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Briefly

MYANMAR

Democracy icon Suu Kyi seeks to revive party

YANGON | Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is seeking to revive her political party in military-run Myanmar by launching an appeal to the Supreme Court of a ruling that upheld its banning, her lawyers said Thursday.

Mrs. Suu Kyi, who was freed from house arrest in November, has sent her team of lawyers to Naypyitaw to submit the appeal, said one of the lawyers, Nyan Win.

The legal move appears to be largely symbolic, since Myanmar's courts invariably adhere to the junta's policies, especially on political matters. Previous appeals by Suu Kyi to the courts, on matters such as her detention, have been shunted aside or dismissed.

A similar appeal in November to restore the National League for Democracy was dismissed. The party lost its legal status because it failed to reregister in order to take part in general elections that month, claiming the balloting would be neither free nor fair.

JAPAN

P.M. to change Cabinet, push for reforms

CHIBA | Japan's prime minister said Thursday he will reshuffle his unpopular Cabinet as he tries to revive the struggling economy and open up the country to stay globally competitive.

Naoto Kan said he will announce his new lineup Friday to push for reforms as Japan faces a string of daunting problems, including a rapidly aging population, growing national debt and an anemic economy — the world's third-largest.

"I will have the most powerful Cabinet," Mr. Kan said. "The changes will reflect how best we can push for reforms for Japan and tackle the problems."

PHILIPPINES

Government, rebels agree to peace talks

MANILA | The Philippines and the country's main Muslim separatist group agreed on Thursday to resume peace talks next month, the first sign of progress to end a four-decade insurgency since President Benigno Aquino took office last year.

Poor security across the Philippines remains a risk, and Mr. Aquino has said a secure and sustained peace is needed to foster growth and investment.

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.

CHINA

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

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