• Thai king takes control of five palace agencies

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    BANGKOK: Thailand’s new king was granted control on Tuesday over five state agencies that oversee royal affairs and security, the latest move by an increasingly assertive monarch to consolidate power. The law detailing the transfers was not made public until it was published late Monday in the Royal Gazette, meaning lawmakers had voted on the bill in private. That secrecy is in line with the trademark opacity of Thailand’s monarchy, a powerful institution shielded by harsh defamation laws that for decades have landed critics behind bars. The five agencies transferred to King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s control include two major administrative departments – the Royal Household Bureau and the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary – plus three palace security agencies. All were previously under government or military control. “[These] are agencies that handle work related to His Majesty the King and royal family members’ business, and they need to follow traditional procedures,” said the law that came into effect on Tuesday.

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