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IMF reduces estimates for global growth

WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund warned Tuesday that global growth prospects had dimmed as the sovereign-debt crisis in the eurozone entered a “perilous new phase.”

Releasing quarterly updates of three reports on the outlooks for the economy, debt and global financial stability, the fund cut its estimates of global growth this year to 3.25 percent, from the 4 percent it forecast in September, on “sharply escalated” risks emanating from Europe.

In light of that market uncertainty and sluggish growth, the fund is seeking to raise up to $500 billion in additional lending capacity. It is also calling on the European Union to expand its bailout fund to at least $1 trillion from its current capacity of 440 billion euros, or about $570 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations.

Jose Vinals, director of the IMF’s monetary and capital markets department, told reporters that the fund sought to build a “global firewall” — both to help ease the euro crisis and to ensure that no bystanders to it find themselves locked out of the global financing markets.

—Annie Lowrey, The New York Times

Renowned Spanish judge faces charges of abusing power

MADRID — Baltasar Garzon, a high-profile Spanish judge who garnered international renown by pursuing political leaders including Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile, was himself on trial Tuesday over accusations he abused his powers to investigate atrocities committed during the Spanish Civil War.

The case is one of three trials focusing on Garzon, who had spearheaded Spain’s fight against political corruption and terrorism perpetrated by ETA, the Basque separatist group.

Last week, a separate trial began over whether Garzon had ordered illegal eavesdropping as part of a corruption investigation. The case that opened Tuesday follows Garzon’s indictment by a fellow judge in early 2010 on charges that he overreached his authority in pursuit of civil war abuses.

The case, which Tuesday focused on procedural issues, has drawn international resonance and criticism. Amnesty International has called the proceeding against the judge “a threat to human rights and judicial independence.”

Garzon is expected to be questioned Jan. 31, with the Supreme Court likely to rule two weeks later. He has denied any wrongdoing.

—Raphael Minder, The New York Times

China says Tibetan monks provoked confrontation

HONG KONG — Deadly showdowns between Chinese security forces and Tibetans in a restive region of western China spread to a second town on Tuesday, outside advocacy groups reported. At least two and perhaps as many as five Tibetans were killed by gunfire and many more wounded, the groups said, in what appeared to be the most violent outbreak in the region in nearly four years.

The new confrontation, in the town of Seda was reported by Free Tibet, a London-based organization that advocates Tibetan autonomy, and by Phayul.com, a Tibetan exile web portal.

The Phayul.com account of the Serthar shooting said five Tibetan protesters were killed and more than 40 wounded, that all shops in the town were closed and that Serthar was “under virtual martial law, with large numbers of Chinese security personnel maintaining a strict surveillance.”

Seeking to counter the narrative of Tibetan advocacy groups about the violence in Luhuo, the Chinese government said on Tuesday that the incident had started as a riot by monks and protesters who attacked stores and a police station.

—Keith Bradsher, The New York Times