Briefly: Asia

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Ten island states are attending the new conference, including the leaders of the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu, with Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare also expected to arrive.

Mr. Bainimarama, who seized power in a 2006 military coup, accused Australia of scuttling the five-member MSG summit, but he told The Australian newspaper that Canberra’s diplomatic effort had backfired.


Dance spectacle to be staged

SEOUL | North Korea will stage its massive dance-and-tumbling extravaganza known as the Arirang Festival next month, apparently cranking up its domestic propaganda efforts as tensions linger over the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on Pyongyang.

The show typically feature thousands of gymnasts in synchronized maneuvers and giant mosaics formed by children turning pieces of colored paper. But it has been criticized as a propaganda tool achieved through the rigid and disciplined training of its young performers.


Rudd in talks over U.N. role

SYDNEY | Ousted Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Thursday confirmed talks over a possible United Nations role but said he did not plan to quit the national parliament.

Mr. Rudd, who was replaced by Julia Gillard last month in a party coup, said he had discussed a “development” role with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, after reports linked him with a new climate-change position.

“Among other matters, [Mr. Ban] raised the possibility of Rudd being appointed to a United Nations panel that might look at a number of issues related to development,” Mr. Rudd’s spokesman said in a statement.

He added that the role would not require Mr. Rudd to move to New York or abandon his parliamentary seat. Mr. Rudd proved a distraction to Miss Gillard’s campaign for Aug. 21 elections when he was mobbed by media on Wednesday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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