Thailand in Row With Singapore Over Thaksin Visit

Thailand in Row With Singapore Over Thaksin Visit

BANGKOK, Thailand -- At precisely 7:09 a.m. on Feb. 24 Thailand will collectively hope for good luck. The army generals now running the country think the country needs uplifting and have decreed this date an apparently auspicious time for a bout of national "merit-making" to be led by senior Buddhist monks.

The Land of Smiles, as the Tourist Authority of Thailand labels the country, has not had much to smile at recently.

Since the military coup last September, the economy has slumped, bombs have killed people in Bangkok, cracks have appeared in the runways of the capital's brand new $4 billion airport, and now there's a rare diplomatic row with Singapore -- exacerbated by a sharp-tongued stir from Malaysia's fiery senior statesman Mahathir Mohomad.

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