World News Briefs: 12/1/12

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Dissident kin gets sentence

BEIJING -- A nephew of the dissident Chen Guangcheng was sentenced to more than three years in prison Friday for assaulting and injuring a government official who broke into the family's home in April during a frenzied search for Mr. Chen, according to relatives.

The nephew, Chen Kegui, 33, was convicted after a brief, closed-door trial in Shandong province, not far from the farmhouse where paid thugs kept his uncle, a self-taught human rights lawyer who is blind, illegally confined for 18 months along with his wife and, at times, their young daughter.

Details of their detention, which included round-the-clock surveillance and brute violence, drew international condemnation and ultimately proved embarrassing to China after Chen Guangcheng eluded his captors and found sanctuary inside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. After a tense diplomatic standoff in May, Chinese officials allowed Chen Guangcheng and his family to move to the U.S.

Rights advocates criticized the prosecution of Mr. Chen's nephew, saying it was rife with irregularities and little more than a thinly concealed act of revenge.

Arrests concern China

SINGAPORE -- China said Friday it was "highly concerned" about the arrest of four of its citizens by Singapore authorities for their role in a labor protest, the island's first strike since the 1980s.

The Chinese nationals were charged in court Thursday with instigating SMRT Corp. bus drivers to take part in an illegal strike this week, according to court filings. Police arrested the four after the company said more than 170 drivers from the mainland failed to report for duty Nov. 26 and 88 halted work Nov. 27, disrupting some bus services.

Germany risks slump

LONDON -- Germany will be tipped into recession as the sovereign debt crisis roiling its neighbors extends into the new year, according to the Bloomberg Global Poll.

Even as European leaders laud their latest fix for Greece's debt woes, 53 percent of 862 investors, analysts and traders who are Bloomberg subscribers said last week they think Germany's economy, Europe's largest, will drop into a recession for the first time in more than three years. Sixty-four percent expect Europe's debt turmoil to deepen again despite recent signs of calming in its financial markets.

Iran touts resolve

VIENNA -- A military attack wouldn't stop Iran's nuclear work and may prompt the Persian Gulf nation to exit the treaty that compels atomic inspections, Iranian diplomat Ali Asghar Soltanieh said.

Iran "can easily replace damaged facilities," Mr. Soltanieh said in a 30-minute speech to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Friday in Vienna. An attack may "stop the agency inspections" and force the country to "withdraw from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."

Brazil fiscal growth slows

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazil's economy expanded in the third quarter at half the pace forecast by economists, as government stimulus efforts fail to revive investment that fell for the fifth straight period. Rate futures plunged.

Gross domestic product grew 0.6 percent in the third quarter, the national statistics agency said Friday in Rio de Janeiro. That was less than the forecasts of all 54 economists surveyed by Bloomberg whose median estimate was for a 1.2 percent expansion.

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