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Thailand celebrates revered monarch

Hundreds of thousands of people across Thailand have been celebrating the birthday of the country's king, the world's longest reigning monarch.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 80th birthday comes amid growing worries over his frail health and questions over the royal succession. Such questions were however were swept aside on Wednesday amid festivities, prayers and a nationwide sea of yellow – the colour that symbolises devotion to the monarch. Appearing on the balcony of the ceremonial Throne Hall the crowd, many of whom had travelled from across Thailand, shouted out "Long Live the King!"

Bhumibol's birthday is a national holiday in Thailand and has increasingly become a day of tribute to the perhaps the most influential figure in modern Thai history. Although he is a constitutional king with no formal political role, he is regarded as a key to Thailand's stability and is seen as moral authority by most Thais. During his six decades on the throne the king has seen more than a dozen military coups and constitutions and two dozen different prime ministers. (Aljazeera)