August 31, 2014 -- Updated 4:10 pm GMT

Danish Crown Princely Couple Visit Thailand

Posted in: Denmark, Thailand

Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary are on a four day visit to Thailand. They arrived with 30 Danish business leaders, as part of celebrating 150 years of Danish-Thai economic relations. fredmary thailand 208x300 Danish Crown Princely Couple Visit Thailand

Right after stepping off the plane in Bangkok, the royal duo went to the Danish embassy. Despite the long trip, both Frederik and Mary were in good spirits, and even joked with photographers.

“Are there any snakes in the grass?,” Crown Prince Frederik asked with a smile, when they walked out on the lawn.

For the two, it is very exciting to be in the capital of Thailand.

“We are looking forward to put focus on Danish business here in Thailand,” the Crown Prince said.

“So it is exciting,” Crown Princess Mary added.

The last time the couple were in Thailand was in 2004 for the victims of the tsunami.

In the evening the Royal Couple are going to Central World, where the Official Opening of the celebrations of 150 years of diplomatic relations takes place.

fredmary thailand2 201x300 Danish Crown Princely Couple Visit ThailandAfterwards there will be a formal dinner hosted by Danish Industries in Thailand. The dinner takes place at Lotus Garden at Centara Grand Hotel.

Later this week, it is expected that Frederik and Mary will meet with members of the Thai royal family, including King Bhumibol. But that has not been confirmed.

In the meantime, they will be at many business events, Thai and Danish cultural events, including a Lego exhibition.

Finnish President Visits Luxembourg

Posted in: Luxembourg

Finland’s president, Tarja Halonen is on a three day visit of Luxembourg. She was invited by Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Theresa, and it was the Grand Ducal couple she first met upon arriving in the tiny Grand Duchy. luxembourg finland1 300x195 Finnish President Visits Luxembourg

After the formal meeting, Halonen laid a wreath at the National Solidarity Monument, in the presence of Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s Minister for Defence, Jean-Louis Schiltz, and the Head of Staff of the Luxembourg Army, General Gaston Reinig.

In the afternoon, Halonen was welcomed by Luxembourg city mayor, Paul Helminger, and they visited the Finnish Christmas Market on Place Guillaume.

Later, the Finnish president returned to the Grand Ducal Palace where she met with the President of Luxembourg’s Chamber of Deputies, Lucien Weiler, as well as Prime Minister Juncker and Deputy Prime-Minister, Jean Asselborn.

The day ended with a gala dinner at the Palace in honor of the President of Finland.

Bishop: Swazi Monarchy Driving People To Despair

Posted in: Swaziland

A Catholic Bishop has criticized Swaziland’s King Mswati III, saying the King’s tactics is driving people to despair. swaziland birthday asvz102 245x300 Bishop: Swazi Monarchy Driving People To Despair

The Church is worried that the monarchy has increasingly marginalized the people, especially since 2005 when it adopted a constitution that ignored the wishes of “a significant portion of the Swazi people,” according to Bishop Louis Ncamiso Ndlovu.

“We believe that being marginalized is what led some people to adopt crude and violent methods so as to force change in the country. This is really a cry for attention and recognition,” the bishop said in a statement.

“The recent bombings are thus a manifestation of the failure by the ruling elite to engage in serious and honest dialogue with the citizenry.” But he was quick to add that the church condemned all forms of violence.

Bishop Ndlovu also criticized the enactment of an anti-terrorism law which is being used by the monarchy to crack down on opponents.

“In the prevailing political and social climate, the Roman Catholic Church invites all concerned, especially on the side of government and the ruling elite, to real and serious dialogue,” the bishop added.

The Kingdom of Swaziland, with over a million people. The previous sovereign, King Sobhuza II, who reigned for almost 61 years, scrapped the constitution in 1973 and banned political parties.

Mswati, one of the world’s last absolute monarchs, continued with the political crackdowns when he ascended to the throne in 1986. He banned opposition parties and trade unions have been vocal in their demands for greater democracy and limits on the king’s power.

Mswati, his thirteen wives and numerous children live a life of opulence while the majority of Swaziland live in poverty. HIV rates are among the world’s highest, and unemployment rates are in the double digits.