Bhumibol Adulyadej

81-year-old Thai king seen in public for the first time in a month

81-year-old Thai king seen in public for the first time in a monthBangkok  - Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest reigning monarch, appeared Friday in public for the first time since entering Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital more than a month ago.

Thai television showed emotional scenes among well-wishers as the frail Bhumibol appeared on an electric wheelchair to place garlands in front of the portraits of King Chulalongkorn - a famous early 20th century predecessor - and Bhumibol's late mother.

Friday was a Thai national holiday celebrating Chulalongkorn's birthday.

Thai king congratulates Obama on his inauguration

Bhumibol AdulyadejBangkok - Thailand's 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Tuesday congratulated Barrack Obama on his inauguration as the 44th president of the US and sent his wishes for greater "progress and prosperity" for the American people.

"I am pleased to extend to Your Excellency my sincere congratulations and best wishes for your success and happiness as well as for the greater progress and prosperity of the United States of America and her people," said the king in a congratulatory message to president-elect Obama.

Thai King misses birthday speech for first time in decades

Thai King Bhumibol AdulyadejBangkok - Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Thursday did not show up to deliver his annual birthday-eve speech at Chitralada Palace for the first time in decades. He will turn 81 on Friday.

His daughter, Princes Maha Chakkri Sirinthorn, said the king was having trouble swallowing his food and suffering from congestion.

Thai king endorses new premier

Bangkok  - Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Thursday officially endorsed the premiership of Somchai Wongsawat, the brother-in-law of coup-ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The Thai parliament voted 298 to 163 in favour of Somchai's nomination as prime minister on Wednesday but under Thailand's constitutional monarchy the appointment is not official until it is approved by King Bhumibol, who is head of state.

House Speaker Chai Chidchob flew to Bhumibol's palace in Hua Hin, 150 kilometres south-west of Bangkok, Thursday afternoon to present Somchai's appointment to the king, who endorsed it.

Thailand names career diplomat as new foreign minister

Bangkok - Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej has approved the appointment of a respected career diplomat as the country's next foreign minister amid a deepening political crisis in the country, the government announced Monday. 

Saroj Chavamaviraj, 66, was named the new foreign minister after royal approval was granted Sunday, a government announcement broadcast on Thai television said.

Saroj rose to be permanent secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry for four years before his final posting as ambassador to France. He retired from the ministry in 2002.

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