- - Sunday, September 16, 2012

NEW YORK — Egan-Jones is downgrading its rating on U.S. debt to AA- from AA, citing Federal Reserve plans to try to stimulate the economy.

The credit-rating agency says the Fed’s plans to buy mortgage bonds will likely hurt the economy more than help it. Egan-Jones says the plan will reduce the value of the dollar and raise the price of oil and other commodities, hurting businesses and consumers.

In April, Egan-Jones downgraded the U.S. to AA from AA+. The company stripped the U.S. of a top AAA rating in July 2011.

On Thursday, the Fed said it would buy $40 billion of mortgage bonds a month to help the economic recovery.

TECHNOLOGY

Samsung suffers setback against Apple in court

NEW YORK — In a preliminary move, a federal judge has denied Samsung’s request for a ban on imports of the iPhone, iPad and iPod.

It’s another setback for Samsung in a globe-spanning legal battle, where each company is accusing the other of violating its patents.

A judge at the International Trade Commission in Washington ruled Friday that Apple doesn’t violate four Samsung patents. The judge also found that the patents don’t apply to any domestic industry. That will make it harder for Samsung to press the case before the full commission, says patent litigation specialist Florian Mueller.

NEW YORK

Warren Buffett done with cancer treatment

NEW YORK — Warren Buffett says he’s done with cancer treatments, and the Oracle of Omaha seems eager to move on.

The billionaire investor broke the news Friday while speaking to a group of executives from newspapers he owns telling them that he had his 44th and last day of radiation.

Mr. Buffett had disclosed in the spring that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. At the time, he said the disease was detected early and wasn’t life-threatening.

CZECH REPUBLIC

High-alcohol spirits sales banned amid poisonings

PRAGUE — The Czech Republic has taken an unprecedented emergency measure and banned the sale of spirits with more than 20 percent alcohol content as it battles a wave of methanol poisonings that has already killed 19 people.

Health Minister Leos Heger said Friday the ban was effective immediately and applies nationwide. It covers all possible sales locations, including restaurants, hotels, stores and the Internet.

Kiosks and markets had earlier been banned from selling spirits with more than 30 percent alcohol content, but Mr. Heger said the measure has not been effective enough because “an absolute majority” of people who have been poisoned bought the toxic alcohol in restaurants, bars and stores.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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