Thailand King Maha Vajiralongkorn weds bodyguard

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This screengrab from Thai TV Pool video taken on May 1, 2019 shows a ceremony in which Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn "legally married" Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya in Bangkok. (AFP)
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In this photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household ,Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, center, sits with Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya as they sign their marriage certificates at Ampornsan Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP)
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King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his consort, General Suthida Vajiralongkorn named Queen Suthida attend their wedding ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand May 1, 2019, in this screen grab taken from a video.
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This screengrab from Thai TV Pool video taken on May 1, 2019 shows a ceremony in which Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn "legally married" Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya in Bangkok. (AFP)
Updated 02 May 2019

Thailand King Maha Vajiralongkorn weds bodyguard

  • Vajiralongkorn has previously been married and divorced three times and has seven children

BANGKOK: Just days before his official coronation, Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn on Wednesday married the deputy head of his personal guard force and gave her the title Queen Suthida.
The surprise announcement was carried in the Royal Gazette, and footage from Wednesday’s wedding ceremony was later shown on the nightly Royal News segment aired on all Thai television channels.
Vajiralongkorn, 66, also known by the title King Rama X, became constitutional monarch after the death of his revered father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October 2016, after 70 years on the throne.
He is due to be officially crowned in elaborate Buddhist and Brahmin ceremonies on Saturday, followed by a procession through Bangkok the next day.
In 2014, Vajiralongkorn appointed Suthida Tidjai, a former flight attendant for Thai Airways, as a deputy commander of his bodyguard unit.
Some royal observers and foreign media had linked Suthida romantically with the king, but the palace had previously never acknowledged a relationship between them.
The king made Suthida a full general in the Royal Thai Army in December 2016, and the deputy commander of the king’s personal guard in 2017. He also made her a Thanpuying, a royal title meaning Lady.
Among the dignitaries at the wedding were Prayuth Chan-ocha, the leader of the military junta that has run Thailand since a 2014 army coup, as well as other members of the royal family and palace advisers, the wedding footage showed.
Vajiralongkorn has previously been married and divorced three times and has seven children.
While the king took the throne after the death of his father, his formal coronation follows a mourning period for King Bhumibol, whose royal cremation was held a year after his death.


Australian man survives croc attack by gouging its eye

Updated 16 November 2019

Australian man survives croc attack by gouging its eye

  • Wildlife ranger Craig Dickmann made a split-second decision to go fishing in a remote part of Northern Australia known as ‘croc country.’
  • ‘That noise will haunt me forever I think, the sound of the snap of its jaws’

CAIRNS, Australia: An Australian wildlife ranger has recounted his terrifying escape from the clutches of a “particularly cunning” crocodile, after wrestling with the reptile and sticking a finger in its eye.
Craig Dickmann, who made a split-second decision to go fishing last Sunday in a remote part of Northern Australia known as “croc country” last Sunday, said a 2.8-meter (nine-foot) crocodile came up from behind him as he was leaving the beach.
“As I’ve turned to go, the first thing I see is its head just come at me,” he told reporters on Friday from his hospital bed in the town of Cairns in Queensland state.
Dickmann said the animal latched on to his thigh.
“That noise will haunt me forever I think, the sound of the snap of its jaws,” he said.
The 54-year-old said he wrestled with the croc on the remote beach as it tried to drag him into the water.
Dickmann stuck his thumb into its eye, saying it was the only “soft spot” he found on the “bullet-proof” animal.
“Their eyes retract a fair way and when you go down far enough you can feel bone so I pushed as far as I possibly could and then it let go at that point,” Dickmann said.
After a few minutes, he said he managed to get on top of the croc and pin its jaws shut.
“And then, I think both the croc and I had a moment where we’re going, ‘well, what do we do now?’”
Dickmann said he then pushed the croc away from him and it slid back into the water.
The ranger had skin ripped from his hands and legs in the ordeal and drove more than 45 minutes back to his home before calling emergency services.
It was then another hour in the car to meet the Royal Flying Doctors Service who flew him to Cairns Hospital, where he is recovering from the ordeal.
“This croc was particularly cunning and particularly devious,” he said.
Queensland’s department of environment this week euthanized the animal.
“The area is known croc country and people in the area are reminded to always be crocwise,” the department said in a statement.
Saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to seven meters long and weigh more than a ton, are common in the vast continent’s tropical north.
Their numbers have exploded since they were declared a protected species in the 1970s, with attacks on humans rare.
According to the state government, the last non-fatal attack was in January 2018 in the Torres Strait while the last death was in October 2017 in Port Douglas.