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HM the King 80th Birthday LogoHis Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช), or Rama IX as he is known in the West, ascended to the throne following the death of his brother, King Ananda Mahidol on 9 June 1946.  The world's and the longest-reigning current head of statelongest-serving monarch in Thai history, he was formally crowned in Bangkok on 5 May 1950.  During last year's massive celebrations for the 60th anniversary of his rule, the King and Queen appeared on the balcony of Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall before hundreds of thousands of people on 9 June which was a public holiday (as was most of the following week).

On 16 January 2007, the Council for National Security officially declared the end of the 60th anniversary celebrations and commenced year-long celebrations of Bhumibol's 80th birthday.  Thus, today was extremely low-key compared to the festivities last year.

But we do have a new song, courtesy of the Office of the Prime Minister — "Father of the Land" (พ่อของแผ่นดิน, Poh Khong Phan Din).  The song was first played nationwide this morning at 9:00 a.m. and will be continuously aired in public places to encourage people to learn the song. Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont (สุรยุทธ์ จุลานนท์) is inviting people from all corners of Thailand to jointly sing the song.