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Negotiators from Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front met in Kuala Lumpur for informal talks to find ways to restart peace talks, stalled since last June despite Mr. Aquino’s pledge to pursue negotiations.

Malaysia has hosted talks since 2001 to end a conflict that has killed 120,000 people, displaced 2 million and stunted growth and investment in southern areas of the Philippines thought to hold rich deposits of minerals, oil and natural gas.


Confucius shows up on Tiananmen Square

BEIJING | There’s a new face keeping Chairman Mao company on Tiananmen Square.

A mammoth sculpture of the ancient philosopher Confucius was unveiled this week off one side of the vast plaza. It’s a jarring juxtaposition for a square the ruling Communist Party treats as politically hallowed ground: a mausoleum holding revolutionary leader Mao Zedong’s body sits in the middle and his giant portrait hangs at one end.

Placing the statue at China’s political heart is the authoritarian government’s most visible endorsement yet of the 2,500-year-old sage and, selectively, his teachings.

Confucius is enjoying a revival, in books and films, on TV and in classrooms. His message of harmonious social order and deference to authority is unthreatening to the party, while his emphasis on ethics resonates among Chinese coping with fast-paced social change on the back of torrid economic growth.

From wire dispatches and staff reports