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King urges unity against floods

Thailand's king has called for his countrymen to unite against the worst floods in half a century.

The revered monarch spoke to mark his 84th birthday and amid deep political divisions plaguing the country.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej spoke at the ceremonial Grand Palace for about five minutes after being driven from a nearby hospital where he has been staying for more than two years.

More than a fifth of Thailand's 64 million people have been affected by the ongoing flood crisis, which began in late July. More than 600 have died.

The king, who took the throne in 1946, was originally taken to hospital in September 2009 with a lung inflammation.

Official statements said he remained at the hospital for physical therapy and nourishment to recover his strength.

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