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World Briefing / Thailand

Ailing monarch appears in public

October 24, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Thailand's 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej appeared in public for the first time since he was hospitalized more than a month ago.

His appearance follows a pronouncement by the palace, which had been giving daily updates on his condition, that Bhumibol's health was stable.

The king's health is an extremely sensitive topic in Thailand.

He is a constitutional monarch with no formal political role, but he has repeatedly brought calm in times of political turbulence.

Wearing a short-sleeved shirt, Bhumibol was wheeled in an electric wheelchair into a closed-off area on the ground floor of the hospital in Bangkok to garland the statues of his late parents.

The king looked alert and much the same as in previous public appearances. He raised his arm to greet the public as he was wheeled through the hospital corridor.

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