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Thursday, October 13, 2016, 18:24

Thai PM cancels trip to hold urgent cabinet meeting

By Agencies

Thai PM cancels trip to hold urgent cabinet meeting
Thai students join the others to pray for Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Siriraj Hospital where the king is being treated in Bangkok, Oct 12, 2016. (Sakchai Lalit / AP)

BANGKOK – Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has cancelled his trip to India to attend the BRICS Summit 2016, local media quoted a Government House source as reporting on Thursday.  Prayut has called for all the ministers to have an urgent unofficial cabinet meeting at 5 pm local time.

The prime minister was scheduled to attend the BIMSTEC Outreach at BRICS Summit 2016 on Sunday.

The source said Prayut had assigned Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusriithak to attend the summit on his behalf.

The source said Prayut has also cancelled his plan to chair a function at the Police Club to mark the National Police Day.

Thai government urged jittery stock market investors to ignore rumors about King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s health

About 300 people gathered at a Bangkok hospital on Thursday where Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest reigning monarch, is in an unstable condition as the government urged jittery stock market investors to ignore rumors.

The palace said in a statement late on Wednesday the king's health had "overall not yet stabilized" and the 88-year-old was on a ventilator and battling a new infection.

It followed a statement on Sunday saying the king was in an unstable condition after receiving hemodialysis treatment.

Well-wishers gathered on Thursday outside Siriraj Hospital, which is near Bangkok's Chao Phraya river.

Some wore yellow, the king's color, and others donned pink, a color they believe will bring the king an improvement in his health. Some prayed.

"I was worried so I came here to see for myself," said housewife Thornpan Tornueng, 67.

"This evening I will take part in chanting for the king."

District police commander Rithee Visetkamin said more people were expected to gather at the hospital through the day.

The king has long been seen as a unifying figure in Thailand, which has grappled with political uncertainty in recent years. His health, which is watched closely, is a sensitive subject.

Strict lese-majeste laws mean public discussions of his health and any succession plans are punishable by lengthy jail terms.

Investors in the Stock Exchange of Thailand have sold shares since Sunday's statement from the Royal Household Bureau on the king's health.

The main index fell as much as 6.9 percent on Wednesday to its lowest since March 1, but recovered to close down 2.5 percent, its lowest since the end of May.

It was down 2.1 percent by the mid-day break on Thursday.

Deputy Prime Minister Jatusripitak said he had asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate rumors that had been affecting the market.

"I will tell the SEC to investigate who spread the news and who caused stocks to fall. Foreigners are waiting to pick up stocks and Thais are selling them," Somkid told reporters.

"I don't think it's beneficial to do that because this is an important time for the country and we should not undermine ourselves."

"Don't listen to rumors. Please only listen to the government," he added.

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