Thailand’s Polical Turmoil Continues; King Fails To Appear

Thailand‘s revered king on Thursday failed to deliver his traditional birthday speech, dashing Thai hopes that the address would help resolve the country’s political paralysis and unify a divided nation.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who turns 81 on Friday, was unable to deliver the speech “because he was a little sick,” his son, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, told dignitaries gathered at the Dusit Palace to hear the king. The comments were broadcast live on radio.

By VIJAY JOSHI and AMBIKA AHUJA, Associated Press Writers

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadaj  reviews the Royal Guards ... 
Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadaj reviews the Royal Guards at the Royal Plaza Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008, in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand’s ailing king failed to deliver his traditional speech to the nation Thursday Dec. 4, 2008 on the eve of his 81st birthday because of ill health — a stunning development that is likely to deepen the country’s political paralysis.(AP Photo/David Longstreath)

While the king is known to be unwell, he was not expected to miss such an important occasion. The news came as a shock in this Southeast Asian nation of 63 million people, who revere the king as a selfless humanitarian. Many people wear yellow, the king’s color, once a week as a mark of respect and affection for the beloved monarch.

“The king has said to thank (you) for the wishes given out of loyalty. He wants to return the good wishes. He wants everyone to have strong mental and physical health to perform their duties for the public,” Vajiralongkorn said.

Many Thais were eagerly awaiting the king’s speech, hoping to receive guidance on how Thailand can resolve its political crisis triggered by an anti-government group whose members seized two main airports for a week.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_thailand_political_unrest

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