WIRTSCHAFT, Börsen News

 

Dax könnte unter 10.000 Punkte sinkenimage

Nachbörslich hatte der Dax am Freitag die 10.000-Punkte-Marke schon unterschritten. Nun fürchten Händler, dass die Kurse auch im regulären Handel am Montag noch einmal abtauchen könnten. Wie sie diese Sorge begründen.

Nach einer turbulenten Handelswoche an der Börse dürften Zahlen rund um die Weltkonjunktur auch in der neuen Woche die Entwicklung der Aktienmärkte prägen. Der deutsche Aktienindex Dax hatte am Freitag nachbörslich (beim sogenannten „F-Dax“, berechnet aus dem Future auf den Index) erstmals seit langem kurzzeitig wieder die Marke von 10.000 Punkten unterschritten. Zuvor hatte das Börsenbarometer mit einem Minus von fast 8 Prozent den größten Wochenverlust seit vier Jahren verzeichnet und war mit 10.125 Punkten ins Wochenende gegangen.

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In dieser Börsenwoche stehen kaum noch Quartalszahlen von Unternehmen auf dem Terminplan, der Blick der Investoren dürfte sich deshalb vor allem auf Konjunkturdaten aus China, aber auch aus Amerika und Europa richten. Die Anleger treibt die Angst um, dass die chinesische Wirtschaft kräftig an Fahrt verlieren könnte, mit Auswirkungen auf die gesamte Weltwirtschaft. Hinzu kommt die Ungewissheit, ob die Zinswende in den Vereinigten Staaten kurz bevorsteht oder noch länger auf sich warten lässt.

Unter Börsenhändlern wurde zumindest nicht ausgeschlossen, dass der Dax auch im regulären Handel in dieser Woche unter 10.000 Punkte sinken könnte. „Der Trend spricht im Augenblick für einen weiteren Fall der Kurse“, meinte auch Carsten Brzeski, der Chefvolkswirt der ING-Diba. Reinhard Pfingsten, der Chief Investment Officer des Frankfurter Bankhauses Hauck & Aufhäuser, sagte am Sonntag, die Entwicklung im nachbörslichen Handel lege es nahe, dass der Dax jetzt unter 10.000 Punkte fallen könnte. „Ein kurzfristiges Abtauchen unter die 10.000 ist eher wahrscheinlich“, sagte Pfingsten. „Die zentrale Frage ist, ob wir, ausgehend von China, global in eine Rezession laufen – dies scheint der Markt ja derzeit einzupreisen.“ Er halte die Wahrscheinlichkeit aber für gering, insofern sollten Anleger „mit einer gewissen Nüchternheit durch die Phase gehen“. Der Internationale Währungsfonds (IWF) beruhigte ebenfalls, man solle die Dramatik der Lage in China nicht überbewerten.
An der Börse dürften Anleger auf die Vorgaben der asiatischen Märkte sowie Konjunkturdaten aus Europa und den Vereinigten Staaten sensibel reagieren, dafür gibt es in dieser Börsenwoche ausreichend Gelegenheit. Am Dienstag veröffentlicht das Münchener Ifo-Institut seinen Geschäftsklimaindex für August und damit den wohl prominentesten Stimmungsindikator für die deutsche Volkswirtschaft.

Ebenfalls am Dienstag werden Daten für das Verbrauchervertrauen in Amerika für August veröffentlicht. Am Mittwoch dürften die amerikanischen Auftragseingänge langlebiger Güter für Juli in den Mittelpunkt rücken, da die Marktteilnehmer versuchen werden, einen Hinweis auf den Zeitpunkt der Zinswende herauszulesen.

Wer in Europa am meisten forscht

Wer in Europa am meisten forscht

Nicht nur in staatlichen Einrichtungen und Hochschulen wird geforscht. In vielen EU-Ländern macht der Unternehmenssektor den größten Anteil an den Ausgaben aus. Doch es gibt auch Ausnahmen.

imageForschung findet in modernen Staaten sowohl von staatlicher Seite, in Hochschulen als auch in der freien Wirtschaft statt. Die Grafik von Statista zeigt, wie sich die Ausgaben im Jahr 2013 in einzelnen EU-Staaten und der Union insgesamt verteilt haben. Der Unternehmenssektor war in den meisten Mitgliedstaaten der wichtigste Sektor, außer in Griechenland, Zypern, Lettland und Litauen. Hier war der Hochschulsektor der bedeutendste. In Rumänien wurde etwa die Hälfte der FuE-Ausgaben im Staatssektor getätigt. Die Ausgabenverteilung in Deutschland ist nah am EU-Schnitt.

Asien setzt auf Kernkraft
China wird die führende Atommacht. Das zeigen Prognosen der OECD imageüber die zivile Nutzung der Kernkraft. Die Grafik von Statista zeigt die heute installierte Leistung der Kernkraftwerke in Gigawatt im Jahr 2013 und die Prognosen für das Jahr 2040. Derzeit haben die Kernkraftwerke in den Vereinigten Staaten und in der EU insgesamt noch eine deutlich höhere Nennleistung. Doch das wird sich in den kommenden Jahren ändern. Je nach Szenario – die OECD führt dazu drei verschiedene auf – wird in den westlichen Staaten die Leistung der Kernkraftwerke etwa gleich bleiben oder sogar zurückgehen. In China wächst sie jedoch in allen drei Szenarien. Im Jahr 2040 wird in sämtlichen Szenarien China mehr Atomstrom produzieren als die Vereinigten Staaten oder die EU.

Asien setzt auf Kernkraft
China wird die führende Atommacht. Das zeigen Prognosen der OECD über die zivile Nutzung der Kernkraft. Die Grafik von Statista zeigt die heute installierte Leistung der Kernkraftwerke in Gigawatt im Jahr 2013 und die Prognosen für das Jahr 2040. Derzeit haben die Kernkraftwerke in den Vereinigten Staaten und in der EU insgesamt noch eine deutlich höhere Nennleistung. Doch das wird sich in den kommenden Jahren ändern. Je nach Szenario – die OECD führt dazu drei verschiedene auf – wird in den westlichen Staaten die Leistung der Kernkraftwerke etwa gleich bleiben oder sogar zurückgehen. In China wächst sie jedoch in allen drei Szenarien. Im Jahr 2040 wird in sämtlichen Szenarien China mehr Atomstrom produzieren als die Vereinigten Staaten oder die EU.

China forscht
Die Ausgaben für Forschung und Entwicklung in China steigen rasant. Die Grafik von Statista zeigt den Anteil an den weltweiten Ausgaben für Forschung und Entwicklung. 2008 hat China den Dauerkonkurrenten Japan überholt, nun steht China kurz davor, auch die EU beim Anteil an den weltweiten Ausgaben für Forschung und Entwicklung zu überholen. Die OECD prognostiziert, dass China sogar die Vereinigten Staaten innerhalb dieser Dekade überholen könnte.

Wirtschaftsprognosen: Nullzeit?

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This gallery contains 4 photos.

Vor digitaler Revolution NULLZEIT Null Wachstum. Null Inflation. Null Zins. In vielen Ländern scheint die Wirtschaft zu erstarren. Doch gleichzeitig kündigt sich machtvoll eine umwälzende industrielle Revolution an. Es kann Continue Reading →

Spionage Affäre Deutschland

Angeblich mehr als ein Dutzend Spione in deutschen Ministerien
Laut einem Bericht der „Bild am Sonntag“ soll der amerikanische Geheimdienst CIA mehr als ein Dutzend deutsche Regierungsmitarbeiter als Spione beschäftigen. Dabei seien vor allem vier Ministerien von besonderem Interesse.

Die Affäre um amerikanische Spione in Deutschland weitet sich anscheinend weiter aus. Nach Informationen der Zeitung „Bild am Sonntag“ führt der amerikanische Auslandsnachrichtendienst CIA mehr als ein Dutzend Regierungsmitarbeiter in Deutschland als Quellen. Das will die Zeitung aus Geheimdienstkreisen der Vereinigten Staaten erfahren haben.

Spionage in Deutschland

Spionage in Deutschland

Im Visier der CIA sind dabei die vier Ministerien Verteidigung, Wirtschaft, Innen und Entwicklungshilfe. Letzteres sei für die CIA von Interesse, weil über das Entwicklungshilfeministerium verdeckte Operationen des Bundesnachrichtendienst im Ausland liefen.

Schon viele Jahre als Spione tätig
Viele der Spione würden demnach schon mehrere Jahre für den Geheimdienst arbeiten. Aufgrund der aktuellen Debatte fänden derzeit aber keine Treffen zwischen den Spionen und der CIA in Deutschland statt. Stattdessen werde derzeit geprüft, ob die Vereinigten Staaten ihre Agentenführer in die Botschaften nach Warschau und Prag zu verlegen und von dort aus operieren zu lassen.

Erstmals sollen sich dem Bericht zufolge auch amerikanische Behörden gegenüber der Bundesregierung zu den Spionagevorwürfen gegen einen Mitarbeiter des Verteidigungsministeriums geäußert haben. Es bestehe keine nachrichtendienstliche Verbindung zu dem Mitarbeiter, hieß es.

imageSpionageabwehr in alle Richtungen
Außerdem forderte der Vorsitzende des Verteidigungsausschusses im Bundestag, Hans-Peter Bartels (SPD) eine Erweiterung der Tätigkeit der deutschen Nachrichtendienste: „Unsere Nachrichtendienste dürfen in keine Richtung blind sein. Sie müssen zur Spionageabwehr rundum fähig sein, also 360-Grad-Beobachtung. Es darf da keinen toten Winkel geben.“

Das sei offenbar allerdings bereits passiert. So habe die CIA registriert, dass mehrere Botschaftsmitarbeiter seit einigen Tagen von Spezialisten des Bundesamtes für Verfassungsschutz observiert werden, hieß es laut „Bild am Sonntag“.

World leaders gather in Brussels for G7

Leaders of the world’s seven richest nations are meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday at the G7 summit. The meeting was supposed to be a Group of Eight meeting and was to take place in Sochi in Russia, but other leaders decided on a boycott following the Russian intervention in Ukraine. The summit is expected to cause considerable traffic disruption in the Belgian and Flemish capital.

G7 Summit Brussels, Presented by European Court Experts

G7 Summit Brussels, Presented by European Court Experts

Foreign policy, the economy, trade and energy security are all on the agenda of the summiteers that include America’s President Obama. Given Europe’s dependency on Russian gas and oil the international community’s response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine should lead to some very interesting discussions.

After the G7 in Brussels the summiteers move on to Normandy for events to mark the D-Day landings by the Allies that took place exactly seventy years ago. Here meetings are planned with President Putin of Russia.

In addition to the G7 nations, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, the EU is also represented by Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

The summit starts with a dinner at which foreign policy issues including Ukraine will be discussed. Syria, Afghanistan, Mali, the Central African Republic and North Korea are also on the agenda. On Thursday the focus switches to the economy with discussions on the free trade deal between the US and the EU. International development is being discussed at the dinner on Thursday.

Climate Change

WASHINGTON — Tom Steyer, a billionaire environmental activist from California, wants to blast the issue of climate change to the front lines of American politics. His “super PAC,” NextGen Climate, will spend about $100 million this year to influence several Senate and governor’s races in which climate change could play a major role.

imageBut the goal, Mr. Steyer’s strategists say, is to pave the way for climate change to become a major issue in the next presidential campaign, by elevating it in the minds of voters in states that will play crucial roles in nominating and electing the next president.

Mr. Steyer’s organization will pour money into media campaigns to influence Senate races in Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado and Michigan, and governors’ races in Pennsylvania, Florida and Maine. They will back candidates who openly embrace climate change policies in an effort to help them defeat those who question or deny the established science of climate change.

Mr. Steyer hopes those tactics will create a political landscape in which candidates fear that they will be politically punished for questioning that science. To coordinate the effort, Mr. Steyer has hired Chris Lehane, a veteran Democratic strategist.

“We want 2014 to be a pivot year for climate — the year we can demonstrate that you can use climate change as a wedge issue to win in political races,” Mr. Lehane said Wednesday at a briefing with reporters.

Mr. Lehane declined to name an exact figure, but he said that Mr. Steyer had already pledged to spend $50 million of his own fortune on the effort, while NextGen Climate has committed to raising $50 million more.

This year’s strategy expands on successful efforts by Mr. Steyer to elevate climate change issues in three 2013 races. He and NextGen spent over $11 million to influence the Virginia governor’s race, with the intent of defeating Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a Republican who questions the science of climate change.

Terry McAuliffe, the winning Democratic candidate, was not known as a major champion of climate policy, but he campaigned against Mr. Cuccinelli as out-of-touch and a turnoff for potential businesses seeking to invest in Virginia.

image“The race in 2013 in Virginia was a beta test for 2014,” Mr. Lehane said. “It provided us the political paradigm to model our other races off of.”

Climate policies have traditionally been a tough campaign issue for candidates. A mounting stack of scientific evidence has concluded that human activities — particularly burning coal and oil for electricity and transportation — are trapping heat in the atmosphere and leading to dangerous food and water shortages, increasing droughts and deluges, and potentially devastating sea-level rises. But Many American voters remain unconvinced that the science is real.

Since 2010, Republican campaigns have attacked Democrats who support climate policies to cut carbon pollution as backing a “war on coal” and “job-killing regulations.”

That kind of language is likely to escalate after June 2, when President Obama is expected to announce a climate change regulation intended to slash pollution from coal-fired power plants.

Charles and David Koch, billionaire industrialist brothers, have put millions of dollars into advocacy groups and super PACs like Americans for Prosperity, which have campaigned aggressively against lawmakers who support climate change policy.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
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“The left knows that the global warming agenda is a loser for them with the American people,” Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, said in an interview. Mr. Phillips said that none of the four most vulnerable Democratic senators — Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Pryor of Arkansas — had embraced climate change policy. All four support construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which Mr. Steyer opposes.

“Senators up for re-election have their sneakers on and are running from this,” Mr. Phillips said. “They know the issue doesn’t matter with most Americans.”

But one expert said Mr. Steyer’s tactic may work.

“Independent voters, with regard to the issue of climate change, track much more closely with Democrats than Republicans,” said Edward Maibach, the director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. “Painting candidates as climate deniers stands a good chance of working in districts where the vote turns on independents.”

Mr. Steyer’s group hopes to be helped by the National Climate Assessment, a new scientific report that details the ways climate change is already causing economic harm across the United States.

In the Senate race in Michigan, Mr. Steyer’s group will back Representative Gary Peters, a Democrat who says he will make a point of highlighting how climate change is lowering water levels and leading to environmental problems in the Great Lakes, while also threatening Michigan’s agriculture.

“It’s important to frame the issue in terms of potential threats to our state,” Mr. Peters said.

In Florida, NextGen will spend to defeat Gov. Rick Scott, who has openly questioned the science of climate change. Charlie Crist, a Democratic challenger and former Republican, has cited skepticism of climate change as one of the reasons he left the party.

Florida voters will play a crucial role in the 2016 election. The state is home to two possible Republican presidential contenders — Senator Marco Rubio, who has questioned the science of climate change, and former Gov. Jeb Bush, who has evaded specific questions on the issue.

imageIn Iowa, NextGen will back Representative Bruce Braley, a Democratic candidate for the Senate who voted for a House climate change bill in 2009. The group will attack Mr. Braley’s potential Republican opponents, State Senator Joni Earnst or Mark Jacobs, a former electric energy company executive, by criticizing claims they have made questioning climate science.

In Maine’s three-way governor’s race, Mr. Steyer’s group hopes to unseat the Republican incumbent, Paul R. LePage, who has said that climate change could bring economic opportunity to his state, as melting ice in the Northeast Passage opened up shipping routes, and warmer winters could attract tourists to Maine year-round.

In Colorado, the group will back Senator Mark Udall, a Democrat who has vocally supported climate and clean energy policies, against Representative Cory Gardner, who has questioned the science of climate change. In the Pennsylvania governor’s race, NextGen will back Tom Wolf, a Democrat, against the Republican incumbent, Tom Corbett, who in an interview this month called the science of climate change “a subject of debate.”

EU – US Trade Talks

imageEU-US trade talks – 5th round to start in the US on 19 May
A fifth round of EU-US trade talks will take place in Arlington, Virginia from 19 to 23 May 2014. The talks are part of a trade and investment deal, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP.

Negotiators will discuss trade in goods and services, investment, regulatory issues, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, government procurement, intellectual property rights, electronic commerce and telecommunications, environment, labour, small and medium-sized enterprises, and energy and raw materials.

Consulting stakeholders – Wednesday 21 May

During the talks, EU and US negotiators will host meetings with non-governmental organisations, consumer groups, trade unions, professional organisations, business and other civil society organisations) to update them on the status of the negotiations and hear their views on the talks. This is part of our ongoing efforts to hear from as wide a range of interests as possible as we move ahead in the negotiations. There will be two sessions:

Stakeholder Policy Presentations – 11.00 a.m. – 2.30 p.m.
Stakeholders will deliver presentations to the negotiators on different policy areas. Stakeholders wishing to present must register by Friday, 9 May 2014. The presentations will be open to the press.

Chief Negotiators‘ Briefing – 3.15 p.m. – 4.30 p.m.
The EU and US Chief Negotiators will debrief stakeholders on progress to date with the negotiations, and the next steps in the process as they see them. Stakeholders will then be able to put questions directly to the Chief Negotiators, and raise with them issues of concern or interest. Members of the press will not be present at this session.

Independent study outlines benefits of EU-US trade agreement
An in-depth study by the Centre for Economic Policy Research, London, on the potential effects of the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has been released today. It takes a detailed look at current transatlantic trade and investment flows and existing barriers to these, and then uses economic modelling to estimate the potential impact of different policy scenarios. The study highlights the huge gains to be made from liberalising EU-US trade, not just for the two trading blocs, but also for the global economy. The study was commissioned by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Trade. This memo summarises the study’s key findings.

Obama, Barroso

Obama, Barroso

Overall economic gains
An ambitious and comprehensive trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership could bring significant economic gains as a whole for the EU (€119 billion a year) and the US (€95 billion a year) once the agreement is fully implemented. This translates on average to an extra €545 in disposable income each year for a family of four in the EU.
The benefits for the EU and the US would not be at the expense of the rest of the world. On the contrary, liberalising trade between the EU and the US would have a positive impact on worldwide trade and income, increasing GDP in the rest of the world by almost €100 billion. To the extent that the EU and the US can work together towards better trade rules and less regulatory divergence in the future, some of the reductions achieved in the cost of doing trade will also benefit other partners. The economic importance of the EU and the US will mean that their partners will also have an incentive to move towards the new transatlantic standards. This has the potential to spread gains across the global economy, which is increasingly interdependent especially given the ever greater complexity of global value chains.
Income gains are a result of increased trade. EU exports to the US would go up by 28%, equivalent to an additional €187 billion worth of exports of EU goods and services. EU and US trade with the rest of the world would also increase by over €33 billion. Overall, the extra bilateral trade between the two blocs, together with their increased trade with other partners, would represent a rise in total EU exports of 6% and of 8% in US exports. This would mean an additional €220 billion and €240 billion worth of sales of goods and services for EU and US based producers, respectively.
Sectoral benefits
imageEU exports would increase in almost all sectors, but the boost in sales to the rest of the world would be particularly significant in metal products (+12%), processed foods (+9%), chemicals (+9%), other manufactured goods (+6 %), and other transport equipment (+6%).
But, by far the biggest relative increase in trade would take place in the motor vehicles sector. In this sector, EU exports to the rest of the world are expected to go up by nearly 42% and imports to expand by 43%. The growth in bilateral trade is even more impressive: EU exports of motor vehicles to the US are expected to increase by 149%. This partly reflects the importance of two-way trade in parts and components and the further integration of the two industries across the Atlantic. This increase in trade in motor vehicles is also accompanied by an expansion in the sector’s output (+1.5%) in the EU.
The increase in exports and output that would be found (in different degrees) in almost all sectors reflects the big liberalisation effort that the agreement would imply. Unsurprisingly, the car sector, being characterised by an initial combination of high tariffs and high non-tariff barriers, such as different safety standards, is one that would benefit the most.
Reducing non-tariff barriers
Reducing non-tariff barriers, so-called „behind-the-border“ barriers, will have to be the key part of trans-Atlantic trade liberalisation. As much as 80% of the total potential gains come from cutting costs imposed by bureaucracy and regulations, as well as from liberalising trade in services and public procurement.
Labour market
The increased level of economic activity and productivity gains created by the agreement will benefit the EU and US labour markets, both in terms of overall wages and new job opportunities for high- and low-skilled workers.
Sustainable development
The agreement would have negligible effects on CO2 emissions and on the sustainable use of natural resources.
The current EU-US trade relationship in a nutshell
Total bilateral trade in goods between the EU and US in 2011 amounted to €455 billion, with a positive balance for the EU of just over €72 billion. The US was the EU’s third largest supplier, selling it €192 billion of goods (representing around 11% of total EU imports) and the EU’s main export market, buying €264 billion of EU goods (representing around 17% of total EU exports).

Van Rompuy, Obama, Barroso

Van Rompuy, Obama, Barroso

The average monthly value of the EU’s trade in goods with the US is around €38 million, only slightly less than its total annual trade in goods with Taiwan (€40 billion in 2011), the EU’s 20th largest trade partner.
Top sectors for trade in goods for the EU were machinery and transport equipment (some €71 billion of imports and €104 billion of exports), followed by chemicals (roughly €41 billion of imports and €62 billion of exports).
In 2011 trade in commercial services was worth €282.3 billion (according to the latest available figures from Eurostat) with a positive balance for the EU of €5.5 billion. The US was the EU’s top partner for trade in commercial services, with its imports reaching €138.4 billion (around 29% of total EU imports) and its exports €143.9 billion (around 24% of total EU exports).
In total, the commercial exchanges of goods and services across the Atlantic average almost €2 billion per day.
In 2008 around 5 million jobs across the EU were supported by exports of goods and services to the US market.
These trade flows are complemented and supported by a very dynamic investment climate and activity. In 2011, US companies invested around €150 billion in the EU and EU firms some €123 billion in the US. In the same year, the US stock of investments in the EU reached over €1.3 trillion and the total of EU stock of investments in US over €1.4 trillion.

Obama and Merkel warn Russia of economic sanctions over Ukraine

US president Barack Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint news conference in the Rose Garden.

US president Barack Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint news conference in the Rose Garden.

US and German leaders present united front in warning Putin futher sanctions inevitable unless Russia reverses course

US president Barack Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday warned Russia that sanctions targeting whole sections of the country’s economy would be inevitable unless Moscow de-escalates the situation in Ukraine before elections later this month.

Appearing together at the White House, Obama and Merkel insisted they were united in their determination to use broad, so-called “sectoral sanctions” against Russia unless it reverses course in Ukraine by the elections on May 25.

However, in remarks likely to reassure Berlin, which is particularly dependent upon Russian gas exports, Obama played down the suggestion those sanctions would include sweeping restrictions on Russia’s sale of energy to Europe.

“Energy flows from Russia to Europe, those continued even in the midst of the cold war – at the the height of the cold war,” Obama said. „The idea that you’re going to turn off the tap to all Russian oil and natural gas exports is, I think, unrealistic.“

President Putin, Russia

President Putin, Russia

Obama said there was „a remarkable unity between the United States and the European Union“ about how to use leverage against Russian president Vladimir Putin over his continued interference in Ukraine.

European countries disagree over what form additional sanctions against Russia should take. “We have to take those [differences] into account,” Obama added. “Not every country is going to be in exactly the same place.”

However, if Russia impedes Ukraine’s forthcoming elections, Obama said, “we will not have a choice but to move forward with additional, more severe sanctions.“

Merkel also gave a strong endorsement of potential new sanctions against Russia. “In Europe, we have taken a position that should further destabilisation happen, we will move to a third stage of sanctions. I would like to underline this is not necessarily what we want, but we are ready and prepared to go such a step,” she said, according to a White House translation.

“We will see to it that elections can take place,” she added.

Angela Merkel, Germany and US President Barack Obama

Angela Merkel, Germany and US President Barack Obama

The strength of Merkel’s remarks about sectoral sanctions, while satisfying Washington, may surprise other European leaders. Senior European officials have been playing down the prospects of such broad-brush sanctions, which could also hurt Europe’s economy, suggesting they would only be used as a last resort, in the event of a full-scale military incursion by Russia across the border.

Both leaders called for the immediate release of seven hostages who were working as monitors by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe when they were captured by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.

Merkel, who has spoken directly with Putin to try to secure the release of the hostages, four of whom are German, said their release was „a very crucial step, that needs to happen first“.

The chancellor’s appearance with Obama marked her first visit to Washington since disclosures by the whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed her phone calls had been recorded by the National Security Agency.

Germany has been pressing for months for a mutual “no spy” agreement with the US, without success. Instead, Germany and the US have agreed to an ongoing “cyber dialogue” over issues relating to the balance between intelligence and privacy.

The language falls well short of what Berlin wanted, and Merkel made clear that differences remain between the the two countries on the issue.

She said that, while there was some intelligence cooperation between the countries, there are still differences over “what sort of balance to strike over the intensity of surveillance” used to combat terrorism and the consequences for privacy and individual freedom.

Washington. White House News

WASHINGTON — Reacting to a series of highly publicized rapes on college campuses, the White House on Monday released guidelines that increase the pressure on universities to more aggressively combat sexual assaults on campus.

The recommendations urge colleges, among other measures, to conduct anonymous surveys about sexual assault cases, adopt anti-assault policies that have been considered successful at other universities and to better ensure that the reports of such crimes remain confidential. The guidelines are contained in a report by a White House task force that President Obama formed early this year, and the administration is likely to ask Congress to pass measures that would enforce the recommendations and levy penalties for failing to do so. The government will also open a website, NotAlone.gov, to track enforcement and provide victims with information.

US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama

Stepping Up to Stop Sexual AssaultFEB. 7, 2014
Many advocates for such a crackdown may see the proposals as an inadequate response to a crisis, but the White House is hamstrung about what it can do without congressional action and has just begun its own attack on the issue.

“Colleges and universities need to face the facts about sexual assault,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said. “No more turning a blind eye or pretending it doesn’t exist. We need to give victims the support they need, like a confidential place to go, and we need to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The task force says that one in five college students has been assaulted, but that just 12 percent of such attacks are reported.

Mr. Obama appointed the panel after a number of recent cases — at Yale, at Dartmouth and at Florida State — focused attention on the problem and led to accusations that college and university officials are not doing enough to police sexual crimes committed by students. The resulting furor has led to calls that Washington, where Congress and the administration are already moving to crack down on sexual assault in the military, take similar action when it comes to colleges and universities.

“The American people have kind of woken up to the fact that we’ve got a serious problem when 20 percent of coeds say they’ve been sexually assaulted,” said Representative Jackie Speier, Democrat of California.

Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, said the recommendation for mandatory sexual assault surveys “has been consistently the No. 1 request of student survivors and advocates.”

“I am pleased that the task force has recommended this important step to increasing transparency and accountability, and look forward to growing our bipartisan coalition supporting this and other much-needed reforms,” she said.

The report emphasizes that universities need to do a better job to make sure that sexual assault reports remain confidential. Sometimes fears that reports will become public can discourage victims from coming forward.

The task force further found that many assault-prevention training efforts are not effective, and it recommends that universities and colleges institute programs like those used at the University of New Hampshire and the University of Kentucky, which train bystanders on how to intervene.

Lawmakers and the White House have previously condemned the assaults on campuses, but the federal government has largely left responses up to college officials and the local authorities. Congress last year passed the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, which requires that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking cases be disclosed in annual campus crime statistics. But victims’ advocates say that does not go far enough.

And a federal law from two decades ago that requires colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses, including sexual offenses, is rarely enforced, critics say.

There have been some high-profile instances in which the Department of Education has gotten involved in an effort to raise awareness by imposing fines at universities where the most egregious cases have been reported.

image

Last year, the agency fined Yale University $165,000 for failing to disclose four sexual offenses involving force over several years. Eastern Michigan University paid $350,000 in 2008 for failing to sound a campus alert after a student was sexually assaulted and killed. The department also reached a settlement last year with the University of Montana at Missoula after investigating the university’s sexual-misconduct policies and finding them woefully inadequate.

Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, universities that violate student rights in sexual assault cases also risk the loss of federal funding, but the punishment has never been applied.

In the recommended “climate surveys,” participants anonymously report their experiences with unwanted physical contact, sexual assault or rape, and how their schools responded. Some lawmakers would like to see such surveys be mandatory and to possibly make federal funds like Pell grants contingent on their being carried out.

Ms. Gillibrand and Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, who both spent much of last year trying to legislatively police sexual assault in the armed forces, have now turned significant attention to such problems on the nation’s campuses.

“After a year of working hard to reform how the military handles sexual assault cases,” Ms. Gillibrand said in an email, “the stories I have heard from students are eerily similar.”

Ms. McCaskill said she planned to conduct her own survey of 350 colleges.

In all, nearly a dozen senators seeking new federal funding to battle campus sexual assaults.