

Israeli officials have expressed concern that the discovery of an extensive gas field off the coast of Egypt could upend Israeli development of its energy resources.

Environment

World Tree Count Climbs

There are slightly more than three trillion trees in the world, a figure that dwarfs previous estimates, according to the most comprehensive census yet of global forestation. 140

Masked Gunmen Kidnap 18 Turkish Workers in Baghdad

Identities of gunmen in early-morning raid on sports stadium weren’t immediately known, as Turks in Iraq seized for a second time in the past year.

At Least 22 Killed in Suicide Bombings at Mosque in Yemen

A pair of suicide bombings killed a least 22 people Wednesday at a mosque in San’a, just hours after a gunman killed two Red Cross workers.

Solitary Confinement Poses ‘Grave Problem,’ Study Says

Prisons are holding as many as 100,000 inmates in solitary confinement, a striking figure that poses a “grave problem” for the criminal justice system, according to a study.

Emails Point to Large Role for Clinton Adviser Blumenthal

Longtime aide Sidney Blumenthal maintained an outsize role with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, despite being blocked from taking a job at the department. 189

Biden’s Florida Trip Draws Campaign-Level Attention

Vice President Joe Biden received full-court national attention for an otherwise routine visit to Miami Dade College, with dozens of television cameras, photographers and reporters there to cover his 30 minutes of remarks.

Court Weighs Request to Immediately Stop Phone-Data Collection

An appeals court panel is considering whether to allow the government to continue the bulk collection of phone records during a six-month transition period until a new law kicks in prohibiting the controversial program.

Search Continues for Three Suspects After Illinois Policeman Killed

As a small northern Illinois community mourned a popular veteran police officer who was fatally shot while on duty, authorities scoured the area overnight in search of three men wanted in his slaying. 72

Video

Hungarian Police Struggle to Control Migrants

2:02

The Iran Nuclear Deal Explained

3:34

Uber Class-Action Lawsuit: What's at Stake

2:39