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Thailand celebrates king's diamond jubilee

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Thailand celebrates king's diamond jubilee


Royalty and heads of state from around the world have gathered in Bangkok to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The world’s longest-reigning monarch has welcomed guests from 25 nations for the festivities which began on Friday and will culminate in a procession of river barges.

The jubilee celebrations have given the country a break from months of political crisis sparked by street protests to oust Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Analysts say most Thais regard the king as a uniting figure who has lifted the country out of bloodshed and crisis on several occasions. On the streets Bangkok has become a sea of yellow — the colour of the king’s birth day.

King Bhumibol, ascended to the throne in 1946 at the age of 18 at a time when the world was shaking off the ravages of World War II. The 78-year-old, whose name means “Strength of the Land, Incomparable Power”, is the ninth king of the Chakri dynasty.
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